Blog Marketing and Traffic Generation

No matter how attractive and interesting your blog is, if you don’t market it and attract readers to it, you won’t make any money. Basically, blog marketing is any activity that publicizes or advertises products, services, a website or business through the use of blogs. However, before you can market on a blog, you have to successfully market the blog itself. If you can’t generate a healthy amount of traffic to your blog, you won’t be able to directly or indirectly market to them.

The key to marketing your blog successfully is consistency and effectiveness. This means that you have to consistently post new, interesting articles to your blog that are relevant to your targeted audience as well as consistently engaging in activities designed to drive traffic to your blog. However, there is a caveat on this last suggestion. Your traffic generation activities have to be effective. To ensure the effectiveness of your blog marketing strategies you need to become well informed about the types of strategies that typically get the best results, consistently apply them and consistently monitor them. You must be willing to drop strategies that do not work and replace them with hopefully more effective ones. It is important that you are not attached to your strategies but to your outcomes. If it doesn’t work, change it. Flexibility is an essential element to blogging success.

Once you have created your blog and have submitted some interesting and unique posts that are designed to pique interest and engage your reader in conversation through the comments facility, you need to get your blog pages indexed in the major search engines such as Google and Yahoo. This process is not automatic and if you don’t take the necessary steps you will have little chance of benefiting from search engine traffic. Generally speaking search engines require you to submit a sitemap, however if your blog is hosted by a service like Blogger you won’t be able to access the root directory to obtain the information. Instead you will need to submit code in a meta-tag. Your blog provider will direct you on how to do this.

Once you have submitted your blog for indexing with the search engines, the next most important step you can take to generate traffic to your blog is to submit it to as many relevant blog directories as possible. This can be a time consuming process so if you can afford it you may find it beneficial to pay a service to manually submit the blog for you. Automatic submission services should be avoided as they do not make allowances for the visual confirmation that is usually needed when submitting a blog to a directory. Blog directories can really pay of in terms of attracting visitors to your blog as long as you list your blog in the correct category and you take care to write a description that accurately describes your blog and appeals to your targeted niche.

These steps may generate one time visitors but it is up to you to keep them. If your blog is not updated regularly with new material it will stagnate. Regular posting is not only important in terms of attracting a loyal readership, it is essential if you want to improve your search engine page rank. The best search engine results tend to go to blogs that are tightly focused on a single niche and give their readers unique information and excellent value.

Once you have followed these basic steps to getting your blog up and running successfully, you can encourage readers and promote loyalty by subscribing to a feed service such as Feedburner. Submitting individual posts to social bookmarking sites such as Digg and Del.icio.us can also bring your blog a decent amount of additional traffic.

Article marketing is another very effective way to drive traffic to your blog. It is a free strategy and produces naturally increasing traffic to your blog over time. However, it is a time consuming strategy which requires regular submission to article directories of articles closely related to the theme of your site and designed to encourage readers to click on your link beneath the article. It is also important that you do not put the same articles on your blog as you do not want your blog to be penalized under Google’s duplicate content rules.

Finally, take a bit of time and post comments on other related blogs that already have solid monthly traffic figures. Make your comments relevant and interesting and include a link to one of your own posts. You can also interact with others on high traffic forums and use your blog address as your signature link. Over time, these links can generate a decent amount of traffic.

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Pay per click programs can also be very effective ways to drive traffic to your blog. However, these programs can be costly so you will need to conduct a cost benefit analysis to determine whether the potential profits to be made from the goods or services you are marketing are worth this expense.

If you follow these steps you will be best placed to generate traffic to your blog from which you will gain a growing base of loyal readers. Effective blog marketing will result in visitors to your blog who are interested in what you have to say and therefore who will be more open to the related products and services you are offering. A loyal readership provides you with a source of potential customers for your products, services and affiliate offers. When it comes right down to it, if you have monetized your blog well and you market it effectively, it can make you a lot of money.

Is WordPress the Best Solution For You?

When it comes to blogging, WordPress is probably the first software that you should look at. WordPress is open source, hence free to use. WordPress has evolved over a long time and is currently in version 3.0 and has numerous features, thousands of themes and advanced plugins that one needs for most kinds of development.

Any technology has its own advantages and disadvantages, and WordPress is no exception. Here are some features that are not so cutting edge in WordPress and what WordPress alternatives you have at your disposal.

  1. A perfect content management system:

While WordPress can be used as a content management system, it is still a blogging platform. A good content management system has more flexibility to include custom post types, including dynamic sections on the fly. While it is possible to achieve this in WordPress, other content management systems like drupal [drupal.org], modx and joomla do a way better job at this.

  1. Ecommerce System

Again, ecommerce is something that WordPress was not intended to provide. There are a couple of plugins, that are pretty basic and offer no functionality what so ever, relative to the other software. For instance, os commerce, magento [magentocommerce.com], zen cart, drupal with ubercart are very advanced software when it comes to ecommerce. Magento is extremely advanced, and is suitable only for big stores. Drupal with ubercart [ubercart.org] on the other hand is very advanced, has easy functionality to add an affiliate program, coupons and catalogs. Also, when your website has a lot of dynamic content, a blog, a forum, and when you wish to add a store to you store, drupal with ubercart is a perfect solution.

  1. Adding a forum

Adding a forum to your website is virtually a couple of clicks away in drupal. I do not recall any kind of plugins that come even close to this functionality in WordPress.

  1. Free web hosting

Also, while WordPress is free, you still have to pay for your webhosting. There are a few services that offer free web hosting, and also include a free website builder. You can host your own websites for free with devhub and also create unlimited subdomains. There are tons of well structured plugins that make devhub a great platform, but the number of themes available is pretty limited, relative to WordPress. Blogger also has a free hosting service, but the website builder is not good enough to build a complete website.

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Create a Website Using WordPress

Are you ready to start a website? Have you been wondering what format your site should be set up in, with all the choices there are out there? Then you really should consider using WordPress blogging.

You likely know WordPress as one of the most popular blogging platforms available but it can do so much more then use let you post a few entries to your blog. Using WordPress as a Website or CMS (Content Management System) has many advantages, here are some to consider:

– Easy Setup:
Setting up WordPress is easy. If you have fantastico in your domain’s control panel then in a few clicks you’ll have WordPress up and running. If you don’t have fantastico then you can do a manual install, which takes a little more time but isn’t complicated if you follow the directions. If you are uncomfortable with either of those options you can always hire someone to do it for you. It won’t be pricey to do this as it doesn’t take a long time for someone who knows what their doing.

– User Updates:
Updating a traditional website that was built by someone else can be costly to the site owner because you have to pay a designer, you also have the wait while they get back to you and actually get it done for you. Using a system like WordPress is much more user-friendly and easier to learn. You can be updating your own site in no time and changes are instant – you don’t have to wait for a designer to have time to do the edits for you!

– Easily Outsourced:
Another great advantage to using WordPress for your website is that you can easily outsource website updates and changes. You can set your virtual assistant up with their own username and password and all she’ll need to do is log in online to work on your site. No making sure you have the most recent version of a website or making sure you don’t overwrite someone else’s work.

– Management of Content:
A great thing about using WordPress as a website is the use of the Categories and Archives that are built into the program. You can categorize your content into different sections and WordPress will automatically sort it for you.

– Search Engine Friendly:
Search engines love websites that are frequently updated. Because of the nature of blogs and WordPress you’ll likely be updating very frequently and this is good news for your search engine rankings. You’ll also be found in the blog search engines which can also give your site a boost.

– RSS Feed Subscriptions:
When you use create a website using WordPress you also get a RSS feed. Now readers of your site can subscribe to your RSS feed and be notified every time you add new content to the site. This is a great way to keep your website ‘sticky’ and have people coming back for more information.

That should give you just a few ideas on how you can start using WordPress to create a website that draws in more traffic and makes your life easier.