15 Quick Tips to Boost Blog Traffic

15-quick-tips-to-boost-blog-traffic

1. Connect your profiles. Does your Twitter page have your website listed in the bio? Does your Facebook link to your blog? Does your blog have links to all your social media profiles clearly listed? Make it easy for people to connect with you on the platform of their choice, and make sure all platforms can clearly direct people to your blog. Voila! Easy traffic.

2. Set up a newsletter subscription. You might entice readers with a free PDF if they sign up for your email list, or you might offer a special 3-part course to help them learn more about the services you offer. You also might offer a coupon. Whatever you do, set up some kind of reward and get people to sign up for a subscription via newsletter. Of course, this means you’ll have to occasionally send out updates, but people who are willing to give you their email address are much more likely to return in the future and purchase your products, so it isn’t the same as blasting them unwarranted.

3. Offer RSS feed subscriptions or simple blog subscriptions. Not everyone wants to sign up for a newsletter. But many people will sign up to read new updates. So enable the widgets on WordPress for people to easily subscribe to your blog via email or RSS feed–if you don’t use WordPress, there are also options to do this in Blogger, as well as through your own website. (You’ll have to speak to your developer about this.)

4. Send out notifications of your updates on social media. So not only do you have to make sure your profiles connect to each other and that people can easily subscribe to your blog and social media, but you also have to make sure that you send out updates automatically about your brand new post. You can set it up in WordPress to publicize to your connected accounts as soon as a post goes live (and you can do so in Blogger as well).

5. Schedule posts ahead of time. Have a hectic life with not a lot of extra time to blog? Well, why not try scheduling posts ahead of time? If you have one day that you can dedicate to writing the next month’s posts, do it. Then schedule them to go live whenever you want. Your posts will go out reliably when you need them to, and you can focus on doing other things until you’re ready to write again.

6. Include links to your newsletter in your sidebars/widget areas. When you set up your blog, make sure sidebars, menus, and widget areas are full of great information–like how to connect with you on social media and how to sign up for your newsletter. Doing this is a great way to make sure that you stay in contact with your fans who really want to hear from you–they gave you their email, after all, so they’ll be eager to read what you send them!

7. Install Sniply and watch your clickthrough traffic grow. If you haven’t heard of Sniply, you’ll definitely want to check it out. How does it work? You can set it up so that, when a visitor clicks a link you provide (be it on your site or through social media), they’ll not only see the article you’re linking to, but they’ll also see a little bubble in the corner of their screen. This bubble includes a space to include a catchy, customizable call to action, as well as a button that links back to your blog.

So how is this beneficial to you? Well, when you link to a site other than your own (say, a blog you enjoy linking to), people who follow that link will see an opportunity to be led back to your site whenever they’re ready. So you’re promoting your work while promoting the work of others simultaneously. Pretty cool, huh?

8. Offer to do guest posts for other blogs in your niche. If you enjoy blogging (and presumably, you do!), you might want to branch out and offer your services to other bloggers. Now, this might seem counterproductive–when do you have the time to write for other sites, after all?–but it’s not. You can build relationships with other bloggers, who will then promote your work alongside their own. You can also earn links to your site by including them in your byline. All in all, guest blogging is an easy way to earn links and get clicks to your site.

9. Post comments on other blogs. If you’re not feeling up to offering a guest post, another great way to get involved with other blogs is to leave friendly comments on recent posts. Usually you’ll have to set up a profile to do so, which allows you to have a branded profile image as well as a link to your own site in one convenient spot. People can then visit you by following the links in your profile!

10. Join Google+ communities and offer blog posts where applicable. Same goes for Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, and Twitter tribes. By joining communities or special groups, you can find like-minded people who are likely to be interested in your products and services. They might even share your updates for you. Social media doesn’t have to be ultra-competitive–in fact, it can really be beneficial to make friends with those you’d normally consider your competitors.

11. Install an SEO plug-in if you use WordPress. Updating your posts to be within the guidelines and recommendations of the plugin will help you get a better chance of ranking in Google/Bing/Yahoo. The best part is that you don’t have to know anything about coding or analytics–you just have to be able to fill in boxes as the plug-in suggests. The plug-ins can be free (or you can pay if you’d like more options) and they’re quick and easy to install.

12. Use CoPromote, dlvr.it, or IFTTT formulas to disperse your posts automatically and at different times. Staggering updates is key. If you dump your links everywhere all at once, you don’t reach the widest audience. For example, you might try updating Twitter first, followed by Facebook at the most heavily-trafficked times. Do what fits best with your schedule.

13. Don’t forget to check statistics. Finding that one post is performing better than the others? Don’t be afraid to reshare it. As long as you’re not spamming the same link over and over, you should be fine! And no matter what, always remember to reshare posts again a few months down the road. You’re always gaining new fans and followers–give them a chance to read your best work, too!

14. Put a link to your blog in your email signature. Make sure you’re always just a click away. You can also include links to your social media profiles or include your cell or office number. This way, whenever you send an email to a customer, they’ll have an easy way of reaching you. And if you’re sending out those guest blogging requests, it’s also a great way to encourage prospective blogging partners to visit your social media profiles, too!

15. Install a mobile-responsive theme! Now that Google is including mobile-friendliness in its ranking algorithm, you’ll need to make sure your blog can be read by mobile devices. Install a theme that’s responsive (aka mobile-friendly) and you won’t have to worry about being pushed off the top page for mobile searches. That should help with blog traffic!

Internet Local Listings is an internet advertising company in Santa Ana, CA, serving clients across the country with the best website marketing services available in the industry. Visit us here for more information, or give us a call at (888) 770-3950 to discover how we can help you be seen online.

5 Things You Can Do to Make Your Blog More SEO Friendly — in 30 Minutes or Less!

5 ways to make your blog more SEO friendly in 30 minutes or elss

1. Install a responsive-design theme (Time: 7 minutes).

Look through your blogging platform’s pre-made themes and you can find responsive designs for free. If you want to have a little bit more choice, you can always pay a one-time fee to have access to a design that’s more customizable.

So how does a responsive design help with SEO? More and more people are searching the web through mobile devices nowadays–that includes phones and tablets. As this becomes more commonplace, Google is going to start valuing mobile-friendly sites more than those that don’t cater to all devices. Don’t be left behind–get on this now. It can be free, and seriously–7 minutes. You can do it in the time it takes you to take out the trash.

2. Make sure your URLs are easily indexable (Time: 3 minutes).

When you post a new article, does it show up looking something like this?

Myawesomeblog.com/?p=431

Yeah, that doesn’t really  help the search engines find your site. Instead, go into your permalinks customization and make sure you choose something that enables you to format the title with keywords. Search engines love keywords, not random letters and numbers that tell them nothing of the page’s content.

(Note: on wordpress.com, your links should automatically be formatted correctly; on wordpress.org blogs, or self-hosted blogs, you can find the permalinks customization option under “settings.”)

3. Make your images SEO-friendly (Time: 10 minutes).

Well, to be honest, this depends on how many images you have on your blog. But if you have a reasonable amount, you can easily make this work in under 10 minutes.

Simply go to your media section (where you host your videos and images), and open up the editor. On wordpress, you can see all your media in one spot and you have the option to rename them, add links, and add something called an “alt tag”. That’s where the gold is.

Alt tags tell search engines what the picture is about. So if you go in and edit all your images’ alt tags, search engines will be able to associate them with your site and keywords.

For example, instead of leaving the alt tag of an image of a plumber working at a toilet blank, try writing a descriptive sentence like, well, “plumber working at a toilet”.

4. Install a plug-in that helps you stay on top of SEO best practices (Time: 5 minutes).

Yoast SEO and All-in-One SEO are the best choices. Yoast recently had a security issue, but they quickly worked to seal it back up, and everything is back to normal again.

These plug-ins can easily be installed on WordPress from here or here, or you can do a search for them yourself from the native WordPress dashboard. After they’re installed, you can then begin playing around with options and implementing strategies that will help your posts rank better in search engines–and the best part is, this can be free, or close to it.

5. Submit a fresh site map to Google (Time: 5 minutes).

You can do this manually, or by using the Google Webmaster Tools generator. Then you can submit your sitemap through Webmaster Tools yourself, and it’ll all work just fine. We promise.

Or, you can do it an easier way. With a WordPress blog, you install another plugin that’ll make this much more convenient.

Try something like Google XML Sitemaps, which you can download here for free. What this enables you to do is create a sitemap quickly and easily–and the plugin will submit it to Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. It notifies these popular search engines every time you update so that they can quickly index your work. Much, much easier than trying to do it yourself, right?

Internet Local Listings is an internet advertising company in Santa Ana, CA, serving clients across the country with the best website marketing services available in the industry. Visit us here for more information, or give us a call at (888) 770-3950 to see how we can help you be seen online.

10 Ways to Rock Your Small Business Blog

1. Put social media connections in a sidebar.

Have you ever visited a blog with a sidebar—you know, the thing that loads on either the left or right hand side of the screen and usually contains links or advertisements?

Well, if you have, you probably noticed that those sidebars usually contain information about pertinent things: Other blogs, affiliate links, popular articles, and of course, social media profiles.

Make it easy for your customers and clients to connect with you across all your social media platforms by installing a sidebar on your blog. For WordPress, most themes support it. For Blogger, it’s built right in. Make good use of that real estate!

2. Offer helpful advice.

Don’t just try to sell your readers your services. No one likes a hard sales pitch, and no one wants to slog through an entire post just to see that you’re selling them something.

Instead, why don’t you offer advice to your readers? For example, if you sell and install gutters, you could put together a post detailing the proper care of gutters for all seasons. Or you could walk customers through the different kinds of gutters and which ones work best with different kinds of homes.

By offering advice, you won’t come off as pushy or desperate. You can add a soft pitch to your posts by saying that you’re available to help with any problems the reader might be having, and leave your contact information. Make sure you also have your contact information listed on the rest of your site, too–readers should be able to quickly find what they need no matter where they are.

3. Link to your own articles.

Did you know that linking to your own articles can help send more positive ranking signals to Google? If you’ve written a number of posts already, then you’ll have plenty of relevant information om your site that you can refer your readers to. Going back to our example, the gutter supplier, you might have written one post about the importance of cleaning your gutters before the snow falls, and you might have written another about maintaining your gutters throughout the winter. You could definitely find space in one article to link to the other, and vice versa. This will keep visitors on your site longer, too!

4. Include good images—not just generic stock photos.

Have you ever read a blog where the photos are just generic, boring stock images? Does it help you remember that site or feel like it really connects with you?

Probably not. The point of including images in your posts is to enhance the reader’s experience—to break up text and to create a visual guide for the content they’re taking in. If you just include boring, run-of-the-mill stock pictures, it’s not going to be very attention-grabbing. So get out there and find exciting photos to include, or, if you’re artistic (or if you employ an artistic and willing employee), you might even want to create your own one-of-a-kind graphics!

5. Get competitive.

Yes, that’s right: Contests. If you put up a blog post asking people to participate in a contest, your readers will be happy to comment and share. You can then cross-post it to social media accounts and ask your fans to share there, too. Contests can be simple to design—like asking people to caption a photo, for example—or they can be a bit more complex, such as asking people to submit a creation of their own (photo, writing, design, etc).

Then, as a reward, you’ll want to give away a prize like a coupon, “buy one get one free”, a free estimate for your services, or gift cards to your store. Whatever you think is a good incentive for your company!

6. Want feedback? Set up a poll.

If you want to get some feedback about the quality of your services, the appearance of your website, or the appeal of the sale you’re currently running, a great way to do so is to set up a poll. You can get plug-ins on WordPress to do this easily. The beauty of a poll vs asking for direct feedback is that people are much more likely to be honest when the results are anonymous. So you’ll probably have more participants, and you’ll more than likely end up with more accurate responses!

7. Make sure you have a sitemap.

If you haven’t already, you should make sure that your blog contains a clear sitemap for Google to crawl. Basically, what this means is that Google robots can find their way around your page more easily, making it more likely that your page will rank.

Every once in a while, it’s nice to submit a new sitemap to Google, especially if you’ve done a lot of rearranging on your site, or if you produce content regularly (which you should be doing!)

If you need help doing this, here’s a handy guide.

8. Update your blog frequently—even with just some quick news.

Sometimes it’s difficult coming up with regular blog post ideas. Whether the creative juice isn’t flowing or you’re just plain not interested in writing, it can be difficult to consistently come up with great blog posts for your readers. And that’s okay. All of us suffer from writer’s block from time to time, and there’s really no way around it. You just have to come up with something–anything–that you can talk about to keep the attention of your readers. You could even post a little “hello” and update everyone on your plan to unveil a new product. Whatever works!

Oh, and if you’re really struggling to come up with topics, we have an article to help you brainstorm some killer blog post ideas right here.

9. Show off your latest work.

Do you have a photo gallery that hasn’t been updated in the last year and a half? Well, it’s probably time to change that. Go in and add photos of things you’re proud of–if you’re a roofer, for example, ask customers to share photos of the work that you did. You can then put it up in a gallery for your visitors to browse. If you’re a person who provides artistic services (like web design or photography), this is a must-have. Don’t be shy–you should be proud of your hard work!

10. Reach out to others in your industry.

If you’re serious about marketing your business, a great way to get more eyes on your small business blog is to reach out to industry professionals and ask for their opinions. Ask them to share tips and tricks. Share their articles with your readers. Try doing an interview, or ask someone if you can do a guest post on their blog. There are a number of ways you can network, and just as networking in person, networking online takes effort and finesse. When you hobnob with some of the well-known names… well, you’ve just bought yourself more traffic and more credibility.

Good luck with your small business blogging endeavors!

Internet Local Listings is an internet advertising company in Santa Ana, CA, serving clients across the country with the best website marketing services available in the industry. Visit us here for more information, or give us a call at (888) 770-3950 to see how we can help you be seen online.

7 Reasons Small Businesses Should Be Blogging

1. Blogging helps with SEO.

Writing posts regularly gives the search engines something useful to index. If the content on your website doesn’t change very often, it’s time to fix that. The easiest way to deliver fresh content without a large time commitment is to start up a blog. Pick a schedule you can stick to–even once a week–and you’ll see that it helps your site look more favorable to the major search engines.

2. Blogging can help make you an authority figure.

If you write intelligent, high-quality posts about your products and services, you can position yourself as an industry expert. As we mentioned above, you’ll have to stick to a regular schedule. But you’ll also have to make sure that your content is well researched and contains valuable information.

For example, if you’re a plumber, you might want to write about how seasons can affect a home’s plumbing system. You could talk about the need for regular maintenance or for special preparations your clients must make before the ground freezes. This would be valuable information to anyone who is searching for a plumber, and if your readers find your content helpful, they’ll want to come back to read more. Perhaps they’ll hire you for their next plumbing job, too!

3. You can build a subscription list.

Did you know that if people subscribe to your newsletter, you get business leads? It’s true: people still click on marketing emails, and they’re still willing to purchase things that are advertised through email. Not convinced?

Then you’ll want to check out these 25 facts about email marketing. People are still gaining leads from the process, and most of them are high-quality. When someone willingly wants to receive emails from you, they’re definitely interested in your products and services. It’s a win-win!

4. Customers and readers can give you valuable feedback.

If there’s one way that people aren’t afraid to speak out, it’s through the comment sections. Now, we know that comments kind of have a bad reputation, but they can actually be helpful, too. When customers and readers comment on your blog posts, they’ll let you know if you’re helpful. You might be surprised at how many people admire what you have to say–sometimes, it’s really difficult to find the exact answers you’re looking for. You might just be the right person to do that for your readers!

You can check out this article on the debate of whether to allow or block comments on your blog and see for yourself if it’d be worth it for you.

5. Blogging allows you to stay caught up on current news in your industry.

This is a benefit you might not have thought of: if you’re doing research for your blog posts, you can stay caught up on current events and developments in your industry–and without even really trying. In your hunt for information, you might find blogs you want to subscribe to, or you may just find a post or two that will help you write your own content. Either way, it’s an almost effortless tactic to make sure you remain a valuable and accurate source of information for your readers.

6. Networking with other bloggers and industry experts can pay off big-time.

If you’re just talking to yourself, you might help your website rank higher, and you might gain a few readers. And of course, that’s always a positive thing! But if you’re looking for more visitors and more subscribers, you’re going to want to network with other bloggers.

You might be asking yourself right now, “Where am I going to find anyone else who blogs?”

And that can be a tough situation to face, particularly if you’re new to all of this, or if you’re pressed for time as it is.

But never fear. This article talks about getting started with socializing. Now, it’s important to note that while this author focuses on meetups and chats via Twitter, you don’t have to do all that. You might also want to try guest posting or simply reaching out and saying hello on social media networks. Whatever you have time for and feel comfortable with–as long as you’re making some effort, you’ll make some connections that can benefit in the long run.

7. You can keep your customers up-to-date with your products and services.

If nothing else, blogging is one of the best ways to keep your customers up-to-date with your company. Do you have a new sale going on? Let them know with a quick post. Do you want to ask them for feedback on your latest menu item? Invite them to weigh in on your blog. Most blogging platforms offer the ability to immediately share your post with your social media sites. You can connect Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus so that when you post an update, it automatically gets sent out to those profiles. Now you have an easy way to let everyone know across all platforms with only a single post. It’s a time-saver!

Internet Local Listings is an internet advertising company in Santa Ana, CA, serving clients across the country with the best website marketing services available in the industry. Visit us here for more information, or give us a call at (888) 770-3950 to see how we can help you be seen online.

How to De-Clutter Your Blog

1. Choose a great theme or hire a developer to create one.

If you’re just using a basic theme, you might want to branch out into something different. WordPress provides a number of clean, sleek themes that will make any blog look 100 times more professional. You can do a live preview of a theme before you activate it to see if it fits your style. If you’re not falling in love with any of the free templates, you can always purchase one. While it’s not always a blogger’s top choice to pay for a theme, you can look at it this way: By purchasing a professional theme for $40 or so, you’re still paying way less than you would for a developer to completely redo your site.

If you’re not using WordPress, you might want to try this article. It features over 200 of the best free responsive themes for Blogger!

And finally, if you’re not keen on using any premade themes, hire a developer! You can find a lot of freelance workers on sites like elance.com or odesk.com.

2. Keep your tags clean and organized.

When you tag your posts, do you use any kind of system? Are there tags in your cloud that you rarely use? If you’re a blogger who has been working for a while, chances are that you’ve come up with quite a few colorful tags that you’ve used to categorize your posts. But honestly, it pays to go through and clean them up every once in a while. Try to keep common themes together–for example, graphic design, design freebies, design inspiration. If you have some random tags about a trip you took or something, go ahead and delete those. That way you keep everything neat and tidy.

3. Organize sidebars and advertisements.

If you’re a prolific blogger, you might find that your sidebars have become out of date. That’s normal, so don’t beat yourself up–but you should also clean it up for the sake of future visitors. Evaluate add-ons or advertisements and see if they still add value and are relevant. If not, get rid of them. It’s not only useless for your blogging business, but it’s also irritating for your visitors. If they take the time to read your blog, they trust your input. And when they click on broken links or advertisements that aren’t any good, they lose trust in your brand. Don’t let that happen!

4. Make sure your images are properly sized and aligned.

Did you know that your blog’s theme is designed to work with images of specific sizes? If you didn’t, now would be a good time to explore your theme’s settings and discover how your images will be most effectively displayed. Your blog theme should be responsive–that is, work on mobile devices such as phones and tablets, as well as desktops and laptops. So see which dimensions are recommended (you should be able to find information in your blog’s theme) and test it out on different screens to make sure they display properly across all devices.

5. Delete or fix old links.

There is nothing worse than getting really into reading a blog and being so excited to click through posts–only to find out that half of those links are dead. Every once in a while, it’s a good idea to go through and make sure all of your links are up to date. Sites close down. You may have moved your site and forgotten to change some of the old links. It’s okay, it happens to everyone. But make this a part of your regular blog maintenance schedule and you’ll be far less likely to receive a lot of complaints about it.

The good news is that WordPress users can find plug-ins that do this for them! Makes it a lot easier, doesn’t it?

6. Get rid of old plug-ins.

Do you have a lot of plug-ins installed that you don’t use? Are you cluttering up your sidebars with things that you could put elsewhere? Go through and get rid of them! Not only does this help increase your page load time (and studies show that a fast page load time is very important to retaining visitors), but it also makes it easier for visitors to find the links that truly matter. Check out this cool guide to get your WordPress database cleaned up efficiently.

7. Say buh-bye to old posts that offer irrelevant information.

Because we’re SEO people, we always do new posts when Google releases an update. But, as you probably already know, Google releases new updates preeeeetty often. So whenever a newer one comes out, our old posts become irrelevant. That means it’s time to take them out of scheduled post updates (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) No one wants to follow a link on social media, only to be led to something that is a complete waste of time.

If you like, you can also delete the posts from your blog altogether. For example, if your old post ends up ranking and people are getting incorrect information, you’re going to be dealing with some unhappy readers. To solve that dilemma, just unpublish the post or delete it.

Otherwise, another option could be to open up that article and insert a link to your new post. Now readers know where to go for the most accurate and up-to-date information!

8. Could you be using different fonts?

Take a good look at your blog. Do your eyes have any trouble adjusting to anything? Are your colors too bright against the background–or are they too close in hue and difficult to make out? The charts at Colorcombos.com can help you decide on an aesthetically-pleasing palette.

What about font size? Are your headers overwhelmingly large? Can you easily read the print in the body of your articles? If not, be sure to test out the font sizes on a few different screens. Keep in mind that some readers might have vision issues, so don’t make your fonts too small.

Finally, evaluate the font type. Do you have font styles that complement one another? Serifs pair well with san-serifs. Likewise, bold fonts pair well with scripts. Try I Font You for great combos!

9. Make sure your contact and about info is up-to-date.

When was the last time you updated your contact page? Has your email changed? Are you still available at the same phone number, address, or social media accounts? Double check to make sure that every bit of your contact info is correct so that your readers can contact you via the channel of their preference.

On your about page, make sure that your bio is up to date. Maybe you’ve had some important personal events happen over the last couple of years. Maybe you’ve changed jobs and have more experience to add to your bio. Make sure that your about page reflects just how awesome you are!

10. Connect social media accounts and get rid of old accounts that you no longer update.

Does your blog have the option to connect with you via social media? Whether you place widgets in the sidebars or design a floating bar with links to your social media profiles, you should always make it perfectly clear to your visitors that you’re on social media and you’re inviting them to connect with you.

If you’ve stopped using a social media network, delete that connection from your blog. It’s annoying to follow an author on Twitter, only to find out that they never tweet anymore!

Can you think of any other great tips for de-cluttering your blog? Let us know in the comments!

Internet Local Listings is an internet advertising company in Santa Ana, CA, serving clients across the country with the best website marketing services available in the industry. Visit us here for more information, or give us a call at (888) 770-3950 to see how we can help you be seen online.

6 Simple Ways to Promote Your Blog

1. StumbleUpon

A lot of people think of StumbleUpon as being a social media network that sort of disappeared into the depths of the internet several years ago. But it’s actually still a really great way to promote your work. There are sponsored pages if you’d like to pay for advertising, but even if you just list your articles under relevant categories, you’ll see traffic begin to trickle in.

Some good StumbleUpon tips to remember:

  • Don’t just add your things. StumbleUpon is a social media network–so add friends and “like” their sites too!
  • Choose good tags when you add a site. The more specific you get, the better.
  • Ask your network of peers to “like” your site. You can do the same to theirs.
  • Make sure you have an opt-in area clearly visible to Stumblers–i.e., somewhere on the front page. Often, they’ll leave as fast as they came, but if they’re interested in hearing more from you, they might opt-in to your newsletter.

2. Reddit

Reddit can be a real hit or miss. Post at the wrong time, and your content will be lost to the abyss very quickly. Post at the right time, and you could see a major influx of traffic. But there are some rules that apply here that you won’t want to break:

The way it works is by posting to a page called a subreddit. (Take a look at the SEO subreddit here for an example.) Users can then “upvote” or “downvote” posts on the subreddit page. It makes sense then, that in order to get to the top of the list, you have to get a steady flow of “upvotes”–otherwise your post will be buried by other submissions. And, as it turns out, Redditors are a little bit pickier with the content they choose to upvote: your post must be very well-written, and it must contribute valuable information to the subreddit’s topic of discussion. Furthermore, no one wants to upvote a spammer. So to make sure that you get the most out of Reddit, be sure to:

  • Respond to comments on your posts so that readers know you’re invested
  • Cross-post to different subreddits. However, you should be sure that you choose different categories. If you post to two similar subreddits in the same day, you might be perceived as a spammer. (I.e., posting an SEO article to an SEO subreddit as well as an internet marketing subreddit (good) vs posting to SEO and SEO tips (too similar).
  • Post entire links. Some platforms almost require shortened links (like Twitter, for example), but Redditors do not want to be clicking text links and have malware installed on their computers. Make sure your links are clear and easy to read.
  • Help out fellow Redditors by upvoting for relevant content.

3. Pinterest

Pinterest is a visual social media platform that allows users to share “pins”–or pictures with text descriptions and links. Pinterest users curate pins into themed “boards”. So how does this help you promote your blog?

Well, Pinterest is actually quite widely used. And its users are invested, often creating boards with thousands of pins on them.

By adding an easy-to-spot “Pin It” button to images on your blog, you’ll be able to more easily facilitate sharing on Pinterest. In order to achieve pin-worthy pictures, you can use tools like Canva.com to make gorgeous (and free!) images to appeal to your audience. Keep in mind that Pinterest is largely visual–unlike Reddit, pinners enjoy the aesthetic look of their boards, so you can’t just post a link and hope for the best.

You can also use a widget to drive traffic. Head over to your profile on Pinterest.com and click the little gear icon, then navigate to “Create a Widget”–and voila! Pinterest feeds you the code. You put it on your blog and it allows people to see your boards, then click through to browse more closely.

Some tips go get the most out of your pins:

  • Make sure that your descriptions are clear and concise. Add hashtags if you like.
  • Double check to make sure your links are all good. No one wants to follow someone who mindlessly posts spammy links.
  • Leave comments on pins you particularly love.
  • Every once in a while, re-pin your old content to make sure it is seen by more pinners.

4. Interlink on your own blog

As time goes on and our blogs grow larger, we build up a great arsenal of content. But after six months, eight months, a year… well, you aren’t making use of a lot of that content, because it gets buried under all the fresh stuff. A great way to lead your readers to your other posts is to 1) insert links to older articles in your new content, and 2) to go back to older articles and insert relevant links to fresh content.

For example, do you have an old social media article that would help corroborate your data in a newer article? Go in and link it! Have a guide that has been buried under pages of new posts? Find a way to promote it on the front page or in your newest articles. By making it easy for your audience to find content, you’re going to see a big increase in page views and traffic.

Another great reason to do this is because search engines love it. They’ll see your site as more connected and active, and your articles will be seen as higher quality. You can’t lose with this method!

5. Post Old Content Intermittently

This ties in with the above tip: If you’ve been blogging for a while, you should definitely consider promoting your older content again. By doing so, you’ll bring a fresh persepective to your older posts. Plus, tied in with new interlinking, you’re creating an interconnected “web” of data on your blog, rather than disjointed posts that are too easily lost in the sea of information you’re producing.

How can you most easily manage this? Be sure to keep a content calendar to repost old articles on a regular basis. If you have time-sensitive content, you obviously should make sure to not include it in your posting plan–no one wants to read “Top Social Media Trends of 2013” right now, unless we’re doing a Throwback Thursday event!

Be sure to post content on all of your social media sites, and if you’ve done significant updates to an article, feel free to repost it on your blog and let everyone know you’ve revisited the subject.

6. Blog exchange

As a blogger, you probably have other blogger friends. If this is the case, why not offer to do a blog exchange? One of the most important parts of getting your blog in front of more eyes is networking. Not only do search engines find sites with external links more valuable (from reliable sources, of course), but readers might already read one blog and trust its content–and if they trust that content, they’ll be willing to give yours a try.

This isn’t necessarily the same thing as guest posting, but it’s similar. Guest posting can go in this vein as well–you can offer a post to a blogger you feel would benefit from your content and hope for the best. But building a network among your connections certainly won’t hurt either.

Internet Local Listings is an internet advertising company in Santa Ana, CA, serving clients across the country with the best website marketing services available in the industry. Visit us here for more information, or give us a call at (888) 770-3950 to see how we can help you be seen online.

10 Reasons to Make New Year’s Resolutions

setting-goals1. You set a realistic goal for yourself.

Let’s start off with the easy one: Making a New Year’s resolution allows you to focus on a goal. It makes you admit to yourself that there is a) something you really, really want, and b) a seed somewhere deep inside of you that’s already been planted–you wouldn’t have the desire to change if it hadn’t–and pursuing the goal will allow it to grow.

Unfortunately, making resolutions is an abstract concept to some people. If you’re a person who sets goals regularly,this might seem to you, but it’s true. Not all people love goal-making and forcing change upon their lives. That’s why it’s important to visualize your goal–and keep it realistic. Picture it clearly and be able to define it in one actionable sentence. Examples:

  • I will incorporate more vegetables into my meals.
  • I will make home-cooked food at least three times a week.
  • I will save two thousand dollars by the end of December.
  • I will make some time for myself by blocking out an hour massage two times a month.
  • I will increase my company profits by 30%.

These are all positive, affirmative, and confident statements. The goal is clearly defined, and it’s easy to imagine yourself being successful in your pursuit because you’ve been realistic. So whether you’re the type who looks forward to setting goals or you’ve avoided them your entire life, you’ll have a much better chance of  enjoying success if you follow these tips!

2. Starting from a clean slate feels great.

Maybe you’ve been setting goals for yourself for years and felt like you’ve come up short. Maybe you’ve had a terrible year and just want to hide in a hole and recuperate. Or maybe you’re not feeling particularly inspired to make a resolution because you find them boring, pointless, or otherwise marginally effective.

That’s okay.

Yes, that’s right: That’s okay.

But here’s something you might want to consider: Now is a great time to clear your head and create the atmosphere of newness. 

Newness is a great feeling. It makes you feel fifty pounds lighter. It scrubs your mind of lingering doubts and fears. It creates the perfect setting for you to think clearly and create room for yourself to grow.

Even if you’re the most pessimistic person around, you can appreciate a nice clean feeling. If you imagine the new year as a way to scrub the residue from last year, you might be more receptive to making resolutions. Examples:

  • Scrap the one hundred projects you’ve started but will never finish. Choose one thing you’d like to salvage and focus on that.
  • Clean out your inbox. You probably underestimate how great this feels until you’ve actually done it. (It’s wonderful.)
  • Organize your office and get rid of any old papers and files you just don’t need anymore.
  • Remember that time you messed up the report and felt like a total idiot? Let it go. Study up on how to better prepare reports so you’ll ace it next time.
  • Trying to salvage a floundering social media project? Dump it. Start over and try new things. Take a few risks. It’s a brand new start!

overcoming-obstacles3. Overcoming challenges gives you pride.

Maybe you’re the kind of person who feels very small in day-to-day life. Perhaps you’re at a job where you feel unimportant, or you have failed to “lose the weight” or “be more mindful” many times over and just don’t think you can make any real changes in your life. Chances are, you’re feeling kind of cynical about resolutions.

They don’t work. I’ll just fail. Everyone makes these dumb promises and ends up breaking them anyway.

But that’s just the thing: This is something you choose to do. You choose to dedicate yourself to your goals. You might slip up, but that’s no reason to quit altogether. You don’t have to be perfect! Take this opportunity to view a resolution as a challenge–one that will give you a great sense of pride if you reach it. Examples could be:

  • Run your first marathon. Start lifting weights. Learn how to swim better.
  • Start doing freelance work on the side, so you can bolster your resume and set yourself on track to reach your business goals.
  • Learn how to play an instrument, how to salsa dance, or how to grow a garden in an urban area. Do you have to be a master to enjoy learning? Of course not–everyone has to start somewhere.
  • Has someone told you you’re too stubborn? Too negative? Study up on how to see the silver linings in things.
  • Face a fear you’ve always had. Speaking in public, looking silly while trying new things, or flying across the country–you can work step by step to overcome these obstacles. It’s immensely rewarding!

4. You can put a bad year behind you.

Alright, you. You know who you are. You’ve had a terrible 2014 and you’re over it. You want to forget about it already.

Hey, we’ve all been there. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose. But that’s actually all the more reason to make a resolution!

A problem many people have (particularly entrepreneurs and small business owners!) is that they just can’t let the past go. Whether your business venture was a bust or you had to make some difficult personal choices, it’s hard not to wonder what could have been had you chosen differently. But there’s honestly no point in that.

You can take this chance to put your bad year behind you and look forward to progress. Examples:

  • Made a rough personal choice? View it as reinforcing your armor. This makes you stronger so you can perform better in other areas of your life and make a better future for yourself.
  • Did you have a terrible year at your company–even had to shut your business down? It’s terribly difficult. But as trite as it might sound, you can take this opportunity to look at what you’ve learned, what you’d do differently next time. 
  • Feeling upset with your job? Dedicate some time to looking for something that suits your needs. Feel like you need more skills? Enroll in an online class, take a MOOC, or find a community class to enroll in.

5. Next year at this time, you’ll thank yourself.

Sometimes it helps to project forward in time. If you’d started your goal a year ago, where do you think you’d be now? More than likely, you’d be happy that you had done so much work! Wouldn’t you like to enjoy that feeling next year? Of course you would. You can start today and prepare for a big pat on the back from your future self.

If you need some numbers or any other inspiration, here are some examples:

  • Do you want to lose weight? Imagine if you lost a pound a week for the next fifty-two weeks. 52 pounds lighter! Wow. Now that’s a noticeable difference!
  • Do you want to save money? Check out this nifty savings plan–by the end of the year you’ll be $1378 richer.
  • Are you aiming to grow your company’s social media following? Start by aiming for a new follower every day. That’s 365 followers this year–and who knows, once you gain some traction, you might even start gaining more without having to put forth more effort.

punch-fear-in-the-face6. Punch fear in the face.

If you make a resolution, you might fail. That’s a realistic thing that could happen.

But how do you know if you don’t try? If you never take a risk, you’ll never know just how much you’re capable of. So if you’re afraid of failure (and let’s face it, most of us are), suck it up and punch fear in the face. Tell it to back off and stop bullying you. It’s taken control of your progress for far too long–and what better time than now to put your foot down and tell it to get lost?

Mantras you could repeat to get that confidence you will need:

  • “I’ve spent X years wanting this. I won’t spend any more.”
  • “What’s the worst that could happen. I could fail. So what? Then I pick myself up and I try again, or I learn from it and move on.”
  • “Fear is what holds back many great thinkers, artists, and entrepreneurs. I won’t let myself be among that group any longer.”
  • “What will I tell myself when I’m older if I never tried? I will regret never taking a chance on myself.”
  • “Fear is stupid and I’m going to punch it in the face.”

7. Refine your personal values.

If you’ve had a rough year or been busy with work, school, family, or life in general, you might be feeling burned out right now. Lots of people suffer from stress, and as such, they lose track of what’s really important to them.

What’s important to you might be completely valueless to someone else. For example, you might enjoy working on writing music outside of work, but your boss would rather have you spending more time following up with clients. Alternatively, you might be a small business owner trying hard to get the company growing, but employees aren’t matching your enthusiasm. When you’re unable to fulfill that undeniable need to engage with activities and people that you value, you become stressed and anxious, and eventually your health and well-being suffer.

Put a stop to that in 2015. Tell yourself:

  • I really value X. How can I arrange my schedule so that I get to enjoy a bit of X every day?
  • Which part of my day makes me the happiest? What does that tell me about my health and happiness?
  • How can I get others excited about my vision? Am I being realistic with my friends and family, or am I pressuring them too hard?
  • Which runs my life right now: My values or my obligations? How can I better balance these two things?

8. Surround yourself with things that bolster you.

When you go to work, what does your desk/cubicle/office look like? Are you sitting around a bunch of drab boxes and file cabinets? Or are you able to put up a few pictures or even bring in a little plant?

When you’re at home, do you have a space that is instantly comfortable and relaxing? Do you flop on the couch and never move or do you have something else in your routine that energizes you?

These kinds of things are really important to your mental health and general well-being. A person needs to have a space where he or she can relax completely. A person also needs to be able to feel comfortable and welcome in his or her workspace. If you don’t create these little sanctuaries, it can be difficult to unplug from the chaos of the day.

Here are some things you could try:

leap-of-faith9. Take a leap of faith.

Perhaps you have read through this entire list and you can’t find a single thing that would entice you to try to make a resolution. Maybe you can’t find it to believe in yourself. Maybe you’re just tired of this happy-poppy-bubblegum idea of positive change being the solution to everything in your life.

Okay, that’s fair.

But what if you took a leap of faith?

What if, just to see what happened, you tried something crazy and completely new? Something that you know would make you happy if you were to succeed?

You can place your faith in your deity of choice or have faith in yourself and those around you. Wherever your faith comes from, place trust in that and push forward.

  • Want to start your own business? Read up on it. Talk to as many experts as you can. Believe that you can be like them.
  • Want to lose weight? Look at all the people who have turned their lives around by getting fit. It doesn’t only serve them, and it’s not all “shallow” or “vain”–it impacts health long-term, which affects family and friends. Believe that this helps everyone in your life.
  • Thinking of writing a book, playing in a band, directing your debut film, or learning to dance? Take a class. Network with other creatives and start blogging. Believe that you can do it when you have the support of the creative community.
  • Want to do something daring like skydive or speak on television? Figure out ways to do it. Believe that you can overcome your fears and do something that will make you feel proud and powerful.

10. Bring happiness to others around you.

If nothing else, remember:

You have the power to make those around you happy or miserable. One human being can be capable of having a surprisingly profound effect on others. You can learn a new skill, spend more time with your family, work harder to get that promotion, or save up to take the soul-searching trip of a lifetime. All of these things have potential to do good for others. Make sure that whatever you do, even the smallest things, bring joy to yourself and to others, and you’ll fulfill the best resolution of all!

Happy new year, marketers, small business owners, readers, and those who just stumbled by. We look forward to bringing you more articles about our specialty soon: SEO, Marketing, and Social Media!

In the meantime, take these tips and apply them to your home, business, and personal life. You should make a resolution this year. We did!

Internet Local Listings is an internet advertising company in Santa Ana, CA, serving clients across the country with the best website marketing services available in the industry. Visit us here for more information, or give us a call at (888) 770-3950 to see how we can help you be seen online.

The Importance of Visual Content

As a small business owner, marketer, and website owner, you have to wear a lot of hats. You have to produce your products, deliver great customer service on a daily basis, and ensure you keep up with marketing techniques so you can effectively promote your brand. But unfortunately, in today’s intensely competitive online world, it’s not enough to simply have a website and promote yourself on social media. You also need to create some kind of a content marketing plan—such as a blog—and you should be integrating visual content into that plan.

Now, you might be asking why you should be doing this. Maybe you’ve been writing a blog and you feel that you get enough shares, traffic, engagement, etc. from it already. Maybe you’re more the type who enjoys reading than forcing your way through an infographic. Or maybe you haven’t even started a blog and don’t really see the point in having one.

Unfortunately, the numbers prove that images and videos—visual content—help sell products better than text alone.

visual-marketing-meme

Image Source: Visually Social

Did you know that posts with videos attract 3 times more inbound links than plain text posts? Or how about that views of a published article go up 94 percent if they contain a relevant image or infographic when compared to articles without an image in the same category? Whether it’s just a picture or a video, the studies show that visual content is important to the success of your content marketing strategy!

And it makes sense if you really think about it: Since the caveman days, people have been using pictures to communicate with one another! These pictures communicated needs, depicted family life, and told stories of hunts and conquests. When you think of it this way, it’s easy to see that we have always loved to tell stories in creative, unique ways. Donna Moritz, an expert on modern-day visual content (not so much cave paintings). stresses that you can really hook your audience when you use images or video to tell a story or share a message. And she’s right—you can use videos and images to create anything from how-to articles to images with bite-sized quotes, to informative infographics, to pictures offering tips and tricks. This makes your content more fun for your readers to share or pin to Pinterest boards. It also grabs attention in a stream of text on highly-utilized social media platforms, such as Facebook!

Images Vs Videos

camera-twitter

Is it better to use images or videos in your posts? Well, that depends on what you’re trying to say with your message.

For example, according to a study cited on Hubspot, viewers are 85% more likely to purchase a product after watching a product video. You can use a product video to demonstrate how your product is used, how it is assembled, or how you can store it during a season when it’s not likely to be used (a lawnmower during the winter, for example). But just because you use video, it doesn’t mean that you should ignore static images. If you’re writing an informative article, such as an “10 Ways to Keep Your Carpet Cleaner”, visuals would be immensely helpful to demonstrate your point. You can use a collection of images or put together a large infographic–whatever you think would work the best with your message. Need proof? The Hubspot article also notes that publishers who use infographics grow in traffic an average of 12% more than those who don’t.

So, long story short: If your article could benefit from an infographic or video, you now know the stats. It’s worth it!

Making Content Easier to Read

book

Aside from helping to inform your readers and make your posts more interesting, images and videos also break up large blocks of text, making it easier for readers to navigate your article. Most people are pressed for time now, and they often skim articles while on their morning commute or while checking emails before work. Making concise sub-headlines as well as including photos helps keep their attention and explain what’s happening more clearly. Choose attractive or funny photos, depending on your content. What do we mean by “attractive”? We mean that you should keep those boring, generic stock photos to a minimum. We do utilize them ourselves sometimes, but take it from us: Over time, we’ve learned that people respond much better to pretty or goofy photos than they do the generic “people pointing at a chart in a business suit” images. If you can supply photos you’ve taken yourself, then that’s even better!

Whether you’re just getting started with a blog or you’ve been around for a while, it’s important to keep up with trends so that you can get the most out of your efforts. By implementing videos, infographics, and images where appropriate, you can bet that your posts will get more engagement—and you’ll see more traffic and conversions as a result.

Back to Basics #24: How to Find Your Writing Voice

If you’ve ever posted an update on a blog (or even thought of starting a blog!), then you’ve probably thought about how you would like to address your audience. Unless you’re writing your own personal diary, it’s absolutely necessary to figure out your writing voice—because how you appeal to your readers will have a direct effect on who chooses to come back to your blog, and who decides that it’s not for them and navigates elsewhere.

Whether you want to inform visitors about how to build and care for pools, or you’d like to provide tips on how to dress professionally for work, a blog can be a great place to start out. In this article, we’ll go over some of the basic things you’ll need to know to find your writing voice—and be well on your way to blogging success!

 

Define Your Audience

audience

This is probably another phrase you’ve heard before. But there’s a good reason for it: It’s the most important step to take before you begin publishing your posts. When you know who you’re writing for, coming up with post ideas and defining your goals becomes much easier.

To define your audience, ask yourself:

  • Am I selling a product or service to someone?
  • If yes, what makes my product unique?
  • If not, what am I offering my visitors instead?

Once you know this, then you should think about:

  • What are my audience’s interests?
  • What are their ages?
  • What is their education level?

And finally, you’ll want to know some important personal data:

  • Where do most of my customers or visitors come from?
  • Are they male or female?

So, let’s say you’re selling handmade soaps to your visitors. They tend to be casual shoppers who are looking for an alternative to soaps made with chemicals. They are interested in health, beauty, and natural living. Most are female, from the United States, and tend to be from wealthy metropolitan areas. They are educated, and between the ages of 35-50. So with this audience, you wouldn’t want to write in an ultra-casual manner like you would with, say, a vaping or e-cig store. That much should be obvious!

That’s a lot of information you’ve gathered! But now, after all that hard work, you also have an incredibly well-defined audience. Knowing these statistics will help you come up with effective advertisements and well-informed posts that your audience will love to share. Plus, you’ll easily be able to find topics popular with your audience and build your posts around those ideas. But first…

What is the Focus of Your Blog?

doing-online-research

Now that you know who you’re writing for, you need to know what you want to write about. In our example, you’ll be writing about health and beauty topics, particularly those linked to skin care—so you can really let your soaps be the star of the show. But even within this in mind, there are still a number of routes you could take. For example:

  • A how-to blog: How to make your own soaps, how to use natural soaps, etc.
  • A sales blog: Tips for better sales with natural products, or you can purchase a soap starter kit and be a part of the soap-selling team.
  • Better living blog: A guide on how to live frugally or lower your carbon footprint.
  • Beauty blog: A blog covering all kinds of new products, with the focus on your soaps and how they’ll fit into a beauty routine.

As you can see, it can be a tough decision to make. But once you’ve chosen a theme for your blog, you’ll want to stick with it. It can be confusing to readers to have a blog offering skincare advice in one post, and then how to make your own soaps in another. Chances are, these are two different audiences. (Although of course there could always be some overlap!)

What Purpose Does Your Blog Serve?

kitty-reading-a-book

Now, this might sound obvious, but you’ll have to remember why you’re writing a blog in the first place.

For many people, they want to start a blog to make an income. Others, however, want to add a blog feed to their existing website for a little extra information. Still others want to have a blog simply for search engine optimization purposes.

We’re not here to tell you why you should have a blog—but you should know why before you begin this project! If you’re aiming to make sales through your blog, you’re going to have a different approach than you would if you were just using it to post occasional how-to articles and company updates.

So before you get posting, be sure to figure out exactly how your blog fits into your business and marketing plan.

How Much Time Do You Have?

scheduling-updates

If you don’t have a lot of time to update your blog, you’re going to want to keep your posts simple and short. On the other hand, if you have a lot of time to devote to crafting articles, then you may want to write in-depth pieces. You may even want to add beautiful photographs that your viewers will want to share! It all depends on your schedule.

The short, to-the-point articles work great for company updates, brief how-to’s, or making a “listicle” that is helpful to your visitors (For example, 3 ways to get snow off your roof without falling and hurting yourself!)

The longer articles work well for those who want to get really in-depth—like photos of those handmade soaps accompanying an in-depth article about the different uses of natural cleaners.

You might choose to mix and match, and that’s fine, too. But make sure to realistically look at your schedule before you begin posting. You’ll want to stick to the schedule you make, so if you think you’re pushing yourself too hard, err on the side of safety and cut back on your posts.

So Now What?

So now that we’ve talked your ear off about how you can get everything ready for your blog, you can finally take a look at everything you have figured out and decide how you want to write. Your writing voice will probably come naturally once you know who your audience is. Most of us already know what our customers like, and if we don’t, we can always ask for feedback to make sure we’re doing everything right. Your job now is to make sure that you deliver your own, original, fresh content to your readers when you say you will. Stick to your schedule. Don’t mix personal rants with your business updates. If you want to focus on how-to videos, don’t throw in an article about why one brand of snow-blower is better than another.

If you’re writing for mothers, don’t use abrasive language. If you’re writing for potential college students, appeal to their hopeful attitudes while assuaging fears of failure. If you’re writing for people who test the strength of rebar, don’t focus on the difficulties of the job—provide solid statistics and ways to interpret test results.

Finding your writing voice doesn’t have to be difficult. It just takes a bit of time and research. And you know what? Once you’ve been blogging for a while, you will find that you naturally fall into that mindset as you write. Plus, you’ll hear from your readers through blog comments, social media updates, or even emails, and they’ll give you helpful advice to follow.

The Long and Short of It

To summarize:

  • Learn who your audience is and what they like.
  • Decide which topics will be the most important to your readers.
  • Determine whether your blog will be used to drive sales, supplement your marketing strategy, or simply provide regular company updates to readers.
  • Create a realistic schedule for updates—and stick to it!Use language appropriate to your audience.

Do you have any other tips? Let us know in the comments below!

If You’re a Small Business Blogger, Don’t Make This Mistake

the-one-mistake-small-business-bloggers-make
Yikes.

Tell us if this scenario sounds familiar:

You set up your blog. You think it looks great, and you’re excited to start writing. Everyone will want to read what you have to say! After all, you’re the expert in your field. Right?

Well, you may very well be a great resource for people in your industry, but no one’s going to read what you say at first.

It sounds harsh, but hear us out.

When you first start a blog, you’re putting a water droplet in the ocean. You’ll send out ripples, but will they be big enough to be noticed? Chances are, they will come and go quietly. But that’s not because you don’t have great things to say—it’s because you don’t have an audience. Unfortunately, most of us aren’t able to summon readers using existing star power, so we have to do it on our own.

There are great ways to do this simply by blogging: Updating regularly, posting your updates on your social media accounts, and sending your clients emails/newsletters with links to your newest posts.

But the mistake many small business bloggers make is this:

They don’t comment on other blogs.

Thankfully, this is an easy problem to fix. Below, we’ll explain why it’s so important for a small business blogger to comment on other blogs, as well as offer some practical, easy-to-follow, and completely FREE ways to improve your comments and start getting results.

blog-commenting
If only it were as easy as pressing a “comment” button.

Why Do I Need to Comment on Other Blogs?

Commenting on other blogs allows you to build connections and relationships with other bloggers. By appearing regularly and leaving thoughtful, well-structured comments, they’ll take notice of you and more than likely follow you back. When you create a profile in order to comment—whether it’s WordPress, Blogger, Disqus, or something else—you get the opportunity to add a link to your website. It’s a great way for you to advertise yourself without actually leaving self-promotional links on someone else’s site. Also keep in mind, the blogger won’t be the only one to seeing your comment—other bloggers show up to do the same thing you are. So the more readers a blog has, the more eyes fall on your comment and the higher the chance someone clicks through to your site.

Commenting also allows you to ask questions and contribute to conversations you might not have had elsewhere. If the post was particularly thought-provoking, it can be fun to participate in an intelligent and fast-paced conversation about the topic at hand. Even if you don’t agree with what the author says, as long as you play your cards right (and keep a cool head), you can still successfully market yourself while not coming off as an annoying marketer.

happy-dog
This has nothing to do with anything, but it’s funny.

How Do I Leave a Good Blog Comment?

Leaving a comment that says, “Thanks, great post” isn’t enough. In fact, leaving a short, generic comment can actually read as spam to many bloggers, and they may even block you from leaving comments if they think you’re just a robot! Plus, if someone just wrote “great post” on something that you spent a long time creating—and probably put a lot of thought into—you wouldn’t feel very special, would you? No. So don’t do this to other bloggers, particularly ones you respect and want to forge connections with.

To leave a good comment, think of a personal experience you’ve had with the post’s topic. For example, if you’re a plumber and the post is about the worst ways to deal with pipe leaks, you might leave a light-hearted comment about a time when you made a mistake, or when your customer tried to fix their own toilet and ended up in a… messy situation. Then tell them you appreciated the information they provided and finish up with another friendly relationship-building statement. You could try saying, “I’ll be sure to keep these tips in mind next time I’m speaking with a customer about their pipe leaks!” or “I know now that I can check back here to see what creative ways you think of to solve pipe leak problems!”

Whatever you do, don’t leave a comment berating someone. It’s fine to disagree with an author or another commenter—particularly on a more controversial post—but don’t call anyone names or go on a rampage. Keep the comment constructive and non-hostile, and always remember that what you say on the internet will reflect on you and your company. Make your words a positive reflection of your integrity as a small business owner, and you’ll build a reputation based on respect.

happy-baby-blogger
Remember to stay positive!

What If I Run Out of Things to Comment About?

There comes a time when you simply can’t think of anything else to write on other bloggers’ posts. Or maybe you’re just sick and tired of putting in the effort when you feel like no one is paying attention to you either. Sarah Arrow of Sark-E Media has some great advice on how to craft a great comment in only a few minutes—and even if your heart isn’t in it, it’ll still be helpful and worthwhile for the author to read.

You can try a number of things to come up with commenting ideas:

  • Relate to the author. Why did you click on the article in the first place?
  • Tell a personal story. Bonus points if you can make people laugh.
  • Tell the author if you know of someone who will find the information useful, and then offer to share the post with that person.
  • Ask a question. Is there anything else people might want to know about the topic at hand?
  • When all else fails, share the author’s post on social media and be sure to tag them. At least they’ll notice that you are promoting them—even if it’s not through a comment.

And there you have it. Now you understand why small business bloggers make this mistake and have some good information on how to avoid it. Do you have any other suggestions for leaving great comments? Leave us a comment and let us know!