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Generating Traffic for your Blog – Think Ahead

In a great example of thinking ahead – Rogers Cadenhead registered the domain name BenedictXVI.com a couple of weeks ago.

‘Cadenhead, an author of 20 technology “how-to” books with titles like “Movable Type 3 Bible Desktop Edition” and “Teach Yourself Java in 21 Days,” said he registered the names for $12 each from Internet address seller Bulkregister.com.

“I couldn’t resist the chance to have some skin in the game. Someone else already has JohnPaulIII.com and JohnXXIV.com, but otherwise I put a chip down on every name of the past three centuries,” Cadenhead wrote on his Web log at Cadenhead.org.’

Source: Fla. Man Secured BenedictXVI.com Weeks Ago

In fact Rogers secured six domain names which that all could have corresponded with a new pope’s new chosen name.

This is a wonderful illustration of my previous advice to think ahead about not only what people are searching for now – but what they’ll be looking for in a few weeks or months time. This is what I was doing when I started Pope Watch – but Rogers certainly trumped us all with his move! Congratulations to him.

One Blog Many Categories or Many Blogs?

William (a reader of ProBlogger) asks:

‘I have so many diverse hobbies and interests that I want to start a blog about, plus I’d also like to make some $ through AdSense & the likes…. Am I better off having one blog site with multiple categories or multiple blog sites highlighting specific interests?’

Great question William and one that I think more ProBloggers would do well to think through.

One of the common ways that many bloggers start out in their entrepreneurial blogging is through a personal and very general blog that covers many topics of interest. It makes sense in many ways – it’s simpler to have it all in one place, to manage one set of statistics, one design, one set of readers etc. Most blogging platforms seem pretty well set up for this as they allow categories to be created for each topic being covered.

Whilst it might seem easier to manage one blog on many topics it doesn’t always make good business sense to do so.

After a year of blogging in this way myself I began to notice a number of things that made me consider a new approach:

  • Some readers became disillusioned with the blog – My blog had four main themes and different readers resonated differently with each one. A few readers shared my diverse interests in all four areas, but most came to my blog to read about one of the (or at the most a couple of) topics. A number of regular loyal readers became disillusioned with my eclectic approach to blogging and gave up coming.
  • I felt guilty about the variety of topics – I’m a pretty impulsive guy who tends to get into something for a while in a big way and then move onto something else. As a result my personal/general blog would go through identifiable stages. For a while the posting would focus upon the topic of politics, then there would be a burst of writing on the topic of blogging, then there would be a few weeks of reflections on spirituality etc. Knowing that my readers were disillusioned by this approach I began to feel more and more guilty about my impulsive bursts of activity on topics. As a result I’d o out of my way to post on things just to keep some balance, even if I didn’t really want to write about certain things.

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Avoiding Blog Burnout – Advanced Posting and Additional Authors

Duncan has posted on the topic of How to avoid blog burnout in one easy lesson where he suggest taking a break is a good way to sustain your blogging over a longer period of time. In particular he writes that taking a weekend off (or at least having a lighter weekend) might be a way to keep your blogging fire burning.

I agree with Duncan in this – I am a big believer in a day off – in theory anyway.

I remember reading a study into productivity a few years ago in which researchers looked at a variety of different cultures work patterns in order to discover what the most productive people’s work practices were. A number of factors emerged from the study – but the one that rings in my mind years later is that they found the most productive cultural groups were those that worked hard for 6 days per week and rested for one. The day off was devoted to rest, family, relaxation and rejuvination of body, mind and spirit.

I think this is an important approach for any worker – bloggers are no exception. Without taking a break blog boredom and writers block can easily set in.

The challenge for those of us making a living from blogs is that the medium is a 7 day per week, 365 day per year venture. Whilst traffic does tend to go down on weekends (as less people are at work surfing the net when they should be working) the weekend is actually an opportunity for traffic and earnings like any other day and regular posting on the weekends is one way to ensure the traffic keeps coming in.

So what is a Pro Blogger to do?

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What to do when you Get Slashdotted

Getting a deluge of visitors to your blog from a larger site is what many blogger’s dreams are made of but what should you do if you want to maximise the benefit of this occurrence as and when it happens?

Every month or two I tend to get a link from the megablog Slashdot to one of my blogs (something that is called being ‘Slashdotted’ by many ). I’ve posted previously about how it can be quite a rush although the financial pay off is sometimes not quite what you might think. After being Slashdotted last time I started thinking about what a blogger could do to capitalise on the the rush of traffic.

There are a number of things that you might want to consider next time this happens to you (whether the traffic comes from a big blog like Slashdot or any other blog that is a little higher up the food chain than you). Before I outline what you might want to do – let me say that some of these will depend upon what the goals of your blog are. [Read more...]

Blogging Fears – Death

I’d like to continue my Blogging Fears series by talking for a moment about Death.

OK – ‘death’ is probably not a topic you were expecting me to cover in at ProBlogger (I hope this is not too morbid) but the past week I’ve actually been wondering what would happen to my Blogging assets if I were to die?

I know there would be international mourning among my readers and a great pilgrimage to Melbourne for my Funeral (streamed live on the net) but what about my blogs? It seems such a waste for me to have worked for all this time on my blogs and for them to stop running and stop earning an income for those that I love when I go.

Advice: Perhaps it would be a responsible thing to do to add my blogs to my will and to make arrangements for someone to look after them for my lovely wife who is rather clueless about blogging. Like any income earning asset, your blog is something to think about the future of beyond your life time (btw – if anyone wants to leave me theirs in their will – let me know!).

Have you considered adding your blog to your will? What provisions have you made (if any) for your blogs if you were to die or become incapacitated?

This is another part of my ‘Blogging Fears’ series where previous posts have been Getting Hacked and Disappearing from Search Engines.

When Blog Competition is Good

A number of people have asked me in the past 24 hours whether I feel threatened when a new blog starts up with the same topic as one of mine.

It is an interesting question and one that I usually answer in a number of ways.

Firstly I admit that I do feel a bit threatened. I think its a fairly natural feel some anxiety, threat or worry when someone else steps on what you perceive as your patch. I feel these emotions when I first see new blogs set up that have complete or partial overlap with a topic I’m writing about. It worries me from time to time that there is only one top ranking in the Search Engines for a keyword that I might be targeting – in a sense my ‘competition’ and I are in a contest for such positioning. The more sites on the same topic the harder it is to get to the top of the pile.

Many people respond to such competition in a negative way. In response to the threat they tend to either:

  • ignore the competition (and hope they’ll go away)
  • attack their competition (discredit and try to undermine them)
  • worry themselves silly by monitoring their every move and attempting to copy everything they do in order to keep them covered

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Blogging Fears – Disappearing from Search Engines

A couple of days ago I started a Blogging Fears mini-series and talked about Getting Hacked. Here’s another – Disappearing from the Search Engines

As many of you know I’ve been there – it sucks and has the ability to almost completely cripple a blog that relies upon SE traffic. If you’re relying heavily on search engine traffic for most of your posts – be warned – it could happen to you.

Advice: Diversify your blogging interests. Develop a variety of blogs on different topics and domains. Look at non blogging income streams or related blogging income such as consulting, books, speaking etc. Work on generating traffic from other non Search Engine sources like other sites and newsletters to loyal readers. Even consider keeping or getting a part time ‘real’ job until you know you can survive on your blogging income even if the Search Engines abandon you.

A day in the life of a ProBlogger

This has always been one of the most popular posts on ProBlogger so today I thought I’d update it with some new things that I do on an ‘average day’ as a ProBlogger (originally written November 2004 which will explain the old comments).

A number of people have asked me recently what a typical day of blogging looks like for me – I thought I’d share the basics. Of course what an actual day looks like differs from day to day depending on other commitments (I have other interests/work outside of blogging), the day of the week (weekends I try to get a life) and my mood (I’m an impulsive type).

7.00am – My wife’s (‘V’) alarm goes off. I attempt to ignore it. She hits ‘snooze’.

7.15am – The alarm goes off again – I shove V out of the bed in the direction of the shower and promptly fall back asleep.

7.45am – V returns to the bedroom and the hair dryer starts – sleep becomes impossible – and so my day begins.

8.30am – Having showered, eaten and seen V off to work I sit down at my powerbook with a fresh cup of coffee and begin my morning blogging routine (note that despite public perception to the contrary – this ProBlogger is usually fully dressed (not in pyjamas or boxer shorts) by the time most people are hitting their normal place of work (9am). Of course there are exceptions to every rule).
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Blogging Fears – Getting Hacked

What is your Worst Blogging Fear?

This might make me sound a little paranoid – but occasionally I wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat thinking about the things that could go wrong with my little blogging business. In many ways what we do can be pretty fragile and at the whim and mercy of outside forces.

Over the next few days I’m going to write about some of my blogging fears and what I do to try and protect myself from them. I invite you to share your blogging fears and tips in comments.

Getting Hacked – what if someone took over your blog – changed the password, changed content or even worse, deleted it all. This is something I’ve thought about a lot over the past year. I know of one or two cases where its happened and been pretty devastating for the blogger’s in question. All that hard work, those many many hours of writing, editing, designing – gone in a single foul action of someone with too much time on their hands.
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