In this episode of the Digital Publishing Podcast (which you can find a full transcript of below), I cover 5 topics from how you can use Twitter to combat annoyingly-titled articles in your niche to a couple easy ways to run Windows on your Mac.
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You can also listen to the episode online by clicking the play button on the player below this. (If you don’t see the player, click here.) It’s about 17 minutes long.
- 1:24 – 1. Tweeting against linkbait
- 3:53 – 2. Keywords in domain names
- 6:52 – 3. The King of Random… dot com
- 8:39 – 4. Final update on the effortless blog
- 11:00 – 5. Running Windows on a Mac
- 14:22 – Pick of the week
DPP027: Tweeting Against Linkbait, Windows on a Mac, and 3 More Great Topics
Hello, I’m Tristan Higbee, and this podcast is all about the things I see and would like to see in the world of digital publishing, from blogging to ebooks to membership sites and more, plus things related to internet business and online marketing. At the end of the podcast I’ll mention my pick of the week, so be sure to stick around for that. You can find a full transcript of each episode of the Digital Publishing Podcast at DigitalPublishingPodcast.com.
I’d love it if you rated this show in iTunes. Go to itunes.digitalpublishingpodcast.com and then click the blue “Rate in iTunes” button in the left sidebar to pull up the podcast in iTunes so you can rate and review it, and it’ll only take a minute or two.
As I had foretold in the podcast two weeks ago, there was no new episode of the podcast last week because I was traveling, but I am now settled in at my new apartment in Tbilisi, Georgia, and it’s a really interesting place to be. But as you can undoubtedly hear, I’m sick. I have a cold and my voice is not quite normal, and so I do apologize in advance for that.
But I do have 5 topics to talk about today, so let’s get started.
1. Tweeting against linkbait
I ran across an interesting concept for a Twitter account recently. The account I saw is @huffpospoilers. The creator of the account got tired of the cryptic, linkbait-y headlines of Huffington Post articles, so he created a Twitter account that in effect explains the headline so you don’t have to click through.
For example, a recent Huffington Post article is titled “The most successful high school dropout ever?”, and @huffpospoilers retweeted that headline with the following in front of it: “David Karp? Tumblr founder/CEO, sold it to Yahoo.”
Here’s another example. The Huffington Post headline is “Is this what will save Best Buy?” and the @huffpospoilers account retweets that and “spoils” it by saying “Expanding Samsung Experience concept to other brands and products.”
The writer and blogger in me sympathizes with the Huffington Post and gives kudos to the writers there for creating headlines that really entice you to click through. But the reader in me loves @huffpospoilers because it means that I don’t have to leave Twitter and spend time clicking through to read through a whole article that can be summed up in a sentence.
I think that this is something that could be applied to other niches. I know that there are travel articles I read that could be summed up or “spoiled” by just a few words, articles like “The One Thing I Miss About New Zealand” or “Never Leave Home Without Doing This First.” There are marketing and business articles that do this, too, with headlines like “The Biggest Mistake I Made in My Business” or “Never Forget This One Customer Service Principle.”
So if you do often see articles like this in your niche, you could start a spoiler alert Twitter account for that niche. It doesn’t have to be all about headlines from a single source like the Huffington Post; the tweets could be for headlines from any site or blog related to your niche.
2. Keywords in domain names
At the end of September last year (2012), Google rolled out an algorithm change that affected some exact match domains, also known as EMDs. These are domain names that are exactly the word or phrase that you want to rank in Google for. So if you’re building a site about sheet metal cutters, you’d get sheetmetalcutters.com or .net. Last year’s EMD update removed a lot of sites with domains like this from high up in the Google search results, and I’ve heard some people say that there is now no point in getting an exact match domain.
I do think there is still power in having keywords in your domain name, though. I do think it still helps rankings. In episode 25, I talked about one of my websites, tradclimbingvideos.com. Trad climbing is a sub-discipline of rock climbing that I’m into. I’ve been #1 in Google for “trad climbing videos” for a long time and for the last couple months have been at #1 or #2 for the phrase “trad climbing.” And then a few days ago, the site started showing up on the first page for the phrase “climbing videos.”
Now, I’m not an SEO expert. I know and do the basics and probably know more than the average person online, but it’s not something that I really enjoy learning about. But I have to think that part of how well that site is ranking for these phrases is due to the domain name. There isn’t a whole lot of content on the site and there aren’t too many backlinks to the site. As much as I’ve heard people say that exact match domains or keywords in domains no longer help you rank, I have to think that they still do to some extent. It seems to be mainly micro sites and niche sites that have exact match domains that were affected by the EMD update, and that having keywords in the domain name of something that isn’t a micro site can still be a plus and give you a leg up in the search results.
It is worth keeping in mind, though, that whether or not it’s a good idea to go with an exact match domain or a domain with keywords for your site from a branding perspective is another argument for another time. They do tend to limit the scope of what you can talk about on the website; I couldn’t put ice climbing videos on tradclimbingvideos.com, for example.
3. The King of Random… dot com
There’s a guy on YouTube named Grant Thompson. He makes videos about things he builds and experiments he does, things like how to turn a stick of butter into a candle or how to make your own arc welder. In all of his videos, he either mentions thekingofrandom.com (if it’s a longer video) or includes the text “thekingofrandom.com” as part of the video if it’s a shorter one. I figured it was the guy’s website, so I typed it in and found out that it just redirects to his YouTube channel. I was a little bit disappointed by that because I wanted to learn more about who this guy was.
But then a couple weeks after I first found out about him and watched a couple of his videos, I remembered him again and wanted to check out his channel to see if he had any new videos. Then I remembered thekingofrandom.com, typed it in, and went straight to his channel.
If you have a YouTube channel, I think that plugging your own domain name in your videos is a great idea (instead of or in addition to saying something like “Subscribe to my channel”). If that domain name just redirects to your YouTube channel, that’s great because it makes an easy way for people to find your channel and videos again. If the domain goes to your own blog or website, that’s great too, because people will presumably still be able to find what they’re looking for, but things like newsletter subscription forms and social media following options will be more prominent.
4. Final update on the effortless blog
In episode 24 I talked about an experiment I’d started. The idea was to start a Tumblr blog and just post videos to it and see if I could get people to click an ad for one of my ebooks that was in the sidebar of that Tumblr blog. So I’d post videos, people looking for keywords relating to the niche would find the videos and presumably click and view the posts on the website instead of their Tumblr dashboard, and then they’d see and click on my book’s ad in the sidebar. I gave an update in episode 25, in which I said that while the blog had several followers, there had been no clicks on the ad. People were following the blog in their Tumblr dashboard, but not many people were clicking through to view the posts separately on the blog. If you’re not familiar with Tumblr, that just means that it’s like people subscribing to a blog’s RSS feed in Google Reader. That person will see the new posts but they won’t see things like the site’s header or menu or sidebar.
Well, I updated the blog and posted a new video every day for a few weeks and got a grand total of one click on the ad for my book. I don’t know if the person who clicked bought the book, but it doesn’t really matter. Three weeks of even minimal work for even one sale is not great. The blog ended up having 73 followers by the time I stopped updating it.
As I also mentioned in episode 25, another option was to include a link to the book in every video I posted. That way, the people who follow the blog will see the ad every time. I didn’t want to do this and still don’t because that’s borderline spammy behavior, but I don’t know. We’ll see. I might try it a few times and see what happens. Otherwise, the effortless blog isn’t worth the even small amount of effort it required. So… now we know!
5. Running Windows on a Mac
This might not apply to everyone listening to this, but hopefully some people out there will find this useful. My main computer is a Mac. It’s a 2011 13″ MacBook Air, to be exact, and I love it. It’s my first Mac and I’ve had no problems being without Windows, but I’ve been thinking about doing some screencasts for Windows software. That means that I need to have access to Windows. I could have bought a new Windows laptop and used that, but because I do live and travel with just a carry-on bag, another computer—even if it’s a laptop—just would not be very practical. So I started looking around at other solutions.
There are two main ways to run Windows on a Mac without getting rid of the Mac OS. So this isn’t replacing your Mac applications or anything, just giving you the option to run Windows when you want or need to. The first way is to install Windows on a partition on your hard drive using Boot Camp. This is a free utility that comes installed on all Macs, and it makes it so that you can boot up into Windows when you restart your computer.
The second main way to run Windows on a Mac is to set up what’s called a virtual machine. This means that you can run Windows inside Mac OS 10 without restarting your computer. In fact, you can have Windows running in a separate window while you’re doing things in other windows. It’s pretty darn neat, and a fast way to hop into Windows without completely inconveniencing everything else you’re doing. I bought and am using some virtual machine software called Parallels (and you can find that at parallels.com). It’s super slick. Setup and installation and using Windows are all super easy but unlike Boot Camp, it isn’t free. It’s $80.
Regardless of whether you use Boot Camp or virtual machine software like Parallels, you do still have to buy a Windows license in order to install it on your machine. I bought a Windows 7 DVD on Amazon so that I could get a legit product key, but I didn’t install Windows using the DVD because my MacBook Air doesn’t have an optical disc drive. Instead, I downloaded what’s called an ISO image of the disc, which is essentially a digital carbon copy of the disc, and I installed Windows from that and activated it with the product key I’d purchased.
If this sounds like something you’d like to do, I’ll have links to the copy of Windows 7 that I bought on Amazon and to the site where I downloaded the ISO file of Windows 7 in the show notes for episode 27 at DigitalPublishingPodcast.com. I’ll also link to Parallels and to information about Boocamp. But overall, I’m really happy with how well Parallels works and how fast and easy it is now to test and work with things in Windows on my Mac.
- The copy of Windows 7 that I bought on Amazon [aff. link]
- The Windows 7 ISO download page
- Information about Boot Camp and an overview from PC World of how to install Windows using Boot Camp
Pick of the week
And that brings us to my pick of the week. This is where I pick one useful thing to share, and it can be an app, a website, a podcast, or just about anything else. My pick of the week is called This Week in YouTube. This is a weekly video podcast, and it is the only video podcast I watch. You can subscribe to it in iTunes or whatever podcatcher app you use on your mobile device, or you can do what I do and just go to twit.tv/yt and watch or download the new episodes.
So this show is all about YouTube-related news and tips, and there are three co-hosts on the podcast. There’s Leo Laporte, who is the founder of the TWiT network of podcasts (and TWiT stands for This Week in Tech). There’s Lamarr Wilson, who is a YouTube celebrity and vlogger. His YouTube channel has 177,000 subscribers and his videos have over 23 million views. And there’s Chad Johnson, who is a TWiT producer and who has a podcast on TWiT about the game Minecraft.
So in the show they talk about YouTube news, like changes to YouTube itself from both the viewer’s and content creator’s side. They talk about what videos have gone viral in the last week or that are otherwise gaining traction. They talk about things video creators can do to get more views and to make better videos. Stuff like that. The three hosts work well together and make for an interesting and fun to listen to show that will get you excited about creating YouTube videos and about checking out what YouTube has to offer that you might not be aware of.
The show is still relatively new—there are only 7 episodes so far and a new one comes out every Sunday—but because it is part of Leo’s TWiT network, it’s professional-quality. You can go check out This Week in YouTube by going to twit.tv/yt. You can watch the episodes there, and there are also download and subscribe links.
And that’s all for episode 27 of the Digital Publishing Podcast. Be sure to check out digitalpublishingpodcast.com for complete transcriptions and other blog posts there at the blog.
Please don’t hesitate to email me any question you might have regarding digital publishing. I love talking about this stuff, and I’d love to help you out. You can follow me on Twitter by going to twitter.digitalpublishingpodcast.com. That will redirect you to my Twitter account, since my name is a bit tricky to spell. And again and as always, I’d really appreciate it if you went into iTunes and rated and reviewed this podcast, and thanks for listening.