Marketing is not something a writer considers when they first start out. A writer’s job is doing the actual writing, experiencing the creative flow of putting word to paper (or pixel). Generally its expected that the publishing company will do the marketing work for you, right? Not exactly. You’ll still be expected to do book signings, which even self-published authors need to do, and to succumb to interviews to help ‘get the word out’.
Marketing, I am finding, is a whole new animal compared to the creative process of writing. I have a number of articles online, as well as my web sites and blogs. Once you make a site, it just sits there unless you’ve take steps to get the word out. Easier said than done.
I found a number of tips from professional bloggers, and did some of the suggestions, only to find that the world of online marketing is a maze of confusion and fierce competition.
With marketing web sites and blogs, you need to know who exactly is visiting and where they came from. How did they find you? My sites have a stats counter from Bravenet which not only gives me hits but shows me where exactly the sites leading back to mine are. I was surprised to see I’ve been found in searches, others came from my email signature file, and some were from message boards I frequent. The stats even tell me if its a direct hit or not.
Your sites should also be searchable, meaning tag words and META tags that enable search engines to find you. Even search engines on a blog site requires the tags to help find the topic of discussion. This is also a way to find information by seeing who is writing about what. I even find more readers by hooking up with others online.
Marketing is about people, knowing what they want, and catering to that need. Its about finding the outlets to lure visitors to not only visit, but to stay a while and if possible; get them to come again and again. Frankly ‘hits’ that show me they only stopped on the main page doesn’t count because they didn’t take the time to explore my site(s). They stayed only long enough to see what the page was, then they moved on.
So what kind of marketing can you do for your blog, site, or other? Here are some suggestions and my experiences with them:
- Widgets (specifically web widgets) are neat little portable code you add to your site that updates via another site.Widgets can include RSS feeds such as blogs, or include Flash/Java games, blog bling, badges, pictures such as slideshows, or interactive information like lists, weather, or just about anything.
- Widgets add eye-catching graphic/text to your site.
- Includes their own stats, and a means for others to use your widget on their site.
- Includes a means to use various linking sites to help market the widget, which in turn will market your site/blog.
- The widgets can also be added to IGoogle.com, Yahoo start page, MSN, and other places that uses modules.
- *I used Widgets.com and someone linked to a blog feed I made, which provided me over 1,000 hits within one week.
- Bookmarking sites are springing up everywhere. I’ve joined a number of them just to see what will happen and here are the ones I’ve used;
- StumbleUpon.com is one of the more well known of linking sites. They include a profile, blog, and a friends’ list. You can see who has visited your page, and easily add sites to your profile to help promote them. I have yet to see anyone visit my sites from here. (But then, its only been a week or so)
- Squidoo.com is a linking site as well, but they encourage the use of ‘lenses’ or single pages to promote a number of things. RSS Feeds, links, and even modules of Amazon.com or Cafepress.com makes this a mentionable site. This also includes a means to earn money by the number of hits to your lens, as well as earnings through Amazon.com and the Cafepress.com modules if you’re already a member. I only just started with Squidoo, but according to the ranking I went from 300,000 to 23,000 in a week. So far, in only the week I’ve been there, I’ve had 8 hits.
- Del.icio.us is another bookmarking site which is a bit more ‘bare bones’ than the others. They do provide an interesting ‘badge’ that provides some insight in linking. (Which is Java and this blog service doesn’t allow Java scripts). Too soon to see any results. I’ve had one hit from there in one day of being a member.
- Technorati.com is a bookmarking site that lets you promote your blog which allows visitors to Technorati to search not just your blog, but the specific entries. This also opens up a means to be searched by the major search engines. I only just signed up there, so no results as of yet.
When joining these types of sites, bear in mind to always add the tags and keywords to your information. They are essential to people to find you, and that is what joining these are all about.
I’ll add more information as things develop with these sites.