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Blogger FAQ

Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions. If you have a question that has not been answered, please use our form to submit a question. We will not only email you directly, but add it to our list of questions below.

Intro

What things should I do before writing my first post?

  • Change your permalinks from the standard (in WordPress)
  • Change your time zone in wordpress
  • Create a new user (with different username than admin). Login with the new username and then delete the admin account.
  • Add all the standard pages (see below for list)
  • Create your header. Use http://www.freewebpageheaders.com/ and customize it with http://www.bannerfans.com/banner_maker.php . You may end up changing this later, but an image is important to have. Using this image to create a square image that you can use as your avatar. Create one by going to gravatar.com.
  • Install plugins (see below for suggested list). You can add plugins later, but it is nice to get this out of the way.
  • Create facebook page and twitter account. Your twitter handle should be similar to your blog name and easy to remember.
  • Create a feedburner RSS account

Basics

What is a Web Host? Web Hosting?

A web host is a company that is going to manage all of the files that keep your site running. They store all of your information on servers. By doing so, it keeps your site accessible to those who want to visit it on the internet. If you get a bad company, you may have long and frequent periods of outages, where your site is unavailable. This is why selecting the right web host is important. If you are looking for a great web host, we recommend Bluehost.

How to Start a Blog

Starting a blog can be quite the challenge. There are several steps involved. Here are the basic steps.

  1. Pick a Domain Name to Register (example: www.yourdomain.com)
  2. Find a Web Host (we recommend bluehost)
  3. Install WordPress
  4. Install a WordPress Theme (We recommend Headway)
  5. Get your blog ready to be public
  6. Write your first post

That is it! It will take some time to get started, but it’s not as complicated as it seems. Anyone can do it. If you want to save yourself some time, sign up for our free e-course on how to start a blog.

Wordpress

What is the difference between a post and a page?

  • A post is normally made on your blog homepage. It is simply an article that is written for the particular day, and when you write a new one it gets posted at the very top of the homepage as the other posts move down.
  • A page is much more static. You might create an “About Me” page. This page will give a quick recap on your life and your reason for starting the blog. Once the page is set up, you don’t need to do anything more.

What WordPress theme should I have?

If you search for a theme within your WordPress account, you’ll notice that there are many options to choose from. The best thing to do is pick one that’s simple (so the search engines can easily crawl your blog), but can be customized in case you want to add a new sidebar or something.

If you want a free option, Atahualpa is a good option. If you’re looking for something you don’t mind spending some money, Headway is a great option. We use Headway for this site and it is easier to use than most other premium (purchased) themes.

Are there standard pages that I should have on my blog?

  • About – write a little something about yourself. Readers like to know a few details about the author.
  • Contact – this can be done pretty simply with a plug-in. “Fast Secure Contact Form” works well.
  • Privacy – if you plan on having Google Adsense on your site, it’s a good idea to have a “Privacy” page that explains how Google supplies your ads. You can find a good one at JenSense.
  • Disclaimer – Most bloggers aren’t professionals in the field that they choose to write about, so it’s important to make a disclaimer page that states you are not liable for any information given – it is purely your opinion.

How do I set up the menu?

The menu is typically set-up based on the pages that you add. As you add pages (from your WordPress sidebar – “Add Pages”) to your site, they will automatically be added as tabs across the top of your website.

What is a widget?

A widget is an area of WordPress where you can add items to your sidebar. It could be a calendar of your posts, a subscriber box, or maybe even an advertisement!

How do I add things to my sidebar?

Almost everything on your sidebar will be added by going through the “Widget” option of your Wordpess Dashboard. Here, you can add some standard widgets, or you can add HTML with a “Text” widget.

How do I protect my site?

  • Create a different user account (diff. from “admin”) and delete admin acct
  • DB Manager
  • Security plugins (see below)

Plugins

What is a plugin?

A plugin is an “add-on” to your standard theme in wordpress that gives you a customizable feature or service. Plugins provide you an easy way to do almost anything you can think of without having to know any serious programming or code. These features can range from reducing spam on your site to helping google index your site.

What plugins should I have?

Everyone has their own set of plugins that they use. However, here is a list of plugins that we recommend you looking into:

    • Fast Secure Contact Form– If you want your readers (or potential advertisers) to be able to contact you via a contact form, this is the best one that I have found.
    • Simple Google Sitemap XML generates a valid Google XML sitemap, which can then be used with Google’s Webmaster Tools.
    • Tweet, Like, Google +1, and Share – this is an awesome plug-in that allows people to Tweet, Like, or Google +1 your posts!
    • WordPress SEO – This plug-in really boosts your Search Engine Optimization and you’ll almost immediately see your Google Search traffic increase.
    • Thank Me Later – This is a great plug-in that automatically sends an email to your commenters! Make sure that you set it up to only send an email to newcomers though, otherwise it just gets annoying for repeat commenters.
    • Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin  – if you are receiving a ton of spam comments, this plug-in will eliminate nearly all of those simply by adding a check-box below your comment window. Your commenters will just have to check the box to prove they aren’t a spam-bot. I like this plug-in way better than Captcha because I think it’s less annoying for my readers.
    • CommentLuv – other bloggers like to have their latest posts shown when they comment on your site. It’s a good incentive for them to comment. This plug-in does just that.
    • Broken Link Checker – This plug-in monitors all of the links in your site. Having links that go nowhere can hurt your reputation and annoy readers.
    • Quick Adsense – If you are interested in posted adsense in all of your posts without copying and pasting your adsense code into each and every post, use this plug-in to add it as a batch.
    • Limit Login Attempts – This is a great security feature to have. It limits the number of login attempts that anyone can have. It is easy to customize and you can set it up to send you email notifications each time someone has been trying to log in to your site.

Why should I care about the ratings of plugins?

Unless you are installing a plugin recommended by someone else, before you install a new plugin, you should take the extra time to review the ratings for plugins. If you fail to do this, installing a plugin could give someone access to your site. Some people create plugins that look like something else, but really are an open door to your site. Don’t let this happen to you!

Can you have too many plugins?

While you can download as many plugins as you want, you should try to limit the number of plugins that you download because it slows down your site. The more plugins that you have means the slower your site loads each time. Some may slow down your site more than others, so make sure to pay attention to your site’s speed as you collect more plugins.

Guest Posting

What is a guest post?

A guest post is a post that you write and submit to another blog for them to publish. Most blogs will accept guest posts from other personal sites. You can often include a couple links in the post that goes to your site. When their readers find the article on their site, they will often click through to see what your site is all about.

What are the benefits of a guest post?

There are several benefits to guest posting. By submitting a guest post to another site, the first benefit to you is more exposure. Creating a successful blog is about getting your name out there and showing off your writing skills through guest posting surely helps. It also creates links to your site, which will increase your pagerank. The more links that direct toward your site, the more google will see it as a credible site. This will even help with SEO. The anchor text for your links will serve as indicators to search engines for what your site is about.

How to suggest a guest post to another blogger?

If you go about getting a guest post on another site the wrong way, you may be turned down or even ignored. The most important thing to do is to avoid being seen as spam. Introduce yourself and include a link to your site that they can click to see where you are writing. Make sure to look through their site to see if they accept guest posts and if they do, whether there are any regulations. If there aren’t any regulations, another important step is to propose the article that you want to write for their site when you first contact them and make it as brief as possible. This will allow them to evaluate whether they are interested without wasting their time by reading a novel or entire post. Once you are accepted, be sure to thank them and volunteer to promote the post AND respond to any comments. This not only shows your gratitude to the host, but it shows the readers that you care about their opinion and they should visit your site as well.

Carnivals

What is a Blog Carnival?

A blog carnival is a system which allows you to get your weekly articles featured on other blogs. Most of the time a carnival is hosted by different blogs on a week (sometimes monthly) basis. There is typically a central place to submit your articles to the carnivals that you want to be featured in. If your post is included in a carnival, it is common courtesy (and often a regulation) that you link back to the host. Some carnivals feature only the top 10 submissions, while others feature all real submissions. It is important to note that these carnivals can vary by topic as well; some are general, while others have a specific focus.

What is proper etiquette to link back to a carnival host?

After you are included, it is often a regulation to link back to the carnival host. To do this, a common way is to include the link in a weekend ‘round up’ post that features the best articles from around the web. While this is the most popular way to do it, some authors go back to the original post that was included and add the links to the bottom of the article after it was originally published. Either way is typically accepted.

How many carnivals should I submit to?

While there is no standard for the number of carnivals you should submit to, the more the better. Each week you have the opportunity to submit your posts. For every carnival that you are featured in, you have the opportunity to gain a link to your website. Websites are often judged by the number of links they have going to their site. You can never have too many links coming to your site.

What is the benefit of hosting a carnival?

Hosting the carnival has two primary benefits. You get increased traffic, as most of those featured in the carnival will visit to say thanks for including them. Another benefit of hosting is that after you include their posts, these blog owners will generally link back to your site. It is an easy way to get a large number of links to your site in a short period of time.

SEO

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s an approach that informs how and what you write about. By targeting the right words and using some strategies, you can increase how high google shows your site when people search for certain things. Increasing your traffic from search engine results is one of the “easiest” ways that you can build up the traffic on your site.

Are there basic things that I should be doing for SEO?

There are some basic steps that you should take to improve your SEO. The first thing you should do is install a SEO plugin. You can refer to our list of plugins to find which SEO plugin we recommend. With this plugin, make sure to enter a SEO title and description that search engines can access when indexing your site. Entering this information will make it that much easier for search engines to determine what your site’s pages/posts are about. Beyond that, you can also be strategic about what keywords you write about. Some bloggers do fine without targeting keywords, while others do not. You can do research with Google’s keywords tool to determine how many monthly searches certain keywords get. The higher monthly searches, the more potential for visitors. It is important to point out that the higher searches generally have more competition and may be more difficult to appear towards the top of search engine results. Generally speaking, the more frequently that you write about certain keywords, the easier it will be for you to rank for those keywords.

How can I improve my SEO?

After you have started doing some of the basics of SEO (above), there are other things that you can do to improve your SEO. 1. Send out guest posts that have links with anchor text (the words that are linked) that match the keywords that you are targeting. This will tell google that your site is credible for this search term. 2. Change the titles of your previous articles to match current keywords that you are targeting. 3. Write about a particular topic more frequently. You can also view the SEO 101 guide for bloggers for more information.

Alexa

What is Alexa Ranking?

Alexa ranking is a worldwide ranking system run by a website (www.alexa.com) that determines and ranks the most popular sites according to the traffic. In order to determine the traffic, the site uses the traffic of those who visit the site with alexa toolbar installed. This means that theoretically, your alexa ranking could be worse than someone else who has less traffic. Some criticize this ranking system because it can be manipulated, but when considering the top sites like google and facebook are 1 and 2, it is fairly accurate. Alexa ranking is an ordered list of the “most popular sites”, which means that the lower the number the better. It is also important to know that alexa ranking is based on a 3 month average. This means that you could have one really good month and two bad months and your rank would be an average of the previous three months.

Where can I see my alexa ranking?

If you want to see what your alexa ranking is, you can either install the alexa toolbar or visit www.alexa.com and inserting your site’s url. If you do not have an alexa ranking, it is possible that it will take a few days. New sites often do not get a ranking for a week or two.

Where can I download the alexa toolbar?

You can download the alexa toolbar at this site: http://www.alexa.com/toolbar. Once you install the toolbar, it will register your visits to your site and lower your alexa.

When will I get my first alexa ranking?

After you start your site, it will take a few days or even a couple weeks for you to be granted your first alexa ranking. If you install the alexa toolbar and visit your site at least once per day, this will most likely speed up this process.

How often does Alexa update?

Unlike other rankings, Alexa updates their rankings almost every day. While there are some days that are not updated, you can expect to see a change almost every day. The earlier your site is, the easier it will be to lower your alexa ranking. As your alexa ranking gets lower, it will become more difficult to lower it because there is that much more competition.

Why is my Alexa number going up even though my stats are improving?

Since the Alexa Rank moves up or down depending on the number of visits that you have from those with a toolbar, you might have an increase of visitors, but not as many visitors are coming to your site that have the toolbar installed. In reality, you have no control over this, but as you increase your readership severely, chances are that more people will be coming that have an Alexa toolbar.

Also, the Alexa Rank is based on the 3 month average, so you might have a great day and expect the number to go down, but instead, it might go up, because it’s taking the average of the past 3 months. In other words, you may have had a fantastic day 3 months and 1 day ago. Now those stats are gone and your decent day didn’t make up for it.

How do you improve Alexa ranking?

  1. First of all, install the Alexa Toolbar yourself since your visits will count towards your rank.
  2. Get involved in a community of bloggers that make a point to install the Alexa Toolbar. Then, visits from your new friends will help your rank. If you regularly comment on blogs that are owned by people who have the toolbar installed in their browser, they will often click through to visit your site and this will help improve your rank.
  3. Encourage your already existent readers to install the Toolbar. Some might do it because they love your stuff so much and would do anything to help you!

Pagerank

What is Pagerank?

Pagerank is google’s method of ranking all of the websites that exist. They use an algorithm (fancy formula) to calculate the credibility of a site. This is primarily determined the quantity and quality of links going to a site because google interprets links to sites as an indicator that there is something of worth on the site that is being linked to. The sites that are already seen as more credible in the eyes of google naturally carry more weight. Unfortunately, this has become the standard for many private advertisers and it makes it that much easier to earn money from advertising with a high pagerank.

Where can I check my pagerank?

You can check your pagerank at a number of different sites. Here is one that we use: http://www.prchecker.info/check_page_rank.php

How often is PR updated?

While no one can say for sure when google will update the pagerank that is visible to the public, many speculate that it is happening every 3 months. In the past two years, there was a period where Google didn’t release an update for about 7 months. The last two updates, however, suggest that google is updating on a more regular basis.

I’ve been blogging for X months and still don’t have a pagerank. Why is this the case?

It takes a while to be recognized by google as a credible website. Google also doesn’t release updates on a regular basis. At best, they are released every 3 months.

When is the Next Pagerank Update?

Google has said that they plan to update the pagerank toolbar once a quarter, or every three months. Understanding when the next pagerank update will be therefore depends on the pagerank history. Here’s a list of the recent pagerank updates.

  • August 2, 2012
  • May 2, 2012
  • February 7, 2012

Mozrank

What is Mozrank?

MozRank is another ranking system that is similar to google’s pagerank.

How often is MozRank updated?

The MozRank is updated more often than a Google PR. It is typically updated every month, but sometimes takes 2 months.

How long does it take to get a MozRank?

If you have a site with links and content, you will no-doubt receive a MozRank when the next update comes, which is typically every month. If you have a new site, it could be a couple of months before you receive your first MozRank.

Newsletter

Is a Newsletter Necessary

Many people are now moving towards including a newsletter on their blog. For years, people have often used Feedburner to set up a feed that allows email subscribers. Now, more and more people are using either a free service or a paid-for email marketing service (like Aweber) to build up their email list. This is a great way to increase interaction among your readers.

While a newsletter is not absolutely necessary, it has its own benefits. Aweber, for example, has the option to send out “autoresponders” to the email list. This means you can send out a sequential list of emails to your subscribers no matter when they sign up for your email newsletter. This is a great way to promote affiliate products and increase your readers’ interaction.

Benefits of a Newsletter List

A newsletter or email list, like Aweber Email Marketing, can supplement your blogging efforts and income in many ways. There are many advantages to using a newsletter:

  1. Increased interaction from readers – There’s perhaps no easier way to promote old posts and encourage readers to comment and share your work on your blog than through an email service.
  2. Universality – While some people may use RSS readers, many people don’t even know what that is. Being able to deliver an email to your reader’s inbox is a powerful and universal way to reach them. Everyone has email.
  3. Professional – Feedburner offers an email option, but nothing that is going to be as professional as a service like Aweber.
  4. Easy to Sign up – These email services often come with optin forms. It’s a great way to convert visitors to regular readers.
  5. Affiliate Income – With a newsletter, you can easily promote products that will pay you when people sign up for a particular service. Emails usually have a higher conversion rate than blog posts. A higher conversion rate = more money.

If you are considering starting a newsletter, why wait. You can read our review on Aweber after using it for just a few days, or jump over and sign up now.

What is an Autoresponder?

Are you wondering what an “autoresponder” is? Many people are throwing this term around without actually knowing what they are talking about. If you are lucky, you know that they are talking about a feature of an email marketing system, like Aweber. Here’s my personal definition of an autoresponder.

An autoresponder is a tool that allows you to determine when an email is sent to a particular inbox. This is usually important for sending a sequence of emails in the proper order. For example, a person who has an email newsletter may want to send subscribers the same welcome email to everyone and not have it dependent on everyone signing up at the same time. An autoresponder would allow each and every newsletter subscriber to receive the same emails in the exact same order as everyone else, regardless of whether they sign up tomorrow or a year from now.

If you want to learn more about email marketing, you can read our review of Aweber, a popular email marketing software.

Monetization

How long does it take to make money blogging?

While this will vary from person to person, we offer some more reflections in our post, when to expect to make money from your blog. Generally speaking, it can take 6-12 months before you are making any significant money (if not longer).

How can I make money with my blog?

This is one of the core questions that we seek to answer with our entire site. The short answer is that there are several ways to make money. Monetization of your blog will often depend on your traffic. For this reason, you should focus on search engine optimization before focusing on income right away. Here are many of the most popular forms of monetization:

  1. Adsense – Google’s form of CPC (cost per click) contextual advertisement is one of the easiest forms because of the simplicity to manage. You can read more about optimizing your google adsense in our article, ‘How to Make Money with Google Adsense.’
  2. Affiliate Income – Affiliate income is a CPA (cost per lead) form of advertisement. In other words, you get a certain amount for each new customer that buys the product you are promoting. You can read more about this: General Information on Affiliate Advertising and Four Different Strategies for Affiliate Income.
  3. Private Advertising – Private advertising works different than the two mentioned above. It is a way of by-passing the “middle-person,” dealing with the advertiser directly. This can be quite profitable as it is not limited by your search engine traffic.  This form of advertising can be in the form of a banner advertisement, sponsored post, or various other forms.
  4. CPM Advertising – Another form of advertising is finding an advertising network that pays you per 1,000 impressions (or pageviews) on your site. Instead of a CPC or CPA, you are paid strictly on the number of thousand pageviews. For a site with a lot of traffic, this is a great way to make money.

Other

How to lower bounce rate or increase pageviews?

  1. Most popular posts widget
    1. Within your WordPress “Widgets” page, you’ll see “BFA Most Popular Posts”. Drag this into a sidebar and the posts with the the most comments will be featured on your site’s sidebar.
  2. Subscribe to comments plugin
    1. Often, readers want to know how other readers (or the post author) respond to their comment. Add this plugin (“Subscribe to Comments Reloaded”) to add an option to the bottom of each of your posts that allows any reader to be notified if there are any additional comments on that post.
  3. RSS feed subscription
    1. As we described earlier, a feed subscription will let your readers know what you write about after you publish each post. If they are interested in the topic, chances are that they’ll click around your site, looking for more great articles.
  4. Install “you might also like” plugin
    1. This plugin will automatically suggest related articles to your readers based on common topics and keywords. It’s a great way to get your readers to explore your site a little more and hang out around a little longer.