3 Ways to Reduce Bounce Rates and Increase Conversions

This guest post is by Gregory Ciotti of

One of the many tough obstacles that newer bloggers have to deal with is the fact that many of their visitors, which they work very hard to get, will often “bounce” away from their pages—they’ll immediately leave the blog after landing on the homepage.

Reducing bounce rates

Copyright Kzenon -

This “bounce rate” can have a drastic effect on your blog’s success at any stage, but especially in the beginning. It’s very important to be able to keep the interest of your earliest visitors in order to build the loyal following that’s the essential foundation of any great blog.

So, what can you do to keep people around your blog long enough to explore its great content?

1. Set up a navigation bar with “super pages”

As a blogger, you’re probably very familiar with (and even have) a navigation bar on your blog, and you likely recognize its importance in helping readers get to your content.

However, many people do not take full advantage of this above-the-fold navigation bar, which inevitably draws a lot of clicks. After all, your nav bar really stands out on your site, and people are very familiar with how these menus work.

You can get more out of your navigation bar by having it link to pages that are much more than just a sequential list of posts in separate categories (as most bloggers do). I’d like to show you how by teaching you about a tactic that I call “super pages” that will direct readers to your best content.

Instead of just listing those categories up on your navigation bar, you can create separate blog pages that accomplish many useful goals, including pages that turn into SEO powerhouses and are incredibly shareable (linkbait), pages that convert new visitors, and pages that help you establish trust with people coming across your blog for the first time.

First things first, one super page to include in your navigation bar would be a Start Here page, where you can include a lot of elements that could be beneficial for first-time readers, and boost your subscriber count.

This page will reduce your bounce rate, guaranteed, as readers who may otherwise have been confused and left your site now have somewhere to begin. In fact, on many of my blogs, it is the most clicked link on my navigation bar.

Secondly, the Start Here page gives visitors a chance to see what your site is really about. You can also make this a little About Me page, putting a trustworthy face on a formerly anonymous website, and letting visitors know that your blog is run by a real person looking to offer great content.

Third, if the above two things weren’t enough: you can use this opportunity (after a descriptive About Me section and great Getting Started guide on your page) to offer visitors a way to get email updates, and if they like what they’ve seen thus far, they will opt in.

So not only will you be reducing bounce rates, you’ll be gaining more subscribers who might otherwise have slipped away after visiting your Getting Started page.

The other way to use super pages effectively is illustrated by Copyblogger. You’ll notice the navigation on that site includes topics that the site posts about, such as landing pages, email marketing, and keyword research. However, these links on the nav bar do not take you to a categorical list of posts.

Rather, they take you to a super page that presents a long description of the topic, including useful insight into getting started in that category, with plenty of links to the best posts on Copyblogger on that specific topic.

So, for instance, on the Email Marketing page on Copyblogger, an intro on the topic and its effectiveness is given, followed by links to great Copyblogger content, followed by a link to the Copyblogger newsletter specifically on email marketing (which people are obviously interested in). This is followed at last by an opt-in form that states that Copyblogger is a great place to learn about email marketing.

Anyone clicking to this page will be interested in email marketing, so now they have a list of links to great posts that is easily shareable (you’ll find that super pages are some of the most shareable pages on your site), a way to opt in to get updates, and a great descriptor of the topic at hand.

Much better than just a list of archived blog posts, wouldn’t you say?

2. Everybody loves a freebie!

One strategy that is implemented on almost all successful WordPress blogs is the giving away of freebies. These are almost always digital products, so that it doesn’t cost the blogger anything to give these products away.

This strategy works so well because people are much more likely to follow your blog if they see free and valuable content coming their way: they won’t want to miss out on anything in the future.

One of the best ways to do this is to create an autoresponder to send out a freebie if people sign up for your blog’s updates. I’ve found an extremely useful tool on MailChimp for doing this, which is described in detail on MailChimp’s blog.

If that sounds a bit too complicated, don’t worry! Freebies by themselves work as great promoters for people to follow you, so even by sharing a few freebies you are bound to gain more subscribers.

However, there is a way to greatly leverage your freebies: make people share your website in order to get them!

You may have heard of the service PayWithATweet, but there is a much better option that I’d like to show you called CloudFlood. What this service allows you to do is share anything you’d like to give away for free, but your viewers have to send out a tweet (that you generate) in order to gain access to it.

So if I’m sharing a new pack of icons for web design, and I want to give it away for free, I can set up my CloudFlood button and whenever someone wants to access the free download, all they have to do is send out the automatic tweet that I made, and they get instant access.

I could make the tweet link back to my username on Twitter, and have it say something like “Free icon pack for web designers up for grabs, download it now!”

So, I get to give away free content that is useful to people, and they share my website to their Twitter followers … sounds like a win-win!

3. Make it easy for people to subscribe

If there is one thing you should take away from any place giving blog advice, it’s this: your blog is nothing without loyal subscribers or followers.

Thus, it is very important to convert people from the get-go, and making it easy to follow your blog is something that is of utmost importance.

Creattica has some great, free pre-made PSD buttons that are easily edited (you don’t need to be a designer, it’s very simple) so you can add whatever text you want. You can also get some great buttons at Graphic River, such as these.

The link above takes you to an example button that you can edit if you have the PSD files (which are included on the Creattica buttons as well as on Graphic River). So you could easily edit the text to say something like “Follow Me For Updates” or “Get Updates From My Blog” or whatever you think will encourage your subscribers to click on the button.

Eye-catching buttons that stand out and complement your blog are guaranteed to make those who come across your content more likely to subscribe. Copywriters and bloggers alike know that big, beautiful buttons are just calling to be clicked. Are there any on your page?

Why it’s important

As you can see there are a lot of things that you can do (for free!) to reduce your blog’s bounce rate, and in the end, grow your blog’s subscribers.

Even if you only drop your bounce rate by a few percentage points, think about how many visitors that will mean in the long run, over your blog’s life.

Capturing a visitor when they land is the starting point for any visitor to become a new subscriber to your blog. You need to do all you can to make sure things start off on the right foot.

How do you plan on dropping your blog’s bounce rate?

Gregory is an avid blogger and marketer, and loves improving and measuring his blogs. You can find him discussing effective WordPress strategies, and even talking about the hot topic of tumblelogs and lifestreaming on his blog I Love Tumblr.

How Tumblr Helped Put My Site on Top

This guest post is by Ryan Shell of Fashables.

I won’t even begin to act like I’m some sort of SEO ninja, because I’m not. What I do know is that a particular post on one of my sites has ranked in the top three spots on Google, with a majority of that time spent at number one and outranking a major clothing brand.

Tumblr played a huge part in making that happen, and I’d like to share my almost accidental findings.

The backstory


Break dancing (Image courtesy

I’m a marketer by day, but one of my many side projects is running a men’s and women’s fashion blog called Fashables. I attended a Dockers event on April 7 for the launch of one of a new line of pants, the Alpha Khakis.

After the event, I went home, wrote a new post and scheduled it to be published the following day. The post was well optimized for the phrase “Dockers Alpha Khakis” and search engines have since sent my site a good amount of traffic for those keywords.

One of the reasons why I’ve received the traffic is because of keyword optimization, but another huge part of the SEO puzzle is what happened with Tumblr, and that’s the real story here.

The accident

This could get confusing, so keep I mind that Dockers Alpha Khakis is the primary post in question.

A recurring feature on the site is a street style fashion post that is published twice a week. One of the photos previously published is the one you see to the right—it’s of a young girl taking part in a break-dancing circle at Union Square in New York City.

One of Fashables readers evidently liked the photo enough to share it on Tumblr. Now, this is where the accident happened.

When they shared the photo on Tumblr they, for a reason unknown to me, linked the photo to the Dockers Alpha Khakis post on Fashables.

Once the photo hit Tumblr, it got reblogged and reblogged—maybe 40 or so times in total. Each reblog provided another link back to the Dockers Alpha Khakis post on Fashables and increasing the post’s Google juice.

The result

Before long, I started noticing that searches for “Dockers Alpha Khakis” were sending a decent amount of traffic to Fashables.

In fact, for quite some time my post was coming up number one in Google searches and outranking the main Dockers website. This was a huge deal: my little fashion blog was outranking a major brand’s website. This had my inner nerd awfully excited, which made my mind curious about how these findings could be used, on purpose, in the future.

Contest your way to links

We can talk until we’re blue in the face about ways things were done or ideas about outcomes, but at the end of the day, you need to know how they can impact you.

For this Tumblr example, my immediate thinking is that this could alter the way bloggers, or anyone wanting to promote a specific webpage, run contests.

Currently a lot of people who do giveaways focus on email entries, comment entries, Facebook entries, and Twitter entries. The time may now have come for Tumblr to be part of that game. If you want a high search engine rank for Widget X, using Tumblr to have a link reblogged time and time again will add significant influence to a specific page and its keywords.

Keep in mind that the photo that was posted to Tumblr from Fashables had only one link that connected it to the Dockers post. To be clear, there wasn’t a mention of the product or keyword in the original Tumblr post, so this method can be used without appearing overly spammy or self promotional.

In the end, I didn’t plan on ranking so high for “Dockers Alpha Khakis,” but I certainly welcome the traffic that has been driven to Fashables from search engines. Do you think this tactic could work for you?

Ryan Shell is a marketer by day, and he runs the fashion blog Fashables by night. Connect with him on Twitter at @RyanShell. And if you like fashion, make sure you connect with @Fashables.

How I Started Making $3,000 a Month Blogging About Travel

This guest post is by Marcello Arrambide of

It has been about one full year since I started blogging about travel, and I have started to generate $3,000 or more a month via my travel blogs.

My very first post was published on May, 4th, 2010, and it was nothing but grammar mistakes and partaking in an activity that I really don’t enjoy: writing. I’m telling you this because even though I am a horrible writer, English os not my first language, and I need other people to proofread my work, I’m proof that you really don’t have to be the best at something in order to do make money via your blog. I have started to make at least $3,000 a month via my main travel blog,

Initially, I started my blog to capture traffic for a day trading business that I was running. I wanted to get more people interested in day trading and, well, get more sales. What it turned into was my own personal travel blog about my passion for travel, and tips about day trading and travel. My whole blogging strategy is based on exposure; you might have read my post about focusing on quantity of traffic instead of quality when you first start out.

There are a million posts on ProBlogger about making money blogging online and frankly almost everyone online makes money the same way. It seems there aren’t very many new ways that bloggers can make money from blogs. Darren wrote a great post on how bloggers make money from blogs if you are interested in learning your different options.

Instead of talking about ways to make money blogging I’m going to share how I managed to start making $3,000 a month via my travel blog in less than a year. I consider it ten months, really, since I took two months off when I got extremely frustrated by a small change in my blog design that crippled the traffic to my main blog. The list below is what I started focusing on, in order of importance.


There are some instances where you find advertisers, but for the most part advertisers find you.

Once you have the right criteria you are eligible for a range of money making options with your blog. The most important thing is getting your name out there. You want to try to focus on guest posts, SEO, and getting on every single blog list that’s related to your niche. The more people who see your blog, the more likely it’ll be that advertisers will find you as well. Below are some examples of the travel-related lists that my blogs are listed on on.

Creating authority

By working on exposure, authority will come naturally. You want to be careful how quickly you build your authority online, because you can’t become an expert in your niche if you only launched your website yesterday.

Creating solid authority for yourself, and advertisers will know that you have a website that is both legitimate and powerful in the niche you’re covering. If you achieve enough exposure, and have good authority, then you may be considered for things like a press trip. That’s a bonus that might be restricted to the travel niche, but you get the idea.

How we measure authority is something of a debatable issue, since most of the lists on the web have some kind of limitation. Either way, when I have asked people specifically about this they have repeatedly given me the same information:

Sticking with it

As I explained earlier, there was a time when I got extremely frustrated and just gave up. A redesign to my blog caused me to take a giant hit from Google, and I was extremely annoyed. I just gave up!

If I didn’t take that two- or three-month break, I might have been on my way to making double what I make now. The tactics I’ve outlined so far helped me in the very first month that I started to make money with the blog. I’ve now nearly doubled my income using the strategies I’ll share below.

Getting in with the Rat Pack

When you get started blogging, you have to understand that you are the new kid on the block. There are people I know personally who have been blogging for five to ten years, and I call these people the Rat Pack. They’re the cool kids on the block that you want to get to know and work with.

How did you feel when you met that new kid in your class back in school? The way for them to succeed was to avoid being pushy or asking for too much. They had to be part of the community.

I made the new-kid mistake of approaching people the wrong way, and asking for things I shouldn’t have. Luckily I had a few bloggers point me in the right direction, and that allowed me to get to where I am today. Be engaging, but not demanding. Be interested, but not needy. It’s all about being part of the community and not trying to force your way into the cool kids’ group.

By interacting with the Rat Pack, you’ll open yourself to an extensive group of people who already know how things work and can share best practices. Since these people already have exposure, that may allow you to take a shortcut when you are ready to start making money with your blog. By talking to other bloggers in the field, I went from zero advertisers to having a list of over 60. Use the tools above for exposure and authority to find the Rat Pack in your niche.

Outsourcing what you can

I’m busy, the guy at Mcdonald’s is busy, your kids are busy. I get it, you’re busy. When I first started blogging I was running a day trading business, traveling around the world, day trading, and running my blog. How did I handle all of this? I hired help. I found what now is a team of employees overseas that I pay to do a lot of the admin and back-office work for me.

The old adage is really true: it takes money to make money. While you may not have hundreds or thousands of dollars to invest in getting someone to help you, you may be able to afford, say, $100 a month. Understand that your time is money. By outsourcing mundane tasks—even if it’s just a few hours’ work a week—you will free up your time to do more important things, like creating quality content and thinking of better ways to make money with your blog.

The one goal I had for my blog was to break even. Any business or blog that you create should at least break even. You’re not going to be doing something for very long if you keep losing money. I pay a team of two people a total of $510 a month for roughly 45-50 hours a week of work. Just imagine the things I can accomplish during that timeframe!

Are you making money yet?

After you have successfully started making money with one site, you can continue on to other ventures to increase your income and your online empire.

Think about expanding to other niches online. My main niche is travel which is absolutely massive. I now am branching out to my other passion, which is day trading. I have started an Online Day Trading Academy to help others, and now I can blog about day trading and travel across two sites, which will significantly increase my exposure online.

What about you? Are you making money from your blog yet? Which of these strategies do you use?

Day Trading from 8 different countries Marcello Arrambide has begun to chronicle his travels around the world on his Wandering Trader Travel Blogs site. He has traveled to over 40 countries in his lifetime and is currently exploring South America. You can find out more about Marcello on his Facebook Page or RSS.

A Dash of Analytics Takes the Guess Work Out of Guest Posting

This guest post is by Joe of the New Customer Workshop.

Guest posting is a great way to market your brand. When you guest post you are able to demonstrate you expertise to a new audience. The short term benefits are a bump in traffic to your website. Longer term benefits are sees through quality backlinks which will help with search engine optimization.

One of the questions that comes up when guest posting is “Where should I post?” For me, the answer is often “Whoever will take me!”

As you begin to build a reputation you may become more selective on where you guest post. Part of your process might include research to find sites that are aligned with your brand.

Let’s say you’ve done the research and authored some guest posts. Now what? Well, like any good marketer, you must measure the results of your campaign. If you have Google Analytics installed, this is a snap.

Google Analytics

All of you should be running some analytics software on your website. If you’re not, stop reading and go install Google Analytics.

If you aren’t running Google Analytics, the fundamentals of what I’m explaining are the same even if the mechanics are different.

The secret sauce: campaign variables

When you insert the link back to your website you are going to add some extra information tags on the end of the link. This data will help you classify the traffic. Google calls these tags campaign variables.

Using campaign variables you can add extra information to your posts which will help you to answer questions like:

  1. Which guest posts drove the most traffic to my site?
  2. Which websites with guest posts drove the most traffic to to my site?
  3. Which posts resulted in opt-ins to my email list?
  4. Which websites gave me more opt-ins to my email list?
  5. Which source of traffic is better for me? Facebook, guest posting or search engines?

This is really just the tip of the iceberg. Once you start using campaign variables on your guest posts you will come up with all sorts of cool ways to look at the data.

Tag your links

Google provides a number of campaign variables that you can use when you tag your links.

The following tags are available:

  • Source: utm_src
  • Medium: utm_medium
  • Campaign: utm_campaign
  • Term: utm _term
  • Content: -tm_content

There isn’t a hard set of rules for what to put in these tags. What I’m going to show you is how I use the variables.

  • utm_src: I set this to the website I’m posting on. In this case it would be Once I do this, then I can compare to my other traffic sources, not just other site’s I’ve posted on but also Facebook, and Twitter.
  • utm_medium: I set this to guestpost. Then, I can compare guest posting as a whole to my other marketing efforts.
  • utm_campaign: I use the name of the article. If I post a couple of articles on I can see how they compare to each other.

I can also look at all of the articles across multiple sites to see which ones are more effective. You might want to abbreviate your post title but that’s up to you.

I don’t use utm_content or utm_term.

Put together, the tags look like this:


I then apply this to each link back to my website:

If you don’t want to do this by hand each time Google provides a link building tool that will take care of all the messy work for you.

Check your data

After you publish your guest post, you’re going to want to look at your analytics dashboard to see what type of traffic the post is giving you. If you are using the new Analytics dashboard, you can find the information under Traffic Sources > All Traffic.

Select All Traffic, and you will see a report that shows visits by Source/Medium.

This will show you traffic from all referring sites and uses the value set in utm_source.

Select Medium to the right of Viewing, and you can see all of your guest posts.

This allows you to roll up your reports and compare guest posts as a group with your other traffic sources.

If you want to see what articles drove the most traffic, it’s easy. Click Other and then type Campaign in the Traffic Sources box.

This is just a very high-level overview of the kinds of reports you can create. Check out the book Advanced Web Metrics with Google Analytics if you want to learn more.


Google Analytics is a great free resource that, when used effectively, will help you zero in on the effectiveness of your guest posting efforts.

Armed with this knowledge, you will understand which articles and websites drive the most traffic to your website.

I’d love to learn how you measure your guest posting efforts. Please share them in the comments.

Joe writes at New Customer Workshop and offers training for small business owners who want to increase their business through Internet marketing. Visit his blog for more information.

If You Don’t Stop Doing This One Thing, Your Blogging Business Will Never Go Anywhere

This guest post is by Tommy Walker, Online Marketing Strategist and owner of

Why are you reading this article?

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate it, but isn’t there something else you could be doing?

What are you putting off?

I’m going to be straight with you. You are your own worst enemy.

And you are killing your business.

The curse of the boring business

Putting something off

Photo by Stephen Brace on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons

If you’re blogging regularly, at some point you’ll delude yourself into believing that reading every “5 tips to do this thing with your blog” article, and bantering back and forth with industry folks on Twitter, is “work.”

This delusion usually starts at the point where you hit a plateau, and your feedback starts to stagnate or wither.

So you hunt through other people’s work in search of the magic bullet.

Maybe if you read more, you’ll learn the secrets.

Maybe if you talk more, someone else in the industry will take notice and launch you into blogging superstardom.

If you just share more, create more, or interact more, eventually, somehow, you’ll make it.

Take this a step further, and you start buying information products, thinking that might somehow fix the problem. It doesn’t.

Meanwhile, your understanding of your audience hasn’t deepened, your writing hasn’t actually improved, your traffic hasn’t increased, and you still haven’t made a cent directly from your blogging efforts.

And you don’t understand why.

Relationships matter, but focus on your customer

I know this, because I am you.

My blog has been live for a while, and granted there has been some steady growth. But when you’ve seen others rise up from nowhere in literally half the time, and make at least ten times your income, that extra 100 or so visitors isn’t really all that encouraging.

They get invited to speak at major conferences across the country, they get asked to do interviews with popular bloggers, they make six figures on their first launch.

You’re getting rejected from events from your own chamber of commerce.

And when it comes to talent level, their demonstration of knowledge is, well…

Doing more, giving more, and creating more, without having a purpose or an end goal in mind does nothing for your customers, and it does nothing for your business.

When you watch newbie after newbie surpass you in record time, it gets on your nerves.

After a while, it doesn’t make you want to learn more, it makes you want to quit.

For me, the moment came when I thought I was getting tired of working for myself, and considered taking a no-pressure sales position at Men’s Wearhouse selling suits.

But then I remembered,I got fired over a pair of pants in my last “real world” gig, so going back wasn’t really an option. It just seemed safer.

Of course, your customers don’t know any of this.

All they see is you phoning it in.

They see boring, haphazard updates desperate to grab their attention with no mission or purpose in mind.

They’re not sure what to think. You’re not helping them do anything specific.

So why would you expect them to do anything specific (like click the Buy button)?

I knew if I was going to revitalize my business, it was going to take something big.

I needed to prove I could do something impossible.

Legitimate reasons to not make it better

But let’s be real. There are plenty of reasons you can’t take on big projects, right?

For me, I have a nine-month old son.

I’m getting married in a month.

We’re moving into our first house.

I have a full-time client.

I conduct coaching sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

I just started working on a collaborative project with seven other people.

While these are plenty of legitimate reasons to not do anything differently, the reality is that if these things controlled my business development, six months from now, I might not have a business at all.

Is this you?

Are you doing the same thing, day in and day out? Do you feel bored?

Have you convinced yourself you can’t do something because there’s too much other stuff going on?

Listen, the world is too small and life is too short for you to not do everything you can to make a dramatic impact.

One thing we have in common is that we share 24 hours in a day. Your impact on the world is a direct result of how you spend that time.

What do you have mentally filed away in the “I’ll get to it eventually” folder in your mind?

Chances are, that’s the best thing you could do for yourself, and you know it.

So really, what are you afraid of? Because isn’t that really what it comes down to?

Is it that that you might get criticism? Or that others’ expectations of you will increase?

Are you afraid that nobody will see it?

So what?!

“To avoid criticism do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing”—Elbert Hubbard

Critics and downright haters mean you’re doing something right.

“Safe” inspires nothing: you don’t get people to think, or dream or hate.

Not everyone will love you. But consider yourself lucky that you’re able to inspire such a passionate response, even if it isn’t overwhelmingly positive.

And if nobody sees what you’re doing, do it again. And again, and again.

You are the only person in the world with your perspective, and to the right people, your perspective could hold massive transformational value.

Over-commit to a project

So, with all of this in mind, I realized I didn’t really want to quit.

Knowing I had to prove I could do what I thought impossible, I decided to over-commit myself to a project.

Specifically, a project called 21 Days to a More Engaging Facebook Presence.

The problem with the “Facebook marketing” world is that too many marketers are focused on the “get more fans” aspect, and completely neglect how you can use the platform to genuinely learn more about how to communicate with your customer base.

I wanted to put out a free series that wasn’t just about Facebook marketing, but focused on developing an engaging voice that could be woven into every aspect of a business.

The principals really are universal, because it’s about truly connecting and bonding with your customers.

And like Gary Vaynerchuk says, “It’s the message, not the platform”

But here’s the thing: I didn’t plan.

Maybe three days before the beginning I said, “I need to sketch this thing out if I want it to be successful”

But three days came and went…

Plan or no plan, if I didn’t start on pre-designated Day 1, I knew I wouldn’t do it.

With no idea in mind,

I scanned my brain for some of the most common complaints people had.

14 hours later, I scripted, screen capped and released a video entitled “Navigating Facebook to Gather Customer Intelligence” and introduced it as Day 1 in a 21-day series (which I still did not have planned out)

The reception to the video was overwhelming. New people as well as those who I had established relationships with were cheering me on and were very excited to see the rest of the series.

Each day, I thought about the problems that I had heard about, and created a new video.

Most days, I had no idea what I was going to do. But I knew I couldn’t stop.

I also knew that I wanted the information to be higher quality than some of the paid training that was out there, so many days involved a ton or research, and testing and experimentation to make sure that it was a caliber that would make people say, “WOW!”

It was hard.

Some days took 16 hours, other days the screen capture program would crash.

At one point I had to buy a new external hard drive, because I filled my existing hard drive with video data.

The end result?

2 hours, 31 minutes and 4 seconds of video were produced.

My traffic is up 13% , people are taking 42% more actions than before, and my time per visit to my website is up 41%

I see a steady flow of daily traffic that is roughly double what I got before the series, and my Facebook Fan count is about 75% more than it was before.

Now here’s the kicker. I didn’t do much at all to promote the series. Between creating videos, doing client work, coaching, being a father, and being a fiancee, I didn’t have time.

It was pure organic growth, and every day I see inbound traffic coming from new links from websites I never heard of.

What this means to you…

Anything worth doing is friggin hard.

In order to raise the bar, you have to over commit to something.

You’ll never learn how much you can do, or exactly what you’re capable of, until you push yourself to the limit.

Why are you holding yourself back?


Quit looking for dime-store tactics and commit to a project that forces you to level up.

Define a mission.

Develop your voice.

Do the impossible.

Then, and only then will you able to have a business that has any meaning for yourself or your customers.

So do yourself a favor, turn off twitter (after you share this article of course) close your email, and start fleshing out that idea you’ve had that you’ve been “too busy” to do.

Because your blogging business will never go anywhere if you don’t.

Tommy is an Online Marketing Strategist and owner of He is about to release Hack The Social Network, the ultimate guide to Facebook Marketing, and is currently developing a “mind hacking” course.

Start a Magazine that Complements Your Blog … in 5 Steps

This guest post is by Deidra Wilson of

They say that print is dead. That the Internet laid waste to the magazine rack at the airport. But that line of thinking has the good old boy driving the diesel pickup today behind the wheel of an electric car tomorrow.

Print is, and always will be, alive and well. You blog, eBay, search for Thai food recommendations and interact online, but you will always read magazines.

Have you ever considered adding a print arm to your digital empire?

If you have ever entertained the idea of publishing your own magazine, it is not as difficult as most suggest, and can be done for a small initial investment. Maybe you want to start a magazine that compliments your online business. For example, if you run a wedding website/portal/blog, look into self-publishing a local/regional wedding publication (and you already have the best advertising and self-promotions spots saved for yourself).

The potential of print

Let’s talk about how a print arm of your blog can benefit your brand and your bottom line. Whether you will admit it or not, you on occasion take a peak at your closest competitor’s Twitter follower count and compare it to yours. If their count far outweighs yours, you assume that a large part of the public would consider your more followed competitor’s brand more legit than yours and to an intelligent extent you would be right.

What does adding an offline component to your blog’s brand achieve?

Perceived credibility

Similar to that monster Twitter follower count, the general public believes what it sees. It is rational to place a value on the increase in credibility your blog will gain from self-publishing your own print magazine. If you structure your whole effort properly by always pointing your magazine readers to your blog and other online efforts, you now trump the most common online “noise” your competition is creating due to the simple fact that stands the test of time and always will—magazines are perceived as glamorous and convey credibility. Run your own impromptu poll. “Media company” sounds more Fortune-500 than just “blog”—creating a strong and professionally credible percecption will make everything you do online easier, which leads to more readers and more profits.

That’s the sound of opportunity knocking

As soon as your first issue is on the streets and in reader’s hands, you will hear a knocking on your door. Answer it and you will see new revenue streams, new readers, new traffic and new business relationships that can not be created in the 100% online world. If you sell/manage your own advertisements on your blog, you now have added value to offer your advertisers by either offering a la carte print advertising space or a bundled package of both online and print.

Diversity is the glue that holds media companies together. There have been times where I have relied heavily on revenue generated by Google Adsense, and that always made me nervous. I found myself asking “What if the Adsense market fails? What if Google fails?” Those fears lead me to always seek out a balanced diversity for all of my businesses. Adding a print publication to an online-only identity adds a solid amount of diversity to build overall value in your business should you ever decide to sell and also help you weather any rough cash flow storms along the way.

“Pass along” is the offline “Add this”

You work hard on your blog, writing solid content that you hope goes viral and gains a web of deep inbound links, retweets, digs, etc. When you put your magazine in one person’s hands there is a high probability of them “passing along” that copy of the magazine to a friend—especially in multi-occupant households. Why is this important?

Studies have shown that pass-along copies of magazines generate the same positive value in the hands of the secondary readers as the first reader, and that all readers share the same measurable action ratio, ie: one copy of your magazine will bring multiple new people to your blog and online efforts.

Start the Presses!

1. Check your wallet

Each and every new small business startup needs some capital, and magazines are no different. Just how much do you need? As little as a few hundred dollars will work (not including your printing costs) to get your first issue on the streets and/or news stands. I started my first magazine on roughly $300. If you have your sights set on producing a higher end magazine, you will need significantly more, depending on what market you are entering and how big you are going right off the bat. Bigger is not always better here—this magazine is a supporting effort for your online business, so think light and fast.

You have solid computer skills which will benefit you here, as you won’t have to hire an office full of employees. The key is to do it yourself. Stay away from the urge to make a lot of noise (advertising, events, etc.) about your new magazine in the beginning. You have a computer, you own a camera, and you own Adobe Photoshop. All you need now is publishing/layout software. Adobe InDesign is the gold standard of magazine layout and costs around $300 online.

2. Develop the framework

You probably have an idea of what type of magazine you want to publish, but from here you need to construct some basic framework. Pick a name for your magazine carefully. Make sure you are not stepping on anyone’s trademark by searching national trademark databases. Be creative: you can’t survive without offering something new to your readers in an attractive package, and for this, being creative is a necessity.

Your website’s domain name is also something to consider when choosing your name. Search for open domains that match your magazine’s name as closely as possible. It is okay to use a few pseudo-odd takes on domains for magazines, like or Keep your targeted keyword in mind when selecting your magazine’s domain name.

Your website does not need to be award-winning right out of the gate; it just needs to be something professional that’s clear about who you are and what your magazine is about—or consider adding your magazine’s online identity to your existing website. You can always offer your web design company a service trade—they design, and you advertise their business both in print and online if you do not code your own websites. A website or some sort of online presence is an essential part of this process, though; do not skip out on this one.

Okay, you have a name and a website, what’s next? Figure out what you are going to include in your first issue by writing out an editorial outline. That’s a fancy name, but in reality, just write out what you want to feature, how many pages you want to devote to each item, and how many pages you want to stash away for ads (this will be dependent on how many ads you sell for your first issue).

How many pages should your magazine contain? Two factors are in play here. One is the cost of printing the magazine—obviously, it costs more to print a bigger magazine. The second question is: how much editorial can or do you want to produce? You do not need a 100-page magazine your first go around so, depending on what your competitors are doing, aim for around 40-50 pages for a local or lifestyle magazine and 90+ for a magazine you want to distribute on national news stands.

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need an army of journalists to publish your first issue. I have produced content for hundreds of magazines by myself or with the help of just a handful of people; it is simply a matter of putting together text and images that will occupy a predetermined amount of space.

Start with item number one on your editorial outline. Write your text first, making sure to follow basic guidelines for writing editorial (Google search it for tons of help). Have friends read the copy and get their honest opinions. Did you lose your readers’ attention at any point? Are your facts correct? Do you have any typos? Does anyone actually want to read this? What type of content that’s relevant to your niche has worked on your blog in the past? Could a version of it work in your magazine?

A picture is worth a thousand words—literally. People like pictures—big, colorful pictures and lots of them. Now it is time for the fun part. You own a camera, so get out there and start snapping. Make sure you are shooting in RAW or on a setting the produces 300 dpi images (every image in your magazine needs to be 300 dpi, no larger, no smaller—nothing comes off as more rookie than low-res photos in magazines).

Remember that if you have any people in your photos, you’ll need to get them to sign a “model release” allowing you to use their image in your publication. Your readers will quickly form their opinions of your magazine based on three things—your cover, your layout/design and your interior editorial images.

After you have knocked your editorial out, sleep on it and go over it yourself. Is it good? How many magazines have you seen that all regurgitate the same tired “electronics features” on iPhones, or some silly gadget that not many people care about? Lots. You have to have a new take on things if you want to see issue number 2, 3, 4, or 54.

Going back to my example of the local wedding magazine, you have to offer your reader new venues, vendors, and ideas that they have not seen anywhere else. Instead of writing about “How to pick your wedding colors,” think along the lines of “CityName’s hottest wedding colors for 2011” and include information straight from local wedding venues, with actual images and quotes from planners, brides and photographers. Never underestimate the power of putting someone’s name in a magazine!

3. Start selling advertising yesterday

New publishers often fall into the trap of just focusing on the creative side of the magazine and ignoring the sales. As an independent publisher, you have to wear both hats. Start by putting together a media kit for your new magazine. A media kit is a couple pages, printed out (on good card stock), that act as a resume for your magazine. It features all of the details of who your magazine is for, how many you print, your distribution tactics, what ad spaces you offer, how much they cost, etc. I have always lived by the motto that the media kit should look better than the actual magazine.

In the beginning, most of your sales will not be because of your media kit—this is just an essential tool to have that you can leave with prospective advertisers. I could go on and on about how to sell ads for new magazines but if you read it, you’d have to send me a pretty big check as that is closely held information by all in the industry.

What I can tell you is: start with a plan. Call on advertisers that make sense for your magazine. It is a waste of time to try and sell an ad to Budweiser if you are a new magazine that is about quilting—it’s just not going to happen. Put yourself in that business owners’ shoes: would you consider buying the ad space? Back to the wedding magazine example, go and see all of the local wedding venues, planners, photographers, cake makers, dress designers, etc. Include a vendor directory in your magazine and offer inclusion in that directory at no extra charge for all new advertisers.

Now is not the time to get rich quick. You want to sell ads to pay the bills, and hopefully recoup your investment and promote your online business. That means pricing your ad offerings in reality. For an idea of what reality is, try and find out what similar magazines in your market are charging. Do not go too low on your pricing however. Believe in the value of your magazine—giving it away free almost guarantees future failure.

I know of one magazine that just kept throwing money at itself, starting in new markets without first being profitable in one and, to appear successful, they gave away their ad space for free. A couple years later and it is common knowledge in the media buying industry that no one pays for ads in that magazine, ever. If a potential advertiser says they want the space for less than you want to sell it for, pass on them politely and come back to them in a few months, when you can prove a stronger value to justify your rate card.

Most importantly, offer value to your advertisers. There are a gazillion different ways to do this, but it all starts with you delivering a strong, readable publication on time. The old under-promise and over-deliver adage works well here.

4. It’s layout time

It’s crunch time! Layout is hardly ever pleasurable. The first issue of a magazine I ever designed took me about 72 hours of work with about six hours of sleep in that period—not exactly what I call an awesome time. Make sure you know how to use your software before you need to start laying out your publication.

If you flip through a random magazine here and there, you will notice that a lot of them have an inconsistent layout throughout the book, meaning that the fonts and styles change every few pages or every story. If this style appeals to you, knock yourself out—just know that it is not a good practice to follow. You need to aim for a balanced flow with your layouts and a consistent overall look. The first page of content should look similar to the last page, and don’t stray too far in between.

Use a text font at or above eight points in size, and never smaller. Don’t forget those pictures: use lots and lots of pictures! Get into Photoshop and clean your photos up. I have spent at least 60 seconds with every photo I have ever placed in a magazine layout—it is a crime to run photos with zero post work done on them.

What you need to do is end up with a PDF file for each page of your magazine that you will give to your printer. Name each file in a standard way, e.g. p01_NAME.pdf. Covers will be labeled C1, C2, etc. You will have the option to view proofs of your files before your printer fires up the press to start your job (a big chunk of what you are paying them to do). Always look at every proof of every page; once it gets put on a plate and starts laying down ink, you are locked in.

Make sure you are happy with your printer. Do some research, talk to all of your local printers, and get quotes. It is tough to do but I have pulled it off many times—you can offer your printer one full page of advertising in the magazine for a discount on printing. Always control costs. I recommend getting your finished magazines carton-packed rather than skid-packed and wrapped in plastic, as this practice guarantees a percentage of waste as the magazines on the outside of the skid aren’t protected.

5. Distribute your magazines

If you are starting a magazine that will have National or a large ranging distribution, head straight to one of the two major magazine distributors. I won’t name them because they, in my opinion, make it very difficult for startups to get in the game. I will leave it at that.

If you are starting a locally distributed magazine, read on. Yes there are services that offer to distribute your magazine for you, they will do a poor job and charge you and arm and a leg for the privilege. Distribution is paramount. If no one sees, picks up or reads your magazine then it is just a waste of time, money and trees. A major part of your focus should be dialing in the best distribution strategy possible. Do not just toss magazines in front of stores, offices, bars, etc. and expect them to take the time to place them out in a neat fashion – they will end up in the dumpster out back. Do your own distribution. Personally ask permission from each distribution spot, not only is this the right thing to do but it is a great way to get your name out there and meet a few potential advertisers and/or clients for your online business.

The process never stops in the magazine game; it is a fight at all times. There will always be strong competition, new people looking for their share of a market and times where you feel like you are the only person that reads your magazine. But if you do not fight at all, it’s a guarantee that you will not win. There is a special satisfaction for standing on the end of a large printing press and peeling back that cover for the first time. Good luck!


Deidra Wilson is a Las Vegas wedding photographer and has a background in small business and publishing magazines. You can check her out on Twitter where she posts about her life as a photographer in the desert she calls home.

Not Every Ebook is a Success, But it’s Always a Lesson

This guest post is by Chris The Traffic Blogger.

Ebooks have played a vital part in my business for all three of the years I have been operating. From free offers to successful products, these handy publications enabled me to earn quite a bit of money in three years, as well as grow an audience of over 11,700 members.

What I’d like to do for you today is go through a history of the ebooks I’ve written, and explain what I’ve learned along the way. My hope is that you will learn from my mistakes and failures as well as enjoy the experience of sharing in my story.

Ebook case study 1: $2030 in one day

My first ebook was written about World of Warcraft gold (the in-game currency for players) and how to make as much of it as possible, as quickly as possible. The ebook benefited from being sold to a highly receptive audience that I’d spent months building a relationship with.

Having only 500 subscribers made me nervous, but I went forward with writing the book and publishing it anyway. To my pleasant surprise, the ebook made over two thousand dollars in the first twenty four hours. I was absolutely ecstatic.

Why was it so successful? I didn’t know it at the time, but I had done quite a lot of things right throughout the process of creating, selling, and advertising my new ebook.

I used media that was perfect for gamers within my product, namely diagrams, audio casts and videos. This ensured that readers would absolutely love the product once they purchased it. I always find it interesting how people assume ebooks have to be … well … books! The “ebook” wasn’t just a .pdf file, it was actually a series of web pages that you needed to have paid for in order to visit. Being unconventional was one of the primary reasons for the success of the ebook.

The content itself was straightforward, easy to use and incredibly useful. I had worried that maybe I wasn’t writing enough, but as the sales poured in I soon realized that this was exactly what gamers were looking for: easy strategies that anyone could follow and be successful with. That’s what I was selling; solutions to their problems. Who wants a long-winded solution anyway?

To improve the number of successful sales, I used a huge number of websites, social media outlets, and forums to sell and/or advertise my ebook. I didn’t simply write “buy this now to be successful!” Rather, I took the time to engage members of these sites in conversation about similar topics. Eventually, someone would ask for more information, or if I had a website. That’s when I would promote my ebook, and it worked amazingly well. All those people who were reading the conversation but not contributing ended up buying the ebook, not just the few involved directly.

This is a life lesson for selling anything online: don’t try to sell outright. Instead, focus on answering questions. If your ebook is the answer, then you can feel confident recommending it within the discussion!

Ebook case study 2: Freebies for subscribers

Getting more subscribers to my autoresponder email sequence was very important to me throughout the process of building up my business. To increase the influx of new subscribers, I created an incentive to sign up: a short ebook broken up into seven emails. Each of these seven emails contained a very specific piece of information, and discussed how this could help readers succeed. These were an incredibly big hit to the tune of +220% new signups per day; once again, I made use of an unconventional way to share an ebook.

Free ebooks are one of the simplest ways to test how good an ebook writer you are. Splitting up the ebook into a series of emails is also a great way to distribute it, especially if you aren’t sure if your audience would want to download something from your site. This is particularly true if you are dealing with a group of users who are afraid to download anything online.

Ebook case study 3: A flop

Not all of my ebooks were amazing success stories. One in particular was my first book about making money online: The Why People Course. I chose to forget everything I did right with the past two ebooks and try something new.

It’s okay to try new things, but not at the expense of the lessons you learned in the past. I simply wrote up a very long peice (105 pages) on everything I knew regarding running a business online. There was no table of contents, just three gigantic sections of information. It was, to be frank, completely overwhelming for readers. Since I didn’t focus enough on any one area, many readers said that they felt the information was great but far too spread out to be truly useful. That’s not to say I am disgusted with the book, it’s actually pretty good in terms of content, but it’s nowhere near focused and organized enough.

Unfortunately, I also tried to really sell this book instead of engaging others in conversation about related topics. I told them to just go buy it and see for themselves, instead of proving the value I could bring through discussions and debate. I was a salesman instead of a friend recommending a successful product.

Why didn’t I write in such a way that the information was concise and immediately useful like my previous ebooks? Why didn’t I take advantage of unconventional methods for selling the book like I did in the past? For one, I fell victim to the lie that you have to do things a certain way in order to be successful selling an ebook. Because the niche was new to me, I felt that what I had learned in other niches was no longer true. I see this in the words of many of my readers who move to the make-money-online niche from either offline sales or similar businesses to my own. It’s not a good mindset to get stuck in.

The book earned very little and I went back to the drawing board.

Ebook case study 4: Re-focused

Black Sheep is my newest ebook and, I think, one of the best I’ve written. It combines traditional book writing methods with the new age of online concepts. I concisely define what it is I want to teach my buyers (critical thinking and decision making skills in order to improve their online businesses) and keep the book focused on only the information that will achieve this goal. Instead of 105 pages of fluff, I have less than 40 pages of actually useful and powerful information.

I’m still learning to write in the make money online niche and am nowhere near as successful with it as I have been in the gaming niche. However, I hope to continue to go back to what worked in game writing and apply the same concepts to writing for online marketers.

The next ebook I write will probably be for either making money online or a new gaming blog I’m starting about the Diablo 3 franchise. In either case, I will be going back to using outside the box methods for presenting the information within my next ebook, all the while remaining as concise as possible.

These are the lessons I have learned from successfully and not so successfully writing ebooks. What have you learned? Have you not tried to write an EBook yet?

Chris is a self proclaimed expert at showing bloggers how they can get traffic, build communities, make money online and be successful. You can find out more at The Traffic Blogger.

Use Showcase Sites to Boost Your Blog’s Loyal Readership

This guest post is by Issy Eyre of Fennel & Fern.

I’ll let you into a secret. One of the key ways I grew my traffic for my gardening blog Fennel & Fern wasn’t through clever SEO campaigns. It wasn’t through endless tweeting, or sucking up to other bloggers (although I’ve been guilty of all of those things—and more).

A showcase

Copyright mangostock -

Instead, I used showcase websites to show off my content to a targeted group of users who I knew would love it. The lifestyle blogging community is lucky enough to have plenty of sites that showcase and link directly to quality blog posts, and these sites bring in a wealth of quality readers.

When one of my posts gets a StumbleUpon, I can get a thousand readers on my site within a couple of hours. But the average time spent on the site falls dramatically, from an everyday 3.5 minutes to just ten seconds, and naturally the bounce rate soars. These readers aren’t going to be digging into my site, or clicking on my advertisements, or subscribing to my emails.

But when one of my posts appears on the front page of TasteSpotting, 300 readers turn up, and the average time spent on site actually goes up to just over four minutes. The number of actions per visit is up as well, and I always see a little spike in email subscriptions. This is because showcase sites are targeted perfectly. I know that everyone who looks at my post on sundried tomatoes is a massive foodie, and so they’ll love my blog. They will read the whole recipe.

I’m such a big fan of the traffic-growing magic of showcase sites that I set up my own for the gardening blogging community, called GardenGrab. This also makes me quite popular with other garden bloggers, as I promote their content for them.

The best showcase sites

For food, try TasteSpotting, FoodGawker, Bkfst, and Refrigerator Soup.

For homes, craft and interiors, try ThingsYouMake, DwellingGawker, and CraftGawker.

There’s also WeddingGawker for anyone with a wedding blog.

If you’re a political blogger, you should try to get your content listed on the PhiWire of PoliticsHome (although many of the rules I list below about images etc don’t apply)

Word about these sites tends to spread through the blogging community they serve. A lot of blogs display badges which show that their posts are being accepted by a showcase site, so have a look at the sidebars of some of your favourite blogs for ideas. You can also search through tumblr for more showcase sites which fit your blog’s niche.

How to get your post accepted by a showcase site

A lot of showcase websites require you to register as a user and upload your post through the front page. You’ll need the full URL of the post, a description of the post, and a good quality image. On some sites you’ll upload and crop the image through the front page, while on others you’ll complete a form which pings to the site’s moderators so they can consider your post.

The first thing you need to realise about these websites is that they are entirely visually-driven. Your recipes might be the most delectable dishes ever produced, or you might be an incredible writer, but if you don’t submit a post with good-quality photos to any of these sites, then you’re wasting your time. There’s a useful guide on how to edit your photos so that they get accepted by a showcase site here.

All the sites listed above read every post submitted, so make sure yours is well-written. Most sites let you know when they have reviewed your submission by sending you an email, and the best give you feedback if your post has been rejected, normally on the basis of poor image composition.

Riding the wave

Probably the most useful post I ever read on ProBlogger was this one about surfing the wave of new users. all the principles in this post are even more important with a spike in traffic from a showcase site because your new visitors are already more likely to stick around and dig into your website.

Take this post I submitted to both FoodGawker and TasteSpotting on making sundried tomatoes. It ticks all the boxes for both sites, with eye-catching photography and an easy-to-follow recipe. But it is also ready for the readers when they come.

For starters, I’ve got a ‘Subscribe to our email updates’ button at the very top of my sidebar, and I’ve also got a related posts plugin at the bottom of the post, options for readers to share the post on nine different sites and a ‘subscribe to comments’ tickbox. All standard. But I want to give these eager foodies even more opportunity to dig further into my blog. So in the text of the post, I’ve recommended some varieties of tomatoes perfect for roasting. This shows that I’m an expert on the subject of tomatoes, and sends them scuttling over to the posts as well.

At the bottom of every recipe post I write, I always recommend my free to download postcard guides on growing the key ingredient in the recipe. It’s a great way of flagging up to the new readers that I have a product that can help them. Those cards are now the most popular page on my site, so the strategy is working.

Do you use showcase sites to drive targeted traffic to your blog? Which ones have you found most effective, and how do you engage readers once they arrive?

Issy Eyre started Fennel & Fern when she was just 21 years old to settle an argument with some friends that gardening wasn’t cool. Three years later, the blog now boasts a team of eight writers, its own gardening blog showcase site, GardenGrab, and a bunch of readers who agree that gardening is awesome. You can follow Issy on Twitter here.

Do You Spend Enough Time Looking at Your Stats?

This guest post is by Deb of Science@home.

Do you spend enough time looking at your stats?

What a statement to start with, given that the mantra seems to be to check once a week and don’t waste too much time on your stats. And I agree with what seems to be the reasoning—if you are spending all that time looking at your stats, what else could you be doing that’s more productive? There also seems to be an underlying feeling that for us little guys the stats might be just too darn depressing, so staying away might be good for your mental health and motivation.

Readers are people

Readers are people (image is author's own)

But I’m going to fight back for the little guys and stats junkies and say that if you use them right, stats are an extremely useful tool for building your community. Because for most of us, most of our community doesn’t talk to us. The number of comments, Facebook likes and Twitter replies is miniscule compared with the daily number of hits on our blogs, and when no one’s answering your questions you need another way to learn what makes them tick.

Your stats are the key to finding out what is important to all those people who have found you and like you but aren’t saying anything. I know it’s traditional to try to talk to those people and get them talking to you, but to get those comments in the first place you need to learn about the silent majority. The more you find out about them, the more likely you are to hit on what’s important to them.

Here are four ways your stats can help you learn about your community.


It’s obvious, but can be important. Do you need to be aware of the seasons, holidays, and traditions of your readers? Even though I’m Australian, many of my readers come from the US and a large number are from Europe. This makes me consider how to balance my stories of running around in the bush and make sure I offer indoor activities too when my readers are snowed in. Plus it determines when I post and tweet—my posts go live in the early morning to catch US readers in their evening.


The big players are search engines and social media, but sometimes you get a spike in traffic from a specific forum or web community. If it’s public that’s great—you can get in and talk to the people thinking of visiting your site. But even if it’s private, it tells you something about your visitors—if you’re getting hits from a site on baby names, can you do some posts aimed at babies to capitalize on their interest?

What’s happening in their world?

One day I had a spike on a post called “13 Things to Do When it’s Raining.” Sometimes you can capitalize and sometimes you can’t. But the image of mothers all over the US East Coast being stuck inside and searching for something to do with their kids struck a chord. It made them into real people with real lives and problems that I could relate to, rather than “readers” or “hits.” And that’s at least as valuable as knowing which social media network they prefer, because it makes me write for them, rather than numbers.

I had another spike just after the earthquake in Japan on a piece I’d written earlier about plate tectonics and earthquakes. That was emotionally confronting—at once I felt horrible it was happening, and guilty for doing well out of it, but at the same time I was glad I could help explain it to people searching for an answer. It reminds me to take responsibility for what I write, because you never know when it might stop being interesting and fun, and become important.

What do they want?

One of my most popular posts of all time is about starfish babies. A bit of digging showed me that most of the information out there about starfish either doesn’t mention babies, or is fairly static. Looking at this and my other long-term popular posts taught me a lot about my audience and what they want to know. They are parents, teachers, people who are looking for understandable explanations of the quirky details kids demand. And they’ve secretly always wanted to know but none of the “official” information sources would give the information to them! The strange searches that bring people to your site are not just cause for amusement (although that can be fun too)—they tell you who your readers are and what they want from you.

Once you start getting readers who aren’t personally related to you, just looking at numbers is a waste of time. But don’t avoid your stats completely, because if you learn to listen they are your community talking to you.

If you’ve ever wondered why Daddies are bigger than Mummies or other weird and wonderful questions, Deb has the answer at Science@home. Plus lots of things to do with babies, toddlers and kids whether it’s raining or not.