Blog Updates: July 2009

July 22, 2009 Posted by Tyler Cruz
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It’s been nearly 3 months since I last gave an update on how I’ve been evolving my blog.

These blog post updates are continuing to become less frequent because I believe that I have my blog set up pretty much the way I want it.

However, as usual, I do implement a small number of modifications to my blog so here is a list of the changes and improvements I’ve made during the past few 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 try to 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 over 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, my RSS has pretty much stayed around the same, although last week I did hit a new record of: 2,232

39I’m really beginning to fall behind some of my friends now though:

  • ZacJohnson.com: 7,608
  • WinningTheWeb.com: 4,120
  • JonathanVolk.com: 2,645

Design & Code Changes

Added Twitter Section

Nearly two months ago I finally joined Twitter. As a result, I added a new Twitter section to the right column of my blog, located underneath the RSS section. I added a Twitter counter (from TwitterCounter.com) and link to my Twitter page and made the Twitter submenu image myself.

Made all Blog Links Spawn in New Windows

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. However, a few months ago I decided that was stupid logic and since then have began to convert to spawning new windows for external links.

Made Footer Links Spawn in New Windows

In addition, I also made the Merendi Networks Inc. and Reality Hosting links at the bottom footer of the blog open in new windows as well.

Improved Contact Form

I’m using a rather old contact form plugin for my contact page (why WordPress doesn’t offer a built-in contact form is beyond me) and while I still like it due to its simplicity, it did have a few annoyances which I decided to finally fix myself since the plugin is no longer supported by its developer.

Basically, I improved the plugin to properly display the error and success messages in alignment with the rest of the page (it used to be appear flush against the side) and enlarged the message box so visitors could easily send me longer messages without having to constantly squint and scroll.

Blogroll Changes

Added CashTactics.net

Kris Trujillo from CashTactics.net contacted me a while back to see if I was interested in a link exchange. Since his blog is directly related to the making money online industry, has over 2,000 RSS subscribers, and often serves up some good news posts, I was happy to accept his offer.

Removed SohaibThiab.com

I finally removed SohaibThiab.com from my blogroll. While I usually entertain all blog link exchanges for life, I will remove them if they become inactive. In the case of SobaibThiab, he had only made 4 posts this year so far so I had to remove it.

WordPress & Plugin Upgrades

Upgraded WordPress from v2.7.1 to 2.8 to 2.8.1

I always like to keep up-to-date with the latest WordPress versions to help protect myself from any security or bug exploits. What sucks though is that it was only yesterday when I upgraded to 2.8.1 and then I found out that 2.8.2 came out today.

I still do all the WordPress updates by hand (as opposed to the automatic upgrading) as I trust that method better and also have to modify a few other things by hand whenever I upgrade WordPress anyway. I’ll upgrade to WordPress 2.8.2 within a few days.

Upgraded Akismet Plugin from v2.2.3 to v2.2.4 

Even though it’s one of the few plugins that comes built-in with WordPress, it’s still one of my most beloved and used to combat comment spam and so I’m always quick to upgrade this plugin when one comes out.

Removed TLA Plugin

To be honest, I can’t remember when I last used this plugin, but I was cleaning out some of my old plugins 2-3 months ago and found this one still installed. The TLA plugin was for Text Link Ads and was supposed to monetize my RSS ads which it never did (I think I made maybe $5-6 from it).

Upgraded MaxBlogPress Ninja Affiliate plugin from v1.7.3 to v1.7.5

Finally, I upgraded the MaxBlogPress Ninja Affiliate plugin from v1.7.3 to v1.7.5. This is an awesome plugin, and while it’s not exactly cheap, I still highly recommend it.

Advertising Changes

I started getting a lot of Paid Reviews and Paid Plugs during May and June – so many in fact that many people started to get really angry about them. As a result, I increased my price of them from $200 to $225.

However, this didn’t seem to have an affect on slowing down the demand and so recently I increased the price again from $225 to $250. This latest increase seems to have stopped the strong demand for them so I don’t think I’ll need to make another increase until at least 2010.

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: July 22nd, 2009 under Blog Related  

22 Responses to “Blog Updates: July 2009”

  1. Enda says:

    Hi Tyler,
    Thought you said it was a “small number of modifications” :) There’s lots there. I like reading these type of posts on others evolving their blog as it gives an idea of what’s going on ‘behind the scenes’ and I appreciate the work that goes in. As you say yourself the blog is looking very well but it’s good to see you’re constantly working on improving it anyway.
    Enda

  2. Hmm.. Your wordpress upgrading tasks could be highly minimized if you install Wp Automatic upgrade plugin. very handy!! saves a lot of time!

  3. Dean Saliba says:

    It is always a good idea to spruce up your blog every now and again.

    I use TLA and I make about $20 a month with it. While it continues ot bring in money I’ll keep using them.

  4. Hey Tyler..I was wondering if you do link exchanges for websites. I will contact you through the contact for to find out and give you the details of my site.

  5. I fell behind with the RSS Feeds against some of my friends as well but then again, I promoted my blog a lot less and oddly enough the subscribers keep increasing.

    Jay

  6. MLDina says:

    Sharing your updates with your readers is helpful- it can convince them that even the small stuff can make a big change. I like the improvement of links opening in new windows. I think it’s helpful for readers and for bloggers. Great job!

  7. i really interest to be your quest blogger . you can check my blog whether i qualified or not .

  8. Sounds like everything is going well for you, I would be glad to be a guest blogger. What kind of content are you interested in? My site is Stocks on Wall Street and you can read some articles to see if your interested. Good luck with your quest.

  9. Moni Go says:

    If that you call small Modification then i am not able to think what are big ones :)

  10. I see that your ever increasing advertising rates are still going up :) Congrats to you as it seems to be working!

    As for spawning links in new windows, I would have thought you would do this on day one. It just helps you and the others actually.

    -Mike

  11. It’s good to see that you’re continously working on your website to make it better for your readers. As for your RSS count, I would not worry too much about it. As outlined in a TechCrunch article (http://www.techcrunchit.com/2009/05/05/rest-in-peace-rss/) it’s on the verge of dying and you should be focusing on improving your Twitter following.

  12. Online TV says:

    You’ve made many changes to your blog. It is a good thing that you keep updating your blogroll, because it brings the readers appreciation, when he clicks on a link from your blog, and gets what he expects from it. And congratulations with the rss subscribers record. having 2232 readers means that your posts are highly appreciated by your readers.

  13. tables says:

    Good stuff. Glad to hear you’ve been able to keep bumping up the prices for the reviews. More $$ is always a good thing!

  14. gurtey says:

    wow…a lot of changes in your blog…keep blogging!

  15. Mr.Choice says:

    Aren’t guest bloggers supposed to cause blogs to fall? It is hard to accept guest bloggers when they are likely to spam blogs with unoriginal content.

  16. You should always be trying to update the blog every few months. Good job on all those subscribers!

  17. used tires says:

    I really like reading your blog update posts Tyler, congrats on your continued success, looking forward to reading more =D

    Till then,

    Jean

  18. generic says:

    Yes! wow…what a lot of changes in your blog…keep blogging!

  19. tiffany says:

    Your wordpress upgrading tasks could be highly minimized if you install Wp Automatic upgrade plugin…

  20. [...] 2009 Posted by Tyler Cruz Paid Advertisement It’s already been over 2 months since I last gave an update on how I’ve been evolving my [...]

  21. Thought you said it was a “small number of modifications” There’s lots there. I like reading these type of posts on others evolving their blog as it gives an idea of what’s going on ‘behind the scenes’ and I appreciate the work that goes in. ;)

PeerFly

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