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blogging | Net Writing - Part 2

Entries Tagged 'blogging' ↓

Ratio of Page Views to Unique Visitors

Recently I have been examining my webstats to examine the average number of pages visited by a visitor. On many of my smaller blogs, the average number of pages is very low. The average number of pages is as low as 1.1. This suggests people come have a quick look at the page and then leave.

However, on some of my other blogs (usually the ones with more traffic and more pages) the average number of page views is closer to 2. On one site, the average number of page views is 4.

From my own admissions, the ratio of page views to visitors is a very rough guide to the quality of the site. Generally, the sites with a higher average number of page views have more in depth quality pages. Sites with a very low number of page views suggest there is little depth. I wonder whether Google take this like this into account when ranking sites. It would make sense if they did. A high average of page views per visitor is a recommendation that they find the site interesting an want to explore further.

How To Increase Average Page Views.

  1. Split up articles into different sections
  2. Alwasy add internal links at the bottom of a page. When they have finished reading an article, give them a link to the next most relevant page. – Give them a reason to stay on your site rather than leave.
  3. Show off Your best Articles on the sidebar. Not every page is of equal value. Make sure your best articles are highly visible and encourage them to see that.
  4. Don’t just cover your sites with advertising. Keep it to a reasonable level. Think long term growth rather than short term profit maximisation.

Creating Timeless Content vs News

Recently, I have been blogging alot on recent developments in Economics. With blog entries on news, I notice Google initially give quite high rankings and good traffic, but, after a couple of months, these rankings fall and traffic drops off. In a way this shows that Google is doing a good job. When we search topical issues, we want to read the lastest blog entry, not blog entries from 3-4 years ago.

However, as a blogger, it raises the question – which is better writing timeless content or writing news items?

The problem with writing news items, is that your efforts will mainly last for a short time. If we write timeless content, then it remains valuable for many years. This is the great thing about blogging. Once you have written a timeless post, you will get traffic for ever and can earn without working. However, if we are blogging on news and latest development. It means we have to work harder and keep writing to gain new traffic.

  • However, the advantage of news items is that it gives us new things to write about. There is a limit to how much ‘timeless content’ we can write in our niche.
  • Our readers will enjoy reading about the latest trends and news.
  • Writing about recent events helps to attract new readers to subscribe to our blog.
  • Clearly there is room for both types of blogging; to some extent it depends what your prefer. Both types of blogging can be successful.

However, if your resources are limited and you want to get the best return on your efforts I would suggest focusing your efforts on creating timeless content. Write on topics that people will be interested in searching for many years. Limit the amount of posts you write which are specific to a couple of months.

Why I Stopped Commenting on Other Blogs

I went through a period of low posting frequency on Net Writing. Ironically, at this time, I was being much more prolific with commenting on other blogs. I guess leaving a comment is less intimidating because it can be much shorter than a blog post; a blog post involves a bigger psychological effort. However, these are the reasons why I have largely stopped commenting on other blogs.

  • If I have something interesting to say, I will post it on my own blog, rather than leave a comment on someone else’s blog. Leaving a comment on other blog, gives much less benefit than creating a post on your own blog.
  • People give more importance to a blog post than a comment. On some blogs, the standard of comments is pretty high, like Copyblogger. However, people instinctively give a higher authority to a blog post than a comment. I usually read blog posts, but, don’t get round to reading the comments.
  • I don’t read that many blogs anymore. I used to read many blogs to get ideas for posts, but, I find that reading many feeds, doesn’t actually give you that many new perspectives. Generally, I prefer to just use my own ideas.
  • Opportunity Cost of Time. Leaving comments is time consuming. You have to find blog posts, think of something to say and then fill on all the captcha’s e.t.c. (BTW: Blogger blogs are the worst) If you spend an hour leaving comments, that is an hour you can’t be spending on your own blog or getting away from the computer. I’m not saying commenting is a complete waste of time; it just ranks fairly low compared to other things you could be doing.

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Is It Worth Using Twitter?

Why I Don’t Use Twitter

I noticed recently one of my blogs getting a good amount of referrals from Twitter. I started to feel slightly guilty for not jumping on the Twitter bandwagon and making the most of this potential traffic source. Problogger has been talking a lot about Twitter recently, so it must be giving some people benefits. However, I don’t use Twitter because:

  • I doubt I would have much to say apart from: “please come and visit my blogs”
  • I don’t particularly want to invest the time in growing a network of followers. (Interestingly I gained 6 followers, despite not adding any thing since I set up the account 4 months ago)
  • My principle is that it is always better to spend time creating blog posts on your own blog, rather than working on third party products. This is a similar reason as to why I reduced the amount of comments I leave on other blogs.
  • Many people say Twitter can become a bit of a time waster and you get distracted from doing other things.
  • Note:
  • Just because Twitter doesn’t work for me, doesn’t mean it can’t work for you. I have several blogs, so there are always blog posts to do. If you only had one flagship blog, it would make more sense to work on promoting the blog through things like Twitter.

Why I Don’t Use Twitter Very Much

Well I couldn’t resist testing what I was criticising, this is my first ‘twit’ in the past 6 months. Tejvan Twitter Profile

Q. What is the plural for people who use Twitter? A bunch of twits? (sorry, poor joke alert)

Monitoring Uptime on Blogs

Recently, I have had a few problems with my blogs / websites being down and inaccessible. Now that the sites generate a decent sized income, I can’t afford to have this kind of unreliability and am moving towards getting a VPS, virtual private server (A virtual private sever guarantees a certain amount of disc usage e.t.c and means you are not completely at the mercy of your shared server)

The one thing I noticed about the recent downtime, is that it relied on me, manually seeing that the site is down and inaccessible. It made me wonder how many times my sites were down, but I was not aware of it.

Checking When Your Site is Working

I am going to check out this service at site 24* 7. They offer a free basic account, with the option of upgrading to premium accounts. I will let you know how it progresses and whether it is worth joining.

If anyone has any other suggestions for monitoring uptime rates I would be interested to hear.

Cleaning Your Keyboard and Mouse

I was rather shocked to hear that some keyboards have more germs than the average toilet seat. For some reason a keyboard and a mouse is something that we never think needs cleaning. But, especially if you share a keyboard with other people, you might want to think a bit more carefully.

A microbiologist for Which, found that many computer keyboards have germs such as e coli and S aureus. (links) 

One of the keyboards in the experiment had to be removed from the office because it was five times dirtier than the lavatory seat and home to 150 times the acceptable limit of bacteria.

“[It] was increasing the risk of its user becoming ill,” said the microbiologist, James Francis. “I haven’t seen a reading like that in a very long time – it was off the scale.”

Cleaning Your Keyboard and Mouse.

  • A Vacuum cleaner is good for removing dust and small bits which get trapped beneath the keys.
  • After shutting down your computer, use a lint free cloth, to lightly wipe with an approved cleaning fluid e.g cleaning fluid 
  • Make sure you wash your hands and remove grease before using a computer. (Makes it difficult to eat a packet of crisps whilst typing away)

10 Stupid Things we Do on the Internet

1. Check Email Again.

It’s 10.30pm, Sunday evening and I’m going to check my email again, even though I did it 30 mins ago. As expected the message comes up
You have no new messages on this mail server.” – A perfect waste of time and to make it worse you feel you have no mates either.

2. Do the same thing Twice.

Feedburner blog stats get updated once a day, so why do I sometimes check them twice? I can offer no logical explanation. There is no need to check them more than once a week because they are so volatile. There are numerous other examples of things that we do twice.

3. Using computer whilst watching TV / Eating.

If there’s a good film on TV, why do I try to multitask and do something on the computer at the same time. If the TV is rubbish, why don’t we just switch it off and do one thing at a time?

4. Write a comment and then don’t post.

Have you ever written a comment and then thought at the end – what’s the point? no one really cares for my opinion anyway.

5. Hoping to Solve the problems of the World.

The internet is full of misinformation. Yet, we still somehow feel that we could correct all these erroneous views by offering reasoned and thoughtful arguments.

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How To Benefit from Digg

Some bloggers look upon the Digg homepage as the holy grail of blogging. I don’t think this is true, but nevertheless, social bookmarking sites can be very helpful in raising the profile of your blog and generating the interest of new readers. If you really have enticing, original content, then there is no reason why it can not do very well on popular social bookmarking sites. These are some suggestions to make effective use of Digg and related social media.

1. First Impressions Count

The visual impact of the site does matter. People don’t just vote on the article, but their subconscious opinion of the site. Make it clean and attractive and don’t go over the top with ads and banners. It is also important that you have the content above the fold. Don’t have huge headers and graphics which makes it hard to see any of the actual content.

2. Be Focused.

Every week, try to create 1 or 2 outstanding posts / articles. These should be original and offer something of real value to visitors; it these 1 or 2 articles that you will focus on promoting. Be prepared to take time to write the best article that you can. Don’t be half hearted in creating content – it is better to have an attitude of all or nothing. It is also important that the articles have a clear focus. Don’t get sidetracked into relating unnecessary personal experiences.

3. Headlines are everything

Quite often people on Digg will vote for a submission based on the title alone – without ever reading the actual post. Because of this it is vital to hone your headline writing talents. A good starting point is to just look at the kind of headlines that get to the homepage of Digg. A good headline has the following characteristics:

  • Grabs people’s attentions
  • Is Descriptive
  • Is Original.

A title like “How to Increase Your Traffic” is so boring and repetitive it has absolutely no chance, no matter how good the article. Try, “Secrets of Increasing Traffic to a new Blog” “10 Powerful Tips for boosting Your RSS readership”

See: Ideas for Eye Catching Titles

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Top 3 Suggestions from Blog Writing Contest

For the Daily Blog Tips writing project, I wrote an article – how to increase RSS Readership

It was hard to choose 3 articles, but these where 3 which stood out

Absolute Guide To Losing Readers - how not to blog and write. Have been guilty myself of some of these problems. Looks a promising blog

How To make your post more attractive using photos. – Photos can definitely help. This is a well thought out tutorial on how to incorporate photos onto your blog. One cautionary note, sometimes it is possible to overdo the photos.

How to Write Scannable Content by Daniel at Daily blog Tips. Simple but effective advice. Getting the right amount of white space is crucial for any blog.

8 Effective Ways to Increase RSS Readership

(This post is part of Blogging Tips – Group Writing Project)

When I first began blogging, I didn’t give much priority to RSS readership (partly because I didn’t know what it was :) ) but now, increasing RSS readership is one of the main goals for my different blogs. These are some methods that have worked for me; I’ve placed them in a rough order of usefulness. None of them are quick and easy; for them to be effective it is also essential to be able to write good content. If you would like to suggest other methods please add in comments.
Guest Blogging

Probably the most effective way to increase RSS readership is to write guest posts for well established blogs. Recently, I wrote an article for Pick the Brain – 6 characteristics of happiness. With 11,000 subscribers you do get a good return in terms of traffic and boost to RSS subscribers. It is hard work because the articles need to be of a high quality. Also don’t just write 1 guest blog, if you keep guest blogging it creates a cumulative effect and you will become better known within the blogosphere. This personal branding is quite important. – If you keep appearing on top blogs people will want to subscribe to your own. Another benefit of guest blogging is that the article will often rank highly in google, I now get a steady stream of traffic from old guest posts. Therefore, there is a cumulative effect from guest blogging, the more you do it the more powerful it becomes. Zen Habits is an example of a blog which made extraordinary growth in RSS readership through guest blogging.

Commenting on blogs

Commenting on blogs is a slow but steady way to increase your readership. When leaving a comment I try to say something worthwhile because this will make people want to find out more about the commentor. If you just leave ‘nice post’ it is hardly suggests enticing content on your own blog. A good question is whether to leave your URL on a comment. I’m often in two minds about this. For blogs where I regularly comment I don’t put a signature as it might start to irritate people. However, for new blogs, I do often leave a signature or even link to relevant blog post -it helps to create a higher click through rate. Traffic from comments may be low, but the traffic is highly targeted and these are the most likely people to subscribe.

Tips for Commenting

  1. Choose Popular and / or relevant blogs and try and get in early.
  2. Use Google Blog Search for your keywords, this helps find new blogs. (I often search ‘Economics’ on google blog search for my economic blog.)
  3. Say something useful

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