Blogosphere SearchFest 2010 Session

Boosting Performance Through Connection


Matt Inman – The Oatmeal
Rebecca Kelley – Formally  10 e 20 now a TBA company

Session Details

Rebecca started off the session with the Basics of Blogging. Why should you have a blog? It’s easier for your website to create content with a blog. Blogs also brings traffic to the website, whether they be main search terms or long-tail ones. They also attract links; if you discover something profound, people will link to it. Blogs also engage users and builds a community.

Questions you should ask yourself:

  • What’s your blog about?
  • Who’s going to blog?
  • How often will you be updating the blog?

Format-wise, it’s good to go… but what’s even better is Having a blogger URL, WordPress or just another website altogether won’t help you out.

There are multiple platforms you can use. The most popular choice is WorPress. Movable Type, Joomla and Drupal are a couple of other platforms that work well.

Some blog launch tips:

  • Have a few posts already published
  • Have an RSS feed
  • Have comments enabled; a big point of having a blog is to have a place for people to comment.. without this, it takes away the dynamic feel of a blog
  • Include appropriate share buttons
  • Set up web analytics

There are certain kinds of content that work pretty well with blogs. The first is lists: this kind of content is easy to digest and can get you popular on social networking sites. The second is just having some sort of humor into the post. How to’s are straightforward and useful posts. Regular features of some sort (like SEOmoz’s “Roundup Thursday” that Rebecca used to do). Caste studies may not be super sexy but they get a lot of responses. Catchy titles also work due to having an initial response which can encourage a good clickthrough. Reviews and criticisms can also garner huge responses, which can be positive or negative. Controversy typically always does really well in getting responses.

Content tips:

  • Make it as visual as possible
  • Post as early as possible in the day, especially if you write for a business blog
  • Think of things your audience can relate to
  • Mix your content! People don’t want to see the same kind of post each time you write a blog post
  • Look on and off-site for inspiration for future blog posts. Maybe a commenter asked a question that you can turn into a blog post. Or even look into Yahoo Answers or another question-type website and see if there are any popular questions you can write about

How do you promote your blog? Email newsletter subscription is an “old school” way of doing it. Add a link to your blog in your email signature. Create a Facebook page where you can put unique content as well as an RSS feed of your blog posts. Twitter is another place to promote your content. Comment on other blogs and include a link as your username or in your comment.

For social community sites, make sure you get to now the community before submitting anything to their community. Also do not submit your own content, unless you know what you’re doing. Make sure your website’s servers can handle the response if your submission gets hot as well.

Matt was the next speaker. He’s going to talk about his humor website and his history of how he got to where he is.

Matt started off at Mingle2 by writing some humor pieces as linkbait. After some success, he decided to start making some quizzes which you can then imbed the result as a “badge” on your website which included an optimized anchor text link back to their website. It was a huge success.

Most of the time now, users don’t embed these results on their website anymore; they share the results via Facebook and Twitter.

He launched The Oatmeal in July 2009. He got about 300,000 unique visitors in his first month of launch and it has only grown.

How does Matt make money from The Oatmeal? He sells a comic book and posters. He makes about $11,000 a week from Adsense and book purchases.

He picks topics that everyone can relate to. His example was about his “How not to suck at Facebook” comic in which everyone can really relate to.

His “How A Web Design Goes Straight To Hell” comic page went from 0 to a PageRank of 7 in one month.

Take some facts that you know and illustrate them. This is an interesting take on conveying information that might not be super exciting in text form but can be in visual form.

It’s about finding that common gripe. Some examples that Matt listed was his “Why I’d rather be punched in the balls than talk to customer service” as well as “how to use an apostrophe” as examples that everyone has a gripe about.

Some communities that Matt submits content to:

  • Digg – you need to create great content. It may be frustrating to say, but you need something really catching in order to have some traction on Digg. When you do submit, keep it benign; don’t slather it with ads or make it marketing-driven.
  • Reddit – when you submit things, submit it yourself and make it first-person. Something like “Hey guys, my friend made a zombie game. What do you think?”
  • Stumbleupon – there is really no spam control. It is absolutely visually-driven.


Anne Kennedy


Christian Bullock of Amplify Interactive, a Portland Oregon SEM agency

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