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Friday, April 17, 2009

Riding the Social Networking Wave



You've finished your blog after months of arduous work. It's clear, concise and easy to navigate. Months go by and no comments appear. Did you throw a rock into an empty pond? Perhaps.Let's review some of the basic techniques to help improve the visibility of your blog. Let's face it, if a bear shits in the woods...? These techniques will include search engines, social networking and corporate email lists.Using Search Engine Optimization, referred to as SEO, is an excellent method to build traffic for your blog. When you first followed the composition template from WordPress or BlogSpot, you were given two or three areas to describe your blog using phrases. These key phrases you selected are picked up by Google’s roving robots that assimilate the content, tags, phrases and assets on the worldwide web for categorization. You can still change them, just look under options.Google then uses multiple complex algorithms to determine a particular site/blog's popularity. A time tested model is to enter your key phrases into Google search and see how many web sites and blogs appear. Use phrases that both relate to your blog and phrases that your intended audience would type in to locate help or additional information on a given subject. If you want to add some power behind your quest for traffic, register for Google ad words: (https://adwords.google.com/select/starter/AdStatus?campaignId=33830588 ) A short note on different search mechanisms. There are multiple search engines such as Google, Yahoo and MSN (Microsoft.) Google currently owns 65% of the search engine market. Most paid search systems use a pay per click model which means that you are charged each time a person locates your site/blog and clicks through to see it. The “pay per click” or PPC model offers the user the ability to determine budget for your marketing. You can also determine how many clicks you are receiving for each specific search phrase. This gives you the ability to continually monitor and modify your contextual efforts. The litmus test is generally a two or three word phrase that best describes your web site YET is typically typed in by your potential audience when they need help or are searching for web assets relevant to your blog. For your blog, let’s continue with an exercise. Go to Google search and type in “building a social networking site” and you’ll see my blog appear on the right or within the first few search results. If I had used “JD’s Special Blog” as a paid Google phrase, the gain would be minimal or even non-existent. Here's a tool to find out how your traffic is buzzing along - http://trends.google.com/websites?q=dell.com&geo=all&date=all or the easy to use "Who's Talking" http://www.whostalkin.com/ The best route to growing your blog is actually “swimming in the waters” of social networking. This simply means that you locate by search, blogs that are similar to yours and cross post in a complimentary mode. Please be aware that there may be a level of competition with some blogs and your comments may not get posted. Continue this exercise frequently.Cross posting places your blog’s URL (uniform resource locator which is simply your address on the web) in multiple places that are relevant. The more you interact with other bloggers and build up your presence, the more successful your attempt at growing blog traffic will be. When you’ve built your blog traffic through social networking interaction, you will see a much higher concentration of commentators, critics and followers than those coming from paid search efforts.If you are an IT marketing manager that has an existing base of customer email names, you are sitting on a potential gold mine. Simply use an email newsletter that targets your best customers/evangelists and inform them that you goal is improvement through their input. Make sure that you have existing blog content that invites opinions or even criticism from this audience and encourage them to comment. Your blog hosting company will have an option that when a comment is made to your blog, you receive an email.Please make sure that you respond thus creating the interaction that forms the nucleus of web 2.0. Keep this blog updated and answer all of the comments. You'll be amazed at the results. The combination of SEO techniques and a heavy dose of social networking interaction will enhance your blog's audience. JD Holzgrefe


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