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Deconstructing blog advice

Deconstructing blog advice

Duncan Riley> I’m not usually one to be overly negative (well…sometimes I can be) but I stumbled across an article that’s ranking highly on the Blogs of the Day service tonight (of which I’m a fairly regular visitor) that just needs a bit of deconstructing, and in some ways as I know that many regular readers will visit this blog for the first time (as I did tonight) I’m probably throwing this chap a freebie link as well, particularly given his 332 Technorati links to my 5,680 links at the time of writing, and after this post he’ll probably end up with about an extra 50 links (feel free to link to him, remember its always nice to link to people, whether you agree with them or not, its what makes the blogosphere the blogosphere) because you know…deep down… I’m really very nice :-)

The post: HOW TO: Boost Your Blog Traffic from Paul Stamatiou.

Why pick on Paul you might as well say? well sometimes you just cant leave bad advice alone. So here we go.

1. Blog Usability
Paul ranks Blog Usability as the number one consideration for blog traffic. Sorry, its bollocks. Sure, blog usability counts but it ain’t number 1 on any planet. Content is always number one. Take a look at the Top 100 blogs on any list (Technorati, Feedster and others). I can tell you now there are going to be some really bad looking blogs there who don’t rank highly on usability. Content is alway the No. 1 consideration.

Ok, so he’s included content, but it should be in first spot.

3. Technorati is Your Best Friend
This is the point that prompted me to rebut his post. I ask this question: ON WHAT PLANET. Sure, Technorati is good, and I’m happy to say that since its actually reliable recently it’s even better, but Paul claims “Technorati is one of the best traffic providers for bloggers.” I’ve looked at his figures and if he says that’s true for him then I believe him, but for the rest of us…not true. The best traffic for any blogs comes in two forms: other blogs and Google. Technorati doesn’t get a look in except maybe for a really new blog with some really nice keywords. And even then, only in its first week or two in existence. As any blogger, or for that matter web page writer will tell you Google is the king of all traffic once you get up and running because, no matter what stats you may read, Google is the king (by far) of search and Google delivers the most traffic. Other blogs become the exception when you write very topical and original information and are lucky enough to be picked up by an uber-blog (and no, The Blog Herald isn’t in that category). I’m talking Slashdot, Boing Boing, Engadget, Kos and similar. The sort of link where you wake up in the morning and have managed 5000-10000 page views on one post. The down side is that they don’t always end up resulting in ongoing high traffic (unlike Google) but they are good for traffic. I get traffic from Technorati both here and across other blogs I’m involved in, and I can say now that it doesn’t rank ANYWHERE NEAR the search engines.

4. Blog Rings/Networks
Paul is close to the mark here, because you can get traffic by joining a blog ring or network, but here’s the big secret: both provide improved search engine traffic, and as much as you’ll get a bit of a boost from the ring or network you join, its the SERP traffic that makes the difference.

5. Burn that Feed!
Paul recommends Feedburner to track and improve your blog stats? why. Sure, you should have a feed, but at the end of the day, particularly if you are running a full feed, your feed does nothing to improve stats, and using Feedburner does nothing more than give you a nice set of stats. Now I don’t begrudge anyone using Feedburner, but I know from experience and talking to others that there is no serious money in feed ads and that feeds should only be about driving traffic to your blog: hence my preference here for a partial feed. For example, if you are reading this post from my feed you are doing so after seeing an extract and clicking through. That click thru made me money with my CPM ads.

See Also
aged domain blogging

6.So Now You’€™re a Serious Blogger
Ok, not going to disagree here, and I’ve said this in the past: if you are serious you get your own domain name.

7.Getting To Know Your Readers
Interesting concept, but not how I’d look at it. What I look at in stats is what people read, not where they come from, and I look at how long they stay. You need to look at getting multiple page views from every visitor, which is why I use plugins such as related posts. He’s close, but no cigar.

OK, so I’ve been a little harsh, he is after all fairly new to the game, but he did give me the opportunity to spell out a couple of good tips for blogging, and I hope you take them up. To Paul, the best of luck, but I suggest you start reading the Blog Herald and other blogs such as Problogger for your advice prior to giving it to others :-)

View Comments (10)
  • yes, you were too harsh… he is a 19 year old kid!

    he was a gleam in his father’s eye when the internet was born….


    I agree that there is a lot of niavete (sp?) in his post.. but he must be doing something right.. looks like he has been getting a few comments on his site so he can’t be too off the mark…

  • DrDel
    He may be only 19 years old, but I bet he learned in writing class something about voice and using tone. I notice he doesn’t speak of that, perhaps he doesn’t think it important. After he mentions that I will be *preaching* to my readers. . . .

    I wouldn’t use the word *harsh* to describe anything you said. *Direct* would be more like it.

    I gave the man a fair chance and read him before I read Duncan’s review. I prefer a writer who talks to me as an equal, even when he has more information than I might.

  • He says some good things, but I don’t think he really understands, for example, what it means to be slashdotted, farked, or etc. These events have a long-term affect on your traffic, not just a short term one. After you are slashdotted, you’ll see your traffic remain higher than before, even after you subtract a growth trend. What’s the best way to get those large site’s attention in the first place? Well, some, like digg, are sensitive to self-marketing. If you try and digg your own post, they’ll call it spam….

  • Duncan,

    He may be a little green in some areas but he surely isn’t a slouch by any stretch – take a look at his about page. Even mentions he’s been Slashdotted (Twice) Elliot.

    Plus, he can’t be all bad – Georgia Tech!


  • Maybe if you spent a little less time boasting about how you have lots of Technorati links you would have read the article thoroughly enough to notice that he isn’t saying blog usability is the number one thing. He’s saying that its something you should sort out BEFORE you try getting lots of traffic.

    Or consider the possibility that this post was aimed at first time bloggers (he does say that right at the top) and that they won’t have good search engine positions for months at best. Technorati is absolutely the best way to kick-start blog traffic.

    You also missed the whole point of his recommending Feedburner. Unlike the built in WordPress feed it gives you a way to figure out how many people are actually subscribing to you feeds and that is useful information. He never suggests that Feedburner is some amazing source of money.

    Oh and if you’re not finding out where your readers came from then thats a major oversight on your part not his. Thats a sign of what your vistors are interested in and places you can look to for further links.

    His post was good an informative, yours was full of self-congratulation and makes you look extremely foolish.

  • Steve,

    not only that but Blogherald gets a boost to their traffic as well

    which makes you wonder what the real purpose of Duncan’s article was!


  • Heh, seems like I found this post a little late. I don’t really feel like deconstructing your deconstruction but Mr. Irving pretty much did that for me. A lot happens in 3 months – I’m in 9rules and am a Top 20 Tech blog (~700). We’ll see who gets to Top 100 first. :-P Nice blog you’ve got here Duncan. BTW, I do frequent ProBlogger and Performancing as well. I’ve got a similar type site up my sleeve. Take Care.

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