Traffic Counters – Blogging

Traffic Counters – Blogging

While you could go your whole blogging career without using any of these tools, you will soon find that these tools will make life a little easier (and maybe a little more interesting) for you.Traffic Counters Traffic counters keep track who visits your blog. These counters range in complexity and usefulness. The simple ones only count the number of people who visit your blog while the more comprehensive ones will tell you how they found your site, how long they hung around and even what pages they looked at. This information allows you to see what content on your blog is drawing in the traffic and tailor your blog accordingly. Most bloggers use Sitemeter, Statcounter or Google Analytics. All three are free, easy to use and offer detailed information about your website’s traffic.

Spam Fighters Spam is the bane of internet society. Fortunately there are several products on the market that will help keep your blog spam free. Most website/blogging software will either come with spam fighters built in or offer additional software (called plugins) that you can install. Some stand-alone products that will work with any system are Bad Behavior, Spam Poison and Captcha.Templates If you want your blog to look nice and reflect your personality, the internet is your playground when it comes to finding templates for your blog. The only drawback with using a template is that the chances are high that someone else is using the same exact one. However there are so many things you can do to personalize your template that this really shouldn’t be a concern.

Systems, such as WordPress and B2Evolution have a directory of templates you can download and use for free. Check the website where you downloaded your blog system or do a search on the internet to find free templates for your website.Social Bookmarking Social bookmarking is the act of flagging your content for sharing with others. The most popular social sharing/bookmarking services are Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit and Del.icio.us. There are many, many, many others but these are the pillars of the social networking community so to speak. It is helpful to have buttons from these sites on your website as both a convenience and a gentle request to your readers to help promote your website. Check around to see if the software you are using provides a plugin for these services. If not, there are third party options available such as Add To Any or Share This.RSS Feed RSS stands for Real Simple Syndication and it is the one thing you must have.

A good portion of your visitors will use a service like Newsgator or Bloglines to stay up to date on the many blogs they read. Instead of going from site to site to site to check for updates, they simply plug in the site’s RSS Feed and are automatically notified of updates. This is so common that your website/blog software is seriously lacking if it does not have this functionality built in to the software. If you want to track how many people are subscribed to your RSS feed, sign up for a Feedburner account.Photos They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I’m not so sure about that but pictures do make web content more interesting and can emphasize the point of a piece of writing better than any amount of flowery prose. There are places where you can purchase stock photography on the cheap as well as places where you can get it for free. Stock photography tends to higher in quality than the freebies but sometimes you get lucky and when you are working on a budget of zero dollars you can’t really be all that choosy.Shoutboxes A shoutbox is a service that allows your visitors to leave you message on your blog.

It falls in between visitors leaving a comment on a specific blog post and actually having a full-fledged forum installed on your website. A shoutbox can serve as a place for you and your visitors to just shoot the breeze with each other or it can be a place where visitors can ask questions.Comment manager Most content management systems and third party hosting solutions offer decent comment capabilities with their software. However, sometimes the system is inefficient or a third party comment management solution such as Haloscan, Intense Debate or Sez Who offer a better solution for building a community and dealing with disruptive people.WordPress plugins If you are a WordPress user, here are a few plugins that will help make your life easier. Akismet & Bad Behavior These two plugins are spam killers and when used together will eliminate spam from your blog. Akismet comes preinstalled with WordPress, however you will need to download and install Bad Behavior.

Subscribe to comments Subscribe to Comments plugin makes it easier for your visitors to keep track of the comments left on a particular entry. If your visitors are anything like me, then they will need a little help keeping track of where they left comments as well as staying involved in the conversation. This plugin does a good job of that. It allows them to be notified of any follow up comments via email and offers them the ability to manage their subscriptions. Social networking links The Share This plugin puts all of the social networks at your visitor’s fingertips. Let’s face it there are literally hundreds of social networking services with one popping up almost every week. Who wants to clutter up their blog with all that drama? This plugin keeps your blog nice and clean and yet allows your visitor to bookmark your blog at the social network of their choice. Contact Form The Secure and Accessible Contact Form creates an easy to use contact form that prevents spam bots from spamming you.

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