Blogging Questions & Answers 30

By Daniel Scocco

questions and answers

Some cool questions this Friday. Also, we just have one more Questions & Answers left in 2008! If you want to ask a question just leave a comment below.

1. Satish asks:

Why have you removed trackback links from your blog? There would be no problem with spamy sites linking to you, as you can always moderat the linkbacks.

I removed the trackbacks section for two reasons mainly. First of all it makes the comments section cleaner. When I used to have comments mixed with trackbacks it was a complete mess and difficult to follow the conversation. Even when I separated them I still didn’t like the look of the trackbacks section.

The second reason as you mentioned is related to the spam trackbacks. Many splogers use this technique to generate links and traffic to their blogs (some would even do it unconsciously by not removing the credit link I use on the bottom of my RSS feeds…). So instead of wasting time moderating those I just removed them altogether.

2. Rajasekharan asks:

I have noticed a trend in people replying/commenting through the email ID that you use for your Feedburner feed delivery. Being that the case, people should do that with your email newsletter too! Even I felt sort of commenting on your first newsletter but kept myself back knowing it would be humanly impossible if all of your newsletter subscribers start replying to your newsletters. Already being busy jumping between blogs, isn’t that a sort of dragging yourself with such mails? How are you going to tackle it, especially when your newsletter comes from your personal mail ID? Isn’t it a good idea opening up a separate forum for comments/discussions on your newsletter that would also increase your traffic and page views and lessen your burden of replying such mails?

Yeah that happens quite often. On Daily Writing Tips, for example, we get anywhere from 2 up to 10 email replied for every post we publish. I guess that is related to the big number of email subscribers we have there (close to 8,000).

Usually I am fine with it though. If a subscriber takes the time to ask us something or make a suggestion, we sure take the time to answer or at least read it.

The same is valid for the newsletter. One of the reasons that motivated me to start it was that it represents a more private channel for conversations. Feel free therefore to answer to my emails with your comments and or questions.

Finally, setting up a forum or a place where we could discuss such matters would be cool, but would take a lot of work, and I am not so sure how many people would end up using it, so for now there are no plans for that.

3. Pink Ink asks:

Daniel, do you know of a Blogger widget that can be inserted at the bottom of each post inviting readers to subscribe via RSS or email (other than cutting and pasting the sentence each time)?

WordPress seems to have a lot more goodies, but I am not about to switch over…yet. 🙂

Also, at some point in your early blogging career, did you comment on every comment, and at what point did you answer just ones that you thought needed to be answered?? And did your readers care?

I don’t any any Blogger widget that would do that for you. But why don’t you just edit the template to include that instead of adding it manually below every post?

Interesting questions about replying to comments. On the very early days I would reply to most comments, and the readers appreciated it. As the time went by, more of them started coming everyday, more tasks started being on my plate everyday, so I was forced to stop that.

Today I reply only to the comments that ask me something. But I do put an effort to make sure that no question goes unanswered on the comments section.

I wish I could answer personally to each and every comment though. I might try one of these days. Daily Blog Tips gets an average of 30 comments per day if I am not wrong, so if I took 30 seconds to answer to each I would need to spend 15 minutes per day, which is manageable.

Might be something to try on 2009, stay tuned.

4. Arun Basil asks:

I am a blogger at the above blog and I earn about $10 per month from adsense. I know that cofee money, but do you think that placing ads are distracting readers..? Will any reader cease to comeback because of the ads..?

No one likes ads. Some people are neutral to them, but most would rather not have them around. So yeah if you run ads on your blog website there is always a chance that some visitors will get annoyed, and some might not return in the future because of that.

There are several factors that need to be considered to evaluate how big that risk really is.

First of all, is your content unique and valuable? If it is, there are good chances that people will bear with the ads. They would be getting value out of your content, after all, so a small annoyance would not be enough to make them go away and never return.

Secondly, does your site is established and seen as an authority? If the answer is yes, then you probably could get away with more ads on your site. That is why big brands like Men’s Health or The Washington Post can get away with many ads, some of them being very intrusive like pop-up ads.

Finally, how many ads you run and how intrusive are them? The higher the number of ads you run, the higher the chances of losing visitors. Similarly, the more intrusive the ads, the higher the chance of losing visitors.

Ads on the sidebar or at the bottom of the content, for example, are not intrusive since they don’t get in middle of the reading experience. Most people would not be bothered by those. Animated flash ads, pop-ups and AdSense blended with the content, on the other hand, have higher chances of annoying people.

The answer, therefore, is finding a balance and testing.

5. Alex Fraiser asks:

I have a blog with what I and a few other people (based on reviews) think is unique content in a niche that has barely been touched. My question is how would I go about promoting the blog? I have read countless articles telling me to go and advertise on blogs, forums, etc. in the niche, but as I had said before, there are no other sites in my niche that I can find. On top of all that, there is just nothing SEO wise I can think of to do, or any keywords to really rank good for.

I have been told to use Social bookmarking, but I have not gotten very good results. I have also been told to get a press release written too, but I am not even sure how to get one! Any insight would be much appreciated!

You mentioned that there are no keywords to really rank for in your niche. Well, if that is the case, you don’t have a niche at all!

If you are writing on a topic that some people would be interested to read about, they sure might search for that information somehow, right? Search engines are the most used way for finding information these days, so it is likely that people will use them in one way or another to find about topics in your niche.

If you are positive people don’t search for the keywords and terms related to your niche, then indeed there is no such a niche. Yet! Who said you can’t create it, though? Perhaps people would love to read your content, but they don’t know such content exists yet. Icanhascheezburger.com practically created the niche for funny pictures with cats and captions on them. Before it people wouldn’t know about those pictures, and they wouldn’t even think about searching for them on Google, right?

It is harder to create a niche, but it can be done. You would need to tap into other channels and promote your content extensively until it gets enough exposure and people start searching and talking about it spontaneously.

You might start working on parallel niches too. For example when Icanhascheezburger started you didn’t have people looking around for funny pics of cats with captions, but you had people looking for funny pics in general, so they leveraged those parallel niches to attract people to their own.

Finally, as you mentioned, social media can be a good place to tackle too. Don’t limit yourself to social bookmarking sites like Digg and Stumble, but also try social network ones like MySpace, Twitter and Facebook.

6. Melissa Donovan asks:

Do you think that leaving comments is still a good way to get visitors? When I launched my first blogs, all I had to do to get comments and subscribers during the first couple of weeks was visit other blogs and leave interesting comments.

I’m trying that with a blog I’ve launched recently and I’m seeing a few subscribers but people aren’t reciprocating comments. Since it worked well with my other blogs, I have a feeling it’s not the writing or my style. Is comment reciprocation a thing of the past?

Your first question is: Do you think that leaving comments is still a good way to get visitors? Yes I do. That strategy still works, especially because today you have more blogs on every niche, those blogs have higher traffic, and overall more people read blogs.

Obviously if you leave 5 comments per day you shouldn’t expect to see a large traffic coming from it, if at all. I have seen people out there that leave over 100 comments per day on 100 different blogs, day after day. Now that is what I call traffic generation via blog comments.

Then you ask: Since it worked well with my other blogs, I have a feeling it’s not the writing or my style. Is comment reciprocation a thing of the past?

I agree that in the past people were more willing to reciprocate links and comments because the blogosphere was a smaller place. I remember when I started my first blog that I had a very close relationship with the other bloggers on my niche. We were not real life friends, but you knew everyone was reading the blog of everyone else and interacting when possible.

Sadly, but perhaps naturally, we lost that touch along the way. I say naturally because it might be a result of the exponential growth rate that the blogosphere suffered. With hundreds if not thousands of blogs on each and every niche, it is difficult to track closely the blog of some people and reciprocate the comments on your own.

Regardless of that, I still think it is worth to reciprocate comments and links if you think the blog of that person is interesting. The only problem is the time constraint.



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21 Responses to “Blogging Questions & Answers 30”

  • medyum

    1) Is Google supposed to index an entire site at once or does it do so incrementally?
    My blog (on my own domain) appears to be getting indexed incrementally, to the point where it’s taken a month to index all 30+ of my pages. Most of those pages were present before I manually submitted my URL to Google. I’m wondering if I’m doing something wrong or not doing something I should be doing. Does this have anything to do with my blog being new, or having no external links pointing to it?

    2) Does Google eventually drop noindex and 404 pages?
    I have archive pages that got indexed but I have since added to them. I also deleted an empty category that Google now gets a 404 on. Will Google eventually remove those pages as it re-crawls my site?

  • Himanshu

    Daniel, I have a question

    As a blogger when did you realize that you got popular ? And were there any moments when you felt that Blogging is not your cup of tea ?

    I am hoping to get the answer soon …

  • Lanie

    I also removed track back links for the same reason. It becomes a royal pain to keep them moderated and still they don’t have a clean intergration.

  • chinese

    wow,i just read it, this is a nice post, thanks for sharing this.

  • Chester

    How frequent should we change the wordpress theme that we use for our blog?

  • Kurt Avish

    @Pink Ink: I wrote about a little tweak for adding a feedburner subscription form below each of your posts in blogspot some time ago. Here is the link. Hope it helps 🙂

  • Associate Money

    Shucks, it never occurs to me that blog commenting has to be in the region of 100 comments per day to see a noticeable inflow of traffic.

    I usually stop after 10, the most I did in a day was 30 and I am already exhausted.

  • DutchSchoolKid

    Hmm..
    I was also wondering if commenting on blogs was the right way, but now Daniel stated so clear that you have to comment very much, it is very logic. I have to do it more!

  • Mairo Vergara

    Obviously if you leave 5 comments per day you shouldn’t expect to see a large traffic coming from it, if at all. I have seen people out there that leave over 100 comments per day on 100 different blogs, day after day. Now that is what I call traffic generation via blog comments.

    Wow! 100 comments per day seems hard-work!

  • Melvin

    Hi Daniel, Can you say that you have monetized this blog to its full potential? I know this blog is not intended to be an income earner but I just want to know what are the other monetization tactics that might have crossed your mind. 😉

  • Jodith

    Commenting on other blogs is definitely a benefit. I’m still getting a few hits a month from 1 comment I left on a blog over 6 months ago. It blows my mind every month when I check stats and see hits from that blog.

  • Sarah Jo

    I found your advertising advice really helpful. Still trying to find the right amount on my blog, but with some trial and error, I’ll get a formula nailed down. Thanks!

  • Melissa Donovan, Copywriter

    Hi Daniel, Thanks for answering my question about comments. It’s great to hear another blogger’s perspective on this. I make it a point to try and reciprocate just about every comment and most linkbacks, but I find that lots of bloggers aren’t reciprocating anymore. I think this may also have do with the subject matter because my creative writing blog (Writing Forward) gets lots of comments and reciprocation. Thanks again for your feedback!

  • mike dibenedetto

    Hi Daniel,
    Do you still comment on other blogs or do you mostly focus on maintaining the community around your blog?
    I always wondered that about A list bloggers.

  • Rick Regan

    My prior comment should have said “I have since added NOINDEX to them” (the html in my comment was removed). Sorry.

  • Rick Regan

    Daniel,

    I have a two-part question about how Google indexes sites:

    1) Is Google supposed to index an entire site at once or does it do so incrementally?
    My blog (on my own domain) appears to be getting indexed incrementally, to the point where it’s taken a month to index all 30+ of my pages. Most of those pages were present before I manually submitted my URL to Google. I’m wondering if I’m doing something wrong or not doing something I should be doing. Does this have anything to do with my blog being new, or having no external links pointing to it?

    2) Does Google eventually drop noindex and 404 pages?
    I have archive pages that got indexed but I have since added to them. I also deleted an empty category that Google now gets a 404 on. Will Google eventually remove those pages as it re-crawls my site?

    Thanks!

  • Pink Ink

    Thank you, Daniel for answering my questions.

    On #5, I have often found through sites I frequent blogger network buttons on the sidebar that have been a great way to reach readers. Forums can also be a great way to get exposure. One that I’ve enjoyed (granted, might not apply to all of your readers) is http://www.absolutewrite.com.

    On #6, I used to comment all over the place, but have since cut back considerably, been more selective. And I actually enjoy that interaction better. And now that I’m on “blog-holiday”, I’m definitely MORE selective than ever 🙂

  • Rajasekharan – Transcriptionist

    Thanks Daniel for that answer.

    Since it was pertaining to the newsletter of yours, here is another question for this week, something in relation to the one above:

    As any other blogger out there on the blogosphere, you too seem to be unable to stick to any particular schedule of your email newsletters! Furthermore, I notice that the posting frequency too is not “daily” on your other dailies! Any comments?

  • Arun Basil Lal

    Daniel,
    Thanks for the answer to my question. I would do some reader review and do some testing out to decide the best advertising spots with minimal annoyance. Thanks for that

    I got another question,
    This week my Alexa rank fell from 7 lacks to 30 lacks but i had the same traffic as of the other weeks. When I checked the ranks of some other sites, those sites had even lower traffic but had higher alexa ranks.
    And today, suddenly the rank jumped back to 6 lacks! Why do Alexa ranks vary like that..?

  • Farrhad A

    Great questions and answers 🙂
    What would you pick: Write an amazing guest post on a really popular blog or write it for your own blog and see if it does well?

  • Make Money Tips

    Hi,
    this is really a great idea to answer users question,
    i had the same Question as No.4 but i don’t have much ads and have less visitors but adsense income is as low as 20-30$ a month for one site,its a niche blog, so can u tell me some tips to increase some income and get more visitors,if u can give me some of your post related to that would be also great

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