Three methods to make your blog successful

Everybody wants to make their blog successful, be it for financial reasons or personal reasons. Whatever the intention may be, there are certain ways – if you follow them, you can make your blog successful. That’s an almost guarantee! Of course each has it’s own challenges. Let’s discuss:

Before we proceed.. we will assume that you are posting regularly, at least one post a day. Otherwise, inconsistent posting will just chase away the readers. You will even end up loosing your existing readers. (Posting too much posts will have the same effect.) You don’t have to be full-time blogger to post consistently, you just have to be little determined to succeed. That’s all.

1. Be Original

Being original and writing interesting posts in your field of expertise, will definitely get you regular readers. Being original here means, writing your own opinions, predictions, ideas and articles in your field of expertise. Just because everybody has created “Make Money Online” blog, you don’t have to create one on that topic too. You can blog about something that you like and still make money. Believe me there are millions of people (out of 6+ billion world population) who would like to read what you write, whatever the field that you are expert in (or at least have vast experience).

Field of expertise is the keyword here, and if you actually like what you do, then it’s even better. Because when you like something, you will less likely to stop it in difficult times. If you blog just because you “have to” then, it’s likely that you will stop blogging at the first crisis in your life. Whatever the crisis may be, it will be enough reason for you to stop blogging.

If you love what you do, it will give you that extra edge. Because when you love something, you won’t have that pressure about finding topics to blog about. It will come naturally. And since you are expert in your field, you can always rely on your expertise.

  • Traffic: Main sources of traffic for these kind of blogs are from Search Engines and referrals from other blogs
  • Growth Level: Slow but steady growth
  • Strategy: Good for long-term blogs who wants to establish a name (brand) or authority  Continue reading

Results: Guest posting on Problogger.net

Around 1.5 months ago I guest-blogged on Darren’s blog Problogger.net. It was titled “5 Ways to Get Your Blog Indexed by Google in 24 Hours“.

Today I would like to share with you the results of this exercise.

I think the success of the guest-blogging depends on many things, eg;

  • Authority, traffic, user-base… of the blog that you are guest-blogging.
  • Topic of your guest-post; how interesting it is, how beneficial it is, how well it is written etc.
  • What you have done to capture the new visitors to your blog?

So, as you can see the variables are many. For this reason, it’s very difficult to analyze one guest-post at one particular blog and apply the results on other bogs. However, for simplicity reasons, let’s say what economists like to say “ceteris paribus (all other things being equal)” and proceed with the results. I am sure the results will be beneficial to many bloggers, despite the fact that it’s based on one guest-post on Problogger. Just remember to keep those variables in mind if you decide to guest blog on other blogs. Do some basic research on the blog and its followers, niche, traffic etc. before deciding to give away one of your best articles.

Should you give away your best articles as guest-posts?

When I was done with my blog post titled “5 Ways to Get Your Blog Indexed by Google in 24 Hours“, I was about to push that “publish” button in my WordPress and then I remembered “How about I give away this blog post as guest-post to some high-traffic blog?”. I was satisfied with the quality of the post so I decided to test if it is worth to give away your best articles as guest-posts.

I quickly made a list of potential blogs that I could send my guest-post to. From a handful of blogs that I have selected, Problogger definitely stood out, so I sent a quick email to Darren.

Continue reading

5 Tips to Improve Your Corporate Blog

blogswillchangeurbiz.pngAre you a company that is into corporate blogging? Do you feel that somehow your blog is not taking off? Nobody seems to be commenting?

Well, I think it’s a common problem in many companies. They are just into it (i.e corporate blogging) because they saw their competitors had a blog, or they don’t want to be seen left behind, or the boss said so!

If you want your corporate blog to be successful, you can’t take it as another PR tool only. Sure, you can post the news about your company, new products and services, events that your company is sponsoring etc. But corporate blogging is not about that only, if you restrict your blog into all the above mentioned things alone then it’s not a blog… it’s just a “news page” that is located under your domain dot com/blog directory.

Recommendations and Examples

For your corporate blog to be successful you need to do at least several things, the more the better, namely:

1. Write Interesting Articles in your line of Business * most important *
So, we have established that people are not eager to visit your corporate blog and subscribe to its RSS just to receive updates of new products, services and all that PR stuff. What people really want is, to read blog posts that are interesting and relevant to your business. Things that they normally do not see or know. Things that you guys are good at.
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For example, if you are an Online Ad-Network Company in Asia, it would be great to know things like

  • average click-through rates on banner types in Asia
  • future of banners, what type of banners are becoming popular, why?
  • regional studies on banner blindness, which banners are clicked most when placed in top, left column, middle etc.
  • what type of websites make the most money (i.e news, forums etc)
  • Banner standardization problem in Asia…. and many more related topics

Continue reading

Showing ads only to people who came from Search Engines

It’s a fact that people do not like ads and they hate it when they appear inside blog posts ;)

It’s also fact that bounce rate for traffic from search engines is very high. Most of the time it’s above 60% for any blog. That means these people search for something in Search Engines, see your blog in the results, come to your blog searching for whatever they have searched, stay there for 5-20 seconds and then they are gone. Let’s hope that they have found what they were looking for…

So, how about showing ads to these bouncers only and not to your regular readers? Seems like a good idea.

WP Plugins

There are few plugins which can do that. The newest being the DailyBlogTips’ Search Ads plugin. It’s a simple plugin with simple interface. You install it and put a code that you want to show to visitors from Search Engines or from any site for that matter. Actually you can put any code in the HTML field; welcome message, subscribe to RSS message etc. But of course, for monetization purposes you will put Google AdSense ads.

There is also a more advanced plugin from Ozh called Who Sees Ads. With this plugin you can tweak the behavior of your plugin more accurately.

That’s one way to increase RSS subscribers

I was downloading some great web2.0 icons from WebDesignerDepot.com but was not able to proceed with my download until I had to join their RSS. I thought it was creative, even though I found it a bit forceful.

Here is how they have done. Download links were password protected, and they have placed the “password” in their RSS posts.

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The password could only be seen at the end of every post on RSS feed (see below).

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Actually, I didn’t mind signing up for their RSS because the blog is excellent. Therefore, I believe this tactic will work well on blogs that have good content and not so much on the blogs that have poor content. Because subscribing to good blogs is not a big deal for many users.

So, that’s one way to increase the RSS subscriber count.

Blogging Tips: How to write better posts

Writing blog posts comes naturally to some people, but some struggle to write and convey their message effectively. Following some of the tips below, can improve your blog posts’ quality.

Get to the point, will you?

It’s very important that you get to the point in the first few sentences of your blog post. If you cannot do that (perhaps the topic is too broad) then at least give an abstract of what you will be talking first. This is to get the attention of the reader from the beginning, and to give them the idea on what the blog post will be all about.

So, don’t write few paragraphs building a base for your punchline in your post. Leaving the most important part of the post to the end is a bad idea. Unless you are some politician or celebrity, you want to grow your blog’s readership and reach, and by beating around the bush in your blog posts, you will only hinder your blog’s growth. Because new readers generally don’t read posts that they don’t know what it is talking about, and they don’t have the time to to figure out what it’s talking about by reading few paragraphs.

Use simple words

If your blog is about helping others or teaching them, or sharing your experiences so that they can benefit from it. Then you have to use simple words that everyone can understand. For example, if you have these two different words with a similar meaning to describe a man “sagacious” and “wise“. You should choose “wise man“.

You know what I am talking about right? Again, you don’t have to unnecessarily degrade your speech with primitive words. This is not meant by “using simple words”. It depends on your audience as well. But all else equal, you have to pick words that won’t confuse your readers or won’t make them think what the word means. Try your best to make your sentences flow smooth. Continue reading

Forrester: Company blogs are the least trusted source of info

Forrester has an interesting report on “sources of information” and how much people trust them. You can see the results in the diagram below. As you can see, the least trusted source of information is the corporate blogs. With all the “corporate blogging” taking off… at least among Fortune 500 companies, this is a huge information to swallow for the corporate bloggers.

However, on the positive side, now that the companies know people do not trust their blog posts, they can start working on various solutions to make their corporate blogging work.

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How can they make it work?

  • Well, perhaps they could use the blog not only to communicate but also to get feedback from their customers and to start building strong community.
  • To genuinely listen to the comments, and provide quick solutions to the problems.
  • Instead of just re-posting press releases on the blogs (i.e too formal), maybe they could choose an informal approach and be closer to their blog readers.
  • Top management should be actively involved in blogging as well. This has many advantages; one – it would make the posts more authoritative. two- people would be more willing to listen to and believe CEO than any other executive. and three – it would have a multiplier effect on the company, because if CEO replies a commenter and says “we will do it”, this would actually turn into an action. So, by just replying to comments CEO would actually be improving company’s products.
  • …etc.

Companies should definitely try to get this report and study it if they can.

Don’t be discouraged by the numbers

Human beings (accept for the prophets, i will tell you the story after the post) are affected by the results of our actions, I guess that’s our nature. If we relate it to blogosphere, it’s all about traffic, RSS subscribers, number of comments blog posts etc. Bloggers get happy when their blogs’ traffic increase, when their comments on the posts increase and their RSS subscribers increase… etc.

And opposite is true, when the traffic decreases, the number of comments decreases and RSS subscribers drop, bloggers get upset and demoralized. Eventually they may even abandon their blogging because of the declining stats.

My advice is “don’t bother about the numbers!”. (Yes, I know it’s easier said than done but…) Just do what you have to do (i.e blogging) and keep blogging, don’t bother about those stats. Because if you are good at what you do, you will eventually succeed.

I guess in order not to be bothered much about the stats, you need to overcome a certain barrier. In my view this barrier consists of thoughts like: I have too few readers. My traffic is too low for me to succeed in blogging. What will people say if i write in certain manner? I have to write/behave/attend conferences like “top bloggers” to be accepted by others…etc

Reason for the discouragement

Usually one of the main reasons for the discouragement is, it’s when you blog for the wrong reasons. People blog for various reasons, and if you blog for specific reason like “making money online” only. Then, there is a high probability that you will stop blogging when you hit the bottom. In other words, when your blog stops making money, you won’t see any reason to continue blogging.

Of course, it depends on the projects. Sometimes you launch a project just to make money. So, when the project doesn’t make money, it’s better to just discontinue the project. Continue reading

Learning from mistakes – Story of Daud AS

Two brothers came to Prophet Daud (peace be upon him) (Prophet David in Bible) and said

“Judge between us, we are in dispute”.

One of them said

“This is my brother. He has ninety nine sheep and I have one sheep. He is now forcing me to give up my single sheep to him”.

So, prophet Daud without listening to the other brother said

“He has undoubtedly wronged you in demanding to add your single sheep to his flock. He should return your sheep to you!”.

Once he has delivered his judgment, two brothers disappeared into the air. Propet Daud realized that these were two angels and that he was just tested by God and that he made a mistake — he didn’t listen to both sides of the story before delivering his judgment.

So, he fell prostrating asking for forgiveness from God. And God forgave him. (Quran 38:21-25)

When mufassireen (interpreters) of Quran talk about this story they say that Daud after the mistake was a better Daud than before the mistake. In other words, after the mistake he was wiser and more knowledgeable than before.

Moral of the story:

Mistakes can be a great source of knowledge if we derive lessons from them, and learn from them.

About a month ago, problogger posted a blog-post on his blog asking readers “What is the biggest mistake you have made as a blogger?“. I am not sure if you have read this post and comments under it. There are over 200 comments where readers share their mistakes as a blogger and how their mistakes affected their blog negatively (directly or indirectly).

So, if you haven’t read it, go to the page and go through the comments. There are a lot of lessons to be learnt for everyone.

Personal Theory: Top bloggers don’t read other blogs

I have this feeling that top bloggers do not really follow other blogs. I think they are too busy to read other blogs (probably busy with their own blogs or working on other projects). And even if they followed, I presumed that there must be only a handful of blogs that they really followed on daily basis.

In order to test whether my theory was true, I tweeted some of the top bloggers and had two of them respond. One was Jeremy Schoemaker of Shoemoney.com and the other was Michael Arrington of TechCrunch.com Below is their replies to my question “How many blogs do you read daily?”.

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I also sent one line question through email to few top-bloggers and two of them responded. One was Yaro Starak of www.entrepreneurs-journey.com, and the other was Darren Rowse of www.problogger.net

Yaro said:

Usually zero, but every few days I’ll spend some time checking about 5-10 of the leaders in my industry.

Just after I was starting to think that my theory was in fact true, I received an email from Darren.

Darren said:

I track around 700 blogs – however I don’t read them all (I scan) and I wouldn’t do that on a daily basis. For me there are probably 50 or so that are on my daily read list but the rest would be weekly.

So, again it’s a tie. Not really a tie, but there are people on both sides. But if we were to follow the rules of statistics and make a statement on the poll results. It would read something like this:

75% of top-bloggers either followed no blogs or followed less than 10 blogs daily.

Lesson to be learned from this

If you spend your day reading blogs (tens of them) and do not really do much other than reading blogs (like working on your own blog, working on your personal web projects..etc) then you might want to re-evaluate your reading habits.

Because, these top-bloggers are successful not because they read tons of other blogs, but because they know what to focus on, how to prioritize their daily tasks, and most importantly they know how NOT to waste their time reading so many blogs daily.

Because, at the end of the day, if you do not take action (i.e do something: launch a new niche blog, work on a web project, or make a new software… etc), reading hundreds of blogs daily won’t make you successful. The difference here is “reading only and doing nothingvsreading important things from selective blogs, learning from them, and then making use of this newly acquired knowledge – applying them on your personal projects“.

Your say…

Now, let me listen what you have to say about this theory. Do you think top bloggers read many blogs? And what should be a healthy dose of reading blogs daily? Do you think reading too many blogs will affect your own productivity negatively? Look forward to your comments.