To scribble down URLs throughout the meeting, If you are talking about this event on Twitter, — which I know Twitter is down this morning, so I’m not sure if it is back up yet Or not — but the hash tag is # tstblog We’ll also have a forum discussion that will Take place afterwards, if there are questions that you didn’t get a chance to ask or that the Presenters didn’t have an opportunity to answer And we will send that link out again in the Follow-Up, e-mail and it will also be announced at the end of the webinar one more time So welcome everybody to Intro to Blogging for Nonprofits & Libraries, I am Becky Wiegand, a staff writer here at TechSoup and blogger And manager of our blog for the TechSoup blog We will be joined today with Presenters Allyson Kapin from Care2 and Jason Griffey, who is the Author of Library Blogging.
Just to give you a little bit of background on The two speakers, Allyson is the blogger and chief for Care2’s nonprofit blog Frogloop. She also Blogs for Fast Company’s Radical Tech, blog She’s, the founder of Women Who Tech And the Executive Creative Director of the Rad Campaign, Jason Griffey, co-authored the Library Blogging book that I mentioned previously – and he is also authoring the soon to be Released Mobile Technology and Library He writes and blogs regularly for Pattern.
Recognition, which is his own blog, the LITA blog and for ALA’s TechSource blog For the library community So just to go over really quickly. What our agenda is going to be today, we will hopefully be able to get to all of These objectives, where we go through and define kind of what a blog is and what its Benefits are for both the nonprofit community and the library community. Hopefully you’ll Have an opportunity to answer any questions, address considerations that you should think of.
Before you start give some overview of tools, talk about best practices and tips and share Some of our favorite blogs and resources And then at the end we will save some Time for some questions and answers, So hopefully we can get your questions. In And again, if we don’t have time to get to everyone’s questions, we will be Having that follow-up discussion in the forums So Jason, you have a great definition that You use in your book, Could you start us off with giving us an overview of what is a Blog for those who may not be familiar Jason Sure thing One of the problems in Defining a blog is in the book Library Blogging.
I say it’s kind of like trying to define a book. You can have different shapes and sizes and colors Some books have thousands of pages and some Only have two, but they are still books. Blogs are largely the same way. It is definitely A webpage – And there are a lot of “ usuallys” in this definition, It is usually Written in a programming language, although the first things that we Called blogs were just straight HTML: The content of the site is normally stored.
In some sort of metadata-rich format, This is all invisible to the user. And the presentation of the content is usually reverse chronological, That is one Of the hallmarks of kind of the blog format is that you have the new stuff at the top and then It trails as the older stuff trails off the screen, Usually each piece of content or post Is the product of a single author? There are lots of blogs that have multiple Authors but usually the post itself is not normally co-authored by multiple People And a big deal is that the content is updated regularly on a blog Usually again, the page has some sort of social networking component, whether it Allows comments whether it allows track back or some other sort of feedback.
Mechanism for the community in question – Becky – That’s great, And can you talk a Little bit about what the difference might be from a regular website And can a blog be a Website I’d, imagine a lot of organizations and libraries might be interested in using A blog tool to actually create a website if they don’t have one or it would Be easier to update a site if they do Jason Yeah, some of that actually comes down.
To a distinction between what I’ll call code and content You can have a blog engine, That is a tool that is designed for blogging. That does many things besides blogging, So The code that underlies the way the website is put together, whether it Is WordPress or Blogger, or a more fully featured content? Management system like Drupal or Joomla, those that the underlying engine What we would call blogging software could easily run a website in a myriad of Ways, WordPress is really pretty heavily used when it comes to running kind.
Of what we would call a website as opposed to what we would call a blog, But the content really is what sets a Blog apart in that, it is regularly updated that you have what are called posts. You Have consolidated pieces of information that are news items or some other kind of Temporally interesting piece of information that then gets linked to a Time and scrolled through so a little bit different than a Traditional website in that kind of manner, Becky.
Thank you for that help in defining What a blog is and what a blog tool can do, We will have more about the blog Tools later on in our discussion, But before we get to talking about the Nitty-Gritty of the different tools – Allyson, maybe you could talk a little bit about what The benefits of blogging might be for nonprofits, Since you work consulting nonprofits blogging. For nonprofits about using social media tools like blogs, it would be great to share a little Bit about why blogging can benefit a nonprofit Allyson.
Are we jumping Into the slides now Becky Sorry Yep, I hadn’t advanced it Allyson. Sorry, I’m just waiting. For it pop up on my screen, Becky Sorry, It took A second to catch up Allyson, So one of the things that we use Blogging, for is really to communicate our message and really standout from our competition. Or our opposition, So we really use it as a communications tool with our base of Current supporters or potential supporters that we want to reach and recruit and, of course, Reaching out to the press and influentials and decision-makers such as political Representatives like hill staff or state representatives, And it can Even go down into very local targeting And then of course you don’t want to get lost in The shuffle, because blogging is so huge today, I think that there is a stat out there from Technorati, I think there are over, like 75,000 new people that are blogging every day.
And so probably your opposition is blogging and your competition is already doing it. So you want to have that blog presence too, And also blogging gives you a chance to Tell your story with your unique voice And, as Jason was mentioning blogging. Is a really easy and cost effective way to share the latest news in your organization? To tell your story to solicit feedback from your community and to really Foster a great discussion and dialogue, And it gives your nonprofit a really Distinct voice within your movement and can really distinguish you from other Nonprofits that are working on similar issues, And you can see in this example, I used Greenpeace, which, I think is a great example There are a ton of other environmental Organizations but Greenpeace has done such a great job with their Blog, It really caters to their activists.
You can tell, by reading their blog in terms of Their tone and messaging, It is also a great source of information for their activists that are Looking for the latest news on their issues, It’s just a great example of how to really Define your voice within your community So blogging also helps you really brand Your mission with your organization, with your constituents and Of course, with the press – And I used the Amnesty International example – I think that they’ve done a really great job, They’ve, actually called their blog Human Rights.
Now – and I think that is a great great example of Amnesty International – They have done such A great job in branding themselves in general, including their online social networks, They have A really active presence on Facebook and Twitter And their blog is just Another representation of that Also, you can use your blog to really Freshen up information on your homepage, And here I used the Save Darfur example And if You can see, I know this is a small screen shot on your right-hand side, but there towards the Bottom of the screen it has the Save Darfur blog And basically, what they’ve done is they’ve Integrated a blog feed onto their homepage, And it is just a great way to really freshen.
Up your homepage and make it look dynamic for web visitors that are coming back. To your website on a constant basis, And they have also actually used it. It’s the same thing: It’s an RSS feed. If you look over to the left side of the screen, They have also done that with Darfur Daily News, And it is the same idea of using an RSS feed. To really just keep that content really fresh and updated for the users when they Are coming back to your website? Becky! That’s great info, The other great Thing about RSS is that you cannot only use it to keep your own site and information fresh and Active but it’s available for anybody to use Once you have that RSS feed other people in Other organizations, other bloggers, can also use your feed on their own site, helping to further Syndicate your information around the web Before we move on to some of the library Info that Jason is going to offer.
I would love to have folks raise their Hand if they are calling in and joining us from a nonprofit today, So you will see a raise Hand a button If you want to raise your hand if you are from a nonprofit that would be Great just to let us know who’s joining us. I see a lot of yellow on my screen. Which is what happens on the back end? We see a lot of yellow raised hands. It Looks to me like about half of the folks, maybe a little more than half of the Folks on the line are from nonprofits, So if you want to go ahead and put your Hands back down that would be great Now that hands are down for the Nonprofits, I would love to see before we get into Jason’s section.
About why it matters to libraries, I would love to have folks raise their Hand if they are calling in from a library or a friend of the library, Lots More hands going up, That’s great, So it looks like we have quite a bit more at the Moment, nonprofits on the line than libraries, but these tools are equally relevant. I think To both audiences and Jason is going to tell us a little bit why? What are the Benefits of blogging for libraries, If you still have your hand up, you are Welcome to put that down at this point, just by clicking the Same button again, Thanks Jason, do you want to tell us About some of the benefits, Jason Sure thing I kind of picked out three things: That I think blogs are really good at for libraries, And the first of these is — Waiting on the slide There we go, I’m hoping everybody sees that The first is building an audience: Every library, whether it is public academic, Corporate other sorts of special libraries school libraries – all of them – are in Some way answerable to their patrons In the same way that a business Is answerable to its customers? Libraries have a duty to their patrons To serve them in the best way they can And you can’t serve anyone if you don’t Have anyone One of the biggest problems for public libraries and academic libraries Too is trying to increase your patron base, trying to figure out how you can Get more and more people interested in what it is that you are doing And blogs are Marketing and outreach and problem solving and potentially patron feedback all in one It’s a single kind of communication blog that is flexible enough to allow for a lot of different What I think are very interesting communications between you and your patrons So building an audience reaching out to underserved audiences, all Of that sort of thing is really easily done when it comes to blogging.
Blogging is a nice tool for that. The next thing that I think is important for Libraries to think about when they think about blogging, is when I said, share your secrets, And that is Every library has these amazing collections — that’s a little too far. There On the slides There, we go Share your secrets: Whether it is the Smallest public library, in a small rural town, all the way up to major academic Libraries, every library has something some things in their collections that are Vastly important to someone in the world, The problem is connecting the reader and The object It’s similar to marketing, but I think that simply putting out your Information in a way that is easily re-shareable — you mentioned earlier that RSS Makes things kind of re-shareable? You can get your message out more easily.
Libraries, when it comes right down to it, are purveyors of information. We are trying To get our information out into the world in every method that we can use to do that, Is an important one. Blogging is a huge one. I think it’s important for libraries. To think about how they could get a blog into their communication streams in order to Get their content out the actual information that the libraries are holding more fully Out into the world into the digital realm, I think that’s a big deal.
For libraries these days And then finally last piece — Waiting on the slides There, we are Remix. Your world Blogging is a way of — librarians love, structured information. We are insane about structuring information. So that we can do interesting things with it And blogging is one great way of taking Sets of information and structuring them in specific ways through RSS XML Adam and other kinds of metadata formats, in order to be able to as Allyson said, Embed them everywhere that you might want it, You can have one blog.
That then feeds the Information into lots of other webpages, You can feed into multiple websites all at Once And it just gives you a lot of power on the back end, The actual technology Behind blogging gives you a lot of options for things that libraries are very interested. In doing I think that those are the three things that I think libraries can benefit from pretty Quickly and pretty directly via blogging, Becky, That’s great.
It seems like between Nonprofits and libraries there’s probably a lot of overlap in what is trying to be achieved. I mean obviously building an audience communicating with your constituency. Whether that is your local neighborhood that you want to have come out, And participate in library events or whether it is people you are trying to move into Advocacy or action or service for your nonprofit, So these are great tips.
I think For both libraries and nonprofits So before we start a blog before we jump In and try to launch into the blogisphere I’d like to, have you give us some information? About what we should consider as a nonprofit or as a library before really jumping in What kind of things we need to think about? What are the hurdles that you need? To overcome before you try to start, Or is it really just go to Blogger And open an account and start So Allyson.
Maybe you can talk a little Bit about what kind of considerations we need to have before getting started, Allyson Sure! Well, the first thing that you want To do is you really want to define your goals upfront when you’re, first, starting your blog And Jason Did talk about kind of building your audience, So you definitely want to define. Who is your Target audience when you are starting your blog and who are your readers, Who do You want to be reading your material And then you really want to define the Unique information that you are delivering through your blog to your target audiences What’s going to be the most valuable information that you can give them, And possibly the valuable Information is going to be somewhat different than your competitors So because At the end of the day, it’s all about kind of getting the most visits and we want To be able to provide value to our web visitors who are reading our blogs, Then you also want to think about a publishing Schedule In terms of commitment to your blog, how quickly can you provide the Information, and do this on a regular basis, Are you going to be able to — and I’ll talk a little Bit about this below in terms of staff commitment — are you going to be able to update This blog three times a week Or are you looking at kind of doing this more Once a week or once every couple of weeks, Because the more you put into your blog The more you are going to get out of it in terms of people coming to your blog Regularly to read it and commenting and really feel like they Are part of your community So in terms of staff commitment a lot of Organizations look at blogging like a chore And it really shouldn’t be viewed as a Chore It really needs to be viewed as part of your communication strategy, So there Are a couple of options in terms of staffing One if you can designate a blogger And chief, which is what we do over at Care2’s, FrogLoop blog But We also do something once a week.
We actually have guests post And That has worked out really well for us, because there are so many experts in the Field in terms of nonprofit communications, which is what FrogLoop focuses on It’s Just a great way to keep the blog post fresh with guest posts from other experts in the Field and people really respond to that – You can also look at it if you didn’t want To designate one person to be the main blogger, you can have different staff contributing Different posts throughout the week, But I will say that the best thing that You can do in terms of staffing, your blog is again.
We don’t want to look at this as a chore. But when you are having those staff contributions make sure that they actually want to be doing. This blogging and that it is not seen as something that is burdensome on them, because it Can actually come across in the posts that the posts aren’t full of the great resources? It is something that was done very quickly without a lot of thought, So you Really want that staff investment Again my goal in terms of working with Nonprofits is to get them to have a blog that has at least three short posts.
Per week, to really keep that blog fresh and to keep people coming back And who should be blogging, That’s a really Great question that I get asked a lot, And my opinion on this is that people that Truly understand your organization’s mission, your issues, your agenda and objectives. These are the people that should be blogging, And that tends to be people in your Organization that are part of senior management and middle management, You can also have Guest bloggers, like I mentioned before, which could be people like board members, Or allies partners, people that are experts in your field – I am not a big fan.
Personally, of having interns blog or run your social networking platforms, Because it is the senior management and the middle management that actually Understand the core issues of your organization And then at the end of the day, it is all about Messaging, and do you really want an intern who is not very familiar with your organization? That may have been with your organization for a month or two to be the Voice of your organization, Becky, Those are great points Allyson And I Think different organizations do it differently, across-the-board.
I know here at TechSoup, For our blog, we have different bloggers that kind of handle a certain beat. So we have one Blogger, who is a real expert on security issues, and so most of his posts are Security-Related And we have other bloggers who write about green technology and That is what they write about every week, So it is helpful to kind of really look within The organization across staff across board to look for where people strengths are and Whether that is something you want to have on the blog, whether you think That voice and the contribution is really going to contribute.
Something valuable to your readers: Allyson Yup, that’s great Becky! I also know that another organization that I worked for in the past had interns and students blogging as its primary voice, because their Goal and their target audience was other students and other young college students. So I Think in some situations that can really work when you have your key audience defined and People of that same group really targeting them, But it did require quite a bit of maintenance.
By staff to make sure that they were on message and starting some personnel Policies to really set that up Go ahead; Jason, I’m Sorry, if I interrupted Jason, No, no, I was just going to say that One of the keys is at least in the time that I’ve been blogging is, if you are going To separate out the roles like have somebody doing X or Y obviously match that to Their interests You can tell when somebody is writing just because they have To get a blog post done for the week, You can tell when someone is really Actually interested in the subject, in the same way that you can Tell when someone’s talking you can tell when someone’s writing So it’s Really important to match interests with the topics as well.
If you have a particular Thing you want discussed on the blog, find the person in your Organization, that is the passionate you know absolute end, all be all Of that topic and let them do it Becky, That’s a great point, Along with setting The goals and picking the right messengers to be talking Allyson. Do you want to talk A little bit about how to determine voice Allyson Sure, So the tone of your blog really Depends on who your target audience is for So, for example, on FrogLoop we write For a pretty much a young demographic, They are typically tech savvy.
They Are online communication practitioners So we have a very professional voice. But we definitely add some personality and spunk to it. We are also not Afraid to embrace a little controversy, But other blogs, like I had on one of my first Slides like from NARAL, they actually have a bit more of a combination of an activist and Policymaker audience So their blog tone definitely has a research-based tone to it, but Also, since part of their audience is also activists, they actually also definitely have a lot of calls.
To action – and that has an activist tone as well, So they do a nice, jo Bof, bridging the two Another blog audience could be community. Members, including teens and children, So that may take a very different approach. Becky had mentioned one of the blogs that she had worked with earlier. They Had students blogging and college students So that probably took on a very different Age-Appropriate tone and it probably wasn’t sarcastic and it was pretty straightforward.
So There are definitely different tones that you can take depending On those audiences Becky Right – and I would imagine that especially For bloggers who might be working at a library who are trying to get young people to come, To events or trying to get young people to participate in summer reading programs That that would be the sort of tone that they may want to take and being Conscientious of their readership may be young and not get sarcasm or might not get some Dry wit, that may be a different audience would find appropriate Jason Yeah.
It is important to be Informal, when informality is needed even in professional communications, So I think Especially in the cases for young adult blogs, teen blogs and even under K-12 blogs, That school librarians might be doing. Age-Appropriateness is a huge deal tone. Informality is a big deal, paying attention to voice Becky Right, that’s a great point So just to Talk about some other considerations as well Jason.
Do you want to talk a little bit? About some of the more nitty-gritty decisions that a blog team might need to Make or an organization or library might need to make Before they get started, Jason Yeah I’ll go through a few Things pretty quickly, One is commenting. Commenting is a big deal for a lot of Library blogs again, especially either public or school library blogs, where Your readership may be minors.
You may not have readership over 18, necessarily And you want to kind of control the message a bit by moderating comments: Moderation, I’m Not a huge fan of moderated comments frankly, but in most cases it’s good to start that way. It is good to begin by moderating the comments that come in The way that that works. If anyone hasn’t used any blog software is that someone can leave a comment on A post, but it doesn’t actually show u until someone approves it, So you get A chance to read, potentially even edit and then approve a comment before it becomes a Part of the communication stream of your blog Anonymous comments is the other kind of Big piece of that, A lot of blogs do allow for anonymous commenting on their posts.
Anonymity doesn’t always bring out the best in people. On the other hand, anonymity is Necessary, especially for a lot of libraries, We value anonymity of the reading process in A big way, So there is a really tough balance to be sought there, where you give enough Freedom to allow for people to comment freely, but you don’t give them enough freedom so that They feel like they can get away with anything, So some combination of anonymity and Moderation can find that balance pretty quickly.
Once you see what people are Doing and see how that is going So comments are something that Will always be challenging Any time you have an open communication. Stream, it’s going to be a challenge to try to keep those in The topics that you want, If you are doing Anonymity also goes to the blogging the blogger side of the world. There may be instances in both libraries And in nonprofits, where, if you are dealing with a particular controversial topic, you May want the identity of the blogger themselves held back.
You would not want an actual name. Attached to that, That is absolutely allowable. I think, especially in instances where you are Attempting to protect identity for potentially for legal reasons. There are many many reasons: That this might come up. It is not, as — it’s good, for people to know who is Writing because often readers want to be able to connect to that person again or find Other things that person has written But if the things that you are trying To get across are of a sensitive nature.
Anonymity in blogging is Something that is very common and definitely is not a Taboo in any way across blogs, How can you ensure your blog doesn’t get Hacked Well, a lot of that is going to depend upon what kind of blog you choose to set up. How you choose to interact with the software that is actually running the blog, The biggest Decision there is, do you, as the nonprofit or library have web servers that you are Going to actually install software on to, or are you going to rely on, an outside service? And outsource that particular bit of it, If you yourself are hosting the blog, then There are measures that you need to take for any kind of web hosting fire, walling and Things like that to try and keep the hackers at bay If it’s outside of your organization, And it is being hosted by someone else, a large part of the choice of who that Someone else is needs to be, how secure is it? How do I follow up with the person You Expect, for instance, if you host a blog with a mom-and-pop hosting service down the Street from you, you need to be able to talk to them about security issues.
They Need to communicate with you clearly that they are patching their software And keeping their servers updated If you go with something like Blogger, that’s hosted by Google. There is certainly a different level. Of communication that you can expect or not expect from a Major company like that And then disclaimers and how to Allow for some freedom of opinion, but still protect your organization in some Way Most blogs, most professional blogs that I am a part of and that I am Aware of have some form of blogging, Whether it’s a code of ethics or whether It’s just a set of blogging guidelines or something that is published that says this Is the topics that our blog is going to cover Here? Are the sorts of things that we talk about? And if we go off topic, it is the individual that is responsible for that and Not the organization as a whole, And that certainly is a standard sort of Disclaimer to put on pretty much any group blog, especially if you have multiple bloggers, That are all contributing to a single blog, It’s important to give them a little bit of freedom.
But also to warn your public that the opinions and such if you are allowing kind of unmediated Blogging and free selection, and things like that, that you need to warn the public that it is Possible that the blogger may say something that you don’t like It is their opinion. And not the opinion of the larger community Becky, That’s great, And I think that There are probably a lot of examples that are able to be found by Google or Bing Or whatever your search engine of choice is these days samples of content guidelines And blogger disclaimers, We have one that we use at TechSoup as well, where we talk about the Audience that we are writing for and the tone, as well as some of those more no-no things Especially as a nonprofit, it’s something that there are legality issues.
If you work on Political issues around endorsing a candidate or denouncing a candidate or a specific Political party, So there are some things to be careful about and it does help To have some written policy of some type, especially if you are recruiting guest Bloggers to help or board members who may not know some of Those no-no things to avoid, And I think there are great examples of Disclaimers that are pretty easily Googleable, and you see them on a lot of the different blogs.
Some of the blogs that were in the screen shots earlier for sure I know NARAL – has a Pretty good disclaimer on their site And when you were talking About controversial topics, I know that they have to pretty Heavily moderate a lot of their comments just because they work on women’s rights issues. And it is a really heated topic frequently, So they get a lot of what we call trolls or People who are there just to kind of create trouble and aren’t necessarily the audience That they are aiming to reach, They are there to sort of Sabotage some of their messaging, So that is really terrific.
We’re a little Bit off on time as far as our schedule, so what I’d like to do is talk about some of The tools and we are going to go over them pretty quickly here, We’ll just show some Screen shots and talk about some of the benefits, and we can follow up with more in the Q & A if you are needing more detail And we will also send some resources. Afterwards, that list out some of the best uses for some of these tools, so you can find Which ones really will suit your needs So Jason? Do you want to go Through any of these tools, Jason Yeah – I can snap through Them pretty quickly, I think Blogger.
Com is owned by Google and its a Hosted solution, That is the blog typically — and you can actually do a couple things. With it — but typically the Blogger blog sits on Google servers And you have An address that reads something like “, YourBlogName.BlogSpot.Com.” Blogger does Give you the freedom to publish the blog to your own space? If you have some server Space, So it does have kind of a dual role, although most people that use it do use it as The Google hosted solution very easy to set up.
You can literally go to Blogger.Com and have A blog up and running in about 35 seconds, It’s very, very fast, So let’s go to the next There we go Another hosted solution. That is another solution. Where the information lives on some server out in the world is WordPress.Com WordPress.Com is probably the second most popular Blogger is by far the Largest of the hosted solutions in the world right now, World press.
Com is Probably second, maybe third, but I think it is probably second these days It is similar in that you sign up like signing. U for a web mail account, You sign up. You Give it a couple of pieces of information You hit, go and you’ve got a blog There. Are limits to these sorts of hosted services in that you can’t really tinker because The software lives outside of your control. So if you want a ton of control on look and Feel and on plug-ins multimedia ability and other things that come With having a localized install, these may not be exactly what you want.
But if you are just dipping your toes in and you want to kind of get a feeling for how To blog and get just kind of a rough start, Blogger or WordPress, and then the next Option as well are all hosted options. The third of the hosted options that I wanted to point out is TypePad.Com. These are kind of the three WordPress Blogger and TypePad are the three really substantial blog platforms on the Web TypePad is the hosted version of a tool that we are going to look at in just a second Called MovableType And TypePad is similar again to WordPress and Blogger, Each of them Have their own feel So in the same way that different web clients for e-mail feel Different when you use them, each of them have slightly different controls, slightly different Abilities different plug-ins: They treat things just a little bit different, but Overall, it’s enter your information press, a couple of Buttons, you have a blog And the disadvantages for libraries.
And for nonprofits, I think, for these is that you lose some control when your Information is stored out on their servers. You don’t have complete control over the Way, it looks You don’t have complete control over the way it treats media or the way it Treats even commenting and things like that, You lose some control when they are out There, On the other hand, they are easy and mostly they are free, So those are The two things that sometimes win out easy and free over full control, The largest non-hosted, that is the Largest solution for blogging these days, where you are actually installing it locally On your machines is a piece of software also called WordPress WordPress.
Org Is the website where — Whoops One too far, there Sorry, Let’s go back one, So WordPress.Org is the site where you Would go And you can actually download WordPress is an open source tool. It’s Completely free completely open source, completely modifiable. You can download it And install it locally on your own servers, When you do that, you have complete control over How it looks what it does plug-ins media, how the users are treated kind of Absolute control over the way it works.
You do need both a web server and then some It sort of background in order to deal with getting it installed Once its installed, pretty Much anyone can use it. Even nontechnical people have no trouble logging in and creating Posts and things, but the initial install is sometimes problematic So, depending on your Organization, it may or may not be a good fit, But it is both the most robust largest install base.
There are literally millions and millions of people using this tool, including two Of the blogs that I blog on And it allows you kind of complete control, So it is very, very highly recommended if you have the technical background and ability To deal with it, It is the one that I recommend Becky. We should mention that WordPress.Org Also has a really large community of users that are active in the forums, So, if You’ve got some technical expertise, but you are not quite sure if you’ve Got enough to really set it up yourself, I would visit the forums that was Actually, in the top of that screen shot And then you can kind of get a feel For whether or not you can really do it and maybe get some people to help You set it up through the forums, Jason Yeah, one of the advantages Of being the largest install base of open source blogging, software is that there Are thousands and thousands and thousands of sites that will walk you through the process? There are articles that will walk you through the install process.
There are Forums where you can ask questions, There’s a really remarkable user base. That will help you with WordPress The last of the actual blogging tools. That I wanted to point out is MovableType. Movabletype was very very popular early on in Kind of the blogging revolution in the early 2000s MovableType was a really popular Option It’s dropped off because WordPress kind of overtook it in a lot of Ways But MovableType is still very popular.
Lots and lots of sites are using it. Movabletype actually has two different models: One is an open source model. They have a version that is free, But they also have a version that is paid. You Pay for the software you install it locally and paying for the software gets you some Support So for a lot of nonprofits and libraries having that extra little bit of Support sometimes comes in really handy, So the model for MovableType is a little Different With WordPress, you can find support, but you normally have to do so by digging.
Around forums and talking to individual people With MovableType there’s a support. Base that is built in for it Becky And I would add that MovableType seems To be much more used by larger organizations with a dedicated IT team, as opposed to a Lot of the more smaller grassroots groups that tend to go with a hosted Option like WordPress or Blogger Jason Yup. I think that’s exactly Right MovableType does tend to be more a larger install.
You can see the screen Shot has the Obama Biden page on it, so MovableType was used for that. And clearly, a large IT structure behind that particular undertaking The last two tools that I wanted: To point out just very quickly, because I know we are running over Time aren’t actually blogging tools, but they are related to blogging. Tools – And they were important enough – that I thought we should mention them.
The first is a service called FeedBurner. We’ve Mentioned a couple of times in the presentation, RSS and dealing with RSS feeds and moving Them around and all of that sort of thing All of these blog platforms provide An RSS feed for your readers to push in to their own aggregators or anything Like that, But FeedBurner is a service that mediates the RSS feed for you. And then gives you statistics on it, So you give FeedBurner your RSS Feed FeedBurner gives you an RSS feed to give to your patrons Your clients, your customers And then FeedBurner gives you statistics on That RSS feed You can tell how many people are using it, what things they are Clicking through to the actual page on It gives you a lot of interesting things that You don’t get normally from a standard, RSS feed So for the purposes of measuring Results we measure what we care about And if we care about who is reading our stuff, Then we need to be able to measure the RSS as well, And FeedBurner is one Of the best tools to do that with So, I wanted to point it out: separately.
And The last tool is one that probably again we mentioned early, but is Twitter And Twitter is a form of blogging. It’s called micro-blogging Twitter, Friendfeed, even Facebook to some degree are all kind of experimenting with This micro-blogging format, where it’s just little 140 character messages That get your voice out at a time, So it is a type of blogging. It is just a very, very Small blogging, So I wanted to at least mention it in the larger context of kind of The blogging software and stuff so that people would think About the two of them together, Becky Right And once you have your blog set Up and going you can really easily automate so that your RSS feed feeds Directly into a Twitter feed, So if you have an organizational Twitter Feed your blog post headline can be your 140 character.
Twitter update, So It can really be synced up pretty easily and reach out to different people. In different parts of the community, So let’s try to move on pretty quickly here to Best practices and tips so that we’ve got some time to get through to questions So Allyson Can you give us some of your best practices, having been the blogger and chief For FrogLoop for a while now Allyson, Absolutely So, the First thing that you want to do because, just like with e-mail, Communications and battle of the inboxes well, it is also battle of the websites.
And blogs and all online communications, So you really want to keep everything Really scannable, when you are using blogs And a good way to do that is by using Bulleted lists to display key highlights: You can also frame your post around key Sections that really illustrate your points with bold headlines. I know this is a Little bit hard to see in this slide here, but you can actually tell off to the right hand Side here, where I have the arrow and circled it, the headline reads: “ understand what you want: To track.
” – And that was a really good framework to frame this post, which is around the Top eight social media tracking tools that I used in this example And you Can also use pull, quotes strategically and to highlight very good compelling Comments from someone that you’ve quoted or a really good, stat And in terms of other best practices, layout You want to display several posts on the main page, using excerpts and associated images.
So Web visitors can really get a quick synopsis of your latest articles. If you just decide. That you are going to display one post at a time on the main page of your blog. Well, then, The reader is getting just one example of what you are writing about, rather than a List of articles that you are writing about, So you really do want to use that excerpt. Tool.And. Then The length of posts – that’s another common question – I like to say that the length of posts Should be around 500 to 750 words or less? If it is longer, you can divide the post into A two-part post, which is also kind of nice, because then you kind of have a little Bit of suspense as to what the reader is going to be looking for next And then hopefully They will come back and read it the next day or whenever you decide you want to actually Post that second post, But definitely tell them if you are going to use that type of format when To expect that next post, as part of that two series, So you also want to think About search engine marketing And basically search engine marketing allows You to increase your search engine rankings using key words that relate to your nonprofit’s Issue because a key word oriented blog, can really increase your Chances of higher search rankings, which means, of course, more traffic, To your blog, which is what we all want And in terms of promoting your blog We talked a lot about actually RSS feeds which really gives visitors the opportunity.
To subscribe to your blog’s RSS feed, And I recommend that you actually put in Rss feed in a couple of places on your blog somewhere near the top, so that people Can actually subscribe to the blog, And then I also like to incorporated It into the bottom of each post, something that says: click here, To subscribe to our RSS feed, So I like to actually put it not just in One place, but in a few strategic places so that people have opportunities.
To sign up across your blog, You can also incorporate something called “. Add This.” And I actually included as screen shot of this towards the bottom And it basically Encourages users to promote your blog post and share the blog through A variety of social networks – And I believe it has about 50 social networks, It has Facebook and Reddit and Delicious and MySpace Digg Twitter. It’s A really really great tool to use, And again I also put this At the end of every blog post Social networks, because at the end Of the day, all of our communications are about integrated communications.
We want To hit people wherever they are on the web, whether that be through e-mail Social networking through the web, So you really want to promote key Articles to colleagues and to listservs and reporters using also a variety of Social networks like Twitter and Facebook, And then you also want to post comments on Other blogs, who are discussing similar topics and actually linking back to your blog because It really builds a nice reputation with the blogs that are actually covering similar issues And When people are reading the comment, sections of those blogs, they actually see your Comment and your link back to your blog And hopefully they are going to click On that and read what you have to say about the particular post or the similar Issue that they are talking about Becky – That’s terrific, That’s great! So what we Are going to do here with these last few slides is I’d like to get started with a few questions? And answers so we’ll just really quickly show a couple of the slides that are on Allyson’s Top Pick List, And a lot of these are great resources.
If you are looking to start your blog, These Are a lot of blogs that are talking about how nonprofits can do this kind of work? Effectively, So you will receive all of these slides in the follow-up e-mail and they Will also be archived on our site, So one that she had as an example is Beth’s. Blog, This is also a favorite of mine. Talking about how nonprofits Can use social media, I threw in the TechSoup blog, which we Talk a lot about nonprofit technology, including social media and topics like How to blog and which tools are best, And then we also have Some of Jason’s top picks – And here are a couple That he has highlighted – And this is from the Skokie Library, One of Their blogs, they have a whole series of blogs.
This one is called The Bookshelf And then ALA. Techsource is one of the blogs Where Jason actually writes frequently And then I will also mention that We have TechSoup for Libraries, which is all about libraries, And technology on our site. So now, if you have a question that you haven’t Been able to ask yet or even ones that you have this is the time to do it in our chat. Box And I will go ahead and grab some that have already been asked.
So the first question Laura actually had a Question I think Allyson that you had addressed in the chat directly to her, but I think it would Be useful to answer it for the whole audience, But where can you go to learn how to Upload an RSS button or create an RSS feed to put on your homepage or To keep your content fresh Allyson Well, here is what I mentioned to Laura that, basically, all blogging platforms like WordPress and Blogger, offer RSS Feeds And most CMSs like Drupal and Joomla – they offer this too.
So if you are not working with A blogging platform, you can actually write a script to pull out this information out of the database. And into an RSS feed, So that was my basic advice to her And I think that Jason, that You had had something to add on this too, that you talked about During your presentation, Jason Well, I had mentioned FeedBurner, which Will convert a feed that you have already existing into kind of something? That’s trackable.
It doesn’t Create the feed – and it doesn’t really give you buttons and things in order to do that, But there Are a lot of — for each of the different tools? There are slightly different ways to kind of deal. With RSS And all of the tools that I mentioned and probably any of the other Tools, Drupal Joomla. All of those have pretty robust online discussion. Communities, So if you do a little bit of looking, you will find lots of examples.
Of ways to get that done, Allyson And if you have like a static site, With HTML, there are some services like FeedFire that you can use as well And in terms Of — someone actually asked about uploading an RSS icon. Well, that is something You can actually find on iStockPhoto.Com and you can pay a dollar for it. There are Some free ones on Smashing Magazine as well Becky, Great And somebody actually Just asked what is RSS again So RSS is real, simple syndication And it is The little button that you see on a lot of blogs, a little orange button with what looks Like little speaker amplification waves – And that is what people can click on to subscribe – To your feed, or have it come into their inbox if they have a feed, aggregator or news Aggregator, so that they don’t have to come to your blog necessarily to be getting The great info that you are blogging about It can come directly to them wherever they want.
It to arrive whether it is on an iGoogle page or whether it is in their inbox. So that is what Rss is It helps syndicate your blog around the web, So one of the other questions that was asked by Denise was of the three different hosted tools that were mentioned, which, which one would You recommend, Do you guys have favorites Jason, I really like WordPress, but it is limited. In that, the online version has some limitations that I don’t particularly like Blogger gives you a Lot of flexibility, You can start with a hosted blog and then kind of transition.
Your way to having Your own domain name and then even transition that into publishing the blog on your own site. So Blogger gives you a lot of flexibility. Google is pretty good about enabling their Tools to do as much as they possibly can So I like Blogger, especially if you are just Starting and just want to get a feel for it. What do you think Allyson Allyson? Well, I mean we actually are. We Bdevelopment firm, so we actually use WordPress a lot to run blogs, but we can completely Customize them So that is very different than somebody who actually doesn’t Come from a web development background, But definitely WordPress is probably my Favorite, But I agree with what you were saying that if you do not have development experience, Then I think what you were mentioning like Blogger is Definitely a good platform Becky.
I would agree. I Really like WordPress as well. But I think that if you are from a Big organization, with a good IT staff that I’ve had some really good experiences. With using Movable Type as well, Even though it is pretty different, it’s got Some great functionality that comes with it, if you are able to Purchase it and set it up, So we are really running out of time. Here and we have a lot of questions, So I think we are actually going to have to wrap It up I apologize to folks who have added questions to the mix.
We can certainly continue. The conversation in our discussion forums where we can take some time to answer These questions later this afternoon Here is some contact information. For Allyson and Jason Again, you don’t need to scribble this down right. Now you will be receiving it in an e-mail shortly. The link for our conversation, where We can ask follow-up questions, is here, And hopefully we can get to some of the Questions that we didn’t have an opportunity to answer in person.
We would encourage you to visit TechSoup and Try to get the most out of your technology for your nonprofit or your library, And before we wrap up I’d just Like to thank our sponsor ReadyTalk, This webinar was made possible by ReadyTalk Which has donated the use of their system to help TechSoup expand awareness of Technology throughout the nonprofit sector, ReadyTalk helps nonprofits and Libraries in the US and Canada reach geographically dispersed Areas and increase collaboration through their audio conferencing And web conferencing services, Thank you to everybody who participated.
Including Allyson and Jason, We really appreciate you taking the Time out to do this presentation And thank you to our volunteer, Laura Who has been manning your chat questions? You will receive an e-mail shortly after This event has wrapped up with all the links to this presentation: the recording And the resources discussed, I hope you will join us in our forums. And please take a moment to complete your postevent survey, so we can Hopefully improve this service even more for future webinars.
Thank you all. Thank you, Jason. Thank you. Allyson And thank you to all of our participants Allyson. Thank you. Jason Thanks. Everyone
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