Recently bloggers have asked me questions about how to do various things on their blogs so I'm answering these questions in a series of posts over the coming month or two. If you're new to blogging or to reading blogs and wonder how some of these things work, I hope this is enlightening, read it and pass it on. If you're an old pro-blogger with years of experience, sit back and feel superior in your knowledge and then leave a comment that might benefit the rest of us newbies in this wonderful thing called blogging.
1. What is Technorati? Technorati is a blog search engine that explores approximately 62.9 million blogs (as of this posting), then sorts and ranks them based on how they link to one another and how popular they are.
2. How does it help my blog? If you are part of Technorati, then people who go there to search for blogs on a particular topic can find your blog, bringing you more traffic.
3. How do I join? It's easy enough, go to this link here, fill out the information and then "claim" your blog. Just follow the steps.
4. What do I do next? Add Technorati tags, also called social bookmarking, to your blog posts. This means manually adding the html to each post and tailoring tags for each post. Go to this page on Technorati and scroll down for various ways to generate the code. Then, once installed, if someone clicks on one of those tags it will take them to Technorati and list, according to most recent activity or "freshness," blogs that use those same tags--another way to draw readers.
5. What kind of tags should I use? Well, that really depends on two things: what you're post is about and what is popular. An example of a "tag cloud," showing popular tag words, can be found on this link here, the larger the word, the more popular it is.
However, just because a tag is popular doesn't mean you should jump on the wagon with the other 8,390,465 blogs that use that tag. For example, "parenting" is a very popular tag, so when you use it you are competing with an enormous number of blogs. "Motherhood" is still popular, but not as well used, so it may be a better option, as it means less competition for you but still a lot of search possibilities.
Here is a page at Technorati that lists its top daily searches. Keep an eye on what's popular and then tag accordingly and wisely. I will often tag with "Alaska" and "motherhood" because they're popular but not too popular. Go to this page on Technorati and type in "Alaska" in the search box and see how it works.
When you're ready to post, first go to Technorati and do a search using possible tag words and see which might work better, just make sure that whatever tags you use do apply to your content. There's nothing more annoying for a reader than to waste time searching for something that's not there.
Finally, be careful. As my friend Lori at Fun Play Dates found out, tagging a post with "fun playdates" may bring up video blogs you don't want to be associated with.
6. How does Technorati know when I've updated my blog? If you use blog services like Blogger, Moveable Type, Typepad or Wordpress then you are set up automatically. Your blog "pings," or notifies Technorati every time you publish if you allow it to do so. In Blogger this is done by going to your "Settings" page and selecting "yes" under "notify weblogs."
If you aren't using one of these services you may have to ping Technorati manually every time you post, which is also easy to do. If you have questions go to this page on Technorati and it will walk you through the process.
7. What are Technorati favorites? Once you have an account with Technorati you can pick blogs to be added to your personal favorites list. There are two ways Technorati ranks blogs, first by the number of incoming links and second by how many times the blogs are "favorited." Here's the list of 100 Most Favorited Blogs.
If you want to facilitate your readers marking your blog as one of their favorites go to this page on Technorati for the code to paste in your template, making a button on your blog for your readers to click if they want to "fave" you.
If you want to see if you're listed as a favorite you can go to your blog's main info page on Technorati, once you've joined, and near the top of your info page are two tabs, one marked "Favorited By." Clicking on that tab will show you who has favorited you. As an example you can see who has favorited me by clicking here.
8. How can I find out my Technorati ranking? Go to the Technorati home page and type your URL in the search field and click "search." Technorati will give you a ranking compared to 62.9 million of your closest blogging friends. You will see how many blogs link to you and the number of links they give. Give it a try before going on to questions nine and ten which constitute the Big Secret.
9. Why does this matter? Well, I'm not sure it does, my blog doesn't get as much traffic from Technorati as it does from Google, but the theory is the higher your ranking, the greater your visibility, and if you're trying to build your blog, every little bit can help.
10. How can I improve my Technorati ranking? I get this question the most and I love answering it because it's so simple. Remember I said your ranking is based on linkage? Technorati records every link to and from its blogs and updates the number regularly. The more blogs linking to your blog, the higher your ranking.
This means you need to join blogrolls such as Christian Bloggers, Blogging Chicks, Crazy Hip Blog Mamas, etc. whatever fits your blog and niche. You need to be commenting on other blogs because every time you do your name becomes a link back to your URL. You need to be spending as much time as possible leaving your little bloggy footprints in the blogosphere for Technorati to find.
But it also means you need to have great content, writing posts that are worthy of being linked to, and focusing on providing information that others will want to connect to.
Be patient, it does take time. When I started blogging seriously and looked at my ranking I was around 100,000 but three months later I'm at 2,500. Remember the higher you go the slower the progress because competition gets stiffer and other bloggers are collecting links right along with you.
Does this help? Leave me a comment with more questions, advice that I've missed, or an indication whether this was helpful. If it is I'll offer more Blogging 101 tips next week. If not, it's back to the recipes for me.
Technorati tags: Alaska, tips, blogging