CATEGORY: Tips

A few awesome uses for URL forwarding

Today we’ve got a video on how to use name.com’s URL forwarding features. In short, URL forwarding allows you to redirect users from your domain to another website.

You might think, “Not too exciting,” right? WELL YOU’RE WRONG. Here are a few useful ways to take advantage of URL forwarding:

Aliases for generated URLs

Bids start at $0.01. Shipping is $11.99. I’m not making this up.

Pretend you have something really cool that you want to sell on eBay, like a mouse-shaped chicken nugget (seriously). Now you want to promote your mouse-nugget auction. Which URL are people more likely to remember?

Option A: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Mouse-Shaped-Chicken-Nugget-One-of-a-Kind-/181097877797?
Option B: www.mousenugget.com

The choice is clear, right? If you purchase a simple domain name and set it to forward to the eBay listing, it’ll be much easier to tell people about the rodent-shaped piece of fried chicken that you’re selling on the internet.

Social media sites, blogging platforms, Craigslist, real estate websites, Google Maps, YouTube, and tons of other services all create long, indecipherable links. URL forwarding makes sharing those links easy.

Moving to a new domain

If you’ve moved your site to a new domain, you can use URL forwarding so that people familiar with the previous domain can still find your site. It’s pretty frustrating to end up at a dead link. VideoGames.com became GameSpot.com in 1998, and to this day VideoGames.com is a forwarding URL.

RAAAAAAAAGGGGGE.

RAAAAAAAAGGGGGE.

Forwarding from similar domains

Let’s say someone wants to visit your site, but they don’t quite remember the URL, or they’ve got fat fingers and they just type it incorrectly. If you can anticipate the incorrect URLs that a user might type, you can purchase those domains and have them redirect to your intended website.

Similarly, you can purchase multiple TLDs and have them redirect to the same website. So yourwebsite.net, yourwebsite.com, and yourwebsite.org could all send a user to the same place.

If you want more of the nitty gritty details on URL forwarding, here’s a tutorial from our support team.

 

So You Want To Be a Blogger: Notes from Borseth and Bukowski

If I had a nickel for every time I told myself I was going to start a blog I’d be living high on the hog right about now. Even better would be to have gotten a goat for every time I told myself the same thing, because then I’d have a whole herd of goats and could finally start that online goat cheese enterprise I’ve always dreamed about. But enough about me, this blog post is about you and how you are going to change the world through your deep thoughts and inspirational musing on your very own blog.

Having a successful blog ain’t no (oh yes I did, grammar nazis) easy thing to do though. You need to be dedicated to it and to be dedicated you also need to be excited about what you will be spending hours of your time writing. So find a passion and write about it. Or make a video about it. Or draw a picture about it. Or bake a themed cake about it. A blog doesn’t have to be all walls of text after all. Chances are that if you’re passionate about something there are others out there that are passionate about it as well. If the topic you decide to embrace isn’t something you have a burning desire to write about then it will show through in your content and, by extension, will be less compelling for the people you are trying to entertain. And don’t fool yourself, having a successful blog is almost entirely about entertainment.

Besides having a topic you have a passion for you also need the right tools for the task at hand. When it comes to blogging it’s hard to argue that the king of that particular niche is WordPress. You can download it and install it on your own hosting plan or you can use our super simple and easy to setup RapidPress service for less than seven cents a day. That’s right, less than $0.07 a DAY! You might think I’m yanking your chain on that one but I’m drop dead serious, seven-cents-a-day. Cross my heart and hope to die. Click that link up there and you will see for yourself just how easy it is to get started. Seriously, do it. I’ll wait.

And now, if you’re having a hard time coming up with a topic, I give you some inspiring words from one of my favorite writers, Charles Bukowski (RIP):

So You Want To Be a Writer

charles-bukowski

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
typewriter
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
fame,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
else,
forget about it.

if you have to wait for it to roar out of
you,
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
love.
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
sleep
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

There you have it, inspiration and the tools to get started all in one simple blog post. Until next time, thank you for your attention and have a mighty fine day.

Owen Borseth
VP of Awesome™

Don’t Get Hacked: Password Lessons from the Flame Broiler

It lasted for over an hour and was so ugly that even their competitors were sending out empathetic Tweets.

mcdonalds empathy burger king

Burger King’s Twitter account had been hacked, and not only were the hackers sending their own racially-charged tweets about Burger King employees “crushing and sniffing Percocet in the bathroom,” but they also changed all the branding from BK to McDonalds. They even went so far as to promote McDonald’s new Fish McBites.

burger king twitter hacked

So with this kind of nightmare playing out in real life in front of the whole world, we thought it was time to contribute a quick, legitimate  piece to the “how to come up with a great password that’s memorable and fun and makes you feel safe” articles that will be swirling around the ‘net. From our staff we compiled dozens of tips all shrunk down to this one convenient list of tips and tricks for a better, safer, more memorable password.

Caroline Temple, our Affiliate Marketing Manager, knocked out 8 quick pointers for better Internet security:

1. Well – duh – we’ve got the free 2-step verification.

2. Don’t use words like “H3LL0!”  The programs designed to crack passwords have included subbing numbers for vowels now.

3. Consider the “pass phrase”.  Like “IReallyLikeCoffeFirstThingInTheMorning10:00am”

4. Change your password often.

5.. Don’t use the same password for more than one account.

6. WRITE  your passwords down somewhere safe.  Try your darndest to not store them within a document that can get hacked.

7. Review all those apps that you have given access to your Twitter account – maybe it’s time to revoke access of apps that don’t use SSL certificates or that you have not used in a while.

8. Always make sure the URL bar up top reads “https” before logging in to any account.  that means they have an SSL certificate installed that will encrypt your information when logging in.

Some of these steps can be completely alleviated with great tools like oplop (courtesy of Pat “P-Mo” Moroney) that let you simplify all your passwords to a nickname and one master password. And Fitz in support reminded us to plug one of our customers, Last Pass, a secure password manager that promises to make your life much easier.

Finally, it should be noted, that your password should NOT be any word or phrase associated with your personal information or business products. Those are very easy to hack. Like I should not use “Jared1” and you definitely should NOT use “whopper123”  as Burger King, the Home of the Whopper, used up until recently.

We’ll leave you with this helpful password hint from one of our favorite web comics, XKCD

cartoon password strength tips tricks

The Basics of SEO to Drive Traffic to your Blog or Website | Part 5 of 5 in a “get traffic” series

Get Traffic to your site with these SEO Tips

Every search engine has a basic set of rules they use in determining how to rank your blog or website.  Learn these rules and help the search engines find your content faster as well rank you higher because you are seen as valuable in terms of content for given keywords.  This is all SEO.  Wanna get started on learning these rules?

Actually, if you have been following this “get traffic” series, you already have a head start. We’ve been giving you social media tips, tips on engaging your audience, google service tips, and even a quick rundown of 20 methods to try for traffic.  Use these methods combined and your already doing SEO, and naturally at that!  However, let us give you a clearer perspective on those tips that actually yield SEO and how you can help those little search engine bots find your blog or website.

4 Basics of SEO to get right for traffic:

1. Keywords

We introduced you to the methods on keyword research earlier.  Google defines a keyword as: “An informative word used in an information retrieval system to indicate the content of a document”.  Well if they define it that way – then it’s pretty darn important!  Make use of these magical keywords in your post or website title, a few times throughout your content, and even in your images. Keep your images original (psssst – have you noticed I resorted to hand drawing mine?) and then title it including your keyword.  You’ll be excited when searching the keyword later and see your website’s image in the image search results.

2. Linking

Remember, my goal is to give you easy tips to immediately try, ones that are FREE.  Linking is basically having other blogs or sites link to you and, if you play fair, you’ll thank them by including a link back to them.  Don’t forget these other ways of creating links back to your site: Social Media, Social Bookmarking Sites (Reddit, StumbleUpon, Digg), and blog directories (Technorati, for example)

Remember, we’re talking FREE methods here, so buying links is not an option in this post.  Besides, don’t you think the search engines are aware of this tactic?  Be careful not to get ignored! Oh, and for those rogue sites that are linking to you – get help with the new Google Disavow Tool.  You can submit to Google the links that you do not intend  and it’s not guaranteed, but they are likely to listen and ignore them to improve your rank.

3. Sitemap

Create and submit a sitemap of your blog or website to tell search engines that you have a new link each time you post.  If blogging, check for a plugin on the platform from which you blog on.  The easiest example is for WordPress using their Google XML Sitemap.  Or, if you run a website, make sure to submit your sitemap to Google WebMaster Tools.  If you’re feeling adventurous, then do this for as many search engines as possible.  Start by creating an account with each.  This process will certainly speed up the time it takes the search engines to find your new content. Meaning earlier than expected traffic.  Well, that’s the goal.

4. Content

All search engines want to provide value to those who search and original content ensures you have value. Google, and similar search engines will index you much lower, if at all, if your content is extremely similar to other web sites.  Don’t even think of creating new pages that just link to other pages either. Always give your unique spin on the keyword topic you are discussing.  More originality=greater chance of traffic.

In the same vein, be careful of too many affiliate ads on your site.  Of course, we hope we are one of them, but ads are considered links away from your site that are not original content.  Search engines understand you will have ads – just balance it out with your content.

That wraps up our SEO tips!  Our goal was to get you familiar with the basics of SEO.  You must practice these tips to become comfortable and watch the changes in your blog or website ranking. Nail them and maybe we can help in the future with a more advanced series!

Anyone tried the new Google Disavow Tool?  Let us know how it may have worked for ya in the comments below.  Actually, tell us anything you like in the comments below, I’d love to hear from ya’ll!

————————————————————————

Whew, that is the last tip we have in this “Get Traffic” series! Check out all your FREE goodies you can immediately try for traffic to your blog or website:

Part 1: FREE Ways to get Traffic to your Blog or Website this week | Part 1 of 5 in a “get traffic” series

Part 2: Using Social Media to Drive Traffic to your Blog or Website | Part 2 of 5 in a “get traffic” series

Part 3: Using Engagement Tactics to Drive Traffic to your Blog or Website | Part 3 of 5 in a “get traffic” series

Part 4: Research with Google to Drive Traffic to your Blog or Website | Part 4 of 5 in a “get traffic” series

Part 5: The Basics of SEO to Drive Traffic to your Blog or Website | Part 5 of 5 in a “get traffic” series (that’s what you just finished reading)

 

Using Engagement Tactics to Drive Traffic to your Blog or Website | Part 3 of 5 in a “get traffic” series

Free Traffic to your site with these Engaging Tips

Engagement.  It’s just a little buzzword for describing how you interact with your online audience, both online and even offline.  It’s also measurable with the ultimate goal of bringing traffic back to you.  It’s funny how the Internet has taken a normal human ability for socialization and has us quantifying our interactions with others, then measuring the outcome of those interactions all in hopes that we can maximize our impact with future interactions.  But that is a philosophical debate for another time. Simply, engagement is no different from brick and mortar stores where they talk to their customers, call up their mentors, visit surrounding businesses, and participate in various business associations.  All in hopes that the more you put yourself out there, the more business will come your way.  Let’s talk about just how to do that on the Wild Wild Webs with our new buzzword – Engagement.  (pssst – all methods are FREE)

But before we jump in, I wanted to remind ya this is part of a series for driving traffic to your blog or website – all for FREE.  First, we gave an overview of 4 basic tactics for driving traffic.  Then we continued the series, by delving into the specifics of our first topic: Social Media.  Next up is today’s topic: Engagement.  A lot will refer to social media as engagement, which it certainly is part of it, but I’ll provide other, more creative ways of engagement.  That discussion begins now…..

5 tips to try today to engage your audience and bring traffic to your site:

1. Blog and Forum Commenting

I’m pretty sure you already are reading blogs that are similar to your niche as well as reviewing specific topics in helpful forums.  Get to commenting!  Every time.  By commenting on other’s blogs and participating in niche specific forums you are interacting with an audience that is targeted to your niche.  While commenting use these tips:

-Hopefully you’ve already created a Social Media presence.  Most blogs will allow you to comment as your Twitter self – for example. This way, if people are interested in you, they click your avatar and find out information about you -maybe even leading back to your site!

-Leave a thoughtful comment.  Avoid: “great post” or “good job”.  State specifically what interested you or how the blog enlightened you. These details get attention and give someone a reason to reach out to you.

-Avoid placing a link back to your website in your comment.  Most blog commentators or forums will delete your comment if you appear ‘spammy’.  Your avatar for commenting should have details on how one can find you online.

If you don’t already have a blog roll you follow, try social sharing forums such as Reddit or Stumbleupon.  You’ll quickly come across some you’d like to follow.  Bonus: don’t forget to register your blog to these forums to get found.

2. Link back to other sites from your blog or website

If they are checking their analytics, they’ll take notice and most likely visit you.  This may lead to a link exchange if they find you relevant. Linking back to you is the ultimate goal here.  In this way they share their audience with you, meaning eyeballs to your site.

3. Attend your industry events

Remember our analogy of how brick and mortar stores attend their area business meetings and industry events?  Well this is one offline form of engagement that still matters.  Begin interacting in person with those who are similar to your niche.  With everything so automated lately, a little emotional human interaction will help you to stick out in their minds.  People are more likely to work with those they know.  Maybe a joint development will come about that shares the audience between you and your new business partner.  More visits to your site! Added bonus is the energy you pick up on from the events.  You’ll return to your site motivated to make it the best.

4. Install a RSS feed/email subscription on your website or blog

Use the feed and email subscription to remind your traffic that you’re still there.  Send them website updates or an email newsletter. Keep in touch with those who are already your visitors in hopes that they will return and just maybe, bring more people to your website.  Need help in developing an email newsletter?  I got the details for you here:  Anatomy of a Weekly Email Newsletter

5. Guest Post

Guest posting is where you write a blog post for another blog.  This is in hopes that others will take notice, become interested in what you have to say, and then visit your website or blog.  Be careful not to be sales-y in your guest post.  It should remain objective and helpful to the audience of the blog you are writing for.  Instead, make sure your avatar and ‘about me’ section of the post contain your expertise and the link back to your site or social media channels.

Again, all methods above are the online and offline replacement of the socializing that brick and mortar stores do for bringing in business.  Take advantage of these engagement tactics for visits back to your site.

Want more free ways of getting traffic back to your blog or website?  Check out the previous two articles in this series.

Part 1 of 5: FREE Ways to get Traffic to your Blog or Website this week | Part 1 of 5 in a “get traffic” series

Part 2 of 5: Using Social Media to Drive Traffic to your Blog or Website | Part 2 of 5 in a “get traffic” series

Next up: We’ll detail some ways of using the various services Google offers for getting your traffic.

Let us know in the comments below if you have anything to add to these tips or ways I did not mention.

Using Social Media to Drive Traffic to your Blog or Website | Part 2 of 5 in a “get traffic” series

Free Traffic to your site with Social Media

Recently, we outlined 20 FREE ways to drive traffic to your site.  The methods were broken down by category, but I realized there is so much more information to these tips than just listing them out.  First up, are the Social Media methods.  By consistently employing each of the methods below, I promise you will see more traffic to your site.  Let’s get started….

1. Twitter

Just in case you need to be reminded of the obvious – Twitter is a great place to engage an audience and promote your brand.  Use this strategy as you begin:

  • First you need to get a following to have someone to promote your blog/website to. Shoot for 5-7 daily tweets.  A couple your own content, maybe a retweet, a couple that share or comment on others content, (the more relevant to your niche the better) and asking one conversational question seem to be the norm.
  • Make sure tweets with your own content contain links back to your blog/website.
  • Make sure to follow people everyday and engage your new followers through the tweeting rules above.  It’s best to follow those that would be interested in your brand as you start.  A keyword search within Twitter can help you to get started.
  • Certainly follow back anyone that follows you
  • Add you blog/website URL prominently to your Twitter Profile.
Keep in mind this is just a beginning strategy.  Expect it to morph as you gain popularity. As you dive in, you’ll realize the need for other Twitter resources, but you have to start somewhere!  Begin here!

2. Pinterest

It’s time to add this to your social media lexicon.  According to @BethHayden, Author of “Pinfluence: The Complete Guide to Marketing Your Business with Pinterest”, Pinterest is the “second largest referral of traffic to websites and blogs – right behind FaceBook”.  Got your attention, yet? Here’s a sample strategy to try as you begin….
  • Before your first pin, do some research and identify your target audience.  You’ll want to use keywords in your pin descriptions as well as images that will speak to them.
  • Then use your blog post or website images to create your pins.  This is where interesting, original images will come in handy. Consider infographics – even if they are not part of your post, but as a way to summarize it. Consider even just text – choose eye-catching fonts and colors to state your blog title or website page title.
  • Remember that research you did with keywords?  Well make sure to include those keywords in your pin description so others can find you. Include your blog or website URL as well in your description.  You’ll notice that you can type a whole lot there in the description, but I suggest just enough to captivate your audience and get them to click-through to your blog post or website. Keywords can be used with #hashtags similar to Twitter.
  • Make use of the Pinterest Social Sharing button on your blog or website images.  Your able to control where the image directs and initially,  the description.
  • Similar to Twitter, get social!  Don’t just promote your brand, but pin other’s relevant posts as well.  Your building a community of viewers to your site as well as developing and sharing your visitors with one another, in an effort to attract more visitors.

3. Facebook

 Your tactic here is more about sharing information.  Create a Facebook Fan Page separate from your personal account for creditability. The game is changing with Fan Pages as now there are costs involved with the fancy tricks.  But remember, we want FREE ways, try this sample strategy to get started…
  • Make sure to share your blog posts and any brand news.  Look helpful by sharing news and articles that others in your niche may find relevant.
  • Comment with care on pages similar to your niche.
  • Remember one of the strategies of Twitter was to share your own content with a tweet?  To add credibility to your blog or website with another social media outlet, consider linking your tweet back to the blog post posted on Facebook.  Use sparingly as remember, you’d rather they direct back to your blog or website.
  • You can be a little more casual on Twitter, but try to keep Facebook only about content regarding your blog and brand.
  • With your personal Facebook maybe consider updating your “Work and Education” section to represent your Facebook Fan page for your blog or website.
  • Now that you have a Fan Page don’t forget to review your Facebook insights.  Visit http://www.facebook.com/insights while logged in.  You’ll get a look at how others are engaging with your posts so you know what kind of content to keep providing your users so they’ll keep coming back.

4. Google+

We all wanna be liked by Google – well, they seem to pay attention more to those who participate in their Google+ network. Sign up and realize this is one network where it’s not the quality of your followers, but the quantity of your followers  Try these tips:
  • Just like the other networks will pay off if you research your industry keywords, do so here as well.  Use those keywords when completing your “About” section of your profile.
  • Google+ activity will show up in a search result over other Social Media activity during a Google Search.  Again, post often in your + account and pay attention to those keywords most relevant to the audience you wish to attract.  They’re likely to find you when your content is ranking high.
  • Take advantage of the Google+ Hangouts.  It’s a way to interactively mingle with those who are interested in your blog or website niche topic.  Try providing informative advice on your niche in general to attract the most viewers – don’t use it as a session to promote your blog or business.  And guess what?!  After the experience, since you directly engaged someone,  guess who they will be talking about after. 🙂  It’s such a cool, new thing that people will definitely be talking about their Google+ Hangout experience.  (hopefully with you)
  • There’s this little thing called Google Authorship that happens naturally as you link your Google+ profile to your blog and vice versa.  Google Authorship means it begins to trust you as a source on your topic.  You’ll begin to rank higher so others find you.  Bonus: You’re Google+ Profile pic may show up in Google Search results along your blog post or website!  So make sure your Google+ Profile pic is best representing you or your business.
  • Engage, Engage, Engage.  Use your Google + profile often to find new followers and interact so you attract more followers.  The benefit here over other social networks is that you will eventually begin to rank higher in search results (meaning greater chances of people finding your blog/website) as your network grows.

5. LinkedIn

This little network is not the same resume sharing network you experienced last time you logged in.  Did you know you can upload blog posts, list your products, upload videos, and give status updates?  Give it a second look and overhaul with these tips to hopefully bring traffic back to you:
  • Make sure to upload your blog posts here.  Especially the more polished of your posts that would be helpful to those in your niche.  For your website – provide your project status updates or any new developments.
  • Take advantage of the “Recommendations”.  Did you work with someone who maybe helped by guest posting, or provided design services?  Give them an honest ‘recommendation’.  These recommendations show up on their profile and get you views to your profile.  Now sell ’em on your profile to bring traffic back to your site!
  • You can import other social media streams to your profile.  Try a widget for uploading your Tweets.  Just be careful not be sale-sy as you Tweet.
  • Take advantage of LinkedIn’s Answers resource.  Browse through your industry Keywords to provide expertise on other’s questions.  When you post your answer, there’s a link back to your profile and you may gain creditability.  It works by asking questions too.
  • Update your Business Skills.  By choosing wisely, you’re bound to attract viewers as well as appear in the “Related Companies” for the skills you choose.  For each skill set there are also groups to join.
There you have it!  Quick tips to get started on all of these social media networks and encourage traffic back to your blog or website. For each of these options make sure to add sharing links and follow links to each of your blog posts or pages of your website. Also consider containing a link to your profile for each in any email or marketing newsletter you send.  The more aware your audience is of your presence, the more likely you are to receive traffic to your site.
Got any success stories you want to share?  Prefer one social network over the others? Any quick, beginning tip I forgot to mention?  Then get busy in the comments below. 🙂
Next up in the “get traffic” series: Engagement.  By paying attention to your niche and engaging with others outside of social media, you’ll bring more traffic to your blog or website.  I’m excited to share!

 

 

FREE Ways to get Traffic to your Blog or Website this week | Part 1 of 5 in a “get traffic” series

Free Traffic to your Site – 20 tips to try today!

Are you an affiliate marketer?  Then you know how important it is to get traffic to your site.  More traffic means the better chance of people viewing and clicking your affiliate advertisements.  Own a business website?  Then you know that the more traffic the better chance of making money you’ll have.  Beginning a blog?   Then you should know how important it will be to develop a large loyal audience.  One that once you begin to monetize your blog your readers will hopefully trust your opinion on the products – making you Affiliate dollars.

There are many other important facets to keep in mind with your traffic, but this post is specifically about getting eyeballs to your affiliate blog or website.  It’s so hard not to talk about: consistency of posting relevant content, what happens when the traffic gets to your site to win them over, and even some of the paid ways to get traffic to your site. No this is specifically about just getting the reader to your site, in the most economical way possible. You may find that I couldn’t help myself and may have broken the “ONLY TRAFFIC TIPS” rule a little – but only when necessary.  My intention is for you to use this mainly as a checklist.  I’ll follow-up with detailed posts about each traffic driving source in the days to come as part of a series. Enjoy!

1. Social Media

  • Twitter  – This will be a great forum for you to engage your followers and post relevant content for your brand.
  • Pinterest – You know I don’t have a lot of personal experience with this site, but am seeing more and more news about how to drive traffic to your site with this service.  Do not underestimate its power. A quick google search will set you in the right path. We found this search: “how to use Pinterest to drive traffic to your blog” on google blog search to result in 5,000 articles just this week!
  • Facebook  – Please don’t be offended if you’ve never, ever used Facebook, but for most – this is pretty self-explanatory.  Set up a Facebook fan page for your brand.  Continually update with fresh content.
  • Google+ – This can be a little gem. Most social media services stress engagement over the number of followers.  This is one source where your number of followers matters.  Get popular!
  • LinkedIn – more snazzier than you thought!  Did you know you can add your blog posts to your profile?  Don’t forget to list your current website as a business either.
These are just a few good sources to begin with for immediate impact to traffic.  Again, I’ll detail more in the next post about using Social Media to drive traffic to your site.  For now, make sure to create a profile with each of these that includes a prominent link back to your site and brief bio that describes your site.  Keep in mind the types of visitors you wish to attract and make sure to use relevant keywords to catch their eye. Don’t forget to include all your social sharing links on EVERY blog post or prominent area of each page of your website.

2. Engagement

  • Begin commenting on other industry targeted blogs to begin.
  • Link back to relevant blogs from your blog.  You stand a chance that they will consider linking back to you.
  • Go to industry specific events.  Also try hosting webinars or joining MeetUp.  Great way to pair with like-minded individuals.  If the traffic doesn’t come from these events, it’s a great way to motivate you to keep going!
  • Make sure to have RSS feed and allow for email subscriptions to your blog or website updates.  Try an email newsletter for both your website and blog.  If you need help with how to develop one – check out this handy, dandy post: Anatomy of a Weekly Email Newsletter
  • Guest post! Great way to get noticed by writing a relevant post on someone elses blog.  In the same vein, encourage others to write a guest post for you.  If they have a strong following their readers may become interested in you as well.
  • Check out the Social Sharing (Reddit, stumbleupon, etc) as well as Forums. Just like commenting on other blogs, begin participating here as well as sharing your content in the social sharing sites.

3. Google

  • Google AdWords/KeyWords – Perform research on relevant keywords to your industry/topic.  Then develop content and titles relevant to what people are already interested in.  Once you get them to your page, make sure your content gives a unique perspective on the keywords they dig.
  • Google Analytics – Helps to identify where your traffic sources are coming from as well as identify opportunities.  Next step is to develop and encourage these sources.
  • Google BlogSearch is a fantastic tool in the same vein as Keywords to help you see what other bloggers are writing about.  You can sort the results by time frame for the most relevant up to date posts.  View these posts.  The ones with the most comments are hot topics.
  • Along with Google BlogSearch, give Google Reader a try – you’ll be able to see the number of subscribers to each site displayed in the search results.  Then employ your engagement tactics from our Engagement section to those with high viewership for maximum impact.

4. SEO (just the basics)

  • Remember those keywords you researched?  Well make sure to use those in an eye catching title as well as throughout your post.
  • Remember all those Social Media – well that’s SEO!
  • Images – use them and make them original.  Try creating your own images. Title them so that when someone searches images or your keywords, your post image shows up in that “image” section of the search.
  • Be careful not to place too many affiliate ads.
  • Make sure your content is original and relevant.

IN CONCLUSION:

You’ll find that as you participate in these steps you get rewards.  Celebrate your rewards, no matter how small, and keep charging.  Some of these ideas may seem painful, especially if you are not familiar with Pinterest or Google Analytics seems daunting.  But learn them and push through.  DON’T. GIVE. UP.  It takes a while to build viewership, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. As you keep consistent and build traffic, things do get easier and your followers begin to do some of the heavy lifting naturally for you.  Keep on blogging my friend!  (or websiting!)

Check back as we detail the Social Media tactics for FREE traffic to your site.  Until then, got any free methods that you’ve tried with success?  I wanted to list the most obvious for immediate impact but I may have left out a goody or two. 🙂

 

 

Anatomy of a Weekly Email Newsletter

What makes a great Email Newsletter?

If you’re in Affiliate Marketing and operate a blog, chances are you have a weekly newsletter.  I’m a sucker for signing up for that newsletter as it’s just easier to be reminded of my favorite blogs and what they’re dishing out in my inbox.  Maybe I’m too much of a sucker, as I had to do some cleaning up of my inbox this week.  It’s interesting that the newsletters that made the cut all had similar characteristics.  If you’re thinking of revamping your current newsletter, or looking to begin the weekly delivery of your goodies-  then give these tips a look-see.  The anatomy of your newsletter is listed below…

It begins with the subject line

Make it compelling to your audience.  Use your readers first name with words like “HOW TO”, “TRENDS”, “This week’s METHODS….”,  or “72% prefer…..”.  The goal is to get your reader to open your email.  And for the love, please do not say “My  Blog’s Weekly Newsletter”.  #snore

Format

Keep this consistent for future newsletters.  Have sectioned content that gives brief descriptions and a link to the details. For aesthetics try to provide three to five sections. Don’t forget bold, concise titles are best for each section. Newsletters that had too many sections or too many words were instantly deleted from my viewing pleasure.

Content

You’re a blogger so you’ve likely been doing content generation all week.  It’s completely acceptable to list your posts of the week in sections and link off to the articles.  Or, maybe your newsletter is a place for additional content that just isn’t right for a blog post but you still would like to communicate.  Need some ideas? Consider……

  • Featured Tip of the week for your niche
  • Better yet, Featured Product of the week. Use those Affiliate links!!
  • Upcoming Events for your niche
  • Case Study
  • How To’s, Trends in your Niche, Stats, or your opinion about any combination of those three.

Do be careful when discussing your Company News.  This is in similar vein to titling your Subject Line “My Blog’s Weekly Newsletter”.  More often than not, your reader will become bored.  Name.com may be an exception for talking about our company, as we at least try to entertain you while discussing our happenings.  We’ve used Unicorns, our CEO asking if he stuttered while cussing, and cute cuddly animals while talking about our company. Which brings us to the next part of the newsletter anatomy…..

Amusement

Try adding one thing to amuse your audience.  Maybe that’s a trivia question, a link to an entertaining video, your hand drawn cartoon, your opinion of your most interesting Instagram pic of the week,…anything.

Engage

Ask your readers to do something.  Maybe it’s asking them to follow your social media links?  Maybe it’s asking them a poll question.  If you like the poll idea, make sure there is the option to view the results – people like seeing where their opinions stack up.

And lastly, pay heed to the technical aspect

Your newsletter should have HTML and plain text elements.  Most likely your software does this for you, but view your newsletter in both options so you understand your user experience.  I like to enable the HTML version but newsletters that had poor format in plain text or too many HTML elements were deleted and unsubscribed.

Speaking of unsubscribing—that was a very necessary element for me to locate.  On the more positive side for you, be proactive and give subscription options—such as future communication about their reading preferences. Also consider the RSS feed.

Don’t get stuck with how to construct your weekly newsletter.  These tips were designed to eliminate that pain as well as give you some a strong back bone for developing your newsletter format.  This may seem like a lot of information but seriously, you’ll notice, especially if you are newletter-ing already, that you’ll shorten your newsletter process.  It’s not so daunting as you may think.

Enjoy and  out of curiosity, let me know if you’ve tried any amusing tricks in your newsletters.

Using Your Strengths: CEO Bill Mushkin is The Insightful

Bill Mushkin is the CEO and founder of name.com. He gets mad respect here because he keeps us employed, and there’s this knack he has of bringing up the question that no one thought to ask. It can either the most enlightening or maddening part of your day, but either way you’re left thinking, sometimes even drinking. But the important point that Bill always makes is that if you’re not having fun, then maybe you should be doing something else. Here he shares some of what he told us when we were mired in internal conflict and riddled with a collective self doubt. We’re much better now.

You need not pay heed to this skeevy little thing

You may have gotten (or will get) one of these in the mail. It’s a company offering to renew your domain names. That’s a nice thing to do, IF IT WEREN’T THREE TIMES THE NORMAL PRICE OF A RENEWAL. Sorry for shouting, but the audacity of this gouge-by-mail outfit is pretty awesome. I’m almost jealous. It would be neat to fly through life not caring about others. It would be fantastic not reparking my car five times so the Skylark next to me has room to load her groceries. It would be even better making money by licking some envelopes and preying on the weakness of others. I bet they don’t even lick their envelopes. I bet they use one of those little sponges. Weak.

A conscience can be a burden, but now you can reward yours by warning others that this little mailer is probably not in the best interest of domain owners.

renewal junk mail

Don’t do this.