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Run a Competition to Find Your Next WordPress Blog Design

Picture 2.pngOne of the most common questions I’m asked by readers starting out with blogging is around blog design and how they can get an affordable but unique blog design.

The irony of this is that I’m a self confessed dud when it comes to blog design. These days I hire others to do custom designs for my blog – but of course this doesn’t come cheap.

A recent survey here on ProBlogger showed that 79% of readers here use free themes or design their blogs themselves – but what if you want something more unique and/or don’t have the ability to design a blog or tweak a free theme?

I had all these questions buzzing around in my head recently when I paid a visit to local design marketplace site 99designs. I didn’t expect anything to come out of the conversation but what did come out of it excited me because it could meet a need that I see many of our readers having.

What 99designs have put together is a way to run a competition to have a new WordPress blog design created for your blog for as little as $369.

Now before I go any further – $369 is out of many bloggers leagues – but it is certainly a cheaper option than hiring a designer for $2000-$3000 to do a custom job for you. It’s not going to be for everyone but is sure to be an attractive option for those looking for a mid priced design.

The process to run a competition is simple. Here’s how 99designs describe it:

1. Set your budget and requirements

Tell us your budget and what you want designed, and we will post it on 99designs.com

2. Designers will create designs just for you

Designers from around the world will compete to create the best looking design just for you. Most projects get over 20 different design concepts to choose from. Rate the designers you like, eliminate the ones you don’t like.

3. Choose your favorite design

Pick your favorite design as the winner. Show it off to your friends! The winning design is yours to keep forever.

4. We code and install your theme (optional extra)

Through our partner, Thinktank Media, we’ll have your new WordPress theme up and running on your blog in 5 working days. Our themes are coded on the Sandbox theme, so they’re compatible with both WordPress.org and WordPress.com blogs!

They also have a 100% money back guarantee if you run a competition and don’t find a design that you like.

Keep in mind that what you’re running the competition for is the ‘design’ – to have it coded and/or installed you either need to choose to pay extra for these options or do that part yourself.

I hope those of you looking to find a new design for your WordPress blog find this useful! Check it out here.

How to Use Google’s Wonder Wheel to Find Topics to Write about

Stuck for ideas to write about? Here’s a quick and easy to use tool from Google to help you identify topics within most niches.

View this video at full size to get all the visual details in the video here on Facebook.

PS: a number of people have been asking about how I made this video and what microphone I am using. The mic is a Rode Podcaster USB microphone which I only recently have received. It’s not a small microphone but the quality it has produced is excellent.

The software I used to record the video and screen capture is a Mac tool called ScreenFlow. This is the first time I’ve used it and I there’s a lot more I could have done with it – I’m still learning to use its features.

How to Find Your Blogging Mojo – Experiment with Different Voices and Styles of Writing

Have you ever read a blog post that just seems to have ‘it’? Mojo.jpg

You arrive at the page, begin reading and immediately feel drawn into what the blogger is communicating. You can’t really put your finger on why – but there’s something about the way that they write that connects with you – that makes you want to read more – that makes reading easy.

That blogger has ‘blogging mojo’.

While there are many concrete things that we can identify about successful blogs – some things are hard to define. One of these is blogging mojo.

Some bloggers just seem to be able to write in a way that connects. They go beyond technically writing well to a style that just works.

How to Develop Your ‘Mojo’

I’ve observed ‘blogging mojo’ in a number of bloggers over the years and have done my best to identify why some bloggers have it and some don’t. Perhaps it’s partly natural ability, personality or learning how to write from a young age – but there’s one important factor that I’ve seen over and over again in successful bloggers.

Most successful bloggers that I question tell me that on top of any natural ability that they have that they’ve spent years experimenting with different styles of writing, different types of posts, different topics, different voices and different approaches to communicating that shape who they are today.

As they say – ‘Practice makes perfect’.

One of the best ways to develop your writing and learn to consistently produce compelling content is to practice writing in different styles and voices.

Of course this doesn’t just happen – sometimes you need to set yourself a challenge (or ask someone else to do so).

I chatted with a journalist friend recently who told me that he learns most about writing when his editor allocates him a story that takes him out of his comfort zone, when he’s asked to write on a topic he’s not overly familiar with or asked to write in a style that isn’t his normal one.

He said that when he’s given these challenging stories that he’s forced to learn and discover new ways to communicate. It doesn’t always feel good but each time he discovers something new about what works (and doesn’t work) for him.

Which leads us to today’s homework…

Your Homework for Today

Today’s homework task is to pick a style of blog post that you don’t normally write. For example:

  • If you always write in the 1st person why not try writing in the 3rd person for a post?
  • If your posts are always deadpan serious why not attempt something a little more light hearted and humorous.
  • Try writing a post from the perspective of another person?
  • Throw an opinion piece into your blog that is normally just covering ‘news’.
  • Write a list post if your blog is usually more ‘essay’ like.

If you’re unsure what to write check out my list of 20 Types of Blog Posts – hopefully one of them will fit with where you’re at. There’s also a few of these types of writing posts in the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog workbook.

The benefit of mixing things up from time to time is that you grow as a writer and you might just stumble upon a type of post that connects with your readers. Even if the post falls flat on it’s face and fails you’ve learned what not to do on your blog.

Once you’ve written your post and published it please come back to this post and share the link and share how you went with the challenge!

This post belongs to our current series on Creating Compelling Content. Stay tuned for more principles of building this type of content in the week ahead.

How to Create Compelling Content Through Reader Interaction

This week at ProBlogger I’m writing about principles of creating Compelling Content on a blog. Read principle #1, Being in Tune with Your Readers Needs here.

reader-interaction.jpg

Sometimes what makes a blog post compelling is not so much what the blogger writes but how the post is interacted with by readers.

The real action on many successful blogs happens in a comment section where a post can be taken to the next level and have new layers of depth added to it as readers share their thoughts, ideas and experiences on a topic.

3 Benefits of Reader Interaction on Blogs

The benefits of an interactive blog are many but the main three that I think help to make a blog compelling are:

1. Wisdom of the Crowd

While we as bloggers often like to think of ourselves as experts on our topics the reality is that when you get a group of people with an interest in a topic together that the collective expertise and authority of the group is generally more than any one member. I’ve seen this time and time again on my own blogs.

For example last week I asked readers what makes content compelling to them – the 100+ comments are really very insightful when you take them all together.

Similarly a year or so back on my photography site I posted a reader question that asked the community to share their tips on how to photograph a dying grandmother with dignity. What came out of that post drew our community together and made a real impact upon many. The post itself wasn’t compelling – it was the reaction and wisdom of the community.

2. Social Proof

Visit a blog which has numerous comments on every post and you get a sense that there’s something going on there. There’s an energy, a buzz, a sense of community that seeing reader participation can bring to a blog which in itself can be compelling and make you want to see what’s going on there to create that interaction.

While having reader interaction doesn’t automatically make your blog compelling – it can encourage others to take a second look at it to see what all the fuss is about.

3. Reader Investment

I’ve struggled a little to put a name to this but there’s something about getting a reader to leave a comment on a post that means that they’ve invested something of themselves into your blog. I know when I comment on something that someone else has written that I’m much more likely to return to that post and to that blog because I’ve invested a little time, energy and thought into it – I’ve contributed something to the discussion and as a result it becomes a bit more compelling to me.

The Problem of Lurkers [+ How to Build Reader Interaction]

lurking.jpg

Image by Big Fat Rat

Of course the problem most bloggers face is that most readers simply ‘lurk’ on blogs. Less than 1% of readers regularly comment on blogs – most simply read (or scan) content and then silently leave.

So how do you build reader interaction? I’d love to hear your suggestions and experiences in this below but here are a few suggestions and 4 lessons I’ve learned over the years.

1. Call people to Interact

Perhaps the greatest lesson I’ve learned is that when you ask people to do something they’re much more likely to do it.

It sounds like a no brainer doesn’t it? However the reality is that many bloggers I hear complaining about no comments don’t actually write in a way that invites people to interact.

Calling people to interact with you can take many forms:

  • Ask people to leave a comment (I’ve done this already in this post – you don’t have to do it just at the end)
  • Ask readers specific questions in your posts -  (I find that some people need some prompting on what type of reactions you want from them rather than just having a generic ‘what do you think?’ type call to comment)
  • Writing posts that are only questions can work well (example)
  • Create space for readers to showcase their expertise or participate in a challenge (for example I recently ran this challenge on DPS which readers loved).

Keep in mind that when you call readers to interact with you that you’ll have more chance of success if you do so in a conversational and natural way. Also worth noting is that sometimes you need to leave space for your readers to have something to say. Some bloggers write in a tone and style that is so comprehensive that there’s really little else to say on a topic.

2. Don’t just focus upon comments

Some people just don’t like comments, perhaps it is their personality, perhaps they’re wary of giving you their contact details, perhaps they feel intimidated, perhaps they don’t know how to do it, or perhaps they just take a while to warm up to that type of interaction.

So don’t just focus upon commenting as the only way for readers to participate. Other options for interaction inlclude:

  • Polls (much more anonymous and easy to use)
  • Quizzes and Surveys
  • Invite readers to email you
  • Forums – some people just seem to be wired more to forums more than blogs as a medium
  • Social Media – get people interacting on their social media platform of choice

Try different methods to see what works best for your blog.

3. Use the Data in Reader Interactions

It struck me recently just how much knowledge, wisdom and useful information sits in the comments sections and poll results of most blogs. Many of us as bloggers are just happy to have people interacting – but perhaps what would be more ‘compelling’ is to not only have interaction but to ‘use’ the interactions to create meaning and be more useful to readers.

Let me illustrate with a recent example here at ProBlogger:

Just over a week ago I asked readers – What do you do with your blog over the weekend? The post was simply a weekend discussion starter – while I suggested a few responses to get things started the real action in the post happened in the comments section with over 130 comments left.

I could have left it at that. I had a fantastic response from the question and readers seemed to be enjoying the interactions that they had with one another – it was a successful post.

However it struck me that in the comments section of that post was some useful data. 130+ people had just shared what they did with their blog on the weekend! That’s useful information to know.

So I decided to get the answers collated together and see what they told us – this resulted in a followup post on the topic. Sometimes going to the effort of making sense of how readers are responding can be very worthwhile.

Another example – I also regularly do this by not only posting Polls on my blogs but following them up with ‘results’ posts from the polls which take the information, put them into a nice chart and draw out any meaning that I find interesting in them. For example this recent results post on blog design. The results post itself got 78 comments!

4. Re-purpose Readers Responses (and Make them Famous)

Similarly I also try to showcase or feature individual reader responses and interactions.

Often the wisdom shared in the comments section of a blog is just too good to leave it languishing there where only a few people will see it. In these cases why not promote it to a blog post of it’s own or at least to quote your readers in another post you’re writing.

Readers will notice that I’m doing this in this series on compelling content (for example see yesterdays post where I featured quotes from 9 comments left on this blog that supported what I’ve written).

Doing this not only adds depth to your blog post (making it more compelling) but also gives those readers featured a sense of being noticed and valued as well as showing other readers that you value reader interactions (giving them a little extra motivation to participate too).

Further Reading

There is much more I could write on how to build an interactive blog. In fact I’ve written several posts on the topic including:

Your Homework for Today

OK – so we’ve talked about the theory of reader interaction. Now it’s time to put some of it into action.

Your task for today is to write a post that attempts to be interactive with those who will read it. This could be as simple as tweaking something you’ve already written to include a question or could be a new post that is all about reader interaction (a poll, a reader discussion, a survey etc). Once you’ve written it please share a link to it in comments below so we can all learn from how you approached it.

What You’ve Said on the Topic So Far:

Earlier in the week I asked you for your reflections on what makes content compelling. The responses were rich with wisdom and compelling in themselves (I’ve read them numerous times). Here’s a few of the comments from you that touched on similar themes to what I’ve written above:

  • “Being conversational brings the writer to life and creates a human connection. That’s compelling.” – Jody
  • “Truly compelling content not only sparks my interest, but makes me want to share the insight I’ve gained with others.” – Patrick
  • “Compelling content should cause the reader to ask questions. It needs to persuade or teach the reader in some way. It’s content that’s unique and can’t be found anywhere else. It begins a dicussion amongst other bloggers who comment on your content. Compelling content shows the reader that you, as a blogger, are interested in them.” – Surveys for Money
  • “Seriously, these eighty-five honest and detailed descriptions of what each person thinks is compelling content. If you ask me, it doesn’t get much more compelling than this.” – Debbie
  • “Compelling content elicits a response. It draws me into conversation. It inspires me to react. It is this very post, despite it being nothing more than a question.” – Brad

Have Your Say

Of course this post wouldn’t be complete without an invitation to leave your reactions, experiences and insights on this topic.

  • How have you built reader interaction into your blog?
  • What has worked (and not worked) for you?
  • What posts have you written where you got the most reader interaction (feel free to share a link)?

How to Get In Tune with Your Readers Needs [and Produce Compelling Content]

Compelling“having a powerful and irresistible effect; requiring acute admiration, attention, or respect”

compelling-blog-content.jpgImage by margolove

Compelling content is a cornerstone of all great blogs. But what is it? How do you write it? Why do some blogs have it and others don’t?

Over the next week at ProBlogger I’ll be exploring a number of important principles (I have 7 so far) of producing compelling blog content. Not all of the principles covered will be relevant for every post you write or even for every type of blog but hopefully in these principles you’ll find something that helps to take your own content to the next level.

Make sure you’re subscribed to ProBlogger to get updates of each post in this series.

Principle #1 – Being In Tune with Your Readers Needs

For content to be compelling it needs to connect with needs of those consuming it.

Whether those needs are for entertainment, news, inspiration, community, instruction, intellectual stimulation, a laugh/or a cry etc – if your content meets the need it goes a long long way to being compelling – after-all, who pays attention to something that has little relevance to them?

Staying in tune with these needs can be done in a variety of ways including:

  • watching the comments section of your blog for questions and problems
  • watching your metrics to see what words people are searching for in search engines to arrive on your blog
  • watching what people are searching for when they are on your blog using your internal search tool
  • running focus groups with loyal readers (something I’ve done a few times with real success)
  • keeping an eye on what questions are being asked on other blogs, forums and on social media sites
  • writing a post asking your readers for their questions or giving them an opportunity to share their needs

3 Hot Tips For Connecting with Reader Needs

Hot Tip #1 – Best and Worst Posts

I’ve recently asked my readers to share their ‘best and worst’ aspects of blogging at the end of a week. One of the benefits of doing this (and one I didn’t anticipate) was that it identified some common and recurring problems that my readers were having. The comments on these posts have led to me writing numerous posts that directly seek to solve their problems.

Ultimately your goal as a blogger should be to produce content that adds value to people’s lives. Produce this and you’ve got a great foundation to build a successful blog upon.

Hot Tip #2 – Ask So What?

I love the question that Chris Garrett (the co-author of the ProBlogger book) encourages bloggers to ask every time they write a blog post.

The question is – ‘So What?’

This question is all about asking yourself whether a post actually matters – does it have any point? Will it help people in some way?

Write it out in bold lettering and put it somewhere prominent in the place that you blog. Before your hit ‘publish’ on any post ask it to yourself – ‘SO WHAT’? Does your point have a point? Does it meet a need? Who will it help?

Hot Tip #3 – Solve your Own Problems

One of the best ways to ensure that your content is meeting real needs that people have is to Solve Your OWN Needs and Problems.

An exercise that I do every time I start a new blog is to not only brainstorm a list of topics I have expertise on and things that I can help others with – but I also create a list of things that I need to learn for myself on the topic. What don’t I know yet? What challenges do I currently face? What aspects of this topic do I ask others about?

Once you’ve got that kind of list you have a list of real needs that people have and your goal needs to be to learn more in order to be able to answer them or to find someone else to help you write content on those topics.

Another useful list to create is a list of problems that you have previously had and have overcome. Think back to when you were just first exploring your topic (or if you can’t remember put yourself in the shoes of a complete newbie who has just started out). What questions did you have? What mistakes did you make? What challenges did you not know how to overcome. These beginner questions and needs are GOLD – write them down and write posts that answer them.

Homework – Go Do This!

Take 15 minutes to go on a Reader Need Hunt

Your goal is to spend the next 15 minutes compiling a list of needs that your current readers and/or potential readers might have.

Start in your blog’s own comment section and hunt for questions and then proceed through the list mentioned above. If you don’t have any readers or those you have are not verbalizing their needs yet – focus upon the last two items on the list.

You can’t find enough of these types of problems and needs. Compile them all in a list and keep it somewhere that you can begin to work through.

What You Said on the Topic

When I asked you what compelling content was to you the themes I’ve explored above came up a lot – here’s some of what you said on the topic:

  • “Content that teaches you something that you can walk away and hold onto. Any bit of information that you can apply to your life.” Mitch
  • “It helps me solve a problem that I have” – Jan
  • ” it needs to be a useful or helpful to the targeted audience. People likes to learn something useful or helpful” – Bash Bosh
  • “Helps me solve a problem that I have” – Dave
  • “The important of audience is pretty obvious – write what appeals to your readership.” – Jeffrey
  • “I enjoy content that logically lays out a problem and then shows me how to solve it.” – Jarie
  • “To me, compelling content is content which falls into one of – 1) Educates me on something I am interested in. 2) Provides insight into something I am interested in. 3) Helps me solve a problem” – Wesley
  • “Helps me to solve an issue or makes something easier to deal with, whether professional or personal. Sometimes its even straight forward advice you read and then think, this is it – this will work – this is my answer! These are often called my “Lightbulb Moments.”” – Denise
  • “For me, compelling content answers a question, solves a problem, or teaches me something I need to know.” – Judy

Thanks to everyone for their comments. I’ll feature more in coming days as we explore more on the topic of how to create compelling content.

Make sure you’re subscribed to ProBlogger to get updates of each post in this series.

Update: I’ll list future posts in this series as they are published:

How to Make Money (Passively) With Your Blog

Today, Shaun Connell from Learn Financial Planning explains how to build a passive income from your blog without sacrificing value.

Trying to get the most “bang for your buck” has been behind the invention of the wheel, light-bulb, the Internet and pretty much every other major technological advancement in history.

True to this desire for efficient productivity, in the online business world one of the most popular quests for someone who is just starting out in their blogging business journey is to make money passively.

In this post we’ll talk about the nature of a “passive” income, how to avoid the short-sighted “greedy” tactics that can destroy one’s entire blogging income, and how this all relates to value-oriented blogging.

Passive Income: Short-Sighted or Good Business?

A passive income is, according to Investopedia:

“Earnings an individual derives from a rental property, limited partnership or other enterprise in which he or she is not actively involved.”

If you make money without actively working at the time to earn that money, then that’s part of your passive income. Rental earnings, dividends — both are often considered to be part of a passive income, though whether any income is “passive” is always debated.

Tragically, thousands of get-rich schemers have latched onto the desirability of a passive income, luring desperate consumers into their traps with promises of “unstoppable systems” that can just be “turned on” to make money forever. In a sense, these schemers have given a bad name to passive income, making it feel (to some, at least) almost like it’s cheating.

Of course, the schemers are wrong — as are those who reject passive income streams out of a (reactionary) principle. Building a passive income isn’t about “get rich quick”; it often takes longer, usually takes more work, and almost always takes much, much more planning.

Before we move on to the exact tactics you can use to make money passively, let me reiterate what should be one of the most important concepts here: trying to make a passive income doesn’t mean that you try to stop writing valuable content, or that your goal is to make money online so you can “stop working.”

The exact opposite is true.

Writing valuable content and maintaining community is not at odds with developing a passive income. You can do both at the exact same time. Even more than that, developing both a passive and an active income with your blog leads to more success, more financial security, and a stronger income.

The best passive income strategy is multiplied by blogging with valuable content. Every single tactic listed below is simply deadly effective if mixed with value blogging.

How to Make Money Passively With Your Blog

By definition, a passive income from your blog is any money that you make if you completely stopped working. Not income without work — but income that continues to come in indefinitely after work.

The 3 tactics listed below are just to get you started — there are tons of different ways. If you have an idea, be sure to share it in the comments section.

  • Search-Engine Marketing.

Search-engine marketing is a little different than just writing “for the search engines.” For example, Brian Clark over at Copyblogger has one of the best “user oriented” websites around. He’s the copywriting guru of blogging.

Yet if you look at his left sidebar, you’ll see a collection of links to pages, including one to Copywriting Courses. On the page he lists two reviews of affiliate products that can help you master your own copywriting. Of course, that page is the first result for “copywriting courses” on Google, and will continue to stay there.

To build a passive search-engine marketing income stream from your blog, just write enough valuable content that gives your main domain a great amount of authority because of “real links” from other bloggers. Then write an SEO page for the sidebar. I’ve done this with topics like “online savings account” and it certainly does make money.

  • Subscription Marketing.

The best affiliate programs out there are those that offer residual returns. In other words, if you are an affiliate for a magazine, it’s better to make $2 per month the person signs up than it is to make $20 one-time… the reason should be fairly obvious.

If only 1/5th of the subscribers stay on for several years, then that 1/5th of the buyers alone will earn you more than getting paid one-time from all of the buyers combined. Plus, you also make money from the 4/5ths who didn’t stay on for several years — all-in-all, you can double your income by earning on a subscription/residual level.

Also, if something happens to you and/or your blog, building a residual income will provide a “safety cushion” for your income.

Bonus tip: mixing subscription marketing with search engine marketing is simply deadly. Then you have a passive income that is growing passively. Win-win!

  • Project Outsourcing.

Of all of the tactics listed here, this is probably the least “passive,” given that you still need to oversee the projects, and aren’t making the entire blogging process passive — still, you can increase the “passiveness” of your entire online business in this manner.

Outsourcing is when you hire someone to do some of your work. That’s it.

Outsourcing is something all of us need to do, at least on some level. Unless you have your own server, design your own blogs, write all your own content and registered your domain without spending a dim to anyone else… you’ve outsourced to somebody somewhere.

Some people, like Timothy Ferriss, are famous for trying to outsource their entire business. Others, like Jon Morrow and Brian Clark, reject the idea that outsourcing is always the best call.

So what should you outsource? I’ve experimented with hiring people to design my projects, host my designs, write some of my content (all of it for some websites), build links and market my content. So far, I have not found the perfect formula for deciding what to outsource.

For smaller blogs with less competition, I usually outsource the content. For my “flagship” blogs, I almost always write my own content.

By writing my own content, I can make sure that I’m building a relationship with my readers on a personal level, that the integrity of my content is never compromised, and that the posts are optimized for humans and search engines with just the right balance.

Help Us Out

This is just the beginning, of course. This post is more of an introduction than it is a comprehensive guide. There are tens of thousands of different ways you can make money passively, and I’m sure you’ve stumbled across several of the methods, or are even using some yourself.

Of course, almost all of the tactics and tips completely depend on your blogging business model. Still, finding out new strategies allows you to customize your blogging plan to be perfect for your own personal blogging style.

What do you think about building a passive income? Overrated? Under-discussed? If you had to build your blog in a manner that the entire income had to become passive, what would you do? Which of the above tactics do you find the most helpful? The most risky? Let us know in the comments!

This post was written by Shaun Connell, the guy behind Learn Financial Planning, where he writes about everything from picking online bank accounts to learning how to make money online

What is Compelling Content to You?

Over the next week here on ProBlogger I’ll be exploring the topic of ‘compelling content’.

I’ve identified 7 principles of compelling content that I’ll be sharing (actually it could blow out to 9 as the more I think about it the more I realize there’s to say on the topic) but before I do I wanted to open up the opportunity for people to share their thoughts – undistracted from what I’ll share.

My hope is that in answering this question we’ll begin to set the scene for the posts that will come and that the series that follows will be more useful to everyone. I’d also like to use a few quotes from what you share in some of my following posts so please make sure you include your name and URL in the appropriate areas in the comments below.

So What Makes Content Compelling to You?

Looking forward to reading your thoughts on this question and sharing some of mine in the coming week. Make sure you’re subscribed to ProBlogger to be notified of the posts to come in this series.

Does Search Engine Optimization Make a Difference?

Earlier today I had a debate via instant messaging with another blogger who told me that Search Engine Optimization doesn’t make any difference any more. They argued that you just need to provide good content and search engine rankings look after themselves.

While I see where the blogger comes from and I agree to a point that search rankings look after themselves when you build a useful blog – I’m also convinced that knowing some basic SEO and implementing it on a site can have a significant impact.

Want proof?

Check out this chart:

search-engine-optimization-makes-a-difference.png

What you’re looking at above is the search engine referred traffic over the last two months on my digital photography forum. The blue line is the last month and the green line is the month before that.

You can see quite clearly that around 25th June something happened to change the amount of search engine traffic arriving on the forum.

What happened? I simply installed a plugin called VBSEO. It’s a plugin for VBulletin (the platform I use to run the forum) that simply makes the forum more search engine friendly. It does quite a few things including changing the url structure of the forum to include keywords rather than numbers.

Here’s when the plugin was installed:

search-engine-optimization-makes-a-difference-1.png

Within a day or two we noticed search engine traffic increasing. In the period you see above search traffic is 35.98% higher than in the last month than the proceeding one (that includes the first half of the month when the difference wasn’t massive). In fact over the last week search traffic has been up by 69.66%!

Now it is worth saying that Vbulletin is not well set up for SEO in its default form (in fact it’s pretty bad) and that most blogging platforms are better optimized in their default form – however I think it’s pretty clear from the above graph that SEO does have an impact.

Further Reading: check out our Search Engine Optimization Tips for Bloggers for more specific details on how to optimize a blog for search engines.

What You Do With Your Blogs Over the Weekend [RESULTS]

Over the last few days I asked the question of – what do you do with your blog on the weekend? There were a lot of great responses so I asked Lara Kulpa to compile the results for me.

Everyone answered in their own way but she managed to make some sense of it and came up with the following categories of what people do with their blogs on the weekend.

The numbers signify how many people said that they did that strategy and they are ranked from most common responses to least common:

  • I write extra posts for the week ahead, work on planning and goals, or do other marketing work for my blog – 54
  • I take a couple of days off (or most of my weekend days) for family and fun or other household chores – 20
  • I write/post 6 or 7 days a week no matter what – 20
  • I write “lighter” posts like link lists or reviews – 18
  • I post less because people are not online as much – 15
  • I work another full time job during the week and use weekends for catching up on my blogging – 14
  • No strategy, or I post whenever I have time or an idea, even if that means weekends – 11
  • I post more to try to keep traffic levels up – 9

So there you have it – most people seem to publish posts that they’ve pre-written.