Radar Media Expands the Blogging Team

Hi, everyone! My name’s Lesley DeSantis and I’m a new staff writer here at Radar Media. I met with Paul last week to talk about the big, powerful world of blogging, and now I’m here to bring you Internet Marketing tips, news, even some in-depth spotlights on some of our favorite people—our customers. I’m also excited to tell you that I’m not alone in this venture—all Radar employees will be posting to bring you a well-rounded range of topics and access to the wonderfully creative minds behind this business. In this blog, we will be focusing on a variety of business and marketing topics, from Web and UI design to copywriting and corporate blogging itself, and we encourage you to leave comments, ask us questions, and get involved.

Blogging has truly come a long way since its earliest roots with IT gurus. Thankfully, geekery is no longer a prerequisite to learning how to set up and keep a blog, though it can certainly help. I, like many of you, used to think that blogging was nothing more than an ‘online journal’ of sorts, filled to the brim with the dynamic tales of what people eat for lunch, how cute their cat is, or brooding high school poetry about that ever-elusive crush ::sigh::.

While there is plenty of that, I can assure you, there is also an entirely different side of blogging which many business owners and professionals are taking notice of. People have realized that personal blogging is a great way to keep up with friends, make new ones, and it can be their little personal soap box to the world (which could very quickly gain more friends,…or enemies). Businesses have realized that if their customers are doing this to make friends and stir things up, they can very likely use it to find new customers or to network with others in their industry. Now many professionals and businesses are enjoying great success through blogging, like marketing guru Seth Godin, Sun Microsystems CEO Jonathan Schwartz, and problogger.net’s Darren Rowse.

You can find a blog now on just about any topic you can imagine. From politics, to Perez Hilton, to, I don’t know, potatoes? (yes, apparently), chances are if you’re interested in it, there’s a blog about it. While I can’t promise to keep you updated about our new presidency, what shoes Lindsay Lohan was wearing to that party the other night, or the best mashed potato recipe you ever laid eyes on (ok, maybe for Thanksgiving), I can bring you some information to help your business, and hopefully make it fun in the process!

I welcome your comments, potato recipe inquiries included, and I look forward to being a part of the Radar Media team as we move ahead with the blog. If your business hasn’t jumped into social media yet, it’s never too late. I wholeheartedly encourage you to reach out and hold on tight. It can be daunting at first, but it just might pay off. Even if you don’t triple your customer base in the first month, you can dramatically improve your search engine rankings, drive traffic to your website, increase your ‘link love’, and you just might make some new friends. And wasn’t that originally what blogging was all about?

Google Webmaster Tools: Where Free is Priceless

I don’t necessarily buy that Google can do no evil, but they’ve sure done something good in launching Google Webmaster Tools. Webmaster Tools is a great way to get lots of information about the traffic on your site. And like a lot of what Google provides, Webmaster Tools is free.

To get started, all you need to do is insert a single file in your root directory. Afterwards, you can check back at any time to get an instant read on what the Google crawler thinks about your site–and, by association, your readers in general.

There are a good number of reports available, but here are a few of my favorites. Interested in learning more about how people discover your site? One way, of course, is through links on other sites. With Webmaster Tools, you can instantly see all of the web pages linking to your site in one fell swoop. If you’ve got lots of links and want to do some analysis, click a button and download the report into Excel.

We’re big believers in the power of great content, and this tool makes it easy to see what people are searching on to find you. The top searches report shows the search terms that most readers are using to click through to your site. Often, when reviewing this list, you may find word combinations that surprise you. It may make sense to beef up your content in those areas that readers find most compelling.

The diagnostics provided by Webmaster Tools are equally useful. If there are any broken links on your site, or problems with the site map, the tool will tell you where to look so you can fix them. If there are links on other sites pointing to pages on your site that no longer exist, another report will show you how to find them. It even gives you directions on how to set up a simple “301 Redirect” so that Google will know how to link to the new pages.

One last thing. Way back in my days at NewsEdge Corporation, I learned the power of “push” email related to daily news. Readers loved being able to read today’s news headlines in their email, and then click through to the web for more information. Even today, people still live in email. If this sounds like you, then take a few minutes to set up a customized, daily email report on Webmaster Tools. In my case, every day at around noon, I can look forward to a PDF summary of everything going on at this site. It’s a great read and reminds me that it’s just about time for lunch.