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- WordPress has an entire section for creating a blogroll.
- Shoemoney has a blogroll.
- Blogroll is listed in the blogging dictionary (well, this version)
- Blogging Startup has a blogroll.
So, all real bloggers have a blogroll, right? Wrong. There is no requirement that a blog have a blogroll. In fact, many of the top blogs had dumped the concept of a blogroll.
Here are some reasons to include a blogroll:
- You have a great list of blogs that you want to share with your readers.
- You want to provide your readers with other resources on the topic of your blog.
- You want to use your blogroll as a tool for promoting your blog (watch for a future post on this topic).
Here are some reasons to not include a blogroll:
- You don’t want to offend anyone by excluding their blog.
- You don’t have a great list of other blogs.
- You do not have space on your blog.
- You just don’t feel like having one.
The bottom line is, having a blogroll is a matter of personal preference. But if you are going to have a blogroll, you want to do it right. This is the first in a series of short posts on blogrolls. Be sure to return and read the next post, regarding the “unwritten blogroll rule”.
A couple months ago, I followed an interesting discussion at Remarkablogger related to a new comment policy that Michael Martine posted for his blog. It seems that Michael had become frustrated with the increasing number of comments on his blog that appeared to be more interested in plugging their websites keywords than adding to the dialogue. After some very interesting and thoughtful comments from his readers on the new policy change, Michael posted a slightly modified policy.
It was fun to be an observer looking in as Michael worked to resolve this problem, but now I’m more than an observer. It seems that BloggingStartup has also entertained more than a couple comments that appear to be more about promoting someone’s website than adding valuable comments. Take, for instance, the last two comments on my April 6th post. The names given for the two commentors were “baccarat” and “Internet Advertising”. I have also had comments from individuals named POS Software, Hairstyles and EPOS in the last couple weeks. They each left comments specific to the post, so I left them alone.
So now the question is, should I continue to allow comments with these names, or should I enforce my policy of no keyword comment names. Hmmm, a real dilemma.
First, let me make a couple points. Number one is, I value each of my readers, including those that push keywords in their comment names. I don’t want to alienate anyone who takes the time to visit my little blog and read my posts. I particularly appreciate each individual that shares their thoughts through commenting. Also, I understand the desire on every bloggers part to promote their blog…and commenting on other blogs is a valuable means for doing this.
But ask Michael said on his blog (and I summarize), when you leave a keyword for your name, it means: “•It makes it difficult for me to respond…•It makes you look like a cheap spammer…•It makes me look cheap….•It simply isn’t appropriate.” So that lead me to make a decision. I decided that I can no longer allow comments to be left with a name that is mearly a keyword to promote your website. The names left on comments must somehow represent who you are. So let me share specifically what I mean and, at the same time, try to be as fair and flexible as possible.
If you use a personal name followed by a branding title, that is fine. For example, I often leave comments using the name Jim|BloggingStartup. This give my personal name and the title of the brand I want to promote. I specifically do not separate the two words in Blogging Startup because I do not want this interpreted as keyword plugging. Other acceptable examples from comments left on this blog include Gina Jackson Personal Fitness and Alex Top 10 Web Hosting Reviews. Although Alex’s name is a borderline example, at least I have a name.
If the name is the FULL name of your blog or website, that is acceptable. I know, this means that individuals will still be able to plug keywords if they are part of the blog name. But I will accept the premise that a blog or website name IS a personal identifier. Acceptable examples I’ve seen on this blog include ABlogContest, IndoContest, EWDirectory, and ExecutedToday. But adding spaces between words and .com on the end only makes it appear to be more advertising then commenting. By the way, I reserve the right to edit your name to comply with this expectation.
If your name is just keywords and not the full name of your blog, I will remove the comment or change the name. This is what I have done with comments in the past and those that I had recently allowed. I have also sent emails to each of the commentors to let them know of this action. If they send me an alternative name to use, I will repost their comment. But in the future, I can’t email everyone about this policy. Besides, any regular blogger should recognize that just using keywords for a name is not appropriate.
One final thing, I almost pulled Aaron Cook’s comments when I found out that he doesn’t even know where the kitchen is in his home. But I’ve decided to leave his comments as an act of solidarity with my blogging brother. Despite the suspect name, the blog is worth a visit.
And if you want to promote your blog (and if it’s no more than a year old) send me an email and ask for a review. There really is no need to stuffing your comment name with a bunch of keywords.
It’s time once again to dig the deepest depths of the blogosphere to bring you the best posts about blogging! But this time I’ve given the link roundup a new name. So, without further ado (whatever ado is?) here they are, the best of the best from the last week of March 2008.
WordPress Releases WordPress 2.5 Release Candidate 3 (Hack WordPress) – Okay, it’s just an announcement and a link, but it’s an important announcement for every WordPress blogger out there.
Simple Steps to Improving Quality of Posts (Blogtrepreneur) – Steven Snell lists some great tips for making each of your post a powerful message. This is a list every new blogger should read and remember.
Which Type of Blogger Are You – Leader or Follower (The BlogEntrepreneur) – Copycats beware! Bill is not going to let you get away with just mirroring the great bloggers. His post calls for originality and passion in your blogging, but just replicating the John Chow post.
How to Build Traffic Without Marketing (Entrepreneur’s Journey) – Is it possible to build your blog traffic without active marketing? Yaro Starak says yes, and his article describes how search engine traffic, like that from Google, can be attracted with a healthy supply of blog content.
Another Premium Theme Giveaway (Blog Oh! Blog) – Every new blogger must make that difficult decision of choosing a theme. But what if you would start with a high quality, premium theme for free? Jai Nischal Verma designs some of the best free and premium themes for WordPress, and now he’s giving away another premium theme. To enter, just blog about the contest and be sure there’s a link in the contest comments. In the meantime, take a look at the Trueblogger theme that Jai is giving away.
How a Few Measly Words can Dramatically Improve Your Blog Headline and Content (Copyblogger) – Wow, some great practical advise from Sean D’Souza. Stop struggling with writing your blog headlines and follow Sean’s excellent advice and crafting a powerful title.
20 Types of Pages that Every Blogger Should Consider (ProBlogger) – If you’re not reading ProBlogger, here’s another reason you should start. This post by ProBlogger creater, Darren Rowse, is packed with excellent ideas and recommendations for your blog pages. A must read.
How to Use Forums to Get Blog Traffic (ClickNewz) – If you’ve not been following the 31 day series by Lynn Terry, you should be. This post is #26 in the series on how to become a better blogger (based on the Collis Ta’eed article). Here Lynn provides simple, but effective advice for using online forums to promote your blog.
First, let me give a little history behind my blog murder plot. As many of you know, I own and write for several blogs…four to be exact. I am also developing a trivia website, run a site for our disc golf club, and manage the website at my day job. It’s a lot to manage, but that was the plan from the beginning. I would put up blogs covering the topics I felt most passionate about and would drop any blog that didn’t attract a strong reader base.
Well, SevenActions.com is the under-performing blog. Here are the performance facts:
- I have averaged 3 posts a week since launching on January 1, 2008…68 days ago.
- Traffic is currently averaging 94 daily uniques, but nearly all of that traffic is from two posts that were wildly successful with Stumble traffic.
- Subscribers currently total an unimpressive 11, with a past high of only 19.
- Comments are rare on any of the posts. The average is .9 comments per post.
What these numbers tell me is that readers are simply not connecting with the blog. Design is some of the problem, but I believe content is a much bigger issue. Here are the problems with the blog from my perspective.
- First and foremost, the blog suffers from an unclear mission. The idea of Seven Actions was to look at our entire lives through seven different actions, but that has lead to posts with varied topics and no consistency for the reader.
- The blog design is boring, from the amateurish logo (my design) to the simplistic theme. I am using a premium theme on the site, but I’m not happy with the results.
- The subscriber button is not prominently displayed.
- I don’t post frequently enough about my own success with personal goal achievement. These posts seem to get the most reads from non-Stumble traffic.
So, I’m left with a dilemma. And like some other desperate men before me, I am considering murder as an easy way out. I am thinking about killing the blog. Of course, there are options. Here are the ideas I have come up with.
- Sell the blog to someone who could turn it into a successful site.
- Make changes to the design and content – try to make it work.
- Revamp the entire concept of the site. Change it from a blog to a resource site for personal achievement. Some of the existing content could be used.
- Call up my cousin’s friend and ask him to “take care of the job.” I’ve been told he is discrete and efficient. I don’t want any problems…if you know what I mean.
OR, I could post about this on Blogging Startup and ask your opinion. So, what do you suggest? Is it possible to save this blog, or should I put it out of it’s misery? Making the changes needed to give the blog a clear direction could be quite challenging…any thoughts on how to do that? I’m looking forward to hearing your ideas.
By the way, there are five more days in the BS contest, and every comment here will earn one entry!
Before I start any new activity, I love to read up on it. My shelves are filled with books on tennis, coin collecting and moth breeding. Blogging was no different for me. But when I dropped by my local bookstore, I found a real shortage of books on the topic of blogging. Actually, there were two and one was a book about bloggers, not how to blog (although it was still a great read).
So, when you can’t find what you need in the book store, what do you do? GOOGLE IT! So I did and look what I found. I have downloaded and read more than 40 eBooks on blogging, Internet marketing and running a website. And there are more. I actually got a 4″ binder to place the better eBooks in for reading and taking notes. Here is a list of the books in my Blogging eBooks binder.
Blog Traffic Made Easy – A 22 page guide to bringing hundreds of targeted visitors to your blog each day. And for you tightwads, don’t worry about money. None of the steps will cost you a dime. BTW, don’t call it an eBook…author John Robinson is not a fan of the word.
Blog Profits Blueprint – The first blogging eBook I read was Yaro Starak’s Blog Profits Blueprint. The book is about making money through blogging, but there are sections about increasing traffic and writing pillar articles that benefit all bloggers. You will have to give Yaro your secret, private, level-5 email address to get the eBook, but don’t worry…I get an email from Yaro only every week or two and the information is usually worth reading. Besides, he always includes an opt-out link at the bottom of the email.
Who’s There? Seth Godin’s Incomplete Guide to Blogs and the New Web – Okay, if you’re asking, who the hell is Seth Godin? Then you really need to read this eBook. Don’t look for step-by-step directions for making a beautiful blog. Seth is a thinker. He understands the web and blogs better than most of us (I’m tryin’ to catch up). In this eBook Seth explains how the web is changing and the role of blogs in the new web. Even though the eBook is already two years old, it will really help you to start looking at your blog differently.
Killer Flagship Content – We have a saying here at Blogging Startup. Well, I have a saying…but if there were others, it would be we. Oh yeah, the saying is…CONTENT IS KING! And if content is king, then Chrig Garrett is the guy that wrote a great eBook about the king. So, if you want to write really great content for your blog, check out Chris’ eBook. You will need to subscribe to his blog or newsletter to get the link, but it’s worth it. If your subscription feed only gives you links to blog posts (like Google’s Homepage) then you won’t get the links, so click here.
How to Develop Money-Making Niche Sites with WordPress – If you are just starting your first blog with the intent to make money, check out this eBook. Caroline give step-by-step instructions with screen shots, so you know exactly what to do. If you’ve been blogging for a while, this guide may be a bit basic. But if you are just getting started, this is a must-read.
Authority Black Book, Version 2.0 for 2008 – There seems to be some correlation between giving up your email address and getting a great eBook in return. Drop by Jack Humphrey’s website to sign up for your free copy of the lengthy, detailed, and extremely informative PDF about generating traffic and winning customers. Don’t worry too much about winning customers, if that’s not your thing. You will find plenty of great tips and resources for getting traffic to your blog.
50 Easy Ways to PROMOTE Your Website – This is a list of 50 promotional strategies for websites and blogs, some easy, some more involved. I strongly recommend downloading a copy of this eBook and finding a few of the promotional ideas that you can apply today. By the way, the website for this Book uses just about every marketing strategy you can think of…including the irritating pop-up window. But the page I’ve linked to has no popup…yet. Email address required.
The Art and Science of Blogger Relations – This may be the oddest addition to my list, because the book is not really about how to blog, but about public relations and blogging. Brian Solis’s detailed and knowledgeable explanation of blogging, public relations, readers and social media is very insightful. I’ve read this one twice and will read it again before the year is over. It give you a look at blogging from another perspective, that of a PR pitchman. To grab a copy of this free 53 page document, visit thinkfreedocs.com by clicking the title link.
Bigshot Blogging – You can always count on Bryan Clark to put out some of the best blogging information on the Internet, and his eBook is no exception. Packed with tons of great blogging advice from getting your blog up and running to promoting it through social media. As an extra bonus, this is probably one of the most attractive eBooks you will find. Bryan did a top notch job and it shows. Email required.
UPDATE (8-5-2009) The original link is now invalid, as Bryan is no longer operating his original website. Therefore, I’ve changed to link to the ebook file I found online after a bit of searching. The author is not the same on the cover of the book (no idea why), but it is the same book that Bryan had on his original website.
How to Start a Business Blog – When it comes to teaching others how to find blogging success, Michael Martine is head of the class. This eBook is a unique guide to blogging (really, not just business blogs will benefit) that is organized as a workbook. That’s right. You don’t just read this book, you actually use it to plan, set-up and create a successful blog. All of this for just the cost of subscribing to Remarkablogger, one of my 7 Must Read Blogs for New Bloggers.
WordPress SEO for Beginners – If you like Jai Nischal Verma’s WordPress themes, you’re gonna love his eBook too. This short, but guide to search engine optimization for WordPress bloggers is a great guide to finding more search engine traffic. Learn to tweak your blog for maximum recognition by the search engine crawlers. One afternoon with this eBook, your computer and a cup ‘o joe will provide some great results.
There you have it, hundreds of pages of great information about blogging, web traffic and the new social media. And an advantage about eBook is that the authors can easily update and republish them at little cost. So, make your own blogging notebook by printing out the PDFs, three hole punch them, and place them in a binder. Use tabs to separate the books and carry it with you everywhere you go. I suggest pulling it out during boring meeting, on train rides and when waiting for your circus audition. These are all great reads and well worth your time.