Help a San Jose Mercury News columnist blog

Mike Cassidy has been writing for the San Jose Mercury News for years. He’s a general columnist. I remember reading him back when I read paper. Today he called me and asked for help. Blog help. Specifically he was asking for help in building an audience and also getting his blog’s audience to engage — seems very few people leave comments.

Since journalists everywhere are trying to move online, I thought it might be interesting to see if I could quickly give him some advice on how to do it better. So, here’s what I told him.

  1. Know how traffic will find you. There’s two ways: word of mouth (probably how you heard about Ze Frank or Rocketboom’s video show was from my blog, or from someone who emailed it to you) and search engines. Toni Schneider, CEO of Automattic, the folks who make WordPress, told me that about half of the traffic that comes to WordPress.com gets there from Google. Why is that important? Because if you don’t know how Google/Yahoo/Live/Ask work, you’ll be at a disadvantage over bloggers who understand that. More about how you can appease Google in future points.
  2. Pick a niche and own it. This will definitely help you on search engines. Why? Because people visit Google looking for specific things. Google is like a billion niches. If you try to appear on all billion niches, you’ll probably appear on none of them. But, owning a niche, like “funny Silicon Valley stories” is a lot easier than owning a more generic “funny stories” search. Pick your niche carefully, though. You’ll want to do something you’re passionate and authoritative on.
  3. Get specific with your title tag. Mike makes a common mistake here by calling his blog “Mike Cassidy’s Loose Ends.” No one searches for “Loose Ends.” And only his mom and relatives will search for “Mike Cassidy.” Well, that’s not really true, a lot of my audience searches for “Scoble” but that’s cause I made my URL so long and hard to spell that it’s easier to go to Google and search for Scoble. I’d put the niche you’re trying to own into the title tag. So, I’d call it “Mike Cassidy’s Funny Silicon Valley Stories.” Or something like that.
  4. Demonstrate authority. Let’s say you’re a kid in India searching Google for information on Silicon Valley for a school paper. Are you likely to click on a link that says “Mike Cassidy’s Loose Ends” or are you more likely to click on a link that says “Funny Silicon Valley Stories from Mercury News Journalist?” Also, why isn’t the Mercury News’ logo on his blog anywhere? If I worked at the Mercury News I’d make sure people knew that, and I’d give lots of stories of “behind the scenes at the Merc.”
  5. Use more media. I look at TechCrunch and how it beat other blogs, including mine. One thing Mike Arrington did? He used a graphic on every post. That made his posts stand out in my aggregator. Today, how do you stand out? How about an occassional video? Or a podcast? Or, a Flickr feed? Look at my link blog. What makes posts catch your eye? Remember, every post there caught my eye.
  6. Link to other bloggers you like (or hate). Disclaimer: I’m an egotistical A-hole. OK, now that we got that out of the way, here’s why linking works. The tool I use to blog, WordPress.com, shows me when I sign in who has linked to me. I click on those links, and I get to read what other bloggers have said about me. I’m very likely to subscribe to those blogs, or link back and say “you’re a jerkface too.” Or, at minimum, leave a comment “nice post.” Either way, that’s one more reader you have today than you had yesterday.
  7. Use bullets and numbers. Copy Guy Kawasaki.
  8. Hold a contest. Seagate is helping me hold a couple over the next few weeks. More details soon.
  9. Beg for help from other bloggers. Hey!
  10. Write better headlines. Mike’s are weak. “Sometimes you have to hold your nose” might sound like a fun headline, and for a newspaper column it probably was. But, imagine that your readers find your post on Technorati, are they going to be very likely to click on a headline like that? No. I’d say just be straightforward. “Cookie smell pisses off bus riders in San Francisco.” I’m sure you can make that a little better, but at least you’ll get more Google hits and readers know exactly what to expect after they click on the headline.
  11. Cause some heck. Become part of the conversation. A writer has a few tools in his toolbag to get people to engage. One of the biggest is conflict. Why do we read Valleywag? To see who Nick Denton is picking on (hint, it’s Mike Arrington).
  12. Maryam and I put 15 other ways up over on the Blog Business Summit’s site.
  13. Get Shelley Powers to link to you. She has more traffic than a dog has fleas.

Anyway, do you have any advice for Mike?

UPDATE: Mike posts: “That Robert Scoble is a Rascal.” :-)

Comments

  1. Matt Mullenweg told me early on, when I first started blogging about 3 years ago, to interact with other bloggers.

    Posting comments at other, relevant blogs is a terrific way to get comments at your own blog. It’s business karma, y’know?

    Provocative post titles, lists (“12 Signs of Blog Burnout”, “5 Fatal Blog Design Errors”), and challenging content.

  2. Matt Mullenweg told me early on, when I first started blogging about 3 years ago, to interact with other bloggers.

    Posting comments at other, relevant blogs is a terrific way to get comments at your own blog. It’s business karma, y’know?

    Provocative post titles, lists (“12 Signs of Blog Burnout”, “5 Fatal Blog Design Errors”), and challenging content.

  3. When I was the blog administrator for Knight Ridder (ugh) last year, before the sale and Mike’s blog came about, I would plead with the new KR bloggers to at least try to do two things;
    - converse with your readers, don’t talk at them. Also, if someone posts a comment, interact & reply to them.
    - don’t be a columnist, be a blogger. Share information from other sites, don’t just give your opinion on topics. Link to related blog posts and bloggers. interact with the “blogosphere”

    on the technical side, I see the blog is not using categories. Everything is under “Uncategorized”.

  4. When I was the blog administrator for Knight Ridder (ugh) last year, before the sale and Mike’s blog came about, I would plead with the new KR bloggers to at least try to do two things;
    - converse with your readers, don’t talk at them. Also, if someone posts a comment, interact & reply to them.
    - don’t be a columnist, be a blogger. Share information from other sites, don’t just give your opinion on topics. Link to related blog posts and bloggers. interact with the “blogosphere”

    on the technical side, I see the blog is not using categories. Everything is under “Uncategorized”.

  5. first three are completely on point.

    I’d like to add: buy your own domain name ASAP. So that when you eventually change blog domains, etc, etc you can just move your domain and keep all of your backlink history. I took me about four months to get under 10,000 on the technorati rank, and that would all be wiped out if I moved off of wordpress.com

    I have some title resources here: http://engtech.wordpress.com/2006/11/22/the-secret-to-blog-success-is-in-the-title/

  6. first three are completely on point.

    I’d like to add: buy your own domain name ASAP. So that when you eventually change blog domains, etc, etc you can just move your domain and keep all of your backlink history. I took me about four months to get under 10,000 on the technorati rank, and that would all be wiped out if I moved off of wordpress.com

    I have some title resources here: http://engtech.wordpress.com/2006/11/22/the-secret-to-blog-success-is-in-the-title/

  7. Try reaching out personally to a few bloggers that write in a related area and get to know them. If you are writing good content, someone you know personally is highly likely to link to you. I don’t mean ask for links. I mean engage with people (outside of email, too) you would genuinely have someting in common with.

  8. Try reaching out personally to a few bloggers that write in a related area and get to know them. If you are writing good content, someone you know personally is highly likely to link to you. I don’t mean ask for links. I mean engage with people (outside of email, too) you would genuinely have someting in common with.

  9. Hi Robert.

    All these are so logical points but how easy to overlook or ignore. You are right about the headings — they are more so important because they appear inside your link (the heading text appears clickable) when the page appears in the search results whether it is Google or Technorati.

  10. Hi Robert.

    All these are so logical points but how easy to overlook or ignore. You are right about the headings — they are more so important because they appear inside your link (the heading text appears clickable) when the page appears in the search results whether it is Google or Technorati.

  11. Much of this helps your stuff stand out on Techmeme as well: better post titles, better blog titles, links, images, and…controversy. (I hate contests though, and hope Techmeme does too.)

  12. Much of this helps your stuff stand out on Techmeme as well: better post titles, better blog titles, links, images, and…controversy. (I hate contests though, and hope Techmeme does too.)

  13. Everything I learned about blogging, I learned from Scolbe:
    1) It is GOOD to mix up professional and personal info
    2) Comment on other people blogs
    3) The social web is more than blogging – participate in forums, news groups, etc.
    4) Allow easy bookmarking
    5) Go after exposure, but do not become slime. Use the press, friend of friends, but NOT paid pay per post
    6) Enjoy it!

  14. Everything I learned about blogging, I learned from Scolbe:
    1) It is GOOD to mix up professional and personal info
    2) Comment on other people blogs
    3) The social web is more than blogging – participate in forums, news groups, etc.
    4) Allow easy bookmarking
    5) Go after exposure, but do not become slime. Use the press, friend of friends, but NOT paid pay per post
    6) Enjoy it!

  15. Focus outside the blogosphere too, for the people who have never heard of Technorati or Techmeme. The world *does* actually exist outside of RSS feeds.

  16. Focus outside the blogosphere too, for the people who have never heard of Technorati or Techmeme. The world *does* actually exist outside of RSS feeds.

  17. Further comment on #2:

    I think niche is the secret to getting a lot of RSS readers.

    If you stick to your niche, people will read your feed religiously because they’re interested in the subject. If you write all over the place (like I do) then you’ll constantly lose subscribers as your focus changes from things that interest them to things that don’t.

    I started in a small niche and then got addicted to traffic and started writing content/how-to guides for search traffic — specifically info I thought was hard to find on the net. While I find all my posts interesting, I think the average reader is probably only interested in every 1 out of 5. So even though I get around 3,000-4,000 page views a day, the actually number of engaged returning readers (which is the most important metric) is much lower.

  18. Further comment on #2:

    I think niche is the secret to getting a lot of RSS readers.

    If you stick to your niche, people will read your feed religiously because they’re interested in the subject. If you write all over the place (like I do) then you’ll constantly lose subscribers as your focus changes from things that interest them to things that don’t.

    I started in a small niche and then got addicted to traffic and started writing content/how-to guides for search traffic — specifically info I thought was hard to find on the net. While I find all my posts interesting, I think the average reader is probably only interested in every 1 out of 5. So even though I get around 3,000-4,000 page views a day, the actually number of engaged returning readers (which is the most important metric) is much lower.

  19. Alfred: I assumed that he had that covered cause he’s been writing for the Mercury News for years. You don’t keep a job as a writer at a big-city newspaper if you can’t crank out good content every day.

    But, yeah, that’s important too.

  20. Alfred: I assumed that he had that covered cause he’s been writing for the Mercury News for years. You don’t keep a job as a writer at a big-city newspaper if you can’t crank out good content every day.

    But, yeah, that’s important too.

  21. Julio makes some good points. Especially “ugh.” I worried that categorizing the posts might become pointless with so many different topics. (I know, another challenge in terms of attracting readers.) In the end I hoped people would conclude I simply couldn’t be categorized.

  22. Julio makes some good points. Especially “ugh.” I worried that categorizing the posts might become pointless with so many different topics. (I know, another challenge in terms of attracting readers.) In the end I hoped people would conclude I simply couldn’t be categorized.

  23. Tom F. (#5) – I hear what you are saying, but let’s be honest…you are asking for links!

    Scoble (#18) – What’s this? A blogger acknowledging there is good content in MSM??? The hell you say! :-)

  24. Tom F. (#5) – I hear what you are saying, but let’s be honest…you are asking for links!

    Scoble (#18) – What’s this? A blogger acknowledging there is good content in MSM??? The hell you say! :-)

  25. [...] Robert Scoble calls for help: Mike Cassidy has been writing for the San Jose Mercury News for years. He’s a general columnist. I remember reading him back when I read paper. Today he called me and asked for help. Blog help. Specifically he was asking for help in building an audience and also getting his blog’s audience to engage — seems very few people leave comments. [...]

  26. 14) Take a strong stand on issues.

    15) if you are targetting the tech audience ensure Microsoft, Apple and Google are written about regularly.

    Generalizing, regularly write about the top 3 guys in the niche you are concentrating on.

    16) Once you start having a regular audience, sometimes write for them. You may not feel like writing about a particular incident/topic but your regulars would certainly like you to.

  27. 14) Take a strong stand on issues.

    15) if you are targetting the tech audience ensure Microsoft, Apple and Google are written about regularly.

    Generalizing, regularly write about the top 3 guys in the niche you are concentrating on.

    16) Once you start having a regular audience, sometimes write for them. You may not feel like writing about a particular incident/topic but your regulars would certainly like you to.

  28. Well Hells Bells

    Dr. Scoble has prescribed some whoopass for Journobloggers and drawing traffic to their stuff today.
    I picked a name that has absolutley nothing to do with my main topical nexus – Apple, their OS’s under development and emerging wireless tech. It…

  29. I see lots of comments about things we–the bloggers–should do, but not much talk about the readers. Since they’re the only ones that decide if we have traffic or not, I think respecting their intelligence and time and attention is the most important thing. They have millions of places to put their focus, and it is always a great gift when they give a little to us. I spend a lot of time trying to think of ways I can help my readers kick ass, and as little time as possible trying to think of ways that *I* can kick ass (or worse, trying to convince my READERS that I kick ass).

    If people visit my blog, I owe them something in return, and I try not to forget that. That focus keeps me from talking too much about myself and MY life–pretty much the two least interesting things I could discuss. : )

    And I will add that Robert was one of the main motivations behind my wanting to start a blog in the first place. So I listen to him!

  30. I see lots of comments about things we–the bloggers–should do, but not much talk about the readers. Since they’re the only ones that decide if we have traffic or not, I think respecting their intelligence and time and attention is the most important thing. They have millions of places to put their focus, and it is always a great gift when they give a little to us. I spend a lot of time trying to think of ways I can help my readers kick ass, and as little time as possible trying to think of ways that *I* can kick ass (or worse, trying to convince my READERS that I kick ass).

    If people visit my blog, I owe them something in return, and I try not to forget that. That focus keeps me from talking too much about myself and MY life–pretty much the two least interesting things I could discuss. : )

    And I will add that Robert was one of the main motivations behind my wanting to start a blog in the first place. So I listen to him!

  31. One perfectly serious post title with the words “Gothic Lolitas” in it brought me a few thousands visitors. I still don’t understand why (must be a fashion fad with gamers or a rockband’s name) But their constant clicking propeled my link high up on a few search engines and increased visibility. If this gentleman is desperate, he is welcome to test.

  32. One perfectly serious post title with the words “Gothic Lolitas” in it brought me a few thousands visitors. I still don’t understand why (must be a fashion fad with gamers or a rockband’s name) But their constant clicking propeled my link high up on a few search engines and increased visibility. If this gentleman is desperate, he is welcome to test.

  33. Ok, this is all good advice… What’s unfortunate is that I think most bloggers want to be columnists. What’s the point of writing a bunch of useless drivel and quoting from other blogs all the time? Everyone does that. Heck, even *I* do it!

    So the sad truth of this is that if you want your blog to work you can’t have any aspiration to be more than a blogger because, according to what I’ve read here, no one will read it. Sheesh.

    So MY advice would be this…

    Use all of the above to drive traffic to your blog. Write the frilly, no-substantial-content stuff at the TOP of the blog and put something with some substance at the bottom (I break mine up into “bligps,” usually three per blog). Then, once or twice a week, write an entry that’s sans the frilly stuff.

    By the way, I’m a big fan of the “fun headline,” so it smarts to think that may be costing me some hits. I always thought of it as, “Make ‘em laugh and they’ll want to read on.” Surely there’s some merit to that?

  34. Post title writing is a real art and carries a lot of weight in driving traffic and getting comments.

    Asking your readers for their opinion (use the word “opinion”) is also a good policy, not in every post, but now and then.

  35. Ok, this is all good advice… What’s unfortunate is that I think most bloggers want to be columnists. What’s the point of writing a bunch of useless drivel and quoting from other blogs all the time? Everyone does that. Heck, even *I* do it!

    So the sad truth of this is that if you want your blog to work you can’t have any aspiration to be more than a blogger because, according to what I’ve read here, no one will read it. Sheesh.

    So MY advice would be this…

    Use all of the above to drive traffic to your blog. Write the frilly, no-substantial-content stuff at the TOP of the blog and put something with some substance at the bottom (I break mine up into “bligps,” usually three per blog). Then, once or twice a week, write an entry that’s sans the frilly stuff.

    By the way, I’m a big fan of the “fun headline,” so it smarts to think that may be costing me some hits. I always thought of it as, “Make ‘em laugh and they’ll want to read on.” Surely there’s some merit to that?

  36. Post title writing is a real art and carries a lot of weight in driving traffic and getting comments.

    Asking your readers for their opinion (use the word “opinion”) is also a good policy, not in every post, but now and then.

  37. Chris Locke said some of his most popular posts had weird, funny, or even bizarre titles. Be careful with that, though. Mysterious titles are generally counter-productive.

    Do not imitate those ad guys who use “teaser” or clever titles that have no obvious meaning or relevance. The post title should advertise the content and make it immediately clear what the post is about.

    Web users and blog readers are In A Hurry. They don’t usually have time or patience to play guessing games.

  38. Chris Locke said some of his most popular posts had weird, funny, or even bizarre titles. Be careful with that, though. Mysterious titles are generally counter-productive.

    Do not imitate those ad guys who use “teaser” or clever titles that have no obvious meaning or relevance. The post title should advertise the content and make it immediately clear what the post is about.

    Web users and blog readers are In A Hurry. They don’t usually have time or patience to play guessing games.

  39. Electrica: all rules are meant to be broken. I don’t always write good headlines. I just have noticed that a straightforward headline is more likely to get hits (particularly search engine hits) than one that’s a bit more obtuse.

    Techbee: “lolita” is a porn term. I bet a lot of those visitors are wondering if you are showing some porn. I had the same problem over on Naked Conversations (which is one of the top terms for “naked”). I doubt those searchers are expecting a book on corporate blogging. It also made it impossible to run Google ads on our site because all we’d get are porn ads.

  40. Electrica: all rules are meant to be broken. I don’t always write good headlines. I just have noticed that a straightforward headline is more likely to get hits (particularly search engine hits) than one that’s a bit more obtuse.

    Techbee: “lolita” is a porn term. I bet a lot of those visitors are wondering if you are showing some porn. I had the same problem over on Naked Conversations (which is one of the top terms for “naked”). I doubt those searchers are expecting a book on corporate blogging. It also made it impossible to run Google ads on our site because all we’d get are porn ads.

  41. Hi Robert, “electrica” is the WordPress handle for Vaspers the Grate (oh no, not him!)

    What I dislike most are the post titles that convey absolutely no sense of what the post content is about. While it’s fun to do weird post titles now and then, to add variety and humor, we must remember search engines and RSS/Atom feed readers.

    Skimming a list of post titles, users tend to not waste time looking at a post with a stupid, hyperbolic, or nonsensical title, unless it’s so bizarre it pulls you in, like my “Blog Psychosis” or “Blogs and Murder”, but they still have relevance and meaning, a user can quickly assess the possible value of the post.

    If bloggers use titles like “In the midst of mourning” or other typical journalistic BS, they can’t complain about low traffic numbers and no comments.

    But book chapter titles and newspaper article titles are generally well written and we can learn from them.

    My biggest complaint with online newspapers is lack of hyperlinks in the editorial content, and relegating comments to a stupid discussion forum, that generally gets very low traffic, rather than the more effective comment function at bottom of post/article.

    Interact with your comment posters, reply swiftly to their remarks, within the thread itself.

  42. Hi Robert, “electrica” is the WordPress handle for Vaspers the Grate (oh no, not him!)

    What I dislike most are the post titles that convey absolutely no sense of what the post content is about. While it’s fun to do weird post titles now and then, to add variety and humor, we must remember search engines and RSS/Atom feed readers.

    Skimming a list of post titles, users tend to not waste time looking at a post with a stupid, hyperbolic, or nonsensical title, unless it’s so bizarre it pulls you in, like my “Blog Psychosis” or “Blogs and Murder”, but they still have relevance and meaning, a user can quickly assess the possible value of the post.

    If bloggers use titles like “In the midst of mourning” or other typical journalistic BS, they can’t complain about low traffic numbers and no comments.

    But book chapter titles and newspaper article titles are generally well written and we can learn from them.

    My biggest complaint with online newspapers is lack of hyperlinks in the editorial content, and relegating comments to a stupid discussion forum, that generally gets very low traffic, rather than the more effective comment function at bottom of post/article.

    Interact with your comment posters, reply swiftly to their remarks, within the thread itself.

  43. Um…you forgot the most important rule of all:

    Agreeing to post pictures of yourself as a naughty nurse or a wayward bridesmaid.

    By the way, where exactly are your naughty nurse photos?

  44. Um…you forgot the most important rule of all:

    Agreeing to post pictures of yourself as a naughty nurse or a wayward bridesmaid.

    By the way, where exactly are your naughty nurse photos?

  45. Finding that perfect niche is difficult simply because it’s so hard to be that niche writer when you can find a blog on the mating habits of african lions without much trouble. My niche are things that make me say “wtf”, and I write (very poorly) about those things. Having such a broad niche won’t drive me to the top of google, but at least I enjoy the topics.

  46. Finding that perfect niche is difficult simply because it’s so hard to be that niche writer when you can find a blog on the mating habits of african lions without much trouble. My niche are things that make me say “wtf”, and I write (very poorly) about those things. Having such a broad niche won’t drive me to the top of google, but at least I enjoy the topics.

  47. I was at Search Engine Strategies this week and I was shocked at how many people told me they read my blog regularly – even being able to recite posts they found thought provoking!

    So I asked a few of them, “Why don’t you ever comment?”

    The answers when coming from people that work at search engines is surprising. They confided in me that they feared doing so. It shows what a long way we have to go to in terms of reshaping opinions! Charge on.

  48. I was at Search Engine Strategies this week and I was shocked at how many people told me they read my blog regularly – even being able to recite posts they found thought provoking!

    So I asked a few of them, “Why don’t you ever comment?”

    The answers when coming from people that work at search engines is surprising. They confided in me that they feared doing so. It shows what a long way we have to go to in terms of reshaping opinions! Charge on.

  49. a lot of people think that asking prominent bloggers for links is the way to get started. actually, COMMENTING (or tracbacking) on prominent bloggers posts is a much *better* way to get started… at least you have a higher probability of getting it to happen, since it’s under your control.

    now, that doesn’t mean to go spamming all over everyone’s posts to just say “Kilroy wuz here!”. however, if you have something interesting to say, then you are adding to the conversation & most folks won’t rip you for trying to get attention… unless of course, you really are JUST trying to get attention.

    in addition to commenting, if the blogger allows links, try including a link back to a relevant post on your own blog that’s you’ve written about, like this:
    http://500hats.typepad.com/500blogs/2005/08/scoble_goes_to_.html

    (note: it may be unclear whether some bloggers allow links, whether they allow html, and/or whether URLs get turned into links automatically or not… play around and test it out. not everyone has preview either)

    lastly, although most blog comments do accept your URL as part of the signin, i like to include my full name and URL at the bottom of posts just to make it clear. some may think this is overkill, but it also makes it easy for folks to click over to your blog at the end of your comment.

    in short, commenting is likely the easiest way to get linked in the blogosphere… and most folks like to get comments, as long as they’re not totally annoying or spammy.

    (advanced users: apply this technique to TechMeme stories quickly, and watch the results)

    - dave mcclure
    http://500hats.typepad.com/

  50. a lot of people think that asking prominent bloggers for links is the way to get started. actually, COMMENTING (or tracbacking) on prominent bloggers posts is a much *better* way to get started… at least you have a higher probability of getting it to happen, since it’s under your control.

    now, that doesn’t mean to go spamming all over everyone’s posts to just say “Kilroy wuz here!”. however, if you have something interesting to say, then you are adding to the conversation & most folks won’t rip you for trying to get attention… unless of course, you really are JUST trying to get attention.

    in addition to commenting, if the blogger allows links, try including a link back to a relevant post on your own blog that’s you’ve written about, like this:
    http://500hats.typepad.com/500blogs/2005/08/scoble_goes_to_.html

    (note: it may be unclear whether some bloggers allow links, whether they allow html, and/or whether URLs get turned into links automatically or not… play around and test it out. not everyone has preview either)

    lastly, although most blog comments do accept your URL as part of the signin, i like to include my full name and URL at the bottom of posts just to make it clear. some may think this is overkill, but it also makes it easy for folks to click over to your blog at the end of your comment.

    in short, commenting is likely the easiest way to get linked in the blogosphere… and most folks like to get comments, as long as they’re not totally annoying or spammy.

    (advanced users: apply this technique to TechMeme stories quickly, and watch the results)

    - dave mcclure
    http://500hats.typepad.com/

  51. Niche blogs and mass blogs are very different.

    A niche blogger, focusing on a specific topic, may not care about getting 10,000 hits a day from Harry Potter worshiping Junior High dork males.

    But for a mass blogger, who needs tons of traffic so as to increase the odds that some chumps will click on his dumpy text link ads and Amazon widgets, traffic numbers are important.

    If you get 247 comments per post, are the comments adding relevant content or just knee-jerk agreements? Are you prepared to interact with all these comments, at least once per 20?

    Most bloggers who whine about not getting traffic or comments usually sit around, too lazy to post comments on other blogs or email other bloggers with valuable insights, good questions, or vital critique.

    There are many factors involved, and it depends on the type of blog, the intended audience, the blogger’s goals for the blogs, and so on.

  52. Niche blogs and mass blogs are very different.

    A niche blogger, focusing on a specific topic, may not care about getting 10,000 hits a day from Harry Potter worshiping Junior High dork males.

    But for a mass blogger, who needs tons of traffic so as to increase the odds that some chumps will click on his dumpy text link ads and Amazon widgets, traffic numbers are important.

    If you get 247 comments per post, are the comments adding relevant content or just knee-jerk agreements? Are you prepared to interact with all these comments, at least once per 20?

    Most bloggers who whine about not getting traffic or comments usually sit around, too lazy to post comments on other blogs or email other bloggers with valuable insights, good questions, or vital critique.

    There are many factors involved, and it depends on the type of blog, the intended audience, the blogger’s goals for the blogs, and so on.

  53. [...] Posted: Friday, December 08, 2006 8:10 PM by Will Femia Robert Scoble offers advice on how to interact better with your blog readers.  It’s mostly the kind of basic “how to blog” advice we used to see a lot of when the blogging wave was really cresting.  His item 10 is about writing good headlines.  Though I have fun trying to think of clever headlines for this blog, I often wonder if I’m hurting my own traffic.  When people come to the front of MSNBC.com and see my headline way down at the bottom, do they click it out of interest or ignore it because it has no clear meaning?  Looking at my Google referral stats this week, I’d do well to title every post “pantiless Britney.” Speaking of advice on engaging people online, Diggers Are Getting Paid — But Not By Kevin Rose – I hadn’t thought of this, but I guess it makes sense.  Rather than learn how to participate in online social sites, some companies are reportedly paying active social site participants to advocate on their behalf.  But don’t think Digg is taking that lying down. Still speaking of efforts to engage the online audience, “This is a rumor that just won’t die: The major television networks are considering creating a new online video service joint venture to compete with YouTube.”  What I don’t understand about this idea of the networks teaming up is that if they would just put the video on their own sites with a link that can easily be shared, why do they need to form a partnership in the matter?  I go to Comedy Central and find their video stuff hard to use so I search for it on YouTube and find a better link.  But if I go to NBC, ABC or CBS, I can find their shows and watch them in full (with mixed results on stream quality and finding a direct URL).  I’d be real interested to know if they see a decrease in pirated versions now that they host it themselves.  The only thing they’d need YouTube functionality for then is fan mashups and user submission contests. Elsewhere, “Major media companies are realizing that their digital assets are far more valuable than they initially thought, and they are reacting by putting folks in charge of those assets who they believe will protect the company.” How to make ginger ale – The real kind, with yeast that makes its own CO2 and the result has a bit of alcohol in it. Mysterious Arctic sharks found in Québec – I love mysterious aquatic life stories.  That’s why I was bummed when they axed Surface. The Christian vs. Christ follower video series has caused a stir among online Christians. Speaking of upsetting Christians, Jesus Christ in a romantic comedy might be one of the worst ideas ever.  But I do like this quote: “You see something basic like Britney Spears showing her crazy monkey to everybody, you find yourself thinking, is this the fall of the Roman Empire?”  Who needs horsemen when there’s the crazy monkey of the apocalypse? SchoolFizz is like Digg using campus news outlets.  My only complaint is that it takes two clicks to see the referenced story. Condoms ‘too big’ for Indian men – Time to recalibrate your gross cultural stereotypes.  Also consider updating the list of worst jobs in the world. Just as we read that piece from Dave Neiwert complaining about the lack of coverage of a white terrorist, the news explodes all over the TV screen that a potential terrorist has been arrested, last name Shareef.  I’m almost afraid to check back for his reaction. Llamas Enlisted to Thwart Biological Weapons – Apparently they have a special antibody in their blood that would serve as a signal, so their role would be more like a canary in a coal mine than a drug sniffing dog. The most popular 10,000 websites analyzed – 8 Questions & Answers – Includes many surprises. Top 50 Music Videos Of 2006 One more for the Christmas list.  White Christmas doo-wop animation.  No tricks or jokes or obnoxiousness. Don’t blame Google Maps for Kim’s death – Doesn’t include mention of the vandal. “The James Kim thing has me thinking – what would I want in my car if that happened to me?” How I Knew James Kim - Points out that the depth of the online material surrounding the lives of the Kim family members was part of what made the public care so much about the family. Maps of James Kim’s path The rollertoaster is the flatscreen TV of toasters. NASA Images Suggest Water Still Flows in Brief Spurts on Mars. History of snowboarding in 2 minutes – An actual survey of the history, not a joke video. Turkish Star Wars?!?!  And a clip.  I would have thought that Star Wars would be a particularly good movie to dub to other languages.  Half the characters don’t even have mouths that move. “ComicSpace is a place for comic fans and creators to connect with each other. Comic creators can host their comics for free.”  It’s MySpace for the comics community. Santastic II – One of those DJ mash-up CDs.  “This collection of Holiday mash-ups and bootleg remixes offers a new and unusual spin on the classics you know and love.”  Since this makes two years in a row, we can probably add this to the seasonal online traditions list too.  NOTE:  I’ve only listened to the first few tracks so far so be aware of the potential for headphones moments in some of these. Mountain Bike Trickster - Don’t let your kids see this. “Utah Supreme Court justices acknowledged Tuesday that they were struggling to wrap their minds around the concept that a 13-year-old girl could be both an offender and a victim for the same act – in this case, having consensual sex with her 12-year-old boyfriend.”  This might be an amusing story if being a sex offender weren’t such a serious label. Check out the reaction from the uTorrent community on the news that their preferred filetrading service has been sold. “1,200 people came out to play Capture the Flag on the streets of downtown Toronto.” America Before Pearl Harbor – Early Kodachrome Images “Portland’s so-called ‘festival street,’ which opened two months ago, is one of a small but growing number of projects in the United States that seek to reclaim streets used by cars as public places for people, too.”  I am really excited for this idea to spread.  Basically they didn’t ban cars from the street, but they took out all the things that signify that it is purely the domain of the automobile.  Drivers are forced to proceed slowly and with caution because they’re essentially driving through a pedestrian mall.  “If cities replace what he called “traffic artifacts” with “living room artifacts”—people, landscaping and street furniture—drivers will lose interest in speed and identify themselves as part of the larger social landscape.” Turn a tea bag into a hot air balloon - Or, how to set the kitchen on fire – Or, how to put a black mark on the white ceiling to make mom freak out. Say hello to the good bye weapon – I always thought that non-lethal weapons would be a great advance for civilization but between all the taser headlines and this thing it seems like we’ve found an unknown sadistic middle ground. [...]

  54. Read your last recommendation: “Get Shelley Powers to link to you. She has more traffic than a dog has fleas.” Well, the previous dog of my son had lots of fleas, so I figured that yours must be a good recommendation and I was going to site to see how I could persuade her to link to me. But then I saw one of your commentator said: “Get Mike of Scobleizer to link to you”, so here I am trying. My blog, from the comments and emails I received is very helpful for bloggers using Google blogger and is very easy to follow and understand. You will be doing me as well as your visitors a favour by linking to me as they will find useful tips for Blogger bloggers. I can be found at:
    Blogger Tips and Tricks
    as well as
    Dummies Guide to Blogger

  55. Read your last recommendation: “Get Shelley Powers to link to you. She has more traffic than a dog has fleas.” Well, the previous dog of my son had lots of fleas, so I figured that yours must be a good recommendation and I was going to site to see how I could persuade her to link to me. But then I saw one of your commentator said: “Get Mike of Scobleizer to link to you”, so here I am trying. My blog, from the comments and emails I received is very helpful for bloggers using Google blogger and is very easy to follow and understand. You will be doing me as well as your visitors a favour by linking to me as they will find useful tips for Blogger bloggers. I can be found at:
    Blogger Tips and Tricks
    as well as
    Dummies Guide to Blogger

  56. Probably teaching grandma to suck eggs but make sure what you write is correctly spelled, with good grammar, capital letters, punctuation and well laid out.

    No one is going to take time to read a “stream of consciousness” blog where there is no quick way to scan the text for paragraphs and ideas.

  57. Probably teaching grandma to suck eggs but make sure what you write is correctly spelled, with good grammar, capital letters, punctuation and well laid out.

    No one is going to take time to read a “stream of consciousness” blog where there is no quick way to scan the text for paragraphs and ideas.

  58. [...] In a recent post (http://scobleizer.com/2006/12/07/help-a-san-jose-mercury-news-columnist-blog/) Robert was giving some helpful hints to journalist Mike Cassidy (http://www.mercextra.com/blogs/cassidy/) on how to attract folks to his blog. Some really great tips, including using a catchy, controversial name for your entries. Oh, something like “Robert Scoble is a Space Alien and I’m Carrying His Love Child”. [...]

  59. [...] Inspired by this advice from Robert Scoble: Pick a niche and own it. This will definitely help you on search engines. Why? Because people visit Google looking for specific things. Google is like a billion niches. If you try to appear on all billion niches, you’ll probably appear on none of them. But, owning a niche, like “funny Silicon Valley stories” is a lot easier than owning a more generic “funny stories” search. Pick your niche carefully, though. You’ll want to do something you’re passionate and authoritative on. [...]

  60. [...] IF published here, I’ll send you an original artwork, which can double as a mousepad (in a pinch), created by me. I’ve given these to friends, who have ALL framed them and said, “Mary, these are amazing! We love them!” Your anonymity is guaranteed, unless you want your name and link published along with the story. [Shameless Disclaimer: because I’m just one person, and have little money to spend on this, I may dissolve the contest at any time. Also, I can’t substitute prizes, because I’m making them myself and my time is limited, etc. etc. Also, I’d rather spend money on causes like AmeriCares or my local Humane Society and that means you don’t get an expensive gift. Well, I wish I had contacts like Robert Scoble; he’s doing a contest in the next few weeks with prizes arranged by Seagate. There are NO guarantees of anything, but I’ll do my best. If I lose addresses, etc etc, blame the computer, please.) [...]

  61. Excellent advice–I would add not to assume you blog in a vacuum. The “if you post it they will come” attitude will kill faster than anything else. You need to be out there reading other blogs, commenting, making contacts, attending blogging conferences, networking, just as you would in any business.

    Bloggers so often tend to be solitary figures, clicking away in the quiet glow of their screens, but blogging is a social phenonmenon that must be treated as such to succeed.

  62. Excellent advice–I would add not to assume you blog in a vacuum. The “if you post it they will come” attitude will kill faster than anything else. You need to be out there reading other blogs, commenting, making contacts, attending blogging conferences, networking, just as you would in any business.

    Bloggers so often tend to be solitary figures, clicking away in the quiet glow of their screens, but blogging is a social phenonmenon that must be treated as such to succeed.

  63. Bonjour jai 11 ans, et je voulais vous dire que jadore le doll maker, seulement, cest dommage que les images soit statiques. et aussi je voudrais savoir s’il est possible de rajouter des elements. ex: des queues de sirenes, des corps dans d’autres positions. merci d’avance!

  64. Bonjour jai 11 ans, et je voulais vous dire que jadore le doll maker, seulement, cest dommage que les images soit statiques. et aussi je voudrais savoir s’il est possible de rajouter des elements. ex: des queues de sirenes, des corps dans d’autres positions. merci d’avance!

  65. [...] And this over the past couple of weeks he’s starting to think less of what made him and gave him his current stature in the technology business – his blog. Maybe technology can’t be polished to maintain an audience like The Office or Thirty Rock. Maybe Robert needs time to find the right formula for video as he did for blogging. [...]

  66. Here is a blog posting for you:

    A new exciting independent documentary is coming to San Jose on July 16th. The film, Dust & Illusions, explores 30 years of Burning Man and the rise and fall of an ideal born in the San Francisco underground back in the 1970s. With exceptional access to the people that the driving forces behind the early events to the organizers, artists and some participants, the film provides the first and unique critical perspective on this event so popular in the Bay Area.

    Last weekend over 1,000 people converged to the theaters in Vancouver, Seattle, Olympia and Denver to see the film, and are raving about it.

    For more information on the film, trailers, and specifics tot he San Jose screening, please go to:
    http://dustandillusions.com/trailers
    http://dustandillusions.com/blog/special-screen

  67. Here is a blog posting for you:

    A new exciting independent documentary is coming to San Jose on July 16th. The film, Dust & Illusions, explores 30 years of Burning Man and the rise and fall of an ideal born in the San Francisco underground back in the 1970s. With exceptional access to the people that the driving forces behind the early events to the organizers, artists and some participants, the film provides the first and unique critical perspective on this event so popular in the Bay Area.

    Last weekend over 1,000 people converged to the theaters in Vancouver, Seattle, Olympia and Denver to see the film, and are raving about it.

    For more information on the film, trailers, and specifics tot he San Jose screening, please go to:
    http://dustandillusions.com/trailers
    http://dustandillusions.com/blog/special-screen