Written on August 16th, 2005 at 08:08 pm by David Shawver city Stanton

Understanding Blog and Ping

Pro Blogging News 4 comments

Blog Herald has a good post on Understanding Blog and Ping - I’ll leave it to Duncan to explain:

‘The last six months has seen a massive rise in content theft blogs and spam blogs, and there’s one thing these blogs usually have in common, and that’s the whole “Blog and Ping” thing, but if you don’t know what Blog and Ping is, don’t feel bad, because most people don’t.

But before I start a word of advice: don’t do it. Knowing and understanding your enemy is important in formulating ways of overcoming and defeating them. People who create these blogs are leeches who deserve nothing less than being banned from the search engines they so desperately seek to be included in.’

Written on August 16th, 2005 at 05:08 pm by David Shawver city Stanton

Jen Does Google

Pro Blogging News 5 comments

Jen from Jensense.com is making me green from head to toe in envy as she talks about her personalized tour of the Googleplex after a meet and greet event at SES - at the end of the tour she ended up having a relaxed chat about Adsense and other topics with Larry and Sergey.

‘After the private behind-the-scenes tour, we ended up sitting outside a microkitchen chatting on some sofas. After sitting for a few hours chatting about anything and everything Google, who wandered down to join us at 1:30am but the original Google Guys themselves, Larry and Sergey. Larry stayed for about half an hour, while Sergey chatted with us for well over an hour.

Yes, AdSense was one of the many subjects discussed, but the entire conversation was off-the-record, so I can’t go into specifics. But it was definitely one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities!’

What a night - I’m most jealous - most jealous indeed. If only she could share that conversation.

Dave Naylor also writes of his perspective on SES and the intimate Googleplex tour.

Written on August 16th, 2005 at 09:08 am by David Shawver city Stanton

Social Bookmarking - Getting your Blog Noticed

31 Days to Building a Better Blog, Blog Promotion 33 comments

Yesterday I mentioned a post at Thirty Stories Up by the name of 7 Mistakes for your First Week of Blogging as part of the 31 Days project - it’s a worthwhile article to read but I want to mention it again not because of what it says but because of the response that it had.

There are over 40 comments on the past now which is pretty cool - Kurt the author of the blog writes in comments that the reason for the response is that the post got picked up and ranked highly by Digg which led to 8000 or so page views in just a 24 hour period - not bad for a blog that has been going for just 20 days! At the time of writing this the post in question is ranked the 11th most ‘dugg’ post for the week so far.

It just goes to show the power of social bookmarking sites like Digg which have the ability to push vast quantities of visitors around the web at the drop of a hat. Having been ‘dugg’ numerous times myself it’s quite an amazing experience. Similarly del.icio.us is another example of a site that has been known to lift the profile of my posts (in fact at present my 31 Days project HQ is ranking well on their popular links page). Furl is yet another example (although from what I can tell it’s less popular than it once was) as is Linkfilter, another smaller social bookmarking sit. The great thing for bloggers is that each of these services allows you to submit/suggest posts to them and all of them accept every submission (unless you spam them) - unlike other sites like Slashdot who strongly moderate submissions.

The site’s I’ve mentioned above as examples of social bookmarking sites are just a small number of the many sites out there that you can explore that are doing similar things. For a more comprehensive list you might like to take a look at those listed at Wikipedia’s Social bookmarking page.

While I don’t recommend spamming social bookmarking sites I would recommend being aware of them and submitting your best posts from time to time. In this way you put your posts out there for others to find. They may or may not take off so don’t think it’s a guarantee that you’ll get visitors - but you’re at least giving them a chance. If they do get popular the traffic doesn’t last long - but in the process you just might retain some extra new readers and perhaps just as importantly often after being ‘dugg’ you find that other bloggers link to you - giving you all important incoming links to your post which will help with Search Engine Optimization.

Let me reinforce that you don’t spam social bookmarking sites - you’ll just end up making people angry and decrease the effectiveness of your submissions (remember ‘the boy who cried wolf’) but used at the right time and with a bit of luck (it’s amazing how some posts do well and others don’t) these sorts of tools can really effectively lift the profile of your best work.

Tell us about a time that you got a deluge of visitors - what other sites do you use in this way? What tips do you have to share on getting visitors to your blog?

Further reading on Social Bookmarking:

• Social bookmarking Tools - A General Review

• Social bookmarking - Wikipedia

• Social Bookmarking Tool Comparison

Written on August 16th, 2005 at 08:08 am by David Shawver city Stanton

Message from Cary

enternetusers Site News 1 comment

Readers who responded to my A Call for enternetusers Readers to Unite in Generosity might like to read an encouraging message from Cary who just got back from a few days away to a nice surprise from the enternetusers Community. Thanks for pitching in friends - I appreciate your generosity.

Written on August 16th, 2005 at 04:08 am by David Shawver city Stanton

Wednesdays - Most popular day of the week to surf the web surf the web.

Pro Blogging News 11 comments

OneStat reports that Wednesdays are the day that post people surf the web around the world. Not surprisingly the weekend are the days with least traffic.

1. Wednesday - 16.87%
2. Monday - 15.78%
3. Tuesday - 15.28%
4. Thursday - 14.92%
5. Friday - 14.08%
6. Sunday - 11.85%
7. Saturday - 11.22%

Many bloggers have noticed this trend and mirror it in their posting making more posts midweek than on weekends. When do you post most? If it’s mid week is it because you are trying to time it for midweek readers or because you yourself are just not online on the weekends?

Written on August 15th, 2005 at 11:08 pm by David Shawver city Stanton

31 Days to Building a Better Blog - Day 15

31 Days to Building a Better Blog 6 comments

It’s Day 15 of the 31 Days to building a better blog project and after a very quiet day with only one submission yesterday today I’ve got a treat for you with a variety of submissions from readers - in fact today we have 9 submissions - a record day! Here they are:

Written on August 15th, 2005 at 07:08 pm by David Shawver city Stanton

enternetusers Community Helps Build Blog Rank

enternetusers Site News 11 comments

Thanks to Ray for letting me know that my BlogPulse Profile Rank has gone under the magical 100 mark - we’re 71st as this moment.

Blogpulse-Profile

As you can see the past month has been particularly good in terms of inbound links with a number of larger sites linking up as well as a lot of links as a result of the 31 Days project. Thanks to the many readers whose continued readership has led to this mini milestone - I appreciate you stopping by and linking up.

I’m under no allusions that any success that enternetusers.net has is because of my work alone - the past 15 days of blogging in the 31 day project has proved that with over 50 submissions from readers (and more quality links submitted today which I’m yet to update) as well as many quality comments being left.

I’ve had a couple of people tell me in the past week that I’m not doing a wise thing in linking to so many other blogs during this project - they said I should be hosting the posts at enternetusers and reaping the benefits of lots of new content - I disagree. The point of enternetusers has never been to build an empire here - rather it’s always been about seeing what happens when you freely give as much as you can to a community of people.

The past few weeks have shown me the benefits of such an approach with a lot of feedback from bloggers who’ve submitted posts to the project reporting that their daily traffic levels have increased 10, 20 and even 40 fold as people have come across to have a look at their posts. This excites me and is what blogging is all about.

The paradoxical thing about all this is that the more I send people away from enternetusers the more the blog here grows - I guess it all comes back to how blogging in formation really does help everyone fly further.

Written on August 15th, 2005 at 01:08 pm by David Shawver city Stanton

Why Email Newsletters Can Improve your Blog

31 Days to Building a Better Blog, Miscellaneous Blog Tips 18 comments

One way that I’ve experimented with to build community and loyalty among readers on my blogs is to offer readers a free regular newsletter. Many of you are signed up for the weekly enternetusers.net newsletter which I endeavor to use to not only keep readers up to date on the blog here but which I use for special announcements, exclusive tips, advanced notice of upcoming developments at enternetusers etc.

I’ve found that since starting the enternetusers newsletter that it’s added a new dimension of community to the blog. Newsletter days have higher traffic for starters and there seems to be a growing relationship between many subscribers and myself. The newsletter isn’t the only reason for this but it’s had an impact.

Interestingly the rise of blogging has actually been the death of some newsletter publishers who have moved to blogging as a medium to communicating with readers and making an income - whilst my preferred medium is definitely blogging I see a number of benefits of combining email newsletters and blogs together as part of a wider web strategy. Let me share a few.

Benefits of using a Newsletter

• Increase Readership - in a sense what readers of your newsletter are doing is giving you permission to promote your blog to them. Whilst you need to be careful that you don’t abuse this trust that they’ve given you but making the newsletter ALL about self promotion it will allow you to generate some traffic back to your blog.

• Promotion of Posts - one of the side benefits of a newsletter is that sometimes the things you highlight in it get picked up by subscribers on their own blogs or sites. I notice here at enternetusers that when I link to a week old post that had an initial number of links from other blogs on the day I posted that a second round of inbound links often appear after mentioning it in a newsletter. For this reason I also use my newsletters to announce new projects to readers, often given a day or two’s exclusive notice to them before going completely public.

• Build Community - newsletters have the potential to give you readers a little extra that regular readers don’t get. In the process they often feel more included as they catch a glimpse of some privileged information. I’ve included special tips or earnings updates in my newsletter that have not appeared on the wider blog for this reason and often get emails from readers thanking me for sharing them.

• Improve Your Blog - if people are interested enough to sign up for your newsletter - they are often interested enough in you to participate in improving your blog. When I went on holidays in June and needed guest bloggers to help cover my blogging it was my newsletter readers who I first went to to ask if they’d be interested in helping and it was they who mainly signed up even after I made the request a few days later on my blog. I also often get emails with suggestions for my blogs from newsletter readers after I send my weekly email out. I treat readers as investors in my blog and try to act on as many of these suggestions as possible.

• Drive Sales - Whilst I don’t use my newsletters to promote products or affiliate programs - this would be another benefit of using a newsletter. I personally don’t do it because the goal of my newsletter is not to drive sales but to get people involved in my blogging community - to visit and keep visiting my blog - however if you have a more sales driven blog then there would be possibilities here.

• Email is familiar and Easy to Use - blogging is growing in popularity and recognizability but some readers don’t naturally use them. Email is familiar and easy to use for most web users and so to use it as a medium just makes sense.

Tomorrow I’ll continue the focus upon how Email Newsletters can Improve your Blog with a post packed full of tips on how to use Email Newsletters more effectively. In the mean time - tell us what you think about newsletters? Do you use them as a blogger? Do you subscribe to them? Which are the most effective strategies you’ve seen or used?

Written on August 15th, 2005 at 09:08 am by David Shawver city Stanton

Search Engine Optimization for Blogs - SEO

Search Engine Optimization 135 comments

Search Engine Optimization is something that makes many blogger’s heads spin - I know this because every time I write an SEO article I get comments from bloggers telling me that its too big a topic and that they’d rather just write ‘quality content’.

Whilst I’ll never argue that quality content should be anything but a first priority in blogging, the fact is that there are many millions of pages of great writing languishing around at the bottom of search engines results pages that deserve to be read by many but which rarely see the light of day because their authors have failed to understand that just a few simple tweaks in the writing process could see them ranking considerably higher.

So it’s time for another series - this time on Search Engine Optimization for Blogs!

People often ask me ‘how do I get ranked number one in (((insert favourite search engine here)))?

My answer usually starts with - ‘I don’t really know what I’m talking about….but….’

You see whilst some of my blogs rank very highly on different search engines - I often don’t really know why. Much of what I do is educated guessing and experimentation. I do read a lot of other people’s advice on the topic, but the more I read the more I realize that I’m not alone in my guess work - virtually every article I read is a ‘best guess’ of some kind.

My main advice to people wanting to optimize their blogs for Search Engines is to keep it simple. Start with quality content on a specific topic and then tweak it using the best current advice going around.

When I think about SEO for my blogs I tend to divide the things I focus upon into two parts - offsite and onsite search engine optimization techniques. Offsite techniques are more about what others do on their websites in linking to you, onsite techniques you have more control over as you write.

Off Site SEO Techniques

Off site SEO techniques are as the name suggests factors from outside the site itself (ie from other sites) that impact the blog’s ranking in search engines. Many of these factors are outside the blogger’s control - however they are useful to know. The most obvious and probably most powerful offsite factor are Inbound Links (something I’ve already referred to above).

It is generally agreed that the links that point to a website are one of the most powerful way of climbing Search Engines results pages (in fact many argue it is THE most important factor). - To put it most simply - every link to your site is seen by the search engines as being a vote of confidence in your site.

Ideally Speaking - The best inbound links have three main qualities to them:

  1. they are from higher ranked sites than your own
  2. they are relevant to the topic you are writing about
  3. they link to you using relevant keywords to your page

Whilst you may not have complete control over who links to you these are the types of links that you should be dreaming of.

How to generate quality inbound Links?

Of course whilst most of us know this it doesn’t make getting such links any easier - its in the hands of others in many cases. So how do you get such links?

  • Quality Content - There are all kinds of link generating systems out there but in my opinion the best way to get links to your blog is to write quality content that people will want to read. You can solicit links with others or sign up for different link building programs or even buy text links on other sites but the cheapest and probably safest approach is to build inbound links in a natural organic way as others link to your quality content.
  • Notify Relevant Bloggers of your content - Whilst I don’t advocate spamming other bloggers and asking for links - I would recommend that if you write a quality post on a topic that you know will interest another blogger that it might be worth shooting them a short and polite email letting them know of your post. Don’t be offended if they don’t link up, but you might just find that they do and that in addition to the direct traffic that the link generates that it helps build your own page rank in the search engines (more on letting other bloggers know of your posts here).
  • Directories - Another way to generating inbound links is to submit your links to directories. I know of webmasters who swear by the benefits of such a strategy - the first thing that they do when starting a new site is to do the rounds of directories - submitting links to key pages with appropriate keywords in the links. There are loads of directories out there - many of which offer a free submission. Ari Paparo has compiled a list of blog directories that you might want to start with.
  • Inter-link your Blogs - Increasingly bloggers are starting or joining blog networks to enjoy the benefits of multiple sites and writers working together. One of the advantages of networks of sites is that they usually link to one another. In doing so you have complete control over how your sites are linked to from multiple domains. It is worth noting that you should be careful with this approach - if all your sites are hosted on the one server many think that Search Engines will work out what you’re doing and the impact will be lessened.
  • Buy Links - Many professional web masters have a budget to purchase links from other highly ranked and and relevant sites. I won’t go into this too much here but you might like to read more about it in my recent post On Buying Text Links. update: I’d encourage anyone wanting to buy links to think very carefully about this. Google have been cracking down on sites that use this practice. They can’t catch everyone but some have been caught and seem to have been penalized for doing it.
  • Swap Links - Similarly many bloggers swap links with other bloggers. Sometimes this happens pretty naturally (you see someone linking to you so you link back) but in many cases the links are strategic ones and formally arranged between site owners. I get daily requests for such reciprocal links (I rarely act on them). Whilst there is some benefit in such link swapping I would again advise caution here as many SEO experts believe that the search engines have methods for tracking such strategies and devaluing the links. Some try to get around this by doing indirect or triangulated links. ie instead of site A and B doign a direct swap they involve other sites. So A links to C in exchange for D (also owned by C) linking to B (also owned by A) - makes your head hurt doesn’t it!?! There are also a variety of systems around that say they’ll take care of such interlinking for you - I know many who use Digital Point’s Free C0-Op Advertising system. Personally I tend to avoid such schemes and have a policy of linking to sites I think are valuable to my readers. If they link back then so be it.

If you’re looking for link exchange/buying/selling programs you might like to look at systems like:

- Link Adage
- Text Link Ads
- Link Worth

On Site SEO Techniques

Having looked at Off site Search Engine Optimization Techniques I’ll now turn my attention to examining some of the factors you might like to keep in mind as you build your blog - (or Onsite techniques - things you do on your blog that help build a higher ranking). As with all SEO techniques there are many of these and a lot of speculation around all of them so let me touch on as many as I can:

1. Keyword Rich Content - identify a few keywords for your article that you’re hoping will get indexed highly by Google. Don’t pick too many but consider the questions

  • How do I want people to find this post in Search Engines?
  • What will they type into Google if they want information on the topic you’re writing?
  • How would I find information on this topic in the Search Engines?
  • What results come up when I do plug these keywords into Google?
  • What other keywords are other sites using?

The answer to these questions will give you a hint as to what words you’ll want to see repeated throughout your article a number of times.

These keywords will need to be the most common words used in your article. Use them in some or all of the following ways:

  • Keywords in post and page titles (read my post on using keywords in titles)
  • Keywords in URL of page (blog herald wrote on this a while back)
  • Keywords in outbound links (read this article on the pros and cons of outbound links)
  • Keywords in bold tags (try do it at least once)
  • Keywords in heading tags (there is debate over exactly how to use them but it’s generally accepted that h1 tags are important and that h2, h3, h4 etc tags also have an impact. Having said that I’ve seen some pages rank very well in search engines without using heading tags. There are many tutorials online about heading tags - here’s one.)
  • Keywords in image alt tags (here’s how)
  • Keywords in the general throughout the text of your post - but especially early on in the first few sentences
  • Keywords in meta tags (they seem to be less valuable these days but many still believe they are useful with some search engines - here’s a Guide to meta tags)

Of course you can go over the top with keywords in posts and let it destroy your content - but if it fits with what you’ve written tweak it to include the words you are targeting a couple of extra times. Most SEO experts recommend getting your keyword density up to between 5-20% - I think 20% is probably bordering on massacring your content.

One last word of warning and disclaimer on keyword rich content (because I can just hear the comments on this post already) - don’t sacrifice your readers experience of your site just for the sake of SEO. Yes keyword density can be important in climbing the search engine rankings - but more important is that your content and design are user friendly and helpful to readers. There is nothing worse than a site that is stuffed with keywords - these sites come off as cheap, nasty and spammy - don’t fall for the temptation.

2. Themed sites - One of the growing theories of SEO is that you are more likely to rank well if you have a substantial amount of pages on a similar theme. ie a niche topic blog will probably rank higher than a general one that covers many topics. Build a blog with over 200 pages of content on the same theme and you’ll increase your chances of ranking well as SEs will see you as an authority on the topic. The take home advice here is to keep to some kind of a topic/niche/theme for your blog. It is also probably another argument for categories and tagging posts that relate together strongly.

3. Site Design - Search Engines like well laid out, well coded and easily to navigate sites. Make sure your pages validate (I need to work more on this) and that they are viewable on all major browsers. Search Engines don’t tend to like too much Flash, Frames or Java Script in your site - keep it simple and clean and their robots will index your site a lot faster and more accurately. Also try to keep your blog free from dead links (a challenge for those of us with older blogs with big archives).

4. Interlink your Site - The way Search Engines index your blog is to send little robot crawlers to your site to track what you’ve written and follow the links. Make it easier for them to get around your blog by using internal linking wisely. Most SEO experts recommend that you provide some sort of Site Map that means every page on your blog is just a link or two away from every other one. One way to do this for bloggers is to make sure that your category pages are in your sidebars as I do in this blog. Also make sure every page links back to your main page and any other important pages on your site. If you’re writing on a topic you’ve previously written about consider linking to what you’ve written before or use a ‘other relevant posts’ feature at the base of your article. You’ll see in my menus at the top of the page a number of my key categories and articles. One of the impacts of having them highlighted in this way is that they have become some of the most highly ranked pages on enternetusers simply because they are linked to from every page of this blog.

5. Update regularly - The more you update your blog the more often Search Engines will send their crawlers to your site to index it. This will mean your new articles could appear in the index within days or even hours rather than weeks. This is a natural benefit of blogging - make the most of it!

6. Outbound Links - There is debate over how SEs treat outbound links from your blog. I’m in the camp who believe that relevant outbound links enhance your site’s ranking in search engines. I always link out to quality relevant sites that I think my readers will find useful and have a little anecdotal evidence that seems to support the theory that this is healthy for the way SEs index you (check out Waynes article on the topic for more info). Linking to sites outside your own blog does mean you end up sending traffic away from your blog so you need to count the cost of such a strategy. Note that you should always try to link to reputable and relevant sites to your own page. Also keep in mind that too many outbound could have detrimental impact upon your blog. Like in most things in SEO - moderation is the key.

7. Choose your domain name wisely - there are numerous factors to keep in mind when selecting a domain name. For one you might like to include your keyword in it if possible. Secondly you should do a little research to see if someone else has previously used the domain. This could have both positive and negative impact. If it was a quality site with inbound links you might reap some benefits but if it was a banned spam site you could still be banned from Google for a long time. One service you might want to use to check expired domains is Way Back Machine at Archive.org.

8. Register your Domain for a Lengthy Period - a recent patent by Google indicates that it now looks at the length of your domain’s registration in ranking it. It does this because many spam sites have short registrations and a longer one indicates that you’re building a site with substance and are in it for the long haul.

9. One topic per post - the more tightly focused the theme of a page the better when Search Engines come to rank it. Sometimes you might find yourself writing long posts that end up covering a number of different topics. They might relate loosely but if search engine ranking is what you’re after it could be better to break up your post into smaller more focused pieces.

10. Write optimal length posts - there is some thought going around the Search Engine Optimization community that pages that are too short can get passed over for high rankings. I try to keep posts at least 250 words. Of course there are some posts on my blogs that are shorter, but if I’m writing a post that I want to rank well I try to give it some meatiness in terms of length. On the other hand don’t make it too long either - because in doing so you make it difficult to keep your keyword density up and could end up with a less tightly focused page. Research also shows that longer articles can have a pretty steep drop off rate in readers after the text gets below the ‘fold’ or to the end of the first screen of article.

11. Avoid Duplicate content - Google warns publishers in its guidelines about having the same content on multiple pages. This goes for both multiple pages that you own but also pages that others own. This is because a tactic of spammers is often to reproduce content on many pages and/or to steel content from other sites. There is some debate over what duplicate content does and doesn’t include (for instance many bloggers use ‘free articles’ as content on their blogs - these articles often appear on hundreds and even thousands of other sites around the web and to me could be seen as duplicate content) - my advice is to be very careful about how many places your content appears. I do republish occasional posts (or parts of them) but try not to do this too much and attempt to add elements that are unique on each occasion that the posts are republished).

12. Ping - services like Pingomatic (there are numerous others too) will ping a variety of websites for you to notify them that you’ve updated. In doing so you’ll also be letting search engines know that you’ve updated which will trigger their robots to come visit your blog. I’d also suggest pinging Google’s blog search tool.

13. Submit your RSS to MyYahoo - submitting your RSS feed to MyYahoo seems to help with getting indexed on Yahoo. Read more about this at Getting Yahoo Traffic for your Blog. Some also think that doing the same thing to Google’s Personalised pages could have a similar impact.

14. Quantities of Content - I always get into trouble when I write about having lots of content - but I think its true that bigger sites tend to rank better than smaller sites - whilst it is possible to rank highly with a small site - it’s probably not the norm.. Search Engines will see your site as more comprehensive the more content you have. You also better your odds of being found in Search Engines if you have more pages. By no means am I saying just to put up random junk content - be careful about this - rather work at building a comprehensive and large site over time.

15. Submit to Search Engines - You can do all the best onsite SEO strategies in the world and still get no where because the Search Engines have not found you to start with. Each search engine has a way of letting it know about your site - submit your URL to be included in the index. Please note that this takes time and perhaps a quicker and more effective way is to get linked to by a site already indexed by the search engine. I’ve written a post about his previously at how to get indexed by Google.

You might also like to tryout some of the services around that offer to submit your sites to search engines for you - I’d be wary of paying for this sort of service though. I never have and seem to do ok.

Again I will reinforce - the above techniques come out of my own experience and from the things I’ve learnt from others. I am not an SEO expert but find that if you keep the above in mind you can do reasonably well. Don’t become obsessed by SEO - if you do you run the risk of forgetting about your reader, forgetting to write quality content and you could find yourself getting into some dodgy SEO tactics that could get you banned from the Search Engines You’re trying to get listed in.

I’ll finish here by adding that SEO can take time - so be patient. After 2.5 years of blogging I’ve managed to build my blogs page ranks and SERPs but it did not happen over night. Sometimes it seems that no matter what you do nothing works - it may be that the words you’re wanting to target are actually a heavily targeted segment of the internet (consider changing your approach) - or it may just be that there is some unknowable glitch with the SE you are targeting - its a fickle game and one that I’d recommend you don’t rely on alone. So yes work on your SEO but also consider the many other methods around to find readers for your blog. You might like to read my Finding Readers for your Blog Series as a starting point.

Feel free to have your say on the topic of SEO and blogging below - share your comments, experiences and questions for the enternetusers community to interact with.

Written on August 15th, 2005 at 07:08 am by David Shawver city Stanton

Unanswered enternetusers Questions

31 Days to Building a Better Blog 3 comments

Since starting the 31 Days to Building a Better Blog Project I’ve received quite a few suggestions for topics that readers would like me or someone else to cover. I’ve got a list as long as my arm of posts that I’m planning to do in the remaining 17 or so days so thought I’d make some of the questions public in the hope that some of you might be able to write tip posts on them on your own blog (and let me know of the URL). In this way we all learn something and its not just me doing the sharing of knowledge. Here are the questions I’ve received (I’ve decided to keep them anonymous). They are direct excerpts from emails that I’ve received:

  • ‘Tips on blog design and editing tools. A poll on what people use perhaps.’
  • I’d also like to see thoughts on thinking beyond the blog into CMS software.’
  • I would like to get your opinon (and that of your readers) on “Donate” buttons on personal blogs. I am seeing them more and more. Is it “begging”? Are they tacky? Or is it simply requesting a donation for providing entertaining or informative commentary?’
  • ‘Could one of the 31 days to a better blog be about getting started and what sorts of things newbies are likely to run into and need to do?… It would be interesting to see sort of a generic road map to getting a new blog off the ground.’
  • ‘One fairly major topic in this series could address hosting effects on indexing. Darren and most of the people who comment here are self-hosted. I went the other way, with a Blogger account, knowing that I would be indexed faster by Google.(Oddly enough, Yahoo indexes Blogger sites even faster than Google itself.) One of my free hosting issues - which is quite surprising - is the inconsistent way Google spyders my Blogger blogsites. Sometimes it indexes the individual posts, which maximizes keyword effectiveness and relevancy; sometimes it serves the searcher an entire month’s worth of posts in response to a keyword search hit that should deliver a single post’s link. I am trusting this anomaly will straighten out over time, but it is a little frustrating. Would be interested in hearing the experiences of you self-hosted folks eventually.’

If you feel you’ve got something to say on one or more of these topics simply write it up as a blog tip on your own blog and let me know of the URL. I’ll then feature it in one of my daily summaries for readers tips.



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