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Blog Crushes Revealed – Round 1

BlogcrushIt’s time to reveal the first 11 Blog Crushes that readers have for other bloggers.

Do you have a blog crush on another blogger? It’s not about having a ‘real crush’ – but do you admire another blogger? Write a post about your blog crush with a link back to the central blog crush page and then let us know about it so we can add you to the list there. You’ve got until 21 September to get your entry in. In the process you’ll spread some blogging love to another blogger and highlight your own blog a little too.

Blog Crushes

BlogcrushThings have gotten a little heavy in some of the latest comment threads here at ProBlogger so I thought it might be time to put a little love in the air and have some fun.

So I’m suggesting we make the next 7 days about naming our Blog Crushes.

Do you have a crush on another blogger? I don’t mean an actual crush – rather is there a blog or blogger out there that you really admire? Maybe you’re too scared to let them know or are afraid that your admiration is unrequited?

- you like the way they blog
- you find yourself logging onto their blog every day (sometimes more) and staring at their design or drooling over their way with words
- their RSS feed is at the top of your list
- you leave more comments on their blog than you write posts on your own
- you let them know about posts you’ve written in the hope that one day they’ll notice you
- you dream about that elusive spot on their blog roll that you’d love to fill
- every second post you do is about them or their blog

Ok – maybe your crush is as extreme as this – or maybe it’s a little milder – but I want to give people an opportunity to reveal their true love and admiration for the objects of their Blog Crushes.

I’ve done this exercise on other blogs of mine and it’s been a lot of fun.

Here’s how it works.

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Converting One off Visitors to your Blog into Regular Readers

One of the most exciting things about blogging is logging into your blog after a night’s sleep to find that overnight some large site has linked to you and that you’re in the middle of a deluge of visitors. Your statistics package graph (which you check every 13 minutes) has a massive mountain in it in the middle of something that looks like a flat line. Your heart beats faster as you realize how many people are reading your content and if you’ve got Adsense ads on your site you begin to dream of the things you could buy with the income that the influx of visitors might bring – if only you could keep them coming back to your blog….

Of course this is where the problem lies – most influxes of traffic from other sites are usually pretty temporary in nature – they last as long as your link lasts at the top of the other site’s page – a few hours, a day or two perhaps at most – and then things return to normal as your new readers surf off to the next great link put on the site that had linked to you.

Does it have to be this way?

What if you could not only enjoy the influx of visitors but could also convert them to regular and loyal readers of your blog? What if each time you had an big incoming link you had the ability to captivate a percentage of your new readers in such a way that they’d keep coming back?

I’ve been pondering this topic for a couple of years now and whilst I don’t want to pretend I have all the answers (otherwise I’d have 200,000 daily visitors rather than 2,000) I’d like to share a some things that I’ve been working on lately to see if I can convert some of those one off visitors into regular readers.

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Social Bookmarking – Getting your Blog Noticed

Yesterday I mentioned a post at Thirty Stories Up by the name of 7 Mistakes for your First Week of Blogging as part of the 31 Days project – it’s a worthwhile article to read but I want to mention it again not because of what it says but because of the response that it had.

There are over 40 comments on the past now which is pretty cool – Kurt the author of the blog writes in comments that the reason for the response is that the post got picked up and ranked highly by Digg which led to 8000 or so page views in just a 24 hour period – not bad for a blog that has been going for just 20 days! At the time of writing this the post in question is ranked the 11th most ‘dugg’ post for the week so far.

It just goes to show the power of social bookmarking sites like Digg which have the ability to push vast quantities of visitors around the web at the drop of a hat. Having been ‘dugg’ numerous times myself it’s quite an amazing experience. Similarly del.icio.us is another example of a site that has been known to lift the profile of my posts (in fact at present my 31 Days project HQ is ranking well on their popular links page). Furl is yet another example (although from what I can tell it’s less popular than it once was) as is Linkfilter, another smaller social bookmarking sit. The great thing for bloggers is that each of these services allows you to submit/suggest posts to them and all of them accept every submission (unless you spam them) – unlike other sites like Slashdot who strongly moderate submissions.

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Promoting your blog with Advertising

Duncan over at Blog Herald has a good guide to Promoting your blog with advertising where he looks at Google’s Adwords, the BlogAds system, smaller advertising firms and direct advertising on other blogs.

I’ve used Adwords twice and like the idea of it but had pretty average results. Apart from that I’ve never advertised any of my blogs. Having said this I’m interested to hear others experiences. Do you advertise? When, how, what were the results?

Cool Little Tool

My last post asked the question of how you build blog and website traffic. Tim left a comment that caught my interest regarding the syndication of one blog’s headlines to other websites he has an interest in – an effort to create stickiness at the website and drive visitors to the originating blog.

I’ve taken Tim’s example to heart and have done the same thing.

I found a cool little tool – free – that converts RSS to JavaScripts. The service name is simply RSS-to-JavaScript.

Have you been noticing the growing popularity of RSS, RDF and ATOM feeds? Would you like to easily add them to your web-site to create sticky content that’s always updated? Then you’ve come to the right place, RSS-to-JavaScript.com was designed to easily convert any valid RSS, RDF or ATOM feed into easy to implement Javascript. No XML or programming experience is necessary.

Use our 100% free tool to easily insert dynamically updated RSS, RDF and ATOM feeds into any web page, blog or content management system.

The way I use RSS-to-JavaScript is to aggregate posts I write on two other blogs and present them on my maim blog, JSLogan. The thought is to make JSLogan readers more aware of posts I write on other blogs and drive more readers to the other sites.

Thanks for the idea Tim!

Are there any other cool little tools like this you use or have seen in the blogosphere?

Blogs, Links, and SEO

Blogs and links are the perfect couple. Of course, everyone knows that. You don’t have to be a hopeless romantic or some SEO techie type to figure that one out.

Talk about stating the obvious.

As we all know, almost everyone talks about how powerful blogs and their linking power are for search engine optimization (SEO). The reasons for the strength of blog links in achieving high search engine rankings are discussed much less frequently. It’s time to change all of that.

Let’s talk blogs and links and SEO.

Blog links have search engine power for several reasons. One of which is the different types of linking featured on blogs. All blog links are not the same, and that is part of their secret search engine rankings power. Different types of links provide different rankings boosts, in several different ways. In the end, the links add up to your blog being placed highly, for your most important keywords, in Google, Yahoo, and MSN Search.

Links appear on a blog’s home page as links to other blogs. Other blogs link to your blog from home page link lists and blogrolls as well. As the most powerful page on your blog, the home page passes along quite a bit of search engine power. The problem is that home page mojo is divided among many different blogs. The piece of the pie for each one is not that large.

On the other hand, the age and permanence of that link has some real value. The links also get value from arriving from other blogs sharing similar themes and topics. Interlinked blogs on cooking help one another more than a cooking blog and a welding blog. All links have some value, but theme related ones provide even more.

Links also appear in posts. Those are expecially valuable links. When someone links to one of your posts, they often double link to the home page as well. Because of the strong and obvious theme relevance of the post, the search engines give in post links some real power. As such, writing interesting posts that attract natural inbound links, and trigger discussions on other blogs are especially important. Note the value of providing great information to your readers.

Trackbacks provide a bit of link power, but not as much as some bloggers believe. Being open to spamming has reduced their link strength. Links in comments have little if any link power these days as a result of abuse. Trackback links provide their power more indirectly, in attracting discussion links and finding new potential linkers to your blog.

There is some evidence that linking out to other blogs helps gain search rankings for the generous blogger. Instead of being a drain, linking out can result in a net SEO gain. Now beat that for great karma!

Keep in mind that your goal should not be to game or trick the search engines. On the contrary, those sorts of tactics are counterproductive and fail to provide the desired results.

Instead, think of the needs of your readership first. Provide them with good useful and interesting blog posts. Links will arrive naturally, and as a result of your generous linking habits, your blog can rise to the top of the search engine rankings.

Other Than Search Engines – Where Do You Get New Blog Traffic?

Yesterday was another typical Monday – back to work, back into the routine, another Carnival of the Capitalists. I’ve been participating in the Carnival of the Capitalists (CoTC) for some time, it’s pretty effective at drivng new readers to my blog. I usually pick-up a few new readers each week from CoTC, yesterday was no exception.

Other than CoTC, I routinely pick-up new readers from comments and trackbacks I do on other blogs. Obviously, you can pick-up referer traffic and new audience through trackbacks from your blog and references to your site or a particular post on other sites, but you can’t control those events…they just happen.

I’ve also had some luck in article submissions and noticed some traffic increases from e-zines I’ve given content to. On one ocassion, I even ran a paper direct mail campaign to bring more people to my blog…resulting in about 200 additional readers.

Other than those things I’ve listed above – and excluding search engine traffic – how do you get new readers to your blog? Are there any forums or Carnivals out there that work well for you?

Making the most of ecto

At first sight, ecto seems to be a simple desktop client that allows you to author content for your blog. There are a couple of advantages desktop blog tools offer over control panels: You can write entries while offline, keep a local searchable cache of published entries and drafts, use spell-check, manipulate images and movies before uploading, to name just a few.

But ecto for MacOSX (and soon also the Windows version) does even more than that, it can help you to raise your blog’s visibility in the blogosphere and even make a bit of profit. This blog entry will show you how to make the most of ecto.

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