Five Years and Counting

I started blogging more than five years ago. I entered the blogging arena reluctantly, and by many standards, very late in the game. That actually proved an advantage, not a disadvantage in some ways. Sure, it was harder to get noticed, but there was more objective data available on what worked and what did not, and I had to learn to use it in a way that would work forever, not just a way that worked because it was new.

I didn’t want to Tweet either. In fact, I still despise Twitter, in spite of recommending it to most of my clients who get bogged down with marketing. I don’t generally Tweet anything – unless I launch a new site and want it indexed ASAP. Mostly, I Auto-Tweet.

This is where Twitter intersects with the blog. One of the keys to being a genius web designer instead of just a mediocre web designer, is being able to think in terms of FUNCTION, and not just in terms of LABELS and FEATURES. Breaking a feature or component down by the functions it performs, rather than just thinking of it as a single purpose item.

See, most people think of Twitter as a great big global conversation, that they have to JOIN in order to get any benefit from Twitter. I don’t. I rarely login to Twitter, and I rarely directly post a Tweet. I do not use TweetDeck, and I don’t use anything to keep me up on the latest or hottest trends. Because I did not think of Twitter as an online community.

I think of Twitter as something that lets you post to a group of people, AND something that can be used to interface with OTHER places that you want to post to OTHER groups of people. It is that second thing that has value to me. I consider the first part to be largely a time waster, and I just have no time to keep up with the Joneses in little text bytes. I have a real life!

I also have a Blog. A blog that, on its own, gets a modest amount of traffic, and has a small following of people who read frequently, but never tell me they did so. I’m ok with that, even though I’d love to hear from more of them. But I can write to the faceless masses if I have to. I just pretend that you are all a bunch of people whom I’d love to hang out with if I met you in person (a few of you, I HAVE met in person… Yup! I was right, I DO like to hang out with you!).

This blog of modest traffic, which is cross linked with whatever my latest business endeavor happens to be, becomes more powerful when I use a function that it possesses – the ability to RSS articles to other places – with the ability of Twitter to interface with some of the places that I want my blog to be seen.

The blog is fed into Twitter, using Incredibly easy to do. Every time I post, my post goes automatically to Twitter. I also can feed Twitter to FaceBook, Linked-In, Plaxo, etc. Wherever else I want it to go. So now, every time I publish a blog post, out it goes, all over. Automatically. I like automatic.

So I have this little machine that can now be used for either direct, or indirect marketing. I prefer indirect. I prefer to just write about what I want to write about, link to my sites (mostly in the sidebar – rarely in an article directly), and let the increased blog traffic send increased traffic to my other sites. It works. Rather well, in fact.

But what if I could eliminate one of the steps? What if I could send the blog traffic directly to my regular websites?

Back to FUNCTION, not FEATURE. I do not need to turn my website into a blog. I do not even need to ADD a blog to my website. I don’t need another blog at all! I just need to take the functions I need, and add THOSE to the PART of my website that I want to use in that way. In some sites, I’m already posting regular articles to build content, which I’d do anyway. I look at those areas for enhancing with blog functions.

I’ve done this with my book website. I have a Category in it called “Tossed Salad”. It is named after a chapter in my book – this chapter was used for all the odds and ends tips that didn’t really fit in one of the other chapters. Of course, the thing about little tips is that you always come up with one more. So each edition of the book will have even more of them. Probably I’ll eventually have to categorize THEM, and may turn some into full chapters. Whatever. It works. Meanwhile, I store the new ones on this website where people can look them up, where Google can index them, and where they work to promote my book.

The website structure that I use already has the capability to RSS a Category. So I grabbed the Category RSS feed link, and headed back over to, and fed THAT into Twitter, beside my blog feed. Now when I publish an article to that category in my website, IT goes out everywhere my blog goes. People have to click the link to read the whole thing, and that brings them back to my website.

Blogs have one more valuable element that is nice to have in a website – but only one that you want in PARTS of it, not all of it.

Pinging. A blog pings a series of search engines every time a post is published. “Hey guys! New article here! Named THIS… By THIS PERSON… About THAT!”. This gets blog posts indexed in directories fairly quickly, and gives them a millisecond of fame as one of the latest posts (blog directories are incredibly busy, with probably hundreds or thousands of posts being added per second). But it means one or two more people might see it. And it means Google gets the message right away.

So we found a pinging add-on for our website. One that let us assign the ping only to that one category. I now have the advantages of a blog inside my website, bringing a little extra traffic directly into my product sales sites, where more non-pushy articles (I believe in being helpful and informative rather than advertising) bring people who might be interested in what I sell, right to the place that I sell it. If they like the article, they are now feeling all warm and fuzzy toward me, and that is a really good basis on which to foster a good customer relationship. They are well-disposed to consider kindly anything I am selling.

Content Marketing is still the most powerful enduring form of marketing on the net. Understanding technology functions, and how to use them to make life SIMPLER instead of more complicated, is one of the keys to making Content Marketing manageable. I mean, I have time to publish an article a week. I don’t always have time to publish it and then link it to 10 different places online.

Automating the linking part makes everything I write work harder for me, instead of making me work harder because of it.

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