Articles Tagged with Blogging

(Don’t Be) Blogging for the Sake of It

When I set up this blog over five years ago, my personal goal was to aim to publish at least one post per month. With the exception of one month early on (February 2012, when I took a brief hiatus), I have met that goal. But a few days ago, while combating a busy workload and a sort of form of writer’s block, I found myself clambering around, trying desperately to think of something to blog about.

Which is why I typed (and have published) this.

In the end, I came up with goods, and it’s a semi-decent post by all accounts (or at least I like to think so!), but otherwise I was thinking of publishing this post – in order to ‘fill the gap.’

But you know what? Aside from the fact that there would’ve been a month missing if someone looks at my blog’s Archives, it really doesn’t matter. It’s much more important to write something of quality rather than to write because you have a quota to meet / a box to tick.

I mean just look at this post. Look at it. It’s looking so sorry for itself. It’s barely a couple of hundred words. It doesn’t even have an image to go with it. Pah. It’s certainly not my best, but by publishing it, I would’ve been able to say that I’d published a post during the month of August 2016. Huzzah…? No. No huzzah.

But you could argue that this post shouldn’t – or doesn’t need to – exist at all… Although I decided to publish it anyway, to make a point.

Don’t get me wrong… Deadlines are a good thing. Since I started writing for State of Digital, my writing style and overall blogging game has increased significantly: I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to meet the deadline of providing a post every five weeks – in addition to doing one once a month for SEOno – but I have done, and it’s been going well. Really well.

But at the end of the day, I have a new rule: from now on, when it comes to SEOno at least, I will write new posts when I damn well please, not necessarily once a month. I’d much rather publish a killer post after a three-month gap rather than publish three smaller, underwhelming posts each a month apart.

Would you agree? Yes? Good. Thanks for reading.

Using Prisma App to ‘Spice Up’ your Blog’s Images

A few days ago I caught a tweet by @tombeardshaw showing a painting-style image of his usual avatar head-shot:

I was really impressed, so I asked him who painted it for him, because I was convinced that he’d commissioned someone to do it for him especially.

But I was wrong – it was made via an iPhone app.

Introducing Prisma

Simply put, Prisma is a modern art filter app, overlaying your photos with different artistic styles. In addition to making photos look like paintings (like the example above), you can make them look like sketches, mosaics and even cubist. There’s about two dozen different filters that you can apply.

Here’s what the interface looks like:

Prisma interface - before & after screenshots
Before on the left / After on the right

I’ve slowly become obsessed with it since discovering it, as have many of the people I’ve seen using it. @cardiffisyours is now using Prisma’ed images for its Twitter profile pic and cover pic:

Prisma on @cardiffisyours screenshot
The Guardian recently published an article showing loads of great examples of recent famous photos that have had the Prisma treatment.

The other day, I realised that it had another really good application: photos for blog posts.

Alternative images for your blog posts

I spend a lot of time finding good accompanying images for blog posts, usually hitting up Flickr’s Creative Commons search. I hate stock photos (as I feel that they’re often very generic and ‘forced’-looking), but finding a good, natural, free-to-use image can really take some time. Ironically I often feel that it takes me longer to find a good image for a post than it does to write the damn thing in the first place…!

For a recent post on SEOno – 5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Operate a ‘Minimum DA’ Rule When Building Links – I really struggled to find a good image. I tried Flickr’s CC search for keywords around “authority”, “minimum”, etc. but couldn’t find anything appropriate at all. I realised that all I really wanted was a screenshot of Moz’s Open Site Explorer, the tool that displays the metric that was the primary focus of the post. I tried a screenshot at first, but it looked… boring.

Then I had an idea…

Click to read more!

Guest Blogging? Routinely Check Old Posts for Bad Comments

Little screaming dude image
If you’re doing SEO, you’re probably doing link building, and if you’re doing link building, you might be doing guest blogging as a tactic. Despite Google saying that it’s done as a tactic a while back, I think it’s still a good, viable strategy – if you’re doing it properly, of course.

When it comes to comments sections, the issue with guest blogging is that you’re relying on someone else to manage and administrate the comments for you. On your own blog, you may choose not to have comments on blog posts at all, but if you do, you’ll probably check them and approve/deny them before they go live – and even so, you’d probably get a notification if a new comment is pending. If it’s a guest blog post then you’re leaving that process in the hands of someone else. Some of them actually notify you as the author (e.g. I get notified of comments against my posts on State of Digital), but not always…

I had a heart attack when a client’s guest post had a negative ‘troll’ comment against it. For six months. Neither me, the client nor the blog owner spotted it until I happened to check something on the post and caught it then.

The nightmare moment

Ironically, I discovered the troll comment because I was contacting another blog about a guest posting opportunity and they wanted to see other examples of the writer’s work, so I went onto the site to dig it out. It was only then that I discovered the offending comment (…and obviously I didn’t share it with the person who wanted to see examples – for obvious reasons, heh).

Click to read more!

SEOno is 5

Birthday cake image
This April, SEOno (this very blog) turned 5-years-old.*

Since my very first post on 1st April 2011 – the innovatively titled “My previous posts for other blogs and sites“, which wasn’t an April Fool (despite the date) – I have published 141 posts totalling 144,481 words (whaaat?!), an average of 990 words per post.**

…I need to get out more.

In all seriousness though, I’ve enjoyed running this blog, which I always only ever considered a hobby (I still do), and yet it’s helped me to learn a more about SEO as I work on it, and has even helped me to win clients for Morgan Online Marketing (my SEO freelancing business).

Here’s to another 5 years! 🙂

* Hilariously (to me anyway), I thought my first post was on 30th April 2011, so I was going to post this on Saturday and say “I posted my first post five years ago today!”… only to realise that it was actually 1st April. Oops. So much for that plan. Numpty.

** Kudos to Dashboard Wordcount for that quick little insight.

[Image credit – Andy Eick]