By Pat Dodd
By Pat Dodd
You’ve done your homework and you are writing some great content. The problem is that no one knows you exist. Blogs are about creating conversation and if no one visits your blog then there isn’t likely much conversation going on. Here are a few tips that will help you start generating traffic to your blog.
If all you have in your marketing communications tool belt is your corporate blog, then the likelihood of realizing your objectives is going to be almost nil. While blogging can be an effective way to start conversations with people interested in what you have to sell, it is by no means to be viewed as a stand alone strategy. Your blog is most effective when it is integrated with your other online communications activities such as press releases, white papers and company website.
There is more to blogging than simply cranking out blog posts. To really join the blogging community you need to post intelligent comments in other people’s blogs and use the trackback functionality when you refer to a post someone else made in one of your blog posts. Remember, the goal of your blog is to engage your market in conversation. When you post a comment or use the trackback functionality you are throwing your two cents into the conversation. As a bonus, your URL will be listed in the comment and trackback section thus giving other people the opportunity to browse through your blog and improving your search engine rankings. Unfortunately, both comments and trackbacks have been used by spammers for nefarious purposes so it is important that your comments and trackbacks are genuine responses.
The use of hypertext links or “linking’ is one of the primary reasons why blogging has become such a popular and effective online communications medium. Links are added to the text of blog posts to reference news items and other blogs or websites that are related to the topic being discussed. In my experience, the best blogs, more often than not, have numerous links in each post. In addition to using links within your posts, it is always helpful to provide links to your favorite blogs in a section called a blogroll. Once you get your blog going you can ask the sites on your blogroll to reciprocate. Keep in mind that reciprocal linking is on of the keys to improving your search engine ranking.
One of the best ways to get noticed is to make sure that your blog is registered with all of the popular blog and RSS directories. There are about 50 such relevant places. You can find a comprehensive list at http://www.masternewmedia.org/rss/top55/
If you want to know what the blogosphere has to say on a particular topic, the best place to go is a blog specific search engine such as Technorati. The one of the reasons that that Technorati is so good at delivering the most up to date posts is that they have a system that allows blogs to “ping” or notify them whenever a new post has been made so that the search engine can send their robots to get more information about the post. Pinging such services gets you more visibility, which in turn should bring you more inbound links and traffic to your blog. Once you do the initial set up, the pings will be sent out automatically.
Since most people are not familiar with RSS and Atom, I think its best to get this section started with a definition. According to About.com, content syndication is a blanket term used to refer to accessing and publishing web content (text, images, etc.) in one or both of these formats: RSS and Atom.
Web publishers (e.g.,bloggers) can make their content available through syndication by using either RSS and/or Atom technology to produce what is known as ‘feeds’ (‘blog feeds’ or ‘news feeds’). These feeds can either show headlines only, headlines and summary, or full content. Manyweblog systems/software incorporate content syndication as one of their features.
Syndicated content on the web are usually indicated with text links or graphic buttons that show the words RSS, Atom, XML, Syndicate, and/or Subscribe. They may be found on weblogs, websites, news sites, and other types of online content providers. Readers and/or fellow web publishers can access the latest updates of particular sites with content syndication when they use aggregators and/orfeed generators
So why is RSS/Atom important to my corporate blog? The main reason that RSS is important to business blogs is that many tech savvy people don’t “visit” their favorite blogs on a daily basis by actually going to the blog’s web page. They use a program or a service to subscribe to their favorite blogs’ (RSS) news feed and receive updated information. It is easier to forget about a blog and never return than it is to unsubscribe to an RSS feed. Most respectable blog software has built-in support for RSS publishing. If the blog software/service that you are using doesn’t support RSS publishing, then its time to find software that does.