31DBBB Day 18: Creating a sneeze page for your blog

eslkidstuff.comThis is Day 18 of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, a group project 60+ of us bloggers are doing together in an effort to help each other become better bloggers.

The idea behind creating a sneeze page for your blog? Quite the opposite of spewing bacteria all over your friends, family and co-workers while wondering why no one says God bless you anymore, your blog’s sneeze page encourages your visitors to stick around for a while, hand sanitizer optional.

If you still haven’t installed a statistics tracker, today is a good day to get that done. Tracking the hits to your blog is the only way to know if these exercises are doing your blog any good.

Creating a sneeze page can be done several different ways, and if you’ve been blogging for more than a minute, you’re probably doing at least one of them.

  1. Your about me page is more than a mini-bio. Link to your favorite posts that tell your readers more about you.
  2. Create a page that lists the most popular posts on your site. For you WordPress users, there are plugins that will do this automatically, but why not stroll through your archives yourself? Link to the ones you like the best, the ones with the most views, and the ones that generated interesting discussions in your comments. Mix it up.
  3. When you use words like “yesterday’s post” in your current post, take the time to hyperlink yesterday’s post. Write your blog as though every single visitor is reading for the first time.
  4. Each post should be a sneeze post. Link your commonly used themes, references and cast of characters in each post. Tell us who you are every chance you get, and be interesting. Readers won’t read your blog for an hour without compelling content and easy navigation. Don’t bury the goodness.
  5. If you’re using a blogging platform that won’t allow separate, tabbed pages, you can use your sidebars just as effectively, but on a smaller scale. More of a slightly runny nose than a sneeze, you can still get your readers to click around your site by listing your must-read posts.

Discussion questions:

  1. What is your current method for getting your readers to stick around on your blog?
  2. Do you change your sneeze or sticky pages frequently or just kinda let them collect dust?
  3. What’s your way of knowing if anything you’re doing on your blog is working?
  4. Do you like cats?

The Extra Mile

A few other things you can do to take your blog, other bloggers, and this project even further today…

  • Reply & give other bloggers feedback on the little things they do.
  • When other bloggers include a link to a new article they’ve posted today, click, read, and comment on it.
  • Check previous posts in the series for new comments.
  • Tweet, share, & bookmark this post.
  • Please review the blog of Becky Beery (aka TiajuanaBecky), and give her some feedback.

Blogging daily about nothing in particular at freefringes.com and tweeting about even less as @hmx5, Erica Mullenix is a writer and special needs parent living in Texas with her three extraordinarily normal children and Lab mix pound puppy.

73 Responses to “31DBBB Day 18: Creating a sneeze page for your blog”

  1. Great post Erica!

    Time to put away my allergy medicine and get to sneezing.

  2. I just made a "Get Social" page for my blog to help direct my readers to other social sites and my website. I don't like the look just yet. Needs some tweaking.

    Today's post is an under 3 and 1/2 minute Vlog about Communicating to God.
    http://ronniespoon.blogspot.com/2010/05/communica

  3. And on a side note. If you do change your layout, remember to replace the code for Analytics. I neglected to do this and lost several days of tracking. UGH!!!

    I don't know if it is the same on WordPress, but on Blogger, you have to manually install the code in your layout HTML.

    • I think there is a plugin for WordPress if you upgrade/don't mind paying to get better service. Not sure how to manually install so why I don't use Analytics. That is a good reminder though to replace the code. Thanks

  4. God Bless you :)
    Great post.
    For me:

    1. I put my category pages in the navigation bar
    2. Top posts and random posts in the side bar
    3. Related posts and top posts in the category at the end on separate posts
    4. Every month I do a top posts of the month
    5. I try, at least once a week, to create a post that references other posts

    Sounds like a lot, but there is strategy in there that will keep people on the blog as well as help me when I am not sure what to write about.

    I prefer cats to dogs; it's their Independence nature that I like ;)

  5. Awesome post thanks!
    1) uh….yeah haven't really thought that through. according to my stats tracker very few people click on anything once they show up.
    2) In my newness to blogging, this is my first sneeze page. but I'll definately be putting up some more.
    3)….. yeah.
    4) I would like cats if I wasn't allergic to them :(
    And my sneeze page for the day, just updated one of the pages I already had. http://justapen.wordpress.com/lartiste/

  6. This is very constructive and applicable advice (although sneeze is a bit sensitive to me right now because I am doing lots of it).

  7. Great post! I will try to get back to the answers later. I guess this is my week to be overwhelmed by life.

    Thanks for a great job!

    By the way, I don"t like cats unless they are outside and chase mice in the barn. Sorry, I don't have a barn.

    • My cat is loose in my husband's barn, or so he claims. The cat probably died two years ago and no one wants to tell me.

  8. Question #4 was to see if anyone was paying attention to the discussion questions. Ha. I love that you're answering it. Thanks for the wonderful feedback on the guest post. Life is a little hectic for me right now, so I can't camp out in the comments today. Just wanted to stop through and grab links to your sneezes.

    Mycurrent post
    http://wp.me/pL6TU-OA

    Happy Wednesday!

  9. I have been trying to make the blog more sticky by putting links to other posts within posts. I have added an about me page and another static page. I don't know how to do stats, where to find them or what?
    My wife is allergic to cats, so we have a Chi-weinie (Dachsund-chihuahua mix).
    M post today is On-the-Job-Praying:http://junctionforjesus.blogspot.com/2010/05/on-j

    • Stats suggestions: statcounter, sitemeter, clicky. Statcounter is free. Sitemeter and clicky have paid options with lite versions that are free. You can also try Google Analytics, but I think it's TMI without being very helpful to smaller blogs.

      Quantcast will give you blog demographics as will Alexa.

      I use the pro version of Clicky. It lets me know when people are even thinking of visiting my blog, so it's a minor obsession for me.

  10. I'm back! I went away on a retreat (with no internet access) with some other guys to discuss ministry, fish, and build a deck. Good times.

    I do try to link internally as much as I can (for instance, by linking "yesterday's post" to yesterday's post), but I'm not sure my blog has been around long enough to actually write a real sneeze page. I just don't have that many posts up yet, and that brings up a question which I think has been thrown around here, but I don't recall seeing an answer: How often should you post to your blog? Once a week? Once a day? Somewhere in between?

    Oh – and by the way, Erica, great job.

    • The how often should I post is the ten dollar question. Maybe Paul will open that topic in a separate post. I believe that as long as you let your readers and first time visitors know your schedule, you can decide for yourself. Irregularity will kill your blog faster than infrequency.

      Thanks for the compliment on the guest post.

    • I find that I will read others' blogs that I am interested in once a day if they have new content. Any more than that is too much for me. Less than every day or two and I tend to lose interest. I don't know if anyone else is like me in that area.

      • I tend to have a tendancy to write late at night/early morning EDT. So for most people in the USA there would be something new every morning. I blog about almost anything, and some days I just want to share a lot while other days I feel I don't have a lot, so depending on the day just depends on how many posts I do daily. Normally at least once a day for me, and I try to keep it regular as to when I post (early morning, or late morning/early afternoon).

        RSS reader is great for this. Because people can just check the reader to read new blog posts as they come in instead of having to visit the blogs a lot to see if it's updated. I used to be like you Richard and only check once a day, now that I have Reader it's a lot easier.

  11. "My Father He Loves Me" A video written in the international language of love! Enjoy!
    (Mi Padre Me Ama)

    Today's video post on my blog is one of my favorites! I love mixed media. Does it work?
    http://guidedreflections.blogspot.com/2010/05/my-

  12. I just added a new post. While it does contain an internal link, it's not a sneeze post.

    "Busy Hands Are The Devil's Tools" http://prayerexperiment.wordpress.com/2010/05/26/

  13. I don't really have a method, but I do tend to change things around a lot. My Sneeze Pages are just pages like About, Categories, Blogroll. I added one that lists the Series I've done, so that it's easier to find a particular post.

    On WordPress it tells you some of that for free, like what posts are popular, how many have been on your blog, and a few other things. That's how I figure it out. Cats are okay.

    Series Page -http://tijuanabecky.wordpress.com/series/

  14. Like the idea of most popular posts list but need to have more comments to make it worthwhile. Already have post categories so posts are liked together i that respect. Have to put links to like posts in future posts. I use visitor tracking HTML already.
    I have had mostly dogs and 1 cat. Overall l like dogs better. It depends on the breed

  15. I list my blog categories in the sidebar and I creating a list of links for first time visitors so that they have a context for my blog and the community I am trying to create. So far it only includes an "about me" link, my "comments policy", and now a "why am I blogging" post. I also include links in each post to other articles within the same category.

    I use sitemeter, google analytics, and google webtools to evaluate how well I am doing. Since my blog is so new I am not sure how well anything is working. However, I am seeing that the more posts that I write the more traffic I am receiving from google. I am now receiving more hits from google than my rss feed and facebook. So I guess there is something to writing consistently.

    Here is today's post which has been added to my First Time Visitors section in my sidebar. http://larrywestfall.com/why-am-i-blogging/

    P.S. I have two dogs and a cat. The cat is more self-sufficient so he is my favorite.

  16. Great stuff here.

    I'm again feeling the limitations of Blogger. Though I've done some of the things suggested here (sidebar with a list of top articles) I think I'm going to like the added capabilities when I move to WordPress. Then it will be easier to sneeze.

    I like writing about people. I have a theme on my site for this called, "Agents of Grace." This week I profiled a friend named Chris who is dying of cancer.http://bit.ly/bqzPpo

    Also, I started a new theme last night that I'm calling "Redemption and Reconciliation." I'll use it to tell stories of how God is involved in both big and small areas of our lives. Last night's post was titled, "God's Business Card."http://bit.ly/ajgq1M

  17. I've found that I love sneezing all over the place. It's so cool to find other people to whom God's been saying the same things He's been saying to me. So I want to sneeze big–all over all my friends'/new friends' blogs. ;)

    But I am constructing a page that will link my posts that are all on similar themes. I think that was the assignment several days ago–or my idea of how to fulfill it, anyway. This will take a while since I've been blogging fairly regularly for more than a year. Still, if I do a little at a time, plus keeping updated . . . .

    Thanks to everyone who reviewed my blog yesterday–it was a big help, especially to those of you who spent so much time reading old posts. Above and beyond the call–I'm very grateful.

    Love, Cindy

  18. 1. I've found that the LinkWithin pluggin has been awesome and increased my 'stickness' quite a bit. # of pages per visit has gone up, and I see those as being very active links. But I also like the ideas on this post and in some of the comments, so I'll be trying a few other things out…

    2. I just updated two pages in my blog based on one of the ideas here. I updated my blog's about page (an all new one that includes my elevator pitch from Day 1), and my about dan king page (which includes info about who I am and my personal testimony.

    about – added links to popular posts (as reported through Analytics) http://bibledude.net/about/

    about dan king – added some of my personal favorite posts http://bibledude.net/about/dan-king/

    3. I use Google Analytics, and a WordPress stats plugin. Between the two of those things I can get a quick overview and a pretty deep dive into visitor behavior.

    4. Not a fan of cats. I'm definitely more of a dog person.

    • I meant to ask you about your link plugin – because I like the way it 'jazz's" up the link by adding pictures. I presume the pics are taken from the post?

      • Yeah… it's great! It manages the images from with the post without having to do anything extra. It is VERY simple to manage. And I'm getting some great click-thru traffic from it. It uses the tags that I already put on the posts to find similar content. So it's important to tag your posts really well.

        You can check out more about it here… http://www.linkwithin.com/learn?ref=widget

  19. Good job, Erica!

    I haven't worked on a separate sneeze page specifically today, but I have been working on linking posts to current/past posts as I write. I'm not really sure what a "sneeze page" looks like. I'm going to have to browse around and figure out what that would look like on my blog. I've already got some great resources with everyone here!

    Truthfully, I've hit a wall because of some personal issues and am having problems continuing on with this (or any) project. Please pray! There's an update for today's blog post:http://jenniferjanes.wordpress.com/2010/05/26/sna

    ~Jennifer

  20. I'm guilty of letting my sneeze pages gather dust and if looking at the stats counters I have installed and then doing precisely nothing with them.

    And I can't stand cats ;)

  21. My most recent post links to a previous post and my "about me" page links to the very first post which explains why I'm there. I've inserted the Link Within gadget that refers to other posts.

    My blog is directed at Christian husbands who are either in crisis or pursuing Christlikeness (or both!). I'm in a series I call "The Best Safety Device is a Careful Man" This post starts, "A safe man is careful with: His thought life."
    http://preparation4eternity.blogspot.com

    Blessings, Kim

  22. Great post, Erica. I did not realize that I have "Sneeze" pages or at least 1 "Sneeze" page which is my "Getting to Know Me" (my about me version). After today's assignment, I am thinking about adding a Categories Page and perhaps a Series Page, although I'm sure how often I would use that. I am doing a series on prayer right now and I am more inclined to post that on my sidebar.

    I have Google Analytics through Feedburner but not sure how to evaluate what gets clicked on. Might try some of the sites you suggested to Richard Sipes.

    I am getting better at posting links to previous articles and I hope that my writing keeps them coming back.

    Any suggestions?

    Janis

  23. I have been adjusting the "Sneeze" pages on our site since uploading our recent upgrade. Still lots to do. I also use Google Analytics and have found the LinkWithin plugin very useful once I was able to integrate it.

    I like both cats and dogs but they don't seem to get along very well with each other.

  24. I started to create a "blast from the past, best of 2003" highlighting my best posts from my first year of blogging. The trouble is, before I increase traffic through those posts, some of them really need editing!

    Also, it turns out I have more old posts I'd like to share from that year than will comfortably fit on a sneeze page. So I said, "I know, I will break them up by category." But I decided to rename my categories. And now I want to review the categorization of those posts.

    I'll get there, I'll get there! 31DBBB is starting to outstrip my ability to keep up. As I posted on Twitter/Facebook last night, "There aren't enough blogging hours in a day."

  25. Thank you Erica. This is a beautiful one. Many of us have not thought it wise in the past to create a sneeze page since there can always be allergy. I am working on my about me page to link several sites of mine that explain much about me. I am also creating a page that will highlight the best of my old blog post. Thank you for that write-up. It will bring beautiful changes in people's blog

  26. Great post. One question though. What if your blogs(s) get super popular and lots of people start leaving comments? If you go the extra mile you'll have no time for anything else much less working on the next blog post for your own site(s). Such a shame too because I really enjoy yours.

    So here's the corner I've boxed you into — I want everyone to read your blog. I don't want everyone to read your blog so you'll still have time to blog!

    Which do you wish to happen?

  27. Hi there, i just wanted to drop you a line to say that i thoroughly enjoyed this particular post of yours, I have subscribed to your RSS feeds and have skimmed a few of your posts before but this one really stood out for me. I know that I am just a stranger to you but I figured you might appreciate the appreciation :) – Take care – and keep blogging.

  28. When I googling by keywords creating a sneeze page, I found this blog. Good post, Erica, and thanks for you useful information.

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