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After my last post, I realized I hadn’t delved into the many other ways to increase blog traffic.  Besides the contest angle, some of the other ways to attract visitors to your blog include posting regularly.  And of course, if you are a witty, inventive writer all the better.  By posting regularly and passionately you are more likely to have regulars who will return again and again to hear what you’re saying.  However, if they’ve visited once and then a week later, visit again only to find no updates, then they’ll be disappointed and not likely to return.

You can also discuss controversial issues.  Nothing stirs up interest like a good controversy. When the following cartoon appeared in the New York Post, bloggers everywhere found excellent blog fodder.

achimp1 

Inviting guest speakers to post on your blog is another excellent way of increasing traffic.  For example, if your blog is a place where you discuss trends in make up, inviting a professional make up artist to blog about a new technique should inspire those with similar interests to stop by and visit.  This works best when you and the guest blogger post about the upcoming visit.  Then, those who have never heard of you but do follow your guest speaker will be led to your blog and become enamoured with your witty writing skills.

Another skill you need to develop when trying to increase blog traffic is that of creating a visually attractive post.  It is absolutely necessary to include pictures, charts, bullets, color etc. to keep your blog visually appealing.

This fascinating tip from SEOmoz on the importance of brand building with your blog

Possibly one of the most important aspects of all in blogging is brand-building. As Zefrank noted, to be a great brand, you need to be a brand that people want to associate themselves with and a brand that people feel they derive value from being a member. Exclusivity, insider jokes, emails with regulars, the occasional cat post and references to your previous experiences can be off putting for new readers, but they’re solid gold for keeping your loyal base feeling good about their brand experience with you. Be careful to stick to your brand – once you have a definition that people like and are comfortable with, it’s very hard to break that mold without severe repercussions. If you’re building a new blog, or building a low-traffic one, I highly recommend writing down the goals of your brand and the attributes of its identity to help remind you as you write.

Another important factor to remember when trying to increase traffic, is to write simple, but catchy title tags so that those who subscribe to your blog will be curious but not overwhelmed. Making sure to use the right tag words both in your title and throughout your blog is essential for search engines to find you, also.  Running your title through a couple of search engines may help you find a way to improve your wording in order to receive more hits.

The top things to remember when encouraging blog visits would be to keep it simple, witty, visually interesting, tag worthy, interesting (through contest, guest bloggers, etc) and mostly remember to write passionately.

Advertisements

I’ve got my product, my web site and my keywords.  Now how to use them to drive the most business in my direction?  One way to go is to advertise by using Google’s AdWords service.   Adwords is Google’s money-making service that ties together your keywords with your advertisement.  So if you’ve got your keywords linked with AdWords, then each time someone searches using those keywords, your advertising link will appear in the search results.  You will only pay, though, when someone actually clicks on your link.  Mostly.

It is a bit more involved than this, really.  Where you show up on the list has a lot to do with how much you “bid” on popular keywords, how your web site is linked from other sites and even on how old your domain name is.  Some pay per click is flat rate, too.  Here’s a quick definition of the difference between bid based and flat rate from Google’s own Wikipedia.

There are two primary models for determining cost per click: flat-rate and bid-based. In both cases the advertiser must consider the potential value of a click from a given source. This value is based on the type of individual the advertiser is expecting to receive as a visitor to his or her website, and what the advertiser can gain from that visit, usually revenue, both in the short term as well as in the long term. As with other forms of advertising targeting is key, and factors that often play into PPC campaigns include the target’s interest (often defined by a search term they have entered into search engine, or the content of a page that they are browsing), intent (e.g. to purchase or not), location (for geo targeting), and the day and time that they are browsing.

So the trick is to figure out the best use of these techniques to make my product show up in enough searches to keep my business going.  Naturally the best way to do this is by simply keeping very good records of the number of hits you receive using one method or another.  Also, experimenting with the way your keywords are phrased could also lead to different search results.  Google your own keywords and see what the results are and then tweak to improve.  Keep tweaking and updating to encourage those visitors that will bring in the bucks.



The topic in my  new media class this week was search engines and advertising by using web search services like Google, Yahoo or Ask.   Some were surprised that search engine sites  get paid to place search results at the top of the list.   As part of our research for this topic, we were to read an article from 2002 titled Straight Story Search Engines by Laurianne Mclaughlin about search engines and advertising.  I have to admit, I really can’t remember what Google looked like in 2002 or if I could tell the sponsored ad results from those considered “real.

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It seems very easy now to identify search engine results as being either paid for or real.  Google identifies sponsored ads by highlighting and isolating paid results on the right side of the page.  Yahoo.com includes actual shopping results when an item such as digital cameras is queried.  When searching for digital cameras on Ask.com the top of the page yields Amazon.com search results for digital cameras.  Obviously these are sponsored links.

So the question is:  Did you know that advertisers pay to have their products placed strategically in search result lists?  Do you think there is anything wrong with that?

I don’t see anything wrong with sponsored links–as a matter of fact, if I’m researching an item like digital cameras, I want the top results to also include links to places I can buy a digital camera.  That way my comparison shopping is easier and I know that these companies are up to date enough to understand the importance of marketing well in this digital era.