November 3, 2008
Without traffic, your blog is worthless.
Okay… while it might hold a personal value to you, it’s probably not going to fetch more than a few dollars if you put it up for auction. All of us want our blogs to grow as big as possible, as fast as possible… but what if you don’t have the money to buy exposure?
Yes, you could run a contest… but if you’re new in the industry without much credibility, you probably don’t have the funds for prizes or the pull for sponsors to donate prizes. No one’s going to join a contest where the main prize is advertising on your two day old blog with no traffic, especially if you want them to follow the rules of a regular contest (subscribing, blogging about it etc).
You could guest post, but what if other blogs are tied up and can’t accept your posts at the moment, no matter how good? Guest posting tends to work better if you do high quality guest posts in bulk, and this isn’t possible if your blogging neighbours won’t take your posts.
The next option… and an option I’ve used well in the past it to start things off by writing a controversial post. If you pick a topic that people love to discuss, and go against the common belief (or over-support the common belief) people are going to get riled up… and if they do, you gain instant exposure… especially if you manage to annoy a person established enough who gets ticked off enough to link to your website.
A friend of mine once wrote a post criticizing the grammar of a few top bloggers – guess what, he got featured on both sending him quite a bit of traffic. There was also another incident shortly after where a startup blog criticized Shoemoney’s SEO techniques, which again got a mention and sent traffic (I believe first month uniques for the blog were 90,000, which isn’t bad at all!). Obviously do not go out of your way to be an annoyance, but if you see something you don’t agree with, mention it and who knows… you just might be able to send some traffic your way.
The two hot topics in the blogosphere, especially in this niche tend to be John Chow or Entrecard… write up anything that displays something other than a neutral feeling and you’ll get people annoyed – those very much in favour and those very much not so. Although posts about the latter have died down, the former is still very much a hot topic… write about him tomorrow and see the reactions you get.
Of course, you can’t just expect people to find your controversial post of their own accord; a match will not light itself. If you promote it at the various social places – for example, Twitter, Blog Catalog’s discussion section and related blogging forums, well who knows – your post may set off a bit of dynamite. Do not be scared to explore the art of writing controversial posts; it is a difficult art to master, but if you do so you are guaranteed some debate… which is always a positive for your blog.
August 27, 2008
Attention: This is a guest post by Muhammad Siyab from PuttingBlogsFirst.com. Check out his site for some great blogging tips!
If I told you many of the big players in the blogosphere today started out doing one special thing like worship, wouldn’t you really want to know that thing?
It’s two words: guest blogging.
That’s right. They agreed to give up their BEST content to other blogs, instead of being selfish and keeping it all for themselves for their blogs. If they hadn’t done this in the beginning, they probably wouldn’t have become so popular and huge in the blogging world today. Don’t believe me? Ask any of the big players and they will confirm what I’m saying.
In fact, I will go as far as saying that the traffic received from guest posts on other blogs is FAR better than the traffic from social media. Talking in terms of quality, and target-‘ness’, that is.
A Source of Sustainable Traffic
Guest blogging sets up sources of traffic to your blog which are sustainable, meaning to say that you’ll still get targeted traffic to your blog even weeks after you’ve posted your guest post at a particular blog. This is because even though your guest post is off the front page of that blog, it’s still alive in the archives, which are one of the most visited parts of a blog.
I once did a guest post on John Chow about 4 or 5 months ago. It sure did bring a huge amount of traffic to this blog at that time(the ‘John Chow Effect’), but what was even more satisfying that it still continues to send traffic my way. That’s the power of guest posts.
Guest Blogging Builds up Credibility
Which should be among the top items in your ‘blog todo’ list. Credibility is very important in the blogging world, since that establishes you as a true authority and not just another wannabe.
Remember that your guest post is good enough and of a standard high enough to have been published on a blog by the blog owner. There’s a great post set up for the readers to devour. When that blog’s readers read that post, they’re probably impressed and they come over to YOUR blog and subscribe to your RSS feed. That’s a bond of trust formed between you and a new reader.
Remember, readers are not foolish people. They will go to a blog or website ONLY if it offers something that fulfils a need . And your guest post set up the magnetic field which pulled them towards you. Obviously you’re offering them something they want, and that’s why they’re heading over to your blog!
Guest blogging brings in TARGETED traffic
Yep, it does. While being dug or stumbled or slashdotted does bring in traffic by the hordes, a very minute percentage of that traffic is related or trageted to your blog. 99.5% of that traffic is just for the sake of digging, or stumbling or slashdotting. Naturally, bounce rates for social media traffic are very high.
However, bounce rates for traffic from blogs where you’ve guest blogged are very low. Why? This is because that guest post brings in TARGETED traffic which knows it can get something useful where it is headed. I agree that number may not be as big as the social media one, but we’re talking about quality here, right?
Readers who come over to your blog have read your post and are impressed and are interested in what more you have to offer. What’s more targeted and bull’s eye than that!
Opportunities are Plenty
You probably won’t have to look far to find a blogger who would like guest bloggers to post on their blog. Every blogger could use a little break from their blogging schedules once a while.
And, if your post becomes a hit, that blogger might even consider making you a regular contributor and that’s a great accomplishment!
To learn how to find guest blogging opportunities, read on…
Guest Blogging Adds Diversity to a Blog
It prevents the blog from following a monotonous tune. It adds new and fresh, even controversial views to that blog, and invites reader participation. If you’ve not yet opened up your blog to guest postings, it might be worth to consider your decision again.
How to go About it
You want to guest blog on another blog but don’t know how to begin? No problem. Here’s what you could do:
Firstly, identify the blog you want to guest blog on. Preferably, it should be in the same niche as yours, so you can take full advantage of the traffic from that blog.
Next, explore that blog to see if the owner/blogger has explicitly invited bloggers to guest blog. If that is so, you’ll probably see a ‘Write for Us’ or somewhere.
If you DO find such a link, well and good. Follow the instructions and guidlines the blog owner has lay out and you’re right on track!
However, if unfortunately you DON’T find information on guest blogging, and nor has the blogger publicly invited guest bloggers, your best bet is to send them a polite email asking if you could guest blog. Here’s some tips on writing that email:
- Make it personal. Address the email like ‘Dear Siyab,’ instead of ‘Dear Owner’.
- Go straight to the point. If that person runs a busy and popular blog, they’ll not have much time, and so might not read your email if it is very long.
- Don’t flatter. Flattering the blog owner might seem a good option, but believe me, don’t. It might backfire on you. The owner might think you’re just wanting to take a piece of the traffic pie, instead of adding something valuable to the blog.
- Don’t forget to mention your own blog(s) and what it’s about. Also, give a brief description of your own blog(s). Again, make it short.
Another tip: Don’t approach just one blogger. Approach several in your niche. Say eight or ten. Why? Because some will definitely refuse your proposal, due to various reasons. Even then, one or two may accept. Even if ALL of them refuse, try again, and this time try blogs that are less popular.
I’ll stop my babbling now and let you have the floor. Go on, speak your mind!
Author Box: Hi! I’m Muhammad Siyab, and I blog at www.PuttingBlogsFirst.com (Laser Targeted Advice for Fantastic Blogging). If you’re new to blogging, check out the starter’s guide to blogging too!
June 11, 2008
Have you ever had a great idea for post, such as one full of dozens of ideas or resources, but been too lazy to compose it? Then you’re really missing out and you better rethink things. Composing a pillar post, or a long and detailed one with a lot of authority, is one of the best things you can do for your blog. I’ve learned this not only by watching other great bloggers, but also from my own experience as well.
Some people think of pillar posts as top ten lists, or lists with five to fifteen points. While those kinds of articles do well with social media and fellow bloggers as well, they’re not true pillar posts – you can call them mini-pillar posts, if you will (an example of a mini-pillar post is 10 Ways to Create Exposure for Your Blog).
A true pillar post is long and contains a LOT of information. One can take several hours to several days or even weeks to write or compile. The first true pillar post here at Super Blogging is one you’ve probably heard of before, considering it’s still our most popular article to date: 75 Ways to Increase Your Site’s Traffic. That post took me tons of research and time, but it was well worth the effort, and I’ll explain why later.
For some other examples of pillar posts:
- 33 Must-Have Firefox Extensions
- 25 Paths to an Insanely Popular Blog
- 45 Photo Editing Tutorials for Photoshop
- 150+ RSS Resources
As you’ve probably guessed, there are more benefits to writing a pillar post than you could imagine. If you’re worried about spending too much time or effort on coming up with one, then quit worrying – like I said, it’s one of the best things you can do to have a successful blog. Here’s why:
1. Bringing in tons of traffic. With the pillar post I recently wrote containing 33 Firefox extensions, I saw tons more traffic with that than I expected. One person stumbled it on StumbleUpon, which led to more people stumbling it, until I saw a huge boost of traffic the first few days, and then a couple hundred new visits to that each day, from StumbleUpon alone. A lot of traffic comes to pillar posts by means of social media, and others blogging about your great new article.
2. Lots of backlinks. Another pillar posts, the 75 Ways to Increase Your Site’s Traffic, was written nearly a year ago – yet it still receives several new links from various blogs all the time. From tiny blogs with hardly any visitors to top A-lister blogs (such as ProBlogger), it has gotten many links. Not only do these links consistently send you new visitors and get you more exposure, but they help you in the eyes and rankings of Google and other search engines as well.
3. Plenty of new exposure. With all the traffic and backlinks you’re getting lately, this means lots of new people are being exposed to your blog and there’s potential that a percentage of them could become loyal readers – and you’re always trying to convert visitors into permanent readers and RSS subscribers. The more people see your name and brand, the more they’ll be curious to check it out or think they’re missing something big – so write all the pillar posts you can and get out there!
4. Creating a portfolio of great work. Whatever reason you’re blogging for, or whatever you intend to do in the future, it’s always good to start creating and building up a portfolio of great work. Your blog makes that easy! If you ever might end up writing for someone, or joining someone in business, it’s excellent to be able to show them all your best work and to impress them with some amazing authority articles.
And there you have it, four prime examples of how a pillar post can help you and your blog. Obviously there are more, but those are the ones to focus on – and if I’m missing anything important, please drop a comment to let me know! Have you written a pillar or authority article? How did you promote it, and how did the results turn out? Share with us in the comments below.
Don’t waste your time anymore – start writing those pillar posts today.
May 5, 2008
I’ve been using Entrecard for many months now and written a few posts on it as well (see: Why I’m Using Entrecard and Entrecard: Is It Worth It?). I’m an Entrecard fan – while it doesn’t bring me loads of quality traffic, it has helped me find new blogs and in return increased the exposure of my own blog and put it in front of more eyes. However, I figured it’s time to switch things up a bit and try a little experiment. This doesn’t mean that Entrecard is gone from this blog permanently, but I’m going to put something else in its place for the time being – and that would be one more 125×125 ad. There’s a secret though: it costs just $2!
You may have noticed that 125×125 ads on Super Blogging are $25 a month, which is still a reasonable price – but why on earth would I sell one for $2? Fact 1: This ad is going to be below the fold, but still visible to anyone who reads the content. Fact 2: It’s $2 per week, which in turn equals out to be less than 0.3 cents a day. Fact 3: Hundreds of people have clicked on that Entrecard widget, and I figured it’s now time to give those visitors to you – my readers.
This is merely but an experiment, and after I retire it I have others in mind. But this is definitely something to take advantage of! $2 is virtually nothing when it comes to advertising, so you’ve got everything to gain. Here are the rules: a), You can only order one week at a time. I don’t want one person taking over this deal, and I’m not sure how long the experiment will last. b), There will be a waiting list, for week one, week two, week three, and so on. Even if the spot is already taken, you can go ahead and order and be placed on the immediate waiting list for your 125×125 ad to be shown. Entrecard users and Super Blogging visitors alike can take advantage of this one!
So, in effect of this experiment, the Entrecard widget has been temporarily removed and replaced with a 125×125 ad spot that can be bought out for a minuscule price of $2 a week. Interested in buying? Go ahead and comment or email me letting me know that you’re taking part, and the details to your banner (URL and where it links to). Remember, this deal isn’t going to last forever and I DO NOT save spots for anyone, so if you want this, you’ve got to hurry and grab it now! Enjoy, and thanks for taking part in the experiment (which I will explain the reasons for and give all the details on once it’s over).
February 27, 2008
I have discussed my thoughts on Entrecard before, and I have been using it since early January. There have been a lot of huge fans of Entrecard, those who sort of like it, and then there are those who aren’t impressed. People have been wondering if Entrecard is worth it and if it’s really beneficial to us bloggers in search of more traffic and exposure – either way, most all agree that it’s better than BlogRush. But is that all, or does Entrecard really deserve your time?
The Pros Of Entrecard
Entrecard is a hub full of bloggers and webmasters alike that are looking to snag some advertising space on other sites by purchasing it with their Entrecard credits. And it’s obvious to see why Entrecard attracts so many people. It’s a unique idea with a system that works. The Entrecard interface is easy to navigate and it’s attractive. There are plenty of traffic-driving advertising options, whether it be a 125×125 box on someone else’s blog or any of the choices in their Entrecard shop.
Probably one of the biggest things I like about Entrecard is exposure and ability to find new blogs and meet new people. Even if you don’t advertise on any other blogs at all with your credits, still being seen on the Entrecard site and listed in the directories can increase your exposure and build your brand, especially if you have an interesting 125×125 banner designed to catch attention. I’ve already found several blogs I like through Entrecard itself that I’ve subscribed to. And if others have found my blog through Entrecard this way, I say it’s worth it.
Apart from the unique idea, great interface, and ability for exposure and meeting new bloggers, there’s also the fact that you can advertise on some A-lister sites without it costing you a dime. It could cost you hundreds or thousands to effectively advertise on ProBlogger or John Chow, but if that’s not a possibility then you could do the next best thing and save up a little Entrecard credits to buy an ad space on one of those popular blogs!
The Cons Of Entrecard
The biggest obvious con about Entrecard, and the thing that makes people debate the most over whether this service is worth it, is the quality of their traffic. Even if Entrecard sends you thousands of visitors, that might not mean a thing to you if those visitors aren’t quality. Quality visitors get involved with your site in some way – they read, they subscribe, they participate. And if not that, then they might glance at your site and remember your brand and name in the future. Those would be successful visits.
However, does Entrecard send successful visits? A good way to determine this is to look at the bounce rate (the lower the better) and how long the visitor spent on the site (the higher the better). For me, the bounce rate is 83.95% and the average time spent on my site by Entrecard visitors is :28 seconds. Is that good? No, not really. Most people who come to my blog from Entrecard are arriving to drop their own card and that’s it. Those people are in no way quality visitors. Sometimes the Entrecard user might get involved with my blog, but most of the time that’s not the case.
So Is It Worth It?
I’m still going to say yes, Entrecard is worth your time. Because in all honesty, I don’t spend much time on it at all. All I do is approve advertisers and let the credits build up, and I drop my card on blogs I’m already visiting if I notice they have the Entrecard widget. Then I’ll end up earning plenty of credits, which I can use and spend to advertise on some other cool blogs.
While Entrecard might not generate quality traffic from its actual users, it does create quality exposure. Your site is placed in front of hundreds of other bloggers, whether it be when they’re looking through Entrecard’s directory of sites or seeing you on the other sites you advertise on. Eventually they’ll see your site so many times they’ll remember it. They might curious, check out your site, and find out they like it and become loyal readers.
Besides other people finding your blog, Entrecard is fantastic for finding other interesting blogs as well. Like I mentioned before, I’ve found several nice, informative, and entertaining sites on Entrecard that I’ve now either subscribed to or visit regularly. What if someone finds your own site in that manner as well?
Do you use Entrecard, and do you think it’s worth the time?