There are a huge stack of tools out there to help you make the most of Twitter. There are varying levels of quality but one of the tools that I’ve been playing with today is Tweepi and it’s impressed me hugely.
One of the problems that people have with Twitter is finding people that are worth following. My advice is to search for a particular topic and then follow the people that are tweeting about that topic. One other way is to find an authority in that space and look at the people that are followign that authority.
Geeky Follow shows you their followers and lists how often they tweet, how often they are retweeted and their follower numbers and ratios. The reason for the name, Geeky Follow, is that you can use statistics to work out whether you’d like to follow those people. It’s quite an innovative way of finding new people to follow.
You might find that you have hundreds of people following you but that none of them actually tweet. Also, some people look at your follower numbers and ratios before deciding whether to follow you or not so it’s actually quite important to keep some kind of balance. If you’re following 1000 people but only 5 people are following you then people will assume you have nothing of interest to say. But if you are following 1000 people and 1500 are following you then it might encourage more people to follow you.
So you can remove those people you’re following that never tweet by using Geeky Cleanup to identify them.
Geeky Flush is used in a similar way to Geeky Cleanup because it identifies those people that you are following but who aren’t following you and removes them. Of course, you don’t want to remove EVERYONE that isn’t following you because there are plenty of interesting people that aren’t following you! But Geeky Flush helps you identify those people you’re following that aren’t providing you with any benefits.
Geeky Reciprocate does the oppostite – finds those people following you that you’re not following.
Of course, if you’re not fussed at all about your follower numbers or ratios then you won’t be interested in Tweepi, but if you want to analyse them then this is one of the best tools I’ve come across.
If you’ve ever had one of your blog posts re-tweeted by a big hitter on Twitter then you’ll know the massive amount of traffic that they can generate. That big wave of traffic can generate additional RSS subscribers and newsletter subscribers as well so it’s not just a one-off benefit.
On a smaller scale I can do it myself – I have around 19,000 followers and if I tweet a post then I often get a thank you from the author when they see the increase in traffic.
However, I’m really quite lazy. Usually I have to type the title and then create the bit.ly url in Tweetdeck to tweet the post. If I’m not in the mood then I’ll just read the post and then move on. This is where TweetMeme comes in.
It creates a small icon on each blog post showing how many times that post has been tweeted. If a visitor clicks it then it tweets the title and URL to their Twitterstream. It’s brilliant for lazy people like me because I now just have to click a button rather than cutting and pasting and typing.
It’s fantastic for blog owners. It is so easy for people to Tweet your post that your visibility increases hugely and the chances of a high profile person on Twitter tweeting your URL to tens of thousands of people are much higher. Also, of those tens of thousands of people, some of them will retweet it as well meaning that your URL can quite easily be tweeted to hundreds or thousands or even millions of people.
TweetMeme is a sensation and is appearing all over the place. The TweetMeme website itself is great because it has all sorts of trending information on and info on who has tweeted your post.
Download it here, stick it on your blog and start to enjoy the benefits.
There are quite a few as you can see but even for a small business, it may be worth considering having a couple of Twitter accounts.
For example, if you ran a digital media company and your company produced websites, graphics, videos and website marketing then your Twitter stream will be quite diverse. If someone who was interested in graphic design checked out your stream, they may be put off by all of the tweets about videos and marketing. But if there was a dedicated stream purely for people interested in graphic design then you may find your follower numbers grow with much more relevant followers.
It all depends on how you use Twitter. If you’re a very small company delivering niche services then it doesn’t make any sense to do this. But this may be very useful for your business if it has a number of employees and a diverse product or service offering.
The Queen (well, the British Monarchy) have started using Twitter.
They’re doing very well and have managed to attract over 9000 followers in a very short space of time. However, I wonder if they’re actually managing to get the most out of Twitter. For a start, very few of their tweets are under the 140 character limit, so you end up with every tweet being truncated – not the best way to use Twitter.
Also, it just seems to be a stream of links pointing back to various royal websites with news about upcoming engagements or various dry announcements. I’m not suggesting that the Queen should be tweeting about what she’s having for her dinner and sending pictures from the toilet in Windsor Castle (although that would be interesting!), but they could at least attempt to make it a bit more interesting.
Perhaps Prince Charles would like to send some tweets sharing his views on his interests. He usually relies on the newspapers and various speeches to get his views across – often being misunderstood – whereas with Twitter he could have much more direct access. One of the main reason that ‘celebrities’ use Twitter is so that they have direct access to their fans rather than going through the press and having them put a spin on everything. Prince Charles would defniitely benefit if he did the same. Surely it’d be more interesting than a load of dry tweets about various visits and appointments.
It’s easrly days however – perhaps we’ll see the Monarchy’s Twitter account mature into something much more substantial.
Over the past 3 or 4 months we’ve seen Google update its Toolbar PageRank at least 3 times. That’s quite unusual because in the past it’s only been once or twice a year that we’ve seen an update.
I’ve been fairly scathing of toolbar PR in the past, suggesting that it’s fairly irrelevant when looking at a website. It’s still not the be-all and end-all, but now that it’s been updated so frequently it removes one of the criticisms of PR which was that it was always hugely out of date. It’s still out of date of course, but not AS out of date!
Some background: there are actually two PageRank values:
- Internal PR: this is constantly changing as Google crawls the web. It is used to calculate search results and rankings. Nobody outside of Google sees this.
- Toolbar PR: this is a snapshot of Internal PR at a moment in time and this is what appears in the Google toolbar. This is what we see.
To illustrate the point, imagine that one of the top blogs linked to you in their latest post. The latest post is always on the home page which usually (not always) has a higher PR than the rest of the website. When Google crawls the site, it sees that it’s linked to you, assigns a certain amount of PR to you and calculates your internal PR.
Now, assume that Google decides to do a PR update from the latest results. It will take the current internal PR, which includes the value of that link from the home page.
However, as soon as a couple of new posts appear on the blog, then your link will disappear from the home page down into the lower level pages and you won’t have a link from such a high PR page. Google will see this almost immediately, recalculate the internal PR and your site will move down the rankings accordingly. However, you will still have a high Toolbar PR until Google decides to update the toolbar PR, which could be months away.
If you decide to obtain a link based on toolbar PR then you’re going to get burned.
The converse is true as well. You may find that a brand new blog post has been linked to from all sorts of high value places but because it’s new then it doesn’t have any toolbar PR. However, it will have significant internal PR and when the next toolbar PR update comes round and it turns out to be a PR 5 or 6 link then you’ll be kicking yourself!
With the latest PR changes, you’re less likely to be burned because the updates have happened so frequently but my advice to you is to look at the context of the page that you would get the link from. Ensure that it’s relevant to you and that it doesn’t have hundreds of links going to all sorts of random pages. Also, take a look at the backlinks to the page and see what the value of those links are. Are they likely to stay there for a while or do they look like they’ll disappear soon? Finally, see if the page is caches in Google and if it is ranking in Google for the page title. If it isn’t then the link is fairly worthless.
Only when you have a set of useful data can you make a useful calculation on the value of a link from a page. Toolbar PR can help you identify a potential link source but that’s only the start of finding a link, not the end!
Have I missed anything? Put your thoughts in the comments below.
Common sense would suggest that having two search results in positions 1 and 2 would be more beneficial than just having one result in the first position. Google does this if you have two pages that are strong enough to rank for the same keyword, even if the other page is only good enough to rank for position 9 or 10.
It gathers the two results together into what it calls an indented listing with the second page appearing just below the higher listing:
To get an indented listing, you need two pages that are both targeting the same keyword (so you’ll want them in the title tags and the body content) and also have them closely linked (such as linking to each other). This works best if you already have a page that is ranking strongly for your chosen keyword and then you have another page that is linked from your strong page and which also links back to it.
There’s no 100% guaranteed way to get an indented listing for your chosen keyword. Various factors include the strength of the competition, the authority of your own website, the quality of the pages you want to rank and the internal link structure of your own website.
But by having two similar pages then you’re on the right track. Try experimenting with your links and your content and you should start to see some good results.
This is part of an occasional series looking at some of the poorer websites found on the web today. For the first post, click here.
Today, we’re going to look at the navigational nightmare that is http://www.1001pens.com/ OK, it’s not as offensively bright as the last site we looked at but it’s still so bad that it’s going to scare away lots of potential customers.
Starting from the top it’s not too bad – some handy drop downs, a search function and a menu with some random links. Not a great start, but we’ve seen worse and if you’re looking for a particular pen then it might even work since you can avoid the rest of the home page.
However, below this it starts to get worse. First there’s a picture of a book which you’re invited to click on, even though you’ve no idea what it’s about. If you’ve come to buy a pen then why would you want to buy a book? Then you can chat with Max, who we must assume is the owner of the site. Then there are some pens but also a poster you can order. OK, that’s a bit weird – I don’t want a book or a poster, but we’ll press on…
Next, we have a welcome to the site and a huge wad of text stuck inside a textarea which is barely readable. That’s not good. Surely the welcome should be one of the first things you see? And the textarea is just a complete mess which shouldn’t be there at all.
After this, it all goes to pot a bit with various links, contact details, animations and more links. In fact, there are thousands of links – many of which lead to pages which say “Sorry, no Products this Collection”. If that’s the case then why have the links?
As for the rest of the home page layout, it just seems to be a totally random collection of pens. It’s a complete nightmare to use this site!
Also, if you click some of the links – perhaps to the pen nib gallery or to the waterman galleries then it’s impossible to get back to the home page unless you click the back button.
Now, the really sad thing about this site is just how good it could be. I have no idea who Max is but I’m pretty sure Max loves his pens and if you were to ask Max a question about a pen he could keep you there for hours with various facts and figures about this pen.
Also, if you search for ‘antique fountain pens’ then there’s Max’s site near the top of the Google rankings. I’m pretty sure that he gets a LOT of traffic but far less sales from his website because it’s such a soul destroying experience trying to use the site. Not only is it difficult to use but it makes Max look like a completely amateur, when I suspect the truth is actually the complete opposite. But if you look like an amateur then no one is going to want to buy from you.
In this case, what Max needs is to spend a little bit of money on getting a decent web designer into sort out a logical layout for the website and design a really professional looking site. I’m certain that Max would make his money back very quickly through increased sales from his website.
This is a classic example of a great business let down by a poor website. Max probably felt that he could save some money by doing the website himself. In fact, he’d make far more money if he’d got it done properly in the first place.
Have you seen any Truly Dreadful Websites? Post them in the comments and I’ll take a look.
Spammers beware though, because I’ll be deleting any comments stashed full with links, with spammy names or anything that just doesn’t quite smell right! So if you want a nice link from this blog then you’d better bring something fun to the party like, oh, I don’t know, perhaps some coversation skills or maybe something to contribute to the conversation.
Radical isn’t it!?
I’ve been very generous and set the number of posts required to 3 before you’re trusted enough to get the link. But I might up it if I find that it’s too low.
Are you planning on doing the same with your blog? Let me know in the comments!
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