Blogging Hero

How to Make Money with Your Blog

DIY SEO Tips for Bloggers


When you register your first website, you will soon find that lots of search engine optimization companies have “discovered” you and are eager to email you SEO quotes.  At first, it might seem like a good idea to get someone else to promote your blog – and if you have lots of money to spare, there’s certainly no harm in paying for professional help.  However, bloggers need not retain seo experts to drive traffic to their sites.

You don’t have to be a pro to make use of all the great techniques the pros use for website promotion.  In fact, you can do for yourself most of the things an SEO could do for you.  Here are a few tips for getting started:

- Think about your blog in relation to your audience.  Ask yourself what people might be searching for when they find you.  Consider the topics your blog covers and how people might come to read about them.  These thoughts can help you assemble a list of keywords to target when generating traffic.

- Reach out to other bloggers.  Surely you aren’t the only person writing about your topic (or maybe you are – that’d be neat!)  Find people who write about similar things and ask if you can trade links with them.  Follow their blogs, especially if they are more popular than yours, so that you can see what they’re doing to attract so much traffic.

- Sign up for blog directories so that people who are looking for blogs can find yours.  Also, the more links you can get back to your site, the better.

Remember, many advertisers will want to know that you have a good following before they choose to advertise on your blog.  The more traffic that comes to your site, the more money you can make as a blogger.

Increase Blog Traffic by Using Meta Tags


One way you can try to get traffic to your blog is by optimizing your site for search engines using the Title tag and Meta tags.  This can help you draw in organic traffic, or traffic from search engines, as opposed to getting traffic from links pointing to your site. You can do this by using specific keywords related to your topic through your blog.  A “keyword” is a word or phrase that is related to your blog topic and is something that a visitor might type into the search box.

Using keywords helps search engines understand what your blog is about.  Search engines use something called “spiders”, which are bots that go through the content on a blog or website and help the search engines learn more information about the website.  Using particular keywords in your content helps the spider realize that your blog is relevant to that term when a reader searches for it.  The better the search engines understand your site, the more it will help your blogs traffic.

What are Meta Tags?

Meta tags are HTML code that you can put on your webpage to help search engines understand what your site is about.  Meta tags don’t actually show up on the page itself, so your readers won’t see them.


The title is the white text that appears in that blue bar at the very top of the screen.  It’s also what will show up when your blog appears in search results.  Make sure that it is something eye-catching, keyword rich, and natural sounding.  You want something that will appeal to both the searchers and the bots, so that they understand what your site is about.  This is one of the most important things, and the right keywords can really help generate traffic.  So think about your title carefully.

Meta Description

The meta description is a short paragraph that describes the site.  Write 2-3 sentences explaining what the post is about that are – again – keyword rich.  Don’t stuff keywords in the description; it should make sense to humans.  The meta description is the text that appears beneath the link to your blog in search results.

Meta Keywords

The meta keywords tag allows you to list several keywords related to your site.  A “keyword” can be a word or a phrase.  A good thing to do is try to think of what potential visitors would search for to get to your site. For example, if you write a blog about vegetarian cooking, what would people who want to read a blog about vegetarian cooking type in the search box?  Different people have different ways of searching for things, so mix your keywords up.  Always make sure that you are using keywords that relate to your blog, and don’t use the same one too many times. Important: Never stuff your keywords and don’t use too many.

How to Use the Title and Meta Tags

Meta tags are just simple HTML code, which you can find here. For Blogspot bloggers, here is a site that can help you edit the HTML and Meta tags on your blog.  If you’re not an HTML wizard, though, then you can look for widgets or plugins.  WordPress has a few, like All in One SEO, but here is a list of other SEO plugins for WordPress.

One Final Tip

In addition to using keywords in your meta tags, you could also try to incorporate them into the text of your website or blog posts.  When writing your blog posts, make sure they are keyword rich.  Use these words in your writing naturally and where they make sense (don’t just stick them in there). It should make sense to your readers.  Don’t use the same keyword over and over again because that won’t sound natural to your readers, and it won’t look natural to search engines.  Vary them throughout your entry.

WWW vs noWWW: Are you losing Page Rank?


For those who have their own domain names, an important distinction must be made: there is in fact a difference between and (and a difference between each of these and !)

The difference might seem superficial – it’s just a few extra letters – but it could make a huge difference in your Page Rank.

Google views these two sites as two different sites.  Technically, is a subdomain of (a subdomain is a smaller domain inside a larger one… Ex: .

If half of your backlinks use the WWW version and the other half use the No WWW version, then your page rank will be divided between each of these… and so you won’t be getting the true page rank your site deserves.  (Oh no!)

How to Fix It

Don’t fret, here are some guidelines for how you can fix this problem.

1. Decide which version you prefer. It really does not make a difference and is totally up to you

2. Set up a 301 Redirect for the version that you didn’t choose and direct it to the one you did

That way, when someone types in the opposite version that you chose, they will automatically be redirected to the version you chose.

This will help make sure your PR is not split.

Here are directions explaining how to set up a 301 Redirect.

3. Tell Google which you prefer

You can tell Google which domain version you’d like them to index.   Once you do this, Google will make sure your preferred version is displayed in search results, and if it comes across any links to your site that do not use the preferred version, it will still count them as your preferred version (thus making sure your PR is accurate).  Of course this will only work for Google, not any other search engines like Yahoo! or Bing.

SEO Basics for Beginners


It just occurred to me that I haven’t done a “basics” post about Search Engine Optimization.  This is an important lesson for beginning bloggers, so here it is.

I’m going to break this down really simply because we all have to start somewhere.  You can always skip ahead if you already know something.  This is intended for beginners and SEO “newbies”.

Search Engines  101

Search engines are websites like Yahoo, Bing and Google, and people use them to find websites.  The internet is huge, and it can be difficult for searchers to find what they are looking for.  It can also be difficult for people with websites or blogs to get traffic or visitors.

When you type in your search query on any of these search engines, they will display a list of results, these are called the “natural” or “organic” listings.  They will also display relevant ads on the side.

How it works

Search engines have special bots, called spiders, that are constantly “crawling” the internet.  They follow links and index the pages they find, which they store.

When someone enters a search, the search engine will look through all the sites they have and try to pull up the most relevant websites.

Relevancy is determined by the content on your page.  Search engines can look for relevant keywords, for example.  The importance of a website – which determines how high your website will appear in the organic listings – is based on how many other sites link to your website.

What is SEO?

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a way that website owners and bloggers design their blogs to help them list better in the organic listings.

Bloggers and web designers use specific keywords within their page titles, meta descriptions and content to help search engines better understand what their page is about.  This way they can make sure that their page will appear as relevant to search engine users looking for that topic.

Page title – this is what appears in the blue bar at the very top of the screen.

Meta description – this is a short paragraph about your site.  This paragraph will appear in the organic search results to describe what your website is about

Content – the actual writing on your page

For more information about ways you can optimize your site, you can read a previous post about how to use keywords to optimize your site.  Google also has a great SEO Starter guide (NOTE: this is a .PDF file) that can help explain how to use page titles and meta descriptions, as well as other aspects of optimization.

Video Blogging Part 4: SEO Tips for your Vlog


As you may have read this past week, adding video content to your blog is a great way to attract readers and increase your traffic.  This is our final installment in our four-part series about Using Video in Your Blog.

Missed the first three posts?  Here’s a list of entries associated with this series:

Before you start vlogging, you may be wondering: “How can I optimize my site with video?”

Video lacks text, making it difficult for search engines to understand what it’s about, and therefore making it difficult for you, the blogger, to optimize your site or post.

Here are some ways to optimize a video post:

1. Use relevant keywords in your post title, file name and tags

Use a keyword in the title to give search engines an idea about what the video is about.  Do not stuff your title with keywords, of course.  Make sure your title is informative, but also makes sense to readers.  It also helps to think of something “catchy” and exciting.

Also be sure that your file name for the video has a keyword in it, and tag your entry with relevant keywords.

2. Post a short summary or synopsis along with the video

Don’t just post the video.  Post a few sentences explaining what it’s about.  This not only helps search engines, but, more importantly, helps your readers understand what’s in it.  Make it sound intriguing, so readers will be even more tempted to watch it.

You could also include a transcription of the video to help it get crawled.

3. Post your video on other sites

You post your video to other sites like YouTube or TubeMogul.  Remember to optimize on these sites as well by using keywords in the video name, writing a small paragraph describing the video and using appropriate tags.

Video blogging can be a great way to spice things up on your blog.  Not only is it a change from writing all the time, but there are also so many different things you can do with video.  Multimedia is huge, and a great way to connect with your readers, so experiment and have fun with it.

SEO and the New “Google Instant”: Should bloggers change strategies?


I had to take a break from my series on Using Video on your Blog because I wanted to write about a new update for Google that may greatly change the way we use search engines.

Google’s new feature may mean a radical change for bloggers looking to optimize their sites.  Yesterday, Sept 8, 2010, Google unveiled its new searching feature: Google Instant.  This new feature starts searching for relevant results as you type.  How crazy is that?

This is obviously a great feature for users, because it helps them find results more quickly and also helps them refine their search entries.

But what implications does this have for bloggers and site owners optimizing their websites?

Users will be able to refine their search queries more quickly.  A user might not even click through many results at all before refining his search.  As the user begins to type his query, he may get a glance at what results come up, and adapt his query to something more specific based on those search results.

What This Means For SEO

Many bloggers and site owners may be concerned that less users will click their blog.  It’s difficult to really say so early in the game how much of dent – positive or negative – the new search feature will put on your site’s number of visits.

Also we should keep in mind that many people might search from the tool bar plug in, rather than directly from google’s site.

The general idea floating around the internet and especially the SEO community is that Google Instant is revolutionizing the search process.

Some of the buzz out there is saying the new google instant will “kill SEO”, but others predict only small changes.  I think at this point it’s difficult know what’s going to happen.  For now, I think the changes will be small. It will take users awhile to get used to this new feature.  Some people may even be annoyed by it, some people may not want to even look at the results until they’re done typing.  It’s going to take a while for users to adjust to the new way, which is why I think we won’t see big changes in SEO for the next few weeks or months.

In the long run, however, we might see a different story.  As searchers are more used to using Google Instant, their searching strategy will change and, as many others are predicting, we’ll see a big change in how people search.

What You Can Do for Your Site

While we wait, keep a close eye on your site statistics for the next few weeks to see if there are any changes.  See what phrases your visitors are using to find your site.  If you were keeping track of this before, compare the phrases before and after to see if there were any changes.

You may have to modify the keywords you are trying to rank for.

Also play around with the new search yourself.  Think about how you are changing your search queries and how you search for things.  Pretend you are a user that might stumble upon your site.  Type in words you think users would use that may include your site in the results and see what happens.

For now, I wouldn’t worry too much.  Keep doing what you’ve been doing and keep track of your site statistics.  And remember there are many strategies for promoting your blog other than SEO.

SEO Advantages of a Web Statistics Tracker


Any blogger wants to know: am I reaching people?  Who am I reaching?  These are especially important statistics once you decide to optimize your site for search engines.  You want to know who your visitors are and how they are getting to your site.

There are several different tracking tools that you can use for your blog.

Tracking your blog’s statistics is a great strategy.  You can tell how effective (or ineffective) your SEO is, and you can fine tune your keywords.

Some of these resources also help you see what browser your visitors are using.  This information can help you design your layout.  A layout can look different from browser to browser (some browsers don’t support certain features).

And you can see your visitors’ bounce rate.  You’ll be able to see how long visitors are staying on your page and whether they are clicking through the rest of your website, or leaving really quickly.

These are only some of the features that a statistics tracker can provide you with.  Check out some of the trackers listed and see which one works best for you.  Personally, I use Google Analytics and the information it provides for free is incredibly thorough.  But check out some of the other websites to decide what fits best for you.

Captivate Your Readers with Eye Catching Headlines


You could write the most interesting, relevant and helpful post in the world, but if you don’t ensnare your readers in the first place, then what does it matter?  No one’s reading it.  A great headline will stand out to your readers, and shout at them “Read me! Read me!” and they will listen.

A headline has to do several things.  It has to attract your reader, and it has to be informative and true to the content of the piece.  As Brian Clark writes in his article about writing headlines:

“Your headline is a promise to prospective readers. Its job is to clearly communicate the benefit that you will deliver to the reader in exchange for their valuable time.”

Your headline can’t just be flashy words that sound intriguing – they have to actually represent what your post talks about.  You have to be able to deliver.  But writing content is for another day – first, here are some tips for how to write an eye catching headline.

Make it Stand Out on the Page

Your headline should be obvious.  To catch your reader’s attention, it should be plainly visible and attractive.  Use a readable font and make it significantly larger than your main text.

This may seem like obvious advice, but I’ve seen some blogs where the post title isn’t so easy to find or distinguishable from the text.  Consider also using a different font color.

Try to put your headline above the fold (this is the line below which users would have to scroll down to see).  This is your chance to entice them to stay a little longer, instead of bouncing off your site right away.  While this is not completely necessary, you should have your headline as high up on your page as possible as it helps users locate your content more easily.

Jazz it Up

How the text looks will help your readers notice the headline, but it’s how it reads that makes the difference.  Your headline should sound interesting.  Jazz it up, put some spark into it.  You can play around with alliteration and other writing techniques.  Keep it short, somewhere from 7 to 10 words – short, yet long enough to sum up the main point of the article succinctly.

Look at Other Headlines For Ideas

One of the first tricks is to look at what headlines other people are using.  Look at blogs that have a lot of followers and commenters, and see which headlines seem to be working the best.  Also look at newspapers, magazines, and advertisements.  Get a feel for what headlines look like, and start experimenting with those formats.  These formats are tried and true, so they’re more likely to be successful.  But don’t ever copy someone else’s headline word for word.

Use Keywords

Do keyword researching using Google’s Adwords Tool.  This will help you understand how your readers are searching for a particular topic and what words they are using.  You should avoid words or phrases that are searched frequently – they will be too competitive to be useful.  Instead look for more specific words or phrases.  Play around with word order, and try combining different keywords (as long as it still makes sense and will read well to your readers).

Using keywords will help your blog entry’s title get picked up by search engines, but it will also give you an insight into how your potential traffic thinks, and it may give you some ideas for words or phrases you hadn’t thought of.  Here are more keyword tips.

Need some more ideas?  Brian Clark has a great series on how to write headlines effectively.

The Key to Keywords: How To Optimize Your Site With Keywords


Use of keywords on your blog can help search engines find your blog and understand what it’s about; for the new blogger, this is called keyword optimization.  You can use Keywords in a number of places: your blog name, meta tags, meta description, your article headline, subheaders within your post and words in your post.

But be careful!  Don’t use so many keywords that it looks unnatural to your readers.  You don’t want your post to be written only for search engines, you want it to read well for your readers, too.  Keywords should be woven in as seamlessly as possible.  It may be difficult at first, but with practice you’ll get the hang of it.

What are keywords?

Keywords are words or phrases that you anticipate searchers would use to find your topic or product.  They describe what your site or post is about, and help search engines find your post.  Then, when someone types that word into a search engine, your site will appear somewhere in the results.

How to Rank Better With Keywords

You’ll rank better if you use keyword phrases.  Try using keywords that have less competition.  You can use Google’s keyword tool to search for different words and phrases and see how competitive they are.  Try to aim for phrases that are less competitive so that you can get ranked higher for those words and thus attract more visitors.

Mix it Up

When you’re writing your blog about, let’s say, a new baked ziti recipe, you might want to use “baked ziti” as your keyword.  Forget it – that’s probably way too competitive.  Even adding “recipe” on the end is still really competitive.  So what would you do?  You can try “easy baked ziti,” which is less competitive but still gets a lot of searches.  You can also try mixing it up, and instead of “baked ziti recipe,” try “recipe for baked ziti”, it’s much less competitive.  Just play around with Google’s keyword tool and also try flipping phrases around.  A thesaurus helps too!  Look up synonyms to see if they are less competitive.

Use Focused Phrases

The longer and more focused your phrase is, the higher chance you’ll convert the reader into using your site.  The longer someone has been searching for something, the more focused his search phrases will be.  And the more serious he is about finding and buying something.  So you should try to use a phrase (at least two words) because the visitor you want to attract to your website is also probably using a longer phrase.

Don’t Overload Your Site

Using keywords in your head and subheaders help the spider crawling your page understand what it is about, but doesn’t look like you were trying too hard to get picked up in a search engine.  Remember moderation is key and you want to look natural.  Be careful not to litter your blog with keywords, as this can have a negative effects and might make your blog appear spammy.

Remember, don’t over stuff your post, your title, or your meta tags with too many keywords.  Make sure that if you use a meta description it makes sense for people to read.  Here is a good link for how to use keywords in your titles.

And of course, as usual, don’t rely on just keywords!  Keyword optimizing is only part of good search engine optimization.  You will pick up more traffic with a good layout, good content, and backlinks.

For more tips, stay tuned!  The next post will be more Getting Started tips for how to make money with your blog!

Creative Domain Name Ideas


Need some inspiration? Struggling to think of clever or catchy ideas to name your blog?  Here are some brainstorming ideas.

Try this exercise: write down ten domain names off the top of your head.  Which ones did you think of?  Why did those names stand out to you?  Were they unique, made up words?

You can also write down a list of various keywords related to your blog topic.  Try writing down a list of topics you’d want to include.  See if anything unique pops out.

Fun Domain Name Ideas:

Alliteration: the first letter of two or more words in a row are the same.  For example, “Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers…”  Of course, you wouldn’t want your domain to be that long.  If Peter Piper wanted to sell his peppers, for instance, and wanted to use alliteration in his domain name, he could use this: “PetersPeppers” or “PickledPeppers”, provided of course they were not already taken.

Rhyming: Especially good for websites for kids or silly websites, rhyming can be a fun thing to do and rhymes (I think) are always easy to remember.  There is also something called “assonance,” which is the use of the same vowel sound in a string of words – almost like rhyming, but not quite.  For example, “he took joy in hearing her voice”.  So going back to Peter’s website, maybe he could instead use the name “BetterPeppers,” if he wanted to use assonance.  The assonance in this case would be the repetition of the first “e” in Better and the first “e” in Peppers.

Acronyms: You can use a four letter domain name if it is an acronym for your blog or company.  But I probably wouldn’t use an acronym more than five letters.  I’ve read that is a good place to go for four letter domain names.

Brandable: One thing you may want to keep in mind is being a brandable/memorable domain name. Way back when, generic keyword domains were hot, but they didnt really convey a brand like “ebay” or “google” does. Coming up with a brand will help your readers remember your site, however make sure its easy to spell too. Also, its quite often true that some advertisers want to place their products and advertisements on strong branded blogs. Some brands although sound cool when you pronounce them, their actually spelling is difficult to remember and type in.

If you still can’t think of anything, there are also some websites you can go to that help generate domain names. A few I’ve seen are BustAName, NameStation and Nameboy, but there are plenty more out there if those don’t fit your needs.

Just be creative with it!

Creative domain names are fun, but remember, you still want something memorable that makes sense for your blog. Be sure to refer to the previous entry, Choose a Good Blog Name, for more tips.

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