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Ten Tiny Tips for Bloggers (part 2)

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If you haven’t already, check out tips one through five here. As a reminder, we’re going through ten “tiny” tips that aren’t life-changing, but that will make your day just a little bit easier as you’re going about your blogging duties.

Tip Six: Google Yourself

Ok, now that just sounds dirty. If you haven’t already, Google yourself to see where you’re mentioned online. Here’s a better tip, though: set up a Google alert for your blog’s name, the username you most often use for sites like Twitter or forums, and your own first/late name (unless it’s really common). That way, when anyone mentions you, you’ll get an alert. The trackback/pingback system through WordPress is great, but it isn’t going to catch everything, and some people won’t link to you when they talk about you, unfortunately.

I’m not narcissistic, I swear. Well, maybe a little, but I still think this tip is valid!

Tip Seven: Trending Topics Inspiration

Got writer’s block? Check out the trending topics on Twitter. You can turn almost anything into a blog post with a little creativity. For example, one night when I saw that Lady Gaga was trending, I wrote How to Lady Gaga-ize Your Blog (and why that’s a good thing). Find out what people are talking about and then be creative in finding a way to use it in relation to your own niche. Another great tip (I believe I picked this one up from David Risley) is to do a Twitter search for “how to” or “how do I” and whatever your niche may be (for example “how to blog”) It’s a way to find out what people are asking, and you can use it to create a blog post.

Tip Eight: Code

For those of you who work with your blog’s code: you can view the source code for any page by pressing control+u or by going to View->Page Source on the menu bar. An even better tip? If you’re a Firefox user, download Firebug. It not only shows you the code for a page, but it is interactive, so you can find the exact code you need. Even if all you do is deal with colors with your blog’s stylesheet, this is a quick way to find the line you need.

Tip Nine: Subscribe to Your Own Blog

This tip I have to attribute to Chris Lodge from Blog-Op. If you subscribe to your own feed (including the comments), you’ll have an emergency form of backup should you lose posts for any reason. Backing up your blog (for real) is something you should be doing regularly, but this is a sure-fire way to have a copy of your latest posts and comments. As an added bonus, it’s good to see what your readers see to make sure things don’t look wonky when read from a feed reader.

Tip Ten: Clean Up Your Archives

Let’s face it – I can barely remember if one of my own posts was written in May or June, let alone a post on another website. Many blogs have an archive on their sidebar consisting of months and years, but a more effective type of archive, check out Clean Archives Reloaded, which allows you to create a list of post titles by month. It’s a much more functional type of archive system, in my opinion, and a fast way to create a site map of sorts on your blog.

Go a “tiny tip” of your own that you’d like to share? Leave a comment or email me at allison-at-abcontentonline.com. If I get enough, I’ll create a post filled with your tiny tips!

Allison Boyer is a writer for BWE’s blog and the owner/manager of After Graduation. She googles herself frequently and encourages you to do the same. On company time, because that makes it especially naughty.

Ten Tiny Tips for Bloggers (part 1)

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To me, it’s the little things. A chocolate milkshake on a hot summer’s day. A song to perfectly fit your mood randomly playing when you have your iTunes on shuffle. Finding out at the cash register that the cute heels you’re buying are on sale.*Insert happy sigh here*

Tiny time-savers can save you hours in the end.

Over the years, I’ve learned a bunch of little things about blogging too, and to be honest, the little things are starting to add up in a big way. I’ve found that I’m a much more efficient blogger than I was just a year ago, and I’m leaps and bounds ahead of where I was when I started blogging, circa 2005 or so. This morning, I’m going to share with you ten tiny tips from my files to help you become a more efficient, better blogger as well. Alone, these tips might not seem like a big deal, but every so often, once will come in handy, making your day just a tad bit easier.

Tip One: Searching a Site

Sometimes, you remember reading something on a website, but can’t find the right article in the archives or don’t remember what it is called. If the site has a search bar, that’s awesome…not all blogs have one. Except they do – it’s called Google. Go to Google, type in your search term, and then type site: and the URL. For example, if you were tring to find this article again, you could type “tips for bloggers” site:blogworld.com into search bar and viola – it’s like you were using a site search bar.

Tip Two: Choosing Colors

If you aren’t design-minded, you might find it hard to choose colors that coordinate well for a graphic. I use the Color Palette Generator from web designer Jeff Minard. Just upload a picture that you like or intend to use as part of the design and it will give you a palette of the best colors to use.

Tip Three: Tables

Want to put information in a neat and tidy table on your blog? Instead of going through the trouble to deal with the HTML, download the plugin WP-Table Reloaded. It makes the process so much cleaner and easier for you to update, especially if you’re creating a really big table.

Tip Four: Recovering Forms

Lazarus has saved my life more than once. I’m not being melodramatic – I have been on the verge of shooting myself in the face after filling out large forms only to have it not submit correctly. Sure, WordPress auto-saves, but trust me, Lazarus still comes in handy for recovering lost forms.

Tip Five: Streamlining Multiple Twitter Accounts

This is a tip I learned from our very own Nikki Katz. Twitter only lets you sign up for one account per email address, which means that you have to start multiple email address if you have multiple Twitter accounts (for instance, a personal account and an account just for your blogging activity). If you use Gmail as Nikki points out in this post, you can actually sign up for Twitter using the same email address multiple times. Loophole FTW!

Read tips six through ten here.

Allison Boyer is a writer for BWE’s blog and the owner/manager of After Graduation. She could go for a chocolate milkshake right about now.

Importance of Bounce Rate & How To Improve It!

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The bounce rate is a significant indicator of how relevant your blog is to visitors, so its important to determine yours and analyze ways to improve upon it, especially if the percentage is high!

What is a Bounce Rate
The bounce rate is a percentage that shows the amount of single-page visits to your site. This is the number of visits that landed on your site and then exited from that same landing page. The lower your bounce rate, the better. 50% bounce rate for blogs is somewhat normal and a 75% rate would be a cause for concern.

Importance of Bounce Rate:
A high bounce rate typically shows you that your entrance page isn’t relevant to your visitor. The more compelling your landing pages, the more visitors will stay on your site. But you need to look at the individual page itself. Perhaps you had a very specific topic that users land on, find all their information, and really have no reason to stay. Each page, and each analytic number is worth exploring.

How to Improve Bounce Rate:
A visitor will land on your blog due to your advertisements or keywords (which determines how you are displayed in search engines). When a user visits your blog, the content should be relevant to the content promised. But from there, you also want your user to stay on your site a while. The best way to keep a visitor on your site is to:

  • Have clear navigation so your visitors can see other topics you cover, and visit them easily.
  • Hotlink to related information, articles, and pages.
  • Encourage conversation with polls, forums and/or comments.

Nikki Katz is the Managing Editor for the BlogWorld Blog. Feel free to follow her Twitter @nikki_blogworld and @katzni

Image Credit: SXC

Quick Tip: Read Your Blog in an RSS Feed

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This may sound like a no-brainer, but I guarantee some bloggers don’t subscribe to their own RSS feeds – and then actually look at their posts!

The reason behind suggestion that you do this- is that a post came across Google Reader, and I couldn’t read it. Literally. The font was white in color, and I couldn’t see anything until I moused over it! The blogger had changed the blog to a trendy new theme complete with a dark background and white font, making it invisible in the reader.

So test out your posts, check how images come across, formatting, font type and colors. And if/when you change your blog theme, test it all over again!

 

Nikki Katz is the Managing Editor for the BlogWorld Blog. Feel free to follow her Twitter @nikki_blogworld and @katzni

Image Credit: SXC

Tips For Getting Your Blog Listed in Google News!

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Want more readers? Doesn’t everyone! One solution that can pay off immensely is getting your blog listed in Google News. Google news is constantly updated with latest stories that have a news hook. If you get your blog listed, it will provide you with good exposure and coverage, and will also boost targeted traffic to your site.

Here are the top tips for getting your blog picked up by Google News:

  • Create an About Us Page:
    This is a must for Google News. Talk about the organization of your company and the goal of your site. You need to have at LEAST two bloggers on your site, who blog frequently.

  • Create a Contact Us Page;
    Another must. Provide clear and concise (and legitimate) contacct information!

  • Create Original/Fresh Content:
    Google News likes to new original and new content, along with news related posts.

  • Define Your Industry:
    Your Homepage/Logo should clearly state what industry segment you cover (enterainment, sports, finance, etc.).

  • Format Your Posts Properly:
    Your post must include author name, date of publication, and should be well-categorized (easy for a blog!) The title should not exceed the limit of 25 words. Article URL’s should be unique and look static.

  • Post Frequently:
    You want to shoot for three updates a day, minimum. The whole point of being in Google News is to have timely information and this requires frequent posts!

  • Don’t Write Too Short:
    Too short of posts (less than 200 characters) seem to be filtered out.

Once you’re ready, submit your blog for inclusion!

Nikki Katz is the Managing Editor for the BlogWorld Blog. Feel free to follow her Twitter @nikki_blogworld and @katzni

Blogs & Social Media Sites Land in Top 1000 Sites List

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Google came out with their Top 1000 Sites list this week, and I have to admit that I’m not surprised Facebook landed at #1! There were some other blogging and social networking sites that made it into the top 20 – including WordPress, BlogSpot, and Twitter. And of course there are a variety of blogs that make it onto the list, albeit somewhat further down. Take a look at the list and see if you rank within!

Other news and tips across the blogosphere this week (May 28th):

Copyblogger: How to Monetize Your Site Without Causing an Audience Revolt
There are so many bloggers out there with very large audiences who find themselves incapable or unwilling to monetize by launching a product. Learn how to avoid this issue, prepare your audience for your prices, and learn how to charge higher prices for your products.

Daily Blogging Tips: 10 Ways to Convert Your Blog Visitors Into Dedicated Readers
Do you want your blog to grow, increase your readership and subscriber numbers, have your content constantly spread, and make more money? Then you need to convert your blog visitors into dedicated readers.

ProBlogger: How to Pitch Bloggers – Make it a Win/Win/Win Situation
Tips for companies or individuals pitching to bloggers to link to their products, services, events, sites

ReadWriteWeb: Facebook Rolls Back Some Key Privacy Changes
Facebook has rolled back some of the biggest and most controversial changes to the site’s privacy settings made since December.

Mashable: Google Buzz Adds Reshare Option
Google Buzz is releasing the “Reshare” option update to the social aggregation platform.

Nikki Katz is the Managing Editor for the BlogWorld Blog. Feel free to follow her Twitter @nikki_blogworld and @katzni

Image Credit: SXC

5 Tips For Selling Your Blog

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I recently sold one of my personal blogs and didn’t realize, until it was over, how difficult it would be to let go! I decided to sell for a variety of reasons – the amount of work going into the blog wasn’t corresponding to enough pay, and although I adore the topic, I was starting to feel burned out writing about it on a daily basis. Sure, I probably could have monetized the blog more effectively, but I couldn’t commit to that time and decided it was now or never.

Throughout the sale I did some research, learned a ton, and so I thought I would share my top 5 tips for selling a blog:

  • Be Realistic:
    This is a hard one, or at least it was for me! I mean, I wrote on this blog daily for two years. I had a Google PageRank of 4. That should be worth something, right? Well, in the blogging world – not really. When you’re selling a blog most times the buyer looks only at the amount of profit your site obtains. And that’s not last year’s spike in income – it is today’s profit. In the bricks and mortar world, most companies will sell for 2-3 years of the total net income, but online I found that it’s only 1 year. That was a little hard to digest!

    And those website value calculators? A buyer could really care less!

  • Gather Documentation:
    No matter how you sell your site (an auction website or broker), you will need a variety of documentation – the most important being your traffic and your income. You are going to need at least three months history of your statistics including traffic, unique visitors, bounce rate, etc. You will also need to put together a P&L for the last year (or more) that provides proof of payments from your various income sources (ad sales, Google AdSense, blogads, whatever). Get everything together beforehand so you can show documentation when asked.

  • Own Your URL:
    This wasn’t an issue for me, but I’ve seen people try to sell out their LiveJournal and Blogspot accounts, and it’s pretty touchy … You are much better off owning your own domain and paying to host it. Your blog needs to be a real web property. What I mean by this is that it needs to be a real domain, on hosting you are paying for.

  • Be Available:
    Be available to your potential buyers during the sales process and after. You may need to answer questions, provide additional documentation, and of course you’ll need to transfer all the data in a timely fashion after the sale.

  • Offer Additional Elements:
    With the sale of my blog, I also offered up the Facebook and Twitter account (with 2500 followers) I had developed for the site. I’m not sure if this influenced the price (I doubt it did) but it may be a good factor if you don’t have a huge amount of traffic on your blog. Your social media efforts and development will only enhance the sale and prove that you were vested in building an audience for the blog.

I’m proud of the way the transaction went, even though I had to swallow my ego and accept a reasonable offer (far below my initial expectations).

What tips do you have for selling a blog?

Nikki Katz is the Managing Editor for the BlogWorld Blog. Feel free to follow her Twitter @nikki_blogworld and @katzni

Image Credit: SXC

What to Do Before & After Changing Your WordPress Theme

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Times change, preferences change, and blogs change. It’s such an easy thing to do, right? You just flip a switch in your WordPress admin and *poof* you have a new look! With all the amazing designs, I’m the first to admit that it’s hard to pick only one. Whether you are changing it for the first time or the fiftieth time – there are several steps to follow before and after implementing your theme change:

Before Changing Your WordPress Theme:

  • Backup Your Current Theme
    Just in case you edit your old theme, or pull items from it, you want to keep a backup in case you need to revert!

  • Revisit Your Categories & Pages
    In changing to a new theme, be careful of where the Categories and Pages list. If you are moving from a side navigation to a top navigation, you may need to pare down your category list and their titles in order to make it fit. Now is the time to make those changes, not after implementing the new theme.

  • Save Your Code
    Before I disable one theme, I typically create a document with all of my ad code, Adsense code, etc. I can then grab them and add them into the new theme in the appropriate locations.

  • Disable Your Plugins
    Not all plugins work well with all themes. In order to avoid chaos, your best bet is to disable all your plugins as you swap out the theme, and then add each one in slowly (testing your blog for errors).

After Changing Your WordPress Theme:

  • Check the Design and Broken Links
    Make sure that your Categories and Pages look appropriate and are all functional. Bounce around the site and make sure all of your links are in tact. Test the appearance of your blog in various browsers for consistency.

  • Check Your Sidebar
    Most themes come with a blogroll and links. You will want to edit these out and add your own.

  • Check Your RSS Feed
    Sometimes your RSS feed will get wonky. Test it out by subscribing to your blog and seeing how it comes across.

  • Add Your Analytics Code
    You will need to go back in and add your analytics code to the footer (or other section) of your theme.

  • Add Your Adsense Code/Ads
    You may need to edit your index and single page files if you embedded ads, affiliates, or Adsense code between your posts. This holds true for the sidebar, header, and footer as well. You may need to change the colors of your code to match with the new theme.

  • Enable Your Plugins
    Evaluate your plugins and enable the ones that are still necessary for your blog to look and run the way you want it to!

What about you? Do you have any tips for installing a new theme?

Nikki Katz is the Managing Editor for the BlogWorld Blog. Feel free to follow her Twitter @nikki_blogworld and @katzni

What to Do Before & After Changing Your WordPress Theme

Author:

Times change, preferences change, and blogs change. It’s such an easy thing to do, right? You just flip a switch in your WordPress admin and *poof* you have a new look! With all the amazing designs, I’m the first to admit that it’s hard to pick only one. Whether you are changing it for the first time or the fiftieth time – there are several steps to follow before and after implementing your theme change:

Before Changing Your WordPress Theme:

  • Backup Your Current Theme
    Just in case you edit your old theme, or pull items from it, you want to keep a backup in case you need to revert!

  • Revisit Your Categories & Pages
    In changing to a new theme, be careful of where the Categories and Pages list. If you are moving from a side navigation to a top navigation, you may need to pare down your category list and their titles in order to make it fit. Now is the time to make those changes, not after implementing the new theme.

  • Save Your Code
    Before I disable one theme, I typically create a document with all of my ad code, Adsense code, etc. I can then grab them and add them into the new theme in the appropriate locations.

  • Disable Your Plugins
    Not all plugins work well with all themes. In order to avoid chaos, your best bet is to disable all your plugins as you swap out the theme, and then add each one in slowly (testing your blog for errors).

After Changing Your WordPress Theme:

  • Check the Design and Broken Links
    Make sure that your Categories and Pages look appropriate and are all functional. Bounce around the site and make sure all of your links are in tact. Test the appearance of your blog in various browsers for consistency.

  • Check Your Sidebar
    Most themes come with a blogroll and links. You will want to edit these out and add your own.

  • Check Your RSS Feed
    Sometimes your RSS feed will get wonky. Test it out by subscribing to your blog and seeing how it comes across.

  • Add Your Analytics Code
    You will need to go back in and add your analytics code to the footer (or other section) of your theme.

  • Add Your Adsense Code/Ads
    You may need to edit your index and single page files if you embedded ads, affiliates, or Adsense code between your posts. This holds true for the sidebar, header, and footer as well. You may need to change the colors of your code to match with the new theme.

  • Enable Your Plugins
    Evaluate your plugins and enable the ones that are still necessary for your blog to look and run the way you want it to!

What about you? Do you have any tips for installing a new theme?

Nikki Katz is the Managing Editor for the BlogWorld Blog. Feel free to follow her Twitter @nikki_blogworld and @katzni

10 Must-Have Pages and Why Your Blog Needs Them

Author:
Shirley George Frazier

Today’s online environment requires more care and feeding for your blog than you may realize. Here are 10 suggested blog pages to add and reasons for each to boost followers, revenue, and security.

  1. Start Here.
    Let readers know, through a link and short description, which posts include basic explanations about your topic or industry.

  2. Why Subscribe?
    Explain to readers what they’ll miss if they don’t receive Email updates, which includes breaking news, money-making strategies, and problem-solving tips. This page also serves to increase RSS subscribers, a highly-relevant task if planning to offer sponsorship opportunities.

  3. How to Advertise.
    Marketers search for your unique audience to promote their products, so satisfy them with a page explaining your blog’s inception, its mission, update frequency, and rates. As an alternative, guard against competitive surveillance by providing an overview and detailing how to contact you.

  4. Speaking Topics.
    Extend an open invitation to readers who wish to contract you for keynote speeches, seminars, workshops, and other events. This page is different than the Contact page (explained below), as its purpose is to promote your expertise and let visitors know about presentation availability.

  5. Newsletter.
    Extend your readership to visitors who want to receive an online publication that complements the blog. If a newsletter is important but you don’t know what to write, start by sharing links from past posts highly rated by tweets and comments.

  6. Interviews.
    Your recorded radio show appearances and guest postings on other Web sites and blogs will be of interest to anyone who follows your topic, so create a page that links all of your recordings in one place.

  7. Videos.
    Got how-to ideas? Add a maximum of five YouTube-type visuals onto this page. Also, include a link to your video website or YouTube account if more videos are available elsewhere.

  8. About.
    Enlighten visitors on this page with your personality, telling them why you started the blog and sharing compelling reasons for reading and bookmarking it.

  9. Contact.
    How easily can readers connect with you for information they prefer not to ask online? Be sure this page includes your Email address and/or telephone number.

  10. Disclaimer.
    In this disclosure-conscious world, conditions that govern access are mandatory. Provide a brief explanation about the blog’s ownership, potential broken links due to natural aging, and your liability regarding visitors’ comments.

Which of these pages do you intend to include on your blog right now?

Shirley George Frazier is chief marketer at SoloBusinessMarketing.com and author of Marketing Strategies for the Home-Based Business: Solutions You Can Use Today. Read Shirley’s Solo Business Marketing blog, and follow her on Twitter @ShirleyFrazier or Email info@solobusinessmarketing.com.

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