Day 9 — Reaching Out to Your Neighborhood
Today is the time to get others know about your blog. This may be as simple as telling your friends, family members or colleagues about your new site. Basically, you want to go where your target market hangs out and let them know that you exist. Because in this challenge we focus on online promotion methods, you need to identify places to reach people via the Internet.
Here are just a few ideas for blog promotion:
- Google groups and Yahoo groups
- Discussion boards or forums
- Social media sites like Squidoo and HubPages
- Blogs related to your particular industry
When browsing through groups and forums, you may be able to identify the popularity and participation of the members by looking at the activity and number of registered and subscribed members.
Finding Authority Sites / Pages
You may also perform a search in Google to find out which page that Google thinks are the authority in your niche topics, particularly to the page you are searching.
site:squidoo.com rose gardening
This search string uses the site: operator, which narrows down the search particularly to the domain only. In this query, you search in squidoo.com for pages with rose and gardening somewhere in the age, not necessarily close to each other. You may narrow down the search using phrase match or combine it with the intitle: operator to find specific topic related to that topic.
You may also use Google to locate discussion boards, blogs and other sites that you want to participate and become known in.
Your news reader software can help you discover new sources of traffic. By monitoring RSS feeds from related niches, I often find new blogs and build relationship with great bloggers and site owners.
It is important to realize that site owners are also human beings. You can’t spam them and expect them to help you in any way.
There are a lot of ways to find places where your niche audience hangs out. In fact, if you are part of them, you may already know several places to start with. Make use of a little bit of creativity to find new places and soon you will have more in your plates than you can possibly handle.
About Topical Relevance of Inbound Links
Getting links from topically relevance web pages / sites can help in rankings. If your site is about rose gardening but you gets a link from real estate site, it will have less, if at all, impact to the authority of your page.
The thing is, determining relevance is not an absolute science. That doesn’t mean you can’t get backlinks from other sites than the ones with the same topic, i.e. rose gardening. Chances are links from sites about orchid gardening or even gardening tools are still very relevant.
Tips: In blogging, I always think that competition is not necessary a bad thing. After all, bloggers tend to link to each other. If there is no other blog in your niche, chances are you will have to struggle even more to get backlinks and traffic.
About DoFollow (No NoFollow) Links
Google introduced this new attribute in 2005, basically to help web site owners to control their own links. Nofollow links simply mean that search engines, mainly Google, won’t follow the link.
DoFollow links, on the contrary, transfer link juice to linked pages. It was popularized to fight comment spam. Some bloggers think that nofollow is the wrong approach to fight comment spam but the attribute works that way out of a standard WordPress installation.
For this reason, many people are looking for dofollow blogs so they can leave comments and transfer link juice back to their main ranking vehicle. While this is an entirely valid approach still you must make sure that you want to get links only from topically related pages or blogs.
Keep in mind that long term relationship with bloggers can bring you far more benefits than any number of dofollow links, so you may want to take that into account. In other words, while no nofollow links can help you in rankings, you may also consider building relationship with other bloggers.
Participation / Blog Comment Etiquette
Imagine a stranger walks into your house, breaks everything that you have before your very eyes, yell at you so you visit his/her site on insert a topic here — which is entirely different topic from your blog, and then disappears through the front door!
A blog is just like you house, a place where you establish your online presence. Just because bloggers enable blog comments feature, they don’t necessarily mean that anyone could break things inside.
Etiquette is necessary if you want to build your name, credibility and long term business. Nothing can ruin your reputation faster than becoming a spammer.
Building relationships online is much like in the real world. You have to proceed carefully. If you want to comment on other people’s blogs, discussion boards and other web properties, you should show interest, offer value and become resourceful.
That’s how people notice you and then visit you blog because they are curious to find more about you. If they like what they see, the may link to your blog, sending you referral traffic. The backlinks are just additional bonuses.
Best Practices for Blog Commenting
Although these are specific to blog commenting, I believe the information can be used as well for discussion boards and other Web 2.0 sites.
- Be a mannered guest. If the bloggers happen to have official comment policy, you should respect it. If you are commenting on other people’s blog, you are a guest in their house.
- Contribute and add value. Don’t write a post that says nothing but “Good post!” or “Me too!” that adds no value at all to the conversation. You want to impress the readers and blogger with your contribution that they want to know more about your blog / site.
- Stay on topic. Some blogs don’t require you to stay on the topic 100 percent of the time but others will censor anything that is off topic. However, staying on topic is important because the purpose should be to enrich the content.
- Avoid blatant promotion. It may be acceptable to mention the URL to your blog post if it is related to the topic you are writing but even this varies from one blog to another. The most important of all is that you establish your credibility instead of sprinkling your links furiously everywhere possible.
- Show interest. Come back to follow up if necessary. If you ask question, you want to post follow up, even a simple thank you message to show that you are monitoring the post and are really interested in asking instead of just a chance to display your site URL.
- Be respectful to others, don’t feed the trolls. If you have a different opinion than others, there is nothing wrong with that. Just that you have to show respect to others, so people respect you in return.
When it comes to relationship, it is important that quality can be far more valuable than quantity. If you are able to get links from a blog post, it can often bring more traffic than your 100 comments on random places.
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