Double Your Traffic in One Month – Phase 2
When you think about how often times you “get what you give”, it only makes sense that in the pursuit of doubling one’s traffic, you should contribute to other successful blogs! This is one of those methods that everyone raves about but few people actually do (or do well). When thinking about the benefits, you can potentially acquire some more backlinks to your site (which is always a good thing), but perhaps more importantly, it helps you reach an audience that may otherwise never have known about you despite your best efforts.
Becoming a Gust Blogger on Sites, like HelpGrowCT
Unfortunately, many people approach guest blogging by sending a blanket email out to anyone and everyone, then writing a half-baked article while spewing their link in as many places as possible. Not only will this sloppy approach hurt your impression with the very audience you’re trying to reach, but it will also ensure that you’re never invited back again to contribute to future posts.
Some blogs are so inundated with requests that they’ve even set up guidelines or email channels to help weed through unqualified applicants. Often times without prevail.
The right approach to guest blogging begins with a simple step… read the actual blog that you’re interested in writing for (preferably more than once!)
Not only will this help you for today’s step, but it will also give you insights on the types of posts that do best for that particular blog… it’s important that you are making an investment of time and energy, and as such, want your own post will get the maximum number of comments, tweets and social shares.
By following posts on the blog, you’ll be able to discern any gaps that their writer(s) are missing, which will put you into the perfect position to write about that very topic…just like any successful business idea, fill in the “white space”.
Once you’ve narrowed in on your blog of choice and have written you best article, engage and follow up with the site owners. When writing your post, be sure to leverage any and all opportunities to make it spread like wildfire: share it on your own social feeds, like/tweet it, respond to comments and generally promote that post as if it were one on your own blog,,, This is going to do two things for you: 1) amplify your own results & 2) win additional “goodwill” from the site owners 🙂
(pro-tip) A little creative self promotion & a unique angle gives readers a glimpse of the “real you”. Once you actually write the post, hit it out of the park. Add images that are relevant, royalty-free and sized appropriately. Format your post correctly, whether it’s a Word document or a WordPress post. Make full use of the byline to include a link to your newsletter and your social profiles.
Once you’ve started, be consistent about publishing guest posts. One or two posts, no matter how great, won’t get you nearly as much traction as a consistent set of posts over several months. As you continue to guest blog, new opportunities will emerge, you’ll be building backlinks and perhaps most importantly, you’ll be forging relationships.
1) Make a list of the top blogs within your niche that you enjoy and believe would overlap your brand value.
2) Follow them on social media and identify white space in which their writer(s) miss
3) Engage their team (following their guest post guidelines) around a fantastic editorial idea & write it!
4) Craft a byline that includes a link to your own site, plus the freebie that subscribers to your e-newsletter will get.
5) Share you guest post on social networks and respond to any comments properly!
Say What Now?!
To some people, blog commenting may seem like an old-fashioned strategy that no longer works to build backlinks from Google….and they are probably correct, it more than likely wont…
But that’s not the point.
Taking just 15 minutes a day to comment on a few respected blogs in your industry will not only get your name out there, but can also drive traffic to your site and build relationships with fellow commenters as well as the blog owner… which recalling day 8… is important!
First thing is first, not all comments are equal. Don’t just write “me too” or “I learned a lot from this post, thanks”, but rather comment on specific points. One potential idea is noticing if maybe the author mentioned a few helpful resources… and you’d like to add another that they may have missed? Talk about adding value! Or maybe your clients have struggled with a similar problem, and this is how you solved it..?
Remember, the goal is to either drive traffic, build your brand, or impress the blog owner… so create the value that will accomplish that!
Thoughtful, well-thought-out blog comments can also demonstrate that you have the depth of knowledge and the expertise on the topic that make you a valuable contributor in the industry as a whole. Who knows, perhaps your blog comment can lead to a guest posting position within that blog?
As Ricky Bobby would say, “If you’re not first, you’re last.”… and when it comes to commenting, this concept may actually make sense! To increase the likelihood that you will see a return on your commenting investment, you want as many people as possible to view what you had to say and engage. This being said, follow your target blog consistently, and whenever you see a new and relevant post pop-up, be the first to jump on it!
1) Make (or update) your list of target blogs that fit your niche and brand
2) Setup a trigger, such as IFFTTT.com, to notify you when these site post new articles
3) Be the first to comment on key posts, adding value through your insights and professional prowess
Hear Ye’ Hear Ye’!
Forum commenting may seem like a tactic of yesteryear… but just like with blog commenting, the goal is not to get backlinks, but rather make yourself an integral, respected part of the community.
Nearly every forum has its own paragons: shining examples of members who contribute consistent, helpful or new information that the community finds helpful. Some of these people become moderators.
And while your status won’t grow overnight, taking just 15-20 minutes a day to browse forums and look for unanswered topics that you can answer, or posts you can add to, will do a lot to build your reputation.
The good news is that there are forums for nearly every topic, ranging from cars to cats, adoption to vegetarianism. Spend some time searching for the ones that best fit your niche.
Once you have a list, it’s important to check several points…the first being when the latest post was made to that forum. No one wants to contribute to a ghost town, and one of the most troubling issues forum owners face is getting enough traction to get people registered and keep them coming back.
If the community appears fairly active and responsive, go ahead and register. Use your real name if at all possible, rather than your company name. The same goes for your avatar, or the small graphic that appears under your name. Resist the temptation to use your company logo and use a nice, professional-looking, smiling photo instead. People are psychologically more attracted to a smiling face than a bland, boring corporate logo.
Another no-go is commenting on as many threads as possible right out of the gate… Not only does this sometimes trigger the forum’s built-in anti-spam measures, but it also gives the impression that you’re looking to spread your signature link in as many places as possible, rather than becoming a serious person of value to the community.
Remember, your #1 goal at all times is to demonstrate that you have value to offer…in all things you do!
To help combat this very issue, some forums have instituted a strict no link / no signature rule… either for members that have just joined, members that have under a set number of posts, or overall, so pay attention to their rules and regulations 🙂
When you are finally up and running, get started with an introductory post, let people know who you are, how long you’ve been interested in or working with this particular topic, and about your interests or life. From there, start contributing to posts.
1) Make a list of 2 – 3 forums with active, engaged communities (involving your niche) and join them
2) Use your real name and a smiling photo if possible
3) Check out the guidelines
4) Ask great questions and provide well through out responses to other people’s problems!
(Hint) The key to leveraging forums is to post consistently. Many people start out with the greatest of intentions, but then their activity dwindles as they get caught up in other things. Just a few minutes a day can make a significant difference, and if you’re able to include a signature in your posts, doing so will reinforce your experience and expertise while encouraging people to visit your site to learn more.
Expanding on Social Profiles
You may remember first getting started with your social media strategies last week… lets pickup where we left off and keep the ball rolling, shall we?
One common problem I see with social profiles is that people are only posting their blog content to their various accounts. While this is a great starting strategy, it won’t bring you the traffic you need.
After all, if people are already visiting your blog, why should they follow you on social networks just to get more of the same?
That’s where differentiating yourself across the different networks is key to getting people involved.
Twitter’s short-and-sweet messages tend to attract people on mobile phones and other devices. These are people who like to stay in-the-know, in-the-moment. Types of posts that work well on Twitter include real-time updates of extremely limited-time offers(only X in stock – get yours before they’re gone!) or countdowns to build momentum.
People on Twitter also like real-time tweets from live events, so if you’re at a seminar, conference or expo…make sure you let them know what you’re seeing, who you’re meeting, and what’s going on around you.
Photos and quotes do extremely well here, as do contests. Invitations for user feedback and stories also generate involvement. You can also mix and match these different strategies to come up with your own style that fits within your business plan. For example, if you sell computer recovery software, you could host a contest for the“Worst PC Meltdown” story.
You can also use Facebook Insights to measure the traffic, clicks and interaction your posts are getting.
Consider Google+ an amalgamation of Facebook and Pinterest … so it is more of an image –> headline strategy. These things together are going to be the make-or-break point with G+ users. Charts and infographics work well. The important part to remember here is that you share your piece with the people in your circles who would benefit most from it. This is audience segmentation at its easiest. Don’t just blast it to anyone and everyone, but take the time to share information that you know people in your circles will appreciate and benefit from.
1) As with blog commenting and forum posting, segmenting your content to appeal to the various social networks takes small, consistent amounts of dedication spread over a longer period of time.
2) Take the time to develop exclusive offers and content for each audience, rather than just parroting your blog posts.
Lets leverage THE social network
Although we’ve covered Facebook in some detail already, one area we haven’t touched on is actually advertising there. Facebook ads can generate a terrific ROI as well as a higher click-through rate…but it’s important to distinguish between the two types plus how to reach out to prospective customers without looking like an intrusion in their newsfeed.
Ads appear on the right side of your news feed or in the timeline and can be targeted to both mobile and desktop devices. The ad only shows the first 90 characters if it’s displayed in the sidebar, but shows the first 500 characters if shown in the newsfeed.
Rather than go through every type of ad Facebook offers, I’m going to share with you which ones have driven the most consistent increases in traffic across multiple types of businesses…both large and small.
For Those With Fans Already…
Then you’ll want to use Sponsored Stories + Promoted Posts. Sponsored Stories appear when fans take certain actions on your page, including:
When a friend likes your page, includes a thumbnail of your page’s profile picture plus a like button.
Page Post Likes
Shows when a friend likes a specific post from a page and includes that post.
Page Post Comments
If a friend leaves a comment on a certain post, the ad shows and includes the comment plus a link to the post.
Shows when a friend checks in and includes the friend’s profile picture as well as any comment they’ve made on check-in.
You have control over where your sponsored Stories are placed and can target just news feeds, just desktops or just mobile. Sponsored Stories are the most organic and natural-appearing ads and encourage the most user interaction… but for them to be really successful, you need that initial following.
Promoted Posts let you promote nearly anything including links, videos, quizzes and more, and is perfect for mobile impressions as it displays directly in the newsfeed rather than being relegated to the right side.
IF YOU’RE STARTING OUT FRESH ON FACEBOOK
If you don’t have a large following of fans just yet, you can use the more traditional right sidebar ads which are designed to target your specific audience and get them acquainted with your brand and your content.
These types of ads cost very little and can help you increase the number of likes and fans you have without spending a huge chunk of money. As you grow your audience, you can bring in Suggested Posts targeted to those who like your page to encourage them to go beyond Facebook and take an action on your site. You can also use Promoted Posts to expand your reach to the friends of friends who have liked your page.
It’s perfectly acceptable to use any or all three combinations of ads to boost your traffic. You can even test your ads to see which ones are bringing you the best return on investment and the greatest number of new fans and friends. It’s important that you then nurture your growing community with great content while encouraging them to take the next important step by visiting your website or claiming a special offer through your Facebook page.
1) Sign up for Facebook ads if you haven’t already, and start creating your first ad.
2) Choose the appropriate ad type to either grow your following of fans or to leverage the likes you already have into taking the next step.
3) Use Facebook Insights to determine how well your ad is performing, then make adjustments to your posts accordingly.
(Hint) You’ll need at least 30 likes before you can use Insights.
Marketing on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is its own unique community, just as Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest have their own collective microcosms of rules, expectations and guidelines of how to act and post. Because it caters to professionals, LinkedIn demands a more polished, well-thought-out marketing plan.
However, because of its targeted audience, LinkedIn has the ability to connect you to other “fire-starters” who can help you leverage your existing platform and grow your site beyond anything you could do strictly on your own.
LinkedIn themselves have published a Best Practices guide which will help you understand the do’s and don’ts of promoting on the network. Once you’ve learned how to proceed, it’s time to tap into the full marketing power of the site.
LinkedIn’s own advertising network lets you target your ads precisely… including to specific job titles, company size, job functions and more. You can even access group statistics on LinkedIn for groups you’re not a member of, which this enables you to determine which groups will potentially bring you the best return on your investment of time and research!
You can also use LinkedIn Recommendation Ads to help you promote your products (maybe on HGCT’s marketplace). Each time someone recommends you, it is shared with that person’s followers, which can create a ripple effect that gives you greater traffic, referrals and recommendations.
1) Once you’ve created your LinkedIn profile page and your company page, make sure you post updates to it regularly.
2) Take advantage of LinkedIn advertising or recommendation ads to expand your reach.
3) If you use WordPress or an industry-specific review service, check to see if an app exists through LinkedIn’s own apps page that you can use to boost your promotional efforts.
4) Leverage the “ripple effect” of the network
Making Google+, a Plus!
Google+ might feel like a ghost town compared to all the activity on Facebook, leaving a plethora of marketers to dismiss it as“not worth their time”. However, nothing could be farther from the truth…potentially.
One reason it’s important to pay attention to the Big G? Google+ posts pass PageRank, and like LinkedIn, they also help you reach out to professionals in your industry.
If you deal with technology, social media or related industries, you may be able to make more of an impact on Google+, as these people typically use a wide range of Google tools in their daily lives, and are more likely to keep up with industry news via Google+, as G has done a great job with integrations.
LETS GET STARTED THEN..
The first step is to set up your personal profile. You may already have one if you use services like Gmail, Google Analytics, Youtube or Webmaster Tools (to name a few). You can find out if you have a personal profile by going to http://plus.google.comand logging in with your Google account information.
It’s important to keep in mind that this is your personal profile, so I would strongly advise against using a work or school email to login. Create a @gmail.com address just for yourself or your own business, so that you’ll be able to maintain control of your account at all times…you may also want to consider google apps for business.
SETUP YOUR COVER PHOTO
Next comes the cover photo, which is extremely large, at 2120×1192 pixels. As with Twitter and Facebook, it’s a good idea to use a custom image that’s all your own, rather than the default stock photos that Google provides. Need help in getting this image created? Visit Fivver.com and for $5 you’ll find someone willing to take on the job 🙂
MAKE YOUR STORY KNOWN
Your story is like the About Us section of your Google+ profile. You’ll fill in your personal tagline, motto or a short bit about what you do, give an introduction about yourself, and fill out some bragging rights such as recent awards you’ve won or accolades you’ve received.
As an added bonus, up to 77 characters from your introduction will appear in the Google+ search results when people are looking for others who have specific expertise or experience and use that particular keyword in their intro:
THE WORK SECTION, EDUCATION AND PLACES
This is like a mini resume, where you’ll fill out your work experience with the most recent position appearing at the top. The education section works the same way. If you want to share places you’ve lived, you can do that from this page as well. Feel free to fill out any other pertinent information in this section such as email addresses or phone numbers you want people to contact you at.
THE LINKS SECTION
This is one of the most important sections as it’s part of your Google Authorship profile. You want to list links to all the sites you contribute to, including guest blogging and articles you’ve written, as Google will let you claim authorship on your content, even if you’ve written it for another site.
CREATING A BUSINESS PAGE ON GOOGLE+
If you’d like to create a page for your business in addition to a personal profile through Google+, the process is nearly identical. You’ll first choose the type of page you’re creating (such as for a brand, a local company, product page, etc. and then several subcategories). You’ll get an expanded Story section for information about your company mission, founding and other details.
You can also assign Managers, who can update your Google+ page for you. They don’t have as much control as the page creator, but they can edit page information, post content, and add people to circles.
USING GOOGLE+ HANGOUTS
There are actually two different types of Google+ hangouts… one that’s a private conversation between two people or a group, and another “Hangouts On Air”which is a live, recorded session that can be viewed by the public and uploaded to YouTube.
Up to 10 people can be on a Hangout at a time, and although you can’t invite the public to participate, they can still watch the hangout. You can also broadcast it to your YouTube channel or embed it in your website for even greater marketing reach.
WHAT TYPES OF TOPICS DO BEST IN A HANGOUT?
As with webinars, Google+ Hangouts usually tend to work best when you have a plan of how they’ll integrate into your overall traffic plan. That being said, there are certain topics that are always a hit:
Sneak Peeks and Behind-the-Scenes
If you’re working on launching a major event or course, you’ll want to ignite the excitement by stirring up your audience and get them talking. Sneak peeks and behind-the-scenes looks at preparations and what people might be able to expect are a great way to generate buzz.
Q & A Session
Whether it’s fun trivia about your industry or course, or answers to the most commonly asked questions, hosting a Q&A with customers can help them better understand hat you have to offer, and how you’re different from your competition.
Remember the homework you did earlier about connecting with key influencers in your niche? Even if you can’t get an industry celebrity to join you for an interview webinar, you may be able to connect with an up-and-coming blogger to share perspectives on upcoming news, trends and changes in your field.
1) Setup your Google+ Account
2) Connect with others in your industry through Google+ and promote a webinar-style Q&A, interview or behind the scenes event through a broadcasted Google+ hangout.
(Hint) The hangout can then be posted to YouTube and embedded on your own site for extra traffic. Setting up a Hangout is as easy as clicking the green button for Google+ hangouts in your G+ account and then inviting your participants. Try it out and then share it across social media and your site for extra traffic.