7 Ways to Drive More Traffic to Your Blog or Website…

As I’m undertaking some heavy-duty research for a couple of clients on Social Media initiatives, I keep stumbling across some familiar blogging personas.

As a result of the constant exposure I keep asking myself the question;

How do some bloggers (like Danny Brown) get such huge followings and so many interactions?

Granted they have had an online presence for quite sometime however followers in the tens of thousands don’t come easy. Additionally the cost component required to develop the content, edit it and then manage the interactions can also be a burden. At the end of the day though there is one golden egg to strive for – organic SEO. Lets face it nothing brings more love and joy to your website than the super secretive search engine algorithm.

For those of you not in the know, it’s the secret hidden maths behind the scenes powering Google, Bing, Yahoo ect. Each Search engine works differently yet all search for one major element….who loves your site enough to want to link to it.

At the end of the day you are not going to get much in the way of a page 1 ranking unless you either pay for it or sneak in some weird SEO technique like buying links from far and away ‘ghost’ sites.

Now that the search engine element is out of the way, how do we actually attract the human element back into our website or blog?

Most believe it’s all about delivering value in each of your posts however I have dug a little deeper for you and found a handful of must ‘knows’ in order to really make an impact on the net.

I have discarded most of the normal everyday ones like links and ALT tags (descriptors used to highlight an image name) and have posted this summary of my favourite 7 ways to maximise return and visitation to your site or more importantly your blog.

Here they are in no particular order of preference apart from number 7 – but you will need to read on to find out my favourite.

# 1 – Publish often publish good

Blogging or web works takes a certain amount of your day and efficient time management is critical. As a rule I generally hit my laptop at around 830am grab a cuppa and read through all the relevant email headers. I then ditch the rubbish and highlight the ones that need actioning.

I then spend a few minutes reading some of my favourite blogs and add a comment or two. I also then spend a few minutes jotting down some ideas I feel my readers would be interested in.

Publish Good

This is not rocket science – ideally you should consider your topic of expertise. Reminds me of the guy I once met who perfected the perfect badminton shuttlecock – he had a technique (ritual) that allowed for greater control in the trajectory and he came to me asking about telling the world of his new-found wisdom.

ShuttlecockObviously badminton as a sport would have a massive amount of followers and no doubt Trevor’s revelations would appeal to many if not all. I suggested he begin listing the ideas but at the same time start gathering other elements that the badminton players out there would be interested in.

A couple of weeks went past and we ran into each other again – lo and behold he did what was suggested and had amassed an incredible 300 odd blogging headers specific about badminton. Picture of a shuttlecock Pinched from here.

Roll on 2011 and Trevor has lied low my last recollection of him was the Joondalup BC the Body Club in Western Australia. However there is little doubt his enthusiasm resulted in some pretty interesting subject matter.

Publish Often

Now a word of caution – don’t hammer out massive amounts of useless dribble – it does nothing for you or your end target market. Ideally set up a content ‘farming’ plan and hopefully plan to lead one post into the next and so on…always good to give away a hint or two on your next post ‘currently in development’.

Dumping a massive amount of posts does nothing and most readers will smell a rat if they marry up the dates of your posts all fell within the month of March 2008.

Remember also that when you publish fresh content Search Engines have a habit of finding about it quicker than it takes to fire up a Windows XP driven laptop.

I generally tackle a list no longer than about 20 future posts and generally plan to upload one or two discussions, photos, posts everyday.

Doing so also keeps interested readers on your side (regular updates hit their in boxes and RSS feeds) and within a very short period you will end up growing your followers without actually knowing it.

# 2 Advertise yourself everywhere

It’s amazing how some bloggers don’t go to a lot of trouble on this one…

Look at ways you can ‘push’ your knowledge and website the best way you can. The biggest one I keep pulling up my contacts on is the lack of publicity they forgo with their email signatures.

email signatureYou email signature is a prime piece of real estate and with the average Australian said to send over 35 emails on any given work day the opportunity for publishing your efforts on the web care as simple as providing a link to your presence.

Go on do it now!

#3 Get out there and keep asking for the sale

Sorry guys – no hard sell here but from your end do not pass up the opportunity to seek out a subscriber to you blog or website (if offered.)

share thisAsk and ask again in the different parts of the blog, post or website.

As a rule most of early design and usability discussions with new clients revolve around the old chestnut – ‘Call to Action’

Have a look through at some of your past posts – have you bothered to ask people to subscribe, register or make contact with you?

By the way have you registered with my Blog – there’s heaps of posts coming up that will help you and your web endeavours!

#4 Update your Google Profile

Profile what?

Did you know that under your Google account (surely you must have one by now) there is an opportunity for you to tell the world as little or as much as you want about yourself, your dog, the house you first lived in ect.

Google Profiles Page

This is critical as its a great way to start the idea of cross linking back to your online blog and websites. There you go simple – you have your first back-link – second if your mum beat Google to it.google profile screenshot

Essentially when someone does a search on your name and finds the profile the links to your sites will appear just below or along the summary section. This forms part of the recent changes Google made to the Profile Results.

Dont forget to give links to your LinkedIn, Flickr, Facebook and any other site you subscribe to and have a profile set up for.

#5 Syndicate to all of your other Social Media sites

By syndicate I mean make sure any updating tools you have at your disposal are turned on and allow for notifications of an updated post.

Modern CMS driven blogging platforms and website have these already built-in. Check to see what tools are available so it removes one less hassle of publishing your content to the many sites you work with.

The screen shot below is my WordPress.com backend and the arrow points to my auto syndication facility to Twitter. With the flick of a key I get to control which platform displays my post. Great for when personal posts don’t necessarily make for great reading on your professional LinkedIn profile page.

syndicate twitter

I know that when this post is done, a Twitter notification will be dispatched, my Facebook updated and LinkedIn advised so that my followers and or network are aware of the effort taken and content developed.

# 6 Consider authoring and submitting articles

This tip is a little debatable but worth a shot. Visit one of the many article submission websites such as ezinearticles.com and consider authoring articles for the use of others.

ezinearticles.com

Check out the conditions attached to make sure they fit with your thoughts on IP and Copyright. I like Ezinearticles.com because you get to update the authors details and place your url / website addresses in the boxes article users must use as a way of acknowledging the work of the originating author.

This can be incredibly powerful if done right – be warned though it’s a killer way of making time fly.

#7 (My Fav) Ensure your headlines hook readers in

Now I could bang on about my past experiences in writing traditional ad copy and headlines but won’t. One thing I learnt many birthdays ago was the need to keep the headlines to any adverts short sharp and succinct. I also applied something used in email marketing called Multivariate Testing.

Multivariate testing is one of my favourite forms of analysing and fine-tuning internet based marketing. The short version is the ability to have two different headlines sent through to a select group of email subscribers (normally 100) and then await the response ratios to come through. The most popular headline wins and the rest of the subscriber list gets the winning email headline which will hopefully convert the most.

Putting this excercise into motion is important as blog postings allow for you to play with the wording in your ‘hooks’. Obviously I’m not condoning re-posting the blog with a different headline but a more sedate way of looking at the title and thinking in the shoes of your readers. Ask yourself this;

Would I open this email / post / advert?

Better still share your intended post with others in the room via email first and ask for opinions, perhaps give them two or three different headlines and work some of the Multivariate magic into your last headline.

Oh, always remember to add a post every now and then with a number in the title – it’s a little lame and I hate doing it but the stats don’t lie – incorporating a number into your headline really does work….just don’t over do it.

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So what do you think? has this post helped you and your ambitions of telling the world your quirky little story? Trevor have you progressed your Badminton Shuttlecock secret any further?

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Incubating entrepreneurs…

Startup Tasmania

One of my passions deals with the ability to believe in people who are passionate about an idea, a dream or even a business model. Incubation of entrepreneur’s isn’t a new thing however of late my experiences have taken me to Hobart Tasmania, where a dedicated group of thought leading entrepreneurs are busy sketching their plans for a shared accommodation facility.

The idea is pretty simple grab a bunch of founding tenants to a city office tenancy, lock in 5 entrepreneurs to ‘own’ the lease and the rest can be sublet to aspiring business people, entrepreneurs and wannabe tycoons.

Start-up Tasmania is the running name and so far has gained incredible acceptance and response from a group of dedicated passionate people.

What I can see is the formation of something truly unique in the space once reserved for those lucky enough to have received angel funding due to a pitch for $$. The last meeting took place (in a pub !) on Friday March the 4th and the ideas thrown around the room with some even committing to funding anchor tenancies.

The end outcome can only be but beneficial to all involved – if anything the opportunity to share office space with like-minded people all with plans to take an idea to a fully commercial level.

This link shows you a similar concept in the US called the Makery. Each ‘tenant’ has ample space to use as a shared workspace and $300 a month you end up getting more than just a desk.

Whilst the proposed concept for Tasmania may differ it is good to know the opportunity to foster business ideas and relationship is well and truly alive.

Stay tuned for further info or if interested drop us a line to discuss further.

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New iPad video – finally (Thanks to CNN)

cnnmoneyWell after hunting high and low for a few days now here is probably the closest we are going to get to an actual hands on presentation of the new Apple iPad 2. Full credit to CNNmoney.com for the vid. Unfortunately my attempts to copy and paste the link were severely thwarted (WHY CNN??) so the best I can do is give you the link in the hope that it gives you an idea from a true hands on test. Enjoy

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Facebook to find a killer?

Interesting reading today on the Mercury’s website (yep I refuse to buy the paper!)….if you didn’t hear the news, a chap by the name of Paul Barker has pleaded with Police to set-up a Facebook page that can aid in closing his brothers (Shane Barker) shooting murder in Campbell Town almost 2 years ago. Shane Barker

What’s interesting about this story is not so much one persons journey to get the states police service to set up a generic ‘crime stoppers’ Facebook page, but a discussion around the need to start adopting Social Media in more and more public services.

In the Mercury the commentary leads the reader to believe its a resourcing issue, and that the brother cannot do it himself, however with the state of technology and the results associated with effective campaigns surely the cost to resource is no longer a burden?

I’d rather see less fancy speed cameras and number plate recognition devices and more funding directed at Social Media initiatives.

Read the statistics with regards to the recent cyclone Yasi in Queensland – some 171,000 hits to the main Social Media information page – all managed by the Queensland Government.

Mr Barker if you are reading this contact us – The Facebook page is easy to set up and manage….hopefully your journey for information ends soon!

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The world is a different place…

My birth year

Here is a different slant on technology and the way we immerse ourselves in the day-to-day.

I recently re-ignited the Chrome browser on my new MacBook Pro and much to my delight the download coincided with my uptake of the new Google App store.

Lets face it there are plenty of app stores out there but among them I found this cool little app – called ‘What happened in my birth year’

The simplicity of the concept is great and the throughput once you engage with it is even better.

Simply put you place your year of birth into the screen = it goes dark during a countdown to your year and once it reaches black it begins typing to you all the elements that made your year of birth both interesting as well as captivating.

In my year The Godfather 2 came out, Leonardo DiCaprio was born and the Fox and the Hound movie hit the cinemas.

For the sake my vanity I won’t show the year but have a go yourself. (you will need Chrome installed – but worth the effort)

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Internal Issues Affecting Your Customers?

Is there internal conflict eroding the customer experience?

As a regular reader of Andrew Reimer’s blog, I thought I would share with you his latest posting – one that’s close to my heart.

To give a bit of background – Andrew owns and runs High Performance in Hobart – I have worked closely with Andrew for a while now and he mentored me and coached me in senior management for over 12 months. Put simply Andrew really knows his stuff.High Performance - Developing people across Australia

What got my attention this morning was his take on how business managers rate their internal customer service.

The summary is simple – If one makes the effort to manage teams properly and engages them the end results equal exceptional customer service.

Cohesive teams are critical and it only take one person in a team to turn the delivery of service into a negative for the end customer.

When was the last time you looked at your internal teams and assessed potential conflict or ‘squeaky wheels’?

If you have not already subscribed to Andrews blog follow this link to his new website, grab a cuppa and have a read.

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Being Social – what do you know about your co-workers?

Whilst surfing the net over the first cup of coffee for the day I came across a nifty little site called 5factsabout.me

The logic is simple – users register, load up 5 questions about themselves then share with others in their network. Once shared others can log in and answer the questions in a true or false format.

screenshot of 5factabout.me

5factsabout.me

What I like about this concept is the ability for people to share interesting tidbits about themselves. I know that when I manage groups or engage with workshop teams the ability to break the ice is imperative to how the rest of the day pans out.

I have used a similar concept in the past when engaging teams – not web-based, more face to face. Post the excercise it’s really interesting just what comes out. More importantly is the conversations had with and between co-workers which ultimately become priceless.

These types of ‘people ice-breakers’ and online personal sharing platforms are getting more popular and if you look at the rise and rise of  threewords.me there could be a mini boom in the making. threewords.me started in a college dorm room and quickly spread ‘virally’ – yep its humility based however considering just how simple the concept is can be its destined to go a long way.

Mark Bao the founder sold the concept very quickly to Kevin Ham who coincidently owns more than 300 million dollars worth of parked domain names. (See the video on Kevin Ham at the bottom of this post….makes for interesting listening!)

Ham is known for paying 6 figure sums for url’s he likes – some examples include God.com and Satan.com

Back to Bao and as an online entrepreneur he came up with the idea to ask punters within their respective network for compliments from others. The users would then post, tweet, write something back.

To me its a simple but effective tool available to everyone and can go along way to involve others…I guess the only issue would be victicious  from past ‘unfriended’ contacts :)

The site’s stats into its third week make for impressive server admin scenarios – 250,000 users, 5 million total visitors, 4.3 million words and 17 million page views. (info retrieved from TNW)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcHB_hfK6n4]

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What does a digital strategy involve?

Good question…

Just like a solid business plan all good web endeavours really need to have a strategy gluing it all together.

Most of the web presentation I have worked on (for clients) have come past my desk in various states of despair and or build.

Most clients have reported lengthy delays with their chosen development design team and upon further investigation the blame squarely get pointed back to a lack of a decent plan.

Its great to conduct peer reviews, throw a few conversations around the room and even ask mum’s opinion however every effort should be made to think in the eyes of the end-user and what essentially is in it for them.

When I get engaged on a new project I spend most of time gathering information, drinking heaps of coffee and spending time with clients assessing the overall opportunity; essentially I tend to base my investigations around the following 5 key elements:

  • Where do they want to be (business goals)
  • What are the top 5 goals for the first year (online)
  • What are the key metrics required to assess success
  • What are the steps necessary to carry out an adequate plan moving forward.
  • Who are the resources allocated to manage the project both pre and post deployment

Once the early phases come together other elements need to be further sounded out and as a rule this is where we start digging deeper into darker territory – some of the elements include:

  • Potential gap analysis
  • Peer reviews
  • Overall web opportunities
  • Individual business unit requirements
  • High level functionality
  • IA (Information Architecture)
  • Usability
  • Design elements
  • Brand incorporation
  • SEM (Search Engine Marketing)
  • Social Media Inclusion
  • Content requirements
  • Photography requirements

From my experience every job is so very different yet all tend to succeed if the documentation, research and consultation come together.

What about you? any experiences in this space? Keen to know

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