Wednesday, January 02, 2008

When "Villager" (Electronic Village) Speak, You BETTER Listen!

How To Market Your Blog in 2008

There are over 600 Black blogs included in the Black Blog Rankings this month. We share the list of the Top 10 Black Blogs on the 1st day of each month. However, there are many blogs with great content that are not being widely recognized. They aren't getting comments ... they don't have high traffic rankings ... and their pagerank is low.

I read an article last year that inspired me to share similiar information with villagers in 2008. For those bloggers who want to improve their rankings and blogosphere influence in 2008, here are 42 ways to do so:

  1. Persistence: All the marketing in the world won’t help you if you have a lame-duck blog. You must write well and write consistently. You can never give up! In your search for more traffic, more promotion, and more publicity, never forget it starts with great content — and needs to continue with great content on a regular schedule. There’s no question that maintaining quality and regularity is difficult while you’re starting out, particularly if you’re time strapped … but hang in there, because if you sacrifice this, all of your marketing efforts will be for naught.

  2. Become an expert on something: It's my view that if you read one book per week on a given subject ... you will be a world-class expert on that subject within a year. Most people don't read regularly. You can develop a keen interest, continue to read and write intelligently, and after a while, your experience will make you an expert. Bloggers will seek out your expertise, your reknown will grow, and it will be easier to be noticed, linked to, and get cross promoted.

  3. Design is more important than you think: You can only make a first impression once — first impressions count, and they can count for cash money. If you’re serious about blogging, you need to separate and elevate yourself from the blogging masses, and its impossible to do if you look exactly the same as them. Easy to say, hard to do, but absolutely necessary. I redesigned my blog using the services of someone who's work I kept seeing as I surfed the Internet. Do what you have to do to ensure that your blog looks professional, stands out, and screams "yes, I am worthy of your attention!".

  4. Get Your SEO On: SEO = Search Engine Optimization — get your own domain name, host your own blogging software, enable permalinks, create keyword rich headlines, create unique title tags, enable trackback and ping functionality, ensure your blog pings pinging-services.

  5. Publish full feeds: Publishing full feeds can increase your traffic. Feed subscriptions are critical; get your feeds burned through Feedburner so you can track how many are subscribing. People who subscribe to feeds rarely unsubscribe, and every single feed subscriber is a potential source of traffic to your blog.

  6. Do interviews with other bloggers: Score interviews with newsworthy individuals (who may be linked to newsworthy content), to create link worthy content, but more importantly, create news on THEIR blog to get back to YOUR blog.

  7. Break important stories: If you have an interest in an area, it is possible to break important stories as long as you’re willing to put in the time and energy to find stuff. Benefit: being picked up by A-list blogs, mainstream news outlets and more.

  8. Have a contest: Or, have regular contests, which encourage participation and buzz in your corner of the blogosphere.

  9. Publish original research: If you’ve got the time, start with a question, try and figure it out with the data available, and "publish it". My fledgling efforts at researching and publishing the Black Blog Rankings is an example.

  10. Put out Press Releases: Particularly if you have something new, unique, or particularly important to say (such as an important story, or research)

  11. Work your long tail: A tip based on your SEO efforts; there is a free service called Hit Tail that will analyze the search terms leading to your blog traffic, and yank out high quality key words you should be focusing on that you might not immediately think of. This can help you focus your future posts as you are already getting traffic for those key words.

  12. Answer your comments, in your comments, and off blog: - When you do get comments, answer as many as humanly possible, and if its an interesting enough issue or question, contact the poster directly for a friendly follow up. Treat every potential poster as a potential subscriber to your feed, and a future friend (we call them villagers) and contact.

  13. Spend time to create links and trackbacks: In every post spend as much time as you can to create outbound links to relevant and high linking blogs; many blogs automatically have trackbacks enabled, so in their comments section they will have a link back to your blog. If its a highly trafficked and ranked blog, this can mean traffic BACK to your blog, and it can draw notice from the author themselves — because, let’s face it, we’re all vain ... even the big bloggers ... and we’re all interested in who is linking to us.

  14. MyBlogLog My traffic on this blog tripled last year when I subscribed to MyBlogLog — I encourage you to know it, love it, and embrace it. Since its been acquired by Yahoo, it has exploded all over the blogosphere. MyBlogLog offers a free widget that enables you to build a free community around your blog, and to easily see which other bloggers have been to your blog. You can "add" friends, and generate traffic, but more importantly, your own network of like-minded blogging colleagues in a way that is relatively easy and efficient. Just go easy on the unsolicited messages.

  15. Join a blog carnival: Where every blogger who joins one blogs about a topic, then each blog gets promoted. Here’s an index of blog carnivals to get you started.

  16. Join blog network: Between Afrosphere Bloggers Association, The AfroSpear and others, there is networking potential, income potential, and a link-a-palooza waiting for you (through the linkroll as every member may have to link to every other member) if you’re able to get into one.

  17. Participate in forums: Forums with tons of pages, huge lists of members, and a responsive community are an easy way to not only connect with other individuals, but an opportunity to tastefully demonstrate your expertise and a link back to your blog. I recently created a forum for Black IT professionals.

  18. Participate on larger blogs in comments: By participating directly in another blogger’s comments you a) get their recognition and b) get the recognition of the blogging community. Also, here’s a tip: try and be one of the first few commenters on heavily trafficked sites to get recognized — most people won’t read past the first 10-20 comments. Here’s another tip for traffic: IF (and ONLY IF) you have posted something relevant that is pursuant to the ongoing conversation and IF the blog has a commenting policy that will allow you to do so, post a link back to a post on your own site ("hey guys, I wrote about how we can solve this problem! — check out the link over here, but let me summarize it for you … "). Sometimes you’ll be surprised at how much traffic comes back.

  19. Join Blogburst: Blogburst is a type of "blog network" (see #16), that syndicates content across American newspaper’s websites, such as USA Today and Reuters. Highly ranked inbound links + traffic + bragging rights to your crew that your post got featured in a newspaper. Not too shabby. Also on the upside, they have a new revenue sharing scheme. The bad: read their terms of service carefully — you give up certain rights when they republish your content, and the revenue sharing works on the top 100 publishers only.

  20. Participate in Wordless Wednesday meme: They publish links to all of the participants.

  21. Submit to blog directories: So people can find your blog.

  22. Submit to Google sitemaps: Google will be able to find you so much easier when you use Google sitemaps. As you gain more Google juice, you'll get more traffic, resulting in higher rankings faster.

  23. Submit to article directories: You might want to submit your favourite posts to article directories, where they will enable you to have a biobox / blurb with a link back to your own blog. Again, demonstrating your expertise, and moreover, the article might get picked up in a ezine or another blog, leading to more traffic and more inbound links.

  24. Get interviewed: If you’ve demonstrated your expertise, or have done something newsworthy, or reported on something newsworthy, try and get interviewed. As long as its done in a fair way (doesn’t need to be a completely puffpiece) by a site or blogger with some reknown, its more traffic for you.

  25. Get listed on a news aggregator, or blog aggregator: Like Techmeme for technews, or Tailrank for blogging news.

  26. Create free stuff for yourself and give it away: Like ebooks, digests of your favourite posts, pdfs, and so on. Make sure to include a link back in the document, back to your site.

  27. Create free stuff for other people: the same, let them distribute it, get a link back.

  28. Pay for pub: Efficient means of using your cash is to buy targeted Adwords, or keywords in Yahoo’s advertising network; you could get other bloggers to write about you using PayPerPost or ReviewMe; or you purchase text link ads through

  29. Make friends with other bloggers: Ridiculously simple, but its true. Benefits of "networking" (making friends) include more mentions on other blogs, more requests for interviews, more partnerships in future deals, more "ads" into their MyBlogLog network, more "ads" into someone else’s blogroll (and therefore links back to your blog) — it goes on and on.

  30. Guest blog: Offer to do it for free, and you’ll be able to demonstrate what you know to an entirely new audience. Gives you great credibility, and of course, most will allow a courtesy link back to your own blog. A free foot-in-the-door to some communities as well.

  31. Volunteer, intern, scut-monkey your way into a blogger’s graces: Maintaining a highly trafficked site is a lot of work. Offer to volunteer your time with menial behind the scenes stuff (moderating posts, acting as a bird dog for news) for free and with a smile, and you’ll get a foot-in-the-door with the blogger, their network, and future opportunities.

  32. Get hired: You never know which blog organizations are looking to hire new bloggers; again, an opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge, meet new bloggers, and open tons of professional "doors" … because now that you’re getting paid ... you’re a "pro-blogger"

  33. Network in person: Find other local bloggers using services like Meetup, and see if they’re literally getting together to commiserate about blogging or their topic of blogging. If you’ve got the time, there’s nothing that makes an impression as actually meeting someone in person. Tip: bring a business card; Another tip: if you don’t have any, make some; yet another tip: if important people are going to be there, really — try and go. A great opportunity is coming up later this year at the Blogging While Brown conference!

  34. Join virtual groups: Through Yahoo Groups, Google Groups, CollectiveX, and more; then bring the conversation off the group with emails and instant messages. Be friendly, be helpful, and it will pay dividends.

  35. Cross promote: Once you’ve gotten to know people, you can kindly remind them to promote posts that you’re particularly proud of; or, vote for your submissions on Digg or your social bookmarking site of choice. Reciprocate.

  36. Facebook: Its a social network that has opened its doors behind its college beginnings. Anyone can sign up. Start connecting with old friends and colleagues, like any other social network. You can import your own blog’s RSS feed, so that your connections can see what you’re blogging. Who knows where that might lead?

  37. Join Helium: Helium actively looks for people to head new categories of content. Think a paid "" — for its authors. If you have a particular interest that isn’t yet served on Helium you might want to check it out; besides giving you cash for content, it’ll also demonstrate your authority in a topic, and you’ll be able to leverage Helium’s own traffic for your own blog through a linkback on your profile.

  38. Yahoo Answers! A similar idea; but this time, you’re answering questions that people are posting. Yahoo! is quite careful about spam, however, and including a "signature" is a dicey proposition at times. There is a fairly sophisticated registry and voting system that tries to prevent "gaming", but given how much traffic yahoo! answers gets, AND its inclusion as a separate result area in Yahoo SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages) it might be something worth looking into.

  39. Join LinkedIn Network: More of a professional network that is an important part of any blogger's toolkit. Here is my Linkedin Profile.

  40. Create a Squidoo Page Lens: On a given related topic to your blog; participate in the Squidoo community; Squidoo has a ton of traffic, and you could funnel traffic and tastefully include links to other relevant sites and perhaps your own blog.

  41. Use MySpace Marketing: The idea is to capitalize on the HUGE amount of traffic MySpace gets (some interesting thoughts over here). Create a profile, create relevant content and links back. Start adding friends. Comment on your friends space. Join groups. Start enjoying the trickle back traffic. Here is my profile on MySpace.

  42. Get Dugg / Netscaped / Reddited / Stumbled upon: Whole articles (and sites) are written about the intricacies of socially bookmarking. Here’s a tip: focus on creating great content, make friends on these sites if they allow you to, and submit your stories judiciously. source

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