Written by Karen Bryan
The second Write on Finance Blog Up took place in London over the weekend 16-17 March 2013. After all the positive feedback from the first Write on Finance Blog Up in Leeds in September 2012, I decided I would keep the momentum going, so I leapt straight into organising another Blog Up.
Afternoon of Day 2 of Write on Finance Blog Up #2
Gold sponsor is confused.com.
Blogger sponsor of the event is The Money Principle.
Destination partner is London Hotels Insight
Saturday 16 March
Speaker – Annie Shaw of Cash Questions on “The Moral Issues of Personal Finance Writing/Blogging”.
Workshop – Rajul Chaude of London Hotels Insight on The New SEO – How to Get High Rankings on Google, which is summarised below.
Rajul of London Hotels Insight
1.Know your target keywords: use Google keyword research tool to target strategic searches. Tip: look at click value not just volume (to indicate conversion).
2. On-page SEO is the foundation: this is a very easy thing to do (search online for how-to guides). Your alt-text, page headers, photo descriptions and body text should all be optimised in a subtle natural and yet savvy way.
3. Publish frequent, always unique content: better to publish 7 short posts per week than 2 in-depth ones, without compromising quality. Action: split your posts.
4. Social media is the secret sauce: Google’s ranking algorithm has undergone dramatic changes and the number of people conversing about your blog and sharing your content on social media is a key ranking factor. Grow followers organically.
5. Offline and online networking: forge alliances with other bloggers in your niche – these are not your “competitors” and you help each other increase the total market. There are millions of people out there using traditional media and you can get them online via your offline “real people” network too e.g. local journalists.
6. Images: sites like Flickr, Pinterest and Instagram have superb link-building potential and help to give your content wider exposure. Think creatively about adding infographics and photos. Images are more often forwarded and shared than words.
7. A few amazing links > lots of small ones: don’t use an SEO agency to build low-quality links – this model is out-of-date and can do damage to your link profile. Go for the “Rolls Royce” sites and bait them with content. Don’t be shy about getting in touch with industry leaders/key journalists when you publish relevant content.
8. Speed is of the essence: your competitive advantage versus big companies is your ability to get online first. Be/create the news. Lead and shape the discussion and your search engine rankings will naturally rise as people will refer to you as “the source”.
9. Maintain intimacy and show your personality: you can converse one on one with your followers and engage with them. Google seems to like this and perceives it as more “authentic” and it is starting to show up directly on search.
10. Be local. Register on Google Local as a “business” with a proper location – this can help with certain keywords to allow you to pop up near the top of the page. Also make sure you are registered with Google Webmaster Tools and have submitted your sitemap (you can find solid SEO guidance on Google’s own forums).
11. Don’t over-analyse or try too hard to please Google: don’t be obsessed by what Google might think. Sometimes you have to take decisions that are good for your business (e.g. accepting money for guest posts) which others will say will harm your site. In reality, it’s not as clear-cut and many of the highest-ranking “content” sites are also high-revenue businesses. Google changes its mind often so second-guessing it is no basis for a successful business. The best policy is transparency.
Panel on Day 1 of Write on Finance Blog Up #2
Workshop – Ashley of Skint in the City on “Standing Out from the PF Crowd: How to Find your Unique Blogging Voice” which includef an exercise in which four adjectives best describe your blog.
Ashley of Skint in the City
The four adjectives I came up with to describe my personal finance blog, Help Me To Save, were:
- Practical – readers can apply my tips to their own finances
- Realistic – not giving readers unrealistic expectations
- Personal – written by a human who experiences emotion
- Inquisitive – scratching below the surface and looking at alternatives
Ashely stressed the importance of ensuring that all posts published on your blog and all messages in social media channels should re-inforce these values.
Sunday 17 March
Speaker – James Jones, Consumer Affairs Manager at Experian on “Using Social to Get Personal”
James Jones of Experian
Workshop – Maria Nedeva of The Money Principle on “Creating Great Content for Your Blog” in which Maria unveiled the Money Principe’s Blogging Approaches & Styles Table (BAST) described below.
Maria Nedeva talks about BAST
Maria devised the Blogging Approaches & Styles Table (BAST), for a workship on the theme of creating great content for your blog. BAST illustrates possible stances and objectives that bloggers can take when writing for their blogs.
Three possible approaches are:
- story telling
Three possible styles are:
You could decide to stick to one approach and style in your blog, which has the advantage of your blog sending out a consistent message. Then readers will know exactly what to expect from your blog.
Or you could go for a more pick and mix techniique, varying approaches and styles in different posts.
I’m finding it hard to categorise the approach of my own personal finance blog, Help Me To Save. It’s a kind of hybrid.
It’s not what I’d call academic, in the sense of being intellectual or sticking to a rigourous formula. My blog certainly isn’t theoretical i.e. of no practical use, as a lot of what I write is based on my own research into personal finance.
I don’t think that I’m much of a story teller. My writing style is more matter-of-a-fact.
My blog isn’t really a diary, in the sense of being a daily recount of my thoughts and activites. Although it does relate to the daily financial aspects of my life e.g. if I’m searching for the best Cash ISA account for our savings or examining personal pension options for when I can access my pension next year.
As for writing styles, my main focus is on informing readers. There is some element of education. I always emphasise that you have to be in control of your finances and use money as a tool to achieve your aims. There probably isn’t that much entertainment value on Help Me To Save, although I do use bit of humour and light heartedness on occasion.
Christ Stillwell of Ccnfused.com
Workshop – Jothan Webb founder and CEO of GraduRates on “Being Entrepreneurial”.
Jothan Webb of Gradurates
- Adam Piplica – @Adam Pipllca
- Alasdair McPherson – Shrewd Saver
- Anne Caborn – @MoneyFightClub
- Annie Shaw – @CashQuestions (speaker)
- Ashley – @SkintintheCity (workshop leader)
- Cara – @QuoteSupermarket
- Chris – @Money And I
- Chris Stillwell – @confused.com (panelist)
- Damien – @Money2theMasses (panelist)
- Donal – @moneysavingpig (panelist)
- Elaine Colliar – @MFinthree (workshop leader)
- Greg – @DiscountCoder
- Hasanul Hoque
- James Jones – @ExperianJames (speaker)
- Jothan Webb – @Gradurates (workshop leader)
- John Logsdon – @MoneyPrinciple
- Keith McDonald – @Which4u
- Maria Nedeva – @MoneyPrinciple (panelist)
- Mark Sekree – @EZ ISA
- Matt Britland – @mattbritland
- Miss Thrifty – @Miss Thrifty
- Nick Curry – @rplan
- Pauline – @DiscountCoder
- Rachael – @Money And I
- Rajul Chande – @LondonHotelTips (workshop leader)
- Rob Fox – @FoxFinance (panelist)
- Sugar I’m Skint – @Sugarimskint
- Viviana – @TheLeanTimes