Tuesday, December 27, 2005

My Favorite Blog Posts in 2005

I'm going to list the my favorite blog posts I've read this year, the ones that were most helpful to me in running my website businesses. This is an entirely personal list, and might even leave some blog posts out, but it's been a long year. Anyway, if these posts are helpful to you in your affiliate marketing career, then I'll have done something worthwhile this year:

1. How Does Google Collect and Rank Results?

This isn't a blog post, but it was pointed out to me in a blog post from Aaron Wall's excellent SEO blog. I consider myself a reasonably successful search engine marketer, but this article gave me a new perspective on how the search engine process works. One of the best things that Aaron does with his SEO book and blog is increase the amount of context from which you're doing your SEO work in. It reminds me of Charlie Munger's investing approach. He uses a variety of mental models that combine to make you a better search engine marketer, instead of going into a lot of detail about how many links you need and how to do keyword research.

2. How Not to Pick Out a Domain Name

Great post from Aaron again, about how bad some of the domain names are out there, and how to avoid making the same mistakes when buying your own domain name. Can you brand an affiliate website? Hell yeah. (My answer, not Aaron's, but that's why it's relevant to this post.)

3. 10 Tips for Training a Link Developer

This is especially useful in a way that the author never intended. It's useful for learning how to do your own link development. Last night an affiliate marketer I know asked me for advice about one of his sites, and how to improve the conversions there. I told him that I'm pretty much a two-trick pony, and the only advice I ever give is "get more links and write more content". That formula is pretty simple: links + content = traffic. More traffic = more conversions. The post above will help you with the links part of the equation.

4. Content Creation Ideas

If the formula for success in this industry is links + content = search engine traffic, then item # is essential reading for the links advice. But Jim Boykin's post about creating content is pure gold for the content creation advice. I don't have a single site that I couldn't use his list of ideas on, at least a good portion of it.

5. Writing Content

Darren Rowse has a whole category of posts devoted to writing content, and I've included a link to the category here, because I think it's so important. Great stuff in this section, especially this post: 20 kinds of blog posts.

6. Don't Hate on Reciprocal Links

I've learned more from Andy Hagans and Aaron Wall this year than from any other bloggers. Andy's post about reciprocal links is excellent, and it explains exactly what are good and bad reciprocal links clearly. Andy's a BIG fan of one-way links, so I was pleasantly surprised when I saw a post from him defending reciprocal links.

7. Optimal Titles SEO Case Study

This post taught me how to get down and dirty about testing my theories and assumptions regarding what the search engines like and don't like. In terms of putting together a testing methodology, the post above, along with these posts are essential reading:

Push those search engine experiments past their normal boundaries.

That about wraps it up, except for a link to one post I made about a poker blogger's post here: The Ultimate Secret to Making Money with Affiliate Programs. It's the best thing I wrote all year, and the post that inspired it, The Ultimate Secret to Winning Poker, was the single best thing I read all year. (My post was actually good enough to get linked to from Aaron's SEO blog, which made my entire year.)


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