The Nerdier Side of Writing


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A presentation I did for WordFest 2013 about more technical elements you should consider when writing for the web.
Presentation includes lessons learned from going viral, getting published in the New York Times and being hacked because of it.
Also touches on seven crucial elements to online success including choosing a web platform, finding your online voice, constructing a great title, analytics, SEO

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  • Click like if you hate cancerOne like equals one prayer for this soldierName a band that doesn’t have an E in the name.It was stuff I was seeing because a friend had clicked a like button yet not directly shared itFacebook had looked like this for weeks and it was really annoying me so I wanted to figure out why they existed.
  • So I did some digging around and found that there were people making money off this stuff.People build pages with lots of interaction and then sell them on to businesses or individuals who want a large fan base to promote to.SO I worte the post, hit publish, shared it on my various social accounts and went to work.
  • A little after lunch I logged in and say I had had over 500 people hit my site. I was used to 100 a week at most (and they were mostly my dad checking it over and over again)I did a little bit of digging to see who these people were and it seemed like Reddit was driving a lot of this traffic.
  • Reddit is a social bookmarking site.People share cool stuff they’ve found on the web and other users upvote it if they agree tat it’s cool.It’s were contetn for the internet is founded. If you see something funny on the news or breaking story, it’s usually been on Reddit for over a week already.Well, my little post had been submitted and eventually upvoted to the front page.Normally, this would be great, but this opens up a phenominon called The Reddit Effect.Overwhelming amounts of traffic to your site all at once which can often bring down your serverOne hour later…
  • I added some caching plugins to my site to ensure my little server could handle the volume and not die.I watched it for the rest of the day, responding to comments,By the next morning
  • And it was still alive…
  • In the 4 days after my post went live I’d had over 100k people visit my site. It had gotten a lot of attention
  • Including from some massive online publishers who wanted interviews and to hear about my ‘discovery’. It snowballed for the next week and all sprts of publishers were publishing my post all over the world.But then one mornign I got into work and there was an email waiting for me from my boss saying that another rreporter was wanting to chat to me.
  • I thought it was a prank at first.But sure enough we did an interview via skype and I was told he just needed to get comment from Facebook beofre he published it.A couple of days went by and the interview never appeared.And it seemed that they figured my story wasn;t as important as this other trivial issue that was occuring at the same time.
  • All good.Lots of people from all over the world were still coming. Reading something I put together in 30 mins while watching sunrise.And then I got another email from the NY Times. They said Facebook had made some counter claims and would I like to comment.I did and I provided eveidence that some of the stuff they were claiming was just incorrect.It went back and forth like that a while. They said something, I proved them wrong. EtcUntil finally after a few months, Roy said They have one day to respond and then it’s going live.
  • The article went live.I was pretty
  • Website is your platform, so important you choose the right one.When looking at starting a blog – 2 main options.
  • Hosted option
  • Stand alone options
  • I prefer the stand alone which you can set-up for about $100 a years.With adsense you could probably even make that back if you get a steady stream of traffic.
  • Voice refers to who you areonline. What makes you differetn from everyone else. Why would people want to read your stuff?From a readers perspective, I;ve found theya re after three core things.
  • Unique – don’t be generic. Give a reason to read you over a million other blogs out there. Different take on something.something of value – Youa re asking for 5-10 mins of their life. Give them soemthing that’s worth it. Teach them something or change their opionion about a topic. Give a download even but don’t waste their timeStand for soemthing – This is what I’ve found. Get stuck being too polite online. Write for yourslef and those who like your take on things, don’t give into mediocrity.If something is rubbish write about it. Happens a lot in the search marketing field – there are superstars who everyone dotes over every word.If they do something rubbish – call them out. Have an opinion. Very much relates to the first point.
  • Just do it. – just vent. Eventually you find your writing mojo and it becomes your style.Like you speak – doesn’t work for everyone, but it does for me. Anything I write (for my blog) is me completely. Those who read it and know me have told me that they can hear me speaking as they read. Your writing becomes your brand that people recognise, just like your voice is recognisable by everyone who knows you.Make mistakes – some of my earliest web writing is generic and horrible. In a year from now I’ll probably think the same thing about something I write today. It’s all good. You learn along the way.Keep going – cliché, but practice makes perfect. Every post won’t be awesome. Some posts will get 5 readers others will get 5000. Keep going though. As your skills grow so too does your audience.
  • A lot of people think that the internet is huge. Who cares what I have to say.You don’t have to write for the internet.
  • You only need to write for this guy right here. He is your audience.It seems big, but don’t let that scare you.
  • Title is crucial for success.This is a generic Thai cook book in reality, but it has an amazing title which made it a best sellerYour title is your foot in the door.Combined with search, and this is how you will reach your audience 9/10 times. It has to be awesome or informative (or better yet, both)A few tips I’ve found for finding that perect title
  • Headline first – having it as a foundation I find helps dictate the theme of the article – great for writers block. It will morph and transform, but if you have a topic you want to write about, think of the title and build your article around thatAudience – touch on this one a little later on, but find what you audience wants. Do a google search of your topic and see what people are searching for. This info can help dicatet a good title that will work70 character – SEO reasonsTweaking - as mentioned earlier, keep tweaking ti what works better for the article. Don’t be precious about it. Keep on improving it. It’s not concrete, change it if something works better,How to lists – it’s how people search. Definitive learnings
  • Analytics is
  • This is your guide to the health of your site and your readers information. Without it you are flying blind.You have so much information that can help you determine what works well online contetn and technically.And the best part is that it’s free too
  • Three crucial tools ive found are
  • This is all about making sure your site and content can be found in search engines.
  • Considering how important search engines are, if you’re online and your not found for specific search results, then you might as well not exist.Google is the king of search and will be for a very ong time still
  • Contetn – if you’re in this room then you have a story to tell (make it original. Duplicate and ripped off copy is a no no and something suthorship is trying to stamp outSound infrastructure – 60% of the web is WordPress. Platgforms like Wordpress,drupalect are constantly updated for flaws and very very well built.Promotion – Links are like votes. TH emore you promote your site in relevant places the more Google/Bing see you as being an authorityFreshenss – Keep on having a conversation. Ensurign your contetn and site remains fresh is how to ensure Google see’s you as being relevant still.
  • To google keyword toolFree tool from google to see how much traffic exists for a certain termWhat you think people are looking for and what they actually are are often differentEG: Opening a restaurant and starting a resataur
  • Moz.combegineers guide is a great overview that’s easy to explainWordpress in particualr has some great plugins that are free that take care of a lot of the hard, nerdy stuff (Yoastetc)Do you own research. OSE – Back link profiel. Findout sites that are linking to them and contact them yourslef.SSE – see how social your comeptitors are.
  • Authorship
  • 160% increase in click through rate on posts with authorship
  • Your search results are completely catered for you due to to a bunch of factors.Your location, your interactions, your browsing history, your time on sites, how much you use the Back button after a search, even who and what you send via your gmail account.The most trusted will be the most served result.Who you connected with will dictate your content. – but not only if you set this up.Your search results are personal now. Google follows you whether you know it or not
  • Set-up a google plus account.If you have any google property you are almost there (youtube, Gmail etc.
  • This is all about building your profile in you niche. In the circles that are influential and interactive with your subject matter.
  • Doesn’t need to be everyone. Just this guy is fine.Target your audience by playing in the same sandpit as your target audience.
  • You have the great contetn in your head. Add these seven things and your on your way to a pretty great online pressence.
  • The Nerdier Side of Writing

    1. Next DigitalSearch LeadAustralia’s largest independentlyowned full service digital agencyHi, my name is DaylanDigital for 10+ yearsMy blog is Daylandoes.comStart with a story…
    2. Facebook Spam : I wanted to figure out why it exists
    3. I hate facebook spam - sreenshotMid-morning rant…So I found out and wrote an article about it
    4. WHOA! 500 people!2.15pm
    5. The Reddit EffectTurns out it hit the front page of Reddit
    6. UH-OH!3.15pmAnd the traffic came….
    7. 8.00 amThe Next DayLots and lots of traffic
    8. Kevin Costner was right! I built it & they came.Regular Week The Facebook Post WeekA little different from most weeks
    9. And the traffic brought the media
    10. “Hi. I’m a reporter working on a story for The New York Times, saw Daylans blog postOn people selling Facebook pages, and wanted to get some more details. Could someonePlease pass this message along to him?”ThanksRoy FurchgottNew York TimesEven these guys wanted to talk to me
    11. But my interview got bumped for some fluffy political thing
    12. 201 countries visited my site221,100 from USA76,000 from UK31,000 from AU64 from Kenya29 from Palestine88 from China But people kept on coming…
    13. The article goes liveAnd the NY Times article eventually went live
    14. Hacked!Which annoyed someone enough to hack my siteAnd delete the entire thing…
    15. TheNERDIERSide of WritingTips & Tricks I’ve learnt along the way to helpbuild your online authorship.
    17. WEBSITE
    18. WEBSITEPros:Cheap or FREE to runEasy to set-upUpdates AutomaticallyIndexed into Search Engines quicklySharing communitySecure and strong hosting platformCons:Not as much freedom (LessConfigurable)Not your own URLDesign LimitationsNot your platformHosted Blog
    19. WEBSITEPros:Full controlFree downloadLots of pluginsMassive amounts of design optionsScalableYour own domainCons:Require hostingSome technical set-upCosts moneySelf-reliantStand-alone Blog
    20. WEBSITEDomain name : $5-$15 per yearHosting : $3 per monthTheme : Free - $100Yearly cost : $
    21. VOICE
    22. VOICEUnique.Provide something of value.Stand for something.What do readers want from content?
    23. VOICETips for finding your online voice.Just Do It.(please don’t sue me Nike)Write like you speakMake mistakes.Keep going.
    24. VOICEYou don’t have to write for the Internet
    25. VOICEYou just have to write for this guy
    26. TITLE
    27. TITLEWrite your headline firstGive the audience what they wantKeep it to 70 Characters (with spaces)Keep on tweaking it‘How to’ lists are great for trafficThe Twitter Bait
    29. ANALYTICSAnalytics is integral to understanding your online audience• Which content is most popular• What time of day gets most traffic• Where your traffic comes from• Is your site performing ok• Are readers bouncing• Is your navigational structure ok• What country are your readers located• Is your SEO working• How much many is your Adsense making you• Where do your readers go after your article• New or returning visitor
    30. ANALYTICSGoogle AnalyticsComplete analytics package for your website. Free and very widely used. Webmaster ToolsLike mini-analytics but allows you to Interact with and dictate how Googletreats your website. Webmaster ToolsThe Bing equivalent of Google Webmaster tools. Allows you to interactwith and dictate how Bing handles your website. Analytics Tools
    31. SEO
    32. SEO80+% of internet users in Australia use searchengines each day94% of those searches are on GoogleSearch engines do their best to find the mostrelevant and informative authority on a topic.Find your topic and become thatAuthority.Awesome content isn’t enough.
    33. SEOGreat, original contentSound infrastructure that search enginecrawlers can access easilyPromotion (links, social)FreshnessThe Essentials of Good Rankings
    34. SEODo NOT buy linksDon’t copy contentLearn about your competitorsLearn about your audienceThe Essentials of Good Rankings
    35. SEOFind exactly what your audience is searching for. & Resources
    36. SEOTools & - Learn a bit more about SEO SEO Plugins your own Google searchesIf you have an idea. Google it and see what the competition is like.Open Site Explorer how your competitors back link profile looks.Social Site explorer how social your competitors are.
    38. AUTHORSHIPAuthorship :Allows you to see analytics for your content in search resultsGives you ownership of your content onlineGives exposure to your Google Plus accountDistinguishes your content in search engines
    39. AUTHORSHIP.Authorship is widely considered to be the future of search
    40. AUTHORSHIPHow to Set-up AuthorshipCreate a Google Plus account.Upload a picture of yourselfVerify your websites email address at
    42. COMMUNITYRemember: It’s about this guy
    43. COMMUNITYForumsTwitter – follow people with similar interestsGoogle Plus – communities, similar authorsFacebook – friends, groupsReddit – subreddits and commentsComment on other blogs and websitesGuest Contribution to other websitesOffer downloads and advicePromote offlineFind your community and interact with them
    45. T: @DaylanDoesG+: Daylandoes.comTHANK YOU