What is the BEST TECHNIQUE to Bring Visitors to Your Blog?
There are hundreds of ways for potential visitors to find your business blog once you have been working at marketing it for a while. Inevitably, even if you completely screw it up horribly, Google (G!) will still be sending you some traffic. It might be five people. It might be five-hundred. The point is, the Big G is sending you something! If you have anything from them, consider it a blessing.
Should you target the search engines, and particularly Google for brining traffic to your site?
No, and yes.
No, because you will drive yourself straight to the crazy farm if you focus all your energy on mastering Google. I did it for years. I was successful for years. It definitely took its toll on me! Today I don’t do very much optimizing for Google, except creating a Google friendly site – which means a customer friendly site, and then I build inbound links to my sites, which Google also likes and rewards.
There are many other sources of traffic that you could focus on. I’ll list some of the best here. The ideal place to focus on marketing your new online business to get heaps of traffic is the place that its a best fit for. I’ll mention which sort of sites each traffic generation system might be best for.
There are some guidelines as to how one should go about guest blogging to get inbound links, as well as what webmasters looking for guest bloggers should be doing to ensure they are not penalized by Google. A long time ago I used EzineArticles (.com) to publish a number of expert posts on subjects I knew a lot about. Wow, I just checked and I have 37 articles with them (http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Vern_L) The inbound links and traffic helped some of my websites get started back then.
Today, those links and traffic are worth just about nothing. That’s the way it goes. In a few years everything changes. Count on that flux. Know that you will need to keep up to date with what works and what doesn’t. Know you will need to be looking at new opportunities all the time to stay on top.
Guest blogging is my preferred way to acquire great inbound links to my websites. I just finished a nearly 3,000 word article about Thailand trail running that will go live in two weeks.
Writing Guest Articles on Top Blogs is Great Because:
1. You are introduced to the very top people in your niche – or, in parallel niches. It doesn’t make much sense to try to target anyone too far outside your niche because their visitors won’t care who you are. Target closely related niches, or exact niches with your guest posts.
Not only do you meet (virtually) some of the best people in the business, you are doing the a favor, and they will be very happy to have your article on a topic that is highly relevant to their audience. Most of the top in their field just don’t have time to write amazing articles themselves any more. They love guest bloggers.
2. Probably Google already loves the site you’re writing for. Links are usually followed from guest articles to your blog. This will have some effect on your own rank in Google and maybe some other search engines – Bing, Yahoo.
3. Visitors will see your name associated with this major site. You become known by association, especially if you’re a regular contributor to the site.
4. Some visitors will click the link to your blog to find out more about you and what you’re doing. This is ideal, and the greatest benefit of writing guest articles in my opinion. You need to be sure your website is ready for visitors from this site because they were just on one of the best sites that exists in your niche. When they click the link and see your site – does it measure up? It better!
5. You can try to convert these visitors to members of your own blog. You have to have something that catches their eye though. Ideally you’d have something that is slightly different from what they can get at the original blog you wrote for. Meaning, a slight twist. If the blog you’re writing for is focused on “Nikon DSLR Cameras” and your site is focused on the same thing – you may not get many conversions, no matter what free ebook or other carrot you dangle in front of them. But, if your site is focused on “50 Ways to Sell Your Digital Photographs!” You might get some more conversions. It’s a parallel niche, and one that offers something extra. See what I’m getting at?
Produce AMAZING Content
This goes right along with guest blogging. You need to have already produced some absolutely amazing content in your niche so when visitors click a link in your article to see your website, you can knock them flat with a couple of masterpieces.
What is Amazing Content?
For me, amazing content usually takes the form of one of three types:
1. A 2,000+ word article on a timely topic that has no grammar mistakes, it emotionally incites people, and of course it is formatted beautifully with images, maybe a video, and links to other amazing articles I’ve written.
2. A huge list post that destroys everything anybody else has ever done on the topic. Years ago I did this with a number of topics. If the most anyone in my niche had was a post listing 10 things, I’d do 20 things. If someone had 25 things, I’d do 50. And so on. I actually made it to 100 once, and I cannot even rememember the topic any longer. Here is a good example of a top 50 post I did fairly recently at my Hawaii focused website – This one was shared thousands of times on social media and remains one of the top three pages on the site in terms of traffic.
50 Reasons to Move to Hawaii – I have 12 images on that post, an ebook at the bottom, and a video of the most famous Hawaiian singer ever. The formatting is big and bold. There are links sprinkled throughout that not only offer more information for readers, but also increase my internal link profile considerably.
When you make an amazing piece of content, try to make it so good that any of your competitors that were thinking of making one themselves that is better – just throw in the towel and go choose some other topic.
3. A multi-media filled article that has images, video, map, GPS coordinates, social media links and maybe feeds from Twitter or elsewhere. This is a post where you try to add any and all sorts of information into a huge-mashup that nobody else has ever done. I love adding quotes from experts about the topic, a bit of history on the topic, and some resources I used to make the post. This sort of post is a bit like a Wikipedia entry but has more photos, more visual candy and brings a lot more things together about the topic.
4. I know I said 3. I’m not good at it, but another way to make an absolutely amazing post is to create an excellent info-graphic that makes everyone reading go “aaaaaaahhhhhh.” Info-graphics with your url and name on them bring great links, and help to establish you as an expert on the topic. If you have some graphics knowledge, or enjoy creating graphics, this might be a good way for you to go. Once created, share your graphic with some major sites and ask if they want to use it – your url and name are already there, no need for more credit or a link. Unless of course they are dying to give you those things. Take ’em.
When you start out to create the best article on a subject you have ever done, and maybe that the world has ever known – be careful. It could be too successful. This is EXACTLY what happened to me about five years ago. I created a post on my Hawaii site – “What is the Point of Life?” It didn’t really fit the topic of the site, but it was sort of in parallel. You know what happened? That page got MILLIONS of views and it screwed me up in Google because they didn’t know how to handle my blog anymore. It wasn’t 100% focused on Hawaii because it was getting immense numbers of people coming to read this other post which has little to do with Hawaii. For years that post cranked on, while my rank in G! related to topics of ‘Hawaii’ took a nose-dive.
Only write articles which mesh 100% with the focus of your business blog. If it doesn’t match exactly, leave it off. These days G! and other search engines need to see a very defined and focused site in order to send traffic there, especially big traffic.
YouTube of the Past
YouTube has millions of searches daily. If your new passive-income focused business is focused on a niche where some well-placed video could crank up your traffic – then by all means focus a lot of your time here. YouTube is finicky, like Google. Same company – right? The golden days are over, where you threw up a video about a topic, souped it up with some keywords and a great description, and started killing it almost immediately with high traffic. Google was like this years ago. YouTube was like this until around two years ago. At one point three years ago when you typed the MAJOR keyword ‘Thailand’ into YouTube, I had 15 of the 25 results shown. No lie. I had hundreds of videos on the topic, and there was nobody that could compete. YouTube loved me, and I was making around $1,000 per month from just YouTube. If you owned a better keyword – like Hawaii to that degree, you would have been making thousands of dollars!
How to Use YouTube Today
Anyway, so it isn’t like that anymore. But still if you have a business focused on a small niche and there is little competition out there, or even if there is a lot of competition in a small niche, you might still be able to own the space by outdoing all your competition. Links in to your videos count a lot. Embedding your videos on your site – counts. Adding links from some of your videos straight to another one, can help tremendously as visitors to one of your videos will click to see another one you recommend with a similar topic. Interlink videos as much as possible.
YouTube JUST today came out with “Cards.” You can add a card, like an annotation to your video and get a new way to showcase your website, another video, or even products that you’re selling. It pays to get a YouTube partner account and verify it so you can add an approved website as your “associated website” in the Channel | Advanced settings. This way you can link directly to your website pages. Very useful!
YouTube for Ecommerce Websites
We have a small e-commerce site, a retail site, selling Buddhist items from Thailand and we put up some short videos of some of them on YouTube. By the time I looked at the results a year later, they already had over 100,000 views. Today there are over 250,000 views (https://www.youtube.com/user/ThaiAmuletSales/about). I didn’t think anyone would even be looking, but even for the most obscure niche, there are people out there looking at videos and searching Google and other resources for information. Even if you don’t THINK YouTube will help you, it doesn’t hurt to throw some videos up about your product, your services, your website, what you’re doing, and see if anything comes of it. YouTube is just too big to ignore.
Which Online Businesses Might Benefit a LOT with YouTube?
- ‘How to’ videos can do very well.
- Product videos do well – especially in a smaller niche.
- Funny, outrageous, prank, silly, unexpected results videos – all of these can do well. I have one video in which I really try to be off-the-wall. At first it did nothing. Then, the right group of people found it and all the sudden I have 670,000+ views at last count.
- Opinions about controversial topics do well. If your business was focused on educating people about vegetarianism and you started ranting about how horrible a Paleo diet is, you would have plenty of people view your videos from both sides. Controversy is not necessarily a bad thing at YouTube. It can be pure gold. Check out “DurianRider” videos at his channel. He’s an outspoken Australian who is controversial about a number of subjects. The last I heard, he was making $6,000 per month from his videos. That’s flat-out amazing. Of course he was also in the process of getting sued from a couple different parties too.
Instagram & Pinterest
Both of these can be very effective ways to enlist social media to help traffic grow to your blog. I know little about either of them. I don’t claim to be an expert on things I don’t know anything about. This is one of those areas. I just never had an online business that could benefit from them. Now, that said, some years ago my wife and I created a Thai Food Blog (JoysThaiFood.com) where she blogged at for a while. Back then (7 years ago) it was difficult to monetize and we never did go ahead with it in a major way. That said, Pinterest has become an incredible source of traffic for some food bloggers. If my wife quits her full-time job working with volunteers from around the globe coming to Thailand, she will likely go head-first into learning as much as possible about Pinterest first, and Instagram soon after.
Soon as we learn about these two social media platforms on an expert-level, I’ll be sharing all I know on this page. Bookmark this page to keep returning to it anyway, there is a ton of information here.
Facebook is a bit of a mixed bag in terms of getting reliable traffic from followers to your pages. Initially their algorithms were beneficial to business owners, and then it changed pretty substantially. Now there is no secret, you have to boost your pages, and create direct ads using the Facebook Ad Manager in order to get any results. You have to pay for real results, unless you have a few hundred thousand likes – and some die-hard followers. Most experts are advising not to try to get Facebook likes any more, but just advertise your website and main products instead. Let your Facebook likes grow gradually. If they ever take off – you’ll have another resource to market to with posts there on your business page, but most people are not able to garner that kind of huge following.
The advantage to using Facebook is that you can drill down into the demographic information and target EXACTLY who you want to show your ads to. There has not been this level of ad targeting to such a degree as this before. There are many people making a killing running Facebook ads right now. It is worth your time to give it a shot too. There are many resources out there on the topic. See the free YouTube videos. Google it and give your name for free ebooks to bloggers that tell you how to max it out. Be careful to check the date of publication for ebooks and articles you read about any topic dealing with internet marketing. Most information is old in 6 months to a year. It’s quite a bummer to get half way through a long article and realize it was written years before.
Use current info only!
Note – Facebook does not at this time allow ads that target making money opportunities.
Creating a Visitor-friendly Business Blog
Copy Successful Blogs in Your Niche Judiciously
Some of the best advice I could give you here is to go research some of the top blogs in your chosen niche, and see what they are doing. Copy features of the top blogger’s websites as much as is prudent. Right click their pages and search their source code for the theme they are using, and for the plugins. Find out what makes their blog tick. What colors are they using? Bold, banging colors? Or subdued hues that give another feeling entirely? Copy them. There is no sense reinventing everything about your business. Copy what is already working for the top blog businesses.
Blog Text Formatting and Optimization
As far as Google optimization goes – I could write an entire book on that. You should read up on it a bit so you can keep general optimization principles in mind as you build your new blog. Keyword stuffing, hidden links, and anything that is remotely black-hat – stay far from. Use heading tags where you can. Use all the other text formatting tags like big, strong, em, blockquote, unordered and ordered lists, etc. Use whatever you can to make the reading experience for your users – to be top notch. Look at this page. I optimized this page for a good amount of keywords, I added images, I added bullet points, number lists, bold and strong text. I used headings. And this page is over 4,000 words long. Long-form evergreen content, content over 1,500 or 2,000 words which can provide valuable and timely information for years, is a good way to think about your blog posts and pages. Separate pages from posts. If you’re not a news site or blogging about time-sensitive information – you may not need blog posts AT ALL. Just make 1,500+ word pages that cover all the major topics of your business.
Image Use and Optimization
Add images to nearly every post. There are STILL bloggers that don’t do this, and this separates you from them. A good visitor experience at your business blog means they are not bored looking at the content. Images, videos, sounds, big text, small text, weird text, all of it serves to wake up the visitor a bit. Optimize blog images with Title=, Alt=, data and use captions when it makes sense.
Lately I have had more visitors coming to my sites through Google image search. The reason? I use 144 dpi resolution on my images whenever possible now. I’ve been doing this for about six months. I also started adding bigger images to my posts. I widened most of my blogs so they are around 1100 pixels wide. I use 300 or so for the sidebar and the main content area is around 750-800 pixels. That means my images can be around that wide. I almost always choose 700 or 1,000 pixel wide images now because I know that most bloggers are not doing this. I have an advantage now. Don’t forget, you must have a fast server to be serving heavy images over 100KB each. Some of my images are 800KB for really large and detailed images. Use BlueHost for your blog hosting if you need a fast server. I do. Using large, beautiful images at 144 dpi will help my image search traffic to grow fast.
Include a link to ‘Home’ in your navigation links at the top of the site. You also must include these pages:
- contact us
- terms and conditions
I always put these pages beneath my Home button – that way they don’t clutter up the site. Google will find them if they are only one link deep.
Inbound Links from External Websites
With your incoming links – links that are pointing to pages on your site, you need to be careful if you’re building these links yourself. Meaning, they should appear natural. What’s that, right?
Natural inbound links have a variety of link text. An example of an unnatural link profile for a website would be if every link Google found about your Handmade Soap Blog was exactly the same. There would be something very unnatural about the owner of every website out there choosing exactly the same link text – like “Handmade Soap.” You see? Most of the time the URL is what is actually linked from other sites. Many times it’s your first name because you leave a comment at a site where it links your name with your website. Sometimes it will be just your first name that links in comments, sometimes first and last. If you are building your own links with agreements among website owners, make sure you read up on the details of natural link profiles, and try hard to make yours as natural as possible!
The Next Big Traffic Generation Tool
There will be a next big thing for bringing traffic to your business blog. It might be Apple creating their own search engine. If it’s any good I know tons of people that will switch. There is a very large group of people buying their overpriced products (I have a MacBook Pro 13″ retina), that would love to have a good reason to move away from Google search. Google just couldn’t possibly please everyone. I think the next big thing is going to be an amazing search engine, whether it is Apple, Facebook, or some other company (Samsung?) I know there will be real opportunities that not everyone is going to grasp at first.
It pays to ALWAYS be looking for the next thing. There will be one. There will be many new ideas to come out over the next ten, twenty years. If you can adapt and optimize to take advantage of one or a few of them, you can stay on top of this ever-changing game. It is, after all, just a very dynamically changing game – isn’t it?
Ready for one of the other articles?
Step 1 – Starting Your Blog
Step 2 – Business Blogging Basics
Step 3 – Bringing Visitor Traffic to Your Business Blog
Step 4 – Product Photography and Graphics Tips
Step 5 – Making Money from Your Blog
Step 6 – Creating and Selling Ebooks
Step 7 – Starting an Email List
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