Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Things I wish I knew when I first started blogging. (Part 1)

This will be a fairly long entry of random things I wish I knew when I first started blogging. Since half my blog readers are bloggers themselves I figured I'd try to share the things that have helped me. A lot of it seem like basic "duh" things, but some won't. I think I managed to split everything I have to say into three parts; Tips on getting your blog noticed, Tips on advertising on your blog, and random stuff.

This first topic will focus on getting your blog noticed.

Submit your blog to search engines
This is the most important thing to getting your blog noticed by people, and probably the most obvious thing. Blogger prompts you to submit your URL to Google when you sign up, which is good. But you want to submit your site to as many search engines as possible. Google is the most used but Yahoo, MSN and Ask are also fairly popular. For the longest time I only had my blog submitted to Google, but after it dawned on me to use other engines, I started getting extra traffic.

Submit your blog to Blog Networks.
Blog networks are sites that have lists of blogs, sorted by category and rank. Needless to say, you want your blog listed on as many of them as possible. Technorati is probably the biggest and well known. Even though it seems dead, it still takes new blogs and it's ranking system works. (Seriously, is it abandoned? Half their pages have had "coming soon" for months)

The more networks you can add your blog to the better.

Ping your Blog
Some engines and blog networks don't automatically crawl sites for new content. If you haven't already, use this site to ping your blog and reping it every time you update. This will get your new content noticed.

Link similar articles
Nobody is going to search your entire blog history for things they want to read. A person finding your blog from Google is going to most likely leave as soon as he reads the article related to his search. A good way to keep this person at your blog a bit longer is to link any similar articles. So someone found your review of Superawesomegame, chances are he'd be interested in your review of Superawesome2 as well. So add a link to each of the posts linking each other and BAM. You've potentially doubled the amount of page views each one will get. I use Linkwithin to link similar pages that have common tags, it's a good way to advertise similar pages that might not be directly related. Linkwithin even has it's own redirect URL, so you'll be able to track how many people click it to read another story. You can find an example of how it looks at the bottom of this post.

This really does work. Ever go to Cracked and read an article and at the end you see a similar one recommended? So you click to read that one and before you know it, it's been an hour and you have 6 tabs open. Same thing.

Make your titles match your key words.
People read the titles first when searching. They might want to read your post about fluffy awesome cats, but if you title doesn't say anything about cats, then it will probably be overlooked for one that does despite being exactly what they were looking for.

A personal example of mine would be my Monday posts. I talk about random things, but the title never reflects it. Like in a post I talked about Super Tofu Boy, that article never gets keyword hits from "Super Tofu Boy" even though it shows up in the search. (Although the image does)

Force off-site links to open in new tabs. 
Don't trust readers to come back to your blog after you've linked them else where. Chances are they'll get into whatever you linked them and forget about your page completely.

A link's HTLM looks like this.

<a href="">DISPLAYED TEXT</a>

If you add ( target="new") with out the parentheses to the end of the URL it will make automatically open in a new tab. Like this.

<a href="" target="new">DISPLAYED TEXT</a>

This is a bit longer than I thought it would be. Hopefully it helps you out. I'll try to post part 2 before Christmas.

If you know any good stuff that I missed, post it below. I'll either edit the article or add in to the text one, and give you credit and a link to your blog.

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