I have been using computers since I got my first Tandy Color Computer back in 1985. I entered the world of dial up BBS’s in 1989 and I’ve been around the Internet since ’97. my wife and I have had web sites up in various forms for most of that time. Along the way I’ve learned a little bit about web site promotion and Search Engine Optimization (the art of fine tuning a page so that it makes the best impression on the search engines] However I’m still fairly new to blogging, having only been at it for a few months, and only getting seriously regular about posting
since January ’07.

One thing I knew right off was that like any website, a blog needs visitors in order to be worth anything at all. This means learning how to best promote it. I started out by putting the url to A Peculiar Blog on the index page of A Peculiar Place. Since that site was already indexed in the search engines, I knew that the next time they crawled the site, they would pick up the link to A Peculiar Blog and it would eventually get crawled. I also set Thingamablog (my blogging software) to ping several blog listing and tracking sites.  These ‘pings’ are basically a way of letting these sites know that a new
entry has been posted.

I also put a link to the blog on my wife’s site Lura’s Bookcase. To further increase exposure to the url I added it to the signature file that gets automatically added to the bottom of emails and Usenet posts that I send. And of course, I tried to post regularly. At first, while I was posting with reasonable regularity the number of unique visitors and page views began to climb.

Without using any other promotional tactics, It had archived 50 to 75 unique visitors and a little over a hundred page views per week. Then I had several periods of posting either very little or not at all. Needless to say the traffic dropped off to almost nothing in a little over a week. The fastest way to kill a blog, especially a new one, is for it not to have fresh content on a regular basis. Readers stop coming back if you don’t update often enough, say at least a couple times a week, more than that if at all possible. Ideally you should put up at least one post per day. It gives readers a reason to come back.

In January I got down to business and made it a point to do just that, post at least once per day whenever possible. It made a difference. On January 17 according to sitemeter A Peculiar Blog got 11 unique visitors and 19 page views for the preceding week. Just by getting back into the habit of regularly posting those numbers changed to 49 unique visitors and 76 page views for the week preceding February 1st. As of this writing (Feb. 16, ’07), it has 51 unique visitors and 86 page views for the preceding week.

During this period I spend a fair amount of time searching the web, reading up on ways to increase traffic to a blog. The first of those ways I’ll cover is using Technorati.

What is Technorati? It’s a service that indexes and tracks blogs, the links between them and when they are updated. This index is used to create one of the best search engines for blogs and blog content. By having your blog software use http://rpc.technorati.com/rpc/ping to notify Technorati when you post a new entry, your blog gets included in this index.

One of the things Technorati will do is rank your blog based on the number of links from other blogs, the higher yours ranks, the more visible it will be in the search results. You get links from other blogs when people quote something you write and link back to the post in which you wrote it and by asking other bloggers to link to your blog (probably in a link exchange).

The way you take advantage of this is to sign up and claim your blog… You tell them the url for it and use one of several ways to verify that it is actually yours. Once you do this you log into your Technorati account and add tags (a tag is a keyword or category that describes the content) to your blog listing that are appropriate to your blog and it’s content. Next you add tags for things that people might search for that can also apply to your blog. You also have the option of including a site search and an "add this blog to my Technorati Favorites" button.

Finally, you can help the process by adding tags to your blog posts. I discovered that if your blogging software doesn’t have a feature to do this automatically, the easiest way to do this is to use a very handy little bit of javascript to do it.

To install this script, you can either bookmark this link, Technorati Tag Generator, Users of Firefox or Opera browsers can simply click and hold on the link and drag it to your browser’s personal toolbar to create a handy button. To use multiple word phrases, just replace the space with the plus sign

For example, on this article I want to use the following tags: blog, successful blog, promotion, links, link building, traffic, traffic building, traffic strategies, traffic building strategies, technorati tag, tag generator. I click on the personal toolbar button that I’ve made and enter the tags like this:

blog successful+blog promotion links link+building traffic traffic+building traffic+strategies traffic+building+strategies technorati+tag tag+generator

The script converts that list of tags into the following html code:

<p><span class="technoratitag">Technorati Tags: <a href="http://www.technorati.com/tags/blog" rel="nofollow tag">blog</a>, <a href="http://www.technorati.com/tags/successful+blog" rel="nofollow tag">successful+blog</a>, <a href="http://www.technorati.com/tags/promotion" rel="nofollow tag">promotion</a>, <a href="http://www.technorati.com/tags/links" rel="nofollow tag">links</a>, <a href="http://www.technorati.com/tags/link+building" rel="nofollow tag">link+building</a>, <a href="http://www.technorati.com/tags/traffic" rel="nofollow tag">traffic</a>, <a href="http://www.technorati.com/tags/traffic+building" rel="nofollow tag">traffic+building</a>, <a href="http://www.technorati.com/tags/traffic+strategies" rel="nofollow tag">traffic+strategies</a>, <a href="http://www.technorati.com/tags/traffic+building+strategies" rel="nofollow tag">traffic+building+strategies</a>, <a href="http://www.technorati.com/tags/technorati+tag" rel="nofollow tag">technorati+tag</a>, <a href="http://www.technorati.com/tags/tag+generator" rel="nofollow tag">tag+generator</a></span></p>

To use it, all you have to do is edit the html for your blog post and add that code to the bottom of the entry. I’m using this code at the bottom of this entry.

When you click on one of them, it opens a search on Technorati looking at everything they have indexed with that tag.

Technorati Tags: blog, successful+blog, promotion, links, link+building, traffic, traffic+building, traffic+strategies, traffic+building+strategies, technorati+tag, tag+generator

Edited 2/19/08: Fixed horrible wordwrap and updated tag generator code so that the tag links are nofollow because there is no reason to spend link juice on social bookmarking sites like technorati

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