May 31, 2006

Blogging Tips

I got into a discussion tonight with some folks on a mailing list. It began about drops in traffic over Memorial Day -- which most of us had.

The one paarticipant posted the following somewhat discouraged comment.

OK, if next week isn't 100 views per day, I'm quitting.

(Please go visit Indian Cowboy -- he's a libertarian blogger who comments on politics, society, and science, based upon what I've seen.)

I then decided to post some blogging tips -- for what they are worth, since I am hardly one of the folks who reaches stratospheric numbers, though I have built up a small following over the last two years (the blogiversary is rapidly approaching!)

Here's what came up with, after being prodded to take my initial list of six and expand it to seven. One blogger even inspired me to make my little email into a post, which she has linked. (She also has her own, as does her friend Maureen.)

Seven Tips For Building Blog Traffic

1) Blog daily, and at a consistent time. That gets folks into the habit of looking at your site every day.

2) Become an expert. Make yourself a "go-to-guy" on certain issues. I did on the Abdul Rahman case earlier this year, and have written a lot on William Jefferson. School censorship cases are also a topic that I often write on.

3) Find out what is hot and blog on it. I try to blog on at least one article from RealClearPolitics' Buzztracker section each day. I also like the Washington Post as a source for articles, because they have a link to Technorati with their articles.

4) Be interesting; be yourself. Duh!

5) Don't be afraid or ashamed to be provocative.

6) Trackback to other bloggers writing on the same article. Trackback to bloggers you admire. Trackback to open trackback posts/linkfests.

7) Join blogging alliances/groups that you find compatible.

I've discovered that they can all use a little elaboration, so here are my notes on my seven tips.

1) I tend to post at two times during the day. The first is in the early morning, before I go to school.start my day. The second is within an hour or two of my returning home. My traffic spikes when folks get to work (be honest -- how many of you check blogs while at work) and when they come home -- or at least after dinner.

2) Go with what you know, or what interests you. I didn't choose the Rahman story, it sort of chose me. I wrote because it mattered to me, and people responded -- including one newspaper in India, where a columnist spent half his space on blogs about the Rahman story writing about my blog and my take on the story.

3) Is it being a bit of a traffic whore? Maybe -- but then again, I don't blog on a story unless it appeals to me. If the same wire service story appears on 100 different newspaper websites, why shouldn't I link to instead of the Podunk Farm News? And those Buzztracker stories are the major ones that I would be inclined to write about anyway -- it is just a question of where my link goes to, the New York Times or the Pine Gulch Gazette? Use what you can to attract those hits -- your content is what will ultimately keep them.

4) Keep it real -- let yourself, your insignts, and your beliefs come through. And even be willing to admit your mistakes. By the way, remember that these folks you debate with can become your online friends, even if you disagree with them.

5) Go out on a limb. State a far out opinion. Make an outlandish statement or two. Such things make people think, or shout, or laugh -- and can make them come back.

6) But always make sure that you reference them somehow -- whether via a quote, a hat tip, or an acknowledgement that they are writing too. It is the polite thing to do, and may get them new readers from your site at the same time you get new readers from theirs.

7) Hey -- you need friends and allies out there in the cold, hard blogospheric world. Find a blogroll or three to join that shares your interests or outlook.

Well, I hope that helps.

Also -- for more on this topic, visit these two posts at Pro Blogger -- he has just written on the topic and has beau-coup links to different folks writing about building blogs.

Happy Blogging!

|| Greg, 10:08 PM || Permalink || Comments (8) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

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Comments on Blogging Tips

Another thing I'll add to this is: Keep on writing. You never know when some bit of junk from your ancient archives is suddenly going to become relevant again. :)

|| Posted by Michael Hampton, May 31, 2006 10:22 PM ||

Thanks for your experienced voice in this entry. I appreciate the contribution to the "Seven Habits" project. It started out in an effort to help new homeschool bloggers and has grown beyond my imagination. Your participation will help others find their own voice in the blogosphere.

I had to leave my secondary blogsite address to be able to comment.


|| Posted by Maureen, June 1, 2006 05:40 AM ||

lol, I was joking. I've actually been quite pleased (if impatient) with the steady growth my blog has seen. Considering I only started doing it with anything resembling regularity in march (it's been up before that, though), it's done pretty good.

Thanks for the tips, though. They're a concise and clear statement of the stuff you seem to see all over the place. The buzztracker tip was particularly nice (never seen it anywhere else). I'm less topical than most, so I don't know if I'll use it all that often, but very very cool none the less.

|| Posted by IndianCowboy, June 1, 2006 12:55 PM ||

Hey, I'm glad to hear that I took you wrong. I was just concerned that a good blogger was getting discouraged and might leave because of it.

You have an interesting take on the world, and subjects I would not consider writing about. As such, you broaden my world.

|| Posted by Rhymes With Right, June 1, 2006 01:07 PM ||

as a future mental health professional, I'd have to take a good hard look at myself if I decided to leave because of my (lack of) visitors.

I really do appreciate your linkage though. Means a lot that you'd think highly enough of me to bother.

|| Posted by IndianCowboy, June 1, 2006 01:59 PM ||

So, does this mean I can take the opportunity to advertise my blog, which I started all of a week ago? Or that of my blog-mama?

|| Posted by Ryan, June 1, 2006 04:08 PM ||

Hey -- a little blog-flogging is perfectly acceptable to me on this thread!

|| Posted by Rhymes With Right, June 1, 2006 04:51 PM ||

Reflections on Effective Blogging...

Thank you for the soul fodder.

Ann V.

|| Posted by HolyExperience, June 1, 2006 05:25 PM ||
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