Blog Traffic and Engagement: Zemanta

In case you missed my announcement on Friday, I have a post about how I use various social networks going at Jessica Leeman’s blog Social Media tomorrow. This is my first true guest post, and I’m thrilled.

I’ve been playing around this week with an app called Zemanta. I started noticing bloggers using it awhile ago. I had a brief conversation with Vijay over at Half Eaten Mind about it last month and put it on my list of things to look into. Last week I had a chat with Julian at The Extremis Review and he shared some info with me about what it’s done for his traffic. That conversation convinced me that I needed to give it a close look immediately.

You can get it as a blog plug-in if you use WordPress.org. I’m running it as a browser extension because that allows it to work for my posts at Part Time Monster and Quaint Jeremy’s Thoughts as well as my own blogs. Here’s a list of features:

Screenshot 2014-07-26 13.45.03

  1. It adds “Content Recommendations” to your dashboard, which suggests both articles and images that you can include in your post as you write it. The content recommendations menu is collapsible, so you can hide it when you’re not using it.
  2. It suggests tags, which is a big help, because it saves time trying to think them up.
  3. It suggests related content and allows you to add related articles to the bottom of your post. This is its best feature in my mind, because it gives me a way to link to other blogs, and I don’t have to disable the built-in “related content” feature on WordPress to do it. I can use them both.

I’m still figuring out how it works. So far, I’ve gotten a few useful things from it, but I’ve also gotten a lot of things that aren’t really helpful, like links to Wikipedia and big media articles. The tags aren’t always good. I just set up an account and added my blogs as sources this weekend. As I link to other bloggers in the future, I’ll add those blogs as sources as well. I’m hoping that as I use the app more, the suggestions will get more useful, and I’m interested in any advice other people might have on tweaks that might make the suggestions better.

Here’s what related content added with Zemanta looks like:

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Twitter for Bloggers VI: Management

You can find links to parts 1-5 of this series on our Twitter for Beginners page. I’ll wrap up today by explaining how I manage my accounts. If you’re able to get your account growing, you’ll TwitterSuziehave to figure out a system for keeping up with all your Tweeps and dealing with unfollowers. That’s just part of the game. This is how I’m doing it at the moment.

I maintain two accounts. @Sourcererblog is the one I’m actively growing. @justgeneo is a personal account. It has about 250 followers. I’m not actively growing it, and I only check it once or twice a day, but I’m diligent about giving followbacks. Having a smaller account with a personal profile is useful for several reasons, and I only need one big account.

Since I started working for growth, @Sourcererblog has gained, on average, 25 followers per day. I get between 3 and 10 unfollows a day. Some of these are accounts I’ve chosen not to follow. I’ve also been blocking as many accounts as I’ve been following every day for the last couple of weeks. I’ve seen a large uptick in spam followers since my following reached the high 1400s. I can’t figure out whether that’s a benchmark they use to target accounts, or whether it’s just a coincidence.

I follow and unfollow in 10-day cycles, because I’m leery of Twitter’s spam policies. I was suspended once early on, and I don’t want that to happen again, so I’m conservative with follows and unfollows, even though I could probably follow/unfollow 200 people per day at this point.

Here’s how I follow, starting with my following/follower ratio near even.

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