Top Blogging Essentials for Success

Well, Ive made a few changes to my blog in hopes for increasing more traffic and getting a little more attention as far as blog readership goes. Im not going to complain because I have only been live for about 20 days now and I have to say that so far I am very satisfied with the results.
Google Adsense was activated around the 20th of May and in the 10 days it has been since it was implemented, it has seen over 2100 page impressions. The blog also runs Kontera which has been active since around the 23rd of May and is also around 1800 page impressions. Apart from the Google Ads and Kontera context based advertising, the blog doesn’t have any “active” advertising as such. There are however some passive ads such as the graphical ads that you see for Clicksor which is also like Kontera and offers in-text based advertising. I have to make it clear though that since Kontera was running in-text ads I didn’t want to use Clicksor at the same time to avoid any policy issues as well as didn’t want to bog down the site with ads all over the text. Apart from the ones mentioned above, I also used to run Bidvertiser for a couple days but after looking at all my options I decided to do away with it due to the fact that I didn’t want to over-do the advertisements and wanted to maintain the look of the website. I like experimenting on the blog and therefore you might have seen a change in appearance lately. Im going to do a little breakdown of what are some essential parts of running a successful blog:

Stats Counter
More important than anything is to have a Stats Counter on your blog or website. It helps you look at how many people visit, how many unique or new visitors you get and how it compares to your results over a certain period of time. My current stat counter is CQ Counter and the only reason I have it is because I’m a loyal member. I have used the same CQ Counter on my old websites since I came across it in 2002. Dont be fooled though, CQ Counter is not the only one I use. I also have a Google Analytics account. Google Analytics is far more detailed than CQ Counter and the breakdown of information is much more detailed.
Apart from Google Analytics, if you are using WordPress, like most of us in the Blogging World then you definitely have to have the WordPress Stats plugin. The WordPress stats plugin actually adds a Blog Stats button in your Dashboard that will allow you to view your detailed blog statistics. Remember, its important to see who reads and who subscribes to your blog, because your readers are important to your success in this field. Getting back to the topic, I prefer the WordPress Stats when compared to Google Analytics because its easier to understand in terms of seeing where people come from, what they clicked on and how many readers have subscribed to my feed. This brings me to my next topic, Feeds.

Feeds
At first, I used to never understand the importance of “subscribing to a feed” but as time passed I realized how useful it truly can be. To gain a readership base for your blog is one of the best things that can happen. If you have a WordPress blog or even something like Blogger or LiveJournal you will have a RSS feed built in. Although my feed is currently located here, I have decided to go with the more popular choice known as Feedburner. Feedburner allows you to do a lot more with your feed. For example, it comes with “Feed Flare” which is one of my favorite features. Feed Flare is the ability to allow your readers to “Digg” , “Stumble” , “Facebook” or even “Email” some of their favorite posts. The list of Feedflare options doesnt end there, there are several more options available but typing all of them will take forever. You can see FeedFlare located at the header and footer of every post on my blog. Aside from FeedFlare it also allows you to get a little insight into your subscribers and visitors. So it doubles as a statistics counter. FeedFlare also gives you the opportunity to monetize your feed. Although, I dont currently have Feedburner as a monetizing option, it may be good to implement for this blog in the future.

Networking
One of the most important aspects of having a successful blog is networking. I wouldnt have been able to even get noticed until I came across MyBlogLog. I signed up for an account around the 19th of May and started actively participating around the 22nd of May. Since the 22nd of May I have consistently seen more and more visitors reading my posts. I started my community on MyBlogLog too and although there are only 2 loyal members right now, I am sure that as time passes on I will see a lot more people add to that list. The blogging business doesnt have to do with being all about yourself because unlike most other types of businesses, you need the help of your peers in order to be successful. Therefore, if you havent signed up for MyBlogLog as yet, you really should consider doing so, because it will increase your readership and for me, I have seen it raise my unique visitors on a daily basis. Once you do sign up, add me by viewing my profile here! I love hearing from my readers so your feedback and comments are very much appreciated!

Technorati & Alexa
I had a problem getting my mind wrapped around the idea of Technorati and Alexa. I became a Technorati member the first day I started blogging after reading a post by JohnChow on his blog. I also read Jane May’s blog that mentioned Technorati and I was inclined to sign up. I used to have a “Add this blog to your Technorati Favorites” at the bottom and the top right hand corner but apparently it wasnt as visible and was easily overlooked. Ever since then, I used my graphical knowledge to re-design the graphics myself and added new, more eye-popping technorati buttons on the page. Hopefully this will be more easy to read and therefore allow for more people to notice my Technorati Page.
Alexa on the other hand isn’t something you can sign up for. Alexa was a little more difficult for me to be a part of. I wasnt able to get onto Alexa until I discovered this page. I had read somewhere that my getting a Link Report from Alexa regarding your page would eventually lead to your website being added to the database. At first I didnt think it would work but I gave it a shot anyway. Well, what do you know, a few days after I did the link report, I received quite a detailed report from Alexa and soon after I was able to see my website on Alexa along with a ranking. Now, although the ranking isnt the best, I have to add that it has gone up by around a million since my website became active on Alexa a week ago. Both Technorati and Alexa are critical parts of getting your website accepted into websites such as SponsoredReviews, ReviewMe and PayPerPost.

Content & Consistency
Both Jane May and John Chow have stressed over and over again that content is what will drive traffic to your blog. You dont have to be the best writer out there but you should connect to your readers. At first, I was a bit reserved and wouldnt put my opinion out there in the hopes of not creating a bias but if you think about it, your opinions are what make your blog different from the million of other blogs out there. If you provide your opinion along with great content then you will see a lot more people return.
Along with providing your true opinion and some great content you also need to be consistent with your posts. Now, consistency doesnt mean that since you had 4 posts one day that you need to do 4 posts every day but that you need to post regularly. The more gap there is between your posts the more readers you will eventually lose. At my blog, from the beginning I have made posts almost every day, with the exception of Sundays but that shouldnt keep me from making Sunday posts. In fact, it lets my readers know from the beginning itself that Sunday there may or may not be a post. Going back to Jane May again, in one of her recent posts she talked about the Blogging Drop Out Rate. According to her post, “There is a 6-8 month threshold in blogging and online marketing that if you can make it past, your chances of success dramatically increase.” I have to agree with her statement because as time goes on, you may see the consistency of posts going down along with the quality of posts. The key is to have quality posts consistently to keep your blog alive. If time is a constraint, then maybe blogging wasnt the best option but if you can devote a certain amount of your time to blogging on a schedule, then you’ve hit the money.

Monetization
Soon I will have a post that discusses the monetization options that you might want to consider for your blogs. Obviously, I am no John Chow but I hope to provide some more insight into matters of earning money on your blog. I invest in a few monetizing “programs” myself and in a few days I will have a post that discusses monetizing your blog in detail but for now I wanted to talk about taking the step to monetize your blog. Its not an easy task to monetize your blog right at the beginning, even though I am currently experimenting with that but, its better to partake in one advertising method for starters. Currently this blog uses 2 “active” advertising methods as mentioned earlier and several static or “passive” advertising methods. The reason you should probably start off with one advertising method is that sometimes in hopes of earning a lot of money you might be consistent with your posts in the beginning but after seeing a low return you might lose your motivation. If you have one advertising method, you should always keep in mind that as time passes on, hopefully your popularity will go up thereby causing your earnings to rise.
If you start off with more than one advertising method and are not as experienced in webdesign then you might have an implementation problem and could run into policy issues by implementing several advertising methods. For example, with Google Adsense, Google doesnt want its customers to mix Google Ads with other advertising streams and wants you to differentiate between what is a Google Ad and what isnt. So to avoid policy issues its good to stay away from ad-mixing. As a second example, you wouldnt want to run Bidvertiser (an ad program similar to Adsense) and Adsense at the same time or you wouldnt want to implement Kontera In-text ads and Clicksor In-text ads at the same time.Remember, that earning money from your blog isnt easy and that it required a lot of LEARNING and EFFORT on your part to make it successful.

I really hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed writing it. I decided to shift from my regular posts to talk about something a little more personal in terms of providing a little advice and hopefully connecting with my readers a little more. Sooner you will see a post that talks about the different income streams that comprise this blog and how you could sign up for some of them too. I will also provide some tips as to how you can increase your monthly revenue. Once again, Thank you for stopping by and if you liked what you have read do subscribe to my feed and add me to your technorati favorites! Till the next post, Enkay out!