Petal Segal wrote, “I think superheroes are heroes with flaws, and in their flaws, there is a sense of humour.”
In the world I come from, there live so many powerful, famous, and influential superheroes. These are people who over the years have journeyed on a recess to the inner place of their minds. They are people who know and understand who they are, why they are here and where they are going. They then married their imagination with hard work, which was the hallmark for their fame.
These set of people look to their immediate environment to find people’s needs, brand a solution, attack the problem then help their subjects solve these needs and problems, which they were initially faced with.
That said. My superheroes are those that have understand the technical/business know-how of their niche. They have a specific niche, a target audience and they reach out to these folks via these mediums; podcast, blogs, social media, just to mention a few.
Who are they?
I will tell you in a minute…
Sometime back, I attended a conference in Lagos State University about “Social Media/Branding”. There, I met a young lad whose understand of poetry shook me from my seat and draw out strands from my hair. I even had goose pimples. I thought his spoken-word poetry was perfect!
A month ago, I got his contact because I wanted him to come shake the whole building (I am having a similar conference tagged: Digital Marketing; maximizing Online Opportunities for National & Global Efficacy. Register to attend the event here: with his witty words. That was when he sent me a recording of his poetry recording. He had recorded a little something on #selfcrush and wanted me to listen to it and possibly help broadcast it.
I keenly listened to it and fell in love with it almost immediately. Every person that listened to it, loved it and wanted to know who the person was that recorded it.
My friend immediately became a superhero. I believe being a superhero is tantamount to being a person of value, the go to guy or the go to girl.
So my friend; His value is embedded in his poetry and the platform to which he reach out to his subjects is audio recording and social media.
What’s your value?
Who are your target audience?
How do you reach them?
You can click here to download and listen to Adigun Shola’s spoken-word poetry, ‘selfcrush’.
Let me share with you my Superheroes from the month of February.
N/B: This list is in no particular order.
Superheroes from the month of February.
Abraham Ologundudu – Is the founder of Seasoned Life Journal and the convener of “Leverageng”, an initiative centred on breeding savvy social media guys who will turn the world upside down. He has the mandate to show you your unique selling point and teach you tactical ways to run with your life’s vision.
I first met Abraham 3years ago when he submitted a guest blog on my then blog Promotivator (now incomesplash) about “5 Warning Signs You are Addicted to Your Smartphone”. We did things together with the blog and outside the blog and trust me it was fun working with this dude.
Why is he my superhero?
Simple! His “Leverage” program inspired me into taking action with the idea of a conference I had nurse in my heart throughout the year. Not just that, herecently have been helpful to me as he allowed me the opportunity to drink straight from the cup of his vast knowledge in digital marketing. Bro, I am so thankful!
Sefa Tsegha – Is the founder of The Fruitfulujah Podcast a subsidiary of The Fruitfulujah Projects. He his enthusiastic about teaching his findings about wordpress, running successful membership site, building emailing list, all of which are centred on technology. His catchword is simply to help “simplify technology for everyday people”, which he is enthusiastically doing with his podcast.
I found Sefa on Nigeria Podcast Network and immediately got interested in what he’s got to offer (not money but knowledge) via his blog. Matter of fact, the initial connection was his amazing, thoughtful, and helpful response as regards the crowdsourcing question I posed about my upcoming conference.
Sefa has been really helpful to me. His calls, texts, Fb chats, guides are what swelled me up to start my own podcast. Sir, I really appreciate you. You are indeed my superhero!
Olumide Ojeleye – Is a public speaker, leadership expert, mentor, coach, trainer and a pastor, who is very passionate about developing people, products and places.
I attend a lot of seminars and it was in one of such seminars I met uncle Olumide who was part of the organizers of that powerful program.
After “Press Play”, I made a resolute conviction to do something almost similar to that that will strictly be to impacting on young minds and in the process breed world changers!
And later last year when I finally process and decided to run with the vision that was made plain on the tablet of my mind and on the pages of my notebook, I contacted him about it, we met at Tantalizer (we didn’t eat though he offered to buy us something) to discuss the program. His advice and tact so far has been helpful towards the success of Connect+ Conference.
Less I forget, Olumide Ojeleye will be speaking on the subject of “Dynamics of Digital Marketing (making yourself visible online & offline) come March 18 at my event “Connect+ Conference” in Ibadan.
See why he is my superhero of the month of February?
Segun Akiode – Is the author of Corporate Misfit, a chemical engineer turned career & employability coach, and a columnist at Mobile Punch.
Segun Akiode’s posts and replies to statuses made on the Nigeria Podcast Network are always very insightful and helpful. Following his advice to search for and download Vivian Jokotade’s podcast on SoundCloud, I made for running a search on his name as well and stumbled on his own podcast too. I listened to them and fell in love with his person.
Then I came back to engage him in his inbox on Facebook and fella shared amazing tips and techniques to start and run a successful podcast show myself.
I want to say thank you, and yes, you made my superheroes list for the month of February!
Esohe Iginoba – Founder of The Global Brand Network, Esohe Iginoba is indeed a rare gem, a strong brand catalyst!
I stumbled on her profile on The Highly Paid Expert’s Network and being that she caught my attention with her habitually powerful and branded content, I added her to my BBM Contact and kick-started a conversation that will help in the clarification of my purpose and how I was supposed to run with that in other to achieve my goals.
Esohe has been really wonderful. She accepted to speak at my event and also attended my TweetCast event on Twitter where she taught extensively on the subject of “Branding your Online Business”.
Thank you so much Esohe, you are worth celebrating. You are my superhero!
Shola Ajayi – Founder of BishopForte Studio is one of the best graphic designers I’ve seen. I will admit that he allowed his simplistic nature to rub off on his designs. And that is a bonus to him I believe! Did I mention that he’s also a photographer?
I needed a good graphic designer for my event and I knew I cannot rely on myself to carve out a nice creative for this event, hence the need to outsource. Realizing that my account blinks red, I quickly went on a search for sponsorship in graphic design and that was when I stumbled on this Mr and he’s insofar did a nice job in branding the event and my company’s image.
Dayo Samuel and Esohe Igbinoba has nothing but kind words about his designs. I’m stunned on the number of calls I have received as a result of his amazing graphical know-how.
His calls, texts, chats and advice on proper branding of my social appearances and the likes has made enough sense to me to think of staying put with his company to further shoot the image of my own company up. Thanks boss Shola. I tua you and nobody else!
Dayo Samuel – Founder of Nigeria Podcast Network where he help entrepreneurs, thought leaders and experts connect, engage and inspire their tribe. He is the right host of Audacity2Lead Podcast where he gives you the necessary courage to get focus, get started and be impactful.
I first stumble on this man early 2014 when I read one of his blog posts. I had loved that post so much that I bookmarked his website. But that was the last time I visited his blog.
Things however turned around and I got in contact with him again late last year but he was now the bomb, everyone wanted to listen to him, his podcast had gain traction on iTunes and he had become quite the online guru and the go-to-guy as far as podcasting his concerned.
I am a better person, a serious blogger and a focused podcaster due to the influence of His Facebook Community and of his amazing podcast. I can now beat my chest of starting my own podcast April 1 and achieving limitless success in the process.
Sir, I salute and celebrate you for allowing yourself to be my superhero!
Vivian Jokotade Adeniyi – Is a Nigerian born Africa-American who is passionate about helping young women find and develop their personal rhythm of life. She’s a notable stylist catalyst and a well-rounded conference speaker.
I first stumbled on Vivian’s comment on Nigeria Podcast Network and wanted to know who she was and where she got her amazing knowledge from. And then I found out that she too is podcaster and since my discovery of her “Jokotade Show”, I’ve remained glued to SoundCloud where I regularly listen to her episodes.
Ladies! You don’t want to joke with the Jokotade Show if you know that you know that you want to thrive in every areas of your life, wants to live the life of your dream, Impact others and chart a course towards greatness and hence live a successful life.
Vivian is my superhero of the month of February simply because listening to her podcast has brought this unusual tranquillity, self-love, and confidence in my guts and in myself to start and live out my dreams.
The Great Investment, The Visionary Woman, 5 Steps to Start & Grow Your Business are just few of what you will learn from listening to the Jokotade Show.
I however I’m not happy with the ma’am because she will not reply my Facebook messages. Hehehe….I kid…I kid!
Vick Law – She’s a future lawyer, a graphic design, creative writer, social media junkie, product development consultant and the founder of Product Creators Mastermind.
Where did I meet Vicky? Uhmmm…I think I met Vicky on Pat Flynn’s Facebook Community – The Smart Passive Income Community. Her posts and comments were very thoughtful and because I love well-thought-out works (write-ups) I followed and added her on Facebook.
We’ve been in constant touch since then and we will be meeting for the first time on Monday before I relocate back to Ibadan.
Just yesterday, she agreed to be my brainstorming and accountability partner and she has given me loads of assignment to complete and trust me that sure seemed like fun.
Vicky is an amazing lady whose passion and drive ignited in me the burning desire to start my own podcast. Her Creating Increase Podcast was live last week and trust me I enjoyed the 18minutes I spent listening to her show.
I love you Vicky Law. You are my beautiful and lovely superhero! Thumbs up to you.
Dan Henry – Is a digital marketing nerd who with batman underwear has used digital marketing to build a $30,000 per month affiliate blog on e-Cigarettes, the hottest nightclub in town using Facebook Ads, a T-Shirt Line with thousands of Amazon sales. The former Pizza delivery guy now earns a monthly 6-figure income as a digital marketer.
I joined his Facebook Community – Digital Marketing Nerd, six (6) nights ago upon Vicky’s recommendation.
Dan and I had a Facebook conversation, though tough, I was able to clarify what aspects of digital marketing I am trying to get into. Yes, it was rough and tough my conversation with Dan as it was obvious that dude don’t like scammers who will do anything possible to scam other people all in the name of providing them with information.
“If you try to teach people something that you don’t know how to do, or that you are not really good at, then technically that’s scamming. It will backfire!”
And also said:
“Pass the knowledge on that you have, not what you think you have.”
Aren’t those wise thoughts and advise?
See, Dan is sure the boss and I am glad we had that conversation. I salute you man, you are a worthy superhero!
Conclusively, these folks are my superheroes of the month of February, not that they are the most perfect of all those I met this month but because there sense of humour rubbed off on me and that indeed has made a better person, a serious blogger, and a very impactful podcaster out of me.
It’s easy to build a blog, but hard to build a successful blog with significant traffic. Over the years, we’ve grown the Moz blog to nearly a million visits each month and helped lots of other blogs, too. I launched a personal blog late last year and was amazed to see how quickly it gained thousands of visits to each post. There’s an art to increasing a blog’s traffic, and given that we seem to have stumbled on some of that knowledge, I felt it compulsory to give back by sharing what we’ve observed.
NOTE: This post replaces a popular one I wrote on the same topic in 2007 (and updated again in 2012). This post is intended to be useful to all forms of bloggers – independent folks, those seeking to monetize, and marketing professionals working an in-house blog from tiny startups to huge companies. Not all of the tactics will work for everyone, but at least some of these should be applicable and useful.
#1 – Target Your Content to an Audience Likely to Share
When strategizing about who you’re writing for, consider that audience’s ability to help spread the word. Some readers will naturally be more or less active in evangelizing the work you do, but particular communities, topics, writing styles and content types regularly play better than others on the web. For example, great infographics that strike a chord ( like this one), beautiful videos that tell a story (like this one) and remarkable collections of facts that challenge common assumptions (like this one) are all targeted at audiences likely to share (geeks with facial hair, those interested in weight loss and those with political thoughts about macroeconomics respectively).
A Blog’s Target Audience
If you can identify groups that have high concentrations of the blue and orange circles in the diagram above, you dramatically improve the chances of reaching larger audiences and growing your traffic numbers. Targeting blog content at less-share-likely groups may not be a terrible decision (particularly if that’s where you passion or your target audience lies), but it will decrease the propensity for your blog’s work to spread like wildfire across the web.
#2 – Participate in the Communities Where Your Audience Already Gathers
Advertisers on Madison Avenue have spent billions researching and determining where consumers with various characteristics gather and what they spend their time doing so they can better target their messages. They do it because reaching a group of 65+ year old women with commercials for extreme sports equipment is known to be a waste of money, while reaching an 18-30 year old male demographic that attends rock-climbing gyms is likely to have a much higher ROI.
Thankfully, you don’t need to spend a dime to figure out where a large portion of your audience can be found on the web. In fact, you probably already know a few blogs, forums, websites and social media communities where discussions and content are being posted on your topic (and if you don’t a Google search will take you much of the way). From that list, you can do some easy expansion using a web-based tool like Google’s Display Planner:
Once you’ve determined the communities where your soon-to-be-readers gather, you can start participating. Create an account, read what others have written and don’t jump in the conversation until you’ve got a good feel for what’s appropriate and what’s not. I’ve written a post here about rules for comment marketing, and all of them apply. Be a good web citizen and you’ll be rewarded with traffic, trust and fans. Link-drop, spam or troll and you’ll get a quick boot, or worse, a reputation as a blogger no one wants to associate with.
#3 – Make Your Blog’s Content SEO-Friendly
Search engines are a massive opportunity for traffic, yet many bloggers ignore this channel for a variety of reasons that usually have more to do with fear and misunderstanding than true problems. As I’ve written before, ” SEO, when done right, should never interfere with great writing.” In 2014, Google will see over 6 billion daily searches from around the world, and that number is only growing:
sources: Comscore + Google
Taking advantage of this massive traffic opportunity is of tremendous value to bloggers, who often find that much of the business side of blogging, from inquiries for advertising to guest posting opportunities to press and discovery by major media entities comes via search.
SEO for blogs is both simple and easy to set up, particularly if you’re using an SEO-friendly platform like WordPress, Drupal or Joomla. For more information on how to execute on great SEO for blogs, check out the following resources:
Blogger’s Guide to SEO (from SEOBook)
The Beginner’s Guide to SEO (from Moz)
Wordpress Blog SEO Tutorial (from Yoast)
SEO for Travel Bloggers (but applicable to nearly any type of blog – from Moz)
Don’t let bad press or poor experiences with spammers (spam is not SEO) taint the amazing power and valuable contributions SEO can make to your blog’s traffic and overall success. 20% of the effort and tactics to make your content optimized for search engines will yield 80% of the value possible; embrace it and thousands of visitors seeking exactly what you’ve posted will be the reward.
#4 – Use Twitter, Facebook and Google+ to Share Your Posts & Find New Connections
Twitter has 271 million active users every month. Facebook has over 1 billion active users. Google+ has over 300 million. LinkedIn is over 300 million. Together, these networks are attracting vast amounts of time and interest from Internet users around the world, and those that participate on these services fit into the “content distributors” description above, meaning they’re likely to help spread the word about your blog.
Leveraging these networks to attract traffic requires patience, study, attention to changes by the social sites and consideration in what content to share and how to do it. My advice is to use the following process:
If you haven’t already, register a personal account and a brand account at each of the following – Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn (those links will take you directly to the registration pages for brand pages). For example, my friend Dharmesh has a personal account for Twitter and a brand account for OnStartups (one of his blog projects). He also maintains brand pages on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+.
Fill out each of those profiles to the fullest possible extent – use photos, write compelling descriptions and make each one as useful and credible as possible. Research shows that profiles with more information have a significant correlation with more successful accounts (and there’s a lot of common sense here, too, given that spammy profiles frequently feature little to no profile work).
Connect with users on those sites with whom you already share a personal or professional relationships, and start following industry luminaries, influencers and connectors. Services like FollowerWonk and CircleCount can be incredible for this:
Followerwonk Search for “Seattle Chef”
Start sharing content – your own blog posts, those of peers in your industry who’ve impressed you and anything that you feel has a chance to go “viral” and earn sharing from others.
Interact with the community – use hash tags, searches and those you follow to find interesting conversations and content and jump in! Social networks are amazing environment for building a brand, familiarizing yourself with a topic and the people around it, and earning the trust of others through high quality, authentic participation and sharing
If you consistently employ a strategy of participation, share great stuff and make a positive, memorable impression on those who see your interactions on these sites, your followers and fans will grow and your ability to drive traffic back to your blog by sharing content will be tremendous. For many bloggers, social media is the single largest source of traffic, particularly in the early months after launch, when SEO is a less consistent driver.
#5 – Install Analytics and Pay Attention to the Results
At the very least, I’d recommend most bloggers install Google Analytics (which is free), and watch to see where visits originate, which sources drive quality traffic and what others might be saying about you and your content when they link over. If you want to get more advanced, check out this post on 18 Steps to Successful Metrics and Marketing.
Here’s a screenshot from the analytics of my wife’s travel blog, the Everywhereist:
Traffic Sources to Everywhereist from Google Analytics
As you can see, there’s all sorts of great insights to be gleaned by looking at where visits originate, analyzing how they were earned and trying to repeat the successes, focus on the high quality and high traffic sources and put less effort into marketing paths that may not be effective. In this example, it’s pretty clear that Facebook and Twitter are both excellent channels. StumbleUpon sends a lot of traffic, but they don’t stay very long (averaging only 36 seconds vs. the general average of 4 minutes!).
Employing analytics is critical to knowing where you’re succeeding, and where you have more opportunity. Don’t ignore it, or you’ll be doomed to never learn from mistakes or execute on potential.
#6 – Add Graphics, Photos and Illustrations (with link-back licensing)
If you’re someone who can produce graphics, take photos, illustrate or even just create funny doodles in MS Paint, you should leverage that talent on your blog. By uploading and hosting images (or using a third-party service like Flickr or Niice to embed your images with licensing requirements on that site), you create another traffic source for yourself via Image Search, and often massively improve the engagement and enjoyment of your visitors.
Some people will use your images without linking back, which sucks. However, you can find them by employing the Image Search function of “similar images,” shown below:
Google’s “Visually Similar” Search
Clicking the “similar” link on any given image will show you other images that Google thinks look alike, which can often uncover new sources of traffic. Just reach out and ask if you can get a link, nicely. Much of the time, you’ll not only get your link, but make a valuable contact or new friend, too!
#7 – Conduct Keyword Research While Writing Your Posts
Not surprisingly, a big part of showing up in search engines is targeting the terms and phrases your audience are actually typing into a search engine. It’s hard to know what these words will be unless you do some research, and luckily, there’s a free tool from Google to help called the AdWords Keyword Planner.
Type some words at the top, hit search and AdWords will show you phrases that match the intent and/or terms you’ve employed. There’s lots to play around with here, but watch out in particular for the keyword filters, keyword options, and include/exclude features:
When you choose “exact match” AdWords will show you only the quantity of searches estimated for that precise phrase. If you use broad match, they’ll include any search phrases that use related/similar words in a pattern they think could have overlap with your keyword intent (which can get pretty darn broad). “Phrase match” will give you only those phrases that include the word or words in your search – still fairly wide-ranging, but between “exact” and “broad.”
I also use and recommend Keywordtool.io, which mines keywords from Google’s Suggest function:
When you’re writing a blog post, keyword research is best utilized for the title and headline of the post. For example, if I wanted to write a post here on Moz about how to generate good ideas for bloggers, I might craft something that uses the phrase “blog post ideas” or “blogging ideas” near the front of my title and headline, as in “Blog Post Ideas for When You’re Truly Stuck,” or “Blogging Ideas that Will Help You Clear Writer’s Block.”
Optimizing a post to target a specific keyword isn’t nearly as hard as it sounds. 80% of the value comes from merely using the phrase effectively in the title of the blog post, and writing high quality content about the subject. If you’re interested in more, read Perfecting Keyword Targeting and On-Page Optimization.
#8 – Frequently Reference Your Own Posts and Those of Others
The web was not made for static, text-only content! Readers appreciate links, as do other bloggers, site owners and even search engines. When you reference your own material in-context and in a way that’s not manipulative (watch out for over-optimizing by linking to a category, post or page every time a phrase is used – this is almost certainly discounted by search engines and looks terrible to those who want to read your posts), you potentially draw visitors to your other content AND give search engines a nice signal about those previous posts.
Perhaps even more valuable is referencing the content of others. The biblical expression “give and ye shall receive,” perfectly applies on the web. Other site owners will often receive Google Alerts (or, if they’re using Moz, they might get Fresh Alerts 🙂 ) or look through their incoming referrers (as I showed above in tip #5) to see who’s talking about them and what they’re saying. Linking out is a direct line to earning links, social mentions, friendly emails and new relationships with those you reference. In its early days, this tactic was one of the best ways we earned recognition and traffic with the Moz blog and the power continues to this day.
#9 – Participate in Social Sharing Communities Like Reddit + StumbleUpon
The major social networking sites aren’t alone in their power to send traffic to a blog. Social community sites like Reddit (which now receives more than 2 billion! with a “B”! views each month), StumbleUpon, Pinterest, Tumblr, Care2 (for nonprofits and causes), GoodReads (books), Ravelry (knitting), Newsvine (news/politics) and many, many more (Wikipedia maintains a decent, though not comprehensive list here).
Each of these sites have different rules, formats and ways of participating and sharing content. As with participation in blog or forum communities described above in tactic #2, you need to add value to these communities to see value back. Simply drive-by spamming or leaving your link won’t get you very far, and could even cause a backlash. Instead, learn the ropes, engage authentically and you’ll find that fans, links and traffic can develop.
These communities are also excellent sources of inspiration for posts on your blog. By observing what performs well and earns recognition, you can tailor your content to meet those guidelines and reap the rewards in visits and awareness. My top recommendation for most bloggers is to at least check whether there’s an appropriate subreddit in which you should be participating. Subreddits and their search function can help with that.
#10 – Guest Blog (and Accept the Guest Posts of Others)
When you’re first starting out, it can be tough to convince other bloggers to allow you to post on their sites OR have an audience large enough to inspire others to want to contribute to your site. This is when friends and professional connections are critical. When you don’t have a compelling marketing message, leverage your relationships – find the folks who know you, like you and trust you and ask those who have blog to let you take a shot at authoring something, then ask them to return the favor.
Guest blogging is a fantastic way to spread your brand to new folks who’ve never seen your work before, and it can be useful in earning early links and references back to your site, which will drive direct traffic and help your search rankings (diverse, external links are a key part of how search engines rank sites and pages). Several recommendations for those who engage in guest blogging:
Find sites that have a relevant audience – it sucks to pour your time into writing a post, only to see it fizzle because the readers weren’t interested. Spend a bit more time researching the posts that succeed on your target site, the makeup of the audience, what types of comments they leave and you’ll earn a much higher return with each post.
Don’t be discouraged if you ask and get a “no” or a “no response.” As your profile grows in your niche, you’ll have more opportunities, requests and an easier time getting a “yes,” so don’t take early rejections too hard and watch out – in many marketing practices, persistence pays, but pestering a blogger to write for them is not one of these (and may get your email address permanently banned from their inbox).
When pitching your guest post make it as easy as possible for the other party. When requesting to post, have a phenomenal piece of writing all set to publish that’s never been shared before and give them the ability to read it. These requests get far more “yes” replies than asking for the chance to write with no evidence of what you’ll contribute. At the very least, make an outline and write a title + snippet.
Likewise, when requesting a contribution, especially from someone with a significant industry profile, asking for a very specific piece of writing is much easier than getting them to write an entire piece from scratch of their own design. You should also present statistics that highlight the value of posting on your site – traffic data, social followers, RSS subscribers, etc. can all be very persuasie to a skeptical writer.
Be aware that Google’s recently cracked down on guest blog posts and guest blog tools that focus exclusively on attracting links. While links can be a nice byproduct of a relevant, useful, and high quality contribution to another site, it can look very fishy to Google if all your links are coming from guest contributions that appear to have little relevance and low quality. Moz’s Jen Lopez wrote an excellent summation of the new rules for guest posting here.
Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ are also great places to find guest blogging opportunities. In particular, check out the profiles of those you’re connected with to see if they run blogs of their own that might be a good fit. Google’s Blog Search function and services like BuzzSumo or Fresh Web Explorer are also solid tools for discovery.
#11 – Incorporate Great Design Into Your Site
The power of beautiful, usable, professional design can’t be overstated. When readers look at a blog, the first thing they judge is how it “feels” from a design and UX perspective. Sites that use default templates or have horrifying, 1990’s design will receive less trust, a lower time-on-page, fewer pages per visit and a lower likelihood of being shared. Those that feature stunning design that clearly indicates quality work will experience the reverse – and reap amazing benefits.
Blog Design Inspiration
These threads – 1, 2, 3 and 4 – feature some remarkable blog designs for inspiration
If you’re looking for a designer to help upgrade the quality of your blog, there’s a few resources I recommend:
Dribbble – great for finding high quality professional designers
Forrst – another excellent design profile community
Behance – featuring galleries from a wide range of visual professionals
Sortfolio – an awesome tool to ID designers by region, skill and budget
99 Designs – a controversial site that provides designs on spec via contests (I have mixed feelings on this one, but many people find it useful, particularly for budget-conscious projects)
This is one area where budgeting a couple thousand dollars (if you can afford it) or even a few hundred (if you’re low on cash) can make a big difference in the traffic, sharing and viral-impact of every post you write.
#12 – Interact on Other Blogs’ Comments
As bloggers, we see a lot of comments. Many are spam, only a few add real value, and even fewer are truly fascinating and remarkable. If you can be in this final category consistently, in ways that make a blogger sit up and think “man, I wish that person commented here more often!” you can achieve great things for your own site’s visibility through participation in the comments of other blogs.
Combine the tools presented in #10 (particularly FWE) and #4 (especially FollowerWonk) for discovery. The feed subscriber counts in Google Reader can be particularly helpful for identifying good blogs for participation. Then apply the principles covered in this post on comment marketing.
Google Reader Subscriber Counts
Do be conscious of the name you use when commenting and the URL(s) you point back to. Consistency matters, particularly on naming, and linking to internal pages or using a name that’s clearly made for keyword-spamming rather than true conversation will kill your efforts before they begin.
#13 – Participate in Q+A Sites
Every day, thousands of people ask questions on the web. Popular services like Yahoo! Answers, Answers.com, Quora, StackExchange, Formspring and more serve those hungry for information whose web searches couldn’t track down the responses they needed.
The best strategy I’ve seen for engaging on Q+A sites isn’t to answer every question that comes along, but rather, to strategically provide high value to a Q+A community by engaging in those places where:
The question quality is high, and responses thus far have been thin
The question receives high visibility (either by ranking well for search queries, being featured on the site or getting social traffic/referrals). Most of the Q+A sites will show some stats around the traffic of a question
The question is something you can answer in a way that provides remarkable value to anyone who’s curious and drops by
I also find great value in answering a few questions in-depth by producing an actual blog post to tackle them, then linking back. This is also a way I personally find blog post topics – if people are interested in the answer on a Q+A site, chances are good that lots of folks would want to read it on my blog, too!
Just be authentic in your answer, particularly if you’re linking. If you’d like to see some examples, I answer a lot of questions at Quora, frequently include relevant links, but am rarely accused of spamming or link dropping because it’s clearly about providing relevant value, not just getting a link for SEO (links on most user-contributed sites are “nofollow” anyway, meaning they shouldn’t pass search-engine value). There’s a dangerous line to walk here, but if you do so with tact and candor, you can earn a great audience from your participation.
#14 – Enable Subscriptions via Feed + Email (and track them!)
If someone drops by your site, has a good experience and thinks “I should come back here and check this out again when they have more posts,” chances are pretty high (I’d estimate 90%+) that you’ll never see them again. That sucks! It shouldn’t be the case, but we have busy lives and the Internet’s filled with animated gifs of cats.
In order to pull back some of these would-be fans, I highly recommend creating an RSS feed using Feedburner and putting visible buttons on the sidebar, top or bottom of your blog posts encouraging those who enjoy your content to sign up (either via feed, or via email, both of which are popular options).
RSS Feeds with Feedburner
If you’re using WordPress, there’s some easy plugins for this, too.
Once you’ve set things up, visit every few weeks and check on your subscribers – are they clicking on posts? If so, which ones? Learning what plays well for those who subscribe to your content can help make you a better blogger, and earn more visits from RSS, too.
#15 – Attend and Host Events
Despite the immense power of the web to connect us all regardless of geography, in-person meetings are still remarkably useful for bloggers seeking to grow their traffic and influence. The people you meet and connect with in real-world settings are far more likely to naturally lead to discussions about your blog and ways you can help each other. This yields guest posts, links, tweets, shares, blogroll inclusion and general business development like nothing else.
Lanyrd Suggested Events
I’m a big advocate of Lanyrd, an event directory service that connects with your social networks to see who among your contacts will be at which events in which geographies. This can be phenomenally useful for identifying which meetups, conferences or gatherings are worth attending (and who you can carpool with).
The founder of Lanyrd also contributed this great answer on Quora about other search engines/directories for events (which makes me like them even more).
#16 – Use Your Email Connections (and Signature) to Promote Your Blog
As a blogger, you’re likely to be sending a lot of email out to others who use the web and have the power to help spread your work. Make sure you’re not ignoring email as a channel, one-to-one though it may be. When given an opportunity in a conversation that’s relevant, feel free to bring up your blog, a specific post or a topic you’ve written about. I find myself using blogging as a way to scalably answer questions – if I receive the same question many times, I’ll try to make a blog post that answers it so I can simply link to that in the future.
Email Footer Link
I also like to use my email signature to promote the content I share online. If I was really sharp, I’d do link tracking using a service like Bit.ly so I could see how many clicks email footers really earn. I suspect it’s not high, but it’s also not 0.
#17 – Survey Your Readers
Web surveys are easy to run and often produce high engagement and great topics for conversation. If there’s a subject or discussion that’s particularly contested, or where you suspect showing the distribution of beliefs, usage or opinions can be revealing, check out a tool like SurveyMonkey (they have a small free version) or PollDaddy. Google Docs also offers a survey tool that’s totally free, but not yet great in my view.
#18 – Add Value to a Popular Conversation
Numerous niches in the blogosphere have a few “big sites” where key issues arise, get discussed and spawn conversations on other blogs and sites. Getting into the fray can be a great way to present your point-of-view, earn attention from those interested in the discussion and potentially get links and traffic from the industry leaders as part of the process.
You can see me trying this out with Fred Wilson’s AVC blog last year (an incredibly popular and well-respected blog in the VC world). Fred wrote a post about Marketing that I disagreed with strongly and publicly and a day later, he wrote a follow-up where he included a graphic I made AND a link to my post.
If you’re seeking sources to find these “popular conversations,” Alltop, Topsy, Techmeme (in the tech world) and their sister sites MediaGazer, Memeorandum and WeSmirch, as well as PopURLs can all be useful.
#19 – Aggregate the Best of Your Niche
Bloggers, publishers and site owners of every variety in the web world love and hate to be compared and ranked against one another. It incites endless intrigue, discussion, methodology arguments and competitive behavior – but, it’s amazing for earning attention. When a blogger publishes a list of “the best X” or “the top X” in their field, most everyone who’s ranked highly praises the list, shares it and links to it. Here’s an example from the world of marketing itself:
AdAge Power 150
That’s a screenshot of the AdAge Power 150, a list that’s been maintained for years in the marketing world and receives an endless amount of discussion by those listed (and not listed). For example, why is SEOmoz’s Twitter score only a “13” when we have so many more followers, interactions and retweets than many of those with higher scores? Who knows. But I know it’s good for AdAge. 🙂
Now, obviously, I would encourage anyone building something like this to be as transparent, accurate and authentic as possible. A high quality resource that lists a “best and brightest” in your niche – be they blogs, Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, individual posts, people, conferences or whatever else you can think to rank – is an excellent piece of content for earning traffic and becoming a known quantity in your field.
Oh, and once you do produce it – make sure to let those featured know they’ve been listed. Tweeting at them with a link is a good way to do this, but if you have email addresses, by all means, reach out. It can often be the start of a great relationship!
#20 – Connect Your Web Profiles and Content to Your Blog
Many of you likely have profiles on services like YouTube, Slideshare, Yahoo!, DeviantArt and dozens of other social and Web 1.0 sites. You might be uploading content to Flickr, to Facebook, to Picasa or even something more esoteric like Prezi. Whatever you’re producing on the web and wherever you’re doing it, tie it back to your blog.
Including your blog’s link on your actual profile pages is among the most obvious, but it’s also incredibly valuable. On any service where interaction takes place, those interested in who you are and what you have to share will follow those links, and if they lead back to your blog, they become opportunities for capturing a loyal visitor or earning a share (or both!). But don’t just do this with profiles – do it with content, too! If you’ve created a video for YouTube, make your blog’s URL appear at the start or end of the video. Include it in the description of the video and on the uploading profile’s page. If you’re sharing photos on any of the dozens of photo services, use a watermark or even just some text with your domain name so interested users can find you.
If you’re having trouble finding and updating all those old profiles (or figuring out where you might want to create/share some new ones), KnowEm is a great tool for discovering your own profiles (by searching for your name or pseudonyms you’ve used) and claiming profiles on sites you may not yet have participated in.
I’d also strongly recommend leveraging Google’s relatively new protocol for rel=author. AJ Kohn wrote a great post on how to set it up here, and Yoast has another good one on building it into WordPress sites. The benefit for bloggers who do build large enough audiences to gain Google’s trust is earning your profile photo next to all the content you author – a powerful markup advantage that likely drives extra clicks from the search results and creates great, memorable branding, too.
#21 – Uncover the Links of Your Fellow Bloggers (and Nab ’em!)
If other blogs in your niche have earned references from sites around the web, there’s a decent chance that they’ll link to you as well. Conducting competitive link research can also show you what content from your competition has performed well and the strategies they may be using to market their work. To uncover these links, you’ll need to use some tools.
OpenSiteExplorer is my favorite, but I’m biased (it’s made by Moz). However, it is free to use – if you create a registered account here, you can get unlimited use of the tool showing up to 1,000 links per page or site in perpetuity.
OpenSiteExplorer from Moz
There are other good tools for link research as well, including Majestic, Ahrefs and, I’ve heard that in the near-future, SearchMetrics.
Finding a link is great, but it’s through the exhaustive research of looking through dozens or hundreds that you can identify patterns and strategies. You’re also likely to find a lot of guest blogging opportunities and other chances for outreach. If you maintain a great persona and brand in your niche, your ability to earn these will rise dramatically.
Bonus #22 – Be Consistent and Don’t Give Up
If there’s one piece of advice I wish I could share with every blogger, it’s this:
Why Bloggers Give Up Traffic Graph
The above image comes from Everywhereist’s analytics. Geraldine could have given up 18 months into her daily blogging. After all, she was putting in 3-5 hours each day writing content, taking photos, visiting sites, coming up with topics, trying to guest blog and grow her Twitter followers and never doing any SEO (don’t ask, it’s a running joke between us). And then, almost two years after her blog began, and more than 500 posts in, things finally got going. She got some nice guest blogging gigs, had some posts of hers go “hot” in the social sphere, earned mentions on some bigger sites, then got really big press from Time’s Best Blogs of 2011.
I’d guess there’s hundreds of new bloggers on the web each day who have all the opportunity Geraldine had, but after months (maybe only weeks) of slogging away, they give up.
When I started the Moz blog in 2004, I had some advantages (mostly a good deal of marketing and SEO knowledge), but it was nearly 2 years before the blog could be called anything like a success. Earning traffic isn’t rocket science, but it does take time, perseverance and consistency. Don’t give up. Stick to your schedule. Remember that everyone has a few posts that suck, and it’s only by writing and publishing those sucky posts that you get into the habit necessary to eventually transform your blog into something remarkable.
Good luck and good blogging from all of us at Income Splash Blog! I am certain these 21 Tactics to Increase Blog Traffic will sure help your blog’s growth.