8 Insanely Simple Tips for Marketing your Blog and Increasing Subscribers

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I recently blogged about why companies should blog and also why blogging is a great way to start your social media marketing efforts. Once you start blogging, you will soon want to increase the number of website visitors and RSS subscribers as well as get the word out about your blog. The problem, though, is that if your blog isn’t set up and maintained right, you could be promoting your blog to a transient audience. Whatever the purpose of your blog, you almost certainly want to reach as large an audience as possible, so here are 8 insanely simple tips for marketing your blog and increasing subscribers:

1. Start thinking in terms of key phrases

For each category of content that you want to blog about, start thinking of content ideas and associating them with keyword phrases. Use keyword tools (Google AdWords Keyword Tool is often recommended but I often simply use Google Suggest) to research niche key phrases and check out the competition. Avoid choosing the most popular keywords as these will already be covered by high-ranking bloggers, and you are unlikely to achieve high search engine rankings with these. Instead, choose a more specific, potentially long tail key phrase; include it in the blog post title and the body of the post. Better yet, optimize your blog for SEO with Scribe using this target key phrase.

2. Brand your blog

Customize the appearance of your blog with a logo and page template that separates you from other bloggers. If you use a common template, such as a WordPress theme, customize it with unique images and colors. Keep the colors and theme consistent throughout your blog and any other associated content that you produce. The aim is to create a unique brand that subscribers will eventually feel familiar with over time, which WordPress allows you to easily do. Don’t forget to also use interesting and relevant photos in a consistent way as eye candy on each blog post.  Better yet, include an educational video on each blog post, whether your own or created by someone else, as a way to add further value to your blog posts.

3. Don’t make your visitors think

Keep it clean and simple, and include a sitemap and friendly help pages to guide visitors around your blog. Most of the popular blog hosts have various types of plug-ins and options that allow you to create customized menus to file your content into categories; use these options to organize your posts and links to related content. Don’t forget to add a blog search bar!

4. Make it shareable

Set up buttons on your posts that visitors can use to share your content on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, Google+ and other popular social networking sites, and add an ‘Email this’ or ‘Tell a friend’ option. Include RSS subscription options for your site, and submit your RSS feed to reputable directories. My recommendations on my Top 15 Social Media WordPress Plugins for 2011 post included DiggDigg for your social buttons and Feedblitz for RSS subscription management (and more!).

5. Build quality backlinks

Submit articles to article directories, write guest posts on other popular blogs, contribute to popular forums, and so on. These are all good ways to get quality backlinks and build your profile with online communities. Avoid using paid-for link building packages or similar schemes as search engines do not value low-quality links, and in many cases it can harm your rankings. Since you’re already involved in social media, simply sharing your blog posts with your followers is the easiest and most organic way to build quality backlinks.

6. Post regularly

The amount of posts you make will depend on the topic of your blog; if your blog aims to keep up with current news events, you should be posting several times a day, but a general interest blog may only be updated two or three times a week. The most important thing is to keep the timing of your posts consistent. Don’t make five posts in one day then nothing for several weeks. Once a week is the minimum you should aim for. From there, try two or three a week. If you don’t have enough content to last you for a month, don’t start blogging until you do.

7. Comment on other relevant blogs

Make sure that your comments are helpful to the blogger, or add something useful to the topic. Don’t spam or post links on other people’s blogs. If your comments are valuable, and give the impression that you know what you’re talking about, readers will click through to find out who you are without the need for underhand tactics.

8. Respond to comments

Allow readers to comment on your blog, and always respond to their comments. Remove any spam links placed in your comments section, but try to resist the urge to remove comments from those who simply disagree with you. Instead, respond in a friendly and courteous way; this can be difficult, especially if someone is being aggressive in their point of view, but it is also an opportunity to show your professionalism. My recommended comment management plugin for WordPress is Disqus.

If you follow the above blog marketing tips, you are well on your way to building a lasting community of visitors who will subscribe, comment and engage with you on many levels.

Any other insanely simple tips that I missed?

About the Author:

Neal Schaffer, Founder and Editor-In-Chief

The Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Maximize Social Business, Neal Schaffer is a leader in helping businesses and professional strategically maximize their use of social media. Neal is the author of three social media books, including the recently published definitive social media strategy book Maximize Your Social. Forbes lists him as a Top 35 Social Media Power Influencer and AdAge lists his blog, Maximize Social Business (formerly known as Windmill Networking), as a top 100 global marketing blog. Neal provides social media strategy consulting and coaching, having worked with Fortune 500 companies and a Grammy-award winning musician. He has presented worldwide on social media at more than 150 events and also teaches social media marketing at Rutgers University. +Neal Schaffer

Neal Schaffer
The Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Maximize Social Business, Neal Schaffer is a leader in helping businesses and professional strategically maximize their use of social media. Neal is the author of three social media books, including the recently published definitive social media strategy book Maximize Your Social. Forbes lists him as a Top 35 Social Media Power Influencer and AdAge lists his blog, Maximize Social Business (formerly known as Windmill Networking), as a top 100 global marketing blog. Neal provides social media strategy consulting and coaching, having worked with Fortune 500 companies and a Grammy-award winning musician. He has presented worldwide on social media at more than 150 events and also teaches social media marketing at Rutgers University. +Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer
Social Fresh West

Comments

  1. says

    Nice list.  You mention a key point about consistency of branding.  Your blog and all written communications need to take on a uniform look in people’s minds.  This takes some real effort!

  2. says

    Nice list.  You mention a key point about consistency of branding.  Your blog and all written communications need to take on a uniform look in people’s minds.  This takes some real effort!

      • says

        I got all of my places matching and snappy looking but I did it with a dark background, hence white lettering. Was counseled to change to white back/black font. Now it’s easier to read but not as snappy and coordinated, which I prefer. Your thoughts?

  3. says

    Nice list.  You mention a key point about consistency of branding.  Your blog and all written communications need to take on a uniform look in people’s minds.  This takes some real effort!

  4. says

    Nice list.  You mention a key point about consistency of branding.  Your blog and all written communications need to take on a uniform look in people’s minds.  This takes some real effort!

  5. says

    Neal,
    Great post, and probably an insanely simple question. I get my post ideas in spurts, then sometimes go dry – is there a WordPress facility that would allow me to queue a post to go up on a particularly day? Then I could schedule to post for a particular day, and be more consistent.

    • says

      Hi Jennifer, thanks for the comment. You can actually schedule every blog post to publish at a certain time. In the “Publish” widget, where you usually press “Publish” to put your blog online, where it says “Publish immediately” you can choose to edit and then select an exact day and time for which to publish. There is also a WordPress plugin called Editorial Calendar which can give you a visual drag and drop way of managing this as well. Hope the info helps!

  6. says

    I’m definitely trying to do all of these things.  One thing that I did notice out there is the debate of the effectiveness of article marketing these days.  Some say it is still worthwhile while others say it just doesn’t work anymore.  I’ve noticed that the activity on my own ezinearticles.com account has decreased in the last year where video and social media has taken over in terms of major traffic sources.

  7. says

    I love when there are 8 insanely simple things. You scroll down the list, feeling all savvy as you say “yup” to each item… until the one or two you have no clue about! And it’s always what you don’t know that makes the difference in life, ey?
    Great, Neal, as it simultaneously satisfies my need to feel smug and clueless, just like the NY Times Crossword. 

  8. says

    Neal-

    Good stuff – a lot of us (myself included) could stand to be more insanely simple. Another thing bloggers can do is to use social, trade associate, vendor-based, or other badges on their site. For example, if one is a certified Google Analytics professional, using the badge on the site can build trust (with people who care about Google Analytics). I blogged for a year before my request to be listed on Alltop.com was approved. The week after I added the Alltop banner to my blog, my inbound inquiries jumped 200%. I can’t prove cause-effect but I strongly suspect it.

    Like any visual element, “trust badges” can be overdone. But done tastefully they can demonstrate value, expertise, and differentiation.

    Tom

  9. Anonymous says

    Very informed post.  Do you ever help redesign websites from Drupal to a WP platform?  I’d be interested in chatting if you do.

  10. says

    Wow!! This is really a wonderful post from bottom of my heart,
     I liked it mostly
    7th and 8th points in which you have said comments on blogs and response to each
    coment i use this mostly to increase subcribers to my blogs.

  11. says

    I so enjoyed your article and can relate to the many problems of internet marketing. I joined a training school and have learned so much on article marketing. I have found out it is a slow process and many many articles. My focus and strategy needs to be worked on but I am determined to get where you are now. Back years ago I was introduced to article marketing and I couldn’t see how you could make it work but the school that I joined has enlightened my hope in this technique. I love Blog Commenting as it is easy and you also get to learn from different bloggers.

  12. says

    These are indeed insanely simple ideas. You have encouraged me to do better with #1. However, I go back and forth between whether or not to allow comments. As of this time, I never have. Perhaps I will open up the discussion and see what happens. Thanks for the article!

    • says

      Scribe is best for SEO – click on the link and look at the videos. I will have a free e-book on it coming out and given to my newsletter subscribers, so make sure you sign up ;-)

  13. says

    Thanks for the comment, Clint, and I would agree that the debate about the effectiveness of article marketing is a real one. That being said, having just one article at each of the major article websites is good for introducing your blog content to new audiences – and search engine optimization.

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