5 Reasons Why EntreCard Sucks

EntreCard, traffic, blogWhen I gained control of this blog few weeks ago, I thought of giving the popular and debatable system called EntreCard a try. I had heard about it from a lot of people online but never really thought of trying it. One reason could be that the system is slightly difficult for newbies to understand and the information provided on the website is not very detailed and informative. Nonetheless, I decided to giving it a try.

How does Entrecard work?
For those who do not know, Entrecard is a system that lets you place a widget on your blog with a banner that is linked to someone else's blog. Below the banner is a button called "Drop." Clicking that button proves that you have visited that blog (which has the widget). Each drop gets you EntreCard (EC) credits and you can use this currency to buy advertisements on other blogs. This system is supposed to be a way for bloggers to help each other out and discover new blogs.

But does the system really work? Does it have flaws that some are unaware of? Here are my Top 5 reasons to why I believe EntreCard really sucks.

1. Difficult to get drops back
When I first started using EntreCard, I was totally addicted to it. I found earning EC Credits fund and easy. I used to click on numerous blogs everyday just to drop my card and get some EC Credits. However, after few days I noticed that I had dropped around 50-90 cards everyday on average on blogs but I had only gotten around 20% - 30% from the EntreCard community. The stats declined more in the next few days and I hardly got any drops from other bloggers.

2. Visit, Drop, Leave
Most of the members of EntreCard only have one thing in mind and that is to quickly build EntreCard Credits so that they can either sell them to others or use them to advertise on other blogs. Having this goal in mind, most EntreCard members only care about visiting a site for few seconds, quickly searching for the EntreCard widget, dropping the card and then leaving the site without even taking a look at the content. Some of you may not agree completely but try to remember those days when you were desparate for some EC Credits and were crazily going through blogs after blogs. EntreCard does succeed in getting you some traffic but most of that traffic turns out to be useless. Many webmasters have noticed that traffic coming from EntreCard only lasts for few seconds on their blog and the bounce rate is as high as 90%!

3. Irrelevant Traffic
There is no doubt that EntreCard does provide you with at least some traffic if not a lot but even that tiny fraction is not of much use. As mentioned above, most EC members are looking to just gain EC Credits. They hardly have any interest in your blog's content. Placing your ad on a relevant blog might seem like a good idea to get some relevant traffic but the truth is that most of that traffic is trash and not beneficial to your blog in the long run. For example, if your blog is about American politics then you may get a lot of traffic from EntreCard but hardly any of it will be relevant since most of the visitors will not have any interest American politics.
4. Poor stats provided to advertisers
Once you have enough credits, you will want to place your ad on other blogs to gain more exposure and get more traffic. But just placing your ad on another blog guarentee you such results. While I was a member at EntreCard, I placed one ad on a blog with a good PageRank. I was hardly provided with any information about the blog's traffic, popularity etc by EntreCard. Eventhough I had insufficient knowledge about the blog, I still decided to place my ad for a day. A day later, when the time limit for my ad was over, I checked my stats only to see that I had recieved 0 clicks from the blog! Was that just coincidence? Could be! But the truth is that EntreCard needs to provide advertisers with some more stats to help them decide where to place their ads.

5. System is FLAWED
I saved the most important point for the last! Believe it or not but EntreCard system is flawed. The system is based on the concept that bloggers need to help each other to succeed. That is fine but it only emphasizes the value of traffic and not content. Most EntreCard members do not care about the content of a blog. They believe that joining EntreCard will bring them a lot of traffic even if they do not write unique and interesting articles on their blog. But the truth is that for a blog to be successful, it needs to provide something useful to the readers.

If you are an EntreCard member then I suggest that you think again about EntreCard and whether it is really helping you. If you have not tried it yet then you should give it a try and experience it yourself. There is nothing better than getting first hand experience.

Image Source
Some useful links:
Search quality, continued - Google Blog
More Transparency in Customized Search Results - Google Blog
Back to school with more than 1 million users worldwide - Google Blog
Hello from A2 - Google Blog
We Knew The Web Was Big - Google Blog
Knol Is Open to Everyone - Google Blog
Updates and Fixes for July 18th - Blogger Buzz
Easy as 1-2-3 - Adsense Blog

Google's PageRank Update Has Ended!

google pagerank update, SEOAfter Matt Cutt announced in his blog the latest PageRank update, the whole webmaster community stirred with thousands of new threads popping up at different forums. People were curious and nervous while others simply did not care. I was one of the first ones! I have several blogs and I have been working hard to build backlinks and post unique content since the last PageRank update.

The update finally began two-three days ago. Webmasters could notice their websites' PageRank changing. Some sites gained PageRank, others lost while some stayed the same. Most of my blogs did not see any change at all. Only one blog saw an increase from N/A to PR 1. I hardly spent any time on that blog and there are less than ten posts on it but still it got PR 1. However, my other blogs which have lots of backlinks from high PR sites did not notice any change.

One of my blogs got a PR 3 in the last update. That was when I was not interested in PageRank at all and hardly cared about backlinks. Since the last update, I decided to raise the PR to at least 4 or 5 from 3. I managed to exchange DoFollow links with a lot of high PageRank websites. Some of those sites even had PR4 and PR5! Furthermore, I submitted my blog to several famous directories but it seems like none of it worked.

Now when the update has ended, I am highly disappointed with Google. Their system seems to get less accurate in every update. Am I saying this only because I did not see a raise? Well, it is partially true but I have also seen other webmasters talk about it. Not many are happy with this update. Google needs to be more careful in future and reward websites that truly deserve it. I understand that being 100% accurate is very difficult but it is still important to manage some quality when ranking other websites. But this is only my opinion and you have all the right to disagree with it.

Fortunately, if I didn't gain any PageRank then I did not lose any either. I was a little nervous about SEO and Blogging Tips since I just started working on it. It managed to stick to its PageRank (4).

How did Google's PageRank update turn out for you? Did your websites' PageRank raise, drop or stay neutral? Are you happy with it or disappointed?

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Some useful links:
More Transparency in Customized Search Results - Google Blog
Back to school with more than 1 million users worldwide - Google Blog
Hello from A2 - Google Blog
We Knew The Web Was Big - Google Blog
Knol Is Open to Everyone - Google Blog
Updates and Fixes for July 18th - Blogger Buzz
Easy as 1-2-3 - Adsense Blog

The Difference Between DoFollow and NoFollow links

DoFollow, NoFollow, PageRankWhile adding a link to an anchor text, you have the option of either using a DoFollow link or a NoFollow link. Most webmasters know the different between the DoFollow and NoFollow links but there are still many that don't. To many, the difference is very insignificant while to others it is very important. So how are these two different types of links different? What's their importance to Search Engine Optimisation? Lets start with some background info about Google PageRank.

Google PageRank
As you all know, Google has its own very famous ranking system called PageRank. This ranking system is used by several webmasters to determine the price of websites when buying or selling. But how is Google PageRank determined? Mainly, if your website has a good number of backlinks then you will have a high PR. Backlinks are links to your website from another site. Google consider each backlink as a vote from other webmasters to you. The more votes you have, the higher the PageRank you will receive.

The Difference
In 2005, Google's head of webspam team Matt Cutts and Jason Shellen came up with the concept of NoFollow.

nofollow is an HTML attribute value used to instruct some search engines that a hyperlink should not influence the link target's ranking in the search engine's index. It is intended to reduce the effectiveness of certain types of search engine spam, thereby improving the quality of search engine results and preventing spamdexing from occurring in the first place.

By Wikipedia
When other webmasters place a link on your site they can do it in two different ways. They can place either a DoFollow link or a NoFollow link. If they choose to place a DoFollow link to your site then you will receive their vote and that will improve your ranking. But if they use the NoFollow link then you will not receive any vote and your ranking will stay the same. Remember, it will not decrease your ranking but the backlink will simply not count.

Sometimes it is easy to manipulate Google PageRank. If you have a big budget then you can easily buy links on high PageRank websites and thus increase the chances of getting a good PageRank for your own website. Google does not like this and has been working hard to punish all those webmasters that sell and buy links by decreasing their websites' PageRank. Google does not have any problem with webmasters selling and buying links but Google asks them to use the NoFollow links when doing so in order to prevent PageRank manipulation.

Does that mean that you are not allowed to post DoFollow links on your websites? You are allowed but one thing that I find confusing is the process through which Google knows if a link is bought or not. How can Google tell if Webmsters are buying links or not?

How to put NoFollow and DoFollow links
By default all natural links are DoFollow so you don't have to do anything different to place a DoFollow link. Just place a link like you usually do and it will be a DoFollow link.

Here is how the code should look for each link:

DoFollow, PageRankNoFollowNoFollow, PageRank
Hopefully, this post has helped you understand the difference between two types of HTML attribute values: DoFollow and NoFollow. If you are buying links then you might want to check if a link is DoFollow or NoFollow before getting into any deal.

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Useful Links:

Ragogmakan (Google) goes to the Amazon - Google Blog
Knol is open to everyone - Google Blog
We knew the web was big... - Google Blog
Easy as 1-2-3 - Adsense Blog
Web Analytics by the Bay - Analytics Blog

Quick Way To Find Best Web Hosting Service

Recently, I talked about how difficult getting a good web hosting service can be. Nowadays, it is very difficult to host your site at a company that not only provides you with reliable service but also good customer support. Furthermore, it gets more complicated because there are way too many sites offering web hosting services to webmasters. So which one do you select for your site and how do you decide? Well there are several websites on the Internet that help you decide by providing you with several statistics such as prices, disk space etc and ranking them all. Web Hosting Break is one such site!

Web Hosting Break is not a new site. It has established a strong position and value by providing its users high quality and latest information about web hosting providers. The experts running the site have 11 year experience so you know that you are in safe hands.

On their homepage, you can see the ultimate list of Top 10 Web Hosting Companies. The featured websites have to pass a strict 12-point evaluation before entering the list. You also have the option to read in-depth reviews for each featured site.

Furthermore, Web Hosting Break has information about web hosting in general. If you are a newbie and want to learn more about it then you can find a lot of useful information and video tutorials. If you have questions even after reading their detailed articles, then you can contact the webmaster.

Overall, Web Hosting Break is your ultimate source to learn about web hosting providers and to read great reviews to help you decide which web hosting service is best for your own website(s).

SEO service to promote your business

I have repeatedly said to many people that just having a good site does not guarantee a lot of success. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an integral part of an online business's success. It can help you reach a great number of customers and provide you with a lot more traffic than before.

However, it is true that not everyone is an SEO expert so what are the options for them? There are several companies on the Internet that offer SEO services and much more to clients. One such company is SEO Watch which provides its customers with full SEO services to make their websites and businesses more reachable to visitors.

SEO Watch offers:
  1. Web Site Submission Service
  2. Web Site Promotion Service
  3. Online Marketing Services
  4. Web Design Services
  5. Google Adwords Services

With years of experience and several successful projects listed in their portfolio, SEO Watch is one of the best services online dedicated to providing you with quality and flexibility. They have a range of packages available for their services that you can choose from according to your budget.

Furthermore, they have a great support service. Whenever you have a question, you can just drop an inquiry and wait for them to contact you.

Finally, SEO Watch is not just a company to get paid service from but also a great site with tremendous information for free. You can check out their SEO tutorial section for all the detailed information regarding doorway pages, Meta Tags, Robot.txt, Cloaking etc.

Remember if you want to obtain best results for your site and business and you do not even know how to pronounce “SEO” then it is better to get a professional SEO company and experts to do it for you.

Share your photos and information at MyGreatWorld

Before Internet came into existence very few people had knowledge about place and countries other than where they live. But now when distance means nothing and everyone is connected, it is easy to share and learn about different places. People hear about foreign locations and decide to go on a vacation with their family. But how reliable and accurate is this information that you gather from the Internet? Have you ever gone to a foreign country after being recommended by someone only to find out that it is a waste of your money and time? Well, do not worry because there is a solution and it is MyGreatWorld – The acclaimed new Photo-Community.

So what is this site about and how can it help you? MyGreatWorld is simply a place for you to access bunch of information about any place on the map. You can search for countries, states, cities and villages and find numerous photos about the place. MyGreatWorld is a community site that consists of recommendations and photos by other people just like you who upload their photos to the site.

If you are a traveler who just had a vacation and simply hated it then you can warn others by posting recommendations and pictures. This way others do not have to go through what you did.
Additionally, MyGreatWorld has a very nice layout (not too great but still very visually appealing). It is a clean and simple site where finding information will not be too difficult. You can easily browse through the map on the homepage to learn more about your favorite locations and see some exciting pictures.

Just to make it clear, MyGreatWorld is not a place for photo album share (ing). It is a photo sharing community where you browse world’s map and find photos and other information.

Seven Most Popular Search Engine Ranking Myths

Few days ago, I read a post about search ranking myths which I really liked. Today, I have decided to share the most important points with you. The information helped me clarify a lot of doubts about search engine ranking and I am sure that you will learn a lot as well.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is extremely beneficial to almost all webmasters but only few are very good at it. Most have not even heard about it while others seem to have no interest. But the truth is that SEO can take your site to great lengths.

However, there is so much SEO information out there that it is hard to decide which to believe and which to ignore. Some SEO experts will tell you something while others will tell you something completely different. In this post, I will try to explain seven most popular search engine ranking myths.

Myth: Pay Per Click (PPC) ads can improve or damage your organic rankings.
Truth: PPC has nothing to do with organic rankings. PPC comes into a different category.

Myth: Ignoring Google’s guidelines can get your websites banned
Truth: Google recommends that you read their guidelines carefully but it is not mandatory that you do so. Ignoring Google’s guidelines does not mean that your website will be banned.

Myth: Your website will be banned if you buy links
Truth: NOPE! The links will simply not count. That’s it! Your website will not be banned.

Myth: You may only copy words that contain certain number of words, utilize specific keyword density and have bold or italicized keywords.
Truth: People used to believe that there was a limit to how many words could be used and how many keywords could be repeated but not anymore. They have no effect on ranking.

Myth: Having duplicate content will get your website banned
Truth: No! Your site will only get filtered and the copied content will not be considered.

Myth: Reciprocal links have no value
Truth: All links are important to some extent. Reciprocal links DO have value.

Myth: It is possible for SEO companies to increase your ranking without doing on-page work
Truth: “Run if an SEO company tells you this!”

I hope this post helped you clear some doubts regarding search ranking. If you have any questions, feel free to leave comments and I will try to answer them as quickly as possible.

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Useful links:
Knol is open to everyone - Google Blog
Hitting 40 languages - Google Blog
Celebrating young computer scientists - Google Blog
Introducing Knol - Blogger Buzz

Solve Your Web Hosting Problems

I cannot begin tell you how many people I have met that have had problems with their web hosting. Servers keep crashing every now and then and sometimes each crash can hurt you severely. Such crashes can also be disappointing for your visitors and can even hurt your incoming traffic. This is why it is important to find a safe and secure web hosting service. But which service should you go with? Well McKremie is one suggestion!

Today, while surfing the Internet, I accidentally stumbled upon a really nice and interesting web hosting solutions website called McKremie. The website offers four services: Web Design, Web Hosting, Internet Marketing and Search Engine Optimization. McKremie seems like one stop solution to all your concerns.

McKremie was started by the owner due to poor service provided by other web hosting and development companies. There are simply not many good companies around to provide you with secure hosting and other services.

McKremie’s philosophy is:
  1. To provide outstanding customer support
  2. To provide access to reliable and fast servers
  3. To be there whenever customers need us
With such a philosophy, a company can never go wrong. I can talk more about McKremie’s reliable servers in detail but I would like to outline some other services and information about McKremie.

Payment Processors:
McKremie accepts a variety of payment processors such as Visa, Master Card, Discover Card, and American Express. You can also pay monthly with Paypal.

Account Access:
Once you make all the payments, you will have complete access to your account. You can log into your account any day and any time!

As stated in McKremie’s philosophy, customer support is their number one priority. They provide 24/7 support through email and phone.

Overall, I would like to say that if you are tired of your present hosting company then McKremie is the right solution for you. You can also checkout its cPanel demo prior to buying any package! And when you are satisfied, you can go ahead and become one of several happy customers of McKremie.

Detecting Fake PageRank

detecting fake pagerankHave you ever come across a site with a really high PR that you thought did not really deserve it? The site had very few backlinks, hardly any content and no life but still had a PR 6? Well then this is one of the cases of having FAKE PageRank. That's right! A lot of sites have tried to produce a fake pagerank for themselves and succeeded.

A fake pagerank can bring you a lot of money if you are smart enough to hide it properly. But there are always ways to detect a site that has a fake pagerank. I am not really sure right now if Google has taken any serious action against such sites or plans to take later on but right now it is on you to detect such sites before getting into any kind of deal (link exchanges, buying links etc) with them.

In this post, I will try my best to teach you how to tell if a website has a fake pagerank or not. Remember knowing this information can save you a lot of money since there are a lot of people that try to sell websites with fake pagerank.

Four Steps to Detect a Fake PageRank:
  1. Check PageRank using a PageRank checker tool
  2. Search: info:http://URL in Google
  3. Look at the URL listed at the bottom of the first result in green
  4. If the URL is different then the one that you put in first then it is a FAKE PageRank
I recently came across a website called John Doe's Blog that had a fake pagerank. So I will be using this site as an example. I do not want to provide a link to this website in this post because I do not want to give any backlinks to people who cheat others. The website can be found at "wearestjohns(dot)com". I will be referring to this site as JDB from now on.

Lets follow the four steps mentioned above in detail and see if JDB has a fake PageRank or not.

Step 1
If you go to any PageRank checking site then you will notice that JDB has a PageRank 6. Most people will just stop there and assume that JDB really has a PageRank 6.

Step 2, 3 and 4
Now go to Google and search info:http://wearestjohns.com. You will notice that the first result looks like this:


As you can see, the URL in green is different from JDB's URL. This means that the PageRank is fake. JDB has actually redirected Google(bot) to a high PageRank site such as the one shown in the image above and made it seem as if JDB has that PageRank.

Looking at a site with valid PageRank
My blog has a valid PageRank 4 currently and this is how I can prove it. Go to Google and search info:http://omarabid.blogspot.com and you will see this search result:

fake pagerank

As you can see, the URL entered before is the same as the URL shown in green. Thus, the PageRank is valid.

After reading this post, most of you will also be interested in knowing how to get a fake pagerank even if you do not want to use it. I will publish another post later with all the information you need to get a fake pagerank. So subscribe to my feed and stay up-to-date with all the latest posts.

Explaining The Technology behind Google Ranking

Google logoAll Google lovers get ready for some serious in-depth information about Technologies behind Google ranking. Google likes to share its information with its users and that's exactly what they did by publishing a post on their blog about technical foundation of Google Ranking.

I know that my last post was about Google Ranking as well but I also mentioned that soon their will be a followup post. I didn't expect it to be too soon but nonetheless, it's great! Amit Singhal once again provides us with some in depth knowledge about Google Ranking.

Search has evolved a lot in the past few years from "give me what I said" to "give me what I want." Google works hard to make its search results satisfy most of their customers if not all. To be good at their job, Google succeeds in understanding the pages, the queries and the users.

1. Understanding the Pages
You may have noticed during your searches that your query may not have been very detailed but Google still manages to provide you with excellent search results. For example, you might search for cool tech pc vancouver and still get www.cooltechpc.com even though the website does not mention it anywhere that they are located in Vancouver. Google manages to discover important information about a website even when it is not directly stated.

2. Understanding Queries
The second important technology that drives Google is their system that enables them to understand queries. Google has one of the best spelling checker, synonym system and an excellent concept analysis system.

A lot of users make the mistake of typing their queries incorrectly. But Google does its best to understand what the user really wants. For example someone searching for Kofee Anan is actually searching for Mr. Kofi Annan. Furthermore, someone searching for Kofee beans actually wants search results for coffee beans.

Moreover, a lot of times users do not know which words to use in their query. Some words may result in better and more useful search results than others. Thus, Google has a powerful synonym system in place to provide you with most relevant results regardless of what synonym you enter in the search box.

Furthermore, Google employs a concept identification system in its rankings. It does not only identify words in queries but also identifies concepts! For example, someone searching for new york times square search is actually searching for the famous church in Times Square, NY and not an articles from the newspaper New York Times.

3. Understanding Users
Google does its best to give its users what they really want. Results are provided to the individually differently sometimes. For example, if you search bank in Google US then you will get results with US banks but if you do the same search in Google UK then you will get links to Bank Fashion Line and UK banks. Search results in local Google are more specific and display what the user may really want.

Moreover, if users have signed up for Web History, then Google checks the users's past searches to see what type of results the user is mainly interested in.

A great example is when a user searches for chevrolet magnum. Magnum is a product of Dodge and not Chevrolet. Thus Google provides the user with results for dodge magnum.

This was a summary of what goes behind the Google Ranking. I hope you liked my version of the Google's post.

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Amit Singhal explains Google Ranking

Few days ago, Amit Singhal (Google's search researcher) published a post on Google's official blog called Introduction to Google Ranking. The post simply outlined three major factors that Google looks at to determine SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). In my opinion, every webmaster should consider these factors before optimizing their webpages.

According to Amit, Google's "state-of-the-art" ranking system is based on three vital factors:
  1. Best locally relevant results served globally
  2. Keep it simple
  3. No manual intervention

First of all, Amit talked about providing relevant search results to almost all queries. Google wants to make sure that all queries get good search results so that no searcher is left disappointed. However, Google does have search problems and Amit agreed to that. But they have a campaign called "No query left behind" which only motivates them further to do an even better job.

Secondly, Amit discussed the principle of "keep(ing) it simple". Google loves to be simple because that's how people want it to be. Amit talked about how Google has so much work to do when it comes to determine search rankings but nonetheless Google updates approximately 10 ranking changes every week. Their engineers don't play games; they know exactly what they are doing and why a page is ranked the way it is.

Finally, the third factor is "No Manual Intervention." Does Google actually edit the results manually? Amit answered this question by saying that internet is build up of human contribution and so are Google's search results. Google's famous algoritham heavily takes into consideration human contribution in order to decide SERPs. It is not manually determined by Google. Amit also said, that having an algoritham is beneficial since it is easier to make SERPs changes with it rather than doing them all manually if a problem occurs.

Before finishing, Amit mentioned that there will be a follow-up post about Google rankings so stay tuned. And he also concluded by saying, "
our passion for search is stronger than ever - and as a search researcher, I have the best job in the world :-)".

4 SEO Steps To Take After Starting A Blog

SEO BlogSearch Engine Optimization does not always have to be hard and only for technical gurus. Many times, it can be done easily for websites and blogs. There are several dimensions to SEO and some of them are a little more difficult than the others. Thus, the best approach for newbies would be to start with the easy ones.

Most of the times, bloggers try very little to optimize their blogs for search engines due to lack of knowledge. A lot of them do not even know the benefits of SEO but it is one of the most important thing if you want a successful blog. In this article, I will talk about first five steps that every blogger should take to optimize as soon as they create a blog.

1. Give it a title
The first thing that you must do after creating a blog is give it a nice title. Every blog must have a title. For example, you will notice that the title of my blog is SEO and Blogging Tips. The title is very important as it tells your readers and search engines what the blog is about. Make sure that your title is not something like "Mike's blog". Your title has to be descriptive and right to the point. Also, make sure that it is relatively short and easy to remember.

2. Add Meta Tags
Meta Tags are tags that are found in website codes that describe your pages to search engines. There are several types of meta tags. Some of them are important while others are simply optional. The most common types of Meta Tags are Description, Keywords and author. However, the ones that you MUST use are the first two: Description and Keywords tags. These two tags will provide an overview of your blog and list some important keywords relevant to your blog. You can create your Meta Tags from ORBlogs's Meta Tag Generator.

3. Submit your site to Google
Google has a service for webmasters called Google Webmasters that allows admins (webmasters) to submit their sites and blogs to Google search engine so that they can be indexed. It is very vital to get your blogs indexed because that will bring you a lot of organic traffic - traffic from search engines. All you have to do is use your Google account to log into Google Webmaster and submit your site. That's it!

4. Submit your Sitemap
Submitting blog to Google will help bring you organic traffic but it will not be very helpful if you do not submit your sitemap. For those who do not know, sitemap is a list of links of pages on your blog. This list helps search engines figure out which links to crawl. Submitting a sitemap will increase the chances of getting your pages indexed. You can use Google Webmasters tool again to submit your sitemap.

Once you have followed all these four steps, you will start noticing good results. However, if you want your blog to grow then make sure that you continue doing SEO and reading this blog!

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5 Reasons for starting a blog

Blogging has been around for quite some time now but it is only recently that it really got famous and caught everyone's attention. People from almost every age groups now blog around the globe. Even celebrities are jumping into it and blogging about their life. Surely it must have several benefits to be able to appeal to different people from different backgrounds and status. In this post, I will be writing about 5 reasons why people start a blog.
bloggingPlease note that I am not saying that these reasons are good for starting a blog. I am just stating some common reasons that I have come across. The primary reason for blogging should be your interest in some subject.

1. Referral links
I started blogging few months back on Blogger and absolutely loved it. My purpose of creating a blog, in the first place, was to have a place to make my referral links available to the world so that I could gain referrals. A lot of moneymaking programs on the Internet require you to get referrals to increase your earnings. Now, I no longer blog to get referrals. But I know a lot of people that have blogs with three or four posts that are filled with referral links. It is important to realize that you can only get referrals from referral links if you get traffic and you will not be getting significant traffic by having a blog with affiliate links only. However, I was able to get a lot of traffic and referrals by directly directing people to my blog through forums and other discussion sites. Best suggestion would be to have a regular blog with useful articles and some referral links on the side.

2. Expressing and Receiving opinions
Blogs were mainly intended to be personal when they first started. People would talk about how their dog keeps licking their feet or how school is boring. While personal blogging is not very popular now, there are still a lot of people with personal blogs. Benefit of having such a blog is the freedom to express your opinions. In most countries you can talk about anything you like on your blog. If you are lucky and talented then you will have some reliable readers who can provide you with valuable input.

3. Get money now
A lot of people first start blogging through personal blogs but then once they have enough experience they work towards monetizing their blog or create new blog(s) completely to earn money. While there might be some intention of blogging for fun, the main purpose of starting such blogs is to earn money. These blogs will involve good articles and information but deep under the blogger wants to earn money through his/her blog. Some methods of earning through blogs is by displaying ads and writing reviews.

4. Make friends online
Another reason for starting a blog could be to make more friends with similar interests as you. Success of a blog is usually a result of a whole community rather than just the blogger. This community includes the traffic that comes by your blog everyday and the readers that actually engage with you. Blogging can help you get a lot of friends online and by working together you can help each other in several ways.

5. Stay up-to-date
If you are blogging about a certain topic such as SEO then you have to remain alert and stay up-to-date with latest news about SEO. A main reason for blogging can be to maintain your knowledge about certain issues and/or to learn more about something. Blogging about movies might help you keep up with all celebrity news and information about upcoming movies.Blogging can be a great way to help you always keep on learning.

Now the main question is: what is your reason to start a blog? Comment to this post and let us all know.

5 Common Widgets That Make Your Blog Look Ugly

No site can be very successful without good traffic but getting traffic to your site or blog is very difficult. Traffic does not only depend on the content of the blog but also on the site or blog layout. Readers do not like to stay at a site for very long if they are not pleased with the layout. The exception is when the content is so good that the reader would be willing to ignore the layout. But that is a very rare case.
ugly widgetsI am going to ignore websites now and speak only about blogs. You would have noticed that lately there have been a lot of widgets popping up on different blogs. Some of them are quite good and useful while others are simply trash and ugly. You may have even used these latter types of widgets on your blog just to cover up some empty space but instead made your blog look congested and highly unattractive.

Here is a list of Top 5 common widgets that you should avoid:

1. Recent Visitors
The recent visitors widget by MyBlogLog is one of the most space consuming and useless widget but still a lot of bloggers like to have it on their blog. In my opinion it is a completely useless widget and it takes around 482 x 166 of your blog space. You can put a lot of other stuff in that space to make your blog look better. The Recent Visitors widget not only wastes space but it also has no use according to me. Why would you want to know which exact person visited you? Furthermore, only the pictures of registered users are shows so you only get to see few visitors. Also, the widget is so big in dimension and size that it will slow down your blog which will only be frustrating for your readers.
You maybe thinking that a lot of bloggers use this widget, including some really famous ones such as the owner of Jackbook but that does not mean that it is any good. Only use the widgets that will benefit both you and your visitors. If you need traffic details then you can simply use Google Analytics for that.

2. Chat Box
Another common widget that I think is waste of valuable space is the Chat Box. I am sure that you must have definitely seen one of this on several blogs. They are very common among newbie bloggers who like to chat with other bloggers. You will see different conversations going on about how their day have been and about link exchanges. That's it...nothing else.

The ideal reason of having such a widget is to communicate with your audience but why not just do that with comments on post or via email. If you really want to talk to your readers about other stuff then just have a contact page and provide your readers with your email id. It is as simple as that. By doing that, you will not only save a lot of space but also avoid your page from slowing down. And you don't have to worry about monitoring the chats either.

3. FEEDJIT - Live Traffic
I just started managing this blog. The previous admin who used to manage it had a FeedJit widget on the side. As soon as I took control, I got rid of that widget because I simply hate it. There is absolutely no point in using it. All you know is that you are getting visitors from a certain area through a specific source. Well guess what! You can find out almost everything about your visitors through Google Analytics. Also, you should include widgets that your visitors also like. This widget is not at all interesting to readers as they don't care at all about where your traffic comes from.
This widget can vary a lot in sizes but most of times its dimensions are approximately 600 x 200. Imagine all that space being wasted. Furthermore, the widget provides external links which can easily steal your readers.

4. News from the blogosphere
I still do not understand how this widget from BlogRush works. All it does is show links to a bunch of other blogs...that's it. I am guessing that it also shows your post links on other blogs and help generate traffic for your blog. Well if that is really why some bloggers use it then I think it is simply pathetic and will hardly get you any good results. You need to have better ways to get traffic. This blog has approximate dimension 315 x 175. That's a lot of space that you are dedicating to nothing!
I am sure that bloggers hardly get any traffic from but also think of all the external links that you are providing on your own blog. If a visitor even clicks on one of the links, you will lose that visitor. Will that visitor come back? Who knows? My advice is that you remove this widget from your blog as soon as possible and get some other good ones.

5. Technorati - How much is your blog worth?
Get ready for one of the most useless widgets of all times: Technorati's Blog Worth widget. What's the purpose of the widget? It simply shows an old guy's black and white picture and some numbers that are supposed to represent the value of your blog. I would love to find out why a majority of bloggers put this widget on their blog because I have absolutely no clue. The widget doesn't tell anyone how the blog value was calculated. Secondly, so what if your blog is worth $900? Does it even mean anything? You are not going to get that much money for your blog from anyone unless it is really famous.
If you have a good "blog value", then all that widget says is that your blog has something valuable. That's it! But then why is it that I see this widget on some blogs that have a "blog value" of $10? Why are those bloggers putting it up for?
In my opinion, this widget is simply for bloggers who like to show off. It is a useless widget that means nothing.

That was my list of Top 5 common widgets that make your blog look ugly. There are thousands of widgets that are like that but I have only included the most common widgets. For those who liked this post, I will also write about some good widgets to have on your blog to help you choose the right blogs.

Top 5 factors that determine PageRank

Most of you are probably familiar with Google's PageRank. For those who do not know a lot about PageRank, it is a ranking system by Google which ranks individual sites from 0 to 10...10 being the highest. Google's ranking system is probably the most used rank system on the Internet. It is used by advertisers to determine the importance of a page they want to advertise on. It is used by domain buyers and sellers to determine the value of a website. Furthermore, it is also used by common people to determine the popularity of a web page.

pagerank joke
Note: Some site owners might see "N/A" when they check their Page Rank. This means that your site is new and that you would have to wait till the next Page Rank update to get your page rank.

Without any further delay, lets start with the Top 5 factors that determine PageRank. Please note that the factors are not ranked in any particular order. Fifth factor may not be any less important than the first factor!

1. Backlinks
You would have noticed that websites have a "link" section and blogs commonly have a "Blogroll" or "Friends" section. Why is that? It is a technique to increase your Page Rank. If site A has a link to Site B then according to Google, site A is voting for site B. The more the votes a site has, the higher the page rank will be. One important thing to note is that not all links/votes are worth the same. If you get your link on Google (highly impossible) then that will impact your page rank greatly compared to your link on a cheap new blog. Thus you should always try to get backlinks from sites that have a higher PR than you or have at least the same PR.

2. Traffic
It is important to have high amount of traffic coming to a website in order to have a good PR. It is highly unlikely that a site with low PR will get a lot of traffic but there are sometimes when that happens. Most of the time, good PageRank and high traffic go hand in hand. So if you want to increase your PageRank then you would have to first increase your traffic through different marketing techniques. I would not elaborate any further on this factor since I think it is very obvious.

3. Keywords
Keywords is a very broad term when it comes to Search Engine Optimization but what do I really mean here? Keywords are a set of words that describe your site. For example, my blog has keywords "SEO", "Marketing", "Blogging", "Moneymaking" etc. Your site may have something else depending on your content. Keywords at different places have different importance. You can place keywords in URL, title of your main page, description meta tag, headings etc. You would actually need to have a lot of knowledge about SEO to get this one completely. The first thing that you should do is add a meta tag description to your site or blog.

4. Pages indexed
This is also a very important factor when it comes to determining PageRank. The greater the number of pages indexed by search engines (especially Google), the greater your PR. To get your pages indexed, you will have to manually submit your pages to search engines. Doing this will not only help you get a higher PageRank but will also drive more traffic to your site.

5. Unique Content
Yup believe it or not, but content is extremely important. Do not expect to start a useless blog and get a high PageRank even after submitting your sites to search engines and getting a lot of links. This technique may have worked for some but it may not work for you. You must write unique and interesting content on your site or blog in order to have a good PR. Remember, if you keep writing copied content then it is possible that your site may possibly get banned by search engines completely and then you will be left with hardly any organic traffic. Furthermore, unique articles will encourage other bloggers or webmasters to link to your site or articles and thus will get you more backlinks.

This was my list of 5 factors that I think are most important when it comes to determining pagerank. One thing to always remember is that all these factors are interconnected. For example, if you write unique content then you will get more visitors and your site's popularity will increase which will help you get a higher PageRank.

There are tons of other factors that are useful in determining a websites's PageRank. If you think that there are some other factor(s) that are more important then the once mentioned then please express your opinion.

Image Source
More Info about Google Ranking

Top 4 ways to make your blog popular

popular blog

There are several ways that you can utilize to make your blog popular. However, it should be noted that using these techniques only won't get your blog a lot of popularity. You need to put your brain into work and work hard. You really need to believe in yourself and your blog. There are several blogs out there on the internet that earn more than websites. Your blog can do that too!

Unique Content
This is very important factor in making your blog popular. I am sure that you would have noticed that only blog with nice unique and attractive content are able to become popular. Who want to hear about broken watch? No one! Do not make all the entries on your blog personal. No one is interested in learning that your cat had a stroke today or that you missed school. Talk about something that is unique (but not too personal). Talk about stuff like "Similarities between Google and Yahoo's logo". This would be a great topic to talk about and would attract a lot of visitors. One example of great topic would be this one: "The 8 Least Intimidating Gangs in Movie History". Remember, readers want something different to read on the internet. This is why they would come to your blog.

A lot of people do not believe in this technique but believe it or not, this is one of the most effective technique to make your blog popular. Think about it for one second! You write good unique content on your blog, like I mentioned in Part 1, but then what? Writing unique content alone would not get you too far. You need to publicize your blog and bookmarking sites are the best way to do that. I have a blog and I am sure that 60% to 70% of the traffic that I get is from bookmarking sites. The most famous and useful bookmarking site would be Digg simply because it has the most number of users. The more users there are, the greater the chances of getting more traffic.

Another benefit of using bookmarking sites is that you gain significant number of backlinks from them in two ways. First of all, when you submit your article or post to a bookmarking site, you are giving your link to them which counts as a backlink to some extent. However, I am not sure whether the links are dofollow or nofollow. Secondly, Digg has an option of blogging articles. If someone likes your story, then they will blog it on their blog with your link. This will increase your popularity and provide you with useful backlinks.

You have to realize that your blog is just another blog in the everlasting Internet. No one is going to even know about it until you tell them about it directly. One of the ways to do this has already been discussed - bookmarking sites.

Utilize Forums and other Blogs
Forums are a great way to advertise your blog. You would have noticed that most forum nowadays have a "Review my blog" category where members pass criticism and appreciation to each other about their blogs. Join some of these forums and submit your blog. This way you will get some good traffic and if some of these members like your blog, they will even stick with it. You can also add a link of your blog in your signature at forums. If you are an active poster then a lot of people will be seeing your link and clicking it!

Another way is to actually go and read other blogs. Make useful comments at other blogs and that way you will attract readers and the owner of the blog to your own blog! I get a lot of traffic through this. However, make sure that you do not spam. Actually READ the article and make sure that the comments are useful and not annoying.

Give to take
So what do I mean when I write that fancy title in bold? Give and Take? Well it means that you need to give something new every few weeks to take (the traffic). So what do you give? There are several things that you can give away on your blog such as free products, coupons, designs or even links! I just experimented this idea and started giving away banners and free logos to my readers. I got great response and I had a lot of traffic in those days. I was giving logos and I was taking traffic! You should also have something like that on your blog because at the end of the day everyone goes home happily. Some ideas would be to have good contests or just give away whatever it is you are good at. Maybe you want to give free reviews to your visitors or free links! You can come up with several ideas if you think about what it is that you are good at and that you can use to your advantage.

This is a great tip and can get you a lot of traffic whenever used. However, make sure that you do not do this too often because that would just make it boring and also, make sure that if you start contests then you close them as well!

4 Most Useful Tips for Bloggers

bloggerI have been using blogger for about six months now. I have gotten quite used to it and have learned a lot. But I am still learning and I do not think I ever will (neither will anyone else). This guide is for all those dummies that just started blogging and are looking for good ways to make their blog(s) "pretty" or simply attractive.

First you need to realize that according to Web 2.0, the best way to make something attractive is to have it clean, organized and simple. These are three main things that you need to remember while editing your blog.

Step 1 - Choosing a good theme/template

You need to choose a theme...a good one. Do not settle for the sample templates provided by Blogger when you sign up for it. They are pathetic and will make you look incredibly lazy if you do not change them. Using those templates is like having the wallpaper that Windows gives you when you first buy a computer. You have to change it if you want to look modern in the Internet and blogging world. Where do you get these templates from? Search my friend, search. There are lots of good sites that give you free templates. If you need help then try using JackBook and eBlogTemplates. These two are really good sites for advanced good looking templates. Pick the one you like and make sure it matches the content of your blog. Do not pick the ipod templates if you blog is about cooking no matter how good it looks! Try to get a template that's simple and which has all the different stuff organized really well.

Also, remember that you do not want to keep changing your template every few days because there is a new template available that you like. Download a template and then promise yourself that you will stick with it. It's never a good idea to make too many changes in a short period of time.

Step 2 - Personalizing

Personalize your blog so that it does not look like any other blog. If readers come to your blog and think that they have seen the exact template before then they are most likely to think that you content is taken from somewhere else as well. How do you start personalizing your blog? Start first with the header. Add a simple logo or some image that goes with your blog. Also, add some type of description below the title of your blog. This is all very necessary. Furthermore, you want to add some ads to your blog. Do not add too many and make the whole blog messy and seem desperate to get some money. Remember that you need some ads to seem professional. Add the ads somewhere so that it looks like as if they are part of the content.

Step 3 - Adding useful "page elements"

Add little things on the side columns to help readers navigate. Some of these good "page elements" include archives, categories, recent posts and popular posts. These are important to make your blog look hot and happening. It also shows that your blog has several posts and that you are an active poster. Make sure that you do not add too many "page elements" or widgets to your blog. They are nasty if too many are used. Do not add a calendar or a clock. Readers have those on their computer and they do not need you to tell them the date and time!

Step 4 -Getting inspired

Look around at other blogs. It is always ok to get inspired from other blogs and sites on the internet. You can even copy some techniques but make sure that you do not copy too much and that if you do, then you give credit. Do not make this habit or else your blog will be a duplicate of other sites/blogs.

I hope you like all the information that I have provided here. I learned all this from my experience and from other people. Have fun blogging.