The Richmond Group

March 8, 2008

I was fortunate enough to be invited to speak at the Richmond Group’s meeting at The Cobham Hilton on Saturday 8th March and shared my thoughts and experiences on “Business Benefits of Blogging and Social Networking” …

The Richmond Group is described as “the UK’s leading consortium of independent, certified management consultants whose members cover the full range of consultancy specialisations and work throughout both the public and private sectors.”  Further details available from the Richmond Group’s website.

I was asked to make the talk as “participative” as possible and I was delighted that the members did not hold back either with their questions or with their own valuable thoughts and insights into the topic being discussed. 

Here’s a quick summary of some key points which might be helpful as an aide memoire to those who attended:-

Business Blogging and the Benefits…

How do you start a Blog?

I use (and recommend using) http:/Wordpress.com for a simple yet feature-rich Blog which you can customise using a variety of templates.  Simply sign up and create a Blog and write your first Post.

I used “KayeNightingale” as the blog domain and “Kaye Nightingale” as the Blog Title.  Therefore, the URL for my Blog is https://kayenightingale.wordpress.com

If you don’t like the idea of having .wordpress.com as part of your blog domain then you can, instead, pay for a Blog account via http://Wordpress.org to enable you to have the exact URL you’d like such as “kayenightingale.com”.  I will probably do this for my next Blog but this free account has served me very well thus far.  I would recommend a visit to the http://wordpress.org site for general knowledge prior to creating your first blog as it contains some very useful information.

How do you search for Blogs?

Google has a great feature which allows you to search specifically for Blogs rather than websites.  From www.google.co.uk look for BLOGS … you will probably find it under MORE …

I spent a lot of time researching other Blogs before I felt brave enough to get started and then realised that, actually, I didn’t need to research other people’s blogs before I was ready to get started because the whole point of a Blog is that it is a place where you should use your own voice to write about topics of interest to you (and hopefully your intended audience).  Having said that, I do regularly search Blogs whenever I want to research anything as I find blogs much more useful than searching in traditional websites. 

Should you leave comments?  Yes!

I enjoy the “communication” aspect of blogging and I enjoy reading certain people’s thoughts and opinions.  Naturally you have to be selective but once you have found a Blog that interests you I would suggest that you get involved.  Leave a comment if you found the Post interesting … include a URL in your COMMENT because readers of your comment might well then click to visit your website or blog if they were interested in your comment.  Search Engines love links so always include your own URL in every comment and always comment if you found the Post interesting … this way you will be raising your own profile.  One of the key differences between websites and blogs is that blogging is about “communication” and “communities” where active participation is invited.

When setting up your Blog you will be able to control the settings of comments received so that you can check all comments prior to them appearing on your Blog.  I receive an email when someone makes a comment showing me the name / email / URL of the person leaving the comment, with the option of accepting it / deleting it / spamming it, which gives me full control.

What is a Blogroll?

A Blogroll is simply a list (roll) of other Blogs which you are happy to be associated with.  You might include them so that you can easily go to them for your own benefit or you might include them to help your audience or you might include them to help drive traffic to an associate’s Blog.  Whatever the main reason, it is in your own interest to have a Blogroll because all LINKS are beneficial and aid your rankings with search engines.

Why should you use Categories?

When writing a Post always include at least one category. 

Categories will help your audience to easily search your entire Blog for topics belonging to a certain category of interest PLUS it will aid your rankings with search engines because it will help in the matching process (between the keywords typed in and the keywords / tags / categories used in your Blog).

Is there a good book about Blogging?

I thoroughly recommend “Clear Blogging” by Bob Walsh ….  See further details on my Website Reading List

Which Blogs (about Blogging) do I recommend?

I thoroughly recommend Better Business Blogging which contains lots of useful information.  www.betterbusinessblogging.com

Where can you get further advice and guidance?

It would be a pleasure to hear from anyone who attended the Richmond Group’s meeting if they need any further support, advice or guidance with regards blogging.  Feel free to either leave a comment here OR use the contact form on my website www.kayenightingale.com and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

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Microsoft Office Live Workspace

March 7, 2008

I have just received email confirmation that I have access to a beta copy of Microsoft Office Live Workspace and can’t wait to see what it can do for me.