Friday, March 22

Make Google your BFF

Note: This post is intended for fellow bloggers - so if you aren't one, you could probably just skip to the bottom where I introduce my new Virtual Assistant, Krystal, who will be a part of the BaxtronLife team going forward!
Oh Google!  The giant you love to hate.  But not really hate.  More like love-hate.  They are pretty much "the boss" of the internets.  And so, whenever the giant does something that we don't understand, like take away Reader (which although I have like thousands of blogs on that thing...truth be told I hardly ever read blogs that way), we all cry out and shake our fists in the air.

Then, we inevitably, quickly and eagerly, jump onto the next suggested thing, like lemmings, following blindly, without doing all the research or due diligence we owe ourselves.  Just months ago, the mention of Feedburner in the same line as the words "shutting down," sent panic driven bloggers fleeing to other feed syndication sites hoping to save their feeds from no longer working.  Fortunately, when the chaos calmed, it was realized that Feedburner was still alive and well, that one dusty function of it that was not being of optimal use had been shut down...something for developers...not really for those of us in publishing.

Lets be honest - the real fear in Google Reader shutting down is not "Oh my gosh - what program will I use to sort and read my blogs from now on", it is really a matter of "will my shiny GFC badge still work - you know, the one that says I have this many hundreds (or thousands) of readers, and brings credibility to my blog!??"  We want that number to be there, if we are honest, so people know the big deal we are.  And also so that possible sponsors can come along and say - "oh look, they have 1700 followers - people must really enjoy reading their blog, we should get them to review some free product of ours or pay them to reach that audience!"

Believe it or not, that mentality will not bring you the glorious readership of your dreams.  There is a shift happening all over - one that you would be very smart to take note of - one I've spoken about before - numbers aren't going to matter as much - engagement will.  And how is engagement measured?  Pageviews, unique visitors, and bounce rate.  Better yet, comments and email subscribers.  Look, I'm not saying numbers are completely irrelevant either, but think about the difference of having 10 engaged readers out of 100, versus 10 engaged readers out of 1000??  Think about which blog has more influence in the end?
I recognize that the new cool kid on the block is BlogLovin, and sure, I'd love for you to follow me there.  But there are so many incredible blogs that I follow - it would take me countless hours to get through one day's worth of posts on there - so I maybe get through 5% of what I follow - and it is usually like a newspaper - an image or headline grabs my attention.  My biggest concern with BlogLovin' is what it will become as it grows larger and more busy.  Don't even get me started on the 25 new BlogLovin' hops that have started since Google Reader set their resignation date.

The point of all my clearing the air here is that, though Google Reader maybe saying sayonara, that doesn't mean that the Google giant doesn't have other tricks up their sleeve.  Google is ranked number 1 internet site on the web.  They are a very progressive company that has taken their smartphone platform from being a longshot at competition with Apple to a formidable competitor.  My husband even wants to switch back to an Android phone on his next upgrade.  

So, first, if you were panicking at the reader announcement, calm down - and then, start understanding how your relationship with Google impacts your blog and your sell-ability to potential sponsors and the engaged community you desperately want (need) to build with your blog.  

I want to suggest that you start investigating how to optimize your blog's relationship with Google by creating a Google+ community, utilizing hangouts, and making sure your posts are shared.  Understand how getting your posts +1'd or being added to a person's circle gets your posts elevated in Page rank.  Learn how to optimize your post content to be recognized by the Google search beast.  That is how you get discovered, build a true audience and begin to create high levels of engagement.  If you aren't looking into how to do these things, you might just be another Generation Fame-Seeker, validating yourself by each empty number that your GFC widget increases by - but missing out on an experience worth far more than any giveaways or blog hops can buy.
Blog Billion, a G+ Networking Group
Before you get all offended and act as if I just insulted you, I just ask for  you to search your own motives to make sure you are not panicking unnecessarily - and if you truly do all of your blog reading from the good old G Reader, than go ahead and mourn your loss with all due respect.  But, if you have found yourself worried that you won't have a way to prove how awesome your blog is if they remove GFC, then take a deep breath and start shifting your focus away from the numbers game and onto engagement.  Challenge yourself to network the good old fashion way - by developing blogging relationships (strategically) and growing in quality content.  Like all dreams - it takes hard work, perseverance and innovation, to achieve them.

I have a great example of an up and coming blogger who is on her way to achieving great success using the skills I've mentioned.  She is one of the co-founders of the Blog Billion on Google+, and also, my new virtual assistant, Krystal.  How I was lucky enough to score this brilliant and talented lady to be a part of my team is beyond me, but I am incredibly grateful to have her.  It is my hope that over the next several weeks I can convince her to join me in doing a posting series that will challenge you to rise from awkward acquaintance status with Google, to loyal BFF status.

Krystal has two blogs that are worth mentioning - her personal blog, Krystal's Kitsch, is a lifestyle blog with fun fashion inspiration, food and gorgeous pictures too.  Her second blog, Sunny Soirees, is a wedding and event inspiration blog - and it is probably one of the best I've ever seen, I love getting her posts delivered to my email daily - you can really tell she has an eye for creative and unique events.  I'll let Krystal introduce herself to you in her own words as well:

"Hello! I'm Krystal and I'm a true Florida girl. Sunshine, beaches, beer, and lazy summers. I love baseball games, trying new food and wines, and hanging out with my kiddo and husband. I'm a social media addict (who isn't?) who is always trying to learn more about branding, design, and blogging. I also find myself drawn to funky weddings, floral arrangements, and easy DIYs. Not only do I blog about my personal life on Krystal's Kitsch, I also find the time to post pretty parties over on my weddings & events blog Sunny Soirees."

Before I leave you to ponder all I have said today, I wanted to quickly share one awesome tip Krystal shared with me about how to get a custom Google+ url.  I was always frustrated at my Google Plus profile link: [https://plus.google.com/u/0/101569722162164949828/posts] and then she told me I could create a free shortlink to direct readers to my profile.  What!? And it is so easy I don't even need to give you instructions.  Just visit gplus.to, decide on a nickname, enter it in their little box and your google+ id number in another, and voila, a short link for your Google Plus profile.  Now you can get to me with [http://gplus.to/baxtronlife] Brilliant!

I would love it if you would please give Krystal a very warm welcome to the BaxtronLife team!

Connect with her on Social Media: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Pinterest // Google+

3 comments:

  1. I think that you're spot on with this. You've definitely been +1ed.

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  2. Long time fan of Krystal, the Blog Billion hangout is seriously brilliant, I love having another place to interact.

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  3. I jumped ship to bloglovin' and while it's taken a little getting used to, I like it!

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Thank you so much for your lovely comments! I don't always have time to respond to each one, but I do read them! XO