Vandana Rawat contacted me to ask me to review her websites, web security guide and Wendy genuine help. I've tried to identify some key lessons that should help other people thinking about blogging or running a website.
1. Well done for asking
Asking someone to review your site is a great way to get them to link to it, looking at it (and coming back to see what you do with it). Particularly good thing to do in the early days. It's something I should do more often.
2. Post frequently
I find blogging is a trade off between quality and quantity. You have to post every day, if only to encourage search engines to visit frequently and find your new content. It won't always be brilliant or insightful, but at least it keeps regular readers coming back rather than drifiting away. And you can always revise posts.
3. Position advertising well
Vandana has lots of advertising prominently displayed on the two sites. I find it off-putting. If advertising revenue is important, I'd recommend getting a regular visitor base first, and then introducing helpful and discreet advertising (which users are more likely to click on and earn you money for) than prominent, tangentially relevant advertising on these sites. Vandana - I would rather your profile was in the top right hand corner (rather than bottom right) instead of advertising.
4. Stick with it
If you are organising a great party, it takes time and dedication. You can't just decide to throw a party the night before. Blogging is the same. It takes time to find your voice, develop an audience and identify your niche.
5. Unique content
Vandana seems to have useful, unique content on both her sites. There needs to be a USP for everything you post.
6. Link, link, link
Not linking inside your posts is like taking receipt of a business card and not giving yours back. It's also a good way of bringing your site to the attention of others.
7. Identify your community
Blogging is about being part of a conversation - not always speaking at a group of people. Therefore , your blog needs to fit into - but be a distinctive voice - within a series of other like-minded or at least similar-subject matter blogs; something I'm not yet good at.
8. Encourage comments
A blog looks better (but isn't always) if it has comments. Therefore, when you write, encourage people to comment by posting provocative, thoughtful posts but also ones with genuine question marks - not just the sort you expect to see in a government 'consultation' document.
I hope that's useful. Please chip in with your own advice and correct me if I've got anything wrong; I'm sure I've missed plenty of other things which I will return to in later posts.
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