The phrase Web 2.0 was originally coined three or so years ago and, unless you have been living on a far off planet or in a cave, no doubt you will have heard it.
Perhaps you might have wondered what it is all about, or indeed, whether Web 2.0 actually exists at all?
It may seem a little simple be asking whether something that people have been talking about for three years exists or not, but the reason is that there is no easy-to-pin-down definition of Web 2.0.
Indeed, a measure of just how difficult it is to define Web 2.0 is that it is far easier to define what it is not!
For example, it is not a particular type of website, although some sites (especially internet marketing product sales pages produced over the last six months or so) are becoming recognizable as Web 2.0 ‘style’ sites.
More and more of these sites are moving away from strong, garish colors in sales page backgrounds and reverting to plain white or grey backgrounds.
Whilst these are not Web 2.0 sites – there is no such ting – nevertheless, simplicity and plainness in site design is making a big comeback!
The fact is that, if there is only one factor that can be said to represent Web 2.0, it can be summed up as interactivity.
Web 2.0 is all about the idea that people should have some kind of input to the sites that they are viewing, again perhaps best described by comparison with the ‘old’ style of websites back when we had what might be called Web 1.0.
Those old style sites tended to be static - you read them and then moved on. There was no requirement for you to do anything other than read and accept the information that the site gave you.
The essence of Web 2.0 is that sites that you are viewing will invite you to do something.
So, maybe when you go to a commercial website for a big international company, the site asks you to leave comments of perhaps take a quick survey?
They are asking you for feedback of some kind, whether it is on the story that you have just read, or about the site itself.
They are asking you to interact with them.
Alternatively, Web 2.0 sites can be community sites where users join and then have the ability to create their own individuals pages or ‘spaces’ within the community. Then they have the opportunity of inviting their friends to join too.
It can also be of sites that allow viewers to post pictures, videos, sound bites, comments and questions.
Web 2.0 is also about blogs where info and feedback can be added to the sites.
So, does Web 2.0 actually exist?
The answer is, who the heck knows or cares?
What clearly does exist is a movement to greater interactivity between sites and their viewers on the web. If that is Web 2.0 or nor is really pretty irrelevant!
However, the problem that I see with Web 2.0 is that a lot of folks far wiser and more knowledgeable than me are telling us that it is an Internet ‘revolution’.
And, like all ‘revolutions’ the tendency has been to throw away everything from the old pre-revolution days, whether good or bad.
So it is that many of the things that worked well but that unfortunately represented Web 1.0 have been forgotten or swept under the carpet in the seemingly headlong rush to unquestioningly adopt everything that is Web 2.0.
Maybe this makes me sound like a Luddite or something, but one of my objectives is to show that, alongside all the modern Web 2.0 ‘stuff’, it is still an idea to turn the clock back a little, to show how some aspects of what I am calling the Web 1.0 era still work, and work well.
In particular, I believe that a lot of very valid traffic generations techniques that worked back before Web 2.0 came along can still work pretty well today, especially when combined with some techniques and ideas that are usually categorized as representing Web 2.0.
So, in a nutshell, if you combine the best of the old and the new, taking what worked before and what is working now in terms of driving traffic to your site, and put them together into one cohesive plan.
I also attempt to look into the future too, where the market is going to, because some pointers to the future development of online business and site traffic are already becoming fairly clear.
So, does Web 2.0 actually exist, or is it just a trendy phrase that was invented by a superb marketing specialist?
In my opinion, I would say that the true answer to that is, a bit of both!
I think that the reason that the phrase caught on is that it captures the imagination, and sounds fresh and exciting.
I also think it undeniable that interactivity is a feature of the net in a way that it certainly wasn’t three years ago.
But, just because something is fresh and new does not automatically mean that everything before is necessarily dull and stale!
Why Is Blogging So Effective?
If there is one single phenomena that could best be said to represent the idea behind Web 2.0, it is blogging.
A blog is simply a website that will usually, 'provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages and other media related to its topic. The ability for readers to leave comments on an interactive format is an important part of many blogs.' according to Wikipedia.
Whilst blogs first came into being as online personal diaries, the ones that we are going to concentrate on are those that are used for business of the type that are now the vast majority.
Blogs have many attractions, the main one being their simplicity. Anyone who has the ability ot use two fingers on a keyboard can begin to create their own blog
They can also be updated as often as you like, and many people do update their blogs two or three times a day.
This means that there is a constant stream of fresh new content available on blog sites, which is the reason that blogs are fast becoming the favorite sites of the major search engines, especially Google, itself the #1 search engine.
There is no need to know anything whatsoever about website creation or scripting language to create a blog.
No matter which blogging 'platform' you use, it is always a simple question of following a very small handful of simple instructions.
And, as the Wikipedia definitions suggest, a core function of blog sites is that they invite reader input and feedback in the form of comments.
What a good blog site therefore does is start a 'conversation' between the blog site owner and his/her readership.
It has an inherent ability to begin building a relationship centered around a common area of interest, as expressed in the subject matter of the blog itself.
So, in simple terms, if for example you are an avid mountain climber, and start a blog about your hobby, then the chances are very good that most of the people who visit your pages will be interested in climbing mountains too.
So, all you need to do is create articles that are interesting or controversial enough to prompt your readers to comment and you have generated a discussion or debate about a subject that is close to your heart.
And, the point is that you can create your own blog about any topic under the sun, and publish it for the whole world to read literally within minutes of sitting down in front of your PC.
So let's extend the idea of creating a blog about mountain climbing to creating one about business.
It really does not matter what your business, the same 'rules' apply – you create your blog, and begin to make 'postings', which is a very grandiose way of describing the ability that a blog gives you to basically write what you want to.
Lets imagine a couple of different scenarios.
Situation one is that own a 'real world' business that sells wigets.
Y ou have a customer list of people who have bought your wigets before, so you use your blog as a regular newsletter to which you publish all of your latest special offers, discount deals , news and so on.
It is a fantastic way of keeping in touch with your existing customers and, by publishing regular news bulletins through the company blog site, it offers a way to invite potential new customers to have a look inside your organization too, before they decide whether or not they want to work with you.
Of course, the limitation of using a blog for a real world business selling tangible physical products is that no blog or website can actually deliver the product for you.
However, in situation two, where you are using a blog to promote an online or Internet marketing business, even that can be achieved through your blog site to a certain extent.
Lets imagine that your business is selling a website traffic generation service to other buinesses in the net who want to increase the people that see their own sites.
You can write about all of the latest traffic ideas that you have and promote your services through the blog.
You would also most probably have a 'buy now' button featured somewhere very prominently on the front page.
You might also review traffic generation products from other companies, and carry links on your blog that would take the reader directly to the sales page for the product in question, if they have an interest in finding out more.
Although (as Wikipedia points out) blogging was initially a text based publishing medium, it is now increasingly becoming linked to other media, such as video, as well.
So, not only can you write reviews but you can even create short movies to do the same as well, and publish them to your blog (and other places, as we shall see later).
You can create video presentations about your business, your products or basically whatever else you want, and have it out there in front of a potential audience of over 1 billion people in a matter of minutes.
It has been said that there are 'three cornerstones' to online success and that they are visitor traffic, visibility and perceived credibility.
This is a critical concept to grasp, and one to which I will return time and again.
A blog site is such a powerful marketing tool because it allows you to address all three of these requirements through the one simple site, as you are just about to discover.
Choosing Your Platform
This book is principally targeted at those online entrepreneurs and internet marketers who are selling, or planning to sell, digital products on the net, although most of what you will read can be applied to those selling tangible, real world products and services too.
So here are some basic 'ground rules' for setting up as an internet marketer that you absolutely must follow if you want to be taken seriously and therefore be sucessful.
The first thing that you really must do is invest in your own domain name, that is, the name that appears at the top of the page like ABC.com.
Without a domain name to represent your own company or business, who is going to take you seriously?
And, given that such a domain name costs less than $10 per year, there is absolutely no excuse for not having one.
If possible, choose a domain name that represents what your business does or what your product is.
For example, if you sell pink widgets, then try to register a domain name like ThePinkWidgetCo.com or BigPinkWidgets.com.
The second thing that you really must have is a web hosting account, a place where you can build and then host your website.
This should cost no more than $10 per month for a basic account, and is again an integral part of starting of your business off with the correct professional image.
Free Will Cost You Money
As the web matures, free websites are seen to have less and less credibility as serious business tools, and let's be fair, when a website is free, it is always very obvious.
As pointed out above, perceived credibility is one of our three cornerstones of online success, so it really will not help you if you decide to launch or expand your online business with a free website that is filled with what is obviously third party advertising.
Now, if you really have no choice but to use a free medium, then a free blog site may just be okay, but is certainly not great and it will definitely not help your credibility.
If you must use a free blog site, then the simplest and still most effective choice is probably Google’s Blogger.
There are some advantages of using this platform, the main one being that it is, of course, free. It can be used to build quite an attractive (but nevertheless somewhat lifeless) blog site, as seen below:
And, as it is owned by Google, it is very easy to add AdSense advertising to your blog site too, if you want to use this method of generating a little extra cash flow from your blog.
But there are also disadvantages which would, in my opinion, far outweigh the upsides of using the Blogger platform.
Here’s a few of the major downsides:
- By definition, a Blogger blog is hosted by Google. So, they effectively control it and can dictate what you can and cannot do with your blog site.
- For example, Google can (and do) cancel or remove Blogger blogs seemingly without reason, and so your blog can literally disappear overnight.
- Blogger is relatively inflexible.
- It is one of the best known blogging platforms in the world. Thus, most people recognize a Blogger blog, and know that it is free. What kind of message does that send about your business? (think credibility again)
Blogger is the best of your free options, but it will still cost you money that might otherwise have come from people who will not deal with someone that does not take their own business seriously, so do not use it unless you have to.
Wordpress – The Choice Of Champions
There is no doubt whatsoever that a Wordpress blog, hosted on your own domain and web hosting account should be the way that you go when you create your business blog.
As you will read throughout this book, the interactive element of Web 2.0 does present a massive range of new and exciting opportunities for promoting your site or blog.
But, that being so, you must have a blog site that can take full advantage of those opportunities.
In other words, if you are generating traffic from what we might call Web 2.0 activities, then you must send that traffic to a site that the visitors will feel comfortable with, and will hopefully like enough to add to their bookmarks folder.
If people find your content through a Web 2.0 related resource, and then end up on a dull and somewhat lifeless hosted blog (at blogger.com, for example) then your credibility and their
stay on your site are both going to be extremely short lived!
See, you must appreciate that you do not only want people to visit your blog or site.
You want them to visit and then stay, you need them to interact with your site in some way, and hopefully you want them to come back time after time.
Eventually, of course, you want them to become your customer too, but they will not do any of these things if they land on a boring, lifeless blog or website the very first time that they visit.
Using Wordpress on your own hosted domain is the simplest and quickest way of getting a superbly interactive blog set up that is fully in-tune with the requirements of all the traffic (both Webs 2.0 and 1.0 'styles') that this book will teach you to generate.
Okay, so the first thing you need to do is set up your Wordpress blog (termed WP from here on in!) and to do this, first check your web hosting account, does it have a 'cpanel'?
If so, then installing a WP blog is stunningly simple.
Just open cpanel and look for an icon marked Fantastico:
This is an in-built suite of software tools that comes pre-packaged in most cpanels. You simply click through Fantastico to arrive at a list of software programs that are ready to install with a few clicks of the mouse and right near the top, under ‘Blogs’, you should see Wordpress.
Follow the links step by step and install the software!
Now, maybe you do not use a web host who offers a cpanel or Fantastico, but no matter.
You can simply go to Wordpress.org to download the latest version of the software and install it on your site manually, following the detailed instructions available in the same place.
So, what is it about WP that makes it such an effective content management system?
Basically, it is the fact that the whole of the WP system has been built and developed through interactivity between the people who initially created and designed WP and the worldwide user community.
What I mean by this is that the plain vanilla WP that you have just installed on your domain name is a superbly flexible system, but it is not perfect.
There are a 1001 things that WP cannot or does not do straight out of the box.
So, WP users all over the world have created hundreds of plug-ins and widgets for WP that you can install into the admin area of your blog (usually free) to add a huge amount of additional usability to your blog.
WP has plugged itself into the open source communities ability to create any number of wigets or plug-ins that can massively enhance all of your marketing and conversion effort, and there is simply no other system around with this level of increased functionality.
In other words, everything that you could ever want to change, alter or enhance about your blog site can be done by installing the correct plug-in or widget.
Now, let me just warn you that not everything about this is necessarily good, although it may sound crazy to say that after just praising WP to high-heaven!
But the point about plug-ins for WP is that there are just too many of them around, with more arriving each and every day, and you simply do not need every one of them.
So, here is a list of the plug-ins that I would recommend that you should add to your WP blog site, in order to take maximum advantage of the traffic generation tactics that we are going to investigate.
What Would Seth Godin Do – This adds a note at the top or bottom of your blog post reminding to subscribe to your RSS feed.
AdSense Deluxe – Makes it easy to add AdSense to your posts and blog site.
Alinks – Automatically links keywords in your blog post, so you can link to affiliate products, your own sales pages or anywhere you want your reader to go.
Subscribe To Comments – Allows you to tell your post readers when new comments are posted to an entry. If your posts get some really great conversations going, you want to try to make sure that your readers stay involved.
- DiggIT – Automatically enables a dynamic Digg button to show up in each post. If your post gets dugg, having a button showing the number of diggs encourages more people to click too, and the more visitors you have already had, then to more you will get as well.
- Sociable – Automatically add links on your posts to popular social bookmarking sites.
- Head META Description – You don't need to waste too much time knowing how or why, but this can be a big help in convincing search engines that each page of your blog is unique.
- Tagalize It – Enhances your tagging ability and works very well in conjunction with.
- Ultimate Tag Warrior – Adds tags to your posts in pretty much any way you want, and is an especially attractive plug-in for the major search engines by all accounts.
- WP Cache – As the name suggests, it caches WP files, and can reduce the load on your database server significantly as well as inproving the site load speed.
So, these are just ten of the plug-ins that I would recommend that you should install in order to try to maximize the sites attractiveness in traffic terms.
However, these are very much the plug-ins that I personally favor, and given that there are hundreds available (many of which do the same job as one another), only you can decide which plug-ins will work best for your site.
The key thing here, however, is not really about the exact plug-ins that you should or should not install.
The main thing that you need to appreciate is that, whatever you could ever want to do with WP, someone, somewhere has probably already created a plug-in to do the job, and thus, in WP, you have a site that can be adapted for almost any purpose.
Creating Content To Drive Traffic
One of the biggest bugbears of some more familiar ‘old-style’ traffic generation tactics was that if you wanted to optimize your site to enable Search Engines to find it (a process known as ‘Search Engine Optimization’ or SEO) then that meant creating content that was, quite honestly, gibberish to the human eye or mind.
Blogs have moved the goalposts significantly so that is no longer necessarily the case!
Now, that is not to say that SEO is a tactic that you no longer need to consider. Indeed, with ever increasing competition in online market places, it is probably something that needs greater thought and consideration with every passing day.
But, blogs do have a great deal of intrinsic SEO advantages over traditional static website, as made very clear in this excellent article by Lee Odden entitled “SEO Benefits From Blogs”.
The great news too is that is no longer absolutely necessary to write palpable nonsense in order to attract the Goggle or Yahoo robot spiders.
Indeed, today’s online business marketplace, it is important that you really strive to write to attract real human beings, without all of the often ridiculous keyword repetition and pedantic, wooden writing styles that you might have been forced to use at one time.
Now, the answer is to write as naturally and clearly as possible, and let the search engines sort out how to rank your content on their own.
But there are nevertheless still some small SEO tricks or tweaks that you should focus on, things that will (thankfully) be unnoticed by your visitors, so that they are no bothered or put off reading your copy by what were at one time some pretty obvious (and ridiculous) SEO tricks.
The point is that these little tweaks aresuper noticeable to the bots from Google, Yahoo and the like, the next time they come calling!
Post Titles: You will rank higher in the engines if your main keyword is included in the title of your post, especially if you are creative enough to make it the first word.
Tagging: Tagging is a process of highlighting specific words on your post as being keywords that you want the bots to take notice of. By using the 'Ultimate Tag Warrior' plug-in you will be able to tag the proper keywords for your posts at the bottom of the posts.
Those slightly technical details aside, how do you make your content attract visitors and gain a reaction from them?
Firstly, do not write bland, boring stuff that tells people nothing. Give them nothing and that is exactly what you will get in return.
Aim to create content that can raise your readers from their torpor, and elicit a response, so try to make your content whatever you need it to be in order to do this.
Whether it is useful or controversial, valuable, unique, thought provoking, poetic or even caustic and sarcastic, it does not really matter.
All of these techniques (and many more besides) would describe the types of contentare most often linked to and appreciated by surfers in ANY niche.
That's what you need to do with your own content and here is exactly how you do it!
Take a handful of the top keywords that you would apply to your own blog and run a search for them in Google to find the top 10 sites for those keywords.
Read those sites thoroughly, to see what they are saying and (more particularly) how they are saying it.
Are they being controversial or sarcastic? Are they thought provoking or just simply outrageous?
Now, can you create content in the same style?
If so, then search around for a slightly different subject matter or topic, but ideally that is something that is still in the same area of interest, and give it the same treatment!
Truthfully, you should probably accept that the first time that you try this, it is unlikely to be a spectacular success.
The chances are that maybe this style of writing is something that you are none too familiar with and you are accordingly unlikely to be able to carry off the style in anything like a convincing manner.
But, don't worry overmuch, and certainly do not give in.
You have clearly seen what works in your market niche, and you should make an effort to continue to follow the top ten sites, to keep a constant weather eye on exactly how they are moving forward too.
In the meantime, keep practicing and honing your own skills, and undoubtedly over time you will begin to find that the required writing style will become more natural to you.
So, you will improve and progress naturally too.
Also, be aware that the subject matter that you are writing about has a part to play in the popularity of your content.
There are some subject matters or topics that are going to be more interesting than others and my own experiences tell me that, despite your best efforts, it is not always so easy to know what the really popular topics will be beforehand.
I con tell you as a fact that some of the blog posting and articles that I have written that I genuinely expected to catch fire in actual fact did nothing.
Then, there were other pieces that I created and almost immediately forgot, that turned out to be the ones that drove masses of visitors to my blog, simply because the subject matter together with the style of writing seemed to hit a collective nerve somehow.
So, if what you write the first time does not set the world on fire, do not be too hard on yourself, but just work on doing the job far better next time!
Another thing that you must do whenever you create new content for your blog by making a post, is to make sure that you 'ping' the blog directories.
This is a way of notifying the blog directories that you have made a post, and means that they note it so that the next time the Google spider visits the directory, it also visits you!
Setting this up is a simple as visiting one of the leading ping service web pages, inputting your information and asking it to make the ping on your behalf.
But, do not forget to do this every time you make a new post, as you will lose a lot of spider activity by forgetting to ping!
Letting Others Create Content
Wordpress allows people to register with your blog site, so you can simply upgrade these people in your admin area to ‘author’ class subscribers, and invite them to contribute.
They are then able to come in and make posts on your blog without seeing or having any kind of access to the more sensitive areas of your WP admin area.
So, you could approach other bloggers in your niche and offer to write unique content and articles for their blog sites, in return for which they would do the same for you.
This would bring a fresh perspective to both of your sites, and should increase traffic for both of you as well, as some of his (or her) loyal readers would take a look (possibly for the very first time) at your site, and vice versa.
Now, extend that idea from a straight one-for-one swap to a group of twenty of fifty bloggers all working together in the same niche, cross-fertilizing each others blog sites with fresh new content on a regular basis.
Imagine how many new visitors that could add to your site, simply by posting articles that you would be writing anyway on a site belonging to someone else, rather than to your own.
This has a couple of further added advantages too.
The more posts that are on your blog site, the more keywords that you can be potentially ranking for in the search engines, plus it creates links between all of the different blogs in the group, and a good network of links is clearly established as one of the two major keys to achieving high search engine rankings (together with SEO).
What If I Already Have A Site?
It may well be that you already have a site that you want to drive traffic to, and that accordingly all of this talk about building a blog site seems a little confusing or distracting.
In this case, maybe you are thinking that all you need to know is how to drive traffic to your existing site, and that a blog is not that relevant to you.
Well, the simple answer to that is that you are wrong!
Assuming that the site that you want to drive traffic to is a static page or a sales letter, then those types of sites simply do not have the ability to milk the maximum amount of traffic out of the market the way that a WP blof site does.
A lot of the tactics that you will find in the rest of this book simply work a lot better with a WP blog site than they do with static sites or basic sales letter pages, and so, if you want to drive traffic to those kinds of sites, here is what you do.
You set up your blog page as your ‘door-way’ page to the static pages behind, and funnel everything through the blog, before it gets to your sales page or static site.
This allows you to make the most of the opportunities that are offered by the techniques and tactics that you will read about over the following pages, whilst still funneling the traffic in the way that you really want it to go.
It also gives you two bites of the sales ‘cherry’ too, as you can attempt to make the sale or at least the pre-sale on the blog page, before passing the visitor through the door to the sales letter or static page sitting behind.
Maybe from what you have read so far, one fact is becoming increasingly clear about the interactivity that I have suggested is such an important feature of most Web 2.0 marketing tactics.
That is that it works both ways.
Yes, you want the maximum amount of visitors to come to your blog or site and you really want them to interact with you.
But, in order to make that happen, you must go out into the internet community yourself and start to interact yourself.
Otherwise, no-one will ever be able to find you!
For example, you should be making an effort to go out into the blog community and reading other peoples blogs. You want them to come and read yours, so surely it is totally natural and expected that they would want the same?
Find posts that you like on other peoples blogs and post your own comments to them.
Please make sure that the comments that you post do have some validity, and are relevant to the post in question.
Do this and two things will most likely result.
Firstly, the blog owner will reciprocate by visiting your blog site. Secondly, if you set it up correctly, you should get a valuable back-link too which (as highlighted in the last section) is one of the most important factors in attaining higher search engine ranking.
Why do I say that you should set it up properly?
I say this because, by default, the ‘Comments’ page of your WP blog will have what is known as the ‘no-follow’ tag activated, and this can to a large part negate the effectiveness of leaving comments on other peoples WP blogs.
When you leave a comment on someone else’s blog, the next time that Google spiders that blog site, the ‘no-follow’ tag tells the spider NOT to follow the link from your comment back to your site.
Thus, you effectively lose search engine ‘credit’ and incoming links, and you are already aware by now of how important incoming links are.
So, the first thing to do is go here to download the ‘DoFollow’ WP plug-in.
Install and then activate it. This removes the ‘no-follow’ tag from the comments page.
Then you need to find other WP bloggers (and there are a rapidly increasing number of them) who have also removed the ‘no-follow’ tag, and start visiting their sites to make comments.
By doing this, you will generate both real visitors and back-links to your site.
Do not, on the other hand, be tempted to waste your money on software that makes automatic comments on other people’s blogs. They always get deleted and will achieve absolutely nothing at all for you, except making sure that, even if you did ever post a valuable comment, it would still not be accepted!
So, that is one simple way that you can make your WP blog more interactive by being pro-active.
The other way that you can do this is by making sure that every time you make a post that you tell as many people as possible that you have done so.
You then need to reinforce these efforts to be pro-active by building a network of different sites and mini-sites all over the net that are all linked together, all of which will ultimately point people back to your blog site.
These are again facets of the central Web 2.0 idea of firstly making your blog an accepted authority site in whatever area of business it is that you are involved in.
So, returning to the example that we used much earlier, if your blog is all about traffic generation tactics, then you want it to become the place that ultimately everyone visits to discover anything that they might need to know about traffic generation.
This goes back to the original ‘three cornerstones’ concept of visitor traffic, visibility and perceived credibility. The more traffic you can attract, the higher your visibility will be and the more perceived credibility you will attain.
In other words, you become an authority site, and to do that, you must start by telling the world just how good you are!
RSS (‘really simple syndication’ is the most widely accepted meaning) is just one of the ways that you can begin to get the message out from your blog site to the world.
Remember when we looked at the list of ‘Top 10 plug-ins’ I recommended that there was one with the curious name of ‘What Would Seth Godin Do?’ (more of Seth later).
Well, if you have not installed this yet, I suggest that you do so now, because what this plug-in does is it invites visitors to your site to subscribe to your RSS feed, meaning that, if they agree to do so, every time you make a post it is automatically sent to what is known as an RSS reader on their PC.
There are two ‘sides’ or ‘ends’ to an RSS feed ‘chain’. There is the site that sends the information on the one side, info which is then received by what is known as an RSS ‘feed reader’ or ‘news aggregator’ on the other end.
So, the message is NOT sent by or to an email account, but rather from a piece of software that is an integral part of your website (or blog) to a specially installed ‘receiving’ tool that is already installed on someone’s computer.
If, therefore, someone agrees to subscribe to your RSS feed (through the ‘Seth Godin’ plug-in, for example) you are guaranteed that every post you ever make will be sent directly to the subscribers desk-top or lap-top.
Thus, once you have ‘Seth’ installed, you need to make sure that you have the an ‘out-feeder’ installed too, and you can get a free one from FeedBurner. Simply create your free account, copy the FeedBurner URL that they give you and paste it into your WP account (under ‘Options’).
That is it done, so that you now know that anyone who ever subscribes to your RSS feed is going to see literally every post that you ever make on your blog. Keep them controversial or thought provoking enough and you can almost guarantee that these folks will come back to read the complete posts time and time again.
Incidentally, if you want to subscribe to other peoples blogs, maybe so that you can keep an eye on the competition, then you can read reviews of the top 10 ‘Feed Readers’ here, and a more detailed picture of what RSS is and what it does here and here (oh, and look who it is!).
7 Ways Of attracting More RSS Subscribers
1. Use the ‘Seth Godin’ plug-in to encourage people to subscribe.
2. FeedBurner can send RSS to people’s emails if they prefer and some do. Highlight that you can do this.
3. Write short posts every now and the reminding people about the feed that you have available.
4. Promote your feed on your other sites and mini-sites, in email signatures and so on.
5. Don’t hide the Feed away – position it somewhere that it cannot be missed.
6. Give any who signs up a bonus or gift.
7. Add lots of images to your site to attract your readers into signing up.
Bookmarking For Popularity
The concept of Social Bookmarking developed from the idea that regular Internet users would automatically bookmark their favorite websites on their own PC as a way of making sure that they kept all their favorites in the same place.
But, what could they do when they were not at their own PC? How were they to find or access their favorite websites then?
So, according to Wikipedia:
“Social bookmarking is a way for Internet users to store, organize, share and search bookmarks of web pages. In a social bookmarking system, users save links to web pages that they want to remember and/or share. These bookmarks are usually public……”
So, the first important thing to note is that these bookmarks are ‘usually public’, so that if you do decide that a website is a favorite of yours, then other people can see that, and they can check it out too.
Furthermore, when the first social bookmarking sites became popular, they did so by coming up with a different way of classifying the site that people were listing, according to a relatively informal system of tags, rather than the more traditional ‘folders’ system that most people were using on their home or office computers.
So, a user could (and still can) add a favorite to their social bookmarking site list of favorites, and then choose their own tags for that site.
This tagging system allows sites to be found by social bookmarking site members by searching on a chosen tag, and the sites often include information about how popular a particular site is as judged by the number of people who have already bookmarked it
Some sites even provide web feeds (RSS) for their lists of bookmarks, including lists organized by tags, so that subscribers can automatically become aware of how many new viewers a site has, or how many sites have been added to the tagged group in question.
Some of these social bookmarking sites have become very popular indeed, with the more established sites like Del.icio.us and even relative newcomers to the ‘game’ like StumbleUpon having achieved Google Page Rank of 8.
Now, there are many sites already out there on the web where you can access fairly exhaustive lists of Social Bookmarking sites so there is no point in wasting time with a similar list here.
The important thing is not a long list of site URL’s. The important thing is to really grasp and understand what these sites can do for you and your blog.
The first thing that you must do with these sites is to register for an account with each.
Then, every time that you make a new posting to your blog, you simply submit the post to the site in question.
Your posting and site address will generally appear on the home page of the site in question immediately after you submit it.
How long it then stays there is entirely dependent on the popularity of the bookmarking site itself, and to at least some extent, also on the time that he posting was submitted.
Will this drive masses of traffic to your site?
Well, it is certainly possible.
It is certainly feasible that someone might see your post and add it to their favorites, and the more people that do that, the longer your posting is likely to remain visible.
This is a particularly important factor on Digg, for example (remember that we added the Digg plug-in to your blog?).
If enough people ‘digg’ your story to keep it on the top pages, then it is almost impossible to imagine just how many visitors that this can drive to your site or blog!
I have literally seen websites use their whole allocated monthly bandwidth in one day as a result of a story really making it big on Digg!
But, in the vast majority of cases, the truth is, no, using social bookmarking sites is not likely to generate masses of traffic for your site.
But you should still do it for the simple reason that what it will do is create incoming links for your blog, and these links, as I have mentioned many times before are one of the two most important factors that help you achieve good search ranking.
These bookmarking sites are also very popular with the search engines themselves, and the spiders tend to visit them many times a day, so by making sure that your site is featured, you are making sure that your blog is going to achieve maximum levels of what is sometimes called ‘search engine love’.
The downside is that, at the time of writing, there are no sites or software programs freely available that can ‘mass submit’ to all of the social bookmarking sites that you might want to have your blog appear in.
Thus, it can be a fairly tedious job making the submissions. A couple of tools that, whilst far from perfect, may nevertheless help you in your task, are OnlyWire, which claims to be able to submit your site to 22 social bookmark sites, and Socializer, which is supposed to work with over 40 similar sites.
Social Networking Sites
Social Networking sites are basically the community sites that we talked about earlier in this book, communities that you join and then search for people within the community with similar interests as you.
Now, some social networking sites are very small and focused, so by definition the people who join such sites are already members of a tightly focused interest group.
Such a group might be brought together by their political or religious beliefs, or it could be something such as their hobbies (they love Ford Mustangs or making cheesecake) sports or basically anything else that mankind has found it possible to be interested in!
So, in such a tightly focused group, almost all members without exception will be interested in the one common thing.
However, there are many other community sites where the only real common interest that most of the members could possibly ever have with one another is that they are all, in fact, members of the same site!
This is simply a function of the size and therefore the diversity of the sites in question, with websites like MySpace and FaceBook having literally millions of members all over the globe. (107 and 73 million members respectively)
Such sites generally have a totally open membership, meaning that anyone can become a member, no matter what their hobbies, beliefs, or views are.
Thus, there is no general community wide commonality of beliefs or interests either.
It is therefore only natural that once you are a member, inside this online community, you can begin to create your own network of friends, those that do have similar interest and/or beliefs to those of your own.
And this is where it gets interesting for you as an Internet marketer or online business person.
Firstly, if we use MySpace as our example (simply because whatever works on MySpace also works on almost every other social networking sit, albeit sometimes after a degree of ‘finessing’), then you are looking at one of the ten biggest websites in the world.
Whatever your interests, given so many millions of members, then there will inevitably be others that have similar interests, people that you could potentially ‘bond’ with immediately.
For example, a MySpace search using the phrase ‘traffic generation’ returned 5,650 results. So that is over five and a half thousand people who might be interested in your traffic blog site from a direct ‘match’ of my search term to the specific subject topic of my blog site.
However, run a search for a more generic (and broader) term like Internet marketing, and you get 45,400 results.
Now, it is a very reasonable assumption that anyone who is interested in Internet marketing is trying to sell something on the net, and that they therefore need traffic to their website.
So, of course, these people would be legitimate ‘target prospects’ for what I am trying to promote also.
Take it one stage further and use single word search ‘marketing’ and it returns 549,000 results.
Again, it is reasonable to assume that all of these people are at least interested in bringing their products or services to the marketplace, so, once again, traffic generation could be of immense interest to them.
So, all I need to do is to tell them about the great resource that I have available, and that will be the ‘deal done’ right?
Err, no, not really, unless the ‘deal’ that you are talking about is having your MySpace ‘space’ and account closed down immediately!
The thing is that the folks who run MySpace really do not want their ‘community site’ turning into a commercial free-for-all, a sort of online bazaar, and they will go to any lengths to protect their site.
So, you cannot just open your account one day and start bombarding people with your commercial messages the next.
In the same way that, when you join any quality forum site, you have to establish yourself as a valid contributing member before you can start promoting your products or even adding a signature file with a redirect to a sales site, you must establish yourself on community websites too.
So, the first thing that you must do is to take some time and make an effort to create a proper profile, something that shows that there is a real person behind the newly opened account.
Then, you must start looking for ‘friends’ in the MySpace community, but you must do so gradually, as you are limited to so many friend invitations a day and, even if you weren’t, inviting a thousand new friends a day hardly looks natural or normal, does it?
Put it this way – if you saw that someone was inviting 1000 new friends a day, would you perhaps thinks that there was something a little bit strange or artificial about it?
Correct – of course you would.
So, start to become a real member of the community before you start promoting, is the bottom line.
Sure, by all means begin to invite people to be your friends, but do try to spend a little time getting to know them and building up a relationship before trying to interest them in your business.
Now, the great thing about a blog site is that it is pretty natural that, after you have been someone’s ‘friend’ for a while, that you might invite them to take a look at your blog.
That is far less threatening and direct than asking them to look at a ‘full-on’ sales page, for example.
Nevertheless, it doesn’t matter what community site you are a member of, the secret is go gently and slowly, build relationships and try to nurture something at least vaguely like a ‘real’ friendship before trying to get people to visit your business themed blog site.
When Google paid $1.65 billion for a company that was less than two years old and had never made a single cent of profit back in late 2006, you could have been forgiven for thinking that the world had finally gone mad!
And yet, that is exactly what Google did pay for the company behind the market leading YouTube.com website, and a year later, it is hard to argue with it being a very smart piece of business!
Using video to get your sales message across is definitely the fastest growing sector of the online promotional market at the present moment in time, and there can be little doubt that it is still a business that is very much still in its infancy.
Why? Well consider these facts about YouTube alone, to get some idea of the massive potential of video sites:
· More than 65,000 new videos are uploaded every day
· YouTube serves up 200 million video clips every day
· And YouTube is one of the 5 most popular websites in the world!
Basically, the way that YouTube works is that you make an interesting short video and then you upload it for free to the
And that really is all there is to it.
As long as you do the job properly, and your video is good enough, it can literally start attracting viewers in seconds, and, as some of the more popular videos on YouTube are seen by millions of viewers, there is certainly some still relatively unmined potential in using YouTube (and other video sites).
So, let us assume that you use a webcam or video camera to make a short video.
What you then need to do is to add some thing to the movie to make sure that it can drive people to your website.
You do this by using the Windows Movie Maker software that is often found on Windows driven PC’s.
Use any program that works for you to create short movie that, firstly, carries your website URL at the beginning of the movie for a few seconds. That immediately tells the viewer that there is a website that has something to do with the people behind the video production.
Next, if you can (or if the software that you are using will allow it) put a ‘watermark’ in the movie that can continue to show your URL as unobtrusively as possible for the full length of the movie.
If you cannot do this, it is not critical, so, no matter, but, if you can, then that is even better.
Finally, end the movie with the same URL being shown and a clear call to action as well. It will simply not work just showing the URL – you must TELL the viewer what you want them to do next!
So, maybe the final ‘frame’ would show something like ‘Now, Go IMMEDIATELY To ABC.com’.
Note that you tell, you do not ask!
And that is it for the movie. It does not need to be any more complicated or complex than this at the present moment in time.
Incidentally, if you are interested, here is a great movie making resource site that will teach you an awful lot more about how to professionalize the videos that you create.
Okay, so that is how you send somebody to view your site once they have found your video, but how do you ensure that they actually find the video in the first place?
Well, a bit like the social bookmarking sites that we looked at earlier, YouTube (and all the other free video upload sites) work on a system of ‘tags’ that act as key search words for the site.
So, what you need to do is to make sure that the tags that you add to your video are going to be those that people find. In other words, you must use key tags that match popular search terms in order to give yourself the greatest chance of someone finding your video.
Now, YouTube is a site where most people are still pretty much amateurs at the tagging ‘game’, and so the competition that you are facing is not so hot.
So, do not make life difficult for yourself by trying to reinvent the wheel.
Find the super-popular videos and simply copy as much as you can from each one that you find in terms of their tags and so on.
For example, you will find that some categories are much more popular than others.
Remember that, above all else, people want to be entertained, so if you can somehow ‘shoehorn’ your video into the ‘Comedy’ or “Entertainment’ categories, then do so, as those are very popular indeed!
Anything that is ‘funny’, ‘weird’, ‘inspirational’, ‘shocking’, ‘sexy’ or ‘gross’ works well too!
However, as some of those may not be that easy to apply to an internet marketing related video, then you should also be happy to know that ‘instructional’ and ‘demonstrates’ are pretty hot tags too!
Don’t forget other places that you can use your tags too, such as when you create a ‘Custom Channel’.
Just take a quick look at the other channels that YouTube carries, and you will quickly see that none of them are at all ‘tag optimized’, so if you do that, you can give yourself a huge advantage.
The final opportunity that YouTube presents to you is that you can take any video from the site, and simply ‘copy & paste’ one line of code to ‘embed’ the video into your WP blog site.
Thus, in a matter of seconds, you can add your own video (or someone else’s, should you choose) to your blog, adding a vital element of action and additional interactivity.
And, of course, once your video is created and optimized for YouTube, then you can submit the same video to any of the large number of other video upload sites that can be found on the net, of which there is a list here
Nor should you miss the opportunity to get your videos on the other ‘big three’ sites either, that is Yahoo Video, Google Video and into the video section of MySpace.
The great thing about using videos to promote your site is that, despite the fact that more and more marketers are doing it every day, the market is, in fact, still pretty much wide open.
The competition is still very limited, and the competition that are actually doing a good job is even less noticeable.
So, now is a perfect time to try to establish a significant presence in the video market by, for example, creating a series of similarly themed and recognizable video that are very clearly ‘yours’.
Video is the perfect medium for building a ‘brand’ name and image for both your business and your products, and there really could be no better time than now to begin doing so.
Video Marketing – The Future
The overriding reason that you should be beginning to build your video marketing efforts now is that it is definitely going to be the fastest growing sector of the online promotional market for the foreseeable future, and I believe that advances are going to be both large and rapid.
For example, the technology for embedding a clickable link into a video that you post on YouTube are not yet perfected, but there is little doubt that they will be so soon.
After that, it will simply be a matter of time and a bit of extra coding to move us from clickable links to automatic redirects that will take you straight to the website in question as soon as the video has ended.
As video technology develops, so will the complexity of sites like YouTube and Google Video, and no doubt that at some point the big sites will begin charging to accept ‘commercial’ videos too.
At that time, it will no longer be possible to post cheaper or less sophisticated videos with any realistic chances of success, unlessyou have already established your brand image and reputation by getting into this market now.
That is why you should not sit on the video fence one moment longer!
Other Places To Build A Presence
Squidoo is a website community that is owned and operated by our old friend, Seth Godin, wherein you can create your own Squidoo ‘lens’ which is effectively a mini-site, on any subject that you want.
Now, the two greatest things about Squidoo are that, firstly, a lens is extremely easy to build, as it is basically built around a ‘modular’ concept.
So, you simply choose the Title and subject for your lens and then choose which modules you want to add to your site.
There are modules for adding products from eBay and Amazon, embedding videos from YouTube, adding an RSS news feed and so on.
You can then add links from your lens to your blog sites, or video site, by embedding them into the main page content text of your lens.
And the second great thing about Squidoo lenses (and, to a slightly lesser extent about HubPages too) is that the Google search engine spider seems to absolutely love these sites!
I have lost count of the times that I have seen Squidoo lenses and HubPages gaining a very respectable Google top ten ranking for quite competitive keywords literally within a couple of days of publication.
Create a lens that mirrors your blog to a certain extent (although you should try to keep the content different) and you give yourself an additional chance of using another free website resource to improve the overall profitability of your key blog site.
HubPages work in a remarkably similar way to Squidoo lenses, in that you create them in a similar modular fashion, and they are also remarkably effective at getting top ten results in Google for some very competitive key words.
Whenever you create a Squidoo lens, make a few changes to the content that you used, and use the modified version to create a HubPages mini-site too.
That way you have both bases covered.
Technorati is a site that is better known as a blog directory site, but there is a little known secret hidden on the site that I have recently found to be very effective at helping both my rankings and driving visitors to my blog.
Now, Technorati is more widely known as one of the principal sites that you will ‘ping’ every time your blog site is updated, as it one of the directories best loved by most of the major search engines.
However. TechnoratiWTF (= ‘Where’s The Fire) is one of the best kept secrets I know, and one that you should really take a look at right now.
All that you have to do is to write a short piece about something that is ‘hot’ right now (hence the title WTF!), and publish it.
Link the piece to getting more information from your blog site.
So far, I have found that this is an excellent tool for getting very quick top ten rankings, and no-one else seems to be using it!
So, if you can find something to write about on your blog site that is ‘hot’, do not forget to create a complementary WTF posting, as it is sure to boost your rankings, and probably drive a good number of visitors to your site too!
Oldies But Goldies
Many of the ideas, advertising tools and resources that were first used back in the ‘bad old days’ before Web 2,0 came on the scene do still work, in many cases remarkably well.
However, it does seem to me that, whenever I read a book like this that talks about generating traffic to your site, that it is almost always an ‘either/or’, ‘web 2.0 OR Web 1.0, but NOT both’ scenario that I read of.
I cannot see the sense in that at all.
It’s like getting rid of an old car when it still 100% reliable and runs like a dream, simply because it is a bit long in the tooth.
Some of the ‘old ways’, whilst I accept that they are not as exciting or ‘sexy’ as the Web 2.0 methods, will still do a great job of driving traffic to your site, and you should not allow yourself to become so blinded by the new that it causes the old to disappear altogether!
So, here are some old style traffic generation methods that you should still be using, in additionto everything that has gone before, which have not necessarily been replaced or killed off by Web 2.0!
PPC: is still very effective, although there is no doubt that the ‘king of the hill’, Google AdWords is now very expensive too. Try some of the alternatives like Bidvertiser, Clicksor, or YPN.
Traffic Exchanges: Yes, I KNOW that traffic exchanges sometimes have a poor reputation but they are free, and, used properly, they work. That is, do not try to sell anything, but point your traffic to a simple name capture squeeze page that gives away a free gift. Then they will work for you!
Article Marketing: Simple, still effective and still free! Write your articles, submit them to the major directories like EzineArticles and GoArticles and do not forget to use your resource box to send visitors to your blog site.
Website Directories: They may seem a bit dull and boring, but getting free incoming links by submitting your site details to a site directory still works too.
eZine Advertising: Advertising in an eZine or newsletter that is specifically targeted at your business or market is still a superb way of generating traffic. Look in the directories here or here to see what is
available that fits your business profile.
Forum Advertising: Join all of the Forum and noticeboard websites that you can find that are most appropriate to your type of business. Join them and start posting, but do NOT promote immediately. Then, when you have been around a little while, think about adding a ‘signature’ to your posts that would gently point other members towards your blog site.
Web 2.0 may exist or it may not. Frankly speaking I cannot see that it really matters one way or the other and I would suggest that you should not be too bothered either!
What I would however stress is that interactivity is the bigthing in internet marketing now, that it is growing more important by the day and that such interactivity is essentially a two way street.
If you have a blog site that you want people to come to, in order that they can interact with you, then you must go out there and make them come, by whatever means or methods are necessary.
Some of the methods that will work best are those that some people call Web 2.0 tactics.
Some are, however, tried and tested over a considerably longer period than anyone had been using the term Web 2.0, and I do not think that
you should ignore any of these tactics, just because they are maybe not as fashionable or trendy as some of the more recent stuff.
I believe that if you use a combination of both ‘old’ and ‘new’ style promotional tactics for driving traffic to your blog pages or site, then you really cannot fail!
Web Design Business Startup Kit
Web 2.0 Traffic Stampede
Web Traffic and Marketing Blueprint