Monday, March 19, 2012

Your Reader's First Impression... your post title.

I've talked before about choosing keyword savvy titles.  Keyword oriented titles are important for search engine purposes.  They help people to find your blog on the internet.

But it's also important to keep those readers once they do find your blog.  Your blog title is your reader's first impression.  Much of what makes someone decide to continue reading is how a title is phrased.  Think of newspaper headlines; which article would you rather read?

Man buried himself alive!


An interesting thing that someone did.

Regardless of content, you are automatically going to be attracted to the more interesting title.  So, yes, this takes practice.  But the title of each post is incredibly important.  Make an effort to include one or two keywords.  Then work with rearranging them in a way that would make you want to click on your article.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Google AdSense for Blogs: Is it worthwhile?

Let's first start out with what Google AdSense is...

Google AdSense is Google's way of giving blog authors the opportunity to make money on their blog.  Essentially, you put advertisements up on your blog and when people click on the advertisement, you get a small percentage of the money Google made from that one click.

There are many types of similar services out there if you want to make advertising money but AdSense is definitely one of the larger ones.  It's also one of the most user-friendly ones because Google does most of the work for you.  You decide which spaces you want to allot to advertising and then Google will scan the content of your site to place applicable ads.  So if you have a car blog, you will probably see a lot of car-related ads.

What's the other shoe, right?

The most obvious thing is that you have to have advertisements on your blog.  You can choose how many and where these advertisements are placed.  However, if you totally coat your blog with "flashing neon" it might be a turn off for readers.

But does it generate money?  Yes and no.  I have AdSense on most of my blogs and I get the occasional click here and there which amounts to a few cents to a couple of dollars a month.  But all of my blogs tend to be very niche.  So compared to, say, a gossip blog that follows Snooki's latest scandals, I'm going to have much lower traffic overall.

At the risk of sounding like a Debbie Downer, I feel like the age where you could make hundreds of thousands of dollars from blog ads has come and gone.  The ads have actually become better and more targeted.  But that just can't keep up with the fact that most of the USA's population has become internet savvy.  Going back to my go-to reality check: when was the last time I ever clicked on an ad to find something?

Monday, March 5, 2012

How To Get Blog Traffic: Backlinks

I've already gone over before what a backlink is.  So the focus of this post will be how to help increase the number of backlinks which will, in turn, increase your blog traffic.

So, bad news first: there is no quick and easy way to make your blog instantly popular.  It takes work and, unfortunately, time.  The top blogs in any category are  usually several years old and have accumulated a following from natural growth.

But there are ways to "plant the seed" as it were.  The first thing you should try is emailing the link for your blog to close family and friends.  Don't pester them.  But it is totally reasonable to announce to people you know "hey, I started a blog."  The key here is to email the link.  If you tell people, they will probably forget.  But an email can be sent around.

The second thing to do is communicate with other bloggers in your genre.  If you write about food, check out other food blogs.  If you blog about computers games, check out gaming blogs.  See if any of these bloggers/sites have areas where they list other websites.  Those are the lists you need to be on.  Even if the link never gets clicked on, it's important your link got listed somewhere else online.

Twitter and Facebook are also good tools.  Oddly enough, a link on either of those mediums doesn't count as a backlink.  But you can have people find your blog through those mediums and, in turn, possibly post the backlink somewhere else.

Online forums are also an extremely effective tool.  If you become a regular forum member, you will have numerous opportunities to share blog links.  Additionally, if people like you on the forum, they will be inclined to share your blog link all all the forums they visit.

Again, all of these suggestions are merely seeds you can plant.  True blog audience growth will only happen with time.