Blogging Basics: Tips for Success
So you're up and blogging, but now, how do you make sure your site stays strong and keeps pace with the rest of the Blogosphere? TopHosts lays out some key tips which will help you attract traffic to your blog and ensure a solid Web presence.
Stay Linked to Blogistan
Darren Rowse of ProBlogger.net - a leading source for bloggers looking to enhance their sites - provided some interesting tips. He says that you always need to keep in mind the central, unique feature of blogging: all blogs are connected within a community. Take advantage and be a part of the intricate web of relationships bloggers share, allowing your blog to take on "viral properties that allow ideas to spread so quickly," Rowse said.
Try to provide links to other blogs and many benefits will come, Rowse advises. Your readers will appreciate your effort in providing helpful content to them from other blogs. If your content is useful and insightful, you'll find others will return the favor by linking back to you.
Through a polite and genuine email, you can even reach out to fellow bloggers and ask them to give you a plug, Rowse adds. If you get links from sites that are indexed on search engines, your chances of geting indexed goes up as well. So targeting those blogs is a good idea.
It's also wise to be as interactive as possible with your readers. When someone leaves a comment, comment back and try to make it the best experience possible for them. Having a consistent dialogue with readers can go a long way in ensuring that they come back.
Network Your Blog
You should get out there and list your blog on portals, blog indexes, directories, search engines and forums. There's a ton to choose from, but to start, it's best to focus your attention on bigger sites like Technorati or topic-specific places and forums.
Forums are great places to discuss and explore similar ideas related to your blog. If you are a genuine contributor you can attract a great deal of traffic from forums. Some useful, related blog forums which allow posts:
Favorite Feeds - http://www.feedforall.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=3 Your Blog Announcements - http://www.forum4bloggers.com/viewforum.php?f=12 Got Blog - http://www.blogomania.com/forums/viewforum.php?f=7 Announce Software, Blogs or Relationships - http://www.softwaremarketingresource.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=5
To remain active in the blogosphere, take part in communities and social networking activities. Be a part of blog memes and collaborations for example, allowing others to see your expertise, which may peek interest in your blog.
Nurture Your RSS
You should take advantage of RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds for your readers, which is built into most blogging platforms. It is the mainstream standard for defined syndication, and a great way to spread the word about your blog, so use it. If your software doesn't create RSS feeds you can easily find software that does, such as www.feedforall.com or http://rssfeedreader.com.
Rowse says in order to promote your RSS feed, you should place it in direct sight of your readers or in a more prominent position. If you think the readers of your blog don't use or know about RSS, you should provide education on the topic, perhaps with a post on how to do so.
Take advantage of the many sites allowing you to submit RSS feed submissions to your blog. There are also RSS feed directories and search engines like http://www.rss-network.com. If you wish to automate your blog and RSS submissions consider using Dummy Software's Blog and RSS Submit Software by visiting http://www.dummysoftware.com .
Keep 'Spidie' Happy
The world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can seem daunting and complex, but it's something bloggers can't ignore. After all, it's the primary source people come to when searching for information on a topic.
Here's a good starting point to help you score points with search engines such as, Google, Yahoo! and MSN. First, make sure your blog is search-engine friendly, or in other words, make sure it can easily be spidered. A search engine spider - also referred to as WebCrawlers, ants or Web robots - are methodical search engine programs that browse the Net, creating copies of all the visited pages for later processing.
According to Bill Hartzer of the SearchengineGuide.com -- a prominent guide for search engine information - you need to keep the path as clear as possible for WebCrawlers by eliminating any roadblocks, thereby encouraging their return. They highlight useless and ineffective title tags and meta tags as one very common roadblock (meta tags are HTML headers not visible on your browser but used by crawlers).
Make sure to place keywords within your tags. Blog software usually uses the title of your post as the title tag, so your titles should have as much keywords as possible.
The same thing applies to for URLs; minimize any variables that might prevent a spider from moving throughout your blog. Instead, try to include the post title or post name in any URLs, allowing the spider to crawl on to examine all pages of your blog.
Keep 'em Coming Back
Providing a clear path for spiders is one thing, but making sure they come back is another. According to The Search Engine Guide, one way to encourage their return is to provide keywords enough times to establish a theme. Repeat these words as many times as possible throughout your blog, in your post titles, your category names, the URL page names and the text of your permanent links that appear after each post.
A combination of Technorati tags (http://www.technorati.com) - words and phrases intended for an Internet search engine focused on the world of weblogs - can really attract traffic to your site as well. Of course, the more frequently you post to your blog, the more reason for the spider to return and consume at your blog. If you're successful, the spider will react by splitting up its job into several visits to make use of your content, until the spider adds you to a more frequent schedule of returns. Stick to a schedule and be consistent with your entries, the spider will thank you.
Use Your Words Wisely
You need to pick your words carefully if you want to attract attention from Search Engine Spiders, Rowse offers. Of course, competition among websites and bloggers claiming keywords is fierce, so you have to play the odds and consider how your blog can rise above others using specific keyword combinations.
If you have a strong, established blog, you could choose between high-traffic keywords, where many websites jostle for usage, and where the odds are against you in ranking high on search engines. If you're just starting out with your blog, you can cut through the competition by using words with moderate levels of traffic - specific ones where you have a better chance of being ranked higher. You might be sacrificing more traffic, but at least you're targeting a specific audience, with specific interests in your blog.
A recent article in Information Week suggests the highest conversion rate from search engine traffic comes from four word queries. So by properly utilizing some four-word keyword combinations, your blog has a great potential of being noticed above the rest.
Targeting your blog discussion to a two or three word phrase that has a high yield of traffic, with little competition can help your blog get noticed also.
Discover optimal phrases to maximize traffic to your blog by using research tools such as KeywordDiscovery, Wordtracker, Google AdWords, and Yahoo Search Marketing data. Keep a list of the most relevant phrases for your site, and choose different ones for every page.
Weblogs for Web Hosts http://www.tophosts.com/articles/003156.html
Blogging for Beginners http://www.problogger.net/archives/2006/02/14/blogging-for-beginners-2/
About the Author
George Di Falco is contriburing editor for TopHosts.Com. He monitors the Web hosting industry and reports on a variety of technology related news. He has also had numerous pieces published on business, marketing, the evnironment, and Canadian legislation.