Reading time: 9 – 15 minutes
I’ll assume to start that like most people, you’re way, way more interested in yourself than what I’m doing.
Don’t feel bad – we’re all like that; largely interested in our own ends, our own stories.
But I’d like to tell you a little bit about my experiences with blogging and affiliate marketing on the internet. I don’t expect you’ll care about my experiences, but there are some lessons you’ll learn (if you’re open to learning).
These lessons in my little story will will help YOU:
Get More Traffic!
It’s Easy For YOU To DO!
Now do I have your attention?
I came around to blogging slowly. At heart I’m a believer in proven direct response marketing methods and my early experiences marketing online validated those beliefs.
But the marketplace changed and the web became, well, more social. The same shtick that worked for content marketing when I started out doesn’t work today. That’s because the internet as a marketing environment has matured and the competition for “mindshare” is hotter than ever.
For years I focused almost entirely on list-building and then I would email newsletters and promotions to the list. I did do blogging, but the blog content was not my focus much at all. My emphasis as a free-content provider was to shower my lists with good stuff – but subscribers only got that content on the inside. It wasn’t out there for everybody to read on the blogs.
I still do list-building and it’s still valid. As far as my newsletters and content however, I’ve shifted into a more transparent mode of putting it out there in the blogosphere for anybody to read. I notify my email lists when I update the blog and I’ve shifted more into the mode of working to get RSS subscribers to the blog and get my writing syndicated and published widely.
This may seem pretty obvious to you, but you have to understand that when I started marketing online blogs were fairly primitive and not many people knew what RSS was. Many still don’t. I’ve had to let go of my old opinions about what good internet marketing was and adopt new methods to grow my income and influence.
If I were starting out today, I’d start as a blogger and work hard to be a darned good one. I would still market in other ways, but I would always try to put my best foot forward in my public blog and grow readership for the blog as a primary goal in my traffic strategy.
The lucky thing is, getting blog traffic isn’t hard at all.
That’s because blogs, by their nature, attract the search engines. Those search engines, including specialized blog-search engines like Technorati, are on the lookout for fresh content—and they know blogs provide it so they give blogs “love”.
Blogging for traffic
Blogging is a relatively easy way to get traffic. Some of the traffic you’ll get is better than others, but the way blogs are indexed pretty much guarantees you’ll get some traffic every time you blog.
To my way of thinking here are two or more ways to go about blogging:
- 1. The sloppy way. This is where you don’t have much care for quality blogging, but you can get traffic and build your list anyway. The problem with being a sloppy blogger is you’ll never establish a reputation and a genuine following and you’ll undermine an important part of the second half of my system, which is monetizing and leveraging your list to get more traffic.
- 2. The “Pro” way. The second approach is blogging as if you want to establish yourself as a preeminent expert in your field. If you use my system exactly as I teach, this will be related to internet marketing and making money online. but Within that range you could write about personal development, entrepreneurialism, hot marketing trends, affiliate marketing – there is really a very big range but trying to make a blog about raising chickens work to build an internet marketing would be an unrealistic stretch.
Step 1. Who Is Your Reader ?
Recently I gave some advice to a startup entrepreneur who had $50,000 to invest in promoting his website. He was wondering what sort of advertising would be a good investment. When I asked who his target users were his reply was:
“Anybody who uses Facebook, Ebay, or Craigslist. Our site is a cross between all three.”
Basically, he was saying his site was designed to appeal to everybody. Big mistake. You cannot please everybody in marketing anything. Some businesses get lucky after they have a base level of support from a specific group of targeted people. Facebook, for example, started as a college thing and attained core support only from a relatively small, but loyal, user group of students and alums from Ivy League schools. Ebay started as a site for auctioning off collectible PEZ containers and Craigslist just caught on in the San Francisco area for some reason and grew from there.
Your Central Demographic Model
Anyway, the smart way to launch a project to get traffic these days is to decide who your ideal target market is on a fairly detailed level. One name for this is a “central demographic model”. This is like a voodoo doll of your target customer. Your model might be represented by a picture but behind the image the important thing is your understanding of the values of the person who looks that way.
For example: If you were to make a blog about video games you’d want to create a model of your reader in your mind: chances are he’s male and between 12 and 30 years of age. That’s still pretty vague, but it’s more specific (and more useful) than saying “my site is for anyone who plays video games”.
So you make a mental list, or write it down, of what your reader likes and doesn’t like. You try to imagine what his or her average day is like. The more defined your mental image of the person is, the more you’ll be able to reach the emotions of people within the demographic sweet spot you want to reach and the more easily the traffic will come.
Traffic Comes When You Blog About The Right Stuff For Your Market
It’s almost like magic how blogs attract traffic. It’s not at all, but as I said above, the search engines and specialized blog engines have a way of getting you traffic when you blog relevantly. How much traffic you get is a result of two factors primarily:
1. How much your blog is linked to by you (through self-promotion) and by other sites linking to you blog as a recommendation.
2. How effectively the titles and content of your blog posts enters into “the conversation” within the average head of the average person who fits your central demographic model.
I dislike keyword research and I hate writing around keywords, but if you can do it without descending into idiot-level writing, more power to you. The search engines are getting better at sorting out what’s really relevant, so stuffing your blog posts with blatant “spider food” in the form of high-density use of keywords isn’t as necessary as it once was to get search engine rankings and traffic. The reason is the search engines now use a fancy-schmancy technology called LSI or “latent semantic indexing” which allows them to look at not only the specific keywords and phrases you use, but also use complex algorithms to rank your blog for the actual topic based on synonyms and context. You might actually rank rather well for keyphrases you don’t even use because the search engines discovered you’ve written relevantly about the topic with a different vocabulary.
If this seems all over your head, don’t worry. The upshot of LSI technology is that it allows you and me to just focus on creating good blog content. That said, some keyword research will be helpful to you. I don’t like doing it so I use Market Samurai as my tool of choice to help me save time doing the tedious business of researching keywords.
Starting Your Blog
I recommend you use WordPress and you self-host, which means you’ll have to spend five or ten bucks a month to run your blog. Self-hosting gives you freedom to write about whatever you please with no worries about having your blog arbitrarily deleted, which is known to happen to marketers who use free blogs like Blogger or free WordPress.org blogs. Free blogs have their uses, but I believe your main blog should be totally controlled by you.
Pinging your blog every time you update it gets you traffic. When you post and ping frequently, the traffic comes. How much depends on your subject matter, your market niche, and how well established your blog is. But the traffic will come if you blog and ping and in fact a few years back some “gurus” were selling “how to make money online” products based on the same simple premise I’m showing you for free.
In your WordPress blog control panel there’s something called a “ping list”. Depending on how you have it set up, your blog will auto-ping one or several ping services. I like to install a plugin called “cbnet Ping optimizer“ which prevents your blog from auto-pinging too often. By default WordPress pings every time you make the slightest change to your blog content, which can run to a lot of pings and get your blog banned as a ping spammer. So I recommend you use the plugin. By default WordPress doesn’t ping many services (just one in fact I think). There are some ping lists that run over 100 ping services but I feel that’s overkill, so I’ve narrowed it down to about a dozen.
I set the ping optimizer to ping at most once every 60 minutes. Often when I publish a blog post I read the post afterwards and I want to correct some dumb grammar error or add something. With the ping set to 60 minutes, I have an hour to make the post the way I want it without double-pinging being a problem.
I am not claiming, by the way, that getting traffic as a blogger is not work. All success takes work. Blogging well and blogging often will get you traffic and build you a following, but with that comes a commitment of your time. The most important thing is just to get started and then keep going.
P.S. you’ll also want to sign-up for an account with Technorati. When you do you create a profile and claim your blog. Then Technorati gives you some love as a registered member. All you do is embed a code in one of your blog posts (looks like: JMUMM7FSB8X5 ) and then Technorati helps you get some more traffic. Technorati isn’t the only free service that does this sort of thing, but it’s probably the most influential one.
The post author, Loren Woirhaye writes sales copy and creates marketing systems for business clients who want to slash customer acquisition costs and position their businesses For 20%-30% sales growth in the next 12-18 months. He writes regularly about marketing and life at his Entrepreneur Blog.