As my blog has grown, I’ve also found that hosting covert action bar 2.0 review and publishing a weekly “Weekend Wandering” column featuring my favorite picks of my Thrifty Thursday link party are also both great ways to promote other blogs and bloggers. Amazingly enough, the pay-it-forward mentality really does work, and I have found that the more I focus on building others up without expecting anything in return, the more it comes back to me in other ways.
Networking and Collaboration The opportunity to meet and collaborate with other bloggers is without question my very favorite part of blogging. Even if blogging would have only stayed a hobby—and not become a full-time job—it would have been worth every moment simply because of the amazing friendships I have made over the past three years.
I can say without hesitation that I count many of my online blogging friends among my nearest and dearest, and that I am a better person for having known them. Aside from the personal benefits, forging genuine friendships with other bloggers has opened so many doors for me. It has given me the opportunity to partner and collaborate with some amazing people, which has in turn helped grow my blog.
I can honestly say that almost every fantastic opportunity I’ve had while blogging has come from a personal connection I’ve made. That said, I do think it is important to point out that the true friendships and real relationships came first. Had I sought out “friendships” with other bloggers for the purpose of building my own blog, I have no doubt those friends would have seen right through me and my less-than-honorable intentions. Blog conferences are by far the best way I’ve found to connect with other bloggers.
There is really something so amazing and inspiring about being in a room full of people who “get it”—this crazy, misunderstood profession we call blogging—and if you are willing to put yourself out there even a little, you are almost certain to find at least one or two kindred spirits in the crowd. In fact, these days my main purpose for attending conferences is most often just the chance to connect.
I almost always get more out of the late-night gab sessions and conversations in the hallways than from the actual sessions themselves. Here are a few tips to (hopefully) make connecting with other bloggers at your first (or next) blog conference a little easier: • Focus on connections. You’ll be tempted to try to attend every session to “maximize” your investment. Resist that temptation.
Attend the sessions that really appeal to you, but don’t be afraid to skip a session in favor of going out for coffee with the gals you met at breakfast, or to sleep in because you stayed up halfthe night chatting with the roommate you just met. • Find a roommate. If you are going to your first conference by yourself, try to find a roommate.
Most blogging covert action bar 2.0 reviewhave Facebook groups with a roommate connection thread—use it! Even if you and your roommate don’t ultimately become BFFs, there is something comforting about knowing at least one other person in the crowd. • Engage, don’t card swap. There is seriously no bigger turnoff than having someone hand you their card before they’ve even said hello.
I honestly don’t even bother keeping the cards of people I haven’t had an actual conversation with. And when in doubt ofwhat to say, ask a question! • Listen more than you speak. Before I head off to any conference, my (older, wiser) husband always tells me, “Remember, honey, you have two ears and one mouth.”
It is his gentle way of reminding me that I tend to talk a lot when I get nervous, but that the way to best connect with people is to ask questions and genuinely listen to the answers. It is also the best way to learn! • Foster your friendships. If you are lucky enough to connect with one or two people in a real and authentic way, don’t let that friendship fade out before it has a chance to truly bloom.
Start reading the blogs of the people you met, and leave comments so they know you were there. Send an occasional tweet or text message just to say hi. Connect on Facebook. In other words, be a friend! Guest Posting Guest posts, when done well, can be a fantastic way to gain exposure and drive traffic to your site. On the flip side, guest posts, when done poorly, can be a complete waste of time.
The key to a successful guest post is not only posting on a site with a similar audience, but to write something so good that your host’s readers will want to check out your site to read more. On LivingWellSpendingLess.com I love hosting guest posters, but as anyone who has written a guest post for my site will attest, I am extremely picky.
Even after a post topic has been approved, I almost always send the post back for at least one revision by the author, and sometimes multiple revisions, until I feel that it is the right fit for my audience. Moreover, guest posters on my site are required to submit original content and to match the standardized format, tone, and feel of other posts on my site so that there is consistency for the reader.
And while all those requirements might sound like a whole lot of work (because they are), I believe that the benefits of guest posting on my site make it worth the extra effort. First of all, I promote my guest posts just like I would any other pillar content post on my site. They get re-promoted via social media on a regular basis and continue to drive a steady stream of traffic long after the post has been published.
The better and more popular the post, the more I promote it and the more traffic it generates. If you are interested in guest posting for larger sites, here are a few additional tips to keep in mind: • Ask for guest-post guidelines. Many large websites get dozens of requests each week for accepting guest content.
While I can’t speak for anyone else, I can say that of the requests that come in to LWSL, close to 95 percent get deleted immediately, simply because they look like spam or the author is very obviously trying to promote a product or business. Before offering a list of prefabricated posts, instead try asking for a copy of the site’s guest post guidelines to be sure that your post is a good fit for that particular site. • Only submit original content. Most sites will require that the post submitted is 100 percent original. Yes, that means more work for you.
That’s just part ofthe deal. • Don’t be overly familiar. As a guest poster, you are writing to a new audience, not your own. Don’t use cutesy terms or slang or refer to the readers as “friends.” Instead, maintain a slightly more formal version of your own voice than you would use on your own blog.
Furthermore, don’t assume this audience will understand a term you’ve written about before, or that they will click your link to read more. Your guest post should not require further explanation. • Don’t make your post self-promotional. Yes, you want your post to drive traffic to your site, but filling your post with links will only annoy your host and their readers.
One or two relevant links are probably okay, but more than that is inappropriate. • Submit your BEST content. Don’t waste time with guest posts if you are not also willing to make your guest posts really, really, really good. While I can’t speak for other sites, I can say that when a guest post on my covert action bar 2.0 reviewis really good, I add it to the rotation of my other pillar content and continue to promote it via social media indefinitely. This means that it will continue to drive traffic to those sites for months and years to come.
Of course, if the post is just okay, I will either not publish it at all or simply let it fade away into the archives. A great guest post provides value to the reader and keeps them coming back for more! Building Your Email List There are many bloggers—particularly those in the blogging and marketing expert categories—whose sole focus is growing their email lists.
Rather than focusing on a variety of traffic avenues, they instead aim to have as many people as possible signed up to receive their emails. They contend that it is much better to work on building something you control than to spend time building a presence on someone else’s platform, and will even claim that all other metrics, whether they are page views, unique blog visitors, Facebook fans, or Twitter followers, are little more than vanity metrics.
Their main goal is to grow an email list that they can then convert into a sales funnel from which to sell their products, which often tend to be expensive courses or membership sites on some aspect of platform building, such as how to grown an email list, how to create a Pinterest or Facebook marketing plan, how to get published, or how to build an online business. For the products they are selling, and the audience they are trying to reach—other online marketers—this model is extremely effective.
Who is more willing to pay $300–500 or more for a course than someone who is trying to build an online business in order to do the exact same thing? The problem with this model is that tends to be somewhat circular. While it works very, very well for marketers who are marketing to other marketers and selling expensive— albeit valuable—products or services to other online business owners who don’t mind investing in order to be successful, it doesn’t work quite as well for someone whose main audience might look very different.
Stay-at-home moms ages 25–55 aren’t usually interested in spending $250 for a course on how to better manage their home. And this doesn’t make stay-at-home moms ages 25–55 a bad audience; it just makes them different. That said, I do think it is extremely important to work at building an email list.
Not only is an e-newsletter a great way to regularly connect with your most loyal readers, an email list can also be a powerful marketing tool, even if it is not your primary source of income. While your audience may not be the right fit for an expensive marketing course, it is most certainly the right fit for e-books and other products you may have to offer that are related to your blog’s topic.
After all, who will be more interested in buying your book or course than the readers who already know and love your blog? Before you start building your list, do a little research into what email service you would like to use. I have used MailChimp for several years and really like it, but I am now in the process of moving to a slightly more sophisticated service called InfusionSoft.
I have also heard good things about both MadMimi and Aweber. Here are a few proven strategies for building your email list: • Place your subscribe box in a prominent place on your blog. Better yet, place your subscribe box in multiple spots, including at least one place above the fold (a term derived from newspapers, but referring to the point at which your reader has to scroll down to see more content).
Great options include at the top of your sidebar, somewhere in your header, or in a special bar at the very top of your site. (Check out HelloBar.com for a free customizable bar that works with a variety of email services.) You might also want to consider some sort ofpop-up box for email subscriptions. • Offer an incentive. It is much easier to convince your readers to take the time to subscribe when you are offering them something of value in return.
Consider creating some sort of freebie that will appeal to your target demographic, then set up an auto-responder using one of the email services listed above to automatically send out the freebie upon sign-up. On LivingWellSpendingLess.com I offer my subscribers a free eleven-page goal-setting workbook, while I have seen other sites offer everything from a freezer-cooking guide (MoneySavingMom.com) to an Inside My Toolbox ebook (MichaelHyatt.com) to a 7 Days of Love workbook (TheDatingDivas.com). • Invite your readers to subscribe.
Readers often need a lot of reminders and more than one invitation before they will finally take action. While you certainly don’t want to become a nuisance, it is more than okay to go ahead and ask people to subscribe every now and then, especially if you are giving away a great freebie! • Promote your incentive on social media.
Search-engine traffic tends to be the highly targeted type of traffic that is much more likely to click on the keyword-based ads on your site which, not coincidentally, also happen to be managed by Google. Believe me, we will talk a lot more about that connection later in chapter 7! Over the past few years I have studied extensively the ins and outs of SEO and read pretty much every book and article I could get my hands on. If you really wanted all the boring details, I could probably talk your ear off for hours.
Truthfully, if I thought knowing more boring details about the intricacies of search engine optimization would help you make more money, I would include it, but at the end of the day, I honestly believe that the only thing you really need to know about Google and SEO is this: Google’s ONLY goal is to bring the BEST possible results for a given search.
This means that you can’t trick Google into thinking you’ve written the best post ever about how to catch a dragonfly if your post is actually about how to catch grasshoppers. The Google algorithms are incredibly sophisticated, looking at everything from the content itself to how long visitors that are searching for a particular topic stay on that page. SEO is not about “tricking” Google, and you should be extremely wary of any service that promises they can.
SEO is really more about helping Google understand what your post is actually about, rather than figuring out the hottest search term. You do this by adding title tags, meta descriptions, and meta keywords, which sounds much more complicated than it actually is. Title Tag: The title tag refers to the words that show up at the very top of your browser window when you open a particular web page.
The default title tag is generally the post title, but you can change the title tag to be whatever you want it to be. The title tag is also what shows up in bold in the Google search results. Your title tag can be as long as you want it to be, but Google will only read and use the first 70 characters, so it is generally best to keep it to 70 characters or less. Of the three on-site optimization choices, I have found the title tag to be the most important and the most relevant to Google.
Thus, at the bare minimum, you should ALWAYS take the time to optimize your title tag.