10 Free Tips to Grow Your Blog

10 action steps for growing your blog right away

Great folks in the outdoor industry contact me regularly usually to say hello and sometimes to discuss blogging and business strategy. Some of these folks – being the savvy business folks they are – usually like to find some simple things they’re simply overlooking.

Most folks that inquire about information ask for pricing on the Hunting Business Marketing Services. I share the prices for the various services up front and then give a few tips on the subject specifically referred to in the inquiry. Most folks like the free tip and advice and it hopefully helps them with their current strategies.

For folks interesting in something more detailed and specific to their needs, we move onto specific strategies and planning with the paid services offered such as Marketing Consulting, SEO, and Copywriting.

In terms of blogging, I usually share some basic things as advice up front with folks. These can often be the most helpful for those in the beginning stages of blogging.

Since I repeat these tips often I thought it would make sense to share them in a post (head slap moment).

Here are 10 Free Tips to Grow Your Blog…

1| Guest Post

Guest posting is the number one way for bloggers to grow their audience and increase traffic (after writing your own great content of course). Writing guest posts puts you in front of audiences that are already established readers of the blogs. By offering to write guest posts on popular blogs you’re providing the blog editors with quality content and in return you get exposure and increase traffic for your site or blog.

Start seeking out blogs in your niche and outside of your niche and offer to write guest posts. Make sure the people that visit your blog can subscribe to your posts so you capture them as readers.

2| Determine Goals

When starting a blog as a stand-alone entity or when adding a blog to your existing site, it’s important to determine the goals up front. While there is always going to be a point where you have to just let go and go for it, you want to make sure that the focus of the blog aligns with the goals of the business.

For example, are you starting a blog with the goal of gaining attention of major publications for a potential job?

Are you starting a blog as a way to drive traffic and interest for your e-commerce store?

Determine the goals for your blog and create content with that goal as the focus.

3| Read Other Blogs

Reading other blogs is a great way to gain inspiration for your own writing. It’s also important for finding great content to build on and to link to with your own posts. Reading other blogs will allow you to determine the type of content that you enjoy and the content your readers enjoy. Also, read the comments to see how people react to certain kinds of posts. Try to copy successful patterns for your own posts.

4| Comment and Post

When you are reading blog posts and forum posts, be sure to leave your insight by commenting and posting. As a blog owner, you’ll realize that receiving a comment is a great reward. Comments validate the content a writer is writing and lets them know they’re connecting with readers.

Commenting and sharing your thoughts off your site is another way to build your audience through exposure just like guest posting.

5| Write Catchy Headlines

Headlines are the first thing potential readers see regarding the content on your site. Write your headlines after your write your content and make sure you address the interests and desires of the people you’re targeting.

You can come up with ideas for posts (which can be seen as a headline), but be sure to adjust the headline accordingly once you’ve written the post.

A great way to come up with ideas for headlines is The Cosmo Guide to Writing Effective Headlines.

6| Post Regularly

Writing your posts regularly is good for two reasons:

1) Your readers crave consistency just like they crave the news every night.

2) Search engines crave consistency as well. They will crawl your site more and increase your authority the more often you post quality content.

7| Structure Your Blog Posts

Your readers (and search engines) will love your content more if you make your posts easy to read and easy to scan.

Use headings, lists, bolding, and other structure methods when writing your posts so the content is easily digestible for readers and search engines.

8| Link to Other Sites

A way that gains attention from other bloggers in a positive way is to use your site and blog to link to the quality posts of others. Just as receiving comments on a site is rewarding for blog writers, receiving links and mentions on other blogs is validation for their hard work.

Don’t expect it in return, but most times when you link to other blogs you’ll find the other folks visiting your site to check you out and in wonderful cases even sharing your content and linking to you when appropriate.

9| Link to Your Own Content

When writing posts (and I forget this discipline sometimes) remember to link to your own content using relevant anchor text. Search engines use your internal links to determine your important content and your readers follow the links as they look to digest more of your insight.

Ex: Hunting Pictures, Hunting Resources, and Web Conversion Tips

10| Ad Revenue is Tough

When starting blogs folks will often look at ad revenue and affiliate revenue for ways to make money to support their work. This is a tough road to take since it requires a lot of traffic to generate enough revenue to make the effort worthwhile.

Something I often suggest for outdoor bloggers is to focus on writing quality material while making connections in the hunting industry that can lead to writing jobs with major publications.

Show that you’re an expert in your field and others will take notice and seek out your insight. Some will be willing to pay you for content.

With the focus on your content, you can also take advantages of other opportunities for revenue that may come about besides ads and affiliates.

Summary

These 10 tips are the ones I share the most often with folks asking about blogging. They’re very basic, but I think most find them useful nonetheless.

I hope they will help you.

What other tips can you add to the list?

Please share your thoughts in the comments (See Tip #4).

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Rank in the Top Ten for Your Niche Industry

People love content with intriguing numbers

I’m not sure what exactly it is about statistics, but for some reason stats have a way of capturing the attention of people.

There are over 500 million results for statistics on Google.

Digg has thousands of posts about stats submitted to its pages as Web users find enough value in blog posts about stats to share them with others in the network.

Stats seem to strike a chord with Web users and as a result, blog posts about stats have a high tendency to rank well in search engines keyword phrases related to the topic of the posts.

For example, the keyword phrase Twitter Stats brings up a few blog posts in the top ten that cover the latest stats concerning everybody’s favorite mass communication tool.

So What Does This Mean For You?

If you have a blog or Website and you’re trying to attract traffic then it’s entirely possible for you to write content for a Web page or a for a blog post that collects statistics from around the Web that highlight interesting data concerning your niche industry and rank in the top ten for terms related to “your niche industry” and “your niche industry stats”.

It takes some digging around on the Web to find relevant stats that your audience will find interesting, but once you bring together valuable statistics in one place you’ll be providing value that people will appreciate and share with their networks.

For example, I wrote a post Essential Hunting Industry Stats and that post received some great comments from readers. This post did very well for me as it ranked well for the term Hunting Industry (until I changed the domain of my blog), but more than ranking well the post also connected me with good-to-know folks in the hunting industry.

Chris Burget, of Bulls and Beavers and also the top hunter on Twitter (@bullsandbeavers), first found my blog via this post about stats and now we’ve had great discussions on and offline about business and the Web as a result of our connection. I’ve since written about with What Do Chris Burget and Garth Brooks Have in Common?

It’s also great to receive comments like the one from Kendall of Camofire:

Great list of info that was useful for a presentation I did yesterday. I appreciate your blog and the insights you are providing.

While it took some work to gather the information, it did all exist on the Web, free of charge; all it took was to find the stats and gather them in one location for the convenience of those looking for interesting and useful statistics about the hunting industry.

More Benefits of Writing Stats Posts

Beyond the benefits of traffic that comes from ranking well for your niche industry related terms and all of the sites and blogs that link to your post on stats there are additional benefits to writing content about the statistics your readers are interested in.

By gathering the information needed to put together a valuable stats post you’ll be showing potential employers, customers, and clients that you’re capable of doing the research necessary to justify business decisions.

Businesses and people often look to statistics for justification of the decisions they make. And when you prove that you can gather the justifying stats you are showing the people you’re working with that you respect their desire for more than your word to justify the recommendations you make.

To take this a step further you could begin conducting the statistics gathering yourself through surveys, polls, and other methods that put together stats in ways that make sense to your audience and customers.

Ranking for Stats Posts and Pages

Ranking well for a specific search term means that people and the search engine robots need to determine that your content is the most relevant source of information for the search query of your target audience.

In order for that to happen search engines want proof that you are trustworthy and popular in the eyes of others in your niche. To gain this trust from others in your niche you’re going to have to publish content so remarkable and valuable that others (including influencers) in your niche will share it with their networks by tweeting it, digging it, emailing it, and linking to it on their blogs.

A great way to capture the attention of others in your niche and get them excited about one of your posts is to gather relevant statistics about your niche.

Take for example, Adam Singer of The Future Buzz wrote a post that used captured the curiosity of the marketing and online world.

The post, Social Media, Web 2.0 And Internet Stats, likely took a lot of time to put together, but the post ranks well for a moderately searched term and was shared numerous times over the Web – retweeted, shared on Facebook, Stumbled, Dugg, etc.

The post now ranks in the top 3 for the term Social Media Stats. While this keyword phrase does not get a ton of traffic each month, it does bring in some traffic from search engines and likely brings in tons of traffic from the sites that link to the post on The Future Buzz.

One term that would be interesting to test this technique for would be Media Industry.

This keyword phrase has much more traffic and it’d be interesting to see if a well-shared and well linked-to post covering media industry stats would rank well.

Summary

If you want to rank in the top ten for a keyword phrase similar to “your niche industry stats” or “your niche industry” you can gather together stats that are available on the Web already and bring them together one place (and don’t forget to cite your sources).

It takes some time to gather the information together, but once the content in place it’s a valuable resource for others in your industry and it serves are a way for your customers to justify spending money.

What are your thoughts?

Have you used interesting stats in your blog posts – possibly as a lede to start your posts?

Have you done an entire post that includes statistics related to your niche industry?

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The Top 10 Twitter Landing Pages

“A twitter landing page is a page on your blog or website that is specifically written for those arriving at your blog having clicked on the link in your twitter profile.” – Darren Rowse (@Problogger) of Problogger

Airplane Landing

Darren has written what I believe to be the best argument for creating a custom Twitter landing page.

Please read: Develop a Twitter Landing Page

Marketing, thanks to the advances in connection and communication on the Web, is giving people a chance to meet on an individual level. The Web allows businesses and to move away from segmenting and toward a more individual relationship with consumers.

With a landing page you are acknowledging the specific individuals that click on the link on your Twitter profile.

Twitter Landing Page

Rather than sending individuals that visit your Website via your Twitter profile to your company’s home page or to your personal blog home page, you’re sending them to a more personalized landing page with targeted and relevant content.

By providing relevant content and information for specific visitors, you increase the chances of gaining a longtime follower.

I’ve looked through my list of followers and those I follow on Twitter to find the 10 best Twitter landing pages – surprisingly there were very few who had landing pages. I’d say (and this by no means scientific – it’s actually only a rough estimate of my own Twitter community – that less than 5% of Twitter users have Twitter landing pages).

Let’s take a look at each of the 10 best…

1| …

It turns out that not many people in my Twitter community have Twitter landing pages. And since there are relatively few Twitter landing pages I didn’t think it would be right to do a ‘Best of’ list after doing some searching.

Do you have a Twitter landing page?

If so please let me know by leaving the link to your Twitter landing page in the comments below. I’d love to include a full write-up about you and your site in this post.

Social Identities

Social Identities creates amazing images and design for businesses and individuals using social media. Custom themes, backgrounds, and other images including logos and blog graphics. Customized and stunning imagery is important for any business looking to connect with their target audience. A successful image can communicate your business message and mission to your customer in an instant.

Follow Hugh on Twitter – @HughBriss

Visit the Sites

Social Identities

Twitter Image

I like the custom theme for Barrington Gifts:

Barrington Gifts Twitter Background

View all of Hugh’s Custom Twitter Backgrounds

Facebook Pages

Custom Ning Themes

Creating Your Own Page

If you’d like, I’ll help you develop your own Twitter landing page. Just contact me (Contact Form at the bottom) and let’s get your page up. 🙂

Here are a few I found via the Problogger article and Google:

About Darren Rowse (@problogger)

Blog for Profit Twitter Landing Page

Free From Broke Twitter Landing Page

About EH Design & Consulting (@ehdesign)

Miscellaneaarts Twitter Landing Page

HBM Twitter Landing Page

Now, it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t share my own Twitter landing page for HBM: Welcome to Hunting Business Marketing.

I named it something more generic so I could potentially use it for other social media. The posts I highlight what I think are the most valuable posts on HBM along with Twitter Related Posts.

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Twitter Landing Page

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Image courtesy of .faramarz on Flickr

How to Choose a Hunting Business Directory

What do you want your potential clients to see?

Yellow Pages

image credit: How can I recycle this

Looking for an online hunting business directory is something each business owner or manager does when they’re looking for a way to market their business on the Web. One of the ways to grow your own audience is to pay to borrow the attention of someone else’s. For more see Grow Your Followers Like a Country Music Singer.

Online hunting directories are like the hard copy of the yellow page ad book you may still receive on your door step every year. However, most online hunting business directories offer much more quality exposure and branding for quite a bit less money than your average yellow page classified.

Finding the correct online hunting business directory is essential to increasing your exposure, traffic, and sales. Let’s take a look at ways you can ensure you choose the right directory listing for your business…

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The Basics

Every site should have some basic features that make it stand out and catch the eye of the hunters who are visiting the site for information on hunting businesses. The authority of the directory rests solely in the hands of its visitors. The great thing about the Web is that the people ultimately decide the Websites that are most important.

Follow hunters on the Web and you’ll find the best hunting directories for your business. Here are a few things to help you follow the hunters on the Web…

Size of the Directory’s Audience

The reason you’re looking for an online hunting business directory is to expand your audience and increase your quality customers. One of the things you want is the opportunity to expand your business brand to the largest and most relevant audience on the Web. (More on relevancy in the next section).

There is a simple way to determine the size of the audiences on the hunting directories you’re researching.

Let’s take a look at the popular term ‘hunting outfitter’. A quick trip over to use the Google Keyword Tool gives some info into the traffic and competition for the term.

Hunting Outfitter Keyword Research

As you can see, it’s a popular term. So the sites that rank high for this term should have some quality traffic they pass to the businesses who list in their directories.

After doing a quick Google search for ‘hunting outfitter’ I saw these results (your results may vary slightly – Google personalizes your results):

Hunting Outfitter Google Results

Now, you can visit Compete.com and compare the unique visitors to the top few sites.

It seems that HuntingNet is in a league of its own yet the site specializes in many more things than just being the best directory. It’s good to have lots of traffic yet it can also be good to find a directory that specializes only in converting sales for outfitters in its listings, which may include having fewer features in order to focus on the directory. It’s a trade off and it’s something to consider for your business.

Target Market

Another consideration when choosing your hunting business directory is your target market the audience of each particular directory. You want the audience of the directory to match yours as closely as possible so the traffic your listing drives will have a high likelihood of converting to an eventual sale.

One tool you can use is Quantcast. As you can see here on the profile for HuntingOutfitters.com, since the data and traffic for the site are relatively small, Quantcast provides estimates of relevant audience information.

HuntingOutfitters.com Demographics

For sites with a slightly larger audience and traffic there is more information on visitors. Use tools such as Quantcast to verify that the audience you’re chasing is in tune with the audience and customer you’re targeting.

Design and Functionality

Something that can often overlooked when considering choosing a directory to list your hunting business is look, feel and ease of functionality.

How do you want your business and brand to appear to first time viewers? As you expand your Web presence to new audiences, the directories you list your business on will be partly considered by the hunter who is searching for a quality hunting business.

Make sure the look, feel, and ease of functionality are in tune with your business brand.

The Directory’s Own Success

Earlier we looked at the search engine result page (SERP) for the keyword ‘hunting outfitter’. The directories that were listed near the top are the directories that Google found most relevant for the search term.

Consider the relevance and authority of the directories you are looking to list your business with. Think about a few of the keywords your potential clients will search for when looking for directories to find your business and see what directories Google and its clients (most Web users) find relevant.

Essential Features Only

I’m a big fan of sites that are simple with a lack of features beyond those that are most valuable. One of my favorite sites is Zen Habits. Very simple, effective, and valuable.

In the following video, Kevin Rose, founder of Digg discusses some of the things that he finds essential for attracting large audiences on the Web. One of the points he discusses is that when he was growing Digg he would test features and listen and watch users’ reactions. He would then determine what features were actually beneficial and what features should be removed. He didn’t fall in love with features and he was willing to let go. He kept it simple.

Taking your Site from One to One Million Users by Kevin Rose from Carsonified on Vimeo.

In this talk from FOWA London (http://bit.ly/fowa-london-09) Kevin shares the secrets to digg.com and wefollow.com explosive user growth. He covers nine unique strategies that turn passive users into passionate advocates.

You’ll learn:

1. How to encourage users to tweet about your app

2. The concept of “The Circle of Life” in web apps and how it affects you

3. Growing your userbase: What worked and what didn’t for digg, WeFollow and Pownce

4. And more …

Look for hunting business directories that keep things simple and focus only on features that are beneficial for converting sales for your business.

Scalable

Some directories offer features that allow hunting businesses to create their own Web page within the directory. Some of the directories offer varying levels of interaction with their site. These levels may range from a simple text link to your actual Website to a full-blown Web page with photo galleries, contact forms, coupons, etc.

Depending on how far into your Web presence initiative you are, you may want to look for a directory that offers some options that allow you to scale your involvement with them. For example, you may want to only list your basic description, contact information and logo in the initial listing. This way you can test out the directory for minimal monetary investment. If the initial investment proves profitable, you can work with the directory to scale your involvement to potentially increase your exposure on their site and with their audience including their search traffic.

Most directories will work with you to make sure they create the best package for your specific business.

Summary

Choosing a hunting business directory is one of the first places hunting businesses look when they want to expand their Web presence. It’s a smart place to look as expanding into other established audiences is vital to growing your business.

Look for the basics when doing your due diligence before you start inquiring about the specific services a directory can offer your business. Use the available free tools to determine the amount and quality of traffic each directory has and make sure you give your business and the directory listing the best chance for success.

Look for a directory that focuses only on the features that are essential for converting sales for you. Don’t let yourself get caught up in features that may be useless and potentially distracting when it comes to getting customers to contact you eager to purchase your services and products.

Lastly, look for directories that offer ways for you to try out their services in a way that has little risk of monetary investment on your end. Look for directories that offer opportunities to scale your involvement.

Find the right directory can mean quality sales for your hunting business. Doing a little bit of research today can mean more money in your pocket with more sales and less expense tomorrow. Take some time to do the research and you’ll appreciate the work later when you’re bringing in more business on the Web.

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It’s the number one question for Website owners and managers

Long Exposure Traffic

image credit: Nelson D.

Part of the process for Comment and Receive a Copy of Hunting Business Marketing | The Book was to leave your frustration in the comments. The comments you left were great and I think we’re going to get some great blog posts as a result.

First, a big thanks to those who commented:

Ben G of Ben G Outdoors

JoAnna Zurinsky of My Bullet Points

Marc Reindell of Wildlife Callers

Scott Solar of Shotgunner.la

Willie of Outdoor Freaks

Native of Native Hunt (HBM Member)

Terri Lee of Camp Wild Girls

Rudy Hassall of Winded Bowhunter

There were two themes concerning frustrations in the comments:

1| Increase traffic, gain more followers, gain more subscribers, etc

2| Making money with a blog or Website

Let’s address these two frustrations with a two-part series starting with increasing traffic.

Stay tuned for the follow up…

Ways to Increase Traffic to Your Website

This is definitely the most asked question of any business owner looking to expand their Web presence. Getting traffic (and quality traffic) to your Website is something that will drive revenue for your business and expand your Web presence, which means connections that can turn into long-term business partnerships.

My view for getting traffic has been that there are generally two ways for most Websites and businesses to acquire visitors:

1| Save time and pay with money

2| Save money and pay with time

The exceptions to these rules are the sites that find a way to really connect and capture the attention of a wide variety of Web users who become passionate about what the site is doing and promote it on their own simply through their passion.

Even those sites take a lot of time (and potentially money) to setup their success…and even then nothing is guaranteed.

It’s probably not what you wanted to hear, but it’s the truth. And it’s not a bad thing. There is a lot of opportunities to grow your site’s traffic. Some take lots of effort and time. Some take money. Some take little effort, little time, and no money.

Let’s take a look at a few things you can do to increase visitors (and quality visitors to your site)…

Before you start, check out the previous HBM articles tagged: Traffic

Spending Time

Depending on how much time you have to commit to your Web presence, there are lots of things that you can do today and continue doing for months and years that will grow your following.

Here is a list of a few of the ways:

Write Remarkable Content

It’s something that we all generally get tired of hearing, but sharing remarkable content is really what makes an impact on the Web. People on the Web like things that are interesting and make their lives more interesting or in other words they like things that make their lives more valuable – to them and to others in their lives. There’s a reason why Justin from @ShitMyDadSays (my apologies for the bad language) has over half a million followers on Twitter – his Dad says interesting things. It’s really that simple yet it’s really difficult to be interesting. But if you can be remarkable and interesting you’ll make an impact on the Web. Focus on what is interesting to your target visitors.

Comment on Other Blogs

One of the ways I’ve been able to generate some quality traffic is by commenting on other blogs. This can take some time as you learn what sites share your same target audience. It also takes time to actually read through hundreds of posts while you settle on just a few that will potentially be worth your time. Comment on those posts that have the most potential to return traffic to your site. Add value to the post you comment on – don’t waste their time.

For more see: How to Create Marketing Pull by Commenting on Other Blogs

Participate in Forums

Just like blog posting, participating in forums takes time, but can lead to lots of traffic for your Website. Just as with a blog, you get to leave your URL so those who find your comments in the forum interesting can find their way to your site by clicking on your username and finding your other remarkable content. It takes time, but it’s worth it if you target the correct forums.

For more see: How to Properly Use Forums

Internal Linking

One of the things that takes some time, but really is worth the time investment is internal linking. If you’ve been reading this post you’ve probably noticed that I’ve linked to a few posts as well as other areas on HBM. It’s not only a way to provide value to visitors by expanding on thoughts, but it increases page views and time spent on site per user.

External Linking

If you read the blog posts on HBM you’ll also notice that I link to at least three posts not on HBM. I also occasionally link to sites and posts throughout my own posts. This has been a great way to increase the traffic to my site for two reasons:

1| When you link to other blogs and sites the owner each particular blog and site often gets a notice of your link and they are often curious about who is linking to them. They check out your site and you have a potential reader

2| Most blogs have pingbacks or trackbacks. These blogs allow their readers to view who is linking to their post (it shows how popular their post is) and those readers have the option to click on your link. More traffic.

Link to posts that are relevant off your own site and start making valuable connections.

For more see: Make Every Post a Link Post

Guest Posting

New bloggers need to consider guest posting as a way to drive traffic. Most successful bloggers find their most growth as a result of guest posting. While it seems that you’d be giving away great content to other sites when you guest post, you’re actually borrowing the attention of other bloggers and interjecting your knowledge and interesting character to potential readers of your blog. Provide valuable content to other blogs and look to expand your audience.

For more see: Grow Your Followers like a Country Music Singer

Spending Money

Businesses that have sufficient budgets to gain quality traffic have many options for making an impact on the Web. Most programs on the Web that require payment can still stay within a smaller budget. The impact generally increases exponentially the more you are able to spend and reinvest as you gain sales.

Here are a few of the best ways to utilize your budget:

Ad Words

When it comes to advertising and getting quality return for your dollar, Google is always a good bet. Many businesses, in many areas of industry, have had success driving traffic and sales via Google AdWords. The program is very simple and has the biggest company and smartest individuals working to increase its effectiveness. You can spend as little or as much as you want.

Facebook Advertising

I’ve found success with Facebook Advertising. The technology has gotten more useful over time and I think they’re going in great directions with mining all of their immense user data. I found more success for driving traffic for a membership site similar to Facebook (free membership) than I have for driving sales or anything paid. Perhaps you will find more success.

For more see: How to Use Facebook Advertising (Subscribers Only – Join for $20)

StumbleUpon Advertising

I have never actually used StumbleUpon Advertising, but based on the success I’ve had with natural traffic via StumbleUpon (see below) I’m guessing it’s pretty impactful and beneficial. Check it out and let us know if you have success driving revenue and profit for your business.

Affiliates

There are many sites on the Web that are dedicated to driving traffic and driving sales for businesses that sell things via the Web. If you have something to sell, look into the technology available to develop an affiliate program (Commission Junction is one). It’s a good way to give up a little margin in return for more unit sales.

SEO Provider/Service

Sometimes paying to learn can be most beneficial for your specific business. It takes a certain person who is willing to take both the time and monetary investment to go out and participate in learning atmospheres. There are many SEO providers/services out there who will work for you to not only do your Paid Advertising and Natural Traffic for you, but they’ll teach you techniques that will benefit you in the long-term. Consider these as options if you’re willing to spend both time and money for long-term gain.

Contests

People are always looking for deals. If you have access to prizes, try a few contests as ways to get followers, sales, email addresses, etc.

Simple Changes

Some good news for you – there are things you can do to potentially increase your traffic right now that will potentially impact the number of people visiting your site, increase the time those individuals spend on your site, and increase the number of pages those individuals view per visit.

Here are a few of the simple things you can do now to increase your traffic:

Stumble Upon

One of the things I’ve had success with for one-off traffic is StumbleUpon. The traffic I’ve received from StumbleUpon has generally come fast once a page on the site has been stumbled and that traffic has lasted anywhere from about an hour up to about 24 hours. StumbleUpon and its users are very effective at choosing the best content on the Web per my observation. It’s generally my higher quality content that gets stumbled and also receives the most visits after being stumbled. I have also noticed that photos are something the users of StumbleUpon like to see. Almost all of the posts in the Flickr Creative Commons Series have had success with getting traffic via StumbleUpon.

For more details, please read: A Comprehensive Guide to StumbleUpon

Twitter

I use Twitter as a way to drive contests, traffic to posts, and other things. I also use Twitter to share the content of others. I try to share others’ content more than my own so I’m not spamming too much. Twitter takes some time and effort, but the return I’ve seen in connections alone would be well worth the investment. The monetary return I’ve seen has been an added bonus.

Join Twitter and look to make connections by adding value any way you can.

Improve Your Titles

Titles are important to driving traffic to your blog and site. The Cosmo Headline Strategy is a great way to write remarkable and eye-catching titles for your posts. Usually, someone’s first introduction to your site is a title on a search engine result or a title on someone’s site. Consider the things that will entice people to click while remembering that the title still has to be truthful in what your post will provide.

Write Content that Visitors can Scan

Web users love to scan content. There is so much content on the Web that people need to scan most of it before they decide if they will read your arguments on topics. Use headlines, sections and call-outs to make your content easy for people to scan. If your write strong lists and strong headings you’ll get people to stop and pay attention.

For more see: 42 Marketing Lists from The Future Buzz

Highlight Others

One of the most successful ways I’ve been able to make connections on the Web and thus drive traffic has been highlighting the success of others. When you participate in social media like Twitter or when you’re writing content for a blog post, write about how amazing and remarkable others are. Write about the folks who may be wanting for some attention and who are looking to make connections. Feed their appetites and see your traffic increase as the conversation about you spreads.

For more see: Highlight Others

More Resources on the Web

New Bloggers: Need Traffic?

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Comment and Receive a Copy of Hunting Business Marketing | The Book

Simple strategies for marketing your business on the Web

The-Book-Cover-for-Web

Hunting business leaders and outdoor bloggers seem to be enjoying Hunting Business Marketing | The Book. There was also a lot of participation on Twitter involving a book giveaway as well as retweeting of the book.

Julie Bowman on Twitter

Follow Julie @FieldNStream

Gary Hanson on Twitter

Follow Gary @mgaryhanson

For this reason I thought it would be fun to do some reader participation with the book in a blog post.

Free Copy or $5 Off HBM | The Book

Comment your biggest frustration as a business owner or blogger on the Web. It can be a frustration with current site capabilities, ability to spread the word about your product or service, or simply using the Web to increase your audience and customers.

The first 5 comments will receive a free copy of HBM | The Book.

The next 10 comments will receive a $5 discount on HBM | The Book.

Simply express your biggest frustration concerning your hunting business and/or blog on the Web and receive a copy of the HBM | The Book and hopefully the conversation will also help you out with your frustration.

Bonus

If you participate in this post and review HBM | The Book on your site or blog, I’ll write a new post here on HBM highlighting those who review the book including a description of you, your blog, and your business Website.

And don’t forget to spread the word about HBM | The Book

Retweet The BookStumble The Book

Successful Business Highlight – Smashing Magazine

Smashing Magazine – Blogging and Link Building Masterminds

Smashing Glass

image credit: AMagill

The folks at Smashing Magazine have the blogging game figured out. They write blog posts that are extremely valuable for their readers, audience, and customers. The posts include tips, tools, and examples that help their readers to become more knowledgeable with the craft of design.

And the best part of Smashing Magazine is that they link to other great individuals and companies.

It’s not only a great way to provide value for an audience, it’s a great way to gain attention and a few links to your site (SEO Gold).

The value in having a blog for your business is providing valuable information for you customer so you can connect and establish a strong and long-term business/customer relationship. Customers today look for companies they can trust for quality products. A blog is a way to build the trust necessary for future success on the Web.

Highlighting the success of other companies and bloggers is a strategy you can use to grow your blog’s status and impact while building relationships with bloggers, other business leaders on the Web, and most importantly your customers (this relationship leads to sales and profit).

Let’s take a closer look at the success of Smashing Magazine and a few ways you can use their success as an example when building your blog for your hunting business…

Smashing Magazine Company Brief

Smashing Magazine Logo

About Smashing Magazine

Founded in September 2006, Smashing Magazine delivers useful and innovative information to Web designers and developers. Our aim is to inform our readers about the latest trends and techniques in Web development. We try to convince you not with the quantity but with the quality of the information we present. We hope that makes us different. Smashing Magazine is, and always has been, independent.

Why I Love Smashing Magazine’s Blog Posts

I posted on Twitter one of the things I’ve learned about blogging.

Highlighting the Success of Others on Twitter

Shortly after posting my thought on Twitter, I realized that Smashing Magazine was doing a perfect job of writing articles on their blog that not only highlight the success of others, but also provide extremely valuable content for designers and Web developers.

If you have a blog for your hunting business, highlighting the success of others is a great way to provide value for your readers.

You might be asking, “Why is it advantageous to write about others? I thought it was important to highlight the success of my own business?”

While it’s important to write about the success of your own business, here are a few benefits to writing about the success of others:

1| Examples provide value for your readers, customers, and audience

2| Valuable connections with businesses and bloggers

3| Link building strategy

Valuable Examples for Readers

Writing about the success of other bloggers and companies, even in related fields, provides valuable examples of success for your readers to learn from and emulate in their own lives.

For example, if you have an outfitting business you could write an article/blog post about how the Bowhunting Blog provides the best expert hunting product reviews that include photos, objective discussion, and how-to information. You could go on to write about how one of their articles helped you with your outfitting business (if that’s actually the case).

On your outfitting blog, your readers are likely looking for your expertise in the area of hunting in which you specialize. Along with your own product reviews, highlighting quality product reviews from other sources is another great way to provide value for your readers. Quality content is a great way to gain a loyal readership (quality traffic) for your company’s blog.

Valuable Connections

A second benefit of highlighting the success of others are the connections you can make with other players in the hunting industry including business associates, bloggers, and marketers.

When you write and link to other bloggers and sites in the hunting industry, those people will usually receive notice via email or on their site that you are linking to them. People love reading nice things that are said about what they’re working hard to do with their business so it’s likely a friendship and valuable connection can be made from your first contact via your blog.

Link Building Strategy

The third benefit of highlighting the success of others with your hunting blog is that when you show other bloggers and Website owners some love they may just show you some love back – in the form of links to your site (search engines love quality links to your site. It builds your authority).

Smashing Magazine has a ton of quality links from other sites and bloggers.

The search engines like when other quality sites link to your business’s site and blog because it shows that others value you, your business, and your content. It’s social proof that you’re a reputable Website on the Internet and the search engines are more likely to put you at the top of the results page for targeted hunting keywords.

Summary

The secret to writing effective blog posts for your hunting business’s blog is to write about what others in the hunting industry (especially those on the Web) are doing that is amazing, inspiring, effective, and remarkable.

Smashing Magazine does an exceptional job at providing valuable content for their readers both using the knowledge of the writers at Smashing Magazine as well as highlighting the knowledge of others in the Web design and development industry.

Smashing Magazine’s success is proof that they understand the benefits of highlighting the success of others:

1| Examples provide value for your readers, customers, and audience

2| Valuable connections with businesses and bloggers

3| Link building strategy

If you have a blog for your hunting business or are considering a blog for your hunting business, try to use the strategy of highlighting the success of others just as Smashing Magazine does with their articles.

Add Smashing Magazine to your Daily Reading

Smashing Magazine Website

Smashing Magazine RSS

Smashing Magazine Forum

Smashing Magazine Book

Following Smashing Magazine on Twitter: @SmashingMag

More Great Posts from Smashing Magazine

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Tutorials on Smashing Magazine

20 Talented and Impressive Illustrators

50 New Beautiful Blog Designs

Vital Tips For Effective Logo Design

Marketing Rules and Principles for Freelancers

10 Harsh Truths About Corporate Blogging

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Hunting Outfitters and Guides: Get Valuable Traffic to Your Website

“Why is my website not getting any traffic from search engines?”

Frustrated

image credit: Evil Erin

Are you struggling to get valuable traffic to your Website?

Setting up your Website can be is frustrating.

You need search engine traffic in order to get your business in front of potential clients.

The trick is making sure your Website ranks high for the search queries your potential customers are searching for.

I suggest Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide (.pdf) as a place to start.

Google gives an example of a baseball card Website.

I thought I would create an example for a hunting outfitter or guide.

And focus on finding only on finding appropriate keywords in this post.

Bob’s Whitetail Deer Outfitter

Domain name: bobswhitetaildeeroutfitter.com

Focus: Wisconsin guided whitetail deer hunts

Website Size: Small, less than 10 pages

Website Focus

Bob is targeting clients who are looking for information about guided whitetail deer hunting in Wisconsin.

Along with following the SEO tips in Google’s Guide, you should visit Google’s Keyword Tool.

I thought about what Bob’s customers were searching for and I typed them into the search bar…(Advertiser Competition shows how competitive the paid ads are on Google for certain terms)

Click the image to view larger

Outfitter Keywords

You can see I typed in “whitetail deer hunting guide” and “trophy whitetail deer”.

Keywords Focus

Now, there are more popular search terms that you’re probably thinking of right now, but as Adam Singer points out in his post “A Blog Search Engine Optimization Strategy – Maximize the Long Tail“, you have very little chance of earning a top rank on a popular search term. So it’s better to focus on less popular terms.

Here, the terms have an average search volume per month of 1,900 and 390.

So these aren’t relatively popular compared to other generic terms, but these are very targeted and you have an excellent chance of ranking well once you’ve written your page content.

With this concept in mind and by taking into account the other keywords shown above, here is how Bob should write the front page of his Web site:

Bob’s Whitetail Deer Outfitter

We specialize in guided whitetail deer hunts. Our Wisconsin farm has many trophy whitetail deer. Each year, hunters on our ranch harvest beautiful Boone & Crockett and Pope & Young bucks. We have over 500 acres of prime Wisconsin hunting land. Hunting locations are strategically placed each year to ensure you have the best chance possible to harvest a trophy buck of your own.

Call, email, or visit us today to book your own trophy whitetail deer hunt!

We’d love to discuss more with you about your next guided whitetail hunting trip to Wisconsin.

Conclusion

This should give you an idea of how you can research keywords for your outfitting and guide business.

Use Google’s tools to make your Website visible to your customers.

The next time someone types in “whitetail deer hunting guide” into Google, will they find your Website?

If you have any questions or comments please leave them below.

Related Posts

A Blog Search Engine Optimization Strategy – Maximize The Long Tail (Adam Singer at TheFutureBuzz.com)