You now have a blog up and running, you have your own domain name and you have your ideas for original content. Now what?
It’s time to get some readers and hopefully turn them into subscribers! Naturally, your blog will get picked up by the major search engines, but the question is how long will that take and once listed, how long will you last? To increase you chances of becoming popular, start with the content of course and begin using the tools you already have in front of you.
You might already be a member of Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, so start promoting your website there. Of course you don’t want to hound your friends every five minutes to look at your site, but you do want to display your recent additions whenever you can. For Facebook, get the WordBook plugin installed on your blog and let it do the work for you!
WordBook will seemlessly connect to your Facebook account and post a note to your wall that links back to your blog’s entry. This way, when you write something on your blog, your friends will know right away what it is after reading a small excerpt and then they can click through if they like what they see. In time, you may start to notice backlinks appearing for your site. More on how to get links to your site.
You can add all your Twitter tweets right to blog using downloadable widgets to show your web visitors what you’re twittering about and in turn, you may end up with a few more followers.
Create a signup form on your site that allows users give you their email address in exchange for daily/weekly/monthly updates. Don’t slack on this one! If you promise a weekly newsletter, make sure you have one! Once your readers start to see that you’re not updating your site, they will lose interest fast.
These companies will charge you a fee to optimize your site and they often promise certain results based on the amount of money you’re willing to spend. Although I will say “be careful”, I don’t mean to imply that these “results” are impossible to achieve. I’m just saying that some of these companies are less-than-reputable and even though you might see a huge spike in traffic at first, you could end up ruining your web image down the road.
Anyway, what they do is go over your site and offer information on how to create better pages, how to correctly use keywords, titles, descriptions, images, etc, etc, etc. In theory, the idea is to get your site looking great for your users and even better for search engines.
A word to the wise–all of the information that you will pay someone else to tell you and/or do the work for you is available for free on the Internet. I might actually be creating a section just for this topic!
You know all that free stuff you get at conventions and concerts?! Well to you and I, it’s all about the free t-shirt and a lot of stickers because we obsess over “free” things. But if you turn the tables, you’ll notice that the company giving it away couldn’t be happier that you’re wearing their t-shirt. After all, they don’t have to pay you to do it and you’ve now become a walking billboard!
You can do the same thing for your website. Make up some cool products you can give away with your logo on it and start handing them out. Or maybe you can run a contest on your site. How about giving stuff away to everyone who signs up for your newsletter? Of course, this costs money to you, so you want to make sure that the stuff you give away is actually something that someone is willing to wear or use.
By the way, for those of you that don’t know, SWAG has been defined as Stuff We All Get.
This one is more relavent for those of you who actually provide a service or product, but anyone can use ‘free press’, right? Don’t underestimate printed materials just because you think they’re antiquated! A lot of people still read them and the best part is that it’s printed material. Printed materials often get much better exposure than other forms of advertising.
Take for example a tv commercial. If your commercial plays once on tv, you were only able to show your ad to the amount of people that were watching that exact channel at that exact time. Let’s say that number was 10. Now take a print example: a newspaper or magazine. One copy can lay around a home or office for weeks and be read by everyone that happens by. Even if that one copy only reaches the same 10 people, imagine what hundreds of thousands of copies could do for you?!
Press releases in a newspaper are a way to not only announce your new business, but promote it at the same time. Contact your local newspaper to find out more about this. More on writing press releases.