Thursday, February 19, 2009

How To Drive A New Card Blog

On the verge of 100,000 hits, and the one year anniversary of SCU, I thought I would give a little back to the community. When I started this blog, at first I was too arrogant to think that I would have to drive traffic to the site. I thought through linking message board sigs and youtube vids, that people would just come and check it out. Then, when they came, they would stay due to awesomeness. Yeah, that was a pipe dream.

See, a lot of questions I get from new bloggers ask how they should start their site so that people will come. Ill tell you, its a long time and a lot of work that you will have to put up with. People criticize Mario, Chris, and others because they get stuff from the card companies, but if you saw how much work they have put into their sites, maybe you would think twice about complaining.

The first thing you should consider is a good title for the blog, I know, no brainer. Since there is already about 300 "cardboard" titled blogs out there, you might want to try something new unless you are poking fun at that fact. Make yours stand out because otherwise, it will get lost in the evergrowing fray. Avoid titles that contain words like "Mania," "Mayhem," "Addict," or something like that because most people will just judge your blog according to title. My first few blogs on other subjects all had variations of those words, and I realized that I just sounded like a tool when I couldnt deliver. Ill be the first to admit, my blog title sucks, but the initials form a cool acronym like a university (an unintended benefit). Sorry if I am criticizing your up and running blog's title, Im just trying to help.

Next, you may want to buy a .com, because its that much easier to remember than Its just one of those things that isnt the end all and be all of Card blogging, but it can help. Plus, its like 10 bucks a year, and its cool to have a .com. Just dont go making it your first and last name. Blogger can load to a go-daddy .com site pretty easily, so that may influence the next decision.

Blogger and Wordpress are probably the two most popular blogging engines out there. From my experience, Blogger is much easier to use, but has a ton less features than Wordpress. If you have never run a site before, you may want to go with Blogger, because even I chose wordpress at one point, and all it did was confuse me. Then again I am a loser at computer knowledge and at life, so dont take my word for it. If you like the look of Mario and Dave's blog, send them an email and ask them what they think of wordpress.

Once you actually start it up, there is are a few rules that you need to abide by in order to drive traffic to your site. First, post at least once per day. If you want a blog that gets a lot of visitors, post a lot, because it puts you at the top of a lot of link lists, and it gives your readers something to check back for. Secondly, if you are going to post once per day, make sure its relevant content. Originally, it will be easy to think of topics because you havent covered anything. However, to pull stuff out of your ass, three times a day, 365 days a year, is really fucking tough. Trust me. Third, dont copy another blog's shit unless you are prepared to link. It is a huge turn off, and though you may sound like you know what you are doing, people talk, and you will not make friends quickly that way.

Another important thing you have to remember, is that design of your blog makes a huge difference. If the layout is too complicated or too weird, people wont come back once they visit, and wont stay long when they come. If you look at mine, Mario's, Dayf's, and others, they are very simple designs with a simple layout. There is not a lot of stuff on the page besides the text. We also have pretty noticible banners at the top, and though mine went through some changes, it was always there and bold. Contact Paul at Sports. Cards. Life. and see if he can make you one, he is really good at it, and he is a really nice guy. He made mine and I couldnt be happier. Offer him some stuff for his services too, you know, as something for the effort.

After you have a few posts under your belt, start sending those emails. Send them to every single blogger that has a link list on the side. Try to penetrate non-card blog sites, as they have a lot more traffic, and can help you in finding people who wouldnt normally come. If you find someone that will add you to their site, be sure to return the favor, because those bloggers you are emailing function on the same thing you do. Then, when you post, you will be updated on their lists as well. Thats also where your catchy title comes in, because if yours sucks, they wont add you, or if they do, people wont click. Also, participate in the blog bat arounds, not even a contest. There is no reason not to, and its a free link that will get you traffic from people who wouldnt normally see your site. It gives you a showcase to display your skills, and people are very interested in those.

You may also want to submit to sites that have a lot of sports blogs as a community like Ballhype, Yardbarker, and stuff like that. They wont get you much traffic, but they will help somewhat. Also, get yourself a sitecounter so you can gauge your visitors and how many you are getting per day. Make sure you also have a few RSS buttons from google and yahoo so that visitors can add you to their feeds that they read daily.

As you move through the weeks on your blog, link your older posts as they come up in the topics you discuss, and also dont be shy with shamelessly plugging other sites. The more you help other people, the more they will help you back. Even if they are cold hearted assholes like myself, a link always warms my fuzzies.

I would say, from my personal spying on other people's sitemeters, that using blogger's picture uploads is a good way to get traffic. When you add your pics to the site that way, google links to them, and people search and come to your site when they find your image on the engine. I know a lot of sites that get most of their hits that way.

If you find something that everyone would enjoy, a good breaking story, something like that, go on a message board and link it. Sites like blowout cards forums and freedom card board will get you a lot of visitors if a link is interesting enough for people to click. This also means having your site in your signature on those boards so people can see the credibility before they click. Be sure to remember that everyone on a message board usually thinks that message boards are the best source for info, while bloggers think blogs are. Regardless of the truth, dont be aloof.

A big plus is commenting on other sites. The comments should automatically link to your site, but dont pimp it like a site whore. Contribute insightful things, and dont, under any circumstances, act like JC. Its a huge turn off and we see right through it. The more good comments you leave, the more people will click on your name, and come to your site.

A hugely important thing is to have a personal contact on your page. Give your readers a way to contact you so that if they have a question or a comment, there is a place to send it. Constructive criticism is key, so that is the avenue to accept it.

Lastly, controversy sells. If you have a gripe, write about it. People say all day long that my Beckett posts drive them nuts, but those days have the biggest traffic because people want to see what the comments are, or the like. Be sure to give commentary, and people will come. If you have constant "card of the day" type posts because you cant think of something to write about, we know you got nothin and I, for one, will stop coming. If you want to do card of the day, keep it off the main blog and create a link.

Thats about it, if I think of others, ill be sure to add them. If you have a suggestion, dont be afraid to comment.


  1. Congrats on the milestones. Nice job.

  2. Congrats on 100,000 hits! I prefer WordPress to Blogger and I have the complete opposite opinions of yours on the subject. I think that WordPress is easier to use but Blogger has more features. Go figure...

    I agree with most of your tips, except urging people to write a post per day. I'd rather see a good quality post once every few days than a throwaway post everyday. I think that a lot of bloggers are starting to feel pressure to post once per day, and the quality of their blog suffers, making me want to read their blog less.

  3. Nice man new to this blogging stuff just started one anyway but can u do a BB GB?

  4. 100,000 hits? That's easy with your skills. Try doing it with mine. Kidding. Congrats man.

    I would add one more thing though on starting blogs. If you start one, make sure your banner is spelled correctly. Otherwise you come off as a complete douche.

  5. Well you lucked out as someone who is a complete douche without spelling the banner wrong.


  6. Gellman - Congrats on the 100,000 hits and thank you for helping me get readers when I started my blog.

  7. haha wow. Piling on to self-deprecating is usually off limits. But here I expect nothing less. Well played!

  8. I think for bloggers starting out you need to post at least once a day to get your name out and to show people what you can do. Once you're established, then you can space it out a little more. But for me personally I think a blog's a lot more interesting if they're posting every day.

  9. Great post! Another tip I heard for aspiring bloggers is to write down 50 ideas for blog posts. If you can't come up with 50 things you want to say, then wait until you have 50 ideas or some other number but you get the idea. I can't tell you how many dumb blogs I wouldn't have started if I had followed that advice.

    About the "write 1 post everyday", I think when you are first starting out it is quite important because it takes you a while to find your voice. Once you do, blogging is like talking. Then I think you can filter out and only write posts that are interesting and not just filler. My two cents...

  10. Ashley, I like the 50 things idea for sure. Great idea for new bloggers.

    Heel, you know you are my favorite douche in the world though.

  11. Gellman, congrats on the big 100,000!

    I agree with posting at least once per day. If I post three blogs per day for example, I know at least one of them is going to reach one reader.

    Also, great post for new bloggers. I was planning something similar as well but you beat me to the punch!

  12. I was laughing the whole time I wrote that. No worries. The 'ZING!' thing kills me.