There are a lot of articles, blogs, websites, etc. on the topic of Blog Marketing, SEO, getting ranked, getting visitors, getting readers, and the list goes on. It can really be mind boggling, and provide a lot of information overload.
It is very easy to get completely overloaded when looking for information to market your blog, and it leads to far less results than you were hoping for, which leads to burnout, and an out-of-control spiral that makes you second-guess the blogosphere altogether.
One of the most important things to remember about marketing your blog is …
Stay Focused and Avoid Information Overload
You may be asking right now, “but, I came here for information on marketing my blog, how does this relate?” And, if you are, I am glad that you asked. But here is the thing. With marketing your blog, all that you are doing is marketing. And, as such marketing takes time, and marketing takes patience.
But, we live in a world of instant, or near instant, gratification. If you want new clothes, go to Amazon, and *poof* they arrive. If you want to hear that new song from your favorite musician, search YouTube and *poof* you have it.
So when that instant gratification is not felt when you are marketing your blog, instead of remaining disciplined and staying the course with your blog marketing efforts, people tend to get impatient. When they get impatient, they start searching on keywords such as “get traffic NOW”, etc. And of course, millions of pages will be displayed on Google, most of them selling their “secrets.”
Then the next tendency is to buy that product, or read more and more blog posts. Until finally you decide maybe something else is better, and so you scrap your current efforts. But, what is not realized is that scrapping current efforts in almost all cases, resets your blog marketing efforts in general.
And so the vicious cycle starts again.
In the current world of instant and where everything is on demand and instant gratification, marketing your blog just is not one of those instant gratification possibilities.
Remain disciplined and focused. If you believe in your marketing, stick with it. It will take time for it to mature, and your blog to get the regular traffic flow that you are hoping for, and expecting. Above all else, remain patient.
Use Your Own Domain Name
Now, I will be the first to admit that I am all about free. In this day in age, I see no reason not to be. Admittedly, the free hosting companies throttle your bandwidth in total amount of traffic a month, but, in reality, when you are starting out, you are not going to have enough to meet their quota(s). There are things to consider when going for free, and you must have a strategy to move to a paid host once your blog grows and begins to accumulate more and more traffic.
However, even in the world of free, I recommend buying a domain name. At about 10 bucks a year nowadays, anyone can afford one. When purchasing one, try and get one that is relevant to your blog. It’s even better if you can get one that is the title of your blog as well.
The marketing benefits that you can gain by having a custom domain name, especially if it’s the title of your blog, or brand, is tremendous. Not only the marketing benefits, it allows your visitors, and would-be visitors, to locate your blog more easily.
Having a domain name that is the title of your blog or name of your brand also helps your site with SEO, which in turn helps your blog rank better in the major search engines.
Use Blog Software
When designing and implementing your blog make sure to use software that is designed for blogging. Blogging platforms such as WordPress not only are designed for blogging, but are also optimized for rankings in major search engines, which will help in your marketing efforts in the long run.
I personally recommend WordPress as I have found it to be the easiest to set up, the easiest to configure, the easiest to add plugins, and the easiest to post from. There are others that may fit your taste and experience, but WordPress is my preference.
And on top of it’s ease and convenience, it is 100% free and open source, so, you can modify the code for it, if you are so inclined.
Speaking of customizable blog software, take advantage of it. Customize your blog and make it homey. Make it inviting.
Keywords, Tags and Categories
Keywords are an important part of marketing your blog, especially for optimizing your rankings in search engines. When writing a blog create and use categories that either a.) is/are your target keyword(s) or b.) the category is related to your target keyword(s). I am not recommending create a category for every blog post, but, say you are writing a blog post about playing guitar. Create a Guitar or Music category, and add the post in that Category.
Always, always, always add tags to your blog post. With tags, add the specific keyword, but also phrases that relate to your blog post and the keyword. DO NOT add a keyword or phrase that is unrelated to your blog post as a tag. Doing so will result in the search engines ranking your post worse, if at all. So, if you are marketing your blog post about guitar lessons, do not add a tag of “make money online.”
Optimize your blog and blog posts to make them more marketable. Make sure to check grammar, and for goodness sake, use spell check.
Aside from the obvious, make sure that your blog post is rich in keywords and keyphrases, but make sure that it is naturally flowing. People often over emphasize keywords and keyphrases in their blogs, making it unnatural and difficult to read. In today’s age, your blog will market better, and rank better in search engines, if it is person friendly. Write it as if you were reading it.
Get Your Blog Post Seen
When setting up your blog, make certain that you have pingbacks set up correctly. This essentially tells the search engines when you have updated your blog, so that it can crawl your site and get the latest content.
The more that you publish the more marketing benefits you will get from the search engine rankings, especially if your blog posts are pinging once published.
Make a sitemap. It is easier then it may seem, and oddly enough, WordPress does not by default create one. I use the WordPress plugin XML Sitemap Generator for WordPress as I have found it does what I need, easily.
Once created, head to Google.com/Webmaster and add your sites’ site map. That will make Google send their bot out to crawl your site and update their search engine with your blog information.
Map it. Site map it.
Format Old Posts
Take time to go back and edit and format old(er) blog posts, if you have them. You can re-market those blog posts, and you can get your blog ranked better in search engines like Google, which will also help market your blog and blog posts.
Add some content if it fits in. Or if things have changed, update it with the changes.
Take Marketing Social
In the day of Facebook and Twitter, people tend to let this one slip away. And yet, they can be some of the biggest blog marketing platforms on the planet, and for free – unless you opt to pay for ads. Yes some bloggers create a Facebook Page about their blog, and yes, they may even update it with each blog post that they make.
But what most miss in the marketing of their blog using Facebook or Twitter is sharing links on their personal Facebook or Twitter feed. After all, we all have followers and friends on both Facebook and Twitter (if you have an account on one or the other that is), but rarely do we take advantage of that with updates on our blog.
Perhaps we are inherently afraid of the stigma of trying to “make money online” and the assumption that your friends and family will think you are wasting your time. However, if you are passionate about something, and have a blog in the first place, you should be proud of it and marketing your blog with your family and friends on Facebook and/or Twitter should be a natural progression for your marketing efforts.
After all, for each friend or family member that you have that reads your feed, they have ten, twenty, thirty or more (and in some cases far more) friends or family that follows their posts on Facebook or Twitter.
Let me low ball the numbers for a minute. Let us say that one has twenty friends on Facebook. Then, you share a link to your blog on your feed. of those twenty, let us say that two (ten percent) of those share that link. Now, lets say that each of those two have twenty friends. Of that one feed that you posted with a link to your blog, you have now gotten your blog link in front of sixty potential visitors (your twenty friends, plus the forty friends (combined) of the two friends that shared the link.) All for free.
No fees, no hassle of when to yank an add. Or renew an ad. Just a simple ten second post on Facebook. There really has never been a platform with the marketing potential, and no expense.
Market your blog to other bloggers, especially in your niche. You may think of them as your competitors, but, in reality, already established bloggers can be a great marketing tool. One even can benefit from bloggers in a different niche than yours, as some of their readers may be looking for a solution that you provide.
Networking is one of the oldest forms of marketing, and in the blogosphere world, it is no different. The more people that know about your blog, the more visitors you are going to get. Some will come out of shear curiosity, while others will come because they know the blog is about something that could fix a program they have.
Other bloggers also know that they can benefit from other blogs as well, which makes them more likely to link to your blog or repost your blog post on their own blog, with a backlink to you. It all helps in the marketing of search engines.
If you are new to the blogging world, you will discover that there are a lot of bloggers, and it really is a world of it’s own. As such, there are blogger conferences, technology conferences, workshops and more. Explore these every chance that you get.
Meet bloggers on a personal level. Give out your business card. Make friends and make fellow blog creators. Let them tell you their “secrets.” Offer to swap blog posts, which can have huge marketing implications down the road.
Do not underestimate the marketing benefits of face to face networking. Word of mouth is the oldest form of marketing, and it works just as well in the blogging world.
Market By Interviewing
Other marketing strategy that will help your ranking in the search engines is to interview other bloggers. Then post that interview on your blog.
For this, interview those in the same niche as yours, and especially ones that have made big names for themselves. Not only does it provide rich, authoritative content, but it also lends credibility to both you and your blog in general. All of this the search engines like.
The higher in the search engines your blog ranks the more marketing you can get from it. SEO, and search engines are a vital part in the overall marketing efforts and cannot be underestimated.
Using Flickr For Marketing
Host images on Flickr. Add a link in the anchor text in the image description, and you have multiple marketing benefits. You get a direct link to your blog, but also you get better search engine rankings.
With posting images on Flickr and including links you get direct marketing, and with the benefits that it can have on your search engine rankings, such as Google, Bing and Yahoo!, you get indirect marketing as well.
It is also free, with up to one terabyte of storage. So, you should be able to post hundreds to thousands of images before reaching that threshold.
Take advantage of it, it could pay dividends.
The Final | What To Expect When Marketing
Marketing your blog could be in and of itself a full time job. It is important to remember that just because you post regularly, that does not mean that you will magically start getting visitors. You have to do your due diligence in getting the name out there so that people know where to go to see your blog.
When marketing your blog take advantage of the plethora of free platforms. Take advantage of your Facebook (personal) page and Twitter page. Do not be afraid to post links to your blog posts for your friends and family to read, so that they may share that link with their own followers.
Do not forget about sites such as Flickr where you can post images that include links back to your blog or particular blog posts, which not only helps gets direct visitors but it also gives link backs to Google, Bing and other search engines, and coupled with keyword anchor text, can help your blog rank better, which in turns increases the marketability.
Even with all of the free tools, Facebook, Twitter, any other social network site, classified, Google, Bing and any other online marketing platform, marketing of your blog takes above all else time and patience. Regardless of what some may say when trying to sell you something, you will not be getting hundreds or thousands of visitors a day the day after you launch your blog. It just does not happen.
It does not happen the day after or the week after, and more often than not, the month after. Marketing your blog is a daily endeavor, and takes time to pay off. It is a lot of hard work and dedication. Is it worth it in the end, absolutely. Will you get there overnight? Not a chance.
Marketing your blog take patience, dedication and time. But, in today’s age, it has never been easier, or cheaper, to market.