Archive for the ‘blogs’ Category

Trackbacks - Keep the Discussion Going

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

Internet enthusiasts and non-techies alike can appreciate the value of conversation and the ‘two-way dialogue’ provided by the blogosphere. Unlike the push model of traditional media companies where articles and information are disseminated from the top-down, there is a give-and-take in the blog world. Comments are the obvious example. A given reader can quickly and easily provide his/her opinion on a blog post. What are often overlooked in the blogosphere are trackbacks. This is unfortunate as I believe trackbacks are one of the most important parts of the conversation.

There are certain levels of user participation by readers of a blog. Deeper involvement occurs over a period of time. Firstly, the reader must discover a given blog, whether it be via a back-link, search engine result, or blog roll, for example. Next, the reader will browse the posts and articles to determine if the content is both meaningful and useful to them. If so, the RSS feed may be added to their reader. At this point, the reader may comment on a personally stimulating post, or may refrain until a later time. User-participation and commenting are two of the most sought-after actions by bloggers.

Commenting isn’t the only way a reader can get ahold of a blogger. Some bloggers encourage e-mail correspondance or communication over an instant messenging client. I highly encourage both.

Finally, we come to trackbacks - probably one of the most useful, underrated aspects of blogging.

As defined by Wikipediatrackbacks (or pingbacks) are “methods for Web authors to request notification when somebody links to one of their documents”. In the blogosphere, a trackback appears below a blog post when another blogger has linked to that specific post. In other words, the trackback is coming from a blogger who has additional information to provide or an alternative view, with respect to the original post.

These are what keep the discussion going in the blog world. If every blog post had a trackback, the conversation would be perpetual. A personal goal of mine is to have at least one trackback per post at some point in time. This would ensure all conversations I start or continue live on.

Although comments are nice, trackbacks are the ultimate form of participation. Comments are more pervasive and widespread, as they aren’t labour-intensive or overly time-consuming. But they do provide an opinion or perspective on the reader’s behalf. Trackbacks, on the other hand, are much more labour-intensive and time-consuming. If a blogger provides such a linkback, he/she has not only gone to a lot of trouble in terms of evaluating the topic of the post itself, but also formulating a blog post of their own. This is not only flattering in some ways, but also very productive for all blog enthusiasts - authors and readers alike. It provides a deeper view and insight into the topic at hand.

For this very reason, trackbacks should be given more light, if not the spotlight. They are both powerful and meaningful. They are the black sheep of the blogosphere.

Driving Indirect, Unqualified Traffic

Thursday, February 8th, 2007

Search engine optimization, natural linking, and trackbacks are good ways to drive free, qualified traffic. Visitors are usually genuinely interested in the content and may decide to add your blog to their RSS reader. This is great. But what if you want to drive even more traffic that may not be AS qualified, but has the potential to be interested in your content?

Huh? What does that mean? I’m talking about quantity rather quality. Obviously the aforementioned traffic streams will provide a consistent influx. But how do you drive extra, residual traffic?

After analyzing my web statistics on a regular basis, I’ve come to realize that MappingTheWeb drives a considerable amount of graphic via image searches. In other words, Google Image searches (most notably) provide visits.

Now although these visitors aren’t exactly qualified traffic, a small percentage will explore your content and find an interest in it. If bandwidth and hosting costs are not an issue, most blog owners would prefer as much traffic as possible - whether they become regular readers or not.

For this reason, I always tag my images very well. Providing a title and description in WordPress is quite easy. I do so for all uploaded images.

In most cases, I am uploading the logos of web 2.0 companies. These drive a fair amount of traffic, namely the YouTube logo. However, other graphics and pics squander some long-tail traffic, which adds up over time.

Therefore, a suggestion for blog owners who publish mostly text would be to add pictures, images, photos, and graphics. Describe them in detail. Check your incoming referrals and SEO stats. You should see some positive results.

How To Reach The Tipping Point

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

Every modern-day home business libraray seems to contain at least one or two titles by Seth Godin, Guy Kawasaki, and/or Malcolm Gladwell. Together, these new-age business revolutionaries have paved the way for a for a new type or marketing and thought-process.

Gladwell’s first title, The Tipping Point, gained widespread acclaim and went on to hit the bestseller list. A cult-like following ensued. The same can be said for the former two authors, but years earlier. In any case, there is a common thread among their books that entails the idea of evangelists, connectors, ’sneezers’, mavens, and influencers. These are the people who will not only use your product, but rave about it to others. These are your loyal fans, your army. But reaching them has always been a problem. Until the advent of the Internet…



Much has been said about the micro-communities, niches, and target groups that marketers strive to reach. Offline, locating these tight-knit groups is next to impossible. Even in a case where a marketer is able to reach the intended audience, messages are more often than not ignored or over-looked. Finally, the level of interaction leaves much to be desired.

Enter The Blogosphere

What if a marketer was able to tap a pre-existing network that of micro-communities that were focused around a specific niche or topic? What if there were search tools to simplify the process even further? Locating your influencers and evangelists, and creating product conversations would be much easier. The process could in theory be broken down into a set of steps. This ‘art’ of marketing is all of a sudden a science.

The blogosphere and blog search engines are the stuff that dreams are made of - for marketers. Add to that blog directories and ranking systems, and not only can a marketing strategy be tailored around a specific group, but around the status or hierarchy of a given group.

For obvious reasons, I am not going to outline the entire marketing process, but you can begin to see how valuable the blogosphere and an accompanying toolkit can be.

Use it wisely and treat these users like gold. The Tipping Point is closer than it appears…

MTW Gets Some Micropersuasion Love

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007

For a reason that is unknown to me, Steve Rubel stumbled across MappingTheWeb at some point yesterday. In any case, he must have liked it as he posted a link to the site as one of his links of the day on his wildly popular Micropersuasion blog.

The blog “explores how technology is revolutionizing PR and marketing”. It is well-known as one of the most popular web 2.0 blogs focused around marketing and PR. Equipped with an Alexa rank of around 10,000 and a PageRank of 7, the blog has done very well.

Most recently, the blog received a template re-design.

Having said that, the link has generated a considerable amount of traffic for MappingTheWeb and it reaffirms that MTW is now on the radar…

Thanks Steve.

Guest Posting on Friedbeef’s Tech

Saturday, January 20th, 2007

I will be guest posting Friedbeef’s Tech blog from time to time. The popular tech blog is focused around “solving everyday problems with simple technology”. It also has a very loyal following. I look forward to contributing to its success.

To read my first post on PhishTank, click here: Here Phishy, Phishy

Thanks for the continued support.