Click Update and now lets move into the wordpress.com site.
Step III: Make changes in wordpress.
Make sure you’re logged into wordpress.com. Also make sure you’re in the the dashboard of the correct blog!!!
In the dashboard of the blog, along the left run a bunch of buttons. At the bottom is Settings and inside Settings is Domains. Click on that.
You’ll be prompted to add a domain. Write in the one you just purchased:
After you click Add domain to blog, you’ll be prompted to purchase the credits needed to pay for the mapping. Once you finish with that purchase, go back to Settings –> Domains. Click on the new domain which you want to act as your primary domain.
Step IV: Check out your new domain!
Go to the new address of your site, make sure it works, feel very proud and then tell the world!
After a long break I’ll be giving a course on social media marketing for businesses on Sept. 23 and 30. The course had filled up already, but we’ve moved the venue to a bigger room so we have 5 spaces left for anyone interested. The course will take place in the Sandisk offices in the Kfar Saba Hi-Tech park. Each session will be four hours, and we will get hands-on at every stage with tools and techniques for optimizing your social media activity.
For more information about costs, venue, topics, etc., please contact us at (02) 5660297 or via email at email@example.com.
Sept. 23: What exactly is social media, and how do I use it effectively?
Part 1: What is social media marketing? (1 hour)
What makes something social? What is Web 2.0? We’ll look at the most important elements of social media today: RSS, Video, Widgets, Tagging, and more to get everyone on the same page.
The importance of social media in your marketing activity
Case studies: companies and organizations that have successfully and unsuccessfully used social media
Part 2: Planning effective strategies for social media activity (3 hours)
Elements of an effective social media strategy
Important considerations before starting
Research your space
Monitoring & engaging – how, what
DO NOT neglect the other “boring” stuff: SEO, email, advertising, etc.
Sept. 30: Practical techniques for implementing your social media strategy
Part 1: Overview of important social networks – what they are, how to best use them for marketing (3 hours)
How to use twitter for marketing: setting up profiles that work for business, building up community, promoting your profile, what and how to write, monitoring, measuring, the best tools, etc.
Using facebook for business: profiles, Pages, applications, events, etc.: critical differences between each of them, how to choose the right ones for your purposes, setting up a facebook presence that works for marketing and promotion.
YouTube and other video sites: why video is the next generation of web marketing, what to keep in mind when working with video, ideal length and content, how to promote your video to achieve your marketing goals
Blogs – “old fashioned” but crucial: blogs are the hubs of an effective social media presence. What to keep in mind, how to set it up, how to integrate it with your other social media activity, ideal frequency for updates, what to write, how to write, how to promote.
Part 2: Personal branding (1 hour)
What is personal branding?
Why everyone should work on their online personal brand today
How to create a successful personal brand with social media
Summing up: Where to go from here (0.5 hours)
Key points to keep in mind when branching out into social media
Putting it all together
Working with (skeptical) upper management
About the speaker – me, Miriam Schwab
Miriam is the Friendly CEO of illuminea, and has been speaking and teaching about social media and blogging for business for over two years.
illuminea is a marketing firm dedicated to helping businesses and organizations use the social web effectively as an integrated part of their marketing mix. illuminea has extensive expertise in designing, developing and strategizing business blogs, and using these blogs as the hub for launching successful social media marketing activities. Part of illuminea’s day-to-day activities involve keeping up with the latest developments in the social web so that we are always able to offer our clients the best solutions for their needs.
Among illuminea’s clients are some of Israel’s leading companies and personalities, including Comverse, Commtouch, Natan Sharansky, and more. Click here to view testimonials from illuminea’s clients.
Here is a list of the conferences and events that Miriam has spoken at:
So you’re wondering how you can use PayPal in Israel? Does PayPal accept Shekels? Can you withdraw your PayPal funds to your Israeli bank account? Etc. As you often do when in doubt, you head over to Google and type in “PayPal Israel” to see what the web has to say about your questions. If you are located in Israel, here are approximately what the results will look like:
See results number 3 and 4? That’s us. Where’s PayPal or PayPal Israel? Nowhere to be seen.
Ranking high for this term was an accident for us. We happen to have published two blog posts on the subject of using PayPal in Israel over the past year, and as you can see the web is not exactly saturated with good content on this topic, so it was an easy score.
The funny thing is that as a result, people have begun to perceive illuminea as PayPal Israel experts. We get at least one phone call and/or email from people with questions about using PayPal in Israel about once a week.
PayPal Israel is missing an opportunity
Although PayPal officially serves the Israeli community, the amount of information available online about using PayPal in Israel is meager at best and confusing at worst, and the amount of people with questions is huge as is evidenced by the number of them contacting us with their PayPal questions.
I must give credit to Nissim Ohayon, Sr. Business Development Manager at PayPal Israel, who wrote a post on our blog about using PayPal in Israel, and even took the time to answer the many questions posed by readers in the comments.
However – maybe this is a sign that PayPal and/or PayPal Israel needs its own blog? PayPal should be engaging in the conversation, providing solid and timely information. I suspect that PayPal could win quite a lot of Israeli clients if it provided a minimum standard of online customer support.
Twitter’s great, but it can never take the place of the blog
This accidental positioning of our company as experts in the field of PayPal use in Israel demonstrates the strength and importance of blogging.
Twitter is all the rage these days, and people have even questioned whether twitterwill take the place of the blog. The truth is, many people, myself included, are blogging less because they are spending more time on twitter. However, with all the value that twitter provides let nobody tell you that it can replace the power of blogging.
A blog allows you to present an idea and follow through on it. You cannot do that in 140 characters. (Can you imagine this post as a tweet? Let’s try: “illuminea appears #3 & 4 in Google SERPS for term PayPal Israel thanks 2 our blog. PayPal not even on 1st page. Lesson: keep blogging”. Not too bad!) In addition, it offers loads of content for search engines to index and present to users in their results. Yes, tweets do appear in search results but less than blog posts, and also with a strange sort of randomness.
Also, a blog gives you your own place on the web. The content you create on facebook or twitter helps prop up those networks. The content you create on your blog helps prop up your own place on the web.
So don’t bury blogging yet. It’s still the foundation of any online marketing activity you undertake, whether it’s SEO, PPC, email, or social media. It’s on your blog that you have a chance to convert users in whatever way you hope to do so.
In the meantime, we’re happy to answer your PayPal questions as best as we can so don’t let this post stop you from contacting us! And keep blogging!
This past Wednesday (July 15, 2008) I presented at an ISOC Israel event on the topic of day-to-day use of social media. My presentation was about personal branding, why one would want to create a personal brand online, and how to go about doing so.
In the past, creating a personal brand was solely the domain of celebrities. However, today everyone can create their own “brand,” thanks to the proliferation of online networks where one can create a branded profile, and blogs which allow owners to present their knowledge in a useful and accessible manner.
Aside from being good for one’s ego, why would people want to create their own personal brand? The reason is that it can give you a serious edge in today’s competitive business world, whether you want to secure the future of your career or promote your business. By creating quality focused content on your own blog, which you then promote via the social networks like facebook and twitter in order to increase your reach, you can position yourself as an expert in your field and even build up a community around your knowledge.
There are a number of factors involved in creating a personal brand online, but they generally boil down to the following:
Authenticity – Be yourself. Many people think that their personality is not great, and therefore they try to fake it both online and offline. Don’t. Your personality is what makes you unique and plays an important role in your UPS (Unique Selling Point). Embrace it, don’t fight it. Plus, it’s hard to keep up a facade of a personality that isn’t really you over the long-term, and people will pick up that something’s not quite right.
Consistent look and feel - carefully select the image you will use to represent yourself online; use consistent colors, fonts etc.
Quality content - create quality content on your blog about the topic you have chosen to focus on. Set up your facebook and twitter profile to automatically publish links to your content on your blog.
Building up a relevant community – find and friend/follow others who share similar interests and/or could be good leads for your business.
Continue your brand offline – make sure your offline activity, personality, and even appearance are in sync with your online brand, and vice versa. We all love the web, however nothing can ever replace the importance and impact of face-to-face meetings, so plan to spread your personal brand offline as well.
Rinse and repeat.
The presentation is below. Note that it’s mostly in Hebrew. Let me know what you think in the comments.
This past Thursday I was privileged to speak to the Tel Aviv Writer’s Cafe about how they can use blogs and social media to promote themselves and win more (paid) writing gigs.
Here are the seven tips. For more info about the Tel Aviv Writer’s Cafe, please scroll to the end of this post.
1. Brand yourself as if you were a brand name
If you are trying to market yourself as a freelance writer, or freelance anything, it’s important to start to look at yourself as the product that you, the business owner, is trying to sell. Yeah, that’s a lot of hats to wear, and that doesn’t include the fact that you, the freelancer, are also the accountant, administrator, and coffee-fetcher. Anyways, in order to accomplish this, you need to create “Brand You.”
Why should I brand myself?
The brilliant Gary Vaynerchuk has the answer for you (bonus: guess who’s apparently a MOT (Member of the Tribe)…note how he says Alav Hashalom about Paul Newman passing away!):
Another reason you want to do this is because Google has a long memory, and you need to control what prospective employers and others see about you on the web. You have a chance at doing this if you have a personal site built on your own domain. To see what I’m talking about, read this post from Lifehacker: Geek to Live: Have a say in what Google says about you.
So how do I do this?
At the very least, buy your name domain name now (we recommend using www.name.com – and we have no affiliation with them, they just don’t suck like some other registrars we won’t name). If you’re name is Joe Shmoe, buy www.joeshmoe.com. If that domain name is taken, add your middle initial and buy www.joezshmoe.com. If you don’t have a middle name, pretend you do and choose a middle initial to use from this point forwards in all your professional correspondence so that people will Google your name that way and actually find you. If you think it’s weird to add a fake middle initial, ask Michael J. Fox, if he regrets it. (To see why he didn’t just use “A,” the initial of his real middle name, read about his Early Life in Wikipedia. Hint – it may have to do with the fact that he’s Canadian, eh?)
If you’re not up to it, you don’t have to actually do anything with your shiny new domain name right now. So why are you buying your domain name now if you’re not going to use it? Because it can get snatched up between now and when you do want to use it by someone else, which would suck for you.
If you are up to it, I strongly recommend starting a blog that appears under your name-domain name.
But I don’t have thousands to spend on that kind of thing right now!
That’s alright, I say. Here are instructions on starting a personalized blog on a shoestring. The reason this method is good is because if your blog becomes a real success and needs to grow, you can relatively easily move over to your own self-hosted WordPress blog, like all the pros.
Starting a Personalized Blog on a Shoestring:
Sign up for a blog on WordPress.com. Try to choose a name that represents you, but remember that you will be putting your new name-domain on your blog in a few steps.
Choose a WordPress theme that best suits your needs. You can find them under Appearance > Themes in the sidebar of your new blog’s admin section. I recommend choosing a pretty plain theme with a header area that allows you to upload your own personalized image. My sister Deena has done a good job with that on her blog, which runs on WordPress.com and you can see here: http://deenascreations.com.
You should go through all the other settings and choose what best suits you. To do this, go to Settings, and go through the sub-pages and modify as you see fit.
Map your domain name onto your new blog. First, you need to change your DNS settings for your domain name. DNS tells your domain where it should be point to, i.e. where the site that will be using this domain is sitting. First, log into your account on your domain registrar. Try to find where the DNS info is managed. It may be under Manage Domains or Manage DNS, depending on your registrar. When you do find where you manage the DNS, remove any existing nameservers and add the following:
Now, go back to your site and click on Upgrades, and then click on the Domains tab.
Then, enter your domain name in the Add a Domain field:
At that point it should ask you to buy 10 credits in order to use your own custom domain on WordPress.com. This costs $10 per year.
Once it’s set up, create an About and Contact page (crucial), and start blogging your head off.
Here are some examples of people who have really succeeded in creating a brand around themselves:
Oh, and more Gary Vaynerchuk just cuz he’s so awesome, inspiring and in your face (and did I mention he’s an MOT? What naches.)
2. Don’t forget about social media
Since blogs run on RSS feeds, it means you can promote your blog content elsewhere. This is good because it increases the likelihood that people will come across your content, which is the most important thing here. You can set up your facebook and twitter profiles to automatically pull in your blog content, and post it for all your network friends to see.
In order to do any of this automatic republishing, you need to know where your feed is. On WordPress.com, it’s at http://myblog.wordpress.com/feed, where myblog is your WordPress.com blog name, or at http://myblog.com/feed, if you’ve mapped your own domain on to your WordPress.com blog.
To automatically post to twitter, first create a user account on twitter. Then, go to EasyTweets, sign up, and add your twitter account to your profile. Then, click on the RSS icon at the right-hand side of your dashboard:
Enter the feed URL (see above for info on how to find it), entry frequency that EasyTweets will check for new posts (every hour is fine), any text to add before each tweet (I don’t recommend adding any text because then it looks automated), and whether you want to post the current new item in your feed, or only start updating from new items. Press Add RSS Feed, and you’re done.
One thing that came up during our session, and often comes up, is people’s confusion as to what usefulness twitter provides. Here are some links that may help you better understand why all these people get to excited about twitter:
3. Get people to stay in touch with you via RSS feeds and email subscriptions
If someone comes to your site, you want to get them to subscribe in some way to stay in touch before they leave. If you do, you can start to create a long-term connection where they consistently receive content you create, and trust grows between you. If you don’t, chances are they’ll leave, forget that you exist, and never come back.
So, make sure to prominently display the options for subscribing. Here’s a screenshot from Natan Sharansky’s new site for an example on how to do this – note how the subscription info appears very close to the top of every page:
4. Focus – so that people know what they’re getting
People subscribe to certain content because they are interested in the general topic being covered. Imagine if you were an avid car fan, and you bought Cars magazine only to find a spread about the latest hairstyles (or whatever they write about in fashion magazines). And imagine if you were an avid fashion fan and you opened the latest edition of Elle only to find a spread about axel grease (or whatever they write about in car magazines). You’d be pretty disappointed because you are paying to read those magazines because of their focus.
Same with your blog: people subscribe to it because you are writing about something they are interested in, whether it be politics, celebrities, iPhones, or cats. So stick to that 99% of the time, and your readers will stick with you.
5. Optimize for search engines
Yes, even you can optimize your blog for search engines. SEO may be perceived as a magical talent only bestowed upon special fairy beings, but there are some basic things you can do to help your blog rank better in the search engines. Here is a quick rundown:
Make a quick list of keywords you think people are using to find people like you. You can use all sorts of fancy keyword tools if you want, but you can also just use your brain since you know your industry. Take this list, and write it down on a piece of paper. Make a note of which terms are the most targeted, and which are less focused. You have more of a chance of ranking high for “Jerusalem car fans” than for “car fans.” You see what I mean? So while you’d probably like to rank high for car fans, it’s best to aim for Jerusalem car fans. But even so, don’t lose sight of the big vision of ranking for “car fans” because you may get there.
Once you’ve got your keywords, make sure to use them whenever possible in your blog titles, and in your first paragraph. However, when in doubt, make sure you are ultimately writing for humans. What I mean is, don’t stuff your title and paragraph with keywords that don’t make sense, because while you may make Google happy, you won’t make people happy, and that’s not good.
Tag your posts with tags related to your keywords, but also to other stuff you mention so that you may rank for those words as well.
Pay attention to meta keywords and particularly to your meta description, because that’s what appears under the title of your post in the Google search results.
Link internally. When you mention an event, term or phrase that you’ve mentioned before, link to that other post, or category if it exists on your blog.
6. Promote offsite
Aside from trying to get traffic via the web, make sure to promote your blog in other places as well, like in your email signature and on your business cards. And tell people about it whenever relevant, without being annoying.
7. Track your success
Like anything in life, if you are trying to achieve something in life, you need to track if you are getting there. As the saying goes “if you can measure it, you can manage it.” So track your site stats and feed stats. Don’t worry about seeing huge leaps in growth, but you do want to make sure there is a steady incline at the very least. You don’t want to plateau or start to shrink – that’s bad news, and if you see that you need to work to reverse it, generally by creating more content, and commenting on more blogs.
8. Bonus – accessing the awesomeness that is called humanity
“But you said 7 tips,” you say.
That’s right, I say, but I added a bonus. The bonus is about all the people you get to connect with via your blog and online activity, particularly when those people are…extraordinary (in every sense of the word).
Recently I got the following comment on this blog, and it makes it all worth it. Note the author’s name:
Author : moshe rabeynu Comment:
I am a former male exotic dancer and am interested in establishing a “Chippendales” type establishment in Israel. What type of assistance and tax benefits does the Israeli government provide to new businesses of olim chadashim? Are there many such entertainment facilities in Israel? I would like some idea as to how stiff the competition would be. Do Israeli women, as a rule, like to look at males dancing in skimpy G-strings? Are they generous tippers? Would they put a shekel to the shmeckel? If I hire other olim chadashim as dancers, would they have to pay any taxes on their tips? Can I employ dancers who have not had a briss ? I might want to hire one or two to add variety to the show lineup. Is a liquor license hard to obtain in Israel. Do I have to bribe any officials to receive one? To whom is it customary to pay proteksia money to start a business and keep it going and approximately how much to they ask for? Thank you for your help.
If there were commenting Olympics, this one would bag a super-gold.
That’s it – 7 tips + 1 on how to market yourself using blogs and social media. Thanks to those who came to my session – it was great meeting you!
And now, a bit about the Tel Aviv Writer’s Cafe:
It was started 3 years ago by Stephanie Freid, a freelance writer and journalist, as a way of grouping Tel Aviv area writers together for networking and topical discussions on everything from how and where to look for jobs to tips on approaching editors to discussing what makes good journalism to deciding on filing taxes in Israel and abroad. Attendees come from a variety of writing backgrounds including technical, journalism, marketing, book writing & blogging.
Writer Forum guests have included NBC New bureau chief/author Martin Fletcher who spoke about his experiences covering world conflict and his acclaimed first book “Breaking News”, successful book author Matt Beynon Rees on taking a journalism career to the realm of fiction novel writing, NY Times writer Dina Kraft on covering conflict in Israel and why it seems to hit a nerve among so many, Pajamas Media editor Alison Kaplan Sommer on how to slot into the new era of blog writing, Israel Project Executive Director Marcus Sheff on keeping the foreign media informed and celeb blogger Lisa Goldman on how her blog propelled her into the limelight.
For more info, please contact Stephanie at [stefanella.stef at gmail.com].
People are always asking for background information on why and how they should blog. While there is great information out there on the web, I thought I’d put together a resource here that I can refer people to when they ask. This post will be updated regularly so keep checking back.
A little over a week ago I spoke at the first F5-Refreshing meeting for Israeli women in the hi-tech and internet industry. Liat Vardi, the woman behind the group, did such a great job organizing the event, and it really fill a void in the Israeli hi-tech industry. You can see her follow-up post here. Kol hakavod Liat!
I met some inspiring and fantastic women there, and learned about some interesting technologies. It is certainly motivating to see that success is possible for women in the Israeli hi-tech industry.
Here is the presentation that I gave at the meeting on the topic of Blogs and SEO – Why blogs are so great for SEO. Enjoy!
Today, the Associated Press took bloggers to task by stating that they do not allow anyone to quote excerpts from their articles. They specifically went after The Drudge Retort, a left-leaning political site that aggregates short bits of content from around the web as selected by their readers, and told them to remove remove seven items that contained quotations from articles ranging from 39 to 79 words.
Many sites and blogs on the web, like The Drudge Retort, link to articles of interest on other sites by displaying the title and a short excerpt of a few lines from the original article, with a link to click through to read the rest of the article. This is considered accepted practice under the laws of fair use, which state that people can quote from other publications without asking for permission from the creator in certain circumstances. The New York Times gives the example of a book reviewer, who does not need to ask permission from the publisher in order to quote parts of the book in their review.
The blogosphere has not taken AP’s actions lightly. In a post titled “Here’s Our New Policy On A.P. stories: They’re Banned,” TechCrunch says that AP should consider all these links a favor, and that they can’t make their own rules. TechCrunch says that AP has taken this type of behavior too far, and as a result AP is now banned on TechCrunch until further notice:
So here’s our new policy on A.P. stories: they don’t exist. We don’t see them, we don’t quote them, we don’t link to them. They’re banned until they abandon this new strategy, and I encourage others to do the same until they back down from these ridiculous attempts to stop the spread of information around the Internet.
Plagiarism vs. Fair Use
I am strongly against stealing content. People work hard to create intellectual property, whether it’s movies, music, or writing, and just because it’s easy to steal doesn’t mean that it’s ok. At the same time, the web is about sharing content, and sites enjoy greater success the more their content is recommended and linked to by others. Sites like The Drudge Retort aren’t copying content – they are linking to the original source with short excerpts. By threatening people who share their content, AP is causing themselves damage two-fold:
They look like the big, bad corporation who looks down upon the plebes from their ivory towers.
People will think twice before sharing their articles with others on the web for fear that they will be sued.
The big bad corporation is an unsavory character that doesn’t mesh with today’s web. Instead of shunning its audience and those who want to share its content, AP may want to consider learning what the web is about today, and working with it rather than against it.
This week Emily Gould, former Editor at the mega-gossip-blog Gawker, published a stunning and moving description in the New York Times of her experience as a blogger who exposed all, both with regards to her own personal life, and those of celebrities. Her piece is fascinating and disturbing, and raises a lot of questions about the boundaries we set up and break down between our real-life identities, and those of our online personas.
One of the questions that I’m often asked about blogging is about how far bloggers should go in exposing their private lives. This aspect of blogging makes people nervous, since blogging is obviously a very personal endeavor, with people exposing their personal experiences, opinions and agendas.
In addition, many bloggers have seen that posts relating more detailed personal information are often more successful and engaging than those that just relate their opinions. So the question becomes: do I have to write about my personal life in order to succeed as a blogger?
You need to be public. And private.
In my opinion, the answer is yes and no. If you are blogging for professional purposes, it is very important that you stick with the main topic of your blog, and not deviate with whole posts dedicated to your dog’s antics or your spouse’s new haircut. People are reading your blog because they perceive you as an expert in your field, and they want to learn from your wisdom in that area. By writing about subjects unrelated to your main topic, you’ll make your readers wonder if it’s worth their while reading your blog post when there are five gazillion others out there that won’t waste their time.
At the same time,you must be personal (and personable) when blogging. Personality is the main difference between conventional journalism, which is supposedly objective or, in the case of opinion pieces, sophisticated and controlled, and blogging, which is emotional, temperamental, and highly subjective – and way more fun to read!
Striking the balance
Here are three tips to help you maintain that balance between publicity and privacy:
Make sure to use the word “I” when writing as much as possible.
Stay focused on the topic of your blog. Remember that your readers are there to hear your words of wisdom, and that should keep you on course.
And most of all: if you wouldn’t want your friends, parents or coworkers to read it, don’t put it on the web! There’s this company called Google that works hard to expose your web content.
About a month ago I spoke at the Techshoret Conference for technical writers. Techshoret is an active mailing list for technical writers in Israel, but it includes many members from overseas as well. The people on the list are very supportive and helpful, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was one of the best email groups in the world for technical writers.
Techshoret holds an annual conference in Jerusalem, and I was invited to speak on the topic of Blogging and Social Media as Marketing Tools for Hi-Tech Companies since they decided to add some non-technical writing lectures to the mix.
My lecture covered case studies of businesses and their successes and failures in the blogosphere, and how the world of marketing is changing to the point where blogs and social media are a necessary part of today’s marketing strategy.
I promised the participants that I would upload my presentation, and here it is (finally)!
Hollywood on a Shoestring Budget
I am also including the great presentation given by Benjy Caplan who works at ECI Telecom. Benjy spoke about how to create great videos without being a professional videographer. His presentation was interesting because he explained how his company uses video as part of their user manuals. I think this is brilliant, because so many Israeli companies have overseas customers who don’t really speak English, and the best way to communicate in that situation is visually. In addition, his company saves the costs of sending technicians overseas to help clients by sending them help videos instead.
Benjy gave us one real example of how his company used a video to help clients in India install one of their products. The clients sent ECI a picture of their installation, which was a jumble of wires. Instead of sending technicians over to fix things up, Benjy produced an Oscar-worthy video with step-by-step visual instructions of where to put which wire.
With so many Israeli companies exporting overseas, I think many should learn from Benjy’s example and save themselves a lot of time and money by adding videos to their customer support services.
Running a small business involves wearing many hats. illuminea blog aims to encourage a lively discussion on the challenges and rewards of running and marketing a small business in general, and in Israel in particular. Written by Miriam Schwab, Friendly CEO of illuminea.
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