Double Your Traffic in One Month – Phase 1
Welcome to your crash course in building your sites traffic with the goal of doubling it in one month! Sounds great, right?!
This is the first phase out of four in which we will break down, step by step, simple actions that you can take to double targeted, customer rich traffic to your business website. So what are you waiting for??
Check out the cool infographic below and follow the daily assignments, or “chores” as we like to call them below!
I can just hear you saying it now, “Oh, that’s easy enough guys” … “I’ll just write three times a week and before I know it, I’ll be rolling in targeted traffic!”
Not so fast… there are typically two critical factors that stand in a bloggers way:
Because unless you hold yourself accountable to that schedule, you’ll become the victim of either two possible downfalls: staring at a blank screen for hours, the pressure building — and coming up with something that’s nowhere near the caliber you know you can produce.
Spending more time making up reasons why you can’t possibly commit to writing today — and one day turns into the next… into the next… and so on.
If you’re looking for a potential tool that can help with this:
Editorial Calendar plugin that lets you create a schedule of blog posts based on your schedule, not what the calendar says. So if you’re particularly inspired one day, and manage to crank out two or three great posts, you can simply drag and drop them into place, reorganize and edit titles and metadata, and check the status of your posts and drafts.
(Quick Tip) If you’re managing a multi-author blog, being able to schedule posts around each other becomes even more crucial, and a plugin like this becomes even more necessary.
The point is not quantity, but quality — if you can only write two posts a week and that’s a schedule you can reasonably stick to… then do it! Just remember, the point is to sit down and start writing. Even if you can’t think of what to write, just writing out your thoughts without concentrating on editing and fine-tuning them (yet) will help you get unstuck and make words flow much easier.
As with anything, the more you practice, the better you’ll be. But without starting, you’ll simply never ‘start to get good’ 😉
If you’re feeling stumped for inspiration, here are a few blog post ideas shared with us by a few friends of ours, that should get the creative gears turning:
Write a List Post
Tried-and-true, yes, but as Buzzfeed can attest to, people never get tired of lists. Or animated cat graphics.
What ______Taught Me
Life lessons are especially important. Don’t overlook the ‘obvious’ things – it may be a complete revelation to someone just starting out in your field or industry.
Roundups are a collection of useful products that help people in some way, whether it’s to be more productive, creative, romantic or what have you. Great roundups go viral on social media.
What is ______ Worth to You?
You never know how good something is until you (or someone else) cuts corners. Retrospective or insightful posts like this remind people that your work, and theirs, is important, and how to spot the good ones from the fakes.
X (Topic) Blunders that Even Experts Make
No one knows everything, and truthfully, there can be gaps that are so surprisingly common, that even newcomers to your topic will stop and say, “Wow, I never knew the pros did that too!”. Of course, it’s a good idea to teach them how to correct those mistakes too!
DOES SIZE MATTER?
This is the million-dollar-question. For all the talk in search engine optimization circles about keyword density, content marketing and social sharing — Google still relies heavily on relevancy based on backlinks, user reviews and the quality of the information itself. However, we do live in the data age, and quite a few case studies have shown content that’s around 1,010-1501 words tends to perform better than your typical 501-801 word article.
Do I have to stick with that like glue? No. And it could change tomorrow. But the key point to remember is that quick, poorly-cobbled-together content will never outperform detailed, thorough, helpful content (like this)… and Google looks at word count as just one aspect of many in identifying which article ranks on top. So the next time you sit down and write something… why not strive to put some meat on that post and own the top rankings for good?
ENTER THE MATRIX? WELL, THE BLOG POST MATRIX
One of the top struggles newbies face is that daunting feeling of “having to be original”… saying things like, “everything has been done before, Ill never write anything unique that connects with my audience.” But you’re just trying too hard.
The following “blog post matrix” from Hubspot will help you not only come up with a link and share-worthy topic, but do so for the right level that your customers need, and in the way they learn best. The short and skinny is that first you come up with a“general” topic, then you make it your own by writing for the appropriate level of experience, ending with attention to structure and presentation. It’s really like an old school cheat sheet for bloggers 😉
1) Set a schedule you can work with.
2) Download and install the WordPress Editorial Calendar plugin – or – research and find your own
3) Come up with topics you know your audience wants based on your previous keyword research, then segment them into workable “assignments” based on Hubspot’s blog matrix above. Brainstorm ideas that build off of what others have done or tackle a challenging subject from a different angle.
4) Start writing and aim to front load 2 – 3 weeks worth of content before you start posting it up
(Hint) When it comes time to write, let your words flow without worrying about editing until you’re satisfied that you’ve said everything you wanted to say. Getting started is win #1.
Did I get your attention yet? Lots of people create free giveaways to build their email newsletters, but few of them take the time to truly craft a great giveaway that people want…and that somehow improves their lives or their business as a result of getting it. Think of HGCT, we gave you a free business listing + this content (and maybe even a few additional things) just to get you in our network!
Remember, people aren’t signing up to your list because they like you (unless your Justin Bieber). ..They’re signing up because they believe you can help them with their problem.
Which lead us to the question most business owners then ask:
HOW CAN I HELP THEM IF I DON’T KNOW WHAT THEIR PROBLEM IS?
Ever hear of the saying, “There is more than one way to skin a cat…”? Yeah, I have no idea what it means either..
But, when it comes to answering this question, it doesn’t necessarily have to be something as simple as “ask them” via a survey — which (hint, hint) is one way. And after spending over 10 months surveying the CT business ecosystem as we developed our platform, we’ve found it’s not the best way unless they know and respect you well enough to give you a minute of their time.
“What did work?” you ask…Simply, send them a quick email and ask this one simple question:
What’s the biggest thing you’re struggling with right now when it comes to (your topic)?
These days in almost any topic, people are frustrated, excited, hopeful, challenged and confused, all in one. In order to solve their problem, a personal-sounding email asking about that one pressure point can tear down any sales-y “B.S. detector” walls they might ordinarily have up and give them a chance to explain their problems, fears and concerns with you.
But don’t forget, once they do, you in turn follow up accordingly.
Thank them for taking the time to respond and share their problem. Let them know that you’re in the process of creating a new product and you’ll let them have it for free if you could just ask them a few more questions. You’ll then use these questions to further refine your product offering so that it has the largest impact with the most people. (If you happen to be one of the businesses that we ran this tactic with…Thank You… and Your Welcome!)
You might be surprised to learn that very few people will go through the time and effort to create something truly extraordinary, such as an entire course (for free) or a tangible item that can be shipped. And while you don’t have to go to extremes, the more effort you put into the email freebie, the more your subscriber will think:
“Wow, if he’s giving this away for free — I wonder how much better his paid courses/products are?” …(and believe you me, when it comes to HGCT, they’re better!)
Sadly, most paid e-products are created by people who have neither the experience nor the expertise to truly give people that kind of top-peak invaluable information.
(Tip) Never, EVER, let your free product fall into a bog of mediocrity by taking the “easy way out”.
WHOAA, BUT WHAT IF IM A RESELLER?
If you’re an affiliate, this advice applies doubly to you. Oftentimes, affiliate promoters will give their prospects a free something-or-other to promote to their lists. You can essentially trash this. Everyone and their dog who is also an affiliate will be taking this “easy way out” and not putting in the extra effort to make something extraordinary.
So take the time to do what they won’t. If the affiliate product creator is giving away a free how-to article on getting started with the product, you go a step further and make a step-by-step video that shows you using the product the way a first-timer would. Better yet, all affiliate products have gaps or areas where users have questions… be the first person to come up with a comprehensive FAQ that answers those questions and issues.
1) Do a little research to learn what’s out there and already available in your niche… then go the extra mile to craft something free that users will find helpful, interesting or entertaining. Ask yourself, “If I were just starting out in this topic, what would I want to know more about or see?” Failing that, ask them what their biggest challenge is with regard to your topic of expertise. Then go create that product and give it to your subscribers.
(Tip) Don’t let your lack of fancy equipment or software be your excuse to hold you back. If all you can afford to do is take screenshots rather than a video capture, then do it and put them into a Word document and turn that into a PDF file. There are plenty of free platforms out there to create awesome videos or images! Search and go!
What is the difference between a giveaway and a successful giveaway (besides the things we discussed in Day 2)? Influencers & the bottom line ability to read it!
End of day, regardless of how much work you put in… or how darn great your giveaway turned out…if a subscriber doesn’t chose to engage and opt-in, you’re dead in the water!
That’s why it’s vital that you come to your subscribers in a way they find convenient and comfortable. These days they’re not sitting at their desks waiting to hear from you. This is why I highly recommend choosing an email list provider that includes mobile responsive (NOT mobile friendly or mobile optimized) templates.
MAKING SUBSCRIBERS COMFORTABLE
Have you ever been to a party that no one else attends? Pretty brutally uncomfortable right? That is because people find security in validating their own decisions through the synergy of others. Simply put, Im feeling good about my choice to opt-in, if I also know that Joey and Susan are too!
The best way to achieve this level of comfort is to engage clear influencers in your market… people who others look up to… and give them a royal treatment and ask them to share. It could be mailing out a special invitation to your giveaway, making a phone call or personally delivering it. Cut through the clutter, and then ask them to share either socially or create a quick YouTube validating their experience.
Once your audience begins to experience this, they will begin to feel more “comfortable” at your packed party and start really engaging with your offerings 🙂
NOW LETS MAKE IT CONVENIENT..
When setting up your email providers to distribute your campaign, make sure that it is both mobile and desktop friendly… This is important because some providers take the lazy way out, and not optimizing your send capabilities to capture both audiences.
From February to June, mobile email opens rose 44% while desktop opens fell to 33% and webmail to an all-time low of 23% — (stats compiled through a network of email senders)
That being said, some providers and programmers are stepping up to the plate to offer responsive templates of their own. The most popular email newsletter providers that have made their templates mobile-responsive include:
HelpGrowCT: Which combined with our automated marketing solution, makes us one powerful option!
I’VE SET THINGS UP — NOW WHAT?
Sadly, this is where many people stop and wonder why their traffic isn’t increasing. You’re not finished quite yet. The next step is to introduce (through a plain text email) what your reader can expect — for example, you could link to a sample issue to show them what they’ll be receiving from you, and let them know how often they can expect it.
Why plain text when you’ve just found a mobile email template provider?
Because plain text is the easiest to display in any device, browser and operating system, and chances are, right after people subscribe, they’re going to want to know how to get started. They’re excited and ready to jump into your offer.
1) Sign up with an email list provider (like HelpGrowCT’s automated growth platform) that offers mobile responsive templates.
2) Set up your mobile responsive theme using the tools your provider gives you.
(Tip) Don’t forget to make your introductory giveaway email a plain text message that explains how your subscriber can get started, what they can look forward to, the benefits subscribers receive, and an email or phone number in case they have questions. Oftentimes, your email messages are the first impression a potential customer has of you and your brand — make it count!
Ok, so if you’re following along with this and everything is on track, then by now you should have a couple of topics written and scheduled in your blog. Nice! Well, what’s next?
If you haven’t already (which if you have that is ok), it is now time to create your social media accounts. Many people make the mistake of waiting until they have a huge pile of content ready to go before they start thinking about social media, but I’m advising you to do the opposite for two reasons:
- For whatever reason, you’ll just never feel like you have enough content 🙁 But remember, everything starts somewhere, and now it’s time for you to start sharing what your audience wants to hear.
- Don’t give your competitors all of that extra time to capture your visitors! People can only “like” or follow so many brands, especially ones dealing with the same topic. Make sure yours is first.
LETS MAKE IT LOOK LIKE YOU’VE BEEN HERE A WHILE
Like many things in life, consistency is everything! A big mistake many companies (both large and small) make is creating their social profiles, and then posting to them when they have time, or when business is slow… which (hint, hint) is usually never. Lets seize the day, and once and for all create or update your profiles on major social networks, including:
IF THE CLOTHES FIT, WEAR EM’
Once your in your new account, start by creating a custom background or profile image (or have one made for you through sites like Fiverr if you’re not graphically inclined). Next, sign up for a social media management tool like Hootsuite (web-based), Sendible (web-based) or Buzzbundle (software based) to keep all your accounts manageable. It can get a bit overwhelming to stay on top of your accounts one we start, so leveraging a management platform will be a lifesaver when, well, life gets in the way!
LETS GET TO KNOW OUR TOOLS A BIT BETTER
Now, while both of these programs can help you manage multiple social media accounts, they also have other useful functions that differentiate them from each other. For example:
Hootsuite and Sendible allow you to schedule posts across various networks and let you manage various accounts in one place. For example if you have a personal social media account and a business one. Both of these tools also have measurement, monitoring and analytics built in so that you can track response and user sentiment.
Buzzbundle approaches social media management a bit differently in that it includes a rudimentary profile management system, but its biggest focus is on allowing you to contribute to conversations based on keywords or phrases you specify.
Take a look at each of them… and do a quick google search for others… and just pick the one that you feel the most comfortable with to start managing your accounts, and sync them up!
HOW DO YOU LINK YOUR BLOG POSTS INTO YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS?
One of the most important parts of creating a social profile is the ability to broadcast and share your high quality content with the world! This can sometimes be tricky if your either pushing a ton of volume, or post infrequently… so to make things simple, look to connect your blog with your social accounts.
If you’re using WordPress, you can automatically share your blog posts to various social networks the moment you hit Publish. There are several free services that let you do this. The best course of action would be do visit codecanyon or do a quick google search to research a platform or plugin that you feel most comfortable with.
One example would be SNAP, which lets you post to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and even Vbulletin forum.
(Pro Tip) As a side note, the reason why so many blog auto-posting sites and services don’t work with Google+ is because Google+ has not released an API for their system. An API is like a set of programming instructions to help one service work together with another.
1) Set up your social media profiles, or add your own creative touch to existing ones to make them look more lived-in and alive. Use SNAP or another social media auto-posting tool to make sure all your blog posts go to the networks where they’re the best fit.
If you’re not already familiar, Quora is a Q&A site where you login to read, contribute and vote on answers. For business owners in pursuit of some guidance or research, the platform could be a godsend! Of course, it isn’t strictly professional, as questions can range from any number of different subjects.
What’s the difference between Quora and any other social network, like say, Twitter? Well, the main reason I didn’t include Quora with the other social networks above is because in all honesty, it isn’t like them. With the networks described in day 4, the focus is primarily placed on touching as many people as possible and getting them to connect with your brand.
When it comes to Quora, it’s not really about engagement with your brand… but rather connecting with influencers. These are people who, when approached right, can help you take your traffic to the next level!
THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN APPROACH AND SOLICT, LEARN IT!
There is nothing worse to a person who just spent their entire life to become the best in their field, respected and admired, than an unsolicited solicitation. These days, too many people approach influencers and start foaming at the mouth about how their product is the greatest thing, and could I review it on my blog or do I accept guest posts or would I be willing to try it out in exchange for a mention in my newsletter, etc. etc.
Lets just sit back and picture ourselves in their shoes for a minute or two…
Literally, every single day we are being pitched something… like you are bombarded with ads when you turn on TV. We get more email, invitations and mentions than we can ever keep up with… At the end of the day, the person who stands out is the individual who will capture our attention.
STEPS TO SUCCESS ON QUORA:
- Go beyond shallow, salesy content and truly write an inspiring, thought-provoking, helpful answer. Some posts can go viral and are easily read by millions of people. Become the influencer!
- Evolve from the questions and start blogging…Despite not being as main stream, it is possible to write blogs on Quora. I’ve found that the best types of blog content on Quora are shorter snippets of things you’ve learned, stories and insights that your readers can gain from, rather than typical blog posts like tutorials, lists and other common types of posts.
- Use the network to grow your own network. Identify influencers, and strategize how to engage them and build a meaningful relationship over time.
1) Create an account on Quora, fill out your profile with your credentials, and join topics related to your niche.
2) Look for unanswered questions and answer them. Other users can add to and vote on your responses which can in turn help to build up your credibility.
(Hint) Typically, you aren’t allowed to link back to your site beyond the profile unless you have a specific post that answers the user’s question in more detail. With that in mind, Quora can be a real treasure trove of post ideas to help you determine what your audience is asking about, and, more specifically, how you can position yourself to solve their actual problems (rather than what you think their problems are…think back to day 1).
We’ve been soo bombarded by the importance of “links” that typically all we think of is how do we get that link to us from The Wall Street Journal, or another influential domain in your niche… Instead, sometimes we should turn our intention inwards and understand the value of interlinking your own posts.
When thinking about basic SEO (search engine optimization), a sitemap is a good starting point to make sure Google (and other search engines) can index all of the pages on your site… That said, wouldn’t it make sense to take equal care to make sure people can do the same?
After asking this question, if you can count to 2 without an answer, then there is a good chance your site is lacking “stick-ability.” Or, simply put, the attributes necessary to keep users involved and on the site longer, thereby improving your relevancy score in Google and rippling across to your ranking.
When it comes to building a site that is going to keep eyeballs glued to a screen, a good question to ask yourself would be, “WWBFD” or “What Would BuzzFeed Do”? If you’re using WordPress,SEO Smart Links is a great place to start. This plugin lets you define specific keywords and phrases, where they should link to, and the frequency with which they should link. So, for example, if you have posts about business startups, that phrase can link to that post wherever it appears, but limited to just 2 links per post. There are a ton of other plugins out there, so just do a quick search and pick your favorite (remember to read reviews).
But even interlinking your posts won’t give you the same kind of intelligent links at the bottom of your articles the way BuzzFeed does. For that, you’ll want to potentially up your budget and try out a content syndication network like Outbrain…
These networks will give you a snippet of code to place on your site, and then will suggest relevant posts based off cookies they place on a users browser. If you chose to “syndicate your content” you can open yourself up to their full network of publishers, and pay to have your posts added to the bottoms of other sites. Of course, you’d then have to allow other blogs to be linked on yours.
1) Take some time to interlink your existing posts using SEO Smart Links and your best keywords.
2) Look to make the content more relevant using Add the Yet Another Related Posts plugin or Outbrain, and make appropriate changes to your code to display thumbnail images with your related posts. This will help increase the length of time spent on site, which in turn will affect Google’s measurement of relevancy toward your site.
One of the best ways to really capture your market is to harness the ability to turn your potential competitors into your greatest allies.
By now, if you’re operating a business, you should already know who the experts are in your niche. These are those people who regularly give solid, actionable advice and have built an audience of raving fans (heck, maybe you found them on Quora).
Once you find them, share them. Go to their blogs, check out their posts and share the most insightful ones on your burgeoning social profiles! Most of the time, this is when people say, “What? They are the competition, why would I help them out?”
Not exactly. You see, these experts have several things in common, and if you’re looking to double your traffic, these “things” are things you want.. like:
- A large, established audience that wants what they’re selling
- Good quality content that gets shared and commented on
- A hungry, eager list that looks forward to their updates
So in breaking it down, these experts have already done much of the legwork for you in finding 1) that there is indeed a group of people who has a problem they can solve & 2) showing you the path of least resistance to get there.
Plus, in sharing and supporting, you are differentiating yourselves from being a potential competitor on their radar…after all, why else would you be promoting their brand?
LETS NOW MAKE THE CONNECTION
If you don’t know who the experts are in your niche, or you want to uncover some up-and-coming names that would be willing to give you a minute of their time for a win-win proposal, lets look at a few channels that will help you get in touch.
METHOD 1: KLOUT SCORE
Klout uses social media analytics and other factors to determine how influential someone is, on a scale from 1-108. Although no one truly knows the “secret sauce”to their algorithm and how it ranks people, for our purposes, it’s a decent indicator of who is most influential in your industry.
The President ranks near the top, followed closely by Justin Bieber
Once you sign up for Klout and connect either your Twitter or Facebook account (or both), Klout will analyze your social media shares, retweets and other “moments” to determine how far they spread, to whom, and so on. You can also choose categories you’re interested in and Klout will show you who the top influencers are for that particular topic.
One downside to Klout: It’s heavily biased in favor of celebrities versus bloggers. Fortunately, there are other methods we can use to find out who’s really making a splash in the blogosphere versus who’s the flavor-of-the-month expert.
METHOD 2: ALLTOP
AllTop is a site created by Guy Kawasaki, of Art of The Start and Garage Technologies. The site considers itself to be the “magazine rack” of the World Wide Web, giving people information that’s up-to-date, informational and entertaining.
An example of AllTop blogs in technology and small business
AllTop has categories spanning from adoption to politics, religion to food, and even zoology. Its own criteria for deciding which sites get featured for a particular category depends on an amalgamation of Twitter, blog posts, social happenings, and plain old-fashioned human research and suggestions. It’s designed to not just show you a list of sites and blogs you should already be following anyway, but also related ones that you may not have known about.
In some cases, the results that appear for your chosen category may not be a blog at all, or may be run by more than one person. The New York Times and the Washington Post are here, but so are several smaller mdt-and-pop style sites that are worth taking a look at.
Browse the stories and see which ones would most closely resonate with your audience. Make a note of the contact information on the site or how to pitch a story or write a guest post, as you’ll be using this information in the coming days.
What if you want to see information about blogs that aren’t in English, or you want to view everything influential — including links, photos, videos and more? Then move on to…
METHOD 3: TOPSY
Topsy lets you “search and analyze the social web” and get real-time results based on the timeframe, type of influential item (video, photo, etc.)and even language.
An example of a Topsy search for startups
Once your search results are delivered, you can further refine them, plus see how many searches have been done in the last 5 hours, as well as tweets over the last month. Upgrading to a paid account will give you greater insights, but for our purposes in this guide, the free search will give us plenty of information.
Use Topsy to determine who and what is gaining traction in the social sphere and forecast trends related to your blog. Ideal for blogs in a language other than English, or to get an idea of trending videos, tweets and links that have gone viral.
1) Make a list of the key influencers, both large and small, in your niche. Include the URLs of their blogs and their contact information and email address if any. You’ll be using this information shortly.
2) Share some of their content.
3) Keep a running list to build up your own blog ideas for later development.
(Hint) When you’re sharing content, make sure that you adequately space out sources between your tweets. Eg. Don’t find an influencer and fill up your stream with a clone of theirs!