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Posts from March 2009

Increase Blog Traffic with Obvious Post Titles

There's all sorts of search engine voodoo to bring traffic to your blog and beginning blogger can get overwhelmed quickly.

Here's a quick tip that will boost your search engine juice instantly:

Always Be Obvious

Or to put it a bit bluntly:

Stop Being Clever

The one thing every study of online habits shows is that nobody has any time. I don't have the time to comprehend that your post titled with a reference to Dante's Inferno is really about how to toilet train a cat. If your post is the top five things you wished you knew before you made buttercream frosting then don't use a post title that is more about your cleverness as a writer than about what I'm about to read.

If I see your post title in a Google search or a Twitter tweet I should be completely unsurprised when I click through to read it. I should know exactly what I'm getting myself into. Your post titles should jump out at the right people: 'Yes! That thing you searched for, that topic you're interested in, that idea in your head that you are researching? I'm writing about it right here in language that you will understand!'

The more words and phrases you use in your post titles (and categories, blog title, etc) that people might actually type into a search engine, the better off you'll be.


How a Blog Can Help Your Job Search

Adphotobook Today's feature is a little different - we asked a TypePad blogger and About.com job search expert Alison Doyle to write us a guest post about how you can use a blog to help your job search. We'll be writing up extras about how to use TypePad for your job search, building a resume, and more. Thanks for posting, Alison! Want to write a guest post? Just let us know in the comments.

Are you looking for a new job or are you in career-building mode?  A blog is an ideal way to showcase your skills and accomplishments to prospective employers and a terrific opportunity to build your credibility as an expert in your field.

Why Blog?
A blog can help you find a new job in several different ways.   You can use your blog to provide insight on your expertise and use it to let the world know that you are seeking a new opportunity.

In addition, it’s very typical for hiring managers and recruiters to Google prospective applicants for employment.  Your blog will most likely rank highly (Google Alison Doyle and you’ll see my blog ranks #2) and it’s got exactly the type of information that I would want a prospective employer to see right off the bat.

Getting Started
If you already have a personal blog that you’re happy with, don’t mess with it. Start a new career-focused blog. That way, you can keep your personal life separate from your professional life, which is always an issue online.  There is, of course, such a thing as too much information and you don’t want to share that information with prospective employers.  You can use your career blog for job search purposes and your personal blog for family and friends.

Blog Options
Rachellevy Bloggers have had success with different types of employment-related blogs. Before you start blogging consider what you want to focus your blog on. Do you want to write about your job search? Or, do you want your blog to supplement your resume and focus on the skills and expertise you have to offer? Both options work well.
Rachel Levy, for example, is in the midst of a job search.  Her blog is directly focused on her job search.  The title and sub-title are:

Rachel Levy: Job Search & Social Networking
How I’m using social networking tools like Twitter in my search for a marketing job in Boston

Rachel uses her blog to talk about her job search, to discuss what it’s like being unemployed, and to share her expertise in public relations, marketing, and social media. Her blog also includes a portfolio of her work and information on how to contact her. 

PhilipMorgan Philip Morgan is a technology communicator. His blog philipmorgan.net is full of posts that show his expertise in the field including tips for technical trainers and effective software certification. His blog includes a link to his resume and detailed information about his background.

Blogging Job Search Tips
The goal when you’re using your blog as a job search tool is to spread the word – to get your name, your credentials, and your expertise on the Internet in as many places as possible. The more visibility you have, the better.

  • Start simple. Choose a professional style template and go from there. You don’t need to know anything technical to get started.  It’s a quick and easy process.
  • Use your name.  If possible get your name or a variation of it for your blog (here’s mine: alisondoyle.typepad.com). It’s a good opportunity to reinforce your online presence.
  • Share your profiles.  Add links to your Facebook page, LinkedIn profile, StumbleUpon, Digg, Twitter, etc. from your blog (in TypePad, click on Control, Profile, Your Other Account).
  • Feed your blog. Set up feed from your blog to your Facebook page and to Twitter so your connections can see what you’re blogging about.
  • Include links. Include links to your blog on your resume, your LinkedIn profile, your VisualCV, and your other professional networking profiles.
  • Update your blog.  A stale, out-of-date blog isn’t going to do anything for you. Update your blog, even if it’s a short post, at least a few times a week.
  • Be nice. Do not say anything nasty about your previous or current employer.  It not only can get you in trouble, it can jeopardize your chances of getting a new job. Nobody wants to hire someone who might do the same to their company someday.
  • Have fun.  Even though your blog, in this case, is work related, there’s no need to be boring.  Be creative, share your perspective, and share your personal stories.  Your blog should be readable, engaging, and personable.


Alison Doyle’s Bio
AdphotobookAlison Doyle is a job search expert with many years of experience in human resources, career development, and job searching, with a focus on online job searching and job search technology. She has covered job searching for About.com since 1998. Alison is also the author of her personal blog (alisondoyle.typepad.com) with advice and commentary on the world of work.

Alison is the author of Internet Your Way to a New Job: How to Really Find a Job Online (2008) and the About.com Guide to Job Searching (2006).

Alison’s Blogs:
Alison Doyle Blog: alisondoyle.typepad.com
About.com Job Search Blog: jobsearch.about.com


Add Cool New Functionality to Your Blog

Some of the our favorite third-party applications are giving us the royal treatment this week- Ping.fm, Apture, and Userfly.

Picture 49 Apture's a slick Firefox extension that helps you to add and integrate all kinds of media into your blog. Andy and I are working on another video to show you just how cool you can get with it, but give it a whirl. It'll add a button on your compose window to help you along. (It works with Movable Type too.)

Ping.fm makes updating your social network-ed friends very easy, and Userfly makes your web usability testing both free and easy.

Thanks to all the awesome developers out there who keep building cool tools to use on your blog. Have a favorite widget or browser plugin you want to share?


Removing Your Banner's Margin

In our pilot class on building a site with TypePad, I made my own online tea shop as an example of taking your business online with just a few clicks. I created a custom banner and uploaded it to my blog.

How wide should a banner be?

To get my banner width, I added the width of my columns together. You can check your column widths by going to Design > Content > Theme and look under your General Settings.

So I add my columns together (400px + 200px) and tell my designer I need a banner that is 600px wide. Note: 'px' equals 'pixels'.

I upload my banner (Design > Content > Banner) and reload my blog and my banner appears!

But there's this gross indent.

Tea-time-banner
TypePad indents banners 15 pixels down and 15 pixels to the right. This leaves the background color (the green) showing around the banner while chopping off 15 pixels off the right-side. I don't want that for this blog. Let's get rid of it.

Continue reading "Removing Your Banner's Margin" »


Cadbury's Chocolate Goes Fairtrade with TypePad

CadburyDairyMilk This morning, Cadbury’s Dairy Milk in the UK made a landmark decision to gain the Fair Trade Certificate by the end of the summer. This was a massive decision for a company serving a nation of chocoholics, who consume over 300 million bars of chocolate a year(!), and to use their addiction as a force for good. This move will triple the sales of cocoa under fair trade terms for cocoa farmers in Ghana, notes the CSRWire, a corporate social responsibility website.

They chose TypePad to announce the news, driving a multimedia campaign with their blog.  The site was built on TypePad Business Class, and was designed by the agency in a matter of days. Welcome to TypePad, Hyper and Cadbury's: we think your new blog is awesome.


How to Design Your Blog Before You Even Write Your First Post

Lorem-ipsum Some bloggers like to set up their blog design before they've written any content. But if you don't have any published posts you won't know how your fonts will look. What can you use in place of 'real' text? Should you just write the word 'text' over and over again.

Back in the 1970s, graphic designers and printers solved this problem. They used a stream of Latin text beginning with the phrase 'Lorem ipsum...' in place of any actual written. This sample text acts shows the effects of font choices and typesetting and mimics the visual feel of English on the page. It also helps the design process because you aren't focusing so much on the content - but more on the presentation.

And still today, designers use the Lorem Ipsum text when choosing fonts, colors and sizing for text.

When I'm working on a blog template I'll usually go to the Lorem Ipsum generator at and grab a few paragraphs of text and drop them into a post and save it. Here's how to use it:

Continue reading "How to Design Your Blog Before You Even Write Your First Post" »


Commenting Fixes, Facebook Integration, and Beta Improvements

A big shout-out to everyone in the TypePad community for your feedback and suggestions these last few weeks. We’re hard at work improving TypePad for you. Here’s the highlights from this week’s release update:

Commenting
We fixed a lot of small, but important, commenting issues. These were affecting users with certain operating system and browser combinations. Some issues fixed include:

  • A caching issue that caused some user comments to appear later than expected.
  • An issue that made it difficult to leave comments because preview/save buttons were not showing properly
  • Fixed an issue when commenters used accent marks

We appreciate everyone’s feedback about the issues you and your readers were seeing. We’re excited to keep improving the commenting experience. Of course, please open a ticket with our awesome support team if you see issues.

Facebook Integration
Tell your friends about your latest post on Facebook. We’ve updated our connection with Facebook so that the “beacon” (which automagically updates Facebook when you post) works with more posting statuses. Now, the Facebook update will work even when you set a post to draft before you publish it, and with scheduled posts.  Are you a TypePad fan on Facebook?

Bug Fixes Just for [some of] You
We also fixed a ton of specific issues for individual customers. We’re here to make you happy.

Beta Improvements
Finally, for beta customers, we improved our “share this post” feature so you can automatically update Twitter and Friendfeed when you post to your blog. Please give us feedback so we can roll this out to everyone as soon as possible.

Release Hiccup: Future Post
Some of you may have experienced with future posting issues on Thursday night after the release. Thanks to everyone’s feedback and our own tireless engineering team, the issue was identified and fixed the next day. As always, you can check status updates and the help section for details about system problems. (Thanks to our friend and great blogger Book of Joe, for the suggestions for improving our communication in those channels. I haven't used hardly any exclamation points since then, Joe.)

Coming up...
We know some people are still seeing some issues when composing your posts. Over the next several weeks we will be testing some major improvements and upgrade to the Compose experience based on your feedback. As we learned from the first major upgrade to Compose last year, it's complex. We will be testing this experience for a future release and design experience. In the meantime, we encourage you to try the Light Editor if you are still having problems. We’re looking forward to hearing about how you’re doing, and to keeping you updated on the progress.


Have something you want to say? Talk to us in the comments.