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What Is An RSS Aggregator?

May 31, 2007

After reading yesterday’s post, someone asked me:

“What is an RSS aggregator?”

That’s a good question, and here’s the answer…

An RSS aggregator takes information from your blog feed and displays a portion of your blog feed in reverse-chronological order.

What is a blog feed?

A blog feed is a machine readable version of posts on your blog. Feeds are usually described by an XML-based file, but can also be in other formats. The feed can easily be interpreted by a feed aggregator that then allows other people to publish (syndicate) the content of the feed on other websites.

For an example of an RSS aggregator in action check out the squidoo page I made for my wife’s american idol blog:

http://www.squidoo.com/americanidolblog/

Scroll down to where it says: “American Idol On Our TV’s latest Posts”

The entries under that heading are taken from the feed of her American idol blog. It takes the most recent 7 posts from her blog and displays a portion of each post along with a link to the post in reverse chronological order.

In other words, a blog feed is a special file on your blog that contains a copy of your recent blog posts. An RSS aggregator takes the recent blog posts from your blog feed and displays them on another website.

Use Blog Directories and RSS Aggregators To Build Links To Your Blog

May 30, 2007

This is the 4th installment of the blog traffic series...

Once you have chosen the right niche and picked the right domain name for your blog, there are tons of steps you can take next to increase your blog traffic.

I believe that one of the biggest reasons for the instant success of our 2006 Torino Olympics blog was the fact that I submitted it to almost all of the directories and RSS aggregators on Robin Good’s list of RSS directories

Side Note: I mentioned Robin’s list all the way back in my first post on this blog in July of 2005 and it’s still as useful now as it was then. That is a sign of a great blog post!

I think this step is crucial for blogs that are “one time” event blogs like our 2006 winter olympic blog was. On the other hand, if your blog isn’t a one time event blog then this step can still help you to get extra traffic to your blog.

Submitting your blog to these directories helps the Search Engines find links to your blog. Not only that, but many people use the RSS feed aggregators to find recent news. If your blog posts are being added to tons of RSS feed aggregators, then your blog is more likely to be found. Especially if you add it to Technorati.

Additionally, having your posts listed in various RSS feed aggregators will help with the Search Engine optimization of your blog. I don’t want to go into all the reasons that RSS aggregators help your blog’s SEO, but I will say that one reason is because it helps your blog avoid the dreaded Google Sandbox.

If you don’t want to submit your blog to all of the directories and RSS aggregators on Robin’s list, then I suggest that at a very minimum you submit your blog to Technorati. In my mind, Technorati is the most important feed aggregator.

Note: In addition to being the 4th post in my blog traffic series, this is an entry into Fit For Freedom’s group writing project (link building tips).

Help Feed 1,000,000 Children This Memorial Day Weekend

May 27, 2007

Just wanted to let you know about this Memorial Day weekend effort to feed hungry children. I just read an email from John Reese about it last night and then an email from Joel Comm today. Internet Marketer Stephen Pierce has just launched a fundraiser to feed over 1,000,000 million children within 72 HOURS. And I want to help him do it, so I’m passing along the following from John Reese’s Newsletter:

While many of us are enjoying our Memorial Day Weekends by relaxing and spending time with friends & family, let us not forget that there are many people all over the world that are suffering at this very moment. And many of them are hungry children.

Please join Income.com and Stephen’s other great partners in helping to feed over 1,000,000 children that need our help.

Here’s How You Can Help:

1. Visit the web site at www.foragreatercause.org

2. Download the free “Success Report” that will by itself donate a plate of food on your behalf – even if you don’t give one penny of your own money.

3. (Optional) Donate any amount that you’d like. Every single dollar will help.

Internet Marketing Tips From The Web 5/25/2007

May 25, 2007

This week I spent very little time reading Internet Marketing blogs. Monday my wife had to take two of our kids to San Antonio for a dentist appointment. I watched the rest of our kids that day. Then Wednesday was a vacation day for me. Lastly, Thursday night my daughter had a dance recital for her ballet class. So between all of that, and keeping up with Stompernet assignments, I was very busy.

I did get one reader submission for an article to include in this week’s tips (and it is a good read). Without further ado, here are some of the interesting online business articles that I read this week:

Blogging Competitor Analysis
This was my first reader submission. It was submitted by Jon Symons (Art of Money). An often overlooked method of using competitive analysis to improve your blog and your earning potential. Some things covered are: can I compete? how do they monetize their traffic? how can I differentiate myself?

Google Buys Feedburner For $100 Million
I saw this news first on Jack Humphrey’s blog. Like Jack, I think that Google is buying them for their huge user base.

Top 25 Article Directories and Free Content Sites Ranked by Alexa and PageRank
I saw this in one of Ralph Wilson’s recent newsletters. It came at a great time, because I was about to start researching the latest and greatest article services to submit your articles to. This saved me a lot of time.

How to Create Your Own Niche Blogging Masterplan for Long Term Profit
Interesting post by Maki. I look forward to seeing how things turn out for him.

That was it for this week…

Do-Follow Plug-in – Your Comments Now Pass Page Rank To You

May 23, 2007

I have been wanting to do this for a while now, because I despise the no-follow tag. It was a ridiculous creation, destined to be abused. That is why I am SO glad that I just activated the Do-Follow WordPress plug-in.

The do-follow plug-in removes the no-follow attribute from all of the links in your blog’s comments. Not only does this make me happy, but it should encourage you to comment more on this blog. The links you provide in the comments “count” to the Search Engines.

Either way, it’s a win-win plug-in in my eyes…

How To Pick The Right Domain Name For Your Blog

May 21, 2007

For the second post in my Blog Traffic Series I’ll discuss how to choose your domain name. After choosing the right niche for your blog, you need to choose the right domain name for your blog.

SEO vs. Branding


You can choose a domain name for SEO purposes, for branding purposes, or both. This isn’t always an easy decision. Most experts these days recommend you choose a domain name for branding purposes. However, some experts disagree and think you should focus on SEO when choosing your domain name. Ideally, you would choose a domain name for both branding and SEO purposes (we will discuss this later in the post).

For now, let’s start with branding…

How To Choose A Domain Name For Branding Purposes


If you decide that you want to choose a domain name for branding purposes you should brainstorm as many names as you can. When choosing the name you should:

1. Make sure the name is catchy
You want your name to be memorable. Try finding a name that is catchy. Once you find one you like, then ask your friends if it sounds catchy BEFORE registering it.

2. Make sure the name is easy to spell when you hear it spoken
When you hear some domain names spoken it is hard to figure out how the domain name is spelled. If you do choose a domain name that might easily be mispelled, then buy the mispelled domain name as well. For instance, when you say Know Homeschooling, some people might think you are saying No Homeschooling. That is why we bought both domain names, knowhomeschooling.com and nohomeschooling.com.

3. Make sure the name doesn’t have hyphens or underlines
Domain names with hyphens and underlines tend to look less professional. Also, people are more likely to mistype your domain name when it includes hyphens and underlines.

When choosing a name for branding purposes, the key is to find a name that is memorable. Google, Ebay, Yahoo, are all easy to remember names.

How To Choose A Domain Name For SEO Purposes

At the moment, the keywords in your domain name are used by the Search Engines to help determine the rank of your website. You should keep this in mind when choosing a domain name and when naming the pages of your website.

The first step in choosing your domain name is to determine the main keywords you want to target. I wrote some posts on this in my inactive (retired) website promotion blog (see the choosing keywords category). You can also find lots of other good articles on choosing keywords by searching the web. Here are some of the ones I wrote:

Intro to Choosing Keywords
Methods of Choosing Keywords
Choosing Keywords – The Truth about KEI
Some more thoughts on Keyword Research
More Notes on Choosing Good Keywords
How do I research Keywords?
Researching Keywords for Blogs vs. traditional websites
How do the experts research keywords?

The next step is to choose your domain name. Often times the domain name you want is already taken. For example, say that you want to choose the domain name bigwidgets.com because you have chosen to target big widgets. But bigwidgets.com is already taken. That is not a big problem. Maybe big-widgets.com is available. What if big-widgets.com is not available? There are many other names you could come up with that still contain your keywords. For instance, these are just a few:

mybigwidgets.com
my-big-widgets.com
the-big-widgets.com
bigwidgetsforyou.com
buybigwidgets.com
A1bigwidgets.com
1bigwidgets.com
widgetsbig.com
getbigwidgets.com
canigetbigwidgets.com
...

As you can see there really is an almost endless possibility of names you can choose that contain your keyword.

Don’t use the same keyword more than once in your URL (definitely not more than twice). Some Search Engines will consider that SPAM and will devalue your site for that.

Search Engines have to give a good amount of weight to domain names. Whenever Search Engines drop the amount of weight given to domain names, then people can’t find sites by searching for the website’s official name. This process may lead to some spam getting through, but it’s better than people not being able to find a site by searching for it’s official name.

Another reason that it helps to have a domain name with your keywords in it is that people will use those keywords in the link text they use to link to your site. This also helps your Search Engine rankings.

One Other factor to Consider

There is one more factor that you may want to consider when coming up with your domain name. Many directories and links pages place websites in alphabetical order. Let’s take another look at the example above and place each site in alphabetical order:

1bigwidgets.com
A1bigwidgets.com
bigwidgetsforyou.com
buybigwidgets.com
canigetbigwidgets.com
getbidwidgets.com
mybigwidgets.com
my-big-widgets.com
the-big-widgets.com
widgetsbig.com

Where you will be listed in a directory is important to consider because the higher your site is on the page, the more visitors you will get from that page. One way to get listed higher is by placing the number 1 at the front of your domain name because valid numbers get placed ahead of the letter A by most programs that generate an alphabetical list because domain names use the ASCII character set, which assigns numbers a lower value than letters.

Note: even though the number zero (0) appears ahead of the number 1, not many people will want to start their domain name with the number 0 because of the negative connotation associated with zero. It’s better to use “1”, “1st”, “123”, “A1” or something similar.

You may notice that I have not used numbers , etc. at the front of my domain names. That is because I don’t ever worry about being first in a list on a directory. While it can be nice, it’s only marginally important from a long term traffic standpoint.

Choose A Name For Both SEO and Branding

Ideally, you can find a good brand name that includes the keywords you are targeting in the name. I think this blog and my onourtv blog are examples of that. Another example of that is Aaron Wall’s SEOBook.

There are various opinions on which way is the best way to choose your domain name. Ultimately, you will have to decide which method is best for your blog.

Internet Marketing Tips From The Web 5/18/2007

May 18, 2007

Hmmmmm… Nobody submitted any tips, that surprised me a bit.

Well, while I was working on Stompernet stuff, I did manage to read a few articles from blogs that I visit on a regular basis. Here are some of the articles that stood out for me this week (in no particular order):

Gather .edu and .gov backlinks (enhanced)
Nice post by Daniel about finding .edu and .gov links. Goes well with my 101 free ways to get blog traffic post from yesterday.

Networking Mistakes & Tips
Amanda gives a nice list of networking tips. I especially like her tip on how to handle giving advice to fellow bloggers.

Comments Capture Reader Interest
Garry wrote a good post about the importance of commenting on blogs.

What is a Blog Meme?
In response to my tag Chris wrote this interesting post about blog memes. At the end he challenges you to create a blog meme for him. Pretty good opportunity for a solid link if you ask me.

Four Effective Ways to Get Your Blog Listed on the del.icio.us Popular Pages
Maki gives a good list of ways to get OTHER people to bookmark your site on social bookmarking sites.

Are You Reading Too Many Blogs About Blogging?
Yaro’s post reminded me why I am working so hard on the STOMPERNET program, (because I have a vested interest in it).

101 FREE Ways To Increase Your Blog Traffic

May 17, 2007

I am a bit behind where I would like to be with my blog traffic series. So I decided to write this post listing 101 ways to get traffic to your blog. Then I will take some (not all) of these points and talk about them in detail in my series on getting blog traffic.

Here goes, 101 ways to get traffic to your blog:

1. Join MyBlogLog, add friends, and join communities.
2. Sign up for Technorati and ping it when your blog content changes.
3. Use a ping service like pingomatic to ping RSS aggregators.
4. Submit your blog to all of the directories on Robin Good’s list of RSS directories.
5. Use trackbacks.
6. Leave comments on blogs in related niches.
7. Tell your friends about your blog and specific posts.
8. Put your blog URL in your forum signatures.
9. Create link bait.
10. Tell Your newsletter subscribers about your blog.
11. Write press releases for your blog.
12. Link liberally to other blogs in your posts (many bloggers check who links to them).
13. Tag your posts using Technorati tags or a tag plug-in.
14. Submit your posts to multiple social bookmarking sites using OnlyWire.
15. Use Stumbleupon to stumble your posts.
16. Answer questions on Yahoo answers with the answers on your blog.
17. Answer questions on forums related to your niche with a link to one of your blog posts that answers the question.
18. Set up a feed on MyYahoo so that Yahoo keeps better track of your blog.
19. Make lists (My Top 5…, Ten Things…, etc.). Many of the most popular blog posts are lists like this one.
20. Use pictures. Most of the top trafficed blogs use pictures in their posts.
21. Use video on your blog.
22. Find out what people want to learn about in your blog’s niche and write about it.
23. Be the first to break a news story.
24. Use keyword research to find good keywords to use in your posts.
25. Write controversial posts.
26. Strongly Agree or strongly disagree with other bloggers and write about it with a link to their post.
27. Make it easy for your readers to sign up for your RSS feed.
28. Make it easy for your readers to Digg your posts.
29. Ask your readers to submit your posts to social bookmarking sites (Digg, Reddit, etc.).
30. Interview well known people in your industry (it’s working well for me).
31. Give credit to the blogs that inspire your posts.
32. Don’t be boring.
33. Write for beginners.
34. Participate in group writing projects.
35. Participate in blog memes.
36. Create a blog meme and tag your friends.
37. Participate in blog carnivals.
38. Post at different times of the day.
39. Submit your best posts to article directories.
40. Write Killer Content .
41. Start a group blog. These tend to get more traffic, because more people are creating conent and more people are promoting it.
42. Have guest posters.
43. Create a blog meme and tag an A-list blogger who you like.
44. Submit your blog to regular web directories (like DMOZ, etc.).
45. Join SpicyPage and promote your blog on it.
46. Join a blog webring.
47. Sign up for BlogWoods and promote your blog on it.
48. Join LinkAndBlog and do link and blog challenges.
49. Submit your best posts to Netscape.
50. Exchange Ads (not blogroll links) with complementary blogs.
51. Trade blog roll links with related blogs.
52. Sign up for Rojo. Subscribe to your feed and click “add mojo” on your better articles.
53. Add a plug-in to notify users of new comments (I REALLY need to do this).
54. Make it easy for your visitors to submit your post to ALL social bookmarking sites (not just Digg).
55. Add a tell-a-friend script or plug-in to your posts.
56. Make it easy for your visitors to bookmark your page in their browser.
57. Make it easy for people to link to your blog.
58. Use easy to read fonts.
59. Use a professional looking blog design.
60. Make your blog easy to navigate.
61. Highlight your most popular posts.
62. Write posts that ask provocative questions.
63. Use questions for the title of your blog posts (you knew that was coming).
64. Use good keywords in your post titles.
65. Reply to every question you get through email.
66. Reply to every question you get on your blog.
67. E-mail other bloggers about your really good post(s) (breaking news posts).
68. Offer free stuff related to your niche (tools, ebooks, etc).
69. Run a contest.
70. Publish videos on YouTube with the URL for your site at the beginning and end of the video.
71. Install a translation plug-in or use a translation service to translate your blog into foreign languages.
72. Put Your URL on everything that goes out of your house (business cards, stationary, mailing labels, etc.).
73. Go through listible.com’s list of web 2.0 sites and promote your blog on all web 2.0 sites that apply.
74. Search for Wikis related to your niche to submit your blog to. For example, for this blog the search phrase would be “make money online wiki” or “internet marketing wiki”.
75. Give regular polls (use a poll plug-in like democracy for this).
76. Add trivia quiz pages.
77. Add ecard pages.
78. Add a forum for your visitors to discuss more on your niche.
79. Add a wiki to your blog .
80. Join Hubpages and post links to your blog from articles you write.
81. Join Blink List and make a list of blogs with your blog in it.
82. Join 43 Things and write a list of 43 things you want to achieve (include your blog url in the list).
83. Join Blogger Party (and/or other free blog systems). Then write posts that link back to your blog.
84. Make a Squidoo lens (or more than one) with a link to your blog.
85. Provide Wikipedia articles with links to your blog where it makes sense.
86. Tell people you will link back to them if they review your blog (like John Chow).
87. Join Blog Catalog (kind of like MyBlogLog).
88. Create a MySpace Page. Put your blog on it, and get some friends.
89. Use SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
90. Use good grammar. People will be happy with your writing.
91. Submit your blog to directories in your niche.
92. Email or Instant message your friends to Digg, stumbelupon, etc. your post.
93. Link to your blog from other websites and blogs you own.
94. Write a post about the top x bloggers in your niche or state or country, etc. Then tell them about, so they will want to link back to you.
95. Promote your posts on related newsgroups.
96. Post frequently.
97. Submit your site to free website review sites like coolsiteoftheday.
98. Search for .edu sites with link pages, forums, directories, and wikis to submit your link to.
99. Give out blogging awards and tell the bloggers you are giving the awards to about it.
100. Pray. (That’s just always good advice)...
101. Make a 101 list.

BONUS:
102. Think outside the box.

What I learned from – Group Writing Project List

May 15, 2007

Last week I entered the “What I learned from___” group writing project. My entry was What I learned from drinking Starbucks Coffee. Here is a complete list of the entries, along with my brief comments on each entry.

“… Blogging”, by Gayla McCord at Mom Gadget
Excellent entry by Gayla. It should be an especially good read for those who enjoyed my interview with her...

“… Having a Daughter”, by Marco Richter at FitForFreedom
Very touching post, that puts money in perspective.

“… Teen Girl Squad”, by Markk at My Opinions Are Important
I really enjoyed Markk’s post. Especially, what he learned from it. At the end he asks some really important questions, that we all need to ask ourselves:


How much of our lives have meaning? How much time do we spend on things that don’t matter?

“… the Mt. Pinatubo Eruption”, by Ronald Huerca at Ronalfy.com
WOW. A really touching story. I can’t imagine having gone through what Ronald went through, but we all have our owns challenges.

“… My Wife!”, by Rajaram Sethuraman at Thoughts of a Rambler
I thought this was a very funny post!

“… Taking Out the Garbage”, by Michael Chantrel at Mortgage Guide 101 Blog
So true. Very good tip.

“… Norm”, by Joe Raasch at The Happy Burro
Very nice post that reminds us to stop and smell the roses.

“… A Light Switch”, by Robert Hruzek at Middle Zone Musings
Nice story about a light switch, and being made for eachother, by Robert (the creator of the contest).

“… my mentors”, by Karin H. at The Kiss Business Too
Good tips from Karin’s mentors.

“… Procrastinating”, by Yvonne Russell at Grow Your Writing Business
This one really hit home for me. It’s not just procrastination that can be a problem for me, it’s putting the little things first.

“… a Squirrel”, by G.L. Hoffman at What Would Dad Say
Great lesson from a child’s mouth.

“… a Weight Problem”, by Monique Attinger at Insurance Guide 101
This entry had some really good information about weightloss and insurance.

“… RUMMAGING!” by William Tully at LOGICal eMOTIONs (warning contains colorful language)
This post offered a great tip for all of us:

Shoot for the stars because at least you have the option of landing on the moon.

“… Drugs”, by Sam Brougher at Forest Azuaran
I think that the following two word sentence from Sam’s post does a good job of summing up his post – “Drugs suck”.

“… a Mesquite Tree”, by Mike DeWitt at Spooky Action
Interesting post that comes up with some personal development lessons from a Mesquite Tree.

I believe that was all of them! It was a fun writing project. Which entries were your favorites?

Reader Submisions For Internet Marketing Tips From The Web

May 14, 2007

The next 3-4 weeks I am going to be too busy with StomperNet to spend much time reading articles around the web. So I would like YOU to submit articles for me to use in my “Internet Marketing Tips From The Web” post that I write every Friday. Along with the article, I will link to your blog or website and list you as the submitting author.

You can submit the articles in the comments of this post or you can contact me at george @ websitepromotionbook. com

What I need:

The Post or Article Title:
The Post or Article URL:
A brief description of the article’s content:
Your Name:
Your Website Name:
Your Website URL:

Feel free to submit your own articles. The only requirements are that the articles and posts need to be related to making money on the web, and they should be on family-friendly sites (no gambling, p@rn, prescription drug sites, etc.).

I reserve the right to only use a subset of the submissions, although my intention is to include them all.

StomperNET and My New Primary Goal

May 13, 2007

Last week I was thinking about where to go next with my business, and I recalled a recent discussion I had with my friend Austin about that very subject. As a result, I decided to focus my efforts on just one of my websites or blogs, doing everything I can for THAT site to make it successful. I was going to use some of the market research I discussed in my “How to choose a niche” post. But then…

Last Friday, I decided to join StomperNET with the one dollar trial that was going around. Prior to the trial membership offer, I had no intention of joining. However, because of Austin’s success with the original Stomper program and because it was only a dollar, I decided to go ahead and test it out. If it helps me achieve my goals faster, then I may stay. If not, then I will proceed with my plan. (So far, I’m really impressed with the program, by the way.)

Since, StomperNET is keeping me ultra busy, this blog will be a bit lighter on content for a few weeks, and I’ll be doing a couple of things differently during that time, as well. I’ll be posting about one of those changes tomorrow, and I hope it’s something that will make for a nice change of pace, as well as give me a bit more time to evaluate StomperNET.

If you have been anticipating more posts from the blog traffic series, don’t worry. I have two posts for the series sitting in my drafts folder. One of those posts contains a huge amount of information that should keep you busy for quite a while.

More later…

Internet Marketing Tips From The Web 5/11/2007

May 11, 2007

Here is some of the reading I did this week. I also really enjoyed many of the top 5 posts in Darren’s group writing project…

The Paid Link Blog Meme
Excellent counter to Google’s position on paid links. Found via Andy Beard. The truth of the matter is that the Search Engines have to come up with a revolutionary way to rank sites. The current methods won’t be acceptable five years from now.

Indirect Profits, Business and Corporate Blogs
Chris Garret’s series has been really good reading all week. If you haven’t kept up, then start with the article above and work your way through the series.

Long Overdue Praise For PayPerPost
John Reese wrote an excellent post on PayPerPost on his new blog. My favorite part was when John says:

IT’S NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS WHAT SOMEONE ELSE CHOOSES TO PUT ON THEIR BLOG!

So true…

My Top 7 Blog Monetization Methods
It was good to see Yaro’s top monetization methods listed out like this.

Update on Me
Interesting update on Amanda’s blogging income. I haven’t tried any of the review systems, but Amanda’s post makes me think that I could make a fairly decent amount of money doing paid website reviews.

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