Let me just mention a few points he makes within these topics that resonate with my experience in Entrepreneurial Blogging over the past 18 months. The following is a combo of Glenn’s thoughts which I’m adding to and giving a few examples of:
Glenn talks about the importance of archives – your archives (which you accumulate over time) are almost as important as the daily posts you write. How true. If I was just relying upon my new posts for making a living from my blogs I’m sure my wonderful wife would not still be letting me refrain from a ‘real job’. Similarly to the graphs Glenn showed my statistics reveal that whilst home pages are usually the most popular pages on sites that overall it is the archives that do the best traffic wise. For example only 30% of todays traffic to this site entered ProBlogger via the front page. 70% came in through the back door to individual pages (some of them quite old) on my blog. Archives rock!
Voice – when you sound authoritative you (without pretending to be something that you’re not) you actually begin to fill a space on the topic you’re talking about and people actually begin to look to you for comment/expertise. This is is one of the interesting phenomenon’s about blogging and I guess the internet in general. We’ve all read something on the internet at one time or another and taken the words we see there as an authority. One example that comes to mind was when I wrote a post one day about the upcoming release of the movie of the Matrix 2. I commented on some of the themes that I saw in it that might be relevant to spirituality. A month later I took a call and was interviewed as an expert by a reporter from the New York Times. I was quoted in the NYT a few days later – but the ironic thing was that to this day I’m yet to see the movie. It is quite scary really that one can become an expert about something they have little knowledge or experience of but it illustrates a point.
Links don’t bring Bucks – Original content is key. It is easy to link to other sites but what brings you repeat traffic is quality original content whether that be scoops, reviews, interviews, opinion etc. This is also my experience. At Digital Photography Blog the post that get the most traffic by far are the reviews and tutorials that we right ourselves. Other than that it is the stories that we break (scoops) and our resource pages that do best. Whilst I do use a ‘link’ approach in most of my blogs the posts that get the most traffic are always the original content. Links are important to me as they do give your readers a more rounded and fuller exploration of a topic – they also do add to your credibility (ie show that you have a handle on the topic).
Find an Empty Spot – Whilst it is difficult to find a topic where no one is blogging there are numerous ways of finding ’empty spots’. Find a site you want to be like, if they don’t have an RSS feed you might actually have an opportunity on your hands. The importance of empty spots was drummed home to me in the putting together of our Athens Olympics blog. Two months or so before the games started I did a search for sites dedicated to the games – I found very little in the way of quality sites and no blogs at all. I knew that BBC, NBC etc would enter the market but decided to get in before them and put together a comprehensive coverage. Two weeks later the new blog was in the top 3 results of Google for most Athens Olympics search terms and by the time the games started (and numerous other bloggers were just entering the market) we had over 2500 pages indexed in Google (and added another 2500 or so over the two weeks). Whilst NBC and BBC saw much more traffic than us due to their referring TV viewers to their sites through their on screen advertising we constantly outranked them on Google and saw 2 million readers find us during the games fortnight.
Persevere – It takes time. The longer you stay in a space (as long as its not dying) you’ll grow along with the industry. This is very very true. It takes a long time to build a reputation, page rank, inbound links. You may not feel like you’re growing your blog but if you persist (and work hard and blog smartly) you should see good growth. My site statistics have ups and downs but over time it is clear that things are on the improve.
Expand – One blog is good – are many blogs better? Glenn is testing this at the moment. Really getting more niche oriented in his blogging about WiFi. It is interesting that this trend continues to increase – however Weblogs Inc is also doing some more ‘general’ type blogs at the moment. I’m a big believer in this and not only have numerous blogs on one industry/topic, but also across a number of them which is part of my diversification strategy. Its vitally important in my opinion to have your eggs in a number of baskets to cover the ups and downs that you will face in your entrepreneurial blogging ventures.
These are just a few of the topics Glenn covered in his excellent presentation – I’d highly recommend you download the full audio file. If anyone out there knows Glenn and can do an introduction with me I’d love to feature him in one of our interviews in the next few months with ProBloggers – let me know if you can do the intro.