Navigating the Blogosphere

A few points to cover here today for all bloggers and site owners. The main theme here (related to the recent Columbus Day holiday) is navigating the rough waters of blogging and blogs in general.

First off, Monetizer mentioned 5 favorite blogs here which deal with Money Making, PPC, affiliate programs, marketing and better blogging. They are inspirational, but shouldn't be consider the ultimate blogs or moneymaking law. There's a ton of blogs out there on the subject of blogging better, SEO, making money, affiliate programs, advertising, etc etc. There's plenty of people out there who are creative and have great unique ideas for you to consider. So don't stop at just a few blogs who may be considered "top in the game", because you may very well find some of the hidden gems on lesser known blogs. Most likely if you blog, you also enjoy reading others' work. Get familiar with as many related blogs as you possibly can, and engage in discussions and comments with the blogs and their authors. This can help yours grow by either receiving link love, comments back, featured posts or new network connections.

Now in terms of your blog's navigation, is your blog up to par? Can you easily find your way around your various categories, various posts, blog topics, contact page, home page, about page and other important spots? Most of the time the answer here is "no" or you could make things easier or better to navigate. Monetizer knows it firsthand. You make blog entry posts and you decide "hmmm.. this one needs another new category". You end up with 100's of categories making it tougher to organize them into concise ways for a reader to find their way around. All is not lost though.

Keep in mind when planning a blog you need to keep it as organized as possible. You want readers to find other posts you've written, so don't keep them hidden. You also want some of your best areas and entries on display. John Chow even discusses why you need a "top posts" or "popular posts" area prominently displayed on your blog. In fact, take a look at the organization of his blog or Darren Rowse's Problogger.net sometime. They've ensured that you're "attacked" from all sides of he blog, top, right side and bottom, with different and popular spots to check out on their blogs.

Put yourself in the reader's chair, assuming if you really enjoyed one post on a blog site, you'll want to poke around for more cool stuff there. One of my favorite ways to provide this is to create a drop down menu on the sidebar. Use it to list out your topics as linked options, list specific pages and more. You can use the EchoEcho.com's link there to create customized code after you input your links and titles for the menu options. The site will give you a piece of Java code and HTML code to use in your template. This will make for a nice, neat way of getting around your blog, and could earn you more page impressions, subscribers, ad money or referral signups.

Another idea I recently thought of implementing is "Last 25 Posts" or "Last 50" or even "Last 100 Posts" section. You could do this by creating a single blog entry page and then adding Feedburner RSS Buzzboost code onto it. Set it up to display 25, 50 or 100 RSS fed headlines on that page by altering the Feedburner code. The "How to" for modifying that Buzzboost feed display is found on the Buzzboost page of your Feedburner account. Make the "Last 25, 50 or 100 Posts" page one of your earlier blog entries, and have it linked to somewhere prominent on all your blog pages. That way you won't have to update the page yourself, and a reader could easily click on this page and select from what they may be interested in and continue to return back to that section for more.

Keep the navigation of your blog always in the forefront of your mind. It's an essential part of blog/site design. A reader may unexpectedly show up and not really like the post they just found. It happens. However, what if another blog entry title captures their eye? You may just gain a new fan from implementing a strategic way of attracting their attention elsewhere, causing them to navigate to a new area.

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