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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

6 Easy Steps to Huge (free) Blog Traffic, I'm Not Sure #3 is Even Legal! (with infographics!)



Blog traffic is talked about like it’s some kind of ancient secret of the Pharaohs, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, there are proven, simple methods you can use to get more traffic to your blog and I know a lot of them, after all, I’ve launched over 50 blogs on various topics through the years and some are still getting traffic, sitting dormant for two or more years. In fact, I’ve racked up over a million views between my blogs and that’s with some that have only ever had one 
experimental post that got a half dozen page  views. My current blog is only 6 months old. I recently relaunched after having trouble with GoDaddy’s hosting service, onto the Blogger platform where my site operates free of charge. So, here they are! 



*For the record, with only six months on this site and a domain name that is only three years old, I get several hundred hits on every post I build. This increases over time and I am now regularly getting more than 300 visitors a day and growing, not bad for a personal writing site. By this time next year, I can say from experience, I will be getting a thousand to five thousand page views per day at my current growth rate. 



Step Number One To Building Huge Blog Traffic

Get a custom domain name. Even if you follow my example and move to Blogger, pretty much the only free hosting site that allows high traffic blogs to continue without paying, you need a name. Why? Because MarkRMorrisJr.blogspot.com is too much to type and it looks cheesy. So, how do you go about choosing this awesome website name? MSB New Media says, no one knows your serious until you define and protect your brand with a custom domain and I tend to agree. I have several.

  • ·       Mine was easy and if you are a writer/consultant/personality of any sort, I suggest you follow suit. Sure a catchy name is great, but personal name recognition? That’s priceless.

  • ·       If you are running a more traditional business, consider a name that contains one or more of your central keywords. People will know what you do, and it helps with SEO, too.

  • ·       Keep your name short. In my case, I just used the form of my name I use on all of my published books. Short and sweet, no more than 4 words at the most, 2 is better and 1, if you can find the right word, or make one up, “Travelocity” is a good example. 


Step Two to Building Huge Blog Traffic

Keep your site simple. No flash video, no long-loading carousels. Make sure your site comes up in four seconds or less on most devices. If it takes longer than that, it will lose you traffic. Some of you are testing yours right now and just realized that it sucks. Fix it. According to Kissmetrics, your bad site is costing you visitors, in fact, if it takes more than 4 seconds, 25% of them are walking away here’s a few things you can to keep it simple once it loads.

  • ·       Choose a bold header! Mine right now is a huge vintage typewriter graphic that gets a lot of comments and has my name in huge letters.

  • ·       Make your navigation easy to find and follow, make sure if I read your headings, I will know where they lead. No mysteries here, people won’t play your guessing game.

  • ·       Put your most important information first. Since I want reads, I have my blog posts front and center with only a few other options. I have not added my “services” page back in for freelance writing, but the site still gets me jobs. 


Step Three to Building Huge Blog Traffic

Every time I read this step in a blog post, I think, why did you add this? Everyone knows this! WRITE QUALITY CONTENT! So, I am going to attempt to define this a bit more and tell you why you need it. First, it’s not about your vocabulary, grammar, or spelling, those are all a given. Your content must be useful to someone besides yourself and your SEO strategy! Darren Rouse and the team at Problogger had these tips to share.Read their tips here!
  

  •  No one shares crap. There, I said it. No one cares about your internal struggles, unless you’re funny, no one cares about your business discovery unless it can help them. Think this thought before you push “PUBLISH” Why would anyone in their right mind share this? If you can’t come up with an answer, it does not belong on your blog!

  • ·       Give the audience great information. Go above and beyond. Find resources and graphics and make movies and music videos, and build tutorials and make them really awesome and if you do all of this in a niche people give a shit about, some of them will show up. Not all, but maybe a lot, if you keep doing it.

  • ·       Make it stand out! You don’t have to be the best, or even better than most. You just need to be different and stick to it. If you do funny, do it big. If you do data, share away. Whatever your thing, make yourself stand out. I help. Really. Email me about anything writing or marketing online and I will send you some resources. I will.


Step Four to Building Huge Blog Traffic

Share it. That’s it, that’s the whole step, right there. There it is, share the ever loving hell out of it. Don’t worry that you’re being spammy, because it’s useful and people who are going to like your stuff will love you for it. Those that don’t, were never going to and they like making rules about people like you. BREAK THEM! No, don’t really be spammy, only share where you are asked to share.

  • ·       Every post you write should be shared in multiple places, including your own personal social media.

  • ·       Buy ads if you must, but understand, they are becoming less and less effective and are not the best means for building sustainable organic traffic, plus they are expensive!



Step Five to Building Huge Blog Traffic

Automate your sharing. Yep. You need to set up a system that takes your blog post and puts it in front of a thousand viewers before the ink is even dry. Make yourself ubiquitous (look it up) that is how you get known. A few here, a few there and pretty soon it feels  like everyone is talking about you! TADA! Just so you know this is not my own personal vendetta, PCmag published this list of 100 IFTTT recipes for bloggers. Go get it. 


  • ·       Use tools like IFTTT or Zapier (I prefer IFTTT and it’s FREE) to automate a ton of sharing so that every single blog post builds back links and gets in front of your potential readers.

  • ·       Set up a social media dashboard to automate sharing in places these tools can’t reach (like Google Plus) and don’t be afraid to tweak  and repeat your posts. I have some short stories that get dozens of hits a week after months on my site.

  • ·       Guest blog, post articles, do interviews and otherwise make yourself known. Leave links to your blog content as you go like a trail of bread crumbs. Make sure they are on topic and useful and they will be welcome. 


Step Six  to Building Huge Blog Traffic

Don’t screw it up. Well, engage your audience and build it bigger by being genuine. (Which means don’t screw it up) This is known as “platform” building and it is what sets the pros apart from the amateurs. If you want more traffic, do steps 1 through 5 on a regular basis and then get in the habit of engaging your audience and encouraging those in your niche. According to social times, sharing others content is the first step to engaging on platforms like Twitter!


  • ·       Be active on social media for at least some time every week. Every day is better. Automation helps, but you need to be responding to comments, likes, RTs etc personally.

  • ·       Engage in conversation and like other people’s work too! Share if it’s appropriate to your audience. It builds your authority and your reputation as a member of the community, not just a talking head.

  • ·       Try to be the person you needed when you first got started. Or the author you'd want to be a fan, or a generous consultant who helps beyond their bottom line, etc. Be nice, it comes back to you. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

6 Promoting Tools Every Writer Should be Using, You've Probably Never Heard of #5!



Every now and then I like to share new tools I have found with my fellow writers. Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of promoting and found a few things that work and a lot that don’t much. I’ll skip over the bad ones, you’ll find them easily enough. Here are some great tools you should be adding to your repertoire!


@Copromote!

You can find them on Twitter,  or visit their website, Copromote.com for some great promotional juice! It is a sharing network, where you choose topics of interest to you and your audience, then, share them! It works on Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr and Instagram and the results are almost instant!

  • ·       The free account allows you a limited number of shares every day. If you want more, you can upgrade to pro, but their prices are a bit steep for what they offer, in my opinion. You’ll have to try it yourself, since I opted to stick with free.

  • ·       You select posts to share with your audiences from people you follow on the site. Each share is worth “share” points, that represent the number of audience members your own posts can be shared with.

  • ·       Select one of your own posts to “boost” and input it into the system. CoPromote users that follow you can find and share your post to earn points as well. I get dozens of RTs and shares when I boost, which lasts for 7 days, I typically pick up followers each day as well.

PRO TIP: If you boost a post, make a note to  go back each day and use your max free shares to promote other content, to boost your post even higher. 


This great list of promotional sites

There are a lot of lists out there of places to share free and discounted books for free, or on a subscription service. The problem with many of them is that they were written five years ago and half the sites have either closed up shop, or don’t have the options the list claims. Here is a great list that is updated and accurate for the most part. It also shows you the main features of each site to save you time.

  • ·       Follow the links and do your homework before you give them any information, especially money.

  • ·       Check for online reviews on writing blogs if you are considering paying for promotion. The vast majority  of paid promotions sites give limited value at best. So be aware. If they have a single shot option, try that first.

  • ·       Keep track of which sites you’ve used and the results you get. Be sure to pay attention to the rules on free promos. A lot of sites will promote you every time you have a giveaway, provided you follow the rules.

PRO TIP: If you sign up for a free account, you can save the list, with your selected sites marked, to save time the next time. 



Contentmo.com

It’s not a very catchy name, but this little site actually did what they said they would do. Although I have not tried their premium services myself, I recommend this a good place to start, since I saw some good results from their limited free promotions.

  • ·       They shared my book on their blog, with an advance email to let me know it was going up so I could share it.

  • ·       They promoted the post, with the other books that were also featured during the same time, on Twitter and it blew up my newsfeed with shares and new followers. I don’t think I got hundreds of downloads from it, but it definitely worked.

  • ·       They have an active audience that continued to share that post after they had finished promoting it and I engaged with some great followers through it.

PRO TIP: Find and RT every post from Contentmo,  it will get you new followers, replies and likes. 


Twuffer

This is what Buffer used to be before they morphed themselves into a cross platform social media automation dashboard. It’s a Twitter automator that allows you to easily share content on a schedule you choose. It’s free, it’s easy and if you are doing nothing for Twitter posting, this is a good start.

  • ·       Set up what days and times you want to share on a calendar. These will be repeated, so take  some time to look at your stats and figure out when you get the best response.

  • ·       Add tweets in the forms of links to your own content, links to other’s content, images, anything you would normally share on Twitter.

  • ·       Twuffer will automatically use that new Tweet to fill the next slot in your pre-selected schedule, creating a constant cue of juicy, useful content.

PRO TIP: Use Twuffer to fill those times of day when you are busy elsewhere, and be sure to check and respond to engagement on your posts!


Massplanner

I cannot express how much this tool has helped me! Because of the amazing background tools it has, that no other dashboard has (I’ve tried most of them, except for the uber expensive “enterprise” scale dashboards) and it works!

  • ·       I’ve tripled my engagement on Facebook, which was my primary platform for the past couple of years until recently.

  • ·       It has google+ tools, which almost none of the others have and if you are not using Google+, you’re stupid. It works great. Less spam, more response. A little slower, but consistent.

  • ·       The initial set up is cheap for basic service, the subscription is never more than $10 a month, and you OWN, not rent, your add on tools, so they work on the same $10 subscription forever.


**Full disclosure, I did sign up as an affiliate, so I make a bit off of each signup here, but if you can’t see the value, I’ll gladly pay you back, even though that’s not part of the company’s plan**



This one surprised me. I’ve had a profile there since it started and fed a little bit of content there automatically, but I haven’t spent any time on it at all. I literally just now familiarized myself with the platform enough to get how it works. I get almost instant blog traffic and downloads on freebies with a few minutes of posting and I’m convinced that will grow as my audience increases. If you have a Google account, for Gmail, or any other Google tool, you have a profile, do yourself a favor and optimize it.

  • ·       The audience growth is paaaaaaiiiiinnnnnfullllyyy slooooow, but everything else works great, and I think the key is following active users and engaging them to turn them into followers.

  • ·       Google+ communities are awesome. Many have huge followings, 20k+ and less spam, by far, than Facebook’s groups. The reach seems to be better as well, since I get almost instant response from posting there.

  • ·       The +1 shows up in other places too when the content gets shared and the integration with Google’s other tools looks cool, although I have not had the time to play with it yet.

PRO TIP: Don’t give up on audience building. It took about a week of regular posting to see the “followers” number start to rise, now it’s up daily a bit more.

Get out and explore

For those of us who have been kicking around online since the 90s, hunting down the tools we need is second nature. If you don’t know, you find the most useful step behind page one, because that’s how it works. Scroll down further, especially if looking for good “free” tools, and you’ll be amazed what you find.