Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Better Blogging Chonicles - 1

The goals of this blog have always been self-amusement and self-edification. By that metric I consider it an unqualified success. For example, I shudder to think about the course of me and my family's life had I not, in the course of my online adventures, discovered John Taylor Gatto and homeschooling.

Despite humble origins, every endeavor from a child bouncing a basketball to a high schooler busting their butt for *grades* is loosely connected to larger ambition - like the NBA or a good college/good job. And my blog is no different; if I'm going to spend the time AND I enjoy it so much, then I might as well see if it can lead to better things - money, fortune, and fame!

How cluelessly arrogant, right? Yep, as ridiculous and dreamy as any aspiring American Idol wannabe with a home karaoke machine.

I'd always thought that if I simply built a decent, stimulating and amusing blog, that people would come - a la the Field of Dreams above.

But, again, I've done some targeted research on that and discovered, well let's just say, other theories on generating traffic. Going forward, I will regularly discuss what I've learned and specifically what I do in efforts to promote this blog to another level. So let's get started with my notes from last night:

They say a blog has to climb the Google search rankings to get increased traffic. So how does one effect that?

Well, it seems the key is to have people all over the web LINK to your blog: direct links to your blog, other links to posts of yours, etc.

On this front, at best there may be 5 other bloggers whom I know of that LINK directly to Marginalizing Morons. How could I increase that? Well, they say to put links to other blogs on yours and hope (or ask) for some reciprocity. But here's the problem - I DON'T READ ANY OTHER BLOGS. I just don't have the time anymore. Occasionally I find a good one, keep up with it for a year or so, then I move on satisfied (or bored) that I got that blogger's shtick. I can't well put someone's blog in my margin if I no longer read it - just as I'd never tell anyone to make a trade that I wasn't doing myself. If I put the 10 blogs I read on my front page, and some of them reciprocate,....then I'll just feel bad in a few months when I have to replace them all.

Another strategy to increase blog traffic, all the experts say, is to write articles for other sites (for free of course). What you get out of that is two-fold: one, you get the exposure of another site's readership and two, this *backlink* to your site should propel your own blogs *search rank* and whatnot.

The site that everyone talks most about for article submission is EzineArticles.com. I checked it out and it seems a little cheesy. People write little articles like 10 Good Reasons to Homeschool, Best Ways to Bind a Book, and How to Get Your Ex-Boyfriend to Fall For You Once Again? Here's a Guaranteed Technique!. Sample it for yourselves.

Though I feel like writing articles alongside some of those clowns dilutes my profile, I figure why not give it a try - write and submit a couple of posts and see what happens. Only when I checked out the submission page, it seems that one has to write under their real name - no anonymity allowed!

And that's not the first time I've encountered the *name* obstacle. Google Analytics wants my real name so I go elsewhere for web stats. And these *pro bloggers* that I've been reading also seem to unanimously recommend going with your full baptized name - and a head shot instead of my more marketable midriff!

One way to get more clicks, I've seen first-hand, is to comment on other people's blogs. They say to comment on *likeminded* sites because it follows that the people who read the other site may well be interested in your content. One *pro blogger* that I read said to post *20 comments* per day on other people's blogs. Twenty? That sounds spammy to me. My personal blog commenting strategy has been strict - I only comment when I have something germane to add. I'd never click on someone's backlink if they were obviously a link-hound - and I figure most others agree. People who talk a lot but say nothing are the bane of the blogosphere.

Now I did decide to start commenting Mish's blog recently but never got around to it. He gets probably 70k hits a day from libertarian types so I'm 100% positive commenting there would get me some new readers here. Except I've had some problems trying to post. He uses JS-Kit for commenting that supposedly has *OpenID* support. And supposedly I can simply use my Google/Blogger CaptiousNut identity to post comments but I can't for the life of me figure out how. Solving this will go to the top of my agenda.

The last thing I'm going to mention that I recently learned from the *pros* is that I should take my blog off Blogger.com. They said that by using this free service I run the risk of offending (via copyright or whatnot) Google who owns it. What could happen? Well, they could take my entire blog down at their whim - say, if someone with deep pockets threatens to sue them over something I posted.

I, an experienced and prolific *offender* in my own right, never really thought of this. I'd hate to have five years and 2000+ posts obliterated from the web. Heck, I don't even have back-up copies of my content.

I always figured, however, that using Blogger would help my Google search rank. In fact I'm sure it has to.

And hosting my own website will surely cost money - money I don't feel like spending at the moment.

In my next *Better Blogging* post, I'll list some of the sites and *pro bloggers* I've been reading.

See the next installment - Better Blogging Chronicles - 2.


Justin Time said...

You can host your own blog for less than $100/year, including a custom domain name.

Wordpress is a free download, a domain name is less than 10 bucks a year and hosting for this type of operation can be had for less than 10 bucks a month...

CaptiousNut said...

Thanks, JT.

After even more research, this seems to be the consensus - to go with Wordpress, and self-host.

I'm going to delay that upgrade for now, however. And I'm going to see what I can do internally to promote what I do already on this dated platform.

I'll only mess with the aesthetics when I'm 100% positive about commercialization - I'm still not there yet, unconvinced it's worth the effort or that it's how I want to direct my energy.

Anonymous said...

"Occasionally I find a good one, keep up with it for a year or so, then I move on satisfied (or bored) that I got that blogger's shtick."

Oddly,this is exactly how I fell about your MORONIC blog.

Good luck on monetizing it!

CaptiousNut said...


I can see how you've given up reading it!

I'm not exactly trying to *monetize* it. More accurately I'm trying to just get a little more out of the effort I put into it.

Thanks for the encouragement.