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Archive for the ‘Increasing blog traffic’ Category

In the online realm, we as businesses want to know if people are reading our website text and articles. A lot of us are using tools like Google Analytics to see how many visitors we have, how long they are staying on the website, and what pages they are reading. However, I’ve always wondered if this is a truly accurate way of knowing how much of your articles are being read. Are people reading the first few lines and then speed-reading through the remaining paragraphs? Or, are they reading the first line and then skipping all the way to the conclusion?

Today I read an article (from start to finish – I don’t like to cut corners) at the Huffington Post entitled, ‘Scoopinion Tracks What You Read, Not What You Click (Yes, This Is A Test)’. It’s about a new Finnish start-up company that is attempting to create heat maps based on which content is being read on a website page. As a writer, this is a very interesting concept. There is now a chance we may be able to ascertain which parts of our writing are most effective; is it the quote at the end of the piece, the witty caption on the included image, or the controversial statement written to incite a reaction?

Man Reading MiContent Surrey Hills Content Writer

Human beings can become very engrossed in what they are reading. What kind of writing will attract the ‘right’ people to your website?

Admittedly, when I’m scanning the internet’s many blogs and News sources, there are a number of article types I don’t read through properly. But when it comes to our own businesses, we want to know what content is connecting with people on an intellectual or emotional level. If we can figure out the styles of writing our website visitors read most, we can then evolve our content further in order to maximise interaction and relevance.

Did you read through this entire post, or did you only read a few lines?

By Jesse S. Somer

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Thanks to applejan for the image!

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If your blogging experience is anything like mine has been, you might also be saying to yourself, ‘How do I really get to meet other bloggers of like-mind who have similar interests? I have found it to be pretty hard searching for blog topics using keywords at Google. The answer to this challenge may come down to an age-old process practiced for millennia: networking. ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,’ is what my parents always said when it came to business or finding employment. Now I’m learning that it’s the same in the Blogosphere.

I have come across many well-written blogs in my travels. However, quite a large percentage of them remain relatively hidden under the radar, unknown to most of humanity. When blogging, it’s such a great feeling to know that people are reading your thoughts and ideas. It’s even better when they leave comments hoping to start a dialogue. After participating in these ‘relationships’ it can be quite disheartening to have to go through ‘quiet’ periods with little (if any) interaction. So, how do we find people who write about similar topics? From my recent experiences I’d have to say that this desired networking is being done at blogging communities or blogrings, of which I’ve written about previously: ‘Xanga Blogrings: An attempt to find others like you.

Though I wrote about these communities a while back, I thought I’d still try and make it on my own. I’ve spent a lot of timing searching for bloggers to relate with, not to mention commenting at other blogs to try and start ‘blog friendships’. It’s been hard. Just like real life, you can’t make someone want to know you. There has to be a point of connection; a reason why you feel like sharing each other’s space. You have to feel like you’re on the same ‘wavelength’. Recently I had a chat with a friend who said that he’d recently joined a blogging community of sorts called Zaadz. I checked out his new site and then did some research on how these communities work. It’s pretty cool and I really think that this has to be one of the main ways in which bloggers are ‘meeting’ each other on the Internet.

At Zaadz, you have to create a profile of yourself. There are several categories including Interests, Heroes, Teachers, Books, Music, and Movies in which you fill out. Your answers automatically become hyper-links. Let’s say that I put one of my interests as being ‘meditation’. After the word ‘meditation’ has become a hyperlink, when I click on it, it will take me to a page of ‘Zaadsters’ photographs who all listed ‘meditation’ as an interest. There you go: It’s an automatic connection. You already know that you have at least one common interest with a whole group of people. Cool. There’s also an awesome photo facility on Zaadz. Check it out, and check out the Zaadz philosophy on their Home page as well as the ‘thinkarete.themanifesto’ written by the site’s CEO, both of which contain inspiring ideas that make this community look worthy.

Recently I was sent an email from someone asking me to join the blogging community at Blogmemes. A while back I joined a website called Mybloglog, but I’d completely forgotten about it. It seems (I assume) that this blogger found my profile there (which has a cool little picture of MiContent on it) when searching for keywords relating to their interests. All I had to do was click on the link in my email and I was part of the community. Unbeknownst to me, Mybloglog has thousands of blogging communities within its one site.

Today I went to my Mybloglog profile after doing a little searching around yesterday of bloggers that I was told had visited my blog, one of which had called themselves an ‘admirer’. Interesting. Today it seems that one of the bloggers I visited called BlogBloke has added me to his community at Techbloke. I don’t think I joined of my own volition. This could be a problem…shouldn’t I be the one to choose who I want to relate to? There’s also a means to ask others to be friends or contacts. If someone whose writing you like also likes your writing/content, they’ll agree to make a connection. I like this reciprocal approach.

This all seems pretty great but I have noticed that some people are part of hundreds of communities, let alone being friends with thousands of individual bloggers. This causes some suspicion on my behalf. What are the intentions of these ‘ultra-networkers’? It’s hard enough having a handful of friends in reality. I seriously doubt that anyone has time to consistently read thousands of blogs. Could this be a case of blog gold-digging or social-climbing? I’d like to communicate with a lot of people about subjects that interest me, but I don’t think I can relate to that many people. Then again, I can talk to just about any type of person when I ride the train.

Jesse S. Somer is going to go deeper into the Blogosphere by joining in blogging communities. Human beings are social creatures. Why did I ever think that my writing alone would create relationships?

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Well, we’ve come to that time again; it now seems like another good time for a questionnaire. A while back I was getting a few comments from visitors to MiContent, but recently things on that front have dried up a bit. Getting comments is one of my most enjoyable aspects of blogging, as it gives me an idea of what other people’s viewpoints are on topics of my interest. I know what I think, but we’ve got to know that others see things differently and that their opinions are just as relevant as our own. I also like the social feeling that I get when commenting back and forth with others…As I work as a Creative Writer I spend much of my time alone, so it’s always good to have human contact of any kind.

So here’s the topic. ‘How do YOU get people to come and visit YOUR blog?’ Ok, I’m going to send this around to some popular bloggers, bloggers I’ve already had some interaction with, as well as some other arbitrary blogs relating to my interests. I’ll list some questions down here, but like the first survey I did (‘So you’re a blogger, why do you do it?’) please feel free to express yourself further if this topic strikes a chord in your heart/spirit/brain. Also feel free to express your opinions on how you’ve felt when people haven’t visited or commented at your blog.

How I Get People to Come and Visit MY Blog:

By, A. Blogger

  1. Since you created a blog have you done anything with the direct motivation of bringing visitors there? If so, what did you do?
  2. Do you ask other blogs you like to partake in link-exchange so that both of your identities grow?
  3. When you add a blog to your blogroll do you inform the blog’s creator?
  4. Do your friends and family visit your blog, leaving comments?
  5. Do you regularly visit other people’s blogs (especially ones related to your topic), leaving comments in hope that they will visit your blog and relate back to you?
  6. Have you added keywords to your blog’s name so that Search Engines could find you easier?
  7. Has advertising on your blog had any impact on page views?
  8. Have you joined any social networking sites in hope that it will bring you closer to people of like mind to communicate with? If so, has it worked?
  9. What other tactics/means have you used to try and increase traffic to your site?
  10. How does it make you feel when people show a genuine interest in what you’ve got to say on your blog?
  11. If people don’t visit your blog much, how does it make you feel?
  12. Who have you gone to seek help from (if anyone) for information on how to increase traffic?

I look forward to hearing your responses and learning from your perspectives.

It sometimes feels like all of my communication is travelling out one way, with no one responding back to me. Do you have any advice on how to make stronger connections?

Jesse S. Somer loves relating to others in the Blogosphere. It gets lonely sometimes when no one comes to visit or has anything to say.

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You may have caught this astounding story of Internet romance/superstardom/comedy at Wired Magazine’s blog recently in a post called, ‘Love Train: It was a fairy-tale romance, a very nerdy fairy-tale romance.’ Please, you must have a read of this. What blows me away (besides the multi-million dollar repercussions of writing one post at a community blogging/forum site) is how Train Man’s discussions online about what to do in terms of asking the ‘pretty girl’ out became a social/community venture for so many people online.

In listening to his fellow bloggers/forum participants’ advice (‘Get enough sleep, cut your nose hair, have breath mints, charge your cell phone, brush your teeth, take enough money, take a shower, and – in case of an emergency – wash your penis properly.’(Yeah, don’t forget that one buddy…) we can see a new form of human relationship taking place.

‘Remember: She’s only one girl. You have all 2Channel (The Japanese website) on your side!’ People are now putting faith in the opinions of fellow bloggers/humans that they’ve never met. So much so it seems, that we are now asking others-once deemed as ‘strangers’, for advice in the most personal arenas of life. Plus of course, people are generously offering their help and advice. (We aim to please, us humans.)

Amongst all the ensuing commercial chaos around this ‘Geek Love Story’, we are told that a book of the blogging forum’s threads has already sold over 1 million copies. I know Japanese people are a little bit different (not to be judgmental in any way), but could this be a trend for the future of all literature? Popular blogs transformed into books, posts becoming paper pages…Isn’t it strange how technology can flip back in on itself?

Would you read a book of made up of your favorite blog’s archive of posts? Or, can you imagine reading a beloved author’s next novel-online one post at a time? The online serial novel is born! Hmmm…It makes you think.

Could this be ‘Train Man’s future? Or is marriage too big a step for this comic-reading, anime-watching ‘Otaku’?

Jesse S. Somer didn’t meet his girlfriend on a train…it was at a Juice Bar. She made the most incredible Berry Blast Soy Smoothie you could ever imagine.

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I’m not joking.

If you’ve been blogging for awhile, you may have come to a realisation that it’s not quite as easy as you might’ve thought to get people to come and read your opinions, facts, and ideas. No matter how great your content is people first have to know about it. With over 50 million blogs and growing on planet Earth, not to mention all the other incredible aspects of the Internet that can take up one’s time, it’s no wonder that people just don’t know you exist. I like writing about the social and human side of blogging, what blogs can do for our evolution as an intelligent species. However, if you want to know about how to get readers or make even money from your blog, one place to go is Problogger. Now a small team of writers, but once a one person affair (Darren Rowse of Australia), Problogger has made quite a name for itself (Rated 69 on Technorati and growing daily) as the place to go for detailed information on how to get your blog out into the community.

With its tagline as ‘Make Money Online with Problogger Blog Tips’ you can see what part of the market this blog is aimed at, and with its current popularity and respectability it’s not hard to see that it’s been right on target in its mission to help people become popular, money-making bloggers. Darren Rowse makes a living from Problogger so he stands as direct evidence that his tips and beliefs about blogging work well. Most people want to make money, and as blogging is a new place/way of achieving some financial success, a lot of people are interested in hearing ways of ‘making it’ in the Blogosphere.

I can be a sceptic at times, and upon my first visit was actually a bit put off by Problogger’s very forward approach to money-making. A lot of people in this day-and-age want to tell us easy ways to ‘get-rich-quick’…we have to be very wary of con-artists and fraudulent gurus. However, refreshingly, Darren Rowse tells it like it is-making money from blogs is not easy. It will take you a lot of time and hard work, so if you’re not willing to roll up your sleeves and get ‘dirty’, don’t even bother trying to make a living from blogging. Of course my focus on blogging has always been more about the awesome new relationships, connections, interaction, and sharing of ideas and information that blogs have got to offer. To be part of this new social process you don’t need to have a focus on money…or do you? It’s a paradox. The only way people will know you exist is if you stand out from the crowd, attracting traffic, links, and comments. Thus, you have to become popular.

You’ve got to be known to interact with the world, and you’ve got to be known to make money from advertising etc. Therefore, you may as well make popularity your goal for all intensive purposes. Problogger has a huge archive of articles, but just on the front page you can find very useful boxes of popular linked posts in the areas of ‘Introduction Key Articles’ and the ‘Tips and Hints Toolbox’. In the introductory section there’s a great list (Mr. Rowse loves making numbered lists!) entitled ‘Lessons I’ve Learnt’, which is a huge fountain of knowledge derived from all of the Problogger’s previous experiences packed into 18 handy lessons. Read it. I’m not joking.

Another couple of cool links were the ones for ‘Top 20 posts at Problogger’ and from the ‘Tips and hints toolbox’, ‘Writing Content Tips’. Have a read and see if any questions jump out at you. Some of the tips he mentions involve going to a lot of different websites/social networking tools and getting set up at each. For some of us technophobes, this can all sound a little daunting at times. Still, one step at a time, and if your content and style are interesting, I can’t see why so many more of us can’t become ‘Pro Bloggers’. Do you think you can make it ‘Pro’?

Flying through the blue skies, this pro skateboarder is taking his skill to the limit. Can you do the same with your blog?

Jesse S. Somer is an amateur blogger (Darren Rowse had 1,500 posts after 1 year and still considered his blog to be a ‘baby’) who would like to connect more with others of similar interests. Anyone interested in the social effects of blogging?

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I was walking down the street today and was approached by a man who wanted to sell me a small ‘book’. He said that he and his cousin were riding their bikes around the world for charity, and would I please help out, as my purchase would help them get the necessary funds to make it over to their next continent by cargo ship? They refuse to take any airplanes. My natural reply was, ‘Do you have a blog about the experiences you’ve had on your journey? Here’s the blog: ‘Free Wheels East’. Have a read; they’ve already had an amazing time cycling across Europe to Russia, down to Indonesia from China, and even on the ice of Antarctica!

So it got me thinking (even before I read of their travels); Here’s a couple of people doing something completely outrageous, courageous, and crazy, plus they’re inspiring others to support a charity (‘Practical Action‘), and they’ve got corporate sponsors who’ve provided them with all of their equipment. Why then do they have to sell small books (actually small excerpts from their online blog) to make it to where they’re going? Well, they assured me that they’ve sold 8,000 copies, and as I paid $5.00 for mine, that is quite helpful, plus they get to meet a lot of interesting people that way (part of the beauty of such a round-the-world experience), but I just had to wonder: Should they have to be doing this with all of their spare time? If people are willing to buy the partial blog in book-form, wouldn’t others (marketers/advertisers) see the potential here?

Therefore, I got my curiosity-sniffing big nose in action and inquired on whether their blog gets many visitors. Their reply was totally optimistic, and for me, actually quite unexpected. 1,500 hits a week and rising exponentially, plus lots of original page-views. Of course people like it! After reading some of the blog I can see why; they’ve really had some exciting times, and even harrowing ones at that…boulders falling off landslides in China, the road they were on being completely swept away…You get the picture. It’s really interesting stuff. Besides being well-written, the content is relevant on so many levels: for adventurers, as well as people interested in different cultures or geographical landscapes.

So I wondered, ‘These sponsors give you equipment and supplies…have you tried to get some paid advertising? Hmmm, it seems the mad bicyclers hadn’t thought of that. Now, I’m not super-knowledgeable about business etc., but I’ve read on several occasions about how bloggers have made some fairly good money after they’d built up considerable traffic to their sites. It sounded like the obvious step for these wearied but bright and happy ‘wheel wanderers’. Could they have created a ‘micro niche’ for themselves? Remember, 0.1% of a billion Internet users are one million people. Could there be a million people interested in riding bikes around the world, helping people through charity, and being adventurers?

You see, these bloggers unwittingly have great content. Just being who they are and doing what they do is so removed from most of humanity’s normal everyday sphere of reality that they don’t even have to try and write about interesting topics-It just flows naturally! The only issue here is that obviously they might be a bit too caught up in what they’re doing to realise all of the opportunities that they’ve now given themselves. Well, after reading the blog you’ll see that this isn’t totally true…They’ve had all kinds of interest from TV documentary-makers in different countries, magazines, newspapers etc. They’ve probably even been overwhelmed by all of the choices that they’ve been offered, some most-probably by fast-talkers and all-talk-no-action types.

I don’t exactly know how to put this plan into action, but I really think these guys’ next move should be to call up some of their sponsors and ask them if they want some ‘real’ ads on the site. Start out by telling them the numbers of how many people are coming to the blog each month, I mean these are all potential customers. A lot of bicycle riders are going to be hanging around there-why not get some big, even moving (Flash/video) advertising to sell some bikes?

So, come on all of you business people. Am I on the ball? How many site visitors does one need to attract corporate advertising? How do you get their attention-by calling them up on the phone, sending them an email, going into their offices-kind of hard when you’re presently out riding across deserts? What do you think? I’ll do some research and get back to you about it.

Jesse S. Somer wants to know what it takes to create a popular blog…I bet you want to know too.

I don’t know how much snow these guys have ridden through yet; hopefully they won’t have to deal with a day like this…Then again, it might be fun, just as long as there’s some thick underwear packed and ready.

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If you’re reading this blog I expect that you’re a blog reader. That is of course taking into account that your car hasn’t crashed off of the Information Highway resulting in your sudden ‘turning up’ at this web address/homepage/address/home…and what a place to end up it is! Blogspoke: A writer/blogger who writes about writers/bloggers. So, here’s the big question: Have you ever commented on someone else’s blog? Why did you do it? (That’s two big questions…I snuck the other one in hoping you weren’t paying attention. That’s another big question: Are you really PAYING ATTENTION to what you’re reading right now? Are you only ‘half-reading’? Come on, put some effort in! It’s often hard for us humans to give full attention to anything that we’re doing isn’t it?

What makes you feel that sudden urge to make a comment on someone’s blog? Is it because you feel strongly about a topic? Is it because you really relate to what the blogger has written, and you feel the ‘need’ to let them know that you appreciate their thoughts? Is it because you want to take part in a conversation that is based around a topic that you feel passionate about, rather than the same old ‘small talk’ discussions around the water-cooler at work, or the pub afterwards? Could it be that you’re thinking of starting your own blog and you simply want to see what it feels like to have your own ‘voice’ up there on the computer screen, out there in the public domain?

It seems like I’ve gone from one big question to a multitude of more detailed specific ones. Oh well, I’ve seen some blogs that get hundreds of comments on each post; why does everybody suddenly feel the need to communicate with total strangers? Maybe we’re not strangers anymore? Maybe we never were? Maybe we’ve all been starving, even dying, to have our valuable individual opinions heard by someone, our peers, our society?

Have you got a few favourite bloggers that you read regularly? Have you ever commented on their sites? If you haven’t, how will they know you exist, and that you appreciate their efforts? How will they know that their blog is ‘needed’ by others? Not that it matters to all bloggers, but for me it’s good to know others are taking an interest. Are there other ways to let a blogger know that they are appreciated? I know some blogs ask for monetary contributions, that’s one way. What else? Come on and comment. Tell us why you comment.

Jesse S. Somer likes to comment on other people’s blogs to let them know that just about anyone in the world could be reading your words. It’s also fun to occasionally provoke someone by sharing a strongly felt opinion…but in a nice way of course, no need for insults in the Blogosphere. Is there?

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