Blogging 101: 5 Things Every New Blogger Should Know

So, you want to start writing a blog? Ok, great! What now?

Getting a blog going can be incredibly exciting. It’s a constructive way to express your thoughts and share them with anyone who wants to read them. It can also be a bit overwhelming, especially for bloggers who have never actually done it before. Here are 5 important things to keep in mind as you get started:

  1. Write the way you speak.

Keeping it conversational can help you connect better with your readers. When things are a little more loose and relaxed, your blog is an easier read, and it can also help break down some of your more specialized topics into ideas that everyone can digest.

  1. Find your niche.

It’s important to find blog topics that will resonate with your target audience. There are millions of blogs out there. The only way to stand out from the pack is to find something specific that you’re passionate about, and write about the most interesting aspects of that topic. You’re not going to be loved by everyone, but that’s not realistic. The main goal is to appeal to those folks who have an interest in what you’re writing about, and keep them coming back for more.

  1. Research, research, research.

It’s not just about the writing… reading is just as important. Even with a topic that’s in your wheelhouse, you still need cited facts to back you up. There’s always more information out there that can give your blog a little something extra. Linking to articles where you found quotes, statistics or data to support your point will go a long way toward establishing the kind of credibility that you crave.

  1. Share and share alike.

Whether you love it or loathe it, social media is going to be a driving force behind marketing yourself and your blog. Share links to your writings on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and any other place that will push traffic to your site. You’re starting from scratch, so it will likely take a little while before the readers are coming in droves, but social media is always one of the best ways to get noticed.

  1. Keep at it.

You’re new at this, so try not to get discouraged, especially early on. Gaining a following will take time, so be patient. Make an editorial calendar, so that you know what topics you’ll be covering and when you’ll be tackling them. It’s important to generate content on a regular basis, with whatever frequency you chose to post. If you don’t like the direction things are heading with a particular topic, change gears to something that suits you better. Trial and error is just part of the process.

 

Fast & Simple: Creating a Great Checkout Experience

Think about the things that drive you crazy about online shopping: being forced to sign up for a new account with yet another new password; long forms to fill out; extra fees that make a good deal seem like less of a bargain.

Now think about the checkout process on your own eCommerce site.  If it drives you nuts, chances are, it’s frustrating your customers too.  That means fewer sales and more wasted opportunities for you.
Shopping online is supposed to make the process simpler for the customer, but an increasing number of prospective buyers are filling up their shopping carts, only to abandon them at the point of checkout.  A recent study by Baymard Institute put the number around 68%, which is staggering.
So why do 68 out of every 100 online shoppers fail to complete their purchases?  Some of the main reasons include complicated checkout processes, forced registration, unexpected shipping costs and lack of faith in security.
Crate&Barrel gets high praise for its user-friendly website checkout.  It lets you checkout as a guest with the option of creating an account after the sale.  Crate&Barrel also has a progress bar that shows you exactly where you are in the process and offers shipping options that are clearly spelled out for you.

On the other end of the spectrum is the British site Boots, which forces you to register before you can buy.  It also has way too many pages in its process and makes the user type separate addresses for shipping and billing, even if they’re the same.

Bottom line: put yourself in your customers’ shoes.  Make it easier and more pleasant for folks to buy things from your website… and they’ll keep coming back for more.

tvOS Is Here. Are You Ready?

TvOApple’s tvOS SDK is here and it’s ready to change the way we experience TV. It’s a new platform that redefines not only our living rooms, but the way we interact with displays everywhere. For companies like Adaptt (http://www.adaptt.co) who create interactive experiences for omnichannel customers, tvOS could provide another level of experience to the end consumer. With tvOS and the new Apple TV, you’ll be able to create apps that completely immerse your customers into your product. And, because tvOS and iOS work together, your customers can download your app onto their own device, and interact in your store, giving them a complete shopping experience.

Integrated Solutions

TvOS will allow developers to create a more personal experience that connects businesses and consumers. A user can have an app installed on their iOS device, and have that app communicate directly with the tvOS app running on an interactive display running on an AppleTV. The user can view their personal shopping catalog and combine it with retailer suggestions. A user can sync a furniture collection from the store’s retail screen onto their device and bring it home. Or, create a shopping list at home and have the location of each item mapped out on the interactive in-store display.

These are just some of the possibilities that tvOS will bring. Here at PeakActivity, we are quickly diving into this new technology so we can bring all of its potential to the marketplace.

Is GoLang the next NodeJS?

Back in 2010, PeakActivity was working with a small mobile applications startup and the founder (a semi-technical fellow), kept harping on how we HAD to use node. It was going to be the next big thing and all the cool startups were using it. Turns out, he was right. Node has really come on strong because it’s simple to get started and very developer friendly.

There’s always a tendency to want to use the newest and coolest tech, so now that node has matured a bit — developers will start thinking: what’s next?

Here at Peak, we’ve been doing some kicking around of Go. What piqued our interest? We’re big fans of Parse, and when Parse wrote about their adoption of Go [http://blog.parse.com/learn/how-we-moved-our-api-from-ruby-to-go-and-saved-our-sanity/], we had to check it out.

Many of the startups we advise are playing with Go as well. It is beginning to gain the gushing attention that node.js was back in 2010. Do a quick job search on “GoLang” in our neck of the woods, South Florida, and you don’t see a lot of job postings for it just yet. That doesn’t mean it’s not the next hot thing, as we all know that enterprises and jobs tend to be laggards to technology adoption.

So, is GoLang the new hot thing? Sign up for our newsletter or come back to our website, follow us on Twitter, etc, and we’ll do our best to keep you apprised of how we like it.