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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

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Determine Your Blog Topic First

Before you create the blog, you need to figure out what topic the blog will focus on. Think about your skills or hobbies that you're really good at. You might not be a mechanic, but if you're really good at working on cars on the weekend, and you love to do it, that would make a great blog topic. Brainstorm your skills and interests to determine what you would enjoy writing about. It's important that you like to write about it, since you will have to do so to build up the blog!

I will say this: If you have some knowledge on a commercial or industrial topic, this will usually get higher paying AdSense ads. But a hobby blog can do very well also (I know this from experience!).

Create the Blog

Once you have a topic chosen, it only takes about 5 minutes to setup a blog. From the Blogger homepage click the "Create Your Blog Now" link and follow the blog wizard instructions. I won't get into detail about them because it's pretty straight-forward, but there are a few points I want to make.

First of all, when you choose your blog URL, make sure that the URL contains the keywords for your topic. For example, if you're creating a blog about health insurance, "" is ideal, or "health-insurance" or even "health-insurance-blog" or "health-insurance-12345". Just make sure that your keywords are in the URL, that will help you be found when people search for your keywords in the search engines.

Also, be sure to pick one of the professional looking templates. I suggest you just pick the plain-white one that is first in the list of templates when you're creating the blog. Once the blog is created, then click on the "Templates" tab and select one of the nicer ones shown there. I'm not sure why Blogger doesn't show you all of the available templates in the blog setup wizard, but they don't.

The Settings Tab

A discussion of the important points of each settings tab is outlined below.


On the "Basic" settings tab, set your blog title to the keywords you want to show up for in the search engines. That will help you get ranked.

Give a good, detailed description about the benefits of reading your blog daily. You want to get people to add your RSS feed to their aggregators and websites so you can get traffic, and this will help.

Answer "Yes" to the question "Add your Blog to our listings?". This will have your blog appear on the main page of Blogger when you make new posts (albeit for a brief period of time), and allow people to search and find your blog using Blogger's search tool.

One other, lesser known detail about setting that question to "Yes" is that if you set it to "No" Blogger will shove "nofollow/noindex" meta-tags into your blog template header, which will prevent your site from getting crawled or indexed. I believe this was done to fight what Blogger called "spam blogs".


Set the "Notify Weblogs" setting to "Yes". This will send a notification to Weblogs every time you make a new post. Weblogs is a site that lets people (and search engine crawlers) know when new content appears on a blog. You want the crawlers (and visitors) to hit your pages when you add new content, so be sure this is set to Yes.


You can do what you want on this tab-I personally set the number of posts on the main page to between three and five.


Allow comments unless your blog topic is really controversial and you're likely to get a lot of flaming (people lashing out at you for what you have to say). Allowing comments is good because it gives more food to the search engines and keeps your blog updating and fresh even when you're not posting to it.

I usually let anyone comment, and don't limit it.

Don't show the comments in a pop-up window, because that will prevent the crawlers from being able to get to the content since it's javascript-based.

If you're concerned that people might flame you, but you want to allow comments, enable comment moderation so that you have to approve each comment that is added before it goes live.

If you want to be notified when a comment is made, set the Comment Notification Address to your email address.


Set your archiving to daily if you post every day, or weekly if you only post every few days. If you post every day daily is the best way to go, because it gives the search engines more unique pages to crawl and index. More unique content means more traffic to your blog and more clicks on your AdSense ads (I'll get to adding your AdSense to the template in a bit).

If you don't do a daily archive (and maybe even if you do), enable post pages so that each post will still have its own unique page even if multiple posts appear on the same archive page. Having multiple posts on one archive page is not a bad thing if you have post pages enabled, since the posts tied all together make for yet another unique page on the blog.

Site Feed

Definitely enable the site feed. If your posts tend to be very short, you might enable full descriptions. But if you have long posts (which I recommend), do not enable the full feed, use the short feed. Here's why:

If you put the full post in your RSS feed, then the person reading the feed doesn't have a reason to go back to your blog since they have already read the full post. No visitors to the blog means no clicks on your ads. AdSense has an "AdSense For Feeds" in beta testing, but it's not open to all publishers yet, so at least for now you need to induce people to visit the blog.

If they can only read part of the blog post, then if they want the whole story they will need to go to your blog. You can plan for this by making sure that your title and the first 255 characters (about the first 50 words) really pull in the reader's attention. You need to use those first 50 words to make them just have to read the rest.

Also, if your RSS feed appears on websites, you don't want to give away the farm by showing the whole post. You're letting websites use your feed so you can get clicks on the posts in that feed and get visitors to your site to build AdSense revenue.

So set the "Descriptions" to Short, write long posts and make the title and the first 50 words count.

The Templates Tab

If you haven't already picked a nice template from the list, click on the "Pick New" link under the templates tab and select one of the templates that you like and that fits your topic.

Setup Your Profile

Once your blog is setup, you want to setup your profile. To do this, click the "Back to Dashboard" link at the top of the browser window. Once at the dashboard, click on the "Edit Profile" link in the right hand column.

Check the "Share my Profile" box, and the "Show my Real name" box, unless you have a really good reason not to. It helps build trust if you have this information showing on your blog because people can see you're a real person and not some anonymous nobody. Your profile by default will be shown on your blog.

If you don't mind people contacting you via email, you can select "Show my email address".

Click "Select blogs to display" and make sure that your new blog is checked.

If you have a photograph somewhere on a website, you can point to it with the Photo URL. I recommend doing this because again, it builds trust and makes you more real and personal to your readers. If you don't have a picture on the web, or don't have a website, I'll gladly host a picture of you on one of my servers for free. Just reply to this email and attach your picture and I'll set you up.

Go through and fill out the rest of the information. Focus on the "About Me" box, because that will show on your blog pages. Use that description to establish yourself as an expert on the topic that your blog is about. People like to know that they're reading an expert opinion that they can trust. This box is your chance to prove you have an expert opinion!

Save your profile when you're finished.

These article was copied and pasted in the free spirit of spreading the words. It was written by Jonathan Leger. I hope you like it.

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