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.

Protecting RSS Feeds from Theft

Paul has come up with a cool way to put off those wanting to rip off your content by republishing your full RSS feed – he’s found a way for WordPress bloggers to insert a copyright notice into the feed so that it appears on any site using your content.

‘Anyway, for other bloggers using WordPress who want to throw a scare into the scrapemasters who swipe their stuff and use it as spam, I took the liberty of modifying the wp-rss2.php file so it includes a visible copyright notice in every post in the feed.

First thing your (RSS) readers will see is your excerpt from your post followed by a horisontal line and this underneath:

“© 2005 This RSS Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you’re not reading this material in your news aggregator, the site you’re looking at is guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact YOUR-CONTACT-DETAILS so we can take legal action immediately.”’

Read more at Stop Stealing My Stuff |

When Blogs Grow Too Quickly

There is a great post over at The Return of Design that shows the danger in your site becoming too big to quickly in the eyes of Search Engines. James Archer reflects upon the rise massive popularity of Forty Media when it first launched and the consequences:

‘There’s a catch, though. We were a new site with a new domain name, and within weeks we had thousands of incoming links from keyword-rich sites. We initially thought that it would be great for our search engine rankings, but there was one critical point we had failed to consider:

Sudden movements make Google nervous.

The great success that our marketing effort, from the perspective of the objective mathematical formulas that run the Google search engine, probably looked a whole lot like search engine spam.’

The tips that James gives at the end of this article are well worth listening to. The message is to build a site slow and steady where you have some control over it. This is a lesson I’ve had to learn on a number of my blogs of late – including this one here at

I’ve been amazed by the amount of links that have been pointed at this blog since moving it to this domain in February this year – however the downside of this is as James says being seen as a suspicious site by Google for getting too popular too quickly.

Life goes on however and if you’ve been ‘sandboxed’ like this have patience – keep blogging and in time you’ll find things change (as they gradually are here).

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 and refocussed it upon business blogs - the response was smaller but still worthwhile. [Read more...]

Blog Layout Continued – The Perfect Number of Columns?

Peter Flaschner has a great post on The Perfect Number of Columns which I think bounces off my post on Blog Layout (I say ‘I think’ because he doesn’t link to it – but was part of the discussion here in my post so I’ll take some credit! :-) ). He writes:

‘How many columns is the perfect number? I’ve seen passionate opinions voiced in favor of 1, 2, and 3 columns. People seem to have very definite opinions about which is best. I’m here to tell them they’re all wrong.

There is no perfect solution. The right number of columns is determined by two things: your site’s raison d’etre, and your audience. Asking “what’s the right number of columns” is like asking “what’s the best colour”. The answer in both cases is it depends.’

Peter then goes on to talk about some factors to consider when choosing your blog’s layout, in particular your own needs and those of your audience. It’s a great post if you’re thinking through blog design issues.

Less = More with Adsense

Scrivs gives and insightful update on his decluttered design approach to adsense – the results speak for themselves:

‘Ever since I made the changes to the design of many of my sites to the extra minimalist style I have seen my eCPM increase anywhere from 50%-100%. My CTR has increased over 100%-200%, but this also has to do with the fact that I added an inline ad on FG for extended entries.’

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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Corporate Bloggers earn $40k – $70k

There is an article in the WSJ today on how Blogging is becoming a Corporate Job for an increasing number of people:

‘In its short lifespan, blogging has largely been a freewheeling exercise in online self-expression. Now it is also becoming a corporate job.

A small but growing number of businesses are hiring people to write blogs, otherwise known as Web logs, or frequently updated online journals. Companies are looking for candidates who can write in a conversational style about timely topics that would appeal to customers, clients and potential recruits.’

Duncan points out that the jobs mentioned pay between $40,000 and $70,000 ($US) per year.

I’m not sure what the average wage in in the average wage is in the US but considering exchange rates it would put an Aussie on between $52,000 and $91,000 which at the lower end is around the average Aussie wage (from the last figures I saw) to a pretty decent income at the upper end.

Building Blogging Relationships – Positioning Yourself at the Watercooler

This is another post in the building blogging relationships series.

I remember reading two studies a number of years ago that taught me about the power of positioning in social networks when it comes to relationships.

One study did research into who the most well connected, social and relational people were on a floor of offices. The study found that people whose desks were close to highly trafficked areas in an office were those who were best connected with others on the floor. Generally these people were close to entrances, elevators, water coolers or recreational areas etc.

The second study did similar research into which household on streets were most connected in the neighborhood. Once again the research found that it was people who lived on the corners of two streets that disproportionately were more connected and relational than others in the street.

I’ve been pondering these two studies recently and wondering how they might give us some clues about being connected and relational bloggers. I’m not sure exactly where these ‘water cooler’, ‘street corner’ places are in the wider blogging community – but I suspect they exist and are emerging. I’d be very interested to get your opinions on where such places might actually be?

Perhaps some of these places might include:

- discussion forums – I know I’ve started some very interesting relationships with other bloggers through forums – they are a place where people actually come to learn, discuss, share etc

- other blogs - Some of my best blogging buddies were made as i read other blogs comments sections. Sometimes something someone says makes so much sense that it’s worth checking out there blog and getting in touch. I guess it’s some of the bigger blogs where you can make the most connections with others.

- group blogs – I’ve not really gotten to involved in these – but blogs like linkfilter and blog critics seem to be places where community can be built and bloggers get to know each other.

It strikes me that these sorts of places might help position you to be more visible as a blogger and lead you into some interesting communities where relationships with other bloggers might emerge. Where else would you suggest?

Read the rest of the building blogging relationships series.

Introducing My Guest Bloggers

I would like to pause for a moment and acknowledge some people who have gone out of their way to make it possible for me to have a restful holiday.

The following 27 (so far) bloggers responded to my call for guest bloggers on many of my blogs. None of these people owe me anything – all are giving their time freely. All I promised them was a link back from each post they write to their own blog. Some are even blogging on up to 3 of my blogs!

Between this group of people are some names that many regular readers of ProBlogger will know – most are daily readers here and active participants in comments sections. Among them are some fine bloggers in their own right who I’m honored to have writing on my blogs for the next 4 or so weeks.

I’d like to encourage you all to visit some of these bloggers blogs as a little thank you for their work. In doing so they are enabling me to have a real break from blogging which will help make ProBlogger better when I return. All of my blogs now have guest authors – there are only three positions left (see bottom of this post if you want to be on this list).

To the bloggers listed below – I’ve already thanked you each – but want to publicly acknowledge the time and effort you’re putting in to lend me a hand. I’m humbled by your response and can’t wait to get home early in July to see what you’ve written!

nb: this list does not include those guest blogging here at – I’m still waiting on a couple of bloggers to get registered and will publish this list in the next few days.

Stan Hooker
Stephanie Herman
Scott Randol
Arieanna Foley
Michael Nguyen
Rich Brooks
Dimitri (doing it without links back to his blog)
Ian Pattinson
Rob Lewis
Matthew Thornton
Tom Hanna
Teli Adlam
Cynthia Giles
Chris Abraham
Andy Merrett
Shane Birley
Tim Flight

For those who would like to join this list and be a guest blogger I have three positions still remaining open – one on each of:

Camera Phone Zone

shoot me an email to get involved.

[Read more...]