A couple of days ago I was reading a guest post by a guy who wrote on the topic of bounce rates. He started that he only had a 2% bounce rate; every person that commented, including yours truly, found that hard to believe. Goodness, the best bounce rate I have on any of my blogs is around 66%. That may have been the most controversial point, but there was something else in that post that got my attention.
It was his mentioning tags and tag clouds and how, by keeping them relatively low, they can help shape what your blog is all about in a better fashion, as well as help reduce your bounce rate. That one caught my attention because I’ve been thinking about it for a long time. And, by extension, categories as well, which sometimes mirror the tags.
For the uninitiated, categories help people find content they care about quicker. If you look to the right sidebar of mine you’ll see it just before my product pages listing. I have 35 article categories on this blog; in a way that’s a bunch, and I know that some of these can be merged. Not all of them, but some of them; then again, I talk about a wide variety of things on this blog, so maybe that’s not so bad.
However, I also have 1,899 tags and counting on this blog; that might be a bit of overkill. The idea behind tags is to refine what you’re talking about in your blog posts. So, I might be talking SEO in general as a category, but on one day I might be talking about keywords, on another I could be talking about linking, etc. Therefore, one might tend to have more tags than categories.
But how many tags and categories are too many in general? I tend to believe it depends on what it is you’re writing about. Let’s compare this blog to 3 of my other blogs. The first business blog, which I’ve had the longest, has 19 categories and 919 tags. The second business blog, which I’ve only had just under 4 months by now, only has 6 categories and 50 tags. And my finance blog has 45 categories and 901 tags.
Do two of those above look excessive to you? On the surface they do, but in reality I tend to think not. Tags help you zero in on a topic, and search engines seem to take more credence in your tags than they do in categories anyway. I’ve noticed that categories seem to show up in blog readers more often, as they do in my Feedreader program. True, it might help if you could find ways to use similar tags over and over, but sometimes I think it’s imperative that you drill down further, be a bit more specific with your topic.
For instance, my last post was on video blogging. I could have just put “blogging” but that wouldn’t have really been sufficient. So I added “video blogging” to the mix as well as “vlog”, a term a lot of people use. I then decided to toss in a keyword phrase, “future of blogging”; after all, there might be people that search for that phrase, and with all the other keywords it might help make the post prominent enough to be found for that term by some people.
By the way, I will say that it’s possible that either tags or categories will help reduce your bounce rate. If people want to learn more or see more of what you’ve said in the past they might decide to click on your categories or, if you have them somewhere, your tags; I’ve taken mine down but I’m thinking about putting it back up somewhere, probably on the right sidebar again.
What’s your take on tags and categories? I know some people haven’t used them; why not? And while we’re at it, do you pay attention to tag clouds on blogs you visit?
Well, talk about a strange period. I wrote 102 posts actually in just over 3 months, to the point that I’ve gone a post over and this one is actually #803. It’s a far cry from how I got to post #701.
Over the past month, what I’ve done is written a bunch of posts in advance because of the social media workshop I had coming, and then when I had a couple other things that hit my mind, including that post last week on the process for updating Twitter Tools (discontinued 10/12), I inadvertently went past the number without realizing it. No matter; I actually do these particular posts more for myself than anyone else so I can chronicle where I’ve been and where I’m going.
First, let’s stick with my norm, which is to indicate what my top 5 categories were for the month:
Blogging – 17
Sunday Question – 14
Social Media – 13
Personal – 11
Marketing – 8
“Sunday Question” was a new category for this period, as I realized that calling it “personal” just didn’t quite work. On it’s own, it should probably always make the top list since it inherently has at least 12 posts for its category for now. I’m thinking of running it until the end of the year, then evaluating it to see if it’s worth continuing. Sometimes it garners pretty good conversation, while other times people are somewhat reluctant to state their opinion on my questions. Hey, onward and upward.
One interesting thing I recognized for the first time while checking the stats for this post is that when I go into Google Analytics and pull up the individual posts that had the most activity during the period, it automatically resets itself back to a one month review, and I’d never noticed that before. Therefore, some of the numbers I’m going to post here are going to look skewed against past figures, but that’s okay. Actually, the funny thing is that when I changed the dates, only one article changed from what was in the original list. Three of the articles on this list were on the last list, and the one before it as well. And this time, as opposed to the last 100, there is one article written during the period that’s on the list, tied for 5th. Here’s the list:
I’m still amazed that article on “cleavage” is still going that strong; how amazing is that? The “sexting” article is the newest one, written in June, and the one on Google Desktop, written in November 2008, continues to be a big draw, even though I’ve written a newer one since then.
As for the posts with the most comments on them, I had one that really kind of took off, but otherwise comments were actually down this period, strange compared to activity. So be it; I’ll need to continue to work on things that people can comment on I suppose. Here are the top 5, though it’s going to be 6:
During this period, I started talking more about the concept of influence, as I realized that to realize a lot of my goals I’m going to have to increase my influence both online and locally. I also learned how to add feeds to this blog, my other blogs, and some of my websites, that show the most recent posts from my other blogs. That’s my attempt to increase the visibility of everything I have across the board.
So I’m on my way, and I hope that over the next 100 posts, actually 97 posts I guess, I get into more topics that y’all will enjoy and learn from and share your thoughts on. I want to be as big as one of my favorite new blogs to visit, Twist Image by Mitch Joel. Check it out at your leisure.
And now, back to your regularly scheduled program.
This is my 401st post, and as I do after each century post, I’m going to give a recap of the past 100 posts. I’m also doing something with this post that I haven’t done for any other posts in the past 100, that being I’m skipping three days before this post, as my last post was on the 13th, in honor of what would have been my parent’s 52nd wedding anniversary if my dad was still here now.
When compared with number 301 and, oddly enough, number 101, the more things change, the more they stay the same. First, compared to 101, it took me six months to write my first 100 posts; it took me just under 3 months to write my third 100 posts. This time around, it took me four months to write 100 posts, which makes a bit more sense. One hundred posts every four months comes out to 300 posts a year, so if I keep that up I’ll hit 600 posts by my next anniversary; “if”, that is.
Also, most of the categories remain the same, but the order of posts concerning those categories has changed. Three of the top categories from my first 100 are still here, and from my last 100 four are still here, but this time around, I’ve added two new categories, which means that my top five is, for this month, a top six. Here they are:
Blogging – 20
Internet – 18
Marketing – 15
Research (new) – 7
Affiliates (new) – 6
Writing – 6
I find it interesting that “research” entered the top five/six this time around, because that shows, at least to me, that I’ve had more things that I’ve tested or investigated to share here than I could have had early on, mainly because I hadn’t had the time to evaluate anything. The thing about researched posts is that they take a long time to write. Steve, our friend the Trade Show Guru, compliments me all the time on my output, but researched posts show that I don’t just write everything off the top of my head, that sometimes I put real thought and real time into it all. Just thought I’d point that out. That blogging is at the top of this list is somewhat surprising also, because I’d really thought I had been giving more time to internet marketing topics this past quarter or so, and, though they’re both up there, I’d have thought they would be in the lead; nope.
Next, my most popular articles during this time period. Four of the five were written after #301, which is a good thing for the most part, but one of my articles came beforehand, and I’m kind of surprised it’s still popular because I’d have thought, with more people moving to Vista (or maybe that’s in my own mind”, that this particular post and tip would have dwindled. It’s at number four on this list of visits:
Next, comments during this time period. This fourth period showed more growth in comments, as it went from 1,344 for the previous 100 to 1,804 this period; I like that. I still wish it was much higher, but I don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. My most commented on articles were:
Page Rank/SEO – A Short Blogging Research Project – 48
So, there’s those stats for this past group of articles. Now, on my quest towards 500, I’m going to change up a couple of things, because, well, it can either be an experiment, or it’s something that just needs to happen; let’s hear what your thoughts on it are overall. One, I’m thinking about reducing the output of my articles a bit. I’ve been averaging 5 articles a week, and though I can easily keep that pace up, I’m wondering if the number of articles actually keeps the number of comments down. Maybe the output is so much that it’s hard to keep up with each article. I’m not really sure, but I do know that I visit blogs where there might only be one post a week, possibly two, and I see hundreds of comments on those; you see my highest is 70, and that’s over four months time.
Two, I’m thinking that the longer posts, stories notwithstanding, get less activity, for all the work I put into them, and that’s problematic. My solution is to think about breaking them up into multiple posts while spacing them out. So, if an article goes more than 750 words, I’ll break it up into two separate articles that may come in around 370 to 500 words each, since I’d have to add a few words in rewriting a second article to blend in with the first part of an article. That could mean that, for some of my posts, there might be 3 or 4 parts to it, but maybe that’s what’s needed to make sure everyone has a chance to see everything, and maybe the first part drums up interest in seeing the rest of the story, or, if no one’s interested, then the second part helps me with my SEO part. Of course, this can’t be standard, because some posts will have to go over 750 words for cohesion, but I think it’s time to consider it. I want this blog to grow, and though it’s growing, it’s not growing as I’d like it to. And, as I’ve seen how easy it is to post-date articles (this one is actually being written six days ahead), I could easily go out an entire month’s worth of posts, and if I need something more current I always have the option of adding something anew, even if it’s just a quick little video that I like at the time.
And three, I’m thinking that I might add a weekly post of deals that some of my affiliate marketing companies offer, along with codes and the like. Commission Junction and Google Affiliate Network products always have their advertisers sending me new short run specials, and sometimes you can save upwards of 15% if you’re given the code to add onto your sales page while you’re checking out. I’m not sure how popular that would be for everyone, but hey, one has to find new and unique ways to market themselves and their products, right? This one I haven’t fully decided upon, though; I want to think about it some more.
And, one final thing before we move on. I still want more RSS subscribers, and obviously I’m not afraid to ask for more subscribers either. Just to throw this out there, Technorati has finally, FINALLY, bumped me up, and now I’m sitting around 85,000, which I’m not upset about at all. But I want more readers, more visitors, more commenters, and more people talking about me and writing about me. Folks, I’m looking to not just be popular, I want to be a movement! So, get out there, spread the word, share my name and some of what I write on your blogs or Twitter or Delicious. If you haven’t noticed, one thing I often do here is use someone else’s post to write a post of my own, but I link back to it. It’s a good tactic, and even Sire got into the mix by mentioning John Dilbeck in his post against Google’s new advertising policy. It’s works great.
Anyway, by the time you see this, I’ll probably have already put some of these things into practice. Doesn’t mean it’ll stay that way, of course, but for awhile, unless I have a story to tell, this may be the last article you see from me that is more than 1,000 words at a time. For now, please enjoy what I’ve produced up to this point, including this post, and let’s see what the heck 100 articles brings.