Do You DoFollow? (Part II)

If you'll recall, the last post focused on comments - why they are important and why bloggers want them so badly...and comment responses - the different ways to let readers know you are reading their comments, and a few of the pitfalls to watch out for when choosing a method. This time we will focus on "DoFollow" and "NoFollow" - what each term means, and which one you should have. I know you've seen "U Comment/I Follow" button on different blogs. There are many variations of the button, but the most common one I've seen is the black and yellow button: This niftylittle button lets a blog reader know instanly which type of blog they are visiting: a DoFollow or a NoFollow. Yet another gadget...but what does it mean?? I'm going to try to explain this - to the best of my non-technical ability - without confusing anyone. Ready? Good - 'cuz this is important for all bloggers and webmasters. Promise.

Most blogs are NoFollow, by default. This is mostly to decrease the amount of SPAM interfering with all our lives. (I'll give you links to more information later, so chill and just read for now.) PageRank (PR) is important to bloggers and webmasters - it tells the universe how credible your blog is. PR0 is the lowest ranking, while PR10 is the highest. Most blogs/sites are PR3 or below - and you can count the number of PR10s on both hands. Adobe, Google, and similar sites are able to achieve a PR of 10...where most of us - even when a blog is as brilliant as The Queen Speaks - will be lucky to get a PR of 3. A PR3 means you are doing very well for yourself.

PR is also important in regards to where search engines "rate" you. Sure, backlinks are important in determining PR - especially backlinks from sites/blogs with a high PR. The same goes for DoFollow - it is much better to have a little love from a site with a high PR than it is to have quite a bit of lovin' from pages with a very low (or nonexistent) PR. (Funny thing is, I had a PR3 on The Queen Speaks for a long time - around 1.5 - 2 years...then I start posting more often, and doing things to actively promote my blog and make it better - and Google slams me with a PR0. What's up with that??)

Some of the PR game is left to the Internet Gods and whatever mood they are in when ranking your page...but there are some things that will definitely drag your PR down. On the plus side, there are other things you can do to make these same Internet Gods smile upon you, hopping up your PR.

In order not to confuse myself, I'm going to stick to what NoFollow/DoFollow means to you in the scope of comments and PR. So here goes:

Some bloggers choose to give readers who comment on their blog a bit of automatic lovin' - by making their blog a "DoFollow" blog. What is a "DoFollow" blog, exactly? A DoFollow blog gives you some bloggy love by providing a backlink to you when you comment. So basically, commenting on a DoFollow blog is better for you than commenting on a NoFollow blog...*IF* you are interested in increasing your PR and making it easier for others to find your blog in search engines (and therefore, increasing your traffic). If you are only interested in Grandma Phoebe and Aunt Sally reading your blog, then there is no reason to worry about whether your blog is DoFollow or NoFollow - or your PR.

If however, you want to increase your comments - which is a result of increased traffic - then changing your blog from NoFollow (which it probably is now), to DoFollow may be a good decision for you.
As a side note, it is important to realize that DoFollow only works when the name and URL are placed in a comment. If you choose to comment under your Blogger account (or any other account), you will not reap the benefits of leaving a link on a DoFollow blog. It isn't necessarily a bad thing - your comment will still show up. The only difference is, without using a name (usually the site's name) and typing in an URL, there is no link love given back to you for commenting. In an effort to reward those who comment on my blog, I have changed The Queen Speaks from Blogger's default of NoFollow. This is now a DoFollow blog - which is why I have placed the pink badge in my side bar. So comment away - and enjoy the lovin'!

This is only a quick overview of NoFollow and DoFollow. There are staunch arguments for having your site/blog one way or another - and further research really should be done before making a final decision.

You can read more about NoFollow and DoFollow at these websites:

(See? I told you not to spaz out, that I would give you more information!)

Wait! Please remember...I am only supplying information. And this information is being dispersed out into the universe as I understand it - which does not mean I'm totally correct. (Remember, I'm way non-technical!) I do this to try to help fellow bloggers - and I seriously advise you to do further research at the links I've provided (or your own) before deciding what to do. YOU are responsible for your blog - and all decisions regarding it. Please don't write me and complain that because of my information, your life is screwed. I won't know how to fix it. Hell, I have a hard enough time keeping my own life straight! xx

EDIT: There is a great article on another blog I would like to point out to you. For more information, please check out the post written by Nicolas Prudhon, DoFollow and NoFollow Attributes. It's definitely worth the read!

Comments? I'm Your Go-To Girl (Part I)

I love getting comments. To anyone writing online, comments validate that someone is actually reading what you've taken the time to write. Even if the comment emphatically exclaims just how much someone thinks you suck, comments are gold.

I wouldn't know about receiving comments of that nature, of course. Not because of my writing - noo. It's simply because I have the best readers in the universe!

Comments are important, especially for blogs. Why they are important depends largely on the type of blog, but there are also universal reasons why comments are valuable. Besides boosting the authors self-esteem, upping the blog vanity, and sharing your opinion with the world, did you know that by leaving a comment:
  • You are making it more likely that other people will comment as well?
  • You are increasing the chance the others will visit your blog?
  • You are adding credibility to the blog?
  • You are expanding your own online presence?
Although these are just a few examples of what commenting can do - and should be enough to make you want to get out there and comment! - there is one other major reason to comment, especially on your favorite blogs. You - yes you, silly - YOU hold some major influence...because a blog with comments tends to rank higher in Google's Page Rank. And if you love a blog - or find a blog that adds something to your life - why not show that writer a little love?

Some bloggers like to give those who comment on their blog some lovin' in return. Yes, there is the traditional reciprocal love everyone usually thinks of - by visiting the commenter's blog and leaving a comment in return. A lot of people even think that is normal blog etiquette. Others choose to email commenters privately - either to extend the discussion, to let the commenter know comments are actually read, or to thank them for takng the time to leave a comment.

Still others choose to reply to comments left by visitors in their own comment forum. This usually isn't due to laziness - instead this method is often utilized by a blogger in the hopes that commenters will see the blogger as a real person, someone even approachable, therefore encouraging people to comment even more. Another reason is to foster an environment of community, where ongoing dialog/discussion is welcome, even encouraged. Whatever method(s) a blogger chooses to respond to comments should be given some careful thought, because there are drawbacks to every reaction.

Usually, returning a visit to the commenter's blog, looking around and finding something you can add an intelligent comment to , is usually pretty safe - and appreciated. Keep in mind that some people feel it's an invasion to be emailed about a comment they left, others don't like to be bothered with an email responding to ever comment they leave. (Especially if that person leaves a lot of comments on many blogs.)
The problem for the blogger responding to comments with a comment on their own blog can sometimes be the reader's interpretation that the blogger doesn't respond - and is therefore rude. (Which you don't want!)

For a visitor to remember which blogs s/he commented on - especially while "blog hopping" - can be problematic. This is something I'm notorious for. As much as I hate to admit it, if I'm on a blog I don't often visit, I don't remember where I've left comments. That doesn't speak to the lameness of the blogger...not a bit. It screams to my own lameness - and lack of memory.

Stick around for part II of this article: Do You DoFollow?

SEO Speed Wagon

I crack myself up! That may be the dumbest title for a post I've ever come up with...but I still make myself laugh. [ahem]

Let's talk for a few minutes about SEO and why it's important for you. Which it is.

Why are you arguing with me? Stop it. You need SEO like Humpty Dumpty needs some glue. Like Gilligan needs a good boat. Like I need some polish on this old crown.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. In regular person speak, it's how well Google, Yahoo!, Alta Vista - whatever your favorite search engine - is able to "see" your blog. Since little tiny people don't actually live inside your computer (no matter what my older boys try to tell the Princess), search engines depend on keywords to determine what a site is about. The better the keywords are - or specifically, the more accurate they are to the content of your site - the more likely a search engine is to find your site when someone types in one of the keywords you've used. A quick example:

Your key words are: crafts, polymer clay, sewing, tutorials, giveaways, contests.
When someone types one of those 6 words into Google (for example), your site will be included in the results.
The trick to choosing good keywords is to use words general enough to catch the general traffic, but specific enough to allow people to know exactly what your site is about.

ART = good general keyword - but term encompasses a wide range
PAINTING = another good keyword - but when used on its own, are you talking about fine art painting - or house painting?

Using ART, PAINTING would be a better combination - if your site includes information about those subjects. It is extremely important to note that "keyword stuffing" is highly frowned upon. When you do that you are using popular keywords to attract a larger audience - but they aren't included in the scope of your site. Driving a large amount of traffic to your site is good - but only if you aren't tricking people in order to get them there. You can think of keyword stuffing like bait-and-switch. And search engines dislike this sort of behavior or manipulation so much, they can and will penalize you for it. So just don't do it.

So how do you know which keywords are both popular and pertain to your site? Because let's face it - unless you are writing for a very specific niche (like people interested in safely splitting atoms with the new, improved Atomahacker 5000 while cross-dressing in their backyard during a full moon) - you want to choose the most popular keywords possible. You may be writing great things about transfer techniques - but if your keywords are: copy, paper copies, ink copies - and everyone else calls it "transfer techniques", your site isn't going show up. Catching on?
There are several sites that exist to help you figure out what search terms are popular. (Did you know, for example, that the most recent update by Google - as of this writing - lists "syphilis" as a more popular search than "passover"??)

Here are a few great sites to learn more about SEO - and to help you discover which terms are most popular. (This information is invaluable.)

  • Google AdWords: Keyword Tool Great place to start
  • Wordtracker Free keyword suggestion tool
  • Google SEO Specifics relating to Google
  • Daily Blog Tips The link is to the post "Top 25 SEO Blogs" - but this is a great site for all sorts of info
  • Search Engine Watch This link will take you to the "What People Search for - The Most Popular Terms" portion of Search Engine Watch - but while you're there, be sure to take a look at the topics in the left side bar, under Search Marketing Topics - especially here and here. You'll learn a lot.
  • Google Zeitgeist An interesting compilation of resources
  • SEO Chat Has a tool to show you the most common typos for different keywords

As if this isn't enough for regular people to comprehend, there is also SEM, Search Engine Marketing. I didn't go into that here because even though it goes hand-in-hand with SEO, it is outside the scope of this basic article. If you want to learn more - or have a special interest in marketing, search Google for SEM. You'll find more than you ever wanted to know...and definitely more than I can understand at this point!

If you have any questions, please either leave a comment or email me directly.
Good SEO will help your blog or website climb in search engines
And a last point I wanted to make...I never, ever pay for any of this stuff. Almost anything can be found for free on the Internet, if searched for long enough. Granted, I give up some of the perks that come with paid accounts - but that isn't information I'm interested in right now. (I don't even know what most of it does!) Please don't plunk down money for website related info - except for someone to design your site, unless you're well versed in CSS or HTML, and know all the important tricks. (Good site design is worth its weight it gold!) There are lots of companies who promise to help you with SEO - for a fee. I'm not real sure what all these companies do for their fees - but for the regular website or blog, free is all you need. Look at it this way...if you only drove 2 miles to the store, twice a week - and never drove anywhere else - would you buy a Buick or a Ferrari?

Well, I'd want the Ferrari. But then, I'm the Queen. xx

This Ain't Your Mama's Marketing Tool!

While trying to return the favor of those who have dropped on me recently, I just came upon the best post regarding "all things Internet" I think I've ever seen. The article, The Ultimate Bookmark (for Online Entrepreneurs), was written by Jason over at BizBoink. Here is the purpose of the list - straight from the list author's fingers:
Learning to conquer the web can actually be quite easy, as long as you have the tools and resources you need to do it. Many aspiring internet marketers have no clue where to begin - they subscribe to more than enough feeds, buy overpriced books, and spend more time on forums than they do on their actual business.
If you are trying to establish an online presence, build your brand, get your name/brand out there - and into the hands of potential customers...If you are typing like mad, trying to figure out the best places to advertise, wondering which ad brings the biggest response, or just trying to figure out how to stop spending so much time on promotion/networking/looking around for the "new" and "hot" topics in your niche...this list is for you.

I cannot think of one topic Jason left out, or didn't cover thoroughly. Since I have been doing mass research on launching a new website (store), and spending a ridiculous amount of time trying to build my brand and come up with a unique "look" that people recognize...not to mention tearing out my hair in an attempt to build a solid following - I honestly thought I knew of all the "most important" or "top" sites that would help me accomplish those things.


I can't wait to explore some of the sites on Jason's list - and I'm super excited to see how utilizing those sites impacts my (upcoming) business.

Oh - you don't know about my new venture, The Crafty Queen? Well, I don't know that I would rush over and check out the poorly designed site right now (especially since it doesn't have any product up yet!), but you can bet I will announce the latest skinny here first. When there is skinny to announce. Which there isn't. At least for right now there isn't. But that is fixing to change. I will let my faithful subjects know about the exciting launch before I announce anything to the public. Der - I know enough to know you guys mean the I will notify you of the soon-to-be raging success of The Crafty Crown.

And I'm hoping the article over at BizBoink helps to blow my launch out of the kingdom. Or at least off the charts.

Loads of Royal Link Love

I would like to thank the following sites for dropping on me so often throughout the month of March. I appreciate all of you and hope my other readers take a minute to check out your amazing sites!

Pat's Encaustics - Art in the Wax

Silver Sachet ...for the love of Silver!
Silver Sachet

Lola's Diner

Theresa's Treasures

Sexy Old Broad

Autumnal Confessions & Sexy Advice

Alterity Art
Wii Mommies

Work at Home

John Wright Art

I also want to thank the truly amazing artist, John Wright. Every month he offers a giveaway on his blog for his readers. The grand prize is one of his gorgeous paintings - and 5 runner-up prizes of a signed limted edition print of the painting. I am thrilled to say I won a signed limited edition of this awesome painting:

Too Cold to Rest by John Wright
Thank you so much, John - I aspire to be like you in my painting. It won't happen, but that doesn't deter me! lol You are a constant source of inspiration to me. Thank you for sharing your talents with those of us lucky enough to have found your blog. You rock!

April Woot Loot

I think Woot Loot has been so fun, don't you? The only thing I don't like about the whole process is that I can't give every single one of you some Loot to Woot over at the end of the month. It's so fun to read all the comments and see everyone participate every month. You guys are inspiring me to make it bigger and better!

I am in the process of working with some amazingly cool artists and other creative people in order to expand Woot Loot and have a big blow out one month. As soon as the details are figured out, I will give you a little more information. Trust me, though...if even one of these fantastically creative and extremely generous people decides to definitely participate, you are in for a royal experience! (And just between us, I'm so not above filling these potential sponsors so full of tea, finger sandwiches and crumpets that they'll beg to participate in their state of royal overload and subsequent delirium!)
Starting this month, I'm going to switch things up a bit. There really isn't a reason why I've chosen this month...other than I feel like it. And well, when it's your blog - and you are the one giving stuff away (versus holding "sponsored" giveaways) - you can pretty much do whatever you want.

I'm super excited about April's prize...

Alphabetica is a wonderfully delicious book full of luscious pictures and an intimate look at an art swap Ms Perrella hosted/participated in several years ago. The artists featured are exciting, talented, creative, FUN. This book doesn't only appeal to those in the art world - or at least it shouldn't. Just a few of the amazingly talented ladies who contributed: Sarah Fishburn, Lesley Riley, Teesha Moore, Claudine Hellmuth, Lesley Jacobs, and of course Lynne Perrella. Pick up the book and the talent literally pours out, racing through your fingertips, sending this...this...palpable electrical stir of creative energy pulsing through your entire body.
Click on the pictures to enlarge them
Anyone who enjoys looking at art that falls outside the mainstream will enjoy this book. Anyone with a creative bone in their body will find something to love in Alphabetica. And certainly, anyone who wants to get into collage, book art, mixed media, or art swaps will fall in love with this book. I'm not quite sure how Ms Perrella forced so much information and goodness into 144 pages - nor how she did it in such a beautifully coherent way.
Artist: Judi Riesch
I've had it in my library for a long time - and it's one I never tire of. (You will receive a second copy from my personal library - never been read. Only opened to scan.) I refer to it over and over - for inspiration, sure...but also just to take in the unique qualities of each piece. For not only does Ms Perrella take the reader through the swap these talented artists held...but there is a virtual art class included in the book. There are in-depth projects listed - including instructions and items used - to provide assistance to the beginner, and a spring board of inspiration to the more advanced artist.
Artist: Karen Michel
You just can't go wrong with Alphabetica - if you'd like more information, click on the picture of the book cover to be magically transported to the Amazon site for Alphabetica. I'm sure this is a book you will go back to again and again - for many reasons.
ARTISTS (clockwise from top left): Lisa Renner, Lisa Renner, Judi Riesch, Karen Michel

As if receiving a copy of al-pha-bet-i-ca An A-Z Creativity Guide for Collage and Book Artists for your very own isn't reason enough to sign up for Woot Loot, there is more. For every 100 entries, I will add an additional prize. Notice I said ENTRIES - not ENTRANTS. So if 20 people choose to enter April's Woot Loot 5 times each, we're already at 100. Easy? Yes. Exciting? Totally!

I am keeping what the additional prize will be, a secret until we reach 100 entries. I will post what the additional prize will be if/when we reach that point. And I will continue adding prizes every 100 entries we have. So spread the word - the more who join the fun, the more prizes will be awarded. Doesn't that just make you want shout, WOOT?!

~ For one entry, leave a comment telling me how you found my blog. If you don't have a blog - or your email address isn't listed on your blog - please leave your email address in your comment. If I can't reach you, you can't win. Since I am giving away one of my own possessions or handmade creations - with nothing expected in return, nor do I get paid for this - PLEASE do me the courtesy of making it easy to reach you. It's frustrating to spend twenty minutes looking for an email address...don't make me sick the childebeasts on you!

(This must be done to enter Woot Loot!)

~ For one entry, follow me. It's easy! In my side bar, you'll see a box full of little pictures. Join us and your cool little picture will show up in the box, too! You won't believe how great your life will be, simply by becoming a recognized friend of the Queen's! It will totally amaze you! (If you're already a follower, leave a comment stating just that...and thank you!)

~ For one entry, Stumble this post OR "favorite" this in Technorati. To Stumble: Just click on the thumbs-up-in-the-circle icon at the bottom of this post. Leave a comment so I know you did. (I will check!)

~ For one entry: Place my lovely button on your blog. You know the drill - leave a comment (with the URL) stating you completed this option.

~ For one entry: If you recommend entering to someone, be sure to ask them to include your name. If that person leaves a second comment saying you sent them or they found out about April's Woot Loot because of you, both of you will receive an extra entry! (You must have entered prior to their comment or it doesn't count.)

~ For one entry: Leave a comment telling me what you would like to see as future Woot Loot. This can be totally extravagant, impossible, ridiculously luxurious - or it can be serious and totally possible.

~ For three entries: Blog about April's Woot Loot. You can use this link to make it easier, if you would like:
. Now...about this - don't make it a sorry entry. Come on - show some originality! Leave the link (or blog address) so I can check it out!

~ For three MORE entries: Write a poem about my whole mess on your blog. Just a quick poem about entering Woot Loot, my blog, royalty, or winning. For example, "Go and enter the Queen's Woot Loot, and while you're there take a look around - you'll see the royal family is nuts, and understand why the Queen was crowned!" - OR - "Check out this blog with the name of The Queen Speaks - enter Woot Loot, read some posts & learn new techniques!" Get the idea? Do NOT copy what I wrote. And don't be as dorky as I am. ** You only need to do one blog post. If you choose to write the poem, leave the link and you'll get 6 points! **
April's Woot Loot ends Thursday, April 30th at 11:59 PM MT...winner announced by May 3. (Why May 3? Because life always seems to get crazy on the first - and I hate not posting when I say I will!) I will email the winner and announce the winner on my blog - and the winner has 48 hours from the time my email is sent to reply. No reply within 48 hours means you forfeit the prize...and on we go to the next royal winner. This goes for each prize awarded. The first name drawn will be for the first prize offered, the second name is for the second prize, etc, until we reach the number of prizes given away. Questions? Email the Queen - the email button is on the side bar.


I want to give out lots of Loot this month - so spread the word!!

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