Friday, September 23, 2005

More Tips on How To Get Visitors To Your Site

In a few hours my wife and I will be heading down to the local Red Lobster to dine with a group from our class at church. What we expect is a fun night out with other couples from the church to eat some great seafood and then head over to the Nicholas' home for dessert.

Okay, Dave. Enough, already. What does this have to do with getting more traffic to my blog?

It's simple, my dear Watson. The flyer we were handed at church was titled, "Couples Dinner Out - Red Lobster", along with a sub heading, "Dessert will follow at the Nicholas' home."

Okay, I'm still lost, you say.

Here's the deal. I didn't have to read the whole flyer to get the point. The headline told me everything, except for the time and date. And that's just it. You need to incorporate facts - headliners - for title of your posts. This carries a dual purpose. The biggest one is that it lets everyone know what the post is about.

Secondly, when people type in "web cam reviews" in Google, if title of your post that day was, "The Latest Web Camera Reviews", Google will direct people to your site because your post title contains the keywords the person is searching for.

A nice thing about blog software is that the post titles go into HTML as h3 tags. Like...

How to Raise a Parakeet

Now what is so cool about this is that search engines are notorious for returning results from pages that have keywords in the H tags, like h1 h2 h3, etc. Make it a habit to think like a newspaper editor and create a title to your post that explains what the article is about, but at the same time is concise and carries words you know people will search for when looking for your content.

If you can, make good use of your ALT tags for your images. You can't do this with sites hosted on or a few of the blogging giants, but you can do this on independent sites. Now, don't be devious by keyword stuffing the ALT tag, just make sure you use it. Many people forget it.

And finally for today, make sure you have enough content on your page. Many search engines look for more content than HTML code. This means if you have a lot going on in HTML that has little or nothing to do with your content, try to bring the ratio down as much as you can. Use cascading style sheets and less clutter that has nothing to do with the subject of your blog.

Keep working hard at these optimization tips. Soon you will greet new visitors every day.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Yahoo is Having Problems

Remember I told you that one way to start to get subscribers to your blog is to subscribe to it yourself? There are different accounts you can create, download newsreaders or RSS aggregators, but one of the easiest ways, and fastest I might add, is to subscribe to your own blog through your .NET account at MSN, or your My Yahoo account.

The .NET addition went flawlessly. There is something called My MSN, too. If you use MSN Messenger, you have My MSN, even if you haven't used it.

But adding the blog to My Yahoo was a different ball game.

You are taken to a screen where you can Add Content.

As much as I tried, it didn't work. And after e-mailing Yahoo, getting their reply and e-mailing them again - that is wasn't as easy as submitting the blog to their database and viola, it would work - they did reply:

Thank you for writing to My Yahoo!. Please be assured that we are aware of this problem and are working to fix it. We appreciate your reporting it to us -- your input helps us identify ways to constantly maintain and improve our services. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, and we appreciate your patience while we correct this bug. Thank you again for contacting Yahoo! Customer Care.

So, at least I know it's not just my browser or some weird problem on my computer. By the way, I tried adding with both Internet Explorer and Mozilla FireFox. No dice.

Hey, I've found a huge list of place where you can submit your blog. Now some require creating accounts, but most are just - Add your RSS feed here: I'll share that with you soon. In the meantime, keep blogging great content and say, keep praying for the people in the path of Hurricane Rita. This one is a monster.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

When Google Spiders Your Site

This morning Google spidered

neworleansresource-logs]# grep Googlebot access-log - - [21/Sep/2005:04:18:00 -0400] "GET / HTTP/1.1" 200 96388 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +" - - [21/Sep/2005:07:18:10 -0400] "GET /robots.txt HTTP/1.1" 404 216 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +" - - [21/Sep/2005:07:18:11 -0400] "GET / HTTP/1.1" 200 96565 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +" - - [21/Sep/2005:09:03:32 -0400] "GET /sitemap.xml HTTP/1.1" 200 1514 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +"

This appears to be fresh crawl spider and not a deepbot. There is a difference. Fresh crawl spiders almost daily, Deepbot spiders when Google is performing a major update.

If your site hasn't shown up in Google, it may because the "fresh crawl" (which runs each day) was finding your site instead of the main crawl (which runs about once a month). As it does a full crawl of the web, most of the sites are from the fresh crawl and put in the regular Google index. My advice on the fresh crawl is to view it as a nice "bonus" on top of Google's deep index.

What does this mean for you? Don't fret. Here's today's tips:

1. Create a great site. We discussed this (remember, content is king).
2. Submit your site to Google on the "add url" form.
3. Get a link from the Open Directory Project or other directories (Yahoo, etc.). Find a site in that directory and get a link to your new site.
4. Don't panic if your site takes a little while to show up in Google. Be patient, and start using the tips I recommend here about improving your site for users and search engines.

Above, the spider - Googlebot/2.1; + - was looking for (or Getting) - GET / HTTP/1.1. Let's break this down.

GET (requesting, as in "please go get") and the next thing you see is a / Well, that means get me the index page to this site. The HTTP/1.1 is the type of request. (An FTP request would be FTP, etc.) Next, we see the response from the server - a code number: 200. That means - OK, cool!

Next, the bot is looking for robots.txt, and guess what? We don't have one, so the server told the bot - code 404 - Not found. The rest you can figure out. It did spider the sitemap, and this agrees with my account with Google:

Last Downloaded - 4 hours ago.

If you haven't submitted your site to Google yet, now is the time to do that. Just make sure you have your Sitemap in place. If you need help with that, check my post about creating a Google Site Map for your website.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Increasing Traffic to Your Blog

This can be one of the most difficult parts of monetizing your blog. Yes, you want to have great content. As I posted before, you can use tools such as RSS Equalizer in addition to coming up with great content on your own. These simply facilitate filling out your page.

Initially, it wasn't too hard to get your site listed in the major search engines; Yahoo, Netscape, Lycos, AltaVista, etc. You simply added your URL to their crawler link and wait for inclusion. Things have changed. It's become a science. And, as programming algorithms for searches and related linking, relativity weight, prominence, among other things, it has become difficult even for the most skilled Search Engine Optimization company to stay abreast of changes.

Okay, you say, you lost me at algorithms.

Don't fret, there is hope for you. My study of what brings a steady flow of traffic is having something someone wants to read. Crappy content will get you nothing. For instance, you're reading this blog because I took time to research and provide you with something beneficial. And that's the key word - will your viewers "benefit" from reading your site? Here's the second key word - "value".

There's a great quote by Zig Ziglar that goes something like, "You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want." Work at getting people what they want.

Next, and this one is easy, make sure you have a nice looking blog. Work hard on keeping it looking professional. Don't clutter it up with unnecessary buttons and odd graphics. If it looks questionable to you, leave it off. Too much of anything is bad - Mom told you that, and she's always right.

Okay, one more tip and we're done for today. Be generous with links. What comes around goes around (didn't Mom say that, too?). You'll notice I have a few links in the sidebar. Those will not hurt your Google Page Rank.

I'll discuss this further as there are many more traffic increasing tips to pass along. Don't forget to get back to the basics and submit your site to the search engines manually. Just make sure when you do, you've done your homework to get them looking awesome and remember that "content is king!" Is Live

The first site I am experimenting with is now live. is updating according to the parameters I set in RSS Equalizer. The way the program works is that it caches the news feed in a MySQL database for how ever many hours you select.

What I did was study the feed for a day and determined how often the stories updated. Most were every 12 hours, however some were every two or three days. Setting the cache allows your web page to display quicker because it is pulling all the data out of your MySQL database.

This morning I noticed problems with the site displaying. Other domains on the same server don't seem to have a problem. Could it be that all my pages are updating their cache at the same time? Unlikely. There is also a problem with the Google AdSense ads displaying which holds up the sidebar from loading. Articles still display, but with no sidebar and no ads.

I would like feedback, if you care to comment, on if you feel the sidebar menu, where it says - News From Other Locales - would work better below the AdSense ads (better for the AdSense to be seen), or if leaving it where it is would prompt people to view other pages?

One thing you must be careful with when setting up a site and submitting it to the search engines is making changes to the site. Yes, you want to keep tweaking it, but it is far better to get those pages into the search engines and then tweak more, than to constantly change page names and headings.

I promised a post on what other things I am doing to get traffic to the site, and I'll do that, plus, Yahoo replied about not being able to add the RSS feed to their My Yahoo system. So, I'll post that as well.

The next domain I am working on is This site will be designed to bring resources together for people interested in flood zones and flood insurance.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Making Good Comments

Posting good comments on other blogs will not only get you some traffic, but will no doubt open a new horizon to you. Most likely you have kept in your own little blogging world. Sort of like being in a small town and enjoying what a small town offers. No one bothers you. (Well, maybe an occasional telemarketer - read, "Comment spammer", but now we even have tools to keep
them at bay.)

One of my goals in life is to live in ten cities in the world for six months at a time simply to experience radically different cultures than my own.

Think of it. Getting outside of your comfort zone and seeing what other people do. The word is "experience", yes, experience what others do - what others blog about. Chances are you will find wonderful camaraderie and be back to visit often.

I have another traffic gaining post coming up later today. However, this is one great way to get out of your blog-shell, read, and post a comment. Make sure you provide a link back to your blog. Don't dump on any blog. Beserious and genuine and search for blogs that interest you. Then read them.

I would like to hear from people who do this on a regular basis so we can include your comments here as testimonials.

Go out and experience.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Using Blogger Templates on a Remote Host

Whew! It took longer than I had planned, and at times I felt a little guilty of sitting so long at the computer, but is finally live. No, I'm not going to tell you how long I stayed up tweaking it, and the fact that even this morning I needed a few more touches, but I will say it took overall around nine hours to create.

The next site will probably take half that time. That's because I had to learn the template I am using, and trying to tweak the best layout out of it (in my opinion). And, I tried to include a Perl based search engine.

The install went fine, but not sure what I was thinking. Remember we are dealing with dynamically created pages, so the only thing the search script will see is the code to generate the pages on the fly. That burnt up about an hour. Looked nice, but wrong results.

Also, I had problems incorporating the AdSense block in the footer. For some odd reason, it won't show up. Maybe someone has a suggestion.

Now that the site is almost done, (I want to submit a Google Site Map), it is time for the next step, promoting and getting the site linked. There are a ton of ideas and sites that help you do this, or at least think they can help. I will do my best to present what I feel are the most beneficial ones, and give you the results right here.

In the meantime, try constructing your own site using and a website from You will see how you can easily create many pages as simple as blogging. I won't suggest you get the RSS Equalizer program yet, because even though it is working as advertised, I want to make sure it will work with the AdSense ad blocks.

Thanks again for your comments.