Thursday, April 28, 2011

My rules for blogging...


Well, less like rules and more like guidelines and observations.

1. Create accounts with feed Burner and Google Analytics:

www.feedburner.com

www.google.com/analytics

It makes no sense to have a blog if you don't get the word out of your existence or know who is visiting you. Feed Burner will get your blog “out there” and track your subscribers, Google Analytics will track your visitors and trends.

2. It’s important to have “Chicklets” on your blog, it makes it very easy for people to subscribe to your blog, readers will quickly tire of "manually" returning to your site see what’s new, as a subscriber they will get an email every time you post something new.

3. Setup Google Alerts - this will send you an email alert every day letting you know what is being said about your blog and who is saying it.

4. When you find traffic that is coming from a specific website or blog (by using analytics or alerts), visit it to determine why and then send the sites writer a thank you note. Traffic is like money and someone has just been very kind to you.

5. Should you write about someone (photographer, vendor, etc.), drop them a note telling them you have done so, not because you are looking for a reciprocal link (or anything else), it’s just the the courteous thing to do, to let folks know when you’ve been talking about them. Often they will link to you because it's beneficial to them as well.

6. In the beginning I never blogged on weekends as traffic drops easily by 40 - 50% (which proves people surf more while at work than at home). I do post now, but it's always "off topic", mostly about things that touch me or topics outside of photography that I consider "important".

7. Often I don't blog on holidays, or holiday weekends other than to recognize it (like "Merry Christmas"), as folks are traveling and/or celebrating and don't have the time for "serious" surfing.

8. If you aren't an everyday blogger try to have "rhythm" to your posting like Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Tuesday and Thursday, or every Monday. Random posting will not help build readership.

9. If you are going to miss blogging for an extended period (like vacation) let folks know, or they may think you have lost interest and they will do the same. I might write a post or two in advance and then post them while on vacation, or I'll post some images I have taken while on vacation.

10. I was very surprised to learn that some of my highest traffic would come from a "personal" postings. I am not suggesting you post personal things in an effort to get traffic, I just mention it as I think it shows people like to learn about who they are following.

11. If I post an image that is not mine (even when I say "here is the work of...") I ALWAYS put their copyright information right on the image myself. I want it absolutely clear to whom the image belongs.

12. ALWAYS give credit where credit is do. If I come across some cool idea or technique that I share on the blog I make sure to give credit (and links).

The last two rules come down to credibility and honesty. 'nough said...

13. I write like my mom or my children will be reading the post.

14. The theme of this blog matches our review policy, I try NEVER to be negative, too many folks eagerly (and with glee) rip something or someone apart (and think they're slick and funny in the process). It's like all the bad examples we see in "reality" TV and I just don't want to participate in that crap. Basically, it all boils down to what our moms always told us “if you don’t have something nice to say, I'll slap the snot right out of you”. ;)

15. Never put your blog (or anything else) before your family.

16. Every single link on your blog should open in a new page, it’s hard enough to get folks to visit your website so why would you want to drive them away riding a link to another website.

The html code that will make a link open in a new page or tab (depending on the browser) is: "target="_blank"

The first snippet of code is what the html of an uploaded image on my blog would look like, the second is with the "target="_blank" in place:

"http://1.bp.blogspot.com/.../Carrie_Sandoval_1.jpg"

"http://1.bp.blogspot.com/.../Carrie_Sandoval_1.jpg target="_blank"


The first snippet of code is what the html of an external link would look like and would replace my blog in their browser with another site, the second snippet is how it should look with the "target="_blank" in place, opening the link in a new window:

"http://capturedbycarrie.com/index2.php"

"http://capturedbycarrie.com/index2.php target="_blank"

That's it, that wraps up my blogging rules and this series. I hope you found a piece of information or two that will help you have a more successful site.

5 comments:

Miguel Palaviccini said...

This is awesome information! Thanks again Scott.

shayne gray learns photography %$#! said...

Great advice Scott. I've only very recently set up my blog (sometime just before Christmas) and have a lot to learn. This is all a great help!

I also noticed that other platforms have an automatic feature for you to choose how a hyperlink opens where blogger doesn't appear to. It's definitely a good idea to have things open in a new window, so I guess it's better to put in the HTML manually for those. In trying it right now though, I noticed you have to close the quotes before target="_blank".

...think I'll go and change some of those over right now....

Thanks again!

shayne gray learns photography

Scott said...

Blogger does not seem to have some of the cool functionality and plug-ins as others (like Wordpress) but I decided on the Blogger platform for two reasons:

1. Their relationship (ownership of) Google, so obviously they will send searchers to their own blogs before handing them off (daily stats will show 60-70 visitors find me via Google, and 1 for Bing and/or Yahoo).

2. I was looking to model after someone who was already success and if Blogger was good enough for Strobist it would certainly be good enough for me.

Dereck said...

Thanks for the information Scott. I never thought to do this for my blog as I am only trying to share information about my boatbuilding project with friends and family, but as I get more and more page views, I have to wonder where they are coming from!

Thanks for blogging - always a good resource.

Scott said...

Dereck,

When I started this blog it was for the purpose of sharing cool and interesting things with my photography friends that I found on the internet (so I wasn’t stuffing their email inbox).

And the name (Weekly Photo Tips) was because I was only going to post once a week.

Funny how the destination we had in mind when starting on a trip may have nothing to do with where we end up.

;)