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How Much Do the Little Things on Your Blog Matter?

Sep 9, 2008
As you work on your blog, it's good to read up on ways to improve your chances for success. There are so many things you can do to bring up your readership or generally improve your blog.

You can drive yourself crazy trying to figure it all out. You'll even find strong opinions on what seem to be little things.

Full vs. Partial Feeds

This one can get quite a bit of debate. Full feeds are great for people who use feed readers and just want to get their blog reading done, but the blog itself may lose out on traffic from those readers.

Partial feeds mean that the first part of your posts must drag people into clicking to read the rest of the post. But some readers will unsubscribe if you require this of them.

There are some strong feelings on both sides of this. Some bloggers worry about their feeds being scraped if they use full feeds. Others want readers to come to their blogs to hopefully improve the number of comments and maybe even ad clicks.

Personally, I go for full feeds simply as the most functional option for readers. Anyone who is moved enough to comment still has to click through to the site. Properly added product recommendations will still make it through to the feed reader, so you can still get affiliate commissions.

Displaying Feed Counts

Having a lot of readers is a wonderful thing for a blog. It's one of the things that makes blogging worthwhile. Some bloggers display their feed counts, while others don't.

And of course some fake the numbers so that they look popular. All too easy to do and generally too easily discovered.

I've seen general agreement that if you have fewer than 100 subscribers to your feed, you may as well forget about displaying the count. You aren't getting the social proof that you should want from this. Some will say to wait for even higher numbers, but that's up to the individual blogger.

Even some sites with a huge number of subscribers will prefer to not show numbers.

Don't bother faking counts, as being caught out greatly damages your reputation. Instead, think about why it is you want your count to show.

In many cases, it is for that social proof that a lot of people are subscribing to your site. Feed subscriptions don't tell the whole story, but it's a number that is easily made public.

Just keep in mind that there are other ways for people to tell how much traffic your blog is getting. The number of comments is a good clue. A high subscriber count displayed with few comments (assuming comments are turned on) can indicate a problem.

Using the Right Social Media Sites

Social media websites have proven to be an amazing way to get the word out about individual blog posts. But if you try to sign up and participate in them all, you're going to drive yourself crazy and possibly be counted as a spammer if you do nothing more than self-promote.

I'll be perfectly clear. Social media can make a huge difference to your blog and the traffic you get. But overdoing it is not the answer.

Pick one or two to start with, and participate on them. Promote your own things occasionally, but your main focus should be on being a good member. You're looking to build a solid reputation and some trust. Network with people doing well on those sites as well as with others just starting out. Get a real feel for what goes over well.

Don't give yourself too hard a time about learning it all right away. There's a lot to figure out and taking your time to understand what you're trying to accomplish will do more than plunging blindly in.

While any of these can make a difference in how your site grows, they really aren't that likely to make or break you. Even your own use of social sites, which can drive serious traffic at times, can matter far less than if your readers use them. Give yourself time and work the way that is best and most productive for you.
About the Author
Stephanie Foster blogs at http://www.aspectsofhomebusiness.com/blog/ about running her home business. For more of her thoughts on social media marketing , visit her site.
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