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16

From zero to hero: Targeting 10,000 or more visitors daily to my blog in one year

It’s every blog authors’ dreams to have truckloads of visitors visiting their blog daily.

When Sabahan.com and other blogs were created in February 2006, I set a goal to have my traffic level raised from less than 100 daily now to at least 10,000, within a year. That would be February 2007.

With so many blogs failed to attract even a decent number of visitors after over of year being online, how can I be sure if that’s even possible?

Several top Malaysian blogs have demonstrated that it’s not an impossible task at all.

Take Kahsoon.com for example. As you can see from his Sitemeter traffic graph below, his blog started with virtually zero visitor count in April 2005. A year later, 360,000 people had visited his blog in the month of February, 2006 alone.

 

sitemeter_kahsoon.gif

 

Another blogger, Paul Tan who authored a blog about cars, started with a low visitor count in April 2005. The rise for the coming months has been nothing short of meteoric.

 

sitemeter_paultan.gif

 

Then Liew CF, who blog about technology, computer and the Internet has consistently maintained a good number of daily visitor count.

 

sitemeter_liewcf.gif

 

So what did they do to attract tremendous amount of daily visitors to their blog? From my quick observation, I noticed they share several things in common.

 

1. Content, content content
Yes, in the world of blogging, content is still the king. But more importantly, they offer the right kind of contents that please their visitors’ palate.

 

2. Adding fresh content daily
They are adding new content daily, on average, 3 posts per day.

 

3. Accumulate incoming links
They manage to accumulate large number of incoming links. I am sure manual link exchange plays important an role here. Besides, writing quality and interesting content also encourage others to link to them

 

4. Taking it seriously
I know that LiewCF and Kahsoon are full time bloggers, but I do not know if Paul Tan is also a full timer. LiewCF and Kahsoon left their previous jobs after they saw the potential rewards by doing it full time.

 

5. Be the authority in their niche
It’s hardly surprising they are able to attract large followers since I can’t find many Malaysian bloggers who have the same success in tackling the car, technology or funny junk niches to become the ‘authority’ in those niche. Or perhaps, being among first ones to take it seriously might have helped them too.

 

6. Good search engine ranking
With so many posts, the chance for any of the posts to rank high in search engines increases. You only have to look at their stats to understand that a large chunk of their traffic comes from the free search engines.

 

There are other observations that I think have contributed to their success but the above are the main ones.

My plan now is to emulate these to help me achieve my goal. Starting a blog, adding content and bringing the traffic level up to the next level require hard work and time. If one can keep the motivation going, the traffic trend will go nowhere but up. I’ll keep you updated with my progress.

18

Optimize your wordpress blog search engine ranking with these plugins

WordPress comes with several built in search optimization tools including .htaccess to create apparently static URLs called permalinks , blogrolling , and pinging.

You can further optimize your blog by installing these three plugins which I discovered while trying to improve my blog’s search engine friendliness. So here they are…

 

1. Optimal Title

Use this plugin to optimize your post title and display meaningfull search engine results and browser bookmark names. It also reduces the chance of title truncation when viewed in search engine result pages by placing your post title in the beginning of the <title> tag.

 

2. Head Meta Description

This plugin allows you to add dynamic meta description automatically by extracting the first few words in your words. So it’s important to place your most important keywords in the first paragraph so that they are picked by this plugin.

If you do not see your description tag, scroll down a bit because it’s possible that other tags may have pushed the <description> tag lower down but still inside the <head> tag.

 

3. Add Meta Keyword Tag

This plugin works similar like the Head Meta Description plugin except that it’s for the keyword tag. Add Meta Keyword Tag would output a default set of keywords, except on single posts. On single posts it would create a list of keywords based on the categories assigned to that post and any tags assigned to it. So you can simply pull the keywords from tagging plugins you already use such as Jerome’s Keywords and, Bunny’s Technorati Tags

54

10 most useful wordpress plugins according to Sabahan.com

I scoured the net to find useful wordpress plugins that do certain functions to make Sabahan.com more functional, sticky, and helpful. I ended up with these must have plugins which fulfill my current needs. I hope you’ll find them useful too.

All plugins has been tested and works with WordPress 2.0.1 unless mentioned otherwise.

 

1. Adsense-Deluxe

Being an Adsense publisher myself on several of my earlier websites, Adsense Deluxe is one of the first plugins that I searched for. It’s a great plugin allowing you to plug your Adsense ads easily anywhere within your post simply by inserting html comments. You can define a single default code or as many variations as you like for your skyscraper, banner, link unit ads.

Adsense-Deluxe allows you to test your Adsense styles without having to edit your WordPress templates. However, if you want to use the ads defined in Adsense-Deluxe within your WordPress templates, you can do so by placing the following code where you want the ads to appear:

 

<?php adsense_deluxe_ads('Ad_Name'); ?>

 

2. Jerome’s Keywords

If you are looking for ways to associated keywords with each of your post, this plugin might suit your need. What I like about Jerome’s Keyword plugin is its versatility. You can define your own keywords/tag system in your blog to help your readers find contents that interest them or create local tag cosmos like Technorati or Flickr or automatically use your keyword for page meta tags.

By default Technorati tag the WordPress post category as keyword. Now I can use Jerome’s Keywords to have specified keywords tagged by Technorati as you can see at the bottom of this post. Once installed, a keyword field is added into your WordPress editor for entering and editing keywords.

There are other keywords and tags plugins out there but this one does nearly all the tasks you ever wanted.

 

3. Post Teaser

The Post Teaser plugin is one plugin that generates a preview of a post with a link underneath pointing to the full post. You might like this plugin if your main page is filled with long posts that force your readers to scroll down just to find the post that interest them.

You can also save bandwidth with this plugin by having your readers view a full post only if they actually want to read it. Also, instead of cluttering you main page with ads, you can include post specific ads which can only be seen by the reader when they view the full post.

It includes features to generate a word count, image count, and an estimated reading time. Jerome’s Keywords is easy to install and configure without the need to tinker with your wordpress template.

 

4. Related Posts

One way to increase your blog page view is by adding links to posts which are related to the one they are currently reading. You can do this with Related Posts plugin which automatically returns a list of related entries based on active/passive keyword matches.

Your post title will be used for matching but you can also manually relate entries using keywords in situations where post’s title may have little to do with post’s content.

I use the default matching option and found that adding a descriptive title will help the plugin to find more relevant matching entries. This plugin is installed on nearly all my blogs such as Internet Security Online, Offbeat Enough, Portable MP3 Player, Office Supplies and Pay to Surf Reviews besides Sabahan.com

After installation, you can specify the number of related posts to show, include excerpt and among others.

 

5. Admin Drop Down Menu

You know, when you are in WordPress admin area and want to perform certain task such as editing your index.php theme, you’ll have to click ‘Presentation’ and then click on the second lever menu which is ‘Theme Editor’.

Here’s where Admin Drop Down Menu comes in. It eliminates the need for this double clicking by allowing you to see the second level menu just by placing your mouse over a main menu. The image below shows the ‘Presentation’ main menu is currently selected but it also shows the ‘Links” second level menu by placing the mouse over it. Neat isn’t it.

 

admin_menu.gif

 

6. Email This Post

Word of mouth is one of the best viral marketing method. People tend to trust their friends and colleague more then they trust the salesman. Adding email-to-a-friend tool can provide a powerful way to promote your blog to a circle of friends.

WP-Email is one of such plugin which enables your readers to send your blog entry to their friends. I have to warn you though that the installation is not as straight forward as some other plugins listed here.

When I first installed this plugin, it added some entries into the database. These entries are used to create the email, error, success page. To match my blog template, I had to fiddle with the plugin code and edit the database entry because there’s no straight forward way to update those entries (Update: This problem does not exists anymore in version 2.04 and above). But once installed, this plugin works like a charm. You can check out the demo at my other blog at OffbeatEnough.com

 

email_to_friend.gif

 

If you know of other email-to-friend plugin that’s easier to install, please leave your comment and share it with us.

 

7. WordPress DatabaseBackup

Backing up your wordpress database should be done frequently especially when you are adding content actively. WordPress DatabaseBackup offers a one click database backup to help you backup your data easily. You may download the backup file, or have it emailed to the address of your choice. It’s included in WordPress 2.0. by default but you’ll have to enable it.

 

8. WP-ContactForm

If you want to add a contact form in your blog, WP-ContactFrom might be the one for you. Leaving their comments is one way for your readers to communicate with you but having a contact form allow them to get in touch with you regarding matters not related to the post you made. Wp-ContactForm is very easy to use, just drop the HTML comment, <!–contact form–> anywhere in your post and you are ready to go.

 

9. Akismet

This could be your best friend if your blog is inundated with comment spams. Akismet is a spam filter which checks your comments against the Akismet web service to see if they look like spam or not. You need a WordPress.com API key to use this service. It’s easy to setup and runs quietly in the background. Akismet also comes with WordPress 2.0.

 

10. Optimal Title

You’ve done everything to make your blog pretty and functional, you’ve added useful content for your visitors, so what’s next? You might want to optimize your blog for the search engines and one way to do this by installing Optimal Title which will turn your blog title into something more meaningful for the search engine.

By default your blog post title looks like this (take Sabahan.com for example):

Sabahan.com >> Post title for the search engine

Optimal Title optimizes your title to

Post title for the search engine << Sabahan.com

You may ask what’s the significant of this change. Well first, this provides more meaningful search engine results and browser bookmark names. Placing your post title in the beginning also ensure that long title is not truncated entirely when viewed in the search engine result.

Of course you can also do this by editing your header.php title tag manually but why bother when Optimal Title can do that for you? Also, if you notice when you visit Sabahan.com homepage, the title says:

Sabahan.com About Computer, Interet, Marketing and Interesting Stuff.

The title is a combination of the blog title and description. This is achieved using the following code:

 

<title><? optimal_title('&laquo;'); ?><?php bloginfo('name'); ?> <?php if (!optimal_title('', FALSE)) bloginfo('description'); ?></title>

 

By default wordpress will only display ‘Sabahan.com’ as the title.

 

Phew…! This is the longest post I’ve written so far.

It’s easy to go overboard and install every plugins ever created out there. I try to keep the number of plugin installed on my blog to the minimum so as to avoid any difficulty when upgrading to a later version of WordPress.

Now that I’ve shown you mine, can you show me your favourite plugins?

9

How to enable Adsense on your WordPress single posts only

This simple tip lets you enable Adsense on your single posts if you do not have the single.php file in your theme.

To do this, perform the following steps.

  1. Login to you WordPress administration panel, then go to Presentation > Theme Editor.
  2. Open index.php and add the following code where you want your Adsense to appear

    <?php if (is_single()) {
    Put your Adsense code here
    } ?>

  3. Press ‘Update File’ to finalize the changes.
9

How to disable comment on a WordPress page or post

This is a simple tip to help you exclude the comment template on certain pages or posts in your blog. Certain themes will have the comment template unavailable by default on their pages such as those with the single.php. Some other themes will require a small change to their index.php or single.php to disable this comment section.

Here it goes:

Disable comment on certain post.

 

  1. Login to you WordPress administration panel, then go to Presentation > Theme Editor.
  2. Open index.php or single.php and look for the line <?php comments_template(); ?>
  3. Change it to

     

    <?php if (!is_single("personal-details")) {comments_template();} ?>

     

    This instruction disables the comment template on a post slug entitled “personal-details” without the quotation mark.

  4. Press “Update File” and presto! The comment section on that page is disabled.

 

Disable comment on certain pages.

  1. If you have index.php page only and you want to exclude comments on certain pages. Repeat steps 1 and 2 above.
  2. But now change <?php comments_template(); ?> to

    <?php if (!is_page("contact") and !is_page("partners") and !is_page("Add link") ) {comments_template();} ?>

    This instruction prevents the comment template to be displayed on the “contact”, “partners” and “Add link” page. Check those pages on Sabahan.com and compare them with the “About” page. You’ll notice that the comments section is not available on that three pages.

  3. Update your index.php file to complete the process.

I am not a PHP programmer but this is easy enough to implement and it works for Sabahan.com and my other blogs using WordPress version 1.5 and 2.0.1 . If you know a better way of doing this, please leave your comment and share it with us. Cheers!

 

Update: As suggested my LcF below, another way of doing this is my placing the following code in your index.php page so that your comment template appears only when comment is enabled.

 

<?php if ('open' == $post-> comment_status) {
comments_template();
}
?>

20

Adsense Tips For Bloggers

Finally the official Adsense blog publishes tips on how to optimize Adsense on you blog. If you are an Adsense newbie trying to make money using Adsense on your blog, then follow these tips. I am sure you’ll benefit from them ;-). OK, here’s the rundown for you

 

Choose the right ad formats

Place the medium rectangle at the end of each post as it fits nicely in the typical blog layout which uses a narrow section for posts. Allowing image ads will make the ad stand out and increase the revenue potential for that ad space.

inline_rectangle.gif

For shorter posts, a banner may be a better fit.

banner.gif

 

Place ads where your readers will notice

Blog main page

Readers are usually engaged with the content if yours is their favorite one.

An ad after each post can serve as a “commercial break” from reading or as an “action step” to take after reading.

 

Individual blog entries

People actually looking for something else to do after reading you post, you might want to take advantage of this by placing relevant ads which complement your post. This gives the readers another option to help them find what they are looking for. If your individual posts do not have a lot of content, place the ads near your content without bombarding the page with ads.

For long entries, try embedding a blended medium rectangle into your post and adding a banner at the end.

inline_wraptop.gif

 

For short entries, just place one medium rectangle or banner at the end.

 

If there’s a comment section after the post, place a banner or a horizontal link unit just above the comment box. Rather than using the traditional Skyscraper in your sidebar, consider using a link unit, which will offer a wider range of topics and may appear less obtrusive.

 

468x15_4.gif

 

Improve targeting with section targeting

There were times when I noticed the ads were not relevant at all to a specific post. Fortunately, we can avoid this problem using section targeting.

Section targeting allows you to emphasize or de-emphasize certain sections of your page. For example, you may want to emphasize the first paragraph of your article or ignore your menu bar. With section targeting , you can help Adsense determine what parts of your content are important so that your site can show more targeted ads.

You’ll have to make sure that the section you want to target contain a significant amount of text, a large enough percentage of your overall content. To start targeting just enclose the text with

 

<!– google_ad_section_start–>

Text that you want tobe targeted by Adsense here

<!– google_ad_section_end–>

Page section targeting 3-722552.JPG

Click the thumbnail above to view full image.

 

Customize your ad colors and make them stand out

When customizing you ad colors, make sure to use color scheme that still differentiate them with your own content. They recommend using the same background of your blog but choose a bold color for the ad title to help draw attention.

Blogtimize-775540.JPG

With up to three ad units , one link unit, and one search box on every page, layout options abound

Some of the tips are pretty basic for some Adsense veterans but nevertheless, people tend to forget about the basic things and go overboard trying to do everything, or rather, not doing the basic things at all.

The most importing is to experiment and track your results using channels. Your content, and blog layout are different from others and your blog attracts different readers. So experiment with different options

keeping your particular users’ experience in mind when it comes to placement.

Pay attention to those changes that increase your ad performance significantly. From there, you can continue to improve your results.

You can read Adsense blog here.

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