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Archive for August, 2007

So, what do you think? Like our new theme? I’ve been playing around with some different layouts for some time now, and I think I’ve finally got it finished. As much as I enjoyed the previous look, there are some good reasons why I felt it was time to change. Here’s your last glimpse at the old theme:

It was a free theme, so SiteFever wasn’t the only kid on the block with that look. Judging by the popularity of this blog in its first two months, I felt that it needed its own “brandable” layout.

I think you will find that this theme along with some other improvements I’ve implemented will greatly improve this site. Here’s some stuff I did:

I moved the site wide 468×60 ad spot from the center of the screen to the top right. This still allows the banner to be displayed at the top of each page while leaving me enough room to place a really sweet logo that Julien from TheWebsiteProfessionals.com helped me to create. There’s also room for some decent sized RSS buttons and popular articles without having to bump the main content down too much.

Although “whitespace” is a good thing, the old theme was letting a TON of space go to waste. I widened not only the content area but also the sidebar, which now allows room for two 125×125 banner ads side by side.

As you may already know, I really like to push for reader participation on SiteFever, so I have done quite a few things to help. In addition to removing the nofollow attribute from the comment links, MyAvatars plugin and the top commentators plugin, I also added the subscribe to comments plugin which allows you to receive automatic email notifications when somebody replies to a topic you left a message on. Also, Brian’s threaded comments plugin allows you to reply to specific comments rather than having all the comments being grouped together, which will be a big help especially with the larger number of comments we have been seeing on SiteFever. To top things off, you will also notice that I added the recent comments plugin, which displays the most recent comments in the sidebar.

I decided to move the recent MyBlogLog avatar box down to the footer because as some of you already know, MyBlogLog can get a little goofy a few times a week and take a while to load- or not load at all. I did make the avatar box bigger so it will display more recent visitors than it did before.

There are some other tweaks I did to the site to make it load faster than it was- or would have with this theme. I will write a post on what steps I took to decrease my average page load time by almost 40%. Anyone who owns a website or a blog should check back to see these tips because speeding up your page load time is something that everyone should want to do.

As much as I might have thought this redesign was necessary, I am anxious to hear what everyone else thinks about the changes here at SiteFever.com. Please let me know what you think!


28 people had something to say. What do you think?

A few days ago, HMTKSteve brought to my attention that he believed there to be big differences in what AwStats and Google Analytics report when it comes to your website traffic. I decided to take him up on the offer of installing Google Analytics on SiteFever.com to see what it came up with. After 5 days, here are the results:

 

For August 25-29, Google Analytics reports 1,785 unique visitors to SiteFever.com while AwStats shows 2,244- a 25.7% difference.

As for the pageviews, HMTKSteve seems to be correct when he said that Google will give you a much more accurate pageview count because AwStats will count every PHP page requested as another view. For the five days I tracked, Google reports 6,343 total pageviews which comes out to an average of 3.55 pages per visit while AwStats shows 141,293 pages viewed which would average out to just under 63 pageviews per visitor.

I believe that you will find discrepencies with any traffic stats program, so maybe the real truth lies somewhere in between these numbers. After performing this comparision, I believe it would be a good idea for everyone to track their website from more than one source. If you’re interested in using Google Analytics on your website, you can find out more from http://google.com/analytics. I would love to hear your findings from using Google Analytics on your site, if you do so already.

Another statistic I wanted to share with everyone is how many people have downloaded my 22 page PDF Blog Traffic Made Easy. After being released for only ten days, over 600 people have downloaded the article! I wanted to take a second to thank some of the blogs that I noticed talking about it:

1. http://apatheticlemming.blogspot.com/2007/08/blog-traffic-made-easy.html
2. http://internetmarketingsucks.com/blog/2007/08/21/even-free-stuff-requires-a-sales-page-and-testimonials/
3. http://www.mikaelrieck.com/blogging/let-the-world-know-you-have-written-a-post/
4. http://rugjeff.com/552/building-a-powerful-blog-from-the-ground-up/
5. http://www.dailywebideas.com/free-resources-to-increase-traffic/
6. http://muiomuio.net/e-books-gratis/ (Portugeese)
7. http://bloggersjourney.com/blog-traffic-made-easy/
8. http://www.bluejar.com/blog-traffic-made-easy-by-sitefevercom/
9. http://www.antphilosophy.com/ebooks/faa-succes-med-din-wordpress-blog-fra-dag-1/ (Danish)
10. http://www.groundfloorseo.com/index.php/blog-traffic-made-easy/
11. http://www.intelliants.com/blog/articles/featured-how-to-build-traffic-to-your-blog-33.htm
12. http://www.selfemployedblog.com/blog-traffic-guide-worth-reading/


14 people had something to say. What do you think?

Seems like just about every popular site has its clones- MySpace, YouTube, Ebay, Amazon and now Digg.

Pligg is a PHP script you can install on your web server which enables you to operate your own “Digg clone” site. Although still in its beta stage, the script seems to be pretty stable at this point.

Alvin Phang of GatherSuccess.com is using this script on his newly released site CatchLive.com. CatchLive has a very nice, clean layout and is easy to use. I also noticed that you do not need to register or sign in to vote for your favorite articles on CatchLive.

Although CatchLive does not yet attract the massive traffic of other social networks, you can use these smaller sites to your advantage because it is not nearly as difficult to appear on their front page. It probably won’t crash your server with thousands of instant visitors, but if you use them enough, chances are it will bring a few hundred unique visitors to your blog without much difficulty.


3 people had something to say. What do you think?

It’s the end of the month and you know what that means- stats time! 

If you read my PDF Blog Traffic Made Easy, you would already know that one of my short term goals for SiteFever is to encourage commenting. The first step I took in this endeavor is by removing the “nofollow” attribute from links within the comments. I noticed some surprising results. The chart below represents the daily number of comments on this blog. Check it out:

Take a wild guess as to what date I removed the nofollow attribute. It was on August 22. Within one week, the daily number of comments on SiteFever rose 716%!

You may be thinking that some sort of change in traffic caused this commenting explosion, but that doesn’t seem true. My daily unique visitors have been increasing by about the same amount the entire time.

Whether this change is a direct result of removing the nofollow attribute or not, we may never know, but the results do seem to point in that direction. In efforts to continue additional commenting, I will be implementing some additional features to this blog in the near future, so stay tuned!


10 people had something to say. What do you think?

Since removing all ad networks from SiteFever.com, I have received a few e-mails from people asking me how they determine a fair price to ask from advertisers for their own blogs. To put it simply, only charge what you would be willing to pay for the same service.

Ask yourself what information you would like to know about a blog before you decided to spend money for a little space of your own. Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Google PageRank
PageRank is a ranking system used by Google to determine a site’s popularity on a scale of 0-10, with 10 being the best (and extremely rare). To verify a site’s PageRank, you can download and install the Google Toolbar, or you can use third party verification services such as DigPageRank.com, which will show you a site’s PageRank as recorded at multiple Google datacenters. It will also notify you if the PageRank is a suspected fake.

2. Alexa Rank
Alexa is a service which provides third party estimations of a website’s visitors, reach and page views. Rank is measured from the millions all the way to #1. The lower the number is, the better. You can check a site’s Alexa rank by downloading the Alexa toolbar, or just visiting Alexa.com.

3. Technorati Authority/Rank
Technorati measures a blog’s popularity based on how many other bloggers are talking about it. The authority measures how many different blogs have talked about you while the rank measures your popularity as compared to everyone else’s authority. The higher the authority and the lower the rank, the more popular the blog is. You can check a blog’s Technorati stats by searching for it from Technorati’s homepage.

4. RSS Subscribers
The number of RSS subscribers a blog has is a measuring stick for reader loyalty and interest- the more the better. The only way you will be able to know how many RSS subscribers a blog has is if the blog owner decides to share this information with you, many times relayed through services such as Feedburner. Just be sure the number reported is in fact true. There are sneaky methods blog owners will use in order to fake a higher number of RSS subscribers. I touched on one of these methods in a previous article I wrote.

5. Blog Comments
The whole point of advertising on a blog is to get your name out there. A simple, sure-fire way of checking a blog’s popularity is looking at how many comments are made by its visitors. If a blog shows great stats but nobody ever comments, the domain name could have recently been purchased from someone else, or the blog could simply just not be as popular as you thought. The more comments you see on a blog, the more people will be looking at your ad.

6. Unique Visitors/Page views
Check to see if the blog owner reports their average monthly unique visitors and page views. This will give you an idea of how many people would see your ad and how many times it would be shown. It may be a good idea to ask for screenshots of the traffic reports to be sure the numbers are valid. Even though any image can be “touched up”, it’s still a good thing to ask.

Since the above six stats are things you would be interested in knowing before you advertise on a blog, you can be sure that your visitors will want to know the same. It may be a good idea for you to setup an advertising page where you can report a summary of your current site’s statistics. Then, take an honest look at your blog’s statistics and ask yourself how much you would be willing to pay to advertise on another blog with the same stats as yours. There’s the key to discovering how much you should charge for advertising.

Monitor your blog’s performance very carefully and specifically work on the areas that need an extra boost from time to time. By doing so, you can be sure that you’ll find your advertisers soon enough- unless they find you first!


2 people had something to say. What do you think?

I just wanted to pass along a page I found tonight which I thought was halarious:

http://www.polyice.com.nyud.net:8080/

Seems like there’s too many people out there with time on their hands (and Photoshop skills) I wish I had!


5 people had something to say. What do you think?

I know there are a few days left in August, but I wanted to go ahead and give you an update on the in-house income report for this month.

The in-house advertising didn’t start until August 19, so there is really only ten days of income to report. We’ll see how we do in September with a full month to tally up. So, here’s the breakdown:

Sitewide header banner – $250
Site review – $50
125×125 sitewide sidebar ad – $40
In-content text ads – $180
200×200 in-content banner- $70

Total income: $590

Total ad impressions: 26,763
Total ad clicks: 234
Average CTR: 0.87%

The ad with the highest CTR was the sitewide header banner with a 1.80% CTR. My goal is to do all that I can to increase the average CTR on this blog to at least 2%, although much of that depends on your ad.

I’m sure when given an entire month to calculate, we will reach our goal of $1,000 per month without using ad networks or affiliate links. This sure beats the $6.78 received for the entire month of July using AdSense and Kontera!

Don’t forget that you still have two more days to take advantage of matched deposits for advertising on SiteFever.com.

Since I removed all ad networks from this site, I have seen a lot of talk going around from bloggers who are interested in doing the same. I strongly encourage you to give it a try! Just be sure to set a fair price for any ad space you offer.

As a side note, I am currently rounding up some contest sponsors to give out some valuable stuff on SiteFever in the near future. So far, the sponsors I’m talking to are willing to offer prizes such as software, t-shirts and some nerdy gadgets. If you’re interested in sponsoring a contest on this site, please contact me.

On September 1 I will post July’s traffic stats, so stay tuned.


13 people had something to say. What do you think?

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