Promoting your Website: Stand and deliver – your money or your time…

highwaymanThese days, if you have a product or service to sell, you need to own a website. But there’s no point in having a website if people don’t visit it and if they’re not finding you online, then you aren’t going to make any money. Yet, there’s millions to be made out there for those smart enough to effectively promote their website. So, what should you do?

The key to successfully promoting your website comes down to a very simple choice. Do you have the time and/or the money to promote your website? If you want to promote your website, you must find either the time or the money to make a success of marketing.

If you have no money, then you need to find the time to do the work for yourself. If you have the money, then you can save yourself the time by investing in the work of experience Internet marketing professionals. Of course this in turn produces more money, so it’s a worthwhile investment in the end.

Quite simply, if you really don’t have the money, then you need to find the time to do the job yourself. You need to find the time to do the job of promoting your website, the time to learn about how to promote your website, learn through doing, learn from your mistakes (no matter how costly) and learn the best ways of promoting the site, which may take considerable time.

The trouble is that whilst you can always make more money, you can never make more time. Can you afford to squander your time in trial and error activities? Meanwhile the competition marches on ahead of you. If you aren’t willing to invest money in the future of your organisation by effectively promoting your website, then you’ll have to do all of the work yourself. The trouble is that if you don’t have the skills, you may do more harm than good.

But what if you simply don’t have the time?

Then it’s time that you reconsidered your budget and placed the responsibility for the promotion of your website in the hands of someone else. For some people, that might be an existing member of your staff, or if you don’t have anyone with the prerequisite experience and expertise, it may be that you look for an external professional, an expert in website promotion that will stop you from wasting your time and also help save you money.

If you don’t have the budget for it, then you’re going to have to find it. These days, more and more people are turning to the Internet for a product or service just like yours. If you don’t have adequate marketing in place, they just won’t find you and your competitor will reaps all the benefits of marketing in the Internet Age.

So what should you do? Well, it’s not rocket science. If you don’t have the time to promote your website, then call in an expert. To find out more visit www.nikkipilkington.com or email Nikki on nikkipilk@gmail.com

50 things you could do today to promote your website…

… or 50 Shades of Yay!

If you can manage to put down Mr Grey, and drag your mind back to your business ;) let’s take control of your website.

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twitter logo map 09 (Photo credit: The Next Web)

For any small business owner it’s easy to feel shackled to your website, chained to Google, and to tie yourself in knots worrying about how to bring in the traffic.

My 50 Shades of Yay will give you release from all of that frustration, allowing you to fulfill your potential and giving life to your website.

50 Shades of Yay!

50 Shades of Yay is an ebook split into 5 different areas of promotion. This blog post aims to give you a sense of each section, but you’ll need to download the ebook to get the full 50 (don’t worry, it’s free).

Yay! 1 -SEO

1: Check your page titles

Your page titles are the words that appear at the top of the browser window. For example on the front page of my website, mine says ‘Social Media Marketing Support – NikkiPilkington.com – Internet Marketing Expert UK’. Titles are one of the most important aspects of SEO, as they tell Google where to put you. Change yours to describe what you do, not just to say ‘MyCompany.com’. Make each page’s title different. You should be able to do this in your Content Management System.

2: Work on your META descriptions

Although general theory says that the description tag isn’t used in determining where a website is placed in a search engine, it is still an important part of SEO. Your description is the thing that will make people click through to your site – if it’s dull, people won’t click. Again, every page should have a different description tag, and you should be able to do this through your CMS.

Want the other 8 Yays in this section? Download the free ebook now and please share with other people!

Yay! 2 – Blogging

1: Sort out your tags and categories

Tags are like keywords for your blog – you should add 4 or 5 to each blog post. Let’s say you wrote a blog post about children needing sunblock in the summer – your tags could be: children, kids, summer, sun care, skincare.

Categories are there to help you and your readers, so use them. They’re different to tags in that they can be more generic, and relate to areas of interest, topics, rather than specific posts. So, a telemarketing blog may use categories such as these: telemarketing, telesales, appointment setting, business development, lead generation. All related to telemarketing, but in different areas.

Tags and categories help search engines and readers – use them!

2: Write an editorial calendar

If you’re rubbish at blogging, the best thing you can do is put together an editorial calendar. This is a document that plans your blog posts for the next month, 3 months, however long you want. It not only makes you think about what you’re going to write, it gives you a sense of resposibility to then write it :) WordPress has a great plugin called Editorial Calendar  that allows you to look at each month at a glance and enter topic ideas for the future. Or just make your own in Word and stick it above your desk!

Want the other 8 Yays in this section? Download the ebook now and why not mention this blog post in your next blog?

Yay! 3 – Twitter

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

1: Ask for the business

We’re so bombarded with people telling us that we shouldn’t use Twitter to sell, and social media is about being social, that we’re scared to put a foot wrong.  I’m not saying those statements are wrong – anyone who has known me for any length of time knows I’m a great believer in the ‘Social’ in social media.  However, most of us are there to build our businesses – we’re not just in it for a laugh. So I’ll be interested to see how many of you take up my next challenge – which is to ask for the business.  Not from your followers, but from people they know.  In the true spirit of networking, ask your followers if there’s anyone they could refer you to:

–       Who do you know who needs xxxx, I’d love an introduction

–       If anyone says they’re struggling with xxxx pass them my way, I may be able to help

–       Do you know someone looking for xxxx, please introduce me to them

No hard sell, no desperate please, just straightforward networking. If you see others posting this kind of thing, think about who you’ve seen or know who has been saying they have that particular problem recently, and introduce them.  I get a lot of my suppliers from Twitter, but I also post Tweets looking for suppliers that get no response – one of those could be one that may bring you business.  So go on, ask for the business – I dare you ;)

2: Track your results

As in anything, it’s nice to see how well you’re doing on Twitter. There are many tools out there to measure Twitter impact, both free and paid. Twittercounter www.Twittercounter.com will track the amount of followers you have, predict how many you’ll have in X days and allow you to see how many Tweets you’re sending a day. Tweetstatswww.Tweetstats.com – this is an amazing free application that will graph your Tweet stats for you.  Tweetreachwww.Tweetreach.com – will tell you how many people your Tweets reached, counting reTweets – well worth playing with.  SocialMentionwww.socialmention.com – allows you to track mentions of your name in various social media and is very addictive! There are many paid Social Media tracking systems out there – of these, in my opinion, Sprout Social is the best – www.sproutsocial.com. Pricing starts at $39 per month.

Want the other 8 Yays in this section? Download the ebook now – then please pay it forward by Tweeting about this post.

Yay 4! – Facebook

1: Update your description

I see many Facebook Business Pages not using their description effectively. The ‘about’ description is the text that will appear when someone shares your page on their profile – use it to fully describe your page so people will know what it’s about. Change it regularly and track what works best.

2: Highlight a post

Once you have written a post on your Facebook page, if you hover next to your name and click the star, this ‘highlights’ the post. What this means is that the post is made double width and thus gets more attention from visitors to your page. I’ve used this to good effect to promote my 30 Day Challenge books, so it’s well worth doing for important posts.

Want the other 8 Yays in this section?  Download the ebook now – please consider posting this to your Facebook wall and share the love 🙂

Yay 5 – Extras

1: Pinterest – rename your boards

When you first start with Pinterest, it’s tempting to give your boards funky and funny names – but that’s going to do you no good in search. Look at your boards and give them names that mean something and are likely to show up in a search. As an example, my board called So True is never going to turn up in a search (which doesn’t matter because it’s only quotations and funnies) but my board named Business Blogging Beginner To Pro, and the one called Facebook for Business, does show up. Don’t just give your boards generic names such as ‘blogging’ and ‘telemarketing’ – think this through as an SEO exercise and use your keyphrases where you can.

2: Forums – change your signature

Often when you sign up to a forum such as UK Business Labs, you’re entitled to use a signature file with links. You set it up, include a bit of HTML to create a signature, and Bob’s yer uncle, your signature is set in stone, to be appended to any post you make. If you’re like most people your signature will stay as it is for months, maybe even years, with no change. But if you regularly change your forum signature you not only create interest within the forum itself, you’ll be developing varied links into your site (which Google loves).

Want the other 8 Yays in this section? Download the ebook now and consider sharing this post on Pinterest, in forums, LinkedIn etc.

Bonus Yay!

1: This post – share it on your networks ;)

Yes, that benefits me, of course. However it also benefits you. Why? Well, for one, your networks will appreciate the share and probably remember you for it, making them more likely to recommend your content in future. Secondly, if you tell me that you’ve shared it, *I’M* more likely to promote your content and share your Tweets etc in future.

So, go ahead, Tweet, Facebook, LinkedIn, Stumble, Digg, Pin, Blog and more – and if you’d like to offer ebook as a free download on your own website please drop me a line on nikkipilk@gmail.com

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3 Quick Things You Can Do To Promote Your Website Today

If you’re anything like me, Monday is a hectic day, and one when you’re most likely to forget about promoting and marketing yourself, and be head down bum up in client work.

I’ve recently implemented a new kind of organisation plan (I say ‘kind of’ because it’s new and I’m still working it out!) whereby I use my Mondays and Friday to do Blogging work for clients, Tuesdays and Thursdays for SEO work, and Wednesdays to plan, market myself and deal with general ‘stuff. It worked OK last week, so I’m going to give it another go this week. Nothing scientific about it, but if it works, then great!

So, less of me and back to you – if your Monday is as hectic as I imagine it is, but you don’t want to miss out on promoting yourself and your website, here are 3 things you could do today that don’t take up much time.

1) WRITE A BLOG POST

I know, blogging may not be your thing, but trust me it’s a great thing to do for many reasons. I won’t go into them all in this post, but suffice to say you’re helping Google to see that your site is expanding, adding great content (very important since the recent Google updates) and you’re helping your readers to see you as credible and authoratitive. What’s not to like?

Not sure what to blog about? Here are 21 ideas. http://www.nikkipilkington.com/21-things-you-could-blog-about-right-now/

2) SCHEDULE SOME SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS

It’s easy to get tied up and let your Social Media profiles slide when you’re busy, but it’s important to keep up a
regular presence if you want to be the person people turn to when they need your services. Take 10 minutes to schedule some tweets and Facebook posts to go out while you’re getting on with your work. Hootsuite http://www.hootsuite.com and Buffer http://www.bufferapp.com are great for this, allowing you to post links, questions, videos, photos, comments, thoughts and more, then schedule them to be released throughout the day.

3) LOOK INTO PINTEREST

If you’ve heard all about Pinterest and aren’t sure whether it will work for you, it’s worth having a good look – you can
find me at http://www.pinterest.com/nikkipilkington

Pinterest works pretty well for most UK sites, generating traffic, readers for blogs, and indeed leads and sales.

I wrote about Pinterest for a client here: http://www.marketingbyweb.co.uk/pinterest-whats-that-all-about-then

If you think Pinterest is all about work at home moms posting pictures of lasagne and cleaning tips, that article is well worth a read, because in the UK it’s not.

If you want to give Pinterest a go, then it’s also well worth checking out this great offer from Leighquantrill.com http://www.leighquantrill.com/pinterest-account-setup/

As some of you know, Leigh is my eldest daughter, and has been working as a Virtual Assistant for some time now, doing great work for her clients. I’m very proud of her, and loving seeing the enthusiasm she has for social media and helping her clients. So I make no apologies for promoting her offer, instead of one of mine 😉

Whatever you decide to do today, have a great Monday – why not drop me a Facebook message http://www.facebook.com/internetmarketingbynikki to let me know what you’ve done to promote yourself today?

Happy Marketing!

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Why is Content Creation Good for SEO?

I tell clients all the time that content creation is an important part of SEO – and this nifty infographic gives some very good reasons why.

If you’re not creating great content, either for your site itself or as part of your blogging strategy, then you will be missing out in future.

How are you going to make great content a part of your SEO campaigns from now on?

Thanks to Brafton for the fab infographic.

Stuck for things to blog about?

We’ve all done it; thought “I really must write a blog today”, opened up our browser, and then spent 20 minutes trying to think of a catchy headline, something interesting to say, or even ANYTHING to say!
 
I get it too, and I write blog posts for a multitude of clients in all sorts of industries.
 
So I thought I’d share with you a few tactics I use when my blogging mojo has got up and gone 🙂
 
  •  Read the online news. Whether you’re a tabloid fan or a high brow browser, reading what’s happening in the world today can often spark off ideas that can be related to your business. Whether it’s an opinion piece or something related to a product or service you sell, topical news items make great blog posts.

  • Read your trade news. By the same token, having a look through a trade publication or trade news website can often give inspiration. Maybe a new survey has come out that you can talk about, some outlandish stats, or a new way of thinking about your area of expertise? All make great blog posts that will be of interest to your target market.

  • Browse your competitors. There’s always a sharp intake of breath when I come out with this one in training workshops, but let’s face it, they’ll be doing it to you! See what your competitors are writing about – can you approach it with a different angle? No-one has ever said that two companies can’t write about similar things, and of course yours will be much better, won’t it? 😉

  • Have a break. If it’s really not working, stop. Get off the computer if you can, go make a cup of coffee, walk to the shop, run round the garden or simply sit in an armchair and forget about it for half an hour. Clearing your mind allows you to stop focusing on the ‘Bloggers’ Block’ and some of my best ideas come to me while I’m ignoring the blog posts I have to write.

  • Ask for a guest blog post. Get someone else to do the hard work and get some of the credit. Guest posts are great when you’ve run out of time, can’t think of anything to write, or just want a different voice on your blog. They also bring in new traffic and readers, and inspire loyalty from the person who’s blog you have promoted.

  • Look in your ‘Swipe file’. You don’t have a swipe file? Well, you should! A swipe file features headlines you think of or see elsewhere and like, blogs you want to refer to, ideas that are half finished, and more. Start yours now (more about swipe files in next Monday’s blogging newsletter!)
There’s always something to write about, but it really is hard work at times to stop your blog from becoming just a self promotional ‘me, me, me’ medium, when it should be entertaining, informative and maybe even educational, if you want it to build your brand and credibility.
 
If you need some help with your Business Blogging, then take a look at my Bonkers Blogging Offer; it’s sure to take some of the pressure off and help your blog build into something that supports and promotes your business naturally.
 
Until Wednesday when we’re going to talk about the new Facebook Timeline and what it means for business pages,
 
Happy Blogging
 
Nikki
 
PS: You could also check out our 30 Day Blogging Challenge ebook if you’re stuck for blogging ideas – there are loads in there and it’s a style I follow myself!
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Tips For Landing A Guest Post Every Time

P writing blue

A guest post by Ann Smarty of MyBlogGuest.com

Ah, guest posting. While blogs were once a fringe activity similar to writing a journal, they now represent a great bulk of much of the average freelance writer’s work. If you own a blog yourself you have probably written guest posts before, or written them for someone else. If you are a writer you will probably regularly look for chances to expand your visibility by searching out chances to get involved with various high-profile sites.

But if your application process is specifically aimed at getting approved for a post you are doing it wrong! Your focus is not in the right place and it might be costing you your chances. Instead, use these ten tips to help you land the spot every time.

Tip #1 – Focus On What THEY Need, Not What YOU Want

You have a great idea for a post about how iPhone apps can be used to increase market visibility, and you know just the blog to pitch the piece to. Having read their blog many times before, you remember a similar piece done just a few weeks ago. So you eagerly shoot off an email along with the headline idea, confident that this post you want to write will be well received. A few days later you get a big, fat no.

What happened?

Really, it should be obvious: a similar piece was already written on the topic a short time before. Therefore, it is needed. However much you wanted to write it they have no demand, and so you won’t land the spot. You should have taken that into account before offering your services, and shown that you were aware of what they needed.

Not only will it give them a chance at using something they require during that time, but it will show that you are a regular reader. It will also put off a professional and competent air, and that means everything in a business where any blogger is taking a chance when they hire a guest poster. Add that to the fact that you come off as considerate and you have a recipe for a good working relationship.

Tip #2 – Be Personable and Friendly, Not Cold and Calculated

There is nothing I hate more than an overly formal, cold sounding pitch letter. I am looking for someone approachable that my readers can really relate to, and who can have a sense of humor with a dash of cutting sarcasm to go along with their informative posts. In other words, I want a real human being who I can talk to and who I know those who visit my blog will like. Not some robot who knows how to use fifteen ten-syllable words in a single sentence. I have a thesaurus built into my OpenOffice for that, thanks.

The second you open yourself up by applying as a guest poster, make sure some of your personality comes through. You can remain professional without sounding toneless, and be proper without being cold. The friendlier you sound, the more likely you will be to catch their interest. Otherwise it sounds like you are reading from a pre-made letter. Who wants that?

Tip #3 – Watch Your Tone

I have lost track of the times when I had read a pitch that sounded like the person was doing me a favor. “I am an excellent writer, highly skilled, and I have this post idea I know you and your readers will love! Let me know when it is up, please.” This is a line taken directly from a pitch I received just a few days ago. I saved it in order to show you an example of a quick way to be turned down.

Not only was he talking himself up immediately, but he assumed that I was just going to put it up on my blog. He didn’t ask, he didn’t give me a chance to read it first, he just made the aggressive move of telling me to let him know when it was published. What a jerk! Would you go to a job interview and end it by asking your potential boss when you start?

He may have thought he sounded confident, but he just came off as arrogant. Plus, the post wasn’t anywhere near the quality I demand of my guest posters.

On the other hand, sounding too submissive is also a turn off. I have gotten emails from people begging to write for me, or asking for links. It is annoying and I tend to just ignore them outright.

Tip #4 – Don’t Be Intimidated…You Are Equal

When dealing with one of the “Blogerati” and celebrity writers that have taken over the Internet with their popular sites, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. These are successful people who have gained actual status in cyberspace, which is not that easy to do. With such a huge wash of blogs out there, they managed to claw their way to the top. They are the Perez Hilton’s and Jason Chen’s, and you might feel intimidated.

But remember, they were just like you once. They are regular people who are running a business and know what it is like to just start out. They had to work to get there, and they are usually pretty nice people. Remain friendly and natural, and acknowledge their success without fawning over it. These are writers, not rock stars.

Tip #5 – Have a Good Sense of Humor

I go through endless guest blog requests a month. So many that they tend to swim in front of my eyes and leave my brain the moment I read them. It takes something special to really catch my attention, and humor is a big factor. If you can make me laugh then I will remember your email forever. You will also be much more likely to get on my list of published bloggers, because it shows me you can add that humor to your writing.

That doesn’t mean you should make everything into a joke. But show me you can turn a couple of things into that direction and you are golden.

Tip #6 – Research, Research, Research

One of the most aggravating things I see is someone applying to guest post without any knowledge of my blog. Honestly, you would think that they would take a little bit of time to get to know me and what it is I do. Maybe read a few posts, check the FAQ page, read updates on projects. Anything.

But so many completely ignore this part and instead offer unrelated posts or at times when the last thing I need is more content.

Before you shoot off that eager email, take some time to study the site. Look at what it is all about and what has been going on recently. Check posts to see what kind of topics get the most response. See if there is anything from the past you could properly update that got a lot of attention but hasn’t been covered in awhile. Research the blog, not just the post!

Tip #7 – Compliment The Blog, But Don’t Overdo It

“Oh my God, I can’t believe how amazing your blog is! I read it every day and you are the best in the whole of cyber space. Seriously, everyone else is horrible in comparison to you. Someone asked me the other day who my hero was and I totally said it was you!”

A little much? Yeah, I thought so too.

Throwing a compliment or two to show why you want to write for a particular blog is a great idea.

Be specific about what it is you like, and maybe reference a post you especially enjoyed. Show that you appreciate the site because not only will it offer a little flattery to the owner, but it is will show you both know and will care about the blog before you begin writing for it.

Just don’t go too far. It isn’t about brown-nosing, after all. Plus, most can tell the difference between real and fake flattery.

Tip #8 – Introduce Yourself Without Writing a Biography

Of course the blogger want to know a little bit about you: where are you from, what are you interested in, what do you do? Basic questions that any survey would probably ask, mainly to get an idea of who you are and what you will be able to write about.

But notice how I said a little bit. No one wants to read a biography about you, not an introductory email. Offer up a few small facts about yourself and leave it at that. Anything else should be specifically about your work experience, and even then only a few choice bits you are especially proud of.

Tip #9 – Show What You Got

When I was first starting up I would always offer a small list of three links that showed off online work I was really proud of. These were my “samples”, and it was usually on those samples alone that I got work. They showed that I could write well and covered a broad range of topics.

Remember when you are linking your own samples not to do too many. Three is usually any ideal amount, as it is enough to show consistency. You should also try and link to at least one related to the topic you are applying to post about. Though that isn’t actually mandatory.

Tip #10 – Drop a Few Names

Yeah, it sound like a cheesy move. But dropping the names of a couple of blogs along with your pitch can really help to show that reliable sources have published you in the past. Of course, you don’t want to do too many of these. Just name off two or three places that have hired you in the past. You can attach those to links for your samples as well.

Land The Post Every Time!

See, it isn’t that hard. These are some common sense rules that are nevertheless violated on an alarmingly regular basis. If you keep these tips in mind you will be sure to greatly improve your chances to getting that guest post of your dreams.

Find out more on guest blogging at MyBlogGuest.com

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Bloggers, have you established your route to fame?

So you’ve written your blog post, checked and rechecked it, proof read it, thought hard about the links you should include, sourced some great pictures and finally you’re happy enough to hit the ‘post’ button and your nice shiny new blog post is there for the world to see.

And the visitors will just magically appear, right?

Unfortunately not. In order to get visitors to your blog post, you’re going to need to tell people about it. Without promotion, the only people who will see your post are those subscribed to your blog, or who happen to drop in on the offchance you’ve published a new post. Oh, and your mum 😉

So, here’s a step by step guide to how *I* promote a blog post once it’s live. I’m not saying it’s the exact way everyone does it, or it’s the way you should do it – it’s what I do and it works for me – your mileage may vary.

For a free downloadable PDF of these steps, in mindmap format, click here: Promoting your blog post

How to promote a nice shiny new blog post

I’m presuming you have accounts with all of the sites I’m going to talk about – if not, the links are in the text.

Twitter

The first place I tend to start is Twitter. (You can follow me @nikkipilkington)

  • Post immediately – as soon as my blog post is finished, I post to Twitter immediately, usually via Buffer, which I have as a bookmarklet on my browser, so it’s easy. If for some mad reason I’ve written the post at a stupid time, then I’ll schedule it in Buffer to run at a more decent time to most normal human beings!
  • Schedule for later – using Hootsuite, I’ll schedule the post for maybe 12 hours later. This gives me more exposure and means that I reach more of my followers. Despite having 15,000 followers on Twitter, they’re not all going to see my Tweet, so posting twice in a day allows me to reach different time ones, and more people.
  • DMs to Influencers – if there are people I think would benefit from the post, and would happily retweet it to their followers, I DM them and ask them for some ‘retweet love’ – always offering to reciprocate of course. This way my post reaches people that don’t follow me. I keep this to 3 people per post, and of course not the same people for every post, or they’d get fed up with me asking!

Facebook 

I then move to Facebook where I have a personal profile, a Business Page and a Group. I am also a member of various other groups, some about business, some for more fun things.
  • Post to my personal profile – a lot of my friends on Facebook are business people too, and as my posts are usually business focused, I’m happy to post to my profile. You may feel differently, but even if you don’t post EVERY blog post to your profile, the odd one here and there can remind your friends what it is you do.
  • Post to my Business Page – I post to my business page, usually by hand. On occasion I’ll use Hootsuite to schedule the post, but as Facebook ‘bunches up’ posts from an app, I try and make the time to post it directly.
  • Post to my Group – if the post is relevant to the groups I run then I’ll post it in there too – usually if you run a group there’s an element of loyalty there and everyone supports each other, so I encourage members o my groups to tell me about their blog posts too so I can ‘give them some love’.
  • Other Groups – if the post is relevant I’ll post it in other groups I am a member of. I don’t do this or every post, or they’d get pretty fed up with me, but a couple of times a month doesn’t hurt. I do, however, make sure that I also contribute to these groups in other ways, either by taking part in discussions ro sharing other people’s content – the group isn’t just there for me to broadcast my own blog posts.
For a free downloadable PDF of these steps, in mindmap format, click here: Promoting your blog post

LinkedIn 

I have to admit, I’m not a huge user of LinkedIn, so I don’t do the following things with every blog post, but if you are, you should.
  • Update your status – It’s suprising how many visits a blog post can get from LinkedIn status updates, so well worth doing this if you do nothing else. Either use a plugin on your blog that allows you to do this by clicking a button, or go direct and post.
  • LinkedIn Answers – LinkedIn has a section where people can ask questions o the network. Have a browse through – is your blog post relevant to any of the questions in your area of expertise? If so, there’s nothing wrong with jumping in, giving some advice and then saying ‘I’ve just written a blog post about thi’ with a link. Again, don’t overdo it, or you’ll be accused of spamming, but it’s an effective way to drive relevant traffic to your site.
  • LinkedIn Groups – again, look at the groups you’re a part of – is your blog post relevant to that audience? If so, then reference it in there. Just make sure you’re an active member of the group, not just posting links to your blogs, and of course be sure to reciprocate if you can when others ask for link love.

Email 

  • Newsletter – if I think the blog post is good enough to be featured in my newsletter, then I log in to Aweber, where I keep my newsletter templates and drafts, and add it to the latest draft. That way, once my newsletter is ready to go, the link is already there. As this could be a week or so after the original post, it’s a great way of getting extra traffic and reaching people who hadn’t seen it the first time.
  • Mailing Lists – I have a number of mailing lists for different subjects – if the blog post could be of interest to them then I will occasionally send it out to them via Aweber. I don’t do this for every post though so use it sparingly!
  • Email Influencers – in the same way as I asked a few people to promote the post via Twitter, I will email a couple of people with a link to the post, explaining why I think it would be of interest to them and saying that if they found it useful I’d appreciate any links they could give me. Again, not the same people every time, and I do think this through quite a lot, only asking people I have a relationship with already
For a free downloadable PDF of these steps, in mindmap format, click here: Promoting your blog post

Forums 

 

You may be a member of different forums to me, but if I think a blog post merits it then I will post an extract and a link in various forums, depending on their rules. Be sure to check the rules before you do this, as I’d hate you to get into trouble!

 

My Blog

 

As a lot of my old blog posts are listed in Google, or linked to from elsewhere and get lots of traffic, I tend to go through a few and where it matters, add a link to the new blog post. You’ll be surprised how many of your old blog posts are related to what you’ve just written.

 

Other Blogs 

 

The great thing about posting comments on other people’s blogs is that you’re allowed to get a link to your site. So I’ll find 3 or 4 relevant blogs and comment on them. When I say comment, I don’t mean ‘great post John, I agree’ type comments – add to the conversation, state an opinion, agree or disagree, but make sure your comment is worthy of posting. In the space where it gives you the option to post your website link, post your latest blog link instead.

 

Even better, find blogs that use the CommentLuv plugin – this is a plugin that automatically shows the last blog you posted – Birds on the Blog uses this, for example, so your comment will automatically promote your latest blog post. You can find other blogs that use CommentLuv by searching Google.

 Amplify 

 

Using a browser plugin, I can ‘clip’ parts of the post and send to my Amplify account. This allows me to reach a different sector of people, as a lot of the people who follow me on Amplify don’t follow me in other places.

 

Posterous 

 

Again with a browser plugin, I post parts of the post to Posterous. I’ve only really started doing this recently, but it is proving a good traffic generator.

 

For a free downloadable PDF of these steps, in mindmap format, click here: Promoting your blog post

Social Bookmarking 

 

  • StumbleUpon via yet another plugin I can post my blogs to Stumbleupon, which can be a great source of traffic. While I am posting my own content there, I’ll have a ‘stumble’ around and click thumbs up on a few other things, and perhaps submit some content from the 30 Day Bloggers, or friends who have promoted my posts in the past.
  • Delicious – Another social bookmarking tool, although probably not as good a traffic generator as StumbleUpon, if I have the time I submit here too.
  • Other social bookmarking sites – depending on the content of  a blog, I’ll post it to various other bookmarking sites such as Reddit, Sphinn, Digg etc.

Google + 

 

Last but not least, Google+. I’m still pretty wary of using Google+ for out and out business stuff, so I don’t post every blog there, but I am looking forward to when they have business profiles on there! You can follow me on Google+ at http://gplus.to/nikkipilkington
  • My Circles – I first of all post to any circles I have that are relevant. This is usually my business circle and my 30 Day Challenges circles. Not much point posting to my family or schoolfriends circles as they’re not interested!
  • Public timeline – Then I’ll post to the public timeline, if the post deserves a wider audience.
So there you have it – a rather long guide to promoting a blog post. As I’ve said before, it’s not a rulebook, but this is how I do things. Sometimes these things can span a week, sometimes I’ll do them in one day. Test and see what works best for you.

 

It looks like a lot doesn’t it? So to make it easier for you I’ve produced this free PDF which features a mindmap of all these steps – save it, print it out, stick it on your wall and follow it to promote your own blog posts. Don’t forget to let me know how you get on!

 

PS: Don’t forget to take a look at the 30 Day Blogging Challenge
PPS Also check out @saraharrow’s blog post on getting more eyeballs to your blog post – some great ideas in there too!
(With thanks to Lisa Attias for the ‘route to fame’ idea)
Image copyright WordPress premium themes

Like this post? Don’t forget to check out the 30 Day Blogging Challenge, and kickstart your blogging in just 30 days!

21 Things You Could Blog About Right Now

When I speak to people about blogging, one of the first excuses they come up with is ‘I don’t have time’, rapidly followed by ‘I don’t know what to blog about’.

Sometimes we’re a little too close to our business, and can’t see the wood for the trees. Hopefully this list of 21 things you can blog about right now will help clear your mind, and give you some ideas.

21 Things You Could Blog About Right Now

  1. A topical news piece – read the online news, locally, nationally, internationally and industry – find something you can relate to your business and write about it.
  2. Your latest client – tell your readers who your latest client is and what you’ll be doing for them – it helps them to see the kind of person they could refer to you for future business.
  3. Your latest product – if you have a new product or service, use your blog to tell your readers about its benefits.
  4. Your latest member of staff – growing as a business? Brag about it – let you readers know what’s going on in your business and they’ll reward you with loyalty!
  5. A Day in your life – describe a typical day in your life at work / in your business. People like to read about people.
  6. Top tips in your industry – share top tips – help to educate people and they’ll share you, tweet you, facebook you and more.
  7. An opinion piece – a risky one, but if you have an opinion on something, share it!
  8. A how to article – help people out by telling them how to do something to do with your industry.
  9. FAQs – round up the questions you get asked the most and answer them!
  10. Industry news – what’s going on in your industry that could interest your potential clients / readers?
  11. Answer a question – look at your email. What was the last question you received about your business? Answer it in a blog post.
  12. Do a recent roundup – really stuck for something to blog? A round up post of recent or popular posts on your blog is a quick and easy space filler, and will be useful to readers who may have missed previous posts.
  13. Post a poll – ask a question, give people a few choices, and post up your poll. Use another blog post to go over the results when you’ve collated them.
  14. Tell people how you started – people like people. Share with your readers how you got started in business, and ask them to share their stories too.
  15. Take a picture – a picture tells a thousand words – take a picture; of your office, your shop, your latest product, your coffee cup, whatever – and write a blog post around it.
  16. Ask a question – want interaction on your blog? Ask your readers a question they can answer easily.
  17. Give something away – find the right giveaway and you can generate a lot of links and traffic. Giveawy checklists, white papers, ebooks, reports, the list is endless.
  18. Review a product or website – been visiting a website for a while? Finished a course or book? Used a great product? Write a review post and let your readers know.
  19. Share resources – found some great industry resources? Or websites you think your readers will be interested in? Share them 🙂
  20. Write a testimonial – had great service from someone? Write them an open letter testimonial on your blog and be sure to link to their website and Social Media accounts. Put a smile on someone’s face 🙂
  21. Link to other great posts – share the love of your readers by directing them to other great posts that may help them. Whether it’s ‘Top 10 Posts about Facebook’ or ‘Posts I love this week’, a list of great posts you’ve read is easy to do and helps others out too.
Off the top of my head, there are your starters for 21 🙂
Like this post? Don’t forget to check out the 30 Day Blogging Challenge, and kickstart your blogging in just 30 days!

5 Great Features of WordPress

WordPress

Image by Adriano Gasparri via Flickr

WordPress has long been considered one of the best content management systems for all sorts of websites. It is popular for lots of reasons, such as you can do a lot with it for free and it is extremely versatile. For those unfamiliar with it, read on to find out about 5 great features of WordPress.

Themes
One of the things that draw people to WordPress is the fantastic range of themes it has on offer. Everyone from casual bloggers to professional companies can find something to suit the style they are looking for. The vast range of choice also means it’s relatively easy to find a theme that stands out, captures the spirit of your website and won’t be used by too many other people. This is particularly great if you aren’t especially comfortable with custom coding, as it means you can still get a good website without too much hassle.

Easy-to-use Content Management
The content management system has to be one of the best things about WordPress. It has comprehensive options that allow you to add all sorts of graphics, images, videos and more to your site, and it’s all pretty easy to do. The clean, easy-to-understand interface is a definite benefit as it appeals to beginners and advanced users alike.

Custom Options
WordPress also allows you to tailor a large number of its themes, so you can do relatively simple things such as add your own header graphic, as well as more complicated things such as insert your own coding to create a truly bespoke, unique website. This versatility and adaptability is one of the enduring appeals of WordPress and external software providers make use of it to give users further options. An example of this would be the Genesis Framework powered by Studiopress, which has a focus on SEO that allows users to boost the performance of their website while still making sure it looks fantastic.

Social Media Integration
Most businesses now make use of social media. As Facebook has over 500 million users and Twitter has more than 200 million, it’s easy to see why this might be a good idea. WordPress websites make it relatively easy to integrate social media features so you can continue to grow your online presence in alternative ways while still keeping your website as the centre of your online operations. This is important as it is always useful to have an online ‘base’ in the same way it’s useful to have a physical office – being able to access your social media from your homepage is a definite plus point for a lot of web users.

It’s Open Source
Finally, another great thing about WordPress is the fact that it is open source. This means that not only are new, user-generated themes always being added (thereby giving you more choice as to what you want to do with your site), but it is constantly being upgraded and improved – so you can benefit from the latest developments and access them easily, practically as soon as they become available.

Are you using WordPress as the basis of your website?

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Is your content King, Lord or Peasant?

There’s a great saying that ‘content is King’ but often you’re left wondering ‘What exactly does that mean?’

You may think you’re generating great content, but one man’s meat is another man’s murder and all that 🙂

It’s no secret I’m a massive infographics fan, so here’s another one to let you know where your content fits in the grand scheme of things!

via

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