When I started to blog (now close to three weeks ago) I did not know what to expect.
I have to say that I am more than impressed with the power of blogging and networking with popular related blogs.
My topics tend to be too technical and I am well aware that it severely limits my audience. Not everybody understands what I am talking about. I plan to change this in the coming weeks by adding illustrations to the complex topics.
I am also working to move my blog away from wordpress.com to be self hosted on one of our servers. That will give me a lot more flexibility than I have now. One thing I want is the ability to link to my source code, instead of including the code in the posts. I will probably just include a flow diagram in the posts. I also want to make the scripts available for use directly from the blog so that you don't have to install them.
What have I learned so far? I have done several things on purpose:
1. I decided to not monetize this blog in any way. My plan is to use it exclusively for branding. You won't see any ads or affiliate links here.
2. I don't have any short term plans to advertise the blog in any way. My plan is to test how well a blog can do by just writing useful and original content and by participating in other blogs and forums with useful feedback. For that I try to keep posting at least one article a day here and write articles to be published in other blogs and popular websites. I don't think the results are mind blowing, but compared to what I've read in other blogs, my numbers are looking good. My Alexa Rank for this week is around 60 thousand. I checked seobythesea.com that is very heavy on technical content and his traffic rank is 40 thousand.
Things to avoid
While commenting in other popular blogs is one of the most effective ways to get your name or brand out and potentially attract more visitors to your site, doing it wrong can prove to be a waste of time or cause the opposite. I often see a lot of comments that just say: 'Nice Post. Keep it up'. This is the best way to waste your time.
First of all, it doesn't help with rankings as most comments are 'no-followed'. Furthermore, it will not bring traffic. How many times have you tried to find out who is writing that insightful comment 'Nice Post'? Unless it gets really annoying, I don't think you do. I don't.
Carefully read what the post is about, reflect on it, and try to find out something to say that adds to the conversation. It could be confirming the post or taking an opposing view, but you need to add something. You can also ask clarifying questions, but visitors will most likely click on your site if you are adding something of value.
Blogging is informal, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't carefully research your posts. Citing other blogs and authority sources not only gives more credibility, but also the pingbacks to other popular blogs will be more likely accepted. Even if they are 'not-followed', the traffic is good. You also get the opportunity of getting picked by other blogs as well.
June 16, 2007 at 3:58 pm
I noticed that you are using Alexa as a basis for your web traffic. I used to the do the same...but realized that it is based on the Alexa toolbar installs....is this a really good baseline for web traffic?...
June 17, 2007 at 2:10 pm
Its a good baseline if your users are all running the toolbar ;-) With Hamlets content its likely that the vast majority of his readers will be running it, or one of the firefox plugins, so his stat's will look good compared to say a site about gardening....
June 18, 2007 at 5:44 am
Jez, Great answer! Tony, Thanks for your comment. Please consider your website audience when determining if Alexa is useful for you.