GetRicher.in – A new blog for everything about money

I am going to move all posts about money, personal finance and investments into a separate blog – GetRicher.in. A site which will help you become richer – than your friends, neighbours, co-workers or even yourself compared to your earlier years.

Apart from writing about what I learnt from handling my money (mistakes I did), I will also be writing about good investments that one can do, good stocks and mutual funds that one can put their money in and also on saving more by paying less taxes.

So if you want to earn/save money, head over to getricher.in, subscribe to the posts by email/RSS.

What will happen to Blogial.com

I don’t have any idea on what to do with blogial.com right now. I will just have this blog open for few more months and then remove it. I will move some of the other important posts to my personal site and will just suspend this page.

The domain is registered till next year, so if I can think of something by then, will use it. If nothing comes up will just let it expire.

 

Why your bounce rate is so high and how to fix it

Whenever one starts a new blog, one of the few plugins installed first is for tracking the website stats on Google Analytics. Google Analytics does a great job of tracking so many metrics about your site’s users like number of visitors, traffic sources, demographics, etc. You can embed the analytics code in your themes, but its better to use a plugin and I use the Google Analyticator for that.

In Google Analytics, there is one metric which is pretty important in telling how long a user stays on your page before going off to another site. It is the Bounce Rate and it explains how quickly a visitor ran away from the page as soon as he landed. Normally pages which has no useful content to your reader has a high bounce rate.

bounce

Let me explain with an example. Imagine you have a blog about some new programming language and a user searches for, lets say “hashing passwords in language X” and you happen to have a post which teaches exactly that. The search engine points the user to your specific page, user comes to your site, reads the post (you do explain it in detail, right?), tried your code and is happy to see it works. Once he is done coding (it took him just 5 minutes to finish it with your help), he closes the browser tab and goes home happily.

Now you, as the blog owner, would expect that Google Analytics would show 5 minutes as the visit duration, but you would be shocked to see that it is marked as 0 seconds (yeah, that isn’t a typo) and bounce rate as 100%. I hear you say, “WTF? That is impossible”.

Unfortunately, that is how Google measures bounce rate and the reason they cite is since the user didn’t go to any other page or perform any other action during the visit it is technically a bounce. Google also has a solution for this particular problem – using something called Event Tracking.

And all you wordpress blog owners, can fix it by installing a simple plugin, conveniently named “Reduce Bounce Rate“. It is pretty simple and doesn’t even have any complex settings page to confuse you.

Once activated, whenever a reader comes and stays on your blog reading stuff, the plugin regularly (every 10 seconds) gives a shout out to Google Analytics saying “Hey, this awesome reader is still reading my stuff. Don’t count him as a bounced visitor”. Result: Your bounce rate and average visit times improve considerably and showing you the true numbers.

So, make sure your blog has this plugin if you use Google Analytics for statistics. Of course all this works only if your blog has awesome content – so go there and write some now.

How to display the author profile in WordPress Twenty Twelve theme

When I installed the new wordpress site for Blogial, I used the default Twenty Twelve theme and it looks great for a starter theme. It is a no-frills theme and doesn’t have all the fancy drag and drop customizations available in other premium themes.

This is good enough for now (see the 85% solution) and I would probably go for a custom theme when I get more readers. But there was something which was missing in the posts – the author name. After a bit of searching, I learnt that the Twenty Twelve theme does something smartly when it comes to displaying author names.

When a blog has a single author, it doesn’t display the author info – which does make sense. But after so many years of having the author name displayed below the post, I wanted it badly and at last I found a solution.

Basically, there are three ways you can get it:

  1. This is the most obvious one. Have another author register in your blog and make him write at least 1 post.
  2. Copy over the content.php file from twentytwelve folder into the child theme folder (twentytwelve-child in my case) and delete the && is_multi_author() in line 47.
  3. In your child theme’s function.php, add this line add_filter( 'is_multi_author', '__return_true' );

Just choose one of the above three options and you would have your author profile along with your profile image inserted at the end of the post. Remember, to change your profile picture head over to the Gravatar site and upload a new image for your email address.

How to make sure I blog regularly

Do you start a blog and write few posts in the beginning and then let it go into Limbo? Many of us do and I too have done this to numerous blogs.

With the new reboot of Blogial, I need a system which keeps me blogging regularly. For that I have a few rules which I plan to stick to as much as possible. You can also try these rules/suggestions for your improving your blogging.

Publish only one post everyday

I intend to publish only 1 post everyday – not more than one. Some may think why only one? Why not publish as many I could write? That was what I used to do whenever I started a new blog – try to publish as many times as I could. But I find it is not sustainable and it leaves many gaps (and sometimes abandoned blogs).

Also as I am not going to write about breaking news, I want to spread out the posts so that I don’t end up publishing 10 posts in a single day and then take a break for a month. I want to build up a small but great community of readers who want to read what I am going to write about today. Also this will free up my time for other projects I have.

Calendar_IconFor this, I am going to follow a something similar to Jerry Sienfeld’s “Don’t break the chain” technique. I have a daily calendar (the physical calendar, where one tears off yesterday’s page every morning) in front of my desk. I will tear each day off after that day’s post is published. I will also try to write as many posts whenever I have the creative juices flowing and set it to publish in the future so that I can enjoy my vacations without having to worry about the blog. Even this post was written before and set to publish in the future.

Write at least 5 blog post titles everyday

The hardest part of writing blog posts is to come up with an interesting subject to write about. If the title is done, almost half of the post is done. And if I think of at least 5 titles every day, I can think up of enough blog posts to fill a year in just 73 days. Of course it won’t be that simple to come up with 5 titles every day, but making an effort to record all ideas is what matters.

I have a notebook in Evernote with notes for each topic and writing down a list of all titles I think up. I even have written down about 12 titles already. Maybe it would help storing all the titles along with some outline of the content as drafts in WordPress itself. I need to try out both methods and see which is better and will stick with one.

Have a Regular Schedule

I want to try writing at the same time everyday. I still haven’t fixed a time of the day, but right now it is in the night after 11:30. I am a night owl and I can spend more time writing and fixing the post after everyone’s asleep. Of course, thinking about ideas would be done the entire day and writing the titles would would take maybe a minute or two.

Avoid looking at analytics and tinkering of themes/plugins

I don’t want to waste time looking at analytics and trying to perfect the themes or plugins. At least in the beginning, as long as the blog works and can push content I write, I am OK with it. Having a blog with great content that looks mediocre wins hands down over having an mediocre blog that wins design awards. This is called the 85% solution which needs a total change of mindset that helps improves your efficiency and I will explain it in tomorrow’s post.

This is the action plan I have right now for publishing regularly to Blogial. Do you have any other technique that works best for you?

The plan going forward

In the last post I talked about the history of Blogial and the mistakes we did. Now in this post I will talk about the future.

I don’t want to give up this site and domain as I love to write. I just need to realise that blogging and creating a community or blog network would need lot of time and effort to be invested.

So I am going to start out fresh with a completely new blog with 0 posts (if you count the last post: 1 post). This will be based on WordPress just like the millions of other blogs around the world. Writing good content today is better and more important than trying to build the perfect blogging application for tomorrow. Even if it meant not having an easier way to allow contributors on the site.

This blog will be about things that I am interested in – Entrepreneurship & Startups, Technology, Web, software programming, productivity, personal finance, etc.

There won’t be any posts about any acquisition that some big company made yesterday or the latest gadget that is going to be released next month. I don’t want this to become a news site, as there are plenty of alternatives already.

Instead there would be posts about how to write great software, building startups, marketing your products online. In general, I will write about how to becoming more successful, whatever be the definition of success you have.

The blog would be split into few topics like startups, productivity, money, etc. Not everyone might be interested in all the topics, so they can choose to subscribe to only topics that they want to. Creating new topics are simpler than creating a new blog in the old method and also less maintenance overhead.

So this is the start of a new blog with completely new content. I suggest you to subscribe to the RSS feeds for regular updates happening on the blog.

What went wrong with Blogial

Almost 5 years back I started Blogial along with couple of friends. We wanted Blogial to be a single place where anyone can come in and read and write quality content about any topic that interested them. No need to maintain a separate blog which most probably will end up being a zombie with no updates.

We thought when we reach critical mass with Blogial, there would be enough content published everyday that even occassional writers will want to write something. And the readers would also be able to subscribe to just the topics that they are interested in.

The way we setup the blog was by using the multi-site option in wordpress and a separate sub-domain for every topic that we were interested in. So we started by creating programming.blogial.com, india.blogial.com, oz.blogial.com, etc.

We did write blog posts, but whenever we wanted to write about a new topic, it was a pain in the ass to create a new blog, map a subdomain to it and make sure that there were enough content published in that new blog regularly. Soon we ended up having more number of blogs than contributors.

Things went into zombie mode on blogial as all contributors stopped contributing and spam commentors started flooding the posts with medicines which can make your body parts grow.

Blogial Django App tasksI wanted to solve this and began writing a custom blog application using Django. I designed it so that a blog post will be published into separate sub-domains which are based on the tags it is posted into. So if you tag a blog post as programming and web apps – it would be accessible from both programming.blogial.com and webapps.blogial.com.

I didn’t get a chance to finish the application as I ran into a problem of avoiding duplicate content being indexed by google which may decrease the search engine rankings.

Recently there has been a few other similar social publishing platforms like Medium or Svbtle which provide a common platform for multiple contributors to publish their content. I prefer the way Medium has solved it and makes it a great place to publish even if you will write only one or two posts in your entire lifetime.

Thinking about all that has happened the first mistake we did was not to continue blogging and creating enough content, as good quality content is what brings in visitors to a blog. And in the later half, I was too fixed on designing the perfect blogging platform instead of writing more posts.

Second was not marketing it properly and bringing in more quality contributors. At least with a few more contributors and a good community, we would’ve made sure that we didn’t let the blog go brain dead.

Anyway, I am going to reboot Blogial and have setup a very simple plan for it. I will post about it in the next post.