February. The month of love (technically only a day but you can never have too much love right?)
Petrol stations across the country are selling out of cellophane bouquets, Hotel Chocolat are flogging selection boxes like nobody’s business and there’s a whiff of Lynx Africa in the air. That's right folks, it's Valentines day. The day to announce your undying love to your one and only.
Because we're a generous bunch and we love to share our knowledge and help others out, this loved up holiday has inspired us to share the blogs that we love, and we hope you’ll love them too. From social media to SEO, these websites & companies are always a great resource to turn to if you’re stuck in a rut with search terms or need some help brainstorming content creation.
I'm sure by now CreativeBloq think I'm their stalker, as whenever I go on Twitter, which isn't very often I am ashamed to say (or Jon will repeatedly remind me until I feel ashamed) that I end up re-tweeting everything they post! Their headlines always peak my interest and I can equally spend as much time reading their blogs as I do on Pinterest (and I spend a lot of time on Pinterest!). From tools to tutorials, they provide great resources for creative enigmas like myself. Perfect for designers, developers and pretty much anyone creative. (Also check out their Pinterest page – it’s preeeeeetty sweet)
Unlike CreativeBloq, I feel like HubSpot stalk me, like they can read my mind. I’ll think about something and not long after they’ll email me a blog post on that very topic. Their blogs cater for the beginners to the advanced and they produce lots of really great varied blog posts frequently and at different levels of knowledge. From public speaking to Social and SEO, Hubspot are bound to have a guide or tutorial to help you along the way.
I hate to say it but I often use Facebook as a news aggregator. In amongst the announcement of pregnancies and engagements (I’m just that age where most of my friends are doing one or the other), I tend to get snippets of information from the likes of Mashable, Social Media Today and Social Media Examiner keeping me up-to-date with industry changes. Other sources which pop up on my news feed include Gizmodo informing me about the techier side of things but I rarely click to read more. I enjoy using Facebook to deliver my ‘news’ as it allows me to connect with the brands I want to connect with (I hate seeing sponsored pages – although, as a marketer, I understand the value they bring to increasing brand engagement, awareness and following). Most of the brands I follow on Facebook post early evening meaning that I see the news after I get home from work, although this is ‘down time’ it allows me to absorb the information and forward an email to myself as a reminder to look at the next day.
The source I engage with most on Facebook (and via Feedly) is Social Media Examiner who give me glimpses of changes and do so in a very personal way. I enjoy that their pieces are often opinion led and always have the name of the author attached to them – I’m sure this is a subliminal factor but it makes me feel like I ‘know’ the team. What sorts of things can you expect from Social Media Examiner?
- How to use social media for your business
- How to use different social media platforms
- Top tips on how to engage more with your online audiences
- Updates on changes to social media platforms
Each article is clear and concise, telling you exactly what you need to know and the best way to go about making changes. For me, it’s a must read to learn how to effectively market your brand on a given platform.
I don’t have nearly enough time to trawl through the many useful blogs and resources out there so I love a “round-up” and Search Engine Land gives me that in Searchcap. It comes in the form of a daily newsletter which I can quickly scan before I spot what I want to read. It’s an efficient way of keeping up to date with the world of search, social and technology and I can click on what I want directly from the email without having to trawl through a website. There’s not only useful articles from SEL but others from Marketing Land (their sister company) and then more from other industry websites which are categorised to make it even easier to identify the topics you want to read about. Definitely worth subscribing to.
And this is a nice bonus, especially for Tash – Search In Pictures
This one isn’t a blog as such but I find the Google forums such a help when you just need an answer to a specific problem and none of the help pages give the answer you need. Getting opinions from others who have quite often had a similar issue and therefore feel your pain is a great way to learn. Then you can pick and choose which advice to take. You can also just search the discussions to get more practical advice on whatever topic you are researching. There is plenty there as an alternative to a blog which can often come across as a one-sided discussion. I find that learning through experience is best but learning through others comes next!
Marketing Magazine online is brilliant. I check it daily for a quick round up of the marketing news for the day. It’s a gorgeous site to look at with lots of pretty pictures (which I’m sure Tash approves of!), It’s also easy to navigate and very easy to get lost on for hours thanks to the Daily Mail style list of distracting new articles posted tantalisingly down the right hand side. Perfect for anyone who wants a quick easy way to be in the know without needing industry expertise to understand the articles.
Campaign Live is a great resource for picking up on the most recent news in the advertising and marketing world. I love to check out their 'ad of the day' (the lack of television in my student house makes this the only way to have any idea what is going on!) I also adore their opinion pages which provide unique viewpoints on relevant topics and come along-side a big picture of the writer making it feel quite personal.
I know, I know my love of Avinash Kaushik’s blog is a bit like a broken record but his site is absolutely packed with actionable ideas. I most love the combination of common sense and business focus that cuts through the hype and focuses on the purpose and outcome of digital marketing.
My latest internet guilty pleasure is I love typography. I actually do love typography (my dissertation was on the impact of print fonts on buyer behaviour, seriously!) and this site is packed with history, facts, useful tips for designers and beautiful, beautiful fonts. Hours of surfing pleasure.
When asked what blogs I 'truly luurve' I have to admit I was a wee bit stumped. Not because Love is some strange foreign / alien emotion to me (cue world’s smallest violin), but actually I was stumped because I love em all (well most of them anyway). Feedly (a flippin amazing rss reader) is sadly the start and often end of my day. I 'luurve' using it to catch up on the latest goings on and it really comes in handy when doing outreach. So to summarise my favourite and most useful blogs are, well erm… all the of blogs (tout le blogs, if you will). Econsultancy, HubSpot, Copyblogger, Gizmodo, Search Engine Journal, Social Times, Wired, The Next Web, the list goes on and on and on. These sites and blogs are my one stop shops for keeping up to date with industry news and updates as well as learning kick-ass tips and tricks, they're also really handy places for sharing helpful, insightful and entertaining nuggets of content across your social channels.
TL;DR? - Use Feedly, it's friggin awesome (and it's FREE!)
Oh, and if I had to absolutely pick my one "desert island" blog, it'd probably have to be the Moz blog, specifically Whiteboard Friday posts. As someone who's started out with next to no knowledge of SEO and social, Moz (as well as Distilled and the NLM team) have played a big role in filling my noggin full of lovely information. The new and improved beginner's guide to SEOis essential reading for noobs and novices alike, and if you're a bit more clued in when it comes to search and SEO, then I think you should definitely tune in to Whiteboard Friday because:
- I like videos
- I like videos
- Did i mention I like videos?
Which blogs do I LOVE? Which BLOGS do I love? What a question! Who loves a blog? Someone with a tiny black pebble for a heart, that's who. Someone who has a loveless marriage, that's who. Someone who listens to fucking Coldplay. I don't LOVE any BLOGS.
Twitter on the other hand, I ADORE. I am besotted, head over heels, cock-a-hoop, beside myself in love with Twitter. I can't put it down. I'm on it when I wake up. I'm on it when enjoying my morning toilet. I'm on it when I'm sitting in traffic (with the engine off, officer. I have one of those Volvos that hippies drive that turns itself off when it's stationary or if it senses a depressed badger in the hedgerow). I'm on it at work. I'm on it for work. I'm on it now. I'm tweeting right now. While you're reading this! OMG that's amazing. You're reading this blog and I'm tweeting this
You can't unread that. You watched me tweet and you loved it. It's just the start... This list of clever marketers, SEOs & social bods will help you develop a Twitter addiction too.
And actually, now I think about it, I do love one blog. I love the Noisy Little Monkey blog! Why? Because it has insights and tips from the incredibly talented team who work here and because (like all useful blogs) it generates loads of visitors from search who don't know Noisy Little Monkey, but who have problems we can solve. Or questions we can answer...
Just look at the top 10 things this site ranks for in Google, it's that image on the left.
Josh's post about 'Awfully Bad Websites' is the highest driver of traffic, but there's loads of reasonably long tail searches in there for search phrases related to our services and you have to get right down to the bottom of the top 10 before you start to see branded searches.
This is just as it should be - some stuff that makes people laugh, some stuff that helps them do better digital marketing (and keeps us profitable) and some stuff about monkeys.
I love this blog.
I think I want to marry it.
Features Image credit: Pink Sherbet Photography