80/20 Rule, and How it Applies to Blogging

You all have heard about the “80/20 Rule” right? Which states that, for many events, 80% of the effects comes from 20% of the causes.

Example: 80% of your sales comes from 20% of your clients. Or 80% of the total profits come from the efforts of 20% of your employees in the firm. Or the majority of the earth’s species are located in 17 countries, out of total 240+ countries..

While it’s a general rule, it does apply successfully to many circumstances. We can also apply it to blogging.80/20 rule So, for example, according to 80/20 rule, we can say that 80% of the traffic comes from the 20% regular readers (see pie chart to the left).

We can also say that 80% of your blogging income comes from 20% of your advertisers (these are regular advertisers too, keyword is “regular”).

Finally, many of you can agree on this, that 80% of the comments on your blog are done by the 20% (regular) readers.

Thus, once you have clearly grasped the 80/20 rule and its affects on your blog, you will be able to work more efficiently. Because now you can concentrate on that “20%” more. That means paying more attention to your regular readers and worrying less about those accidental visitors, even if they make up 80% of your total unique visitors (per day/month/year). Because at the end of the day, this 20% are the one who is delivering you 80% of the total traffic your blog gets.

Similarly, you can strengthen your partnership with your 20% advertisers that bring you 80% of the total income that your blog generates.

Conclusion

I think in this “time-scarce” era, this rule is a golden rule that many of us can benefit from. It can make us more efficient, and our efforts more effective. Because by identifying our “important 20%”, we won’t be wasting our energies on things that bring no result.

However, here we should note that, we should not totally ignore the other 80% – we just have to allocate our time and energy according to its importance.

Have you been applying 80/20 rule to your life? How about to your blog?

WordPress: Increase your SERP using Post Slug feature

Do you use post slug feature in WordPress? If yes, then great! If not, then you should really start using it. Post Slug feature is located among one of those boxes at the right side: Categories, Post Status, Discussion… etc.

SEO Advtantage of Using Post Slug

When you use it, you greatly improve your blog’s SEO. In WordPress, if you enable permalinks and if you use Post Title in the URL structure, then you know that the post title becomes part of the URL for each individual post page.

Below is a screenshot of Permalink’s preferences in WordPress:

enabling permalinks

As you can see, I have set Date (Year/Month/Date) followed by Post Title for the URL structure.

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WP Plugin: Make your blog’s search strings SEO friendly

wp plugin nice searchNice Search is a WP plugin that makes your blog search “SEO friendly”.

It’s in quotes because normally search results won’t get indexed by search engines, because they are dynamic. Unless of course you store them as a static page in a specific folder in your blog.

But the plugin is still very useful, it makes your search strings “nicer” as the name of the plugin says. As you can see from the screenshot, it turns the normal wordpress search string into /search/keyword format, which is a lot more readable.

Plugin page: http://txfx.net/code/wordpress/nice-search/

Write Pillar Articles, but don’t overdo it (please)!

sample pillar articleDon’t you just hate those posts that have too many unnecessary and not important bullet points inside? Writing pillar articles is one thing, but overdoing it is totally opposite.

Writing pillar articles in its true sense will bring you more traffic (Diggs, Stumbles, Reddits, linkbacks), more readers (your blog will be bookmarked more, RSS count will increase) and more advertisers (you will earn more), but overdoing it will have the totally opposite effect. When you overdo it, it sends a message to your readers that you are incompetent and don’t know what you are talking. But before we proceed…

What is Pillar Article?

Pillar articles are complete articles, that start with proper introduction and end with proper conclusion. Body part of the article will contain points, arguments, or sub topics. Usually they are bulleted, numbered, or simply put under separate sub-headings.

It is this part (body) that gets abused. Some bloggers just want to make their article longer, and thus enter all sorts of bullet points, even if the points are insignificant. It’s not the length of the article that counts, it’s the substance, the ingredients of your article that is important. Therefore, do not bother if your article falls short of its intended or desired length. Your article is complete before you add those additional points.

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CSS Tip: Increasing readability of your blog in one easy step

One line of CSS code can do so much to improve your blog’s readability. It’s a simple thing to do, yet I see many blogs are not making use of it. It’s the line-height: code in CSS. It defines the space between the lines. Screenshots below show two different pages; one without line-height code and another with line-height set to 20pixels.

As you can see, it’s so much easier to read the second page.

css line height

css line height 20px

Just add: line-height: XXpx; to your main theme in style.css file

Whitespace around images

Another thing that is usually neglected is, not using whitespace around the images (i.e padding). It’s a simple thing to do too. I have blogged about it here, this post teaches you how to specify margins for your images, so that the text around the image won’t stick to the border of the image.

While these things are fairly simple things to implement in blogs (which many of us do not bother to do it), but the result that they produce is: better blog readability and professional looking blog.

Usability: Too fancy texts are ignored as ads

It’s a holiday season. So, many websites are offering various promotions on their websites, usually those promotions are placed on the main page (homepage), with the intention that the more people see it, the more clicks will it get. And more people will buy the products.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case with most promotions, (they don’ get clicks, but get ignored instead) especially when those promotions are fancy banners and texts. At least that’s what the usability guru Jakob Nielsen has analyzed.

He made a research on U.S Census Bureau homepage, checking the usability of the population counter (text in red) and how many people actually used that text:

usability too fancy

86% of users failed to find the country’s current population when it was presented in large red numbers. The reason? Users ignored a key area because it resembled a promotion..

Beyond banner blindness, the major reason this homepage failed is that it used made-up terms or branded descriptions rather than plain-spoken words. Terms like “Population Clock,” “Population Finder,” and “QuickFacts” are not as descriptive as a simple line of text that says: Population of the United States: 302,740,627 (as of Aug. 31, 2007)

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The power of repeating your idea (over and over again)

What I learned from the book “The Automatic Millionaire” by David Bach can actually be summarized in one sentence, and that is: “If you want to be rich, automate your savings”.But in this post, I want to talk about something else that I learned from this book.

The things that I learned are not something that is written in the book, but are things that I learned while reading the book. The book talks about how you can be rich (in the long run) if you just start putting away some money ($100) every month, and it suggests that you should make it automatic (so that you don’t feel the pain). In other words, your bank or financial institution will deduct the amount that you decided to save every month automatically from your salary or savings account. It will take it and save it for you in your retirement account. That way, once it’s set up, you won’t have to make an effort to save every month. It will be automatic. And in the long run, you will be a millionaire. And he talks about this for 240+ pages!

Repetition works

Do you wonder why those pages which sell various eBooks and affiliate programs are very long? You scroll and scroll and scroll… for me I have never bought anything from such pages, but the fact is those pages work.

“A lie told often enough becomes truth” Vladimir Lenin

Lenin was correct, when you keep repeating something over and over again, people actually start to believe in it, that, what you are telling is actually the truth. That’s why those ebook pages are so (extremely) long, giving you all kinds of screenshots and facts, that other people who have purchased them already became so successful. And that you should be the next one to purchase it. And that they are giving you 70% discount if you buy now. Continue reading

Common mistakes of a new blogger

Every blog goes through different stages. First, as a new blog (beginning stage), then a growing stage, then maturity stage (and hopefully no decline stage). It is in beginning stage that many of us make mistakes. In this post, I would like to discuss some of these mistakes that new bloggers make. I will start the list, and hopefully you will complete it by contributing in the comments section.

Display RSS counter too early

Displaying your RSS count too early can have a detrimental effect on your RSS readership growth. Usually people will not subscribe when a blog has 10+ RSS readers. People like to follow the majority, because common sense tells them that, if many people are reading something – it must be interesting! On the other hand, when nobody (or less people) is reading a particular blog, they see no reason to subscribe to its RSS, neither will they visit back in the future.

Therefore in the beginning it’s better not to display your RSS count, it’s better to concentrate on writing good articles instead. When you have at least several hundred RSS readers, then you may put it up.

Display too many ads

Most bloggers want to make money with their blogs, and new bloggers are no different. One of the mistakes that new bloggers make is, putting too many ads on their blog. They think the more ads they put on their blog, the more money they will make. (Wrong!) They might make more money during the first few days, but later their blog will be cannibalized by their ads, thus generating very low income or no income at all.

The blog that have too many ads on it, simply cries out to new readers saying “Go back, and never come back to this blog again!”. Continue reading

Blogs with vision finish rich

What do I blog for? This is the question every blogger ought to be asking himself or herself.

Is it for money? If your answer is yes, then there is nothing wrong with it. But it’s a very slippery rope you are holding on to. And it’s not a long term strategy either. Why?

Let’s imagine this situation: Let’s assume that one fine day you lost all your advertisers, and your blog suddenly stopped making money. One month passed, it brought zero income. Two months passed, still no sign of any advertisers. Three months passed, you are still sitting on zero profit.

If this is the situation you are in, do you think you will still be blogging? My guess is – you won’t! Rather, right after the first month, you will be putting your blog on auction at sitepoint or shutting it down indefinitely.

So, how not to fail and blog for long term?

The answer is, in the vision. If you don’t have a vision, it’s very likely that you will be closing your blog (or selling it off) at the first crisis that you encounter. That’s what happened to many blogs recently.

In contrast, if you do have a vision, you will most likely to succeed almost all the challenges you meet in your blogging career (see the illustration).

Let’s say, your vision is to help bloggers improve their writing skills. Now, when you have such a vision, do you think some PageRank decrease will make you close your blog? Or worse, sell it to someone else? Of course, not!

Because you are NOT blogging for PageRank, neither for money, nor for self-promotion. Rather, you are blogging to help other bloggers improve their writing skills. And as long as you can help others improve their writing skills, I am sure you will be blogging for many many years to come. Continue reading

A Plan For Bloggers Struggling to Find New Readers

This article was guest blogged by Skellie from SkellieWag.org. She is a regular contributor to some of the top blogs like ProBloger.net, CopyBlogger, and ZenHabits. In this post Skellie will talk about ways to acquire new readers to your blog.

photo by IonBuckThe early stages of your blog are always the hardest. As your audience grows, others will shoulder some of the burden: they’ll link to you, recommend you, and vote for you on social media. In the beginning, however, there are few people around to help.

The process of ‘finding new readers’ is something every blogger needs to do. The word ‘finding’ very accurately describes the process. You can’t wait for an audience to find you. You need to go out and find them. You need to work out who they are, and go where they go.

In this post, I want to provide a concrete plan of action for anyone struggling to pull their blog out of a rut and find new readers. I used these same strategies to grow my own blog from nothing to 1,050 subscribers in three months.

1. Define your target audience

You can’t source-out new readers if you don’t know who you’re looking for. You also need to make sure the content you provide suits the kinds of people you are drawing to your blog. For that reason, defining a target audience is the first step any blogger should undertake.

If you haven’t and you’ve already started blogging, don’t fret. You can work out a target audience at any stage in your blog’s growth.

Your target audience essentially refers to whoever you are targeting with your content. What kinds of people will benefit most from what you write? What are they interested in? What are they not interested in?

If you have some readers already, you can work out what types of people they are by the comments they leave and the questions they ask. Are they bloggers? Designers? Gamers? Wannabe martial artists? Lawyers? Literature lovers?

Once you work out who you’d like to write for, this makes finding new readers a lot easier. If you know who you’re looking for, it’s a lot easier to deduce where they’re likely to be hanging out!

TIP: once you’ve decided on your target audience, let them know that the blog is written for them. After all, if you knew a blog was written specifically for you, you’d feel confident that most of the posts would be of interest.

Mention your target audience on your about page, or your tag line, or even within your blog’s title (SEOmoz, for example, is written for people who practice SEO). Continue reading