Feeling like starting a blog? Have a business that needs a blog to get traffic to your main site? It’s hard to get listed in search engines with thin content. The best way I’ve found to get traffic is to build a blog. With a blog you can cross-link to your main site and build traffic that way along with authority for your main domain name (for example, example.com/blog helps example.com rank).
Here are a few sites that I found useful on my blogging journey. I’ll be expanding this post so be sure to bookmark.
- WordPress – Visit WordPress.org to download and install the WordPress blogging software. This will enable you to build your own blog with a custom URL. It uses the same technology Facebook uses (PHP code and MySQL database). The setup is easy for people with some Webmaster experience. If you don’t feel comfortable setting it up yourself, have someone from your IT department do it for you. It’s easy to use once it works and writing blog posts and pages is about as easy as using Microsoft Word. Note: this blog uses WordPress.
Web Site / Blog Promotion Tools
- AddThis.com – AddThis makes it easy for users to bookmark and share your site on many social networking sites. You don’t need to keep up with all the social networking sites and links. They do.
- Google Insights for Search – See what users are searching for in your industry and plan your site and content accordingly. Very useful.
- Google Trends – See what users are searching for on the Web now to get an idea for hot topics. Also see regions where the searches originate.
- Technorati – This is a popular blog search site. Be sure to claim your blog to get it listed and build a profile so users can see you are legit. Make sure your blog software pings them directly to instantly know about changes to your blog.
- FeedBurner – FeedBurner reposts your Web site or Blog’s RSS feed to a new URL. The benefits are that you can gain a more accurate count of subscribers than you can with traditional Web stats programs. In addition, you can add useful links such as “email this”, “Digg This”, and others that make sharing posts easy for your subscribers. It integrates with Google AdSense, so you can post ads as well.
Social Networking Sites That Matter
- Facebook – Largest social networking site with 150+ million active users. The site is corporate / blogger friendly with tools businesses can use to monitor their profile stats. They also have an advertising program companies can use to reach users.
- StumbleUpon – Sharing site that shows news stories / blog posts / videos / images from around the Web. The site recommends sites for you and it takes you to them – kind of like channel surfing. It’s a democratic Web site. You can even post your own site link with image to get more attention. I’ve gotten some traffic this way.
- Twitter Search – Find out what people are discussing right now on micro-blogging site Twitter and search for references of your site, product, or service. Searches don’t go back far in time, however.
SEO Sites for Blog Beginners
- Google Webmaster Tools – Your site can’t succeed without Google. Period. For Google to list your site higher and regularly, you need to communicate with Google and tell it about your site. The Webmaster Tools will show you how your site ranks currently and you can optimize it so your site comes up in the searches you want. Broken and dead links will hurt your rankings. The Webmaster Tools will help you find them.
- Google Analytics – Google Analytics is the fortune teller of the Internet. It tells you where you are, the path you’re headed, and who wants to reach out to you. Used carefully, it can tell you where your visitors are coming from, popular pages, and features and easy-to-use interface. You can create extra users to share access to reports and schedule reports to be emailed to you directly. It allows you to setup stats tracking for multiple sites and microsites within your top site. Other stats programs won’t let you do that.
- Create a Sitemap – A lot of Web sites use HTML pages as sitemaps to help their visitors navigate a site. This is fine for large sites with many pages, but for smaller sites you shouldn’t need an HTML sitemap. Your navigation should be easy enough that users can find where they want to go fast. I recommend creating an XML sitemap that lists all your pages that search engines can use to find every page and describes additional detail that will help search engines index your site. Any additional information search engines have about your site the better your pages will rank.