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10 pieces of advice to a new blogger

I wrote this email to someone who is considering starting a blog.

Building your blog:

If no one reads your blog you will give up on it eventually. There is no point writing something that no one reads. So you need to have some way for people to find it. Search engines are the main way to get traffic. This requires that you have something worth reading on your site first.

85% of the people who arrive at my site found it through Google. Maybe 5% use Yahoo and 1% use MSN. The rest are from links here and there. This article gives some pointers on making your blog search engine friendly:


Here are my top ten pieces of advice:

  1. Include your blog URL in your newsgroup signature and if you have already solved a problem then point people to the in-depth article about it.
  2. Don’t submit your site to the search engines! Rumor is that they put you in a sandbox for a few months if you do so. If you have good content you can get people to link to your site and Google will follow those links and index your site. The more links the more important Google thinks your site is. But go slow on getting other people to link to you. Steady growth is rewarded. Fast growth looks like spam to the search engines.
  3. Don’t go too wild with categories. I think I have too many, but after a while you have too much stuff to bother reorganizing.
  4. Keep focused on one main topic which you care enough about to spend time on. I throw a lot of different sorts of crap in my blog and I don’t think it does much to help me. I noticed I was posting enough about other things that I created a second blog (http://zo-d.com/stuff) to handle miscellaneous postings. But then I also created a few other blogs I completely abandoned so don’t go overboard.
  5. Don’t bother creating daily or weekly or monthly or yearly archives. They will confuse the search engines and no body cares about them anyway.
  6. Don’t expect much for 6 months or so. Traffic is roughly proportional to the amount of content you have. The more you write, the more it grows.
  7. Keep articles short. Attention spans for online reading last about a single page at most. Unless you are a brilliant writer, most people just want an answer to their question or some new knowledge. They won’t finish reading something that is too long. You can always break long articles up into a series of smaller ones.
  8. Start any post with a attractive and relevant description. The first sentence often shows up in the search results so don’t be writing things like “I was at the coffee shop with Blaise and I spilled a frappuchino on my pants” and then launch into how to set up a workflow in Sharepoint. The Sharepoint readers will be disappointed and so will the coffee on the pants fetishisti.
  9. If there is something you have taken the time to research and understand, share it. For example, I’m probably putting this list on my blog.
  10. Ignore this advice and try to have fun with it. I disregard any of these rules if they interfere with my enjoyment. The rewards of blogging are subtle so if you don’t get enjoyment from the process, then you will soon realize you are wasting your time.
  • Speaking in Gibberish and Writing Constantly
  • Back from the dead
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  • Comments (3)

    I'm not sure I agree with #7. While your daily readers may not be interested in investing 15 minutes to read your blog, they only account for 9% of your readership. The other 91% are searching for something in particular and might appreciate an in-depth article. A series, as you mentioned, is the best of both worlds.

    Blogs seem current and topical, but it's the archives that are the real value to most of your readers.

    Great tips thanks! I just started my own blog today so this is very timely. I'll add a link to you.

    Obieg dokumentów:

    The second one is not that simple - sandboxing may occur also if your page has gained suspiciously high number of positions for a certain keyword - ie. from 675 to 10 in search results...

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