Saturday, April 14, 2012

6 Essential Wordpress Plugins for Your Blog


Used by millions, Akismet is quite possibly the best way in the world to protect your blog from comment and trackback spam. It keeps your site protected from spam even while you sleep. 

I get a lot of spam and this plugin does a pretty good job screening it out for me. Every now and then a real comment will be marked as spam and vice versa so you do still have to check. 

All in One SEO Pack

Out-of-the-box SEO for your WordPress blog.

Be sure to follow the character guidelines for All in One SEO which will be a table you fill in at the bottom of each post on your backside. The nice thing about this SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tool is that you can use alternate titles, excepts and tags that target your audience via SEO but are not as snappy or catchy as the one your readers see. 

Yes, research your key words via Google Adwords then pepper them through your posts and your All in One SEO boxes on each post.


Reward your readers by automatically placing a link to their last blog post at the end of their comment. Encourage a community and discover new posts.

I know that I will comment more on blogs that link to my last post. This is a easy way to reward your readers and thank them for taking time to leave you a comment. Your readers will be able to more easily check out their blogs this way too!

Hyper Cache

Hyper Cache is a cache system for WordPress to improve it's perfomances and save resources. Hyper Cache official page. To manually upgrade remember the sequence: deactivate, update, reactivate.

I had blog slow load time issues for a long time, so I spent a lot of time on help desk at my host company, asking to talk to supervisors and whatnot. I also tried a bunch of caching plugins. This one came recommended to me when all the others did not seem to help and it seems to really work.

WP-DB Manager

Manages your WordPress database. Allows you to optimize database, repair database, backup database, restore database, delete backup database , drop/empty tables and run selected queries. Supports automatic scheduling of backing up, optimizing and repairing of database.

Yikes, for the longest time I did not do anything with my blog's database. This plugin let's you optimize your database which you should do monthly to get it to run faster. More importantly, use this plugin to set up an auto back up system. You'll thank me later for this if your blog ever crashes! I back up daily and the file gets sent weekly to me via email ... just in case!

Yet Another Related Posts Plugin

Returns a list of related entries based on a unique algorithm for display on your blog and RSS feeds.

I used this a couple of years ago, but my host company accused this plugin of making my blog run slow so I discarded it. I tried it again recently and it works just fine. No speed issues. By suggesting posts related to the post your reader is reading, you can get some extra page views. The algorhythm by which it chooses related posts, however, is mysterious to me.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

56 Ways to Market Your Business on Pinterest from Copyblogger

In case you’ve been living in a mountain cave in Bhutan for the past couple of months, Pinterest is a relatively new social networking site that allows users to create online image collages, then quickly and easily share those collages — called “pinboards” — with other Pinterest users.
It’s fun, easy, and catching on like wildfire right now.
Part of Pinterest’s appeal is that it’s beautiful. Enter the lovely world of Pinterest, and all the troubles of your day-to-day life just seem to slip away in a stream of perfect little black dresses, baby otters, and cherubic children who never seem to get dirty or mouth off to their parents.
Because it’s image-based, the core of Pinterest is overwhelmingly positive. I like to think of Pinterest as Facebook without the whining.
Yes, Pinterest is beautiful. And yes, its users love it. But don’t let all the hearts and flowers fool you. Behind those lovely images, Pinterest is fast becoming a heavy hitting marketing tool for brands and businesses … like yours.
Let’s take a quick look at why this is, and then we’ll get into 56 specific Pinterest tactics you can use to your own marketing advantage.

What is Pinterest and why should I care?

Once you’ve got a Pinterest account, you can create online collages (“boards”) for different topics you’re interested in, and then add images and videos to your boards by “pinning” them (the equivalent of using glue sticks on old-school vision boards, but faster, slicker, and considerably cooler.)
Pinterest has nearly five million users, and is rapidly growing. Nearly 1.5 million unique users visit Pinterest daily, spending an average of 15 minutes a day on the site.
Think those inspiring vision boards don’t result in referral traffic to websites and blogs? Think again. In January 2012, Pinterest drove greater traffic to websites than LinkedIn, Google Plus, Reddit, and Youtube — combined.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how beginner, intermediate, and black-belt Pinterest users are using it to grow their businesses and connect with their customers using these appealing online collages.
Here are 56 powerful ways I’ve come up with to incorporate Pinterest into your content marketingmix …

Pinterest marketing for beginner pinners …

  1. Make sure you feature your business name on your profile for maximum exposure. Use your business name as your username, or change your profile name to your business name after your profile is set up.
  2. Add a paragraph about who you are and what you’re interested in to the “About” section on your Pinterest profile. It will show up right under your photo, and will be one way that users can find out more about you.
  3. Connect your account with your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Not only will it help you gain followers, but making this connection adds social media icons under your profile picture that link to your Facebook and Twitter profiles.
  4. Don’t forget to add your website URL in your profile, too!
  5. Pin lots of stuff. Pin content steadily, instead of in huge bursts, to maximize your exposure and engagement.
  6. Come up with creative and interesting board names. They get shared whenever you pin something, so make them enticing. But be creative — you need to keep your board names short. There isn’t a lot of room for long descriptive titles.
  7. Tag other Pinterest users in your pins by using “@username” in your descriptions. Network with other professionals and vendors in your field by using this feature. Not many people are doing this yet, so it’s a great way to build your following and stand out.
  8. Comment on other people’s pins. Just like with tagging, this feature hasn’t really caught on yet, so use it regularly to really engage with other users. Obviously, use the same good manners and common sense you would when commenting on a blog or other social media site.
  9. “Like” other people’s pins to give a thumbs-up when you want to recognize great content.
  10. Pin from lots of different sources, instead of just from one or two sites. Variety is important on Pinterest.
  11. Mix pinning your own unique finds with doing lots of “repinning,” which is repeating someone else’s pin to your followers (just like a Retweet on Twitter). The person whose image you repin gets notified via email, and they also get a credit on your pin, which increases their following.
  12. Feel free to pin your own blog posts, but don’t over-promote. Follow the usual etiquette rules of any other social media site, and don’t be the boorish one at the party who only talks about himself.
  13. Pin videos! Pinterest has a special section just for pinned videos, and there are far fewer videos than images on Pinterest at this point, so use them to distinguish yourself. Any YouTube video is easy to pin.
  14. When you pin an image, add a description under it. Be smart about these descriptions — a good description will stay with an image as it gets repinned all over the Pinterest world. If the image is something from your own site, definitely use your business name in the description.
  15. After you pin a new image using the very handy Pinterest browser bookmarklet (a great tool in its own right,) use its built-in social media prompts to re-share your pin on Twitter and Facebook, too.
  16. Use Pinterest’s embed option to publish pins as content in your blog posts and website pages. Note: As Pinterest is catching on, you may need to tell your users that they need to click on a Pinterest image to get to the original source. When I tried this last week, a reader wrote to me and asked, “Is there more to that Pin thing? Or is it just a pretty image?”
  17. Get the Pinterest iPhone app, so you can repin on the go, pin from your camera and add a location to your pins so others can find your images.
  18. Optimize your website content for Pinterest sharing (Part One): Use images in every single post you write, so your post can be shared on Pinterest. When you find yourself getting lazy about this, remember –- not using an image in your post means no one will pin it. And remember — the prettier the picture is, the more it will get pinned. The images that appeal to Pinterest members are powerful and emotive, so keep that in mind when choosing your pictures. That combination tends to work well for your blog readers, too.
  19. Optimize your website content for Pinterest sharing (Part Two): Consider watermarking your images, or adding text to them. If you’re using your own images on Pinterest, one of the best ways to help your image stand out is by adding a clear description to the image itself, or adding a watermark with your business name. Make sure it’s clear, but that it doesn’t block out the main subject of the photo.
  20. Create seasonal or holiday boards that relate to your brand. Example: New Year’s Resolutions, Fourth of July, etc. Users love these.
  21. Add a prominent Follow Me on Pinterest button to your website to advertise that you’re a pinner!

Pinterest marketing for intermediate pinners …

  1. Search for new images to pin (or for trends) by using Pinterest’s search function. The search bar is in the top left of every Pinterest page.
  2. Use keywords in descriptions of pins, so pinners can find your images and boards when they do their own searches.
  3. Make sure you’ve got a Pin It! button added to the footer of each of your blog posts so your readers can quickly and easily share your content on Pinterest.
  4. Your Pinterest page has its own RSS feed! Find your Pinterest feed by clicking on the RSS symbol under your profile photo, then use it anywhere you can use a feed (Facebook, LinkedIn, for syndication on other sites, etc.) Advertise your Pinterest feed to your readers and ask them to add you to their RSS feedreaders.
  5. Got a WordPress site? Feature your recent pins in a widget in your WordPress sidebar by using a Pinterest widget.
  6. You can add contributors to any of your boards. Use this feature to engage your staff and let them contribute to your Pinterest presence by using adding to your company boards. Your staff will love this, and your boards will be richer for it!
  7. Want to find out who’s been pinning your stuff? Go to: For an example, check out Copyblogger’s source page. Look at your site’s page often to discover which posts and images are resonating with Pinterest users. Use that information to shape your content strategy.
  8. Add prices to your pins to create your own Pinterest shop. To add a price to a pin, type the $ or £ symbol followed by item’s price in the pin’s description. When you add prices to your pins, they may be featured in Pinterest’s “Gifts” section.
  9. Create a board that tells the story of your company and communicates your core values. Make this board available to people as part of your sales process.
  10. Consider creating “thank you” boards for current or past clients that send special appreciative messages. Could you create a holiday thank you card? Or one that celebrate the launch of a new client’s big project with your company?
  11. Pin tutorials on your boards. Need to walk a client through how to use your products or services? Or do you want to create free how-to videos to use as promotional materials? Pin your videos and presentations on special “How-To” or “Tutorial” boards. Anything you teach your clients can be made into a tutorial.
  12. Watch for trends. Click on the “Popular” link on your Pinterest home page to research what’s catching on with pinners, then integrate those trends into your content strategy.
  13. Be yourself. Pinterest is all about personal expression, so don’t be afraid to pin stuff that represents who you really are.
  14. Create a special board to highlight your company’s team members. Use the description under each photo to write a bio of each person.
  15. Show behind-the-scenes photos of your company. People love knowing how you make things!
  16. Become an information curator for your niche. Gather the newest and best resources on your boards. Become a trusted source of information on Pinterest, and your following will grow by leaps and bounds.
  17. Integrate your Pinterest account with Facebook’s timeline feature, so you post content in both places at once.
  18. Highlight old content on your blog so that people can repin your archived posts. The LinkWithin tool will add a footer to your blog posts that features images and links pulled from old content, giving people the opportunity to pin previous articles.
  19. Thinking about freshening up old photos, or going back through your blog archives and adding photos to those text-only posts? Now is the time! Remember — the prettier the picture, the more pins you will get.

Pinterest marketing for black-belt pinners …

  1. Find out when you’re getting the most repins, likes, comments and referral traffic by regularly analyzing both your Pinterest profile and your site traffic stats. Test out pinning on different days of the week and times of day to maximize traffic and audience engagement.
  2. Connect your clients who use Pinterest by introducing them to each other. Recognize your best pinners by sending out a weekly “Best of Pinterest” email that includes spotlighted boards and pins from your clients’ profiles.
  3. Create moderated boards for your fans to express their support for you. They can add videos, blog posts and photos from your events.
  4. Do you have a number of different ideal client personas? Create a separate board to represent each client persona, then use those boards during your sales cycle and embed them into your website pages so people are clear about the kinds of clients you’re trying to attract.
  5. Create boards for the classes and webinars you teach, and use them as supplemental material for your students. You can use the boards during your class or presentation, or send your students home with Pinterest boards to explore after class. If you’re teaching a live class or workshop, include pictures from the actual event.
  6. Create boards for referral sources, affiliates and strategic partners, and let them add to the boards. Engage with the partners so they know they are included and appreciated.
  7. Allow your best customers or star students to join in on certain boards and pin ideas and suggestions about how to use your product, or themes that go along with your products and services.
  8. What could be better for showcasing how awesome your business is than creating a dedicated testimonials board?
  9. Use Pinterest boards to tell client stories. Turn boring written case studies into powerful visual stories.
  10. Check out your VIP clients’ boards to get ideas for special thank you or holiday gifts.
  11. Create quick-start guides or owner’s manual boards for your products. Or if you’re primarily a service provider, create a “How to Get the Most Out of Working with Me” board with ideas and suggestions on maximizing your service relationship.
  12. Create boards for conferences that you attend. Carry cards with instructions on getting invited to post on that board — conference attendees will love this!
  13. Create beautiful, visually interesting coupons, and add them to your boards.
  14. Your clients will be blown away if you create special boards just for them that include resources and ideas tailored to their individual situations. This will really make your company shine is done regularly and well.
  15. Offer exclusive Pinterest promotions. Create pins that give special promotions for following you on Pinterest.
  16. Run a Pinterest contest. Invite your readers to pin links and images from your site that inspire, motivate, move or entertain them. Then judge the winners by creativity or ingenuity and offer a juicy prize. Offer to promote the winners’ Pinterest boards on your site as part of the contest.

Friday, September 9, 2011

HubSpot Shares Some Social Media Tips - Five Easy Steps

I do love HubSpot because they are so very nice about sharing information. Sure, they hope you will sign up for their services but they are not close to the vest and not helpful. They are doing this right. I have attended a few of their webinars - also very good information.
Thank you, HubSpot!

How to Monitor Your Social Media Presence in 5 Easy Steps
Monitoring your social media presence is incredibly important - but many business owners and marketers are concerned it will take too much time.
You don't need a whole team devoted to social media monitoring - with some tools and these free tips, even one single person can keep an eye on your social media presence. Cover these 5 steps over a cup of coffee and you'll build social media into a healthy daily inbound marketing routine!
1) Check Twitter for chatter about your company ( 2 minutes ): Use tools like TweetDeck or Twitter Search to monitor conversations about your company in real-time.
2) Scan Google Alerts ( 1.5 minutes ): Check Google Alerts for your company name, products, executives or brand terms. To set this up, enter your search terms in a Google Alert and select to receive updates as they happen or once daily. Now, when people blog about your products, an alert will be sent to your inbox. You can read the articles and respond right away!
3) Check Facebook stats ( 1 minute ): Visit your Company Page's Faacebook Insights. This can be found under the page's main photo if you are an admin for your page. Scan your active users and interaction stats. Check out your wall posts or new discussions if you have them enabled for your page.
4) Answer Industry-related LinkedIn questions ( 3 minutes ): Search for questions on LinkedIn that you or members of your company can answer. You can set up an RSS feed for specific question categories to go to your Google Reader as well. When you find a relevant question, respond and include a link to your website or a relevant blog post that might be helpful to your audience.
5) Use Google Reader to check Flickr, Digg and others ( 2.5 minutes ): Also set up RSS feeds for searches on your company name and industry terms in other social media sites. Similar to monitoring LinkedIn and Twitter, your Reader will serve as a great place to centralize your other searches too!
Want to monitor, engage, and measure your social media presence all with one tool? HubSpot's inbound marketing software makes this easy. Our Inbound Marketing Specialists can show you a demonstration of the tools with some of your very own brand and industry keywords.

Friday, August 26, 2011

How To Find Out How Much Your Blog is Worth

I found this link on Mom Blog Magazine. It's a site provides web analysis of your blog including social media, SEO, web, and traffic analysis. Additionally, the site tells you how much your site can earn in advertising revenue.

Get your blog’s analysis at

It's a good starting point for seeing how much your blog is worth and how much you can charge for ads!

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Mastering LinkedIn (From HubSpot)

20 Hidden LinkedIn Tricks

1. Claim your vanity URL. Make your profile look more professional and easier to share by claiming your LinkedIn vanity URL. Instead of a URL with a million confusing numbers at the end, it will look nice and clean like this: Do so by going here and clicking "customize your public profile URL" down on the right-hand side.

2. Make your blog/website links sexier. Instead of using the default "My Website"-type anchor text links in your LinkedIn profile, you can change the anchor text to make those links more appealing to people who view your profile. So if you want to increase clicks on the website links you can display on your profile, change the link's anchor text to something more attention-grabbing than the standard options LinkedIn provides. For example, if you want to include a link to your blog, rather than choosing LinkedIn's standard "Blog" anchor text, customize it to include keywords that indicate what your blog is about, like "Internet Marketing Blog." Each profile can display up to 3 website links like this, and they can be customized by editing your profile, clicking edit on your website links, and selecting "Other" in the drop-down menu to customize the anchor text.

3. Search engine optimize your profile. You can also optimize your profile to get found by people searching LinkedIn for key terms with which you want to be associated. Add these keywords to various sections of your profile such as your headline or summary.

4. Take advantage of "Saved Searches." LinkedIn allows users to create up to 3 saved searches. After conducting a search, clicking the “Save This Search” option allows you to save a search and easily run it again later. You can also choose to receive weekly or monthly reminders via email once new members in the network match your saved search criteria. Just click on the “Saved Searches” tab on the Advanced Search options page and select one of your saved searches to run again.

5. Track company buzz. Company Buzz is a helpful application that allows you to track what people are saying about your company and related topics on Twitter. Just install the application and customize your topics to view tweets, trends, and top keywords.

6. Use applications. Speaking of Company Buzz, have you looked through the other applications available to you on LinkedIn? Browse the Application Directory, and consider adding the SlideShare application or linking your blog to showcase your presentations and blog articles on your profile. The Events application is also a great way to see what events your connections are attending and find other popular industry events to attend.

7. Use OpenLink to send messages to people to whom you're not connected. LinkedIn only allows you to send messages to people with which you share a first degree connection, but did you know some people let you send them messages anyway, even if you're not connected? The ability to be part of the OpenLink network is only available to premium account holders, but it allows them to be available for messaging by any other LinkedIn member if they choose to be. OpenLink members will appear with an icon that looks like a small ring of dots next to their name in search results and on their profile.

8. Check in on "Network Updates." Found on your LinkedIn homepage, Network Updates are kind of like your Facebook news feed. Check these periodically for a quick snapshot of what your connections are up to and sharing.

9. Be identifiable. Find out who's checking out your profile by allowing others to see who you are if you view theirs. When you click the information under "Who's Viewed My Profile" on your profile page, you'll be able to view users who have looked at your profile, stats on your profile's number of views, and its appearances in search recently. To change this, go into your settings and click "See what others see when you've viewed their profile."

10. Export connections. Want to transfer your LinkedIn connections to another contact management system? LinkedIn enables you to easily export your connections. Just click on "Contacts," "My Connections," and then scroll down and click "Export Connections." You have the option of either exporting as a .CSV or .VCF file.

11. Easily find email contacts on LinkedIn. Speaking of connections, the LinkedIn Companion for Firefox is a great plugin that helps you identify the LinkedIn profiles of people who are emailing you. It also enables you to easily access other LinkedIn features via your browser.

12. Leverage the power of LinkedIn Groups. Did you know that if you're a member of the same group as another user, you can bypass the need to be a first degree connection in order to message them? In addition, group members are also able to view the profiles of other members of the same group without being connected. Join more groups to enable more messaging and profile viewership capabilities.

13. Take advantage of advanced search options. LinkedIn's Advanced Search feature provides a much richer search experience. For example, say you want to find out if you're connected to anyone that works at a specific company. Type the company name in the company field in Advanced Search, then sort the results by "Relationship" to see if you have any first or second degree connections to any employees.

14. Link your Twitter account to LinkedIn. Share your LinkedIn status updates on Twitter, and vice versa. Learn how to connect your Twitter account here.

15. Quickly turn your LinkedIn profile into a resume. LinkedIn enables you to turn your profile into a resume-friendly format in seconds with its Resume Builder tool. Just choose a resume template, edit it, and export it as a PDF that you can print, email, and share.

16. Add a video to your Company Page. Make your business' Company Page more interactive by adding video. To do so, visit your Company Page as a page admin, click your Products tab and, under the "Admin Tools" drop-down menu, click "Add a product or service." This enables you to create a new entry that features your video (or you can add a video to any existing product/service pages you've set up previously). Currently, LinkedIn only supports videos that have been uploaded to YouTube.

17. Rearrange your profile. LinkedIn enables users to reorder the sections of their profile in any way they prefer. When in edit mode on your profile, simply hover your mouse over the title of each section. Your mouse will turn into a four-arrowed icon, at which point you can click then drag and drop to another position on your profile.

18. Extend the life of your questions. After a period of time, the opportunity closes for users to answer questions that are posed in the Answers feature of LinkedIn. To extend the life of the questions you ask and enable more time for users to provide answers, click on the "My Q&A" tab within Answers, click on the question you'd like to revive, and click "re-open this question to answers," which will open it up again for 7 more days.

19. Share questions or your answers to others' questions. Besides the ability to ask questions, LinkedIn Answers also offers a great opportunity for users to share their expertise and thought leadership as well as link to content they've created that helps to answer others' questions. Have you provided a helpful answer to another's question lately? When you're on the question's page, click "Share This" beneath the question. You then have the option to share the question via LinkedIn message with up to 200 of your connections, bookmark it on Delicious, or grab the permalink to share in other ways.

20. Use LinkedIn Today to keep track of industry news. LinkedIn Today is an awesome feature that provides you with the most popular stories that are shared on LinkedIn. Use it to stay on top of news occurring about marketing, the internet, computer software, etc. You can also sign up for email summary notifications of LinkedIn Today news.

Photo Credit: Steven Depolo

Friday, July 29, 2011

5 Easy Ways to Boost SEO (From Social Media Today)

Finding the keys to search engine optimization (SEO) can seem as difficult as decoding the Enigma machine. Businesses today clamor to solve the riddle, figure out the formula, and rise to the top of that first page on Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
A high ranking in search results for relevant keywords secures more than online real estate, it secures profits, because many consumers and businesses use search engines as the first step in a purchasing decision. Informous sees this in action every day: our industry specific search engine has already generated scores of qualified leads for our listed companies, most beginning with links from search engines.
Our business deals with packaging and plastics companies, but in many industries, search rank for relevant keywords can be the difference between leads going to your company—or to your competitors.  Leads can come from broad terms such as “cartoning machinery,” as well as very specific ones such as “vertical insert injection molding machines,” so search engine optimization is a great first step to increasing sales.
Excelling at SEO involves a lot of time and expertise, but there are some relatively easy ways to begin to improve your results. A lot of what Informous does to improve search rankings for our listed companies is proprietary, but we’re sharing a few secrets today to get you started.
Below are some initial ways to get better SEO results:
1. A little keyword research makes a big difference. Keyword research can be as simple as a team brainstorm, or as complex as using custom, proprietary tools. When you think about keywords, don’t just think about your company name—think about your products, and how people would try to find them.  For example, if you sell labeling equipment, think about keywords like “buying labeling equipment” or “labeling equipment [insert your geographic region].”
If you want to go beyond a brainstorm, but don’t want to break the bank, Google Adwords and KeywordSpy are great resources.  Google Adwords‘ free “keyword tool” displays both the search volume and competition for keywords.  KeywordSpy shows the keywords that are working for your competitors—some KeywordSpy tools are free, others are not.
Once you’ve identified the keywords you want to target, you should use them throughout your SEO efforts. Optimizing your site with the right keywords will drive more qualified traffic, and get your business more leads.
2. Change up your titles. Make sure that every page on your site has a different title that showcases the relevant keywords for that page.  This sounds simple, but it’s often forgotten. Not only are titles highly important in search algorithms, they are the first thing that people see when they look at a page of search results. Changing the title of each page can give a website a huge boost in search engine rankings.
By title, we mean the text that goes on top of your browser, not the title on the page itself. Illustrated below:
SEO title

3. Make sure you have the right metadata. The titles mentioned above are one kind of metadata, but meta-descriptions and keywords are also important. Many web designers will not include meta-descriptions and keywords in their code.  These descriptions and keywords aren’t visible to your visitors, but provide important clues for search engines as to what information is contained on the page.  Meta descriptions are especially important, because they usually appear on search engines, right below the title (see below picture). Those descriptions are your first chance to grab the attention of a potential client or customer.
meta description
4. Link building. Search engines determine their rankings partly by relevance of content, and partly by how many other sites link to your site.  Whether links are on a site like Informous, on social media properties, or in a comment on a blog, links back to your website will help your search engine rankings. Also make sure that your website is linking to itself.  Wikipedia does so well in search rankings party because it is chock full of internal links.
5. Grade your website. Use the fantastic free tools available to help you analyze your gives some great SEO advice, as does HubSpot’s Website Grader. These tools analyze almost every aspect of SEO on your website.
Though SEO is a highly complex and constantly changing field, the basics, such as the five outlined above, remain keystones of success.  Without a solid foundation, advanced SEO strategy has nothing to stand on.
If you are a packaging or plastics company, and you want to let Informous do some heavy lifting for your SEO efforts, you can get a free listing today, or invest in one of our upgrade packages. Other industries--look out for our future plans!
And last of all, we want to hear from you. What SEO tactics have worked for your company?

Post originally appeared on the Informous Blog. 

How to Really Build Traffic to Your Blog

My first blog has been up for just one and a half years and while my traffic has hit 1200 page views a day on occasion. I know that it's not close to the 35,000 unique visitors that FashionToast gets, but I can tell you that I worked like a maniac to build my meager 1000 page views.  Emphasis on the maniac because my blog group had to do an intervention to make me focus on editorial themes and quality over quantity. My newest blog is taking the same traffic trajectory but the difference is that I am posting only three times a week which is much less than I've ever dared do on my parenting blog.

So, here's my two cents:

With 3.5 million mommy blogs, you have to focus on a niche with consistent editorial themes. I as your infrequent reader should be able to rattle of an elevator blurb on what you care about if you are doing this correctly.

Branding is important. Does your blog title reflect your niche? How about your tagline? And did you make sure your meta description is your updated tagline? Did you map your URL to get rid of the "WordPress/Blogspot/LiveJournal?" Please do,

Now that you have a niche, tell me what to expect with an editorial calendar and regular unique features. You can deviate, god knows I do, but the reader who found you through Google wants more content of similar ilk.

A picture speaks a thousand words. Include at least one image or video and don't forget to put in alt text behind the image. That's good for SEO. (I know that I don't do this much on this blog but it is my third one and we treat it like an ignored stepchild).

Check your blog load speed time. Tools for that include Pingdom and Website Speed Test. Google punishes blogs with slow load times and so do readers.

Give readers many different options to follow your blog? An RSS feed does not work for everyone. Do you offer the feed via email? You can do this free using Feedburner. Pimping instructions here. Are there links to Twitter and Facebook? And also from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn back to your blog? Don't make it difficult for me to get your content. Networked Blogs through Facebook is another must have. And my pet peeve? Is your Twitter handle different from your blog name and/or Facebook page? Why? That makes me crazy!

An investment in a professional blog template is a small price to pay for displaying more content. Some come built in with great SEO. I am fond of Woo Themes.

Is there a search box for your blog on your blog? How can I find older posts without the capability? It's a widget you add that you most likely have.

Are your posts either very useful or very entertaining? Will I learn something from each one? The longer it takes you to create your post, the higher value added it likely is.

Are your posts evergreen? You'll want to post at least once a week on something that has appeal long after you've posted. That is a huge way to build traffic that works for me.

Are you filling out post summaries and an inordinate number of tags? I don't know Google's super secret search algorithms but I think it can't hurt. Synonyms of key words are also good.

Are you leaving comments--at least five a day? What? Why not? It really works you know.

Your social media presence will directly correlate to your blog traffic. Get more Twitter followers. Join relevant online communities. Discipline yourself to do a little of this every day. The tortoise does win the race after all.

Work your pr contacts in real life. Nothing drives traffic than mentions or features elsewhere. Karma counts. Be nice and use your good manners when communicating online.

At the end of the day focus on great content. Quality will always matter more than quantity.

It's fine to repurpose great content you find. Check their copyright policy (I'm not one to talk), just excerpt a paragraph or so, link back and give credit where it is due. If you say really nice things about the author of the content, chances are you won't get a wrist slap.

Combining ideas from several sources is another way to use great content but make it your own.

I think it all boils down to three words: quality, consistency, and techy (blog speed, SEO, etc.)

My parting words are that growing your traffic is a lot like losing weight. Sometimes you work really hard and the needle doesn't budge but if you keep at it and change your daily habits bit by bit, the change is enormous over a long period of time.