Facebook User Map for Canada June 2010: Every Province Shows Major Growth

Since the last time I updated our (April 2010) Facebook Usage Map for Canada, there has been major growth in every province and territory with very large amounts of new users  being recorded in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec.

In fact some of these 3-month jumps are so big I am looking into it further to see if there may be some differences in the way Facebook is recording and reporting new members from the last map I created.

Click on the map to enlarge.

Blogging tip #8: Paragraph Breaks

As one of the biggest grammar geeks on the planet (my 3rd favorite book is Eats, Shoots & Leaves), this next tip was actually really hard to follow when I first started writing on blogs, but it is an important one and I have seen very interesting blog posts completely fail because the author ignored this tip.

The internet is a fast-paced place where people will hit Google in one second, type a search phrase and then bounce from search result to search result in a matter of seconds, doing a lightening quick eye scan to see if the article is useful or interesting.

While there is no hard rule for where a paragraph should break, the most common definition is that a paragraph break comes after you have completed a single thought. That could take one sentence or it could take ten, but typically it will take at least three or four sentences.  The problem is that three or four sentences can create a very large and imposing block of text that is not well suited to the quick to come, quick to scan and quick to leave web user. As you can see in this paragraph I have written right now, a few sentences can quickly become a large blob of text.

So the tip is simple: throw out the idea of a paragraph when writing a blog post and shape your writing in a way that makes it easy to scan and see what the main points of your blog post are.

Forget the idea that you must break the paragraph at the end of a complete thought and write for usability and visibility.

Written by Kevin Grandia

[This is part of an ongoing series of articles on 50 Simple Tips to Better Blogging and you can check out all the previous tips there]

Blogging tip #10: Hyperlinking on Keywords

This is one of the most important tips I can give you for better blogging. So put down your iPhone for a minute and pay attention!

A Google search for the phrase “click here” reports back a whopping 1.2 BILLION results. Quite the popularity for an almost completely useless search term.

The thing about Google (and I will write about this a lot more in this blog tips series) is that Google has a lot of trouble understanding meaning of words and instead relies a lot more on the code you use around the words you write in a blog post. Through this code analysis Google can figure out what your blog post is all about.

One of the most important pieces of code Google looks for is the words and phrases that contain a hyperlink.

Hyperlink  code looks like this: <a href=”www.thewebsite.com”>The words you are hyperlinking to</a> and Google makes the assumption that the words and phrases you put hyperlinks on are more important and relevant to the article than other words.

So this tip is a simple one: put your hyperlinks over words and phrases related to your blog post instead of phrases like “click here” or “read more here” etc. So for instance, if you have a report you want to highlight and people to download, put the link to the report over the title instead of over a phrase like “download the report here.” It would look something like this instead:

Download a copy of the entire report here: The Most Interesting Thing You Will Ever Read in Your Life

Written by Kevin Grandia

[This is part of an ongoing series of articles on 50 Simple Tips to Better Blogging]

Previous tips in this series:

Blogging Tip #1: Write a ongoing blog series

Blogging Tip #2: Cross-Posting

Blogging Tip #3: When you get it wrong, eat big and fast

Blogging Tip #4:  Write like you have a million readers

Blogging Tip #5: Try Video, it’s King

Blogging Tip #6: Beware of Epic Server Fail

Blogging Tip #7: Link karma

Blogging tip #8: Paragraph Breaks

Blogging tip #9: Meme tracking

Blogging tip #9: Meme tracking

An “internet meme” is defined as something that spreads quickly on the internet.

Normally a meme will take the form of celebrity gossip, a funny new video/image, big sports news, tech news or a breaking disaster story. With social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, Digg and Reddit, the speed with which these memes are shared is greatly enhanced.

These memes come and go in a matter of hours on the internet, with millions of people paying attention one minute, then quickly moving on to the next meme.

So while the world of internet memes is full of bald Britney Spears, Justin Bieber news and the lastest iPhone gossip, there is also a lot of opportunity to try and jump on a meme and write a blog post that relates in some way to it. The best way to do this is to find a meme that you think you can add further information or context to.

So if you’re a hair product company and Justin Bieber’s new hairstyle is going nuts on Twitter, do a post on the “ten things you can do to make your hair Bieber-licious.”

It takes a bit of creativity to jump on these memes, but if it is done right and you are in fact adding to the conversation the pay-off in additional targeted traffic to your website can be huge.

Here’s a few ways you can track internet memes:

Google Trends Hot Searches – updated every hour this site shows you the 20 hottest searches currently on Google.

Tweetmeme – following the most recent “retweeted” posts on Twitter.

Yahoo Buzz – ranks what the world is searching for on Yahoo at any given time.

Written by Kevin Grandia

[This is part of an ongoing series of articles on 50 Simple Tips to Better Blogging and you can check out all the previous tips there]

Blogging Tip #7: Link Karma

Links are the commerce of the blog-o-sphere.

Links are important if you want your blog to gain higher prominence in search engine rankings, which will in turn drive more targeted traffic to your website.

And links from very high-trafficked blogs, like the Huffington Post or Boing Boing, have the potential to send a crushing amount of traffic to your site in a short time and also help establish your reputation as a legitimate source of information. Links from big sites like this are also seen very favorably in search engine algorithms.

One of the best ways I have found to gain links is to be very giving when it comes to the links you put on your own blog to other blogs and websites. I (and many others) call it “link karma” in that the more links you give, the more you are likely to get links in return. I come across blogs all the time that only link back to their own previous posts, which tells me a few things about the blogger, namely that they are not likely to link to me if I link to them and that they really think their blog is the only source of information worthy of referring to on the entire internet.

Remember, a blog is a social media outlet and whether its in real-life or online, being social means referring to the work of others in conversation, not just talking constantly about yourself.

Written by Kevin Grandia

[This is part of an ongoing series of articles on 50 Simple Tips to Better Blogging and you can check out all the previous tips there]

Monday’s Social Media Caffeine Buzz

Here’s what’s hot in social media and online marketing that has us buzzing here at Hoggan this week.

How to use government website information to create sticky linkbait
This is a great column on Search Engine Land about driving valuable traffic that stays on your website by providing government information related to your service and/or product. It is something we do on our blogs and a recommended strategy for our clients. This article has some interesting polling data by Pew to back up this tactic.

Yahoo acquired location-based social network
The battle continues to heat up around location-based social networking channels, with Yahoo buying an Indonesian network called Korpol. This is a sector we’re watching very closely as it continues to grow with the most popular location-based networks in North America being Gowalla and Foursquare.

Design entry pages, not homepages
This article nails it. With the way people share links (i.e. twitter),  seek information (i.e. Google) and filter the information they receive (i.e. RSS feeds), there is less and less traffic visiting your homepage in comparison to the individuals sub-pages on your website.  This is a very important shift that is happening and will have many people reconsidering the traditional models of web design and information architecture.

Murdoch’s next step: hiding the UK Times articles from search engines
I wish Murdoch all the luck in the world with this idea and I am sure he’s thought through the idea that information in the form of news has become a very cheap commodity online. Maybe he has a trick up his sleeve?

Wendy’s frosty gets a social media infusion
Good on Wendy’s, this looks like a very comprehensive summer social media marketing program. Lots of ideas here for any business wondering how social media can be used to promote their product or service.

(p.s. I know this “monday” buzz is coming out on Tuesday, but it was a long weekend here in Canada)

Monday’s Social Media Caffeine Buzz

Let’s get right into what our Social Media team here at Hoggan is reading/thinking/talking about right now.

Foursquare Mayors now get discounts at Starbucks
Why not start of this week’s Buzz with a caffeinated story about my favorite coffee shop. The geo-location social media game/sharing platform Foursquare gets some serious profile after Starbucks announced the Foursquare ‘Mayor” of any location in the US will get $1 off frappacinos until the end of June. The “Mayor” in Foursquare is the person who has updated their status the most times at any given location indexed on the Foursquare platform. Very nice marketing for Starbucks as well, who will definitely reap the benefits of showing how social media savvy they are.

While many remain cynical about the long-term viability of Foursquare and other geo-location social media platforms, they continue to gain headlines. Kind of reminds me of when Twitter first got going.

50 Simple Tips to Better Blogging
My long-awaited blogging guide is now in production. I am rolling it out here on the Hoggan blog as a series of 50 posts that will then indexed into a downloadable e-book. You can follow the series easily by subscribing to our RSS feed or you can check back in a month or so for the entire guide.

Hosting With GoDaddy? Might Want To Rethink That Decision
Do you use Godaddy for any of your web hosting?  A lot of people do, including me. I run a few smaller blogs on the platform while I use a much larger private server that runs on the Amazon cloud for any commercial projects.  Apparently blogs using wordpress on the Godaddy servers are vulnerable to being hacked.  This in-depth article has all you need to know about fixing the issue.

The 8-Step SEO Strategy
I have been following this series over on SEOmoz who I think are the best when it comes to the world of search engine optimization. The series by Laura Lippay provides a good starter kit to anyone looking to build up their companies presence in search engines.

Facebook’s latest privacy woes
Privacy continues to be a huge issue over at Facebook and last week saw the company again making headlines. Last week the company released new privacy guidelines in a handy 5,830 page document and people are not too happy. Like Google, much of the value of Facebook lies in it’s massive database of personal information offered up by its members and the social media giant has never been too good at getting the balance right when it comes to defining what information it does and doesn’t own.

That’s it for this edition of the Buzz. What did we miss? Leave your comment or question below.

50 Simple Tips to Better Blogging

I have been blogging, managing other organization’s blogs and developing blogging strategies for more than 4 years now and have learned a lot.

I have always wanted to do a 50 Simple Tips to Better Blogging guide for clients and anyone else who might be interested.

I am slowly but surely working up to 50 tips and I am indexing them all here in one easy-to-find place.

I hope you find them helpful and please let me know if you have a blogging tip you would like to share and I will include it:

Blogging Tip #1: Write a ongoing blog series

Blogging Tip #2: Cross-Posting

Blogging Tip #3: When you get it wrong, eat big and fast

Blogging Tip #4:  Write like you have a million readers

Blogging Tip #5: Try Video, it’s King

Blogging Tip #6: Beware of Epic Server Fail

Blogging Tip #7: Link karma

Blogging Tip #8: Paragraph Breaks

Blogging Tip #9: Meme tracking

Blogging Tip #10: Hyperlinking on Keywords

Blogging Tip #11: Take a Stand

Blogging Tip # 12: Use Google Analytics

Blog Tip #13: Watch your Bounce Rate