Blog Updates – April 2009

April 29, 2009 Posted by Tyler Cruz

It’s been 4 months since I last gave an update on how I’ve been evolving my blog. These updates are beginning to become less frequent because I think that I have my blog set up pretty much the way I want it.

However, I did implement a number of small modifications since then so here is a list of the changes and improvements I’ve made during the past 4 months.

In these "Blog Update" posts I list any notable improvements, modifications, or milestones related to my blog such as new plugins installed, design changes, or new features.

However, I only list things here that I haven’t already announced or touched on in other posts.

You may wonder why I make these Blog Update posts, where I mention very small or seemingly unimportant improvements and modifications. Well, while they may not seem too notable by themselves, over time these small things can (and do) make a big impact. The key is to keep looking over your blog or site with a very critical eye and to constantly try improving it.

By simply making small improvements here and there, my blog has evolved by leaps and bounds since its genesis four years ago. So, maybe you’ll pick up an idea or two by reading my blog updates. Feel free to search for my past Blog Update posts to get even more ideas on how you can improve your blog.

New RSS Record

I used to do everything in my power to increase my number of RSS subscribers, and would even hold contests and giveaways in order to do so. However, that was about a year ago when I was focusing my attention more on growing my blog.

I then started getting into promoting affiliate networks and my attention shifted towards gaining referrals instead of blog traffic.

As a result, it took 6-months for my RSS to jump from 2,000 to my new record which hit this morning: 2,219!

32

Not the best growth, haha, and completely way off my goal of hitting 4,000 by the end of the year, but it’s growth nonetheless so I’m happy with it.

WordPress & Plugin Upgrades

Upgraded WordPress from v2.7.0 to v2.7.1

I always like to keep up-to-date with the latest WordPress versions to help protect myself from any security or bug exploits.

Upgraded Kimili Flash Embed Plugin from v2.0 to v2.0.1 

This plugin lets you embed flash files into your posts such as Camtasia or games. You can download the Kimili Flash Embed Plugin for free.

Upgraded Digg This Plugin from v1.0.4 to v1.0.5

I waited for this fix for a very long time – perhaps a year. Basically, it is a very important fix that essentially makes the plugin work again as it stopped working when Digg changed part of their site a long time ago. The plugin can be downloaded for free at http://www.aviransplace.com/digg-this-wordpress-plugin/. Beware though that it has very sloppy and outdated documentation.

Design & Code Changes

Modified Templates to Not Link Author if No Website Exists

I occasionally have Guest Posters post on my blog and I upgrade their account to Contributor status so that they can submit posts. When their posts are published, their names are linked from the top of the post to their websites as written in their user profile.

However, I noticed that if a Guest Poster doesn’t include their website in their profile or wishes to remain anonymous, that their name would link to my profile instead. To fix this so that it doesn’t link to anything when no URL is entered, I modified the single.php and index.php templates and used the following code where the name is linked:

<?php if (get_the_author_url()) { ?><a href="<?php the_author_url(); ?>"><?php the_author(); ?></a><?php } else { the_author(); } ?>

Source: http://codex.wordpress.org/Template_Tags/the_author_url

That fixed it.

I also edited the search.php template to modify the author link there as well.

Made Affiliate Links Open in New Windows

I changed the settings in the Ninja Affiliate Plugin so that affiliate links open up in new windows. I also started making all external links open in new windows when I write posts and manually enter links.

I used to never open links in new windows on my sites as I felt that if users really wanted to come back to my site, they’d hit back on their browser. I now feel that is stupid logic and have converted to spawning new windows for external links.

Added 3 New Categories on my Blog

This was a huge pain to do, taking a total of 3-4 hours. Fortunately, I was able to entrust Lisa with this task and so she did all the hard labour for it ;)

First, I created 3 new categories: "Guest Posts", "Contests", and “Affiliate Marketing”. Then, in order to make use of these new categories, all of the past posts from the very beginning of my blog were modified by hand to have their category changed (if applicable to any of the 3 new categories).

I have a total of 664 posts on my blog so this was no small task. But now that it’s done, posts are organized much better. You can peruse through the categories section midway down the right column on the site.

Advertising Changes

I increased the price of my Paid Reviews from $175 to $200. I started getting an influx of paid reviews (I actually have 4 in the queue currently) and so the price increase was warranted. Plus, I felt it was justified with 200+ more targeted RSS subscribers (that works out to $0.11 per targeted reader, which is really a bargain in this niche).

Guest Bloggers Needed

I’m always looking for more guest bloggers to occasionally submit posts on my blog. Why do I want guest posters? It’s simple really: there are times when I’m too busy to write a new post and could really use a guest post to fill in the gap. Since I try to post every day, having a few guest posts on file for when I need them is very useful.

I’m looking for good writers who can write about affiliate marketing, making money online, blogging, marketing, or web development and the articles/posts must be written specifically and exclusively for TylerCruz.com.

In return, you’ll have your name attached to each post which can be linked to your own website. This is not so much for backlinks as it is to gain a bit of exposure and traffic. I’m also fine with you writing a small blurb (1-2 sentences) plugging your own blog within the actual post, either at the very beginning or end.

In addition to having over 2,200 targeted RSS subscribers reading your posts, you’ll also get the benefit of receiving a lot of feedback from readers with the knowledge that you’re writing to a large targeted audience. And, of course, you’ll be helping me out as well :)

The way it currently works is once a guest blogger submits a draft, and when I don’t have time to write a blog post, I then publish the draft into a post on the site.

If you’re interested, please contact me with a sample post or two.

If I think your writing style and post-length is suitable for my blog, I’ll upgrade your account to Contributor status within WordPress, and you can submit a post whenever you’re willing!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below, subscribing to my RSS feed, or following me on Twitter.
Posted: April 29th, 2009 under Blog Related  

16 Responses to “Blog Updates – April 2009”

  1. You have done a great job keeping this blog going while having so many other projects on the side! I hope that you will find a couple of good writers who will help you lighten the work load.

  2. Greg Ellison says:

    Keep up the great work on this blog Tyler. It is always fun reading what you have to say and the different projects you are involved in. Thanks Greg Ellison

  3. Melody says:

    My rss subscribers have been a little schizo lately, so it’ll be nice to direct traffic with a guest post..

    Since I got a couple of interesting topics lined up, I might as well consider giving it a try..

  4. Luke says:

    I am still waiting for the MyBrute banner :P

  5. Melvin says:

    Well I would really love to try to make a guest post here in your blog but Im not sure if I would meet your standards. ;-)

  6. great milestone you have achieved on the RSS readership!

  7. KushMoney says:

    Congratz on the readership count. Thanks for the code, I was having troubles with that on my blog.

  8. I run a how to article website where people can earn money for writing.

    If you need someone for a guest post…I’d be happy to!

  9. cocacolya says:

    …useful plugin,i often use it

  10. Ummm… Tyler, I think the three comments above me are spam ;-)

    -Joe

  11. It’s great to see a blog update post, I have always loved these, looking forward to more of them in the future! :)

  12. You are raising your prices again! HMPH!

    -Mike

  13. thats nice.. i haven’t tried dat ninja affiliate plugin before.. may be i should give it a shot!

  14. […] July 22, 2009 Posted by Tyler Cruz Paid Advertisement It’s been nearly 3 months since I last gave an update on how I’ve been evolving my […]

  15. great milestone you have achieved on the RSS readership! _ I second that : )

  16. Derren says:

    wow, nice updates.

PeerFly

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