Well not exactly authored by the U.S. Small Business Administration, but the SBA’s website on running a small business includes an article from Anita Campbell, the Founder and Editor of Small Business Trends, on ‘10 Often Overlooked Ways to Get Traffic to Your Blog.’
Here’s the 10 tips with a few of my comments to complement Campbell’s insight. Read the entire article to get Campbell’s thoughts in detail. She’s good.
- Link out to other blogs – When you have a blog that never links to other bloggers, it’s like going to a networking event and refusing to talk with anyone. Don’t be surprised if no one talks to you, either. In other words, don’t be surprised if no one comes to your blog or links to your blog. I call it pulling up a chair to the conversation among other thought leaders. If you don’t pull up a chair, you can’t hear anyone, and no one can hear you when you offer your insight. It’s this conversation among thought leaders that your clients are listening to and doing searches ‘into.’
- Use the names of other bloggers in your blog posts – Many bloggers set up Google Alerts or RSS feeds to monitor their name. They know whenever their name shows up on blogs and on the Web. What better way to bring to their attention your blog and an article you wrote mentioning them or an article they wrote? Consider mentioning up-and-comers in the blogging world. They often have the most interesting content on their blogs and they will appreciate the mention more than the most famous bloggers.
- Comment on other people’s blogs – Some people believe blog commenting is “dead.” But often these are search engine experts using blog commenting as a means to gain links – and they give the wrong advice for small business owners. Don’t leave keywords as your name. You wouldn’t go up to someone at a conference and say “hi, my name is Mississippi Bankruptcy Lawyer.” Most blog owners will delete such comments as spam. Think relationships.
- Publish early in the day rather than later – Posts published earlier in the day (at a minimum before 3:00 pm Eastern time) tend to get the most traffic and attention, especially for business topics. If you can publish articles first thing in the morning, that’s even better. Blogging from the West Coast I post at night or as early as I can in the morning. People read their RSS feeds early in the morning and then again around lunch. Plus you get the benefit of your posts being shared on social media throughout the day.
- Write guest posts on other blogs – Once you’ve developed a bit of a relationship with some bloggers, you could email them and ask if they’d be open to a guest blog post or posts from you. Guest posts are a fine way to get your name and your blog known in front of different audiences. I don’t do this as much as I should and rather than being proactive as Campbell suggests so as to get one guest post out there a month, I wait for people to ask me. Mistake.
- Accept guest posts – This is the opposite of writing guest posts for other sites. When you accept guest posts on your own site, the guest author will usually share their guest post with their network. Be strategic in who you ask. Once you’ve built a good following and a good reputation as a blogger, people will be honored to post on your blog. LexBlog Network members have had good success in asking in-house counsel for corporations the law firm didn’t represent, but with whom they wanted to build a relationship.
- Write occasional large meaty posts and/or “tips roundup” types of posts – If you want people to share your content with their social networks, create “shareable“ content. The content that others share widely tends to be in-depth such as a tutorial. Short posts are fine, but they tend not to get shared as much or get search traffic for years to come. A good idea for roundups is to capture what your readers are saying in comments, on Twitter, or LinkedIn comments. Turn them into a roundup of what lawyers or business people are saying on a topic. When others see you incorporate other’s comments, they’ll be attracted to comment on your blog.
- Make it easy to share your content right from your blog – Include sharing buttons for Twitter and other key social sites. Get rid of the sharing buttons for the social network sites no longer popular.
- Set up accounts with Twitter, Facebook and/or Linkedin and share your posts – Social media is a terrific way to share your blog posts with the wider world. Don’t share only your content. People see through that. I share other people’s blog posts and news stories by about a 10 to 1 clip over posts of my own on Twitter. By doing so, I build social media equity so my followers are more apt to share blog posts of mine. Don’t auto share across all the social networks. That’s noise.
- Provide for email subscribers to your blog – Not everyone uses RSS to subscribe to a blog. Set up an email subscription system with a prominent subscription box for people to subscribe by email.
Thanks Anita — and the SBA.
If you haven’d checked out Anita’s Small Business Trends, you ought to do so. What started out as a blog has turned into an online news magazine with marketing and management ideas for business owners.