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Blogs, Facebook, Twitter…many of us use these popular social media tools to keep up with friends, but did you know that social media is now a valuable wedding planning tool? Tips, special deals, and local vendors can all be found online through social media sites. And just as each site varies drastically from the other, the strategy for finding the best tips and deals on each site varies, too:

This edition will feature how to find a good wedding blog , what constitutes a "good" blog verses a bad blog, and how to use blogs to plan your wedding!

Blogs

Blogs are the most popular means of finding wedding information online. There is a blog for every type of bride and tips and deals to be found for every type of wedding. Budget-friendly, DIY, or extravagant, the best tips and vendors can be found online. However, not all blogs are created equal. Here are a few tips to make sure the content you come across is worthy of your time:

Frequent updates: Any blogger dedicated to a topic will update regularly with new information, photos, etc. A blog doesn't need to be updated daily (although many quality wedding blogs are), but regular updates are a sign of an author truly taking an interest in a topic, which leads to:

Archives: Most dedicated bloggers will post an archive of their work on their site. This isn't a must; however, a list of links off to the side organized by date or relevance shows that the writer has accumulated a breadth of useful information–always a good sign.

Originality: It's not uncommon for a blog to host a guest writer; however, the majority of the content on the site should be generated by a writer or team of writers who either own or are employed by the owners of the site. Why? Many sites, despite copyright law and general ethics, will copy posts written by someone else on another blog and claim it as their own. This is incredibly common and frustrating for sites who focus on providing consistent, up-to-date information to readers. Checking for archives is a great way to examine the content on a blog. If the site offers a list of previous posts, ask yourself: are they consistent? Is the site dedicated to one thought? Is the copy riddled with errors? A 'yes' answer to any of these could mean the site is questionable.

Google tip: Copy and paste the blog title or first few sentences of a blog post to see if it pops up elsewhere on the Web. If several sites show the same post, this is a sign of plagiarism. Click through to find the original blog and use that as your reference. Also, the URL should reflect the site's topic, such as weddingandpartynetwork.com, not a generic blog name, like goodblog.com

Design: The old saying, "Never judge a book by its cover," goes out the window when it comes to online content, particularly for wedding blogs, which often feature design tips, color schemes, and other visual topics. The site doesn't have to feature award-winning design, but it does need to show that some thought has gone into its appearance. A site's design should be cohesive and reflect the purpose or theme of its content. For example, many wedding blogs will feature pastel colors, photos of weddings, and illustrations that reflects its readers' interests. A consistent design throughout the site adds to its identity and credibility.

Linking: A good wedding blog will feature links to and from the site. A successful writer will establish herself as an authority and will have links to her blog, as well as links to other vital information that could assist readers.

Keeping It Local

Blogs are also a great way to discover local wedding vendors that can get lost in the shuffle as nation-wide companies compete for their customers. Local vendors offer unique items and services that often cannot be found with nation-wide vendors–and with better prices and with personalized service.

Local wedding vendors care about your wedding day as much as you do. The good news is that many high-quailty local vendors can be found online via social media alongside their impersonal competitors! It just takes a few clicks to find the best near your wedding location! Part 2 of the series will feature how to find your local vendors using Facebook!

On Facebook? Be sure to like our page at http://www.facebook.com/weddingandpartynetwork for the latest in wedding news, tips, and updates!

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