My, how things change? Last November, I was railing against Google and telling people to diversity their services… Now I’m finding that things have changed again…
A Quick Recap: Switching to WordPress MU
I’ve reset some of my categories as sub-blogs (or ‘channels’) on the InvestorBlogger Domain. I found that there were basically three or four types of reader, and so I wasn’t gaining much traction with any of my target groups. Hence, each channel is now its own ‘blog’.
One Blog: Many Channels
From the outside, it’s nearly impossible to tell that this is the case. I haven’t changed the theme unduly, or the plugins or the widgets. But as you click through the ‘blog’ you’ll find that each blog is beginning to take on its own ‘personality’. At the moment, I’m binding each blog together because there is strength in the shared roots: so the theme, the footer and header, and much of the sidebars are the same.
But as time goes on, more differences will start to emerge. One example: advertisements are mostly for financial products, so these will no longer be shown to users on the ‘blogging’ area. Other sidebar details will change, too. Eventually, I may break up the site into real blogs (either because they can stand on their own or they are pulling in VERY different directions). Since the switch in early August, there hasn’t been enough time to assess the impact on traffic any more than casually but early indications are showing an increase in traffic, page views, unique page views, longer times on the site, and a modestly decreased bounce rate.
The changes that I’ve made are currently difficult to make in standard WordPress installs, though there are several multi-blog plugins for WordPress that would achieve much of what I did here. I eventually decided to opt for a standard MU install, and expected a tough struggle. To tell you the truth, some things are troublesome, but I was able to solve nearly ALL my initial problems.
If you have a largeish blog, with weak traffic numbers, splitting your blog the way I have could be the way to salvage your traffic, create a new impetus and improve your own blogging. The route I chose with WordPress MU isn’t the only possible route to go: two or three WordPress installs would be perfectly manageable as well, a multi-blog with WordPress Standard could work, or choosing another multi-blog system like B2 evolution would allow the same privileges. One word of caution: don’t split your blog into too many parts, I initially thought I would have five channels, but it was just too much to administer at the beginning. But the great advantage of a multi-blog set up: you can easily expand past your initial setup!
I’ve been experimenting with ways to make InvestorBlogger stickier for some time now, and the sidebar features a number of small changes: YouTube Video, a Featurific flash gallery that shows some recent stories, and a Tag Cloud. The tag cloud itself necessitated typing tags for each of the posts, so for new posts and posts ‘moved’ to the new blogs, I’ve taken extra steps to tag everything.
SEO, Traffic and Google
Other changes include maximizing the impact of each article: I’m now adding SEO to each article, as well as the blog itself, through selective choices in the keywords. The plugin that I’m using is ALL-In-One SEO that allows each post to have its own post title, keywords and description in the meta details. Adding tags to the article itself is also helping. There’s no big effect on traffic yet, but it can’t but help traffic.
AdWords for Google
I’ve also been experimenting with AdWords, too, to see if I can draw extra traffic to InvestorBlogger. I do have several products that are free that I’d like to promote. It’s quite exciting, a little expensive, and frustrating to get CTR rates that are as low as mine. The best I’ve achieved so far is about 0.7%. I’m going to keep plugging away at the CTR to see if I can’t raise the bar. Steve has loaned me a wonderful book on how to use AdWords.
Adsense from Google
It seems that InvestorBlogger is no longer smart priced… How? Well, I’ve made three significant changes to the way Adsense is displayed on my blogs… I’ll be posting that soon, but for observant users, you will already notice the changes! But CTR rates and earnings are showing positive growth for the first time in ages, and they seem pretty stable at the moment, too. Sometimes less is more.
And finally, it seems the changes are beginning to pay off, even though my posting rate is now less than before. InvestorBlogger is now #9 on the top 10 finance sites on IzeaRanks! Wow! That’s incredible. It’s a minor honor! I’d like to be number 1, but I don’t see how that’s possible just yet. I would need to increase my pages by nearly 5 times! It could be done… but things are not ready yet!