Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Barack Obama's diplomatic smileathon

A new 22-second film reveals the US president's extraordinary capacity for grinning and bearing numerous photocalls with the same diplomatic smile

Barack Obama's amazingly consistent smile from Eric Spiegelman on Vimeo.

Being photographed next to Barack Obama has become the must-do activity for any world leader. Silvio Berlusconi's cheesy thumbs up at the G20 in London revealed how desperate global statesman can get to be snapped with the US president. But now the attraction of the Obama photocall may have lost some of its lustre.
Blogger Eric Spiegelman quips that his new film is proof that the president is a robot, a waxwork or a cardboard cut-out.
The White House released 130 photographs of the president with various foreign dignitaries at a dinner during the United Nations general assembly last week. Spiegelman snipped them together and put them to music, to create a video gem that has quickly gone viral.
The Guardian also featured several of the best in a special gallery.
"No human being has a photo smile this amazingly consistent," Spiegelman quips.
He adds: "Obama is the only one who put all his photos on the Internet, so he's the only one we can prove has this skill."
Maybe its time for Obama to wipe that grin off his face.

Syrian on an crash course in English!

Dear YAaaMO,

Yesterday friendatee invited me to a restaurant, we orders first KISSERS ( (مقبلات , upside down (( مقلوبة 
and the dessert was hind's husband cake ( جوز الهند) and made in husband معمول بالجوز). 

But yamo one of my friendatee is a moons player ( لعيب قمار) so danger on my mind خطر عبالي) to go to the vomiting office (مكتب المراجعات) in the university that have the
divorced saladالسلطة المطلقة(and tell them about my friend.

Yamo I bought two husbands of socks ( جوزين كلسات) but the salesman didn't understand what I wanted so I told him your price on me(حقق عليي) I wanted to pay for the socks he didn't accept and said to me keep it on my calculation (خليها عحسابي

We became friends and he invited me to his house before I came in I shouted constitution on parents home (دستور ياأهل الدار) but I evaluated his envelopes (قدرت ظروفهcoz he lived alone in a small house. 

He insisted to spend the night in his house I told him cover your width يستر على عرضك) I can't sleep out of the university but from here to here ( من هون لهون) I knew he was Syrian too. 

He was very on a boy ( عصبي). I told him that the next day the invitation would be on my mathematics (على حسابي). 

Friendato came to tell him replace your safety (عوض بسلامتك) coz his cousin died two weeks ago. 

Make your touching in good Yamo ( مسيتك بالخير) , and see you soon

Monday, September 28, 2009

Rogan Josh

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1kg diced lamb
  • 2 brown onions, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon store bought curry paste (medium heat)
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • coriander leaves, to serve
  • steamed rice, to serve
  • pappadums, if desired, to serve


  1. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium high heat. Brown the lamb in batches (adding a little extra oil between batches if needed) then remove and transfer to a slow cooker.
  2. Heat remaining oil in the pan over medium heat. Add the onion, ginger and garlic along with the curry paste and cook for 1 minute then transfer to the slow cooker along with 1 1/2 cups water and the canned tomatoes. Cook for 1 1/2 hours on low then serve with coriander, rice and pappadums.

Beef & Mushroom Pies

With golden pastry and a tender beef bourguignon-style filling, these pies are the ultimate weekend comfort food.

Preparation Time 

15 minutes

Cooking Time 

175 minutes

Ingredients (serves 6)
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 40g butter
  • 1kg gravy beef, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 750g small pickling onions or eschalots (French shallots), peeled, ends trimmed
  • 2 x 200g pkts portobello mushrooms
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 40g (1/4 cup) plain flour
  • 500ml (2 cups) dry red wine
  • 500ml (2 cups) beef stock
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • 2 sheets (25 x 25cm) ready-rolled frozen puff pastry, just thawed
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme, extra


  1. Preheat oven to 150°C. Heat half the oil and 10g of the butter in a flameproof casserole dish over high heat. Add one-quarter of the beef and cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes or until brown. Transfer to a heatproof bowl. Repeat, in 3 more batches, with the remaining beef, reheating the pan between batches.
  2. Heat the remaining oil and 10g of the remaining butter in the same pan. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until golden. Transfer to the bowl with the beef. Add the mushrooms to pan and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until tender. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until brown. Transfer to the bowl.
  3. Melt the remaining butter in the pan over medium heat until foaming. Add the flour and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to dislodge any bits that have cooked onto the base, for 2 minutes or until the mixture bubbles. Return the beef mixture to the pan. Add the wine and stock and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until combined. Bring to the boil. Remove from heat. Stir in the rosemary, thyme and bouquet garni. Season with salt and pepper. Bake in oven, covered, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours or until the beef is tender and the sauce thickens slightly. Set aside for 30 minutes to cool.
  4. Increase oven to 200°C. Spoon the beef mixture among six 375ml (1 1/2-cup) capacity ovenproof dishes. Use a 10cm-round pastry cutter to cut three discs from each pastry sheet. Brush the top edge of one of the dishes with a little of the egg. Top with a pastry disc and press the edges to seal. Repeat with the remaining egg and pastry discs. Brush pies with any remaining egg and decorate with leftover pastry. Place pies on a baking tray. Bake for 20 minutes or until pastry is golden and puffed.
  5. Top the pies with the extra thyme sprigs and serve immediately

Salmon EnCroute (Puff Pastry)

Use the other half of puff pastry for this pie. It’s not going to take alot, with the rest of the pastry, u can make palmiers (which I’ll write up later) Just remember to layer the scrap puff and keep them in the fridge. Never knead them!
OK, roll the puff pastry to 3mm thick and then keep in the fridge while u prepare the salmon.
200g fresh salmon
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped till fine
handful or parsley, chopped
pinch of salt and pepper, to taste
50ml thickend cream

Bake salmon at 210 for 15-20 minutes. Cover with aluminium foil so the fish would be moisted. Flake the salmon and leave to cool. Chop the parsley, wash them in a muslin (the white cloth to wrap wounds). Lightly sautee onions and garlic with some butter. Add onions, garlic, parsley to the salmon, and mix. Add some salt and pepper to taste. Add cream and stir till well incorporated.
Take out the chilled puff pastry, pour the salmon mixture on top and shape it like an oval, like a fish’s body (minus the fins and tail). Then cover it with puff pastry, and trace a fish out.. Use the tip of the knife to draw lines on the fins and tail. Use the cutter to mark the scales. Egg wash it, and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes before baking. Egg wash it again just before putting it into the oven. Bake at 210 C for about 20 minutes.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Salmon Encroute

  • 150g mascarpone or cream cheese
  • 1 bag watercress , spinach and rocket, about 120g
  • 500g shortcrust pastry , use a butter version such as Jus-rol, which is frozen, or Dorset pastry
  • 500g piece salmon fillets , skinless
  • egg , beaten
  1. Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Put the mascarpone or cream cheese in a food processor with the watercress, spinach and rocket and whizz the lot until you have a creamy green purée. Season well.
  2. Roll the pastry out so you can wrap the salmon in it completely (just a bit thinner than a £1 coin) and lay it on a buttered or oiled baking sheet (it will hang over the edges). Put the salmon in the middle. If it has a thinner tail end, tuck it under. Spoon half of the watercress mixture onto the salmon. Now fold the pastry over into a neat parcel (the join will be at the top, so trim the edge neatly), making sure you don't have any thick lumps of pastry as these won't cook through properly. Trim off any excess as you need to. Make 3 neat cuts in the pastry to allow steam to escape and make some decorations with the off-cuts to disguise the join if you like. Brush with the egg glaze.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and browned. To test whether the salmon is cooked, push a sharp knife through one of the cuts into the flesh, wait for 3 seconds then test it against the inside of your wrist; if it is hot, the salmon is cooked. Serve with the rest of the watercress purée as a sauce.

Jon Snow's salmon fillets recipe by Gordon Ransey


  • 4 middle cut organic salmon fillets
  • 1 cup, organic pine nuts
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • Knob of butter
  • 4 large flat organic mushrooms (e.g. Portobello)
  • 4 cloves organic garlic, crushed
  • 350g organic green beans, trimmed
  • 12 organic cherry tomatoes, on the vine
  • ½ lemon, juice only
  • Five spice powder
  • Pinch coriander leaves to garnish
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 160˚C.
2. Pan-fry the pine nuts in a dry pan until lightly toasted.
3. Thinly slice the potatoes using a sharp knife. Fry in hot olive oil with a little butter turning regularly until golden. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. Place on a baking tray and keep warm in a low oven.
4. Peel and remove the stalks from the mushrooms. Trim the edges to make them neat then, using the same pan, fry the mushrooms whole in olive oil with a large pinch of crushed garlic. Remove the mushrooms once cooked - approximately 4-6 minutes. Cover in tin foil and keep warm in the oven with the potatoes.
5. Meanwhile bring a steamer full of water to the boil. Steam the beans until cooked. Keep warm.
6. Pick the tomatoes off the vine and place in the frying pan adding more oil and garlic. Squeeze the lemon juice over the tomatoes and sprinkle with a little five spice powder. Cook for 2 minutes.
7. Keeping the tomatoes in the pan, add the salmon fillets skin side down. Season and gently fry on all sides until cooked through – approximately 6 minutes.
8. To serve arrange a bed of beans on warm plates. Sprinkle with pine nuts and place the salmon fillets on top. Quarter the mushrooms and arrange around the plates with the cherry tomatoes and potatoes. Garnish with coriander leaves and a drizzle of olive oil.

Why I love Winter

Winter Rocks because of:

1. A steaming mug of Hot Chocolate w/ marshmallows & Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

2. Lounging around in a pair of Thick Red Flannel Pajamas w/ matching Fluffy Robe & Floppy Slippers

3. Reading for hours in the glow of a roaring Fireplace

4. Walking flirtatiously in a pair of Knee Length boots with 60 denier tights, tartan wool skirt & a soft cashmere polo-neck

5. Leather Jackets guaranteed to set your heart racing

6. Rosy cheeks massaged by the frosty air

7. Hot bowls of Homemade Soups & freshly baked bread

8. Hats, Scarves & Gloves colour coordinated to liven up the gloomiest winter day

9. The bliss of waking up to find the ground covered in snow...nothing moving...eternal white, peace & quiet

10. And last but certainly not least all the extra layers covering up the new love handles generated by over-indulging in comfort foods all winter long!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

Twitter 101 for Business

Social Media Stories

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

Is Social Media Pushing TV to its Grave?

Why do people watch television? Well, that’s an extremely simple question that can be followed with these equally simple answers:

To watch movies or series.
To watch shows (social, cooking, educational, funny and so on).
To listen to music.
To follow up with the latest news.
If you take a minute to think about it, you would realize that social media provides you with the aforementioned benefits in addition to the added-value of being able to meet, connect and interact with like-minded people while doing so. Here’s how:

Digg, Reddit, Twine, Mix & others: Provide their users with a wide range of stories, news articles, medical advice, funny clips, creative websites, helpful tools and so on while having the option of adding friends, sharing stories and discussing issues with them.
Twitter, Facebook pages & blogs: Take Twitter for example, whether you are following up with world news on CNN’s Twitter accounts – like cnnbrk - or tech news on Mashable or Techcrunch’s Twitter accounts, Twitter also offers you a chance to interact, share information, promote ideas, links and posts as well as build work and personal relationships.
Youtube, Vimoe and other video sharing services: Not only can you use these channels to watch clips, series and listen to music, they are superior platforms to your average television in that they provide you with an option to rate clips, share ideas and meet new people as well.
Apart from these benefits, social media provides marketers with a relatively “cheap” and more effective way of promoting their products and services to a larger more diversified target audience. Furthermore, Internet advertising has the following advantages over television advertising:

Internet advertising is more targeted.
Internet adverting enables good conversion tracking.
Internet advertising has a lower entry-level fees.
Internet advertising has greater range (geographically).
Did you ever notice how almost all well-planned marketing campaigns have social media channels as a primary component? Let’s take Oreo’s campaign for example, they were unable to depend solely on television and felt the need to utilize social media for a comprehensive campaign with a wider target audience.

But it doesn’t end there!
Social media is not the only factor responsible for this phenomenon, the Internet as a whole and computers in specific are bringing the death of the television business closer and closer! In addition to that, new inventions such as Tivo and Slingbox are also players in this conspiracy against television!

Moreover, and if you look closely to Internet ad revenues in the first quarter of 2009 – as opposed to TV ad revenue, you are able to clearly see how seriously marketers are taking the Internet as a media channel when it comes to advertising.

Will it be missed?
Just like print media has suffered from the Internet and its social media platforms, do you agree with me that television is suffering as well? Do you think there will ever come a day when our houses will be television-free? Do you think there still is a real need for television these days?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

21 Must-Follow Tips For Optimizing Time Spent In Social Media

Several weeks ago, I revisited the 16 rules for social media optimization. Switching things up, today I thought it would be useful to approach this slightly differently and look at how to optimize time spent in social media.

These tips aren’t necessarily just for brands or companies to follow, rather they may prove even more useful for digital marketing professionals themselves. In the spirit of optimizing your time reading this, I’m going to keep the tips brief and to the point.

1. Aggregate social content about your company, brand or even yourself into a real-time feed using one of the many tools available to do this. Bring the relevant mentions to you instead of always searching for them.

2. Unfollow those who don’t add value or aren’t important to your network. This tip isn’t for a brand or company seeking to make themselves accessible to the world at large, but for you as a marketer personally. How many times have you logged into Twitter, Facebook or FriendFeed – even just after a few hours of being away – and felt totally lost in the conversation. Unless you’re going to devote your life to watching the stream, make sure that who you’re following is actually worth your time.

3. Unsubscribe to all RSS feeds that aren’t unmissable. RSS is the perfect, simple way to keep track of relevant feeds, but over time your reader can become bloated. We’ve all logged into reader and seen Google display the euphemistic “1,000+ unread items” before. This isn’t very fun – so be sure to keep your subscription signal-to-noise ratio positive.

4. Learn to skim. As marketers, there just isn’t time to read everything fully. Learn to skim past the noise and recognize when there are conversations and content worth your time to read carefully. On the flip side, make your own content scanable to entice readers to skim. Done properly, this should increase engagement and draw people in deeper.

5. Establish a set of trusted sites to read frequently. No matter what niche you’re interested in, you absolutely must identify the trusted, valuable sites in that area. Read their content carefully, as in many cases, those at the top are the conversation starters for those in the tail. In other words: Following the leaders can keep you at the forefront of the greater conversation.

6. Audit your time. Calculate how much time you spend daily in different areas of the social web. It adds up, and no one is immune to losing time. Carefully audit just where your time is going and realign efforts to the areas that make a different in achieving objectives.

7. Automate where it makes sense, but do so carefully. Setting up feeds to auto-tweet when you add new content to your blog or share something in Google Reader may make sense. But careful not to automate things like direct messages, something that may irk those on the receiving end.

8. Analyze how people react to the content you create or share. Look at what content archetypes your community reacts to, learn from them, adjust and sharpen as you go forward.

9. Realize there is no information overload. Learn to navigate the unstoppable river of real-time and become a chief signal officer.

10. Become a search ninja. Search really matters to be ultra-successful in social, and knowing all the specific Google operators can help you get to what you need for your marketing efforts fast (such as content creation that requires research).

11. Consolidate your network presence, AKA the Seth Godin strategy. You don’t see him on Twitter. You don’t see him on Facebook. You see him on his blog, and he’s trained us all to go there and subscribe to get content. A diversified presence is not necessarily a better play if your ideas are remarkable.

12. Learn the ebbs and flows of content in a niche and what networks, sites and users matter. Get an understanding of how your corner of the web works, and in time you’ll develop an understanding for how it functions at the macro level.

13. Develop an efficient routine for your time spent in the social web. This will allow you to know how much time each set of tasks and updates take and allow you to become more efficient each day. With that said, as marketers it is also important to understand that we all use the web differently. So if you’re going to do this for efficiency’s sake, continue to explore other tools, trends and options. You can be efficient with your core functions but still experiment.

14. Make your processes simple. No one is going to argue against copy/paste being the best social media tool. There’s a reason for that: It’s dead simple. Make your time spent on social media as a participant and contributor as simple as the idea of copy-pasting content.

15. Use only the essential tools. With a constant slew of new apps being developed, it’s easy for marketers to get shiny new object syndrome. And while you should be trying new things out, you should get to the point you’re only using the tools daily that are essential to your core purposes in the social web.

16. Don’t multitask. If you want to do things like develop killer blog content, you have to turn off Twitter, walk away from email and focus. Social media makes it all too easy to multitask, but the results of your efforts will be sub-par compared to those who focus.

17. Cross-pollinate content sharing. Do things like sharing StumbleUpon or Digg links in Twitter – encourage users from one network to share content in another. Get creative with how you do this and make it subtle or even invisible.

18. Embrace imperfection. Part of social media means, well, being social. And our social interactions are by their very nature imperfect. Some of the best blogs on the planet are hardly perfect, but that’s not what makes them compelling.

19. Eliminate busy work. Identify where the valuable, creative opportunities are that resonate with your key audiences. Now focus there – the rest may be busy work that can be trimmed.

20. Qualitity over quantity – more participation does not trump higher-quality participation. As the social web continues to grow, this will only become more important.

21. Limit distractions. No one is going to deny that social media itself can be a distraction if you aren’t careful with your time. But limiting distractions by following the other tips listed and staying focused can make all the difference at optimizing time spent in the social web.

This is certainly a shortlist, so I’ll turn it over to the readers: What’s your best tip for optimizing time spent in social media?

Your First 30 Days of Blogging

Starting a blog is easy…right? Technically it is easy to throw up a WordPress or Blogger blog, but it isn’t easy to create a successful blog.

If you want your blog to flourish and be looked upon as the go to resource for your industry, then it is critical that you follow and act on these steps over the next 30 days.

Day 1: Don’t launch until your blog is correctly setup.

No matter how tempting it maybe, you don’t want to launch your blog too early. You have to cover the basics by making sure you have an about and contact page as well as a decent looking design. Your design doesn’t have to be perfect or unique, you could just use a free WordPress theme.

And lastly, make sure you are using Feedburner to track your RSS feed and Google Analaytics to track your visitors.

Day 2: Pick a topic and stick with it

Even though it’s your blog and you can write on whatever you want, you have to pick a topic and stick with it. Although there is nothing stopping you from doing whatever you want, your blog will be much more popular if you stick with 1 topic.

It’s very rare to see a popular blog that covers dozens of different topics. Most of the popular blogs (TechCrunch, I Can Has Cheezburger, Gizmodo, Perez Hilton) write on 1 topic.

Day 3: Be consistent

If you have a lot to say and a ton of time, then blog daily. If you don’t have much time on your hands or much to say, blog once a week. Once you figure out how often you are going to blog, stick with it and be consistent. The biggest way to lose your audience is inconsistency.

If aren’t sure how often you can blog, start off by blogging once a month. If you happen to have more time, you can step it up by blogging more often. Just don’t reduce the number of times you are blogging.

If you don’t believe me, just take a look at Quick Sprout. During the beginning of the year I use to blog weekly and my blog was getting roughly 100,000 visitors a month. Now my blog is only getting 60,000 visitors a month because during the second quarter of this year, I was averaging 1 to 2 blog posts a month.

Day 4: No man is an island

Now that your blog is a few days old, you should start seeing some comments. Although it is only a standard practice to read every comment on your blog, you should make an effort to respond to every commentor.

If you don’t, some of your commentors may feel like you are ignoring them. Responding to every commentor will help you build a loyal following, which will help build up your traffic in the long run.

This is the main tactic I have used to help build up Quick Sprout.

Day 5: Stop regurgitating content

Don’t just blog about the news or on something you saw on another blog. If you are going to write on stuff everyone else has written on, make sure you throw in your two cents.

People are reading your blog because they want to hear from you…right? Then give them what they want by providing your opinion.

Ideally you should only be blogging when you have something new and exciting to say.

Day 6: Don’t be afraid to get dirty

Most bloggers are afraid of saying what they really think, especially when it is something negative. Don’t be afraid to get dirty unlike most bloggers. If you really feel a specific way about something, then write about it. I don’t care how negative or positive it maybe.

Controversy is one of the quickest ways to build a large following because it will cause other bloggers to link to you. Just don’t abuse the power by writing controversial posts for no reason. If you do, it could end up backfiring.

For example, I saw that Matt Kirkpatrick was messing up on his blog, so I called him out. Not only did I get Matt to come to my blog and comment, but that post also caused me to see an uptick in my RSS subscribers.

Day 7: Differentiate yourself

Like anything else, you are going to have competitors. So if you want people to read your blog compared to your competitions’ you’ll have to do something unique. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy, just something different.

For example, I blog about entrepreneurship like thousands of other bloggers. The way I try and differentiate myself is by writing detailed content that helps entrepreneurs take action. Entrepreneurs can get information from anywhere, but it is hard for them to find resources that tell them what to do.

Day 8: Survey your readers

Now that you have built up a small audience, it is time for you to survey them because the best way to improve your blog is to get feedback from your readers.

I usually use Survey.io to survey my blog readers and it has helped me realize that you want me to blog about things entrepreneurial related compared to things related to branding (Quick Sprout was once a blog on personal branding).

Surveying your readers will allow you to adjust your blog to meet their needs. You won’t be able to satisfy everyone, but you should be able to satisfy 80% of your readers.

Day 9: Leverage the social web

Two of my biggest sources of traffic are Twitter and Hacker News. Not only do these social sites drive visitors, but they also drive a lot of commentors.

Your blog may not be relevant toward the Hacker News audience, but it is relevant to someone on the social web.

Look for social sites that promote content similar to yours. And if you don’t know of any, you can always try going through this list.

In general sites like Twitter, Facebook and StumbleUpon work well for most bloggers. And out of these 3, Twitter is going to be the easiest to leverage because every time you write a blog post, you have it automatically tweeted out.

Day 10: Network with bloggers

The easiest way you can grow your blog traffic is to get other bloggers to link to you. But if you just hit up 100 random bloggers you’ll be lucky if you can get a few to blog about your blog.

On the other hand if you start chatting with bloggers through instant messaging and email, you’ll start building a relationship with them. And when you need them to plug you on their blog, your chances are going to be much higher.

When I launched Quick Sprout, within the first few days I had over 1000 RSS subscribers because bloggers like Shoemoney and Paul Stamatiou blogged on my launch.

Just don’t abuse the privilege because bloggers can easily get irritated if you keep on bugging them for mentions on their blog.

Day 11: Analyze your Feedburner stats

Feedburner can do a lot more for your business than just tell you how many RSS subscribers you have. If you dig a bit deeper you’ll notice that they tell you how many times RSS subscribers clicked on different blog posts.

By studying this data you will have a better understanding of what content your readers like and don’t like.

In addition to that, you’ll have a better understanding of the type of headlines your readers like.

Day 12: Participate in the conversation

In addition to responding to the comments on your blog, you should comment on your competition’s blog. This is a great way to get some of their visitors to come over to your website.

Are you familiar with Mashable? If you aren’t, it is one of the top 100 blogs on the web when it comes to popularity. One of the things that led to Mashable’s success is that they commented on their competition’s blog when they first launched.

I know this can be time consuming, but you don’t have to do it with all of your competitors, just do it with the popular ones.

Day 13: Optimize your blog for search engines

According to Alexa, Google is the most popular site on the web. So why not optimize your website for it and other search engines? SEO doesn’t have to be complicated. If you have a WordPress or Movable Type blog, this article will walk you through the steps you need to take to be search engine friendly.

If you don’t have a WordPress or Movable Type blog, you can still optimize it, you just may have to put in more time.

Day 14: Write a three part series

Writing a 3 part series blog post isn’t going to be an easy task, but the results that it will produce will be worthwhile. By publishing a 3 part series over a week time span, you are going to encourage readers to come back more often.

For a new blog this is important because even if your readers like your content, they’ll tend to not come back. If you leave them wanting more they’ll naturally have to keep on coming back.

A good example of a blog that has created a multiple series post is Problogger. Problogger has taken this concept to a whole new level, with a 31 days series post about blogging.

Day 15: Come up with a monetization plan

You shouldn’t try and monetize your blog within the first few months of blogging because it can be a big turn off to your readers. But, you still need to know how you are going to make money from your blog.

Come up with a plan of monetization strategies you want to test over the next few months. And don’t just rely on the standard methods, such as slapping up Google AdSense.

Get creative; try out some affiliate ads and things that are more integrated with your blog, such as a subscription program.

If you don’t want to make money from your blog, that’s fine, but in many cases the popularity of your blog will increase as you make more money. Just look at John Chow.

Day 16: Encourage commenting

A good way to increase the number of comments on your blog posts, is to ask a question at the end.

For example, you could end your blog posts with questions like:

So what do you think?
If you have any other suggestions, feel free and leave a comment?
Do you have any questions?
Or if you want, you can do what Gary Vaynerchuk once did:

If this post doesn’t receive 600 comments, I am going to stop blogging. So please comment.

Day 17: Have someone tweet about your blog (not you or your mom)

Tweeting about your blog posts isn’t enough. You need other people to tweet about your blog. Now that you have been leveraging Twitter for a while, here are a few ways you can get others to tweet about you blog:

Ask your followers to retweet your message (assuming you just tweeted about your blog).
Email friends and colleagues who use Twitter and ask them for a tweet.
Join a social media ring. If you join a group filled with social media users, you can ask each other for tweets.

Day 18: Leverage blogrolls

You’ll notice that a lot of bloggers have blogrolls on their blog. It’s their way of showing their readers which blogs they typically read.

If you can get your blog added to a few blogrolls, not only will you get an increase in traffic from the link, but you’ll also get a bit more traffic from search engines.

The best way to get your blog added to a blogroll is send out custom emails to bloggers. Build a relationship with them and nicely ask if they wouldn’t mind adding you to their blogroll.

Most bloggers are going to say no when you email them, but like anything else, it’s a numbers game.

Day 19: Get personal

Now that you have been blogging for roughly 3 weeks, it’s time to build a personal connection with your readers. You can do this through three ways.

The first is to write a detailed about page that includes your life story. I have done this with my about page and based on the comments I have received, it has been effective.

The second tactic that has helped me build a relationship with you was when I started blogging about my life experiences, such as the 7 business mistakes that nearly made me go broke.

And lastly, although this is more of a requirement than a tactic, you should add a picture of yourself in your sidebar. I don’t care if you’re ugly or pretty, people won’t bond with you unless they know to whom they are talking.

Day 20: Track your internal searches

Through services like Lijit, you can track what people are searching for and what blog posts they are clicking on. This will enable you to get a better understanding of what content your readers are looking to read.

Once you have enough data to crunch, then you can consider writing blog posts related to the keywords people are searching for.

Day 21: Survey your readers again

I know that you already surveyed your readers once, but you want to make sure that you are meeting their expectations. Hopefully after you learned what they wanted from you the first time, you were better able to satisfy their needs. But, if you don’t survey your readers, you won’t ever know.

And if you don’t happen to meet their expectations, that’s fine. It took me roughly 3 times before I met your expectations on Quick Sprout (or so I hope).

Day 22: Reduce your bounce rate

Now that you have a decent amount of traffic coming to your blog, you want to work on reducing your bounce rate. A few things you can do to reduce your bounce rate are:

Add a widget to your blog that shows your most popular posts. This way if a new reader comes to your blog they can easily find the best blog posts you have written.
If you don’t have a tagline, consider adding one. A tagline will help better explain what your blog is about to new readers.
In your sidebar consider adding a short paragraph that explains what your blog is about. This should help convince a few of your visitors to stick around a bit longer.
Day 23: Tweak your design

Similar to modifying your blog to reduce your bounce rate, it is now time to modify the design elements on your blog to meet your goals.

For example, if your goals are to increase the number of RSS subscribers you have, increase the number of comments per post, and make your content more readable you would:

Move up your RSS subscription link above the fold as well as provide an email subscription option (a lot of people don’t use feed readers).
Implement a threaded comment system that encourages a conversation.
Consider using larger text and Arial as your font type.
Your goals may vary from the ones above, but whatever they are, make sure your design is helping you meet those goals. If it isn’t, modify your design.

Day 24: Write an in-depth guide

Now it’s time to figure out how in-depth your readers want your content to be.

Om Malik once said that if you have a blog post that is 1000 words, it could be written in 500 words. And if it could be written in 500 words, then it could be written in 250 words.

What Om was trying to say is that you shouldn’t ramble on because no one likes reading fluff. But this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t write detailed blog posts that are long and actually provide a ton of value.

By writing a blog post that is 2000 plus words (assuming there is no fluff), it will give you an understanding if your readers like it more than your blog posts that were short. Based on that, you can adjust how long your future blog posts will be.

Day 25: Guest post on another blog

A great way to get more readers to your blog is to write a post on another blog. Whether it is a competitors blog or not, it doesn’t matter. As long as the blog you are guest posting on is popular and some what related, you’ll see an increase in traffic to your blog.

So create a list of 10 blogs that you would ideally want to guest post on and approach them. The majority of them will say no, but if one of them says yes, it will be worth the effort.

If none of those 10 blogs say yes, consider creating a list of 10 more blogs that aren’t as popular. In addition to that you may want to adjust your approach when you reach out to these bloggers. Not only should you ask them to guest post, but tell them what you want to write on and how it would benefit their readers.

Day 26: Keep on feeding the fire

Through services like Google Blog Search and Technorati, you will be able to find out when someone mentions you on their blog. Keeping track of this on a daily basis will allow you to thank every blogger that mentions you on their blog.

By showing your appreciation you will build up a larger fan base. Plus, those bloggers will more likely blog about you again because you said “thanks” to them.

Day 27: Join a blog network

Networks like 9rules and b5media have access to hundreds of popular blogs. By joining their network not only will you be connected with other popular bloggers, but you’ll start getting more traffic.

Don’t expect a ton of traffic from these networks, but expect a high quality of traffic. Plus, your blog is new, so every bit helps.

Day 28: Write an “ask the readers” blog post

If you aren’t familiar with what an “ask the readers” blog post is, check out this post I wrote. If that doesn’t help explain it, it’s pretty much a blog post that is asking a question to your readers.

Not only does this encourage a conversation, but it allows you to find out how many readers you actually have. And when a good chunk of your readers posts a comment, make sure you take the effort and get to know them on a personal level.

You can do this by replying to their comments, visiting their website if they have one, and by shooting off an email to them.

Day 29: Start cross-linking

A great way to get more pageviews out each of your visitors is to link to your older post. You can do this through a few ways:

Add a related posts widget at the bottom of each your blog posts. So if they like what they just read, they can read other similar blog posts.
Within your content link to other posts you have written. These links tend to get the most clicks because they are embedded within your content.
As I mentioned on day 22, in your sidebar, you can add a most popular post widgets. This will also encourage your readers to click through to other posts.
The other benefit that you’ll receive from cross-linking is that it helps with your search engine rankings. Over time, you’ll end up getting more Google traffic if you cross-link.

If you don’t believe me, just look at Mashable. They are notoriously known for cross-linking and it has worked out well for them.

Day 30: Don’t expect the world

Unlike any of the previous days, day 30 is a bit more relaxed. Instead of doing anything to your blog, I want you to sit back and just thinking about everything you accomplished and the areas you could improve upon.

And most importantly, don’t expect your blog to be popular. It can take months, if not years, before your blog really becomes popular. You just have to be persistent and keep on going at it.

If you stop, you’ll lose the traction you built over the last 30 days.