Saturday, January 10, 2009

Blogging for Greenbacks (Part 6): Finding content that drives up traffic

I have stumbled upon a way to get free traffic to my blog that bothers the conscience of my good, old friend who writes Words for Moolah. It is effective but, if you have the same kind of scruples as Words for Moolah, then you should probably not try it at all.

It's not like I posted naked pictures of Charice Pempengco or Manny Pacquiao or Miley Cyrus.

His beef with this approach is this:
my good friend paul has been encouraging me to link up with blogs that feature posts concerning hot current events. one such issue he recommended that i ride (sakyan) is the one about that much talked about fight that cemented the philippine's reputation for producing world class boxers, the de la paz-pangandaman brawl.

...riding on hot issues by posting on relevant blogs is one way of harnessing the power of networking. but there's a problem...

i don't want to appear like i'm criticizing how other bloggers drive up traffic to their sites because i'm not. i'm simply saying that this approach is a little too cheesy for my taste.

don't get me wrong i love cheese. in fact, i can recommend cheese as a topping for any viand except maybe for "paksiw." but, i digress.

the simple fact is i'm just not yet comfortable with the idea of commenting on another person's blog if my dominant motivation for doing so is to boost traffic to my own site.
A good number of people posted entries regarding Bambi Dela Paz Blog and commented on that blog. The number of omments on her entry on December 26 titled The world has gone crazy reached 1,301 as of January 9, 2009 4:20 PM and the number of comments will continue piling on.

I don't know how many people reposted Bambi's entry in their own blogs but certainly, a lot of people I know through Facebook read the notes posted on it. Former ABS-CBN TV reporter Weng Orejana even posted an appeal on Mar Roxas' Facebook wall asking for him to do something about it.

Which actually gets me to wondering why other politicians didn't speak against the Pangandamans -- well except Senator Aquilino Pimentel. Are they afraid of political retribution in the 2010 polls? Lanao Del Norte, after all, is vote rich -- even the dead and newly born vote there. If I am mistaken about this, please correct me.

In any case, before I digress further, the point is that of the 1,301 people who commented on Bambi's entree there were a number who left their blog's URL in the comment and ostensibly even asked others to go to their blog.

Besides the bad karma one reaps from capitalizing on the misfortune of others, one other thing that Words for Moolah may really be ranting against is the unsophistacation and lack of subtlety of some commenters when it comes to blog spamming. Because, in essence, that is what it really is.

Sure, leaving your URL or link in high traffic blogs will get people to visit your blog. But what happens when somebody your link and finds that your blog has absolutely nothing to relevant to whatever it is they are interested in?

No shit Sherlocke! They will navigate away from your blog and probably not visit it again.

Having talked about the wrong thing to do, let me tell you about the right thing to do when trying to get traffic from hot items on the blogosphere or in the news.

One good source of web traffic, as I have said, is the news and another is the blogosphere. Put those two together and you've got a good place to search for ideas for blog entries that will generate traffic.

Here is how I figure it, if something is on the news, it indicates that a lot of people should be interested in it. More to the point, referring to news items automatically gives you current, popular words and names in particular combinations that people are looking for.

You have to bear in mind that when people log on to Google or Yahoo Search, they won't type the name of your blog. Duh! By using current and popular searched for words, you will increase your chances of getting someone to stumble upon your blog.

Figure out number of people log on to search engines, then figure out how many people are typing those search words, and figure on just one percent of one percent, then you'll probably arrive at pretty enormous number which indicates potential traffic. Between that number and the number of hits you actually get is another matter all together which will depend on a number of factors, including your ranking in search results.

Search words are different from keywords as it is used in SEO.

What I do to figure out what news item would be a good source of traffic is to look at several news sites. I look at what online newspapers are posting are posting in their headlines or top stories and after that, I look at what is in their breaking news.

I am an avid visitor of at least four news websites and they are (in no particular order) the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Philippine Star, GMA News dot TV, and ABS-CBN News.

The next thing I look at are other blogs, particularly those that are written by Filipino journalists, columnists, or people of equal celebrity or authority.

After looking at what's hot on the news and what is hot on the blogosphere, the choice of topics should be apparent.

The formula for this is simple enough:
Look at what's high up in the news. Not all headlines will drive traffic to your blog. The best bets are usually running stories and ones that involve some drama.

Post an entry reacting to it. In posting reactions to news, it would help to make short but concise reference to the news article first.

Also, it is good practice to include a link back to a source article (a page which has the news report). After that, you can blog away about it to your heart's content.

However, apart from sharing your personal opinion on the matter, it would be better if you can offer information or ideas that a lot of people may find valuable if not interesting.

The best thing that you can write about is how this particular news affects you. It can turn you into a chronicler of sorts of how big develops such as, say, the Global recession is affecting jobs in your home town. Honest, factual, and personal accounts that are well written are very valuable.

Despite being criticized for being a lopsided account (and this is understandable), Bambi's blog entry on the Valley Golf Brawl got a lot of attention precisely because it seemed to be an honest personal account of a tragedy involving a fight with a big name in government.

But, of course, intentionally picking a fight with cabinet members and their children would be an extreme, absurd, and wreckless way of promoting your blog.

Post comments on higher traffic blogs.
When you do this, it helps to be subtle about leading people back to your blog. There is nothing more irritating than a blogger who is virtually screaming 'Looky! Looky! Me got blog!'.

The comment sections of some blogs allow you to put in your URL and others don't. Some only allow you to log in with your blogger profile ID, Gmail account, or Open ID.

People who find your comment interesting will naturally want to read more about you and in the process, find your blog. The best thing that can happen is if the owner of the blog visits your blog and decides to link his or her blog to your blog. It is as good as an endorsement as any that your blog matters, at least to them.

Also, when you do post a comment, try to be polite and courteous. Sharing your views doesn't necessarily involve shooting the views of other people down.

The best approach to commenting is to do so with the sincere intention of being helpful.

Do you have information that others don't have or may have overlooked? Do you have insight that may help others figure out what to do? Share that.
(Next up, the 2008 Year-End Google Zeitgeist and how it can help target your blog)

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