Pimp My Blog In 8 Steps: Steps 3 & 4 – Sign Up For Feedburner and Technorati

This post talks about the next two steps in pimping my blog.

3. Sign up for Feedburner

Feedburner is a feed management service. Since all blog software already provide a feed, you might wonder why you would want to sign up for a separate feed management service provider. There are several reasons:

1) Tracking: Feedburner tells you how many subscribers your feed has, via which service they are subscribing from, as well as how many hits your feed has received. You can also upgrade to TotalStats Pro to view even more metrics about your feed.

2) Optimizing: Feedburner can add a footer at the bottom of each content item, allowing your readers to easily “email this item” or “add to del.icio.us”, among other capabilities. Another service is called “Link Spicer”, which can retrieve the bookmarks you have set in services such as del.icio.us and Furl, and include them as part of your feed.

3) Publicizing: Feedburner can help you ping the most important services automatically when you publish new content. In addition, feed content can be published as regular HTML. There are several other gadgets that would allow you to promote your feed on a web page.

4) Monetizing: Once you reach a certain threshold, Feedburner can start putting ads in your feed, allowing you to monetize your blog content.

Setting up with Feedburner is easy. First, you enter the blog or feed address, then you provide a feed title and specify what feed address you want to use (this will be in the form of http://feeds.feedburner.com/[YourBlogName]). That’s it. Then going forward, you can start using your Feedburner feed as your regular feed to the world.

4. Sign up to Technorati

Technorati is a blog search engine. Upon creating your account, you’ll want to claim your blog in Technorati. To do so, you’ll be required to authenticate that you are the owner of the blog — Technorati offers 2 ways of doing this: you can either insert a special link to your Technorati profile in a new post, or add a short javascript code to your template. If you use this method, you’ll have the option to display certain Technorati links on your blog.

Claiming your blog allows you to get link counts, add your profile/branding to your blog, and set up tags for your blog. In your posts, you can also put in Technorati tags (examples are at the bottom of this post). This allows you to tell Technorati about tags for each one of your posts, in addition to tags about your blog in general.

As a side note, you cannot claim a feed in Technorati, as Technorati has no way of verifying you are the feed owner. So, for those of you who have set up a feed in Feedburner, you’ll need to give Technorati your blog URL rather than the Feedburner feed code.

Pimp My Blog In 8 Steps: Steps 1 & 2 – Domain Name and Blog Software

This post talks about the first two steps in pimping my blog.

1. Decide what domain name to use

For domain names, the easiest solution is to use the domain name of your blogging host. An example of this is myblog.blogspot.com (for Blogger). For someone who is a casual blogger, this is probably the way to go. However, if you are serious about generating traffic to your blog, you should consider using a separate domain for your blog. SEOmoz has a good discussion on this topic. In that article, they recommend the following order (from least recommended to most recommended):

1. Using the domain name of your domain host.
2. Use your own domain name (but not your main domain name).
3. Set up a subdomain for your main domain name.
4. Set up the blog as a directory of your main domain.

I went with the advice offered in this article and set up my blog at www.1keydata.com/blog. I decided to go with my own domain name at http://www.topcatblog.com.

2. Decide on a blogging software / host

Next is to determine what blogging software to use. The most prominent ones are Movable Type, Word Press, Blogger, and Typepad. Each one has its strengths and weaknesses. Some of the solutions allow you to download and do your own hosting. Two of them, Movable Type and Word Press, both have a number of plugins, which allow the blogger to add some bells and whistles to their posts. I decided at the end to go with Blogger, because that’s the host I am already using, and it appears that moving hosts would not be worth the trouble for my blog.

The next task is to point my Blogger account to my main domain. Dave Taylor had an excellent tutorial on how to use a custom domain with a Blogger account for those who are currently using Blogger. The process was not as straightforward as I hoped, and it did take me a bit of time to get it to work right. But don’t skip out on this step, as it is definitely worth the trouble down the road.

Pimp My Blog in 8 Steps

Blogging is fun, and you obviously want others to read your blogs (otherwise you wouldn’t want to make it public, would you?) But in the vast worldwide web, how do you get other people to even know that your blog exists? This is the question I faced when I started looking into blogging recently. In this post, as well as the next few posts, I will discuss all the things I did to pimp my blog.

At the high level, my goals are as follows:

  • Easy feed management.
  • Make it easy for people to subscribe.
  • Make it easy for people to bookmark / tag.
  • Account for all SEO best practices for a regular web site.Below are the 8 steps for pimping my blog:

    1. Decide what domain name to use.

    2. Decide on a blogging software / host.

    3. Sign up for Feedburner.

    4. Sign up for Technorati.

    5. Make it easy for people to bookmark and share.

    6. Make it easy for people to subscribe.

    7. Change template for header tags.

    8. Enable auto discovery.

    In the next few posts, I will discuss each step in detail. By reading through this series, you’ll be able to get the world to notice and start reading your blog as well.

  • Summary: Firefox extensions for SEO

    After reviewing the 5 Firefox extensions for SEO, we find that there are basically two different categories of extensions: 1) one that adds SEO-related information to search results, and 2) one that shows SEO metrics for the page you are currently on. Extensions built by SEO Book and SEO Quake fall under the first category, and extensions built by Rank Quest, SearchStatus, and SEOpen fall under the second category.

    Because the two categories of extensions are very different (first category is for people doing serious SEO research, second one is for people who are interested in the site they are looking at), I decided I will recommend one extension from each category:

    Category 1: Adding SEO-related information to search results

    I think both tools are excellent, as evident from both getting a total score of 25. SEO Book’s information on query terms is countered by SEO Quake’s ability to show information on the page you are visiting. At the end, the difference was that I just did not like SEO Quake’s display under the sponsored search section in the search results pages. Therefore, I will go with SEO Book’s tool.

    Category 2: Showing SEO metrics for the pages you are currently on

    For this category, the winner is SearchStatus. The fact that it shows the information at the status bar at the bottom of Firefox rather than eating up real estate by showing a toolbar is the differentiating factor.

    Summary

    I recommend that people use the extension from SEO Book for serious SEO research, and the extension from SearchStatus for getting SEO information for a particular site.

    SEOpen Firefox Extension

    Today let’s take a look at the SEOpen Firefox extension. This extension can be downloaded from https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/570/. This extension adds a toolbar on Firefox, from where you can view SEO-related information from Google, Yahoo!, MSN, Alexa, and several other resources on the page you are at.

    Below is a screenshot of what the extension looks like when clicking on “Other Tools”.

    seopen

    Below is the score for each category:

    Ease of installation: 5
    Ease of use: 3
    Amount of time for the information to appear: 4
    Usefulness of information presented: 3
    Amount of real estate taken up: 3
    Documentation: 3
    Total: 21

    Ease of installation: Installation was quick and problem free.

    Ease of use: There was a problem with one of the links (page size, which returned a 404).

    Amount of time for the information to appear: It takes two clicks to get to the desired information. Once the metrics are selected, though, information does appear quickly.

    Usefulness of information presented: Good for getting info on the page you are on. A minus is that it shows backlinks info from Google, and it is known that the link: command in Google returns incorrect numbers.

    Amount of real estate taken up: An additional toolbar appears on the browser.

    Documentation: Adequate documentation is available at http://seopen.com/firefox-extension/index.php.

    Wish List

    Make sure all links are valid.

    Take out information that is known to be highly inaccurate (such as backlinks from Google).

    SearchStatus Firefox Extensions

    Today let’s take a look at the SearchStatus Firefox extension. This extension can be downloaded from https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/321/. This extension adds toolbar information on the status bar at the bottom of Firefox by default. PR and Alexa are displayed directly. Additional SEO-related data can be viewed by right clicking on the q sign (logo).

    Below is a screenshot of what the extension looks like when right-clicking on the logo:

    searchstatus

    Below is the score for each category:

    Ease of installation: 5
    Ease of use: 4
    Amount of time for the information to appear: 4
    Usefulness of information presented: 3
    Amount of real estate taken up: 5
    Documentation: 3
    Total: 24

    Ease of installation: Installation was quick and problem free.

    Ease of use: Easy to use. PR and Alex ranking are shown directly. Additional information can be retrieved by right clicking on the SearchStatus logo. It does take a little bit of navigation to get to the information you want.

    Amount of time for the information to appear: It takes several clicks to get to the desired information. Once the metrics are selected, though, information does appear quickly.

    Usefulness of information presented: Good for getting info on the page you are on.

    Amount of real estate taken up: Users can customize where the information from this extension shows up. The default is the status bar, which doesn’t occupy any additional real estate.

    Documentation: Adequate documentation is available at http://www.quirk.biz/searchstatus/.

    Wish List

    Change the menu system so that fewer clicks are needed to get to the information needed.