Thursday, September 30, 2010

Idea Marketers is a good quality article directory

I have been trying out some different article directories lately. I just signed up to Idea Marketers, and posted an article about comedy.

It's good for several reasons. Firstly it has high PR. It's been around for ages and has oodles of content and is thoroughly and regularly indexed by the search engines. (It's a lot like Ezine Articles in this regard.) However it is different to that directory in that your articles go live immediately, like at Go Articles.

There's obviously a huge number of people constantly scouring the site because even though my article hasn't yet been indexed by Google (I only posted it a few hours ago) it has already garnered at least 30 views. And it's not even in a very popular niche.

Also, as well as your author bio-box links, you get one right at the top of each article. I have read that this results in a very high click through rate. I haven't yet got any clicks since my article is so new, but I wouldn't doubt this is the case.

The only negative that I can see is that it doesn't have a rich text editor. While you can use the basic html tags to italicize words, etc, it just doesn't let you do it automatically.

And the stats are pretty basic. They just show how many view you're getting and don't actually list referring search terms and other information like Ezine Articles and Articles Base do.

But all in all Idea Marketers is clearly one of biggest and best article directories out there. I'll definitely be submitting more articles to it in the future.

Posterous blogs getting lots of traffic

Just another note about Posterous. I logged in there recently and noticed that I'd had a great increase in views of the blog I have there. I haven't done any promotion of that particular blog so I can only assume that the site itself is getting a lot more visitors of late.

The traffic I've had there is much greater than at Amplify (although that's respectable). And my Amplify site gets many more hits than my Tumblr blog. So if it's immediate and easy traffic that you're after, then I'd say that Posterous is definitely the go.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The names of newsmakers can bring blog traffic

Here are some thoughts on how to use people's names to get some good bursts of search engine traffic, particularly if you have a news related or opinion blog:

The names of those making the news are keywords, just like all the others. However, unless they are already extremely well known (like movie stars or world leaders) chances are there is not that much competition for them. So, if someone has been made instantly famous (or infamous!) by a big story, people will be searching for them. So, keep an eye out for these names, and use them in the titles of your blog posts.

And of course don't just rehash what others have said. Try and add value to your blog posts by including some other interesting related information. Or you could express your opinion about the story, and these people's behaviour. Then these posts will stand out and perhaps attract the odd link back.

But remember to be very careful if you are writing about anyone involved in a court case (particularly the accused!). If it has not yet gone to trial then always remember the magic word "allegedly".

I've used this technique a few times now on various blogs. Sometimes there are way too many other blog posts with the same name keywords, and I end up a few pages down the SERPs. But every now and then I get on page one, and stay there for the entire time the person is in the news. It's quite surprising how much traffic that can bring you. It can last quite a while, too.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

ArticlesBase has high traffic, good author statistics section

I recently logged in to my account at ArticlesBase after a long hiatus. I got a really nice surprise. My articles had racked up many thousands of views over that time.

I don't have that many articles up on the site. And I didn't do any real keyword research before submitting them. So, this particular directory is clearly very good for SEO, and also gets a lot of traffic.

Also they've got a great statistics section. So you can get a really good idea of how people are finding your articles. (Actually, that's what surprised me. I was ranking for quite a few keyword phrases without really trying.)

The only downside is that the author bio-box links are nofollow. But then I suspect that's part of the reason ArticlesBase is doing so well. It's keeping a lot of its "search engine juice" contained withing the site.

So, when you submit articles there you won't get any direct search engine benefit. But it will certainly be worth doing so for raising your profile, and those direct clicks are sure to add up to something substantial over time.

Monday, September 13, 2010

How my reasons for blogging have changed over the years

Earlier today I was looking through some of my old blogs. It gave me quite a shock to realize that I actually started blogging way back in 2002. I've written several of them over the years.

When I started I just saw them as a means to record my humorous observations, which I could then turn into standup comedy monologues later on. I even started a couple of entirely fictional character blogs as a way of developing material that I could perform at some stage.

But I just got so involved in blogging itself that I never got around to doing this! It was just such a buzz to write stuff and know that people were reading it - even if the numbers weren't huge. I knew that even with traffic just trickling in I'd still be getting my thoughts read by more people than would ever see me perform live - unless I had a regular gig on TV or radio, of course.

Anyway, just being funny became less and less important as I continued with blogging. I wanted to actually say something while hopefully getting a few laughs and chuckles along the way.

So now, eight years on, I've got literally thousands of blog posts still out there or backed up on disk and hard drive. I've got to do something with this stuff - hopefully something that earns me some money!

Using them as raw material for a series of books is the obvious option. So, that's the long term goal. But I've got to do it in bits. I think the best approach is to use those posts as the raw material for articles which I'll submit to directories, so I'll get some more exposure and SEO benefit. Then I'll collate and edit these articles into books. Well, that's the plan, anyway.

It's kind of ironic that I've ended up in this situation, considering my reasons for blogging when I started.

Has anyone else had a similar journey? Or one that was completely different? Please let me know in comments.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Focus on writing articles online

Like so many article marketers I love to write. And although it's possible to overdo it, writing articles is usually invigorating. It's a fun process and you finish with a real sense of achievement.

Submitting the articles to directories is the boring bit. Of course you have to do it. But because it's so monotonous, it really saps your energy.

You can pay to have this done for you. But it's hard to know how good the service is. Also, if you end up with too many article bio-box bakclinks too quickly, you may get penalized by the search engines.

Of course it doesn't hurt to have your article at several directories, since it's being seen by so many more people, and you will get some clicks to your website as a result. Still, the search engine benefit wanes considerably (if not completely!) after the fist backlink your article attains, since all copies of it are marked as duplicate content.

For these reasons I believe it's much better to focus on writing articles, rather than submitting them. Sure, you will end up with fewer backlinks. But you'll have more original articles out there, and they will be of better quality. That will confer greater search engine benefit in the long run.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Twitter hash tag is very useful

Another Twitter tip: It's a good idea to really use the hash tag (#). You can put it at the end of a tweet to denote what it was about.

It doesn't take long to get an idea of what the best, and most popular hash tags are. For instance right now with the Australian election result still to be decided, the best hash tags are #hung #auswaits and #ausvotes. All the Aussie political junkies on Twitter are searching these constantly.

Of course, there are many other popular hash tags for any subject under the sun. So if you cut your tweets back to the bear minimum and put two or even three of them at the end of each, you can snag a lot of new followers. If your tweets are good, of course, they are more likely to be retweeted.

And just as you can use the hash tag to help other tweeps find you, the reverse is true. Just do a search of your favourite ones from time to time and you're sure to find people you want to follow.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Darren Rowse, problogger, now a Twitter guru

Darren Rowse started blogging in 2002. Yet he was earning a very good income entirely from blogging by 2005.

Now, there are squillions of Darren Rowse wannabes. The market is completely saturated with "make money from your blog" type blogs. I doubt very many of them make a decent income. There's just not that much left to go around!

Of course, Rowse continues to do very well out of Problogger. He's still on top of that niche, and will remain there.

He could easily have been satisfied with his achievements and simply stopped striving. But what's interesting is that he didn't. He's now heavily into Twitter and he has an excellent site full of tips on how to use that social networking site effectively.

You can see why he's done so well for himself. He's worked hard, kept his eyes wide open and kept looking beyond the horizon to see what the next big thing would be.

That's definitely a good lesson for anyone trying to succeed online - or in any medium for that matter.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Keep an eye on your blog comments

A day or two back I got quite a long comment on my rant blog. It seemed a bit odd. It was about the subject that I was referring to in that particular post, but didn't address it specifically.

Also, the comment seemed vaguely familiar. I felt that I had read it somewhere on another blog, or perhaps in a comment thread. So I did a search for a couple of the phrases in the comment and sure enough it was there in other places on the web.

I think the commentator might have been using it to try and lower my rankings for that particular post. Duplicate content in blog comments can hurt you, after all.

Or maybe he was just lazy...

In any case, it's definitely a sign that you should keep an eye on your comments, and delete all those that look spammy and/or duplicated.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Social media does get pages indexed quickly

One thing I keep reading is that the social media sites are a good way to ensure that your blog or website gets indexed by the search engines quickly. I just had a good illustration of that.

Yesterday I discovered that one of the pages of one of my sites wasn't yet indexed by Google. I don't know why that was, because all the other ones were.

Anyway, last night I included the URL of that particular page in a tweet. Sure enough it's now there in Google's list of pages for that site.