Kick Your Blog to the Top with Mixed Market Arts

Blog contests have become very popular — I’m running one myself — and no prize can be quite as lucrative as a free review on John Chow dot Com. More important the $450 face value is the John Chow Effect that the recipient inevitably receives.

Collin Lahay of Mixed Market Arts was the winner of one such contest hosted by JollyJo. If Collin’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he’s already been featured in a review on this blog before!

Who is Collin LaHay?

Far too many people on the web claim to be experts and take on an unearned air of authority. According to Collin’s About page, he didn’t want to start a blog about internet marketing and building traffic until he was able to do it himself. He “made it a personal goal to run my own websites for exactly one year before I could consider myself a professional internet marketer.”

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Collin is only 18 years old, but he claims to “have a lot more experience than most adults when it comes to internet marketing.” Is 12 months enough to develop a wealth of experience? Starting with a nearly non-existent knowledge base, Collin now claims that he is an expert in SEO, link building, viral marketing, and maximizing traffic.

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Oh, and as I mentioned in the introduction, Collin has already been featured on John Chow dot Com in the past. That’s because one of his ventures was rssHugger. Here’s the initial review, as well as a follow-up post. Collin has since sold rssHugger, along with WordHugger, for $13,000.

What is Mixed Market Arts?

I had to do a double-take on the name of Collin Lahay’s blog, because for a moment, I thought it said mixed martial arts. You know, the kind of thing with Tito Ortiz and company. As much as Collin would love to enter the octagon, his blog is Mixed Market Arts and it focuses on how to “kick your way to the top with my blog marketing strategies.” Don’t let the guy in the karate gi fool you; there’s no busting of wood planks on Mixed Market Arts.

Instead, you get a bunch of tips and information about how to best market (and monetize) your blog. Common posts on Mixed Market Arts will focus on things like SEOMeter and why Technorati sucks.

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Blog Marketing Tips

Although Mixed Market Arts has only been around since November 2007, there is already a healthy archive of posts that are worth reading. Collin almost manages to maintain the one post per day schedule, missing the odd day here and there. Most of the posts focus on SEO, blog marketing, increasing traffic, and so forth, but Collin also tosses in some off-topic content from time to time, just to spice it up.

Here are a few posts that caught my eye.

Layout and Design

It’s immediately obvious what color scheme Collin was shooting for with Mixed Market Arts. There’s a lot of orange on his site, highlighted by plenty of white space and some light blue highlights. This color scheme somehow screams Halloween to me, and I imagine it’s because the orange makes me think of pumpkins. Other than that, I think that the core layout works quite well. The header image could be a little more eye-catching, but the template is functional.

In terms of monetization, Mixed Market Arts has a 468 banner next to the header image and a 120 skyscraper in the right-most sidebar. There are also three 125×125 buttons above the fold, but I’ll get to those in just a moment. I’m usually not a huge fan of three-column layouts and Mixed Market Arts is no exception. Other than the skyscraper ad, the third column serves little purpose.

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You’ll also notice that Mixed Market Arts makes use of the recently popular “fat” footer, not unlike the one used on John Chow dot Com. What’s weird is that the Tag Cloud section is currently occupied by an Alexa widget. Collin might want to fix that.

Win Free Advertising on MMA

Despite his young age, Collin LaHay looks like he’s off to a good start with his “make money online” adventure. Mixed Market Arts has been added to my RSS reader and I’ll be reading up on some of the tips, tricks, and strategies that will continue to be featured on his blog.

In the meantime, anyone interested in some free advertising might want to read up about a blog contest where you can win a one month 125×125 ad button on Mixed Market Arts. Full details can be found here, but enter soon because the contest ends on Thursday night!