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HOW TO BE A GOOD BLOGGER

It's a lot of fun to blog, but it can get old fast if no one is visiting! Getting your blog to the top of the search engines for your main key phrases should be your goal to make this traffic happen. Keep in mind that it will take time, but it's very possible.



Get a blog. If you don't own a blog you can start blogging at Blogger. If you do own a blog, good for you! Go to the next step.

Pick a topic that you think people will want to read. If you are going to blog bout Software Development that's great Don't blog about what you did today because most people don't care. If you are going to blog about what you do then only say the really amazing stuff. An example would be if you saw a UFO. If you got a picture to show your readers then post about that. This is one of the most important steps.


Learn about Search Engine Optimization. The very basics of this is knowing which keywords to focus on. These are what people are searching for in the search engines, and how they might find your blog. Some of these keywords get a lot more searches than others get, so it's in your best interest to eventually choose the ones that do get searched for often. Keep in mind that these are often more competitive than ones that are searched for less -- but you might get lucky. Focus your efforts on these keywords for now. Choose a big one that will take longer to reach, as well as three to four additional terms you're going to try and rank for. These should all be similar! Then, you're going to include these keywords in each blog post you make in various combinations. Always focus your posts on one term, and include the others only if they make sense. As you focus on these similar keywords the search engines will start to rank you more highly because your blog is tightly focused and relevant to what you're targeting.

Do what you can to get relevant links that point to your homepage and your individual posts. A lot of ranking decisions are based on how many backlinks you have coming into your website. You can get these links by writing articles to submit to directories, writing guest blog posts on other high traffic blogs, using social networking sites, using social bookmarking sites, and buying links (be very careful with this tactic).


Show consistent, relevant postings over time. Google seems to favor domains that have had some time to age and that are going to be a good bet for their visitors. Remember -- Google's (and other engines') goal is to provide the best experience possible for the people who search with them. If your blog is going to be a good match for your search terms it will be easier for you to rank and stay there. 


Stay on topic. If you are blogging about music, then don't make a post about twilight or something. If you don't stay on topic it will change what visitors think of your blog.


Make your posts unique. Make your posts something you can't get on other blogs. Try to change your format. Also try to organize your post. The better your post is organized the better the post will seem. The better your posts seem the better your blog will seem. 


Make sure that you're always posting amazing content. The better your content and the more interesting your blog, the more people will link to it. There is nothing better than getting free links just because people liked what you have to say! Keep your mind on the SEO side of things, but also remember that you are ultimately catering to the needs of the people in your niche. If they like you, the search engines will like you.


Promote your blog. When you start only you will know about the blog. Only start promoting your blog after you get about 15 posts or so. If you promote it before people will think your blog isn't good enough. Don't spam your link. There are plenty of ways to promote your blog.


Add tags to your post. That will make your posts show up in search engines like google.


Add a link to your site on a forum signature. It will be better if the forum and your blog are the same topic. Make sure you post on the forum though.


Exchange links with others sites. Make a blog roll.

Take a break once in a while. Don't take a break every other week though



Credibility

Freely extracted from “What Makes Web Sites Credible? A Report on a Large Quantitative Study” by BJ Fogg, Jonathan Marshall, Othman Laraki, Alex Osipovich, Chris Varma, Nicholas Fang, Jyoti Paul, Akshay Rangnekar, John Shon, Preeti Swani, Marissa Treinen.




WHAT IS “CREDIBILITY”?

To set the stage for the methods and results of our study, we first need to define “credibility,” the focus of our research. Simply put, credibility can be defined as believability. Credible people are believable people; credible information is believable information. In fact, some languages use the same word for these two English terms.



Two additional points help clarify the credibility construct. First, credibility is a perceived quality [6]; it doesn’t reside in an object, a person, or a piece of information. Therefore, in discussing the credibility of a computer product, one is always discussing the perception of credibility.



Although the literature varies on how many dimensions contribute to credibility evaluations, the vast majority of researchers identify two key components of credibility:

• trustworthiness

• expertise

What this means is that in evaluating credibility, a person makes an assessment of both trustworthiness and expertise to arrive at an overall credibility assessment.



Trustworthiness, a key element in the credibility calculus, is defined by the terms well-intentioned, truthful, unbiased, and so on. The trustworthiness dimension of credibility captures the perceived goodness or morality of the source.



Expertise, the other dimension of credibility, is defined by terms such as knowledgeable, experienced, competent, and so on. The expertise dimension of credibility captures the perceived knowledge and skill of the source.



Taken together, these ideas suggest that highly credible Web sites will be perceived to have high levels of both trustworthiness and expertise.





The figure above resumes the factors involved in increase or decrease of credibility.



Blog usability

This year’s list of top problems clearly proves the need to get back to Web design basics. There’s much talk about new fancy “Web 2.0″ features on the Internet industry’s mailing lists and websites, as well as at conferences. But users don’t care about technology and don’t especially want new features. They just want quality improvements in the basics:

1.   text they can read;


2.   content that answers their questions;

3.   navigation and search that help them find what they want;

4.   short and simple forms (streamlined registration, checkout, and other workflow); and

5.   no bugs, typos, or corrupted data; no linkrot; no outdated content.

Anytime you feel tempted to add a new feature or advanced technology to your site, first consider whether you would get a higher ROI by spending the resources on polishing the quality of what you already have. Most companies, e-commerce sites, government agencies, and non-profit organizations would contribute more to their website’s business goals with better headlines than with any new technology (aside from a better search engine, of course).



Many studies showed that the following mistakes are the keys to dislike a website, and in our case, a blog. The complete text is “Top Ten Web Design Mistakes of 2005” by Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox, October 3, 2005:



Legibility Problems

Bad fonts won the vote by a landslide, getting almost twice as many votes as the #2 mistake. About two-thirds of the voters complained about small font sizes or frozen font sizes; about one-third complained about low contrast between text and background.





Non-Standard Links

Following are the five main guidelines for links:



Make obvious what’s clickable: for text links, use colored, underlined text (and don’t underlined non-link text).



Differentiate visited and unvisited links.

Explain what users will find at the other end of the link, and include some of the key information-carrying terms in the anchor text itself to enhance scannability and search engine optimization (SEO). Don’t use “click here” or other non-descriptive link text.



Avoid JavaScript or other fancy techniques that break standard interaction techniques for dealing with links.



In particular, don’t open pages in new windows (except for PDF files and such).



Links are the Web’s number one interaction element. Violating common expectations for how links work is a sure way to confuse and delay users, and might prevent them from being able to use your site.



Flash

I view it as a personal failure that Flash collected the bronze medal for annoyance. It’s been three years since I launched a major effort to remedy Flash problems and published the guidelines for using Flash appropriately. When I spoke at the main Flash developer conference, almost everybody agreed that past excesses should be abandoned and that Flash’s future was in providing useful user interfaces.



Despite such good intentions, most of the Flash that Web users encounter each day is bad Flash with no purpose beyond annoying people. The one bright point is that splash screens and Flash intros are almost extinct. They are so bad that even the most clueless Web designers won’t recommend them, even though a few (even more clueless) clients continue to request them.



Flash is a programming environment and should be used to offer users additional power and features that are unavailable from a static page. Flash should not be used to jazz up a page. If your content is boring, rewrite text to make it more compelling and hire a professional photographer to shoot better photos. Don’t make your pages move. It doesn’t increase users’ attention, it drives them away; most people equate animated content with useless content.



Using Flash for navigation is almost as bad. People prefer predictable navigation and static menus.



Content That’s Not Written for the Web

Writing for the Web means making content short, scannable, and to the point (rather than full of fluffy marketese). Web content should also answer users’ questions and use common language rather than made-up terms (this also improves search engine visibility, since users search using their own words, not yours).



Bad Search

Everything else on this list is pretty easy to get right, but unfortunately fixing search requires considerable work and an investment in better software. It’s worth doing, though, because search is a fundamental component of the Web user experience and is getting more important every year.







Browser Incompatibility



I admit it: during my spring 2004 seminars, I downgraded cross-platform compatibility to a one-star guideline (that is, “worth thinking about if you have extra project time, but not a priority”). At that time, almost everybody used Internet Explorer and the business case for supporting other browsers was getting pretty tough to defend on an ROI basis.



Today, however, enough people use Firefox (and various other minority browsers, like Opera and Safari) that the business case is back: don’t turn away customers just because they prefer a different platform.



Cumbersome Forms



People complained about numerous form-related problems. The basic issue? Forms are used too often on the Web and tend to be too big, featuring too many unnecessary questions and options. In the long run, we need more of an applications metaphor for Internet interaction design. For now, users are confronted by numerous forms and we must make each encounter as smooth as possible. There are five basic guidelines to this end:





Cut any questions that are not needed. For example, do you really need a salutation (Mr/Ms/Mrs/Miss/etc.)?



Don’t make fields mandatory unless they truly are.



Support autofill to the max by avoiding unusual field labels (just use Name, Address, etc.).





Set the keyboard focus to the first field when the form is displayed. This saves a click.



Allow flexible input of phone numbers, credit card numbers, and the like. It’s easy to have the computer eliminate characters like parentheses and extra spaces. This is particularly important for elderly users, who tend to suffer when sites require data entry in unfamiliar formats. Why lose orders because a user prefers to enter a credit card number in nicely chunked, four-digit groups rather than an undifferentiated, error-prone blob of sixteen digits?



Forms that violate guidelines for internationalization got dinged by many overseas users. If entering a Canadian postal code generates an error message, you shouldn’t be surprised if you get very little business from Canada.





No Contact Information or Other Company Info



Even though phone numbers and email addresses are the most requested forms of contact info, having a physical mailing address on the site might be more important because it’s one of the key credibility markers. A company with no address is not one you want to give money to.



For advice on how to best present contact info, see our usability studies of “About Us” pages and store finders and locators.





Frozen Layouts with Fixed Page Widths



Complaints here fell into two categories:





On big monitors, websites are difficult to use if they don’t resize with the window. Conversely, if users have a small window and a page doesn’t use a liquid layout, it triggers insufferable horizontal scrolling.





The rightmost part of a page is cut off when printing a frozen page. This is especially true for Europeans, who use narrower paper (A4) than Americans.



Font sizes are a related issue. Assuming a site doesn’t commit mistake #1 and freeze the fonts, users with high-resolution monitors often bump up the font size. However, if they also want to bump up the window size to make the bigger text more readable, a frozen layout thwarts their efforts.



The very worst offenders are sites that freeze both the width and height of the viewport when displaying information in a pop-up window. Pop-ups are a mistake in their own right. If you must use them, don’t force users to read in a tiny peephole. At an absolute minimum, let users resize any new windows.





Inadequate Photo Enlargement



According to the vote count, #10 should really be about pop-ups, but I’ve written a lot about them already (most recently when they were rated the #1 most hated advertising technique). Instead, I want to feature here a problem that got a bit fewer votes, but illustrates a deeper point.



One of the long-standing guidelines for e-commerce usability is to offer users the ability to enlarge product photos for a close-up view. Seeing a tiny detail or assessing a texture can give shoppers the confidence they need to place an order online.



It’s gratifying that most sites obey this guideline and offer zoom features, often denoted by a magnifying glass icon. But many sites implement the feature wrong.



The worst mistake is when a user clicks the “enlarge photo” button and the site simply displays the same photo. It’s always a mistake to offer no-ops that do nothing when clicked. Such do-nothing links and buttons add clutter, waste time, and increase user confusion: What happened? Did I do something wrong? (An even more common no-op mistake is to have a link on the homepage that links to the homepage itself. This was #10 on the list of most violated homepage guidelines.)



Another mistake here that’s almost as bad is when sites let users enlarge photos, but only by a fraction. When users ask for a big photo, show them a big photo. It’s often best to offer an enlargement that fills up the most common screen size used by your customers (1024×768 for B2C sites, at the time of this writing). Other times, this is insufficient, and it’s better to offer a range of close-ups to give users the details they need without requiring them to scroll a too-large photo.



Yes, initial pages should use small photos to avoid looking fluffy. Yes, you want to be aware of download times and watch your pageweight budget. Even in this broadband age, slow response times were #15 on the full list of design mistakes. But, when users explicitly ask for larger pictures, they’re willing to wait for them to download — unless that wait produces a mid-sized photo that lacks the details they need to make a purchasing decision.



In “How To Make A Great First Impression With Your Blog” by Mitch, 18 Mar 2007 you can find:



One of the best ways to get more traffic to your blog is to get linked back from other blogs. If your blog’s new, then most of the people visiting your site won’t have a clue who you are or what you blog about, so you have to make a great first impression.



As the saying goes, you only get one first impression and you need to grab each new visitor’s attention and compel them to stick around and check out your blog. Here’s a few tips to do just that:





Include your photo in the header of every page. I do it on my blog and John does it with his favicon and on his Who Is John Chow? page. Having your photo on your blog shows readers you’re a real person and that you’re not hiding behind your words. With so many faceless blogs floating around people will appreciate the fact you’ve taken the time to show them who you are. You can go one step further by creating an “About Me” page…





Create an honest, detailed “About Me” page. I think every blog should have a long, detailed page that talks about you, the writer of the blog. It should include all of your accomplishments (and failures) to date, as well as your hobbies and interests. People relate to people, and after reading your about page you want readers to feel like they’ve made a connection with you, which will make sure they stick around and check out some of your blog posts.





Setup a page for visitors searching for specific content. John and I were just talking on MSN messenger about how he wants to get to the front page of Google for the phrase “make money online” and I suggested checking the referrer and if the person came from Google with the search phrase “make money online” that he setup a simple page to tell people who he is, what he stands for and list the top 10 posts in his blog about how to make money online. A lot of commercial sites track search phrases to do this and it works really well. Visitors appreciate that you’ve taken the time to point them in the right direction and thus they stick around longer. In business this is called having a “message to market match”. That is, your message (blog) is what your market (visitors) were looking for.





Be yourself and speak your mind. Your blog is your personal stomping ground to write about whatever you want. Never, ever, ever skew your views or opinions on a topic just because someone has promise to pay you for it. You’ll lose your credibility faster than you can say “zero traffic”. Always be honest, open and upfront with your readers, and if you think something sucks just tell them.



I add:

Use colors with moderation. The contrast of the text on the background is quite important, or your post will become unreadable and of consequence you will lose visitors.



Use readable text size. It’s impossible to read text under 10px without eyes stress: text must be readable, nor too large, nor too little. Do not use strange fonts: using popular fonts is a good way to ensure the lecture to everybody.





Usable images. Images haven’t to be too large for two reason: they distract the user from the text and often they are too heavy to download, causing a slow page which may bother the user. Do not use too many animated object: they distract the visitor from reading, they don’t catch his attention.





Design the blog as the reader could want to read it: easy. Do not think as yourself, think as the visitor, and the visitor doesn’t want to think to use your blog!



How to make your blog visible to search engines



SEO

It’s quite important for your blog to be visible: visibility is almost everything for every website into the Internet.



How can you improve your visibility? By submitting your blog URL to search engine like Google, Technorati, Yahoo, etc.



In order to do this, search “submit url search engine” or “add url search engine”, in order to obtain a list of powerful search engine and follow their instructions to submit your blog URL.



We suggest to submit your blog to blog search engine like blog catalog, blogapedia, blogorama, etc: create your own description of your blog, define your keywords and put them as your tag.



Backlinking



Freely inspired to “How To Get Higher Authority on Technorati” by Admin Sean on Sep 28, 2007.



It’s important to be part of a community and in order to do this, you must read and link others blog a lot. You must do it in every blog-community where you submitted your own blog.



In his article, Sean speaks about Technorati, but this procedure must be applied to the other bloglisters and blogsearchers.





Finding the right people

Always do research before you start anything and this is one of those time. We need to find people that are interested in what you have to say and write about on your blog. First you need to head over to Technorati and browse for some high ranking blogs in your niche.



What you can do is use the search button to find some blogs in your niche with high authority of over 200 or click on “Popular” and browse through there until you find a blog in your niche. When you find the right blog, click on it.





Filter out the potential reader



We now have our potential readers and link lovers. We will now filter out which will more likely link to us. If you look at the picture below you can see that Problogger which I chose as an example have over 4k blog reactions. What is blog reactions? Those are the blogs that have linked to Problogger and the reason why they are good target is because if they are willing to link to Problogger, then they might link to us.



Now Problogger is just an example you might want to find a less popular blog so you get more chance of being linked to. Choosing the right people is everything.



Now you need to click on “View all reactions” where the blog reactions is which is highlighted in yellow. This is how you choose the best people in my opinion.



Choose blogs with an authority of around 10-50 because if it is too low then that I assume that blog doesn’t have worthwhile content. Now some of those blogs with 1-10 authority might be new but I do not want to waste time and guess.



Once you have chosen dozens of these blogs, you need to visit them and check them out. Look for their most recent posts and try to find a good one.



Now that you have one chosen one good post from each of the dozens blog, you need to link to those post. Just link to them in anyway on your blog. What you can do is a “post of the week” thing in which you link to those profitable blogs. When I say profitable I mean that they will link back. I betcha that most of them will visit you and half will link back to you.



That is basically it and again choosing the right people is EVERYTHING in this technique. Just make to link to all of these profitable blogs in your post. Dedicate one of your post a week for linking to others.



I do not link to top blog just because others are doing it or because one of their post inspire me. I’ am not greedy or anything but they won’t notice you and they are already popular. Link to the newborn blogs and they will gladly visit you and even link to you.

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