1 million page views as a technical blogger -- an IT software engineer's perspective

Firstly, thanks to all my followers and readers for your support in reaching this milestone of 1 million page views on the 29th Dec 2012 at my blog 650+ Java/JEE Interview and Questions. It has now reached about 3.5 million page views. Here are a few technical blogging tips based on my experience.

1. You need to be patient and keep at it

It took me around 9 months to go from 100 to 4000 daily page views. It was a gradual and slow process, and  I promoted my site via publishing articles at www.javalobby.com and helping out fellow professionals via industry specific forums like www.javaranch.com. Paid attention to Google key words that are not highly competitive and ensured that my contents had the key words to come up on google search for key words like "Java interview questions". The Google analytics revealed the following growth.

2. Sign-up to Google, and get the right tools 

-- track your progress and gather metrics (e.g. Google analytics) 
-- Sign up for Google adsense  to earn a small passive income.
-- Feedburner to enable your readers to subscribe to your bog feeds.
-- Google+ to network with your followers.

3. Pay attention to "repeated visitors" and "bounce rate" in Google analytics

Google analytics is a great tool to monitor how well your blog is doing. Two of the key metrics that I constantly look at are

1) The number of returning or repeated visitors. The slow and steady increase in this number indicates that you are getting some loyal readers who like reading your blog posts.

Jan 2012: 2,825 
Feb 2012: 4,007 
March 2012: 7,131 
April 2012: 10, 321
May 2012: 14,304 
June 2012: 19,122
July 2012: 22, 327 
Aug 2012: 24, 390 
Sep 2012: 25, 994

2) The "bounce rate" needs to be kept around  70% or less

You can't please everyone who comes to your site. Make sure that the landing page is interesting and informative enough to keep the bounce rate below 70%. If the bounce rate is high, then the problems may include irrelevant information, poor design or that your campaign is targeting unqualified visitors, too many advertisements putting people off, the content is not unique enough and freely available in many other sites, etc. You need to come up with an idea that will differentiate both your site and your content from others in the same niche. Not easy, but possible. For example, there are so many matured sites on "Java Tutorials" and very hard to compete on. The small number of tutorials provided in this blog are mainly to provide some familiarity with the sought-after technologies and frameworks.The real differentiating factor for this site is proving quality Java job interview questions with concise and easy to grasp answers.

4. Use the social media like "Facebook" and "Google+" to network and stay in touch with your readers.

It is vital to network and stay in touch with your readers and fellow professionals to open more doors. Help others and ask for feedback as to how you can improve the quality of your blog posts. Learn the problems faced by your followers and provide solution. Nothing beats the "word by mouth" marketing.

5. Sign up for "google adsense" and "infolinks" advertisements to earn a small pocket money

Don't place any advertisements until you get around 5000+ repeated visitors. Once you get enough repeated visitors you can sign up for "google adsense" and "infolinks" advertisements to be placed. Don't over do it as too many advertisements can annoy your readers. Generally, vertical and horizontal banners perform better. Set up custom adsense channels to see which advertisements are doing better. Don't expect too much from these advertisements, but can be a good passive pocket money in the order of $6.0 to $20.0 per 4000 page views.

6. The main reason for blogging is to open more doors in other areas

As an independent contractor, my blog helps me capture my experience and stay relevant.

Q. Why capture my experience?
  • Firstly, it will serve as handy notes for my future references.
  • Secondly, I can refresh or jog my memory prior to job interviews to provide a more convincing answers to open-ended questions like -- tell me about yourself? what are your strengths? give me an example where you applied your problem solving skills? what are your recent accomplishments?
  • Finally, my blog contents can potentially become an inspiration to self-publish my own book. Publishing my own book has never been easier with the advent of POD (Print On Demand) publishers like createspace.com, lulu.com, etc. 

It also gives me an opportunity to network. Some of my past and current employers have read my blog posts, and it has certainly helped me win new contracts. Also, it has improved my researching and written skills. In future, if you have a reasonable size followers, you could promote other products and services. You can increase your understanding of the fundamentals from relevant questions and intelligent doubts raised by your readers.

7. People don't have whole day to read your blog posts

So, it needs to be short and sweet. The headings need to be catchy and informative. For example, I have come across some catchy titles like "How I taught my dog polymorphism", "I quit my job today, and so should you", etc.  It needs to be laid out well enough to navigate between topics. Add diagrams and code snippets where applicable.  Consult the "google  key words tool" to optimize your blog titles for SEO.

8. You need to consistently post blog entries, and can't afford to be complacent.

The times that I had been a bit slack in posting new blog posts, my google search rank had dropped. Currently, I have about 135 blog entries. Post about 2 to 4 per week. Don't post multiple entries the same day. One entry per day. The way the SEO works for the blog posts, it not only looks at the backlinks and the key word concentration, but also the reader involvement in terms of the number of comments posted, site popularity with repeated visits, etc.

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