How To Be A Blogging Idol Instead Of An Idle Blogger

Todd Mintz writes a very worthwhile article at How To Be A Blogging Idol Instead Of An Idle Blogger which I think is a must read for bloggers wanting to start out in ProBlogging.

Whilst I don’t completely agree with everything Todd writes (I’ve never entered into a link exchange program or never bought a text ad for that matter) the article is brimming with useful information that Todd learnt in experimenting with blogs on the topic of American Idol contestants last season of the show. In particular he has had some success with the Bo Bice Blog.

Among Todd’s more useful tips are:

Have a narrow focus: The quickest way to drive traffic to your blog is through excellent search engine rankings. If you blog about lots of unrelated topics, you won’t rank well for any of your key terms….

Press Releases: Online press releases are an excellent way to generate notice for your blog. I created a press release announcing the launch of the blog, and once I decided to “actively” blog Bo, I wrote a release each week recapping the show and featuring highlights from the blog….

Involve Fans: When my blog reached a consistent 500 visitors a day, I decided to actively solicit posts from Bo’s fans. Sure, most blogs give readers the ability to post comments…but I thought that if I ran the comments as actual posts, I could create a “buzz” about the blog and generate large numbers of repeat visits….’

I subscribe to each of these tips and many of the other things Todd writes and think they apply not only to fan sites like the one he runs (keep in mind fan sites are hard to monetize…. I’ve been trying for a while now) but to most blog topics.

Yahoo! Publisher Network Coming Soon?

There’s an interesting post over at SEO RoundTable that speculates that the Yahoo! Publisher Network could be Coming Soon which will definitely bring something of a shake up to Google’s stranglehold on the contextual advertising market through Adsense. They write:

‘Nick at ThreadWatch then wrote a thread, Yahoo Publisher Network to Debut in August? In that thread, he uses some logic to determine that it is very possible that YPN will be here in August. The logic comes from the announcement by JenSense about the recent listed panel on the SES San Jose 2005 Contextual track Earning From Search & Contextual Ads. On that panel is an individual by the name of Will Johnson from Yahoo! Search Marketing.’

So the question is – who will be tempted to move over from Adsense to Yahoo’s publishing system? Will you be tempted to give it a go or will you stick with Adsense? What would convince you to switch?

Can you have too many inbound links to your blog?

A well known Search Engine Optimization strategy that most serious bloggers keep in mind is that the more links that you have pointing to your blog from other sites the higher your page will be ranked in search engines like google. This is a generally accepted strategy for building the profile of your blog and is in fact one of the strengths of blogging (as at the heart of our medium is the linking that bloggers do to one another).

But can you have too many inbound links pointing at your blog?

The growing opinion of SEO experts is that you can. In fact a recent patent by Google indicates that sites that have big increases in inbound links to them in short periods (especially young sites) can actually be treated as spam sites by Google’s algorithm.

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Google introduces RSS to Personalized Pages – An Opportunity for Bloggers?

Many bloggers have been commenting on Google’s addition of RSS feeds to their personalized home page (see Steve Rubel and John Battelle for starters) but I’m yet to see anyone suggest that adding your own RSS feeds to your personalized Google page could be good for SEO (search engine optimization) purposes.

Longer term readers will remember the tip I posted a few months ago regarding how adding your RSS feeds to a MyYahoo! account seemed to get you indexed quicker and better in Yahoo!

As soon as I heard about Google’s move to add RSS to it’s personalized home pages my mind went back to this post and wondered if the same thing might be true for improving one’s rankings in Google. Needless to say that yesterday I added every RSS feed I have to my own Google page and am waiting and watching to see if it has any impact on my ranking in Google. Nothing to report yet (and I’m not sure how I’ll know if it does have an impact – unless it’s dramatic) – however it can’t hurt can it?

Manolo’s Shoe Blog – Turning Columnist

Prasho1D5654VerdetHere’s a blogger success story – anonymous shoe and gossip blogger Manolo has just started up as the Washington Post Express’s newest columnist.

Manolo has always intrigued me as a blogger. For one they write in the third person – secondly they combine two rather odd topics (shoes/fashion and gossip) and thirdly when they started they did so on a very basic blog – from memory it was a blogger blog with one of the standard default templates. Even to this day the blog is very simply designed and quite eccentric in many ways.

Having said this, Manolo has carved a niche and attracts around 4000 daily readers (and a pretty high participation rate looking at comment levels) which brings with it the ability to charge $220 per month for a Blogad Ad.

The blog is definitely one with income potential with many affiliate links deeply linked into the blog. I’m surprised their is no adsense ads on the blog though – perhaps there isn’t many ads for shoes?

I’d say it’s a prime example of how someone can do some amazing things through their blogging and still retain some real uniqueness and individuality.

MyBlogLog Update – Track your Outbound Links

In March this year I posted about a service called MyBlogLog (affiliate link) – an online service that tracks where people go when they leave your blog by looking at the outbound links that they click.

I originally used their free service which tracks just the most popular outbound clicks each day but have more recently upgraded to the full Pro service ($25 per year) which tracks outbound links in real time.and gives a longer list than just your top ten outbound links for the day.

Whether you go for the free or Pro version this is a very useful service that could really change the way you blog.

At first I just found knowing where people go when they leave my site interesting but didn’t do much with the information – but then I started to take a more strategic look at the information MyBlogLog supplies and realized that it had very useful applications.

For instance I found quite quickly on one of my blogs that many people were leaving my site to a dead link (not good). I also discovered that the most clicked upon links on my blog were in a certain position on my blog and changed my layout to maximize the return of this position.

I also discovered a couple of other site that I was sending significant amount of traffic to without knowing it. I was able to deepen my relationship with these sites as a result.

It was also useful to track the performance of some of my text links with advertisers and report back to them that their ads were doing well (or not) in relation to other text ads. We tweaked a few ads and found wording that performed better.

All in all the $25 outlay was well worth it for me and I’d recommend the service as being very useful (even the free one – especially for lower traffic sites). I have heard of other outbound link trackers that are free but haven’t tried anything else that is this easy to use.

My only real continued wish with MyBlogLog is that they’d be able to track Google Adsense links as well as other links and that they’d somehow track which pages on my blogs (I have thousands of pages) the links are coming from.

I hope the recommendation is helpful for readers.

Blogging Rhythms 3 – Daily Rhythms

This Blogging Rhythms post should be a little shorter than the others (famous last words) as it’s focused upon a shorter rhythm – one of just 24 hours, the day.

Each of us have our own daily rhythms, times for waking up, eating, bathing, relaxing etc. Blogs often have up and down times during their day also.

For most of my blogs the most active times (in terms of traffic) tends to be while I sleep here in Australia and when Europe and the US are up and about (and surfing the web). This is of course a little different for my blogs on Aussie domains which have a nice busy time during the Aussie morning period when both Australia is awake and the US are having their early evenings.

So the question I’ve heard many bloggers ask is should such daily cycles impact the way they approach their blogging or should they just blog on regardless of who is up and surfing the web when?

My theory is that it’s worth considering when you post – but that it’s not worth getting obsessed by it.

My approach tends to vary from blog to blog. Let me unpack it a little:

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Blog Clutter

Heather Green over at Business Week Online’s Blogspotting also noticed Jeremy’s call for bloggers and asks some interesting questions about blog clutter:

‘Seems like not a week goes by without the announcement of a new network that’s doing podcasting, video blogging or traditonal blogging startup. And even the mainstream guys, like CBS, are jumping and adding these outlets.

But what do you think? With millions of bloggers out there, can there really be a scarcity of people to sign onto these networks?’

I’m interested in the response to the question Heather asks. Whilst internet usage continues to grow (and blog writing and readership grows with it) there is increasing talk of clutter on the web. New media puts publishing into the hands of the individual which is a wonderful thing – however one of the consequences is obviously that the world is filled with individuals – billions of them.

We’re also now seeing thousands and thousands of mass produced, automated blogs being launched at the moment which further clutters things.

Where it all ends nobody really knows. What do you think – is blogging getting too cluttered?

Blogging Rhythms 2 – Seasonal Rhythms

Another Blogging Rhythm that it’s useful to be aware of is the yearly rhythm.

Just last week I had an email from a reader asking me to take a look over their blog which they said was ‘in decline’. Ever since June they’d been gradually losing readers even though their Page Rank in search engines hadn’t changed and they were posting at the same rate as normal.

Northern Hemisphere Summer – After looking over their site I made the diagnosis that their blog was probably suffering from a variety of blogging seasonal depression disorder.

Traditionally traffic on the web (it’s not just a blogging thing) slows when the northern hemisphere hits summer. It’s not rocket science really – people take holidays – they go for walks in the sun – they play and watch sport – they’re not online quite as much and as a result traffic goes down.

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More Google Adsense Tips

Graywolf’s Wolf Howl has been doing the rounds of forums and blogs on the topic of Adsense and has compiled a list of key tips that might be helpful for Adsense publishers just starting out.

Whilst I didn’t see anything new (and have posted all the tips myself over the past year) it’s sometimes good to read how someone else words things. I hope readers find it helpful.

Don’t forget to share you own Adsense Tips with the rest of us so we can all learn together.