July 9, 2012
In a perfect Peggy world, I would spend a BIG part of my day doing nothing but reading internet marketing blogs. But alas, I’ve got to get some work done too so my internet marketing blog reading tends to be hit and miss.
Here are the blogs I like to read these days (in no particular order):
www.stevescottsite.com Steve knows how to create authority sites in non-IM niches that make money. He is totally transparent and cares about what he teaches you. I had the wonderful opportunity to do a guest post for him here: http://www.stevescottsite.com/recycle-articles
www.smartpassiveincome.com Pat is the man! He goes out of his way to not only tell you what he’s learned and how he does things in great detail, but he shares how he makes his income each month and exactly how much he makes.
www.clicknewz.com Lynn is interesting, wicked smart, and has an easy way of sharing her wisdom on her blog. She’s been successful online for quite some time now and there are a lot of meaty posts to dive into.
www.carriewilkerson.com Carrie is a mover and shaker with incredible insight. I do wish she’d post more often to her blog because I like the way she approaches business and life. I got to listen to her at NAMS and picked up some great marketing strategies.
www.firepolemarketing.com/blog This is Danny and he’s got a lot to say. He authored Engagement From Scratch!, and he walks the walk of his own amazing success story. Here’s a guest post I did for him last year: http://www.firepolemarketing.com/blog/2011/09/12/blog-marketer
www.adriennesmith.net Adrienne is a marketer with heart, and she’s not shy about sharing what she knows and giving you a heads up about new things that have come out that will make your IM life easier.
http://ruthzivecopywriting.com/posts This is a new favorite of mine. One of the topics Ruth blogs about is a big part of my business – content marketing. I like to see what she has to say on topics that I write about too. Plus she’s a copywriter and I can always learn more about that.
As you can see, the blogs I read are as much about the people behind them as they are about the blogging topics. I appreciate honesty as well as information I can learn from.
- How about you? Do you read any of these blogs?
- Go ahead and tell me about ONE favorite blogger you like to follow.
February 2, 2012
Engagement From Scratch!, that’s the name of the book put together by Danny Iny of FirepoleMarketing. I mentioned it very briefly in a previous post and said I’d give away a free copy chosen from one of my commenters. I’ll get to the winner in a minute, but first I want to encourage you to read this book.
Engagement From Scratch! is a book on important lessons learned about building audience in an online world. It’s not just Danny talking, its insightful and smart contributions from a lot of marketers. I love the tagline for the book:
“How super-community builders create a loyal audience and how you can do the same!”
There were many times that while reading the book I stopped dead and thought, “Brilliant. Not only do I love that, I can DO that.”
Danny Iny did a great job with this book. Thank you Danny!
And now for the winner… Debi J!
Debi, please email me your physical address so I can pop it in the mail to you. Thanks!
- If you’ve read this book or have questions, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.
- Contests are fun. If you want to join my current affiliate contest you can sign up here and I’ll send you the contest details.
February 1, 2011
Today I'm happy to bring you this insightful guest post from Sheila Atwood of Newbielifeline.com!…
Have you actually decided upon your social networking system? You know what I mean. Have you taken all the buzz about social networking and social media and put it to work for you?
When you lay out your social networking plan you want to consider a SMART plan for every method of social networking you do.
· Specific – Do you have specific goals you want to achieve? Perhaps your goals are getting more traffic, finding like-minded people to work with, and getting affiliates to promote your products.
· Manageable – Is your social networking manageable? Do you have the time to spend on the methods you have chosen? How about the man power? or resources? How about the organization it takes to be effective?
· Action oriented – Can your plan be laid out to the exact step by step action you need to take on a weekly and daily basis?
· Relevant- Just how relevant is your plan to what you want to achieve? By survey, the number one problem people face when it comes to work, home and play is time. You have heard of targeted traffic….but how about targeted social networking?
· Trackable – Can you track and measure your actions? Can you track and measure the return on your investment (ROI), especially your investment of time?
You know all about Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the forums, so let's take a look at five different ways you can set up your social networking system that does not include the big social media guys.
These 5 ways to set up your social networking is based on using your blog as your central working point.
Commenting – Create a social networking group by commenting on other sites. When you are picking sites to comment on remember to be specific about what you are wanting to achieve. Stay organize by using your RSS feed or another bookmarking system. Use commenting tools…like Peggy's commenting secret tool, Traffic Sponge.
Interviews – Interview other bloggers. These can be video interviews or audio interviews. Use your phone for a simple way to record your audio interviews.
An easy way to get started is to do email interviews. This works great for interviewing busy people. Just send them a set of questions, they answer and you write your blog post in interview fashion.
Recently Tristan Higbee of BloggingBookshelf.com did a great interview of Peggy. "The Blogger’s Guide to Writing and Selling Your Own PLR Products."
Collaboration – The added value of working with others can have huge benefits way into the future. Not only do you get double the pleasure, knowledge and production, you get their network. Finding a great online marketing partner is well worth any time and effort you put in.
Guest Posting - Yeah, yeah I know you have heard this one. But I am going to give it to you here again. Especially since this is on my social networking plan and that is what brought me here.
Peggy and I exchanged guest posts. I wanted her to post about her new book. "Become a PLR Writer" so I offered to exchange posts. This meets several of my specific goals.
1. I get a great post to promote my affiliate link.
2. I get to promote another blogger.
3. I get the extra traffic the guest blogger brings.
4. My readers get top notch data straight from the author.
You'll find that setting rules for you guest posts is the key. A criteria for guests to your blog is a must, you might as well make it easy on yourself. If you notice, Peggy has listed her criteria right on her home page.
Most important, set a criteria for where you want to post. You want the greatest ROI you can get. Know what your purpose is and where you want to be seen on the net.
Speedlinking - Last but not least. Speedlinking is one of my favorites. Link to other blogs. Give kudos to those who are putting out some great stuff. No matter your niche, this works.
Set up a specific time in the month to link to others. Or make up a big list of your favorite bloggers…"The Best SEO Bloggers of 2010" or the "Best Up and Coming Bloggers" or "Copywriters You Must Add To Your RSS Feed".
My rule is Outflow=Inflow. The more you outflow the more you will get back. It's magic.
Bottom line, no matter what you do to get yourself out there and well known, you will need to have a SMART plan. One that works for you. One you are willing to put into action.
- What are your social networking goals?
- Do you use any of these methods? Have you had success?
- Have you had success using different methods of social networking?
Sheila Atwood writes the blog Newbielifeline.com, a web resource about leveraging WordPress and its tools. She is a great resource for newbies wanting to find ways to make money online.
Follow Sheila on Twitter.
January 27, 2011
I'm pleased to bring you this special guest post by Seo Expert, Michael Martine:
Search-optimized blog posts are the holy grail of blog writing. Would you like to learn the best step-by-step method for writing them? That’s exactly what I’m going to show you how to do in this post. To be more exact, I’m going to share with you my method for doing this, which works pretty darn well and has also helped my blog consulting clients get massive traffic increases (in one case over 2000%). My method is not the only way to do this, but I invite you try it for a few posts and track your results. See if it works for you.
The Bass-Ackwards method
The way I do it is completely “bass-ackwards” from how most people write blog posts. The way most bloggers do it is to “just start writing” and try to whip it into some kind of coherent shape afterward. This is especially true for bloggers who suddenly feel “inspired” and then open a vein over their keyboard.
I hate to break it to ya, but that totally sucks for SEO. Why would you want to write a blog post your ideal reader or customer will never find? Does that make any sense if you’re trying to grow your blog? It doesn’t to me. Now, I realize that not every post you write is meant to grab search traffic, but for those that are, my backwards method works. Let’s get started with the first step.
Step 1: Before you write a thing: Keywords
SEO begins before you write a single word. Your first step is to decide what keyword you’re going to target with your post. This keyword should relate to some problem your readers have that needs solving (causing them to search for it and find you). Or it could relate to some kind of entertainment they would search on.
Excluding communications like email or instant messaging and content creation like blogging, those are pretty much the two main reasons people go online: to solve a problem or be entertained – and buying something counts as problem-solving. In either case, they’re likely to search for what they need.
This is where knowing your audience and having a well-defined niche, demographic or lifestyle segment is crucial. If you think your audience is bikers, you’re going to get nowhere. But if you target bike messengers, that’s much better. If you target bike messengers in New York, that could potentially be even better. Specificity = accurate keyword targeting, get it?
If you’re not 100% sure about what keywords you want to target, use your favorite keyword research tools to help you. Search the web for existing blog posts using these keywords and see what people respond to. Get ideas for yourself.
Step 2: Write your headline
So now that you have your keyword, you start writing your post, right? Wrong! You write the headline first. Remember what you were taught about writing in school? Have a thesis and support it with your writing. Think of writing your headline as laying down your thesis. Your headline has to do 2 things simultaneously:
- Target your keyword so as to give your post the best possible chance at ranking #1 in SERPs
- Be so compelling your reader can’t click on it fast enough to get to your content (they will only see the headline in their email, feed reader, or as a link on the web such as in social media)
The first point is relevant to SEO but if you forget the second point you’ll only get search traffic to your post and no word-of-mouth traffic, which is equally important in my opinion because it leads to more backlinks which is a secondary (and very important) SEO benefit. The right headline is key to a search friendly blog post.
Two power tips for writing a headline for maximum SEO effect:
- Place your keyword as early in the word sequence as possible, do not lead up to your keyword. For example, if your keyword was “potting shed plans,” then Potting Shed Plans Anyone Can Build is a better headline than Check Out These Potting Shed Plans.
- Target an exact-match search phrase if you can as your entire headline. Questions your readers ask you are great for this, because people type entire questions as search keywords. Every day I get tons of traffic to How to Wrap Text Around a Video because it’s an exact match keyword.
Step 3: Write your first sentence
I bet you thought now the next step to SEO a blog post was finally gonna be write the post. Patience, Padawan! Often, before I write anything, I will write out the sub-headings for a post to give it structure so I don’t wander all over the road as I write. But for SEO purposes, your next real concern is your first sentence:
- Use your main keyword as early in the first sentence as you can (go back and look at the beginning of this post, see what I did there?).
- If you want your post to help another post rank for the same keyword, link to it in the first sentence with the keyword as anchor text.
- If this feels difficult or awkward, you can learn a lot from journalists, who have been writing in the highly effective “inverted pyramid” style for decades. Read more hardcore news stories to get a feel for this and see examples. I’m not saying your writing should be artless and dry, I’m saying putting some structure onto your writing improves SEO. Don’t give up because it feels awkward (you wimp, LOL): keep practicing so that it becomes second nature.
Step 4: Write the rest of your post
YAY! Now you can write the rest of your article. How can we do this for maximum SEO effectiveness? Up until now we haven’t hit the “write for SEO vs. write for people” line. What works best in my experience can be summed up in a few tips:
- Write the post for people first, then tweak for SEO afterward
- Tweaking for SEO means using keyword, keyword variants and synonyms without breaking the flow of your writing or making it sound artificial or awkward
- Create links to your other content where applicable, using keywords as anchor text
A note about keyword density: opinion on this is all over the map. Google and other search engines heavily weigh factors such as title (headline), URL string, the heading 1 (which should be the post headline in a properly search-optimized theme) and the content. The keyword needs to be in all these places to give the page the highest possible chance of ranking well. It only makes sense that the keyword (and variants and synonyms) appear more than once in the content.
Rather than shooting for a density percentage, aim for including keyword variants and synonyms (which I’ve also done in this post—see if you can spot them).
Step 5: Configure your SEO-friendly theme or SEO plugin settings
If you’re using an SEO-friendly WordPress theme that has its own post-level SEO variables, now is the time to set them. Same if you’re using any SEO plugins that give you post-level variables. A good theme or plugin will let you tweak the following:
- Title (separately from the post headline—usually these are identical to each other)
- Description (WordPress and most blog platforms do not natively offer this as a field in your post-writing screen)Whether to nofollow links in the post
- Automatic or manual slug clean-up (removing “stop words” or reordering words for better SEO in the post permalink, which is also called a slug)
You’ll notice meta keywords is not mentioned. That’s because no major search engine factors them in their rankings. Unless your subject matter is better served by targeting specialty search engines which use the meta keywords field, you can ignore it.
Go forth and optimize!
I hope you find this useful. Be sure to get a snapshot of your traffic numbers before you start doing this in earnest, then give it a go for every post you write for 30 days. I’d be very surprised if you didn’t see an increase in search traffic by the end of 30 days.
Michael Martine is the author of WordPress SEO Secrets and offers blog consulting services at Remarkablogger as well as free content daily. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook for more blog SEO links every day.
January 11, 2011
UPDATE! - The creator of this tool read this post, listened to what the commenters' said and is offering anyone reading this a discount ! Kudos to Joe Marsh, I've never seen this happen before and I want to say thank you (if you're coming back to read this post again.) Anyway, the special offer is good through January 30th. New update – the discount is over but read on to see what this tool is about and whether it would benefit you.
The original post…
This secret blog commenting tool helps me leap tall buildings in a single bound.
[Insert my head on Superman's body graphics here]
I'd like to tell you about it and what it's done for me. Not an official case study; more like an unofficial relaxed listing of benefits. The ride has been pretty cool!
But first I want to mention a few facts (as I see them):
1. Commenting on other blogs is a positive thing for the commenter in many ways. You can cement your status as an expert in your field, get traffic and comments to your site, build relationships that are not only fun but can result in successful business endeavors, and more.
2. Comments should add value to the poster's post or be encouraging or somehow be a part of the conversation, not spammy. Posting something like, "Awesome post man! Thanks!" won't get you anywhere.
Okay, now that we've established that commenting on blogs is a desirable activity, let's talk about WHEN to post a comment and on WHICH blogs.
First, to state the obvious, commenting on blogs that are similar or complimentary to yours is most advantageous for building your brand/expertness, getting targeted traffic, growing helpful relationships, and selling what you might be offering on your blog.
Yes, there will always be blogs you want to comment on because you enjoy what they write, but this post is not about that!
As far as when to post? Being one of the first is important, because then your comment is more likely to be read by everyone who reads the blog post. Honestly, do you, yourself, read every comment on a blog when there are 112, 47, or even 28? Nope. If your comment is one of the first, it gets read more and your link clicked more often, which means more traffic.
So here is the tool I use: Traffic Sponge (aff link)
Basically, you load in the RSS feeds of your favorite blogs, which is really simple, then tell it to let you know in a popup on your screen the very minute a new blog post has been posted. Viola! You know before the ink is dry and the blogger's had a chance to tell his subscribers that a post is ripe for commenting.
You can set the popup, which shows in the lower right corner of your screen, for the length of time you want it to stay open. I have mine set for a couple of minutes. If I've been away for a while I'll just click on the icon and see if my favorite bloggers have done anything in my absence.
It can also be set up to send you an email or a text message, but I'm good with the popup (see below).
These are the ways using Traffic Sponge has benefited me:
My blog traffic has increased.
My lists have grown in numbers. I don't always put the same website link. I'll usually rotate them or put the one that's most applicable to the blog I'm posting on.
My Alexa scores have improved (gone down).
I'm getting some much needed backlinks.
I'm building relationships with the blog owners, which is HUGE and has far-reaching implications.
- allowed me to ask for help and be helpful to others. We all have our strengths and weaknesses and like to help.
- kept my name in front of a marketer who had promised to promote one of my products. They remembered and promoted.
- led to an interview and a chance to show my expertise.
- resulted in bloggers asking for my affiliate links x 3 to helpful products I mentioned.
- meant a guest posting gig.
- was asked to do a JV project.
- led to getting a paid product for free!
The story here - I'd been commenting (as one of the first) regularly on 2 particular blogs. When I commented on Blog #2 about something they said about Blog #1, apparently Blog #1 noticed. Shortly after that I purchased a new tool from Blog #1 marketer and he refunded my money and personally thanked me for my comments on Blog #2 and said he appreciated me commenting on his own blog. Did you follow that? If not, the main takeaway is bloggers notice and appreciate your comments, especially if done with some regularity!
Disclaimer – Not all blogs are created equal as far as traffic goes. You have to look at your stats and judge for yourself. I was surprised to see that posting first on one popular IM blog sent very little traffic my way. But I think the more I comment there and build up my brand, the better.
Also, Traffic Sponge doesn't help me when the blogger posts while I'm sawing logs. I check it in the morning and comment where I want to. Note to self – Become fully awake and have some coffee before commenting.
Why is it secret? I don't think that many people know about it. At least I haven't seen it mentioned by anyone else.
I do like to have a little fun with Traffic Sponge and challenge myself sometimes. My biggest coup was being the FIRST commenter on Problogger one time! You can have different motives than mine, but it's a handy tool for getting notified of your favorite bloggers' posts as soon as they happen.