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July 11, 2011

Choosing a blogging platform

Writing is a socially accepted form of getting naked.

As of February, 2011 there were 156 million blogs online. This statistic is shocking indeed! From the late 90s era of LiveJournal and Kiwibox, modern day blogging is a true proof of excellent digital evolution.

Blogs have their own important role to play within the social media mix. As a website that can be updated on the go, blogs are easy to navigate. Blogs can provide an incredible amount of information and allow readers to easily communicate with the author.

As a beginner, choosing the right blogging platform can be a daunting task. Google being its notorious self will offer you quite a few choices and by the time you are done reading reviews, you will probably lose the drive to write. Having written blogs for years I know first hand, how easy it is to get distracted. One minute you have a brilliant idea and want the world to know, the next, that drive has disappeared and you give up.

If you are thinking of starting a blog, points below are something you should consider. A good blogging platform will offer,

  1. Free service
  2. Quick indexation within search engines
  3. Easy usability
  4. Allowing multiple authors to post
  5. Quick interaction with readers
  6. Template variety
  7. Traffic statistics
  8. Personal domain mapping
Image via BlogBloke
Wordpress and Blogger are two highly popular blogging platforms. If you are a newbie to blogging, I suggest choosing either of these two. I personally started off with Wordpress.

Wordpress and Blogger offer similar services but there are pros and cons to both,

  • Free Service (Easy registration)
  • Easy navigation
  • Creation of multiple blogs under same user account
  • Allowing multiple authors
  • Quick indexation within search engines
  • Quick interaction with readers
  • Mobile blogging
  • Option to use basic HTML within blog posts
  • Spam protection
  • Quick comments

  • Wordpress offers a community feel that Blogger doesn't. You log into Wordpress and you are given a display of various blog reads of the day which they call "freshly pressed". I personally think Wordpress ranks higher in terms of doubling up as a social network. Another thing I love about Wordpress is its interface, although Google has recently set up a cleaner looking Blogger which you can access via This should go mainstream soon.

  • Blogger offers customisation of templates for free. If you are a basic or intermediate level designer, that is you know your way around HTML and some CSS, the template options available to you are endless. There are a variety of sources online that offer free blogger templates that usually need a little bit of tweaking. On the other hand, for $30 a year, Wordpress lets you customise your font and tweak designs on available Wordpress templates. You don't need any knowledge of designing to do this. (If you want personalised templates on Wordpress, you have to look at the advanced option of downloading Content Management System and hosting it on your own domain. This is something you can try once you've had some time working your way around basic blogging.)

  • Blogger allows third party scripts. For example, you may want to add a particular social bookmarks tab to your blog, through the site layout option on Blogger, you can add third party scripts. Wordpress does not offer this option. Having said that, Wordpress itself offers some great widgets to play with.

  • Blogger offers free domain mapping where as you have to pay about $12 to do the same on Wordpress. Domain mapping means you can buy your own domain (Wordpress & Blogger allow you an option to go domain shopping) and have the domain redirected to your blog. For example, I have my domain mapped to my wordpress blog.

  • In the case that you have two blogs on two different platforms, Wordpress will allow you to import a blog from a variety of different blogging platforms including Blogger while Blogger will only let you import another Blogger blog.

  • Wordpress allows quick automatic distribution of blog feeds to Facebook, Messenger Connect and Twitter. So far I haven't been able to find a simpler way to do that on Blogger. I am currently using You can use a third party application called Social RSS on Facebook to import your Blogger feeds to your wall.

  • Wordpress has its traffic tracking stats system which is highly keyword centric. Blogger on the other hand offers slightly diverse statistics including a map overlay of where your visitors came from. An advantage of using Blogger is that you can set up your own Google Analytics tracking! To do so within the Wordpress platform, you will have to move into the advanced world of

My personal opinion is that if you don't have any experience with HTML, stick to Wordpress. It is a great platform for new bloggers. If you love designing, want to get out of your comfort zone and learn more, use Blogger! You can do a lot with your Blogger for free. And if you are on an advanced level, try It will offer you a brilliant learning experience on how to build your blog from scratch.

Thanks to @kerenleah for giving me the idea to blog about this ;-) Visit her blog at  

July 08, 2011

3 quick ways to promote your social network online

As a business, presence on social network only makes sense if people can find you and reach out to you. Just building a Facebook Page or creating a Linkedin profile, doesn't mean squat, not to mention, looks rather lame when you're posting updates but there's 5 people who 'like' your page and 3 of them work for the agency that handles your social media!

(Image from IT Sector)

Hiring a social media consultant does not mean a sudden rise in 'followers' or 'likes'. Of-course using a dodgy service like Twiends could assure you a high number of 'followers' within seconds, but such 'followers' are irrelevant to your business. Time and money, whether spent on a social media expert in-house or an outsourced consultant, are still a resource. Therefore, no point wasting it on something from which you aren't going to get any return.

Promoting your online presence on the web is the best way to begin optimisation of your social media. Doing so will help you gather a relevant following. Following simple old school techniques of 'spreading the word' and using some creativity should help you reach out to a larger target audience.

  • Promote on existing channels which are your website, blog or newsletter.

  • Add links to your email signature. This could also include 'confirmation emails'. I've noticed how some a lot of confirmation emails these days have links to their social networks, integrated within the emails.

  • Get your internal and external stakeholders to join in. It is good practice to advice your employees to join your presence online. Suppliers, well-wishers and friends, starting promotion at home base is a great strategy. Make sure you provide updated relevant information through your networks, this will help people notice the sincerity in your efforts. Furthermore, you can use the cross promotional strategy by joining your stakeholders' social networks. If you have good business relations, most likely these people will 'like' or 'follow' you back.

July 06, 2011

Facebook users and action behavior

Couple hours ago I watched Facebook Live. Zuckerberg was talking about Facebook's collaboration with Skype regarding video chat. Whether Facebook is even remotely scared of Google Plus or not is another post but what struck me was Zuckerberg saying that average Facebook users are passive users!

I add people I know, thats just me but apparently most people don't add people as their friends. They wait to be added. More importantly, average users don't want to spend time understanding any of Facebook's configurations. Zuckerberg's point being that Facebook as a network drives users' actions. It is very interesting because now I'm wondering if this same attitude applies when the user lands on a Page instead of a Profile. 

Are people passive or aggressive when it comes to clicking the 'Like' button?
I guess this question can be uncovered by figuring out what exactly is the motive behind 'Liking' a page? I like pages because,
  1. I want to get updates
  2. I want to express brand loyalty
  3. Because people in my network like it
My decision to Like a page is based on the above mentioned motives. Study shows that about 40% users like a page just to let their friends know of their brand affiliation (Social Media Examiner, 2010). Psychologically, it makes sense. There have been times when I've liked a brand just so my friends can see all the cool, quirky stuff I'm into! Reading a personality becomes so easy when you look at the things the user has liked.

Oddly, my most silent/passive friends Like stuff on a regular basis, not as often as I do but they occasionally do like liking stuff!

Just after the Facebook conference, I had a chat with my mom and we randomly got talking about Likes. She was expressing her passion about some news story and how she wants all her friends to like that particular page. It is a bit weird because my mom is the complete opposite of me, a very private person.

I am now assuming that people aren't as private when it comes to Liking pages as they are when it comes to Adding people as Friends. Of-course there is no direct comparison between both these actions as adding someone to your friends list will give this person access to your personal life (even if they only have a Limited view). On the other hand pages don't get that access.

But, how many average users are aware of the fact that there is a Limited View option or that pages can't access your personal information (unless you have installed some app from that page that has access to your information)?!

Then on that note, both these actions can actually be compared considering the fact that an average user is unaware of the above mentioned facts. I guess it is interesting to note that, although a huge amount of Facebook users are passive when it comes to taking actions, clicking on that Like seems to be a fairly aggressive action. I suppose, it all comes down to the fact that Facebook makes us social beings. Somehow, our individuality is lost and we want to be a part of the community.

Now this drives the issue back to the discussion (I'm having with myself!) regarding passivity. Once the user likes a page, do they continue interacting? The most I do is Like Photos on my Liked Pages. On a rare occasion, I'll write something. I personally don't interact because none of the posts I see on any of the Pages that appear in my news-feed are interesting! I'll engage if I find it interesting, I rarely see posts on Pages that call for people to join in. Usually, it is the celebrities or big brands like Starbucks that get super-interactive on Facebook.

Rule # 1 : If you have a Facebook Page, Start Interacting now. More engaging posts=more people opening your page or less people removing you from their news-feed!

People are passive, in-spite of being on a moderate social level, I have to be pulled into a conversation online. Understanding how people share online is essential. As social media grows, Zuckerberg says that more and more people are going to share on a larger scale. There by, making 'interaction' an important aspect to a Facebook Page! As mentioned earlier, users on a network need to be directed, have them move past their passive behavior and get them engaged in interesting conversations. When a user comments on your status update, it gets shown within the user's friends' news feed. Chances are you could have a few more people from within every other (or so!) user's network, Like your page. The key here is to take time out to understand your target market and work on those ice-breakers!