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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The Best Hunting Picture Galleries

Hunters view thousands of hunting pictures on the Web…every day

The competition for the attention of hunters is heating up online and some folks are using quality hunting picture galleries to attract attention away from the competition.

My personal favorites tend to be the galleries that are easy on the eyes, easy to navigate and the ones that have the best photos of trophy game. My favorite type of hunting is bowhunting for whitetails so I always love seeing great photos related to this hunting niche.

Here are the best hunting picture galleries…

Field & Stream

Site: Field & Stream

Gallery: Field & Stream Photos

Overview

The Field & Stream Photo Gallery is one of the most popular galleries on the Web. F&S has the best selection of lists and collections of hunting pictures on the Web. People love lists and that includes hunters. The F&S ‘Best of’ collections make for great photo viewing. To increase involvement with their target audience, the team at F&S also encourage users to submit their best photos. F&S then takes the time to highlight the user photos in ways that make the users the stars. This is a great way to highlight the success of others and give them a vested interest in the gallery. I also like the mix of professional photos as well.

For more see Critique of the Field and Stream Photo Gallery

Petersen’s Hunting

Site: Petersen’s Hunting

Gallery: Petersen’s Hunting Trophy Room

Overview

The Petersen’s Hunting gallery is entirely user-submitted. On the photo gallery home page visitors have the option to view the highlighted photos, the most recent photos, the most popular photos, and users can view photos by collection and category. Giving visitors options when it comes to viewing segments of your photo gallery is important. Some visitors will want to search for specific types of photos. To satisfy these visitors you’ll want to offer a way to search the photos. Other visitors will want to discover new photos that meet their interests. This is where the categories are helpful (ex: I like whitetails. I can click on the whitetail section).

Duck’s Unlimited

Site: Duck’s Unlimited

Gallery: Duck’s Unlimited Photo Gallery

Widget: Duck’s Unlimited Member Photo of the Day Widget

Overview

Ducks Unlimited is a gallery I’ve only recently discovered and I’m glad I did. The user photos in this gallery are spectacular. DU members are allowed to submit photos and it’s apparent that some of the members are professional photographers. And that makes for some inspirational and breath-taking photographs of wildlife (ducks and waterfowl).

Something that sets the DU gallery apart from some of the others is their embeddable widget. Check it out and if you want to see the daily photos on your Website or blog you can. Widgets are great for increasing your audience and search engines love the links they create back to the site.

Bowhunting.com

Site: Bowhunting.com

Gallery: Bowhunting.com Photos

Overview

It’s no secret that Bowhunting.com is one of my favorite hunting sites. I’ve written about them and included them in collections before (5 Hidden Treasures on the Web, The Top 50 Blog Posts of 2009, 25 Tips from 25 Hunting Industry Leaders). The team at Bowhunting.com are experts at hunting and sharing their insight and knowledge through their videos, photos, and blog posts. There is a great mix of trail cam photos, harvest trophies, and general photography for hunting product reviews and more. The photo gallery is easy to navigate and the photos are of high quality.

Bowhunting.com is one of the galleries that offers visitors the opportunity to comment on individual photos. Something Field & Stream doesn’t have yet (you can comment on the entire collection or gallery only). Some also offer visitors the chance to rate photos like Ducks Unlimited and others.

Buckmasters

Site: Buckmasters

Gallery: Buckmasters Trophy Gallery

Overview

The Buckmasters Trophy Gallery is not the best of the bunch, but they have a ton of great user photographs due to the company’s popularity. I’m not sure if it was just me, but this gallery took awhile to load and the auto-play music was a bit annoying (not the music, but the fact that it was playing automatically. See more Video on Your Website). It’s a cumbersome gallery, but it has good photos and it’s a well known brand.

Lone Wolf

Site: Lone Wolf Portable Treestands

Gallery: Lone Wolf Trophy Gallery

Overview

Lone Wolf is a bit of a sleeper in this collection. I’m a huge fan of the design of the Lone Wolf site so it’s no surprise that I’d like their photo gallery. I also think it’s important to show that hunting product manufacturers can have successful photo galleries (as well as any hunting industry company). Users submit photos and while some aren’t the best the scrolling is easy and the thumbnail setup is simple.

CamoSpace

Site: CamoSpace

Gallery: CamoSpace Gallery

Overview

CamoSpace seems to be one of the few social networking hunting sites that has actually had some success. They have partnered with some big companies and some big folks that are famous for more than just hunting (Luke Bryan – great music). It’s a formula that has worked for growing the membership on the site. The photo gallery is 100% user-submitted. That format can lead to some noise (see the trucks), but there are still a ton of photos in the gallery and many of them are great…even if they are a little difficult to find.

ESPN Outdoors Hunting

Site: ESPN Outdoors Hunting

Gallery: Hunting Photo Galleries

Overview

It isn’t the prettiest and it isn’t the easiest to use, but ESPN makes the list because the brand is huge and the hunting shows on the channel are popular. Plus I loved the shows on ESPN Outdoors on Saturday morning when I was growing up.

Big Grass Outfitters

Site: Big Grass Outfitters

Gallery: Big Grass Outfitters Trophy Gallery

Overview

It’s important for outfitters to have galleries as part of their informational sites. Potential customers want visual proof of success. And past customers can be the best referral service when they push their friends to go on the site and view their photos.

Heartland Lodge

Site: Heartland Lodge

Gallery: Heartland Lodge Photo Gallery

Overview

One of the best looking sites in the hunting industry, Heartland Lodge makes great use of a photo gallery to show their potential customers the wonders they have to offer. I love that they use existing technology in Picasa to power their photo gallery. Remember that you don’t always have to work hard to develop your own style of gallery. Use galleries that already exist.

The categories in the gallery are great, but the titles of each photo are another story…

Gander Mountain

Site: Gander Mountain

Gallery: Gander Mountain Braggin’ Board

Overview

I grew up near a Gander Mountain (no Cabela’s nearby and I didn’t use the Web at the time) and I loved checking out the physical cork braggin’ board in store. Customers were always putting their trophies on the board and I loved looking at them all. Those Polaroids were great. With this gallery, Gander Mountain has brought that experience to the Web.

Greenwood Springs Plantation

Site: Greenwood Springs Plantation

Gallery: Greenwood Springs Plantation Photos

Overview

I came across this site toward the end of this post but I just had to include it. It’s a beautiful design and I love that they use Flickr for their photo gallery. The photos could be titled, tagged and included in Creative Commons on Flickr, but it’s a great use of a great photo gallery tool.

Elements of a Quality Gallery

As I browsed the Web in search of the best hunting galleries, I noted a few elements that should be standard on all folks considering a photo gallery for their site:

1) Multi-size Options

With image size, there is a battle between load time of the page and the quality and size of the image you want to load for your viewer’s viewing pleasure. Most sites offer an initial smaller version of images for scrolling and initial viewing, but offer visitors the option to zoom in or enlarge the photo, usually in some kind of pop-up. I think it’s a good compromise. Allow visitors the pleasure of a fast loading page with smaller images and if they have the capacity, they can zoom in or enlarge the photo.

2) Thumbnail Options

Something I’m in favor of when it comes to galleries are thumbnail viewing options. Popular photo gallery sites like Flickr (Flickr Hunting) offer thumbnail viewing so users can see multiple photos at once while being able to choose the ones they want to view in more detail.

3) Easy Scrolling

An important feature of galleries is the ability to scroll from photo to photo. Once a user has chosen a particular gallery to view they want to be able to scroll from photo to photo quickly and easily.

4) Proper Tagging and Titling

Giving the proper title and the appropriate tag to each photo in your gallery is important for your visitors so they understand what they’re viewing. Tagging and titling photos and galleries properly is also important for optimizing your gallery for search engines.

5) Sharing Abilities

Giving visitors the ability to share and bookmark the photos in a gallery is extremely important for the growth of your site’s traffic and audience. Build in the word of mouth aspects of a gallery and make sure the photos are worth talking about people will spread the word.

Bonus Element

Calls to action are important for any site that is aimed at selling something to visitors. With a bit of programming and planning, sites could take advantage of internal linking to sell relevant products to customers that are viewing the photos in galleries. For example, a company could ask users to submit the equipment used to harvest a trophy. List and link the equipment on the photo to the product pages and you have potential sales. A site like Gander Mountain could do this.

Your Favorite Hunting Picture Galleries

Did I miss your favorite gallery? Please share in the comments.

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The Story of the Giant Moose

Sometimes unexpected keywords result in big traffic

Today I decided to draft an interesting case study that may prove valuable for you and hopefully for your blog and business.

What makes it valuable?

SEO and keyword research are important for bloggers to understand. Recognizing search traffic trends in your site’s statistics can help you hone in your writing to attract more visitors and potentially customers to your site.

Let’s take a look…

Ben G. Outdoors

I approached Ben Gustafson (@BenGOutdoors) early in 2010 to discuss working on a few marketing strategies for growing his blog and site: Ben G. Outdoors.

For Ben G. Outdoors, Ben writes about his experiences in the outdoors doing various activities including hunting. He puts a great personal spin on his writing (he and his wife recently welcomed a new baby boy to the family). Ben also writes reviews for hunting products and does interviews with leaders in the hunting industry.

Ben was excited about the opportunity to take a deeper look at his marketing strategy. We discussed a few things to focus on in the initial research and one of the objectives we wanted to focus on was keyword trends and opportunities.

Unique Keyword Strategy

After digging into some of the keywords that were bringing traffic to Ben G. Outdoors, I noticed something interesting.

Ben’s post, Giant Moose, was ranking #1 in Google for the term ‘Giant Moose’.

Now, this high ranking didn’t surprise me. Ben had used the keyword in the title and the post was, while not long in content, had numerous comments and seemed to be a popular one for Ben’s readers.

At first I thought this was just an example of a blog ranking well for a long-tail keyword phrase, but after doing some deeper research I realized that the term ‘Giant Moose’ receives about 4,400 broad searches each month and 1,900 exact searches each month (Google Keyword Tool).

Please click on the images to see enlarged…

Ben G. Outdoors is receiving some good traffic each month from a post that generated some quality discussion and interaction with his readers. Potential readers that first visit Ben’s site via a search for ‘Giant Moose’ have good reason to be impressed with the discussion and if they’re interested in hunting and the outdoors it’s likely they’ll visit again or look through the archives for further relevant reading.

Opportunity for Future Posts

Ben, being the smart guy he is, realized the potential to write more posts using ‘Giant Moose’ as inspiration.

Recently, a post on a Huge Black Bear story hit the front page of Ben G. Outdoors.

This post had more content and insight from Ben in the body of the post. Comments soon flowed in just as they had with ‘Giant Moose’. Ben’s readers seem to love discussing the strange and unique stories from the hunting world.

Along with the great conversation, the great thing about ‘Huge Black Bear’ is the fact that it’s already ranking on page 1 of Google. Depending on your personalized search, Ben may rank anywhere from 3-10 or so for the term.

The term ‘Huge Black Bear’ gets about 400 broad searches each month on Google, which isn’t substantial, but it is likely the post will generate some relevant traffic to Ben’s site over the long-term.

Summary

By working together, Ben and I were able to find some great insight into what is already proving to be a valuable source of traffic for his site.

I’m sure Ben will continue to craft posts using the ‘Giant Moose’ formula and I think he’ll have great success as he has already had with ‘Huge Black Bear’.

Ben also plans to continue to write interviews, reviews and other types of posts for his blog since those are popular with readers as well.

Your Input on Keywords

What about you?

Have you had keyword success with your blog?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

SEO Reading

And for more great reading on SEO Strategy, please read: Optimize a Single Post On Your Blog for SEO

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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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Ways to Increase Traffic

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?

25 Ways to Build Your Community

Ad Swaps: A Smart and Easy Way to Get Free Traffic

Related posts on Hunting Business Marketing

5 Simple Ways to Increase Traffic on Your Website

How to Drive Visitors Deep Into Your Website

The NFL Guide to Website Traffic

Related posts on the Web

Three simple actions that doubled my website traffic in 30 days

How to Find Readers for Your Blog

How I’d Promote My Blog If I Were Starting Out Again

Keyword Confusion – The Michael Jackson Effect

Sometimes things surprise you

Coffee in the Morning

image credit: Sir Mervs

On June 25th, 2009 the world lost one of the most audience-effecting artists of a generation – Michael Jackson.

Now, I am a big fan of Michael Jackson’s music and efforts in the entertainment industry. He was creative, innovative, and fearless when it came to crafting original art that he used to connect with arguably one of the largest audiences ever to exist.

It was for this reason that I wanted to write a blog post about Michael Jackson.

I didn’t want to write the standard “I was a huge fan of MJ” post so I thought I’d do what I always do and draw some parallels between Michael Jackson’s success, blogging, and being an entrepreneur.

The result was:

The Michael Jackson Guide to Success

To say the post was a success would be both an understatement while also bringing about the topic of this post – Keyword Confusion.

You see, the Michael Jackson blog post has been a huge driver for traffic to Hunting Business Marketing and that’s great, but after thinking about what my goals for the site it may not be the most relevant traffic (for HBM or for the visitors).

Let’s take a closer look…

Keyword Confusion

It’s probably obvious that the audience I’m trying to reach with the blog posts on this site includes hunting business owners and bloggers.

Often times I like to write about other things I enjoy in life such as music (usually country music or even Bon Jovi) and other topics. I find that writing about what I enjoy and find interesting usually leads to the best posts.

And while I feel it’s important to write about what you love, I also believe you have to keep a focus on the audience you’re trying to reach on the Web.

Since I wrote the MJ post on June 27th, 2009 it’s become the most trafficked post on Hunting Business Marketing and Michael Jackson has become the 2nd biggest search term driving traffic to this blog.

Michael Jackson All Time Top Blog Post

The stats just for the term “Michael Jackson”

Michael Jackson Blog Statistics

Michael Jackson Number Two Search Term

While I didn’t intend for this to happen, it’s been a nice surprise to get a spike in traffic as a result of the Michael Jackson Effect.

Michael Jackson Google Trends

It’s also a classic case of keyword confusion as it relates to Hunting Business Marketing as a business.

While there are benefits to writing a post about Michael Jackson that might connect and be found as meaningful by a searcher on Google, it’s likely that person will not read much of the other content on the site and that’s understandable.

I think there is room for both a focused approach to your keyword initiatives as well as the occasional stray from the ordinary.

Focused Approach

When I write most of my blog posts I like to cover the topics that readers like you ask about or seem to be questioning in the blogosphere. I also like to focus on the questions and problems I have when I’m working in the hunting industry or with marketing on the Web.

I try to focus on keywords that have a decent amount of monthly traffic while also focusing on keywords that my target audience is likely using as they search for information on marketing their hunting business (specifically marketing their hunting business online).

These keywords (as you may know) include:

Hunting Business Marketing

Hunting Business

Hunting Blogs

There are always the long-tail keywords that work just as well:

Starting a hunting guide service

How to make a successful hunting business

How to start an outfitter in Wisconsin

With some of these I have been successful:

Hunting Industry

Hunting Industry Statistics

Hunting Blog Titles

I’m going to continue with my focused approach as one of my goals for writing quality posts. I focus first and foremost on answering your questions, but where appropriate I like to use keywords effectively as well.

But if you know anything about me…you know I can’t settle for just the focused approach…

A Little Fun

I think it’s just as important to write about seemingly outlandish things from time to time as well.

This is why I write posts like:

The Convenience Store Guide to Blogging

The Jon Bon Jovi Guide to Making it Big on the Web

A Story of Focus: My Rubik’s Cube Weekend

I think a good outlandish post, while remaining on topic somewhat, has the ability to attract quality attention while connecting with readers in a way standard or “safe” posts may not.

This is why I like to write uncommon posts once and awhile – to catch you off guard and keep you coming back while still providing valuable content to help you market your hunting business or blog on the Web.

Summary

It was fun writing the Michael Jackson post for this blog and I hope you enjoyed reading it (and checking out the fun dance sequence).

The truth is that while I hadn’t planned for that post to be anything more than a fun, effective post about being successful in life, I had no intention of it turning into the current, most trafficked post on Hunting Business Marketing.

The truth is that it’s important to remain focused with your keyword strategy for your hunting business site and blog.

But it’s also important to keep your Website fun and if it’s in your nature you should write about some outlandish things once and awhile. It’ll keep your audience on their toes while hopefully providing them a connection to your topic of focus at the same time.

Use a good blend of focus and fun with your blog posts and site content and you’ll attract the audience you’re after.

The real secret to Web success is realizing that it’s all about your genuine personality and showing your true voice.

Related posts on Hunting Business Marketing

Effectively Using Keywords in Your Blog Titles

Paid vs. Natural Traffic: It’s like Baiting vs. Funnel Hunting for Deer – Part 1

How to Drive Visitors Deep Into Your Website

Related posts on the Web

Do Keywords in Post Titles Really Matter?

A Blog Search Engine Optimization Strategy – Maximize The Long Tail

How to Find and Target Long Tail Keywords for More Search Engine Traffic

How to Drive Visitors Deep Into Your Website

Easy come, easy go

Drive Visitors Deep Into Your Website Content

image credit: Cellular Immunity

The Web, right now, is the ultimate competitive environment for attention. Everybody on the Web has limited time (even if they spend 24 hours each day surfing Websites).

It simply isn’t possible to view all of the quality content on the Web.

So the battle is on for you to put out content and market that content so your Website can gain the attention of the limited resource you’re after – the attention of hunters.

How you structure your Website or blog (or combination of both) is just as important as the quality of the content itself. You can’t have one without the other. You can’t have a great product or service or content without equally great marketing and you can’t have the best marketing without a quality product to market.

I think it’s important to focus on how you present your products, services, and content on your Website just as much as you focus on creating your product, services, and content.

If you own a Website and you see the stats of your visitors or if you pay attention to your own Web browsing habits, you’ll probably understand that most of the time you bounce off Websites that don’t have structure and interest and stay on Websites that do (this is of course assuming the sites have content that interests you).

So while you’ll need to create remarkable content, it’s also important to focus on the structure of your Website if you want to be the source of satisfaction for your readers’ attention.

Website Structure

The structure of your Website is important, especially during the planning stages of the development of your Website, because you have to think about how you can make it easiest for your customer to go through the buying process efficiently and effectively.

You want the visitors to your Website to be able to navigate your site no matter what stage of the buying process they are in.

One important thing to remember is that you are not your customer. You already know more about your business and your products than anyone else. Your customer may just be looking to discover an answer to a problem they have while stumbling upon your site. They may be looking for as much information about your product before they actually make the decision to purchase or they may be ready to purchase this very minute.

Let’s take a look at those three types of business offerings (product, service, and blog content) and discuss a few ways you might be able to drive your customers deep into the content on your site.

Product (or Service) Company

If your hunting business specializes in making remarkable products that significantly help hunters in their pursuit of trophy game then there are two different types of Website you can have 1) Informational (no selling on your site) 2) Informational and E-Commerce (you sell your product on your site).

The important thing to remember is that your customers are going to find your Website during different stages of the buying process. Not all of your customers are going to discover your Website and product for the first time and not all of your customers are going to have done their research on your company and product and are simply looking for a place to make their purchase.

Let’s look at a few quick tips for each of product sites. (They really aren’t that different.)

Information Site

For an information site your main focus is going to be on putting out enough content to convince your customer to purchase your product. Your target visitors are going to be in the discovery and research stage.

Your customers in the discovery stage will likely find your Website via a search query then enter into one of the search engines, like Google. They’ll be searching for slightly more specific terms than you may first suspect like “top bows for 2009” or “best tree stand for bluff country”.

You’ll want to focus your content on terms like these.

This is where a blog becomes important.

Search engines love blogs because blogs are generally a source of constant information. Search engines like your site if you are continually putting up valuable and unique content.

Search engines will also love you because they’ll be showing their customers (people who search) relevant and up-to-date content.

With a strictly informational site you’ll also want to make sure to include more detailed information about your product.

When your customer is in the Discovery Stage they don’t want a bunch of detail – they want to be intrigued by the benefit your product might provide them.

However, when your customer reaches the Research Stage, they are interested in learning as much as they can about your product. This is where you can provide more detailed information in an easy to follow and functional way.

Information and E-Commerce Site

With an information site plus an e-commerce site you’re going to want to have all of the aspects of the information site plus you’ll want to focus on the Ready to Buy Stage of your customers purchasing decision.

With an e-commerce site, you have the ability to suggest complementary products during the stage when your customers are already in the buying mood. You’ll want to focus on providing them options that add even more value.

Some Ideas

A few ways to drive visitors deeper into a product Website include:

Text linking

Related products

Complementary products

“You may also like…”

Suggested products

Our Top Ten Products

Our Top Searched Terms

Related information

Product reviews

Testimonials

Etc.

The thing to remember if you’re a product company is that it’s easier to provide your current customers with something more than they’re already buying from you. Look for products to complement the products they are already purchasing and allow them to discover these products as they’re going through the purchasing stages of the products they’re already committed to buying.

Blog

If you’ve seen a few posts on this site you’ve probably recognized that I’m a big fan of blogs.

Take a look at a few of my previous posts and pages:

20 Steps to Starting Your Hunting Business Blog/Website

10 Ways to Create Stunning Hunting Blog Posts

Reviews of Remarkable Hunting Blog Posts

Effectively Using Keywords in Your Blog Titles

Write Better Blog Headlines: Tonight at 6

How to Start a Blog that will Grow Your Outfitting Business

The First 4 Days of Your New Hunting Blog

How to Use the Web to Grow a Successful Hunting Business – A Tutorial

The reason I’m an advocate of blogging for your hunting business Website is because a blog will provide search engines (and your customers) with tons of up-to-date and useful content, unique insight, and answers to problems.

A blog also provides you many ways to drive your customers deep into product/service relevant related information.

You can use text links, lists, categories, archives, and highlighted posts to drive your current and new customers deep into your posts.

Here are a few more ways you can drive visitors deep into your blog content:

Related post links

Related offsite post links

Suggested reading links

Post series (Part 1 through 6 for example)

Lists of Lists

Favorites

Favorite Lists

There are so many ways to direct point your readers.

I’m sure you can come up with more suggestions.

If you have any please feel free to share in the comments.

Summary

You have to remember that Web users will do what they want, but there are a few things you can do to try and capture their attention while they’re on your site.

The goal of any Website owner is to provide valuable content, products and services for their target customers in a way that is easy to digest and follow.

Figure out ways to drive your visitors deeper into your site by providing them more value than the content they first discover on your site.

Even if your loyal visitors come to read your new content, things like text links and suggested reading are important.

I visit many blogs nearly every day that provide text links that still drive me to content I haven’t discovered on the site yet.

Do you have any more ideas for driving deeper engagement on your site?

Related posts on Hunting Business Marketing

50 Inspirational Images to Inspire Blog Titles

How to Find Secret Tips from the Web Pros

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How I Work With You

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Effectively Using Keywords in Your Blog Titles

Blog titles are crucial to gaining attention on the Web

Eye Catching Red Flower in Violet Flowers

image credit: eyesplash Mikul

On my recent post Write Better Blog Headlines: Tonight at 6, there were some great comments. Rudy left a great comment for possible ways to expand on the post so I thought I’d do just that.

Here is Rudy’s comment (here are all comments on the post):

Dayne,

Good stuff and I agree with Albert comment. The sub-topic of this would be how to achieve this goal.

Maybe ask questions or provoke a conversation, for example. Then, another session could be on those “key” words to use in your headlines that draw readers!

Keep the info coming Dayne, I have almost reached saturation!

Rudy

I’d like to run with the Rudy’s suggestion of finding “key” words:  both those that attract readers’ attention as well as those that will help your search traffic.

Before I get into keywords, here are a few posts I’ve written on the topic:

Hunting Outfitters and Guides: Get Valuable Traffic to Your Website

How to Start a Blog that will Grow Your Outfitting Business

5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Improve Your Small (or Big) Hunting Website

And here is a great post from Adam Singer on a related topic:

Findability, The Long Tail Of Search And Building Deep Interactions

Finding keywords that attract readers’ attention is important, as Rudy points out. There is a lot of noise on the Web and having attractive headlines is vital to gaining readers’ attention and driving them deep into your content.

If you want to see how important headlines are, check out Hunting.Alltop.com and observe all the headlines. Then look for the ones that stand out the most. It’s not easy to stand out when there are so many other great blog post titles.

It’s also important to find keywords that are relevant to the topic of your blog. This will help you slowing build a strong and reliable stream of traffic from search engines.

Let’s take a look at some ideas you can use for both sets of keywords for your own blog or Website.

Attention Grabbing “Key” Words

I have linked previously in the Related posts on the Web to two great posts on Copyblogger.com:

The Cosmo Headline Technique for Blogging Inspiration

The Hidden Key to Cosmo Headlines: Sex and the City?

The concept of the “Cosmo Headline” method is simply that Cosmo headlines are attention-grabbing and impactful. Think of how many times you’ve sat waiting in line at the grocery store. What magazine do your eyes gravitate to the most?

There is a good chance that you’re thinking of Cosmo or a related magazine (Guys, your buddies aren’t watching so it’s Ok to admit to yourself that it’s true – I had a hard time at first admitting it to myself).

If you’re struggling to come up with ideas for blog posts or struggling to find a good title for your blog post, try visiting Cosmopolitan.com and scan the headlines for eye-catching material.

So why do these headlines stand out?

The Cosmo headlines are often written in list form, which readers love. The headlines cover topics that really stand out as important to just about every adult human on the planet. The headlines really show the benefit that will be gained if the reader continues reading the entire article or post.

Brian writes:  “They’re [Cosmo Headlines] all written by pros who make good money getting people to pick up periodicals and drop them in the grocery basket.”

If you’re looking for great headline and article ideas you might as well learn from the best in the publishing business. Don’t be afraid to use Cosmo headlines to craft your own posts.

Now, if you’re uncomfortable using Cosmo headlines (Hey, not all of us guys want Cosmo on our History), you can use MensHealth.com. The same concept applies and it’s not as awkward. I use Men’s Health for blog post ideas all the time and it seems to not only generate ideas for me to write about, but it also seems to generate the attention grabbing “key” words that Rudy referred to in his comment above.

Let’s check out the Guy Wisdom – List Section on MensHealth.com:

18 Things Grown Men Should Never Have

How easy could it be for a hunting retailer or hunting product manufacturer to turn this eye-catching headline into 18 Things a Hunter Should Never Have? That is an catchy headline that will draw in a lot of eyeballs for your blog if you can write a great list.

10 Things Children Teach Their Fathers

This is interesting because it flips the standard on its head, which is very eye-catching. Would you stop to check out the post 10 Hunting Tips Parents Can Learn From Their Kids?

The 20 All-Time Best Men’s Health Tips

How can you not stop to check out this post? Everybody is looking for the best of the best. If your blog has long-time readers they’d love to look back on the best of the best you have offered. If a new reader happens to glance at this headline they’ll be curious and a likely place to start when exploring a new site is the best you have to offer. Try writing The 20 All-Time Best [Your Hunting Blog Here] Tips.  I could use this myself a little more I think.

I could go on for awhile trying to list title ideas from using the Men’s Health lists, but I’m sure you could do a better job with them.

Take some time and try out this technique for eye-catching “key” words. I think it will help generate some great posts for you and your readers.

Keywords for Traffic

Finding keywords for your blog is important and for some reason also a little tricky.

As you start to accumulate blog content, you’ll start to see a slow gain in search traffic. You’ll see a lot of long-tail keywords (keyword phrases, questions, and some off topic phrases) generating traffic to your blog posts. Hopefully, you’ll also see some traffic from some general terms that really relate to your business.

As time has passed with this blog, I’ve noticed that I’ve been getting more and more traffic from terms and phrases that I target such as “hunting businesses”, “hunting blogs”, and “starting a hunting business”.

I’ve also noticed a lot of traffic from some unrelated terms such as “bon jovi” and “best country songs”. These keywords are some I didn’t intentionally set to target. They likely don’t generate long-term readers.

Some lessons I’ve learned from this include the importance of putting in some thought on what your blog and business are really about and remaining focused on writing blog posts strictly about those topics and related items.

It’s a fine line between writing about the same things all the time and trying to expand your blog post topics. The Bon Jovi post was a lot of fun to write, but I realize it might not have been great for search traffic or for gaining long-term readership.

I think it’s important to test new ideas and try new things for your blog posts. I won’t stop trying to reach readers in new and fun ways so you’ll probably see more Bon Jovi-type articles.

But I’ve also realized the importance of staying true to the focus of this blog Hunting Business Marketing.

For your own blog the basic concept to understand is to recognize what you, your hunting business, and your blog are all about. Think about the keywords, keyword phrases, and questions your readers search for on the Web and try to naturally write blog titles and posts about these topics.

Use tools like Google’s Keyword Tool and Wordtracker Labs Keyword Question Tool to see how much traffic your business-related terms are getting to see if there is enough interest to support your work.

Also continually watch your site or blog’s keyword trends and listen to what your readers are telling you.

Search and keywords aren’t difficult. You just have to focus on what your blog is really about and continually test and try new things to see what benefits your readers.

Keep your readers’ needs first and you’ll become a successful blogger over time.

Related posts on Hunting Business Marketing

10 Ways to Create Stunning Hunting Blog Posts

10 Examples of Remarkable Hunting Blog Posts: Part 8

10 Hunting Website Truths You Can’t Ignore

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Your Blog vs. The World: 7 Steps To Winning The War for Attention

Marketing Your Website Without Search Engines

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50 Inspirational Images to Inspire Blog Titles

For any blogger, writer, or content creator it can be difficult at times to find inspiration.

Creative Blog Post Titles

image credit: Peter Kaminski

I have found that looking at photos and images is often a great way to inspire ideas. In fact, even looking at pictures that at first seem totally unrelated to hunting will spark creativity.

With that in mind I thought I’d put together…

50 Inspirational Images to Inspire Blog Titles for Your Hunting Business Blog

‘The Sailor’s Guide to Creative Business’

image credit: Jaci Berkopec

‘Avoid the Rough Waters of a Start-up Website’

image credit: conner395

‘How to Build Traffic to the Point of Explosion’

image credit: Pixel Addict

‘Impress Your Readers with Explosive Content’

image credit: jonrawlinson

‘How to Hit the Bullseye with Exceptional Products’

image credit: wilfried.b

‘It May Take Awhile for Your Business to Truly Take Off’

image credit: madmarv00

‘Shine in a Recession’

image credit: ben hanbury

‘Let Your Success Spill Over to Others’

Clearly Ambiguous

‘Be Brave Where Others are Afraid in Business’

image credit: motumboe

‘Don’t Wait For Your Ride to the Top’

image credit: Robert S. Donovan (booleansplit)

‘Your Computer is Your Canvas – A How to Guide’

image credit: bald_eagle89

‘How to Keep Your Focus’

image credit: BruceTurner

‘See Your Business Through the Eyes of a Child’

image credit: DownTown Pictures

‘Dealing With Your Chilly Past’

image credit: CoreForce

‘Determining What Drives You’

image credit: visualpanic

‘How To Avoid a Personal Bubble’

image credit: Paulio Geordio

‘Are You Waiting for Success to Find You?’

image credit: conorwithonen

‘How to Avoid Writer’s Block’

image credit: Martin Kingsley

‘Find the Beauty in Your Business’

image credit: Davichi

‘Stand Alone in Business to Find Success’

image credit: tiarescott

‘The Key Ingredients for Success’

image credit: cheetah100

‘How to Pave Your Way to Success’

image credit: Hello, I’m Chuck

‘Use Stealth Moves to Get Ahead’

image credit: *L*u*z*a* lack of inspiration

‘Fly Above the Rest’

image credit: oddsock

‘Start Your Blog When Pigs Fly’

image credit: oddsock

‘Don’t Let Your Business Fall out of Control’

image credit: Marina Cast.

‘If Someone Asks You To Make Them Fly…Say Yes’

image credit: _Max-B

‘Don’t Settle for the Rocking Chair’

image credit: ktylerconk

‘Spend Time With Wise People Around You’

image credit: t_crescibene

‘Plant Your Rows to Success’

image credit: busymommy

‘The Importance of Quality Service’

image credit: the sun hums

‘Pre-flight is Important for Business – Have a Plan’

image credit: jerine

‘Don’t Let the Waves Hold You Back’

image credit: neeme

‘Tidy Your Work Space’

image credit: Steve Keys

‘The Importance of a Simple Handwritten Thank You’

image credit: _StaR_DusT_

‘The Pencil (or Keyboard) Can Open Up Your Creative Content’

image credit: smoorenburg

‘How to Look for Hidden Inspiration’

image credit: Hamed Saber

‘Good Things Sometimes Come in Threes’

image credit: antaean

‘How to Look to Your Family for Inspiration’

image credit: photon ℽ

‘The Value of Documenting Your Business Journey’

image credit: rolands.lakis

‘Dealing With Business Loneliness’

image credit: moriza

‘Enjoy the Road to Success’

image credit: prakhar

‘How to Take an Objective Look at Your Reflection’

image credit: Christian Revival Network

‘Your Success is Around the Corner’

image credit: Christian Revival Network

‘How to Avoid the Grind of Business’

image credit: Just chaos

‘Put Your Own Unique Perspective on a Popular View’

image credit: BL1961

‘How to Keep The Ground Under Your Feet’

image credit: kyle simourd

‘How to Find Your Hidden Resources’

image credit: jasonb42882

‘How to Find Your Energy Source’

image credit: aussiegall

‘Chase That Setting Sun’

image credit: Slava V.

Related posts on the Web

50 Inspirational Images from Flickr Under Creative Commons

Writing Headlines for Regular Readers, Search Engines, and Social Media

Sending the Wrong Message

Related posts on Hunting Business Marketing

50 Indoor Photos to Inspire Your Outdoor Website

50 Inspiring Flickr Pictures/Photos for Hunting Businesses

40 Quick Tips and Ideas for Growing Your Hunting Business

The NFL Guide to Website Traffic

It always seems to be about traffic on the Web

Football Laying in a Field

image credit: Jayel Aheram

I’ve written about traffic before here on Hunting Business Marketing. These posts always seem to garner interest. I write the posts to help you, a hunting business professional, have success on the Web. Here are my previous posts on traffic:

It might be the fact that football season and whitetail deer hunting season occur during the fall that I always associate the two.

For me, the only time I come out of the woods during opening weekend of rifle season is to watch the Packer game except for this past season since they were on Monday night. And of course the ’05 season when they were just terrible (4-12 ugh), but it worked out because I harvested a nice 11 point at 1:30pm.

Anyway, that’s why I’m writing about the NFL on a hunting business blog.

The reason I’m writing about the NFL is because it’s a busy period in the NFL. Free agency is only a few days old, but there has already been plenty of excitement.

The Green Bay Packers (my favorite team) and management are sticking to what has been their approach since ’05, which has been to sit back in the initial weeks of free agency and focus instead on value free agents and the draft in April.

The Packers approach is one way of building championship teams and the other is of course the Washington Redskin approach, which is to pay big bucks for splashy free agents (Albert Haynesworth, DeAngelo Hall, and Derrick Dockery in ’09 alone).

There are a mix of teams who follow the Draft and Value Free Agency Approach (Green Bay, Pittsburgh, and New England) and those who follow the Splashy Free Agency Approach (Washington, Minnesota, and Dallas).

Side note: By ‘Value Free Agency’ I mean teams that sign resign their own players to extensions before their contracts are up and teams that sign unrestricted free agents for a more realistic dollar value; usually after the first week or two of free agency. By ‘Splashy Free Agency’ I mean big name players that make a huge splash with astronomical amounts of money attached to their new contract.

We’ll know what approach wins come February ’10.

The off season team-building period of the NFL reminds me of how Websites work to build their presence.

Building organic or natural traffic is similar to how teams use the draft and value free agency to build a team from within and paid traffic is similar to how teams sign big name free agents.

Natural Traffic and Draft & Value Free Agency

Pros

In the NFL, teams that focus on bringing in strong talent through the draft and value (underappreciated talent) players are able to create a solid foundation for their franchise. From the beginning (the draft) players are able to learn a system and grow with the team. Rookies (beyond the first 15-20 picks) are real (relative) bargains for NFL teams. If a player is a success early on after they’re drafted, the team can offer a contract before the player is due to make it to unrestricted free agency. This is a way for the team to save future money by giving the player guaranteed money before that player has to risk injury by waiting for their contract to expire (Aaron Rodgers in ’08).

If the team knows how to build organically through the draft they can have sustained success (New England and Pittsburgh).

The same approach can work for your hunting Website. If you spend your time creating excellent content and making strong connections via mediums like Twitter, blogging organizations, forums, etc., you can build a strong foundation of steady and quality traffic for your site.

This approach takes time, but you’re building a solid base of loyal readers who understand your content and are willing to spread your business service/product through word-of-mouth.

Cons

The natural approach takes some risk out of the equation as far as current dollars are concerned. NFL teams that don’t spend big money on splashy players avoid the common letdowns i.e. Joe Johnson, Jerry Porter, and Javon Walker. However, by not signing big players in free agency, teams are missing out on the occasional Reggie White. (Thank goodness the Packers made that move in ’93).

If you’re avoiding paying for traffic you’re not strapping yourself for cash. However, you’re also taking a chance of not gaining some potentially huge traffic numbers to your site. You might be missing out on a lucrative traffic opportunity.

Organic traffic building is also a slow process. Building a solid foundation of natural traffic (making connections with potential readers by reaching out as well as through keyword planning and search) takes time and can wear a person out.

Paid Traffic and Splashy Free Agency

Pros

Sometimes a player is a splashy free agent for a reason. In the NFL, some players take the chance to reach free agency while risking injury because they know if they have a good ‘contract year’ there is a good chance teams will get into a bidding war. Each year NFL teams have needs for certain positions (usually QB, the lines, receiver, and cornerback). These teams get desperate for proven talent and are willing to pay premiums for the available players.

Sometimes, as in the Reggie White case, the team’s choice to pay top dollar pays dividend (’96 Super Bowl Champions!).

Splashy free agents can have instant impacts as their proven talent transfers to the team paying them the big money.

Sometimes on the Web there are sources of paid traffic that pay off for Website owners despite the large costs. You might be able to find a pricey, but highly trafficked site where you can stick a banner ad and get tons of traffic. It might cost a ton of money for a monthly or yearly contract, but the traffic could turn out to be high quality and convertible (profitable).

Also, paid traffic can have instant payoff. If there is a need for instant traffic, the paying approach is generally the best way to get spikes in traffic.

Cons

There is a huge risk in NFL free agency to get into bidding wars over players that aren’t really worth the huge amounts of money teams pay. Too often these players don’t live up to expectations.

The same is true for paid traffic. Often, new Web users and new site owners look for the quickest way to get traffic to their Website. This approach often leads to letdown and a loss of value.

More often than not, NFL teams get burned on big names and more often than not, Website owners get burned on paid traffic sources.

What is the best approach for you and your hunting business?

I favor the Natural Traffic and Draft & Value Free Agency Approach for my Websites (and for the Packers).

While this approach runs the risk of losing out on some major traffic from paid sources, I think it also forces my creativity to flow in figuring out ways to gain natural and organic traffic.

Just as Ted Thompson (the Packers current GM ’05 to ’09…) gets flack every off season for not signing big, splashy names, I also have to sit back and watch as others are able to get traffic through paid sources.

As with everything on the Web, the important thing to remember is value.

Always look for value when spending money and spending time. Understand the risks involved and determine when it’s acceptable to take on risk and when it’s best to avoid temptation.

I feel that paid traffic has a significant place if it’s truly valuable for you and your business. Look at the quality of traffic the source you’re paying has been able to provide their existing clients.

Look for paid sources that work to truly empower their clients.

A paid traffic source that glows about their clients’ success is much better than a paid source who brags about their own (false?) achievements.

Focus your energy on creating great content (your draft) and adding value by spending time building connections on the Web. Also look to pay for some traffic if the situation is truly valuable (your value free agents).

Related posts on the Web

Case Study of TheFutureBuzz.com: Analytics, Trends And Insights

Organic Traffic Building: The Only Way to Grow A Sustainable Web Brand

The Day 250,000 People Showed Up At My Blog: Case Study

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