A new reader and fellow blogger (Hi Deanna!) asked if I would answer some general questions about Internet marketing and how that relates to blogging. My day job is with a niche Internet marketing company and, though I’m not always in the thick of the more technical elements, I have picked up a few tricks of the trade. In this post I’ll introduce you to my favorite Internet marketing resources and share some helpful tips you can use on your blog!
(Full disclaimer: I can’t say that I’ve implemented all of these tips on my site or made full use of the wealth of resources, but I do know they work from my professional experience! Blogging is a journey, and I’m figuring things out right along with you guys.)
Google Analytics is a blogger’s dream come true! Though I’ve only scraped the surface of what Google Analytics is capable of, the extent to which I know how to use this tool has been immensely helpful to me. Google Analytics provides a hefty snapshot of the overall activity on your site – completely free of charge!
From these metrics I can see that I have had 181 visits in the month of August so far, and 43% of those people were new visitors – readers who have never come to my site. Of those readers, the average visit duration was 2 mins and 23 secs, about the time to read a blog article. That means most of my 181 visitors were here to read my posts! (Thanks guys!) In typical Google fashion, every metric comes with an explanation of what each data point means so you can better understand what’s going on. Drilling down into those numbers I can see which pages were most visited, which posts were most read, and even where my visitors are located. (I’ve had 5 friends from Canada stop by, what!?)
Deeper in the dashboard you can see an overview of your Traffic Sources, in other words you can discover how people are finding your site. Google Analytics provides an option to view the keywords that visitors typed into the search engines to stumble upon your blog, which websites may have referred traffic to your site, and which social media networks sent traffic your way. Knowing these metrics will help you strategize about where to best spend your time online and track your progress.
Registering for Google Analtyics is super easy and there’s tons of DIY helps on getting the code placed on your site. If you’re a blogger and haven’t yet set up Google Analytics, stop reading right now and visit google.com/analytics!
Much of a blogger’s success, I’m finding, is dependent on their ability to connect with their reader base and engage in meaningful conversation. Social media, obviously, is where much of those connections take place. I think of social media as the ‘living room of the Internet’, if that makes sense. A great place where you can get ideas on how to maximize your social presence is from SocialMediaExaminer.com. They have a very active blog, a free podcast, and tons of resources. If you’re struggling with ideas to boost your social presence, do check out Social Media Examiner.
If you’re interested in the more technical elements of SEO, or search engine optimization, I couldn’t recommend the resources that come from the folks at Moz highly enough. They give away TONS of SEO resources and provide lots of helpful content to get your site looking spic and span for the search engines. If you’re a visual learner, you may enjoy their Whiteboard Friday video series. Especially if your blog is reaching a niche audience, you may find optimizing for keywords useful so new readers can find you. (To learn exactly how search engines work and use keywords, check out Google’s interactive infographic How Search Works!) Optimizing for keywords may not be for every blog, but understanding what makes a healthy website is!
A Few Tips
- Listen to the data. If a good portion of your traffic is coming from blog linkups and not social media, for example, do more blog linkups!
- Establish Google Authorship on your site to claim your content. (For work I wrote a general post about Google Authorship and a DIY guide to establishing the attribute on your site.)
- Run an email newsletter. (The folks at Fistbump Media can help you out!)
- Network network network! Don’t scream at your readers, converse with them. Respond to your blog comments as much as possible, and comment on other people’s blogs.
- Keep your branding consistent.
- Define your audience. Know exactly who you’re writing to and what they need.
- Follow the pros. Find a few bloggers in your niche that you know are getting it right, be a student of their methods.
- And, above all, let your creativity shine! Marketing is an ART!
Are you a blogger? What Internet marketing resources and tips have you found helpful? Any that I missed? Was this post helpful? I’d love to hear from you!