Month: September 2013

Strategies to Increase Blog Traffic in Less Time

Typical blog growth sucks because it takes forever to get to a point where we can utilize our traffic for things like advertising and selling information products.

Using strategies such as guest posts, social networking, social bookmarking, and link exchanges, we can drastically increase the amount of traffic coming to our blogs in less amount of time.

The video will show you visually how this works, on a graph.

21 Tactics to Increase Blog Traffic

It’s easy to build a blog, but hard to build a successful blog with significant traffic. Over the years, we’ve grown the Moz blog to nearly a million visits each month and helped lots of other blogs, too. I launched a personal blog late last year and was amazed to see how quickly it gained thousands of visits to each post. There’s an art to increasing a blog’s traffic, and given that we seem to have stumbled on some of that knowledge, I felt it compulsory to give back by sharing what we’ve observed.

NOTE: This post replaces a popular one I wrote on the same topic in 2007. This post is intended to be useful to all forms of bloggers – independent folks, those seeking to monetize, and marketing professionals working an in-house blog from tiny startups to huge companies. Not all of the tactics will work for everyone, but at least some of these should be applicable and useful.

#1 – Target Your Content to an Audience Likely to Share

When strategizing about who you’re writing for, consider that audience’s ability to help spread the word. Some readers will naturally be more or less active in evangelizing the work you do, but particular communities, topics, writing styles and content types regularly play better than others on the web. For example, great infographics that strike a chord (like this one), beautiful videos that tell a story (like this one) and remarkable collections of facts that challenge common assumptions (like this one) are all targeted at audiences likely to share (geeks with facial hair, those interested in weight loss and those with political thoughts about macroeconomics respectively).Traffic Generation

If you can identify groups that have high concentrations of the blue and orange circles in the diagram above, you dramatically improve the chances of reaching larger audiences and growing your traffic numbers. Targeting blog content at less-share-likely groups may not be a terrible decision (particularly if that’s where you passion or your target audience lies), but it will decrease the propensity for your blog’s work to spread like wildfire across the web.

#2 – Participate in the Communities Where Your Audience Already Gathers

Advertisers on Madison Avenue have spent billions researching and determining where consumers with various characteristics gather and what they spend their time doing so they can better target their messages. They do it because reaching a group of 65+ year old women with commercials for extreme sports equipment is known to be a waste of money, while reaching an 18-30 year old male demographic that attends rock-climbing gyms is likely to have a much higher ROI.

Thankfully, you don’t need to spend a dime to figure out where a large portion of your audience can be found on the web. In fact, you probably already know a few blogs, forums, websites and social media communities where discussions and content are being posted on your topic (and if you don’t a Google search will take you much of the way). From that list, you can do some easy expansion using a web-based tool like DoubleClick’s Ad Planner:

How To Get Traffic

Once you’ve determined the communities where your soon-to-be-readers gather, you can start participating. Create an account, read what others have written and don’t jump in the conversation until you’ve got a good feel for what’s appropriate and what’s not. I’ve written a post here about rules for comment marketing, and all of them apply. Be a good web citizen and you’ll be rewarded with traffic, trust and fans. Link-drop, spam or troll and you’ll get a quick boot, or worse, a reputation as a blogger no one wants to associate with.

#3 – Make Your Blog’s Content SEO-Friendly

Search engines are a massive opportunity for traffic, yet many bloggers ignore this channel for a variety of reasons that usually have more to do with fear and misunderstanding than true problems. As I’ve written before, “SEO, when done right, should never interfere with great writing.” In 2011, Google received over 3 billion daily searches from around the world, and that number is only growing:

Traffic Generation Tips

sources: Comscore + Google

Taking advantage of this massive traffic opportunity is of tremendous value to bloggers, who often find that much of the business side of blogging, from inquiries for advertising to guest posting opportunities to press and discovery by major media entities comes via search.

SEO for blogs is both simple and easy to set up, particularly if you’re using an SEO-friendly platform like WordPress, Drupal or Joomla. For more information on how to execute on great SEO for blogs, check out the following resources:

Don’t let bad press or poor experiences with spammers (spam is not SEO) taint the amazing power and valuable contributions SEO can make to your blog’s traffic and overall success. 20% of the effort and tactics to make your content optimized for search engines will yield 80% of the value possible; embrace it and thousands of visitors seeking exactly what you’ve posted will be the reward.

#4 – Use Twitter, Facebook and Google+ to Share Your Posts & Find New Connections

Twitter just topped 465 million registered accounts. Facebook has over 850 million active users. Google+ has nearly 100 million. LinkedIn is over 130 million. Together, these networks are attracting vast amounts of time and interest from Internet users around the world, and those that participate on these services fit into the “content distributors” description above, meaning they’re likely to help spread the word about your blog.

Leveraging these networks to attract traffic requires patience, study, attention to changes by the social sites and consideration in what content to share and how to do it. My advice is to use the following process:

  • If you haven’t already, register a personal account and a brand account at each of the following – Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn (those links will take you directly to the registration pages for brand pages). For example, my friend Dharmesh has a personal account for Twitter and a brand account for OnStartups (one of his blog projects). He also maintains brand pages on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+.
  • Fill out each of those profiles to the fullest possible extent – use photos, write compelling descriptions and make each one as useful and credible as possible. Research shows that profiles with more information have a significant correlation with more successful accounts (and there’s a lot of common sense here, too, given that spammy profiles frequently feature little to no profile work).
  • Connect with users on those sites with whom you already share a personal or professional relationships, and start following industry luminaries, influencers and connectors. Services like FollowerWonk and FindPeopleonPlus can be incredible for this:Free Traffic
  • Start sharing content – your own blog posts, those of peers in your industry who’ve impressed you and anything that you feel has a chance to go “viral” and earn sharing from others.
  • Interact with the community – use hash tags, searches and those you follow to find interesting conversations and content and jump in! Social networks are amazing environment for building a brand, familiarizing yourself with a topic and the people around it, and earning the trust of others through high quality, authentic participation and sharing

If you consistently employ a strategy of participation, share great stuff and make a positive, memorable impression on those who see your interactions on these sites, your followers and fans will grow and your ability to drive traffic back to your blog by sharing content will be tremendous. For many bloggers, social media is the single largest source of traffic, particularly in the early months after launch, when SEO is a less consistent driver.

#5 – Install Analytics and Pay Attention to the Results

At the very least, I’d recommend most bloggers install Google Analytics (which is free), and watch to see where visits originate, which sources drive quality traffic and what others might be saying about you and your content when they link over. If you want to get more advanced, check out this post on 18 Steps to Successful Metrics and Marketing.

Here’s a screenshot from the analytics of my wife’s travel blog, the Everywhereist:

Free Traffic Generation

As you can see, there’s all sorts of great insights to be gleaned by looking at where visits originate, analyzing how they were earned and trying to repeat the successes, focus on the high quality and high traffic sources and put less effort into marketing paths that may not be effective. In this example, it’s pretty clear that Facebook and Twitter are both excellent channels. StumbleUpon sends a lot of traffic, but they don’t stay very long (averaging only 36 seconds vs. the general average of 4 minutes!).

Employing analytics is critical to knowing where you’re succeeding, and where you have more opportunity. Don’t ignore it, or you’ll be doomed to never learn from mistakes or execute on potential.

#6 – Add Graphics, Photos and Illustrations (with link-back licensing)

If you’re someone who can produce graphics, take photos, illustrate or even just create funny doodles in MS Paint, you should leverage that talent on your blog. By uploading and hosting images (or using a third-party service like Flickr to embed your images with licensing requirements on that site), you create another traffic source for yourself via Image Search, and often massively improve the engagement and enjoyment of your visitors.

When using images, I highly recommend creating a way for others to use them on their own sites legally and with permission, but in such a way that benefits you as the content creator. For example, you could have a consistent notice under your images indicating that re-using is fine, but that those who do should link back to this post. You can also post that as a sidebar link, include it in your terms of use, or note it however you think will get the most adoption.

Some people will use your images without linking back, which sucks. However, you can find them by employing the Image Search function of “similar images,” shown below:

Free Traffic Tips

Clicking the “similar” link on any given image will show you other images that Google thinks look alike, which can often uncover new sources of traffic. Just reach out and ask if you can get a link, nicely. Much of the time, you’ll not only get your link, but make a valuable contact or new friend, too!

#7 – Conduct Keyword Research While Writing Your Posts

Not surprisingly, a big part of showing up in search engines is targeting the terms and phrases your audience are actually typing into a search engine. It’s hard to know what these words will be unless you do some research, and luckily, there’s a free tool from Google to help called the AdWords Keyword Tool.

Type some words at the top, hit search and AdWords will show you phrases that match the intent and/or terms you’ve employed. There’s lots to play around with here, but watch out in particular for the “match types” options I’ve highlighted below:

How To Get Free Traffic

When you choose “exact match” AdWords will show you only the quantity of searches estimated for that precise phrase. If you use broad match, they’ll include any search phrases that use related/similar words in a pattern they think could have overlap with your keyword intent (which can get pretty darn broad). “Phrase match” will give you only those phrases that include the word or words in your search – still fairly wide-ranging, but between “exact” and “broad.”

When you’re writing a blog post, keyword research is best utilized for the title and headline of the post. For example, if I wanted to write a post here on Moz about how to generate good ideas for bloggers, I might craft something that uses the phrase “blog post ideas” or “blogging ideas” near the front of my title and headline, as in “Blog Post Ideas for When You’re Truly Stuck,” or “Blogging Ideas that Will Help You Clear Writer’s Block.”

Optimizing a post to target a specific keyword isn’t nearly as hard as it sounds. 80% of the value comes from merely using the phrase effectively in the title of the blog post, and writing high quality content about the subject. If you’re interested in more, read Perfecting Keyword Targeting and On-Page Optimization (a slightly older resource, but just as relevant today as when it was written).

#8 – Frequently Reference Your Own Posts and Those of Others

The web was not made for static, text-only content! Readers appreciate links, as do other bloggers, site owners and even search engines. When you reference your own material in-context and in a way that’s not manipulative (watch out for over-optimizing by linking to a category, post or page every time a phrase is used – this is almost certainly discounted by search engines and looks terrible to those who want to read your posts), you potentially draw visitors to your other content AND give search engines a nice signal about those previous posts.

Perhaps even more valuable is referencing the content of others. The biblical expression “give and ye shall receive,” perfectly applies on the web. Other site owners will often receive Google Alerts or look through their incoming referrers (as I showed above in tip #5) to see who’s talking about them and what they’re saying. Linking out is a direct line to earning links, social mentions, friendly emails and new relationships with those you reference. In its early days, this tactic was one of the best ways we earned recognition and traffic with the SEOmoz blog and the power continues to this day.

#9 – Participate in Social Sharing Communities Like Reddit + StumbleUpon

The major social networking sites aren’t alone in their power to send traffic to a blog. Social community sites like Reddit (which now receives more than 2 billion! with a “B”! views each month), StumbleUpon, Pinterest, Tumblr, Care2 (for nonprofits and causes), GoodReads (books), Ravelry (knitting), Newsvine (news/politics) and many, many more (Wikipedia maintains a decent, though not comprehensive list here).

Each of these sites have different rules, formats and ways of participating and sharing content. As with participation in blog or forum communities described above in tactic #2, you need to add value to these communities to see value back. Simply drive-by spamming or leaving your link won’t get you very far, and could even cause a backlash. Instead, learn the ropes, engage authentically and you’ll find that fans, links and traffic can develop.

These communities are also excellent sources of inspiration for posts on your blog. By observing what performs well and earns recognition, you can tailor your content to meet those guidelines and reap the rewards in visits and awareness. My top recommendation for most bloggers is to at least check whether there’s an appropriate subreddit in which you should be participating. Subreddits and their search function can help with that.

#10 – Guest Blog (and Accept the Guest Posts of Others)

When you’re first starting out, it can be tough to convince other bloggers to allow you to post on their sites OR have an audience large enough to inspire others to want to contribute to your site. This is when friends and professional connections are critical. When you don’t have a compelling marketing message, leverage your relationships – find the folks who know you, like you and trust you and ask those who have blog to let you take a shot at authoring something, then ask them to return the favor.

Guest blogging is a fantastic way to spread your brand to new folks who’ve never seen your work before, and it can be useful in earning early links and references back to your site, which will drive direct traffic and help your search rankings (diverse, external links are a key part of how search engines rank sites and pages). Several recommendations for those who engage in guest blogging:

  • Find sites that have a relevant audience – it sucks to pour your time into writing a post, only to see it fizzle because the readers weren’t interested. Spend a bit more time researching the posts that succeed on your target site, the makeup of the audience, what types of comments they leave and you’ll earn a much higher return with each post.
  • Don’t be discouraged if you ask and get a “no” or a “no response.” As your profile grows in your niche, you’ll have more opportunities, requests and an easier time getting a “yes,” so don’t take early rejections too hard and watch out – in many marketing practices, persistence pays, but pestering a blogger to write for them is not one of these (and may get your email address permanently banned from their inbox).
  • When pitching your guest post make it as easy as possible for the other party. When requesting to post, have a phenomenal piece of writing all set to publish that’s never been shared before and give them the ability to read it. These requests get far more “yes” replies than asking for the chance to write with no evidence of what you’ll contribute. At the very least, make an outline and write a title + snippet.
  • Likewise, when requesting a contribution, especially from someone with a significant industry profile, asking for a very specific piece of writing is much easier than getting them to write an entire piece from scratch of their own design. You should also present statistics that highlight the value of posting on your site – traffic data, social followers, RSS subscribers, etc. can all be very persuasive to a skeptical writer.

A great tool for frequent guest bloggers is Ann Smarty’s MyBlogGuest, which offers the ability to connect writers with those seeking guest contributions (and the reverse).

Free Traffic Generation

Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ are also great places to find guest blogging opportunities. In particular, check out the profiles of those you’re connected with to see if they run blogs of their own that might be a good fit. Google’s Blog Search function and Google Reader’s Search are also solid tools for discovery.

#11 – Incorporate Great Design Into Your Site

The power of beautiful, usable, professional design can’t be overstated. When readers look at a blog, the first thing they judge is how it “feels” from a design and UX perspective. Sites that use default templates or have horrifying, 1990’s design will receive less trust, a lower time-on-page, fewer pages per visit and a lower likelihood of being shared. Those that feature stunning design that clearly indicates quality work will experience the reverse – and reap amazing benefits.

Ways To Get Free Traffic

These threads – 1, 2, 3 and 4 – feature some remarkable blog designs for inspiration

If you’re looking for a designer to help upgrade the quality of your blog, there’s a few resources I recommend:

  • Dribbble – great for finding high quality professional designers
  • Forrst – another excellent design profile community
  • Behance – featuring galleries from a wide range of visual professionals
  • Sortfolio – an awesome tool to ID designers by region, skill and budget
  • 99 Designs – a controversial site that provides designs on spec via contests (I have mixed feelings on this one, but many people find it useful, particularly for budget-conscious projects)

This is one area where budgeting a couple thousand dollars (if you can afford it) or even a few hundred (if you’re low on cash) can make a big difference in the traffic, sharing and viral-impact of every post you write.

#12 – Interact on Other Blogs’ Comments

As bloggers, we see a lot of comments. Many are spam, only a few add real value, and even fewer are truly fascinating and remarkable. If you can be in this final category consistently, in ways that make a blogger sit up and think “man, I wish that person commented here more often!” you can achieve great things for your own site’s visibility through participation in the comments of other blogs.

Combine the tools presented in #10 (particularly Google Reader/Blog Search) and #4 (especially FollowerWonk) for discovery. The feed subscriber counts in Google Reader can be particularly helpful for identifying good blogs for participation. Then apply the principles covered in this post on comment marketing.

Do be conscious of the name you use when commenting and the URL(s) you point back to. Consistency matters, particularly on naming, and linking to internal pages or using a name that’s clearly made for keyword-spamming rather than true conversation will kill your efforts before they begin.

#13 – Participate in Q+A Sites

Every day, thousands of people ask questions on the web. Popular services like Yahoo! Answers, Answers.com, Quora, StackExchange, Formspring and more serve those hungry for information whose web searches couldn’t track down the responses they needed.

The best strategy I’ve seen for engaging on Q+A sites isn’t to answer every question that comes along, but rather, to strategically provide high value to a Q+A community by engaging in those places where:

  • The question quality is high, and responses thus far have been thin
  • The question receives high visibility (either by ranking well for search queries, being featured on the site or getting social traffic/referrals). Most of the Q+A sites will show some stats around the traffic of a question
  • The question is something you can answer in a way that provides remarkable value to anyone who’s curious and drops by

I also find great value in answering a few questions in-depth by producing an actual blog post to tackle them, then linking back. This is also a way I personally find blog post topics – if people are interested in the answer on a Q+A site, chances are good that lots of folks would want to read it on my blog, too!

Just be authentic in your answer, particularly if you’re linking. If you’d like to see some examples, I answer a lot of questions at Quora, frequently include relevant links, but am rarely accused of spamming or link dropping because it’s clearly about providing relevant value, not just getting a link for SEO (links on most user-contributed sites are “nofollow” anyway, meaning they shouldn’t pass search-engine value). There’s a dangerous line to walk here, but if you do so with tact and candor, you can earn a great audience from your participation.

#14 – Enable Subscriptions via Feed + Email (and track them!)

If someone drops by your site, has a good experience and thinks “I should come back here and check this out again when they have more posts,” chances are pretty high (I’d estimate 90%+) that you’ll never see them again. That sucks! It shouldn’t be the case, but we have busy lives and the Internet’s filled with animated gifs of cats.

In order to pull back some of these would-be fans, I highly recommend creating an RSS feed using Feedburner and putting visible buttons on the sidebar, top or bottom of your blog posts encouraging those who enjoy your content to sign up (either via feed, or via email, both of which are popular options).

Free Traffic To Blog

If you’re using WordPress, there’s some easy plugins for this, too.

Once you’ve set things up, visit every few weeks and check on your subscribers – are they clicking on posts? If so, which ones? Learning what plays well for those who subscribe to your content can help make you a better blogger, and earn more visits from RSS, too.

#15 – Attend and Host Events

Despite the immense power of the web to connect us all regardless of geography, in-person meetings are still remarkably useful for bloggers seeking to grow their traffic and influence. The people you meet and connect with in real-world settings are far more likely to naturally lead to discussions about your blog and ways you can help each other. This yields guest posts, links, tweets, shares, blogroll inclusion and general business development like nothing else.

How To Get Free Traffic To Blog

I’m a big advocate of Lanyrd, an event directory service that connects with your social networks to see who among your contacts will be at which events in which geographies. This can be phenomenally useful for identifying which meetups, conferences or gatherings are worth attending (and who you can carpool with).

The founder of Lanyrd also contributed this great answer on Quora about other search engines/directories for events (which makes me like them even more).

#16 – Use Your Email Connections (and Signature) to Promote Your Blog

As a blogger, you’re likely to be sending a lot of email out to others who use the web and have the power to help spread your work. Make sure you’re not ignoring email as a channel, one-to-one though it may be. When given an opportunity in a conversation that’s relevant, feel free to bring up your blog, a specific post or a topic you’ve written about. I find myself using blogging as a way to scalably answer questions – if I receive the same question many times, I’ll try to make a blog post that answers it so I can simply link to that in the future.

Traffic Tips

I also like to use my email signature to promote the content I share online. If I was really sharp, I’d do link tracking using a service like Bit.ly so I could see how many clicks email footers really earn. I suspect it’s not high, but it’s also not 0.

#17 – Survey Your Readers

Web surveys are easy to run and often produce high engagement and great topics for conversation. If there’s a subject or discussion that’s particularly contested, or where you suspect showing the distribution of beliefs, usage or opinions can be revealing, check out a tool like SurveyMonkey (they have a small free version) or PollDaddy. Google Docs also offers a survey tool that’s totally free, but not yet great in my view.

#18 – Add Value to a Popular Conversation

Numerous niches in the blogosphere have a few “big sites” where key issues arise, get discussed and spawn conversations on other blogs and sites. Getting into the fray can be a great way to present your point-of-view, earn attention from those interested in the discussion and potentially get links and traffic from the industry leaders as part of the process.

You can see me trying this out with Fred Wilson’s AVC blog last year (an incredibly popular and well-respected blog in the VC world). Fred wrote a post about Marketing that I disagreed with strongly and publicly and a day later, he wrote a follow-up where he included a graphic I made AND a link to my post.

If you’re seeking sources to find these “popular conversations,” Alltop, Topsy, Techmeme (in the tech world) and their sister sites MediaGazer, Memeorandum and WeSmirch, as well as PopURLs can all be useful.

#19 – Aggregate the Best of Your Niche

Bloggers, publishers and site owners of every variety in the web world love and hate to be compared and ranked against one another. It incites endless intrigue, discussion, methodology arguments and competitive behavior – but, it’s amazing for earning attention. When a blogger publishes a list of “the best X” or “the top X” in their field, most everyone who’s ranked highly praises the list, shares it and links to it. Here’s an example from the world of marketing itself:

Free Traffic Tips

That’s a screenshot of the AdAge Power 150, a list that’s been maintained for years in the marketing world and receives an endless amount of discussion by those listed (and not listed). For example, why is SEOmoz’s Twitter score only a “13” when we have so many more followers, interactions and retweets than many of those with higher scores? Who knows. But I know it’s good for AdAge. 🙂

Now, obviously, I would encourage anyone building something like this to be as transparent, accurate and authentic as possible. A high quality resource that lists a “best and brightest” in your niche – be they blogs, Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, individual posts, people, conferences or whatever else you can think to rank – is an excellent piece of content for earning traffic and becoming a known quantity in your field.

Oh, and once you do produce it – make sure to let those featured know they’ve been listed. Tweeting at them with a link is a good way to do this, but if you have email addresses, by all means, reach out. It can often be the start of a great relationship!

#20 – Connect Your Web Profiles and Content to Your Blog

Many of you likely have profiles on services like YouTube, Slideshare, Yahoo!, DeviantArt and dozens of other social and Web 1.0 sites. You might be uploading content to Flickr, to Facebook, to Picasa or even something more esoteric like Prezi. Whatever you’re producing on the web and wherever you’re doing it, tie it back to your blog.

Including your blog’s link on your actual profile pages is among the most obvious, but it’s also incredibly valuable. On any service where interaction takes place, those interested in who you are and what you have to share will follow those links, and if they lead back to your blog, they become opportunities for capturing a loyal visitor or earning a share (or both!). But don’t just do this with profiles – do it with content, too! If you’ve created a video for YouTube, make your blog’s URL appear at the start or end of the video. Include it in the description of the video and on the uploading profile’s page. If you’re sharing photos on any of the dozens of photo services, use a watermark or even just some text with your domain name so interested users can find you.

If you’re having trouble finding and updating all those old profiles (or figuring out where you might want to create/share some new ones), KnowEm is a great tool for discovering your own profiles (by searching for your name or pseudonyms you’ve used) and claiming profiles on sites you may not yet have participated in.

I’d also strongly recommend leveraging Google’s relatively new protocol for rel=author. AJ Kohn wrote a great post on how to set it up here, and Yoast has another good one on building it into WordPress sites. The benefit for bloggers who do build large enough audiences to gain Google’s trust is earning your profile photo next to all the content you author – a powerful markup advantage that likely drives extra clicks from the search results and creates great, memorable branding, too.

#21 – Uncover the Links of Your Fellow Bloggers (and Nab ’em!)

If other blogs in your niche have earned references from sites around the web, there’s a decent chance that they’ll link to you as well. Conducting competitive link research can also show you what content from your competition has performed well and the strategies they may be using to market their work. To uncover these links, you’ll need to use some tools.

OpenSiteExplorer is my favorite, but I’m biased (it’s made by Moz). However, it is free to use – if you create a registered account here, you can get unlimited use of the tool showing up to 1,000 links per page or site in perpetuity.

How To Get Free Traffic

There are other good tools for link research as well, including Blekko, Majestic, Ahrefs and, I’ve heard that in the near-future, SearchMetrics.

Finding a link is great, but it’s through the exhaustive research of looking through dozens or hundreds that you can identify patterns and strategies. You’re also likely to find a lot of guest blogging opportunities and other chances for outreach. If you maintain a great persona and brand in your niche, your ability to earn these will rise dramatically.

Bonus #22 – Be Consistent and Don’t Give Up

If there’s one piece of advice I wish I could share with every blogger, it’s this:

Blog Free Traffic Tips

The above image comes from Everywhereist’s analytics. Geraldine could have given up 18 months into her daily blogging. After all, she was putting in 3-5 hours each day writing content, taking photos, visiting sites, coming up with topics, trying to guest blog and grow her Twitter followers and never doing any SEO (don’t ask, it’s a running joke between us). And then, almost two years after her blog began, and more than 500 posts in, things finally got going. She got some nice guest blogging gigs, had some posts of hers go “hot” in the social sphere, earned mentions on some bigger sites, then got really big press from Time’s Best Blogs of 2011.

I’d guess there’s hundreds of new bloggers on the web each day who have all the opportunity Geraldine had, but after months (maybe only weeks) of slogging away, they give up.

When I started the SEOmoz blog in 2004, I had some advantages (mostly a good deal of marketing and SEO knowledge), but it was nearly 2 years before the blog could be called anything like a success. Earning traffic isn’t rocket science, but it does take time, perseverance and consistency. Don’t give up. Stick to your schedule. Remember that everyone has a few posts that suck, and it’s only by writing and publishing those sucky posts that you get into the habit necessary to eventually transform your blog into something remarkable.

http://www.seomoz.org/blog/21-tactics-to-increase-blog-traffic-2012

How To Get Tons Of FREE Traffic To Your Website In 48 Hours

This video is going to teach you the insider secrets to getting tons of FREE traffic to your website or videos. This method involves using the above URL shrotener and a Fiverr gig but it is VERY simple to do and it may even work for you (depending on the keywords you want to rank for).

10 Ways to Get Traffic for Free

Free TrafficGetting traffic is one of the most important tasks for any web master. What is more, you can’t get traffic once and then just reap the benefits. Getting traffic is an ongoing task and you must be constantly doing it, if you want to get traffic and keep it. Here are some of the ways to get traffic for free:

1 Optimize your site for search engines.

Search engines have always been a major way to get traffic for free. That is why you need to do your homework and optimize your site so that it ranks well for the keywords you target. SEO is still the most powerful way to get traffic for free and you really need to invest some time and efforts in the optimization of your site. SEO is not that difficult and if you want to get familiar with it in a nutshell, check our SEO Tutorial. If you are too busy for that, you can start with the 15 Minute SEO article.

2 Frequently update the contents of your site. .

If you expected some shocking secrets revealed, you might be a bit disappointed. One of the first steps in getting traffic for free is trivial but vital – get great content and frequently update it. In terms of SEO, content is king. If your content is good and frequently updated you will not only build a loyal audience of recurring visitors, who will often come to see what is new, but search engines will also love your site.

3 Take advantage of social bookmarking sites.

Social bookmarking sites (especially the most popular among them) are another powerful way to get traffic for free. If you want to learn how to do it, check the How to get Traffic from Social Bookmarking sites article, where we have explained what to do if you want to get free traffic from sites such as Digg, Delicious, etc.

4Use your Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Social networks are also a way to get traffic for free. If you are popular on networks, such as Twitter or Facebook, the traffic you get from there can easily surpass the traffic from Google and the other search engines. It is true that building a large network of targeted followers on Twitter and supporters on Facebook takes a lot of time and effort but generally the result is worth.

5 Get links with other sites in your niche.

Another way to get traffic for free is from other sites in your niche. Getting links with other sites in your niche is also good for SEO, especially if you manage to get links without the famous nofollow attribute. But even if the links are nofollow (i.e. they are useless for SEO), they still help to get traffic to your site. If you manage to put your link in a visible place on a site with high volumes of traffic, you can get thousands of hits from this link alone. If you need list of sites within your niche where you could get backlinks from, check the Backlink Builder tool. However, be careful if you exchange links because linking to bad neighbors can do you a lot of harm.

6 Use any chance to promote your site for free.

Free promotion is always welcome, so don’t neglect it. There are many ways to promote your site for free and some of the most popular ones include free classified ads, submissions to directories, inclusion in various listings, etc. It is true that not all free ways to promote your site work well but if you select the right places to promote your site for free, this can also result in tons of traffic.

7 Create a free product or service.

Content drives most traffic when you offer something useful. There are many types of useful content you can create and they largely depend on the niche of your site. You can have articles with tons of advice, or short tips but one of the most powerful ways to get traffic is to create a free product or service. When this product or service gets popular and people start visiting your site, chances are that they will visit the other sections of the site as well.

8 Use viral content.

Free products and services are great for getting free traffic to your site and one of the best varieties in this aspect is viral content. Viral content is called so because it distributes like a virus – i.e. when users like your content, they send it to their friends, post it on various sites, and promote it for free in many different ways. Viral content distributes on its own and your only task is to create it and submit it to a couple of popular sites. After that users pick it and distribute it for you. Viral content can be a hot video or a presentation but it can also be a good old article or an image.

9 Use offline promotion.

Offline promotion is frequently forgotten but it is also a way to get traffic for free. Yes, computers are everywhere and many people spend more time online than offline but still life hasn’t moved completely on the Web. Offline promotion is also very powerful and if you know how to use it, this can also bring you many visitors. Some of the traditional offline ways to promote your site include printing its URL on your company’s business cards and souvenirs or sticking it on your company vehicles. You can also start selling T-shirts and other merchandise with your logo and this way make your brand more popular.

10 Include your URL in your signature.

URLs in forum signatures are also a way to get traffic for free. There are forums, which get millions of visitors a day and if you are a popular user on such a forum, you can use this to get traffic to your site. When you post on forums and people like your posts, they tend to click the link to your site on your signature to learn more about you. In rare cases you might be able to post a deep link (i.e. a link to an internal page of the site) rather than a link to your homepage and this is also a way to focus attention to a particular page. Unfortunately, deep links are rarely allowed.

Getting traffic for free is a vast topic and it is not possible to list all the ways to do it. However, if you know the most important ways – i.e. the ways we discussed in this article and you apply them properly, it is guaranteed that you will be able to get lots of traffic for free.

http://www.webconfs.com/how-to-get-traffic-article-30.php

4 Principles of Marketing Strategy

A short clip from my Total Business Mastery seminar about the 4 Principles of Marketing Strategy. This video will answer your questions about your marketing mix including: How do I get customers? How do i determine my target markets? Whats my competitive advantage?

BEST Home Based Business Ideas for 2012 & FORWARD – Robert Kiyosaki

Best home based business ideas for 2012. Top small business ideas to start in 2012. Home based businesses.

Top 10 Internet Home Business Ideas You Can Start and Run in Your Underwear

Can Anyone Make Money Online Working From Home?

Of course. Many thousands of people do. You might have friends or family members who make a living with a home-based Internet business already. The problem is that not everyone WILL make money online, because making money on the internet takes a long time to learn, and most people give up because it can be extremely frustrating.

How fun is it to think you can make money at home in your undies?

internet-business-ideas-to-do-at-home.jpg

Main Points Of This Post [hide]

  • 1 When Can You Quit Your Day Job to Work Online From Home?
  • 2 The Good News About the Home Based Business Industry
  • 3 Internet-Based Business: Startup Rules
  • 4 Internet Business Idea #1: Affiliate Marketing
  • 5 Internet Home Business Idea #2: Blogging
  • 6 Web-Based Business Idea #3: Information Products
  • 7 Idea #4 for Internet Home Based Businesses: E-Commerce
  • 8 Internet Home Business Idea #5: Sell Your Creative Arts, Crafts & Indie Products
  • 9 Home Business Idea for Web Workers #6: Internet Research Business
  • 10 Idea #7 for Working From Home on the Web: Freelance Writing
  • 11 Work At Home Web Business Idea #8: WordPress Consulting & Design
  • 12 Internet Business Idea #9: Coaching/Consulting
  • 13 Web Business Idea #10: VA (Virtual Assistant)
  • 14 Further Reading

With over 300,000 “Internet Home Business” related searches on the internet every month, it’s safe to say that there is a lot of demand for information on how to make money on the internet. Sadly, this also means that there are a lot of shady characters preying on this group of people.

I knew someone who fell for one of these scams once – they taught him how to make money online, and then all he did was sell seminars – on how to make money online. The fact that he had never actually made any money online wasbeside the point… I guess. Not surprisingly, I’m not a big supporter of his business. :)

When Can You Quit Your Day Job to Work Online From Home?

Perhaps the most important piece of advice for starting an internet home business is this: Don’t expect to replace your day job’s income for 365 days (or so!). Although I will add that service-based businesses tend to bring in revenue faster, I would still allow for a full year to replace your outside-the-home salary.

The Good News About the Home Based Business Industry

As long as you are willing to put in the hours (days… weeks…. months….. ) to learn the ropes, you can bootstrap your business with extremely little money, generally speaking. Remember that some businesses take more to start than others. I’ve probably directly invested less than $3000 getting this blog up and running, and now revenue is increasing at about a 125-140% pace every month after being in business for 16 months. So, where do you start from here? Here are some general rules of thumb.

Internet-Based Business: Startup Rules

  1. Pre-packaged programs only work as much as you can customize it and make it unique and your own. Even then, techniques that work for one niche won’t work in all niches.
  2. Be wary of any “system” that promises instant results (especially anything that sounds like a get-rich-quick scheme!)
  3. Knowing the basics of html, SEO (search engine optimization), social media marketing, website marketing and traditional marketing and sales are a must.
  4. Every business is made stronger by specializing in a tight niche. Know your audience and stick to it.

Unless you have a brilliant tech idea that makes venture capitalists drool (which means you don’t need this list), you need to determine where your strengths are and which business model you plan on following. I have run three home-based businesses in my life, all of which leveraged my current skill set as the foundation for building the business. Look over the following list and single out the ones in which you have at least some experience. You probably won’t have all of the skills necessary, so don’t let that stop you! All you have to do is work hard and be willing to learn.

Internet Business Idea #1: Affiliate Marketing

What is it?
Promote other company’s products and services on your website. When a sale is made, you get a commission.

Most important skills needed
sales copywriting, web marketing, list building, PPC (Pay Per Click marketing),

Best learning resources

  • Introduction: Super Affiliate Handbook (Rosalind Gardner)
  • Deeper Learning: Affiliate Domination (David Perdew) Best Choice!
  • Supplemental Projects: Daily Affiliate Tasks (Susanne Myers)

Recommended Book
Make a Fortune Promoting Other People’s Stuff Online by Rosalind Gardner
Huge Profits with Affiliate Marketing by Connie Ragen Green

Free Webinar Replay:
Become an Earning Affiliate Marketer

Internet Home Business Idea #2: Blogging

What is it?
A chronologically based website filled with articles, reviews, or journal-style writing. You can sell advertising or incorporate affiliate marketing on a blog to earn money.

Most important skills needed
Writing, social networking, affiliate marketing, web marketing

Best learning resources
Smart Blogging Skills, Know Your Blog Stats, Learn WP Fast

Recommended Interviews
Blogging for Profit with Nicole Dean

Recommended Books

Expert Briefs: Blogging for Profit: The Stripped-Down Naked Truth from 26 Rockin’ Online Business Owners
ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income
Mom Blogging For Dummies

Web-Based Business Idea #3: Information Products

What is it?
Selling your expertise in various forms from bite sized reports to full fledged membership sites, people need what know and are willing to pay for it.

Most important skills needed
Copywriting, area of expertise, web marketing, customer service

Best learning resources
42 Day Launch Incubator, Plan Your Offer Funnel

Idea #4 for Internet Home Based Businesses: E-Commerce

There’s an update coming for this idea soon!

Internet Home Business Idea #5: Sell Your Creative Arts, Crafts & Indie Products

What is it?

Creating and manufacturing your own product lines and selling them online.  A favorite website for marketing your crafts is Etsy.

Most important skills needed
Creativity, sales, e-commerce

Best learning resources
Sparkplugging’s CraftBoom Blog, Craft Your Biz

Recommended Books
Etsy-preneurship: Everything You Need to Know to Turn Your Handmade Hobby into a Thriving Business
How to Sell Your Crafts Online: A Step-by-Step Guide to Successful Sales on Etsy and Beyond

Home Business Idea for Web Workers #6: Internet Research Business

What is it?
Doing internet research for corporations, law firms and other small businesses.

Most important skills needed
Librarian-style research skills, customer service

Best learning resources
Entrepreneur.com’s Information Consultant Startup Guide

Recommended Book
Building & Running a Successful Research Business: A Guide for the Independent Information Professional by Mary Ellen Bates

Idea #7 for Working From Home on the Web: Freelance Writing

What is it?
Providing your writing skills to others, including ghostwriting.

Most important skills needed
Writing skills, customer service, time management

Best learning resources
Sparkplugging’s Freelancers at Home Blog

Recommended Interviews
Find and Secure Freelance Blogging Work with Tom Ewer

Recommended Books
Freelance Blogging Success: How to Find Clients that Will Pay You 00+ Per Article
Freelance Writing Success: How to Set and Negotiate Rates Confidently
Break into the World of Freelance Writing: How I Went from $0 to ,100 in One Month with No Experience (Becoming a Freelance Writer)

Work At Home Web Business Idea #8: WordPress Consulting & Design

What is it?
WordPress is a Content Management System best known as a ‘Blog’ and the need for WordPress management and design is great.

Most important skills needed
WordPress expertise, graphic design skills, Photoshop, etc.

Best learning resources
Tech Based Training, Website Design Mojo, Graphic Design Mojo

Internet Business Idea #9: Coaching/Consulting

What is it?
Providing your specialized knowledge to those who need it.

Most important skills needed
Trade-specific knowledge, sales, customer service

Best learning resources
Smart Coaching Skills

Recommended Interviews:
From Teacher to Business Coach with Bob Jenkins

Web Business Idea #10: VA (Virtual Assistant)

What is it?
Providing administrative and business support to other business owners and small businesses.

Most important skills needed
Customer service, organization, social media

Best learning resources
Become an Educated VA, Free list of 147 tasks you can do as a VA

Recommended Book
Virtual Assistant – The Series 4th Edition

Further Reading

    • 10 More Work at Home Internet Business Ideas You Can Do in Your Fuzzy Bunny Slippers
    • 21 Home Business Resources You Can’t Miss

http://www.sparkplugging.com/sparkplug-ceo/top-10-internet-home-businesses-ideas-you-can-start-and-run-in-your-underwear/

Email Marketing Tutorial

This is a quick tutorial about driving sales through email marketing. In this video we provide some tips for getting the most out of email mail marketing.

11 Methods of Online Marketing

Twitter-Logo1Search Engines Aren’t Everything!

Well there are many different ways to market your web site online and drive that traffic to your site. Most people know about search engine optimisation or at least have heard about search engine optimisation and have a general idea of what it is and what it is all about. So what about the other methods of marketing a website. We can’t all just search engine optimise a website and then just wait for the search engines like Google to come by and pick it up. That just takes too long and there are many other sources of traffic that ever site should tap into to become a popular and successful site. So lets have a look in to the other parts of online marketing.

Social Networks

Most people know about social networking and what it offers to the internet, from thousands of teens creating the most terrible looking MySpace pages on the Internet to the Facebook profiles with every application installed under the sun. Besides the negative it is a fantastic way to reach target demographics and specific people with specific interests. You can take advantage of social networking by advertising your business or services on the social networks such as Facebook, MySpace or Bebo (there are many more). Facebook offer pay per click advertising on thier social netowork. That is, you pay for every click of traffic that is sent from Facebook to your site. These clicks can be targetted towards certain demographics and age groups to ensure better click through rates and better conversions of your ad on your site. List of social networks

  • Pintrest
  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Meetup.com
  • YouTube

YouTubeSocial Network Applications

This is a form of viral marketing that has appeared on the social networks over the last few years. As more and more people try and customise their profiles and pages to make their sites cool than others, more and more of these applications have appeared on the internet. Some of the most popular and most famous Facebook applications include, the now extinct, Scabulous. Applications like thise drew in a huge user base that returned continually to the application page and are exposed to advertising or additional services. It isn’t hard producing a Facebook or any other social network application. The hard bit is coming up with a really good application that people will want to use and spread to all of their friends. Either way, once you start a good social networking application, you’re looking at generating a nice amount of traffic or even cash.

Social News

So from social networking we look at social news sites. These sites are community based sites that rate and market news articles that submitted to the network. Sites such as Digg can cause websites to fall on its knees with the amount of traffic that they can generate. Writing a good news article to So use these with caution.

  • Slashdot
  • Fark
  • Digg
  • reddit
  • Wikio

SMS on Steriods

These micro blogs aren’t hugely popular everywhere in the world but where they still generate huge amounts of traffic. They’re somewhere between a blog and a SMS. They allow all people or subscribers that are following a users profile to get status updates from profiles notify them when something is happening. It may not seem very powerful but when you integrate this technology with mobile phones or the mobile internet it is basically SMS on a mass scale. You can update your online profile from your mobile phone, smart phone or iPhone and instantly notify everyone that is following your profile. A simple way to take advantage of this type of technology is to post updates about your products and services to these micro blogs allowing everyone to access the new updates and information.

  • Twitter
  • Pownce

Online Favourites and Bookmarking

pintrestThese book marking services are just the same as the favourites folder in your browser. The difference to these online services is that when your computer crashes and you have to reinstall everything, you don’t loose your favourite bookmarks because they are all store online. Further more, these online links can be categories and tagged making them search able. Other users can search these tagged bookmarks. As a website owner your could promote your sites and articles in these online bookmarking sites and allow everyone to find them via the network.

  • Ma.gnolia
  • Delicious
  • Pintrest

RSS Feeds

Real Simple Syndication, the name is simple enough but the things you can do with the technology can become very technical. The simple use of RSS feeds is to push news articles and site updates out to all of the site’s subscribers. The traditional method of notifying your users about site updates is to do it with an email marketing campaign where emails will be sent out to users to let them know of site updates. Sending out emails constantly to a huge user base chews up bandwidth and adds to the worlds spam. RSS on the other hand delivers news directly to the users desktop or news reader where the user and check for updates as they happen. Live and instant updating is now made possible. This technology can be taken even further for republishing on other sites, and even publishing on micro blogs like Twitter. Being able to have your content published all over the internet is a very powerful thing. Example feed, -http://feeds.feedburner.com/pbwebdevblog

  • Feedburner

bloggerBlogging

With the introduction of Blogs came a massive wave of publishers being able to get their content online. Not only has blogs given people the ability to have their content published online quickly and easily but it has also created a massive wealth of information for people to read and learn about various topics and opinions people have on these topics. Having a blog to promote your main site or content is a fantastic way to build traffic.

  • Blogger
  • Blogsome
  • LiveJournal
  • Typepad
  • WordPress
  • Xanga

Email Marketing

This is one of the traditional ways of online marketing. Building a double opted in email list will ensure that the people that you are sending emails to actually want your email.

  • Campaign Monitor

SMS Marketing

This is a very direct way of marketing to your clients or customers. I can also become very expensive. If you have a last minute message to get out to everyone on your SMS list then this is the fastest and most direct way to get to all of them.

  • Impact Data

Search Engines

Search engines are a key traffic source for the majority of websites. Everyone knows Google. When you want to find things online you are often finding yourself saying, ‘just Google it’ for your answers. Now, search engine optimisation will only allow search engines crawl your site better. Good optimisation will make things more accessible for the blind search engines, but how do search engines know that your site exists and how do you get ALL of those search engines to crawl your site. Well there are several different ways to get your site in to those search engines. Some of the methods of search engine optimisation will help your site get crawled quicker by search engines but why nit just submit your site to the search engines and force them to crawl it. Most of the top search engines out there will give you certain tools that you can take advantage of and get help promote your site to get it online. A simple XML site map is all you need to get started to submit your site online.

  • XML Sitemaps
  • Google Webmaster Tools
  • Live Search Webmaster Tools
  • Yahoo Site Explorer

Pay Per Click Advertising

Everyone knows that if you want to find something on the internet that you’ll turn to a search engine to give you the answers. Most of the sites that are returned for a search result are there because the search engines deem them to be worthy of having that placement. It can take ages to get a site well placed in the search engines with lots of search engine optimisation. The easier way to get a high placement. Sure it will cost you more money but if you want the traffic and good well targeted traffic then this is the way to do it. Pay Per Click Advertising! Most of the fancy search engines offer some sort of pay per click advertising. There is a lot of history behind pay per click advertising but it is all the same where ever you look these days with Goolge, Yahoo and MSN Search being the big players in online advertising.

  • Google Adwords
  • Yahoo Search Engine Marketing
  • MSN Search

Press Releases

Online press releases are just the new way of releasing news all over the internet. Doing a press release can cause such a buzz and your news article can be picked up and placed on sites such as Yahoo News, Google News, Forbes and other major news sites around the world. Not only can these online press releases be picked up by online publications but some of these are also pushed out to print publications.

  • PRWeb

Conclusion

So there are more methods of online marketing but these are the main methods that we use. Please feel free to add more methods to the post. This article will be updated with more methods of marketing. If you want more information about any of these methods of marketing or want to implement some of them to your website then just shoot us an email and we’ll organise something for you.

http://pbwebdev.com/blog/11-methods-of-online-marketing#.UjS17sanrzI

Internet Marketing Strategies Webinar [Leaked]

Regardless of whether you own an online business or an offline business, internet marketing has now become one of the most effective ways to market your business. If you want more traffic and sales, then you have to market on the internet. Internet marketing strategies work, many of them are free to do, and they will drive traffic to your business.

Although there are many ways to market on the internet, some ways are more effective than others. Over the years, I have narrowed it down to these 10 internet marketing techniques, and they have continued to work for me:

1. Article Marketing
2. Search Engine Optimization
3. Free Classifieds
4. Joint Ventures
5. Blogging
6. Video Marketing
7. Social Media Marketing
8. Affiliate Program Management
9. Free Ebooks, Reports, And Document Sites
10. Forums

If you are using any other internet marketing strategies to market your business, especially if they’re free, then you’re probably wasting your time. The best part of most of these strategies is that you do the work once, and it creates little marketing machines that are working 24/7 to market your business because they are content.

The secret to building an effective internet marketing plan though is to choose one of these techniques and then master it. As you get better at that technique, then add another one. The reason is that as you add various internet marketing techniques to your marketing arsenal, then you will find yourself marketing in new places.

Regardless of which of these techniques you choose, these types of sites are directories for a specific type of content. This allows you to expand your reach. There are article directories, document directories, ebook directories, RSS and blog directories, video sites, etc. Each houses a different type of content, and the places you are offering your content, and the more different formats you are using to offer that content, the more likely you are to connect with your audience.

Another key to building your marketing plan is to make sure you are marketing on popular sites. I have included 12 in this webinar. These sites are ranked in the top 50 most visited websites worldwide, and they are key to helping you get the maximum amount of traffic for your business.

Here are 12 sites that get the most traffic:

Google
Facebook
Youtube
Yahoo
Amazon
Ebay
Windows Live
Craigslist
Twitter
Blogspot
Bing
Linkedin
Pinterest

These sites include everything from search engine marketing to free classifieds, social and video marketing. Although not all of the techniques outlined on the top 10 internet marketing techniques can be done on these sites, they are still effective in helping you build an additional presence on the internet.

Although many things in marketing have changed, they’ve also stayed the same. Good content is an intregal part of any internet marketing strategy and these internet marketing techniques help you to create an internet marketing strategy that allows you to recycle your content into various forms by starting with an article, converting it to a PDF report, video, audio podcast, slide shows and other forms. Then you submit your content to the appropriate directories for indexing. By performing search engine optimization on your content, as well as your titles, descriptions and tags, you actually complete two internet marketing tasks instead of one.

Whether you are an online business or an offline business, you market affiliate programs, your own products or services, or MLM, these internet marketing strategies will help you build the traffic to your site that will increase your sales. Eventually you will have an army of passive sales machines throughout the internet driving traffic to your business 24/7.

http://jingerjarrett.com/30dayim


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