Monday, June 23, 2008

Is StumbleUpon Traffic Worthless?

By Bruce Lipski

This could be a review of StumbleUpon but since I have nothing to compare it to, it isn't. There is simply no website or service that is similar to it. Website owners seem to love it but I think it is quite worthless in terms of meaningful traffic. Here's why:

I have been "Stumbled" twice recently and both times I have come to the same conclusion that StumbleUpon traffic is pretty useless. StumbleUpon is actually a great site that allows you to surf the Internet. It's a lot of fun for the surfer, but for the websites they are surfing I am not sure there is much value.

Once you join up to SumbleUpon a toolbar will be installed on your computer (this is the part I don't like) and you will be asked to check the boxes of categories that interest you. If you check the humor box you will be taken to websites that fall into the humor category and the politics box will get you political websites, etc.

Once you have done that, you are ready to go. Put on your seatbelt and press the "Stumble" button on your new toolbar! You will then immediately be taken randomly to a website that falls into the categories you just chose. Once there you can stick around and peruse the site or push the stumble button again. Another new site will pop up and after that one other and another and another. Now you are truly surfing the net!

Stumbling the web can be very entertaining but I only do it when I am bored or have time to kill. One of my categories is humor, so I go from supposedly funny website to funny website. Some are better than others, of course, but it is a great way to see what is out there in your categories.

The problem is that when I stumble I am in the mood for some fast action. I don't want to be bothered with heavy reading and just want to be amused. I think it is this way with many others as well. When I am in that mood, I am not going to slow down too long to read anything and I am truly just surfing.

This brings me back to the premise of this article that StumbleUpon traffic is useless. I know that I definitely could be classified as "useless" when I stumble and my stats show that others are the same way. The last time I got Stumbled I had an additional 500 people view my site in under 2 hours. On that day I did not make any new sales, adsense income, or RSS subscriptions that were above and beyond the norm. The people were there, but only briefly. My site is a blog with posts and not that many videos or pictures. It takes visual stimulation to keep them there longer I believe and my blog does not have that.

Being Stumbled is great for the stats and very exciting when it happens but kind of a let down afterward. It's kind of like going on a game show and coming home empty handed!

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Friday, June 13, 2008

What Is An Authority Blog?

By Danielle Branch

An authority blog or an authority site is one of the main places people go to for information on a particular niche or topic. If you are looking to dominate your topic, then becoming an authority in your niche is what you want to do. Let's take a look into the inner workings of these types of blogs.

What Makes an Authority Site?

One of the main characteristics of an authority site is it has more content or pages than any other site in that niche. The search engines love content, so if we give them more content to crawl all over, then they will look more favorably on your blog. Lots of content that has good formatting with proper headings and html tags are important for the search engines to crawl successfully over your content.

The real secret behind ranking well and becoming an authority in your niche is backlinks. When search engines see one site linking to another they look at this as a vote for the site. Each "vote" is not weighted equally however, because the more links the first site has going to it, the more that site's vote will count.

How Do You Establish Your Site as an Authority?

One of the easiest ways to begin this is to add more content. The more useful information you can provide to your readers, the more people will naturally link to your posts. If you continuously think of your readers first and search engines second, you will dominate the rankings.

Do some homework and find out what your competitors are talking about. This is a common practice, but the key to doing this well is presenting the information in a new way or perhaps going further in depth. It's not necessary to reinvent the wheel, just repackage it or make it better.

Now that you know the topics you need to cover, it's time to create more pages. If you are like most people, then patience is not a strong virtue of yours. You do have other alternatives such as giving the task to someone else or you can hire someone to do it.

How Can My Content Make Me an Authority?

When you write, be mindful of the posts you have already written, and link to helpful posts. This will point your readers further into your site, and the search engines love a site that links to itself. Writing a series of posts on a particular subject will keep your readers engaged and will give you great credibility with the search engines.

When writing your new posts, remember to link out to others in your niche. Not only will they possibly link back to you (giving you that extra vote), but it will also once again point your readers to useful content. It may seem ridiculous to link to your competitors; however the search engines will put more weight on a vote from a page that is related to your page. This is also a great way to build a relationship with your fellow bloggers.

Becoming an authority blog or site takes some time and forethought. With some calculated steps, such as the ones I've outlined, you will one day become an authority site. Remember the cliche is true "Content is King". If you want to be #1, then you have to earn it with top of the line content.

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Monday, June 2, 2008

Don't Buy An Overpriced Blog To Make Money

By Bruce Lipski

Do you want to make money online? Are you thinking of buying a blog to make that money? I want to warn you that I think the evidence is in: don't buy a blog to make money! Late in 2007 after the new Google page ranks came out there was a rash of blogs being put up for sale. I think CashQuests went for the most of the bunch at $15,000.00 followed by OneMansGoal at $8,500.00 and then a handful more at less than that.

Looking at the Alexa charts of three of those sites, you can clearly see where the sales were made and the subsequent drop off in viewers after the sales. Blogs are hard to maintain and no matter how you look at it, they are the personal property of the owner/writer. Every blog has a personality and the readers either like it and stick around or they leave. When a blog sells, that owner is gone and so is everthing he/she brought to the table.

I read certain blogs because I am entertained by the owner of the blog or value what they have to say. If they were to sell, then that person's humor and style would be gone and I would no longer have any interest. For all practical purposes, the blog with the new owner becomes a new blog.

I can only imagine the pain being felt by some new blog owners as they realize what a monumental mistake they have made. They think they are buying a business but in fact they are buying nothing more than some content and readers that are unlikely to stick around.

Making money with a blog is hard anyway, whether you start with readers or not. Yes, maybe the top handful of bloggers can make money doing it, but they work hard at it every day. Don't be fooled by those top bloggers who try to convince you to follow them and they will show you how to become a pro blogger. They know very well the overwhelming odds are that you will fail.

If you must have a blog why not start one yourself? It is free to start your own on Blogger or Wordpress or you can buy a domain and host it for a whole year for under $20.00. You can then plot the course for your blog and establish your own identity rather than trying to step in and fill someone else's shoes. In six month time you will probably have as much content as you would have had with that overpriced blog you considered buying for thousands of dollars. Just roll up your sleeves and start writing!

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