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April 12, 2006 7:02 AM   Subscribe

Blogging 201: Let's kick it up a notch!

Alright, I've started my blog. I've got this posting/editing/linking thing down. One of my posts even broke the 10 comment bench mark. Pretty much I'm poised to take over the blogosphere single handedly at which point, fame and/or fortune will be mine.

However, before I get really big I want to make sure I'm properly utilizing resources that are available to me. Someone mentioned Site Meter which looks pretty useful. What other kinds of tweaks are available for one such as me (a cocky upstart who thinks after a week he knows the score)? What is this Technorati thing? Show me what ya' got mefites!
posted by Smarson to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
give us a link to your blog. there isn't one in your profile. we can't offer advice without seeing the thing.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 7:20 AM on April 12, 2006

I for one have never checked the server logs for my blog; I don't have any kind of site-tracking working on it.

Things you might look into:

1. Trackbacks/pingbacks. This is a technology that allows blogs to "talk" to each other, so that if Bob blogs about something in Alice's blog, Bob's blog sends a ping to Alice's blog saying "hey, look what Bob just wrote about you" and Alice's blog says "thanks, I'll make a note of it." Then when you look at Alice's blog, you'll see a pointer to Bob's blog under the relevant entry.

2. Spam. Comes in comment and trackback (and even referral log) form. The point of this spamming is to parasitically use your blog to generate googlejuice for the links in the spam. There are many different anti-spam techniques with various pros and cons. You need to be defensive about spam, otherwise your blog will look like a garden that's gone to weeds (and you'll be giving tacit approval to spammers, who need to be kicked in the balls).

3. Technorati is a search engine for blogs. They also have proposed a simple microformat for including "tags" (folksonomy, whatever you want to call it) that their spiders will recognize and use for classifying your entries.

4. Depending on the blogging system you're using, there will either be a bazillion or zero plugins you can use to extend your blog's functionality. Actually, that's not entirely true. Even no-plugin systems like Blogger do allow you to edit your templates, and that's all you need to, say, put flickr thumbnails or your latest del.icio.us links in the sidebar.
posted by adamrice at 7:39 AM on April 12, 2006

I hate sitemeter, personally. If you want serious statistics, see if you can get something like Awstats going. Of course, if you're still using blogger, that won't work too well.
posted by antifuse at 7:39 AM on April 12, 2006

If you're looking for visitors (some of which might stick around a little longer but most of which will pass through) you might try something like BlogExplosion. (There are many other comparable services out there.) I think the best way to get readers is to read other people's blogs and comment on them.

It kind of depends what you're looking for. Do you want fun stuff to put on your blog, do you want tips about how to maintain your new blog or do you want things to draw people to your blog? Site Meter isn't going to bring anyone in, but it might be useful to you.
posted by srah at 7:43 AM on April 12, 2006

Response by poster: Good comments all, thank you. Let me be more specific...

1. I'm using blogger as my method of attaining internet glory. Since it was requested, you can see my blog here.

2. As far as resources go, I guess I'm leaning towards things that will help me manage/ let me know more about who is visiting my blog (the trackbacks was in this vein). I'm not above ways of gaining more comments though.

Pretty much I'm currently running no applications/ plug-ins. So tell me what ones you think no blogger should be without

P.S. Anyone have any experience with Gravatar? I submitted an avatar to be "reviewed" and have heard nill back.
posted by Smarson at 7:56 AM on April 12, 2006

Freshblog has a lot of tricks and tweaks for Blogger users that you may dig.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:01 AM on April 12, 2006

Once you get your feet wet, you may want to consider migrating away from Blogger and purchasing hosting which can be had for next to nothing these days. Once you've secured a host with your own domain, seriously consider WordPress or MovableType. I personally prefer WordPress over MovableType since it's faster (it seems) and better supported. It's free too. One reason I'd recommend this solution is that it opens a world of plugins and doodads that you can add to enhance your site. Additionally, almost all hosting packages come with AWStats which will tell you who visited, when they visted, what they visited and a wealth of other stats for that stat junkie in all of us.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:08 AM on April 12, 2006

Response by poster: Alvy - that was just what I looking for. + 10 pts. for you!

Kevin - My own domian, now thats the kind of internet-conquering language I like. Totally good point. I chose Blogger because I was told that it was possible to migrate to your own space and still provide a feed through blog.spot
posted by Smarson at 8:31 AM on April 12, 2006

Have a look at Blogbeat for stats. I migrated a Blogspot blog to my own Wordpress domain about three or four months back, and am ecstatically happy with it. Laughing Squid hosting are awesome.
posted by Happy Dave at 8:50 AM on April 12, 2006

check out how to blog but take it with a grain of salt. i find a lot of it to ring true.

i second getting your own domain name. a lot of people use blogger with their own domain, though there are other tools like mt and ee that you might want to explore. i personally am an ee fan.

and, while content is much superior to design (unless you're a design blog, etc), design is still important. you want your blog to be easily readable and easily usable. so check into learning about that (resources everywhere).
posted by misanthropicsarah at 9:30 AM on April 12, 2006

Google Analytics and Technorati for stats and tracking.

Then write well. Don't worry about anything but writing better than everyone else.
posted by pracowity at 11:49 AM on April 12, 2006

Another vote for Freshblog's Blogger Hacks.

Performancing Metrics for blog stats.

Also, offer a feed. Get your feed URL from the Blogger interface than hand it over to FeedBurner so you can track how many people subscribe, what they click on, etc.
posted by superfem at 12:35 PM on April 12, 2006

posted by superfem at 12:36 PM on April 12, 2006

I'd go with StatCounter for stats.
Technorati has it's uses but I've yet to seem them meet their potential.

Use the stats to influence your design/layout and content.

Visit other blogs, comment if you have something to say. This is STILL the best way to get incoming links to YOUR site, and build a level of trust and confidence amongst your peers.

And worry most of all about your content. If it's crap no-one will hang around.

(and do try and avoid lost of buttons and whizzy things, they are mostly pointless to the majority and get in the road of the content).
posted by snowgoon at 2:38 AM on April 13, 2006

(Disclaimer: I work for the company that makes TypePad and Movable Type. But I also used to use Blogger when i started.)

A lot of folks, once they get going with their blog, step up from Blogspot to TypePad. In particular, I think the reasons they do it are because you can still be on a hosted service, like Blogger, but you get lots of other stuff that can make blogging a lot more fun, and you don't have to configure any software or plugins yourself. There's also lots of features that encourage other people to comment on or link to your blog:

* simple things like being able to put your posts into categories, or to use stats and trackbacks to find out when someone's linked to you.
* adding related content to your site, like an "about" page or photo albums
* more advanced ways of dressing up your site, from simple lists of links, to books or music that you like, to headlines or news feeds from other sites and blogs, or even widgets with info from all over the web. (i dunno why, but i think it's cool to have the local weather as a widget on a blog.)
* maybe make money by putting ads or a tip jar on your site so your dedicated fans can chip in?

anyway, enough rambling, i just get excited about this stuff. there's a long list of other things that i think make blogging more fun. and everybody above is right -- the more you put into it, the more you get out of it.
posted by anildash at 12:54 AM on April 16, 2006

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