Ramblings of an IT Consultant

Posts Tagged ‘Blogging’

Social Media as a Marketing Tool does it work?

In Blog, Google, Social Media on August 16, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Today this is the big question on my mind.  I recently developed a website for one of my customers that allowed a user to place a comment on the services their particular council offered.  They then created a Twitter account and off they went. www.thelocalgovernmentforum.co.uk

Finding people to follow was not a problem as they decided to follow each council that had a twitter account.  Slowly but surely the number of followers increased to over 250 but alas very few of these followers visited the website.

The current Mrs G also has a website which is advertised via Twitter & Facebook and again we have the same issues we have followers and people who like posts but no actual traffic coming from the Social Media networks to the websites. www.mathsstar.com

I recently read an article that suggested that Social Media was great for keeping in touch but in a lot of cases people would hit the like, follow or re-tweet button without the referer ever visiting the link.  It would seem that unless what you say in a tweet or a like is topical, people will just move on.

Do you have any experience in the Social Media field that can point me and others in the right direction?  I know there are a lot of businesses making money out of social media but I am beginning to wonder if keeping to the top of the search listings is the best way to drive traffic to a website.


Its been a while

In Uncategorized on April 15, 2011 at 8:31 pm

Since my last blog I have been incredibly busy working on some exciting new systems for my clients. There is one I am not too sure on its success.

It’s a blog style forum listing all of the Councils in the country and then allowing other people to comment on how they feel their council is doing.

It was released in January this year as a prototype and to date has been a total flop. Let me know your thoughts www.thelocalgovernmentforum.co.uk

January is nearly over!

In Blog on January 27, 2011 at 5:26 pm

I must admit I began 2011 with some concerns. Being self-employed is worrying at the best of times without the fear of tax hikes and redundancies. However january has not been too bad. I am busy, the work keeps coming and I am enjoying it!

I am also going to make sure that I keep blogging. I have always thought that a blog post has to be long and informative, however looking around I have come to realise a [pst does not have to be long to be informative! So I might be quickpressing more posts in 2011.

AWOL Blogger returns with excuses!

In Blog, Uncategorized, Wordpress on January 23, 2011 at 12:44 pm

Like most bloggers I started my blogging journey attempting to post daily.  This then changed and I started to post a couple of times a week, now however its been nearly 2 months since my last post.   To add insult to injury I even wrote articles about content being king and how regular posts are the way to go.

Like everything in life I have excuses for not posting.  My main excuse would be time, but when I think about the 2 weeks I took off over christmas that’s not really an excuse.  Since returning from my christmas break I have been extremely busy but still managed to find time to play poker on Facebook, so again I cannot blame my swelling workload.  This thing is I find blogging enjoyable and relaxing so I can’t even use finding it a chore as an excuse!

So putting excuses aside I have it now firmly in my mind that I will start blogging a couple of times a week in earnest starting now.  So have you missed me?

SEO and Link Building – The Dilemma

In SEO on November 4, 2010 at 8:09 pm

I was having a discussion with a friend of mine about optimising websites for Google and the importance of using Webmaster tools and Analytics to track search terms and traffic to a website.  We were chatting and agreeing on everything until they brought up the subject of link building.

Linking to other websites and getting links back can build traffic and lets google know you are a popular site, but only if the links are useful.  However my friend disagreed and went on to prove how if you type one of their customer’s names into Google it appears on the top of the search results because of the level of his links, even the unrelated ones.  However this can be true of any website, even one without links.  An example of this is a website I built for one of my clients called Xeles.  Now, this website does not link to any other website online.  However in Google it appears on the top of page 1.  So to me this blows the theory of link building out of the window.  I have launched a number of new sites and if they are built correctly they will appear on page 1 if you type in their name with or without external links.

So what does Google say about link building in its terms and conditions regarding exchanges to sites that are unrelated?  They clearly state that this could hinder your pagerank and position in the search results.  However most web designers will disagree that this is the case and still believe that linking to a website with a higher ranking helps to increase your pagerank.  I cannot disprove this opinion, however I tend not to follow it.  An example here is a chocolate fountain hire website that my friend developed recently.  Their links page has links to contact lens specialists.  If I was  looking for their product but found thier links page chances are I would click away.  Why?  Because they are desperate for traffic and have no focus on their products or their customers.

In my opinion linking to nothing is surely better than linking to something unrelated, no matter how desperate you are for your traffic.  Also my fear would be if Google decided to improve googlebot’s ability to detect these links.  I would not want my website dropping in the search results.

One final thought: as of today my WordPress blog has been running for jut over 3 weeks,  and is already on Page 2 if you search for Gallagher it blog.  All of this without link building…..  or is this just luck on my part?

Today I asked myself the question: What are my reasons for blogging?

In Blog, Technology, Wordpress on October 27, 2010 at 5:00 pm

As I have mentioned before I am quite new to blogging.  Before I started I looked at lots of blogs related to blogging.  I found lots of useful information about the topic, and my interest as a blogger began.

The main reason I decided to start my blog was initially to let my clients know what I was up to, as well as  posting useful code snippets.  Slowly the focus of my blog started to change and my topics moved onto reviews of hardware and software.  I now also enjoy having the occasional rant or sharing a funny article or video via my blog.

However since moving my blog to WordPress I have started to read more and more blog articles about things I wouldn’t usually read about.  I am pleased to say I am a fan of  freshly pressed on WordPress too!  It always amazes me the amount of useful information available online and that there are people who are more than happy to contribute.  I have been trying to search for random things via the search option,  to see how my content stands up to other blogs.  I am pleased to say that so far I feel that I am making some headway.

If I am honest I was beginning to wonder if there was a point to my blogging.  For some it seems pointless.  I was out having a beer with a few friends on Friday when I  mentioned I had now created a blog.  The response was “Why? isn’t that a bit sad?”.  Then someone said “Oh don’t tell me you find it relaxing?.  Before I got a chance to answer all of the questioned posed to me the conversation had moved on.  Sometimes I am not the most confident of people so started to doubt my reasoning behind my blog.  I get a lot of flack from people asking me how I have time to blog when I am so busy running my business.

So all of this got me thinking.  I can still stand by my initial thoughts on starting my blog.  Below are my main reasons for blogging:

  • To give potential and current customers a view of the work I have undertaken in the past and my capabilities
  • When I have the time to review hardware and software
  • To help other programmers with code and ideas of things I have found useful
  • To have the occasional rant.  It’s good to get bad experiences or days off your chest
  • Throw ideas out to other people.  Sometimes for help mostly out of interest
  • Provide links to useful and funny stuff on the web
  • Provide myself with a creative outlet
  • Have Fun!

After completing my list it makes my reasons blogging clear and put a little smile on my face.  Maybe its indulgent, maybe its therapy but one thing is for sure, I now truly understand my reasons for blogging!

So I suppose the big question is…..  Why do you blog?

The Art of Blogging – What is it?

In Blog, Technology, Wordpress on October 21, 2010 at 8:19 pm
Sucessful Blogging

I am a new blogger and if I am honest I am still not sure if I understand it all totally. Like most people serious about blogging I did my research and to a degree, I still am. So why has it not worked for me yet?

I will agree with most people looking at this blog thinking that it is new and its going to take some time. However I originally started with a Blog Engine blog on my business website which you will find at www.gallagherit.co.uk. Every new article is read by about 10 people. However Blog Engine allows for serious spamming which makes it difficult to moderate. For now I have decided to keep them both going with more or less similar content to see which one is going to work out best.

I never realised it could be so hard to get readers. I mean everyone will find what I have to say useful right? Then I realised maybe not after all my content is quite specialist although I try to write an interesting story around what I am trying to explain, I suppose most people might not be interested in that!

I have read so many blogs on how to be a successful blogger and they all say the same thing. Here are the top 10 tips that I always come across:

1. Find a topic you enjoy and write about that

2. Content is king! Make sure you write interesting and accurate content.

3. Research and then research some more about blogging

4. Keep on Topic. (I find this difficult!)

5. Quality is key. Even if your blog post is a short one make sure it’s good. Don’t give in to bad spelling and grammar.

6. Keep to the schedule. If you say your going to write blog every day then write one every day! You readers will expect this.

7. Make sure the design of your blog is easy to read and navigate. If your blog is in bright pink remember most men will turn away!

8. Readers might be few and far between at the start – Give your blog time to mature like a good wine.

9. Dont just write your blog for search engine results.

10. Make sure you enjoy blogging. It can be fun and rewarding so make sure you keep it that way!

I suppose now I am in the waiting game. Waiting is the one thing none of us humans are good at. I am a keen gardener and when growing veg I cant help but have a sneak peak and pull up carrots to see if they are growing. But as my wife keeps on telling me that waiting and playing the long game will reap its rewards.

The way I look at it is now I might be writing lots of articles that nobody reads but like my garden my audience will grow with a bit of care and attention.

Do you have patience or are you ready to throw in the towel too soon?