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Showing posts from April, 2016

How to Add an RSS Feed to a Web Page

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RSS, which stands for Rich Site Summary, but is also often known as Really Simple Syndication, is a commonly used format for publishing a "feed" of content. Blog articles, press releases, updates, or other regularly updated content are all logical candidates for getting a RSS feed.It's easy to add an RSS feed to your Web page or even add it to every page in your website should that be what you decide to do.

RSS enabled browsers will then see the link and allow readers to subscribe automatically. Addditionally, search engines will see the feed when it's linked in the HTML. Once you'vecreated your RSS feed, you'll want to link to it so your readers can find it.
Link to Your RSS with a Standard Link

The easiest way to link to your RSS file is with a standard HTML link.

I recommend pointing to the full URL of your feed, even if you normally use relative path links. One example of this using just a text link is:Subscribe to What's New


Subscribe to What's New

If…

How to Increase Blog Traffic - Day #22

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Day #22 - Be Consistent and Don't Give UpIf there's one piece of advice I wish I could share with every blogger, it's this:



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 …

How to Increase Blog Traffic - Day #21

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Day #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.



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…

How to Increase Blog Traffic - Day #20

Day #20 - Connect Your Web Profiles and Content to Your BlogMany 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 v…

How to Increase Blog Traffic - Day #19

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Day #19 - Aggregate the Best of Your NicheBloggers, 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:



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 an…

How to Increase Blog Traffic - Day #18

Day #18 - Add Value to a Popular ConversationNumerous 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.

How to Increase Blog Traffic - Day #17

Day #17 - Survey Your ReadersWeb 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.

How to Increase Blog Traffic - Day #16

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Day #16 - Use Your Email Connections (and Signature) to Promote Your BlogAs 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.



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.

How to Increase Blog Traffic - Day #15

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Day #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.



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).

How to Increase Blog Traffic - Day #14

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Day #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).



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 cont…

How to Increase Blog Traffic - Day #13

Day #13 - Participate in Q+A SitesEvery 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 …

How to Increase Blog Traffic - Day #12

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Day #12 - Interact on Other Blogs' CommentsAs 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.



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 wi…

How to Increase Blog Traffic - Day #11

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Day #11 - Incorporate Great Design Into Your SiteThe 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.


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, skil…

How to Increase Blog Traffic - Day #10

Day #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…

How to Increase Blog Traffic - Day #9

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 sourc…

How to Increase Blog Traffic - Day #8

Day #8 - Frequently Reference Your Own Posts and Those of OthersThe 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…