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Strategy for maximizing page views

I was going to call this article tips for maximizing page views. But tips implies that what I suggest is going to work! These are merely thoughts and suggestions. I hope to encourage a bit of experiment and conversation with this post. Please use the comments and trackbacks to let us know if you try something as a result of this.

So, page views. A page view is not a hit, nor is it a visit. Total page views tells you how many individual pages have been seen over a given period. Dividing that total by the number of unique visitors gives you your average page views per visit.

How ever many you have, you want more. Page views are the add-on items of the web world. They’re the rust-proofing on your new car. The guacamole with your nachos. They’re where the profit is made. More page views = more ads seen = greater chance for your visitors to click on an ad.

Of course this is all completely moot if users are clicking on ads on their first or second page view. But if they were doing that we’d all be out shopping for Porshes instead of playing in Darren’s playground while he’s on holiday.

There are two main strategies I want to discuss here. The first is easy, the second requires some creative thinking.
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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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Choosing the Perfect Blog (and Domain) Name

People often ask me what I’d do differently if I was starting my blogging from scratch – one of the big things would be around choosing better names and domain names for a few of my blogs. One of the problems with accidentally becoming a Pro Blogger like I did was that things evolved without much strategy for the first year or two as I experimented.

Ryan has a good post on choosing The Perfect Name for your blog/domain name:

‘As I mentioned the perfect name is easy to remember, sounds and looks good. But more importantly than these three is a name that is suiting. There is no such thing as the perfect name in the initial stages. It takes time and growth before a name can become perfect. So it is our job to look at all the aspects so we can ensure we have a strong, and at least “near perfect” name in the future…’

He then goes on to suggest four factors to consider in your decision. I concur with his thoughts. A name can become something that really lifts a blog to the next level.

I strongly advise new bloggers to think up front about the implications of starting news blogs some of these questions:

- what happens if this blog is very successful? Will the domain/subdomain/directory that I start this blog on look professional down the track?
- does the domain name include my main keywords? (helps heaps with SEO)
- is the domain memorable?

What other factors are worth considering in your opinion when it comes to choosing a domain/blog name?

The importance of Blog Taglines

Steven is doing another interesting experiment over at Vaspers the Grate and is looking at Blog Taglines. He’s put 59 blogs with their titles and taglines side by side and is asking for comment on them. He writes:

‘I strongly urge every blogger to use a tagline on your blog. It can give your blog that little extra edge of clarification or intrigue that could prevent a first-time reader from leaving your site, due to not seeing any personal relevance.’

I agree with this statment by Steven completely – a tagline can be a very powerful part of your blog on a number of levels.

Firstly it can convey a strong message to your reader about the content that they’ll find if they decide to explore your blog. We know that readers make very quick decisions about whether they will stay or leave a page and so any way that you can quickly communicate them the benefits of your blog is important to put some thought into.

Secondly your tagline is often one of the first things that search engine spiders look at on your site because it’s usually at the top. We know that words at the top of a site have more weight than words at the bottom in terms of search engine optimization – so if you have a text tagline it might be worth including some keywords in it.

So the take home advice is to see your tagline as an onsite advertisement for your blog. You’re advertising the benefits of them staying to go deeper inside and perhaps even become loyal readers. As a result you want to capture their attention, communicate a message and include some keywords to help the search engines index you well.

Building Blogging Relationships – Blog Projects and Memes

In continuing my building blogging relationships series I now want to turn our attention to blog projects and memes.

As I look back over my 2.5 years of blogging to some of the most interactive periods in my blogs – I realize that many of the key relationships have developed out of working on shared projects – both those initiated by others and myself.

Back in 2003 on my personal blog I started a project called Celebrating the Underblog where I invited bloggers to submit blogs that they thought were underrated and deserved more publicity. That year we uncovered 100 blogs. In 2004 I ran the project again and we uncovered over 500 blogs. This year I moved the project to problogger.net and refocussed it upon business blogs - the response was smaller but still worthwhile. [Read more...]

Building Blogging Relationships – Email

Taughnee left a simple but very helpful tip on my last post in the building blogging relationships series that I thought was worth promoting up as a main post as it’s something that I too do.

If I read a forum post, blog or even a comment and think, “hey, I like the way this person thinks, we should know each other” … I’ll drop them an email and introduce myself. Sometimes I feel a bit silly or shy doing this, but then I remember that I LOVE it when people contact me this way.

Also, if people post their IM information in forums or blogs, I’ve been known to do the old, “You don’t know me but (insert flattering ice breaker here) …” and it has lead to some great connections as well.

It is amazing how powerful a simple email can be.

Whilst we live in a world where mass generated, impersonal, irrelevant, unsolicited email is incredibly annoying – so when a personal, relevant, genuine and relational email hits your inbox it can actually have a real impact.

I too do what Taughnee does and go out of my way to send emails to other bloggers when they write something that resonates with me. Many times I don’t get (or even expect) a response – I know many bloggers are incredibly busy – however from time to time the email can lead to a wonderful conversation and even occasionally to some fruitful relationships that directly impacts my blogging (either through a link, working together on a project, generation of ideas etc).

Having said all of this you might want to keep some of the following guidelines in mind when emailing other bloggers:

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Building Blogging Relationships – Be a Good Host

Another way to Build Blogging Relationships is to be a good host on your blog.

V and I went out to a friend’s home recently for a meal and had one of the best nights we’ve had in a long time simply because of the efforts of our hosts. They went to a lot of trouble to make sure that our night was just perfect on so many levels. Our wine glasses were never empty, they had a wood fire burning, they took genuine interest in us and asked a lot of stimulating questions, they offered us the best seats in their living room, they served some wonderful food and basically spoilt us rotten all night. As I look back on the night I realize that because of all of the little things that they did, V and I went home feeling very special and wanting to return the favor and have these friends over to our home as soon as we could.

As bloggers we have an opportunity to make a similar impression upon our readers as our friends made upon us that night.

Here are a few things that could help in being a good blogging host: [Read more...]

Building Blogging Relationships – Be a Good Guest

Connected to my last posts on the building blogging relationships series is the idea that sometimes the best place to build relationships with others is on ‘their’ turf.

As I look at some of my most fruitful blogging relationships I notice that many of the best interactions that we have had have when I’ve been willing to have them on the other blogger’s blog.

As bloggers we have a choice when we read something on another blog that we want to bounce off and interact with. We can either take a quote and write about it on our own blog starting our own conversation on that topic – or we can leave a comment on the blog where the conversation is already happening and interact with the blogger concerned there. In a sense you’re taking the conversation and being a good guest at their blog.

Whilst I have nothing against the first option of continuing a conversation on your own blog (this is part of what makes blogging great) – sometimes I wonder if this can be a little selfish. On occasions I’ve seen this happen in a way where the original blogger has their thread hijacked by a second (often bigger) blogger. There may be a link back to the original idea – but it can be done in a way that virtually ignores and overshadows the original post.

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Building Blogging Relationships – Availability and Accessibility

Two weeks ago I started a series on Building Blogging Relationships with Blogging in Formation and a post on Attitude – this week I’m going to pick up and finish the series with a few more posts.

I was talking with a friend a few weeks ago about relationships – particularly about his singleness. He’d been in a relationship for 4 years until six months ago when it unfortunately ended. As we chatted he reflected how that in the 4 years of relationship he’d become quite an insular and ‘coupley’ (his word) person. He didn’t go out to places where single people hung out and he’d spent less time with single friends. The challenge he faces is to ‘get out there and meet someone’ (his words). This means going to places that he’s not gone before, getting out of his comfort zone and meeting new people.

It strikes me that in order to build relationships with other bloggers that you need to put yourself in a position where it’ll be possible to meet them. Many of us as bloggers can become quite comfortable in the blogging cliques that we belong to – we know a handful other bloggers that have a similar interest to us and are quite content to let this be our ‘network’.

Whilst this might be fine – I wonder if we limit our potential by such an insular approach – do we run the risk of becoming a little stale? Perhaps meeting some new bloggers might bring a freshness to our blogging?

When I started ProBlogger.net I decided to get out of the rut I was in as a blogger in only interacting with a select group of other bloggers. Here is two things I did to meet some new people: [Read more...]