Thursday, December 28, 2006

Blogging is Slowing Down? I am Just Getting Started.

It is interesting to notice that whilst I have been, in a fashion, blogging for 2 years now, I have not really understood the whole idea of the Blogosphere and the sense of community that exists between bloggers. I have MyBlogLog largely to thank for the change because despite having registered my blog on a variety of blog directories, until I joined MyBlogLog I didn't really get into any communications with other bloggers.

One reason I have started spending a lot of time working on learning how to promote my own blogs better is because I am in the process of setting up a new social enterprise with the goal of helping people in the voluntary and community sector and small business owners to use blogging and other Web 2.0 tools. I recently discovered when introducing blogging as a promoting tool on a course that most people in my home city of Hull over 30 don't even know what a blog is. Oh they have heard the term on the TV or from their kids - but just don't get what blogging is all about at all.

Then a couple of days ago I read a post on Build a Better Blog about the Gartner research suggesting that blogging may plateau in 2007 because there are now 200,000 ex bloggers, and that things will slow down. Strange I thought - everyone I speak to has not even figured it out yet - but the early adopters are already looking for the next big/new thing.

The reality is I think that, certainly in the UK, Blogging has only just started. A few months ago David Cameron the young leader of the Conservative Party launched a video blog because he understands that to reach the 18-30 voters he has to use this technology, but he is well ahead of the game. IE7 has only just started to make people aware of the idea of subscribing to blogs and although I have been using it for a year I have only just recognised the significance of FeedBlitz in allowing people to subscribe to blogs by email. The hardest thing I find to explain to technophobes is RSS and feed aggregators and I saw some statistics suggesting that less than 20% of people understand it.

Finally I have just come across the great idea from Mack Collier at Viral Garden for helping to give some air time to good "Z-List" blogs that deserve a mention and at the same time lift our rankings in Technorati. It's an easy idea - Copy the list of blogs below - and add a few that you love to the list. Lots of grateful bloggers will come along to read your blog and you should see your traffic increase. If you want to know more about the idea - pop over to Viral Garden for the latest update.

I have added a few blogs I have come to like a lot over the past week - especially Charlemagne Stavanger's Custom Templates which has provided me with two great three column blogger templates that will keep me very busy upgrading from old blogger to new over the next couple of days.

Custom Templates
Blogging to Fame
Small Business Branding
Build a Better Blog
Creative Think
Movie Marketing Madness
Blog Till You Drop!
Get Shouty!
One Reader at a Time
Critical Fluff
The New PR
Own Your Brand!
Work, in Plain English
Buzz Canuck
New Millenium PR
Pardon My French
Troy Worman's Blog
The Instigator Blog
Diva Marketing
Marketing Hipster
The Marketing Minute
Funny Business
The Frager Factor
Open The Dialogue
Word Sell
Note to CMO:
That's Great Marketing!
Shotgun Marketing Blog
Customers Rock!
Being Peter Kim
Pow! Right Between The Eyes! Andy Nulman’s Blog About Surprise
Billions With Zero Knowledge
Working at Home on the Internet
MapleLeaf 2.0
Two Hat Marketing

The Engaging Brand
The Branding Blog
Drew's Marketing Minute
Golden Practices
Tell Ten Friends
Flooring the Consumer
Kinetic Ideas
Unconventional Thinking
Conversation Agent
The Copywriting Maven
Hee-Haw Marketing
Scott Burkett's Pothole on the Infobahn
Multi-Cult Classics
Logic + Emotion
Branding & Marketing
Popcorn n Roses
On Influence & Automation
Servant of Chaos
Presentation Zen
Dmitry Linkov
John Wagner
Nick Rice
CKs Blog
Design Sojourn
Frozen Puck
The Sartorialist
Small Surfaces
Africa Unchained
Marketing Nirvana
Bob Sutton
¡Hola! Oi! Hi!
Shut Up and Drink the Kool-Aid!
Women, Art, Life: Weaving It All Together
Community Guy
Social Media on the fly
Jeremy Latham’s Blog
SMogger Social Media Blog

Rikki Arundel
Motivational Speaker
Speaking and Marketing Tips
The GenderShift Blog

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Some Brilliant Tools to Promote a Blog

I set this blog up nearly 2 years ago and to be honest I have not really done much to promote it - in fact I have often struggled to keep posting regularly - but as I am about to start trying to help people in Hull learn how to blog - I have been spending a little more time researching this and have discovered a huge amount help available resulting in me spending much of this week exploring and installing some new tools on my blog.

First if you are looking for ideas to promote your blog there is one site I was referred to someone in the Everywoman network. I have only just started working through Yaro Starak's Blog Traffic School Pre-Launch Blog which is packed with ideas to get traffic to your blog. After following just couple of tips and already I can already see the results.

First you may have noticed the widget in the sidebar listing the last five people who read my blog. I was so impressed when I saw that one someone's blog I just had to investigate and discovered which I can totally recommend. If you have a blog get over there right away and sign up. MyBlogLog is a Blog community - a chance to search and find other blogs of interest and by reading other blogs make yourself known to other bloggers, many of whom will in turn come and read yours - Traffic to my blog as more than doubled this week and I get that brilliant widget on the side bar shown me who has visited. All of a sudden instead of being alone blogger - I feel part of a community - real people are reading my blog wow!!

Next you will also see another addition to the side bar called GoodBlogs. That widget displays details of other blogs and in return my blog gets displayed on other blogs - This week already that has resulted in 10 visits and in addition 15 people who visited my blog have visited blogs I have promoted - nice synergy.

Then I was visiting John Jantsch's Duct Tape Marketing Blog - which if you are reading this blog is one you should also visit - and running my cursor over a link, a preview of the page leapt out at me. Wow - "How did he do that?" I thought and off I went to Snap to pick up that tool. If you want to see it in action simply point your cursor at any link on this page.

Finally I visited the blog of a professional speaker friend David McQueen and noticed two things on his side panel - First field allowing visitors to subscribe to an email notification if the blog is updated - and second lots of tags (called labels) which were all linked to his various posts - Wow - "How did he do that?"

Well the first I discovered is a site called FeedBlitz - which I have already signed up and added to my Personal Blog - I will be adding it here but the addition of Tags I discovered is a new feature in the latest version of Blogger and that is going to take a bit of work to install - I have already started and again that is already included in my Personal Blog and will be here over Christmas.

What it means is that customising your blog is now much much easier and as it is out of Beta is not going to give you any technical problems. So if you are looking for something to do to get away from the Christmas chaos - there is enough here to keep you busy for the rest for the week.

Rikki Arundel
Motivational Speaker
Speaking and Marketing Tips
The GenderShift Blog

Friday, December 01, 2006

Internet Explorer 7 looks set to change the world

I stopped using internet explorer nearly 2 years ago when I discovered tabbed browsing and live bookmarks in Firefox. On the occasions when I have had to revert to IE it has been like travelling back in time. Of course IE still dominates the browser market even if that is because most people don't make a choice so much as use the browser that is available.

However I have to say that IE7 is a massive improvement and in some ways seems to have even jumped ahead of Firefox particularly in look and feel although I still prefer the scope in Firefox to add extensions. What is important in IE7 is the fact that subscription to live feeds is built into the browser and whilst this will be lost on most people - in a few years this development will I predict have been responsible for accelerating a major transformation in the use of the web.

I have recently discovered that a significant majority of the community certainly in Hull, do not even know what a blog is let alone how to add an RSS or live feed into a feed reader, so the new IE7 feature that enables users to subscribe to feeds will take a while to become common practice. But the fact that it is there and so easy to use is going to mean that people will start subscribing to blogs without even knowing what they are doing.

In IE7 the new menu is entirely visual including the international feed icon - a small orange symbol like this:

The default for this image is greyed out - however if you visit a page that contains a live feed, such as a blog - the image turns orange and clicking on it will enable you to "subscribe." What that means is that the page is added to a new favourites list, called Feeds, where every time the page is updated, you will be notified. This is important with web sites that provide regularly updated information such as news sites and blogs.

The problems with SPAM means that most of us are increasingly reluctant to sign up for newsletters and even if we do spam filters tend to junk them. Blogs are a far better way to manage newsletters because the recipient has full control. We decide when to read and a good feed reader enables us to quickly scan the articles in a feed to determine which are worth reading. I have about 30 subscriptions which I check every week or so. I have a file in my email folder containing over 10,000 unread newsletters that I doubt will ever be read and when I have time I will unsubscribe from them. If I want to unsubscribe from a blog of course it is as simple matter of deleting it from my list.

Over the next year or so, two things will happen - More and more people will understand the value of blogs and start writing them - More and more people will learn about subscribing to feeds and start using them. The net effect will be that newsletters will become less and less used. The growth of blogs as a primary communication tool has been waiting for this development from Microsoft. If you have not yet downloaded IE7 you can do so from although I understand that if you have automatic upgrades enabled you should soon be notified that IE7 is available, and it is certainly one upgrade I strongly recommend you download soon.

Rikki Arundel
Motivational Speaker
Speaking and Marketing Tips
The GenderShift Blog

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Skype - The whole world can talk for free.

I have been using Skype for over a year now and though it took a while to change the habit I am now using SkypeOut regularly to call to land line and mobile phones and what a saving. I have even set up a London number 0208 1235672 for people to call me - which is proving very useful - switches to a free Skype Voicemail account of I am out.

If you are not using Skype it really is something to check out - I spent half an our chatting to a friend in South Africa the other week - no cost - because that was Skype to Skype but I think a lot of people think Skype is all about PC to PC communications - most of my Skype calls now are PC to land line and if you sign up and buy £10 of Skype credit at the moment they are giving away six months free calls to UK landlines - for me an offer too good to miss

If you are not using Skype Check it out - my Skype ID is rikkiarundel but if you look in the sidebar you will also see a button that lets you know if I am on-line - click on that and you can connect me.

Skype - The whole world can talk for free.

Rikki Arundel
Motivational Speaker
Speaking and Marketing Tips
The GenderShift Blog

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Rikki Arundel - PEPPTalk Speaker Showreel

I have started looking at how to use video more effectively both on my web sites and on my blogs. There are so many resources around now to help it is amazing and the great thing is that these resources are free.

There are four main sites where you can upload video and share it with the world.


Most sites limit the size of the video to 100 Mb - which is about 10 minutes - though if you sign up for a director account on YouTube - you can upload longer video. At this stage I am still exploring, however the good thing I have discovered is that as a speaker I can now embed my showreel video in my blog here as you can see below, on my Professional Speaking Page and on my Speaking and Marketing Tips site. Other sites like The Ecademy and Squidoo have a YouTube embed link. Embeding a video means that it appears directly in the page and plays there - the visitor does not need to click on a link to the hosting site to view it.

In addition I can add the link to all the social bookmark sites like and ma.gnolia which also help to improve search engine rankings. Video is really taking off on the web and I am about to explore a number of other options available for video email and video and audio auto play on web pages. But one thing is clear - pretty soon most sites are going to be showing video and as a speaker not using it is going to be a real challenge.

My PeppTalk Showreel

7 minute edited version of Rikki Arundel's PEPPTalk Motivational Speech on how to write and deliver and outstanding speech. Great resource for anyone needing to become a better public speaker, especially relevant to women in business.

Rikki Arundel
Motivational Speaker
Speaking and Marketing Tips
The GenderShift Blog

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Struggling to Use Social Bookmarking as a Marketing Stratregy

I have been using for quite a while now, initially as an online repository for links I wanted to access when working on other computers and also to share links with friends who have similar interests. Of course I could also see the potential in social bookmarking in increasing popularity by creating back links to my site and recently when I began using Squidoo, a group of us on the Ecademy agreed to bookmark each others lenses to see whether this would have much impact on our ranking. Unfortunately the idea didn't really take off beyond the initial flurry of interest.

One reason was that it is a little time consuming. We each tried to help by posting our lens URLs with the titles, notes and tags on the forum, but posting three or four lenses for each member was going to take too much time and we had no idea what impact it would have. I could also see that, for this to really work it would be necessary to submit to more than one social bookmarking site. I have bookmarklets in my browser toolbars for both and Yahoo My Web - these bookmarklets automatically add the URL and title of the page - but leave you to manually add notes and tags so it still takes a lot of time and when I started looking at Furl and Blink and .... I had no idea how many there were and there simply is not enough room on my browser for all those bookmarklets.

My Speaking and Marketing Tips site is a Site Build It site - and one advantage of that is the remarkable forum of members who are very knowledgable and post practical solutions to a lot of challenges. One solution that emerged was some code deveeloped for Site Build It owners that would enable us to display "Add to" bookmarklets for nine social bookmarking sites. If you have not used these links they work the same way as bookmarklets in the browser and encourage visitors to save the page. The problem is that even this was not keeping up with the huge growth in sites. And some of them like Technorati and Google are not really social bookmarking sites anyway.

Then I launched my own Article Directory, and got some help from Jodi, a web developer in the USA who I noticed was using a couple of submission sites - Socializer and OnlyWire. There are links to both of these in the side panel - Social Bookmark This Page takes you to Socializer and OnlyWire is just below it.

01/01/2007 update
Since writing this article I have discovered AdThis which I prefer to Socializer - You will see the AsThis buttons at the foot of this post and in the sidebar for both social bookmarking and feed subscriptions - works the same way but enables me to put a link at the foot of each post.

Socializer works like my "add to links" bookmarklets except that it takes you to a page full of them (nearly 50 and I know there are more). However from there you still have to link to each separately - Great for your visitors who are using one or two sites although to be honest most visitors like me should have browser based bookmarkets for their favourite sites.

OnlyWire on the other hand is a bulk submission site (at present the only one) which will summit the page to 15 social bookmark sites - including all the the leading ones. However it is not without its bugs - two of the links don't work properly and two of the links do weird things with the tags. You can see my reviews of them all here. I am hopefull that OnlyWire will fix the problems and add some missing links like Yahoo My Web soon because this really is a time saving tool. Even with only 11 really working it is as quick to submit to them all as it is to submit to a single site. And don't worry about submitting a link twoce - the site picks that up and updates your information.

One big advantage of posting to social bookmark sites is that the top sites do have huge amounts of traffic and high page ranks - I have noticed that my links on sites are already turning up in good positions in seach results.

As I wrote this post I became increasingly aware that this might be all goggledygook to many of my friends who still struggle with technology, so I have produced a few pages on the topic on my web site - very much an in evelopment section because the whole topic is developing and I will be producing a Squidoo lens on the subject in few weeks.

Rikki Arundel
Motivational Speaker
Speaking and Marketing Tips
The GenderShift Blog

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Performancing - Makes Blogging Easier to Manage | Helping Bloggers Succeed

I am still exploring what this site can do - but there are two features that have already become indispensible to me

The first is the firefox extention. (If you are still using internet explorer - you should have got the message by not - all the really cool developments on the web are now happening with Firefox) This makes it really easy to publish blogs and comes with a neet and much better WYSIWYG editor than blogger. (not seen the new service yet)

The second tool is the tracking service - do you know how many people, or as I have discovered how few people are actually reading your blog - well just add a line to your template and you can have up to date metrics on all the activities - including how may people are clicking on your adsense links and which of your blog posts are getting the most attention.

Finally the bit I have yet to get to, you get to join blogging community - and either lurk (read all the posts without actually getting involved - thats what I am doing first) or you can post your own blog posts and comments and find out how to make your blog more successful. This site has a Google Page Rank of 7 so posting blogs here is going to do your own site popularity a few favours anyway.

If you are using Firefox - I strongly recommend this site. If you are not using Firefox - trust me - It is free to download and will transform your browsing experience. You may already understand what Web 2.0 is - if not it's all about the evolution of the web from it's information providing phase to a new interactive and collaberative phase. Internet Explorer is a web 1.0 tool - Firefox is web 2.0. | Helping Bloggers Succeed

Rikki Arundel
Motivational Speaker
Speaking and Marketing Tips
The GenderShift Blog

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Importance of Long Tail Marketing

I have increasingly been hearing about Long Tail Marketing recently and made a point today to check it out. If this is a term that is unfamiliar to you stay with me. If you know what Long Tail Marketing, is but would like to know more I have added some links and resources to my Small Business Marketing Lens, including an interview with and presentaton by Chis Anderson the editor in Chief whose Article in October 2004 started it all, and a link to his lens.

So what is Long Tail Marketing and why is it so important for Small Businesses.

First there is nothing new about the Long tail. It is a statistical term derived from a distribution scattergram. If we plot numbers of people up the left axis of the graph and number of products along the bottom, the Long Tail is the section with lots of products being purchased by small number of people and is represented by the yellow section of the graph.

Imagine you go into a book store to buy a Harry Potter book - the chances are you will find a copy in most stores. It is in the red section of the graph - "The Head." It is produced in huge quantities and stocked by all leading stores. But what if you wanted a copy of a Spell Book for Wizards and Witches. The chances are you are going to have to find a small specialist shop or search online. Now you are in the Long Tail where products appeal to a small number of specialist buyers.

Large companies have generally not been interested in the long tail because they cannot afford to stock everything and the cost or reaching small numbers of people is uneconomic in tradition business models. But they are waking up because Amazon now achieves more sales in the long tail than it does with the blockbusters. Why? Because it does not have to hold the stock. Either a specialist supplier advertises in the markeplace or Amazon orders the book for you when you buy it.

But more than this - the internet now has over 1 billion users worldwide and search engines make it easier to find a niche product supplier in the long tail than in the head. Type "Marketing" into Google and you are going to get 1.5 billion responses. Search for "marketing for voluntary organisations" and there are about 700 responses. If you are targeting that market the chances of being found are quite high because there is little competition - whereas getting seen at all in the mass market is increasingly difficult for new small businesses.

Large companies simply do not have the resources to deliver to many niche markets so they don't bother, but increasinlgy we as consumers are deciding that we are not prepared to put up with the general mass market products - we want unique, customised, focused products that exactly meet our needs.

Understanding the long tail is critical for all small businesses, yet when I am networking I constantly find that people with small businesses are trying to reach everyone. When I ask who are your customers I hear, "everyone." If you try to appeal to everyone - you will lose the niche markets. Small businesses cannot serve everyone - there is a limit to how much business you can manage, so why not become THE supplier to your niche and work the long tail, instead of trying to compete with major corporations in the head.

Do visit my Small Business Marketing Lens on Squidoo for links and information on this important strategy.

Rikki Arundel
Motivational Speaker
Speaking and Marketing Tips
The GenderShift Blog

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Speaking about Transgender History

Well I had some fun yesterday. I have spoken at just about every sort of venue, but yesterday was a new experience - I was speaking at a Shopping Centre, right in the centre of the Princess Quays shopping centre in Hull on a busy Friday morning.

It was not without its challenges I have to say.

First the technology did not work - I don't often use PowerPoint these days mostly because I am trying to teach people how to create great speaches and it takes a considerable skill do that and use PowerPoint. The topic of transgender history lends itself to powerpoint because it is a very visual history, but with the technical problems I had to go on without slides and still managed to hold a very transient audience for 30 minutes.

The event was a Hate Crime awareness event - with lots of dignatories around, so it did not do my reputaiton and personal brand any harm. The other challenge was the awful acoustics in a cavernous indoor shopping centre - I have faced the challenges of Speakers Corner in London and a number of outside events, but this was very different.

I believe that most hate crime and discrimination is caused by ignorance and so I try to tackle this as far as trans people are concerned by raising awareness with an entertaining look at the history of trans people. Reclaiming and publicising our long history is a great way to help people see us in a different light.

I can't give you the speech here but I can give you something the Hull Citizens missed - the visual tour - Please visit this Squidoo lens for a fascinating journey through a very colourful Transgender History

TransHistory - A Colourful Past and Present on Squidoo

Rikki Arundel
Motivational Speaker
Speaking and Marketing Tips
The GenderShift Blog

Friday, August 18, 2006

Jobs for the Girls: Surviving in a Man's World -

I spend a great deal of my time working with women in business and it is surprising how many still have problems day to day in dealing with men in the office. All too often I see women observing successful men in busines and then making the mistake of trying to replicate their behaviour.

Men and women do business differently - and right now the qualities most needed in business those natural strengths most associated with women. I recieved this article this morning from which offers some particulary useful advice for women on how to survive in a male environment and stay true to who you are.

Jobs for the Girls: Surviving in a Man's World -

Free business articles for your Blog or Web site

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Squidoo : My Lensmaster Page

What, you might be thinking, is Squidoo?

Squidoo is a free service (in fact you can even earn money with Squidoo) that enables you to create "Lenses" - Views on subjects you are expert in or simply topics you wish to promote. You can use a lens to promote your area of expertise and help establish you as the person to come to. You can be really commercial and use one to promote your business. Or perhaps you have a passion - well you can create a lens to bring together resources and people who share your passion.

Squidoo is not a blog - though you can write items - and you can link your blog and your web site to any or all of your lenses. And yes - you can create as many lenses as you wish. One thing I have discovered is that the more focused the topic on each lens the better. Take a look at the first two lenses I have created - and remember they are still works in progress so do pop back from time to time:

Selling and Marketing to Women
Write and Deliver and Outstanding Speech

But hey - I have only just started exploring this medium so if you want to see what you can do check out this lens from author and founder of Squidoo, Seth Godin (he has lots - see the link to his other lenses) It gave me some great ideas on how to use this new medium and there are lots of other helpful tips once you find your way around.

What you need (okay, want) to know about Seth Godin

Check out my lens Rikki

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Articles That Sell

If you write articles to help promote your web site or blog - here is a great blog I have just found that provides lots of useful tips, advice and links - well worth putting in your RSS links.

Articles That Sell

Friday, January 13, 2006

Publish your Blog on your Web Site

Well I am back after a long break to complete a Masters dissertation and am now emersing myself deeply into continuing to develop my web site. Like many people interested in internet marketing I spent a lot of time over December downloading thousands of dollars worth of free ebooks and software and of course trying to understand a lot of new information.

When it come to internet marketing I tend to look for easy to understand solutions. One thing is clear from my December downloads, RSS is becoming more and more important and easier to understand and use - though I think the real explosion will happen when Internet Explorer arrives with a built in RSS reader. Of course for those of us sensible enough to switch to Firefox that has been a reality for a while now.

RSS if you are new to the term apparently means Really Simple Syndication - which means an easy way to publish news feeds and blogs on other sites. You will have seen that many portals like Yahoo, MSN and Google publish news feeds from a variety of sources - RSS is the protocol that enables them to take that news feed or blog and publish it on their web site - and now you can do exactly the same without having to lean any complex programming languages.

If this is beginning to lose you - can I suggest that you go to my web site where I am building pages now to explain and demonstrate the importance of RSS and Blogging and how all businesses should be taking advantage of this new technology. If you already are ahead - you will know that the real shortcoming of a Blog like this is getting people to read it. Well I discovered that there are some free services around that make it a five minute task to publish your Blog on your web site.

Some of the services are simpler that others but these are the three I recommend you have a look at.

RapidFeeds - This is a real all round site which provides a wide range of RSS solutions all free. You can set up your own feeds - So for example you could create a feed notifying readers when ever you change a page on your your web site.

You can creade the code to publish any RSS or Atom feed on your web site. This site offers a choice of different codes - PHP, ASP, Javascript of iFrames. Personally I found the Javascript from here a bit unweildly compared to other sites, but I really like the iFrames. Click here to see this blog published in iFrames on my site which you can see allws me to diaplay items in a small scrollable box. provides a simple script building service. Just complete a couple of fields and copy the script to your web page in the body of the html - no need to put anything into the header. I had a a few problems getting the beta services that provide scrolling and boxes - but I am sure the bugs will be gone pretty soon. Again Click here to see this blog displayed using this java script - you will need to scroll down the page a bit. is an academic site which provides a similar service - though I found it a little less user friendly - then thats the nature of academic sites - and it seemd to have a problem with my feed however a number of site owners I know are using it with no problems.

Incidentally if you look over on the side panel of this blog - assuming you are reading it in Blogger - you will see that I have also published my web site RSS feed there - so every time I update this blog, it creates new content on my site and every time I update any page on my web site - new content is posted to this blog. Great news.

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