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Cooking up a storm

Before I read any column professing to make your life better I always check for credibility. If they're loving a book, I see if they've written reviews before, writes Meenakshi Reddy Madhvan.

tech reviews Updated: Feb 20, 2010 01:31 IST

Before I read any column professing to make your life better I always check for credibility. If they're loving a book, I see if they've written reviews before.

If they're talking about how to make your computer work better, they better know lots about computers. So, in that spirit, before I launch into your blog improvement for the day, I'm going to give you a set of stats.

I started my own blog a little less than four years ago, with about two regular readers - a friend and a boy I was briefly interested in. In six months, I had 1,500 hits. I honestly didn't think it was going to get any better. Today I've had 8,01,940 hits in , total, with an average of about 1,000 to 2,000 hits a day A lot of bloggers . get more, a lot of bloggers get less, I'm just placing myself so you know where my advice is coming from.

Thanks to the jump in traffic about three years ago, a lot of people asked me what it was I was doing to get so many hits suddenly I usually give them an answer in terms of content - I write solely about nonwork related things, so that appealed to many young women around the globe. But there were some things I did do just to drive traffic to myself. It didn't work that well. In fact, I got more hits once I stopped, but I'm going to begin from there, just in case you are luckier.

Method: • Begin with a simple stirring (over a medium flame, you don't want the trolls to emerge just yet) of your blog into many blog listings sites. People search these looking for new reading material, and your blog pops up. There's Desi Blogs (www.desiblogs.org), and this link (www.labnol.org/india-blogs/indian-bloggers.html). You can also join many webrings featuring your specific topic (Mommy Bloggers, Motorcycle Bloggers and so on). Also, make sure to list your blog on Technorati (www.technorati. com) so people can favourite you and increase your ranking.
• Next, add some ingredients. Everyone loves a comment and a well-written comment on a popular blog will get clicks back to you. Make sure you reply to all your comment in the beginning to keep up a sense of interactivity. People will then revisit to check what you said in reply to their words of wisdom.
• Add a few exotic spices. This is where your friends with regular Internet access come in. Tell them to add you as their favourite blog on Technorati. Try and make it to Technorati's list of most popular bloggers. This is a list a lot of people check every day so once you're on it, , you just have to sit back and watch them coming in.
• You're nearly done. Add a blogroll. I use Blogrolling (www. blogrolling. com), which gives you a button to put on the Favourites sidebar in your browser so you can just click on it when you want to link to a blog instead of having to go to the home page. One important thing to remember about Blogrolling though is to make sure each new page loads in a new page so people spend more time on your blog. You can do this by filling ‘_blank' in the ‘Target' field.
• Turn the heat on low and add a delicate tadka of a hitcounter. This is to keep an eye on where the traffic is coming from. It lets you moderate your incoming hits and monitor when you were most and least popular. I use Bravenet (www.bravenet.com) and a combination of Sitemeter (www.sitemeter. com) and Extreme Tracking (www.extremetracking.com). • Voila - your blog is done. Serve hot, with French fries and a glass of wine.

Meenakshi writes a blog at www.thecompulsiveconfessor. blogspot.com. If you have blogging related queries that you want answered in future columns, email her at meenakshimadhavan @gmail.com with ‘Blog Improvement' in the subject line.