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AppLoop – Make Your Blog into an iPhone App

AppLoop is a great little tool that is currently in beta that will take any RSS feed and turn it into an iPhone Application.


iPhone Application Generator Demo from AppLoop on Vimeo.

All you need to do to set it up is to add your feed, a logo and name of your blog, provide a valid email address – select how much you want to charge for it (if anything) and submit it to Apple’s App Store to await its approval. It all is very automated and simple.

They give you stats to see what content people are viewing using the application. The application allows people to view your post, save it for later and share it with friends.

The video above sheds light on new features that’ll be added. The beta test is closed at the moment but you can submit your blog’s details and an email to be included in future intakes.

Via TechCrunch.

Why Do We Blog?

Today in response to an article that Andrew Sullivan published that was titled ‘Why I Blog‘ I asked my Twitter followers and Facebook friends to tell me why they blog. The responses were so good that felt it was a pity to just see them myself and not share them.

Here are the first 100 (or so) responses that came in over the next hour.

1-1

2-1

3-1

4-1

5-1

6-1

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

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Thanks to everyone for participating!

Why Do YOU Blog?

I’d love to read your answers below or on your blog. If you choose to blog or tweet your response please leave a URL in comments below so we can read it.

PS: For me it is a complex question to answer, particularly when you only have 140 characters to do it in but for me it boils down to:

17

How to Get Blogs to Link to Your Posts

Getting other blogs to link to your blog posts is not easy to do – particularly when you are starting out.

Taking a ‘write quality content and they will link up’ approach can work once you have a readership (although even then it’s not that easy) but what if your readership is small and other bloggers are not likely to see your posts?

One of the simplest things to do to get your contact in front of other bloggers in these circumstances is to email them to let them know of your post and/or to suggest it as a potential story for their own blog.

Sounds simple doesn’t it?

Of course there’s a little more to it than just banging out an email with your link to another blogger. In fact if you do this you could actually do more damage than good.

Here are a few ideas for suggesting links to other bloggers:

Let me start by saying the most obvious thing – your content needs to be of high quality – the type of thing that people will want to link to. You can beg for links from other bloggers until you’re blue in the face but if your content isn’t linkable – you’re wasting your time (and theirs).

1. Reserve it for Your Best Content

Let me repeat what I’ve already said – it is all about ‘great content’. This is not a technique to use with every single post that you write. Use it selectively on your very very best content.

2. Check if the Blogger Links Out

Different blogs have very different approaches to what they write about and where they get their story ideas. For example a blog like Engadget links to other blogs in most posts that it writes – it’s almost like a news aggregator blog and is constantly pointing people to interesting stories on the web. Other blogs rarely link out – not because they’re selfish, but because they are blogs more about original ideas. You are likely to be wasting your time by pitching blogs that never link out.

Also look at HOW the blog links. Do they link to news stories? Do they link to other blogs as ‘examples’ in their posts. Do they link to controversial posts? Do they only link to blogs on certain topics or written in certain styles? The more you learn about HOW another blog links the better position you put yourself in to create your pitch to them.

Special Note: Some blogs even present you with methods to pitch them stories with contact forms dedicated to story submissions. This is a signal that you have permission to send them ideas.

3. Don’t Ask for a General Link to Your Blog

In most cases it is not appropriate to ask another blogger to simply ‘link to my blog’ (as in the front page). You’ll have much more chance of a link if you pitch them a story (a post you’ve written) than just to link to your blog’s front page. I find that generally people link to blogs in their blog rolls after they’ve been following you and relating to you for a while and see you as a helpful resource for their readers.

4. Relevancy Relevancy Relevancy

Only suggest posts on your blog that are highly relevant for the blog you’re pitching the story idea to. You drastically decrease your chances of being linked to if your story isn’t relevant.

5. Present a Posting Angle

When emailing a blogger with a post idea show them some potential angles that they could take with their post. For example – I used to pitch my links to gadget blogs when new cameras came out. I found that when I wrote a short summary of the story in my email with some potential points of interest that the stories got picked up more regularly than if I simply sent an email saying – ‘here’s a link that you might find interesting’. So I’d include a few features, why the camera was better than previous models etc. Often this extra information appeared in the post that these blogs published – in essence I was helping the blogger write their story for them.

6. Present Helpful Resources

Another thing that increased the chances of my camera posts being linked to was when I sent in pictures of the cameras with my email. Gadget blogs love pictures so if you save them time by providing them along with the story idea you’re cutting down work and again increasing your chances of having the story picked up.

7. Have They Already Covered the Story?

There’s nothing worse than being pitched with a story idea that you posted about yesterday. Scan the blog that you’re pitching to for their recent posts – it could save you embarrassment.

8. Be Personal

Where possible pitch a blogger rather than just pitching in impersonal ways. Use their name, show that you know their blog etc. However be careful when doing this to multiple blogs – you don’t want to personalize an email and then send it to the wrong blogger – major embarrassment!

9. Be Brief, Polite and Helpful

What ever you do be polite with your pitch – keep it brief (there’s nothing more of a turn off than a long pitch), introduce yourself and keep your email as helpful as possible. Only include details that will help the blogger write their post and in no way pressure them to write the story.

10. Don’t Ignore the ‘B, C and D-list’

Don’t just promote your content to Top-Tier blogs. Big blogs are being hit with story ideas all day everyday (often the same ones over and over again). Smaller blogs can be just as fruitful to pitch to because they often have more focused groups of readers. Sometimes multiple smaller blogs all picking up a story can get the attention of bigger bloggers too – making the story viral.

11. Build Relationships Before AND After Promoting Your Blog

I’m much more likely to link to someone (either on my blog or on Twitter) if I have had some kind of interaction with them before they pitch their story idea. Spend time building your network and don’t make your relationships with people just about what they can do for you. Also – when people do link to you after you’ve promoted something to them thank them for the link, offer to reciprocate and keep in touch. Don’t take their first link up as a signal to spam them with everything you write – but see it as a deepening of that relationship.

AdSense for RSS Feeds – How Contextual Are the Ads?

Over the last few weeks we’ve (b5media) been experimenting with AdSense for RSS on our blogs (including ProBlogger). I’d previously had them on my photography blog but not here on ProBlogger.

Since activating them I’ve had around 1 email a day from readers telling me that they are seeing ‘strange’ ads. The feedback is that some readers are seeing ads for scammy ‘make money online’ products (relevant but not really what I’d want to associate my brand with) or irrelevant ads.

Last night a reader (Pawel from SEOblogr) emailed to tell me that he was seeing ads for a Gay Chubby Dating service. He sent me this screenshot (click to enlarge).

Gay Chubby Dating

Now I’m sure ProBlogger has its fair share of Gay Chubby reader who are looking for dates – but it’s not the most relevant ad in the world – certainly not ‘contextual’ as the post it appeared under was about the names that people leave comments under on blogs.

I’m wondering if this ‘irrelevant’ AdSense for RSS feeds is impacting others? I do know that irrelevant ads impact normal AdSense ad units from time to time but it seems I’ve had a lot more complaints about them in my feed than any other ad unit.

PS: I took a few minutes to scan through other b5media blogs to see how relevant the AdSense ads are on them. In most cases they are pretty good. The only other explanation I can think of is that perhaps because the ads are geotargetted that in some parts of the world there are less ads in the system and that relevancy suffers in these places.

How to Use Forums To Drive Hundreds of Thousand of Readers to Your Blog

This short post on using forums to drive traffic to blogs was submitted by an anonymous ProBlogger reader.

My blog is visited by hundreds of thousands of visitors a month and other peoples forums are the number 1 source of this traffic. Darren has asked me if I’d share how I do it.

1. Identify where your blogs potential readers are gathering

I learned this from Darren here. For me the answer to this question is forums. I know that not every blog topic will have forums that relate to it online but the more blogs that I have started the more I have found that most topics do! You just need to know where to find them.

Quite often the forum is not just a standalone forum – it could be just part of a larger site. So hunt them down!

They don’t have to be big forums either (but they should be active). For my main blog I actually chose 4 forums, one big one and three small ones.

2. Join up…. and Do Nothing (for a while)

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This is key. Many people identify a hot forum and rush in, leaving links to their blog as fast as they can. All this will do is quickly get your banned, annoy people and hurt your blogs reputation.

Instead of rushing in – join up and be a lurker for a few days. Watch and learn.

  • Learn who the key players are.
  • Watch to see what topics are hottest.
  • See which areas of the forum are most active.
  • Observe what the culture and rules of the forum are.

This ‘lurking’ is all about learning as much as you can so you can so that when you actually get active you can do it in a way that actually connects.

3. Set up your Signature and Avatar

Set up a very simple yet effective signature so that when you start posting people can find out more about you. My signatures are very understated. I simply include a link and name to my blog. I don’t do it in flashing fonts or bright colors. My reason for this is that the signature doesn’t convince people to come to my blog – the posts I write on the forum do.

If the forum allows you to choose an avatar – choose a simple one of these. I use a photo of myself because I feel it makes me more personal. On that note I make my forum name my real name. Again – this ‘humanizes’ me as I interact with people.

Also at this point I add links to the forums that I am going to interact in on my blog.

4. Start Posting

You have watched, learned and set yourself up – now it is time to start interacting with the forum.

Don’t go too hard too fast. Keep in mind that this is a community that you’re entering. Nobody likes a showoff or attention seeker. A few posts a day for your first week is more than enough. This means by the end of the week you’ll have 20-30 posts which is a signal to those on the forum that you’re investing time into it.

In my first week or two I concentrate on making myself as useful as possible to other forum members. My main priority is to answer questions that others in the forum ask.

Point people to sites that might help them or answer their questions – but in the first week or two show some restraint about pointing people to things you’ve written on your own blog. There will be time for that later.

5. Write Resource Content/Tutorials

After a week or two of ‘helping’ and being useful I then begin to produce weekly tutorial type content. This is where I find things begin to really take off in terms of driving traffic to your blog and becoming a more established presence in the forum.

In these ‘tutorial’ type posts you want to be writing top quality ‘how to’ type content that people will value highly. In many ways these tutorials are the type of things you might normally post on your blog.

In some ways what I am doing with these ‘tutorials’ is similar to what people who write guest posts for other people’s blogs do. It’s writing impressive content that makes people pay attention to you.

In these tutorials I generally will either include a relevant link to my blog to a post that extends the topic or is a ‘further reading’ type link OR at the end of the tutorial I include a simple line pointing out that I write more of this type of thing on my blog (with a link). I keep these links very low key.

What I find is that as I write these tutorials that people begin to want to know more about who I am. When you help people do something it makes an impression and they begin to seek you out.

6. Make Connections

You will find that the relationships will happen fairly naturally at this point but I also put a little extra time at this point to establish relationships with people in the forum, particularly key influencers, moderators and owners. Send these people private messages introducing yourself, encouraging them (particularly owners and moderators – many of them will really appreciate positive feedback) and even making offers of help or suggestions (if appropriate).

If you show that you’re willing to help make a forum a better place you’ll find these key people within the forum will be very open to working with you at some point in the future.

7. Let Others Promote Your Blog

I find that at this point a wonderful thing happens – forum members begin to promote your blog. They come across you either through you answering questions, your tutorials or through conversations that you have with them and they begin to read your blog. When they find something on it that they like, they write about it.

Sounds a little too good to be true – but it has happened from me time and time again. It’s almost like when you find other bloggers in your niche beginning to discover your blog – but instead it can potentially be a whole community discovering your blog at once (a very powerful thing).

Last time this happened to me it was in a forum with over 100,000 members. It took me 5 months of ground work but when the ‘tipping point’ came it was like I suddenly became a celebrity or some kind of hero in the forum. I’d written 15 tutorials by this time and they’d become some of the most viewed threads in the forum, the forum owner had asked if he could pay me to write more and when I said I’d do it for free he included a small button on his sidebar linking to my blog as a recommended resource as payment.

8. Be Generous, Be Understated and Be Useful

My parting words of advice for people wanting to use forums to promote their blogs is really to be as helpful as possible while remaining as subtle as you can.

This actually takes some restraint. If you’re anything like me your natural inclination is to shout out about your blog at every opportunity but take it from me, I’ve done this and it doesn’t work. The more understated I’ve been the more success I’ve had.

What Name Do You Leave Comments on Blogs Under?

Here’s a question for discussion this weekend:

Do you use your real name when leaving comments on a blog or do you use ‘keywords’?

I was moderating comments last night here on ProBlogger and noticed almost a 60/40 split between these approaches (with 60% using ‘real’ names).

My personal preference is to leave my real name – that’s partly because I feel it is more personal and also because I guess inadvertently over the years my name has become a brand of sorts – so it makes sense.

My personal preference for people leaving comments on my blog is also for ‘real names’ – although I’ve not moderated comments based upon people using keywords.

A Spectrum of Approaches

There is a spectrum of approaches that I see people using when it comes to what ‘name’ they leave on comments:

1. Key Words Only – For example some people are obviously just using words that they are attempting to rank for in Google. In my mind when you leave a comment under the name of something like ‘Bad Credit‘ or ‘Interior and Exterior Painting‘ or ‘Steel garages sheds‘ or ‘revenue‘ (all names used here on ProBlogger in the last 48 hours) you’re coming close to looking like you are spamming and doing it purely for SEO, even when your comments are on topic and genuine. I don’t honestly see the point in doing this. Most blogs (including ProBlogger) have nofollow tags in their comments so your links and the words you use have no SEO benefits what so ever. I doubt you’d get many people clicking on words like those either.

2. Brands/Site Names – Also on the spectrum but more acceptable in my mind are people who use keywords in more subtle and in ways that help brand themselves or their blogs. For example ‘Your Friendly Neighborhood Computer Guy‘ who is a commenter on ProBlogger. I don’t mind this type of approach because it is more personal and is tied to his brand (rather than just being an attempt to rank well for certain keywords).

3. Brands and Personal Names – The next step along the spectrum is people who use their name AND a keyword of blog name. Examples including ‘Vered – MomGrind‘ and ‘John Hoff – eVentureBiz‘ and ‘Janice (5 Minutes for Mom)‘. To me this works reasonably well as it gives a personal touch as well as some branding benefits.

4. Personal Names - The lastly there are those who leave just their name. This is my personal favorite and I find myself much more drawn to reading and interacting with these comments. I can understand that some don’t like to use their name as they want some level of anonymity – but for me a name actually makes me feel like I’m interacting with a human being.

Of course there are other approaches. Some use pseudonyms or nick names – I’m sure others will tell us about other options that they use too.

The above spectrum and ordering are based upon my own personal preferences and approaches – but I don’t have a monopoly on the truth and am interested in your personal approach.

What name do you leave comments by and why?

Feeling Overwhelmed by Social Media and Web 2.0? – Here Are 5 Tips For You

Last week I spoke with a blogger who had thrown the towel in on his blog. One day he simply stopped posting with no explanation.

I emailed to ask him why he stopped and his response was:

“I can’t keep up with the advances in technology. Every day there is a new tool, widget or social networking site to test out. I can’t keep up. I’m feeling overwhelmed by it. So I gave up.”

This is a sentiment I’m hearing a lot lately. Bloggers are increasingly feeling the pressure to have their fingers in lots of pies at once and are feeling overwhelmed by the choice and effort needed to ‘keep up’.

We look at people like Robert Scoble who manage to keep blogs afloat, produce videos, engage with thousands of people on Twitter, FriendFeed and who knows how many other social accounts – all while having a family and traveling the world speaking at conferences! Our efforts in comparison to people like Robert pale by comparison….

If you’re feeling this pressure I’d like to talk to you today and give you a few words of encouragement.

overwhelmed-social-media.jpg
Image by danielgebhart

5 Tips for Overwhelmed Bloggers

1. You’re Not Alone

There are days when I look at the things that I do and feel like I’m going backwards. I’m lucky enough to be able to dedicate full time hours (in fact I’m probably doing this 60-70 hours a week) to what I do – and I there are times when I can’t keep up!

You’re not alone. I hear stories of people who can’t ‘keep up’ every day.

2. Focus Upon Your Core Tasks

My Mum isn’t on Facebook, she’s never heard of Twitter, she thinks YouTube is a deodorant stick and things RSS is something most people keep in their boxer shorts.

Sometimes it feels like we’re falling behind in adopting technology but it is good remind ourselves that what we do do online is actually ahead of the curve of the majority of ‘real people’.

What I remind myself on those days when I feel overwhelmed by it all is that 95% of the people who read my main blog don’t really care that much about social media or web 2.0 – they’re coming to my blog to read information on how to use their cameras.

As a result my core task is to develop that content and to distribute it using mediums that they are familiar with. My core task is NOT to have my finger on the pulse of every new technology. While it can be helpful to know about the latest widgets and tools to become distracted by them could actually be taking me further away from my audience.

3. Be Smart, Establish Boundaries and Focus Your Energies

I am not suggesting that we all ignore social media, emerging web technologies or forget about Web 2.0.

There is a lot to like about Web 2.0 and it can bring a lot of life to your blogging. However unless you’re blogging about Technology or have a very Web Savvy audience you’d do well to pick and choose what you do and don’t focus your attention on and to put boundaries around these activities.

I wish I could list the 3 tools and technologies that you should focus upon – but it will differ for each blog and every topic – but rather than focusing upon everything, narrow your focus and pick a few achievable technologies to ‘play’ with at a time. My approach with social media has always be to pick up new technologies one at a time rather than to start with multiple ones at once.

Picking new tools to play with one at a time allows you to fully understand it, work out how it might work for you and to add it to your natural work flow. Do too many new things at once and you’re not likely to be able to integrate them into your life to it’s potential.

Remember my post from last week on Home bases and Outposts and how it relates to Social Media – while spending time on outposts can be useful you also need to spend time on your home base – that needs to be your priority.

On Boundaries – One of the techniques that I use to help me to put boundaries around the things that I do is to use Batch Processing. Put most simply it is about setting aside blocks of time to work on tasks in a focused way instead of flitting from one thing to another all day.

4. They are Tools – Refocus Upon Your Goals

Sometimes the tools and technologies become bigger than they need to be. I am constantly reminding myself to spend less time focusing upon the tools and more time focusing upon my goals.

If you know what you want to achieve you can then decide how to move towards that desired goal. In doing so you can select the best tools for the job. If you start with the medium or the tools and try to fit it to your ‘goals’ and objectives you’ll just get muddled.

Web 2.0 technologies can help you achieve your goals – but they are much more effective if you know what you want to achieve.

5. Have Fun

Sometimes I take things too seriously. Sure – blogging has become a business and a way of sustaining my family so there needs to be some element of taking it seriously – but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. Social media is a space that is at it’s best when it is fun and playful. Let it bog you down and you’re kind of defeating the purpose of it all.

What would you add as a tip for people feeling overwhelmed by social media and Web 2.0 technologies?

Why I’ve Been Offered Close to a Million Dollars for My Blog (and Why I said No)

“I’ve always treated the first two years of Digital Photography School as its launch phase.”

This was a statement that I made in a session at Blog World Expo that I’ve been asked about many times since – so I thought I’d expand upon it a little here in a post.

2006-2008: The Launch of Digital Photography School

I launched DPS back in April of 2006 (I first spoke about it here on ProBlogger in one of my first video posts). As you’ll see from that initial post – I always saw DPS as something of an experiment and a long term project. Having built numerous blogs before starting that one I new that building a blog to it’s potential takes a lot of time and hard work.

As a result, I gave myself a goal to get that blog two years to get through it’s ‘launch phase’.

That might seem like a long time to get a blog up and running but for me the ‘launch phase’ meant more than simply getting the blog designed and announcing it – for me the ‘launch’ is all about these sorts of things:

  • building a foundation of solid content (the blog now has 713 posts, most of which are ‘how to’ or ‘tutorial’ style content)
  • getting an initial design up (I launched with a free design and quickly upgraded to a purpose built one. It’s now dated and we’ve outgrown it – but it has served us well).
  • building a loyal readership and subscribers (the blog is now read by around a million readers a month and subscribed to by over 100,000. The forum has around 200,000 visitors a month.)
  • building community (this takes time. Initially I did it with a Flickr group and then leveraged that to start a forum – now with 23,000 members).
  • building a ‘list‘ (at the heart of DPS is a newsletter which drives traffic and builds community. It is sent to around 48,000 subscribers per week).
  • establishing a publishing routine (I started off posting 3 times a week and have built it up to posting 7 times a week)
  • building a content creation team (originally I wrote every post – now the blog is written by a team of 5 paid writers (each doing one post per week) and a number of regular guest contributers)
  • building a team of community leaders (the forum is moderated by a wonderful team of voluntary members)
  • building relationships with other bloggers and partners (something I was slow doing, mainly due to being time poor – more recently however I’ve been more intentional building relationships with others in the industry)
  • experimenting with monetization – (making money from the site hasn’t been high on my priority list to this point – rather in this launch phase it has been more about working out what types of monetization works and what the community responds to. The site does make money, but more importantly I’ve been learning about monetization)

Most bloggers probably don’t see a lot of this as a ‘launch phase’ – but for me it has definitely been more about building foundations for what is to come than seeing anything I’ve done so far as an ‘end result’.

While I’m really happy with (and surprised by) what we’ve achieved so far at DPS – seeing it as being in it’s launch phase reminds me to keep lifting my sights and to keep on building and dreaming.

One of the Results of Building Good Foundations

Over the last few months I’ve been approached on 3 occasions by potential buyers of DPS. It has actually been quite strange because they all came very quickly and quite out of the blue. The offers ranged quite considerably in terms of numbers but a couple were tempting.

In each case the potential buyer commented that they wanted to buy DPS because it was ‘solid’. Each one was less interested in what the site was making in terms of income or how much raw traffic it had than other factors. They were looking more at things like brand, community, reader loyalty, influence, reader morale and user participation.

In fact what surprised me is that the valuations that they put on the site (very high six figure sums) were not based upon what it was currently earning at all. They made offers based upon these other factors – factors that made their offers much higher than a valuation based upon traffic or monthly income alone.

What Will Phase 2 Look Like?

While a couple of the offers were very tempting I realized as i deliberated that the potential for DPS was far greater than what it had yet achieved. I’ve only just begun. To sell now tempted me (and I probably would have sold at the right price) but I realized that for me to take it beyond where it has grown to will see it rise exponentially in value.

It has been 2.5 years now since officially launching the site – so it’s now time to move into the next ‘phase’.

I’m not ready to fully announce all of the details of the next phase of DPS – however it will involve a redesign (hopefully to go live around the end of the year) and a fairly significant ‘expansion’. In essence the way I’m viewing the last 2.5 years is that I’ve been building foundations and that now it is time to expand and leverage what has already been built.

To do so means significant investment back into the site financially but with the solid base of readership, community and relationships that I’ve been working hard to build I’m pretty confident that Phase 2 will be successful. I’m also really excited about what’s coming!

Build Solid Foundations

When I speak with many bloggers I get the feeling that all they’re really thinking about is growing traffic and subscriber numbers as fast as possible. While these are definitely things to work hard on I attempt to convey to them that there are other ‘foundations’ that need to be built into a blog than just traffic.

Most bloggers put a lot of energy into building blogs with high readership – but how about setting goals and strategies in place for some of the other areas mentioned above?

  • Take a long term view of your blogging
  • Take your time to build strong foundations that go beyond traffic and income

As you do these two things you’ll put yourself in a position to build a site of significance.

How to Increase Subscribers and Reader Engagement

Last week I decided to find some quality Australian blogs to subscribe to. I used a newly compiled list of Australian Marketing Blogs that Julian Cole put together as the basis for my search.

I was excited by the quality of some of the blogs on that list – but it struck me as I surfed through the list that there were three frustrations that I had with quite a few of the blogs on the list (definitely not all of them, but enough for me to notice).

None of these problems are issues that just Australian bloggers or Marketing bloggers face – I see them every day around the web (although I did find it ironic that a list of ‘Marketing’ blogs would have some of these problems).

1. Hidden Subscription Options

I was on a mission to subscribe to great blogs – but one disappointing thing that I noticed was that quite a few of the bloggers didn’t make this easy for me simply because they ‘hid’ their subscription methods way down the page (and a couple didn’t even show them at all). Most browsers these days give those who use them the ability to subscribe by clicking the RSS icon in their address bar – but many web users don’t know that they can do this (or are using old browsers).

If one of your goals as a blogger is to grow your readership then one great way to capture first time readers is to get them to subscribe (whether that be to an RSS feed, an RSS to Email service or a newsletter. If you hide or obscure these options you’re not likely to get the conversions.

My own approach with getting subscribers is to place these subscription options prominently in a sidebar and then under posts on single post pages (usually below the fold). This means that whether a new reader is above or below the fold they are invited to subscribe.

Further Reading11 Ways to Get New RSS Subscribers for your Blog

2. No Way to Contact the Blogger

There were a number of blogs on the list that I was really impressed with – so much so that I wanted to contact the blogger and congratulate them on their blogs. The only problem was that on a couple of occasions I found it difficult to find any way to contact the blogger other than to leave a public comment.

I understand some bloggers desires to have privacy or to cut down the admin of their blogs by keeping themselves difficult to contact but in doing so you not only filter the loonies approaches but also legitimate opportunities, potential partnerships etc

Contact options don’t necessarily have to be giving out your email address – you could have a contact form, give Twitter details, have an IM option or give other social networking profiles (the key is to give ones that you actually check).

Further ReadingWhy Your Blog’s Readers Should be Able to Contact You

3. No About Page

This one is probably more my personal preference and less essential than the first two points – but when I find a blog that I’m interested in one of the first things that I like to do to help me decide whether to subscribe to it is to search for more information about the blog and who writes it.

Some kind of an ‘About Page’ is a great way to satisfy and draw in curious potential readers (like me) and to deepen the connection with them.

Your About page is a wonderful opportunity to make a connection with new people to your blog, to sell yourself and give reasons why people should read you.

You can of course do this in other ways (an intro in your sidebar perhaps) but a page dedicated to sharing your information in this way can really work well.

Further Reading – Add an About Page to Your Blog, How to Write Your “About Me” Page and Conduct an About Page Audit