To Blog or Not To Blog (Because of Google+)

Kevin Rose, founder of Digg.com, announced last night that he is forwarding his blog domain KevinRose.com directly to his Google+ page, where he will be posting instead of blogging.

This is how he announced it on Twitter:

“Decided to forward http://t.co/hsxKjXW to Google+. G+ gives me more (real-time) feedback and engagement than my blog ever did.”

I have about 10x fewer followers on Google+ than Kevin does, but I have found a very engaging community there. If I post something there, I seem to get several times more interaction than anything I do on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or my blog. I don’t want to lose my 8 year archive of blog posts, but I’m not sure I’ll keep blogging on WordPress outside of Google+.

Which Social Tool Generates Most Engagement?

David Shellabarger also did something interesting yesterday. He ran a “social experiment.” Here it is:

I announced that I quit my day job to do Android contact work on G+, Twitter, Facebook and Linked. (Its true by the way)

This effects my personal and professional life. So where did I get the most feedback? The votes are in, lets tally them up.

LinkedIn: 0 comments on status update, but 2 great recommendations from co-workers that I specifically asked a recommendation from.

Twitter: 11 @ Replies. 1 Job lead.

Facebook: 15 comments (including my mom), 11 Likes, 1 message, 0 Job Leads.

Google+ 20 comments, 24 Likes, 2 Shares, 2 posts mentioning me, 2 emails and 5 Job Leads.

Google+ is only 11 days old and has probably fewer than 3 million users so far. But it is an amazing site, attracting very interesting people, and the signal to noise ratio there is much better. Other social networks mash you up into one big stream. But Google circles makes it easy to compartmentalize your reading as well as your posting — limiting your content to the appropriate audience.

And that is why, in my opinion, the engagement is so much higher. Because the posts are far more relevant than other streams.

Are you on Google+ yet? What do you think? Do you think other bloggers will switch to just using Google+ like Kevin did?

My monthly post :(

I am a huge believer in blogging, and have posted before that every CEO should blog, and now I find myself both so busy as a CEO and so concerned about how my blog posts will be read, even though this is my personal blog, that I find myself overanalyzing everything I want to blog about, and usually just concluding, “I’ll just do it later.” Sometimes I learn something incredibly important and want to blog about it, but then I worry about the impact on my industry and what my competitors will do–will they act on this news before my own company does? Sometimes I want to announce great things that are happening at WorldVitalRecords.com, but then realize the PR department ought to be able to do their job without me spoiling the news. Sometimes I find some fantastic news that I want to share, but just don’t have time. Then I find myself a week or two later thinking that what I wanted to blog about is now old news, and no one will want to read my post. (One example is the Amazon Kindle which I’m very excited about. Another is the Google energy initiative which was announced today. Very cool stuff.) I’m in an anti-blog cycle, and I’ve got to break out of it.

I thought I’d start using Twitter as my mini-blog post alternative, and I’ve downloaded Twitterberry, which works great on my Blackberry, but then I don’t connect my Twitters to my paulallen.net web site, so I find myself not Twittering because only 10 or 20 people will probably see my Twitters anyway.

I think I have a couple of ideas about how to break out of this funk. First, I’d like a local developer to help me split my paulallen.net blog into three distinct blogs, but all hosted at the same site and accessible with one click. My WorldVitalRecords.com/genealogy blog posts will go into one bucket; my internet marketing/entrepreneurship posts into another; and then my personal blog posts about religion, politics, philosophy, and current events will go into a third. I’ll also integrate Twitter with my blog, and then I’ll see if I find myself Twittering more.

My blog traffic has also dropped in half this year, since I blog so infrequently, and that is another demotivator.

But, I’m posting now, and have about 10 more posts that I’d like to do in the next few days. Hopefully I will be able to muster the time and energy to do it, and to overcome the psychological barriers that I’m facing.

I noticed Mark Andreesen blogged the other day that he was taking a few days off from posting. How have other bloggers overcome the barriers that I am talking about and remained very active. Phil (Windley): how have you done it?

Utah Events: Blogging for Business; Facebook Strategies

So my friend Robert Merrill (Utahtechjobs.com) reminded me to plug the upcoming Blogging for Business conference in Salt Lake City, scheduled for Monday, October 22nd.

I’m coming up on 4 years as a blogger, and I can attest that blogging has opened up a world of opportunities for me. I think every CEO should blog and businesses should use blogs to communicate with all stakeholders. Frankly, it amazes me that so many businesses are willing to go for years with so many believers/practitioners extolling the virtues of things like internet marketing, search engines, blogging, and social networking, without so much as even assigning employees to try it and see.

I think this conference will be terrific, and I’m encouraging one of my company bloggers to attend. About half of our employees at World Vital Records blog, and I think the other half will be soon. I have said that blogging (people find you) and LinkedIn (you find them) is an incredible 1-2 combination punch for making important business contacts.

While I’m blogging about this Utah event, I also want to plug a new group on Facebook that I set up called Utah CEOs Who Have a Facebook Strategy. We have 20 members after just one day, but I’ll be emailing about 200-300 other Utah CEOs this week and hoping that we can get about 40-50 of them to come to our first event. It will probably be in Provo in the next 3 weeks.

I’m not sure what you will happen if you are not a Facebook member and try to click on this link; somebody please let me know. Maybe there is a better way to link to Facebook groups than what I am doing.

Blogosphere: “MySpace for Genealogists”

Jeff Pytlewski, a genealogist for more than 12 years, has blogged about FamilyLink.com a couple of times. Here is his post from yesterday entitled “MySpace for Genealogists: FamilyLink…The Sequel.

I noticed today that one of the Plog’s readers clicked on a link to go to Paul Allen’s Blog. Considering I did not know this blog existed before I saw the link, my curiosity peaked. Who is Paul Allen you ask? Paul Allen is the co-founder of myfamily.com and one of the guru’s behind FamilyLink and WorldVitalRecords.com. Well after reading his post “FamilyLink Members in 34 Countries,” I am more excited by FamilyLink’s potential as the future MySpace for genealogist. Evaluating a web service that is still in beta is extremely difficult when all that is known is the user’s perspective. This blog however gives great insight of the thought process behind FamilyLink. After reading Allen’s comments, I am more convinced that this will be a great service for all involved. It also looks like that the people at FamilyLink have some new and exciting features up their sleeves that may make it less cumbersome to use. So hang in their, sign up, and socialize with your fellow genealogists. It’s up to us, from the certified genealogists to the weekend researcher, to make use of such a great tool and make it a success.

Thanks, Jeff, for your supportive words. Do you know what it does for a team of developers and internet entrepreneurs when they get support from the community they are trying to serve? It means everything. We all want to be validated and your kind words will inspire us to keep working late nights and early mornings until we provide the ideal service for the “certified researcher” to the “weekend genealogist.”

Our sincere thanks!

Seth Godin Will Speak in Utah! (if we want him badly enough)

Utah blogs are buzzing about the chance we have to get the legendary Seth Godin to visit Utah as part of his new book tour. We just need 500 people to each pay $50 (and get 5 copies of his new book) so that he will stop here on his tour.

I took a trip to NYC two years ago to hear Seth speak, so I paid a lot more than $50. He was the keynote speaker at an advertising conference, and he slammed traditional advertising and explained in a powerful way how the internet changes everything. To hear him speak in Utah would be incredible.

I still think his “Permission Marketing” is the best book ever written on appropriate email marketing. I refer people to it all the time.

So please check out this message from Phil Burns, and jump on the bandwagon. We’re running out of time:

He started one of the first internet companies, yoyodyne, which was acquired by Yahoo, he then became a VP at Yahoo. He more recently started a Web2.0 company, squidoo. He is always talking about internet marketing – he’s one of the experts on it, and he has one of the most popular blogs on the internet.

…. We have a HUGE opportunity to get Seth to come speak to us here in Utah! People have tried to get him to come speak here in the past but to no avail. Now, it will take the efforts of us all in order to bring him here on May 24th of this year!

To get him here, we need to get 500 people willing to pay $50.00 to hear him. Not only will you have an opportunity to hear him speak, you’ll get 5 copies of his new book, The Dip. We are gathering pledges to pay to hear him to see if we can get 500 people to pledge (instead of gathering money up front).

If you’re interested in hearing Seth speak, there are a few things you need to do.

· First, pledge to pay $50.00 at http://www.pledgebank.com/SethGodinUtah

· Next, blog about it! We’re trying to create a blog storm about this, even a quick simple post advertising this will help a lot

· Third, tell everyone at work or who you think will be interested about it!

· Finally, all the details and updates are being managed at a new site, http://www.wordmob.com keep an eye on the site for details

Here’s Seth’s blog post announcing this opportunity: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/the_dip/2007/03/the_dip_tour.html

There’s a big catch here, we have to have evidence of a large motivation to do this my Monday (like, in 3 days)! We have a tentative date from Seth that he’s been kind enough to hold for us, but we have to show we’re going to be able to make it so, please, if you’re interested, stop what you’re doing and go sign up here: http://www.pledgebank.com/SethGodinUtah RIGHT NOW! Then blog about it asap, encourage other to blog about it and talk about it all day!

This is a pure grass roots effort, it will only work if those who are interested (YOU?) take 5 minutes and actually do something about it – so please help out!

Thanks!

Phil Burns

CEO TagJungle.com

This is a brilliant way for an innovative author to start a new book tour. If he gets 5 cities to get 500 pledges at $50 each, he’ll sell 12,500 copies of his book, generate $125,000 in revenue, visit 5 cities with an energized audience, and generate a ton of publicity for once again, being so innovative.

Let’s hope that Utah will pull this off and make it on his list of cities to visit.

WSJ Startup Journal: How to stand out online

Some people are born with great names and others have great names thrust upon them. In the 1960s when I was given the name “Paul Allen” it was an ordinary name. But thanks to the dynamic duo of Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Paul Allen, the name is now famous.

But what do you do if you want to be found online, but you can’t possibly stand out like the rich and famous person with the same name? Or what do you do if you have a name like “John Smith” that is so common that it can’t possibly stand out?

The Wall Street Journal Center for Entrepreneurs published an article today by Elva Ramirez that may give entrepreneurs a few ideas about how to stand out in the search engines and how to elevate your search engine rankings. One key is blogging. Another is giving yourself a unique online persona, like Phil Burns did.

I was interviewed for the article as was Phil Burns, aka Phil801, founder of TagJungle.com.

I mentioned in the interview that it’s hard to compete in search engine rankings with the Microsoft Paul Allen. He used to have the first fifty or so search results in Google. But since I’ve been blogging fairly consistently for more than three years, and have posted about 800-900 times, I’ve attracted hundreds of incoming links that have given my paulallen.net web site a decent ranking on the search phrase “paul allen.”

I’m still known as Paul Allen the Lesser, and will likely stay that way forever both in reputation and in Google rank, unless I outlive the Greater and do something so marvelous (like bring about world peace through blogging) that my web page someday outranks his Wikipedia article. Not likely, I know. I’ll settle for third or fifth and be happy as a clam.

But when you name your company, or purchase your domain name, or name your product or service, do something to make it unique and easy to find, or do something to attract so much attention that you get the search engine rankings that you need to be found.

It often takes a ton of quality content (either company published or user generated) to generate enough incoming links to get high rankings on various keywords. But I’ve seen in done over and over and over again by SEO savvy entrepeneurs and internet marketers.

It pays great dividends to generate content that is worth linking to, because search engine rankings can make the difference between success and failure of an online business. I tried to calculate the value of high search engine rankings in an article published in December 2004 by Connect Magazine last year.

In the mid 90s, it mattered a great deal that your company name started with an “A” or better yet a number like “10x” since so many directories were alphabetically sorted. As better sorting algorithms were developed, that became less important. (But even now, in Google Book Search, the book vendors are listed in alphabetically order, meaning that Abe Books and Alibris show up ahead of Amazon.com whenever you want to purchase a book.)

How do you think names will affect the 2008 Presidential Campaign?

I think Hilary or is it Hillary Clinton has a pretty big problem. People don’t know how to spell her name. About 1/4th or 1/3rd seem to spell it wrong according to a Google Trends Report on both spellings. Her first name has two l’s.

I think Rudy Giuliani has an even bigger problem. It’s hard to find someone online when you can’t spell their name correctly. It’s taken me several searches for me to become comfortable with the spelling of his last name. The first few times I got it wrong.

Barack Hussein Obama will have the problem of getting people to spell his first name correctly (I think I typed two “r”s initially), but worse still, the Hussein might bring up all kinds of search engine results that may turn people off. Good thing for him that his last name has a “b” in it rather than an “s.”

People may wonder if you spell Mitt Romney with one or two t’s, so I think John Edwards and John McCane have the edge here in “ease of use.” Just kidding, I know it’s McCain, but I wonder if everyone else knows that as well. So may Edwards actually has the advantage.

At least I thought he did, until I did a search on Google for “John Edwards” and after the first three hits came up I saw something I’ve never seen before, a line separating the first three results from the next set of results, followed by a message:

“See results for John Edward”

Then below that were a bunch of websites dealing with a musician named John Edward.

I have never before seen Google take a plural word query (Edwards) and offer search results for a singular version of the name (Edward) partway down the page.

Can someone tell me what’s going on here? Does someone at Google not like John Edwards?

(Just kidding, I totally believe what happens at Google is algorithmically based. But John Edwards just happens to be caught in a bad spot with regards to this particular algorithm. Instead of “hanging chads” determining the outcome of the 2008 Election, maybe it will be a tweaked google algorithm.)

I wonder how many of the campaigns will try to purchase domains or build sites that include the misspelled versions of their opponents names. Would that be a base tactic in politics?

I typed in familsearch.com the other day (accidentally missed the “y”) and I found that I got redirected to the Ancestry.com web site presumably because an affiliate bought that typo version of a popular domain name and took advantage of the typo. In internet marketing this happens all the time. Some companies own thousands of domains with misspellings and typos that can redirect traffic from their competitors’ sites.

So what do you do to stand out online? And why do you think it matters?

And what advice would you give the 2008 Presidential Campaigns as they try to stand out online? Who has an inherent advantage because of his/her name, and who has a disadvantage? Which tactics should they embrace, and which should they avoid, because they might backfire? Which candidate will write the blog with the best content (hopefully not ghost-written, but genuine) and attract the most incoming links in order to get more incoming traffic and higher search engine rankings.

For a lot of reasons, including the impact of names on a candidate’s ability to be found online, it will be an interesting race to watch.

Latest Connect Magazine Articles

I finally got around to linking to my two latest Connect Magazine articles. You can read all my part articles here. I love writing this column, and as I’ve said before, my blog got me in the habit of writing regularly and was responsible for my getting this column.

I continue to encourage everyone to start blogging and keep at it, for all the various benefits that come from it. Two years ago I mentioned a few benefits of blogging, and for me, the benefits just continue to mount. The most recent being that I was invited to participate in a broadcast that might reach millions of people worldwide. I’ll share more details later, but it’s truly an amazing opportunity. It would not have happened without my blog.

When you don’t have time to blog, at least share what you are reading

My Google Reader (for RSS feeds–highly recommended!) now has a wonderful “share this” feature, which allows me to quickly tag the best news stories that I read each week, even when I don’t have time to blog about them.

Then, those shared items show up online for others to view. My shared items can be found here.

Soon, I hope to have my shared items incorporated into my own paulallen.net web site, but that will take a bit of development work. And my blog developer has 6 priorities ahead of this one.

Speaking of paulallen.net, I was happy to discover yesterday that Yahoo Denmark now ranks paulallen.net the #2 top result for the search “paul allen.” In fact, several Scandinavian sites did the same thing. (No wonder I get so much email from all over the world for the Microsoft billionaire!)