By: Robert Wang
So you just started this whole blogging business on the side, and now streams of visitors show up at your virtual doorstep every day, demanding flash media and video content. You’re feeling ready to embrace a larger audience and maybe redesign your homepage, but aren’t really sure what direction to go.
We’ve got what you need. Barefoot Solutions has picked through dozens of articles to deliver the cream of the crop for your consumption.
BY FAR the MOST IMPORTANT component of a high caliber blog. You can’t become a rockstar without fans. Make friends with other bloggers and win over some of their traffic:
• Link to other blogs
• Comment on their posts
• Feature guest writers
Most serious bloggers check Google Analytics religiously, so they’ll know, with startling immediacy, when you interact with them in the slightest way. The nice ones will pay you a visit or ideally even link you back.
From there, your glowing prose and dazzling personality will hook new traffic and grant you the worshipful readership you’ve always dreamed of.
Want the nitty gritty of link building? Vandelay Design offers 9 ways to make sure you’re linking where it counts.
This is how it’s done: VentureBeat.com - Think your page already has enough links? VentureBeat has 944,506 incoming links from other webpages. Well, 944,507 now. The staff’s amazing networking ability has no doubt played a major role in launching this page into the top 100 Technorati Blogs.
The simplest explanations are usually best. Keep it a quick and fresh. If you can’t say it in a few paragraphs, save it for another article or trim the fat.
Keep in mind: bullets, top 10 lists, and short blocks of text are your friends.
I’m confused. Examples? DaringFireball.net - Extreme minimalist design. This page only has 2 images…and one of them is a search button. The result is amazingly clean, professional, and easy on the eyes.
The more time you take to manufacturing an appealing (read: glowing, abstract, and AHDH-friendly) interface, the more likely you are to be well received.
TIP I: If you use a lot of colors it will tend to make your site look cluttered. Take a little time, pick a 2-3 color theme with good contrast, and stick to it.
TIP II: The best looking websites will take an idea and apply it to every last detail and aspect of their design. Always think about how adding or subtracting from your blog will impact your theme.
A study conducted by Dr. Gitte Lindgaard found that it takes users 0.05 seconds to decide if they enjoy looking at your site. Not sure where your page falls on the spectrum of attractiveness? Check out WebSiteOptimization.com for examples.
According to Giancarlo Gallegos from BlogCatalog, we click because we believe we have something to gain from it—whether it is knowledge, pleasure, or LOLCATS, clicking requires a clear motive.
Give people a reason to click through to your blog by creating a unique spin on overblogged topics. To quote Dawn Foster:
“You can talk about a news story that other people are blogging about, but spend some time writing about your experiences and ideas that offer a different perspective than the rest of the crowd. Use research in new ways, interview interesting people, and talk about your experiences. By offering something new, people are much more likely to read your blog post and link to it, which is where the real SEO magic is found.”
Brush off that storyteller’s cap. Y’all got some yarn spinnin’ to do.
Now this is writing: RoughType - While the layout isn’t much to look at, Nicholas Carr’s blog is the perfect example of a content driven blog. The homepage has a mindblowing PageRank of 7.0 – this one man has accumulated the same net authority as the COMMUNITIES of Yelp and Metacafe. Be amazed.
Google Analytics and Google Webmaster are amazing for visitor tracking, sculpting page rank, and otherwise refining your blog in ways you would have never thought possible.
Once you’ve mastered the skills, you’ll be able to pinpoint the “who”, “what”, “where”, “when”, and probable “why” of every last click and page-view on your blog. Did we mention you can run customized analytics and test multiple versions of your blog simultaneously? No? It’s awesome.
If you’re looking for a nice springboard into the world of analytics, Google has graciously provided a quick tutorial to get you started. Hop to it!
Serious Skills: SethGodin’s Blog – So what’s so special about Seth Godin? His blog ranks #12 on google’s search for “blog”. While normally ranking on page 2 is sort of unimpressive, this page trumps roughly 2.3 BILLION other search results: including the official Whitehouse and Facebook blogs as well as BLOGS.COM. HE OUTRANKED A PAGE WITH BLOG in the URL. SEO. Learn to love it.