I am so freaking cool. Don’t even think otherwise mere mortal. Magnificent. Superhuman. Awe-inspiring. Glorious. Spine-tingling.
Okay, that’s enough boastful exaggeration. At the time of this publication the population of the Earth was approximately 6,619,141,604, not including midgets and hairy Sasquatch. Also at the time of this publication Technorati says that this blog is ranked 97,290 of all things blog like. Of course Technorati is fucked up as hell but that’s beside the point. Anything that says you’re cool is fun. Breaking the 100,000 mark was sort of a milestone. Something like getting that first 100 subscribers, that first comment from an A-Lister, that first million, that first sexual experience, and so on. Okay, I’m full of shit. 97k isn’t much to brag about but for a part-time blog that I can’t give real attention to it isn’t bad. The important thing is that the numbers are steadily increasing.
I didn’t have an explosive rise like some bloggers do (congrats to Patrick). I thought I would go through some things I did well and some things I didn’t and things I still hope to improve upon.
Things I Did Right (I Think)
- Have A Unique Voice – This is one I think is very important. Your visitors don’t want to read something they just read on Search Engine Land. Feel free to write about something you found there but add value to your post. Give people your opinions whatever they are. Regurgitated news is one of my biggest pet peeves.
Post Consistently But Not Carelessly – I don’t do a high number of posts (not enough time in the day) but I tend to post once or twice a week and deliver the Friday Tea Time on schedule. Occasionally I miss it but when you have something people like be sure to deliver it. However, as I’ve mentioned before, don’t sacrifice quality just to be consistent.
SEO – Basic SEO will go far. I haven’t actively marketed this blog much so I’m just relying on referrals and search engine traffic. Use popular plugins like SEO Title Tag, use the post slug to customize your URL, pay attention to your keywords, and do your basic link building.
Keep Your Blog Clean – Don’t confuse your audience with advertising clutter all over the place. Make it easy for readers to subscribe to your feed. Unless you do multiple posts per day, then only use one feed. I know you’ve read elsewhere to have a feed for each category, but I disagree with that blanket statement. In a few cases it may apply, but it’s not the norm. Keep it simple.
Converse With Your Audience – When someone takes the time to comment about one of your posts, it’s rude not to respond. If they disagree you can have meaningful debate, and if they agree you can just thank them for stopping by. I realize that when you have 10,000 readers it’s probably not possible but getting started you have to do this.
Converse With Other Bloggers – Post relevant comments and opinions on other blogs and do it regularly. This is another time issue for me but I do my best. A-Listers or Z-Listers (me) you’ll gain respect and readers will know you’re here to stay if they see you in other places. Don’t name call and don’t post a bunch of “Nice Post” comments. Add something. Don’t dump your links all over your comments unless they are actually relevant!
Find Alternate Methods To Gain Traffic – Things like StumbleUpon can give you a big subscriber boost. Here is my #1 tip for using their ad network: Don’t submit your homepage. Instead select some of your best posts and promote those. $50 is worth the connections you’ll make from it. MyBlogLog is another good one for me. It will bring some decent traffic in. Hint: Have a good avatar and use it consistently. I think mine kicks ass and people remember it. I wish I could find the guy who designed it so I could give him some link love.
Things I Could Do Better (I Think)
Create A Top Posts Section – I really need to do this, I just haven’t had time. I keep writing these long ass posts instead of improving my blog. Creating a top post section will let new visitors get an idea about the quality and topics on your blog. You should have an idea fairly quickly from your analytics.
Improve My About Page – When I first started blogging I didn’t think many people would bother to read that, but it isn’t the case at all. My about page is too short and boring. I need to put up some more information on my experience and post links to other places on the web that I can regularly be found. A good example of an about page is Alister Cameron. This technique also will let you p0wn the results for your vanity search.
Quit Talking About Google In Every Post – It’s hard but there are other things to talk about.
Post More Blackhat Stuff – I have the same syndrome as all black/gray hats…we don’t like to divulge information. When shady stuff works we don’t want the Google Gestapo hunting down our methods. I’m changing my thought process on this one though. By the time you figure out some blackhat technique and get it posted you’ll need to be changing it up anyway. Posting some of that information will let people new into the SEO world learn. If you haven’t heard it before…the best whitehats were blackhats first. Unless your name is Rand. He just kicks ass.
Run More Tests – One of the most visited posts on this blog is the Wikipedia data I published a while back. This type of research takes a lot of effort but it is rewarded in the end. Another great example is the web analytics study that was done by Stone Temple Consulting. Quite possibly the longest study that is freely available. That could have easily been in MarketingSherpa.
Fix My Search Bar – I just realized it doesn’t work right if you’re inside a post. A good reason to constantly test different parts of your site.
Give Away Stuff – Everyone likes free stuff. That’s a no-brainer.
Be More Sociable – Everyone in the SEO industry is easy going and will happily sit down and chat over a beer. There are still a lot of people I haven’t met thus far and I plan on doing much more networking at conferences and so forth. I just have to quit being so scary.
Well, that about wraps up this post. Anyone that has any ideas on how I could improve my blog please comment of shoot me an email. I’m a big fan of constructive criticism. We all know we’re always learning! If you want to say hello and meet the 97,289 people that are more magnificent than me, register for PubCon. It’s warmer than Chicago.