23 Things That You Can Do To Get Your Blog Post Seen Everywhere

Traffic seems to be the one thing that people obsess over the most when it comes to blogging. In fact, it’s probably one of the biggest reasons people give for why they don’t start blogging. They’re afraid no one will come to their site.

People seem to constantly look for that “magic bullet” traffic technique… That one method that’s going to send them a windfall of traffic.

It’s true that viral traffic can happen overnight. However, you never know where it’s going to come from. It takes effort on many fronts to get that traffic flowing in.

To accomplish this, be everywhere with your content, don’t use just one single traffic source and sit back and wait… Create a system that works for you and follow it to the letter every time you create a new post.

Over time, you’ll learn which strategies are effective and which ones don’t pan out. You will need to adjust, add new strategies, remove ineffective strategies, and repeat. That’s the true trick to creating website traffic.

To help you understand what I mean, I’ve decided to share the strategy that Bradley and I use to generate a ton of traffic to every single new blog post we create.

In fact, chances are, you found this exact blog post as a result of our efforts with this strategy.

This strategy evolves. We remove ineffective actions and constantly add new actions as we learn them… For the most part, here is what we do with every single blog post.

I’ve broken it up in to 3 sections. “Standard”, “Above and Beyond” and “ROI (Return on Investment) Potential Tactics”.

The “Standard” tactics are what we use for every single post, no matter what.

The “Above And Beyond” tactics are what we use when we really really want the post to go viral.

And the “ROI Potential Tactics” are what we do when we expect a return from the post. They are paid strategies because maybe we’re promoting an affiliate link or maybe the post talks about a new product we’ve created. We will use paid techniques if we see the potential for a return on investment for the payment.

So here’s our blog post promotion checklist:

Standard Post

  • Mail your list
  • Post to Facebook fan page
  • Post to personal Facebook wall
  • Post to any relevant Facebook groups
  • Share on Twitter account
  • Search Twitter for relevant hashtags and @reply them
  • Queue up a minimum of 4 more promotions using HootSuite
  • Share on Google+
  • Share on LinkedIn
  • If you use an image, share the image on Pinterest
  • Go to Google Alerts and look for relevant blog posts – Run alerts for the week
  • Post to a minimum of 5 blogs linking to your new post – Entire week
  • Create an image with a quote from your post, share that image on Facebook and Twitter – Ask for shares
  • Create a quick YouTube video related to your post, put link to post below video.

Above And Beyond

  • One Time – Create blogs on Tumblr, LiveJournal, Squidoo, and WordPress.com
  • Post about most recent post to Tumblr (don’t copy – write a synopsis)
  • Post about most recent post to LiveJournal (don’t copy – write a synopsis)
  • Post about most recent post to Squidoo (don’t copy – write a synopsis)
  • Post about most recent post to WordPress.com (don’t copy – write a synopsis)
  • Create a post with your YouTube video on each of the sites as well
  • Find 2 relevant questions on Quora, answer the questions and link to your post
  • Find relevant questions on Reddit and answer them with a link

ROI Potential Tactics

  • Boost post on Facebook
  • Submit press release to PR Web about topic

Many of these things are self explanatory but I’ll break them down even more…

Standard Post Tactics

Mail your list: This one pretty much speaks for itself. If you know us by now, you know that we are huge proponents of list building with your blog. Once you have a list, you can mail your list whenever you create a new post and bring past readers right back to your site. We recommend GetResponse for list building.

GetResponse

Post to your fan page and personal walls: Every blog post that you make should be shared to your Facebook fan page and shared to your personal wall. The truth of the matter is, friends and family probably WILL be the first readers of your blog. That’s OK! Get them commenting and sharing to build some momentum.

Post to relevant Facebook groups: Find groups that are relevant to the niche that you blog in and, if it’s allowed, share your latest posts with those groups. If your post is relevant to a topic already being discussed in the group, share your post in the comments of that discussion.

Share on your Twitter account: Share a link to your latest blog post in a tweet or two. So many people tend to want to just focus on Facebook. However, we find that, while we get more traffic from Facebook, we get more engaged visitors from Twitter. The people that come from Twitter tend to stay on our page much longer and return to our page more often.

Search Twitter for relevant #hashtags and @reply those people: Find people asking questions on Twitter that your blog post could answer for them. When you find them, send them a reply and link to your blog post. This is SUPER effective because if other people have the same question, they may stumble across your conversation as well.

Queue up a minimum of 4 more promotions using Hootsuite: Hootsuite is a tool that lets you schedule up your Tweets in advance. I always go in to Hootsuite and schedule at least 4 more tweets for that same blog post to go out at different times during the day. People aren’t on Twitter all day. This makes sure you will get more exposure to your post on Twitter as the day goes on. I also like to schedule 2 or 3 tweets for older blog posts at the same time to ensure steady traffic continues to my older, but still relevant, blog posts.

HootSuite

Share on Google+ and LinkedIn: The idea is that you pretty much want to share your blog post on any social media accounts that you are active on.

Share on Pinterest: This one may no be relevant to everyone. If you use images in your blog posts, pin the image of that post to Pinterest. This works better in some niches than it does for others. For example, this is huge in fashion and in cooking type niches but gets a little more difficult and conceptual type niches like marketing and personal development.

Google Alerts: This is somewhat of a “ninja trick” or “growth hack”… Basically, you go to Google Alerts and you create an alert or two related to the topic of your recent blog post. When you receive emails about new posts on that topic, you go to those blogs and comment on them with a link back to your post. In fact, I made a quick video about this tactic.

We keep an eye on the topic for a minimum of a week (usually much longer) and continue getting the link everywhere.

Create an image with a quote and share it: This is a trick that I learned when Pat Flynn interviewed Gary Vaynerchuk on The Smart Passive Income Podcast… Basically, you take a great quote from your latest blog post, create a little image with that quote, and then share the image on all of the social media channels that you use. A great tool to easily create these types of images is called Canva.com.

Here’s an example of an image I made for one of my blog posts:

Matt Wolfe Quote

And here’s an example I saw Pat Flynn share:

Pat Flynn Quote

 

These are super powerful because if people like and agree with your quote, they tend to share them on their social media channels as well. They establish your credibility as an expert and really get shared.

Create a YouTube video related to your topic: Once you blog post is finished, create a quick YouTube video that is relevant to your blog post. In the description of the video, link to the post. Anyone who finds your topic via a YouTube search will probably watch your video and then click over to your post to get even more detail. YouTube can be a MASSIVE source of high quality traffic.

Above and Beyond Tactics

The “Above and Beyond” strategy is something that we don’t do every time we make a new blog post. The reason being is that it is very time consuming. Instead, we might do this strategy once per month but do it for four blog posts at a time. However, if we’re doing a blog for the sole purpose of promoting affiliate products, like what I did for Easy Video Suite, we will do this for every post on that style of blog.

Here’s a video I made a while back that explains the steps of the “Above and Beyond” strategy.

The only thing that we have added to the list that’s not mentioned in the video is that we now also look for relevant questions on Quora.com and attempt to answer them, citing one of our blog posts for more info.

ROI Potential Tactics

When we talk about “ROI Potential Tactics” we are talking about posts that will generate us some income. Examples would be posts that directly promote affiliate products, posts that promote one of our products, or posts that promote one of our services. Basically, any post where we can directly calculate the money made as a result of that post we will use these tactics.

Boost Post on Facebook: Facebook gives you the option to promote your posts when you have a fan page. You pick your budget and hit the boost post button and the post will be seen by more followers.

boost post

boost post 2

Submit a Press Release: Writing and submitting press releases is a whole topic in itself and will require a whole blog post. Essentially you are writing a news article related to your post and submitting to various news agencies. The agencies that find it newsworthy will publish it on their site and in their publications. PRWeb is probably the most notable press release service.

Here’s a quick read on how to write a good press release.

And that’s about it… That’s our entire strategy for generating traffic to our blog.

I actually created a checklist in Evernote that we use every time we create a new post. We hit publish and then go down the checklist, making sure we do everything on the list to promote the blog post.

Maintain a strategy like this for every single post that you make and you will have floods of traffic to your blog much quicker than you’d think.

What did we miss? What traffic strategy would you add to the list? Which would you remove? Let us know in the comments below!

 

How to Leverage Your Assets to Build Your Blog Audience

There is a special name for folks who start a blog and expect it to flourish in a matter of days. They are called disappointed people.

What’s wrong? I posted my blog to Facebook and Twitter. I used a clever hashtag and everything! I even had four ‘Like’s’! Why is no one coming to my blog?

 If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. Many a bloggers have been where you are and felt what you’re feeling. The question is: how do you get out of it? How do you go from having your only comments be from your proud mother to actually garnering new and interested traffic?

Have you considered SEO? 

 While the primary point of this post is not about SEO, it would be foolish to leave this point out.

Is it easy for you to find your favorite blogs on any given search engine? What you may not know is that there was a lot of time and energy put in to making that blog easily accessible.

If you are unfamiliar, SEO (search engine optimization) is the process by which someone seeks to make their website highly ranked on search engines. The higher a website is ranked, the more likely individuals will find and go to that site.

That is why SEO is important for building your blog audience. If you are wanting to have any chance of strangers finding your blog, you need to take SEO seriously.

I’m not going to go into SEO in this post. However, if you are interested, Matt Wolfe has laid out a great tutorial for SEO and steps you can take to get your blog noticed.

A bolder approach

While SEO is a very important factor in building an audience, it is not the only way. In fact, if you’re just starting out, there is probably a underutilized tool in you marketing arsenal that you need to wield: your friends and family.

A few years ago I worked for a non-profit organization called Cru. While working with Cru, I had to raise my own salary to be a part of their staff team. That meant I had to interact with individuals, churches and groups, tell them about what I was doing and ask for financial support.

This was one of the harder things I have ever done, primarily because I couldn’t be passive about it. I had to put in the effort to see results.

Posting a message on Facebook did very little, as it was easier for people to ignore my status. Sound familiar?

So what did I do? I made phone calls, set up appointments, practiced my pitch and made the ask. Through personal contact, I was able to meet my goal.

Why do I tell you this?

I tell you this because many aspiring bloggers try many  of the same tactics. They think that if they just keep posting to their Twitter and Facebook pages, their blog will explode. It’s as if we have perverted the famous Field of Dreams message to “If you post it, they will come.” And that’s not the case, not quite.

Consider this: your friends and family are a lot more supportive than you think. They just need you to ask them for support. And with the right kind of support, you can get promotions and referrals that will significantly grow your readership.

What does this look like for an aspiring blogger?

 1.    Be prepared- As you get ready to market yourself to the people you know and love, make sure things are on the up and up with you and your blog. Some of the things that you should have prepared are:

  •  A clean layout- Does your blog look professional? Professional does not mean sterile or uptight, but fitting to your core audience. There are far too many websites that look like they were made by the Taliban on a busy day. A good looking site will give you credibility.
  •  Interesting content- Don’t make your friends and family be embarrassed to promote crappy writing. If you are in a place where you want to see your blog grow, make sure that your writing is solid. If it isn’t, not only will your group of friends and family be less inclined to share your blog, but those people that are referred to your site will probably not come back.
  •  A subscribe option- Whether it is a landing page, sidebar widget or separate page, you need a subscription option. Subscriptions are great because they will keep your readers informed as to when you have a new post, do affiliate marketing or things of the like. Like I mentioned above, if you can contact a person directly, you will have a higher chance of getting them to come to your blog.

2.Work Up Your Pitch

 In a lot of ways, your first pitch to your family and friends is the most important. It will set the tone for other favors you may ask for in the future. That is why it is important that your message is clear, concise and has all the information that they will need.

Here is an example of a message I sent to some people in my circle:

…I hope you’re all doing well. I need to preface, this is not spam, it’s really Dominic 🙂 I am writing you because I recently started my own freelance writing/blogging business. I started a website called cheerupgreg.com and have published many posts that I am excited about. I would be greatly appreciative if you could take some time right now and look at my website and some of the articles. I am trying to gain more recognition and add credibility to my blog, so if you could subscribe to it (there will be a button on the right) that would really help me gain some momentum! Additionally, if there are articles that you like, would you please leave a comment and/or share it on your social media pages? Thanks so much in advance!

 My message was as short as it could be, while at the same time touching on why I was writing them, what I was asking them, why their support would be helpful and thanking/trusting them to help.

 Make sure to use your own words and make it unique to you!

3. Send the message

 It may sound obvious, but the first two steps are useless without step three. You actually need to build up the courage and send the message.

There are a few different ways that you can send this message, but a quick tip is this: the more personal, the better.

If you sit down with a friend and ask them for their support, they have nowhere to go. They have to give you a yes or a no. And they will probably give you a yes. But if you send a group email, they will be more inclined to ignore it, delete it or put it off (and eventually forget about it). Speaking to  the latter option, most friends and family have good intentions about getting back to you, but simply forget.

A word of caution: a “blanket status update” on Facebook is going to be the quickest way to get your request ignored. Not only will it be easily ignored, Facebook will only show it to a few people.

If sitting down with friends and family is less of an option, I would recommend an individually sent text message or email. Start by adding the persons name (Hey Steve! How’s it been going?…, etc) and pasting in your subsequent message. This will make your communication feel more personal, and thus less likely to be ignored.

Using what you’ve got

 You might be having some mixed emotions right now. Perhaps this feel like cheating. Perhaps you want your subscribers to follow you without having to ask them. Perhaps you want subscribers other than your friends and family.

Asking your friends and family for this kind of support is not a failure,nor is it some metaphorical “move back in with the parents”.

What you are doing is asking your close circle of relationships to help you take your blog to the next level. You are asking them to promote you to their family and friends, who will hopefully share you content with others in their circle.

Don’t let your family and friends stay an unused tool in your arsenal. Ask them for support and see your blog flourish! If you have taken these steps, how has marketing to your close relationships benefited your blog? Or do you have a difference in opinion? Please leave a comment and share your experience!

The Guest Blogging Snafu: Critical Info for Blog Owners

 The Basics:

guest blogging penalty flag

Accepting guest blog posts might soon result in Google penalties.

Google’s anti-spam chief Matt Cutts started an explosion across the SEO and Blogging worlds when he announced in mid-January that ‘Guest posting for SEO is dead.”  Since then, other Google officials and Cutts himself have revised this assessment – but it is still clear that Google is getting ready to pay a ton more attention to blogs that host guest posts – and it is clear that there will be SERP penalties for blogs that intentionally or unintentionally allow spammy backlinks in guest posts.

If you own a blog that gets requests involving offers of guest blogging – this could obviously be a huge problem, especially if you do not understand the nature of the problem from Google’s eyes.

At the core, this is a dispute about backlinks, so you will need to understand how links work and how to respond to requests post-Google’s Guest-blogging crackdown.

This post will:

  • Review what happened to get Google so fired up about a seemingly innocuous practice (guest blogging)
  • Explain all the details about how to understand and police your backlinks (especially from Guest Blog Posts)
  • Explain why you should still allow guest bloggers/blogging with conditions
  • And, explain how you should answer requests from potential guest bloggers.

What Got Matt Cutts so Grumpy?

You may be saying to yourself,

“um….self, why in the world do I need to understand anything new about guest blogging – I have a blog, I sometimes get someone new to post on it….it seems to be good for my blog and for the guest poster – right?”

Sadly, the answer to your question may often be – “wrong” – even when your heart is totally in the right place about why you want to accept guest blogging posts.

In theory, and for many people in practice, guest blogging is a mutually beneficial activity contracted between a blog owner and a guest writer.  Guest posts add additional content from a new voice – they potentially bring in new readers – and they can add to your blogs search engine rankings.

And therein is the rub…

That last point – helping SEO – is what has created this massive amount of new drama.

Black-hat SEO geniuses are in many ways like hackers – they keep probing until they figure out holes in Google’s anti-spam policies and then exploit those holes to help their clients SERP – often at the expense of people unintentionally in the crossfire.

We have seen all kinds of tools go from good SEO strategy to possible SEO penalization as a result of these tactics (for instance blog rolls, comments, Wikipedia, etc.)  In the series of posts that Cutts has posted on guest blogging he broke it down like a frustrated parent – he said basically that SEO’s are not capable of having nice things.

Cutts sometimes comes across like that guy that holds his anger in and lets it build until finally it explodes.  He is like a tea kettle that builds to a good boil then makes a TON of noise.  He started posting about spammy link practices in 2005 – introducing the nofollow and dofollow concepts for links (we will talk more about this in a few minutes).  Since then, he has slowly identified, warned, grown frustrated with, and exploded on most of the spammy SEO practices mentioned above.

His current annoyance is spammy guest blogging for SEO and he has reached his breaking point – it seems clear that there will be Google consequences for spammy guest blogging.

But, how is Guest Blogging spam?

Over the last few years black hatters have exploited popular blogs by offering to provide to those blogs with guest blogging services –even often offering to pay for the privilege of providing guest posts.  This offer is, of course, a Trojan horse – allowing black hat firms to pass page rank to their client sites through backlinks in the guest blogging posts.

One of the ways Google determines the importance of a site is by evaluating the backlinks that it generates.

If you have a popular site and you link to another site, Google assumes that means the other site is important too.  When you bless another site by linking to it you are giving it your seal of approval in the eyes of Google.  Google calls this “passing page rank.”  As in you pass the rank of your site on to the other linked site.

One of the primary no-no’s in Google’s list of webmaster guidelines is paying for, or accepting payment for, passing page rank.

Google does not like paid links.  They feel it corrupts their ability to determine which sites actually are quality sites that provide valuable information to Google searchers and which sites are unhelpful sites that provide spam filled nonsense.

web-master

Google wants webmasters, and if you run a blog or website you are technically a webmaster, to alert Google’s bots (or Googlebots or spiders the algorithms that determine site value crawling the web looking at sites) to links that are really advertisements (spam) as opposed to legitimate organic links.

So what is the scam?

Black-hat SEO experts offer their guest blogging services – and even pay you to provide this guest blogging content.  They then load these posts up with spammy links that pass page rank to their clients.  The posts that they deliver might be well written and even have decent content germane to your readers – but they are done to pass page rank from your popular site to their clients sites through the spammy backlinks contained in the body of the post.

For any of you who once received phishing scam emails offering to “gift you” a large portion of a distressed Nigerian Princes wealth (only under the condition that he could be given basic access to your bank accounts) you may have smelled something “phishy” when you got your first guest blogging offers.  But for many blog owners, these guest blogging offers have been taken as both a way to earn a bit of extra money and a way to get more content to their blog.

Google thinks that the whole purpose of what they do is to identify value through providing search results that matter to the searcher.  It is easy to see how Google gets mad because often the links will attach to a site that has nothing at all to do with the subject in the post itself (Cutts has detailed a litany of examples – once he gave the example of a post on linux with links to online casinos).

Ok, but how do links work for Google exactly?

There are two kinds of backlinks in Google’s eyes.  The first kind is called “dofollow” and it is the default – in other words, any link unless noted otherwise is considered a “dofollow” link.  This just means that the link creator wants bots to be able to follow the link when they try to determine where the link goes and the value of where the link goes.

The second kind of link is called “nofollow.”  If you do not want bots to follow your link to determine where the link goes and the value or where it goes you can add a “nofollow” attribute in the html coding (links are set off in the htmll by the href attribute – so the nofollow goes after the href attribute and the link url – you add the text rel=nofollow> at the end of the string).

A dofollow link would look like:

<a href=www.imadethisup.com>I Made This Up </a>

A nofollow link for the same thing would look like:

<a href=www.imadthisup.com rel=”nofollow”> I Made This Up </a>

Googlebots examine the text and determine what they should or should not follow by examining the html.  Google wants webmasters to treat the bots like newspaper editors treat readers when they explicitly identify areas of the text as “advertising.”  Nofollow links identify to Google bots that a link is advertising and should not be followed.

What you should do – Part One – Policing your Backlinks

guest-blogging-police

As a general rule, you should get in the practice of making all links in your guest posts “nofollow” links.  You should start to go back through your back catalog of posts and add “nofollow” to any guest blog links.

This is really important to you!

Once Google gets rolling on policing Guest Blogging spam they will punish webmasters not the writers.  In other words, the site that hosts spammy links through guest blogging will be the sites that Google penalizes.  And the Penguin update to Google’s algorithm was all about being able to identify exactly these kinds of spammy links.  In other words, it is in your interest to start protecting yourself.

What you should do – Part Two – Continue to Accept Guest Blogs but With Conditions

In Cutts’ addendum to his original outburst he explicitly mentioned the potential benefits of guest posting, “I’m not trying to throw the baby out with the bath water.  There are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging (exposure, branding, increased reach, community etc.).  Those reasons existed way before Google and they’ll continue into the future…I changed the title of this post to make it more clear that I’m talking about guest blogging for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes.

I think Cutts over-generalizes all SEO into black hat SEO but given that he spends all his time dealing with creative black hat trickery – he can certainly be forgiven.

Even if Guest Posting is not done for the reason of passing page rank – it can still be of SEO value.  For instance, if linkage between two popular sites creates more reader-ship for both that will eventually convey an SEO benefit.

Guest posts can also be directly beneficial to your blog. A nofollow link is still a way to connect two popular sites and create increased readership by linking two popular sites.  Readers are not Googlebots – clicking on “nofollow” links does not stop their journey.  Links still create visibility for both sites.

What you should do – Part Three – How you Should Respond to Guest Blogging Requests

I believe most of this whole snafu could be cleared up with one simple blog owner response – “Yes, I would love to consider posting your content as long as you do not mind that I insist on all links being “nofollow” links.”

If everyone who hosts a blog used this response – every single time – guest blogging for spammy SEO truly would be dead.

Google has stated that they are only concerned with spammy “dofollow” links in Guest blogs.  If someone is fine with all links being “nofollow” links they are probably ok.

Another good rule of thumb is to accept Guest blogs mostly from people you have a relationship with and/or trust.  If you are going to accept someone you do not know, do some research, read other things they have written and see if they are involved in selling links.

Summing it all Up

Google is going to penalize blogs that they identify as accepting guest posts with spammy links.  It is in your interest to:

  • Take control and look through all your guest blogging content – police your links and be alert to the scam.
  • Don’t pass page rank for money.
  • Learn to use the “nofollow” link in your html code.
  • Only accept guest posts that agree to only “nofollow” links in that content.
  • Be willing to play detective and look into the kind of content people offering their blogging services have provided to other sites.
  • Pay attention to what Google is saying about being a webmaster.  A great place to start is reading Matt Cutts blog.

If you are ever approached by someone offering to pay you to post something they have written (guest blogging offers) you should now know exactly what to do – ask them a simple question, “Sure, as long as you are ok with all links being nofollow.”

If you never hear from them again – you will know what they were after.  Forewarned is forearmed!

Josh

The Definitive Guide to Forum Marketing for Bloggers

Forum marketing is one of those tools that, when used effectively, can produce tremendous results. On the other hand, if abused, it’s the quickest way to destroy your online reputation — permanently. The benefits from forum marketing, though, are just to great to avoid.

When you do it the right way, you can build authority, brand your business, increase traffic to your blog, and get hundreds of free leads.

Here’s a detailed “forum marketing for bloggers” guide – how to follow the basics of forum etiquette, and how to maximize personal benefit at the same time.

What Is Forum Marketing?

In essence, forum marketing is marketing your online business by the means of an online community i.e. a forum. Simple concept.

You post on forums, and use them to gain traffic, get leads, increase sales via your signature link. You market your product, service, or website through a forum.

Why Is It (Sometimes) Considered Unethical?

Often, eager young entrepreneurs go a little overboard with forum marketing. In other words, they spam the stuffings out of forums just to get their links out there.

They use a keyword stuffed username, write one-liner trash posts, and link to their blog posts in every single reply and thread they post. Needless to say, their stint on forums is usually relatively brief, once the mods catch on.

They never add any sort of value to the forum. It’s just take, take, take.

Their post devalues the forum, devalues the community, and even devalues themselves.

How To Do It The Right Way – Forum Marketing Tips

Forums are all about community and helping others – getting answers to questions, getting opinions on controversial subjects — just building relationships, getting social, and helping each other. No forum was ever created with the sole purpose of getting its members free traffic.

Here are a few tips on forum marketing to help you get started increasing your blog traffic.

High Traffic Forums
Image Credit(s): Gerard Stolk via Flickr.

Provide value – This is a no-brainer. If what you post on the forum doesn’t really provide value to anyone in any way and only restates a topic that has been used and abused, then there’s no point. You are not providing value, so there is absolutely no reason for you to post it.

Dropping trash one-liners like “great post” and “thanks!” will help you lose your reputation faster than you can say “Jack Robinson”.

Post on threads you know about – If you don’t know about search engine optimization, don’t post a thread/reply about it (unless you’re asking a question or sharing a personal experience).

When you post in categories that you actually know about, you mark yourself as an authority in the subject. Since you know your stuff, people click on your signature link to learn more.

Be relevant – If your signature link leads to a recipe blog, then you should be posting on recipe forums, NOT on an Internet marketing forum.

If the forum is not relevant to your niche, your link won’t get very many clicks. Whatever traffic does happenstance to make its way to your blog will be untargeted, and won’t actually convert and make you money.

Post threads as well as replies – Comparatively, new forum threads will get you considerably more traffic than replies would. That’s for a simple reason – everyone who views the thread is guaranteed to see your post (and thus, your signature link as well).

When you reply, your post often gets lost in the already-present sea of other commentators. No one sees your sig link, and no one clicks on it.

That said, don’t post new threads too often. Nobody likes to see five recent threads on one page of a board all by one person.

Get there first – If you’re gonna reply to a thread anyway, do your best to get there first. The first reply always gets the most exposure (after the original post).

The 1st or the 51st reply – which do you think gets more traffic? It’s the same with blog commenting.

High traffic forums – Another no-brainer. If the forum you post on gets 10 visitors daily, chances are that you’ll get 10 visitors yearly as a result. The higher the amount of traffic to the forum, the higher the amount of traffic to your signature link. Simple equation.

Most of the popular forums will show up on the first page of the SERPs for their respective niche keywords. Just type in [your niche] + forum, and you’ll find high traffic forums to get started on in the blink of an eye.

How To Format Your Signature For A Higher Click-Through Rate

Forum Signature
Image Credit(s): Scott Ableman via Flickr.

Conversion rate optimization is one of my favorite pet peeves. My belief is that you should start testing everything (that includes your blog design, your landing page, your sales funnel, and your autoresponder series) as soon as possible. That way, you don’t miss out on potential traffic.

Here are a few tips on how to format your signature links for more clicks with less impressions.

Use formatting – Use HTML to format your signature text. Underline, italicize, and bold your text to make it stand out. When viewers scroll down the page, your text will catch their eye.

Include a small image – Also paste a small version of your logo in your signature. This also helps it to stand out. Keep in mind that some forums may require you to pay before you can include an image in your signature.

Don’t use your keywords as anchor text – Nofollow or dofollow, remember that your signature will be duplicated across hundreds of different forum threads as you become an active member. Never use your primary keywords as the anchor text. Use a more generic “click here” or “learn more” to stay safe.

Give people a reason to visit your blog – It’s a great idea to link to your squeeze page (where you should be giving something away free in exchange for their e-mail address) in your signature. Mentioning your free report will give viewers a reason to actually click on the link and visit your site.

Wrapping Up

Forum marketing is a powerful tactic, and can be a useful engine to power your blog’s success. As with all things, do it in moderation. Never abuse a forum — always put providing value for others in front of personal gain.

When you do that, chances are that you’ll end up gaining a whole lot more, anyway.

 

10 Blog Commenting Tips To Get Traffic From Other Blogs

Probably one of the easiest (yet widely underrated) traffic strategies out there is blog commenting. The bloggers who haven’t yet latched on to this simple traffic generation method are missing out, because there are few things better than leveraging the already-existing audience of a blog and channeling it to your own.

If you think in work-to-result ratios, then blog commenting probably tops the scale by a wide margin. A simple, short comment on a popular blog that took two minutes to write can get your blog quite a few visitors — especially if you employ the following techniques.

Yes, techniques. You can’t just post one-liners all over the blogosphere and expect people to click your links and check out your blog — it just doesn’t work that way. Reading and applying the following ten blog commenting tips, though, will help you get your comments read and your links clicked.

Let’s get started!

1. Comment On Relevant Blogs

This goes without saying. If your website is all about healthy eating, cars, or funny comics, you shouldn’t be commenting on a blog about the rises and falls in the stock market.

It never ceases to amaze me — so many would-be commenters on my blog want to tell me about garcinia cambogia, home decor, or real estate in South Dakota.

Guess what well-meaning-but-seriously-misguided-commentators — I’m not gonna publish those comments on an online marketing blog. Those comments won’t get approved in a thousand years.

But there’s another downside to commenting on blogs that don’t fit in your niche — whatever traffic you get (IF your comment gets approved and IF someone actually clicks on your link) is untargeted. Simply put, the visitor isn’t necessarily interested in what you offer. And those visitors will never convert or bring you revenue.

2. Comment On High Traffic Blogs

High Traffic Blogs
Image credit(s): Gerard Stolk via Flickr.

If only ten people end up reading the blog post you commented on, then there’s little/no chance that one of them will click on your name and visit your site.

On the other hand, if the blogs you comment on regularly get thousands pageviews per day (think ProBlogger, HubSpot, UnBounce, and the like), then you can expect a lot more traffic than the odd visitor here and there.

If nobody sees your comment, nobody clicks on your name.

Simple.

3. Comment On Blogs That Use The CommentLuv Plugin

CommentLuv is a nifty little WordPress plugin that automatically displays a commentator’s latest blog post. It takes the information from the “Website” field.

Through my own research, I’ve found that I can get 10-12x as much traffic when I add a thought to blogs that use commentluv.

CommentLuv has gotten to be rather popular with blogs, especially in the last year or so. It kills two birds with one stone — increases the number of comments, and rewards commentators, all at the same time.

If you’d like to use it on your own blog, it’s got a free and paid version you can use (the free version is more than enough).

Check out this case study on NetMarketSuccess on how a newbie blogger used CommentLuv-enabled blogs to increase his traffic by 8 times, and his number of inbound links by 12 times.

4. Be A Regular Face

Blog Commenting Tip
Image credit(s): EpsosDe via Flickr.

Even though you can probably get 10-20 visitors from a single comment on a popular blog, you can get a lot more from ten comments on the same blog.

Don’t just drop in, say hi, and leave. Stick around a while. Browse the blog’s archives, and comment on the posts that interest you.

Not only does this generate traffic to your blog, but it also builds a connection with the blog owner. You’ve taken time out of your busy day to read and add a thought to one of his/her blog posts (and there is absolutely nothing we bloggers like more than that).

Here’s another scenario — suppose that a random user has just finished reading a blog post. He sees your comment, but doesn’t click on your name.

But then, he follows an in-text link to another post on the blog, and again sees a comment from you. He has been exposed to your link twice (which results in a much higher click-through rate).

5. Get A Gravatar

Gravatar With Blog Comments
Screenshot @ Gravatar.com.

If you haven’t yet signed up for Gravatar yet and added your image, do so. Right now. Absolutely no excuses.

If you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years and don’t know what Gravatar is (just kidding!), it’s basically a tool that displays your profile image on any WordPress-managed blog you comment on.

Pretty cool, right? I thought so.

Remember: faces and logos stand out a whole lot more than some lousy default icon. You can brand yourself, build blogger-to-blogger relationships, and increase traffic.

This blog commenting thing gets cooler all the time!

6. Get There First

Which comment do you usually read – the 1st, or the 51st?

The 1st? You got it.

On any and every blog post, the first comment ALWAYS gets the most visibility.

Only a small percentage read the comment section in any case. A lot smaller percentage actually scroll all the way down and read all the comments (including the 51st).

Getting their first and being the first one to add a comment to the blog will usually result in huge exposure for you and your blog.

To stay on top whenever a blog post gets published, subscribe to their RSS feed (nearly every blog worth commenting on will have an RSS feed).

7. Reply To The First Comment

Here’s a sneaky lil’ trick.

If, for some reason, you weren’t able to beat whats-his-name to the first comment space, then just reply to his comment.

Your comment will get just about the same visibility as the first commentator did.

However, this might not always work out so well, as some comments are really the type that can be replied to (think comments like “Great post!” or “I wish my blog could be more like yours!”).

Make sure that whatever you say when your reply actually says something. “Good comment!” doesn’t cut it. Oppose one of his thoughts (explain why he’s wrong), add to what he said (explain why he’s right), or answer his question.

8. Answer A Question

Answering a question is probably the greatest tip I could give you.

Answering someone else’s question puts you on the same level of knowledge as the blog owner.

For example, if someone needed to know something about SEO, and you stepped in and quickly answered his question, you’ve basically told everybody that you know the niche, which makes them a lot more likely to click your link, browse your blog, and subscribe to your newsletter.

For a bit more on answering questions in the comment section, check out this YouTube video by Ana Hoffman from Traffic Generation Cafe.

9. Add Some HTML In

Bolding (<strong>), italics (<em>), underlining (<span style=”text-decoration:underline;”>) and otherwise formatting your text goes a long way towards generating more traffic with your blog comments.

Formatted text always sticks out (which is why you’ve read all the bolded words on this page). If a viewer scrolls down the comment section, your comment is likely to catch his/her eye.

10. Remember: Long, Helpful Comments Always Get More Clicks

Period.

Blog commenting is great, but if you don’t have something to say, then don’t say anything.

If your comment doesn’t add value to the discussion, answer a question, or express appreciation for the post, then it doesn’t need to be (or shouldn’t) be there.

It’s the commentators who write lots, add value, and sincerely try to help who are the ones who end up leveraging the most traffic to their own blog (even if that wasn’t their primary motivation in the first place).

Summing Up

Blog commenting is a vastly underrated free traffic technique that (believe it or not) does work in 2015. It’s simple, it’s effective, and it’s easy.

In short, there’s no reason not to do it.

Leave a comment and tell me what you think of blog commenting as a traffic tool. Who knows? You might even get a few visitors back to your blog! 😉

15 Quick Fixes To Increase Your Blog Opt-in Rates Today

In blogging and Internet marketing in general, conversions are everything. Really.

Just think about it – getting 1,000 visitors a day is great. But if none of those visitors subscribe to your blog, i.e. converts, what’s the point? You might be getting hoards of traffic, but if none of those visitors actually hop onto your mailing list, chances are that you won’t be making any money.

E-mail marketing and focusing on getting people to opt in to your lists is something that will not only boost your credibility and popularity across the blogosphere, but will also bring you revenue. In fact, many Internet marketers (Michael Dunlop, for example) will tell you that 80% of their online income (or more) comes solely from their list.

Clearly, list-building and getting those opt-ins is very important. That said, here are 15 nifty tips to increase your blog opt-in rates from the pros.

1. You Are Giving Something Away, Right?

People are always looking out for themselves. Believe it or not, 99% of your visitors won’t subscribe to your mailing list just because you regularly post high quality content to your blog (even though high quality content is a must). Readers look out for benefits, and what they stand to gain from subscribing to your list.

They need an incentive. An eBook, access to an exclusive interview, or even a subscriber-only membership with subscriber-only content, like what CopyBlogger does.

Make sure that whatever you offer up as an incentive is actually of some sort of value. Don’t just rebrand and give away cheap PLR, or rehash/spin your blog posts and call the conglomeration an “eBook”. Take the time to craft a value-filled eBook or video that your subscribers will love and thank you for. 

Additionally, make sure it’s relevant to your niche. If you blog about weight loss, your readers probably don’t want a video tutorial on how to grow petunias.

2. Look Pretty Ugly

I bet you’ve always wanted those “cool” squeeze pages – the ones that look sleek, modern, and very high-tech. I sure know I did in my initial blogging days.

But the truth is, the plain ugly Janes actually convert much higher. “Sleek Sally” squeeze pages don’t even begin to compare to a plain, ugly headline and a plain, ugly background with a plain, ugly opt-in box.

The reason why they work much better is because, ugly as they are, they grab your attention and hold it. Those modern squeeze pages, on the other hand, usually have too much confusion going on and simply don’t engage viewers.

3. Don’t Ask For Information You Don’t Need

People are always hesitant to giving out their information, especially online. For all they know, you’re just another insurance salesman (and they certainly don’t want to give insurance salesmen their home address or cell phone number). And let’s face it – you don’t need either of those details to send someone an eBook. All you need is a verified e-mail address.

If you can go without their first name (and you usually can), then don’t ask for it. Keep in mind that all you need for a sales-generating autoresponder sequence is an e-mail address. Nothing more, nothing less.

4. Add In A Testimonial Or Two … Or Three

If you haven’t noticed, great sales letters often include a bunch of customer testimonials to add as proof the product is legitimate.

If it works for sales copy, then why shouldn’t it work for your squeeze page?

After having secured a few opt-ins, send out an e-mail broadcast as king subscribers to reply to your e-mail address and say whether or not they found the book helpful. Better yet, randomly pick a few e-mails off your list and send them a personal message. If you can get something along the lines of “I can’t believe Mr. X is giving this info away for free!!”, it will sure be a lot easier to get those opt-ins rolling in.

What’s even better is if you can get a testimonial from a widely respected and popular man in your industry (like Darren Rowse in blogging).

5. Channel Your Traffic Into Your Squeeze Page

As soon as any visitor hops onto your blog, you should have one purpose for them – to subscribe to your mailing list. Once they’re on your list, then you can worry about things like getting them to interact with your blog posts and share/link to your articles and perhaps even purchase your (affiliate) product.

With that goal in mind, set up your blog so that it’s just one big funnel channeling all traffic into your squeeze page.

6. Use A Pop-Up/Lightbox Plugin

There’s quite a bit of controversy and debate over whether or not you should add a pop-up/lightbox on your blog. You’ll find die-hard lightbox fans, and you’ll find webmasters out there who are on a quest to eliminate all pop-ups from the universe.

But seriously, there’s simply no denying the fact that pop-ups increase conversion rates. Leslie Samuels reported a 548% overnight increase in subscriptions after installing and activating a pop-up plugin. Syed Balkhi, founder of WPBeginner, increased their subscription rate more than six times over by using their premium plugin “OptinMonster”. Pop-ups are quite possibly the best way to ensure that all your viewers know that you’re giving away something of value in exchange for their e-mail address.

If you’re willing to suffer a bit in the bounce rate department while gaining an increased opt-in rate, then go for a pop-up.

7. Target Your Traffic

Even though most of us probably already realize that all traffic was not created equal, some need it to be reiterated one more time.

Different kinds of traffic from different sources of traffic will get you different conversion rates. If you don’t drive targeted traffic to your blog (in other words, visitors who are actually interested in what you blog about), then you won’t get conversions. It’s that simple.

On the other hand, if you zero in and narrow your focus market down so that every visitor who arrives at your blog is hungry for what you offer in your blog posts, you’ll boost your conversions by a whole lot overnight. Plus, your bounce rate is likely to plummet and your average visit duration and pageviews per visitor metrics are likely to skyrocket.

8. Insert Your Opt-in Form At The End Of Every Post

Right after someone gets through reading one of your awesome posts, they’re looking for what they should do next. Comment? Take a look at a related post? Hit the “exit tab” button?

Why not make them subscribe?

Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income increased his opt-in rate by 25% when he added an opt-in box at the end of every post as a fresh addition to his new blog design.

9. Be Upfront & Honest

If you’re going to send subscribers daily tips on how to grow their biceps, fine. Tell them that in the squeeze page.

If you’re going to send them affiliate promotions every-so-often for whey protein supplements they’re sure to love, fine. Tell them that in your squeeze page.

Always be upfront and honest in your squeeze page. While telling them they’ll get a few product promotions might not directly increase your conversion rate, it will pre-qualify your traffic. You’ll end up building a much more responsive list that will actually buy products (since they already know that they will get those affiliate promotions) and not just hunt around for freebies.

10. Their Private Details Are Safe With You

Don’t worry. Your details are 100% safe with me.

Going back to the “people don’t wanna give out their private details” theme, make sure that you’re telling your leads that your details are absolutely 100% safe with you. Locked in a vault with the key thrown away.

Also re-assure them by telling them that they won’t see a promotion in their inbox every 3 hours, unlike what they might be getting from most of the mailing lists to which they are subscribed.

11. Add Some Authority Into The Mix

The more weight your name carries, the better.

If you’ve seen The Hobbit (great film, by the way – definitely mark a date on your calendar to watch it soon), then you would have Authoritynoticed that whenever the name “Thorin Oakenshield” is mentioned, a certain awe and deep respect is evident in the faces of those in the vicinity. His name is great, his name carries weight, and his name has a stamp of authority across it.

The more authority you wield and the more respect you command in your niche, the more likely people are to subscribe to your blog.

12. Brag A Lot

Have you been featured in a national magazine related to your niche? Tell your visitors. That’s right, stick up a huge header telling everybody where your blog has been featured – the New York Times, MSN, ProBlogger (if you’re in the blogging niche), and in any other written publication that carries a lot of authority.

You’re building credibility for yourself and letting all your visitors know that you’re an expert.

13. Show People Your Face

How Faces Impact Conversions
Photo courtesy Epsos via Flickr.

Fact is, people are much more likely to subscribe to your list and buy from you when they see your face and realize that you are not just a faceless mask behind a computer screen. We all like to be reminded that those we buy from are humans, and not robots.

Keep your profile image professional and neat (NOT your Facebook cover depicting your family’s most recent snowboarding trip). Smile – look friendly and approachable.

In other words, ensure you’re not building a distance between you and your potential subscribers. Instead, you are making a connection with them.

14. Use The Right Color Combination

Color Conversions
Courtesy Doug88 via Flickr.

A recent infographic from KISSMetrics showed the effect color has on call-to-action, links, and “buy now” buttons. Different colors schemes fire different brain synapses and convey different feelings and emotions to viewers.

There’s no one-fits-all color for your links and buttons, but HubSpot showed that a red “subscribe” button increased page conversions by nearly 21% when compared to a green button. Think of it! 21%! If you average a fair 20 subscribers a day, that’s an extra 7000 subscribers per year – just by changing the button color!

15. Test, Test, And Re-test

If your squeeze page isn’t converting well, change it around and test the results of the new page versus the results of the old one. Pick the winner.

Then test again. And again…until you’ve got your squeeze page converting at a healthy 30+% percent at least.

Good old-fashioned split-testing can get you miles closer to where you want your blog to be.

Summing Up

Just to recap:

  • offer a free incentive, and make sure it’s displayed everywhere (especially at the ends of posts)
  • choose “plain Janes” over “Sleek Sallys”
  • don’t ask for information you don’t need, and keep their details private
  • use a pop-up if you’re willing to risk the bounce rate and overall user engagement
  • add in a testimonial … or two … or three
  • target your traffic
  • be upfront and honest
  • be authoritative
  • be human
  • think color psychology
  • and above all, split-test till the cows come come

With these fifteen tips, you’re well on your way to a high-converting blog that brings you subscribers, sales, and ultimately, revenue.

Psst! While you’re at it, why not take a look at our squeeze page and take a few leaves out of our book?

*Featured image courtesy Beantin via Flickr.