Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Blogging Lessons

Yes, I am deviating my normal Friday schedule with an extra post this week. I know there are many readers out there who also blog on the blogger platform, and I wanted to share some of what I have learned in recent weeks. Those who aren’t interested in blogging will likely want to skip this post.

If you’ve been following here for a while you know that in August I decided to start hosting this blog on my own url. I’ve had the www.whenfridayswerefridays.com url since I started this blog in June 2009, but never used it until recently. Making the change seemed simple enough – it was easy to update blogger to use my url, and I only needed to sync my godaddy account with the correct information and I was good to go. Or so I thought...

And then, out of the blue, my google pagerank status dropped from a 3 to a 0. Ouch! As I investigated what went wrong, I discovered a number of things I forgot to do:

My feedburners were working (subscribers were getting their updates) but I hadn’t changed the “original feed” to point to the new url. Feedburner scares you off with a notice when you update your settings that you should never change it unless you are changing the originating feed. Well, that’s exactly what I wanted to do, so it is now properly updated.

I needed to go back to the places where I had my blog listed (Technorati, blogcatalog, BlogHer, etc.) and update the url. (Of course, that meant adding the tracking codes and getting re-discovered by their search engines.)

Most importantly, I learned that pagerank status is all about links. That means I no longer get status credit for all of the great high quality websites and blogs that are linking to me as whenfridayswerefridays.blogspot.com, and I need to do the work to re-build my links all over again. Sigh…

The lesson? Don’t change your blog url if you want to keep your pagerank status. If you want to use your own url, use it from the very beginning. The good news is, that now that I am hosting on my own url, if I decide to change blogging platforms in the future I can take my url (and my pagerank status) with me.

As I was trying to figure out what was wrong, I discovered Yahoo Site explorer. Have you tried this? This really cool tool shows you how search engines see you, and who is linking to you.

At the same time as I changed my url, I changed to the new blogger templates. This was a much simpler change than the url change. But be aware that when you do this you may lose your analytics tracking code in your template. I lost my google analytics data for a few days until I figured this out and added the tracking code back into my template.

I have also been experimenting a lot with documents, and have learned some interesting stuff.

First, I wanted to have a way for a reader to be able to download a pdf to learn more about the coaching services I launched. I found a bunch of sites that allow you to host a pdf for free, but they all make you deal with annoying ads and pop-ups unless you want to pay for a premium service (I didn’t). I discovered that Scribd is a terrific place to host pdfs. It’s free, and you can make your content public or private. You can check it out by looking at my document here.

The other project I have going on is associated with my other blog, Learning to Eat Allergy-Free. I wanted to create a short cookbook that users could download from my site, and I found a great solution with Smashwords. It requires some document formatting, but it’s not too hard, and you can easily self-publish in multiple formats as I did with The Allergen-Free Holiday Cookbook. You can set the price on an e-book, or offer it for free. I even set up a coupon for my e-book so that my blog readers can get the book for free. (If you need to cook a holiday meal for someone with food allergies, use coupon code AA48Y to download a free copy).

Then, I wanted a way to create a ‘button’ to put on my site, so readers could download it. I searched high and low for a ‘button’ widget, and finally found a site called Cool Text, that allows you to create buttons and use them for free as long as you credit Cool Text. I also discovered a much easier way – if you create a picture widget, you can put a link in the picture to go wherever you want. Since I had created a cover for my e-book, I used that, and now I have a simple way to get readers to my book on Smashwords.

And that’s enough lessons for now. Check back on Friday for my regular weekly post.

11 comments:

Carla Bobka said...

Oh I'm so glad I found this. I did the same URL change and have lost my pagerank. You've given me some great suggestions on how to get it back! Now - can you give me the time to dive down those rabbit holes?
Thanks for sharing!

Colette said...

Carla, I'm so glad you found it helpful! If only I had known earlier...

Nicole MacDonald said...

I've never used page rank.. I think I'll have to go google it today :)

www.damselinadirtydress.com

Colette said...

Nicole, maybe your better off not knowing about it. These stat tools can become obsessions!

Steveinpok said...

Huh??

Lynne Spreen said...

Colette, this is really generous of you. Thanks. I blog on Wordpress, and I just found a book, "Teach Yourself Visually Wordpress" (http://www.amazon.com/Teach-Yourself-Visually-WordPress-Majure/dp/047057092X)which is really helpful if your readers are using that platform. Best wishes!

Colette said...

Lynne, thanks so much for sharing the wordpress link!

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Colette said...

Anonymous, thanks for your comment. I love new visitors!

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