TwitterIn our last post, we talked about WordPress, which is where you’ll host your content. Now, we’re going to talk about how to promote your content, how to drive traffic to your site and how to generate buzz. Twitter is one of the best ways to promote your brand, keep in touch with your peers and to build community. And Twitter makes it really easy (or hard if you lean towards the verbose) to communicate with your audience.

Remember those old Reader’s Digest condensed books? They were basically a shorter, or abridged, version of complete works. These were the precursor to the Cole’s Notes which came along later. Yes, I’m probably showing my age now. Well… Twitter is like the Cole’s Notes of blogging.

Twitter is a “micro-blogging” service. You use Twitter to “tweet” quick updates to your “followers”. Each tweet must be 140 characters or less. This forces you to be brief, which should translate into the ability to convey more meaning in less space – although, this is not always the case. But that is the goal.


Twitter is free. Simply sign up at and you’re in business. Make sure that you align your twitter name with its purpose: your real name, your company name, your alias, etc. It’s important to keep it meaningful.


who to follow From there, you’ll want to find some followers. Twitter offers a few ways of doing this. On your main activity page, Twitter suggests “Who to follow” (left hand side, under neath my profile summary widget).

Twitter also helps you out by offering a Find friends feature (bottom of the “Who to follow” widget mentioned above. This feature allows you to search your Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail or AOL contact lists for people that you know that already have Twitter accounts.

The key here is to start following some people. They will be notified when you follow them and hopefully they will follow you back.


You’ll want to enable the Twitter widget on your wordpress blog. This way, blog visitors will be able to see your latest tweets and they’ll be able to follow you as well. And, you’ll want to enable the Publicize feature for Twitter as well. This will tweet your new blog post each time a new post has been published.

They key here is to get people to follow you. The larger your follow list, the larger your reach.

From there, start tweeting. Say what you want, 140 characters at a time. You can include URLs and photos. Twitter integration is everywhere nowadays. New Macs running OS X 10.8 have Twitter integration built in for many native apps. iPhone and iPad Twitter integration is there as well. The list goes on.

So get yourself a Twitter account and get busy tweeting!



Using Google Reader’s “Send To” feature in WordPress

I’m a heavy user of Google Reader (GR). In fact, I pretty much read all of my web content from GR. I rarely visit a blog directly. It’s so much easier to aggregate all of my favourite blogs in GR and read them that way. It makes me more efficient, as I can quickly skim through tens or hundreds of posts. And, I can email interesting posts to friends. I use gmail, and Google has integrated the ability to send to people in my address book directly from GR. Easy peasy.

A new-ish feature of GR is the ability to “Send To”. Basically, within a post in GR, I can send some content to another app. Some default places a post can be sent is Blogger, delicious, Digg, Facebook and Twitter. But I use WordPress. What’s a person to do? Well… there’s good news. The good folks at Google have opened up the API to allow additional “Send To” locations to be added. So, a bit of tinkering and I was able to build in a custom “Send To’ so that I can submit stuff I read in GR directly to my blogs. This makes it much easier to blog about items that I find in my reading within GR.

And, to help you out, here are the steps to add your own custom “Send To” for your WordPress blog:


  1. In Google Reader, go to “Settings” (top right hand corner of the screen);
  2. Click the “Send To” menu option in the top nav bar of the settings area of GR;
  3. Select any default “Send To” places;
  4. To add your custom “Send To” destination, click the “Create a custom link” button at the bottom of the screen;
  5. Here are the settings that I used to get my wirepaper blog set up:
  6. Name:
  7. URL:”${url}&t=${title}&s=${source}&v=2” (without the quotes and obviously, replace the “” with your domain name)
  8. Icon URL: (this is my custom avatar – feel free to substitute it with your favourite)
  9. Click “Save”.
  10. Voila! All done.

Go back to GR and give it a try. Let me know how this works out for you.


Social Networking Software Options

I received the following email from a buddy of mine this week:

“I have a project underway that requires implementing “social networking” software similar to that implemented in LinkedIn or Facebook. I have Googled “social networking software” but after separating the custom designs from the hosted to the installed packages, I am not much further ahead, do you have any pointers or know of a good package I could host?”

Here’s my response…

You can host it yourself:

  1. – great product. We use it to power our communities. Great for community building. Plenty of horsepower and all of the basics for community stuff. Cons: need windows hosting with big SQL DB (not your typical hosting), groups-type functionality not ready yet (but this functionality is on its way soon!)
  2. Drupal – Good open source system. If you have a good creative person, this is probably your best bet. I’ve played around with it and I like it. It’s got all the bells and whistles, plus a great community of developers that build plug-ins for it.
  3. Pligg – Up and coming CMS (Content Management System). I really like the digg-it style ratings system that it employs. This one’s also at the top of my list should I decide to build my own community.

Or you can have it hosted for you:

  1. Kickapps – quite an interesting concept. They host the community (including video sharing!) and they provide the ads (which is how they make their money). Good idea with minimal system management. My worry is that they could go belly up and your site is gone.

There are plenty of other white label options available, none of which seem to be “ideal” yet. But, they’re making some headway. For some of the white label options, check out this series by TechCrunch:

And, some other products worth looking at:

And, to get a feel for the top apps in the web2.0 world, check these links:

Oh, and I’ve got plenty of community/web2.0 type links on my account. You can browse them here:
and here:

I’m sure I’ve overlooked some things here in my haste to get a list back to my friend as quickly as I could. Feel free to offer your suggestions, comments, questions, etc. to this post and we can discuss this in more depth in some future posts.

Talk soon!



Great Blogs for Bloggers

I’m working on another series and hope to have it ready to go for next week. In the meantime, I’m going to post some links to some other sites that have recently provided some content similar to my last series. At the very least, this should provide some additional reading material pertaining to good blog posts. And, I’ve also included one or two fun sites from people I’ve met recently. Plenty of good stuff to read here.

Here goes:’s 200 articles for bloggers
13 Must Read Blog Tips Warrior Blog- Internet Marketing Made Easy: The Affiliate Guide Marketing, Offering Affiliate Marketing Tip and Affiliate Marketing Tool
The Crazy Australian
Pro Blog Design

Thanks folks for your words of encouragement and for sharing your tips with me. Greatly appreciated!



Types of Blog Posts Day 5 of 5: Interaction type posts

In this 5 part series, we’re examining 5 Different Types of Blog Posts.

Post 5 of 5 (red)Question: What’s one of the best ways to build rapport with your audience?

Answer: To engage your audience in a dialogue. And the primary way of doing this is asking or answering questions. I’ve used this method a few times and it works wonders. Here’s why:

  • When readers ask questions, they have a vested interest in watching for a response.
  • When readers ask questions, you know that they are reading your content and that they want to engage in conversation with you.
  • When you answer reader questions, you are providing content that is in demand.
  • When you answer reader questions, you are telling your readers that you care about them.

All of this helps to build a sense of community around your blog. Community is so important. Few people last long simply sitting and listening to a lecture. The best teachers I’ve ever had have invited discussion, whether in the form of questions, comments or personal observations. It is this give and take between the participants that leads to growth in your audience.

Question-type posts are just that: You ask your readers to submit questions that they would like you to address in future posts. This is a great way to build a posting schedule for the near future if you’re unsure about what to write about. And, it’s also a great way to keep your readers coming back on a regular basis.

Answer-type posts are the follow up to the question-type posts (pretty obvious stuff). These are especially good when you provide links to the people that posed the questions. Everybody likes to see their names mentioned in print. Mentioning them at the beginning of this type of post immediately bumps your blog to the top of their favourites list for a while! Keep that in mind when trying to build community with your readers.

And, whether you use all of the questions or not in your blog posts, be sure to respond to every suggestion in some way. Remember, you’re building relationships with your visitors. Write them back. Thank them for their submissions. If you’re going to use their questions, great. Give them some sort of idea when you’ll be addressing their questions. And if you don’t use their questions, it’s probably a good idea to let them know why. After all, they did take the time to write to you.

So… to properly wrap up this post, I guess I should ask a question. Here goes:

What would you like to see me talk about in a future post or series of posts here at