Blogging

Blog Reboot #2: Jump Rope Videos

Site: Jump Rope Videos
Owner: Chris

Chris says:

I collect the best jump rope videos from around the world and discuss them. For those that don’t know, jumping rope is not only a great exercise, it is an adrenaline charged extreme sport all by itself.

JRV is still very young. It is only about 3 months old. I’ve seen pretty steady growth each week and now average over 220 visitors and 500 page views a day according to site meter. I’m very pleased with what I’ve accomplished so far, but I know there is always room for improvement.

Well Chris, here’s what I think you can do to make your blog THE go-to site for all the crazy people who love jumping up and down with a rope swinging around them 😛 (which would include me too, btw).

Jump your way to the rest of this post

1. Blogging Basics

The first thing I’d suggest in this case is to move off blogspot and get your own domain.

With Chris, the moment I picked his site for the blog reboot I had emailed him and talked to him about registering his own domain (see the new Jump Rope Videos site) ahead of the blog reboot.

For anyone else that hosts a blogspot blog, I strongly suggest that you get your own domain. If you are serious about your website and are in it for the long haul, blogspot (or any other hosted blog service) is out of the question.

It very easy to install WordPress (from signing up and registering for your domain to installing WordPress takes 5 minutes on a webhost that has the one-click WP install) and it’s free.

Moving from Blogger to WordPress

The biggest problem people face when moving off of Blogspot is on redirecting their domain. It’s not ‘that’ hard.

Moving from Blogger to WordPress

The link above is an article on getting your posts off Blogspot and redirecting the blogspot subdomain to your new site.

It’s fairly accurate with one mistake: It’s true that there’s no way to put in 301 redirects on the Blogger server and as such you can’t issue a 301 redirect the way you would when shifting domains normally, but that DOES NOT mean that your rankings / PageRank will be lost as well.

I repeat – I say this from personal experience that the javscript-based redirect does get properly read by Google and does transfer PageRank and rankings. It may not do it properly and for best practices you should contact sites that link to you and ask them to update their links, but it DOES work.

I had a personal blog on blogspot which later went to its own domain (and later on switched to a different domain) – PR and rankings are preserved in Google.

WordPress Notes

If you’re looking for WordPress themes, here’s are some good lists:

If there are any WordPress-specific questions that you (or anyone reading this) have, ask here and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Since you are showing videos, one WordPress plugin I strongly suggest is WP-Video. You’ll have to drop it in your wp-content/plugins folder and add some CSS to your style.css file in your selected theme, but overall it’s a very easy-to-use and very useful plugin.

Once you’ve installed it, just enclose your video URLs (for example a YouTube URL) with tags and you’re good to go.

2. Content

There’s a lot you can do with the jump rope videos angle. A few ideas:

  • Do plenty of product reviews.
  • provide a how-to section where you show people instructional videos of how to a) jump rope the right way b) how to perform tricks.
  • write health-related articles on the benefits of doing jump rope-based exercise.
  • If you can do the tricks yourself, shoot your own videos and put em up on YouTube (put your url on it at the end).
  • Do an informational product, something like “lose 30 pounds in 30 days” where you talk about bodyweight and jump-rope exercises. This one is probably one for the future but there really is a lot you can do here.

In short, if you teach people tricks, and if you cater to the health-related benefits of jumping rope, you’ll have a lot more to write about and you’ll attract more readers.

I’m approaching it from an instructional / educational angle, but that’s just my view. I’m sure you can add more to this once you sit down and brainstorm on what more to add.

We also talked about forums over email and I think you should hold off on the forums for now – getting a forum up and running is a thankless task and you don’t have the traffic right now IMO to make it happen. It would be better to focus on increasing monthly traffic and your subscribers base.

3. Design

I can’t say much about design yet because obviously you’re moving the blog to www.jumpropevideos.com but there are a few general things I’d suggest:

  • have horizontal navigation on the top.
  • go for a two-column theme if possible – it gives your posts more breathing room.
  • as soon as you generate revenue from the blog (or if you have a few hundred bucks to spare), get a professionally-done custom theme for your blog. It pays in spades, believe me.
  • go with a wide design (800-900px width) – once again, give you more room.

My first impression of the blogspot site was very bad – ads everywhere and the content is marginalised and pushed down too much. With WordPress I’d suggest that you focus more on affiliate programs (more on this in the next section) and less on adsense (maybe one large rectangle in each post).

Other than that, get back to me here on this post when you’ve picked a theme and we’ll talk about what more can be done.

4. Monetization

You can:

  • use AdSense – like how you’re doing right now, but more conservatively.
  • promote affiliate programs – Amazon is a good option to get started, but I think you’d be better off by contacting companies selling jump ropes yourself (this ties in with the product reviews you’d be doing) and talking to them about affiliate arrangements. If that’s difficult for you then Amazon is a fair choice, but for best results talk to the vendors yourself.
  • sell text link ads (Text Link Ads, Text Link Brokers) – this can get you some good steady revenue once you sell off the ad spots, but don’t rely on it.
  • create your own products – this is where you have to head in the long term, IMO. Along with affiliate products (which you’ll be soft-selling through your product reviews), selling informational products on your site (complete with a DVD set, of course) will help you earn more money from your site than AdSense or selling advertising.

5. Marketing

In this section I usually talk about SEO and link baiting, so why not highlight an excellent post on Performancing written last year by Nick Wilson:

3 Ways to Immediately Increase Search Engine Traffic

It’s a lesson in linkbaiting, and it gives you a very good introduction on how to promote your blog.

Talking specifically about JRV, I’d say that getting links from the more respected blog directories (BOTW Blogs, BlogFlux and Blog Catalog come to mind) and asking other bloggers in your niche for links (see ‘the perfect link request email‘ for a template on this) takes little time but gives you a good initial push (just as the links from Perf here will give you some juice as well.

Eventually, you’ll want to focus on link baiting and getting links from a variety of sources.

Read more about getting your non-technical site into digg and read Todd’s linkbaiting playbook post.

Feedback

Ok guys, that’s it for today’s Blog Reboot. Chris, I hope this helps you and to everyone else, if you’ve got any ideas to contribute here do let us know in the comments.

Author: ahmedb

12 thoughts on “Blog Reboot #2: Jump Rope Videos

  1. I think the best two ideas are to have a snappy header image/ theme created and to try to promote your videos on youtube/fark/digg etc.

    Jumprope is kind of an unusaly sport. Why not find the most outrageous videos and compile them in a linkbait post that would have traction with the “gee whiz that’s neat” set at the social news sites?

  2. Chris,

    I hope the solution I emailed to you worked.

    Essentially, you change your blogger theme back to the default theme, and then add the js location.replace code (i had it between the and sections).

    It works fine as far as I’m concerned, and I think it worked fine for Chris as well.

    If anyone reading this has any problems PM me and I’ll send you the solution.

  3. I’m having trouble with setting up the redirects as you suggested. I think blogger may have done something to disable support for this due to abuse by spammers. Here is a post I found that suggests as much. How to redirect from old url to new url

    “Update 12 May 2007: I have tested the above method and also other methods using Javascript, but all of them resulted in a 404 error (Page not found). I think blogspot blogs are very prone to hijacking by spammers who do a redirect to their own sites. I think this has come to the notice of Blogger and probably they have done something that makes the method not work anymore.”

    Any ideas?

  4. I was able to copy the content using the tips found here. I had to manually edit all of the internal links, and drop all of my blogger tags, but other than that it looks like I have successfully transplanted all of the content that I wanted to move. Thanks for the help!

  5. @Chris: That’s what I did with my old blogspot blogs (pre-beta). I posted a Feedburner animated banner on the old site, showing what the new site had, as well as a “we’ve moved” post at the top. The unfortunate part about this method is that you have to rebuild any Google PR on the new site. There is a link in the article that Ahmed pointed to that IS for converting from Blogger Beta to WordPress. I haven’t read it yet, but if you haven’t checked it out…

    http://www.webbleyou.com/2006-09-14-how-to-move-from-blogger-beta-to-wordpress

  6. QuesoKid, here’s a complete howto import the new blogger into WP (even with a link to another way, but I’ve never tested that one, Joefish’s manual works tho).

  7. Hey guys, thanks for the feedback!

    About moving the content…

    After reading the links you provided on moving from blogger to wordpress, and doing considerable research elsewhere, it looks like this might not work for me right now. I’m using the “New Blogger” which isn’t compatible with the wordpress import utility. It looks like import only works with the “Old Blogger”. Apparently there was a plugin that was required to import from the “New Blogger” but it is currently broken due to some recent changes made by Blogger.

    My question to you is this: Is there any harm in leaving the old content in place as is?

    I could just put a banner in the template of the old blog that points to the new blog. I could even modify the old template to display new posts from the Feed of the new blog. My existing content can still live where it is and make money and all new content would be posted on the new blog. I guess I don’t really see the need for a forced redirect. What are your thoughts?

    Thanks,
    Chris

  8. I just wanted to say that I think you have the makings of a succesful site here. It picks out a popular niche that’s probably under-represented on the net (as opposed to gadgets or something). It also picks out a product that most parents buy for their kids at one point or another. Product based sites are good for monetization down the road.

  9. @Chris: To supplement what Ahmed said about content, i.e., product reviews, think about the peripheral aspects of jump-roping:

    (1) What kind of jumps/steps are there?
    (2) What kind of ropes; what material?
    (3) What are the best kinds of shoes – review them.
    (4) What kind of clothing/material is best to wear – review suitable clothing items.
    (5) 10 Health Benefits of Jump Roping (forgive me if you’ve done this. I’m speaking generically).
    (6) Best places to jump rope. I.e, parks? Public squares?
    (7) Is jumproping legal in your town? (I’m thinking this depends on where you do it. So many cities banned skateboarding.)
    (8) Jump rope tricks
    (9) Is jump-roping a real sport?
    (10) Girls Against Boys: Who’s the Better Jump Roper?

    Ahmed mentioned affiliate programs. If you do appropriate clothing reviews, I’m sure you can find good clothing affiliate programs. Some skateboard or inline skating clothing may be suitable, and no doubt there are affil. progs. for them.

    good luck

  10. Definitely agree about the design. If you’ve made any money off your ads, use it to get a blog design themed around jumpropes. To get a nice header image or logo, consider going to SitePoint and running a contest. You can get something nice for as little as $100 though I’d recommend upping the ante a little to get more designers to bite.

    Getting a nice design will do wonders for establishing your site’s authority and gaining links. Right now, you may be making some money off the ads on the site, but you’re not going to see any growth. To see growth, you need to establish your site as an authority, and you can’t do that with ad-clutter.

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