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Google unveils their next step in making over Blogger – spoiler alert – it’s hot!

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Google makes good on their promise

Earlier this month, Google announced they would be giving Blogger, their blogging platform that had seemingly fallen to the wayside as they focused on sexier technologies like satellite imaging and augmented reality apps.

Now, Google is aiming to change the very way people consume blogs by giving all of readers of Blogger sites options on how to see the blog by adding “view” at the end of a blogger’s URL. For example, https://intoabbasarms.blogspot.com is the standard view of the blog of the Kenyan orphanage we work with (my grandmother lives there full time), but if you go to https://intoabbasarms.blogspot.com/view, you’ll see on the top right a variety of ways to view the blog… go play with it, then come back, we’ll wait…

Blogger is finally cool!

Although we still recommend owning and hosting your own URL, if you are a beginner, Blogger is a good place to start (it can be migrated to WordPress later in a matter of minutes). I haven’t liked Blogger or had a blog there in years, but it is actually kind of tempting now- maybe my personal blog should go to Blogger from Posterous? Hmm.

Blogger has critics and advocates, and there’s not a lot of gray area in between, but we have a feeling that if it has blog purists like us a little excited, that gap just might be bridged. What do you think of the new Blogger?

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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30 Comments

30 Comments

  1. Artur

    April 1, 2011 at 9:56 am

    That looks like it’s going to be fun and good for an image heavy real estate industry.

  2. MH for Movoto

    April 1, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    I’ve always been loyal to blogger for my personal stuff…. but it IS a bit clunky…. i’m very please to see there’s going to be a makeover!

  3. Randy Pereira

    April 1, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    Nice changes they are making… I can see really good use of the snapshot style view fro real estate purposes.
    Definitely something to consider.

    Thanks.

  4. Judy Graff

    April 1, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    I’ve promoted my “blogspot.com” blog so heavily that I’m afraid to migrate it anywhere else. So this is great for me!

    • Lani Rosales

      April 2, 2011 at 1:02 am

      Judy, I just played around with yours, it looks awesome!

  5. Andrew Mooers

    April 2, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    Blogger was always easy but elementary easy. Which is good for a slew of bloggers. But as you post more, become more skilled, it seemed like a junior college to have to wave good by to and put more effort in to electron production on other platforms. Hope they tweak it as will start tending that blogging garden more heavily if they do. Nothing stays the same.

  6. Cliff Stevenson

    April 3, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Never paid much attention to Blogger….this looks pretty slick. Might need to take a second look.

    • Lani Rosales

      April 3, 2011 at 1:21 pm

      Cliff, if you already own your own site, it’s probably not good to go backwards, but may be good for a side blog like a neighborhood blog or something similar?

  7. ralph evansm

    April 3, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    Thanks for providing us this news on Google Blogger.
    A makover for this blogging platform would be great!

  8. Missy Caulk

    April 4, 2011 at 8:38 am

    My first blog was on blogger. This looks pretty slick,it might be good for new listings with lots of photos.

    • Lani Rosales

      April 4, 2011 at 2:41 pm

      The only problem is that someone has to *know* about the alternative views, Google hasn’t made it obvious yet, I suppose it’s still in Beta.

  9. Teresa Boardman

    April 5, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    Most people don’t get this but you can use blogger, WordPress.com, Typepad.com, tumbler, postersus and probably others and run them off of your own domain name. When it is done directly your domain name is all that shows and if the site is moved to a self hosted service the blogger doesn’t miss a beat or lose any traffic or links. There are really onl two reasons for self hosting. 1. Because the free services are lacking something that the business blogger needs or wants or 2. The blogger doesn’t know any better and thinks they need to self host to use their own domain name. Maybe there is a third reason. . . 3. The enjoyment of playing with sites.

    • Lani Rosales

      April 5, 2011 at 5:02 pm

      T, you’re totally right! But I would add a fourth and fifth to your bag of arrows (quivers? do they call them quivers? lol):

      4. The blogger wants control over their content and not to be subjected to arbitrary terms of service that they may unknowingly violate and as a result have their entire site removed from the web. This has happened before (https://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2010/01/03/googles-evil-policy-on-shutting-down-blogs/), most notably with Blogger and there’s no way to call Google for restoration and you may be screwed when you don’t have media connection to raise a stink.

      5. When you sign up for a self hosted site, it may be free, but even after hundreds of blog posts, some or all features may not remain free despite any grandfather clause promised. ActiveRain is a great example. If you’re self hosted, that’s not a worry.

      For those that aren’t as technologically savvy as you, they should know that self hosting is to owning a home as third party hosting is to renting a home- there are a lot more restrictions and you don’t own your site. Domain ownership and self hosting are separate entities altogether and two totally different business decisions to make. And last but not least, a lot of third party hosting scenarios offer free domain purchase through the service leading bloggers to think they own their domain, but a good ol’ look at registration info reveals the platform owns it (but that’s obviously not in all cases, just some tricky cases).

      I love Posterous, I have a personal blog there… can you imagine if they started charging tomorrow? I have hundreds of entries there! That would suck!

      Thanks for stopping by, T- always love chatting about geek stuff!

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Social Media

This non-judgmental app can help you switch to a plant-based diet

(SOCIAL MEDIA) There are many reasons people choose plant-based diets. If you’re looking to try it out, this app helps you stay on track.

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No Meat Today, a judgement-free plant-based diet tracking app.

The interest in plant-based proteins continues to grow. Healthline suggests that Americans are shifting toward plant-based meat substitutes because of shortages in the grocery store due to the pandemic, but there are many reasons to make the switch.

Plant-based proteins are considered more sustainable than traditional meat. Nutritionally, plant-based meat alternatives are often healthier. Regardless of the reason, if you’re one of the many Americans who are changing your diet, there’s a new app that can help you stay on track without making you feel judged if or when you do eat meat.

Your companion to eating less meat

No Meat Today is an app available in the App Store. You can get on a waitlist in Google Play. It’s a fun app that asks you, “Did you eat meat today?” You can even define what meat means to you, red meat, fish and seafood, poultry, eggs and/or dairy. As you eat less meat, your “planet” attracts cows. The design is simple, “don’t eat meat, get a cow.” If you eat too much meat, your cows go away. There’s no judgement if you lose a cow.

The creator, Arnaud Joubay says, “I’m not here to tell anyone what they should do, only to offer a friendly app to those who want to do the same.” It’s recommended to look back at your history to decide whether you want to eat meat or not.

Reviews

The app was just released earlier this year. Most of its features are free, but you can pay $4.99 for all the features for one year. There have been some very cute cows released for special days. In the App Store, reviews are positive, but the caveat is that the creator asks you to contact him first if you if your review isn’t 5-stars. It’s a cute app that can motivate you to eat less meat.

Here’s the link to the product page.

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Twitter insights to engage more customers this holiday season

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Twitter wants to help you prep your marketing for the first COVID holiday season by sharing findings on what customers care about.

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Man on laptop open to Twitter, considering his holiday shopping with Christmas tree behind him.

The year 2020 has been a year like no other. None of us expected to be confined to the inside of our homes, but here we are. And now, more than ever, the holiday season is something most of us are looking forward to, even if we have to spend it apart. And social media like Twitter will be a key part of that.

So, to get a sense of what consumers expect this holiday season, Twitter UK has shared some insights to help brands better strategize on their holiday campaigns. Twitter’s official partner, Brandwatch, analyzed tweets from March to September to find out “people’s opinions and biggest concerns.” Here are Twitter’s findings.

Compared to previous years, people have already started asking for and have begun giving gift ideas and recommendations to each other. According to the data, mentions of Christmas started to increase in March. Between March 1 and September 30, there was a 10% increase in mentions compared to last year. So, brands should definitely start kicking off their marketing campaigns sooner than later.

The pandemic has undoubtedly influenced how we spend our money and has altered how we are able to have family time. According to the Brandwatch Twitter data, 59k people are discussing how family gatherings will be impacted by it. So, brands should be mindful of this, and incorporate messaging that reaches out to everyone. Messaging that makes family and friends feel connected, even if they are spending the holidays alone.

Another thing to consider is combining your efforts with local businesses. Making purchases from small and independent businesses is something that has been heavily highlighted since the beginning of the pandemic. With Christmas drawing near, this couldn’t be more important in people’s minds. Twitter has seen a substantial jump in people saying they will be holiday shopping locally. By partnering with a local business, both small and large companies can benefit from sales.

Also, health and safety were and still are at the top of everyone’s minds. A lot of people on Twitter are saying they will do all their shopping early. This will help them avoid the large crowds of last-minute shoppers.

As a result, companies should start preparing themselves to receive early shoppers. Part of preparing is making sure all health and safety measures are in place. Brands should follow all CDC guidelines and make sure they continue to be transparent with customers. Sending out a simple safety message through social media or email will go a long way.

These insights from Twitter are specific to the UK, but should still be considered. No one knew we’d still be where we are now. However, the holiday season is still something people are excited about. And, brands can take these insights to help maximize sales.

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10 Snapchat Ad tips to increase engagement for holiday shopping season

(SOCIAL MEDIA) As holiday shopping draws near, Snapchat offers helpful tips to help business owners make use of their advertising and branding tools.

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Woman holding phone open to Snapchat chat window, casually dressed with journal and coffee nearby.

The holidays are basically here, and Snapchat wants to make sure you get the most out of your Snap promotions. The company recently released its “Snapchat Ads Best Practices: 10 Tips to Help Increase Ad Engagement” post. With these pointers and advertising best practices, Snap hopes to help companies “build visually appealing ads that drive quality engagement and high return on investment for your business.”

So, let’s get into the tips!

1. Choose the right ad format for your goals
With a lot of advertising options, Snap says you need to select the right ad type that will better align with and help you meet your business goals.

2. Showcase your product front and center in your ad creative
Displaying a fullscreen video or image of your product will encourage a viewer to want to engage more. As a result, it is good to include a ‘hero’ message at the beginning that has all relevant information, such as offers and specials.

For eCommerce purposes, products should be featured “front and center to drive purchase intent.” For apps and games, include the app’s UI, features, and benefits in the ad. Meanwhile, local businesses should highlight the services or products their business specializes in.

And, always remember to make sure your creative meets Snapchat’s ad specs so your ad can be displayed flawlessly.

3. Make your ads feel native to Snapchat
No one likes intrusive ads that scream at your face telling you to buy a certain product or service. To prevent this from happening, Snap says your ads should “mirror the bite-sized and linear storytelling of Snaps” already on the platform. These non-intrusive ads should be kept short at around 5-6 seconds. And, Snap says these more “conversational ads” get viewed more fully than polished ads do.

4. Drive urgency with relevant messaging
Don’t overcomplicate the message. This will just get people to swipe away. Instead, make sure relevant information is at the beginning and is easy to understand. Placing your messaging within the first 2 seconds is preferable.

5. Design for sound on
Despite what you might think, silence isn’t better. Snap says that about 64% of Snapchat ads have the sound turned on. And, an effective way of including sound in your creative is by using a customer testimonial. Spoken testimonials help viewers understand and better relate to the brand or product.

6. Link your ads properly
Make sure users are being directed to where you want them to go. You don’t want them clicking on a broken link. Or worse, someone else’s content. The right link is crucial for impressions and conversions. Here are Snap’s recommended “attachment types depending on advertiser goal.”

  • Drive online sales by using Web View Attachments. These pages instantly load for the user and are available in Snap Ads, Story Ads, and Lenses.
  • Drive app installs by using App Install Attachments. Snapchatters will be able to swipe and download your app. Using ‘Install Now’ or ‘Download’ as a CTA, Snap says you will have strong conversion rates.
  • Drive app engagement/app visits by using Deep Links. These links will bring existing users back to your app. At the same time, any new users will be directed to the app store to install the app. Deep Links can be added to Single Image or Video ads, Story Ads, and Lenses.

7. Test ad creative and try new ad formats
Testing something is a pretty good idea when it comes to anything. Snap emphasizes this, and says testing can give you “insight into what content resonates most with your target audience.” They recommended testing your ad creative for about 2-4 weeks using different formats. After you’ve gathered enough information, you can determine the winning format that is best for you.

8. Use goal-based bidding to bid towards your desired action

  • Goal-based bidding “allows you to optimize towards a specific action that a Snapchatter is most likely to take, such as installing your app, watching a video, or completing a purchase.”
  • Snap has several bidding strategies, and it recommends using Target Cost Bidding.

9. Broaden your targeting
After you’ve been running your ads for at least a couple of weeks, Snap says to consider broadening your target audience. Snapchat has several different targeting options. Some of the categories you can expand on are geo, gender, age ranges, and languages. Expanding your audience will allow you to get more impressions.

10. Understand your audience reach to optimize
Finally, make use of Snap’s Audience Insights. These insights provide Snapchat with data like demographics, interests, locations, and devices overview. By knowing this information, you can better understand your audience and create content that is tailored to them. Content that will ultimately maximize your advertising efforts.

Overall, Snapchat understands that “mobile advertising is a key component to any digital marketing strategy.” By offering us these tips, they are reminding us of some things we already know, and telling us how they can help us achieve our advertising goals.

With the holidays around the corner, Snapchat says they can help you reach a large and engaged audience for just $5 a day with their offerings. So, what do you think of Snapchat’s tips?

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