Welcome to The Blog Report

I'm so glad you stopped by and hope you find this blog an interesting read. I've been blogging since April of 2006, currently the author of six public and two private blogs. In the beginning I knew absolutely nothing about blogging. Over the years through trial and error, frustration and elation, and a few tears I've learned a lot. However, the learning process when it comes to blogging continues to evolve. Here you will find a hodge podge of my blogging experiences, useful codes and how-tos, sprinkled liberally with my opinions. Enjoy!

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Monday, January 31, 2011

DoFollow or NoFollow, That is the Question

A couple of years ago when I was still active in Entrecard the idea of making your blog a DoFollow was heavily stressed. There is even a badge for your blog announcing that if U Comment I Follow. What this really meant is the rel="nofollow" attribute was removed from comments and backlinks telling search engines to follow and index that link. The premise was that making your blog a DoFollow blog comments would increase and for many they did.  An underlying problem that many bloggers didn't realize though is that with increased comments come increased comment spam. 

There are a few ways of dealing with increased comment spam with one of the most effective being comment moderation.  Increased comment spam through making your blog a DoFollow means increased work on your end for moderating comments.  Blogger now has comment spam detection so that is a help as well.

The biggest problem that bloggers didn't realize is by making their blog DoFollow is some of the backlinks went to what would be classified by the search engines as spammy sites or worse into bad neighbourhoods.  Essentially search engines do not like you giving link love to spam sites whether you knew they were a spam site or not.  Unfortunately, Mr. G. does penalize your blog for having these types of links on your blog whether they are in the main part of the blog or in the comments. 

There are two solutions to this problem.  The first and easiest solution is to make your blog a nofollow blog.  If you want to keep your blog as a DoFollow then you must, must, must check out each and every link left in the comments.  It's not good enough that you check them only when posted either as many spammers are great at setting up redirects.  If in doubt, do not allow that link at all.  You can strip the url if you wish or simply reject the comment.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Linking to Blogs I Author

As an author of six blogs I can see the pros to interlinking between my blogs.  During my research for prepping my blogs for their own domains, I found that occasionally linking one blog to another in the posts is not a bad thing.  What I did find out is like many other bloggers I have my other blogs' badges in the sidebar with a link to them.  This apparently is not a good thing as Mr. G. may interpret this as one blog merely being a page of another blog resulting in no PR.  The way to solve this problem is to add the rel="nofollow" to these links.  Now Mr. G won't follow and index these links allowing each blog to earn its PR yet readers can still click on the badges to read my other blogs.  This is one of the little tweaks I did across all of my blogs as part of my prep work.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Revisiting Cloud Tags

Blogger makes it easy to add a label cloud aka tag cloud.  As a result of the recent PR update I have been doing a lot of troubleshooting.  Yes I know if PR changes you should not make any drastic changes.  By drastic I mean changes like a complete theme overhaul.  However, if there is something that needs changing this is likely the time to do it.  I'm prepping my blogs to move them over to their own domains so I've been doing a lot of research on how to better my blogs.

Adding cloud tags or labels was all the rage shortly after I started blogging.  About a year ago they resurfaced so following the trend I added them to all of my blogs.  It made sense that a label cloud would help visitors find more information on my blogs.  A couple of days ago I came upon two fairly recent articles warning against using cloud tags.  Mr. G. has likened these to link farms even though they are internal links on your own blog.  Well needless to say, I'm removing the label tags from my blogs.  I always thought they were rather clunky looking anyway so this is a good excuse to remove them.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Migrating to My Own Domains

I've owned two domains for a couple of years now but so far haven't used them.  With the recent PR update I got to thinking this would be the best time to migrate my blogs to their own domains, especially the cooking blog.  I don't have Adsense on my cooking blog so switching to its own domain shouldn't affect much other than the massive work of updating where I have my links out to but with Blogger's auto redirect I shouldn't lose much in traffic.  I'll be migrating all of my blogs but work on one at a time over the next few week.  This should be interesting ;)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The New YouTube

Many bloggers including myself like to use YouTube to add videos to blogs.  In case you missed it, YouTube is now owned by Google who has slowly been making a few changes.  In the old YouTube you could choose a colour frame to co-ordinate with your blog giving a nice almost tv look to the video.  A few months ago I noticed the whole frame was no longer available leaving just the bottom bar but still you could customize the colour to your blog.  Well a couple of days ago I logged in to find a few videos for my blogs and the whole frame has been replaced with a generic YouTube bottom bar with no colour choice.  Needless to say I'm not really happy about this change.  If I wanted generic I would look for a site that only offers generic options.  In my opinion YouTube has taken a step backwards!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Pagerank Update

Well the rumour went out that Google had updated their page rank so being a sucker for punishment I moseyed on over to check all of my blogs' page rank.  None of them changed except the blog I have been working the hardest on.  And that's not a good thing either.  For example this blog has had daily posts since it first began and yet the PR hasn't changed a bit.  My cooking blog was a PR 4 but has been reduced to PR3 despite publishing 364 posts in 2010.  Now with my cooking blog the only major change I made was to remove Adsense in favour of an exclusive and well paying private contract when I changed the template.  I can't help but wonder if removing Adsense made a difference?  There is no way that changing a template could affect the PR this way especially when it is a tweaked Blogger template. 

The rule of thumb when PR changes negatively is to not do anything.  This is very difficult though because the first instinct is panic changing.  Essentially if you have not made any changes then Google has in some manner adjusted their algorithm so you blog should be back up to the former PR ranking with their next update.  In this case I did remove Adsense ads and while that may be the reason for a decrease PR ranking I doubt it.  I'm going to carry on as I have been and hope that the PR returns to a 4 at the next update.

Garden Gnome

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Finding Blog Fodder

Finding blog fodder is really not as difficult as it may seem sometimes, or at least for me it isn't.  The reason being, my blog fodder tends to come directly from my life and usually what's happening at the time or something that strikes my fancy.  For example, between yesterday and today I've been busy making beef and chicken stocks to can so I immediately have blog fodder to use in an up coming post on my cooking blog.  In other words the blog fodder is all around me which makes it a bit easier to blog about.  I often find too that as I'm blogging about something for one of my blogs it triggers a blog post for another of my blogs.  And so it goes...

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Get Ahead Blogging Days

When I first started blogging in the spring of 2006 the idea of setting a schedule for writing blog posts was the furthest thing from my mind.  The reality was and still is I am home most days so can fit writing blog posts in whenever I need a break from other household activities.  I now author six blogs so ideally I should be writing six posts daily if I want new posts each day.  However, it doesn't work that way.  Instead I rely heavily on pre-scheduling post to run as desired.  The reason for this is some days I don't write any blog posts at all.  I may not write any blog posts for two or three days in a row.  Then there are the get ahead blogging days.

Get ahead blogging days are those days when I can write several posts to be scheduled.  These are the days I'm on a roll so I may write all of the Kitchen Quick Tips and/or Wordless Wednesday posts for the month and even the following month.  What happens is as these 8 to 16 posts are scheduled the list of scheduled posts on my post list for each blog grows which triggers that additional feeling that encourages writing another couple of posts to fill in a blank or two.  Before I know it I've written a few more posts.  It's as if seeing the growing list of posts scheduled to run spurs me on.  These are the productive writing days!  The get ahead blogging days help me enjoy the days I don't write any blog posts.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

How to Add a Scrolling Text Box

From time to time it is nice to add extra content outside of the main post.  In this case a scrolling text box comes in quite handy.

Here's the code:

>textarea cols="50" rows="30">type your text here</textarea<
* change the opening > to < and the closing < to >

Here is how it looks:

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Check Those Links

I wrote earlier about the importance of checking existing links on your blogs.  The reason for this is urls change and links go dead.  Another reason to check existing links is to be sure they are not directed towards any websites or blogs that Google considers bad neighbourhoods.    It is a good policy to get into the habit of checking each link as you add them to your blog.  Blogger makes this quite easy.

Using Blogger's new editor, highlight the word or phrase you want to turn into a link.  A pop-up box will appear with two choices - website or email.  Click on website the paste or type in the desired url.  Under the box for the url there is a link to test link.  Click on that.  A pop-up will appear to load the link.  If the link loads the site properly you are ready to add that link.  If it doesn't load properly you can go back and check it.  This way you know for certain any links you add in this manner are working when you add them.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Blogging Would Be So Easy If...

...all a blogger had to worry about was writing and publishing posts.  However, blogging includes so much more than just writing and publishing.  It's surprising just how much is involved with blogging, how many little behind the scenes things you have to do and so on.  Here's a list of a few things involved in my blogging experience but I'm sure there are lots other bloggers have to do more:

  • HTML - learning, always learning and applying
  • taking pictures
  • editing pictures
  • learning how to use supporting software effective to help blog
  • design - themes, buttons, colours, and etc
  • advertising - accepting advertising to appear on the blog, advertising my blogs for traffic and readers
  • networking - this is almost never ending
  • finding blog fodder - never ending

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Devaluing Your Readers

I visit a fair number of blogs on a daily basis.  The past couple of days I have noticed a horrid trend with some bloggers.  They have essentially turned their blogs into a huge billboard for a particular fruit juice that is holding some type of contest.  There is copious advertising for this fruit juice.  There's paid posts about this fruit juice.  Even their backgrounds have been changed to show multiple copies of the fruit juice logo and the logo added to their header.  It doesn't help that the primary colour is almost a neon orange that is more than rude on the eyes.  Talk about devaluing your readers!

Many bloggers have advertising on their blogs but nowhere near this extent.  I find it quite distasteful to the point they have lost me as a reader.  I will also be blocking their ads from running on any blog advertising networks I use.   Now it takes a lot for me to get to this point but when I see something like this, I don't ask questions, I just act.  I would hazard a guess that these bloggers will be losing a few readers as a result.  Oh and I won't be buying that juice either!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Blogging Gremlins

There are days I am sure blogging gremlins are at work.  They always seem to gang up too.  For example, I may get up knowing I want to get a couple of posts written for one of my blogs but then the blogging gremlins come into play.  My very pissy internet that high price, low quality and goes out if a mosquito flies through the beam starts acting up.  I unplug the modem and wait a good 10 minutes before resetting while I sip on a hot coffee and edit some photos.  I check the connection again and nothing.  This little scenario goes on for most of the morning and sometimes the internet cuts out entirely for a couple of hours.  By now anger is mounting but at least I got a few pictures edited and ready to use for blogging but now temporary blogger's block sets in.  So I head over to do my Adgitize and CMFAds, do a bit of networking and traffic building.  All of a sudden Twitter seems a lot more interesting and there goes the rest of the day.  I sit down in the evening intending to get at least one post done but there's and interesting show on television and by now I'm exhausted.  Then the real estate agent calls wanting to know if she could show the house tomorrow.  I'm back into full gear doing a spit & shine mumbling about my perfect day to get a bit ahead blogging going down the drain and knowing little blogging would get done until after the showing.  The next morning I'm a bit testy when I look out to see about 8 - inches of newly fallen snow which wasn't good for me regardless of how I looked at it.  I continue working on the house when about a half hour from the showing the real estate agent called to rebook for the following day (nice another day messed up for blogging) and the internet was so fickle because there was still a snow flake or two within a hundred miles of the beam.  Finally the internet settled down and Blogger started acting up!   Honestly, blogging gremlins were at work I tell you.  And believe me this all happened to me last week!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Heads Up - Stay Away From the Buxes!

One of the goals of many bloggers is to make a little money online if only enough to cover their internet connection costs.  I have seen some bloggers advertising the 'bux' sites on their blogs so am assuming if they are advertising them they are likely using them.  These sites really have nothing to do with blogging other than advertising them.  By now most bloggers have seen the 'bux' sites that are in the format ___bux(dot)com with a short word to fill in the blank.  These sites promise payouts as low as $1 for clicking on advertisements presented to the member.  Usually there is a set amonut of ads ranging from 4 to 6 per day paying 1¢ per click so you can only earn a few cents daily at best.  What these sites are not telling you is most of them are a sham!  Anyone can buy a site hosted on the bux(dot)com domain for $25.  They set up shop, do a bit of advertising to get members to join.  If they are lucky they will get the member to upgrade their membership then poof they are gone with any of the piddly earnings you made and your membership fee.  I personally lost $6.56 between two of the bux sites but reports are now coming out with other bloggers losing over $50.  Some have reported cashing out at over $50 but when they checked their account the bux site had deposited only a few cents.  There is no recourse.  Basically these sites are a waste of time and effort.  My advice with respect to the bux sites is to stay away from them.  Do not be tempted to try their scam.  More importantly do not advertise these types of sites on your blog.

Monday, January 17, 2011

What's in a Title

The title of a blog post can in some ways make or break the post especially with respect to search engine traffic.  I was actually saddened to read on one blog network where a member said she did not pay attention to the title but then all she was in it for is to do the clicking to make money not really read the blogs.  This is not the norm though.  The title of a blog post is the first thing to catch the eye of the reader and it should be constructed as such to catch the attention of the search engine bots.  Cutesy, non-description titles like "Oh No!!!" may catch the attention of a reader familiar with your blog or one dropping by out of curiosity but will do absolutely nothing for catching the attention of search engine bots. 

Leave cute at the door!  You want your post titles to be effective at catching the attention of both readers and search engines.  An effective title needs to be short and to the point, containing at least one keyword or key phrase.  Add a bit of pizzazz by using a well chosen adjective.  If in doubt use the KISS Hypothesis - Keep It Simple Silly!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Creating Internal Blog Links

Shortly after starting to blog I realized it was more efficient to use a link to a previous post than repeat the information again.  This is easily achieved using a link in the new post to the previous post.  This is known as building internal links.  It is a good way of avoiding redundancy within a blog while getting some of the older posts traffic.

There are three ways I've found to create internal links.  One of the easiest ways is to use the widget Link Within.  This add three links of interest at the end of each post giving the reader similar posts to check out.  It is a bit indirect but quite effective at creating internal links.  Another way is to add an element (widget) in blogger that lists the three most popular posts.  This widget should be put where readers will notice it either before the posts or in the side bar.  The final way is to use a text link within a post to a previous post.  All are effective ways to create internal blog links.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Bloggers Exchange

The last week or so I have noticed a new link exchange called 'The Boggers Exchange'.  It is easy to notice as each blogger participating has their 'shield badge' along with at least one post listing about a hundred blogs.  Now I though Mr. Linky was bad but this thing is just downright horrid!  It is so spammish that I've given up visiting blogs that use it.  At very best you might get a link but it is a bad link according to Google who considers this type of thing a link farm.  At worst this is just downright ugly looking with each link on a separate line creating a huge scrollable post of nothing but links.  As a blogger I would stay away from this type of thing with a 10 foot pole and then some!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Cross Linking

We hear a lot about creating backlinks when blogging and how important it is.  An an author of six blogs the first thing that came to mind as soon as I had more than one blog is to form links between them.  The reasoning for this is my first two blogs were in the cooking and gardening niches that just go nicely together.  I could talk about how to grow a certain vegetable on my gardening blog then by creating a link to my cooking blog where I talked about how to cook or preserve it I could easily avoid redundancy.  Now with six blogs the opportunities to cross link are almost endless because all of my blogs are a reflection of me but what I've found is cross linking between blogs should not be done willy nilly or on every post otherwise Google may view one of the blogs as a supporting page of the first.   It is more effective if cross linking to a specific post in the other blog as well.  It is better to lightly pepper the cross linking throughout your blogs.  I use cross linking only when appropriate and surprisingly not as often as I could but I find it rather effective at drawing traffic from one blog to another. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Traffic Exchange Work-Around

If you use Google Adsense the recommendation is to not use a traffic exchange (TE) that points directly to your blog.  However, I found a work-around that is quite within the Adsense TOS but it does take more work to set up.  What you need to do is find a couple of TE you want to participate in.  Then you set up a splash page for your blog with the "how to subscribe information to your blog".  This will give you unique hits to your blog via your new subscribers.  This won't get you "direct traffic" from the TE so there is no problem using this method with Adsense.  What it will do if marketed properly is increase your readership via subscriptions through greater exposure.  This is one way of having your cake and eating it too.

Don't expect your traffic to increase greatly over night using this method.  It is one more marketing tool you can use for gaining exposure without violating the terms of Adsense and even if you don't use Adsense it is a great method for gaining new subscribers.  Essentially it is advertising that is getting you subscribers via a larger network but is not getting you any click traffic.  You can 'advertise' your blog on a traffic exchange but what you can't do is 'click' to pad traffic and any advertising pages you do on traffic exchanges must not have any Adsense ads on them.  So you can advertise your site or your banner providing there are no actual Adsense ads on the ads you use.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Blogger Scheduling Glitch

I have been relying fairly heavily on Blogger's scheduling for pre-scheduling posts while on vacation.  I had a post scheduled to run on January 9, 2010 that for some reason remained in draft mode.  There was no reason for it and as soon as I noticed the problem I clicked publish and it ran.  This is a glitch I've run into a few times.  While extremely irritating the glitch is rather short lived.  This is just a heads up for those who use scheduling in Blogger.  It seems to be a glitch in their auto-save feature.  My work-around solution is to always save the post first before hitting the publish post button.  Then I check under edit posts to be sure the post is set as scheduled not draft.   If it says draft, I go back then hit the publish post button again which usually corrects the problem.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Vacation Preparations

Yesterday I posted about how our recent vacation did not go as smoothly as I would have liked with respect to blogging.  I know now that our next extended vacation is a little over 100 days away.  That means I have to have about 130 pre-scheduled posts before that date in addition to my normal blog posts so I need to make at least 1.3 extra blog posts per day in addition to normal blog posts.  In reality if I make 2 extra posts for a total of 8 per day between now and then I will be set but that is going to be a fair amount of work.  It's nice though that I run a few special features like Kitchen Quick Tips, Blog Your Blessing Sundays, How It's Made and Wordless Wednesdays that work up quite quickly to reduce the work load a bit.  My gosh though, the last vacation as I struggled to keep new content coming sure was an eye opener!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Getting Back on Track

We arrived home late last night after being on vacation since the 8th of December.  My gosh, I worked so hard to get pre-scheduled posts done for all 6 of my blogs to run while we were gone but as our departure date came closer I realized that there was no way I could schedule enough posts.  Essentially this would have meant having 180 extra posts plus 12 extras for arrival and departure dates) in addition to my normal blogging.  Unfortunately I just couldn't do it so ended up doing some blogging from motel rooms as well as at our vacation home.  In hind sight I should have started doing the pre-scheduled posts as soon as we arrived home from our vacation home the first week of October knowing full well that a month spanning the busy holiday season would be almost impossible to keep up.

I learned a rather valuable lesson though when it comes to pre-scheduling posts for vacations especially for extended vacations.  You have to start early, as soon as you know your departure date!  I was lucky for this vacation as I was able to take my iMac that has my customized Photoshop on it in addition to my husband's laptop.  Setting up the iMac was as easy as setting up the laptop so I ended up with the same type of computing resources on vacation as at home.  That meant I could easily download pictures from my camera, edit them as normal then upload and blog.  The main problem while on vacation became finding the time to blog.

We were gone a total of four and a half weeks.  I lost an entire day of any internet access the first day but had internet access the second day at our vacation home.  Still I was tired and not quite in the mood for blogging.  We left our vacation home and headed to one of our kids that took a total of two and a half days with internet access at motel rooms then again at our kids.  Finally we were on the road another day to get home being too tired to do anything online.  Out of the time away I basically lost a week just due to traveling.  Then I lost more time due to entertaining and sightseeing.  So I know now that I need to have all the posts ready and pre-scheduled prior to leaving home so I can relax and enjoy my vacation without worrying about editing pictures or doing any blogging at all.  That way I can spend a few minutes during the day doing a bit of traffic building, blog networking and replying to comments instead of worrying about getting posts out.

I have the tentative date of our next trip to our vacation home although I may make one solo trip there before then.  I am going to start working on pre-scheduled posts for that time period to see if how that works.  I know off the hop that I will only have my husband's laptop as we are planning on flying to our vacation home to stay a couple of weeks then flying to Las Vegas for a week before returning home.   I had best get busy!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Photos & Blogging

Five of my blogs feature one or more photos on the majority of the posts.  Photos serve more that one function with respect to blogging.  During the writing stage of the post, photos can help jog your memory of the event.  I always upload my photos before starting to write the post.  Then I add the alt tag and align them as desired and start writing from there.  This helps me to establish the flow of the post.  For example, if I'm blogging about a restaurant I usually start with a picture of the restaurant followed by a picture of the appetizer, followed by one or more pictures of the entrĂ©es we enjoyed and finally a picture of the dessert.  In this way the post flows in the way the dining experience unfolded.  This seems logical to me.  I essentially am using the photos to help organize what the final post will look like. 

Photos as mentioned can help jog your memory of whatever you are writing about.  I often refer to the photos for those little details that are easily forgotten.  Many of these photos never make it onto the post though.  For example, I always take pictures of the restaurant menus and interiors that I will be blogging about.  This helps in adding great details to the post that I may otherwise forget.

Photos help to make the post come alive for your readers as well.  I think they find these posts more interesting and enjoyable in comparison to those posts without a photo.  I know I enjoy reading blog posts that include pictures.  Sometimes as in Wordless Wednesday posts the most important part of the post is the photos.  In other posts the photos may serve as 'how-to' guides as a photo can show the how-to so much easier than a long, detailed written how-to. 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Writing Outline

A point form outline is often used to help organize your thoughts to make the written work flow logically and smoothly.  This technique is quite useful when writing essays, letters, novels and similar types of written works.  While a point form outline can be a useful technique for certain types of blog posts it is not applicable to all blog posts.  I use a point form outline when I write longer posts that need a clear and logical flow.  It helps to prevent redundancy and omissions in longer posts as well as improve your writing style. 

An easy way to incorporate a point form outline to help write the post is to create the point form in the blog editor.  Then go back and start filling in the blanks.  For example, one point under the main introduction point may be 'restaurant information' so add the actual name and location of the restaurant.  The next point may be 'restaurant features' so fill that information in.  Keep working in this way to fill in all the points you want to cover then systematically remove each reminder point leaving the information intact.  Finish off that information in sentence form then move to the next point and do the same.  Essentially by the time you are finished doing this the post is ready for editing and ready to be posted.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Blocking Followers

In most cases one goal as a blogger is to gain as many followers as possible.  That is because followers mean loyal traffic.  Sometimes a follower becomes a follower simply to cause problems.  There are a few ways of dealing with including adding a java script or PHP code in your html to prevent the person from viewing your blog.  You need to know their IP address in order to do this.  Unless the follower is really being disruptive there is a simpler way to deter a problem follower in Blogger. 

Beside your blog in the dashboard there is "followers".  Click on the followers link to get to the listing of who is following your blog.  Find the follower you don't want following your blog then click on "block follower".  This will block the member from following your blog using their reader's list in Blogger.  This is not a full block in that the person can use other feed readers to subscribe to your blog, read your posts, and comment.  It just makes them have to go out of their way to get to your blog and sometimes that might be all that's needed to make a problem follower go away.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Blogging Income is Taxable

A lot of bloggers are very interested in making money online by blogging.  Others are actually making money.  Any income earned via blogging is taxable but how it is treated is dependent on the country of residence.  This is a case of where you have to know the taxation rules for the country in which you reside.  In Canada, blogging can be viewed as a business or a hobby.  Blogging income would be declared as gross income less expenses with a tax liability on the net income but only if there is a net income after allowable expenses.  Unless you are doing quite well blogging the chances of you paying any income tax on your blogging earnings is nil.  In the case of blogging as a hobby with no net taxable earnings above the allowable personal income exemption, there is no tax liability.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Building Blog Traffic

There are many, many ways to build blog traffic ranging from free to paid.  Some are time consuming due to clicking/dropping while others are rather pain free by simply buying the advertising.  What some bloggers don't realize is:

  • building traffic is hard work
  • building traffic is not simply about increasing visitors to your blog
Building blog traffic is a means to the end.  The ultimate goal at driving any traffic to your blog is retainership.  You are looking for the loyal reader that will come back, visit and comment on your blog regardless whether you are participating in any traffic building program that may have got them to visit in the first place.  Your second goal is blog exposure.  That mean drawing attention anyway you can via text ads, banner ads, badge ads, page views and links.  Exposure is key because the more you get the better the chance of gaining reader retainership. That means if you are using blog advertising of any kind you need to make that advertising aimed towards maximum results. 

Make sure your graphics accurately depict your blog and preferably have your blog name on them.  Animated banners and badges may sound like a good idea but many folks do not like them because they are distracting.  Now this sounds like silly advice but when you ad a graphic for advertising you are asked for a target url.  This is the url that will open when the graphic is clicked.  BE SURE that this url correctly points to your blog url.  Double check it to be sure your blog loads when clicked.

Garden Gnome

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Bucket of Banners

While Adsense does not 'specifically' ban the use of traffic exchanges they do stipulate that anything that generates the potential for false clicks is not to be used.  Well, by default pretty much any system a blogger uses to generate traffic could 'tentatively' fall under this category.  I came across a program called Bucket of Banners.  This program gives exposure to your blog via your 468 x 60 banner only so it is a straight banner advertising system via earning credit system similar to Entrecard, CMF Ads and Adgitize only using a different sized banner.  You install their code on your blog to earn impressions for your banner to be shown in return for showing other banners or you can surf banners in their system to earn impressions for your banner to be shown.  It is basic, low cost advertising that you can use along with Adsense.  If someone is interested in your banner then they can click that to get to your blog.  Very easy!  I'm testing it out for a month just to see how effective this free advertising is.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Spam in 2010

A lot of things happened with my blogs over the past year.  All in all I am quite pleased with their development and my refinement as a blogger.  As my blogs have become more popular the main thing I have fought with in 2010 is comment spam.  I've posted here a few times how I'm getting tougher on comment spammers.  There's nothing like starting a blogging day off on a bad note than having to deal with comment spam!  I've gone from giving comment spammers the benefit of a doubt if borderline to stripping their spammed urls.  Despite doing this to discourage the spam, I still managed to pick up a rather persistent spammer on one of my blogs.  His spam messages now get flagged in Blogger then deleted so at some point it should click in that he is wasting his efforts are wasted.

Now that we are into 2011, I am continuing my efforts to curb comment spam.  Short of disabling comments though, I honestly haven't found a way of preventing comment spam.  One can only hope though.  One of my blogging goals in 2011 is not allowing any comment spam to get through!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Using Traffic Exchanges to Increase Blog Traffic

[Warning: Do not use traffic exchanges if you are using Adsense.  While it is somewhat of a grey area and many using Adsense are using traffic exchanges, err on the side of caution to prevent your Adsense account from being suspended.]

Traffic exchanges (TE) are a great way to introduce you blog and gain exposure for it.  There are two types of traffic exchanges, web wide and blog specific.  A web wide traffic exchange can gain you traffic from outside of the blogosphere.  They can be tedious and time consuming but quite effective.  Owners can be super or anal.  For example I was on one TE for several months when all of a sudden and without warning the owner banned all blogspot sites.  Well now that didn't help me much.  When this happens it's best to just find another TE and move on because they aren't going to change their minds.  On the other hand aside of getting traffic to your blogs some TEs offer the opportunity to earn money and you can buy credits that can be used to gain more traffic.  Before turning your nose up at buying traffic, it can and does work with surprising low bounce rate.  It is exactly the same as buying CMF spikes to get a set amount of traffic too so it's not a new concept in the blogosphere.   All TEs offer the option to advertise your 468 x 80 banner and text ads. 

Blog specific traffic exchanges are designed for bloggers.  If you type in 'blog traffic exchange' into Google there will be several that pop up.  Two that I like for my blog without Adsense are Expose Your Blog and Blog Click.  Essentially you surf blogs in the system in return for blog traffic to your blog.  Both of these blog specific traffic exchanges allow you to buy traffic, run banner advertising and text ads.  Since these exchanges are geared towards bloggers there is a lower level of traffic but the possibility of meeting more bloggers and gaining readership.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Blogging Tweaks for A New Year

Happy New Year!

As we start a brand new year of blogging there are a few behind the scene blogging maintenance chores that need being done.  My list of these chores include:
  • change any copyright notices on your blog or signature to reflect the new year
  • check for any broken or dead links
  • take a critical look at your blog and make a list of anything you would like to tweak or change over the next few weeks