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
I’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.
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.
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.
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!