15 Quick Tips to Boost Blog Traffic

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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.

Should You Use Twitter Direct Messaging for Marketing?

If you’re looking for a way to connect with a fan who’s just followed you on Twitter, how would you do it? Would you take the time to seek them out personally and send them a welcome tweet? Or would you choose to automate a response–such as sending them a private message thanking them for their interest? Would you consider sending a tweet or message with a link to your products and services?

You might be surprised (or maybe you aren’t!) to learn that a lot of people will send an automated “welcome” direct message (or DM). Many companies also use this opportunity to attach a link to their website, another social media site, or their newsletter, with the idea being that more people will click through and be enticed to buy or sign up.

While it seems like a good idea on the surface, there’s always pros and cons to “cold messaging” campaigns. So let’s dig into the pros and cons of using direct messaging for marketing purposes!

PROS

There are some people who claim that by sending a message with a link to Facebook or a newsletter, they get increased engagements.

Some Twitter users–usually people selling personal services, such as consulting or ebooks–swear up and down that they get increased engagement from sending out auto-DMs. They’ll use a program or app to set it up so that when they get a new follower, they send out a private message with a link to their book, website, Facebook page, or some other place. They claim that their signups, downloads, and sales increase when they do this, and they ignore those who claim that this is intrusive or annoying.

Now, some people have tested this and got miserable results. So it’s not guaranteed, which could mean that perhaps it just needs to be studied more. For example, are certain industries more successful with auto-DMs than others? Is it appealing to a certain demographic, such as people in specific countries or age brackets? Well, we don’t know for sure. But this process is nonetheless still something that some find valuable, so if you’re willing to test it out, let us know. 🙂

Some users think that this is a polite way to reach out and contact someone else.

Remember the days when you sent a personalized thank-you note for every gift you received?

Well, there are still some people who thank visitors to their sites with a message built right into the page. There are some who send thank-you emails to people who have left positive feedback on review sites.

To these people, sending a quick, private thank-you message is the perfect way to show your appreciation for a brand new Twitter follower’s support. Other times, they might choose to send out an automated tweet rather than a DM. They do this because if they do not follow their new follower back, the follower cannot respond to the DM. A lot of people find this frustrating. So by sending out a welcome tweet rather than DM, the person can interact with their follower without feeling obligated to follow them back immediately.

It’s a way to see who is interested in the products you have to offer.

For a while, Twitter actually removed the ability for a person to send a link through DMs. This was because they were trying to fight spam–many people had complained about being spammed through private messaging. But for whatever reason, they decided to bring it back again, and boy, are people really making use of them. Many companies send links to a page where you can directly purchase a product or service.

Some people even take it to the next level and use a tool like JustUnfollow to track who unfollows them (then that way, they can make sure to unfollow the person back if need be).

But JustUnfollow also has an option to send a friendly thank you DM to people along with a link. So this makes it incredibly easy for people who use the app to figure out who is clicking and who is getting fed up and unfollowing them.

If you’re interested, here’s what Twitter has to say about this whole process, now that they’ve changed the rules back: https://support.twitter.com/articles/76915-automation-rules-and-best-practices.

CONS

Some people find this to be irritating at best, or intrusive at worst.

On the flip side, there are a lot of Twitter users who really dislike DMs. They find them to be irritating, claiming they clutter up the inbox, send unnecessary push notifications to devices, and don’t contain any valuable information. Others actually find them to be intrusive. They view them as unsolicited marketing spam, and they don’t want to have anything to do with it. In fact, some will go as far as to unfollow and block a company that tries this tactic. Ouch.

Some users think that it’s disingenuous, and they’d rather you just not do it at all.

There are still others who might find it irritating, but it’s not so much about the inconvenience as it is the motive behind the message. They see it as disingenuous–if you can’t take the time to send out a personalized DM to thank someone for their follow, then why send anything at all? To these users, there’s no point in sending out a pre-written private message to everyone. That takes away from the uniqueness and value of a personalized thank-you.

If you don’t follow the follower that you’re messaging, they can’t message you back. That irritates a lot of people.

As mentioned above, if you do not follow a person who sends you a DM, you cannot message them back. Needless to say, most companies won’t mass-follow their fans. So if the company sends a fan a message, the fan can do nothing about it other than delete it or follow the included link (if there is one). This makes for a miserable, one-sided communication attempt that many people find to be a waste of time.

There are a lot of people who don’t even check their DMs–in fact, they hate them so much, they’ll even put it in their bios.

Yes, it’s true: Some are so incredibly fed up with it that they don’t even bother to check DMs anymore. They’ll actually include that in their bio, just so everyone knows that all DMs WILL go unread. That’s a whole other level of annoyance with the concept of marketing using DMs. If you view them as SUCH a waste of time that you won’t even bother looking at them no matter what, then you’re pretty dead-set against it.

In our experience, it’s better to not bother people needlessly, and many, MANY people tend to be in the “don’t send auto DMs” camp. Obviously, the choice is yours–there are plenty of people who do it, and some claim they get a lot out of it, even if it causes some to unfollow them. Whatever you do, make sure you are polite rather than demanding, and give the person the opportunity to directly tweet you if they prefer. Good customer service goes a long way!

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.

Back to Basics #28: Getting the Most Out of Twitter

How many followers do you have on Twitter? Do you talk with other people on a daily basis? Do you get people clicking through to your website or your blog?

If you’re feeling a little lonely in the follower department and haven’t really seen any new traffic to your site, you’re probably feeling a little frustrated. But don’t despair–this doesn’t mean that you’re doomed to remain this way forever!

That’s because in this article, we’re going to show you a few simple things you can do to get more out of Twitter. None of these tips require a ton of your time and energy. In fact, many of these are simple little tricks that you can easily implement into your regular social media strategy, and you don’t have to spend a dime.

So let’s take a look at how you can get the most out of your Twitter account!

Fill out your profile completely.

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Image courtesy of http://instructionaltechtalk.com/how-to-join-twitter/

This might seem obvious, but it’s absolutely crucial that you fill out your profile and don’t leave anyone guessing at anything. Twitter gives you plenty of space to make your page unique, so take advantage of that! Create unique graphics to place in your profile picture and header, and make sure you’ve listed all your important information: Website, location, and a description of what services you provide. Finally, make sure your handle is descriptive of your company. For example, if you’re a plumber, choosing a name like plumber50432 probably isn’t helpful to your followers. But you could choose ChicagoPlumber or ThePlumbingKing or something like that—you get the picture.

For your convenience, here’s a checklist of your profile necessities:

  • Profile picture
  • Header image
  • Bio filled out
  • Website listed
  • Location, if possible
  • Descriptive handle

Find people in your industry to follow.

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A lot of new Twitter users don’t want to follow people in their industry or field because they think it’s pointless to follow their competition. But that’s not true at all!

Twitter allows you to peer directly into the marketing plans of other companies that provide the same services you do. If you really think about it, you’ll begin to see how wonderful this can be for your own marketing strategy. Back to our plumbing example: If you see other plumbers tweeting about a brand new kind of sump pump, retweet them or compose your own tweet about the topic. If you see a plumber who links to a creative contest on his or her website, you can use that as an opportunity to use that as a model for your own contest. Take a look at those with the most followers and see how they build their profiles and interact with others. Chances are, you’ll be able to learn something and you won’t even have to pay a cent!

Make lists of influential people.

This is a great way to make use of all those influential accounts mentioned above. An easy way to collate your most influential accounts is to add them to a list. To do this, go to the person’s profile, select the gear icon, and then click “Add or remove from lists”. You can then name and describe the list, and select whether you want it to be public or private. If you’re watching your competitors, you may want to change it to private. But sometimes adding people to a public list can be beneficial—they might add you back or other people might subscribe to your list so they can also follow your influential accounts! We’ve included some helpful (hopefully) screen captures to better illustrate this process:

example-list1

Select the gear icon, then click “add or remove from lists.”

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If you don’t have a list created, select the “create a list” option.

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Name your list, fill out a brief description, and choose whether you’d like it to be public or private. Save and you’re done!

Follow back relevant accounts.

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It’s not always going to be you who finds the best accounts to follow–sometimes people will find you, too. Keep track of your followers by using a tool such as Tweepi or ManageFlitter. If you find people who are relevant to your interests, go ahead and follow them back! If they’re not, then there is obviously no obligation to do so. We suggest taking the time to block bots as well. After all, they don’t add anything to the conversation, and they aren’t real fans.

Oh—and while we’re on that topic, never purchase fans. Even if you’re desperate to look like you have more than five friends (which, let’s be honest, we all would be!), don’t pay for followers. Just keep finding relevant accounts and following them, and soon you’ll get people following you back.

Use appropriate hashtags.

If you think hashtags are just words used as slang, you’re in for a surprise! Truthfully, it’s not very effective to use Twitter without them. Hashtags are a way for people to find important topics and conversations in real time. Whether you’re looking for information on roofing expos or you simply want to chat about the hottest new shade of nail polish, you can probably find hashtags that will appeal to people looking to follow that topic. You can use tools like BuzzSumo to help you find popular topics and coordinate your posts with current and relevant conversations.

Here are some helpful tips to get the most out of hashtags:

  • Don’t use too many in one tweet. Two, maybe three tops.
  • Hashtags tend to do better when included in a sentence or placed at the end of the tweet.
  • Don’t use any punctuation or spaces. Hashtags only support letters.
  • If the hashtag is long, try making it easier on the eyes by capitalizing the beginnings of words. I.e., #SocialMediaStrategy.

Use photos every once in a while.

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http://www.flickr.com/photos/rosauraochoa/3939487692/

People will read interesting text tweets, especially ones with links or hashtags. But think about it: Which would you find more appealing—a plain ol’ string of text or something with a bright, beautiful photo by it? Of course your eyes will be drawn to the photo. So take the time to include a photo with your tweets on occasion. You could attach an inspirational quote, a picture of a project you just did, or a new product you’re offering in your store. Be aware that photos do count against your character quota, so you’ll have to plan for a shorter tweet if you want to use a picture!

Retweet others and ask for Retweets.retweeting

Finally, don’t exist in a vacuum on Twitter. No one wants to see a stream of self-promotional spam from a single account. Take the time to retweet others, or tweet interesting articles that you find on blogs and websites you enjoy. A general rule of thumb to follow is that you should stick to 80% tweeting about topics relevant to your business but not necessarily self-promotional; and then the other 20% of the time send out tweets promoting your own business.

You can also ask for retweets! Many people respond to a simple request for retweets—just don’t overuse this tactic with every tweet you send out. And be sure to retweet those that you follow who ask for shares as well!

Well, there you have it. With these tips, you’ll soon see your Twitter follower count growing and your engagement soaring! You can easily start doing these things on your own, without hiring any special assistance.

If you have any other great tips, leave them in the comments below!

Holiday Shopping with Social Media

As we draw closer to Thanksgiving, ads for the upcoming shopping season can be seen everywhere: From the mall to the grocery store, it seems there’s always a reminder that the holidays are sneaking up on you, and your window of opportunity nabbing the best gifts is closing. But whether you’re the type who wants to go out and get all the best products on Black Friday, or you’re more the kind of person who procrastinates until mid-December, you’re still always looking for a great deal! After all, you don’t want to spend more money than you have to, and you definitely want the whole shopping process to be as painless as possible. And that means you’re probably going to do your fair share of shopping online. But in 2014, online shopping can be a lot more than just logging on to your favorite store and filling up your cart.

You can also utilize the power of social media to do your holiday shopping.

By using social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, you can easily find what you’re looking for in multiple places. You can quickly compare availability, prices, and more. Even better, you can read reviews and get feedback on any items before you add anything to your cart. Sure beats the old way of doing things, doesn’t it?

Here are a few ways you can use social media for your holiday marketing strategy—and maybe even use some of these tips yourself when you go shopping!


 

Holiday Marketing with Twitter

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In a survey conducted among 500 US adults, 36% said they wanted to use Twitter for holiday gift ideas. Another 35% admitted they used the social media platform to find links to the business’s online store.

Now, in case you didn’t know, 284 million people are on Twitter and active every month. That’s a lot of potential business.

Furthermore, 4 in 10 consumers who are active on Twitter plan on beginning their holiday shopping before Thanksgiving. That leaves about a week and half from the publishing of this article to get your store holiday-ready! You can begin by tweeting about special deals, ask your followers to “please retweet” your updates, and direct people to your store for coupons or special checkout codes. Perhaps you could offer a “new followers” coupon for your new fans. Think outside the box on this one–people who use Twitter want to get information and get it fast. If you deliver it in an attention-grabbing way, you’re sure to get a few new eyes on your merchandise.


 

Holiday Marketing with Facebook

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With Facebook, you are provided a more “permanent” platform to advertise to your fans. Permanent is in quotes because, of course, Facebook is actually moving at a rapid pace–updates seem to come and go quickly, and the feed refreshes constantly. But fans can easily find apps or albums that you’ve set up on your business page to promote your holiday specials. You can make your page visually appealing and full of content to entice your audience. Plus, sharing on Facebook works a bit differently than sharing on Twitter does—people get more personally invested. Family members are likely to share with one another over Facebook, whereas Twitter tends to foster more professional connections. When was the last time you tweeted your grandparents? (or grandchildren!)

A good place to start is with two of the biggest shopping days of the year: Black Friday and Cyber Monday. According to AllFacebook.com, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are growing into a quarter-long phenomenon. They urge businesses and advertisers to “capitalize on lower reach costs and high consumer engagement before and after peak days.”

Yeah, yeah, that’s nice. But what does it mean for small businesses?

Basically, that you can promote your great deals before and after days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday to get the best returns. But that doesn’t mean you should only focus on those days. You should also keep promoting your business’s specials throughout the holiday season, because shoppers will be buying more heavily until Christmas.


 

Holiday Marketing with Pinterest

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If you haven’t gotten into the habit of posting to a Pinterest board, you might want to start: 47.7% of holiday shoppers say that Pinterest has influenced their buying decisions. That’s a lot of people!

But just how can you make the most out of your pins and get people interested in your products? It’ll take a bit of creative thinking, but if you try, we bet you can come up with a variety of effective marketing strategies. For example, you could try making a themed board. You can showcase great gift ideas. You can create a storyboard where a shopper uses your product to bring happiness to friends and family. You can show how other customers choose to use your products to make their lives better. It’s all in how you choose to present yourself!

We hope that these tips have been helpful for you. The holidays are a great time for helping customers get the special gifts they want for friends and family. By putting your best foot forward, you can prove to your community that you are dedicated to their needs, and that you’re ready to help them make this holiday season the best one yet!

Can you think of any other ways to use Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest for holiday marketing? It’s always a learning experience, and everyone gets different results. But with a little bit of practice and creativity, you can learn how to get more sales, happier customers, and better engagement during the holiday season. If you have any tips or tricks, be sure to leave them in the comments below!

Good luck!

Back to Basics #18: When Should You Automate Updates?

scheduling-updates

We’ve talked before about how you can take a load off your shoulders by scheduling your social media and blog updates. But, as with any automated services, there’s a point where you need to draw the line. Your followers and fans don’t want to interact with a robot, after all—they’re there because they enjoy what YOU have to offer.

So how do you know when to automate your blog posts and social media updates, and when to interact with your fans?

Automate for hours you aren’t awake.

Sure, it’s not the perfect time to post at 3 am on Twitter—not for everyone, anyway. But many businesses have customers who reside on the other side of the pond—and they’re awake during those hours. So it’s a good idea to schedule a few tweets to go out when those other eyes will fall on your page. As for platforms like Facebook and Google+, it’s best to figure out when you get the most interaction. For many people, the best hours are earlier in the day, local time. If this is the case, you don’t necessarily have to automate your updates. However, you might choose to do so if you know you’re going to be forgetful about it!

Going to be busy or out of town all weekend? Automate your updates.

Of course it’s ideal that you be around to interact with your fans and followers no matter how busy you are. But the reality of life is that we have to unplug every once in a while.

But just because you’re gone doesn’t mean that you can’t still engage your audience. By scheduling a few posts to pop out when you’re away, your fans will still be able to see what you’re up to, the content you want to share with them, and products that they might want to buy.

Keep a balance of 80/20: 80% promoting other people, 20% marketing your own products.

People don’t like to see a constant stream of advertisements coming from the accounts they choose to follow. If the only updates you ever offer are hard sales pitches, you’ll find that your social media presence and blog subscriptions are going to go nowhere fast. A good way to keep this balance is to schedule some retweets or shares during the day. This way you can be sure that you’re still contributing to discussions without coming off as overly sales-y.

Reuse old posts—schedule them to pop out at some time in the future.

What do you do with old blog posts? Well, as long as the content is “evergreen” (meaning that you could read it three years from now and it’d still be helpful), you can schedule the posts to pop out in the future.

For example, let’s say you write an article about cleaning your gutters yourself. This is probably the most useful in the fall, but that’s not to say it can’t be helpful at other times of the year! Posting it once every few months across your social networks can help drive traffic back to your site. By scheduling them in advance, you won’t have to think too much about it, or try to remember a few months down the road. It’ll already be ready for you!

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When should you NOT automate your updates?

  • When dealing with customer service–people want responses from humans, not robots.
  • When you have a fan or follower trying to get an answer to a specific question. For example, “How long is your sale going to be on?” shouldn’t elicit a response based on the fact that a person contacted you (i.e., “thanks for connecting!”), or worse—radio silence.
  • During a time of national crisis. Too many brands have forgotten to take off their scheduled tweets or updates during an unexpected crisis, and as a result, they came across as insensitive—even callous. Even if your company’s services have nothing to do with the crisis at hand, sometimes it’s just best to stay silent for a little while.
  • When someone follows you (this is primarily geared toward Twitter users). When you follow someone on Twitter and they send you an automated direct message welcoming you (or asking you to buy something), how does it make you feel? Annoyed? Yeah, it probably doesn’t really make you want to interact with the person. So don’t do this to your followers. Send a personal greeting if you like, but whatever you do, don’t spam them.

What do you think? Do you automate your posts? When should someone avoid scheduling updates? Let us know in the comments below!