Traffic Control

Business blogs or revenue-generating blogs rely on traffic to build interest in products or services and to keep people connected to your trade. Traffic can create opportunities to make money, develop ideas for new projects, and make connections with people you would otherwise have never known.

Traffic gives you leverage when it comes to advertising and sponsorship, if that is an important direction for your blog. Some bloggers depend on blog advertisers as their primary income, and some use traffic to turn a hobby into a profession. It all depends greatly on what you want to achieve. But of course building a following and gaining readers and repeat visits are the basics of the blog world. Most bloggers would want to drive traffic to their blogs.

Newbie Hustle

When you are new to blogging, you want to sign up for every gadget and display every widget. You are going to be the neat A-lister. You are instantly going to be best friends with the most popular blogger on the Internet by leaving her one of your magically delicious comments. When you launch, your blog will be flooded with avid readers. You want to blog and podcast and videocast and photoblog and... a lot more.

Slow down there, success requires endurance and patience. Here are some insider do's and don'ts.

Don't leave comments on other blogs begging people to read your blog. It is bad enough to be blatant, but not even bothering to leave any thoughtful commentary is even worse. It borders on spam, and it is become a tactic spammers have started using. So unless you want your comment deleted as spam and your IP potentially blacklisted, share a comment but skip the sales pitch.

Do blog often and with quality, easily digestible content. Consider starting out with snack-sized entries so new readers to your blog can get an idea of what your writing is like. If you are new and your goal is to build an audience, do not write long-winded diatribes. Other successful blogs might have long entries packed full of hilarity, but unless you are prepared to bring it on similar level, you will want to build a readership.

Don't sign your blog entries or comments. It is really unnecessary. Most blogs have a Posted By section for both blog entries and comments, so you do not need to close with your name. It takes up space, adding more stuff people have to scroll through and it is just one of those things that make people think... you must be new.

Don't stuff your blog full of surveys. If surveys and quizzes are your thing, having a MySpace account should be more appropriate. The occasional quiz or survey, sometimes called a meme, is fine and can be a fun way to engage other bloggers by challenging them, sometimes called tagging them, to complete the survey too. It gets old if surveys make up the bulk of your blog.

Do run a spell check. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Common mistakes are made by people who are not conscious of some similar words. You need not to be a scholar, but you would be surprised how many people judge by grammar alone.

Social Commentary

People sometimes think that because your blog is public, you are entitled to their opinion. Not everyone was born with the tact gene. Treating others as you wish to be treated is one of those rules that applies anywhere, including blog comments. How respectfully you comment on the blogs of others is important.

You do not have to agree with everything you read. If you feel the need to leave a heated comment, keep in mind that you usually would not be able to edit or delete it after it is posted. Take a moment to compose yourself before responding. A well-thought-out, intelligent comment or rebuttal can at least be respected, even if it is not agreed with.

If you are particularly outspoken, be prepared for resistance. Regular readers of a blog tend to rally behind its owner. This is not to say that you should not speak yoour mind, but do so with decorum. A witty, well-timed retort and a sweet disposition can leave them wondering.

Having a blog opens you up to a whole world of wack-a-doos, so sometimes you need to chaperone your blog, making sure that everyone plays nice. These wack-a-doos, usually called trolls, will leave negative comments on your blog, usually more than once. Most of the time, blog commenters are lovely, fine people such as yourself, but once in a while, you will get someone who is hell-bent on picking a fight with you, usually over something ridiculous. The troll will usually comment anonymously because mean people are often too cowardly to reveal themselves.

Similar tactics apply. Delete the comments and block the jerk from commenting, or from your site entirely. You can do this by blocking that IP address from the server, or with features that may be available through your blog platform or service. You can track the IP address and use search engines to help you find the offender, but that is usually a dead end. Check with your hosting provider for more information about blocking IP addresses.

When someone gives you a hard time on your blog, relax. It is only the Internet after all. Unless you feel you are in danger of harassment or stalking, try not to let the occasional negative incident impact your feelings toward the blog community. One or two rude people do not represent the whole of the Internet, and the benefits of blogging and sharing comments definitely outweigh the random troll here and there.

Blogging Manners

Whether you are the center of attention or a shrinking violet, it is always important to be courteous. Here are some myths and oversights in linking etiquette:

Asking permission: Unless the blog owner specifically requests it on her/his site or it is required by the blog service, it is not necessary to ask permission if you wish to link to someone. Feel free to link at will. You are welcome to alert the blog owner that you have linked to her/him, in fact requesting a link from a blog author is sometimes met with confusion.

Linking to images: Directly linking to people's images on their servers is frowned upon. To right-click and save the image to your desktop and then upload it as your own is equally frowned upon, unless it is a photo in public domain. If you wish to link to someone's image, use a text link to the entry itself or email the blog author first to ask whether it is okay.

Tracking it back: As a new blogger, you probably would want to know if someone were talking about your entries. Other bloggers would too. Trackbacks can help. When you trackback to someone's blog entry, that person's blog software creates a link on her/his blog in that particular entry linking back to your entry. Thus, anyone visiting that blog entry can click through to your blog to read more. Google and other search bots can also pick up your link on the other person's blog, allowing you a potentially higher rank.

Posting direct quotes: Being quoted can be extremely flattering. However, quoting someone without proper credit is plagiarism. If you wish to quote someone else's blog entry, be sure to include just a snippet of the original entry, not the full entry itself. Also make sure to link back to that entry and trackback to it as well, if that feature is available. It alerts the blog author that you are discussing her/his entry and allows your users to click through to the full entry on the original author's blog.

Blogrolls and Link Sharing

Linking to other blogs in your entries or in the sidebar of your site is called blogrolling, and the list of links itself is called blogroll. It is standard blog practice and usually encouraged. Most of the time, people love to be linked. It drives up their ranking in Google and grants them a tiny slice of advertising to your blog readers. Of course, these perks apply to your blog too. Most importantly, linking allows bloggers to connect. Quoting other bloggers in your entries is also welcomed. However, do not forget to credit the source and link back.

The blogosphere is founded on community. If we did not read each other's blogs, there would be no point to it all. Part of the fun of blogging is linking to other blogs. It allows you to share your reads with those who read your blog, potentially turning them on to someone new. You may be too timid to comment on the blogs you like, linking to them can let the bloggers know that you dig what they are saying. When the blog owners check their referral stats, it leads them to your blog. Consider it an extremely subtle calling card.

BlogRolling was one of the first services available to bloggers to create link lists. Using a simple script provided by BlogRolling, you can generate a link lists, or blogroll, to display on your site. BlogRolling will check whether a blog has updated and display the update on your blogroll with an indicator you customize through BlogRolling. Currently, BlogRolling is a free service that lets you create multiple link lists, create private link lists, and add people to your blogroll with one click.

You can also use various RSS feed services to post blogrolls on your site. Bloglines offers a small script that produces a blogroll of the public feeds to which you subscribe when yoou insert it into the HTML on your blog. Some blog services offer link lists as a feature of the service.