Tuesday, 30 October 2012

15 Free Places to Market your Content

Recently I was asked the all to common question of 'how can I do some marketing for my website for free?' It's a great question. Not everybody has a budget to spend on advertising, and let's face it - somebody who found your website because they were looking for something like it rather than finding it through an ad, is likely to get more value out of your content.

There are a bunch of great ways you can promote your website for free on the Internet. In fact, I do most of them every time I write a new blog post on any of my blogs. Let's go through them one by one.

Facebook is the most obvious place to post your content and can be an excellent resource. On the upside, almost everybody is on it, but on the downside you might end up bugging your friends if all you do is use it to advertise yourself. If your content is genuinely something you think your friends will enjoy, then by all means post it. Otherwise, you might want to start a Facebook Page and use it to exclusively promote all your content to anyone who likes the page.

Twitter is the next resource. Short, sweet and simple. Build your follower base and your deliver value and curiosity with your tweets.

Digg is another good place to socially seed your content. Submit a page to Digg and if users upvote it - you'll have more chances to get views. Also, posting a page to Digg will let Google's crawler bots find and index your page faster so you're more likely to appear in the organic Google search results.

Stumbleupon is a huge resource to get some quick views for your website. Make an account and submit a page. But be warned, it's very easy to jump from one website to the next on Stumbleupon so your website must grab the readers attention IMMEDIATELY if you want Stumbleupon to succeed. Use catchy images such as memes to help do this. Also, Stumbleupon prioritizes its user base, meaning that if all you do is go on there to submit links but you never actually use the site, chances are your pages won't be seen.

Empire Avenue has more of a learning curve. It's a virtual stock market of people where you buy and sell shares in each other. You can use these shares to run missions to get people to visit your websites and interact with your content. For instance, you can ask for someone to retweet you or share a Facebook post. Get started now and the payoff can be huge later.

YouTube is another search engine all on its own. If you can manage to make a video to go along with whatever page you are trying to promote then by all means do it! Video production is not expensive these days and a great video can go a long way.

Delicious is a social bookmarking site. Add links (ie. your pages) and tag them with keywords. If people find them, they can essentially 'retweet' them giving you more chances for your website to be seen.

Pinterest is everyone's favourite image sharing site. What you want to do here is submit a picture directly from the page you are trying to get views on. This way it links right back to your website. If someone repins an image it also counts as a backlink which helps with your organic traffic.

Disqus is a community based commenting system. Although you can't submit a link directly to it, when people comment on your posts other people can discover that page based off of their comments. If you're getting a lot of comments then this can rack up some nice extra views.

Google+; yes it is still kind of a desert and that may or may not ever change depending on Google's strategy. But it doesn't mean that you should ignore the system. It could still give you one or two extra views.

LinkedIn is great for sharing any type of content that you would like to be associated with professionally. You can also look into joining LinkedIn groups and sharing your content there but make sure to check each groups rules on spam. There's nothing worse than a spammer no matter where you go.

Don't forget about Reddit when it can be an absolutely huge resource. The self-proclaimed "front page of the web" has a gigantic user base and can deliver thousands and thousands of page views. But there is a learning curve to being successful on Reddit. 1) Deliver value with your posts. 2) Build curiosity with your post titles. 3) Post them in the appropriate subreddit. 4) Don't be a spammer.

Email may not exactly be the first thing that comes to mind for sharing content but it doesn't mean it's a bad way to do so. However email is a personal thing so you probably don't want to send your links to anyone via email unless you actually have a great connection with them already and genuinely know they will enjoy your content.

Mailing lists however, are a bit different. The purpose of building a mailing list means that every time you publish something new, people will be notified (or you can simply send out mass emails to everyone who has opted in to receive them). These are usually called "auto responders" and most of them you have to pay for. You can however use List Wire for completely free as long as you don't mind them putting some ads in your emails that go out.

Besides this, you definitely want to have some good SEO practices in place to try to get organic Google views - there's no substitute for that!

Post any other seeding resources you have in the comments.

Friday, 24 August 2012

How to Set Up Your Blogger - The Absolute Basic Essentials

Looking to start your first Blog using Google Blogger but aren't sure about which widgets you should include or how to customize it to look the way you want?

While setting up your Blogger account isn't difficult to do, there are still some things you will probably want to make sure you include. Some are obvious, others, not so much. Here's everything you should do. You can either read this post, or check out one of the two videos.

The 2 Minute Version - Quick & Dirty! Here's what you need! You know how to do it!

The 10 Minute Version - A Fully Detailed Explanation! Where to go and how to set it up!

Setting Up Your Blogger

Step #1: Create the Blog

  • You will need a Gmail account to use Blogger, so if you haven't done so already go to gmail.com and set one up.
  • Next, go to Blogger and click the "new blog" button.
  • Give your Blog a Title that you like (you can change this later), it's URL (the web address people have to type to find you online), and pick your template (you can change this and pick in more detail once you make your blog).
  • Hit the 'Create Blog' button.

Step #2: Customize the Template

  • Where you see your new blog created, click the drop-down arrow and press "Templates".
  • Take a look at the templates in this menu and pick one you like. You can preview it by clicking on it first. Hit the "apply to blog" button under a thumbnail to actually use that one.
  • Scroll up to the top and press 'Customize'.
  • Go to the Layout tab choose the bottom-left option for a two column view.
  • Go to adjust widths and make the entire blog 1200 px wide. Make each of the columns 200 px wide. You don't have to use these, but it's what I recommend.
  • Play around with the Background and Advanced tabs if you want to customize your blog further.
  • Once you're done all this, press "Apply to Blog" in the upper-right corner and then press "Back to Blogger".

Step #3: Customize the Layout

  • Go to the Layout tab and on the left column press the "Add a Gadget" button (directly above the column).
  • On the left column, add the following gadgets in this order (you can click to drag them around):
    • Popular Posts (set it to show max 5 posts)
    • Search this Blog
    • Follow by Email
    • Subscribe To
    • +1 Button
    • Followers
  • On the right column, add the following gadgets in this order
    • Blog Archive
    • Twitter Updates (if you have Twitter)
    • Adsense (if you want to monetize your blog
    • About Me (if you want people to know about you)
    • (and/or add a text field to type info about your blog)
  • Near the top of your layout tab where it shows the header with your blog name, click "edit" on this and add a short description about your blog. You can also replace this with a banner image if you have one.

Step #4: Add Disqus and AddThis

These are two powerful plugins that you need to get through third party sites. Disqus is a better commenting system for your blog (check out the comment system below if you don't know what it looks like). It also can increase your blog views. AddThis gives your readers more ways to share your content. You absolutely want both.

  • Go to the Disqus website and make an account if you don't already have one. 
  • Log in and go to your Dashboard.
  • Click "Add a Site"
  • Follow the prompts and choose to add Disqus for Blogger.
  • This will redirect you back to your Layout tab. DRAG AND DROP the Disqus widget into the bottom-right corner of your right side bar
  • From the Admin panel on your Disqus profile, also make sure the "Use Disqus 2012" box is checked.
For AddThis...
  • Click this link to take you exactly where you want to go.
  • Make an account and choose to add the widget for Blogger (similar to adding Disqus).
  • Again, it will take you to your Layout tab. Drag and drop the AddThis widget to bottom-right corner of your right side bar. It doesn't matter if it goes above or below Disqus.

Step #5: Configure Your Settings

  • Back on Blogger, go to the settings tab and choose the sub-tab 'search preferences'.
  • Add a search description for your blog. This is the first thing people will see when they come to your blog.
  • Click the "posts and comments" sub-tab and check the box that says "Anyone" can comment (this is needed for Disqus to work properly).

That's it! You're done! Hope this was helpful!