26 September 2008

Loading new templates problem in blogspot blogs

Loading new templates in Blogger ( blogspot) blogs can be a bit of a problem if you haven't done it before. The "choose new template" page is generally very easy to use and causes few problems. It also doesn't usually disturb your existing widgets. People tend to have problems more often in the "Edit HTML" page when they try to upload a new template. Problems can also sometimes arise after you have saved a copy of your existing blog template, made some changes to your template and then tried to restore the saved version.

These tips should help you have a more problem free experience when uploading new blogger templates.

1. You will find that you will probably have fewer problems if you use Fire Fox rather than Internet Explorer when you're having trouble with a template. Why is this? Possibly because FireFox is more standards compliant - who knows?

2. Don't forget to backup the code in your existing gadgets or widgets. This is important if you want to ensure that you don't lose the way they are set up. You can use notepad for this. Just create a new text document and save the code for each widget in its own section.

3. Now remove all the widgets on your existing template using the template editor page. Yes remove them. This will stop you getting the "duplicate widgets name" error that so frequently happens and prevents you from saving the uploaded template. You can deal with duplicate widget names by going in and editing the HTML but this is messy and potentially can cause more problems of you don't do it right. Its much cleaner just to take your existing widgets off, load the new template and then put the widgets back on using the code you saved in the previous step.

4. I also prefer to save templates with the bare minimum of widgets as well. You don't have to do this, I just like to upload and save nice "clean" templates. It doesn't take me that long to put widgets back on.

5. Make sure "Expand Widgets" tickbox is unchecked before you upload and try to save the new template.

6. When you save (backup) a template from blogger it saves as an XML file. If the file you are trying to upload or restore is an XML file then upload it. Don't just try to open it with Word and then paste it into the HTML box. Word processors sometimes introduce characters or other entities which disturb the XML format. So if its XML upload properly using the browse and upload buttons.

7. Alternatively if your template is in a clean txt format then you can just copy and paste it into the HTML box. Notepad is generally fine for working with txt and xml files like this because it doesn't introduce new characters or entities into the code.

If you follow these steps you should have much less trouble dealing with the upload and saving of new templates in blogger / blogspot blogs.

25 September 2008

Tips for new adsense users

Its been a while since I covered AdSense issues and since AdSense is the first program most people use when they begin trying to make income from Ads i thought it was time to touch on the subject again.

Once you have got a reasonable amount of material on your website or blog and have applied and been approved for AdSense it is time to get that code up and start earning some income from your ads.

Often the first thing that happens at this stage is that the new AdSense user, who is not infrequently fairly new also to website management, finds that they can't figure out how to put the adsense code on their site. I have heard some strange ways that people have tried to do this in the past. This includes, believe it or not someone trying to make a screen shot of an AdSense ad and trying to paste this to their site. They were not likely to make much income from advertising that way (!!!!).

You MUST have a way of putting JavaScript code on your website or blog if you want to run AdSense. In Blogger this is quite easy. Look for the HTML/javascript gadget and put your code into that. If its to go into your sidebar then make sure the AdSense code that you are using is for something that will fit into your sidebar.

Other publishing platforms have different ways of putting the code in. Most Content Management Systems have a way to do this either through your "control panel" or by installing an additional module.

The last time I checked WordPress things were a little different. If you are using a blog hosted by WordPress itself then the last time I checked they didn't let you run AdSense or other javascript code as far as I remember. However you can also install WordPress and host it yourself - in which case you can use AdSense fairly easily.

If you have a website then you will often need to edit the code for the page(s) that you want AdSense to appear on. The code should go in the section of the page and you will need to find the correct place in the code so that it appears where you want it to.

Some other newbie tips are first to avoid any temptation to make income by clicking your own adsense ads. You will surely get banned from AdSense if you do this and there is no way back from a ban.

New users also often have problems with poor AdSense targeting their content and get ads that don't seem relevant and this impacts on their ad income. There is a way of telling AdSense which parts of your content you want it to treat as relevant. I covered this in a previous post some time ago.

Another issue for new users is that they often think they will make a fortune from AdSense from day one. Wrong. This is unlikely to happen. You need lots of traffic to make a good income and the average new user doesnt have such traffic. If you have lower levels of traffic then as long as the ads you are triggering pay a good amount per click then AdSense should work for you.

Finally, if you do get banned from AdSense then don't despair. It is not the end of the world. It is actually possible to earn as much or more using other income from advertising programmes although you will need to invest some time and effort like anything else that is worthwhile.

One of the programs I recommend is pepperjam which is excellent for niche marketing. If you are interested in this check out the sidebar.

23 September 2008

Check double check and take my own advice

A post over at Technology Evangelist reminded me of some good advice about emailing which is also relevant to putting up blog posts, sending out newsletters and making comments on other blogs. Its really very simple and it's about taking those extra few minutes when you think you have finished and are ready to press the send button just to wait and check ....

Check your spelling. Have you included everything you meant to include? If you were making an attachment have you actually attached it? Is there anything else that should usefully be included? Does your post or email actually say what you mean it to say?

When you are writing a lot of material and commenting on others blogs it's easy to be in a hurry and make slip ups. It is one of my failings. I have reminded myself, and others, in the past to slow down and check things before hitting the button and sending an email or submitting a post but then ... things get busy and it's easy to forget. So I am going to make myself a resolution to slow down and double check before I send my emails, or submit my blog posts or send of that newsletter copy. having said that I bet I submit this post and spot something wrong with it after I submit it. Isn't that always the way with things....

22 September 2008

Widgets for increasing blog and website traffic

There are many ways to increase your website traffic. One way is to develop useful or interesting widgets that people can use on their blogs. Now if you are an experienced web developer then this is not too difficult a task. But what if you are someone who is just learning web development and you don't have great skills yet in using HTML, XML, Javascript and so on?

Well there are ways that you can do this without having to learn any programming or web development and this is covered in the latest issue of the Income-from-ads newsletter. See top right side bar for information.

The method involves taking your existing affiliate optimised webpages and using a fairly simple method available from a free website selecting those parts of your website which you want to turn into a gadget or a feed or XML output. Normally you would need to actually program this yourself but in the newsletter I will show you how this can be done in a simple drag and drop method.

Once you have done this you can then either offer your gadget directly to people and/or register it with Google and then promote and try to get other people to use it. When people put your gadget on their blog or website this gives you an additional source of traffic. More details in the latest Income-from-ads newsletter. ( If you sign up you will receive a small number of the previous newsletter first before receiving the latest one so be patient please. )

20 September 2008

Using blog trackbacks for traffic

Getting as much relevant traffic to your blog is essential and it important that you use all the methods that are available to attract traffic. Using trackbacks on blogs is one method that can get your blog posts some good exposure and attract visitors who might not otherwise reach your posts.

I was trying to think of a really good way to explain what trackbacks are and thought that I would search to see what others had written on the subject of using trackbacks to for traffic. I came across a really good post on another blog which explains how trackbacks work so I decided that the obvious thing is for me to use their trackback link and actually demonstrate the process for you before I explain its benefits.

Trackbacks essentially allow you to link back to a post on another blog that you want to write about using a special trackback link. The difference between a trackback link and an ordinary hyperlink to the post you are linking to is that the trackback link is picked up by the post you have linked to and that blog then displays a link back to your post.

The trackback therefore provides a way of dropping a link on to someone elses blog if they have trackbacks enabled and this indicates that your blog post has referenced their blog post.

How does this benefit each of the parties? Well the blog that offered the trackback gets linked to from your blog and so stands to gain visitors from your blog who will check out the blog post you are commenting on. In that way the blog that offered the trackback gets some exposure that it might not otherwise have got.

Similarly the blog that you linked to using the trackback shows a link back to your post and you stand to gain additional visitors who will be interested to see how you have added to the discussion and what further information you might have provided.

Trackback is in this sense a win-win scenario. Both parties get visitors that they might not otherwise have got. Of course both blogs also have vistors leave their site to read the other one - but vistors always leave anyway so its not a real loss.

Ok so I was going to trackback to that other blog wasnt I? Its a post over at eukhost.com and this is the trackback link.

When you are looking for the trackback link check in the comments area at the end of the blogpost - the trackback link is usually at the end of the comments.

Note that blogger ( blogspot) doesn't use the term trackbacks but uses the term backlinks instead. If you are using blogger then make sure you have enabled backlinks ( go to setting>comments tab). You can also turn them on and of for individual posts using the post options link.

Article writing to improve website traffic

Writing articles and submitting them to article directories is one of the standard methods that webmasters use to improve their exposure to the search engines and drive more Internet visitor traffic to their sites. Writing a good article is something that most people can do but you must understand that there is an art to writing a good piece for submission if you want it to have as much impact as possible and drive traffic to your site. The same writing skills that you develop when writing an article for submission should used when you write something for your own website or blog.

Website content is what drives traffic to your website!

You will read lots of things about fancy techniques to improve the traffic to your site. Some of these do really work but if you haven't attended to the fundamentals then this will be like the icing on a non-existent cake! Your website MUST have good content if you want the search engines to rate it and send you visitors. You can get away with using a small amount of other peoples articles from article directories on your website but what you really need is your own original and unique content. That content should be related to the topic of your website and it should be written in a way which ensures that the search engines rank it well. This means attending to keywords and the way that you write.

Don't stuff your articles with Keywords

There was a time, before Search Engines such as Google got smart, when s called keyword stuffing was all the rage. You will still see some spammy sites that try to use this approach but it is no longer very effective. What you want is quality traffic and lots of it, including in most cases returning visitors. Nothing will put your visitors off more than articles which have simply been stuffed with keywords in the hope that the article will rank higher.

Write for your visitors not the search engines

Always think like a customer. If you were visiting your own site what would you be looking for? Give your visitors useful information in your writing and they will spend time on your site and are more likely to return. This applies also to the way that you write. Most people are looking for something that is easy to understand. Try to write in a relaxed informal way - almost as though you are speaking to your visitors. People find this much easier to read.

Use header tags in your articles

It is a good idea to break longer articles up and make them easier to read by using header tags. Not only does this benefit the reader but the search engines also use your header tags as they try to understand what your article is about and identify keywords. Header tags h1 to h3 have the most influence on how your article is interpreted by search engines. Don't feel you cant use other header tags if you need them for your readers sake, just don't expect them to have any influence with the search engines.

Write good English

You will come across some sites and blogs by people who don't have English as their first language and where the English in the articles is fairly poor. This can be a real problem and is likely to deter visitors. If English is not your first language and you want to have good quality articles in English on your site then you should think about either a) paying someone to write the article or b) writing the article yourself and then having someone who is good at English tidy it up for you. Option b) is likely to be the cheapest and you might even find a friendly blogger who is willing to do this fairly cheaply.

The benefits of writing for article Directories

You may feel that if you have put a lot of hard work into writing an article then it would be silly to give this hard work away for free by submitting it to an article directory. You would be right. You should think carefully about what you write for your own site and what you write for your an article submission service. Generally I would advise that you keep the longer and best constructed pieces for your own website. Then you can prepare a shorter more summarised version for the article directory. That way you get the best of both worlds.

But why submit to an article directory at all? Well the fact is that when you submit an article you leave a back link to your site or sites along with the article. This has a number of benefits. First because a lot of people visit the article directories you will get some traffic from those links when people read your article. Then if people use the article for their own site they are usually expected to also use your link with the article. This gives you further backlinks. When people read your article on their sites a proportion will follow your links and so you get another stream of visitors. This is why article writing or article marketing is such a popular method for improving traffic to your website.

15 September 2008

Inbound links tips for traffic and search

Get more inbound links!
You need to improve your rank in the search engines if you want to increase your natural traffic and your rank is greatly influenced by the number and type of inbound links to your site. The higher you rank in the search results the higher your traffic will be. So inbound links are critical to the success of your website or blog - whether you just want more visitors or you are looking to generate income from your site.

Inbound links are simply the hyperlinks that come from another site to your site.

Getting good quality inbound links takes time and hard work. There are companies that can generate inbound links for you - if you are prepared to pay.

You can run into problems with the search engines though if a lot of links are generated unnaturally from unrelated sites over a short time.

There are things that you can do though to increase your natural inbound links and this will also help to ensure that your site gets well indexed by the search engines.

Natural links develop when other people judge that your site is valuable to them and decide that linking from their site to yours would be valuable to them or their visitors.

1. You will hear the phrase "Content is King" and this is undoubtedly true when it comes to getting natural inbound links. If your web content is good and informative on whatever subject your are covering then over time people will link to your site.

2. Be unique. When you post on a Blog for example don't just repeat a post from another blog ( that's copyright theft anyway). Try to say something unique and with a unique slant. make sure your post has a unique title if possible but try to include relevant keywords in your post title.

3. Avoid irrelevant subjects if your blog is supposed to be a niche subject blog. If your blog is about dogs then a post on the presidential election isn't going to help. Unless one of the candidates has a dog perhaps and you comment on this!

4. Make sure that you can write! It's amazing how often I come across blogs that are written in English by people who seem unable to write clear understandable English. That must be your first priority. Once you are able to write in a clear understandable way then you can give it a bit of personality!

5. Think like a visitor. Why do people come to your site? What are they looking for? Identify this and then make sure you give it to them. If you do this consistently then people will keep coming back and to make this easier they will probably put a link to your site on their site. Hey presto - inbound links!

6. Article writing is another way of getting inbound links. You write articles and submit them to article directories where people looking for content for their site pick them up. When they post the article on their site your link is included.

7. Join forums with subjects relevant to your site. Often you will be able to include your website link in your forum signature. This gives an inbound link and forum users may also follow it to your site. Beware though - on such forums it is often frowned on if you start directly promoting your site. Be a good forum member - stick to the topics and let your web link do its own work.

8. Start your own Forum. A note of caution though - you will need to spend a lot of time moderating a forum ( until you have some regulars who may help with moderation). You could ask forum members to link back to your site from theirs.

9. Review products or sites. Sometimes if you do an interesting review of a product or site the owners may be pleased with it and decide to link back to it from their site. This can be a very powerful inbound link.

10. Commenting on other Blogs. First of all - don't be a plonker and just do "drive by" comments. They are a pain in the ass. No one likes them and you will just put people of your site. Leave useful and interesting comments. Be provocative if you want. Just don't leave one line "Nice post" comments.

12. Direct link exchange requests. Long long ago in the mists of time when the Internet was still an infant everyone did this. You just asked someone to link too you and you linked to them. Easy.

This still works sometimes but don't think that some big corporate website is going to agree to exchange links with you if you are a newbie blogger. Check out the sites you are going to ask for a link exchange. If they are similar to yours in the size then the chances of them agreeing are much greater. There are link exchange schemes out there. Some good. Some bad.

You will need to do lot of asking to get this kind of link exchange. Don't be disappointed if lots of people refuse or don't even reply. Its the way of the Internet world. Keep trying and you will find someone who wants an exchange.

There are other methods of getting inbound links and I will cover these in another post.