I have been blogging from 3 years. I must admit it is changed a lot from 2007 to now and it is continuously changing day by day. The burden of blog posts on Search Engines is increasing with every single second. Search Engines are also increasing their capacity, their capability of indexing webpages, their databases and their strategy of ranking web pages and blog posts. With the time a lot of new people started blogs and they are expecting visitors. Some of them are serious in this business and working hard to promote their blogs but a large number of people are just doing it for fun.
Few people set a goal for their blog and work accordingly while few people don’t care for their visitors, they just want to express themselves. They are sharing their personal life activities, pictures and videos. They don’t worry if visitors are coming to their blog, spending time on it, participating in debate at blog or recommending to their friends. Sometime this kind of personal and no-aim blogs get popularity and visitors temporarily or long run but this doesn’t work all the time and for everybody.
Blogging is a serious business, a lot of people are earning great profits from blogging. As per my experience this is not easy, even if you don’t care for money and simply not interested in earning yet you might be interested in promoting your blog. Because you want to spread your message , you thoughts to more and more people. To accomplish this, you must learn few basics of Online Marketing.
I have collected a few points that I consider are worth sharing with my readers, I don’t claim this is a professional course for online marketing that is everybody must learn or follow but I just wrote this because it worked for me.
1. Don’t Start to Promote your Blog until you got something to show your visitors.
Think you submitted your blog to 1000 web directories, You already managed to submit your blog to some of the great Search Engines of the planet like Google, Yahoo, Bing and Ask.com. You already shared your blog URL on Social Networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, You already shared your blog to Social Bookmarking sites like Digg, Delicious, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Mixx and Yahoo Buzz.
All these thing redirecting 10K daily visitors to your blog, BUT you only got 10 to 15 random articles that are in no way related to each other. What those 10 K visitors will do at your blog? They simply open your site and if they found something interesting they read one article and then navigate to some other blog/website. You will not like that at all. So, to make your visitors spend sometime at your blog, you must provide them something interesting, something useful, something worth reading. A famous Australian blogger Yaro Stark calls it a Pillar article. An article that has something in it to attach visitor to your blog. So you must add a few (at least 10) Pillar articles at your blog. Once you done this go and start promoting your blog.
2. Write a Content that is your own and worth publishing
Search Engines are now very conscious about duplicate articles. So if you are stealing content from other web resources that will be useless. But write your own, choose a niche (a field of study or topic) and write a content that is not just content but it is useful. It is telling something, it consists of an opinion, training, a how-to tutorial or news that is exclusive at your blog.
3. Let others know about your blog and yourself
Find blogs that are related to the topic of your blog, visit them regularly and participate in debate. Add positive opinion that is on topic and not a spam comment. Don’t try to put your blog url in comments if it is not related. Normally blogs contain a text field for URL, only put your blog URL in that. If you are expert in a topic let others know about your opinion in a postitive way. If you write a healthy and on topic comment, not only blog author come to check your blog but his/her readers will also come in next day, next month or next year to see who is this expert who made such a nice comment.
4. It takes time
Have some patience, to run a quality Blog is not fun, it needs your attention, your hard-work and your time. Don’t expect success too early, or loose heart on not getting visitor’s attention. Keep doing quality work and one day you’ll get success. Don’t lose heart if your own article is getting less traffic than a copy/paste article. One of my fellow blogger said once, your own written article will never go in vain but it will benefit you in long run sooner or later.
5. Blog Directories, Aggregators and RSS Directories
Submit your blog to few directories like blogcatalog.com, blogged.com, topblogging.com and Technorati.com. Also try to find blog aggregators for your locality or your country and submit your blog into them. This will benifit your blog in terms of popularity in both ways, Search Engine visibility and increasing visitors. Submit you blog to RSS directories that will make it more visible to Search Engine and will provide you a few backlinks. Pingot is a good tool to submit your blog/site’s feed to RSS directories and it is free.
6. Networked Blogs
Install a Facebook application in your Facebook account called “Networked Blogs” or if you think your blog is already a somewhat popular, develop a Facebook page. Add its gadget in your blog’s sidebar, so that your blog visitors can subscribe to it if they have Facebook accounts. Use “Networked Blogs” to publish your posts at your profile. Facebook is the site that is visited most in every part of the world. Mold its popularity to promote your blog. Your posts might get attraction from your friends and friends of your friends.
7. Social Bookmarking Sites
Social Bookmarking sites play important role in increasing your blog’s visibility. This is the technology of today. Create accounts on famous social bookmarking sites and regularly share your good articles on them. However additionally also bookmark other good links too, to increase your reputation. I recommend Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon, Yahoo Buzz, Reddit and Mixx. It will take your time a little but benefit your blog very much.
8. Forums and Discussion communities
Join Forums on the same topic you write most in your blog, post your articles there and put link to your blog, visitors will start coming as per their interest. Don’t spam the forums that will lightly get you removed. Participate in the debates and create your reputation.
9. Paid Advertisements
Buying traffic via Google Ad-Words or Yahoo Paid Advertisements is the best option but it requires money, if you can spend a little go for this option too, it works great. I suggest Directory submission and Yahoo Directory is the best.
10. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Implement Search Engine optimization techniques at your blog if it is self-hosted. At free blog providers it can’t be implemented that much. Write every post with wisdom, try to figure out best keywords for your blog as per your blog toppic. In this aspect Google Ad-words keyword tool might help you a lot.
When submitting your site to Google search, don’t forget to register at Google Webmaster tools. It will help you know about keyword through which people come to your site. You can also submit your blog/site’s sitemap to Google that will make sure your blog posts and pages are Indexed by Google. If you don’t know how to create a sitemap or your blog is not based on wordpress you may go for XML Sitemap generator option. You will get necessary guidance there. Yahoo Site explorer can be used for same business.
HTML Headings like H1, H2, H3 and bold/italic words in your posts got more importance by Search Engine. So put Headings in your post, don’t just use big text but make it big by headings.
11. Email Marketing
Email marketing is more targeted and benificial. Develop a subscription system for your blog. At wordpress.com and blogger.com it is done already but at self hosted blogs you need to install plugins for this. When you got such system put a text box in blog/site’s sidebar where users can enter their email address and subscribe to your blog.
Google groups can be a useful service for this too, it is free of cost and easy for both Sender and Subscriber. Create a Google group for your blog, configure it and add a promotion box (subscription box) at your blog/site. With the time if your blog is interesting you would get a good community under your Google group, you may set it to announcement only, so that only you can send your blog posts to users or you can make it a public group so that everybody can share their stuff. Additionally you can join other Google groups related to topic of your blog and send quality content to group users, Put summery of your post in mail and provide a link below to the user, if he/she is interested in that article he/she must visit your blog.
Other than Google there is another free service that I have tested provided by Comm100.com They provide service of sending newsletters for free up to 2000/month subscribers for new accounts. If you send good content to your readers and follow guideline provided by Comm100, they will increase your sending limit. However registration process is a little complicated, you have to download their forms and manually fill it and then send it to them via fax. But overall it is a good free service.
Don’t forget the people you know, your family, friends and class fellows, invite them by sending them personal email invitations to check your blog.
12. Relation with Fellow Bloggers
Develop relationship with fellow bloggers, write guest posts at their blogs and invite them to write at your blog as a guest author. Writing at other blog will promote your peronality and the readers of other blogs might come to your blog. Similarly if other bloggers write guest posts at your blog this will also increase your visitors. Ask other blogs for link exchange, this will promote both blogs.
13. Related Content and Internal Linking
Don’t let go a visitor once he/she arrived at your blog, after each post ending put some manual related links to similar posts. There are plugins available to do that but I do that manually. This has 2 main benefits, it helps developing a strong internal linking in your blog and if a visitor reached your blog by Search engine he would find more related stuff and will stay longer time at your blog, and when visitors stays longer at your blog he might drop a comment some where in posts or he might share any of your posts to social bookmarking sites. Additionally doing this will decrease your bounce rate in eyes of search engine.
14. Use Print Media if possible
If you think you are writing good content and that is suitable for Print media, try to ask your local newspaper, magazine or other publisher to add your article in the print media. In cases you manage to publish one of your articles, try to build reputation by this, include your blog url in your articles that will make print media readers to take a look at your blog. There is another type of print media, that is stationary. Add your blog link on your business cards or envelops if you print them for your needs.