Thursday, March 12, 2009


"The Overwhelmed Blogger" may have been a more accurate title for my blog. I feel as though I am wandering aimlessly over the web in search of the secret to this whole blog thing.

In part, my problem could be that I have two blogs, besides this, that I am trying to get off the ground. To be honest, establishing those blogs is my ultimately goal. This one came about because I have questions galore.

As a matter of survival, I have narrowed down what I would like to accomplish by the end of the week:

  1. Commit to a template for each blog.

  2. Set each blog up with a site traffic analysis something, to track and analyze my visitors.

  3. Figure out how to attract visitors.

  4. Add at least 1 quality post to each blog.

Honestly, just figuring out what it is I need to do was a chore but it has already proven fruitful.

The Template Issue

I'm not loving my template options on Blogger. They're sufficient; but I prefer to aspire to better than sufficient. Also, I have found that I can only have one profile for all three blogs, but I suspect that will need to be solved another day.

Finding alternate templates has not really been a problem. I have discovered, however, that in changing blog templates, widgets don't necessarily transfer over properly. So, if I'm going to have widgets or modify my content beyond the addition of posts, it seems important that I decide on a template soon.

That said, I have been scouring the web for templates. I've learned a few things in the process (some the hard way).

  • It is worthwhile to learn how to back up your existing template.

  • It is a good idea to practice the entire process of uploading a new template using a tester blog.

  • "Free" templates aren't entirely free -- they often contain a copyright at the bottom of the page attributing the template to it's designer. This isn't something I really mind. I appreciate the design and feel it should be properly credits. However, the copyright notices they include are frequently ambiguous in a way that makes it appear they are claiming ownership of the blog itself. Luckily, should I find such a template worthwhile, I feel confident enough to venture into the coding and make a few adjustments to clarify the matter.

  • Many of the free templates out there contain images, such as Disney characters, that obviously infringe upon existing copyrights.

  • Few of these templates actually work.

It is Thursday; my deadline of one week is drawing near and my search for a killer template continues.

A Traffic Analysis Gizmo

I believe I have settled upon StatCounter (from I am also testing out SiteMeter. I should be able to decide by the end of the day tomorrow.

Attracting Visitors

Figuring out how to attract visitors is probably harder than finding a template. I expect this to be an ongoing adventure that I don't actually solve by the end of the week. Thus far, I have learned the following:

  1. Nearly everyone who advises on how to attract visitors talks about posting comments on other blogs. This is easier said than done. It can be difficult finding similar blogs with enough traffic to make commenting worthwhile. That said, I have started commenting.

  2. There is something called a "ping." I need to learn more. But I read that a "ping" will help and therefore I am testing out a free service called ""

  3. A commenter on one site suggested bloggers go to each of the major search engines each day and search on their web title. I'm giving it a try. One pleasant discovery in doing this is that some of the traffic generators actually work in getting search engines to retrieve the blogs enrolled. (See below)

  4. BlogTopList is one of the traffic generators I have been testing out (using my prototype site, which I didn't realize was a prototype at the time). When I was plunking my blog titles into the search engines today I found that BlogTopList was not only getting my blog out there, but it was at or near the top of my search results. Woo hoo! Something that works! [Note to self: add BlogTopList to all blogs and as a link on this blog under the heading "usefull tools". DONE!]

  5. Google has something called sitemaps. It's in the Webmaster Tools section: Simply add the web address for your blog, then follow the directions to verify your blog. It wasn't difficult at all. Hopefully it's a step toward attracting traffic. I'll keep you posted.

The actual blogging part of this, while trying to figure out all the mechanics of it, is easier said than done. For a few fleeting moments I thought I would add a post a day to each blog. I have since visited enough sites to conclude that I cannot add myself to the array of pseudo-bloggers who merely add a few words here and there and then fill up the rest of their blog with advertising. If I am to continue with this venture I must maintain some sort of standard. I hope that commitment will prove fruitful.

Sigh -- sooner or later I'll get this up and running smoothly, right?

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