The first thing you must do after creating your blog (and writing some good posts) is submit your URL to Google, Bing and Yahoo. In this post we will discuss how to do that –
1. Submit URL to Google search
Go to this page and enter your blog/site’s URL and a short and precise description and/or keywords in the given fields. Enter the correct Captcha and click “Add URL”
2. Submit URL to Bing search (formerly MSN)
Go to this page. Enter your blog/site’s URL in the given field. Enter the correct Captcha and click “Submit URL”.
3. Submit URL to Yahoo search
Go to this page and click “Submit a Website or Webpage”. Enter your blog/site’s URL in the given field and click “Submit URL”. You can also submit your blog/site’s feed address to Yahoo at this page. Feed can be in the form of RSS, Atom or even a sitemap.
NOTE: While typing in the above URL fields, remember to add full URL of your blog/site (including http and also www if applicable). For example it will be http://blogcollab.com rather than blogcollab.com (www is optional). The more (quality) content your blog has, the early your site will start to appear in search results. So to sneak into Google and Yahoo index fast, start adding more and more posts.
Twitter has become an indispensable tool for web publishers (specially bloggers) to promote their content online. It is customary now to tweet the post after publishing. However manual submission is a tedious task (more so if you write posts too frequently) and considering the fact that twitter is one of the many social networking (SN) sites to submit posts. I always dream of a tool that automatically submits a post to all the SN sites after I publish it. Feedburner has provided this service for Twitter at least. How? Simple – you publish a post and Feedburer automatically submits it to twitter.
To activate this wonderful service, Login to Feedburner with your Google ID. At dashboard click on your blog name (I suppose you already have added your blog feed to Feedburner) and Go to Publicize tab. Under “Services” click “Socialize”/”Add A Twitter Account”. Here submit your twitter account’s login details and tweak “Formatting Options”. Click “Activate” and “Save” to initialize the service. As simple as that, next time when you post an entry at your blog, see it appear on Twitter instantly. This will also spare you some time to do more important things. Hope this helps you. Want to add something here?….please leave a comment.
Google and Yahoo are the biggest players in Internet search arena and once established, your blog will be getting most of the visitors referred by them (the organic traffic). So to get recognized by two giant search engines early, you need to add their verification (Authentication) Meta tags. These tags are basically required to verify that you are the owner of the site. Apart from this there are many other advantages of the same, as the Google itself says at Webmasters central “Improve your site’s visibility in Google search results”. Here is the complete guide discussing, how to add these Meta tags to blogger blogs?
1. Adding YAHOO Verification Meta tag to a Blogger Blog
You will need Yahoo ID to do this. Login to Yahoo and go to Yahoo Site Explorer.
Under “My Sites” type your Blog’s URL address (including http://) and click “Add My Site”.
At the Authentication page click at “By adding a META tag to my home page” – A Meta tag like <META name=”y_key” content=”f7b9180a81a10dba”> will be displayed with instructions to add it to site. But if you add it as such to blogger blog’s template, blogger will show an error message. To avoid it, add a slash (/) just before ending “>” in your above Meta tag.
Copy the modified code.
Now to add it to blogger blog follow the steps given below:
Login to Blogger and at Dashboard Go to “Layout/Edit HTML”
Find <head> in the template code (By pressing Ctrl+F). Paste the above copied tag JUST BELOW <head>. Save the template. Go to Authentication page and click “Ready to authenticate”, wait for the confirmation and done.
Click on “Add a site”, enter your blog’s URL and click Continue
“Verify ownership” page will open. Choose Meta tag from “Verification method”.
Rest of the procedure is same as in the above Yahoo case: Copy the given Meta tag and paste below <head> in your blog’s template (it does not matter which Meta tag is above or below as both of Google and Yahoo will be there one after another) – now save the changes to Template.
Now go to the verification page (From where you copied the Meta tag) and click “Verify”, wait for the confirmation.
Note: These Meta tags are deleted when a new blog template is installed. So every time you change blog’s template, don’t forget to add both of the Meta tags again. Better save them in a text file. With the help of these tags you can also track your blog’s performance on several parameters (Indexed pages, in-links, external links etc).
Have you noticed that all professional looking blogs using Google’s Blogger platform do not have that typical “Top navigation bar”. There is no option in blogger dashboard settings to remove this bar. So how do they do it? Actually its very simple and you too can do it yourself for your Blogger blog.
How to delete/remove the top Nav bar from a Blogger Blog?
For this, open your blog’s template HTML code editor (login to Blogger using Google account – go to Template – Edit HTML to access template code). Now search and find the following lines of code in your blog template (to find it press Ctrl+F at the keyboard and enter the following words and then press Enter)
Now copy following lines of code JUST AFTER or BELOW the above code
By now I believe, I have written enough in the preceding posts to get you started off on your blog. But, this is also equally true that there is at least a million times more info on the subject scattered all over the net. Here are some websites and blogs I believe you will find useful:
1. Weblogs – A one-stop location to learn everything about blogging. Tips, tricks, and tutorials with information regarding every aspect of blogging that a beginner would be looking for.
2. CSS & Blog Design – Once you cross the chasm from being a plain old HTML hack, you will want to dive into the joys of CSS. To see what can be done with a little CSS magic, check out Design Shack’s collection of over 400 inspiring Web site and blog designs.
3. Blogger Dummies – A blog containing useful tips and tricks for Blogger and WordPress platform.
4. Blogger Buster – A very good blog providing tips, tricks and hacks for Blogger based blogs.
6. Blogger Templates – If you use Blogger, then this site has a collection of ready-made templates that you can use straightaway.
7. Blogger Jobs – A blog about blogging jobs. This is a frequently updated blog, listing various blogging jobs from different companies. Again, while it’s primary focus is the US, there are many purely online job postings that may be worthwhile to apply for.
8. Business Opportunities Weblog – Goes beyond just blogging opportunities. Looks at the latest in business opportunities with a special focus on online businesses.
9. Occam’s Razor – Avinash Kaushik is a self-confessed Web Analytics fan who has turned his passion into a blog. This is an informative blog that takes an in-depth look into the topic of Web site (and blog) analysis. May be useful in helping you optimise your blog.
10. Fab Freelance Writing – For those of you who prefer to get into freelance writing rather than blogging, this site offers tons of tips, suggestions and advice on how to break into the space.
11. Blogging Articles – A collection of articles devoted to the various aspects of blogging.
12. Problogger – A very popular and authority blog with huge repository of resource articles on how to become a professional blogger (and earn money blogging).
13. Shoe Money – A famous blog that discusses the issues involved in making money online, not just related to blogging.
14. Blog – Wikipedia – A comprehensive Wikipedia article covering the history of blogging and its present state. Contains a ton of links to other blogging resources.
15. Indiblogger – The most popular Indian blog directory
And the list goes on, on and on……If you have more such blogging resources, feel free to share via comments.
Here are simple steps to optimize your WordPress blog for search engines –
1. PERMALINKS: By default, links to posts in a WordPress blog will look like this: http://www.yourblog.com/?p=11. Search engines do not like this much, so go to Settings > Permalinks in your admin panel and in the Custom text box, enter “/%category%/%postname%” to change the link’s appearance to http://www.yourblog.com/technology/phone_review. This makes your blog not only SEO-friendly, but reader-friendly as well.
This applies to all CMSes, in fact—most of them support SEOfriendly URLs, either as an inbuilt feature or using a plugin—you just need to make sure that the Web server supports URL renaming.
2. Edit The Page Title: By default, your page title (the one you see in the search pages) goes thus: Blog Name | Archive | Post Title. You have to bring the post title to the beginning, so that search users can instantly know that they have found what they were looking for. This can be easily changed via WP SEO plugin in WordPress.
3. Get Sitemapped: Sitemap is usually an .xml file containing an index of all URLs of a blog neatly arranged in a chronological order. The sitemap file if present will make it easier for Google (and other Search Engine) bots to index your blog’s content. WP SEO plugin has an option to generate sitemap for WordPress blogs.
This tip applies even for non-WordPress blogs, and you can submit your sitemap to Google at www.google.com/webmasters/sitemaps
A ridiculous number of books have been written about it, but there are few things on the Web as arcane as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) — you never know exactly what is going to boost your search engine ranking and when. Nevertheless there are certain things that can be said as truly important. SEO-ing your blog works better if you are using your own hosting and content management system (CMS)— the options available to you are far more comprehensive than free blog hosting. However, there are a few things you can do to enhance your free blog’s search ranking.
SEO-ing Free-hosted (Blogger/WordPress.com) Blog
Firstly, let go of any illusions you might have that Blogger users are at an advantage just because Google owns Blogger. The following tips apply almost universally too:
1. Choose your blog and post titles appropriately. It should be something catchy to grab potential readers, but search engines prefer that you include at least one keyword indicative of the post’s content in every post title.
2. Stick to a general theme for your blog. By their very nature, blogs are riddled with search keywords, and themed blogs more so.
3. Update your blog regularly. Search engines love the “live” Websites that are updated with new content on a regular basis.
4. Submit your blog(s) to popular blog listings/directories
5. Exploit the power of being linked to—make comments on high-traffic blogs (not the I-like-your-site-you-might-like-mine kind, mind you), start discussions, and get yourself blog-rolled on as many people’s blogs as possible.
6. Wherever available, always make sure that you have a permalink for each post—this helps search engines index them better.
7. Add your blog feed to your My Yahoo! and My MSN accounts. This will get you listed on Yahoo! and MSN.
SEOing A Self Hosted Blog
If you are using your own hosting, SEO becomes much easier thanks to the number of options you have. WordPress, for one, offers you its own CMS which you can deploy on your server, and there are a lot of things you can do with it. WP SEO by Yoast is the best (and free) plugin for WordPress to take care of your blog’s all SEO needs.
And lastly, DO NOT get obsessed about SEOing!!! remember once again “CONTENT IS THE KING”.
In addition to or in place of direct sales and advertising revenue, you can also consider asking for donations. However, this is a sensitive issue and should be approached with caution. If you are already making a lot of money from advertising and other visible monetization sources, asking for donations may put off some readers who may find the action to be too greedy. To accept donations, you will have to set up a Paypal account (Donations Option can be accessed under “Merchant Services” tab once you log into your Paypal account) or some other such payment receiving mechanism. Even if you do not want to accept donations, you can still use your site to provide free advertising for your favorite charity and direct your users to donate to that organization.
Selling the blog
Selling the blog is one option that many bloggers don’t even think of. Unlike other businesses, a blog is a very personal experience and there will be a lot of emotional attachment. However, circumstances may require that you seriously consider this option. There are many reasons for selling a blog: you may have started a blog and build a user base but find that you no longer have the time or energy to continue giving it the attention it deserves. Whatever maybe the reason, keep in mind that a blog is like a business. Once you have brought it up to a certain level of traffic and revenue (equivalent to paying customers in a regular business), it becomes an attractive target for acquisition. Even without a revenue stream, some blogs maybe attractive to buyers because of the content and the established user base. For the buyer this would mean that they do not have to put any effort in acquiring new users and the blog would already have gained a reputation as a trustworthy source of information for the topic area. There are many online marketplaces where you can list your blog for sale. Flippa is a trusted site to buy/sell blogs.
If you find that running your own blog is too much hard work but you still want to become a professional blogger consider blogging for other people or organizations. Realizing the power of blogging, many companies, individuals and blogging networks are always on the lookout for fresh writing talent. Many businesses are starting to maintain blogs. Usually these are maintained by employees but a significant number are looking to hire specialist bloggers who can provide the necessary writing talent. These blogs will require writers who can understand the company’s business and product lines and present these to the blog visitors.
Blogging networks are sites devoted to blogging with dedicated paid writers. While the larger networks (e.g. lifehacker.com) will be difficult to break into initially, you can search for smaller networks that are just starting out and build a writing reputation there. One thing that you cannot get out of is, putting up written content that will serve as your resume. Most people looking to hire bloggers will definitely request details on your blogging experience and ask to see samples of your previous writing.
To find opportunities to be a paid blogger, take a look at these sites:
If your blog is limited to a particular business model or for a specific product range, you may consider offering your products for sale through your Web site and blog. This would mean that you would need to invest in setting up the relevant technology and business systems to cater to your customers. This could include: a shopping cart system, a secure payment acceptance and refund process, a fulfillment and shipping system, a merchant account, digital certificates, a digital download (FTP) facility and so on.
If you are an expert in your area of blogging interest and you have high quality content either in your blog or elsewhere, you may consider packaging and selling it as an eBook download. One such example is Blogger Buster (A famous and my favorite blog on blogger resources), which offer many useful e-books (Free though in this case), compiled from previously published posts. This can be further expanded to include other information products like videos and DVDs or even printed books.
If you have actual physical products that you wish to sell through your blog you may need to pay attention to filtering out competitor’s advertisements too. Other than the physical products that you may have direct access to, you can also create merchandizing products like mugs and T-Shirts with the logo of your blog emblazoned on it. This can be easily stocked in and sold through various webstores.
Look at the following sites to give you an idea of the different options possible –