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Cool Little Tool

My last post asked the question of how you build blog and website traffic. Tim left a comment that caught my interest regarding the syndication of one blog’s headlines to other websites he has an interest in – an effort to create stickiness at the website and drive visitors to the originating blog.

I’ve taken Tim’s example to heart and have done the same thing.

I found a cool little tool – free – that converts RSS to JavaScripts. The service name is simply RSS-to-JavaScript.

Have you been noticing the growing popularity of RSS, RDF and ATOM feeds? Would you like to easily add them to your web-site to create sticky content that’s always updated? Then you’ve come to the right place, RSS-to-JavaScript.com was designed to easily convert any valid RSS, RDF or ATOM feed into easy to implement Javascript. No XML or programming experience is necessary.

Use our 100% free tool to easily insert dynamically updated RSS, RDF and ATOM feeds into any web page, blog or content management system.

The way I use RSS-to-JavaScript is to aggregate posts I write on two other blogs and present them on my maim blog, JSLogan. The thought is to make JSLogan readers more aware of posts I write on other blogs and drive more readers to the other sites.

Thanks for the idea Tim!

Are there any other cool little tools like this you use or have seen in the blogosphere?

Other Than Search Engines – Where Do You Get New Blog Traffic?

Yesterday was another typical Monday – back to work, back into the routine, another Carnival of the Capitalists. I’ve been participating in the Carnival of the Capitalists (CoTC) for some time, it’s pretty effective at drivng new readers to my blog. I usually pick-up a few new readers each week from CoTC, yesterday was no exception.

Other than CoTC, I routinely pick-up new readers from comments and trackbacks I do on other blogs. Obviously, you can pick-up referer traffic and new audience through trackbacks from your blog and references to your site or a particular post on other sites, but you can’t control those events…they just happen.

I’ve also had some luck in article submissions and noticed some traffic increases from e-zines I’ve given content to. On one ocassion, I even ran a paper direct mail campaign to bring more people to my blog…resulting in about 200 additional readers.

Other than those things I’ve listed above – and excluding search engine traffic – how do you get new readers to your blog? Are there any forums or Carnivals out there that work well for you?

What If No One Answered The Call?

Last week I published a post on moving the discussion to conversion. Thinking about that post and associated comments a bit earlier, a related thought crossed my mind – What is no one answered your call to action?

What if no one ever bought, no one ever registered, no one ever clicked? What if all you ever got from your blogging was the satisfaction of knowing an audience of readers thought your blog was interesting – interesting enough to read and comment occasionally, but not interesting enough to heed your call to action.

Would you still post? Why?

Are You Prepared For A Good Thing?

I doubt anything I post will ever be picked-up by Slashdot, but I have hopes of being Slashdotted someday. I imagine it’s like a number of great things in life – watch what you ask for, you may get it. Having a traffic jump on the magnitude a big blog like Slashdot can drive your way sounds nice, but you likely need a plan to make sure you and your host doesn’t bend to the point of breaking.

Duncan was Slashdotted not long ago and here’s the lessons learned from the experience.

A few lessons, if a blog gets slashdotted its wise to turn OFF comment moderation straight away if you have it on, you wont be able to keep up. more…

Are there more lessons to learn? Any tips for those of us fortunate enough to have a fire hose of traffic pointed in our direction?

Am I Weird?

For every single post I write, including this one, I write it first in MS Word and save a copy in a common folder on my computer. I do the same for almost every comment I leave in the blogosphere. My thought is two-fold…if I loose everything on my site, I still have all that I’ve written and with Google desktop search, I can search everything I’ve written as reference for future thought and posts.

Do any of you do the same or anything similar?

Is It Time to Talk More About Conversion?

My background is B2B sales and marketing, more sales than marketing to be precise. I’ve worked with many sales people, teams, and organizations – each go through cycles of activity and business. One staple is the objective remains constant – close more business.

We need more leads and fresh contacts will be the mantra when new business is in decline. Once new contacts are in supply We need more demos and trials is usually the next mandate. Lastly, We need incentives and more closing activities surfaces once it’s noticed a plethora of field activity isn’t producing as much revenue as required or expected. Then the cycle tends to complete and begin again – more new contacts, more trials, more closing. But the objective remains constant – close more business.

Are there similar cycles of Internet presence?

SEO is big. A lot of focus is put on building more and more traffic. We each want our audience to grow. Is it time to talk more about conversion? There are some out there that have moved to what I believe is the next step in the Internet cycle. But the majority appears to remain focused on getting more clicks to their site than clicks to convert once they arrive.

If you have 1,000 or 10,000 visits to your site a day and 1 visitor accepts your call to action, isn’t the net result the same? At the end of the day, you had one visitor that purchased, registered, clicked, etc. If you could get two people to heed your call to action, your results double.

Does it make sense to you the time has arrived to move the discussion from How do we get more people to our site? to How can we can get more people to convert on whatever call to action we offer?

Ouch!

Best argument yet for posting less. Blogs keep challenging old thinking.

Are the rules of business changing?

Stickiness

One thing all bloggers and webmasters want is return visitors. Many of us watch the stats and monitor this critical measurement of web success…if you come back time and time again, you must like me. If you like me and return enough you’ll finally heed my call to action – make a purchase, register, click on an advertiser, etc. Stickiness makes a blog and return visitors are paramount to ecommerce success – repeat buyers are a critical component to revenue growth.

How best do you get people back to your site time-after-time?

Like many, I’ve tried countless ways to attract and retain repeat visitors – polls, weekly features, giveaways, interviews, guest bloggers, links, quizzes, contests, etc. Some worked better than others, some had little affect at all. Great content is a given. But what puts you over the top? Sometimes just adding a fraction to your audience makes all the difference in the world.

Polls were interesting for a while; they seem to be abandoned now. Contests got old and quizzes smelled funny. Guest bloggers and interviews are currently popular. Maybe there’s a cycle and what was once old will again appear new.

If you blog or run a website, what are the best features you’ve added to your site to attract and retain repeat visitors? What are the most effective features you’ve seen on other blogs and websites? Lastly, why do you think they work?

Why Do You Write, Read, and Comment on Blogs?

Last week, Bob Bly asked a simple question on his blog – …why not just read books, periodicals, and Web sites? Why do you read blogs … and bother writing posts on them?

Here was the comment I left in response to his question:

I own a few of the books you’ve written. I like them. One in particular has helped me in my career. I thought of writing you in thanks, but never did. I always thought you were too busy or must be receiving unsolicited input all the time. In short, I always thought I’d be a bother.

Then you started to blog and as such, I had an easy means to reach you. You opened a dialogue and I can communicate with you as easy as leaving this comment. Since then, you’ve emailed me a few times in acknowledgement of comments on your blog. We even had a short conversation on the phone. All because you blog.

Why visit your blog? You are very good at offering insght and opinion – opening a conversation. Books, magazines, newsletters and such are often better thought, more informative, and better written than blogs I read…but I never “met” you until you blogged. You’re better here than in your books. You’re human, one of “us.” You lead and participate in the conversation. That’s why I read and comment on your blog.

I blog because it makes me think. I learn from what excites people, what gets them talking, and what leaves me speaking in the “dark.” I’ve met and joined in conversations with people across continents, and have learned from comments left on my blog.

Blogging makes me better at my profession – that’s why I blog.

For those of you that blog, why do you do it? For those of you that read and comment on blogs, what do you get out of it? Why participate? Why blog?