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Blog Promotion – Reader Submitted Tips

Last week I ran a series with five tactics for promoting a blog that I’d use if I were starting out again in blogging. To finish it off I asked readers to submit their own blog promotion tips of things that I didn’t include. The comments left were great and I wanted to highlight a few that particularly caught my attention (comments in italics are mine):

1. Frugal Dad writes – “Here are some tips learned with Frugal Dad:

  • Spent too much time trying to get attention from “big name” bloggers (link exchanges, etc.). Should have partnered with small-medium size blogs in my niche, or related niche earlier on.
  • Invested too much time commenting, making attempts to network, etc. Should have been writing more, and focusing on good content.
  • I completely ignored the power of social networking sites for the first 60 days, and it cost me in slow readership growth the first couple months.
  • Spent too much time fooling around with advertising links, banners and Adsense before I had the traffic to justify it. I put the cart before the horse.”

From Darren – I agree with Frugal Dad that sometimes it’s better to aim a little ‘lower’ when networking and interact with other bloggers on a similar level than the so called ‘A-list’ who are constantly bombarded with attempts at networking. I also think that getting the balance between promotional activities and writing good content is key. Spend too much time doing non writing activities and your blog will suffer. A holistic approach to blogging is key.

2. THAT Painter Lady writes – “My most successful blog is one where I have a big button that leads to a “ask a question” page.

I can’t keep up with the questions! And everyone loves to see their question and the answer posted on the internet… they will send their friends to view it.”

From Darren – this is a ‘secret’ that a number of bloggers that I’ve been interacting with lately have stumbled upon. Allowing readers to ask questions and then featuring their answers is great for a whole range of reasons. For starters it acknowledges your readers, secondly it gives you relevant content, thirdly it creates a more interactive blog…. the list goes on.

3. Jeff – Science Says writes – “One thing that I realized very early on was that I was getting much more traffic from web searches than anything else – in writing about conservation and environmental issues, I find myself covering a lot of current events, and I found out from my search engine hits that it really pays to sweat the details. The articles that were most successful:

  • Naming my sources – right up front in the text, instead of just providing a link (e.g. I found that “CNN” and “Slate” were common additions to the content) – When I test-searched on Google, my rank was hundreds of pages higher for searches including the source name in addition to the content.
  • Using proper names – including the names of both the author and the main subjects or experts in the stories I covered made a big difference (eg, covering the shark-diving accident, including the dive-guide’s name, Jim Abernathy, doubled my hits)
  • Touching on all the major points – a short summary of the story I’m covering, even if I’m only focusing on a small part of it, brings in more search engine traffic.
  • Making Digg links prominent – submitting my first posts to Digg was almost useless, because they dropped off the Upcoming page in minutes. However, the posts that got high search engine traffic, jumped up on Digg too..”

From Darren – one of the most searched for things online are ‘names’. Whether they be people’s names, product names, brand names, business names…. names are included in many searches via search engines. As a result they are well worth including in your posts and particularly the titles of your posts. More on this topic at Product and Brand Names are Best Keywords.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Ricky says:

    If you’re a video content creator, one of the best tools on the net right now is TubeMogul. It allows you to upload your video once and publish it simultaneously to ~10+ different video sites such as Blip, YouTube, Dailymotion, etc.

    They even pull stats from each site and give you a friendly graph to see where you’re being watched. It’s simple, and gives you exponentially more places where people can find your content, without requiring any extra time from you.

    http://www.tubemogul.com

  2. sarah says:

    these are great. thanks!

  3. Some tips that I have learned over the years:

    *Build the foundation — if you’re not a programming junkie or know how to get a professional site up and running, go out and find someone who does and can help you. You don’t always have to pay top dollar to get a decent blog established.

    *Quality content — If you’re a newbie in the blogging world and you’ve done your research, you know this is a common suggestion. But it’s completely true! Put yourself in the shoes of the person reading your posts and ask yourself, “Is this interesting and would I ever come back to visit this site again?”

    *Bring more people to the table — early on I found it difficult to make consistent posts at least once per day. Over time, I began getting inquiries from other professional in my field who were interested in getting their name out there. Building a cummunity of solid editors on your site can really help bring in more traffic

    *Be patient — too often bloggers get burned out and just give up. I didn’t begin to realize a steady stream of revenue until I had the content, time invested, and reliable traffic generated to justify accepting advertising deals. Once you get the wheels rolling, they will flock to your site like sheep

    Stephen
    http://www.jutiagroup.com

  4. Thanks Darren, it’s nice to see a little perspective from some other bloggers.

  5. Thanks for tips, Darren. Such roundups are great, ’cause we don’t need to follow every comment ;-)

  6. Frugal Dad says:

    Thanks for highlighting my comments, Darren. The irony is that my comments were related to my spending too much time trying to attract the attention of big-name bloggers, when in fact those comments attracted your attention! Funny how things work sometimes.

    I particularly liked That Painter Lady’s tip on the Q&A suggestion. I think I will start something similar based on that advice because it is a very popular feature with readers.

  7. These are some great tips. Too bad I’ve struggled with some of the same stumbling blocks.

    It’s great to hear some advice from other bloggers. I feel better knowing that others have gone through some up’s and down’s like myself.

    Great article and I’ll definitely come back to see what others have to say.

    –TW

  8. Bibokz says:

    Nice post, It;s really nice to compare the tips from several bloggers.

  9. “Invested too much time commenting, making attempts to network, etc. Should have been writing more, and focusing on good content.”

    That’s an interesting point I rarely hear.

  10. I have to agree with some of the tips in here: I found that smaller blogs can be the secret to get out there and be noticed, a good comment in them usually brings in a reciprocal one and sometimes even a nice exchange deal in the future.

    I have found so many small bloggers that are just amazing, it’s excellent to discover them and make them your allies from the start. I don’t consider commenting to be a waste of time, in the end it’s a good way to be noticed and get even 2-3 visitors.

  11. As someone that is trying to build more readership, I really value reading what has worked for others. I am definitely still learning what works and what doesn’t. I have made some of the same mistakes as Frugal Dad and I look forward to trying some of the techniques offered by the others.

    Thanks for such a great post!

    Jeff

  12. David Porter says:

    Happy Easter Darren and thanks for all you do.

  13. BW says:

    Nice set of tips.

    been thinking of the ‘ask a question’ for my site, just have not figured out the best way to implement it. Have to give it more thought.

    Also thinking of having user surveys, but again trying to decide the best way to do this.

    Darren, looks like you use the Democracy plugin – have you run into any issues with this plugin? any other survey plugins you would recommend?

    Thanks

  14. Video Blog says:

    Some good tips there, i especially like the info about names on searches. Now that ive seen it written down, made me realize its like that in my search stats also.

  15. Only just discovered this site, yea I know, where I been man…good stuff here, and not just on this post. I take blogging and blog promotion seriously, for mine its easy to generate content, its what I do, its the passion. Effective blog promotion and in particular, generating income from the 20 or so hours spent writing and researching articles is proving to be an elusive goal however. Oh well, one step at a time, there are some great tips here….

  16. Hit the nail on the head. I spend way too much time worrying about design, social networking, and adsense even though I barely have the traffic to justify it.

    Gotta keep working on the content. Been writing a post every two to three days now.

  17. When I read the original short blog post, my first question was “how is ‘starting out’ being measured, by length of blog’s existence or number of visits?” For instance, because I still get a little less than 500 individuals every day I still consider my site “new” even though I’ve been at it 6 months. Writing a new piece every single day. And I’m a wordy guy and I like to include images. I treat every post like I’ll be judged by it somewhere down the line so I don’t like fluff.

    I don’t know how realistic guest blogging is. What popular or even not too popular blogger is gonna let some unknown come in a write for their blog? Why would they do that. Goodness of heart? I’d LOVE to hear from people who’ve managed to do that.

    Next up I’m glad SearcH◆ EngineS WEB mentioned the reality that there are TONS of blogs out there and most readers aren’t very interested in adding to their reading load. If they are they join things like Squidoo or Entrecard or StumpleUpon. But short of people voluntarily joining those types of sites it’s gonna be very hard to pull them away from where they’re at. Ask anybody who’s worked in advertising; brand loyalty is a bitch if you’re NOT the brand that people are buying.

    And this mantra of content ughhhh. I’m so tired of it. Content is important IF you have readers. Listen, shows like American Idol work on that very premise. That you can stick anybody into the role of “famous person” IF they can be found. If they can’t be found they’ll be singing in between taking orders at the drive through window, or whistling while they work…picking up trash with a pointy stick in the park. So content is important but gaining traffic has got to be AT LEAST as important as quality writing. It IS important to have something “there” when people get there, but if you’ve got no people visiting do you even have a blog? Isn’t that just a private journal with no readers?

    I’ve heard that statistics say most traffic for blogs comes from other blogs, but in my mind that means spending a goo gob of time hanging out at other people’s blogs (like ME blowing time right now) instead of working on my blog. I’m far more concerned with refining the blog’s SEO aspects. Most of MY traffic comes from Google, Yahoo, Digg, and even little ol’ MSN. Because my site is search engine friendly. That’s what’s I do. Usually within MINUTES I can get traffic from a post from Google (not just the Google blog search). I write compelling titles and do all that SEO stuff, and if something gets noticed I go to hittail and refine and build. But that brings up another point I totally skipped; subject matter. WHAT you write about is soooo crucial. Not to mention focus. Because my blog covers 4 or 5 subjects it’s not really focused, in terms of gaining traffic, but it’s what I wanna talk about so I’m sticking with it. That’s my choice, but I wouldn’t recommend that strategy. If you do, then I think you should use things like BlogCarnival to target your posts to readers of those specific interests. It’s a similar strategy to forum posting where you’ve got a targeted group of people there for a particular subject.

    I’m done. It’s Friday night and I’ve got cartoons to watch!

  18. Thanks for the encouragement to keep working on content! I needed to hear that today. I really need to find a balance of promotion, site management, and writing good content.

  19. Joseph says:

    Thanks for the great tips Darren.

  20. What an honor! Thank you Darren for the privilege of being included in an article, and for a nice little traffic bump too! If I can echo FrugalDad for a moment, the irony is pleasant – however, I don’t post on your blog because it’s famous.

    If I may share one more lesson I’ve learned from this exchange – make your comment posts count!

    I’ve seen a good deal of traffic from posting on the blogs I frequent, but in the process I’ve also seen a lot of people who are just posting to get their link out there. I never click on them – I wonder if anyone does?

    On the one hand, I’m annoyed that they’re taking advantage of someone’s useful advice and hardwork, which I feel protective towards out of gratitude. On the other, I pretty much assume that anyone who’s that desperate for readers probably doesn’t have anything worth saying.

    Instead, when I post on a blog, I try to make it count. A good barometer for this is that I DON’T post in the hopes that it will bring readers to my site – I post on blogs that I like and that I really want to discuss.

    As a result, I only post on ProBlogger.net and Zenhabits.net on a regular basis – why? Because those are the only blogs that I read and enjoy on a regular basis! Call it “holistic” or “organic” blogging or whatever you like – I post on the blogs that get me thinking and that make me want to be involved.

    This may be my vanity talking, but I like to imagine that I get the number of clickthroughs I do from Problogger or zenhabits because I’m contributing something worthwhile – in any event, I wouldn’t even be considering hosting my own blog if it wasn’t for Darren and this website, and that’s made this a community I enjoy being a part of. I like to think that shows.

  21. hanlie says:

    Thank you for these tips. I’ve been blogging for about 9 months and am developing a website. This will certainly help.

  22. Robyn says:

    Darren,
    I am a BRAND NEW BABY blogger but before I launched my site I spent time studying the generous advice from sites like yours. I just want to thank you for helping me with your smart, practical tutorials.
    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! :)

  23. Kelly says:

    Darren,

    I really liked your tips but I think I like these even more! :) The Q&A is an awesome idea. I try to ask a question at the end of each post to stimulate thinking about the subject, and of course I have an email link, but I’ve never thought of actively inviting reader questions.

    This has been one of your best series in a while. It really seemed deeply felt (if you know what I mean). Thanks!

    Regards,

    Kelly

  24. nepalsites says:

    very useful indeed. building social network circle really helps.

  25. suresh says:

    Very nice ideas.
    Thank you.
    As you always specify content is the key and king.
    Thinking in the angle of reader and giving what he wants always helps.
    Blogger shall try what people are searching in their perticular topic and focus on that area.
    Thank you again.

  26. More tips…

    * I try to give my blog a unique “voice”. It’s a good “kick in the pants”, with a “no b.s., edgy tone” for internet marketers when they need it.

    * Get involved on the “other end” of your blogging to market your blog. When you submit a post to Digg, look for conversations you can join there and get involved.

    * Concentrate on changing the lives of your readership. Especially for “link bait” pieces. When you write a blog post, you are doing something important, you have the opportunity to change someone’s life.

    * Keep in mind that your reader may not know what you know. Just because a topic might seem basic to you, doesn’t mean your reader will think the same way. This leads to promotion, because you never know what content will get Dugg, or Stumbled etc…

    Joseph Ratliff
    Author of The Profitable Business Edge 2

  27. Thanks! I am just getting my blog launched next week so this was great timing!

  28. Mr.NiceGuy says:

    Nice interactions of small and big name bloggers today Darren and it’s very interesting to note how other bloggers improve their blogs. The Q&A helps lots of newbies.

  29. Darren!

    Thanks the eliciting these tips from other active Bloggers. These tips and some mistakes of others are really helpful.
    I appreciated the tips from ‘Frugal Dad’ most.

    Adrienne Zurub
    Author of
    ‘Notes From the Mothership The Naked Invisibles’

  30. Sorry all. My previous post sounds retarded.
    Tip: Multi-tasking while posting does not work well.

  31. Johns Jo says:

    Hi Darren,

    Thank you for these helpful tips and for allowing other bloggers to ad and exchange their knowledge and experience on your blog pages. Subjects discussed are very important for anyone who wants to improve his online business.

    I t totally agree that content is king, but someone may has excellent content and does not know to convert his traffic into sales, friends, or subscribers may have to suffer.

  32. Anne says:

    My blog is aimed at professionals in my industry. I find that if people ask questions, it’s often amateurs. I don’t think I’ve gotten one question from a professional on my blog. What would you suggest there?

  33. Sinela G says:

    Hello Darren,

    Thank you for creating this opportunity of discussing and exchanging ideas on blogging, blogs, content and other important subjects.

    I think that this is a place to start or improve professional online business.

  34. Great post. Here’s another suggestion for you…

    I run a comedy blog – WhipItOutComedy.com – and I had great success by bringing on board several “columnists,” each of whom publish a themed column on my site every other week. I’ve got about a dozen columnists contributing at the moment and it’s been great for the site content and traffic.

    Plus, it’s given me a dozen people spreading the word about my site to all their friends/fans and driving traffic to the site.

  35. VernLai.com says:

    Darren,

    Thanks for posting the tips, especially from other active bloggers.

    I’ve definitely picked up a few interesting stuffs, especially on using proper names and subjects/topics.

    Nowadays, I’m focusing more on providing quality content in my blog, rather than chasing the ranking which is ever-changing.

  36. GolfSpy X says:

    I think this would be a great topic to cover in a series Darren. I think 2 minds is always greater then one…Great Idea!

  37. Leo says:

    Very interesting about the use of the name and the source. It is quite clear that Google is winning the battle against unresearched articles. Nice one.

  38. Cleve1212 says:

    I definitely agree that reader interaction that is visible to all is one of the best things about any blog.
    As always a great article.