Archive | January, 2011

Rightmove Places, good news for hyperlocal bloggers?

19 Jan

Estate agent Rightmove have recently launched their beta of Rightmove Places, a hyperlocal site aimed at providing homebuyers with local information in the way of user generated content from locals.

New market for hyperlocal blogs

I registered on the site because I am interested to see how this could help me promote my local content for Leeds to people who are interested in moving into the local area – it’s not a market that I have thought about targeting until now – I have concentrated on tourists and locals.

Local Leeds guides

On My Life in Leeds we’ve started to write more content on the local towns because even as a local, I have no idea what is on offer at towns like Chapel Allerton, which has become a sought after place to live.

Promoting your local brand

As a member of Rightmove Places, you can syndicate your RSS feed, and they seem to link back to the original content, so this should not cause any duplicate content issues with the search engines. You can also add reviews and tips on local places etc.

Rightmove Places benefits both parties

I haven’t seen yet how they intend to integrate the content with the main Rightmove website (or if they even plan to) but I can see that it could benefit both hyperlocal bloggers (SEO and growing awareness of your brand) and Rightmove who need the local content improve knowledge of the local areas.

Negative reviews and content

There’s an interesting post on the Talk about Local blog where someone rightly points out, what about negative content that is published on Rightmove Places or via RSS feed from other hyperlocal blogs and forums. I think it is a good point because as a homebuyer you want to know about negative and positive aspects of an area.

I’m interested to hear what you think about Rightmove Places.

Update: I should have checked on the other RSS feeds being used on the Rightmove Places site because the links are ‘nofollow’ which means that they are not search engine friendly links. So the only benefit for the publisher is if the site generates traffic, and I have yet to receive one visitor from the Leeds Places page. I’ll monitor it over the next couple of weeks.

Promoting Leeds around the world on travel blogs

15 Jan

Every Saturday I will try and write a post that will promote content that I think will be useful for my readers. This week I am linking to blog posts that I have written recently on various travel blogs to promote Leeds and the My Life in Leeds guide.

My read a book a month challenge for 2011

7 Jan

I am not a good reader of books – sure I absorb tons of online content from blogs and guides, but I cannot sit long enough to read a book. For the last 12 months I have been trying to read Richard Branson’s book, Business Stripped Bare, but, I’m only 10 pages in. The only time I can read a book all the way through is when I am on holiday.

So, in 2011 I decided to attempt to read one book a month. For many of you that might seem easy, but for me, it’s a challenge! So here is my list of 12 books, and I promise I will write a quick review about each one.

* The links are Amazon affiliate links which basically means I get a few pennies if you purchase the book through this blog post. Of course, you don’t have to, but Amazon is one of the cheapest places to buy books on the internet.

I am not sure what order I will read the books, but I have started January by reading Brilliant Marketing – I know a business book, how boring, but it’s a skill I need to learn!  So there you have my list, want to join in the ‘1 book a month challenge’? Leave a link to your list of 12 books and I will link to it in this post.

If you are based in Leeds here are two reading clubs that I am aware of – if I find any more, I will update this post:

Five things I’ve learnt about publishing a hyperlocal guide

3 Jan

Last year was a learning process for me and I wanted to find my steps publishing local content. I learnt a lot and quickly realised that it is a very competitive environment, even for a city like Leeds which is not traditionally a tourist destination. There’s been ups and downs, and the biggest challenge was a technical one – in the form of website hosting, it is always something that you do not plan for that bites you in the bum. Thankfully though, those problems are sorted.

Google is trying to be the king of local

I think the changes that Google has made to its natural search results in the last 12 months is incredibly scary for small local publishing businesses like mine, because finding yourself at the top of the page, above the fold is near impossible now that Google has started to include it’s business pages at the top of the search results.

Search for: Italian restaurants in Leeds to see what I mean.

In 2011 I am going to have to work incredibly hard to make Google realise that My Life in Leeds is an authority guide so that I stand a better chance of getting up and within the first page results, because who nowadays goes to the 2nd or 3rd page. I know I don’t.

Lack of an online presence locally

The writers include businesses that they can recommend, have eaten there, and we also like to link to their sites because it contains (or should do) much more information than we can give them in one guide. It’s amazing how many local businesses in Leeds are not yet online, and I mean restaurants, cafes, and all sorts of businesses.

I sort of understand the logic that our customers are local so therefore, we don’t need to advertise elsewhere, but what about the tourists and people from other areas of the city that are interested to know what cafes, restaurants etc. are in that area.

Learning about your local area

I have lived in Leeds all of my life and I have learnt so much while publishing My Life in Leeds. I have visited places like Chapel Allerton, bought local products at the Pannier Market at Granary Wharf, visited my local market for the first time ever.

I cannot tell you how many events that I have visited that I never knew existed. Events in Leeds I think are badly promoted, and in 2011, I intend to try and do something about this, but more on that later.

Local networking is essential

Online I use Twitter and blogs to network, but offline I know that I am a terrible networker. I blame my height, confidence problems, but in 2010 I have really had to come out of my comfort zone and attend various networking events like Exp Leeds at the Leeds Queens Hotel – and I intend to do even more of this in 2011.

Sure you can email, but, you cannot beat meeting someone face to face.

Local collaboration

It is fascinating to see local businesses like La Bottega Milanese and Diva Italiana, sell each other’s products and they are other businesses doing the same. Sunshine Bakery in Chapel Allerton sells their famous cupcakes to places all over the city. Then there’s the Dock Street Market which is bringing together products from various local eateries into one location. I love it, and it is encouraging to see smaller local businesses doing this, while the larger brands fight it out on the high street.

I think I have gone on enough, but these are some of my thoughts and experiences from the first year of publishing local content. It has been fun, but full of new challenges in 2011 I am sure.

What did you achieve in 2010?

2 Jan

I should have wrote this post before 1 January, but having just read Seth Godin’s year in review post where he highlighted his achievements in 2010 I thought I would do the same.

Comparing last year with 2009, I don’t think I achieved as much, in some respects I took my foot off the gas a little, but here goes

  • Invited on the first twitter trip with British Airways to New York.
  • My dodgy London hotel video on You Tube mentioned on BBC Fasttrack.
  • Quoted in the Independent about online fraud.
  • Providing a few blogging tips for the Guardian for travel bloggers.
  • Travel Rants reviewed in Web User and given a 4/5 score.
  • Provided advice in the Mirror about the pitfalls of booking a holiday.
  • Held the 3rd Travel BlogCamp in London during the World Travel Market.

I found writing this post useful because it has made me realise that actually it hasn’t been a bad year.

What did you achieve in 2010?