Thursday, July 9, 2009

Marketing for your blog

Setting up a blog is as easy as it gets—getting traffic is another proposition altogether. Yes, blogs by their very nature are supposed to be search engine optimization ready but there is a catch: Your blog needs to break free from the millions of blogs jostling with each other for attention. And till you don’t get traffic, you cannot make money from a blog. At least through some of the direct means.

If every good product sold on its own, advertising would not have been a career option. Even when you have hit the sweet spot with your product, you need to promote it. Try these ideas—based on a mix of conventional thought and the science of how bits and bytes behave in cyberspace:

Get other sites to link to you: In an ideal world, everyone you want will link from their site to yours. Poof, and you could be in business overnight. The more blogs and sites that link to you, the better you fare in search engine rankings. If wishes were horses! Keep trying, and you will have sites linking to you over a period of time. It may take a year or longer of blogging for things to start happening for you. Remember, other sites will link to you only if your content is good. Period.

Get yourself some links: Till does not link to you, visit the site and other blogs and leave comments on topics of shared interest—with your link. This is one way to generate some traffic faster - find blogs in your niche area and leave meaningful comments on posts with your blog’s address.

Link to others, selflessly: Provide links to blogs you like without expecting anything in return. These respective blog owners might come visiting to know about yours and someday do something for you too.
Grab all the free ad spots to publicize your blog: These include your visiting cards, email signatures, letterheads, mobile messages, bumper stickers and other such communication. Let your emails end with a prompt to a recent post of yours relevant to the recipient.

Be proactive: Respond to all those who leave comments on your blog or seek further information - make their effort seem valuable. Let them feel a part of your blog community and they will tell other people about you.

Send out mails: Mine every email address you have in your desktop and workplace, and send a message. Pitch specific posts, not necessarily your blog, to entice greater interest.

Make friends in the Blogosphere: And write guest posts and comments on each other’s blogs. Exchange links, too. There is no such thing as being competitors here. You have to realize you cannot be selfish—it is all about give and take to get ahead.

The title of your post matters: A simple yet overlooked factor that makes a big difference. Most people read blogs on RSS (really simple syndication) feeds. The title helps them decide whether they want to click on it or move to the next entry on the feed. Also include keywords in your title that people are expected to be searching for.

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