Category Archives: blogging

Posts about blogging

How to get lots of web traffic.

Here are a few ideas about getting lots of traffic on our blog/website. Now, I’m not talking about some big corporate site. I’m taking about “small” sites, created by one or a few people, without a bunch of money backing them. How can you get more than a few readers a day?

1) Be famous,once famous, semi-famous, or an opinion leader. For example, the great Steven Cohen, law librarian and conference speaker, is sort of an opinion leader. He gets readers. Granted, his blog is on a corporate site, but I’m going to still give him the benefit of the doubt and say he’s a one-guy with a computer blogger. Former child star and cast member of Star Trek the Next Generation Wil Wheaton has been blogging for years, and seems to have some readership. He seems to be pretty cool guy, writes fairly well, and people know him.

2) Have compelling content that is in demand. My other site, Bob’s Trick Tips, used to get about 15,000 – 25, 000 page views a day. I’ve written about this before, but that was before user-generated content via sites like Google made video posting really accessible to the masses. Back in the old days, my site was one of the only places you could see skateboard trick videos. Now the content is the same, and it still gets several thousand page views a day, but there’s just more competition.

3) Post outrageous stuff. I’ve notices on WordPress that by posted outlandish, sensationalist, or reactionary stuff, blogs get temporary spikes in usage.

4) Create community. If you can get a community going, and then maintain its momentum, you can get pretty good traffic. Also, participating in other online communities seems to boost your traffic.

5) Useful/unique information. I’m separating this from “compelling content”. The more actual, non-opinion information I post on this blog, the more hits I get. It doesn’t equal thousands per day, but it has grown. The story I posted about the chair I inherited, along with links to patent information, etc, company history, etc., gets traffic every day.  Really, I’d rather have someone find this blog useful for something like that than to attract them because I posted some crazy political opinion.

So, any other ideas? I welcome your comments on this topic.

RSS Readers: Google Reader vs. Bloglines

I’ve had a bloglines.com account for some time now. Honestly, I haven’t used it that much, but I do think it is useful from time to time. For those who don’t know, among other things, bloglines.com allows you to aggregate posts from any site with an RSS feed, and read/link to the posted items from bloglines.com, rather than having to check lots of sites every day.  In other words, if you read lots of news sites, blogs, etc., you check one spot instead of dozens.

At the Computers In Libraries conference last week, Steven Cohen sung the praises of the Google Reader — Google’s RSS reader. Since I’ve seen him speak at several conferences and he’s never given me bad advice, I checked out Google Reader.

As usual, Steven is right. Google Reader is cool. But first, let me tell you what is STILL good about bloglines.com :

  • When you set up an account with bloglines, you are not only automatically set up to subscribe to RSS feeds, but you are also immediately able to start your own blog. Is it pretty? No. It is a simple blog, with from what I can tell no options for different themes, layouts, etc. But it is a blog, and is right there.
  • I still think bloglines has a nice page layout. It isn’t fancy, but it is functional. The majority of the page is the window in which posts are displayed — nice and wide. Looks good. Displays images from the posts.
  • When you are reading a post on bloglines, you can click a link to see who else subscribes to that feed. Nice feature for finding other interested in the same stuff. Not sure if Google Reader does this — I’ll check.

 So, what is so great about Google Reader?

  • Well, if you have gmail account you an just go right into Google Reader with no sign up.
  • You can import your subscription list from another reader. Don’t have to re-enter all your info.
  • Since it is part of the Google system, you have easy access to all the other Google tools.
  • Most important: Google Reader allows you to click a link and share items to a public page that it creates for you. For example, here’s my public page. As you will notice, there is an RSS stream for your public page, which allows other people to subscribe to it. Yes, you can create an RSS stream of what you are reading. Sort of cool.
  • There’s also a “friends” function in Google Reader. Haven’t played with it much.

As you can see, Google has included a lot of social networking tools within Reader. I think this is what bloglines was missing.  They both allow you to aggregate information for your own use, but Google Reader has added the ability to share that info with the group.

Anyway, pretty cool.

Do I want the extra functionality? Probably. Do I want to sign over more of my online activities to Google? Maybe not. Will I continue to ask questions like this and then answer them? Most definately.

Discuss…

UPDATE: I added a link to my shared matrial from Google Reader over in the sidebar, under bibliosk8 stuff.

Tumblelog

OK, I set up a tumblelog using Tumblr. Pretty great little service/site they’re running. The beauty-part…I was able to include my RSS feed from that site here on my WordPress blog — over in the sidebar — using an RSS widget.

There is a very cool dashboard widget for the Mac, that allows you to make Tumblr posts without going to that site too. So from my desktop, if I want to just make a short post, I can use the Tumblr widget, and have the post show up in both place. Of course it looks better on Tumblr, but still pretty cool.

It would be even cooler if I actually had readers.

More kinds of blogs? ughhhh….

While I’ve been sort of moderately fascinated by Twitter, I’ve never really gotten into it. It seems like a site/service more suited to someone more mobile than me. I hate cell phones. I’m guess I’m old.

Anyway, I decided to look Twitter up on Wikipedia and see if the entry there had any interesting insights about it. Not really, but it did point me to Pownce, which it describes as “Twitter on steroids”. Pownce is apparently useful for not only micro-blogging but also file sharing. Kind of a cool idea, actually.

I also learned about Tumblelogs. OK — this is just getting ridiculous. I quote the mighty Wiki:

A tumblelog “favors short-form, mixed-media posts over the longer editorial posts frequently associated with blogging. Common post formats found on tumblelogs include links, photos, quotes, dialogues, and video. Unlike blogs, this format is frequently used to share the author’s creations, discoveries, or experiences without providing a commentary.”

Ok, I actually think that is kind of cool, and it’s probably what a lot of people use blogs for in the first place. I still find that I don’t really want to read, or even use RSS to monitor, most such sites. I’m sure very few people regularly read this blog, and I even sometimes post useful stuff.

Not sure where I’m going with this…just wanted to blabber about it.