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Thursday, April 28, 2011

How To Start A Blog | Marketing Your Blog To Get Traffic

If you've been following this How To Start A Blog series, you should have a blog, a couple posts, basic gadgets, an understanding of keywords, Search Engine Optimization SEO techniques, a Privacy Policy and some way of monetizing your blog. You've built the car. Now, let's drive it. And you do that by marketing your blog to get traffic.

If you did not understand something in the first paragraph, you need to go back and complete the earlier lessons. Taking this course from the beginning is in your best interest. You can find all of the lessons under the MAKE MONEY tab at the top of the blog or click here.

Marketing is the process of giving potential visitors to your blog the opportunity to click a link and get there. It can be done several dozen ways, and you should try to employ as many of those tactics as possible.

Email Marketing

When you first start your blog and get some decent content on your blog worth sharing, you can email the blog posts to your friends. Keep in mind that if you do this all the time with every post, you will be considered a spammer. Make sure you have at the bottom of your email an "opt-out" procedure, such as "Reply to this email with REMOVE in the subject line." Then make sure you remove that person from your list.

Blogger has an option to allow visitors to sign up for emails of your posts. It is run through Feedburner. Feedburner is a Google product that offers you a number of options to help promote your blog, track views, set up subscriber and syndication of your blog, plus a lot more. I have not fully utilized Feedburner at this point. But is something you should put on your To Do List for the future.

Facebook

Facebook is where I started sharing posts from my blog. At the bottom of your blog post are buttons. Click on the Facebook symbol, add a comment if you want and SHARE. It will show up immediately on your profile and on the News Feed.

Facebook marketing works if you have a lot of friends. If you don't have a lot of friends, work on cultivating them. I click on a few new people from the "People You Might Know" suggestions. I don't know them, but I'm not looking to go out with them - I want readers.

Comment a lot on Facebook. If your comments are funny, that will attract more people to you.
Even if you have a shortage of friends, you can still harness the power of Facebook by signing up for Networked Blogs. This is a free service through Facebook. It exposes your blog to tons of other bloggers around the world.

In the setup for Networked Blogs, you can select an option to have your blog post automatically shared on the News Feed on Facebook and posted to your profile. You want this. You also have the option to have you post automatically sent out on Twitter - YOU DON'T WANT THIS - and I'll explain later.

I completely forgot about Networked Blogs through the process of working on this site. I just signed up a week ago and my Facebook traffic has more than quadrupled in just a week.

Readers of the Networked Blogs can vote on the blogs. Rising in popularity will get you more traffic. Having a blog plastered with ads and weak content won't get you anything. So, make content a priority. Good content will attract followers.

I recycle posts on Facebook, too. After I've done the two to four posts I do each day, I'll shoot out an oldie from a month ago. Or if I'm going to be spending time researching for a post, I'll shoot out a couple more older posts. Different people view FB at different times. Recycle a few older posts before you go to work or class, drop a couple more at lunchtime, one more around dinner time and one before you sign off for the day.

You have to have a cache of content to do this without being a repetitive jerk. It all depends on how much you have in the can. I've done about 80 posts this month and the month has a few more days left. I produced 46 posts in three weeks in March. So, I have a storehouse of posts. Some are topical or outdated already, but there are plenty of other choices to share again.

Once you start to get some decent traffic to your blog and you feel like you are getting a following, set up a Facebook Fan Page. I just set one up in the last couple days. Go to it, click LIKE and see what is there.

Twitter

It used to be relatively easy to get followers on Twitter. But Twitter changes have made it hard to get followers. So, you have to try a different tack.

I've been on Twitter for years, but never understood the hashtags (# sign) and how they work. Since I figured it out a couple weeks ago, my traffic from Twitter has gone up about 50 times.

Here's why you don't want Networked Blogs to automatically fire off a tweet of your post on Twitter. It will send the tweet without any hashtag categories, and you most definitely want those.

How the hashtags work are you pick target audiences that you want to hit. There are hashtag topics for just about everything. I wrote a post about Atheism. So I went to the search box at the top of Twitter and typed in #Atheism. There were a lot of people there. I did the same for several other keywords.

Once I had my list in mind, I manually used the Twitter button at the bottom of the post and then added all the hashtagged topics. In the case of the Atheism piece. I was adding #Atheism #Atheist #God #Christians #Religion #faith #Jesus - as many as I could fit in.

Adding these hashtag topics exposes your post to a whole new diverse group across the net. Right now, I don't have many followers on Twitter. However, since I've been using Twitter and the hashtags, I've picked up about 80 followers in the last couple weeks. Follower growth becomes exponential the more you get. They start retweeting your posts and all hell breaks loose... a good problem to have. Follow me on Twitter.

One of the best things you can do on Twitter is be controversial, outrageous or funny and that will bring people to you. If you're just a plain dickhead, then you won't get far. But controversy has two sides to it. One side will stand behind you, the other will want to kill you. Don't let this golden marketing opportunity pass.

Nothing attracts a crowd better than a fight on Twitter. If you're smart and your written swordsmanship is swift and deadly, you can get a ton of hits to your blog, just by having a tweet slug fest.
Make sure you have your link that you want to promote or the link that caused all the problems in the first place and add as many hashtags as you can into the tweet. Your opponent will probably do the same to try and get supporters.

Twitter will automatically compress your links when you use the buttons at the bottom of your post. However, if you are working from the Twitter window, you will need to compress your link. To do that, you use is.gd. I love this. You copy and paste your link into the main slot, click COMPRESS and you get a nice, neat link that is highlighted and ready for you to copy.

YouTube

Some very successful Internet marketers have integrated YouTube videos into their message. They've offered lessons, rants, speeches and more on YouTube and then linked the videos back to their blog or website. Google Video just went away last week. But YouTube can offer you another way to generate traffic to your site.

Other Social Sites

There are sites like digg, StumbleUpon, and a couple dozen others where you can setup an account and share your posts there or create links in comment fields back to your blog posts. I'm still trying to figure out StumbleUpon and right now I'm not willing to take the time. Get connected on other social sites. It's like opening more stores across town.

Article Sites

This topic was discussed in the lesson on Search Engine Optimization SEO. If you want a comprehensive list of article sites, see the MAKE MONEY tab on this blog.

At these sites, you can write articles and post links back to your site or specific posts. Each site has different rules. This is an ongoing project. Add it to your To Do List and work on it a little at a time.

Keywords and Search Engine Optimization SEO

I can't stress how important this is. You need to go back and read the two lessons on these topics over and over until you fully understand them. Without the ability to get some posts high in the search engines, you're going to plug along and not get very far.

Networking

If you have friends on Facebook or on Twitter that have huge amounts of friends or followers, you need to tap into them. Ask them to share your post with their friends or retweet your tweet - both exposing you to a much larger audience.

I currently have a number of friends that are starting to help me broaden my reach on the net. An old comedy buddy in Pittsburgh has written a book. He has a literary agent. He also knows influential people on the west coast. My buddy turned on another old comedy friend of ours in New York City to my stuff and he loves it. He's talking about making short films out of some of the comedy posts.

You never know where another person can take you. So, share, share, ask, retweet, network, connect - do them all.

Putting It All Together

I started this blog in July of 2010. I only had a couple posts in July. In August of 2010, I had 9 posts and got 233 page views. I only posted 8 times in three weeks in September and had around 228 page views. Then, I quit my blog due to personal health reasons. Page views bounced between 49 and 79 in my absence.

On March 7th, 2011, I started posting like a mad man. I've done a lot of the things I've mentioned above, but not all.

My strategy was to focus on a couple of topics that I knew were popular and try to get high placement in the search engines. I really worked hard on my keywords and how the blog posts were written. I hit three or four hot topics and have stuck with them. They bring in about 1/4 of the traffic. But I have all the other posts that bring in 50 or 100 or 200 page views. And I have posts that are lucky to get 10 page views.

In February, I had 49 page views on my blog. Working my strategy, in three weeks of posting in March, I wound up with 1,589 page views. This month, the machine started to kick in. I'm over 13,000 page views already and there are still several days left in the month. I might hit 15,000.
So, if you wonder if what I'm telling you works, just look at the numbers - 49 page views in February, over 13,000 and still counting in April - seven weeks later.

Now, I need to get 13,000 page views a day and things will be looking real good.

Hard work, good content, having a few big draws and consistently posting and reposting has gotten me to this point. You can do it to. It takes a lot of effort. But it can be done.

No single strategy will do it all for you. If you get a few page views from one place and a few more from another place and you tune up your Facebook and Twitter marketing, you start to accumulate a lot of page views.

I had no idea I'd be where I am after just seven weeks. But I see how the machine works and I'm feeding its burner every day - marketing my blog to get traffic.

BTW - the money is still small, but I make money every day now. It will only get better.

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1 comment:

  1. Feedburner is a Google product that offers you a number of options to help promote your blog, track views, set up subscriber and syndication of your blog, plus a lot more.

    ReplyDelete

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