The following is a guest post by Leila Samii, Ph.D., a professor and researcher with a specialization in social media. Her research focuses on global social media marketing, investigating the link between brand image and social media from a cultural context.
There is so much information and content on social media and blogs today, that it is difficult to determine what sites are useful and sort the wheat from the chaff.
Most blogs in various industries have similar content, but there are always some blogs that stand out from the rest and are more influential, like the ones below…
Social Media & Content
1. Buffer– The Buffer Application is an app that helps with scheduling and for finding content. The Buffer brand also has a number of individuals that contribute to the creation of content for their blog. The blog has great tips on how to use social media and trending topics in social media. The engagement on each blog is impressive, averaging a thousand shares across various social media sites. The site is credible and has become so because of all of the important information that is presented on their site. Also, there is a free application that schedules posts, provides analytics on those posts and finds content to share on your community.
2. Social Media Today– The blogs on Social Media Today focus primarily on all things social media. Similar to Buffer, Social Media Today has contributors to create content on the site. Due to the number of contributors, content is always fresh and new blog posts are constantly populating the site. The information on the site has lots of perspectives with various view points and ideas. The 2 greatest things about Social Media Today is that it has a really large community and free webinars constantly. I have become a huge webinar-addict and love Social Media Todays. Also, I have noticed that my community always grows and I have much more engagement when I live tweet during the webinars.
3. Simply Measured– The website is home to one of the most comprehensive social media analytics’ software on the market. However, they have a dynamic blog with more than just analytics on their site. The information on the blog teaches users how to use new features of various social media app. Simply Measured analyzes reports and teaches users how to use various features through analytics. The interesting part about this blog is that all of the blog’s lessons are based on their own statistical analysis. The greatest feature about Simply Measured are their free tools. There are a large amount of free tools such as Twitter Follower reports, Facebook Competitive Analysis report, Pinterest User report to name a few that are comprehensive and informative.
4. SocialBro– So far, SocialBro is by far my favorite free social media analytics tool and blog. The only caveat is that the social media analytics tool is only free for 15 days. The blog is free for anyone that wants to learn more about Twitter. Interestingly, the blog follows trends across social media and teaches how to use social media applications, specifically Twitter. The blog looks at big topics in social media and analyzes the information of the various subjects related to social media such as Earth Day Told by Twitter. The best part of the blog is that it focuses on Twitter.
5. Social Media Examiner– Although Social Media Examiner can fit in any of the above categories, social media, SEO or content, it has great posts on analytics. Since I have been on social media I have been following this blog. The blog is always providing really great content that is relatable to current trends in social media. My favorite part of the blog are the webinars and the reports to supplement the information. By having written texts, voice and reports on current trends, Social Media Examiner hits various types of learners.
SEM & SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
6. Search Engine Land– This blog is extremely helpful for keeping up to date with SEO trends. Although there is a blog, there are a number of free resources that dive deeper than a normal blog post. The blog is a little different than most and seems like a free online class to help understand SEO. It provides a YouTube video, resources from an eBook, more links to follow as well as a breakdown of various SEO concepts. The blog is a good starting place for those that are new to SEO. One more positive aspect of Search Engine Land is that it has an SEM section that parallels their SEO section.
7. MOZ– MOZ started as an SEO firm back in 2007 and today is one of the leading thought leaders in the Social Media sphere of SEO. Although sometimes from time to time their topics aren’t strictly SEO related, all of the information is innovative and informative. Moz also has gone a step above the rest with regular webinars and a place for Q&A. The one aspect of the blog that I really like is Whiteboard Friday. Every Friday, an expert teaches a lesson on certain SEO topics by both blog and vblog (on an actual whiteboard) format. As an academic I absolutely love this part of the blog. The concepts are all related to SEO and vary in topics such as Getting Branded Search Right, Rules of Link Building and Why You Might Want to Do SEO on Someone Else’s Site.
8. Search Engine Watch – perhaps the most authoritative blog on SEO and SEM, Search Engine Watch publishes posts multiple times a day covering everything related to the search engine industry. An all-around excellent news source as well as useful tips and information for online marketers.
9. Blind 5 Year Old– In need a of a fool proof way to learn SEO? This is your answer. It not only provides great explanations of SEO, but it is very simplistic for all different levels of SEO enthusiasts to understand. Blind 5 Year Old also goes deeper into the theory and practice of SEO and explains how to incorporate analytics into SEO for a better strategy. Brands sometimes fail to understand that analytics can not only help with social media and content, but also with SEO.
10. Web SEO Analytics– Warning: they post a lot on Twitter. But all of the information is incredibly relevant to SEO (you can get some good Analytics info, too). This blog site has incredible information on SEO that is always kept fresh and relevant. The blog informs of SEO trends and easy to understand SEO concepts. Web SEO Analytics also has an SEO tool that is extremely helpful and reasonably priced/month, but also offers a Free Trial to test out the tool.
11. HubSpot– This is one of the most popular sites with the freshest blogs on the internet with a strong presence. Hubspot always stays up to date with current events and news stories by relating their content to the current trends on social media. Interestingly, a lot of their titles reflect that they are trying to help you with crisis control or fixing your social media, whereas most other blogs are teaching how to’s. The information on the social media section provides a deeper understanding of social media applications. Social media applications are ever changing and Hubspot is always one of the first blogs to release any social media news. My favorite part besides everything I just listed above is the daily quote that Hubspot puts up.
Analytics & Conversion Science
12. Google Analytics Blog– The Google Analytics blog is a one stop shop for all of your Google Analytics’ needs. The blog provides content on all of the new features of Google Analytics. The blogs are updated regularly with in depth information on analytics and descriptive examples to paint a picture of the information. Two of the most important and most written about topic on the blog are Announcements and Advanced Topics. The information on the blog gives breaking news and information on Google Analytics. The Advanced Topics focuses on a deeper analysis of quantitative and qualitative problem solving for the already seasoned marketers. The last great aspect that I’m going to talk about in this blog is the various courses and certificates that anyone interested can take… for free! Google is all about sharing information for the masses to use for free. This is why I am a huge brand advocate of Google.
13. KISSmetrics– This site is one of the best blogs on the web today talking about analytics. The blog does provide information on Google Analytics, however it also includes other social media sites such as Facebook. Kissmetrics gives you a number of different views to measure analytics including testing your marketing efforts. Loaded with infographics and regular webinars, Kissmetrics creates a holistic view of social media approach to social media analytics.
14. SEO Takeaways– Is a complete guide to digital marketing, however focuses predominantly on the analytics side of the site. Himanshu, the blogger of the independently owned site has created a blog with topics related to analytics and ROI and Conversion analytics. The site is targeting users that are fairly new to analytics and to social media. The blog helps align analytics with specific objectives for your social media strategy. If you are beginning to start with analytics, this blog is the most basic for understanding key terms and basic concepts.
15. Occam’s Razor – the personal blog of web analytics extraordinaire, Avinash Kaushik. Find well-written and revealing posts about web analytics and quantitative analysis… not for the light-hearted. Avinash uncovers everything from analytics tips and tricks to collecting and understanding data, KPIs, and reports.
There are so many resources on the internet today that it would be impossible to evaluate them all. However, I feel confident that if you subscribe to these blogs and follow them across various social media sites, you will continue to learn and stay up to date with new trends online. What blogs do you read?