Tag Archives: visibility

If you’re building a startup tech blog you need to ask yourself this question

Editor & writer in friendly dialog

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I work at a lot of startups, and these days more and more are building tech blogs. With titles like labs or engineering at acme inc, these can be great ways to build your brand, and bring in strong talent.

So how do we make them succeed? It turns out many of the techniques that work for other blogs apply here, and regular attention can yield big gains.

1. Am I using snappy headlines?

Like it or not we live in a news world dominated by sites like Upworthy, Business Insider, Gawker & Huffpo. Ryan Holiday gained fame using a gonzo style as director of marketing at American Apparel. Ryan argues that old-style yellow journalism is back with a vengence.

Click bait asside, you *do* still need to write headlines that will click. What works often is for your title to be a little sound bite, encapsulating the gist of your post, but leaving enough hook that people need to click. Don’t be afraid to push the envelope a bit.

Also: Which tech do startups use most?

2. Line up those share buttons & feedburner

Of course you want to make the posts easy as hell to share. Cross posting on twitter, linkedin, facebook and whereever else your audience hangs out is a must. Use tools like hootsuite & buffer to line up a pipeline of content, and try different titles to see which are working.

You’ll also want to enable feedburner. Some folks will add your blog to feedly. Subscriber counts there can be a good indication of how it is growing in popularity too.

Related: Do today’s startups assemble software at their own risk?

3. Watch & listen to google analytics

You’re going to keep an eye on traffic by installing a beacon into your page header. There are lots of solutions, GA being the obvious one because it’s free. But how to use it?

Ask yourself questions. Who are my readers? Where are they coming from? How long do they spend on average? Do some pages spur readers to read more? Is there copy that works better for readers? Are my readers converting?

It’ll take time if you’re new to the tool, but start with questions like those.

Read: Is automation killing old-school operations?

4. Optimize your SEO a little bit

Although you don’t want to go overboard here, you do want to pay some attention. Using keyword rich titles, and < h2 > tags, along with wordpress SEO plugins that support other meta html tags means you’ll be speaking the language search engines understand. Add tags & categories that are relevant to your content.

Don’t overdo it though. Stick to a handful of tags per post. If you add zillions with lots of word order combinations & so forth, this kind of stuff may tip of the search engines in ways that work against you.

Check out: How to hire a developer that doesn’t suck

5. Search for untapped keywords

When I first started getting serious about blogging, I had an intern helping me with SEO. She did some searching with the moz keyword research tools and found some gems. These are searches that internet users are doing, but for which there still is not great content for.

For example if results showed “cool tech startups in gowanus brooklyn” had no strong results, then writing an article that covered this topic would be a winner right away.

These are big opportunities, because it means if you write directly for that search, you’ll rank highly for all those readers, and quickly grow traffic.

Read also: 5 things toxic to scalability

Get more. Grab our exclusive monthly Scalable Startups. We share tips and special content. Our latest Why I don’t work with recruiters

iHeavy Insights 68 – Transparency

The analogy du jour for cleaning up the financial mess is that sunshine makes the best disinfectant.  The idea is to push for more corporate transparency as a cleaning agent upon our current financial troubles.   Whether this cleaning job will have longstanding impact remains to be seen, however it’s clear that transparency is good for markets and economic stability.
In computing that same sunshine can be put to work as a disinfectant as well.  Transparency is as important for your cloud hosted application or traditional servers alike.  So how does it work?
Your typical internet application consists of a whole fleet of servers working together to do work for you.  Unlike automobiles, bridges, buildings or even most electronics however, the construction is constantly changing.  In effect these are buildings that are always being built, and bridges always being expanded.  Due to their changing nature, their behavior changes as well.  That’s where transparency comes in.
There are a number of great historical data tools specifically designed to capture the myriad of different metrics on your servers and then analyze and graph that information for you offline.  We like offline because that means the monitoring itself won’t affect or impact the performance of your application and servers.  Some of the tools of choice today include Munin, Cacti, and Collectd.  They each have their own strengths and weaknesses in terms of installation, configurability and so forth.  What they all have in common though is the transparency they provide.
Once installed, they will begin happily collecting information and monitoring your servers, all day and all night long even while you are enjoying your sunday brunch.
Are you looking at an outage that you encountered yesterday at 11pm?  Did your customers have trouble ordering your products, or utilizing your service? Fire up your cacti graphs, and drill down to that time window, and then review the various metrics to see what they reveal.
Having the right information at your fingertips is the first step in being able to resolve troubles.  Only with the right information can you fix these problems, and serve your customers what they expect.  So follow the analogy of using sunshine as a disinfectant and shine some light into your complex cloud environments. Let transparency lead you to the root of the problem and clean it up before it touches your customers.

The analogy du jour for cleaning up the financial mess is that sunshine makes the best disinfectant.  The idea is to push for more corporate transparency as a cleaning agent upon our current financial troubles.   Whether this cleaning job will have longstanding impact remains to be seen, however it’s clear that transparency is good for markets and economic stability.

In computing that same sunshine can be put to work as a disinfectant as well.  Transparency is as important for your cloud hosted application or traditional servers alike.  So how does it work?

Your typical internet application consists of a whole fleet of servers working together to do work for you.  Unlike automobiles, bridges, buildings or even most electronics however, the construction is constantly changing.  In effect these are buildings that are always being built, and bridges always being expanded.  Due to their changing nature, their behavior changes as well.  That’s where transparency comes in.

There are a number of great historical data tools specifically designed to capture the myriad of different metrics on your servers and then analyze and graph that information for you offline.  We like offline because that means the monitoring itself won’t affect or impact the performance of your application and servers.  Some of the tools of choice today include Munin, Cacti, and Collectd.  They each have their own strengths and weaknesses in terms of installation, configurability and so forth.  What they all have in common though is the transparency they provide.

Once installed, they will begin happily collecting information and monitoring your servers, all day and all night long even while you are enjoying your sunday brunch.

Are you looking at an outage that you encountered yesterday at 11pm?  Did your customers have trouble ordering your products, or utilizing your service? Fire up your cacti graphs, and drill down to that time window, and then review the various metrics to see what they reveal.

Having the right information at your fingertips is the first step in being able to resolve troubles.  Only with the right information can you fix these problems, and serve your customers what they expect.  So follow the analogy of using sunshine as a disinfectant and shine some light into your complex cloud environments. Let transparency lead you to the root of the problem and clean it up before it touches your customers.

Book Review:  The Ascent of Money – Niall Ferguson

When I think back to the dot-com days, I recall euphoria in people’s eyes.  It was that excitement in the face of making boat loads of money off the stock market that I remember clearly.  It is the excitement of the gambler, the thought of taking the shortcut, of getting something for nothing.  I remember seeing that same look in people’s eyes when they talked about housing just a short few years ago.  Talk of flipping houses and making money without adding anything.

It’s after the bubble bursts that everyone starts to think clearly again.  The tide has receded and we are left wondering how there could be bathers who weren’t wearing bathing suits, while it’s now plain for all to see.

Niall Ferguson’s book chronicles money’s use through history both the good and the bad.  By putting the current financial mess into historical perspective, he offers us new insights into our current predicament, helping us chart the way forward.  For anyone wanting to understand the financial forces around us, this is definitely a book worth reading.