You may have spent a lot of time and some money getting your blog designed and set up, but attracting readers isn’t a guaranteed outcome. Generating buzz about your blog doesn’t have to be painful or cost you money, but it does require some effort. Most of your potential readers won’t come looking for you specifically. In fact, they may not even be aware that they need your blog until they find it. It’s your job to help them find you. In this article, you discover how to attract and increase traffic to your blog.
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Because blog promotion is often viral, done right it helps generate needed buzz for your site, bringing you readers, recognition, and maybe even press attention. Of course, you can get all those things for negative reasons as well, but no doubt your CEO won’t appreciate critical buzz as much as positive.
Don’t put the cart ahead of the horse. If you do a good job designing your blog, post often, and write well, chances are you hook readers and keep them, and your traffic numbers increase as your blog grows and earns links. The conversations occurring on your blog and on others can generate buzz about your company and products naturally. But if things are moving slowly, you can jump-start that growth.
TIP: Promoting a nearly empty blog makes no sense. Be sure that what you’re promoting is valuable before you try the ideas I present.
Using Technology Effectively
Sometimes getting traffic can be as much about technology as it is about content. I probably don’t need to point out that sites that don’t display correctly in the browser, contain broken links or non-functional tools, or that aren’t reliably available don’t get read or bookmarked. Your technology sends a message about your competence just as much as the quality of your posts. This concept is especially true for a business blog, which can’t look as amateurish as ones written by, well, amateurs.
You can use some technological tools to ensure your readers find you. Follow these suggestions:
- Create an RSS/Atom feed. Make sure you have an RSS and/or Atom feed available on your blog. Some blogging software generates these feeds automatically, or you may have to generate your own feed.
- Get help from your blogging software. Some blogging software companies display a list of recently updated blogs that use their software somewhere on their Web site, often on the home page. If yours is one of these, check to see whether you are included automatically or if you need to request that your blog be displayed. Movable Type, for example, has a prominent list of recently updated blogs on the right side of its home page. If you are using any third-party software plug-ins or tools, they too may have a recently updated list that you can take advantage of. In cases where you are using a popular blogging tool, the traffic to a Web site is probably substantial, and you may be able to benefit.
- Add permalinks. Sites that use permalinks generally get better traffic, thanks to better search engine indexing and site usability. Permalinks are pages that contain a single post, plus any comments associated with it. If you’re using blog software that generates a permalink URL using text from the entry title rather than the date, you are even better off, because search engines use words contained in a URL as a way of assessing relevancy. After you make a permalink for a blog item, don’t ever change it. Links to your posts are a great source of traffic, and if you change where your posts live, you’re cutting off that traffic. Always change permalinks as a very last resort.
Promoting with Links
Links play a huge part in generating buzz for your site. Get mentioned in an influential blog, and your traffic zooms upward, as that blog’s readers come to see what all the fuss is about. From there, these readers may create more buzz by posting on their own blogs, or sending an e-mail, or just talking about what they found at dinner that night. The most dramatic example of this is called the Slashdot/Digg effect: Getting mentioned in a post on the community Web site Slashdot or Digg often brings an unsuspecting server to its knees.
TIP: Recently, a novel product called TV-B-Gone picked up some buzz from blogs, and Wired’s Web site posted a story. The server couldn’t handle the subsequent rush of visitors, and visitors were denied access to the site at its peak of popularity. You can have too much of a good thing!
The best way to get mentioned and linked to from another blog is, of course, to post great stuff on your blog. Some other techniques, which I discuss in the following sections, can also help you get and drive traffic.
Linking to other blogs
Linking to other sites is useful for two reasons:
- You establish yourself as a hub for a certain niche, and if you provide people with good information, they come back to you to find more.
- You can get other people to return the favour and link back to you, thereby increasing your chances of getting buzz and eyeballs from blogs with good readerships.
Many top search engines count links to a site when determining where the site ought to show up in its relevancy rankings. If your blog shows up higher in search engine rankings . . . well, that’s a good place to be.
Linking to other blogs from within relevant posts is both a reader service — assuming you are selective and discriminating with your linking — and an established behaviour in the blogging world. These links should be to permalink pages — specific postings on that blog that are pertinent to your own posting.
REMEMBER: Blog home pages change often, so don’t link to another site’s home page unless you’re only discussing the blog in general terms. Though you should choose links based on their value to your readers, writing about, and commenting on, postings from prominent, highly trafficked blogs doesn’t hurt.
I cannot overstate the importance of adding something to your entry that furthers the dialogue begun in the posting you are linking to. All the content on your blog needs to be useful to your readers, even if you are partly motivated by getting a little more traffic to read that content. Other bloggers also quickly decide if you’re contributing worthwhile diablog to the blogosphere, and being bland is far worse than being controversial. Yes, I said diablog — that’s dialogue in the blogosphere, which has a character all its own.
Here’s the word on how to diablog: After you create a link to a blog posting, you need to let the other blogger know that you’ve contributed to the ongoing conversation. The best, fastest, and simplest way to do this is the use of Trackback technology, which is sometimes available with blog hosting software (check your documentation). If you (or they) don’t have Trackbacks enabled, you can do one of two things:
- Add a comment to the blog posting you are linking to. Indicate that you have more information on this topic on your blog, and then link to it.
- If comments aren’t allowed, e-mail the blogger directly and let him or her know that you have more information on your blog — and provide the link. The blogger doesn’t have to add the link to the blog (but may do so).
TIP: Don’t employ both techniques. Bloggers pay attention to comments made on their sites (you do, don’t you?), and an additional e-mail comes across as pestering rather than informing.
Creating a blogroll
A blogroll, or link list, to blogs you read or admire or simply find useful is both a reader service and a potential link exchange. The blogroll should be created for your readers, to show them where you get your information and what blogs you are reading. However, the blogs you link to may be inclined to return the favour by linking back to you from their blogroll. Because many people jump from blog to blog via blogrolls, you may get a few readers this way.
To create a blogroll, follow these steps:
- Make a list of the blogs you read most regularly or think highly of.
- Use a blogroll creation tool or HTML code to make your list clickable so that every blog is linked.
- Use your blogging solution to add your blogroll list to a right – or left hand column on your blog.
If you do create a blogroll, click each blogroll link yourself for two or three days. This will make you show up in the traffic log files of the blogs you link to and may get you noticed by the blogger.
Posting comments on other blogs
Commenting on a posting you find useful or interesting is a great way to increase the dialogue on a topic and gives you a chance to link to your own blog. Even if you don’t add a post to your blog on the subject, most commenting systems allow you to enter a URL that is associated with your name when your comment is displayed. If you post a good comment by adding some additional information or politely challenging an opinion, readers of the comments may be interested enough in what you have to say to click the link.
TIP: Be careful not to create comment spam! Comments that don’t add substantially to the conversation are useless to the blogger and to readers. Unless you have more to say than “I agree!” or “Nice site,” resist the urge to comment.
Linking to your old content
Over time you will post a lot of great information, and much of it remains pertinent. If you write a post that expands on a topic you’ve posted about before, don’t hesitate to link back to your original post or posts. By providing this reader service, you give your readers information they might have missed the first time around, and you keep them on your site instead of forcing them to find that information elsewhere.
Steering More Traffic to Your Blog
Still need more traffic? There are more things you can try, from advertising your blog to changing the way you post. In this section, I talk about some common-sense tactics that will get your blog out into the world, as well as some good editorial strategies for advancing your blog.
Making the most of marketing
Here are a few marketing and advertising tips you can use to promote your blog:
- Get your own domain name. If you haven’t already done so, get a domain name specifically for your blog. An easy-to-remember, easy-to-spell domain name looks better in marketing materials and advertising — and it is easier for people to remember if they see it and can’t immediately visit the blog.
- Tell the world about your blog. Tell everyone you come across about your blog. Add the URL to your e-mail signature file; put it on your business cards; make sure it’s linked to every Web site your company maintains; and for goodness sake, make sure you promote the blog in your company’s e-mail newsletters. If you have retail outlets, be sure that the URL is on your receipts and in any promotional material you create. You can create buzz yourself through these simple techniques. Don’t stop there, either. You can use many traditional marketing techniques to increase awareness of your blog. Try printing up bumper stickers, pens, and other giveaways that tout your blog; hand them out to your customers, business partners, and the person who runs your child’s day-care center.Some bloggers have added branded merchandise sales to their blogs, which increases brand visibility, sends a message, and makes a few dollars.
- Advertise. You can also advertise in newspapers, magazines, radio spots, Web sites, and (of course) other blogs. But you don’t have to spend a massive advertising budget on your blog. If you choose your advertising space carefully, you can isolate your target audience or aim for the blogosphere at large. Reaching people when they’re away from their computer can be less than efficient if you want them to visit you while they’re online. Some blog-specific advertising services can ensure that your advertising ends up on blogs, where it’s seen by bloggers and their readers.
- Hold a physical gathering. Bring your readers and blogger(s) together for an informal meal and discussion in a local coffee house or diner. The event can encourage readers to connect with each other, perhaps by having a focused topic for discussion. Your readers will appreciate the chance to meet you and each other, and of course, everyone likes free food. You might also want to try hosting a pay-as-you-go event, where you negotiate a group rate at a venue and then ask people to buy their own tickets
- Enter contests. You can enter your blog in a number of blog award contests. Clearly, these aren’t for the brand-new blog! I recommend that you spend at least six months building up a solid archive of content and comments before you submit your site to this kind of scrutiny. Winning an award, however, definitely brings your blog prominence and a traffic boost — and possibly some press attention! The most prominent of these award contests is the Bloggies, which is judged in January each year.
Boosting your blog with better content
As you think about ways to generate buzz around your blog, you can also improve the quality of your blog by focusing on your posting techniques.
These tips may give you some good promotion ideas:
- Post about current or controversial issues. This idea seems like a no brainer, but it’s an easy one to forget. Pay attention to the news, and watch for events and issues that are of interest to your readers. When you find one, create a post or series of posts around the subject. You might want to aggregate blog postings on the subject, sum up opinion articles, or even state your own opinion.Don’t be afraid to be critical or controversial in what you say, as long as you can defend your opinion. Good blogs don’t shy away from confrontation, although they don’t create it purely for the sake of argument. Going out on a limb definitely causes people to comment more and probably also result in more links from other blogs to your postings.
- Post in user groups and forums. The Web is peppered with user groups, bulletin boards, and forums about all kinds of subjects. If you have set yourself up as an expert and have valuable information to contribute to a forum, you can drive traffic to your blog.
- Guest blogging. Invite prominent bloggers, industry experts, and other influential people to guest edit your blog for a day or a week. You may have to provide some incentive to get them to help you out. Other bloggers, however, undoubtedly talk about their guest-blog gigs and bring traffic to the site. The real payoff is in the promotion you can do to bring readers in during that time.Be sure to talk with the guest about appropriate topics, writing style, and your expectations on the number of posts to be provided. If you plan to edit the guest blogger’s work, state this up front as well.
- Add photos to your posts. Say it with images! A blog can be a text-heavy, boring-looking page, even if the writing is scintillating. The addition of photos, charts, and other graphics can add spice and interest to any blog entry — and readers respond well to blogs that use images.
Asking others to help
You can do a lot to promote your blog yourself, but don’t forget that others will also have good ideas. Think about these techniques for getting employees and customers to talk about your blog:
- Ask your employees to promote the blog. Your employees have their own network of family, friends, customers, and business contacts that they can evangelize the blog to. Some may even have personal blogs they can use to promote the company blog, though that should be entirely their choice.
- Ask your customers to promote the blog. The essence of viral or buzz marketing is in getting others to spread the message on your behalf. What better group to serve that role than your own customers, many of whom may already be bloggers themselves? Satisfied customers are the greatest advocates and the best evangelists for your company you can find. In a manner similar to your employees, make advertising materials available for them to use as well.
- Ask for ideas! Other bloggers, your employees, your business contacts, your friends, and — of course — your readers may have some great ideas for promoting the blog. Get them to tell you what they are and then implement them!
There are literally hundreds of ways in which you can promote your blog or website; too many to list all in one blog post. Which blog promotion methods have you tried? Which of them worked, and which of them didn’t? Id be interested to hear your idea’s and thoughts by leaving me a comment. You never know, your idea may well appear in a follow-up post to this one.
10 Strategies to Ensure a Strong ROI on Your Email List in 2019
Even in today’s world of countless digital communication channels, email marketing remains one of the most effective ways to reach current and potential customers. When done correctly, building and maintaining an email list can yield a high return on investment. Do it wrong, though, and you risk alienating subscribers and wasting your time, energy and resources.
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So how can you ensure that your email marketing efforts pay off? To find out, we asked members of Young Entrepreneur Council the following:
Email lists can be quite a potent tool, but they’re not always worth the investment. What step is crucial for making sure the email list you’re preparing to build will generate a strong return on investment?
Here’s what they advise:
1. Give Subscribers What They Want
Email software programs can be very expensive, especially when you hit 10,000 monthly subscribers. The best way to generate a decent return on investment is by giving subscribers what they want and providing value, whether it’s an exclusive promotion or a great piece of tip-driven content.
2. Build a Funnel
You can get immediate ROI from an email list if you build it with a sales funnel designed to pay for the cost to acquire the email. This funnel walks people through a series of offers that are very valuable to them and allows them to purchase immediately. Then create promotional calendar to give them more value and offers, so they stay on your list and continue to give ROI. – Monica Snyder, Birdsong
3. Use Gated Content
High-quality gated content attracts the right subscribers. You want subscribers who are interested in what you sell, and publishing content valuable to that niche is an excellent way to qualify leads. It can be expensive — good content costs money to create and promote — but you’re far more likely to attract subscribers who convert than with less focused methods of building a list.
4. Use Triggered Emails
To boost the ROI of your email marketing, use triggered emails. Triggered emails are automatically sent to subscribers when they take a certain action. So, if a customer abandons their shopping cart you can send a triggered email right away to convince them to return to buy. Triggered emails will allow you to message subscribers at the perfect time so they’ll be more likely to take action.
5. Hire a Talented Copy Writer
An email list is only valuable if it generates sales either directly or indirectly for your business. The most effective tool for consistently generating sales via email lists is good copy writing and a deep understanding of the psychology of your subscriber base. A good copy writer will be an expert at this and help you to squeeze every dollar out of your list by keeping open rates high.
6. Make It Easy to Sign Up
Have a simple to use, easy to find page where people can sign up for your list on your website. Don’t hide it or make it difficult to find; it should be rather obvious.
7. Segment Your List
Email marketing can generate up to $44 for every $1 spent, which is among the highest ROI you can find in marketing. It’s the one channel where you retain complete control of your brand and core message. So it’s critical that you have a healthy email list, which is organically sourced (no purchased lists!), and segmented so you can send relevant content to specific groups of subscribers.
8. Maintain It
Building an email list is imperative, but it can get out of hand very quickly. Many people have more than one email, which might be hard to keep track of. You want to make sure your email list is updated with the most current email of your leads and customers. Also, be sure to remove any duplicates. This can skew your estimates and reports, which can affect your conversions and business strategy.
9. Keep It Small and Niche
We create small email list of very targeted audience, generally based upon the industry, geolocation and job title. This allows us to target them with very specific messages. These email list works out better than larger lists. We have been doing it for the last four years and we have learned that smaller lists have better ROI than larger ones.
10. Build High-Quality Lead Lists
Having the best email drip campaign will not get you the results you need when the messaging does not resonate with your leads. If the lead lists are also low quality, then that will be an issue. Always build highly targeted lead lists based on your ideal customer profile and have them verified by your sales development rep or outsourced SDR team before sending your emails. Once verified, you won’t waste money.
f you enjoyed this expert round-up article, I recommend you also take a look at our latest how to start a blog article, with advice and tips from over 82 different experts around the world.
Traditional Marketing vs Digital Marketing: Which is Better in 2019?
Out of all businesses, 83% claim digital marketing works for them. When it comes to traditional marketing vs digital marketing, which is better?
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People think traditional marketing works better than online marketing. It’s still easier to determine your ROI (return on investment) with digital marketing.
Here’s what you should know about digital marketing vs traditional marketing:
Traditional Marketing vs Digital Marketing 101
What is traditional marketing?
Traditional marketing uses offline advertising and promotions. This includes television, billboards, telephone calls, and radio. Print ads, direct mail, promotional gifts, and brochures are also popular methods.
Digital marketing happens online. It uses images, videos, and custom content. SEO marketing makes this content easy to find on search engines.
Don’t forget about social media marketing. You control who sees your ads with digital marketing. Digital ads then appear on social media feeds and websites.
Pros of Traditional Marketing
Traditional marketing connects with consumers. It exposes your product/service to new audiences.
Traditional advertisements make strong brand impressions.
Consumers remember print ads better. The same goes for commercials.
Brochures are easy. Use free flyer templates to make custom flyers.
Cons of Traditional Marketing
Traditional marketing costs more money. After all, you make advertisements using materials.
There’s no interaction with consumers. You also can’t measure engagement.
It’s hard to determine an ROI with traditional vs digital marketing.
Traditional marketing has limited reach. It’s good for reaching local consumers. Digital ads reach people all over the world.
Measuring engagement is easier online. So is reaching target demographics. You can also connect with consumers easier.
Digital Marketing Madness
Digital marketing is taking the world by storm. You reach more people with digital marketing than with traditional market tactics.
With digital marketing, you’re placing your brand into a consumer’s daily life. The majority of people spend time online. Television viewership and magazine readership are declining.
It’s a better option for a smaller budget. Unlike traditional marketing, you pay as you go along with your campaign. There’s less financial risk involved with digital marketing.
It’s easier to attract, identify, and generate leads on social media. Social media campaign metrics tell you exactly how many people engage with your ads. These metrics tell you which ads are most effective and which ones aren’t.
It’s also easier to customize digital ads for specific demographics. Digital ads usually don’t need physical materials. You only need visual content and quality copy to make effective digital ads.
Online marketing lets you engage with consumers easier. You can respond to tweets and other social media posts. This makes consumers feel a more personal connection with your brand.
Consumers can also give you direct feedback about your service/product/ads online.
Embrace The Digital Marketing Trend
Out of all marketers, only 61% believe their marketing strategy works best. In the battle between traditional marketing vs digital marketing, digital marketing is winning.
Only 22% of businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates. It’s true: traditional marketing also generates leads and conversions. Still, leads and conversions are easier to track with digital marketing.
Boost your business by learning more about social media. Your brand will thank you for it.
The Top 3 Promotional Items Your Business Should Be Using
When it comes to promoting your blog or brand, handing out promotional items is one of the most effective ways to do it. People love free stuff. If you give them something useful for free, they’ll love you, too. This also works well for branding yourself as an expert, or showing off your best content and expertise through your blog.
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And each time they use your useful product, they see your brand name. This repetition will leave your brand imprinted in their memory.
While there are many ways to purchase company schwag and bags with your brand name on them, some products will have better success than others. For example, if you’ve ever been to an affiliate or marketing conference, just take a look at the tables that are getting all the attention, and people are flocking to for the free gifts.
Making sure you have a great exhibit it also key. Imagine having one like the Avengers Infinity War showcase below?! This would really wow your audience and leave a lasting impression.
So what are the top promo items to give out at the next trade show? Read on to find out.
Runners Up: Pens and Flash Drives
Before we get to the top 3, promo pens and flash drives deserve honorable mention. Both are cheap and extremely useful. And both can be customized in really cool ways.
Though they’ve been around a long time, flash drives have many benefits that are still relevant today. But as useful and appreciated as flash drives are, their use has declined since the introduction of cloud storage technology.
Promo pens are the most common promotional item. There are many creative ways to distribute them even outside the trade show setting. Entire volumes can be written about using promo pens to market your business.
But let’s face it: no one at the trade show will be excited about pens. And even the coolest pen won’t last longer than a year.
Still, promo pens and flash drives (and flash drive pens!) are a decent cheap option. But they’re not the best.
The following items, however, are sure to wow trade show attendees and get lots of use for a long, long time.
1. Mobile Device Chargers With Power Banks
Device chargers are super useful items that your attendees will use every day. These will be very much appreciated. BUT, if you’re not careful, handing out chargers can backfire for a couple reasons.
For one, you can buy these for a dollar. That means your attendees may already have 3 of them. For two, your trade show may have 3 other booths handing out chargers.
If you’re handing out chargers alone, be competitive. Make sure they are the high-quality ones and not the super-cheap kind.
Better yet, one-up everyone at the trade show by handing out fully-charged, portable power banks with your chargers. These babies make your promo chargers immediately useful.
Anyone at the trade show with a dead phone battery can connect to one of your power banks on the spot and get a few more hours of use.
These will be very appreciated. And it’s doubtful anyone has “too many” power banks.
2. Reusable Water Bottles
Why not be super helpful and environmentally-friendly? Thirsty trade show attendees need to stay hydrated. With reusable water bottles, you’re filling a need and reducing plastic waste.
It will do well for your conscience and your image to do good to the environment. And you can set up refill stations so people keep coming back to your booth. Besides, these are a really great item to hand out anywhere, not just at trade shows.
If you’re anything like us, you’ve never turned down a free shirt. Even if it’s not your favorite, you can still use it as pajamas, workout clothes, even drying your car after a wash.
Plus, we apparently don’t throw them out. A study by the Advertising Specialty Institute found that T-shirts are the most-owned promotional item in the U.S.
But if you really want to steal the show, be awesome. That is, get creative and funny and pump out a variety of fun, branded shirts people will actually enjoy.
You can even set up a laptop with a camera and a printer to make personalized photo shirts. You can also allow attendees to use photos from their phone.
These fun shirts will cost the same as the lame ones you were planning to make, anyway. And, as we said, they will be used regardless.
Steal the Trade Show With These Promotional Items
Do you want to waste time and money pushing unpopular promo items nobody wants? Or do you want to show up with the best promotional items at the trade show and wow attendees and competitors alike? The choice is yours, but we really suggest you choose the latter.
Use these top promo products at your next trade show for the win!
Now check out 11 Brand Building Basics For Entrepreneurs.
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