How to make your Traffic Stick Around and Do More
Don’t you just wish people would stay on a page on your blog longer? May be click a few more links to your best posts and subscribe? One thing I learned is that when you want something, ask for it. As long as it’s within reason and in good taste, why not ask? Requesting subscription is common, it’s the way the blogger asks that differs. Some use a plugin called “What Would Seth Godin Do”, a wordpress plugin that shows a small box to a visitor who arrived on your blog for the first time. The box contains a request to subscribe as well as links to your subscription links. I like the idea, actually, but I would rather have a nice image attached to my request. It really depends on what the blogger’s style is. Yes, it’s perfectly ok to flatter the reader a bit, and post an attractive photo (maybe of yourself) near the subscribe box or link.
Encourage your readers or visitors to comment by adding a text after your post. There may be some internet users who do not know that they can participate in the discussion and could communicate their opinions to you through comments. It doesn’t hurt to ask a leading question after a post, and it will get your readers’ mental gears turning. Having said that, it is of equal importance to answer each comment promptly and thank the commenters accordingly. Doing this will make them feel welcome and will encourage them to comment again.
If you are running a blog contest soon, it’s just proper that you put a prominent link to a pre-launch blog post describing what the contest will be about, who can join and when it will be launched. This could make people subscribe because they have something to look forward to on your blog. You can also do this for particular blog posts or series of posts on a specific topic that you will publish in the future.
Give away a free item. A good ebook or a short report tackling the main topic of your blog could attract anyone. Remember to reiterate to your readers that the ebook is free. Having people own a piece of your blog in their hard drives will remind them to visit your website again. This free giveaway is also for those who would like to read more articles on a specific topic without having to wait for the next ones to get published.
If you’re tackling a sensitive subject, be ready to put out flames and remember to not say anything that could fan the flame that’s already burning among your readers. The attention that a comment fight attracts could be heady, but bear in mind that bad words, even when said by someone else, will be a bad thing for blog owners. On the other hand, do not be too strict with comments and give everyone the benefit of the doubt. If someone directly flames you for the post and your opinions, the best option is to stay quiet and filter the bad words on the comments.
Domain Name Selection and Keywords Selection
The most exciting part of building a self-hosted blog for me is choosing the perfect domain name for it. It is, after all, the face that you will present to people. Your blog’s domain name will be the digital imprint or signature that you will leave on other people’s blogs when you comment. Some people won’t even remember what your real name is, but they will remember which blog you are associated with. As you continue blogging, you will realize that you answer to your blog’s domain name in the same manner as you answer to your given name. The domain name will become a part of you so choose well.
Choosing Domains With Your Niche in Mind
You can begin your search by first identifying the keywords associated with your blog.
Note most “real words” are already taken and so you will have to make do with a domain with several real words in it. Alternatively, you can invent a word that “sounds” like it could be good for your niche.
Your domain name must be short, with very few syllables. However, there is another technique related with domain ownership that teaches us about using long tailed keywords as domain names. These keywords are the exact ones that people type in the search bar to look for something online (e.g. whatisablog). The likelihood that you could grab their attention faster is high if your domain name reflects the things they went online for.
When I encounter quite a few domain names that are similar in quality and worth, the thing to consider would have to be the brandability of the name. Will it look good on a business card? Is it sticky (will it stay with the passers by?).
Aim for the dot com
It’s extremely difficult to compete with a site bearing the dot com version of your dot net domain name because a lot of direct browser searches will go to the dot com version by default. When searching for available domain names for your blog, always check the dot com extensions first, but also be on the lookout for worthy dot net names. If you find a short ‘real word’ domain name but it is only available as a dot net, it is advisable to get it. Investing on a very good dot com domain name could also mean buying it directly from the current owner. You should do this only when you are completely sure your investment will pay off.
Lists of Expiring Domains
There are hundreds of thousands of domain names that expire daily. When you find one you like on a list, the first step you should take is to research the history of the domain name. Was the previous owner careful with it (i.e. did he use it ethically)? The domain names in the expiring or expired lists may have an existing traffic source and even google page rank. Use the search engines to find out what types of articles were previously published on the domain, as these articles could still be included in the cache.
When you start your blog, you know that there are certain people who you think can appreciate your topic. Some of these can be your friends, co-workers and relatives who, of course, will read anything you are going to put out. However, one cannot earn from a blog by having just a handful of readers. You need a big crowd of fans, or at the very least, interested people who will hang out for a while and listen to what you have to say about a certain product or service. For you to earn decently through your blog, you need visitors who are already interested in your site’s topic, will likely be interested in your topic and those who will most likely benefit from your tips or endorsements.
Where do you find these interested and highly excitable people?
Forums – Online communities have been around for a long time, and some have evolved out of one particular interest that thousands of people share. Joining a forum that directly attracts posters who are more than a bit interested in what you have to say about a certain subject area is powerful. These forums may provide signature space where you can place a link to your blog, or may even allow you to include your blog link or banner in your forum profile. Discussion of your interest in the forum will lead to curiosity. The people who will develop a keen interest in your opinions will probably visit your blog to know more about you and to read more about your thoughts. Developing a good relationship with some of these forum posters will increase your credibility, and subsequently, the amount of traffic going to your blog.
Your Competition – Using the search box at Google (particularly google blog search) and Yahoo will reveal several sites that already talk about your exact blog topic. Visit the most relevant ones and observe the interaction of the webmaster with his readers, check out how he has developed his topic and learn about the trend of his posts. When you have deemed this blog as a “kindred spirit” (someone who has the same level of authority in your field), you may opt to contact him to ask to advertise on his blog. If you are the shy type and wouldn’t approach another easily, you may opt to simply observe what advertising systems the blogger uses on his blog and find ways to place your banner there. Having an advertisement on another blogger’s site will increase your chances of attracting a part of his traffic. Most webmasters will appreciate your business because you represent a related site, which their readers will enjoy. There are some others, however, who will not allow you to advertise on their site because they don’t want the competition.
Remember that finding readers for your blog is easy if you work with the concept of relevance. Also, there are several offline ways of increasing traffic to your blog. One of these is by creating business cards with your blog logo and a short description of what you talk about. You can distribute these in related events that you yourself attend.
Your Sales Pages
One of the best ways to drive traffic to your blog is by making yourself known to other sites. For example, in places like facebook, people will be able to see your link and follow your bait to your blog. The exact place they first go to is called your landing page, which could be your main index (your blog’s front page) or another page that directly tells them what you are selling and why they need it. Some people get disappointed when they expect to see a product review and they get taken to a page that does not exactly tackle what they went there for. Sales pages are also the ones that you use for your Google Adwords campaigns, which you can consider when you have learned enough to use this powerful marketing tool.
The easiest way to introduce your sales page to your blog readers and visitors is to place a link to the sales page on the most visible part of your blog. Page creation is a no-brainer when using WordPress, as one of the features of a wordpress blog is the ability to create web pages that are outside the normal blog post cycle.
There are several ways of categorizing sales pages, and the most common way is to determine whether a sales page is ‘soft sell’ or ‘hard sell’. For people who are just starting out in their quest for online earnings, we will differentiate the types of sales pages by describing what’s ugly and what’s pretty.
The Ugly Sales Page – You might have seen some pages that have ugly yellow bands all over them, or bold letters in various fonts and colors. There are no photographs, not even a pretty icon to beautify things. The paragraphs are not aligned and don’t really qualify as good reading. While we would pass off these pages as “fugly”, there is no denying that they catch attention. Further analysis of the reasons behind the “fugliness” will tell us that these pages are designed to make the reader’s eyes widen at certain points, usually the ones that tell the most powerful messages of the page. Font play, colors and the overall layout of the page makes it a fugly but effective tool for driving profits.
These pages are meant to shock the mind of the reader, shaking him up with the strong message and the visual gimmicks, and eventually sending him to an excited frenzy (or panic), which will make him buy the product being offered.
The Pretty Sales Page – The anatomy of a pretty sales page comprises a nice header, well-aligned text in fonts in neutral color, and over-all, a good presentation of your sale. The nice environment that the page creates relaxes the reader and keeps him reading. Engaging text complemented with icons that directly appeal to the aesthetic tastes of the reader will drive your sales. The buy or “action” button is unobtrusive but inviting.
The goal of the pretty sales page is to make the reader bookmark the page. Skimming through the page, the reader could qualify it as a good resource and promptly tag it for reading afterwards. While he might not buy immediately, he will return often and will possibly buy in the future. The best part is, the exquisite quality of your sales page could just make the reader invite others to view it.
CashSherpa.com is not only about saving money it’s also about making money. One of the best ways to make money online is by starting a blog.
Now that you have a blog, you have quality posts and you have an audience that hangs on to your every article, the next logical step is to moneytize your blog. Moneytization is a term that was coined to describe each action that a blogger does to earn through blogging. The concept of selling through your blog is simple. Like in an outdoor activity where someone or something is attracting attention, the people who stand around watching you perform will need some refreshments, some souvenirs to re-live their experience with, and some useful stuff to take home.
Selling through your blog operates around the concept that “a good spectacle attracts a large crowd”. When your continuous supply of very good content keeps feeding your audience, the advertisers or those who will pay you to continue keeping the crown in thrall will start coming up with attractive offers. Although there’s a good possibility that your potential advertisers are among your fans, there are others who might still be in the dark about your blogging talent and so you need to introduce yourself to these people.
Joining Affiliate Networks
There are networks over the net that serve as venues for advertisers to meet potential sellers, more aptly called affiliates. An affiliate will have access to the merchant (advertiser) resources available to them and will put these on their blog sidebars, text body or in pop-ups. Every sale that the merchant makes through your blog will be counted and compensation will be given to the blogger in the form of commission.
What is Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate Marketing is simply sharing of the sale between the webmaster (blogger) and the merchant. There are several ways to be compensated for your efforts at selling the merchant’s products. Merchants will have very strict rules that you have to follow for compensation to be awarded. Some will pay you when the people you send to the merchant’s site buy something (counted as a sale), while others will pay you when the people you send to their site sign up for an offer (counted as a lead).
There are merchants who will pay you just for the interest of your blog readers. This means that they pay you for the clicks that your site generates on their banners. Though undeniably the fastest way for a blog to earn, the merchants are very much aware of the scams that some unethical bloggers think up to game this marketing system. Thus, they employ the most advanced means to protect themselves from “click fraud”.
Help Them Help You
For online trading through affiliate marketing to succeed, both the merchants and the website owners (also called publishers) must work together to come up with the best solution for their business. Affiliate managers will be assigned to a blogger or publisher when approved for a product campaign. There are the people bloggers communicate with via email, and if you have questions about their product, banners or marketing tools, they are the ones to approach. A blogger must also read through every single document that the merchant provides to ensure that whatever marketing schemes he thinks up is in line with the goals of the merchant or advertiser.
Your new job as an affiliate to a merchant and a blogger to a crowd who loves you already may take up most of your time. What you have to know is that affiliate marketing may also take up some of your own resources. Like any other successful business, most of the successful affiliates you will meet will tell you that they have had to shell out some cash for a very worthy campaign. In fact, you are already shelling out some cash by building a blog and paying for hosting.
Money coming in vs. Money coming out
Every now and then, you will find a merchant who is more than willing to give you the lion’s share of the profit. With that in mind, you go in a flurry of activity and try your best to get the product out there. The problem is, while you know that a product is useful, you can be sure that several more people know of this fact too, and have been recruited by the same merchant. A successful campaign is only successful when your efforts convert, i.e. you make a sale. If a product is hot, and there are other people aiming for the massive crowd that would love to buy the product, your main ally in making the campaign (which you are spending your own money on) work in your favor will have to be the affiliate manager in charge of your account. He can enlighten or clarify some regulations, as well as provide you with banners that you need.
Working with Affiliate Managers
A good relationship with your affiliate manager means keeping in constant touch, learning about which campaigns or products are expiring soon, and requesting for better banners. Affiliate managers are also the ones who will help you when your clicks are not being counted, or if there are discrepancies in the computation of your commission.
Always start your letters to your affiliate manager with pleasantries, no matter how distraught you are (e.g. you have been keeping the campaign going, bleeding cash and still, your leads are not being counted). Set the mood to professional and explain your side calmly. Getting in a word war with an affiliate manager could endanger your investment and make your efforts seem pointless. Of course, you know quite well that they need your efforts for them to earn, but making yourself a liability by being difficult could just exasperate the most patient affiliate manager.
First of all, choose a program that has the best reputation for customer or affiliate service. How do you know which ones are good? Ask around, check out the sites that are promoting the products and politely ask for feedback. The easiest way to find programs with very good affiliate communication is to analyze how their campaigns are doing inside an affiliate network. Some questions to ask include:
1. Does it feel like the affiliate manager is offline all the time?
2. Do they send you newsletters to inform you of the new products that need promoting?
3. Do they have banners that fit your campaign? If not, are they willing to craft some new banners just for you?
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