Category Archives: Blogging

Too Many Tags And Categories?

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.

top tags on I'm Just Sharing

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?
 

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Where Is Blogging Going?

This is interesting. I’ve done 2 interviews so far and was asked the question above in both of them. I decided to do a little video on it; let’s see what my powers of prognostication are:

Here’s the interview I did with Brian Hawkins of Hot Blog Tips. Now, I’m not sure if this is the second shortest post I’ve ever written but it’s close to it; enjoy!
 

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Blog Posts, Comments, Business, Rankings…

I found this quite intriguing, enough for me to decide to write on the topic. I got inspiration for this post from not one, but two blog posts. The first one was from Marcus Sheridan on a post titled 10,862 Comments Later, I Realize Blog Comments are NOT a Business Model. This post led me to the second post by John Falchetto, titled The Right Traffic And What The 4hour Workweek Post Taught Me About Blogging.

John started with the premise that out of all the blog posts he’d been writing, he was getting lots of comments but none of it turned into business. At the same time, he felt that people reading some of his posts were missing some of the points he was trying to make, and of course that took away from the effectiveness of them, in his mind, and thus the possibility of getting the kind of traffic he was hoping for.

Marcus took this a bit further, and added a conversation he got to have with John.

First, he owned up to how many comments his blog has gotten in a very short period of time; puts me to shame. Second, he owned up to the fact that he hasn’t sold a single product geared to his main business from this blog, even with all those comments.

Third, after his conversation with John, he started to wonder if maybe there were things he could do with his blog that John was starting to do, that being to make sure to write a post a day, sometimes more than one, and increase the prominence of the blog, at the possible exclusion of comments, to potentially generate more income. Of course I’ve kind of simplified the thoughts of both posts, so it’d be a good idea to go read each one of them.

I commented on Marcus’ post, but not on John’s, mainly because John asked a question I wasn’t sure I could answer in a short comment: ‘Which lessons has your blog taught you?‘.

Good question, eh? Well, let’s take a look at it if I may, based on not only the question, but their two posts and the title of this post as well. Numbers please!

Tech Cocktail Week: Mixer & Startup Showcase | 7.11.14
Tech Cocktail via Compfight

1. I used to have a pretty tight blogging schedule for this blog; I still do, but not necessarily by design. I had a yearly goal of 300 posts a year, plain and simple. That meant 25 posts a month on average, and I was able to do it. At some point, though, I decided that it shouldn’t only be about the numbers of posts; I wanted more comments.

So I slowed down the number of posts somewhat, and I started getting more comments. I still don’t come close to the number Marcus or many other people get, but it did increase.

Yet, do you know when the biggest period of growth this blog ever had was? That week last November when I had two blog posts a day, the first one being a regular post and the evening one advertising one of my products.

The overall traffic for this blog shot up drastically, even if comments dropped significantly. Both my Alexa rank and Google Analytics said my numbers increased. And do you know when I had the most traffic to my business site?

The week after when I did the same thing on my business blog that I did on this blog. Very few comments but a drastic rise in visits.

This does seem to prove one thing; the more posts one has, the more traffic one gets. I know someone is going to say “I don’t write that many posts and look at my numbers.” I’ll just point to my latest business blog as an example; I added it to my SEO site in August and without many comments traffic has risen 65% in less than 90 days; wow!

2. With traffic comes higher rankings… of sorts. My Alexa ranking for my SEO site has gone from 2.78 million the day I started the blog on that site to 483,000 and change on Thursday.

That’s not bad for less than 90 days, and that’s just with a post every 3 days. And without all that many comments; it does say something for having more activity. It doesn’t address where the blog would be if I were posting daily, but for now the traffic stats are undeniable.

3. Well, we do have to come down to business, don’t we? Comments don’t equal business; both Marcus and John are correct on that. We all still want comments, but John’s now increasing the number of posts regardless of the number of comments, and Marcus is thinking about it.

Me… I’m not sure. Well, I am sure, but I’m not sure what I can do about it. I’ve always said I didn’t expect this blog to make me a lot of money, but I did hope that it, in combination with other things I was doing, would at least generate more business interest than it has. However, my SEO blog has yet to generate any business interest either, but I figure it’s still kind of early.

I might be able to get a boost after a live presentation I’m a part of next week at a conference called the BizBuzz Social Media Conference here in the Syracuse area, where I’m talking about business blogging; at least it’s part of the overall strategy. But a stat I will report based on a little case study is that out of 36 keyword phrases I came up with before starting the blog I’ve increased in the number I’m found by from 13 to 23, and the rankings are higher as well for all but 2 of them. So, the potential for business there has increased, even if it hasn’t happened yet.

Anyway, those are the lessons blogging has taught me regarding these things. Now, I have my own questions. Do you believe writing more blog posts would help your blog improve its rankings? Do you believe you’d be capable of increasing the number of blog posts you write, even if it were just as an experiment? And finally, what do you want from your blog, or blogs?

Man, I love when people make me think! 🙂
 

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Why Don’t People Read?

A common lament I see when it comes to bloggers looking at comments is that the responder seems to not have read any of the post. Many comments seem to be geared towards the title, which is fine in and of itself, but when the content goes a different way than the title then many comments look, well, idiotic, definitely spam-like.


by Rachel Sian via Flickr

I’ve noticed this as well, but not only in commenting. I’ve talked about my finance blog, Top Finance Blog. It’s the only blog I have that actually makes any money.

Anyway, on that blog I have a written guest posting policy; it’s the only blog I have one of those on. I created it because I get lots of requests to write posts for that sucker, mainly from the UK, which I find really interesting since it’s obviously an American blog, but as long as they fulfill the qualifications as listed in the policy then it’s all good.

However, at least half the requests I get don’t fit the policy at all. I don’t mean articles; I mean how to contact me. See, I put one very specific thing in that guest posting policy to help me weed out people who could care less and people who might have something on the ball. It’s very simple; all the writer has to do is use my name, Mitch, in the email. That’s it; don’t call me “webmaster”, don’t just say “Hey”, but use my name.

Those that don’t use my name also ask me if I accept guest posts. Don’t ask me if I accept guest posts because the policy says I do. And something weird is happening lately. I’m not only getting requests to guest post on my blog, but there’s the line that says if I have content I’d like to post on their blog to let them know. Actually, that sounds kind of good on the surface, so let me post you the quote, which is coming from a lot of people word for word:

If you happen to have some good articles or blogs posted elsewhere, provide a few links so the site owner can get a good feel for your writing style. Ask upfront if there are any requirements the blog owner is looking for such as specific word counts (500-1000 words) or post deadline dates.”

I mean, what is that? You’ve just visited my blog, supposedly, are asking if you can post on my blog, then you add this? Am I supposed to be flattered, encouraged, what, other than kind of irritated?

Anyway, I’d like your opinion on whether you feel very few people actually read what you have to say based on what you’re seeing on your blog. I know it’s not universal, but try to guess how many posts I’ve had to eliminate over the past few weeks that aren’t adhering to the very clearly written comment line just above the comment box regarding keywords.
 

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Thoughts About Trackbacks

Trackbacks are those links that show up on your blog as comments whenever someone has linked to you in some fashion from their blog. WordPress gives you the option of whether you want to accept trackbacks or not, as well as the option of whether you want to send a trackback to someone else if you link to one of their articles.


by Eero Mäensivu via Flickr

There’s this theory about trackbacks that they add a lot of value to your blog. You’ve probably seen the talk about “one-way” links, which is when someone uses a link to your content without expecting one back from you. If we’re being genuine, most of us will link to source material to help explain or enhance something that’s in our articles from time to time. I often link to another blog when it offers me inspiration, but I will also link to something like CNN if they post an article that makes me think of something to write as well. To a website it’s not quite a trackback, just a link.

The thing about trackbacks is that they’ll show up on the post on your blog that someone has used for their article. It’s flattering in a way because it means that in some way, good or bad, you’ve touched someone, got them thinking, and made them just have to write something.

However, the problem these days is that most trackbacks seem to be spam. I wrote about trackback spam back in March and even shared what I was seeing. For awhile I turned it off through the GASP/Antispybot plugin and felt pretty good about it.

Recently I decided to turn trackbacks on again to see what I might be getting. I did that because I haven’t been seeing any new connections to or about me through the Dashboard – Incoming Links area. What I’m seeing are blogs that I’ve commented on at some point, but no one actually using one of my links in their post. I thought it might be because I’d turned off the trackbacks feature and wanted to see what came up.

Unfortunately it’s all garbage that’s coming. Only one legitimate trackback came through in two weeks, and it was from a blog post from me on one of my other blogs. Frankly that’s not really worth it in my opinion; I could get that same effect just in linking to myself on my own.

I bring this up because I remember some time last year talking to someone who felt that you honored other people by allowing them to have a trackback in your comments back to your blog. I said I wasn’t sure it was worth this new spam that comes, even if most of it goes to the spam filter. I think I’m going the route of totally eliminating it once more, and then hoping the incoming links module will show me if someone ends up talking about me. After all, I think when people do include links to your content that it’s an honor most of the time.
 

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