Tuesday, October 19, 2010

3 Tips for Newbie Bloggers

Source: http://aviva.edublogs.org/

Though my blog doesn't qualify as an "A-list" blog, only gets about 1000 hits a day when I post 2-3 entries, I get a bit disappointed when I see a newbie blogger arrive, ask people to visit his blog and there is no way for her to gather stats on the visit.

While blogging isn't about garnering high stats, but rather about developing a comfortable routine that involves learning, reflecting and sharing, it's still fun to see how many other folks may have benefit from your blogging. You'll have to decide whether it's quantity or quality of conversations that gets "makes your day." So, it's with that in mind that I offer these 3 unsolicited tips to a new blogger from Israel, Aviva.

#1 - Add Feedburner-powered RSS Subscribe Buttons
Although edublogs.org offers subscription features that you have to pay for (yuck), you can add your own RSS subscribe buttons at no charge.

The benefit of this is that you can create Feedburner-powered RSS buttons that allow you to view statistics for blog subscribers. I haven't looked at my Feedburner stats in a long time (wow, over a year), so here is what it looks like:

You can get TONS more information from Feedburner and it's fun to see that info when you're a new blogger. What's really funny is I have 47 people subscribed to my blog via email! How did that happen? Well, I set that up early on with Feedburner, had it up there for a few years and then forgot about it when I switched to Blogger as my blog platform. . .but my blog by email subscribers are still there.

Even if you're working on Edublogs.org--where, as I recall, you have to pay for Feedburner--you can add your own buttons at the top and/or bottom of every entry, just like I have below.

Of course, if Aviva decided to dump Edublogs.org, she could use Blogger as her blog platform and get even better stats from his blog stats page...you can see there's more to the report than what appears in this image below:
Around the Corner-MGuhlin.org blog stats


#2 - Add a hit counter to your site.
Although hit counters are a bit old-fashioned, you can easily include the code for a Statcounter.com counter and get some nice results. Usually, you can embed this somewhere in a sidebar and then sit back, enjoy the results.

You can also add Clustr map--red dots on a map of the world--to your site, which makes it easy to see where folks are coming from. There are a lot of new ways to accomplish this and I'd love to read from other bloggers out there what you're using to get the same effect. It's sad to think I haven't taken a hard look at this aspect.

If you click on Visitor Stats in my sidebar, you can see how many visitors StatCounter.com (or BlogPatrol.com as an alternative) is tracking for you. Although, if you have a busy blog, it's more difficult to see which page is most popular. Blogger Stats eliminates the need for purchasing StatCounter, though.

Adding hit counters and stuff to your blog is pretty straightforward, a matter of copy-n-paste...just don't paste over anything important and be willing to play with the placement. In a Wordpress blog, it's pretty hard to goof it up (unless it's locked down).

#3 - Get Your Chiclets - Embracing Social Networks
Embrace social media tools like Plurk, Twitter, and others to make it easy to connect with folks. In the old days, folks would find you via your blog and then connect via social network tools. Now, it's often the other way around.

FriendFeed.com is also a nice component to add to your blog sidebar.

Often, folks are afraid to sign up for social networks. I'm afraid NOT to because it's so easy for people to "steal your claim," just like folks would "jump a claim" when the owner went to town for supplies. Consider Dr. Scott McLeod--I liked the "old" design of his blog, Dangerously Irrelevant, a lot better when it didn't have advertising--and how he's made it easy for you to see what social networks he is a part of.

Compiling these little images, organizing them, linking can turn into a pain in the neck. As such, what you need to do is find a social media chiclet generator.


Here are a few and I hope others will share what they are using:
By the way, if you're feeling overwhelmed trying to update multiple social networks, try out Ping.fm (Get the Firefox add-on) which lets you update multiple networks with one shot.




What other tips would you suggest to Aviva as she embarks on his blogging career? Some ideas that come to mind include:


PingIt!
Delicious Bookmark this on Delicious
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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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Disclaimer

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure