Written on March 1st, 2005 at 08:03 pm by Darren Rowse

Seeking Bloggers Expressions of Interest

Pro Blogging News 5 comments

Would you like to earn an income from blogging? Are you feeling a bit overwhelmed by tackling it alone? Would you like to work with other experienced bloggers on a niche topic blog?

The Breaking News Blog collective is seeking expressions of interest in new niche blogs - you could be the next to join.

Regular readers of this blog will be aware that one of the projects that I work on is Breaking News Blog - a collective of bloggers (some call us a network) that blog on a variety of topics on the one domain. Blogs in the collective currently range in topic vastly - everything from blogs on technology like VOIP, MP3 Players, Printers, Laptops/Notebooks, PDAs and Robotics through to blogs about People and events, like the Pope, the Michael Jackson Trial, Paris Hilton and Jessica Simpson through to Health issues like depression, dieting and mineral supplements.

The concept is simple - we’re building a collective of blogs on a variety (a huge one as you can see) of topics. These blogs share a domain and are interlinked and promoted by one another. Since launching a couple of months ago the collective has steadily built its page rank in Google (most now have a rank of 5 or 6) and is gradually growing readership levels (some are currently averaging thousands of readers per day).

All of the blogs are focused upon providing the latest and most relevant news on a topic and are utilizing the power of Google’s Adsense and other affiliate programs to pay their way.

If you’re looking to start a blog on a niche topic and would like to take advantage of the power of collective blogging we would be interested to hear your ideas. Simply email me with your topic idea and contact details. We make no guarantees on accepting all expressions of interest but are willing to make space for at least a few new blogs into the collective at this point (with the hope of more in the future).

Of course we’ll want to flesh out some details with you - but here are a few questions we expect to be asked with some answers at this point:

- What do I get from being a part of a collective of bloggers that I wouldn’t get as a sole blogger? - It is a good question which we think you should seriously think through. Collective blogging is not the only way to build a blogging income (see below for how much you’ll earn) - however we believe it can help out in a number of ways. For starters you’ll be starting a blog on an established domain and should get a decent page ranking from Google reasonably quickly. Our blogs have been ranking very well on MSN search and are improving on their Google referrals. You’ll also be getting support from a number of established and experienced bloggers (the owners of the collective) who can help you optimize and promote your blog. Why will they help? Well quite simply the better your blog does the better the collective will go - its in everyone’s best interest to promote other blogs. You’ll also get a basic and professionally designed blog (which you’re welcome to tweak and personalize as you go).

- What do I have to give to the collective? - Your blog will automatically be set up to promote other blogs in the collective - this will remain the case. You will commit to keep your blog Active (ie regular posting). You will agree to post family friendly content (no porn, gambling, adult content etc). You will agree to keep your content on topic (these are niche blogs) and we don’t want to step on each other’s feet. Apart from this you’ll be given loads of freedom to blog on what you wish and to make the blog your own. If you’re accepted into the program there will be a trial period when we’ll test how it goes - at the end of this time all parties can assess whether they want to continue. We also want to learn from you - no one person in the collective holds all the expertise available on blogging - but together we know (and are learning) a lot. We want to share our knowledge on blog design, promotion, SEO, income streams etc.

- How much will I earn? - This will depend upon a number of factors. We’re working on a system whereby the earnings will be split (at a certain percentage) between the collective owners and the author of the blog in question. The percentage will be a generous level to make it worth your time as the one doing the blogging. You will need to be a Google Adsense publisher to use this system. Earnings will vary depending upon a number of features including your topic, the frequency of your posts, the traffic you manage to attract over time. Of course early on income will be smaller - but in time our blogs generally begin to grow in their earnings in accordance with how much you blog.

- What topics will be best? - As you can see by the blogs already in the collective - we’re open to all kinds of topics. We do want them to have some sort of commercial nature to the but this can vary from blogs that have potential high traffic to those will lower traffic but higher click values in Adsense. Just make sure your topic doesn’t overlap with a blog already going and consider if you know enough about the topic or have the ability to find enough content to keep a blog going over time.

Of course you will have other questions (and to be honest so do we - we’re still growing this thing and are learning as we go) - if you’re interested let me know what you’re thinking and we’ll continue the conversation from there.

As I’ve already said - at this stage we’re just seeking expressions of interest - there are no guarantees that your idea will be accepted - however we are genuinely interested in expanding what we do now that we know it is working. So lets talk!

Written on March 1st, 2005 at 03:03 pm by Darren Rowse

A Blog Is A Blog Is A Blog? Darren Rants

Pro Blogging News 7 comments

Clint Dixon over at SEO Chat has written a post titled A Blog Is A Blog Is A Blog which has blogging fairly and squarely in its sites. I get the feeling that Clint doesn’t really like blogs - I also suspect he doesn’t really understand them either. He writes

‘Is a blog a revenue stream? For some, yes I am sure it is. Is it a business model to consider for making money? I would say no. Are blogs the next thing in the Internet world? No they are not. As much as the media and marketing industry tries to put a new spin on its meaning, a blog is a timely ordering of content otherwise known as a Web log, and we all know Web logs are really nothing more than Web pages.’

I can think of a fair few bloggers who would disagree with Clint on this one both individual bloggers and blog Active owners who would want to argue that they are building legitimate business models for making money. I think there is growing evidence that bloggers can actually be more than a revenue stream and is a legitimate way of building a business.

I’m not really sure of the logic of his argument. ‘Weblogs are really nothing more than web pages.’ Ok - even if this is true - can’t web pages be a legitimate business model? If Web Pages can be a legit business model, and blogs are web pages…wouldn’t that make them legit too?

You see in some regards I agree with Clint - when it comes down to it blogs are just webpages - webpages that are generally organized a little differently to static web pages, web pages that generally have features like comments and trackback, pages of information that are on the web. Web pages….

Ok - so blogs are web pages - so freaking what?

Why does the fact that blogs are web pages mean they are any less legitimate than any other form of web page? Why would that fact suddenly end their ability to be profitable approaches to an online business?

Ok - I’m starting to rant here - but sometimes I just don’t get the point of these anti blogging articles that tend to pop up every few weeks.

The fact remains that blogs have some unique selling points - some things about them which make them very attrActive to people wanting to have an online presence. They are not just any old web page:

- blogs are web pages that optimize very well for search engines

- blogs are web pages that have the ability to be highly customizable design wise

- blogs are web pages that advertisers are paying big dollars to promote their products on

- blogs are web pages that are simple to set up and maintain

- blogs are web pages that are perfectly suited for commercial niche topics

- blogs are web pages that are easily monetized

- blogs are web pages that are being bought on a commercial level for very respectable amounts of money

- blogs are web pages that are increasingly being read by millions of readers every day

Yes blogs are web pages - no they are not the only growth area of the internet at the moment - but they are one area of incredible growth and potential and internet entrepreneurs should ignore them and write them off at their own peril.

Update - Scrivs over at Business Logs takes up the rant.

Written on March 1st, 2005 at 09:03 am by Darren Rowse

Interview with Susannah Gardner

Pro Blogger Interviews 1 comment

Me PhotoLast week Susannah Gardner from Buzz Marketing with Blogs posted a two part interview with me so this week she’s agreed to answer a few of my questions in my enternetusers Interview of the week. Susannah is a web/blog designer through her own business (with her husband Travis Smith) Hop Studios, she’s an author of the soon to be released Buzz Marking with Blogs for Dummies (affiliate link) book and she’s an avid blogger. You can actually download the table of contents and first chapter of her book here. In the following interview I ask Susannah about her upcoming book, about blog design and about the pros and cons of having a blog (plus lots more). Enjoy.

enternetusers - Thanks for your time Susannah - can you start us off by telling us how you would introduce yourself to a stranger - give a quick sketch of your life.

Susannah - I’m a Web designer, technical book author, blogger, and with all my spare time, I’m working on a master’s degree in public art studies. I love to read and travel. When I say I love to read, I mean it. Even at my busiest I just have to fit a few minutes in every day to make everything right in the world. I’m married to a great guy, Travis Smith, and we live with our annoying but cute cat in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. Together we run Hop Studios, a Web design company. Whenever possible, we like to work on sites that bring together our combined expertise in online publishing, journalism, design and writing.

I’ve been making Web sites and working in the Internet field for my entire working life. I got started at the Los Angeles Times right out of university, which didn’t then have a Web site but knew one was needed to replace the online news service they created on Prodigy. It’s been Web sites and journalism and multimedia and design ever since. One of the things I like best about having chosen this career path, instead of, say, copy editing, is that it has taken me places I never expected to go, like running my own business and working every day with my husband.

enternetusers - When and how did you first discover blogging? Why did you first get into it? Have your reasons changed since then?

Susannah - Blogs arrived for me gradually. I can’t really say when I began reading them regularly, but it must have been in 2001. I started my first blog, Unfavorable Pink, in September 2002. It’s a personal blog in which I write mini-reviews of the books I read. I started it for two reasons — first, I wanted a record of what I was reading and to share that record with friends. I’d kept a paper record for a long time, but looking something up in it always involved flipping lots of pages, so a blog was a big improvement. The other reason I started the blog was professional — I wanted to try installing and running a blog so that I could better help my clients. This is the best part of Internet development, as far as I’m concerned: There’s always something new to learn! I’ve kept Unfavorable Pink running, albeit sporadically, since 2002, though I’ve never promoted the site to anyone besides friends and family.

As it turns out, my personal blog was important for another professional reason: When I had the idea of pitching Wiley Publishing on a blogging book, I could point to it as a demonstration of my knowledge about blogging.

My second blog, Buzz Marketing with Blogs, is only three months old.

enternetusers - What is the purpose of Buzz marketing with Blogs?

Susannah - Buzz Marketing with Blogs was started as a companion blog to the book Buzz Marking with Blogs for Dummies (affiliate link) that will be out in March 2005. It serves two purposes for me. I am using the blog to build up buzz about the book in the blogosphere; by launching it before the book is actually out I can make people aware of it and give them a place to come with questions about it. The second purpose is to be a resource for readers of the book to find up-to-date information and blogging tips.

This means I have several very different audiences for the blog, and that those audiences will change over time. Today my audience is bloggers and journalists. Next month, I’ll be adding business and PR professionals to the list. Luckily the fluidity of the blog format makes it easy for me to shift my focus as my audience changes!

enternetusers - What do you see as the advantages of blogging over other forms of online publications? Do you see any limitations in it?

Susannah - Blogging seems to me an ideal Web format. It does so many important things well:

• Floats most recent information to the top
• Provides a coherent mechanism for archiving
• Can be used for personal and professional reasons
• Is about dialogue and communication
• Has a built-in organizational format

Even the most basic Web site faces these issues, and frequently fails to deal with them well. This isn’t to say blogs are an all-purpose solution to Web publishing. There is room online for all kinds of Web sites, fortunately.

Blogs do have limitations, as does any format that functions using templates and predetermined organizational strategies like categories and date-based archiving. I know it’s a popular concept right now to entirely replace a business Web site with a blog, but I think there is a place for more “traditional” (if I can use that word about a medium as young as the Web) Web site designs.

There are few businesses and individuals who are doing business online or simply establishing a presence that I wouldn’t recommend a blog too, especially in combination with a more static Web presence. The combination of a standard Web site and a blog is really quite perfect; each compensates for the limitations of the other.

enternetusers - As a web/blog designer – what are the biggest mistakes that you see people making in terms of design in their blogging?

Susannah - Blog design is still quite young, and though we are seeing some common layout and design techniques, I expect to see a lot of change in this area over the next couple years. For business blogs, I think the worst design mistakes are in using blog software templates, not branding your blog sufficiently, and not putting the blog front and center on your business’ existing home page. Blogs aren’t step-children, and they deserve as much design attention as any other Web site you put together. They are more informal, and they don’t need to look just like your existing site, but there should be some correlation between the two. It continually surprises me that businesses with blogs don’t do more to promote them. If you go to the trouble of starting and maintaining a blog, why wouldn’t you put the more recent blog post on your home page – or at least provide a prominent link to it?

On a more granular level, the most common blog design mistake has to do with information overload. The two- or three-column layout common to most blogs is both useful and harmful. Some blogs are so jammed with badges, buttons and icons (or ads) that it’s hard to know what to look at first. In the rush to take advantage of all the blog services and technologies out there, many bloggers end up with crowded, overloaded pages. This is exacerbated by the amount and size of text on most blog pages.

enternetusers - What advice would you give a new blogger just starting out with blogging in terms of design? What other non design advice would you give?

Susannah - I ask all my clients, blog clients or not, the same three things about starting a Web site:

1. What is your goal for your Web site/blog?
2. How will you measure success?
3. What is your audience for this site/blog?

Answer these, and most everything else falls into place.

My specific design suggestions have to do with your budget and how confident you feel about whether you’ll be blogging for long. If you aren’t sure about being a blogger, don’t worry about design. Choose an attrActive blog template and just try things out for a while. You can always redesign while still blogging – in fact that gives you something to blog about and a way to involve your readers. If you don’t have much budget for your blog, same thing: Just get started.

As soon as you have the budget, or think blogging is for you, however, get a good blog designer in there to customize the look and feel, and to brand it with your company’s usual logos, etc. Any good designer can derive a blog design from an existing site so that you have something that looks similar to the rest of the site but still serves the purposes of a blog. Most importantly, make sure your blog design includes navigation back to the rest of your Web site! Preferably, this would look and function just like the navigation you’re using on all your other pages. Don’t be tempted to break basic Web site design rules just because you’ve started a blog.

enternetusers - Do you make a living directly or indirectly from your blogging? Do you hope to? If so how?

Susannah - I make a living primarily through Web design projects, and writing. I purposely don’t carry ads on Buzz Marketing with Blogs because my main commercial message is to buy the book, and my secondary one is to consider using my design services. I think other advertising messages would dilute the effectiveness of my primary reason for blogging – generating buzz about the book and helping readers of my book get started blogging.

enternetusers - You’ve written a number of books and are about to release another – could you tell us a little about your new one? What is it about? Who should buy it and why? Do you see writing books as a worthwhile venture? Why?

Susannah - “Buzz Marketing With Blogs For Dummies” will be released in mid-March. The book is for large and small business owners, PR folks, and entrepreneurs who want to get started blogging. It’s a comprehensive resource into blogging techniques and technology, meant for those with some familiarity with the Web but who are new to blogging or want to know more about it. I’m especially excited about the timing of this book – I knew when I started writing it that business blogs were an up and coming topic, but they have really taken off in the past couple of months.

This will be a great book for new or would-be bloggers, entrepreneurial bloggers, and PR professionals with clients interested in blogging. My hope is that it will suit the needs of a small business owner who has heard a few things about blogs but isn’t sure what they are really about, as well as larger businesses worried about things like blogging policies and libel.

You ask about writing books being a worthwhile venture. The jury is still out on this one. Writing books like this is difficult because of the compressed timeframe under which they are produced in order to get them onto shelves before they are completely outdated. Having said that, it is immensely satisfying to hold a book in your hand, and I enjoy having produced something tangible (Web sites, of course, are completely intangible). The books I’ve worked on have been very good for my professional reputation and credibility, and they have led to additional Web design work as well. For those of your readers who might be thinking about writing a book proposal, I say go for it. I am thinking about doing another book project… so I must like it to some degree!

enternetusers - What is your favourite blogging tool or service?

Susannah - I use pMachine’s Expression Engine to run my blog, and am a huge fan of it for bloggers and Web site publishers. It’s at least as good, if not better, than Movable Type, even though you don’t hear much hype about it.

I am also a big fan of Feedburner’s services. I think RSS and comments are the two most important blog technologies, and Feedburner’s SmartFeed service makes sure your feed is universally accessible. Plus, you get stats – circulation, hits, and click-throughs – that most blogging software doesn’t provide.

enternetusers - What has been the biggest buzz you’ve received from blogging? (best moment in blogging).

Susannah - Well, recently I posted an interview with Darren Rowse, and that got some good attention from the blogosphere. ;)

I would actually say that the best experience so far has just been in making connections with other bloggers. Everyone has been so supportive of the book and of me, and I wasn’t necessarily expecting that. It’s great that most bloggers feel there is room in the blogosphere for all kinds of blogs and bloggers.

enternetusers - How much time do you spend blogging each day?

Susannah - I spend anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours a day blogging. I spend much more than that reading blogs.

enternetusers - Where do you see your blogging in a few years time? What are your hopes and dreams for it personally?

Susannah - I am hoping that my blog and the book do well enough that I get the chance to revise the book next year or the following, and that the revision can take place with the help and advice of blog/book readers. I would love to hear about blog success stories from readers that I could turn around and feature in a second edition of the book. And, of course, I’d love to be part of helping some of those readers build their blogs as a designer and consultant.

Written on March 1st, 2005 at 09:03 am by Darren Rowse

enternetusers Now Seeking Advertisers

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Since re-launching enternetusers on the new domain the interest in what in this site has grown considerably. I’ve been quite amazed by the amount of blogging enthusiasts who are seeking to blog at a professional level are regularly visiting this site and interacting with what I write.

Whilst traffic levels are not as high as some of my other blogs (currently averaging 400 visitors per day) the enthusiasm and participation of readers is high.

Readers of enternetusers are serious about their blogging and want to improve what they do. They seek blogging tools, news and advice and willing to make sacrifices to get their blogs to the highest quality level. Many enternetusers readers are themselves influential bloggers who are read by thousands every day.

As a result enternetusers is an excellent niche blog well worth considering for your advertising needs.

If you want to get your product or service in the face of enthusiast and upwardly mobile bloggers then enternetusers is worth your time to investigate.

For more information simply email me with you advertising needs and we’ll take the conversation from there.

Written on March 1st, 2005 at 09:03 am by Darren Rowse

Why Posting about the Oscars Today is 2 weeks to Late

Blog Promotion 9 comments

This morning as I do the rounds of some of my favorite blogs I’ve noticed a theme. Its the Academy Awards - the Oscars. I wonder how many blogs are listing the winners of the 2005 Oscars today - I’ve just seen at least 10.

As I surfed around and saw these entries I asked myself - ‘why are they posting these posts today?’

Ok - most people are posting the Oscar results out of a genuine interest in the Oscars - however I suspect some are doing it because they think people are searching for the information today. I’ve got news for them - you’re two weeks too late with your post.

Why? Well to put it simply - if you are blogging about an event and you want people to find your post via Google or one of the other search engines you need to anticipate what people are searching for in advance and put up a post about it early. Here is what I would have done if I’d have wanted big hits yesterday and today from people searching for the results.

  1. At least two weeks ago I would write a post titled ‘2005 Academy Awards Winners and Results’ (I’d probably do a second one also titled ‘2005 Oscars Winners and Results’).
  2. I’d make these posts keyword rich - ie they should have the words Academy Awards, Oscars, Winners, Movies, Results etc - numerous times throughout the post
  3. I’d include an introduction to the Oscars with the date and time to the ceremony and also include a list of all the nominations for the main categories.
  4. I’d link to these posts from other parts of my blogs to make sure the Search Engine’s bots found them.
  5. I’d sit back and let the Search Engines do their job - in the mean time I’d optimize the ads and affiliate programs on those pages.
  6. On the day of the Oscars I’d start adding the winners and results live as they happened.

This strategy would mean that when readers head to the Search Engines and type in ‘Oscars winners’ or ‘Academy Awards Results’ - they would find my post/s fairly high up (if not at the top) of the results page. When they came across to my page they would see the most up to date results.

Its not rocket science - I used this strategy with virtually every event in the Athens Olympics, with the presidential election last year, with reality TV results and with numerous other sporting events. It works. Of course it helps if the blog you’re doing it with has a reasonable page ranking to start with - but even when I first started out a couple of years ago it worked.

Written on March 1st, 2005 at 08:03 am by Darren Rowse

Adsense Reporting Delays Rectified

Adsense 2 comments

Adsense publishers (or at least some of them) have had emails arrive in the last few minutes informing them that for the month of February and January that there have been reporting delays that have meant a certain portion (undisclosed) of clicks being slow to appear on reports. They have emailed to say that they have adjusted these discrepancies on publishers accounts.

Written on March 1st, 2005 at 05:03 am by Darren Rowse

How to Keep First Time Readers to your Blog - Part IV

Blog Promotion 5 comments

This is the fourth and final post in this series on making first time readers loyal readers. Read previous parts at part I, part II and part III

ē Promote your RSS Feed - Under my invitation to receive an email newsletter I have an invitation to subscribe to my RSS feed on each post. Again this just gives readers another opportunity to hook themselves into what I write about on a daily basis. Make it easy for them to get involved

ē Search this site - have a clearly labeled feature that allows readers to search your blog. My readers regularly use my search features to find if I’ve written on specific topics. I tend to use the Google search option that Adsense gives you that allows you to run Adsense ads in your search results. This not only allows your readers to search your site but gives you an other income stream for your blog.

ē Break your longer posts up into a series of posts - another way to draw people deeper into your site and help them to get to know you is to break up your posts into sequential postings on the one topic - much the same as I’ve done here with this series. In effect what this does is increase the amount of pages in your archives (increasing your chance of being found in Search Engines) and encourages readers to view multiple bite sized pages. Don’t break up posts just for the sake of it or too regularly (it can get a bit annoying) - but use it when your posts are too long for a single one post.

ē Be interActive - I find that readers are more willing to come back to your blog if you give them a way to interact with you and your site. The most obvious way of doing this is by making a comments facility open to them. Invite them to have their say and to as a question. When they do - acknowledge it with either a reply in comments or even better - by shooting a short email to them to say thanks for their opinion. Other interActive tools include polls, discussion forums etc.

Written on February 28th, 2005 at 08:02 am by Darren Rowse

How to Keep First Time Readers to your Blog - Part III

Blog Promotion 5 comments

Here are a few more tips for helping to convert those one off readers that stumble onto your blog into loyal readers. Read part 1, part 2 and part 4 also.

Include a link to other relevant posts - your reader has somehow ended up on your blog because the post you’ve written has gotten their attention either on a search engine or on someone else’s site that has linked to you. Something about the topic you’ve just written on interested them enough to visit your site. A logical way of keeping them on your site is by providing them with more on the same topic. There are a number of ways you can do this:

1. Firstly within your posts link to other things you’ve written that are relevant. For example, if you want to know some of the benefits of internal links in a blog you might also be interested in this post.
2. Some blog tools have plugins that help you point to ‘relevant posts’ at the end of your post. WordPress and Moveable Type have the ability to do this - rather than having to manually find previously written relevant posts they’ll find them for you based upon keywords and title.
3. Include a link to the category you’ve classified the post you are writing in. For example at the bottom of this post will be a link saying ‘More from Blog Promotion’ which will take readers to a page with other articles written on how to promote their blogs.

Email a Friend - each person who stumbles across your blog is not only a potential loyal reader - but they are a potential evangelist for your blog. They have a network of friends and associates who all are potential loyal readers - and they in turn have their own networks of potential loyal readers. Give them a way to sneeze the virus of your blog but allowing them to email a friend about your post. Again there are plug ins that allow this on some blog tools. Its not something I use on all my blogs - rather I try to pick those that I think are going to be more virus like than others.

Get permission to Promote your Blog - once again this is something I only do on a couple of my blogs (as it takes time to maintain) but invite your readers to sign up for an email newsletter on the topic they are reading about. On my digital photography blog I have a link at the end of each individual post that says ‘Receive free weekly Digital Photography Tips and News’. Clicking this link takes readers to a sign up page where I get permission to send such an email each week in an ‘opt in’ newsletter. Each day between 10 and 30 readers give me permission to email them with the latest news from my site. I have 3200 or so email addresses so far - by the end of this year it will be closer to 10,000. 10,000 people who give me permission to remind them about my blog each week. Nice. Of course don’t do this option unless you are willing to actually send newsletters or if you’re going to abuse the trust you gain from newsletter recipients - and make sure your newsletters are of a good quality or you’ll just peeve your subscribers off.

I’ll post the last post in this series later in the day with my last tips for making first time readers into loyal ones.

Written on February 28th, 2005 at 03:02 am by Darren Rowse

Digital Photography Blog welcomes Kodak Sponsorship

Pro Blogging News 8 comments

I can finally announce today that the sponsorship deal that I’ve been working on and alluding to here for the past few weeks is official and my Digital Photography Blog is now officially sponsored by Kodak. I cannot reveal the details of the agreement’s financially or conditions wise except to say that over the next month a certain percentage of the page impressions on that blog will have Kodak Ads served to them in a banner position.

At the end of this time there is the option to re-negotiate based upon the performance this month.

Written on February 27th, 2005 at 01:02 am by Darren Rowse

How to Keep First Time Readers to your Blog - Part II

Blog Promotion 6 comments

You might also like to read part I, part III and Part IV of this series on helping those first time readers to become loyal ongoing visitors to your site before reading on. Here are a few of the things that I’ve tried over the past few years to help those one off first time readers to stay around and interact with me and my blog a little longer than a one one off visit:

Individual Page Design - Make sure the individual pages on your blog are as well designed and laid out as your front page. I constantly come across blogs with very poorly individual archive pages. Work on making your pages engaging and easy to navigate - they are a potential doorway into the rest of your blog and therefore deserve a little attention when it comes to the design of your blog. It is worth asking a non blogging friend to test your blog’s usability and navigability to see just how easy it is to use.

What is your Message? - Make it very clear what your blog is about on every page of your site - if your reader cannot work out what the point of your site is within a few seconds they will probably take off pretty quickly. What message are you sending about your site? Consider a short pithy statement at the top of your site that communicates what its about in a succinct way. Here at enternetusers its ‘helping bloggers make money’ - a statement which will hopefully draw bloggers wanting to make money into the rest of the site. Use pictures, words, symbols and layout all to help you communicate these messages. Again get the opinion on non blogging friends to help you test what message you’re communicating.

Provide pathways into your blog - think about where you want potential readers of your blog to go next? What are the key posts that you’ve written on your topic? What would be a good introduction to your site? What do you want them to see? I would always include a clearly labeled link to your home page, to an ‘about’ page and to some main category pages of your blog. Give your reader a clear and easy way of going deeper into your site and engaging with your topic. Once again I’ll use this blog as an example - the menus in the boxes at the top of this blog are specifically designed for this purpose. I’ve included links to the key categories that I write about as well as some to answers of the main questions that I get asked. In addition to helping readers find their way around your site this strategy will also help you with search engine optimization as it helps SE’s robots to spider your site quickly and easily.

I’ll continue this series on making first time readers loyal readers tomorrow. Feel free to leave your own tips and strategies below.



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