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!

About Matt Cheuvront

I empower folks to do the work they want to do and live the life they want to live. I also watch entirely too much Saved by the Bell, run marathons, and drink plenty of craft beer. Check out the work my company is doing at Proof Branding.