Awesome Friday: Pimp My Blog Edition

Awesome Friday: Pimp My Blog EditionAfter a two-week hiatus, Awesome Friday has made it’s triumphant return to Life Without Pants – and in true “growth and development” fashion, I’ve changed up the format just a bit to (hopefully) offer you, the audience, a bigger takeaway. Even though finding Jesus in your food and pondering the relevance of non-alcoholic vodka is interesting and awesome in it’s own right, I feel like I can offer my community here so much more.

This week, I’m going to personally ‘Pimp Your Blog’

In this installment of Awesome Friday, I’m going to provide some direction for you to organize, optimize, and otherwise pimp your blog. We all know that content is key to running a successful blog – people won’t come, and more importantly won’t come back, if what you’re writing about is dull and/or uninteresting. But what we learn as we become more versed in the blogosphere is that there’s an almost endless amount of ‘behind the scenes’ work that can be done to run a more efficient and effective blog. We start dropping terms like SEO, trackbacks, references, and so on – I’m not an expert on this kind of stuff, and I can safely say most of you all aren’t either. So here’s what I’m going to do – today, just for you guys, I have gathered five EASY things you can do that will allow you to cast away from the dock and set sail on the high seas of blogging paradise.

1) Visit HowToMakeMyBlog.com

This blog is dedicated to everything and anything that is blog optimization. I promise if you read through these articles you WILL learn something and you’ll leave a much more optimized person than when you went in. Topics include: measuring the quality of your blog content, the art of successfully branding yourself on Twitter (without being annoying), WordPress plugins that all of you need to be using, how to drive blog traffic through comments and guest-posts, and MUCH more. This blog is a one-stop-source of awesome knowledge and information, and highly recommended by yours truly. [HowtoMakeMyBlog.com]

2) Watch Jun Loayza’s SEO optimization video series

Jun was recently kind enough to take some time and share his wealth of SEO knowledge with the masses by releasing an ‘Awesome’ two-part video tutorial. In it, you’ll learn several tips to maximizing your blogs SEO. I watched it,  implemented his techniques, and already my traffic from Google is starting to trickle in. SEO optimization can be a cumbersome and confusing topic, especially for those of us who aren’t well-versed in CSS and HTML, but Jun makes the information very accessible (if I can do it – so can you). [Click here for PART 1 and for even more, check out PART 2]

3) Install the ‘Subscribe to Comments’ plugin

WordPress, by default, does not give your commenters the option to subscribe to comments. What does this mean? It means if someone comes by and is kind enough to leave you comment, you’ll probably reply to them, maybe even follow up with a question to keep the conversation going, right? Well what if they never knew anyone responded? What if they never come back because they think “Well, I never got a reply so screw that guy” The ‘Subscribe to Comments’ plugin eliminates this and allows your commenters to receive email notification when someone replies to the said post. Install this right now and breath new life into your discussions. [Click here to install]

4) Five letters: WWSGD

The ‘What Would Seth Godin Do’ plugin is a must have for all bloggers. The plugin is inspired by Mr. Godin’s belief that advertising can be catered and tailored to visitors and users based on cookies - not the cookies you eat, but the cookies that are stored within web archives that tell you who’s visiting, how many time’s they’ve visited, etc. Scroll to the bottom of this post – see the sexy yellow box with a nice message from yours truly urging you to subscribe through RSS and email? That’s the WWSGD plugin in action. In short, it allows you to add a message either to the beginning or the end of every blog post that you can customize in any way you want. What’s even better – you can have a message directed specifically to newcomers to your blog, for example “Hey, you’re new here, thank’s for coming by” – and then have a completely different message to your regular repeat visitors (the veterans). Your able to set the plugin to change messages (or not display at all) at a predetermined number of visits. This plugin is THE best way to send a direct message to your readers and encourage subscriptions. [Click here to install]

5) Patience

This isn’t so much an objective tip, but it’s important nonetheless. Increasing your blog traffic takes patience. Be persistent and proactive – get your name out there and sell yourself, your blog, and your overall brand. But don’t be afraid to take a step back and let things coast for a while. Your Google site traffic isn’t going to go from 0 to 1,000 hits overnight – it will take a while to start getting any at all, but it will come. Lay the groundwork, follow these tips above, establish yourself for future success, and then focus on writing – let your content do the rest.

This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to optimizing and pimping out your blog. If you have some suggestions of your own, PLEASE contribute to the community and share them in the comments below. And, if you have any questions about installing or working with these plugins, or SEO in general, leave a comment here and I’ll walk you through it.

You’ve officially been pimped!


34 Responses
  • Marko Saric Reply

    Thanks for the nice words about my blog!

    Patience surely is important. Blogging is a long-term project. Be consistent, work on it daily, and learn by doing it, and your blog readership will start growing…

    • Matt Reply

      Thanks for stopping by Marko. You have developed a great resource of information and there is something people of all experience levels can learn over in your neck of the woods. Much appreciated, and keep doing what you do!

  • Marko Saric Reply

    Thanks for the nice words about my blog!

    Patience surely is important. Blogging is a long-term project. Be consistent, work on it daily, and learn by doing it, and your blog readership will start growing…

    • Matt Reply

      Thanks for stopping by Marko. You have developed a great resource of information and there is something people of all experience levels can learn over in your neck of the woods. Much appreciated, and keep doing what you do!

  • Mandy Reply

    Hey Matt,

    I just randomly came across your blog and I totally love it! This post is very timely seeing as how I’ve just started half-heartedly blogging again and was wondering what I ought to be doing. I’m a very plan-oriented person so when somebody throws me a clue, I’m happy to take it up!

    Keep up the great work!

    • Matt Reply

      Hola Mandy! I’m glad you ended up here and I’m happy that you like what you see! I checked out your blog – looks great so far! If you need any help tweaking and optimizing, just let me know – or check out the resources I’ve listed here.

      Thanks for coming by – I hope you’ll become a regular around here!

  • Mandy Reply

    Hey Matt,

    I just randomly came across your blog and I totally love it! This post is very timely seeing as how I’ve just started half-heartedly blogging again and was wondering what I ought to be doing. I’m a very plan-oriented person so when somebody throws me a clue, I’m happy to take it up!

    Keep up the great work!

    • Matt Reply

      Hola Mandy! I’m glad you ended up here and I’m happy that you like what you see! I checked out your blog – looks great so far! If you need any help tweaking and optimizing, just let me know – or check out the resources I’ve listed here.

      Thanks for coming by – I hope you’ll become a regular around here!

  • Eva Reply

    How about some non-technical suggestions for bloggers who don’t use WordPress?

    I have three — visit problogger.com, and use expandable post summaries, and use pictures and images to complement your posts.

    What else???

    • Matt Reply

      I (usually) always incorporate photos and images to break up the text in each post. Another non-technical piece of advice I have is using headlines to separate blocks of text. My typical rule of thumb is not to go longer than two paragraphs without having a headline to break them up. Gives your readers a place to pinpoint specific pieces of an article, keeps folks from getting lost, and improves the overall aesthetic design.

      Thanks for coming by Eva – what is your blog run on (if not WordPress)?

      • Eva Reply

        Yeah I like that you do that and I’ve started to do that as well. It makes the article easier to scan and make a decision on if you should read it or not.

        I use Blogger. It’s free, but frustrating at times.

        • Matt Reply

          I’ve had my share of experience with Blogger. Heck, even this blog started out as a Blogger blog. Is there a reason you haven’t made the switch to WordPress? I would strongly recommend, for countless number of reasons I won’t list here – the primary two being customization and user-friendliness. If you need some help/guidance crossing over to the ‘dark side’ don’t hesitate to ask.

  • Eva Reply

    How about some non-technical suggestions for bloggers who don’t use WordPress?

    I have three — visit problogger.com, and use expandable post summaries, and use pictures and images to complement your posts.

    What else???

    • Matt Reply

      I (usually) always incorporate photos and images to break up the text in each post. Another non-technical piece of advice I have is using headlines to separate blocks of text. My typical rule of thumb is not to go longer than two paragraphs without having a headline to break them up. Gives your readers a place to pinpoint specific pieces of an article, keeps folks from getting lost, and improves the overall aesthetic design.

      Thanks for coming by Eva – what is your blog run on (if not WordPress)?

      • Eva Reply

        Yeah I like that you do that and I’ve started to do that as well. It makes the article easier to scan and make a decision on if you should read it or not.

        I use Blogger. It’s free, but frustrating at times.

        • Matt Reply

          I’ve had my share of experience with Blogger. Heck, even this blog started out as a Blogger blog. Is there a reason you haven’t made the switch to WordPress? I would strongly recommend, for countless number of reasons I won’t list here – the primary two being customization and user-friendliness. If you need some help/guidance crossing over to the ‘dark side’ don’t hesitate to ask.

  • Shel Zolkewich Reply

    I think I have been driving my geek friends around the bend with all my questions. How much traffic should I have? How do I get more? Thanks for these tips that I can attempt to do myself.My blog is only two months old. I give away a ton of girlee stuff so I think people should be all over it. Patience, patience.

    • Matt Reply

      Shel. Thanks for coming by and checking out the blog (hope you’ll bookmark us and come back from time to time). I checked out your blog, it looks great – very clean design. Use the resources I’ve provided here – and the two plugins I suggested are just the tip of the iceberg. If you ever need any help figuring things out don’t hesitate to ask. And PATIENCE will go a long way – get your blog’s framework set up the way you want it – then focus on content, and let your writing do the work!

  • Shel Zolkewich Reply

    I think I have been driving my geek friends around the bend with all my questions. How much traffic should I have? How do I get more? Thanks for these tips that I can attempt to do myself.My blog is only two months old. I give away a ton of girlee stuff so I think people should be all over it. Patience, patience.

    • Matt Reply

      Shel. Thanks for coming by and checking out the blog (hope you’ll bookmark us and come back from time to time). I checked out your blog, it looks great – very clean design. Use the resources I’ve provided here – and the two plugins I suggested are just the tip of the iceberg. If you ever need any help figuring things out don’t hesitate to ask. And PATIENCE will go a long way – get your blog’s framework set up the way you want it – then focus on content, and let your writing do the work!

  • Matt Reply

    Wow, thanks for the heads-up about What Would Seth Godin Do? That’s a great plugin. I’m trying it out now. And you already know how I feel about Subscribe to Comments :)

    • Matt Reply

      No problem man, I just stumbled across it (WWSGD) myself. I see that you’ve implemented it into your blog. If you want it to ‘stand out’ a little more, add this snippet of code into the CSS of the plugin for a sexy brightly colored background (color code can be changed to suit your blog style – mine is a pretty yellow):

      background-color:#FBFB94

      Thanks for coming by Matt!

  • Matt Reply

    Wow, thanks for the heads-up about What Would Seth Godin Do? That’s a great plugin. I’m trying it out now. And you already know how I feel about Subscribe to Comments :)

    • Matt Reply

      No problem man, I just stumbled across it (WWSGD) myself. I see that you’ve implemented it into your blog. If you want it to ‘stand out’ a little more, add this snippet of code into the CSS of the plugin for a sexy brightly colored background (color code can be changed to suit your blog style – mine is a pretty yellow):

      background-color:#FBFB94

      Thanks for coming by Matt!

  • Sam Reply

    These are awesome suggestions! I can’t believe I missed this post. Thanks :)

    • Matt Reply

      Glad you found it useful – nice work adding the WWSGD plugin to your website.

  • Sam Reply

    These are awesome suggestions! I can’t believe I missed this post. Thanks :)

    • Matt Reply

      Glad you found it useful – nice work adding the WWSGD plugin to your website.

  • bill Reply

    Cool software tips.

  • bill Reply

    Cool software tips.

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