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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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Stickiness

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

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

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

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

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

Marketers are turning to blogs for online ad spending

Research out of Forrester is showing a growing interest to place advertisements on blogs and/or in RSS feeds. This should be no surprise, given the mainstream business coverage of blogs that has issued recently.

Of those surveyed by Forrester, 64% would be interested in advertising on blogs, while 57% would be interested in advertising through RSS. Both these figures represent more interest than advertising on mobile devices – this just shows which way the industry is set to grow.

Forrester estimates that total online advertising and marketing dollars will reach $14.7 billion for the 2005 year – that’s 23% more than in 2004. Banners/sponsorships will grow 11% per year to $8 billion by 2010. We’ll also see a large increase in spending for search engine marketing over the next few years, up to $11.6 billion by 2010. Online marketing spending is the only area of growth in advertising spending as a whole – so interest is definitely present.
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Trying FeedBurner Total Stats Pro on View from the Isle

headerlogo.jpgYeah, I admit it, I’m a metrics junky.  Which is good, since I am the chief blogger for Elytics.com writing on the web metrics blog.  Regardless, I’m also a huge fan of FeedBurner.  I admit I check my FeedBurner stats throughout the day, especially when one of my articles has been picked up by several other blogs.  In spite of being a metrics junky and really wanting to know what content is popular on my blog I resisted trying Total Stats PRO–Burning Questions – The Official FeedBurner Weblog - FeedBurner – FeedBurner Total Stats PRO.  Why?  I’m cost conscious.  I really try to keep my business overhead low.  Then it hit me, as a blog consultant/pro blogger/syndicated writer I really should look into this.  I already set up all my clients with FeedBurner from day one–learning from my own mistake–and I tell my clients check your FeedBurner and other stats to figure out what content is most popular and use this to help guide your content decisions.  It makes logical sense, then, that I should try it myself and see if it’s worth $5/month.  So, over the next 15 days I’ll be checking my stats with Total Stats PRO.  I’ll probably do an initial assessment later today, then one in a few days, etc.
 
As professional bloggers our content is both our calling card and our gravy train.  It’s how we earn our money.  There’s no point in writing tons of articles on topic x if those aren’t as popular as topic y, especially if you’re writing for a client.  There will always be a certain number of articles that you write or publish, things like press releases, that aren’t glamorous and don’t get a lot of attention, but are essential regardless.  Then there are the articles which both you and your client intend to be interesting to a wider audience, those are the articles that I’m talking about.  That’s the important information that I hope FeedBurner can now provide me.  If so, $5/month could be a paltry price to pay to be able to effectively target the content published on a blog by blog basis.  Here’s hoping!
 
I will post charts, tables, etc as appropriate to give you a feel for what I’m seeing.  Because great data poorly presented, is almost as useless as not having it at all.
 
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Tris Hussey is a professional blogger and blog consultant, the Chief Blogging Officer for Qumana Software, and Managing Director of Qumana Services.  He can be reached at tris AT qumana DOT com or tris AT trishussey DOT com.
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Blogging Domain Name Brand Mantra

Darren asks, ‘What’s in A Blog Name?‘. He’s right, a name is a very important piece of becoming a successful blog. Think branding…it’s all about branding. Certain names and words flow off the tounge and are more memorable than others.

I’ve been reading Darren’s blog before it was ProBlogger.net. What was it? Um, something like blog.livingroom.com.au, I think. Get the point? That name sucked. Sorry Darren, I think you knew that. That’s no way to build a brand name. I think Darren can prove that his traffic and general reputation grew by leaps and bounds when he moved to ProBlogger.net. The design helped too :) Of course, it can be done, but it’s much harder.

So as a serious blogger…if you want to be serious, and taken seriously, you have to stop using those unbrandable blog domains like supercooldude.blogspot.com. The time has come to drop $8.95 at GoDaddy and get your own domain name. Or, for the sake of this shameless promotional entry, you could use one of mine below.

I’m currently looking to either sell or develop the following domain names. If you are interested in either offer, please email me at [email protected]

www.hotelblog.com
I’m looking for a writer who wants to take it and make it into a network blog about hotels. I’m willing to pay up to 75% of all revenue it generates to the right person who can make it a success. I’d host it, and provide the MT blog software and setup. I’d also do the design and any tech stuff. All this person would have to do is write, well… and often.

I also have these domains I’d like to do something with. Either sell them or develop them. Have an idea? Make an offer? Let me know.

News-blog.com
College-blog.com
Career-blog.com
Business-blog.com
Blogbucks.com
Blog-shop.com
Biz-blog.com

How-To Get Slashdotted

Nicholas Roussos has a good post on How-To Get Slashdotted. His method is a slightly less direct method than you might think – ie it’s about getting your link on Slashdot in the byline of the person who submitted the article rather than having a post you’ve written directly linked to.

‘The secret lies in submitting stories. Slashdot relies on readers to send in stories. A lot of sites work like this. If you send in the story, they’ll throw you a link in the write up. Bam, you’re on Slashdot. Sure, it’s not as high profile as it would be if the write up was about your site, but it’s better than nothing. Plus, if your site has an article of interest, what better way to make sure you get referred to than to write the story itself.’

Nicholas is onto something here – whilst you might not end up with a deluge of traffic from this type of Slashdot link – there are other benefits – the main one being that it gives you a link from a highly ranked website (Slashdot currently has a PR of 9). I’ve used this method before and it does work (its all about picking the right story), it does bring a trickle of traffic and you can slip in links to your own blog (if they’re relevant to the story).

So if you want to get linked to on Slashdot – check out Nicholas’s post which includes the steps he uses and a useful submission guide as an update.