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Blog Tip: Be consistent

The following blog tip has been submitted by Jon Gales – the editor of the wonderful MobileTracker blog. Learn more about Jon from this interview we did with him earlier in the year.

You should decide early into your pro blogging what style standards your site will adhear to. It looks sloppy to switch styles between posts. If your site has multiple authors, a written style guide is a must-have.

Examples

  • Do you use the first, second or third person when talking about your site?
  • Are media sources italicized? (e.g. MobileTracker)
  • How to credit sites
  • How to link to sites (e.g. inline or at the end of the post)
  • Image sizes and alignments
  • How quotations are denoted
  • How updates are denoted

By developing a series of standards, your site will appear much more professional without any extra work. After your standards are set, go ahead and slowly work on updating your archives… Visitors from search engines likely still visit older content and will benefit from the consistency.

Canadian Professional Blogging Podcast 2.2 – your blogging voice continued

For those of you following the start of our Canadian Professional Blogging series, thanks for turning in. Tris and I really appreciated the feedback and have built upon that to create a more detailed look at finding your blogging voice.

Having a voice is a key factor in getting noticed, being read, and building up that much needed traffic to your site. However, creating that “voice” may seem like a daunting thing. Many people don’t find writing easy, and that makes it even harder. We hope that our podcast and the notes will help people figure out a path that works for them.

One tip we talk about is reading everything you can find. The writers that appeal to you likely do so because you connect with that voice. Try to apply that same style to how you write and you’ll be one step closer to a distinctive voice. Another tip is to think about your writing verbally – your conversation style should go into your writing. If you are someone who speaks in short bursts, then you can try that out on your blog.
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Strategy for maximizing page views

I was going to call this article tips for maximizing page views. But tips implies that what I suggest is going to work! These are merely thoughts and suggestions. I hope to encourage a bit of experiment and conversation with this post. Please use the comments and trackbacks to let us know if you try something as a result of this.

So, page views. A page view is not a hit, nor is it a visit. Total page views tells you how many individual pages have been seen over a given period. Dividing that total by the number of unique visitors gives you your average page views per visit.

How ever many you have, you want more. Page views are the add-on items of the web world. They’re the rust-proofing on your new car. The guacamole with your nachos. They’re where the profit is made. More page views = more ads seen = greater chance for your visitors to click on an ad.

Of course this is all completely moot if users are clicking on ads on their first or second page view. But if they were doing that we’d all be out shopping for Porshes instead of playing in Darren’s playground while he’s on holiday.

There are two main strategies I want to discuss here. The first is easy, the second requires some creative thinking.
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Ouch!

Best argument yet for posting less. Blogs keep challenging old thinking.

Are the rules of business changing?

Business Blog Survey

Hi everyone, I’ve been asked to see if I can get feedback on these questions by anyone who is involved with business blogging for a magazine article on business and blogging (as inspired by this article) – so I thought I’d throw these out as a Friday survey (yes, it’s Friday here in NZ and Australia!).

  1. What is the name and address of your business blog?
  2. What is the business it relates to? Are you the owner or an employee?
  3. Why and when did you start your blog? Did you model it on anyone else’s?
  4. What’s the payoff in doing it?
  5. How often do you post to your blog?
  6. Is the content strictly business, or do you let a little of your personal life in?
  7. Does the content focus on your business itself, or on issues of interest for the business sector you’re in?
  8. How do you relate to your fellow bloggers?
  9. Is it important to present as a real human being, rather than simply a company name?
  10. Who are your readers? How many of them are there? Do you communicate with them by any other means apart from the blog itself?
  11. Any other thoughts about business blogging? Is it important? Should more people be doing it?

Should be interesting to us all too!

Canadian Professional Blogging Podcast No 2: Developing your Blogging Voice

PodcastArieanna and I finished our next episode of our Canadian Professional Blogging Podcast on Monday.  This is part 1 of a two part episode on developing your blogging voice.  This part is more academic on how we developed our voices and how they have changed and matured.  Part 2 will offer some concrete tips on developing a voice.  Things you can do to make it easier to develop your own voice.  We start off discussing a question/comment from Robert on becoming a professional blogger within a niche area–in his case a religiously oriented blog. Then we move right into talking about blogging voice and how we got to where we are today.  There are a few tips scattered in there, don’t worry.
 
podcast_mp3.jpg cpbp_no2_bloggingvoice.mp3 (13.3 MB, 14 min 35 sec)
 
Intro and outro music “Flying” by The Kitchen used with permission–so please visit their site!

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Tris Hussey is a professional blogger and blog consultant, the Chief Blogging Officer for Qumana Software, and Managing Director of Qumana Services.  He can be reached at tris AT qumana DOT com or tris AT trishussey DOT com.
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Stickiness

One thing all bloggers and webmasters want is return visitors. Many of us watch the stats and monitor this critical measurement of web success…if you come back time and time again, you must like me. If you like me and return enough you’ll finally heed my call to action – make a purchase, register, click on an advertiser, etc. Stickiness makes a blog and return visitors are paramount to ecommerce success – repeat buyers are a critical component to revenue growth.

How best do you get people back to your site time-after-time?

Like many, I’ve tried countless ways to attract and retain repeat visitors – polls, weekly features, giveaways, interviews, guest bloggers, links, quizzes, contests, etc. Some worked better than others, some had little affect at all. Great content is a given. But what puts you over the top? Sometimes just adding a fraction to your audience makes all the difference in the world.

Polls were interesting for a while; they seem to be abandoned now. Contests got old and quizzes smelled funny. Guest bloggers and interviews are currently popular. Maybe there’s a cycle and what was once old will again appear new.

If you blog or run a website, what are the best features you’ve added to your site to attract and retain repeat visitors? What are the most effective features you’ve seen on other blogs and websites? Lastly, why do you think they work?

Can you spot the Pro Blogger?

Arieanna asks today how you can spot a pro blogger–Bloggeropoly–well since most of us work behind the scenes it might be a little hard to peg us down.  For myself I try to put my “blogsig” at the bottom of many posts.  It also has my contact information so people can reach me easily.  But what about your own blog?  Arieanna has taken care of that too.  Using the famous Button Maker — Kalsey Consulting Group she made this:
 
problogger.png
 
Feel free to download–please download not hotlink–and use on your own site.  Arieanna was making badges for Qumana too, then I think she got carried away.
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Tris Hussey is a professional blogger and blog consultant, the Chief Blogging Officer for Qumana Software, and Managing Director of Qumana Services.  I use QumanaHe can be reached at tris AT qumana DOT com or tris AT trishussey DOT com.

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Pretty pictures :a question of blog aesthetics.

Is a blog that uses pictures in its posts more likely to succeed that a blog that posts identical content but doesn’t use the pictures? Sure, we know that there are many other considerations in the success or otherwise of a blog, but take a pure economists view of a perfect market where both blogs are identical in every other way. We know that the quality of content is important, but I’ve come to a rather interesting conclusion, at least in the field of consumer and general interest blogs (as opposed to political blogs): blog aesthetics matter, and the prettier the pictures in your posts the more likely you are to succeed.

This in itself causes me a great deal of stress, mainly because editing and uploading pictures is slow in comparison to the creation of content. WordPress doesn’t allow you to just paste a picture directly into a post, and I’m presuming that other DIY packages are similar. The case in the free market may be a little different, for memory I believe you can cut and paste using blogger, but at the end of the day as a Problogger you’re more likely to be using a DIY or Paid hosting package as opposed to a freebie. The second point of stress is the extra demands on your site in terms of bandwidth: pictures slow down site loading times and cause bandwidth to be gobbled up at a faster rate. My immediate example is my new Weblog Empire Blog: The Gadget Blog, lots of pictures here, which are necessary and I’ll add are working a treat, but the bandwidth usage is 4 times that of the Blog Herald over similar visitor numbers. In other words pictures can also cost money.

The consideration though is whether the expenditure on pictures is rewarded by increased traffic and repeat visitor numbers. I’m thinking yes at this stage, although I’d welcome everyone’s views.