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timeforcake: Blog lesson & search tip

ERIN PHEILspecial to the daily

I’ve mentioned this before and I now have reason to mention it again: if you care at all about your company’s blog, do not keep it on another company’s website. Don’t keep your business blog on Blogger. Don’t keep it on the WordPress.com website. Don’t keep it at Blogspot.com or Blog.com or Macpress.org.Yes, this practice is just flat-out unprofessional. Yes, it definitely makes you look cheap. Looking cheap, however, is not the main reason you should refrain from using a free blog service to host your blog. The main reason is: as long as the blog doesn’t live on your server, it’s not truly owned by you and you don’t have full control over it.Last week one of our clients who had previously opted to use one of the free blog services mentioned above learned this lesson the hard way. One afternoon she sat down to update her blog … only to find it was … gone. Poof. Nowhere to be found. The blog service hadn’t warned her that it was shutting down her blog, and she in fact remains in the dark as to why her site was taken down. The blog service hasn’t returned her communications. Her blog is gone – most likely for good. Imagine how you’d feel and how your company would be affected if this happened to you. Imagine if all the time you’d spent updating and maintaining your company blog was thrown out with the trash.If you have a company blog that you truly care about, I strongly recommend that that you house it on your own server. If at all possible, integrate it seamlessly into your company’s site so that it doesn’t feel like an awkward added appendage. Consider hiring an expert if you’re not sure how to do this on your own. I’m well aware that the vast majority (if not all) of you will ignore my recommendation. Just keep my client’s recent experience in mind. Similar to the act of setting up a backup for your computer’s data, the effort involved with taking preventative steps to protect your blog seems like a waste of time … And it will seem like a waste of time up until the morning you wake up to find that your blog is gone for good.

Let me let you in on a little secret: I’m afraid that Google is, well, how do I put this without hurting your feelings? Well … it turns out that Google is indifferent to a lot of the punctuation you’ve been using in your searches. There. I said it. Google just doesn’t care. Don’t be offended; just keep this in mind as you work to become a better Google searcher.Let’s say you forgot the (most common) color of the sky. You head over to Google and type “What color is the sky?” You didn’t do any harm or decrease the likelihood that you’d receive relevant results, but do know that Google just totally ignored your question mark. Acted as if it wasn’t even there, as if it didn’t even exist. You know, just like that one super-popular girl in high school.Google doesn’t care about your exclamation marks. Put in two exclamation marks or put in 50; Google couldn’t care less. Those commas, periods, and semicolons you’ve been using in your searches? Save ’em for your e-mails. Pound signs? Less than and greater than keys? They might as well be invisible unless you’re using Google Calculator.What about quotation marks, you ask? Ahhhh. Great question. Hopefully your brain is remembering previous discussions we’ve had about the use of quotations marks in searches; Google absolutely, positively cares about quotation marks – and using them correctly can greatly increase the relevance of your search results. We’ll have a refresher next Monday on the use of quotation marks in searches. Stay tuned.No Grab Bag today, but don’t worry – the weekly Grab Bag with your five links of the week will return next Monday!eRin pheiL is the owner of timeforcake (www.timeforcake.com), a web design/ development studio in Frisco. She can be reached via e-mail at erin@timeforcake.com.


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