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Team IT Presents…

This website is a report based upon a request of Team IT by the Office of Governor Minner to enhance the governor’s blog.  We have come up with recommendations for the governor to make her blog happening.  Our proposal is outlined in an Executive Summary.  We have also included blog posts on different areas of our proposal to expand upon and explain our recommendations.  We hope this report adequately plugs the governor in to the vibrant Delaware online community.

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Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is a method used by bloggers to increase blog traffic where blog hosts allow other bloggers to publish blogs on their blog. Ruth Ann Minner will allow only cabinet secretary members to publish blogs on her blog site.

Decide on the best strategy of obtaining the best Published bloggers on your site

Suggested Strategies

  1. Allow Cabinet Secretary’s to publish their own blogs, monitoring and reply to comments with little or no  input from the host
  2. Allow Cabinet Secretary’s to contribute content only for their published blogs with monitoring by the host blogger to determine what is posted.
  3. Review Cabinet Secretary’s Blogs and only publish at Minner’s discretion, but without any comments from other blogs authorized.
  4. Cabinet Secretary’s email the Minner IT their posts and she publishes them herself giving credit to the writer.
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Logistics for preparing for and hosting GUEST BLOGGERS

  1. Setting up a user profile and access point to her blog
  2. Set the blogging topic limits and restrictions, if any.
  3. Develop a logistical guide to blogging on your blog, featuring information on how to use your blog, set the byline, profile information, use design elements like headings and block quotes, and other blog posting instructions.
  4. Set the ground rules (responding to comments, handling comment spam (splogs) copyright protections and violations, etc.).
  5. Provide support
  6. Monitor closely

I didn’t make this stuff up

Please see “Other blogs” for great examples.

Governor Jennifer Granholm
Tom McClintock


One more thought about Guest Blogging:

All blog sites that allow guest bloggers should have DISCLAIMERS for the following purposes:
  • Acknowled that Ruth Ann Minner is not the only writer on the blog writers representing Ruth Minner
  • Acknowldge that the opinons expressed by others does not necessary express the views of Ruth
  • Acknowledge that Ruth Ann Minner and her IT team have the right to refuse any guest bloggers

Making it Conversational

The key to a good blog is “making it conversational.”  The goal is not only get people to go to the blog, but to keep them coming back.  One also wants to make it easy to get others involved with the blog. There are a few ways to do this.  Ruth Ann Minner’s blog should take on these recommendations.

1.  Comments Section

A comments section makes it easy for readers of the blog to post their reactions, questions or feedback to a post by the governor.  Other readers will also be able to see comments made by others and can agree, disagree or add new ideas of their own.  A comments section will also keep the blog organized.  If an article is written about taxes, the comments to that article will all deal with taxes.  This way the governor only has to go to one place to see reader comments about taxes.

2.  Most commented/ Most popular

A most commented or most popular section would be on the front page of the blog.  Readers of the blog will be able to find this section very easily and determine what are the most popular articles.  The most popular article will probably be about a topic that many people are interested in.  The most commented section has articles that readers have reacted to the most.  These articles could be about a controversial post that the governor posted.  These headings also help put in numerical order the most popular and most commented posts which would make it easier for the governor to see which posts had the most reactions or reads from the readers.

ex) down with absolutes

3.  E-mail to a friend link

An email to a friend link would allow readers to inform others about an article that is written on the blog.  This is an easy and effective of gathering more traffic to the site. People who did not know of the blog could also find out about it from a friend.  A friend who emails others will bring more readers to the blog. These new readers could also email their friends.

4.  Permalink

The permalink function of a blog gives each individual article its own unique URL address.  Articles with their own URL addresses can easily be linked by others. Readers with their own blog or website can link back to an article written by the governor.  This also has the potential of bringing in new readers.

5.  Personal Blogroll

A personal blogroll will tell readers what other blogs that the governor follows.  She can also categorize the blogroll into topics, i.e. health care, taxes, education.  This feature gives readers a look into what the governor regularly reads and where her ideas may come from.  This also makes the governor look more personable, if she adds blogs that have to do with social issues.

6.  Q+A

The blog readers could send questions to the governor and have them answered on the blog.  The governor would post the questions by the readers and also the answers to them.  Readers would check back to the blog and see if their email had made the Q+A section.  The personal, first hand feedback will make readers feel like their needs are being concerned and attended too.

ex) freakonomics

7.  Live Chat

If the governor wanted to get ambitious, she could host a live chat on her blog.  In a chatroom format, the live chat would have readers asking questions to the governor and she would give her direct response.  Others in the chatroom would be able to see the questions and answers that are posted in the room.  A live chat would have readers “talking” to the governor about their problems and concerns.  They would get feedback from the governor on how she is going to deal with them.  Readers would show up each week, or however often, the governor hosted a live chat.

Sexin’ it up: How to make an appealing blog!

Getting people to a blog can be difficult enough, but getting them to stay and explore the space can pose a real challenge. First impressions are paramount in the World Wide Web so we better make sure ours is good one! To boost the appeal of Governor Minner’s blog we suggested a few simple yet effective additions that could be made:

  • Making the blog Multi-lingual

With an increasingly diverse community in Delaware an addition of this kind would not only create an inclusive and welcoming blogging atmosphere, but also portray Governor Minner in a culturally sensitive light. Using the WordPress Global Translator Plugin gives us the opportunity to connect with potential bloggers throughout Delaware, free of charge!

  • Creating a Launch Pad for Delaware News

There are established mediums for Delaware News, politics, and current events through online newspapers and political blogs; reinforcing that web community by providing links from Governor Minner’s blog would create a forum for both objective and opinionated news sources while giving users a reason to explore her space.

  • People love pictures

The current archival system used for organizing pictures could use major improvements and the thumbnail style used to display them on the blog is very unattractive. Flickr, one of the most popular photo sharing sites, can easily solve this problem! With attractive photo album-like qualities and the ability to still embed all the photos into the site, we can’t go wrong.

Example Blogs:

Governor of California- Arnold Schwarzenegger

Governor of Minnesota- Tim Pawlenty

Journal of Intercultural Learning

Web Goodies to get people to your site

Widget

A widget is html code that can be used to imbed something live onto one’s website.

People add widgets to their blog; you can also use a widget to advertise your blog.

Rock the Vote widget

I Love Mountains

Obama Widget

Software packaging

Free – WordPress, Livejournal, Blogger

Proprietary – EllisLab, Semiologic

User-hosted – Governor Minner’s blog, Markell for Governor blog, Gregoire for Governor blo

In this case, the governor has the state’s web team that can program and imbed whatever they want in whatever system they want, so we’re going with a developer or user-hosted approach.

Using the Right Keyword

Make sure that you use your keywords in your blog URL and title of post, and that additional keywords are contained in the body, as tags, and in links.

XML sitemaps

XML creates a structured language so that your blog can be understood by other search enginges and websites. Blogs can create XML sitemaps with free software such as Google Sitemap Generator Plugin for WordPress (not just for Google), GSite Crawler, and XML-Sitemaps.com

Submit your Blog to directories

Submitting your blog to directories can help publicize it. Besides submitting it to Yahoo, Dmoz, etc, there are many other directors to submit to.

Click here or here to check some out! You can also submit your blog entries as individual articles onto article directories. Here is some information on that!

The more places your blog is, the more publicized it will be! Have links to your blogs on other websites, comment on other blogs with links to your blog, and be sure to tell all your friends! Having the capability for users to sign up for e-mail updates to your blog is a great service to include.

Ping

Pinging is when you let servers know your blog has been updated.

Because it would be very cumbersome to popularize your website by pinging individual servers, there are websites and software that aggregates the ping service.

There are software services that cost money like Blogblaster, as well free services like Ping-O-Matic.

These tools will help you get people to use your site!