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2/24/2006

BUILDING BETTER BLOGS

If your blog or other website currently links to SHLOG.COM and I DON'T currently link to you in "Better Blogs" over there on the right, please leave a comment on this post with you url and I'll add you. I currently use SiteMeter.com to figure out who links to me but it doesn't catch about half of of my inbound links. Got a better way of figuring out who links to you? I'm interested.

I recently read a killer article in New York Magazine called "Blogs To Riches" about the differences between the haves and have-nots of the blogosphere. That difference has a great deal to do with inbound links - that and overall quality, which has a great deal to do with time and money spent maintaining one's blog and making changes, lots of changes. "A blog is like a shark: If it stops moving, it dies," New York Magazine says.

I'm working on a new business model for musicians that I'll try out on myself shortly. Essential to that model working is the ability to increase traffic to a url - blog or website. 400-600hits/day is respectable but not substantial enough to pull off this new model for music business. So I'm looking at blogging software outside of Blogger and I'm open to your suggestions. And I'm looking into "hiring" people who write, but not often enough to maintain a blog, who would like to send me their writings to post on my blog. In theory having more than one post per day increases the likelihood of a visit, if for no other reason than having more words for Google to turn up in their searches. Diversity of thought is always more interesting to me anyway. And I'm trying multiple ways of increasing inbound links, and therefore traffic. Currently, I'm linking to everyone who links to me, and linking to people much larger than me who don't know I even exist in hopes that they'll notice my little link to them and reciprocate. And I've added SHLOG.COM to my signature at various message boards where I've posted infrequently. What do you do to increase inbound links and traffic? What have you done to build a better blog?

59 Comments:

Anonymous ike said...

http://spaces.msn.com/introriff

2/24/2006  
Blogger Kerry Woo said...

Shaun:

http://www.wonderdawg777.blogspot.com/

Your blog was Day 52 of Visiting 100 blogs in 100 days -

Blessings to you - keep the faith, brother.

2/24/2006  
Blogger David said...

Not all visitors will have a referrals , especially returning visitors that have bookmarked your site or visitors that type your site's address into the browser directly.

2/24/2006  
Blogger Hale-Yeah! said...

I use blogger also,

http://halefamily.blogspot.com

posted about your "two weeks ago" series and a friend was really moved by it, as well as myself. Some friends of mine use Typepad and there blogs look really nice. Check out one of my best friends,

http://los.typepad.com

2/24/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Yea, I like los' blog. Looks great, but how limited are you design wise wit Type Pad. All typepad blogs look very very similar: column width, fonts, color schemes, location of all elements etc. Very similar. What does someone like DOOCE.COM use I wonder??

SG

2/24/2006  
Anonymous Chris said...

If you want to have maximum flexibility, I recommend WordPress.

It's just the software, not the hosting site. You'll have to set it up somewhere, which means registering a domain name and paying around $100/year for hosting. But it's well worth it.

I use WOrdPress on my blog, so feel free to check it out and comment. :-)

2/24/2006  
Blogger jonathan said...

Dooce.com uses moveable type....
http://www.sixapart.com/movabletype/

2/24/2006  
Blogger cruz-control said...

hey shaun,
your amazing bro. i link to your blog. i use blogger as well, mine is

http://cruz-control.blogspot.com/

2/24/2006  
Blogger FzxGkJssFrk said...

Hey Shaun, here's mine: http://www.physicsgeekjesusfreak.blogspot.com
I greatly enjoyed your "two weeks ago" series. You might create a new category for me, though - how about "Just-As-Good-Blogs" or "Almost-As-Good-Blogs"? ;)

One of the things I've done (and seen done) is to join a "blogring"; there are several of these that have the advantage of continuously-updating blogrolls. For instance, the "Homespun Bloggers" blogroll on my sidebar always lists the 35 most-recently-updated blogs. You should also list your blog in the TTLB Ecosystem. This is far-and-away the best way to see who links to you. For reference, my blog jumped from being a "Multicellular Microorganism" to a "Marauding Marsupial" in a couple of days after I joined the blogring, due primarily to the increased listings on other ring-members' sites. My readership has steadily increased, too. There's a great series about how to build a bigger blog readership at Evangelical Outpost. As you are discovering, links back and forth are the stock and trade of good blogs; "links are the currency of the blogosphere". I still haven't had time to fully take advantage on my blog.

You'll notice that some blogs have compounded the blogring effect to great advantage, by getting listed in a bunch of different blogrings simultaneously. Stop the ACLU is a good example. That website has also advertised on a lot of other websites (conservative ones, as you'd expect), which is another potential idea for you.

2/24/2006  
Anonymous Jon said...

I personally use and prefer WordPress because it's powerful and gives the the actual code so I can tweak it to my purposes. Another poster mentioned that you have to host it yourself which is true and why it's not the most "user-friendly". Here's my blog: click here and I just started a missions blog for my church which you can find here. Oh, and the DOOCE.COM site - it appears as though she builds that herself without a "blogging" system per se. I may be wrong.

Keep up the good work. I recently discovered your blog and have enjoyed the discussion topics.

2/24/2006  
Anonymous jon said...

Oops - the missions blog I referenced in my previous comment is here.

2/24/2006  
Blogger FzxGkJssFrk said...

Oh, one more thing - you should put a link to your home page in your header graphic, or find some way to let readers navigate back to the home page from a given post. For those of us using the Live Bookmark feature in Firefox, this is essential...

2/24/2006  
Blogger CM said...

Shaun -

Just recently added your blog to mine.

exquo.blogspot.com

The "Two Weeks Later" series was such a comfort to read. I'm going through a spiritual crisis myself.

2/24/2006  
Blogger methy said...

Statcounter is awesome.

2/24/2006  
Anonymous benstewart said...

A lot of web designers use Moveable Type for their blogs:

http://www.sixapart.com/movabletype/

If you want a free option you can look at WordPress:

http://wordpress.org/

2/24/2006  
Anonymous benstewart said...

Dooce.com uses Moveable Type:

#7 - http://www.dooce.com/faq.html

2/24/2006  
Blogger Alan said...

Keep up the good work Shaun. Just added you as a blog I'm linking to.

http://smokedmeat.blogspot.com/

2/24/2006  
Blogger Jeff Prosser said...

Hey Shaun...

Got ya on my blog...link me to yours. Love your music man...encouraged by your heart for God.

2/24/2006  
Anonymous Jason said...

Hey S...

Here is mine: jasoncarr.typepad.com

I really love your honesty and transparency- I have been reading your blog for awhile now- it is one of my regular reads.

2/24/2006  
Blogger Christopher said...

Shaun,

The three big, free names for blogs are

http://wordpress.org/
http://textpattern.com/
http://www.blosxom.com/

2/24/2006  
Blogger Kathy said...

http://nightengale829.blogspot.com/
I have not figured out yet how to put links of other blogs on my site. I read yours daily and love it! Thanks

2/24/2006  
Blogger Kristen said...

One way to find out who links to your blog:

Go to google and do a search for your blog web address. Then when the page comes up that shows only one entry (your actual blog) click on the option below the listing that says: "Find web pages that link to ___________"

And up comes pretty much every website that links to yours, blog or not.

Hope this helps.

Kristen
divinecontradiction.blogspot.com

2/24/2006  
Anonymous tray said...

i got ya on mine
http://www.xanga.com/rockypillows

2/24/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

jon, your blog looks great!

but no links? Come on!

2/25/2006  
Anonymous Jess said...

I don't think many people read my blog so I dunno if it will help with traffic at all, but it does have a link to yours. It might get a few more Aussies to visit you?

www.spaces.msn.com/members/intentionallyblank

2/25/2006  
Blogger supersimbo said...

man i would be honoured if u linked me just as i was honoured when u posted about liking my blog a while ago............i am manager of the faith mission bookstore in my town and im gonna do a wee feature on bloggers in a month or two when i have all the stock i want to set it up, with u and chad, downhere, tomlin etc etc i reckon it may attract some attention to the blogosphere......

God bless, ally.....

www.supersimbo.blogspot.com

2/25/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Thanks ally. If you need for an in-store I'm there for you, man. All I need is airfare and lodging in Ireland - that's all. No big deal for a bookstore mogul like yourself I'm sure ; ). Thanks for all the support.

SG

2/25/2006  
Blogger Timothy Yeager said...

Hey Shaun:
Thanks for your honesty. "Two weeks ago" not only moved me, but inspired me. I struggle with sexual addiction, I struggle with being honest and my blog www.pellucidly.com is my effort to be transparent.

I just recently switched from Blogger to Wordpress. I have really enjoyed using Wordpress. You can completely customize the site to your liking. On Wordpress.com they have certain web hosts they recommend that can actually automatically install Wordpress.

Thank you!

2/25/2006  
Anonymous Jon said...

No links on my blog? By golly you're right. Well I've begun to remedy that and you have the blessed privilege of being the first link to be added.

2/25/2006  
Blogger Mary said...

http://maryblacklock.typepad.com

Thanks Shaun!

2/25/2006  
Blogger NerdMom said...

I would love a link: blog.nerdfamily.com

There are a variety of things you can do tho improve traffic(some of which I do). First, read the section in Blogger about traffic generation. Also write about things that are very searchable(I wrote a little thing on Lazy Sunday and I get Google hits). Write on political and social issues, you don't have to write a lot just your opinon. Technorati is a great way to see how often you are linked to. Hope that helps!

2/25/2006  
Blogger NerdMom said...

I forgot to add that you could create something akin to the Huffington Post. A variety of people(with completely different view points) have their blogs there.

2/25/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Thanks nerdmom. I'm doing all that and its working. Technorati is an excellent resource.

I'll have to check out Statcounter.

Jon, I'm honored.

Timothy, great job on the blog. Thanks for yet another vote for Word Press. My server is one of those they list as automatically able to install WordPress. I'm leaning that way.

If I haven't added anyone to my links who has asked for that, I'm sorry. I'll get to it on Monday. Thanks everyone.

SG

2/25/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

AN ADVANCED BLOGGING QUESTION. (ben, this might mean you're the only one who can answer!)...

Is it possible to have one blog page actually containing two side by side blogs - or better said maybe, is it possible to house two columns of posts on one page with thinner sidebars to the left and right of the screen. So you'd have a sidebar, a left center fat post section, a right center fat post section and a right sidebar.

Is that possible?????

Here's the plan - one part of my new business model without a label: SHLOG.COM would be redesigned as described above. The left center "blog" would be "words" and would focus on the book(s)/articles I'm working on at the time. It would include excerpts, free downloads of chapters, writing resources, guest bloggers who are authors or in that business etc. The right center "blog" would be "music" focussed in on, well, music - the recorded kind. I'd post songs as they're written, the stories behind them, the process of recording live and in the studio, travels, downloads FOR FREE of songs and everything interesting to musicians and music fans. Guest writers would be music reporter friends who would sit in on sessions or hit the road with me or other artists, band members, engineers, producers I'm working with etc.

Both "blogs" would have the personal stories and theological rabbit trails that are already part of SHLOG.COM, but they'd also provide more focussed niche content of two kinds ALL IN ONE PLACE. The focus would not, I don't think, kill the humanity and occasional randomness of this site either - and I'd rely on the comments section as guidance in making the site better as always, in case I did get off track and get dull(er).

So, there's more in the plan, but for now I need to know from you elders of cyberspace what's actually possible. Is this possible???

Thanks in advance for the wisdom. Bill me.

SG

2/25/2006  
Anonymous los said...

I've got the love too.
los.typepad.com
Thanks
Los

2/25/2006  
Blogger Kat said...

Shaun,
You can definitely set up a site with two different "blogs" side by side.

Wordpress can't do it out of the box, although there may be some hacks to make it work.

Another system called Expression Engine could easily run multiple "blogs" on one page. I've set up a number of different sites on it and I've yet to find something that it can't do.

Did you get the email that I sent to you yesterday? I sent it to the email addresss on your main blog page. If you didn't get it, let me know. I went into a bit more detail about EE.

Hope that helps.
Kat

2/25/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

I got it, Kat. Much appreciated. You did mention though that it was a bit more complicated than WordPress. I'm no that bright when it comes to the details of the web - or anything else for that matter. I'll look into it because you sell it well as very flexible but I'm admitting I'm a little scared of the learning curve.

I'll hit you with any questions I have when I read up on it if you don't mind.

Thanks again.

SG

2/25/2006  
Blogger Michael said...

Thanks for the link on your site Shaun....maybe I'll see you next time you are on your way through Waco....long live BRH!!!

2/26/2006  
Blogger Dan said...

The best way to show two blogs at once would be to have one site with three frames: One frame for a header, one frame for the first blog, and one from for the second blog. The blogs would have to have fairly simple formatting for this to work, and you might want to move your blogroll and other links on the side to a fourth frame...but you could do this pretty easily. I could probably whip up the code you'd need to do this in about 15 minutes or so.

If you wanted to avoid frames (people using really old web browsers can't use them), you could do a simple table layout and not use blogging software. You could also try to take some other software and force it to run two blogs on one page (again, you'd probably use a table for this), but that'd be difficult and messy.

Shoot me an e-mail at 316danny@gmail.com if you want me to whip some code up for you to do that frames thing. It's pretty simple if you know HTML, but frames can be a bit of a pain if you don't know what you're doing.

2/26/2006  
Blogger Papa Gerbal said...

www.papagerbal.blogspot.com

This help all of us keep up on whats going on in your life. I can't wait till you come back to Vegas.

2/26/2006  
Blogger Kat said...

Shaun,
Sure feel free to ask any questions about EE or web dev. I'll do my best to help out.

By the way, I sent another email that may be helpful to you.

kat

2/26/2006  
Blogger Kat said...

It doesn't look like anyone has mentioned that you can actually try out Wordpress without installing it. Just head over to Wordpress.com and set up an account.

kat

2/26/2006  
Blogger Paula said...

Hey Shaun! Yes please, link to me :) I think I've got you linked twice on my blog. Maybe it's time for a spring clean! And like you did with Ally's (supersimbo), can you maybe put an "AU" after "more about nothing"? Thanks anyway.

2/26/2006  
Blogger robyn elise said...

sometimes you're on the top, sometimes you're in the middle, sometimes you're on the bottom (the order of my links is randomized), but every time, SHLOG is there...

http://www.robynelise.com

2/27/2006  
Blogger tray said...

got ya on my other blog

http://3chordtruth.blogspot.com/

2/27/2006  
Anonymous utobia said...

utobia
www.tobysturgill.blogspot.com

Thanks, man.
-Toby Sturgill

2/27/2006  
Anonymous Carlos said...

I've got you linked...
los.typepad.com
Thanks,
Carlos

2/27/2006  
Blogger Matthew Smith said...

http://matthewsmithmusic.blogspot.com/

I've linked to you for several months now, and love reading your thoughts.

I'm not too keen on the idea of changing your blog to be updated more than once a day, with writings by people I don't care about. I would probably stop reading, or visit once a week instead of every day.

A great resource about blogging is marketing guru Seth Godin's free eBook "Who's There," available here:

http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/files/whos_there.pdf

Hope this helps!

2/27/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Thanks, Matthew. I know about Seth, checked out his site a few times, but didn't know he had FREE BOOKS!!! Free is the perfect price for marketing books (Snooze.).

Hey, have we met?? I recognize your face. Sears circular model? Underwear model? Where've I seen you before?

btw, tell Irwin (Erwin?) hello for me and tell him to start a blog. He's not only an amazing bass player and a brilliantly funny man but also a great writer. I'd pay to read his blog. Heey, maybe he'd blog for SHLOG...hmmm. Now would you come to read that?

2/27/2006  
Blogger Nancy Tyler said...

Sorry to jump in here but I was just over on Irwin's page: http://www.myspace.com/misterirwin

Check out his "Link" blog entry.


n

2/27/2006  
Blogger Matthew Smith said...

We've not met, but do have several mutual friends (the talented/annoying/endearing Jeff Pardo for one).

Irwin has a blog of sorts going on his MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/misterirwin. I especially like his Edwin McCain rant.

Here's a blog that I link to, but hardly ever read:

http://www.commongroundsonline.typepad.com/

The reason I don't read it is because the entries are written by a wide swath of folks (albeit like-minded ones), and tend to be overly long. I don't have an emotional connection with most of these writers, therefore I am not compelled to take the time to read their longish thoughts. It feels unfiltered, though it certainly isn't.

When you link to someone else's thoughts (I love Willimon too, by the way), I (the reader) interpret that link through the emotional connection you've already established in your other posts.

If you add other writers to your blog, that dilutes the emotional connection. Even though I'm sure they would be people who you trust and admire, there is a significant difference between "here are the regular thoughts of someone I like" and "this article/post from someone unconnected to me jumped up and grabbed me by the scruff of the neck, compelling me to link to it."

2/27/2006  
Blogger freddy said...

Yes, I have you linked to my site also.

http://www.freddymatos.blogspot.com

2/27/2006  
Blogger heater said...

http://mollysmom.blogspot.com

2/27/2006  
Blogger robyn elise said...

oh, hey shaun...andrew osenga's blog (here in music city) is now found at http://andrewosenga.com/blog/ and not the one you have (caedmonscall.net/osenga), though it did forward you for a while to his blog, but it's not working anymore.

just thought i'd let ya know :)

2/27/2006  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Thank you. I mock you and yet you continue to serve. Sure you don't have kids?

2/27/2006  
Blogger Kat said...

If you add my blog, I guess that means I have to be more faithful about updating it.

http://thesecretlifeofkat.wordpress.com/

Thanks,
kat

2/28/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

check out this guys blogs. he only writes once a week but i knew him in college and have a feeling if he wasn't confined by the church site he's writing for he would be even better.
http://www.elevenoone.com/cms/content/view/91/1/

3/01/2006  
Blogger Seth Ward said...

Hey, i bit the bullet and started a blog and ditched the anon thing. i dont have a hot picture of myself up yet. i need to do a little photoshop magic first.

blog:

fivecentstand.blogspot.com

Sethro

3/02/2006  
Anonymous brad andrews said...

got a new blog up and running...relevintage.com

love to hear what you think!

4/04/2006  

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