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  • Doug Nelson
    started a blog post Writing to be found

    Writing to be found

    Blogs are not like forums or email lists or chatrooms. People do not look for blog hosts and then browse merrily though the myriad posts. They find, through various means, one blog, decide if they like it, and then either bookmark it or subscribe to its RSS feed.

    So what are these "various means" that someone might use to find your blog?
    • Happy accident
    • Personal recommendations
    • Blog directories
    • Search engines

    These are ranked in order of the amount of control you have over being found, from least down to most.

    "Happy accident" is just that, someone wasn't looking to find you, but did. There's nothing you can do to control that, outside of writing compelling posts that invite them to read on. This is a great way to get 1 or 2 regular readers.

    "Personal recommendations" includes your own entreaties of "please read my blog". Someone will like what they read (see above about compelling posts), bookmark it, then recommend it to someone else. The aforementioned begging is the only additional control you have here. This is a great way to get a dozen readers.

    "Blog directories" such as technorati.com are automated services that read blogs, sort them by keywords, and let people browse their directories. You have considerable control here, as long as you remember the part about keywords. You can't be coy when writing. Don't say "this software" when you mean "Photoshop". Whatever your chosen topic, be it dog breeding or HDR photography, it will only be offered up for others to browse if the keywords happen often enough to trigger the algorithms. This is a great way to get dozens of readers.

    "Search engines" such as google are really your primary source of readers. They will rank you depending on how many other people link to your blog, your keyword density (see above), and also on the pagerank of the host (this is where RetouchPRO comes in). This is your only hope of getting hundreds of readers or more (and it's potentially in the thousands or even more).

    So you can see if you plan for search engines, the rest are included. So write often, and write engaging content, and be explicit about explaining what you are writing about in every single blog entry. Searchers will land on a single page, so if there's no evidence on that page of what your blog is all about, they'll hit backspace and move to the next link. And don't forget to beg everyone you know to read your blog, and post links to your blog, and tell everyone THEY know about your blog.

    Otherwise you might as well be scribbling in a diary you hide under your mattress.

    • cardmnal
      #1
      cardmnal commented
      Editing a comment
      I imagine it helps to put the blog in a category. I mean how many search engines are looking for uncategorized categorized blogs? So how do I categorize my blog? I think I am missing something here.

    • Doug Nelson
      #2
      Doug Nelson commented
      Editing a comment
      Local categories are only for human browsing convenience. Search engines don't care how you categorize your blog. You can add posts to multiple cats, so it's flexible and can change. Categories on directories are another issue. But the blog owner usually can't control that.
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