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?
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.
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...]
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:
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...]
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.
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...]
Do you remember Michael Buffington who back in Febuary started a grand experiment in blogging for dollars by starting the Asbestos Blog – a blog designed for the one intention of making money from a blog with a topic which is always touted as attracting high paying Adsense Ads?
Stephen Baker from Business Week Blog does a follow up post on the grand experiment and tracks how it fared after the initial burst of traffic from those attacking Michael for blatantly using his blog to chase a quick buck. Stephen writes:
‘Check out his site today and you see that the last post was in mid March. Buffington has backburnered it. Turns out that blogging for bucks, he says, “was really hard work.” That might be the most useful lesson his experiment leaves behind. In the initial burst of publicity, he was picked up by Slashdot and traffic rocketed. But as the weeks wore on, he was spending lots and lots of time trying to be the definitive guide to things asbestos, and traffic trailed off.
“There aren’t that many people who want to visit an asbestos site,” he says.’
It’s a good lesson for all Pro Bloggers wanting to explore niche blogging and illustrates that when choosing a topic it’s important to look for high paying keywords.
Also worth considering are factors like:
- Will you be able to sustain writing on your chosen topic in the long term – are you interested enough in the topic to write on it every day?
- Is there a market for your content (ie do people search for it?)
- How many others are writing on the topic? (high paying ads tend to have a lot of competition which makes it hard to get highly ranked in Search Engines.