Blog Smartly and Let the Cash Pour In
To be really popular as a blogger, you must encourage visitors from commenting on your posts. After writing a long opinion about something on your blog, the best way to conclude is by saying – “What do you think”? When your blog receives frequent comments, new site visitors will also get the impression that your blog is popular and they too may consider subscribing to your blog.
Always respond to user comments. Most visitors who leave comments tend to return after some time to read other comments on the topic. If their comment remains unanswered, it could discourage them from posting new comments in the future.
Don’t get discouraged by negative feedback. You will always find some people who have bad things to say about what you have written. If the comment is too aggressive or uses foul language, it is best to remove it from the blog. After all, your blog is not a public restroom.
More visitors mean more ad impressions, which in turn means more revenue. From the perspective of search engines, a blog is no different from a website. All the basic search engine optimization rules equally apply to any blog, for a good search engine ranking. Search engines love blogs more than regular websites, since blogs are content-rich and turn up new content more frequently than websites.
Discussing Search Engine Optimizer, SEO, techniques may be beyond the scope of this article but still, I would mention some of the most important things, that bloggers should bear in mind while designing their blog and posting content:
Write good titles: Blog titles is one of the best ways to attract readers to your blog. Write meaningful titles that convey the essence of your blog posts. A title like “Look at this cool wireless device” is likely to fetch very few visitors when compared with “Nikon P1 Wireless Digital Camera Review”.
· Time is always a problem for most web surfers – a usability study has shown that people merely scan a site and don’t read the content word by word. Therefore, highlight the important words (make them bold), italicize the lines to get people to at least read the most important portions of your story.
· Don’t substitute text with graphics. Agreed, that a picture is worth a thousand words in real life but the same may not hold true for search engines. You can always complement your posts with a nice looking, small graphic but in doing so, don’t replace the text content. Google or Yahoo cannot read the text inside your pictures – they understand only textual content.
· Before using multimedia content like audio-video clips, flash files – think of the user who visits your website using a slow dialup connection – the site may take ages to load on the user’s screen and you tend lose the all-important visitor. It’s highly unlikely that he’ll ever visit your site again. Use small graphics instead.
· Don’t write lengthy content, as visitors are very likely to lose interest. Instead, break the content in different parts and link them together.
More than 60% of the web population cannot understand English. But thanks to online translation services like Google Translate, Babel Fish or World Lingo, you can let non-English speaking visitors translate your blog into their native language.
· Use web analytics software like Google Analytics (formerly, Urchin), Statcounter or Sitemeter to track what visitors are doing on your website. These free services can help you discover what sections on your website are more popular, how did people reach your site, how long they stayed, their browser, screen resolution and tonnes of other important details. Using this information, you can estimate what people are actually looking for on your website. Understand what content is popular and why is it popular. You can apply these lessons learned to the less-popular content.
· Not everyone in this world understands RSS – many internet users won’t now how to use a RSS reader like Newsgator or Bloglines, but they definitely know e-mail. There are tons of RSS-to-email services like FeedBlitz or Bloglet that let people subscribe to your blog by e-mail. You must use them to widen your subscriber base.
There are plenty of other things that can help increase the visibility of your website. If you like to contribute your own tips, please leave them in the comments section.
The next big thing - we have talked about visitors but what ads which will actually generate money. Let’s look at some effective techniques for monetizing your blog:
· Use ads above the main page fold – that’s the most important thing in my opinion. Users should notice the ad as soon as they land on your site without scrolling further.
· Wide Rectangle Formats (300x250) generally perform better than leader boards and small rectangles because the eyes are used to reading content from left to right.
· Your ad placement should blend with the content. Use colour schemes that match with whole page theme – if you use highly contrasting colours assuming that it will attract attention, it won’t work, as the ad clearly tells the user – “Hey, I am an Ad”
For short posts, ads work best when they are placed above the content, while for lengthy ones, try an ad placement at the bottom of the post. When readers finish reading the content, they generally look for related resources to learn more.
· Organize a party of your friends and relatives – Show them your website and look at their navigation pattern – this could give important pointers about which areas on your website attract more attention and which areas are likely to be ignored by the users.
· Don’t make heavy use of stop words like death, murder, kill, etc if you are using the Adsense programme. Google would stop displaying ads on pages that use these stop words. There are exceptions as well, like in one case, a user wrote on Dead Pixels on LCD screens – the post had the word ‘dead’ in multiple places and Google did accept the page.
· Remember not to clutter your website with too many ad units. This could leave a bad impression on your user and he may go away forever. Use your own judgment – if you see a similar layout on a third website, what kind of impression would you form of that website.
Google Developer Expert, Google Cloud Champion
Amit Agarwal is a Google Developer Expert in Google Workspace and Google Apps Script. He holds an engineering degree in Computer Science (I.I.T.) and is the first professional blogger in India.