10 Steps To Leveraging The Marketing Power Of Twitter

Twitter

Unless you have been under a rock in the deepest abyss of the ocean for the last few years, you’ve heard plenty about Twitter.  Unavoidably, you’ve probably heard that a lot of businesses use Twitter for marketing purposes.  In fact, the only way that you don’t know that many businesses use Twitter as a marketing tool is if a big rock fell repeatedly onto your head recently.  Twitter is everywhere and is as much of a marketing tool as it is a medium on which to share random thoughts.  Despite your knowledge of the existence of Twitter and its marketing potential, you might still be fuzzy on how to use Twitter for your business.  Never fear, due to the brave souls who have already used Twitter, the business marketing use of Twitter has been fully explored.

1.      Get a Twitter Account

Hopefully this already occurred to you.  Without a Twitter account, you are highly unlikely to reap any benefits from said social media network.  Many of us, me included, have no interest in using Twitter for personal verbal diarrhea purposes.  Nevertheless, if you want to survive in today’s business world, Tweet you must.  Go make an account and customize an attractive Twitter page.

2.      Follow the Right People

The first thing to do after setting up a Twitter profile is to start following people and organizations.  However, even though there is nothing wrong with following The Price is Right Twitter feed, it probably won’t help your business.

Decide who you need to follow:

  • Start with any clients who you can find on Twitter.  Clients want to know that the people they hire are participating in the same social media activities as they are.
  • Next follow the other people in your industry with whom you could potentially work.  You need to let your presence be  known.
  • Finally you should connect with professional organizations within your industry.  For instance, as a writer I follow the National Association of Independent Writers & Editors on Twitter.  Not just because I am a member of that association but because it is a professional association within my field.

Who To Follow

3.      Organize the People You Follow

Now that you have a list of people whose Twitter feeds you stalk, you need to decide who you should be monitoring more intensely.  On your home Twitter feed page, you will see massive amounts of Tweets from everything and everyone you follow.  The Tweets from The Price is Right will be mixed right in with your favorite professional organization and your highest paying client.  Luckily Twitter provides lists so you can organize different categories of Tweets into sections to avoid getting overwhelmed.  Therefore The Price is Right, Let’s Make a Deal and Wheel of Fortune’s Tweets can be read and left uncorrupted by those pesky clients and professional associations.  Also, you can organize the clients and associations into as many different lists as you like.

Twitter Lists

(Lists can be found under the settings drop-down in the Twitter header menu)

4.      Link Your Website to Your Twitter Page

Logically you should add a link to your website.  However, I don’t mean just slap up a link to your homepage.  Build a new page on your website.  That page should be the page that links your Twitter account with your business site.  On that page, talk about your business and how you use Twitter with your business.  Place the link to that web page on your Twitter profile.  Viewers of your Twitter link page can then hop to the other pages of your website.

5.      Tweet, Tweet and Retweet

Making a profile and following a multitude of people and organizations is not the only thing you should do with your Twitter.  Sharing is not only caring but also advertising.  Those hashtags (or number signs with words after them for those who are not Twitter savvy at all) are ways for people who do not follow you to connect with your posts.  If you type into the Twitter search bar something awesome like “#doctorwho”, you will be presented with all of the tweets belonging to people who have written “#doctorwho” in their tweets.  Consequently, if you are a company that specializes in making personalized, handmade greeting cards, a tweet from you saying “#birthdaycards” will result in anyone searching “#birthdaycards” on Twitter in finding your tweet.  Retweeting other people’s tweets can both share an idea of someone else’s with which you agree and will give you an ally who might be willing to share your tweets in the future.

Retweet

6.      Shut Up and Read

Just like with in-person human relationships, your social media relationships with your clients and associates takes two way communication.  You cannot throw information into the world without absorbing some.  Read the Tweets of those you follow.  Search Twitter for your company’s name.  If someone is talking about you, don’t miss it because you are not listening to others in your network.

Watch for customers

7.      Get More People Involved

For larger businesses, the big wigs all need to participate on Twitter.  As much as Twitter can be annoying, the beauty of it is that Tweets are a maximum of 140 characters.  All high level managers, CEOs or whoever else is running around leading a company can spare a few moments to share 140 characters.  Not only is there time, but a conversation on Twitter involving the leaders of a company is a great way to spread and market your business.  A conversation among several Twitter accounts dedicated to the same business will generate a lot more traffic than one account and is appropriate for a large company.

8.      Promote Other Mediums

Twitter is made for sharing links.  Blogs, Facebook posts, articles, press releases and more are all able to be Tweeted.  Whenever I write a new blog on my business website, I post it on not just my Twitter account but also my Facebook, Google + and Linkedin.  Not only should you share blogs you write and pieces about your company, you should also share other blogs, articles and whatnot that are relevant to the industry.  The more you share and hashtag, the more you will be found.

Promote Other Mediums

Vimeo on Twitter

9.      Talk About Events

Let the people in your network know what is happening.  If you are having a sale, blast that Twitter out.  If you just rolled out a new product, shout it from the Twitter tops.  If you just started offering a new service, Tweet it to the heavens.  Even such things as hiring a new employee can be shared on twitter.  People want to know what is happening and they especially need to know if it somehow concerns them and their relationship with your business.

10.  Throw Coupons to the Birds

A great way to keep current Twitter followers and find new ones is to offer coupons and special deals to those who follow you.  Not to bring up a game show again, but sometime you should watch at least the end of Let’s Make a Deal.  As the credits roll down the screen, the host and co hosts ask people from the audience if they are carrying specific items and give the individual cash if he or she produces the item.  How should those people know to carry these items?  The person who works the Twitter account for Let’s Make a Deal Tweets information about what live audience members should bring into the studio for that taping.  The person who does follow Let’s Make a Deal on Twitter feels brilliant for knowing to carry a feather in his or her shoe and the person who does not follow on Twitter decides that it is time to start following.  Offering coupons and deals to your Twitter followers will create the same phenomenon for your business.

Let's Make A Deal Twitter

Like it or not, Twitter is a part of the present business culture.  Those who do not take advantage of the marketing tools that Twitter offers are as foolish as someone who runs a business without using the internet at all.   Not only is the use of Twitter necessary for business, but the proper use of this popular social media network can bring a boom to your company.

From Day Job To Traveling The World In The Name Of Blogging – How Blogging Changed My Life

“Who would be stupid enough to do THAT? Wait, so what is Bull Poker again?”

I couldn’t help but think this sounded awesome. Four people sitting around a small card table in an arena, when a mad bull is let in. The last person out of their seat wins.

You can read about that on my blog, along with many of my other adventures, marketing ideas, and whatever else crosses my mind. A blog lets you share whatever you want, but did you know it could also change your life completely?

Here’s how blogging changed my life.

Inspiration Flashback

I was a photographer living in Fort Lauderdale, but the beach high-rise and flexible schedule weren’t doing it for me. My friends weren’t as entrepreneurial as I was, so they couldn’t just take off to go to Disney in the middle of the week.

I decided to move… but I didn’t know where. A friend suggested Los Angeles, as my style of photos would go a long way there, and he suggested that I crash on a mutual friend’s couch.

BOOM. It hit me! Why not just move to LA? Why not see everywhere, and then decide where to live. There are people with couches everywhere, and thus, my blog idea had transpired.

Benefits of Blogging as a Couch Surfer

Taking Couch Surfing Seriously

I realized that my life is a story, and that my blog was a great way to tell that story—good, bad or indifferent. It was also a way to make a bit of extra income through affiliate offers.

On top of that, a blog provides access to anything. As a photographer, I had press passes—a magic card that gets you into concerts, fashion shows, or parties at the Versace mansion. My blog was the same.

I would reach out to people as a blogger, tell them about my couchsurfing project, and ask if I could crash on their couch and interview them.

Don’t like staying on couches? First, consider this: People that you would normally have to pay $10,000-$20,000 a day to get part of their day, were granting me access with them for days or weeks at a time, at no cost. People like Perry Belcher, Tony Hsieh, Matt Bacak, Jason Moffatt, and many more opened their doors (and couch) to me.

I’m not telling you to go play bull poker, or sell your belongings and go on the road (though, it is very liberating, and makes you discover a lot about life), but you can blog. And you can leverage the fact that you have a blog!

Building a Reputation, and Other Lessons

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It was through blogging and during my journey that I built my reputation by attending conferences. I highly recommend going out there and meeting people in person. A blog is a great place to start, but meeting people face-to-face really strengthens those relationships.

Learning is another game changer. With six years of couchsurfing, I spent my driving time listening to audio books (and don’t forget all the stuff you’ll learn at those conferences). With all this info, people thought I was smart.

Want a cool way to build authority, help people, grow your brand, and get smarter?

Learn…then teach what you learned, then blog about it.

A Blog Business

Because of my blog, my unique stories, and my sharing of information, I had many people hire me for various projects.

Eventually I got fed up with projects, because my lifestyle was too important to me, and they were a distraction from it.  So, rather than making websites, or copywriting, or creating graphics, I applied all the things I learned, and did it for myself.

I made my own product, Make WordPress Easy, which teaches people how to set up and run their own blogs and websites (with a focus on ease), and my course got so big that I needed to settle down to work on it.

So, bringing it full circle—I started my 6-year journey to figure out where to live next… So I chose Austin, Texas.

Pointers for Success…for Your Blog (and Life)

Take chances. If you’re writing and saying what everyone else is, you’re boring.

Follow your passion. Most people’s lives are boring (to them). They crave authenticity and passion, which you can provide. Do what you care about, and share it with the world. You will also attract like-minded people.

Be yourself. Be loud, be expressive, and write in your voice. This is YOUR blog, don’t be shy! This isn’t a job where you have to wear a tie, and be polite. Write as if you’re talking to your best bud, and you’re catching up.

Don’t be afraid to share the real deal. Most people try to hide what’s going on in their private lives, but that is the interesting stuff. What are movies about? The real stuff that happens.

Your life is a book—write it in your blog. If your story ended today, would you be ok with that? If not, start making the choices that will make for a more interesting story, and it will write itself.

Comment on other people’s blogs. Authentic writing comes from the heart, and it’s nice to know that someone’s read what we wrote. And guess what? It’s karma; they’ll often come back and read your stuff too.

Go out there, blog, and be yourself. If you’re not sure exactly who that is, even better. Go discover yourself, and blog about it. It will change your life.

How are you changing your life through your blog? Let me know in the comments below.

 

New Blog? – Here’s How You Kickstart It To Guarantee Success

Action Plan

I recently did something over on my personal blog at MattWolfe.net

I attempted (and successfully completed) a 30 day blog challenge.

In this challenge, I wrote a new blog post every single day for 30 days, including the weekends.

After running this little experiment, I now recommend that everyone who starts a blog, kickstarts it by giving themselves their own 30 day challenge.

Reasons for a 30 day challenge:

1. It tests how passionate and excited you are about the topic. If you can’t blog about something for 30 days, you may be going down the wrong road. I’ll give you some tips on how to constantly have enough to talk about in a minute. However, if you struggle too much with your topic, you may have picked the wrong topic.

2. It quickly builds your blog’s archives. People have a hard time taking a blog seriously if there’s only 3 or 4 posts on the blog total. This causes a big problem for blogs just starting out. It’s difficult to gain traction or build momentum when there’s not much for new visitors to see.

3. The SEO benefits are awesome. Neil Patel from Quicksprout did some research on 20 of the most successful blogs. One thing he learned was that posting more frequently helps you get more traffic. The blogs that posted daily or even multiple times per day seemed to build traffic much quicker than blogs that only posted once per week or a few times per month.

4. It gets you in the habit of writing. Once you’ve written for 30 days straight, you’ve created a habit. They say it takes 21 days to create a habit… This has been scientifically disproven, however, 30 days straight definitely doesn’t hurt to get in to a groove with blogging.

5. You will improve your writing skills. Being a good writer is a learned skill. It’s a skill that gets better with practice.

6. You will learn how to dig deeper on your topic. Most people learn that after about 5 or 6 days, they struggle with what to talk about next on their topic. Forcing yourself to write on that topic daily, you’ll learn how to dig deeper, finding sub-topics of your main topic. You’ll learn how to research and find more things that would interest you’re potential audience.

I know that a 30 day challenge sounds a bit daunting… The truth is that it is going to be hard. That’s why it’s a challenge. However, with a little bit of game planning, and bit of a template, you should be just fine.

Start by listing out 30 topics that you can blog about in your first 30 days…

Here’s a list of post types to help you get your 30 posts:

1. Start with the posts you already know you’re going to write. There’s probably already 5 or 6 ideas that you have for posts. Write these down and make these your “Pillar Posts”. Pillar posts are the posts that you spend the most time on. These are the posts that you put a ton of research in to, that you know will get shared, and that you’re most excited about writing. Spread these throughout your 30 days. These are going to be some of the main magnets to your blog.

2. Think of 4 or 5 list posts that you can create. Top 10 experts in your industry, the 7 most influential blogs to your niche, etc… These lists posts are great because they tend to get shared a lot. Often times, you’ll see the people or the websites that you mention in the post sharing your post because they’re honored to be mentioned.

3. Think of who you can interview in your niche. Interview one or two people and either use the video, audio, or transcribe the text to a blog post.

4. Create a multi-part blog series. During my 30 day challenge, I used 4 of the days creating a multi-part training on how to effectively build a mailing list. Is there any long topics that you can break up over multiple days?

5. Are you getting some blog comments? Pick out some of the best comments or questions you’ve received on your blog and turn your response in to a full blog post.

6. Create case studies. Talk about something you’ve tried or seen someone else try in your niche. Turn it in to a case study on that topic.

7. Tap current events. Check out Google trends or Yahoo’s homepage to get insight in to some hot topics. Can any of those topics be related back to your blog’s niche? Leveraging current events is a great way to get your blog post shared.

8. Create a post with a list of your favorite blog posts from other bloggers. If you read a lot of blogs yourself, compile a list of your favorite posts from the week and share them with your readers.

9. Create a YouTube video and post it to your blog. With WordPress, you can just copy and paste the YouTube URL in to a post and the video will magically appear. Having videos of you teaching or explaining something is a great way to build credibility and a bit of celebrity in your niche.

10. Towards the end of the challenge, link back to your favorite posts of the month. It’s always a good idea to create internal links to your other posts anyway. Use the end of the challenge as an opportunity to show off all the posts you’ve written.

11. Create a Google Alert. With Google Alerts, you can tell Google to send you an email whenever a new website pops up in their database talking about your specific topic. Have them email you whenever your topic is mentioned. Check out the posts being mentioned and use those for inspiration for posts.

Everyone should do a 30 day challenge to kick start their blog.

Jump Start Action PlanJust to hammer this point home, when I did a 30 day challenge over on my blog, I grew from 0 visitors per day to averaging somewhere around 100 visitors per day. During that time period, my list grew by a couple hundred subscribers, and several of my posts where shared by other blogs. It was the kickstart that site needed.

I haven’t posted on that blog very recently and, to this day, it still receives somewhere around 50 visitors per day.

All I did was write consistently.

So if you’re wondering where to start, stop wondering! This is it. Even if your blog has already been going for a bit and you haven’t seen much interest from others, use this as your jumper cables to kick new life in to the blog.

I promise that you will be shocked by the results (pun intended).

Let me know your thoughts. What are some additional ideas for blog posts? Can you think of other reasons a 30 day challenge is helpful?

I’m looking forward to interacting in the comments!

By the way, there’s a ton more ideas for keeping up with content in the Insiders Member Area. Be sure to check it out if you haven’t already.

How I Built My Newsletter to Over 7 Million Subscribers and Why I Shut It Down

I’ll be the first to admit that the title of this article looks like a SPAM email, but what’s funny is that this is a true story.

You’ll can head over to the Way Back Machine and enter “1worldline.com” to see the old evidence. You might even cringe as I do viewing the rudimentary web design. “O.W.L.” was a home business I launched in late 2002 without a budget or funding. By the time I had transitioned it into a simple newsletter alert system, I had just a shade fewer than 7.2 million subscribers. And then in 2007, I shut it down.

There is plenty of rich content at Learn To Blog to help you design and monetize your website, but hopefully my story will provide some general “big picture” lessons to help you better prepare your blogging roadmap and avoid some potential pitfalls down the road.

Analyze the Competition and Monitor Throughout

In early 2002, I spent six months researching home business clubs and marketing newsletters before I found an alliance partner to launch O.W.L. I joined every forum I could find and had to network my behind off to spread the word, but it worked. (Back then, it was still the ‘Stone Age of Internet Marketing’ and there was a limited set of affordable research tools.)

Today, you can create a gorgeous new blog and start writing content almost immediately, but you should still do a fair amount of research before you even buy your domain name. Identify your passion, subject matter, business idea, etc. Then run some basic Google Blog searches and browse through Technorati for related blogs/websites.

Once you identify and analyze the competition, it may cause you to go a whole new direction. You may come to realize your original idea is not as strong as you first thought, one of your backup ideas is actually better with less competition, or your first-choice domain name is too similar to a competitor website. There are hundreds of reasons to do some basic research; don’t skip this step.

Find an Advantage, Dream Big and Don’t Be Afraid to Be the Best

Before I launched O.W.L., I realized my advantage was that I was a single workaholic without kids who wrote well, was a good communicator, and had an intense desire to succeed. I chose a competitive industry because I knew I could outwork, out-research, and outperform every alternative I found.

Even if you create a passive hobby blog where you can only spend a couple of hours a week building, you need to find an advantage. Put yourself into the mind of your readers, and have a clear answer as to why they should come back and visit you again.

By the time I shifted my focus to my MusicForte.com project, it was a much easier process with the experience of O.W.L. and 10 years as a touring musician under my belt. Many people fail working online because they don’t believe in themselves, or they’re actually afraid to be the best in their niche. It sounds warped, but it’s true.

Programs like Learn To Blog are great because they help people get the training and knowledge—and with the knowledge you can get experience. With the experience you can get the confidence. With confidence you can turn the big dream into reality.

Ignore the Trolls and the Haters

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Once you start to have some success with your blog, you may experience the presence of trolls, otherwise know as haters and bullies. Trolls can just be someone bored, who for some reason get satisfaction by trying to bring other people down to their level, or they can be a competitor messing with your head.

I always tried to respond to trolls. I would often get sucked into deeply irrational conversations with no resolution, and would waste energy trying to be a peacemaker to an artificial problem. Then I let it go.

Don’t internalize the hater comments, and don’t let them stray you from your focus. Many of the world’s greatest athletes are heckled every time they perform in their sport, but the ones with self-control learn to thicken their skin a bit and simply ignore it as just a ridiculous part of humanity.

If your comment section is always open on your blog posts, there are tools to block repeated trolling behavior.  Being a public figure, you cannot please everyone.  You are bound to have haters and if you don’t, your’re probally not doing it right.  For some additional insights on dealing with haters, watch this video by James Wedmore:

Leverage Your Success Before Shutting Down

About 18 months after launching O.W.L., I co-founded the Indie Music storefront website MusicForte.com (MF). I knew I would eventually shift my focus to MF, but in 2003 O.W.L. was booming and reached a world traffic rank of #161…one place above Match.com!

I continued to run O.W.L. but started dropping MF links inside the newsletter and website. The last six months before I shut down O.W.L., I pumped up the MF marketing even more. By the time I started working solely for MF, it was well on its way to reaching 110,000+ members in a much smaller niche industry.

Due to the targeted marketing through O.W.L., MF also reached the Top 5,000 at Alexa and was even featured in their old “Movers and Shakers” list as one of the top 20 fastest growing websites in the world.

The same concept applies to blogs of all traffic levels. Say you started a gardening blog, but you have a new passion for juicing and want to start a new blog for that. Don’t just shut down or abandon your gardening blog. Even if it only receives 50 visitors per month, those are 50 people you can inform about your new juicing blog.

Create a banner for your juicing blog and place it on the gardening blog, write an article at the gardening blog about your new project, update your bio at the gardening blog to include a link to your juicing blog, etc. Don’t ever throw traffic away; leverage yourself as often as possible.

Focus on Responsive Design and Mobile Display

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If you don’t know already, a “responsive” website design is one that automatically adapts to mobile devices. The smart WordPress theme companies are making all of their new themes responsive, and are even updating their older legacy themes as well.

World mobile traffic now exceeds home desktop/laptop traffic. It has actually been that way for a couple of years now. It’s no longer a bonus to have your website display nicely on a smartphone; it’s absolutely necessary.

We live in a micro/mobile world and you need to adapt with your blog. You can’t have people struggling to see your content on their smartphone or tablet.

Create and Embrace an Addiction to Page Load Speed

Web analytics specialists have long tested the behavior of website visitors in relation to how long it takes each page to load. If the common pages on your website take 2, 3, 4 seconds or longer to load, many visitors simply leave and don’t come back.

This translates to lost sales, lost fans, and lost newsletter signups. People also get the impression that the website owner is a total amateur, a total fake, or someone who doesn’t really care about the content.

Use free tools such as Pingdom ToolsGTmetrix, or Google Page Speed Insights to monitor your website pages. Try to keep your performance grade scores at least above 80 and preferably above 90. (Feel free to test my Personal Blog and Ewoth Blog for reference.)

Screen Shot 2013-08-20 at 9.32.41 AMWhen you test new plugins or add new advertising banners, be sure to test your page speed again. Certain plugins/banner codes do more harm than good. Many times I thought I discovered a great new plugin for my website, and then found that it added 1-2 seconds of page load time and had to remove it.

Yet Another Reason to Build a Newsletter from Day One

I would guess you’ve already read articles on the importance of building a newsletter. They may have touched on reasons such as increasing traffic, sales, product conversions, etc. These are all good points, but there are other ones.

What if your website gets hacked and you want to keep your visitors/members informed? Unlikely, but it happens.

What if your social media channel gets hacked/banned? Unlikely, but it happens.

What if you want to shut down or re-brand your project? This happens all the time.

What do you have left in these scenarios? That’s right, your newsletter.

O.W.L. is a giant case study on the last example. Just as you should perform regular backups on your other important web data, export your newsletter data and save it on external hard drives.

Why I Shut Down O.W.L. And What I’m Working On Now

I shut down O.W.L. in 2007 for a few different reasons.

  • My deeper passion Indie Music website “MF” was thriving and I wanted to spend more time on it.
  • Most of the Ad Partner proposals were coming from a space I did not want to be involved with (MLM and high risk “money maker” sites).
  • The support system was completely out of control (500+ support emails/day not getting answered).

I didn’t want to sell O.W.L. because it was my baby, and I felt the best decision was to take it offline for a few years, re-launch with better branding and support, and better utilize the new powers of social media.

In addition to my consulting practice, I’m developing a new slang dictionary called Ewoth, which credits word creators and will ultimately share revenue with them. In the fall of 2013, I will finally be launching the evolution of O.W.L. under the name “1WorldNow”. It’s still in top-secret mode, but I opened a Facebook and Twitter account where you can stay informed and watch the rebuilding from Day One.

Now I have a question for you. Have you started building your email list yet? What mistakes have you made? What has worked well for you? Leave your answer in the comments section below and let’s start a conversation.

First Steps to Making Money as a Mom Blogger

Moms are flat out busy. When I set out to make money from home, the idea of starting my first blog was very different than the reality.

My blog took an astounding amount of my time; far more than I would have ever wanted or planned. My lack of experience and planning meant that I was learning on the job, making rookie mistakes and spending time on things that I shouldn’t have been.

As an experienced work at home mom who runs two companies, CEO & Founder of the WAHM Network and blogger who grew readership of over 30,000, my goal for you is to learn from my mistakes. You can build a profitable blogging business from home faster and more efficiently than I did. And if you want to stand out from the crowd, then you need to be faster, smarter and better than your competitors.

What to Know Before Starting a Blog

When I started my first blog, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I didn’t think it through particularly well; I didn’t have a marketing or business plan, and I certainly didn’t think about how it would affect my family.

I knew that I was blogging for my family, but I had no idea how the changes I was about to make to my life, would affect them. Blogging was supposed to be a little business from home, writing the occasional blog or endorsing the occasional product.

How much time would it really take?

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As moms, our lives are filled with all the things it takes to manage a family and care for small children, yet not many of us use a workable time management system. If you plan to start a blogging business from home, or have already, leveraging your time effectively for maximum output from minimum input is essential. This is especially true if you want to enjoy a measurable level of success and adequately meet the demands and expectations of all those who rely on you.

One of my rookie mistakes was that I believed if I posted a MASSIVE amount of content on my blog, I would make money from this time consuming hobby by magically appearing in search engine results and gaining thousands of readers.

If only someone told me before I started blogging, that what I really needed to do was choose a niche, plan my website content and spend more time marketing it than promoting it, life would’ve been more enjoyable…and profitable!

Here’s another blogger’s take on what he wish he would’ve known before starting a blog.

Why Blog?

Blogging is insanely powerful, if done correctly. Five years ago, getting international exposure was incredibly expensive and hard to do; now all it takes is a blog. If you are smart about how you do it, your blog can attract people from all over the world who are interested in what you are writing about.

When done correctly blogging can:

  • Attract links from other blogs as you write good content, reaching more people in your target market
  • Build relationships to grow your readership, subscriber list and business
  • Establish you as the “go to” person and online expert in your niche
  • Help you understand what your audience wants so you can write great content
  • Build a mailing list of fans who are specifically interested in buying your products

Three Questions to Ask Yourself

The first step to building a successful blog starts with these three questions:

Am I blogging for business or pleasure?

It’s perfectly acceptable to blog purely for pleasure. This is how many very successful mom bloggers got where they are today—by starting an online diary that built a relationship with people over time. However, if you intend to make money from your blog it is better to be honest with yourself from the start.

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Treat your blog as a business from the beginning; it’s not just a hobby. Fearing failure is one of the biggest things that will hold you from success. Reprogram your subconscious mind to think of your blog as a business from the start. This will help you make every decision from a strategic point of view.

If you want to make money, you must think of your bottom line every step of the way and only invest money where it has the potential to make you a future return. In working with thousands of work-at-home moms worldwide, this is one of the reasons women fail to make money. They don’t focus on their bottom line or view their business as a business.

Does my blog support my business, or is it my business?

If you have already have a business, then a blog can be a great way to build yourself as an expert and gain credibility (great for reputation), or sell more. As you grow a mailing list of potential customers, you can market your existing products to these customers.

It also gives you the opportunity to expand into other markets, if you are able to ship your product worldwide. If you do personal consulting, for instance, attracting a worldwide audience may give you the opportunity to work with people all over the world using modern technology such as Skype.

If it is my business, how do I intend to make money from it?

  • If you want to attract advertisers, which ones?
  • How much traffic do they require you to have before they would consider investing with you?
  • Can you make money without worrying about traffic?
  • If you intend to write and sell info products, which ones will you sell?Imprimir
  • How much will they cost?
  • Will you offer an affiliate commission?
  • Which payment provider will you use?
  • How much will you have to give away in fees?

It’s not important that you have tons of products to sell at the outset, but you need to know this from the start. In fact, I recommend mom bloggers start with only one to two products and concentrate on marketing these and getting feedback before developing more.

Read how one blog made more than $20,000 in 12 weeks. This point leads us very nicely into the next one.

Treat Your Blog as a Business

A business plan is vitally important for your business from the start. It doesn’t need to be complicated, but it does need to be done. Answering these questions (at the very least) will set you apart from the other mom bloggers in the industry:

  • What is your business?
  • What are your products or revenue streams? (Advertising/eBooks/Info-Products)
  • Who is your audience/target market?
  • Who are your competitors?

Even if your blog just supports an existing business, you still need traffic and readers if you want to establish yourself as the online expert in your niche. And to get that traffic, you need to know exactly who you are targeting and what keeps them awake at night.

You cannot set-up a blog without knowing who you’re trying to reach with your message. If you do, you may find yourself frustrated, disheartened and searching for content without seeing much success.

Set-Up Your Blog for Success

Now that you have all of the above steps in place, the exciting part can begin. You can create (or make changes to) your blog.

Personally, I have several blogs in various industries that interest me. Some are simple blog sites, but all of them have a vision, business plan and a long-term goal. Every single effort I put into each blog has my long-term goal in mind.

People have specific interests, which bring up specific problems. If you address these problems, show them you understand their needs and then offer a solution—they will love you! People prefer to work with those they consider experts.

Position yourself as an expert or specialist by reaching out to a specific market about a specific topic. Rather than just being a Virtual Assistant by trade, you could position yourself as a Real Estate Administrative Specialist by niching yourself in the real estate market. Don’t overlook this massive unique selling point.

Set-Up Long-Term Goals

Having a long-term goal sets your subconscious with an expectation for the future. For instance, when you decide to have a baby you read up on when it’s the best time to conceive and prepare by eating healthy, cutting out alcohol and taking folic acid supplements. All these steps prepare you for the ultimate goal—the baby.

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When you are pregnant, you read all the books, research the best equipment, prepare the nursery, decide whether you will breastfeed, and try to have as much in place as possible. This is to ensure you can be the best possible mom, and helps achieve your goal of successfully giving birth and becoming a parent.

Your blog is your new baby. Take a mid- to long-term view, plan in advance, decide on the systems you will use and the kind of “parent” you will be to your readers, and then go for it!

Do you have a blog?

What prompted you to start it if you do; if you don’t, what’s holding you back? Are you focused with your blogging, or could you use a help narrowing your market?

Let me know by leaving a comment below.

 

How To Boost Your Blog Profitability Without Traffic

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Chances are that if you’re running a blog, your ultimate goal is to generate leads and sales—with the added bonus of a steady cash flow.

Here, I will share a method that will transform the ‘extra leads’ your blog generates into a long-term and consistent stream of income…on top of the sales you’re already generating. I’ll also cover three methods for increasing leads and sales without increasing traffic.

It’s not an exact science, but the math for blog direct sales is pretty simple.

Let’s say you’re generating 10k visitors per month and capturing 10% of those as leads. Now, let’s assume of the 10% (or 1,000 leads), you’re closing 3% as a sale for a total of 30 sales per month (or roughly 1 sale a day).

Not bad! If your product has $100 profit, you can have a nice little side income of $3,000 per month.

Many would give their pinky toe for that kind of action, but for the fun of it, let’s say you’re generating half that traffic; 5,000 visitors generating $1,500 per month in sales…not enough to quit your day job but still good.

Is there a quick way to increase your blog’s output without generating more traffic?  Of course. Here are three ways to boost your blog’s profitability without increasing traffic.

Let’s start with your 5,000 visitors. Not closing 10% of them into leads? That’s ok; that’s the first step in our profit-boosting adventure.

Step 1: Increase Leads Captured

First find out the percentage of leads captured per month.

Simply take the number of emails captured in the last 30 days and divide by the number of visitors in the last 30 days. For example, 500 leads/5000 visitors = 10%.

This percentage is your current opt-in conversion rate.

Now we need to pick a goal conversion rate, but that is entirely up to you. On average, 10% is a good place to start and fairly reachable if you’re currently in the 3-5% range.

If you want to be successful at the online game, you need to understand website testing—or pay someone who does to help you. If you can boost sales by just 1% on site generating $50,000 in sales, you’ll more than double your income (+$58k actually). This is true for leads as well. The numbers don’t lie!

“How do you boost X% to reach 10%?”

Simple. Testing. As in going and picking up a membership at Visual Website Optimizer and testing variations of your email opt-in and offer. Simply changing a headline or a button may be enough to go from a 5% opt-in rate to a 10%.

A_B Testing Tool |Split Testing and Multivariate Testing Software - Visual Website Optimizer

There’s a lot you can test, but here’s a basic list of items to test to increase opt-ins:

  1. Headlines. On average, this represents 80% of your success in generating a lead. Is it a benefit to them? Is it enticing enough? Or is it just boring? Here are the headlines people click on most.

  2. Buttons. Who knew? In our test, “Next Step…” did better than “Get Instant Access.” Would the same perform better on your site? If you don’t know, go test it.

  3. The offer itself. Maybe your audience doesn’t want your ebook; what else can you give them? Can you make a spreadsheet that helps them with their business or provide a free set of training videos? The free offer for opt-in is important, and you need to keep testing new things to keep your audience interested.

If you think something’s working, you’re wrong (or right), but you won’t know ‘till you test it. This step alone may be enough to go from generating 50 leads a month to 500 with your current traffic.

Step 2: Optimize Your Site for Lead Capture

We’ve tested our current email opt-in system, and increased a few percentage points in our opt-ins. Now its time to make sure folks are actually seeing your email opt-in—they’re not going to opt in if they’re blind to it. Just as banner blindness is a thing, so is email opt-in blindness.

If your opt-in area looks like everyone else’s, chances are you’re not going to stand out in the crowd. Make sure you’re including an opt-in at the bottom of each blog post; and make the offer related to the blog post. For example, at the bottom of this blog post should be an email opt-in to provide you with in-depth training on blogging.

You can use OptimizePress to create high converting web forms.

(If you’ve made it this far into the blog post, you’re probably ideal for this training. However, if you were never given the chance to receive it, then you’re just going to go on your merry way.)

Things your email opt in should have:

  • Social Proof. Add your credentials next to your email opt-in. People like to do what other people do; 1,000 likes next to an email opt-in is going to inspire credibility.

  • A really good free offer. Ebooks just don’t cut it anymore. Be creative and give something of value. If you can actually help your audience quickly, their trust in you will increase substantially.

  • High-quality look and feel. It’s worth paying someone on oDesk $20 to build an attractive graphic for your offer. The traditional Aweber email opt-in form won’t do you any favors.

Before I go forward, I need to state the obvious. You need to be good (really good) at what you do to generate the type of buzz needed to attract 5,000 unique visitors a month. It goes without saying that ‘these results are not typical’ should be understood with these numbers.

Blogging as a business venture is like any other business. You have world-class competition fighting for the same thing, and if you’re okay with this assessment, let’s move forward.

Step 3: Your Golden Ticket to Long Term Profits – The 12x12x20 Method

Now that we’re up to snuff with 10% opt-in rates, we’ve turned our 5,000 visitors a month into 500 leads per month. We’re selling at 3% and making 15 $100 sales per month. Yay for the $1,500 in our pockets we didn’t have before.

To actually generate long tail, continual income with your blog—not just spurts of 15 sales per month—introduce your audience to services they need to accomplish their business or other goals. The key product type you’re looking to offer them is continuity based, or one with a recurring monthly or yearly fee.

Your job is to curate these services for them, become their advisers, and give them advice on what they should use…oh, and make sure they know that you’re an affiliate. That’s just the right thing to do (and it’s illegal not to). A simple affiliate disclaimer at the end of a blog post is enough.

How do you find services in your niche that warrant monthly fees?

If you’re in a tech or business niche, this is fairly easy. Everyone needs website, hosting, project management systems, communication systems help, and the like; and most of these systems are based on a monthly fee. Once you’ve found your monthly providers, pit them against their competition. Review them and find one you prefer. Write this in a series of different blog posts, and don’t forget to include your affiliate links. Video reviews rock too.

A typical post may look like this: “10 Project Management Systems to Consider for Your Business” that includes a few free systems and a few pro systems. If you find a service you prefer, recommend it as your favorite.

The goal here is not just to boost SEO; you’re looking for a persuasive blog post that will move your reader to take action. Heck, why not provide a little sugar on top with a “blueprint” you write on how to use the service if they buy today with your link…just ask them to forward you their receipt.

If you write one article like this a month, in a year you’ll have 12 different continuity generating blog posts, each with the potential to generate monthly revenue. If you can generate one sale per article per month, that’s 144 continuity sales per month. If the average return is $20/month, you’re looking at an extra $2,880 per month on top of the already $1,500 you’re making from your 15 product sales per month. Oh, and that $2880 figure will only increase as you compound sales.

How do you generate sales?

The simplest and most effective way is to make sure you’re emailing blog posts to your leads in a follow-up email sequence. If your 12 blog posts were each accompanied with 12 follow-up emails that went out once a week after a new person registers, you’re giving them a huge value while generating substantial income.

Placing this into practice will take some work, but if you’re dedicated to turning your blog into an income powerhouse, these three steps are crucial to making it happen.

What do you see as potential roadblocks in making this happen?

Post your comments below, and let’s start a conversation.