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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Saturday, April 30, 2011


I joined BlogUpp a couple of months ago.  Like any program I join I usually give it a trial period of one month.  If I'm happy with what I see then I will continue the program but if not, I move on to something else.  I honestly did not care for the BlogUpp widget when I first started seeing it throughout the blogosphere.  I finally decided to give it a try just to see how it works.  I put the widget on all six of my blogs then waited.  Quite frankly I am pleased with the results.  The widget is bringing in consistent daily traffic across all of my blogs.  It's not high traffic but it is traffic with a low bounce rate.  That's a good thing! 

As blog advertising networks go, BlogUpp is effective for me.  I like that it can be set up to publish my blog feeds to my Facebook account.  I keep my Facebook account to friends and family only and while many of them read my blogs anyway this helps to get the attention of those who don't.

Friday, April 29, 2011

If You Keep Doing The Same Thing...

Have you heard the adage that if you keep doing the same thing you are going to get the same results? 'Tis true and it could not be any truer than in blogging.  Blogging is all about change.  I've found that experimenting is good.  Sometimes the results are well worth it, other times not so much and occasionally a dud.  The point is with blogging you cannot keep doing the same thing because all of the external rules and influences continue to change.  It is important to keep up with those changes tweaking your blog to make those changes work for you.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Comment Saga Continues

The nice thing about authoring your own blog is you get to make all the decisions and if need be modify those decisions.  Four days ago I was so ticked off at comment spam that I disabled comments on all of my blogs.  What I didn't bank on was loyal followers wanting to leave comments.  So today I am enabling comments again on my blogs BUT they will remain hidden have a capatcha as a deterrent for comment spam for the time being.  I think this is the best solution for now.  It should be effective when comment spammers realize their comments will not be seen at all.  It removes the time necessary to strip the urls from borderline comment spams but I'm going to be a lot more aggressive with the delete button anyway.  Yet it allows readers to easily comment which is what they are asking for.  At some point once I get the comments tightened up I will put them back to show remove the capatcha.  And so the comment saga continues...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Blog Feedback

It never ceases to amaze me that regardless what you do with your blog, the opinions of others are very much free flowing.  Now it would be one thing if I were asking for the feedback but why some think they are entitled to give their opinion even when not asked for it is beyond me.  It's nice to ask the opinion of loyal followers from time to time usually via a poll but the reality is the ultimate decision-making with respect to what is done or not done on a blog is solely at the blogger's discretion. 

I play a couple of Facebook games.  The developers have a forum where problems and feedback can be given.  Despite a huge uproar over a few recent changes, the developers continue on their path without wavering over the changes.  It may or rather it has caused them to lose paying players but they are not changing their decision.  Quite frankly asking for players' feedback then not responding to it simply ticks off the players.  It would be better if the developers simply made the changes without asking for feedback.  So it is with blogging.

If you don't want feedback on changes made to your blog then just make the changes and say nothing.  Don't give the opportunity for feedback through polls, questionnaires or questions.  Some will still insist on emailing you privately expressing their opinions about any changes but that can be easily solved with the delete button or a polite reply.  If however, you ask for your reader's feedback you do have to be prepared to make some of the suggested changes or at the very least acknowledge the suggestions.  It's also important to realize that you can't please everyone.  Some blog decisions you make might not be popular but they might be the best thing for your blog so make these changes without asking for feedback.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hiding Comments in Blogger

My very first step before disabling comments on my blogs was to set all existing comments to hidden meaning that they would not be shown so no link love coming from my blogs.  Now that comments are disabled I'm faced with the decision as to whether or not to delete any existing comments.  True they can't be seen by the reader and serve no purpose but any links in them are still seen by the search engine bots.  While deleting the existing comments may be the best thing I do for my PR I'm not sure I really want to just yet.  A month from now I may decide I want to allow comments again on one or more of my blogs so losing the existing comments would be a shame.  In the meantime they remain hidden while I decide exactly how I want to deal with comments on my blogs. 

To hide comments in Blogger go to your Blogger dashboard > settings > then toggle hide comment instead of show.  This does not delete the comments, merely hides them from being shown.  You can restore visibility at any time by simply toggling on 'show'.  Choosing the hide feature is a nice option for any blogger dealing with a lot of comment spam or wanting to see the effect of turning off comments entirely before doing so.  I can see this feature as being good comment spam control because spammers know right off the bat their link is not going to be shown, defeating the purpose of spamming in the first place.  One thing to consider though is as far as I know hidden comments will still affect your PR.  If this is a concern you will have to go through each comment removing any spammed link or delete the comments entirely.  I don't recommend deleting the comments because at some point you may want to display them.

Monday, April 25, 2011

It's My Blog, My Rules

Blog is short for weblog, an online diary basically.  When blogs first came to be there were no comments on them because really would someone comment in your diary?  No!  The premise was to share your thoughts and feelings with others in a bit more public manner but comments were never part of the equation.  By the time I started blogging in early 2006 the blogging rules had slackened a bit so allowing comments was the huge thing.  The premise was allowing comments would develop backlinks and foster reader interaction.  And it did but what wasn't predicted was the rise of comment spam and anonymous comments.  Comment spam in and of itself is just a pain to deal with even if comments are moderated because at least you the blogger has to see it to reject the comment.  Anonymous comments can be both good and bad.  I've had both ranging from asking questions to my online stalker. 

Turning off comments on my blogs has given me a new sense of freedom.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there will not be some type of comment spam to have to deal with in the morning.  I did get one rather irate email regarding my new comment policy but put it into the trash bin where it belonged.  Obviously this person doesn't understand it's my blog, my rules.  Comments were always a priviledge not a right on any of my blogs.  Now it is a non-issue because as far as I'm concerned comments will remain disabled unless I find a really good and I do mean really good reason to enable them again.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Day After

It was oddly quiet in my inbox the day after comments were disabled on my blogs, almost an eerie feeling but then as the coffee hit the brain I realized today I do not have to deal with comment spam.  It was a very liberating feeling.  Today I can blog with no regard to comments.  Tomorrow I may feel different but for today I feel freedom.  No comment spam, no snarky or rude anonymous comments just sheer blogging for the sake of blogging and gosh does it ever feel good!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Tentative End of Comments on My Blogs

Like many bloggers, I enjoy getting comments on my blogs.  Comments are by their very nature problematic in that you are opening yourself up to comment spam and watering down of PR.  In fact the current trend amongst SEO experts is to not allow comments.  The problem is as a blogger you can't have your cake and eat it too.  Comment spam is the norm and even if you have comments set to moderation you still have to go through and delete the spam.  What really ticked me off this week in inadvertently paying for comment spam.  You see I pay to advertise one of my blogs to the tune of $14 per month.  This month I'm running two ads so it's $28.  Another member of the blog advertising network decided comment spam was a good idea so left not one but two comment spams for me to deal with.  It was the final straw!

Last night I was talking with one of our kids who is very much into SEO.  The general consensus was agreeing with the SEO experts that comments should not be allowed on blogs.  Following our kid's advice I went in and changed my settings to hide comments which effectively removes any audience spammers would get.  Then I went back and turned off comments for all new posts.  I honestly don't know how this will affect my PR and I really don't care at the moment.  All I care about is ridding myself of the problem of comment spam.  As with all major blog changes, I will test this setting out for a month but the reality is, I've pretty much made up my mind I am not wasting my time dealing with comment spam so the chances of going back to allowing comments is pretty slim.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Forum Cliques

I actively participate if a few forums to interact with other bloggers.  What I have noticed is in any forum cliques tend to form.   For that reason, I really don't like forums.  If you aren't part of the clique, snide remarks get passed your way or in some cases it will be an out and out war that can get rather nasty.  I'm still not 100% convinced that participating in forums brings traffic to my blogs other than getting more exposure.  I'm sorry but I'm not about to change my style to become part of a clique to get blog traffic anyway.  I'll walk away from a forum first.  I've noticed a clique forming in one of the forums I actively participate on so it's time to move on, blog promotion or not.  I don't like cliques because by their very nature they exclude others and hurt feelings.  I don't want any part of that, thank-you very much.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

What If? Are You Prepared if Your Blog Suddenly Goes Viral?

Yesterday I checked my stats as I normally do.  One of my blogs showed a lovely spike, not a spectacular one but one certainly large enough to get my attention.  Upon checking further there were a lot of hits coming from CBC, a Canadian television station.  I'm grateful for the extra traffic knowing it too shall pass but the question is always when this type of thing happens, am I'm prepared.  I've heard of blogs going from a couple of hundred of hits a day to thousands just by getting a good Digg.  Logistically this can cause problems. 

One of the biggest problems is image hosting.  If images on your blog are hosted on a blog hosting site like Photobucket, sudden popularity could cause you to exceed your alloted bandwidth meaning all images are replaced by a generic 'upgrade account' image.  However, the image hosting could be minor in comparison to your actual blog host.  A huge spike in traffic has the potential to shut down your blog until the bandwidth resets!  Depending on when this happens your blog could be down for a day or two to a lot longer.  The option is of course to update the amount of bandwidth you can use. 

The problem is you never know if a blog post is going to go viral pushing you over your allotted bandwidth.  Anticipating the event is virtually impossible and paying extra just in case can be costly.  I seriously doubt any of my blog posts will ever go viral.  So I'm not prepared other than to deal with it if a blog post ever does go viral.  I think if one of my posts or even blog went viral the primary concern would be dealing with the heart attack ;)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Oh Mr/Mrs Anonymous

I'm just a bit more than ticked off today and in some ways that is good.  You see I have been in a blogging funk since mid-February so any blogging I've managed to do has been with considerable effort.  I have all of my blogs set to accept all comments from anyone including 'anonymous' despite the fact I picked up an online stalker.  The reason being is my experience has been most anonymous comments are questions pertaining to a post I made with only a minority being pain in the butt comments. 

Well this past week, I have no idea what the heck crawled up Mr or Mrs Anonymous' butt but apparently they thought that leaving nasty comments on one of my blogs was their entertainment.  Aside of the fact that they aren't quite as anonymous as they think they are and the fact that their comments will never see the light of day on my blogs doesn't seem to bother them.  I have a couple of ways of dealing with this.  First I can file a complaint with their ISP.  Second I can eliminate the possibility of any anonymous comments on my blogs or third I could eliminate commenting from my blogs entirely.  OR I can use the undisclosed method I am utilizing to deal with this piece of $%^. 

I've had it with anonymous commenters that think they can say anything or be as rude or insulting as they wish just because they think they are anonymous.  As if they have a right to come on to my blog and say what they want.  My blog is exactly that 'my blog'.  I'm just saying...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Shifting Gears

As a blogger goes I tend to be rather consistent with my blogging style and content across my blogs.  I generally don't do an abrupt change for any reason.  Back in January I introduced a special feature to run each Sunday on one of my blogs.  Now I could have continued with this theme but in all honesty I really wanted to take those posts in a different direction.  So I made a quick post announcing the change instead of posting the expected post.  This leaves me wondering whether or not shifting gears without prior notice for your readers is a good thing.  What do you think?  Would you have notified your readers or just made the change and continue on?  Would you have polled your readers or just made an executive decision? 

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Great Entrecard Experiment

I posted a couple of weeks back about advertising with Entrecard.  All I wanted was advertising only, no adding a widget to my blog, no time commitment dropping card, nothing other than advertising.  I signed up as a sponsor on Entrecard then paid my $10, uploaded my ad and waited for the outcome.  The $10 was enough for my ad to run from April 7 to 15, so about 8 days.  I received 165 visits at a CPC of $0.0606.  So how does this compare to the other blog advertisers?

Adgitize costs $14 for a 31 day ad  that will give about 54 visits per day for a total of 1,581 per month at a CPC cost of $0.0088.  CMF spike give 50 hits for 20¢ at a CPC of $0.004.  Some TEs will get the CPC down to about $0.0015.  In perspective then Entrecard is the highest priced blog advertising.  I can't say it was any more effective than Adgitize or CMF both of which are extremely effective.  What I can say is even as advertiser only Entrecard did result in a slight increase in bounce rate on the tested blog.  In all honesty I was happy with the way the ad worked but the bottom line is running an ad on Entrecard is a bit too expensive.  This will be a resource I keep available for running special promotions from time to time but not one I use on a regular basis.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Few Thoughts on Blog Directories

One of the first pieces of advice with respect to gaining exposure to a new blogger is to get their blog listed in as many directories as possible.  Well as a new blogger in 2006 I followed that advice.  As an experienced blogger I'm now saying that advice is not so sound.  First and foremost of all the blog directories I belong to, I may at most get one visit from them in a month according to my stats.  So right there that tells you membership in blog directories is not giving a lot of benefits.  The reality is folks are going to the search engines not the directories to find blogs, something that is clearly shown in my stats.  The second problem is Google's algorthim.  Let's say you link to a blog directory that has PR 0 but your blog has PR 3.  Your PR ends us flowing to the directory so you are losing on the second point.  Finally, blog directories like all other online sites have a finite life.   A surprising number look good, full of promises and yet fail in the first year leaving dead links on your blogs to further erode your PR. 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Page Rank Shaping

Google frowns upon an SEO method called page rank shaping.  In fact they changed the way the rel=nofollow tag is now viewed by their bots simply to slow down page rank shaping.  Essentially, page rank shaping is do something deliberate to change how your blog/website is view in where it ranks in the search results.  Here is where it gets a little bit cloudy for a blogger.

By default as a blogger your number one goal is to get noticed by the search engines so that you get that lovely organic traffic.  Everything you do on your blog from adding regular content to optimizing your images to moderating your comments is at some level a form of page rank shaping.  You really are only doing certain things or using certain elements for their page rank appeal.  When it comes to comments, essentially unless you let every single comment through including spam you are shaping your page rank.

It started with using the rel=nofollow tag on comments so urls links on comments would not affect your PR.  In late 2010 Google announced it had not been honouring the no follow tag for at least a year.  Now, other search engines do so don't go through and remove all those tags just yet.  With Google's announcement the sage advice from SEO experts has been to moderate comments or eliminate them entirely.  Weblogs started out as online diary so really the idea of allowing comments is a moot point.  Comments came about because some blogger somewhere thought they would be the nice, touchy, good thing to do.  In an ideal world they may be but just as in real life comments can be very problematic.  In some ways without actually saying it Google is encouraging nixing comments on blogs.  It's quite clear that Google is holding bloggers responsible for any comment to the tune of it affecting PR.  So is it any surprise that bloggers are resorting to page rank shaping by removing comments, rejecting comments and simply not allowing comments all together?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Anonymous Comments

Blogger allows you set your comments so anonymous readers can comment.  There is a benefit to doing so in that those readers who do not wish to set up a Blogger or Google account can still comment on your blog.  In this respect it encourages readers without these accounts to comment.  The negative side to allowing anonymous comments is just that "anonymous".

I have a habit of sitting down with my morning coffee to check my email.  Since all blog comments are moderated I get an email notice of comments that need to be moderated.  I honestly dread the anonymous comments that range from sincere comments to venomous bile to blatant spam.  Thankfully in my case across my blogs, the norm is sincere comments.  However, being a victim of an online stalker I have had my share of the venomous bile.  Blatant spam just comes with the territory regardless of whether comments are moderated or not.  Trust me it does absolutely no good for your blogging mood to have to deal with three or four nasty comments before your eyes are officially opened for the day.  It just really sets the day off on a bad note. 

So the dilemma is, do you allow anonymous comments?  So far my answer remains yes BUT only if you are using comment moderation.  With comment moderation at worst only your day will be off to a bad start rather than your readers who sit down to enjoy you blog as a way to start their day.  In the big picture though, any anonymous comment you don't want on your blogs can easily be rejected so yes keep the anonymous comments coming!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

An Interesting Comment Observation

During my recent comment clean-out I noticed that a large number of the comments have an url www.blogger.com/profile/[user profile number].  The reason for this is Blogger allows a reader to post a comment using their Google profile if that option is checked under the comments.  In reality this lets the user's avator to be used so it is a bit of branding but other than that gives no real benefits.  With respect to my cooking blog that I just cleaned out from 2,726 to 2,515 I would hazard a guess that about half of the remaining comments have a Blogger profile url.  I don't know how this affects Page Rank or if Google who owns Blogger doesn't factor this in.  I suspect they may otherwise it would be a huge drain on any Blogger hosted blog but we aren't seeing that with Blogger blogs that have a large number of comments.  This does leave me with wondering how to deal with these comments though.  I guess what I will do is go back and remove any comment that leads to a dead profile link as that will help but my gosh it is a lot of work.  It would be nice if a Blogger profile link goes dead associated comments are automatically gone but I suppose some would complain about this not realizing any time a link from your blog goes to a dead end is not a good thing.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Comment Clean-up Report

My gosh, when I first thought of doing a spring clean-up for my comments across all of my blogs little did I know it would take over a day for the first one.  My cooking blog had 2,726 comments when I started which isn't bad after a 5 year period.  After cleaning I was down to 2,515 comments.  Of those cleared 74 were blatant spam and 11 were dead links.  All in all it was an exercise in patience and believe me it did take time to go through all the posts.  I left any comments that had the url pointing to the Blogger profile.  This may be a project for another day to delete any comments that go to dead Blogger profile links.  As it stands I reduced the outflow by 211 meaning I tightened up my PR outflow rate by 211 so that really isn't bad.  I will be curious as to how this affects PR at the next update but anytime you reduce the flow out of your blog it is always favourable towards increasing PR.  So I'm off to clean-up the comments of my other blogs.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Comment Clean-up

When I first started blogging my tolerance level for acceptable blog comments was considerably higher than it is now as a seasoned blogger.  Back then I think I was just so happy to get a comment that as long as it wasn't blatant comment spam, I would approve it.  Now it is quite apparent that was the wrong approach with Matt Cutt's explanation as to how comments can negatively affect Page Rank.  As part of my blog spring cleaning I am going back through all of these earlier blog comments and deleting those that are borderline spam aka PR suckers. 

This is not a difficult task but will be time consuming given I've been blogging five years now and have six blogs to clean comments from.  Blogger makes this easier in that you can go to a listing of all blog comments then check which ones you want to delete.  I knew this option was there but used only sporadically.  I doubt this kind of spring cleaning is going to have a profound affect on my blogs' PR but every little bit does help and why give a backlink to a borderline spammer?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Spring Cleaning

Here in our little corner of one of the most beautiful and diverse provinces in Canada we have a long tradition of spring cleaning.  This is a thorough cleaning top to bottom going from attic to basement with no nook or cranny left unturned.  Walls, ceilings, cupboards, curtains and closets are all cleaned.  It should take the average homemaker with no help about a week to do a proper spring cleaning.  The practical side to spring cleaning is getting rid of all the clutter and dust build-up from the winter.  In older times the practice was particularly important to rid the house of any soot build-up from heating with wood or coal.  Spring cleaning brings a wonderful sparkle to the windows greeting in the beautiful spring sunshine, something we haven't seen a lot of since the previous October.   This is an excellent time to do a bit of blog cleaning as well, clear out a few cobwebs and do a bit of sprucing up.  I'm sure a little tweaking here and there isn't going to hurt.  It may even speed up loading time while freshening things up. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Honestly the last seven weeks dealing with my injury has put me a bit behind with blogging.  It's not like I didn't have the time to blog since I couldn't do much else other than have a major pity fest while indulging in playing online games on Facebook.  The problem is I have been a bit remiss in pinging my blogs.  Now there is no real excuse other than as I use a service that pings 133 pertinent sites with just a couple of clicks.  Even across all six blogs with my stellar [major sarcasm] high priced satellite internet service the whole process takes under 10 minutes worth of time with most of that waiting for everything to go through.  Regular pinging does make a huge difference and when I'm in my groove it is second nature but I'm not in my groove so just getting posts out has been a bit difficult.  Still that is no excuse.  If I have time to write a post I should have time to ping out that post.  So apparently I need to put pinging back onto my daily blogging to do list where I won't forget to do that task again.  My stats will thank me if I only remember to ping!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Experimental Blog Advertising

Like many bloggers I am a creature of habit when it comes to blog advertising.  That is I tend to stick with what has been proven to work.  In reality it doesn't matter what advertising you do, the bottom line is there are no guarantees.  So with that in mind I like to do a bit of experimental blog advertising just to see what will happen.  For example, I'm doing a bit of blog hopping when I notice a niche group I might want to join.  The niche group offers advertising at a cost of $5 per month.  It likely won't get me the highest return but it does get my blog noticed in that particular group so I pull $5 out of my advertising budget slush fund to try it.  At worst I'm out $5 but I may gain a bit of traffic as well as a reader or two.  It's a bit of a gamble but the stakes aren't high and the potential payout can be pretty good.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Advertising Budget

At some point I realized that in order to make a bit of money with my blogs I had to do paid advertising.  Essentially the goal of paid advertising is to gain exposure for your blog that leads to increased traffic.  There are several 'free' ways to do this but all involve time and for some of them that time can really add up to the point it is actually better to pay for the advertising than waste time mindlessly clicking.  Once I decided to start with paid advertising it was important for me to set some type of a budget.  How?

I started with BlogExplosion to initally boost traffic.  It was free and it worked to build that initial traffic.  Then I moved on to Entrecard which was also free.  When I left Entrecard it was time to move to paid advertising.  I set my advertising budget at $30 per month which is about 15% of my monthly blogging income.  Why 15% and not some other percentage?  The reason is with frugal advertising and promoting you do not need to spend a lot of money, what you need to do is spend your advertising dollars where they are going to be most effective. 

I went to CMFAds and Adgitize where between the two I pay about $19 per month.  At that price I am left with $11 to spend on any other advertising necessary.  The $30 budget is tight and I do have to be frugal as to how it is used but it works quite effectively.  Ideally I would love to advertise the snot out of all of my blogs but the reality is the highest paying blog gets the lion's share of the advertising.  There are some months though that I don't fully spend my $30 budget.  The excess stays in my advertising account where it accumulates until I have enough to do any experimental advertising I may be interested in trying.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Moment of Weakness

I think every blogger has a moment of weakness where they second guess the decisions they have made with respect to their blog(s).  Really this is only human nature.  This self doubt is often triggered by an unexpected dip in traffic despite everything positive done to keep the traffic at a certain level and growing.  It doesn't matter that the dip in traffic could be due to any number of reasons ranging from a change in the search engine algorithms to a change in the weather that sees readers away from their computers more to a glitch in the traffic reporting program.  What does matter is this plants the seeds of self doubt causing you act before thinking the action through clearly.

It has been a rough couple of blogging months for me what with my leg injury and being out of commission so I should have expected a bit of a drop in traffic.  Quite frankly it has been a struggle to keep my head above water blogging over the last seven weeks.  Adding to the traffic issues is Google did change their algorithm that could affect traffic both postively and negatively.  I haven't done an in depth analysis of how this has impacted my blogs but on the surface traffic from Google remains about the same, perhaps a bit more in the blogs that have gained PR.  I've been doing less pinging so need to get back into that routine and I've been off Twitter more than normal.  I did notice a bit of a glitch with StatCounter as well.  So last night I checked my stats to see a lovely did.  Without checking into the reasons my mind wandered over to it would be so easy to go back to Entrecard.

So I mosied on over to Entrecard to check out their new rules and regulations.  I had been under the impression I could restart my one blog as advertiser only without having to have the widget on my blog.  Wrong, and the widget must be placed within 850 px of the top of the blog.  Then I have to pay if I don't want certain ads running but then I discovered I could sign up as a sponsor meaning no widget on my blog and no mindless clicking 300 cards per day.  The biggest problem is when I left Entrecard as a direct result of the previous owner it was for good but Entrecard is now under new ownership and the pre-existing problems seem to have been solved.  In my moment of weakness I decided to give Entrecard another try but as sponsor only so my ad will be shown but I don't have to do anything else other than pay my advertising fee.  In this way it works out quite similar to CMF and Adgitize advertising. 

This will be a one month, $10 investment to see if advertising with Entrecard will help boost traffic.  Having been with Entrecard before I know how members are simply in it for the clicking and they will pass blogs by that don't have the widget, so that is not encouraging.  Now I have to figure out a reasonable amount of traffic for that $10 for the month to see how it compares.  Ten dollars worth of spikes at CMF will get me 50 spikes at 50 clicks each so 2,500 visitors.  Fourteen dollars worth of advertising at Adgitize gets me an average of 50 visitors a day or 1,550 visitors per month.  So if Entrecard comes in somewhere between the two I will be happy.  If not I'm out $10.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Does Blog Post Timing Matter?

The astute reader of three of my blogs will know that something is going on behind the scenes if they don't see a new post by 7 AM EST/EDT.  Why did I choose this time and does it really matter?  First I chose 7 AM my time because I'm normally up between 5 AM and 7 AM so I like to do a bit of surfing while enjoying my morning coffee.  It seemed reasonable to me that my family and friends who read my blogs would enjoy reading at this time as well given many of them live in the same time zone.  In the big picture does timing of posts actually matter?

Unless you are writing a paid post for an affiliate that has stipulated a deadline as to when the post should go live, the answer is no.  The other restriction although it is not rigid is there should be 24 hours between each post for the search engines, especially Google.  Technically multiple posts over a 24 hour period will not present a problem but if your blog feed goes to multiple sites (eg. Twitter, Facebook) to announce new posts, it could easily be viewed as spamming that could get you into hot water with those sites.

Honestly the internet is on 24/7 which means timing seriously goes out the window.  Now if you have a lot of readers from a certain time zone then you might want to post so they go live during a convenient time, say before the morning starts or during the first coffee break of the day.  Other than that, don't worry about what time your post goes live.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Issue of Daily Posting

I have been working hard to ensure three of my six blogs have a daily post and was working towards a daily post on the other three but that ideal has gone somewhat by the wayside.  There are both positives and negatives associated with writing daily blog posts.  I will stress that I do not write blog posts daily but rather write posts that are scheduled to run daily.  Here are a few that I've found:

  • positives
    • content - Daily blog posts are an excellent way to add content to a blog.  The more content the better in the eyes of the search engines.
    • interest - Adding new content daily keeps readers interested in your blog.  They are more likely to visit often if they know you update daily.
    • working dynamic - Surprisingly I find writing daily posts considerably easier than on my blogs that don't have daily posts.  The reason being is the blogs with daily posts become a working dynamic with one post triggering the topic for the next post.
    • increases search engine indexing - Like it or not, daily blog posting increases the rate at which search engines index your blog(s).  I quickly learned this very quickly. 
  • negatives
    • blogger's block - Struggling to write enough daily posts (365) for one blog is daunting enough.  Writing daily posts for three blogs at 1,095 in addition to writing regular posts for my other three blogs is enough to give anyone blogger's block.  It seems like the more I press the more often I experience blogger's block and yet there are days I never really thought of writing yet the words flow freely.
    • adds pressure - The problem with daily blog posts is they add a certain level of pressure.  I actually feel a bit of panic when I realize that a scheduled post did not go live because of a glitch with Blogger.  This happens from time to time and is easily remedied if I'm home to deal with it but realizing what happened about 11:30 PM in the motel room, it's pretty much too late.  The bottom line is most readers don't care if I miss a day other than friends or family who may leave a comment on my Facebook wall.  The only one bothered in this case is me.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Blogger Slow to Roll Out Upgrade

Last month Blogger announced changes coming that would upgrade the post editor and dashboard.  So far I have not seen these changes.  I was hoping they would take effect a bit quicker than this but Blogger is likely taking their time to ensure everything works as it should.  Hopefully they unroll the update soon as the suspense is killing me!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Click Fatigue

Early in my blogging days I discovered BlogExplosion as a traffic generating site.  The premise was for every blog you visited you got .5 points (2:1 ratio)  The points could then be converted to visits to your blog.  The more you clicked the more points you could convert into visits.  In addition there were other activities on their site that would earn you visits by clicking.  Then I discovered Entrecard and it wasn't long before I was up to 300 clicks per day.  I left Entrecard a little over two years ago and now scratch my head wondering how I ever did that many clicks on a daily basis.  Over the years I have tried traffic exchanges with their form of clicking and now Adgitize and CMF both of which have their click options.  I'm seriously tired of clicking.  The problem with all click programs is the reward is not high enough especially when you consider the time commitment.

It would take me a good 8 hours to get my Entrecard clicks done throughout the day due to my connection and yet after all that hard work as soon as I stopped clicking the traffic dried up.  Traffic exchanges are great but if you don't click you don't get traffic although some offer the option to buy hits aka traffic or advertising using banner or badge.  Adgitize and CMF are a bit different in that you can buy advertising then clicking ads is optional BUT to effectively use either program, clicking ads is a must.  I'm sorry but at this point I am clicked out, suffering from major click fatigue.  There's got to be a better way to get traffic than waste time clicking...

Garden Gnome

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Bad Start Blogging Day

I was up late last night so got a bit of a late start this morning, not that I needed a late start as I have a lot to accomplish in about a third of the time due to prior time commitments.  So I make a coffee, sit down to the computer thinking I can polish off a few posts, get Adgitize over and done with, tend to CMF, and catch-up on FrontierVille and CityVille.  Then it happened!

FrontierVille and CityVille were being pissy loading something that is rather normal.  Everyone is in a tither over changes to expansions in CityVille so I checked the forums quickly hoping the games would load.  Then I checked StatCounter to see that four of my six blog had 0 as in zero visitors.  My mouth went dry as I quickly went to Google to check that those blogs were still indexed.  They are so this had to have been a StatCounter glitch and sure enough a couple of hours later all was somewhat well in that some visits were being counted yet others weren't.  In the meantime, I finished two posts then moved on to my third.  I had paid for my Adgitize and CMF advertising in the wee hours of the morning so checked for any ads I had to approve then started the tedious job of clicking 51 ads for Adgitize.  Sorry, but I'm suffering click fatigue aggravated by my finicky satellite connection.  It takes forever to get those 51 ads clicked and there is one ad there but I'm not sure which blog it is causes Camino to crash every single time meaning a restart of Camino wasting more precious time.  Then clicking all those ads invariably causes me to be FAPed by my satellite service slowing me down to dial-up speed for the remainder of the hour.   In dealing with that I worked on a couple more posts.  All in all it was a bad start to a rather short blogging day.  So much for getting a bit ahead...

Friday, April 1, 2011

Out of Blogging Sorts

Life has a way of throwing curve balls which means many of the non-essential tasks get put off until the crisis de jour has passed.  Blogging is one such task that gets put off if something is a bit more pressing for my attention.  Lately I have been out of blogging sorts due to my leg injury back in February.  I'm surprised at how much this threw me out of kilter not just with respect to blogging but cooking and everything else.  Not only did I not feel much like writing, I quickly found my blog fodder drying up.  Honestly, it is hard to write a cooking blog if you aren't doing much in the way of cooking!  It also didn't help that I discovered a couple of games on Facebook that I really enjoy.  Then the weather hasn't been co-operating leaving me little blog fodder for my gardening blog, and so it goes.  I really am in a blogging funk!  I need to find a bit of blogging mojo to get a few much needed posts written and get back into the swing of things. 

I'm almost in panic mode as my husband has already set the dates for our extended vacation.  It's going to be rather interesting with flying out to one destination for a week in back home for a day and a half then off to our vacation home for a couple of weeks.  That means I need to do a bit of extra blog posts now to schedule while we are gone otherwise I will be trying to blog there.  Blogging at our vacation home is not a huge issue although I will have less time with sight seeing and all the other fun stuff we do.  Blogging at our first destination will be only is absolutely have to.  Even though I will have online access there, we will be going almost non-stop 24/7.  Needless to say I have my work cut out for me so had best find that mojo PDQ!