I'm a SOB apparently

Woke up this morning to discover I’ve been described as a SOB by a fellow blogger – a Successful and Outstanding Blogger. Liz Strauss regularly publishes her list, which I really enjoy readging, so it’s an honour to be added to it.

Thanks Liz, and most of all, thanks whoever you are faithful readers since 2004. 🙂

What top 10 keywords give you blog traffic?

Last week, I suggested on The Blog Medic that finding out what were the top keywords leading readers to your blog could give some very interesting results. Some of us probably look at our stats daily (ahem, hourly?) but I’d be curious to see what your top 10 is, if you’re willing to share it!

Here’s my top 10 keywords list

  1. canadian girls
  2. baxi boilers
  3. i can sing a rainbow
  4. pouding chomeur
  5. japanese makeup
  6. cracked macbook
  7. funny google searches
  8. postsecret archive
  9. virtual barbershop
  10. canadian

Now I can’t believe I come up as the 4th result for “Canadian” in Google – when searching from a UK IP address, granted – but still!

So, go on, little Friday afternoon meme. What are your top 10 search terms?

Bloggers: Be confident, positive (and humble)

This evening, I came across a post where I couldn’t help but think that I had to share with fellow bloggers.

Darren Rowse, pro-blogger and six-digit-salary man, tells bloggers to get rid of their inferiority complex, and I could not agree more! He gets loads of emails from bloggers asking for tips or advice (why don’t I get more mail from you readers?!) with many self-deprecating comments, claiming they’re “no A-list blogger” and “don’t write as well as they do…”

So this is to tell you, my fellow bloggers, to take pride in what you do. It doesn’t matter if all you write is a weenie little blog to track your child growing up, your BMI going down by preparing for a half-marathon for charity, or a technology rant.

Think positive, be proud of the fact that you’ve braved the wild world of blogging. You may not realise it but you’re boldly going where most of people around you won’t have. So grab that blog by the horns and be a sassy self-promoter. Whether it gets you a job, helps you find like-minded people for a project or just gives you an outlet to blow some steam off, enjoy the fact that you’re still more cutting edge than you might think.

Why Twitter is so unbelievably awesome

Anyone who’s witnessed a typical weekday for me will have noticed my slight addiction to Twitter, a service that simply can’t be explained and has to be experienced.

But in my attempt to justify the thousands of updates I’ve posted on it, I’ll highlight a few amazing ways Twitter has helped me and those around me this week.

  • It helped me discover how other bloggers felt about being accosted by PR agency, resulting in an article for The Blog Medic called “Marketing Ethics: Ten ways to piss off a blogger”.
  • An ad hoc conversation led to a friend getting a job offer, and the entire conversation up to scheduling an interview call happened over Twitter.
  • It allowed me to find a couple of new contracts for Pepsmedia redesigning blog templates & site launches.
  • Since SXSW, I’ve managed to stay in touch with many of the lovely people I met there without going through the usual “ok I’ll reply to that email later”, where later becomes never. By keeping it bite-sized, Twitter makes it easy to stay in touch.
  • I’ve found amazing support for the idea of SocialMediaCamp in London in July through fellow Twitter users who are interested and can provide skills and contacts I wouldn’t have had access to otherwise.
  • A few people offered sound advice with regards to the process to setting up a limited company, again calling on the experience of others.
  • It was the fastest channel through which I heard about Russell’s decision to stop developing Mowser on Monday night.
  • It’s a great way to swap kitty photos with Mel Kirk 🙂

So there you go, it’s a business resource like no other, a great communication tool and an entertaining place to have water cooler conversations with like-minded people.

It's my blog's birthday: That Canadian Girl 4 years on

Cake!I find it hard to believe that this blog is now four whole years of age. It certainly wasn’t my first blog – the first would probably trace back to around 2000, but was a poor excuse for a blog. It was, however, the first WordPress blog where I actually bothered buying a real domain name rather than a borrowed subdomain on someone else’s dodgy hosting, and it’s the first time I made an effort to scrap some thoughts together on a somewhat regular basis.

The first post was something to do with There.com, an early sibling of Second Life, the kind of avatar-based online world I’ve never had much interest in. A random start, but a start nonetheless.

Now, four years on, I can hardly imagine my life without blogging. It’s shaped much of what my career has become, giving me the fun experience of writing for Shiny Shiny a few times and resulting in getting headhunted to become a corporate blogger for Taptu a year ago.

Since those days, blogging has become pretty mainstream, both to my pleasure and dismay. It’s great to see so many people picking up a hobby once reserved for nerds who knew how to clunk together some HTML and update pages manually. Unfortunately, so many people also get the wrong end of the stick. I can’t judge personal bloggers, because it’s entirely up to them to write how they like and when they like. It’s the marketers, the CEOs, the business people who’ve decided to pick up blogging – I wish I could lend them a hand, help them make sense of blogs, which are so much more than just an online marketing platform.

But at least, at the very least, they are picking up on these new technologies. You gotta start somewhere, after all. You fall over the first few times you ride your bike, but you learn. Hopefully, I can help these marketers stop falling off their bikes. (Oh now that was a funny mental picture for me. Was it good for you?)

So, four years then… I might not be willing to raise little sprogs of my own any time soon, but my blog, that’s my baby. Happy birthday, little one!

Looking back:

Mobile World Congress, Barcelona

Tomorrow morning, really bloody early, I’ll be heading off to Barcelona to attend Mobile World Congress, an event of gargantuan proportions (from what everyone tells me). I’ll be blogging as much as possible on the Taptu blog and twittering away*. If I’m lucky, I should have the time to post a few videos to my Qik profile.

If you’re also attending Mobile World Congress, then pop by and see me at the Taptu stand, 7D42, in hall 7 and join me for a coffee or a beer!

[* Thanks to Alex Payne at Twitter, I now have the username Vero, which uber-rocks!]

Pepsmedia gets a new look for 2008

New Pepsmedia site for 2008With the beginning of a new year comes a brand new look for our Pepsmedia website.

We’ve been so privileged to have the opportunity to work with interesting, open (and sometimes challenging) clients in recent months, and they have kept us so busy that we’d neglected to update our own portfolio.

I’m looking forward to seeing what 2008 will bring!

Travel Blog Carnival: The World Keeps On Spinning

This week, it is my honour to be hosting the second Travel Blog Carnival, launched last week by Darren at Travel-Rants. Last week, Europe a la Carte‘s Karen hosted the first carnival. Without further ado, here are my favourite submissions this week.

First, brand new blog J Top Ten publishes the Top 5 biggest comparisons between South California and North California. Having never been, I was surprised by the seemingly significant differences in culture between what’s known to a geek like me as Silicon Valley in the North and the much-caricatured Hollywood further South.

Next, the Travel Advice and Guides in the Nordic Region blog confirms my suspicion that the Swedes are a bit mad. “Local officials have now given permission for construction of the worlds largest Elk.” Yes, you’ve read this right. An elk, towering 45 meters tall, containing conference rooms, exhibition halls, a restaurant, with an outdoor cafe on top of the antlers, to top it all off. Please, please tell me the exit isn’t at the rear…

Hole in the Donut’s Barbara Weibel writes this week about her experiences in street crossing across the world. From the madness of Indian streets where there simply are no rules to the unbelievably organised Singaporean roads. I’ll certainly be following her advice when I find myself on a new street corner; “When traveling in unfamiliar places is to watch the locals and do as they do, because they’ve definitely figured out the order of things.”

And finally, Foxnomad makes his predictions on what 2008 will hold for travellers. Rising airline prices, the advent of greener travel and third-world trips becoming more attractive are only some of his predictions. Only time will tell how close Foxnomad will be! All I hope is that he is wrong about his prediction on the likely increase in terrorist activity on tourist destinations.

Want to take part in the next Travel Blog Carnival? You can submit any travel related posts which you’ve written in the last 7 days to blog.carnival(at)gmail.com.

Blog Topic Challenge: "Write about your job"

As first entry for my infamous Blog Topic Challenge, I thought I’d begin with an elementary and logical first step.

James Whatley, SpinVox blogger and great friend of mine, suggested that I should “write about your job and everyone you have ever met in your niche industry…” Great suggestion, but there are just too many awesome people I’ve met so I’ll split this into two entries, concentrating on the “write about your job” part first.

Taptu.com LogoFrom one day to the next, I wear many hats… and wigs… and tiaras. By daylight, I’m part of a great team at Taptu. It’s my first time taking part in the early days of a startup and I’m really enjoying it. There are new challenges every day, which is a refreshing change from previous jobs where tasks were repetitive to say the least (could YOU spend 52 weeks a year sending email newsletters that always say the same thing? I couldn’t.)

These days, there’s blogging, attending events, handling search engine optimisation (which I love), researching new ideas for the search engine, speaking to our mobile search users as well as our Facebook app users to get their feedback (which I love even more!) and planning future super-secret projects which I can’t tell you about yet… unless you ply me with shiny gadgets, at which point I might just crack. Or not. (But you can offer me shiny gadgets anyways!) 😉

My job also entails making copious amounts of coffee every day and occasionally teasing Bob about his taste in movies and Lynsey about her Scrabulous choice of words.

All in all, it’s exciting and challenging. And no, you can’t have my job!

Blog Topic Challenge: Want to suggest the next topic for me to write about? Leave a comment here and I’ll tackle your topic soon!