Since the Land of Opportunity small business blog is about one month old, I suspect that some of you would be interested in learning what has worked well and what has not worked as well during the launch of my new business blog. First, it should be noted that I am a 10-year Internet marketing veteran and webmaster a very large small business website which attracts over 40,000 visitors each month. I already had a marketing strategy in mind albeit based on my experience with tradional web marketing and search engine optimization methods.
Strategy #1 - Content, Content, Content
The first rule of any web presence, blog or otherwise, is content. Lots of high quality content. Land of Opportunity started with just two pages of content — a biography and a first post. To build content as quickly as possible, yet to maintain quality, I attempted to publish a fresh blog post each and every day. I missed two days. I now have 30-pages of content, which is more content than most business websites. The goal is to continue the maddening pace until I have developed over 300 pages of genuinely useful, high-quality content by year’s end.
Strategy #2 - Search Engine Optimization
Even with experience, search engine optimization of a blog has a few unexpected twists which have more to do with the underlying blog software than anything.
A key search engine optimization technique is to ensure that all links contain a keyword loaded title attribute. WordPress, as installed at Blogsome.com, our blog host, does not include the title attribute by default when adding a link in a blog post. I must manually add the attribute to each and every link. I also must do the same for the tabindex attribute, but that’s a story for another post on making business blogs handicap accessible. All links within my posts contain titles which are displayed while hovering over each link. Most of the links on the adjoining navigation menus also contain titles. Again, the few links that do NOT contain titles are due to quirks in using WordPress.
Another key search engine optimzation technique is to name web pages using keywords. Ideally, the keywords should appear next to each other as they would in a search querry. During my first few posts using WordPress, I was horrified to discover the long page names being generated by the titles of my post. I soon discovered a secret to using this WordPress quirk to great advantage. When publishing with WordPress, its best to publish your posts with short 2-, 3-, or 4-keyword titles. This ensures that the pages are named using adjacent keywords. Then, I go back and edit the title of the published post to my preferred title. The page names remains set to the original keywords when published.
Tip: Before publishing your posts with keywords for titles, first check the position of the keywords using Overture’s keyword tool. This ensures your pages are named with the most searched for phrases.
Already I am receiving a steady trickle of referrals from the search engines, where Land of Opportunity blog pages often appear on the first page of search results. I am cataloging the search referrals in an Excel spreadsheet and analyzing them. You, the readers of the Land of Opportunity, will be the first to benefit from my research. Bookmark this blog now or blogroll the Land of Opportunity today, before you forget and miss a future opportunity.
Strategy #3 - Blog Registration
I was fortunate to stumble upon Robin Good’s RSSTop55 - Best Blog Directory And RSS Submission Sites just before launching my blog. Thus, I was able to quickly and smoothly move from site to site registering my blog and RSS feed.
While registering my site using Robin’s list, I discovered the Ping-o-Matic, number 66) on the list. This great tool allows you to ping the largest feed sites with just one click. I bookmarked my Ping-o-Matic results and then just clicked a bookmark to announce updates to the blog.
About a week after discovering Ping-o-Matic, I discovered Jeremy Wright’s list of Services To Ping. I immediatly pasted the entire list of over 40 services into my WordPress Write Options dialog box. Now, everytime I post, over 40 sites are automatically pinged to come update with my latest post.
Strategy #4 - Traffic Generators
While registering the Land of Opportunity small business blog, I stumbled across a button for BlogExplosion. BlogExplosion is a traffic exchange which guarantees a dramatic increase in visitors. BlogExplosion accomplishes this by granting credits based on your surfing among member blogs. For every two blogs you surf, you earn one credit - good for one visitor to your blog. As you may surf as fast as 30-seconds per blog, you can accumulate 60 credits in as little as 30-minutes of surfing. BlogExplosion also grants mystery credits at random. Mystery credits seem to come often during peak surfing times, like Friday nights.
BlogExplosion also allows you to allocate some of your credits towards internal banner ads. I spent 4 credits and purchased 76 banner impressions. I received 1 visitor for my efforts. I should have left well enough alone and generated 4 visitors from the credits. My loss is to your benefit.
BlogExplosion also offers Directory Bids for text ads, which work much like Google’s AdWords. I bid 1 credit for my ad to appear in the Business directory. I kept upping my bid until I had the top placement, which occured at about 3-5 credits depending on whom else was bidding for ads. I received 234 impressions for a bid of 3 credits before someone clicked on the ad. Compared to my banner experience, ads were a better deal. I have since increased my credit allocation to my ad and will update you after experimenting a bit longer.
My only peeve with BlogExplosion was being forced to surf a lot of boring, mediocre blogs. Today, BlogExplosion emailed me that now you can set a preferred category to surf and a preferred category to avoid. I chose Business and asked to avoid personal diaries. Surfing was much more enjoyable this evening as I saw over a dozen new busines blogs where I spent considerable time and clicked on numerous pages.
I think BlogExplosion is on the right track. I’d like even better if I could select half the categories for surfing and to avoid half the categories. Perhaps when BlogExplosion has gained more members, there will be more control. I recommend you give BlogExplosion a try if you haven’t already.
I also registered for TrafficSwarm. Compared to BlogExplosion, TrafficSwarm is a bit of a let down. Most of the business blogs are affiliate sales site versus content sites. TrafficSwarm works similar to BlogExplosion. To its credit, I have accumulated 148 credits at TrafficSwarm with less effort than BlogExplosion and I have seen visitors trickle in to my blog at a slow, but steady rate. Perhaps as TrafficSwarm increases its membership base, it too will improve. I’ll continue to experiment with TrafficSwarm and let you know the results next month. You might experiment along with me and post your finding in the comments below.
Strategy #5 - Blog Awards
Blog awards was not a pre-planned marketing activity. This strategy was pure serendipity. As luck would have it, the 2005 Business Blogging Awards were announced shortly after launching my blog. Short on content and long on bravado, I nominated the Land of Opportunity for the Best Blog About Small Business category. To my surprise I was selected by the contest judges as one of four finalists. I have received a steady stream of about 20 visitors daily for the past two weeks. Several visitors have blogrolled the Land of Opportunity.
Currently, the Land of Opportunity is in fourth place with just 10% of the vote. As you will eventually leave this page, would you vote for the Land of Opportunity on your way out? Thanks for the votes!
Next month, in Part 2, I’ll update you on some additional strategies that include blogrolls and article distribution. My first article has attracted visitors, but I botched the distribution — terribly. Bookmark the Land of Opportunity now so you’ll be able to read Part 2, with even more inside information on marketing a business blog.
Thanks for visiting. I look forward to reading your comments below. ..