Niche Blog Ramblings

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A common thread I’ve seen among those who are working on creating niche blogs is how to manage them, particularly as the number of niche blogs rise from just a few to dozens. Others have wondered about content creation and management, such as “How often to post?” or “How good should the articles be?” In this post, I’ll go over some of the techniques I’ve been using to manage my niche blogs as well as throwing in a few other observations I have.

A Simple Spreadsheet

I have a system!One question I’ve seen asked from time to time is how do you keep up with logins and passwords for your blogs as well as other pertinent information about them? I keep an Excel spreadsheet that has a master niche blog list that has a column for each of these items:

  • Blog Name - The name of the blog
  • Blog URL - The base URL of the blog
  • Login Name - The Login name used
  • Password - The password used
  • Last Update - The last time the blog was updated
  • Next Update - The next time I want to add a post to this blog
  • Blog Keywords - The main keywords I’m targeting for this blog
  • Monetization Method - The type of monetization used (Adsense, Affiliate, Product Feed)
  • Notes - Any other quick reference info about the blog

This information puts all the basics about the blogs in one handy place. You could use just about anything to create this list from a spreadsheet program like Excel to even a plain text file written using Notepad. I like using Excel for the sorting features myself, but anything that allows you to keep you niche blogs basic information organized should work.

On some blogs, I keep a more detailed sheet that includes information about the search terms used to find the blog, the number of visits per day, earnings results and so forth. I’m still working on refining exactly what data I want to track here. It’s been an ongoing process to figure which metrics are worth tracking and which aren’t all that useful to me.

How Often To Post?

Don’t Stress Over How Often to PostHere’s another question I see asked frequently, “How often should I post on a niche blog? I can’t post to 20-30 blogs everyday!” This is my content building strategy for my niche blogs.

First, I try to build a foundation of about 10 articles rather quickly, within a few days of starting the blog. I’ve tried to make use of Grizzly’s long and rambling post technique with these articles to insure that they’re rich with keyword goodness. In some cases, I’ve doubled up the PLR articles I’ve rewritten to get articles of around 1000 words in length. With this foundation in place, I can begin link building and hopefully getting indexed by Google.

Next, I put together an update schedule for the blog based on how hot the topic is and how well it is performing. Generally I try to plan on a new post about every 5-30 days. Remember, I’m not looking for repeat readers who’re hungry for fresh, daily, content but for one time search visitors who’re looking for an answer to a question. I want to add just enough to keep the Googlebot interested but not so much that it looks like an autogenerated spam site or so little that it looks like a dead site.

Another thing that I will point out is that some of my best performing Adsense sites haven’t been updated for over 6 months. You can let a site just sit there and it will usually still earn. With Google, site longevity seems to carry a lot of weight. Also remember that comments from visitors and certain Wordpress plugins can give the illusion of an updated page even if the main content is static.

Taking Advantage of Hot Topics

Hot! Hot! Hot!Here’s another technique I use when I have a situation where I see a niche blog’s search hits increasing for particular keywords or long tail terms or if I want to take advantage of long tail searches for a current news event (see my SNL’s Democratic Debate: Obama vs. Clinton post for an example of latching onto such an event here on OpTempo).

If I find this kind of hot topic, I’ll temporarily increase the post frequency on my target blog. In one case where there was a lot of long tail search activity due to a news event I increased it to 3 posts a day for a couple of days and I’ve created a new post there just about every day since then. Each new post reinforces the long tails that people are using to find the blog. Plus I also have added some more combinations. This pushed that particular niche blog up from less than 10 hits a day to over 300 a day. From my observations, tracking and reinforcing your long tail search activity pays off well.

Article Quality and Adsense

Quality TalksThis is a little rant I have about article quality. During my recent move I needed some information about installing a particular appliance. I did a Google search on it and found several obvious niche blogs along with manufacturers pages at the top of the results. I decided to check out the niche blogs.

Unfortunately, most were very poor quality, little more than keyword stuffed pages with filler sentences. To make matters worse for both me, the searcher, and the site owner, they were displaying PSA ads or cheap ringtone or eBay ads. These ads were useless to me and probably anyone else who might have reached this page.

The lesson here is that there is a considerable difference between how the Google search bot and the Adsense serving bot interpret the content of a web page. While the search engine looks closely at keywords, for example “220 volt outlet“, it doesn’t appear to make any serious, in depth, quality judgement about the content of the page. However, the Adsense bot seems to be more discriminating about the ads it will show based on your site’s content. It appears to do a lot more checking as to the relevance of the the information as well as general site and user data it might have stored. If it doesn’t like what you’re saying, you get the 1-3 cent a click ads.

My observation on my own sites have been that you get better Adsense ads when you ramble somewhat coherently on the topic at hand rather than just presenting keyword stuffed junk. It also helps to have strong tags beyond just the keyword(s) you’re targeting. Roughly a little more than half of your bold/strong and header tagged text should be the primary keywords while others would be secondary and tertiary keyword phrases.I’ve also found that using several well targeted WordPress tags as well as meta-tag values seem to help as well, particularly if you have a video content heavy blog.

OK, that winds up some of the niche blog rambling I had stored up from the month. Let me know if you have any more questions or observations on this topic.

 


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15 Comments »

Comment by Sue Massey
2008-03-03 18:02:10

I found your site on google blog search and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. Just added your RSS feed to my feed reader. Look forward to reading more from you.

- Sue.

Comment by jfc
2008-03-03 20:41:09

Thanks Sue,

Your comment was marked as spam by Akismet and I recovered it from the filter. Note that it is usually a good idea to say something of substance about the post in question when leaving comments to avoid getting your comments marked as spam. If you think that you have not engaged in any spammy behavior contact Akismet and they’ll clear your name.

Comment by Mike Olbinski
2008-03-04 01:07:09

Frank, that is spam, I get them all the time. Either from Google Blog search, or Technorati blog search…it’s all spam :)

On a side note, good post…I may have to start slowly developing some niche blogs on the side, just to see how they do.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by jfc
2008-03-04 09:12:56

Mike,

This one had legit contact info in it, not a junk email address like abcxyz-at-gmail.com, and the site didn’t appear spammy either so I let it slide even though it was probably an auto generated comment. However, since it would have appeared in my top commentators slot as a followed link, I changed the URL it had to something else. ;)

 
 
 
 
Comment by Emma
2008-03-03 22:49:46

What a wonderful post. I knew I took that Excel class for a reason. I hope to have a large collection of niche sites and I will use your spreadsheet technique. Also this was just a really well written post and I really like your use of graphics. Emma :smile:

Comment by jfc
2008-03-04 09:20:27

Thanks Emma,

The important thing is keeping a written record to track your blogs. This is a small scale version of how I do things in software development although there I would use tools like Microsoft Project and a source control system as well.

On the graphics, I like these early to mid 20th century vintage advertising and magazine graphics from time to time because they’re different from the usual Flickr photos.

 
 
Comment by Robert
2008-03-04 01:21:11

Hey Frank, could you be more specific about this here:

“and certain Wordpress plugins can give the illusion of an updated page even if the main content is static.”

I wasn’t sure what exactly you were referring to. You may have included trackbacks under this same area, since they look like comments. I generally leave them when they show up, though sometimes they are from spammers…let’s just say the “comment” they leave may not exactly be what gets displayed.

Comment by jfc
2008-03-04 09:34:14

Hi Robert,

One example would be Random Posts plugin I use here as well as on niche blogs that have over about 50 posts. This gives a new set of 5 links each time a visitor, including Googlebot, views a page.

You can also use an AdRotator plugin or other such widget to insert random text and link snippets at the end or start of posts beyond just plain advertisements.

I’ve been experimenting with these techniques and they seem to work to some extent but I haven’t done a full blown analysis of them yet.

 
 
Comment by Grizzly
2008-03-04 09:14:18

Nicely done Frank - now I can send folks here as I don’t have to write a post about this. Everything you said is spot on and exactly how I do things - especially the long tail reinforcing - brilliant!

Comment by jfc
2008-03-04 09:39:19

Thanks Grizzly,

Of course, I got many of these ideas from your posts and applied them. The long tail reinforcing and internal linking have worked really well for me.

 
 
Comment by ajtec
2008-03-05 18:45:36

Hi,

Nice and well explain post.

I`ve a question. We all talk about make a post a day. But who is right? Make a post a week with GOOD content, or make a post a day with a … content?

PS: are you portuguese descendent?

Artur,

Comment by jfc
2008-03-05 23:08:09

Hi Artur,

The post frequency depends a lot on the type of blog you’re running. For a social blog it’s best to post daily in order to build a steady readership and then taper off later if you want. For a niche blog, it’s good to get a lot of search engine fodder published quickly at first and then slow your pace to a low frequency maintenance schedule.

No, not Portuguese. I’m of English descent, Yorkshire to be specific, although most of my family tree has lived in America since the 1700’s.

 
 
Comment by Todd Morris
2008-03-08 21:21:37

Hi Frank,

Nice article. I like the part about reinforcing the long-tail searches. I’ve been ignoring all of my blogs a bit lately … but I’m working this weekend to kickstart my Candle and Wii sites. They both still get regular SE traffic, so I’ll try to use some of the advice you’ve given here.

Thanks,
Todd

Comment by jfc
2008-03-08 21:44:10

Hi Todd,

I’ve been busy to with the move and all. We’re still unpacking boxes and I’m still wondering where stuff is.

Keep working the long tails and it will build over time. It took about 2 months to build up the site I mentioned in the article from 10 a day to 300 a day. Hopefully that will continue to build as I add to it and target new phrases.

 
 
2008-11-18 11:57:08

Frank, I was lokking for your article on Micro-niches and came across this one. Not sure if I read it before or not, but I definitely found lots of useful information. Thanks!

I still struggle finding those niche blogs or micro-niche blogs to show Adsense on. I want to experiment with the micro’s and see if I can’t stimulate some Adsense moolah.

Thought I had read almost everything on your blog pertaining to MMO. Guess Not!

Back to searching!

Denise

 
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