Sunday, February 26, 2006

How to Become a Playful Primate


Came home from church to a pleasant surprise: I'm a Playful Primate again (at least for today!). Wanted to thank my many readers (okay, one reader) that noticed a few weeks back that I had evolved as high as #86 in the TTLB.

I'd given up hopes of camping in the Top 100 since I'd devolved into a Large Mammal after all the Best So Far award flurry subsided. So it's nice to know that I'm still a contender. LoL.

Although my original goal was to break into the Top 50 (and become like my hero, Basil) I was pleased that after "working my plan" I had reached a personal blogging milestone.

How did I do it? Well, if you're interested, read on. (If not, don't the let window hit you as you click through :-) For what it's worth, here's how to become a Playful Primate.

Prolegomena
1. Think of TTLB as a game (with occasional rule changes).
2. Define what it means for you to win and then play to win.

Equipment Needed (all free!)
1. A blog. Almost goes without saying. Blogger is good.
2. Use Site Meter. It tracks referrers and daily hits.
3. Now add your weblog to the TTLB ecosystem.
4. Join Technorati. Know who's linking to you.

Before You Play
1. Decide what type of blog you'll have. Are you a political blogger? Is yours a personal diary? Do you want to focus on humor, pets, religion, milblogging, etc? General blogs work, but most bloggers have a niche (or 3) they're known for.
2. Goes with #1. Try to define your purpose: Bloggin' Outloud is a humorous cultural commentary from a Christian perspective. This keeps me from blogging about everything which is just another way to blog about nothing in particular.
...Which leads to #3. Have something to say. Say it well. Write well. Spell check.

How to Play
1. Blog on a regular schedule. Post as often or as little as you want, but try to be consistent. The more traffic you want the more often you'll need to post. I was posting 3 to 5 times a day there for a while.
2. Visit and comment at other blogs that are similar to yours. Let other bloggers know you visit their site. Be truly interested in what your part of the 'sphere is saying. And respond kindly when others comment at your site. Acknowledge their visit.
3. To do this, join some likeminded blogrolls that you can truly participate in. You might notice that I'm on about 10 (some conservative) blogrolls. (This is where I feel I've gotten in over my head - I just can't keep up with them all!) But also note that I'm not on every conservative blogroll. I'm not on Blogs for Bush for example. That's because I don't like Bush. Although I did vote against Kerry in the last election. They're just not the same thing, btw.

Key Strategies
1. Join blogrolls. We already talked about that.
2. Participate in Open Trackbacks, like the OTA.
3. Enter lots of carnivals - but again, ones you believe in.
4. Connect via email with bloggers that you think might become friends. If they write back, they might be open. Build relationships, but honor anonymity. I still don't know who the Yak is! But I have talked with Dane and TWC. And ask advice from these folks. The Alliance is great for that kind of thing. Also, enlist the help of a niece. LoL.

Helpful Hints
1. Hat tip your sources. Like Outside the Beltway (Blogging Tips) and Right Wing News (25 Pieces of Advice for Bloggers).
2. Do something special to drive traffic. Like run an awards show, tag everything, use buzz words as google bait, have fun, learn to dance, skinny dip. Oops, getting off topic.
3. Solicit participation either through caption contests, questions, polls, etc. And promote yourself endlessly, but politely.

Some Self-Diagnostic Questions
1. Is your template appealing to the eye? More important: Do you like it?
2. Does your blog take too long to load? (Mine does, too many graphics.)
3. Do you have variety based on consistency? Something fresh but familiar.

Winning the Game
Do all the above and you'll break into the Top 100 eventually. Do it forever and you'll be bigger than Glenn Reynolds. Well, maybe. Hey, that's about it. Am I missing anything? Let me know. And let me know if this was helpful. (See, I'm soliciting participation even now!) BTW, thanks for helping me reach my goal of Playful Primate! lgp

Picture Source: Rainforestweb.org
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