Snap! Blogger site success... Any easy steps to measure my progress?

Alexis Wilke's picture

A question that I quite often get from newbies is: how can I know that my Snap! Blogger site is getting there?

The following are several points that I wanted to bring to your attention and that are very easy to check1. Each one of these should be a goal, although you may want to tweak the list to your own personal taste.

IMPORTANT NOTE

The order of these potential goals is fairly random... You should not actually try to reach them in a specific order. You should shoot for most of them to be accomplished in a certain amount of time.

1. Post 10 journals

Obviously, without posting anything you won't get anywhere! But to get somewhere, you should have at least 10 journals. And by this I mean posting 10 article like posts. If your posts are like tweets, it probably will require more like 100 of them and they better be funny, objectionable or relevant in some ways.2

Remember that a good way to get more readership is to write about what's current. So by following the news and once in a while (about once a week) talk about newsworthy things... For instance, I talked about Bit Torrent yesterday.

2. Get indexed by Google, Yahoo!, and Bing

Snap! Websites has a cheat for this one... it includes an XML sitemap that automatically tells Google where you are and what you're doing within minutes. (Blogspot is also on with it! However, Wordpress does not offer the capability by default.)

Plus, once you have Google Analytics fully setup, at the time you save your journal, Google knows where it is and generally indexes it within 5 minutes.

However, at the start the idea is to appear on the first page of Google (not be #1, just on the first page with your keywords!) That should be your goal.

Also, yes, I offer you an XML sitemap on your blog, but Google will not index you if your content sucks. I'll have to come back on that one, but more or less, follow my example. Longer posts with loads of useful content.

3. Build your on-site readership

Don't expect people to find your blog magically. You want to mention your posts on different social media systems, just post the link to each journal as you post them on your blog. Your friends will read them and eventually share them and that will enlarge your readership and by having more people reading your journals, more will come (i.e. friends of friends of friends.)

A good readership number at the start is around 20 people per post (My Snap! Websites blog gets more already, but I have many connections...). To measure that readership with your Snap! Blogger website, you want to create a Google Analytics account and enter your account identifier in your Snap! Blogger system3. Google Analytics will give you the number of unique visitors. So you may be going 20 times to your website a day, generating 20 hits, but those don't count, obviously4!

Continue to follow my blog and you will learn how to determine this number from Google Analytics.

Other means are to include a Facebook Like button and track who clicks it. Once you have a few posts with about 10 likes, it is likely to represent a 20+ readership (assuming you post about once or twice a day and have 10+ journals.)

4. Build your off-site readership (RSS)

This is certainly the hardest one to compute. If you send the full content of your posts via your RSS feed, then people will not come to your site as much. After all, they can read your posts directly in their RSS reader or on websites where you entered your RSS feed. By default, your Snap! Website only sends the title and the teaser. So your readers are much more likely to come to your website. Otherwise, you want to use FeedBurner. FeedBurner plugs in Snap! Websites as is and is compatible with Google Analytics which will count the number of users who pull your data off your website. Once that number is around 20, you already have a nice off-site readership.

5. Someone tweets or shares your article on Facebook5

By the 10th post, you should have had at least one stranger tweet or share your article. With the Facebook Like and Tweet Meme buttons, it is generally pretty easy to get that to happen once or twice (assuming you have a few friends and they themselves Like/Tweet your posts...)

Both buttons show you how many people clicked on them, so that's a good and easy way to know what's happening. You may want to look who clicked too.

For tweets, a good way to get more people to re-tweet is to increase the number of people you follow. Many will follow you back. Just search people that match your blog content and keywords.

6. Getting your first comment

So... Are you finally going to comment on my blog?

Note that this one is in regard to getting a comment from someone you never met or talked to before. Not a comment from your best buddy... There are techniques (and I suck at them) to get people to post comments in your journals.  This is a really good way to increase your readership. It always looks better when there are comments on your blog. Although there are some really good blogs with few comments. It all depends.

7. Getting your first external link

As you move forward, you will most certainly get links from other websites pointing back to your website. This is good!

Since you are writing a blog, some of the best links are from other bloggers. Someone who likes what you are writing will generally write an article about something that you mentioned and put a reference with a link back to your website (when you can, ask for the link to include your keywords and point to your blog home page, this is an important SEO trick.)

In most cases, these people will let you know that they added a link. Some will expect you to do the same. Write an article about their blog and put a link in that journal. Watch out for that because you could lose the link otherwise.

Note that links you posted (whether you paid someone to do so) do not count.

8. First mention of your blog on another website

This one is something quite good. It means someone actually wants to direct some of their traffic to your blog. This is not just a link, it is a complete plug for your blog and its content. It could be a complete article about your blog, although that is likely to happen a little later. You should link back to them whenever you can as a thank you.

9. Get your blog to earn $1 or more a week6

In case you are working on your blog to earn some money (via AdSense, our Snap! Affiliate program, selling products on CafePress...) then you want to have a goal of a minimum amount by a given time. This is very important.

I won't try to explore the different avenues of making money with your blog here, but if this is your goal, you want to be very choosy with your keywords. Internet Marketing via a blog has a lot (everything) to do with your keywords.

10. Someone offers you to post an article on your blog7

This is probably the best thing that can happen to you. Don't get me wrong, here I'm not saying that you'd need someone to write your blog. Instead, someone thought that your blog was a really good one and decided that having his or her information on it would help them improve their own blog or other website.

However, be cautious with such posting. You want the article to match your own journals and have a similar tone. Obviously, people selling Viagra would want to post articleS on your blog (although they probably wouldn't ask you for permission...) Talk with the person first. Get a copy of the synopsis if they don't already have the article written. And see for yourself whether you like it or not. Don't be afraid to refuse even if it sounds very exciting at first. Plus, ask them to do corrections if such is necessary and feel free to correct their grammar before posting!

Snap! Websites also offers you a way to let others (authors) help you with your content. This is particularly useful if you have a business and don't always have time to post journals yourself. This way you let them write the blog but you do not have to give more rights than what they need.

Now get to work!

  • 1. I got this list from the Bloggeries Forum and I want to thank kuld33p for it.
  • 2. A funny way to count your posts is to use a Twitter account. Twitter tells you exactly how most tweets you posted! Just a side effect... Of course, if you also tweet on that same account it will be a bit skewed... Obviously, you get such statistics in your Snap! Websites.
  • 3. At this time, Snap! Blogger Free does not offer the capability of tracking traffic with Google Analytics. So if you are trying the free version, you won't see the feature.
  • 4. It is possible to hide yourself from the Google Analytics counters so you at least avoid seeing double... This can be done on Google Analytics and with the Snap! Websites settings.
  • 5. Twitter and Facebook are the two biggest Social Media companies, although other websites do count too!
  • 6. If making money with your blog is really your goal, make sure to follow on all the SEO hints and tricks. These are your breadcrumbs to gold.
  • 7. Point 10 is more of a long term goal. Also, if you actually want people to offer you articles, you probably want to let your visitors know about the possibility by creating a page for that purpose! I've seen blogs built with a lot of foreign content and it gives them an interesting style.