1. Repeat Topics and Cover Them In-Depth
Steven gave this advice in a guest post on Problogger
When you’re trying to develop your brand and position yourself as a leader or an expert on a certain subject, you need to be willing to go beyond the scope that any other bloggers are covering that particular subject. I’m not suggesting that you duplicate content or post the same thoughts repeatedly using different words, but make sure that you are covering every aspect of the subject as thoroughly as you can.
This is very useful for getting a focused audience, but is also brilliant for positioning yourself as an expert. This can lead to you being able to charge higher products for information products or any services you may offer. Many new bloggers try to focus on everything. Repeating topics can really help strengthen your brand.
2. Funnel traffic
Steven included this in his Problogger post about how it takes a gathering to build a crowd.
Most bloggers create posts from time-to-time that they expect to draw some attention from social media. When you have a post that you want to get some exposure, don’t just focus on getting Diggs or Stumbles. You can use smaller social media sites and niche social media sites to funnel traffic to the post. As visitors come from other social media sites they may also Digg or Stumble your post. If you have some other way to get traffic to these posts, such as getting a link from a friend or from a community website, do so. The more visitors you can get to the page, the better your chances will be of getting some votes.
Many people just focus on the one or two methods of traffic – especially Digg and Stumbleupon. I’m guilty of this. Since reading this, I have been researching other social media sites in order to get a cumulative affect.
3. Mention a post at the bottom of your feed
Steven discussed this idea in his post on how to turn a failed post into a success.
Another place to promote your post is at the end of your RSS feed. WordPress users can choose from several different plugins, including Sig2Feed and PostPost, that will allow you to include anything you want at the end of your feed. Consider leaving a link and a brief description of the post to try to generate some clicks.
This is a really useful tip and one that I wouldn’t have considered. You could also include your most popular post or a paid resource, in order to give it an extra traffic boost.
4. Buy a domain name
This is a tip that Steven included on Daily Bits.
If you want your online business to be taken seriously, you need your own domain name. Many free hosting services, including blog platforms like WordPress, offer the option of having a website without needing to buy a domain name. Domain names are so inexpensive (can be less than $10 a year at GoDaddy.com) that there’s no reason to not buy a domain. Your domain name is crucial for being able to brand your website.
This tip is definitely worth implementing. Even if you don’t want to use the domain name just yet, you should buy it to prevent other people from using it.
5. Outline Posts Before Writing Them
Steven included this as one of his steps to develop better blog post ideas.
If you are typing your posts with little or no direction you will have disjointed articles that are less productive than they could be. I find it to be very helpful to outline every post before I actually write the content. This may require some research, depending on the topic, but it will make the writing process easier. It also helps you to identify ideas that really don’t develop into quality posts. From the outline you should have a pretty good idea of how well you can develop the post, and you’ll know pretty quickly when an idea isn’t worth the time of trying to write the full post. This way you will be spending your writing time on ideas with better potential.
I agree with this and ALWAYS plan my posts before writing them. Not only do I do a post outline, but outline where it fits in my overall blog strategy
6. Don’t Blatantly Sell
Steven expanded on this topic on his guest post about promoting your website through a blog.
Blogging is different than most other types of marketing or promotion in that it is usually most effective when it is passive in nature. Blog readers will not be interested in your blog if it is just used as another way to push your products or services. Rather, provide genuine and valuable content and you will indirectly promote yourself and your company as being a leader in the field.
It’s ok to occasionally post something on your blog with the intent of selling something, but this should not be the majority of your content and it will typically be most effective when it is something special. For example, you could provide your blog readers with a special discount code that they can use to get a better deal on one of your products. This type of promotion will show that you value your blog readers and it gives them incentive to subscribe.
I agree with this. I’ve found that nothing alienates people more – especially on twitter – is people blatantly trying to sell them. This tip is especially worth remembering if you are promoting other peoples products via affiliate links.
7. Keep a resource file of sites that publish inspirational posts.
This was one of the many inspiring responses Steven gave on his interview on Line 25.
Delicious is a great resource for me. One of my most basic techniques though is just to keep a file in Blog Desk with a big list of sites to use in inspirational posts. As I come across sites that I want to feature, I’ll open up the file and paste a link under a section such as “minimal designs”. I may have 15 or so different categories in that file and then whenever one gets around 25 sites listed I’ll put together a post. I also surf through design galleries for the purpose of finding these sites, but I try to focus on a few different topics at one time. So I may be browsing through galleries looking for minimal websites, dark websites, e-commerce websites, etc. all at the same time. I’ve found that to help me in terms of productivity. I essentially do the same thing with Photoshop tutorials.
I highly recommend this. I also recommend creating an idea or quote bank, for when you need inspiration from a specific blogger.
8. Check to see if your guest post idea is original
Steven included this in his article about promoting your blog through guest posts.
Check to verify that the subject of your article is not too similar to anything that they have posted recently. You don’t want to submit an article that duplicates the thoughts of an article they just posted last week.
You can also expand this concept to see if the product you are launching is original. It may not matter to your crowd, but may limit the amount of people willing to promote it.
9. Network to get subscribers
This was one of the tips that Steven gave in an interview on Blueverse.com
Early on I got a decent number of subscribers by doing a lot of guest posts (I highly recommned this to any blogger) and by networking with other bloggers. Guest posting is actually a great way to get to know some influential people in your niche. Now I think most of my subscribers come through links and referrals from other blogs as well as through social media.
This has worked for me far better than I’ve thought. I’ve been contacted so many times during the prelaunch stage asking for a different way to offer my RSS feed. Its been a fascinating learning experience.
10. Write and Interesting and Enticing Bio
Steven expanded on this topic on his blog, Traffikd.
As a guest blogger (in almost every case) you’ll be allowed to write a brief bio (a few sentences) about yourself with a link back to your own blog. This paragraph should tell just enough about yourself to make people want to check out your blog, and it should help them to see why you’re worth their time. Writing bios is always something I struggled with, but I’ve seen the impacts of different approaches here. Simply stating your name and your blog’s name with a link is generally not enough to get the best results. Put some thought into what you want people to quickly know about you that will pique their curiosity. Consider also linking to a profile at a social networking site, such as Twitter, so people can connect with you there if they want to.
This is a very useful tip. You can also try to write enticing bios in your social media profiles, and on any social media landing pages.
11.Use an online editorial calender
Tools like Google Calendar are a great way to keep track of your deadlines, appointments, and even just a list of tasks for the day. There are plenty of free online calendars that are easy to use and will help you to do a better job of managing your time.
I haven’t implemented this yet, but I do agree that it will increase productivity. I struggle to get through the day because I don’t have anyway to track my tasks. I plan to use google calender for this.
12. Go to Local Networking Events
Steven included this as one of his 10 tips of getting more personal interaction as a freelancer.
Most likely there are some networking events in your local area that are hosted by a chamber of commerce or some other organization. These are great events to attend if you’re interested in meeting other professionals in your area. Many freelancers don’t take advantage of these opportunities to find potential clients and make contacts with professionals in various fields.
I agree with this completely. I go to a number of local networking events and really look forward to them. I interact with the people, both online and offline, in between the meet ups and have gotten so many opportunities from it as a result. It also provides a way to have fun while still working.
13. Distinguish Your Separate Responsibilities
Steven expanded on this in another of his brilliant Freelance Switch posts.
The first step is to simply acknowledge the different aspects of business that you will need to manage. Of course this will include income-producing work (designing, developing, writing, or whatever else it is that you offer), tracking expenses, managing invoices, balancing bank accounts, marketing your services, continual learning and development, customer service, and more.
I’ve had some trouble distinguishing between my responsibilities. It got a lot easier once I did. I was then able to find an online service that could automate some tasks and free up my time to work on my projects.
14. Specialize in an Aspect that You’re Passionate About
Steven wrote about this in his article about how to enjoy freelancing more.
No doubt there are certain types of work that you just naturally enjoy more than others. Why not make this an area of focus or specialty that helps you to spend more of your time on these types of projects? In the case of web designers, maybe you enjoy creating WordPress themes. Or maybe you like building e-commerce sites. There may also be certain industries that you enjoy working in. You could specialize in building websites for open-source products, non-profit organizations, or any other industry that you choose.
This is what I’m doing with my consulting services. I get paid for doing what I love and it motivates me to work hard on the boring admin side.
15. Follow Your Moods When Appropriate
Steven discussed this in his post about effective prioritizing for freelancers
Sometimes you may have a few different projects with similar levels of importance and urgency. I’ve found that I work best when I choose to work on whatever appeals to me most at that moment. For example, I do some writing and some design. There are some times where I’ve planned on writing an article, but I just don’t feel like I can be as productive at that moment as I could be if I was working on a design (or vice versa). If the situation allows, I’ll change plans and take advantage of the productive time working on something else. This isn’t always possible, but I’ve found that it helps with my quality of work, the amount of time required to complete the work, and it also helps my mental outlook at that time.
I have often tried to write when uninspired, and the result is poor writing. This doesn’t mean you have to procrastinate. It just means that you should have a flexible schedule so you can work on the task that will be of the highest quality.
16.Try to get repeat clients
This was one of the passive marketing tips Steven gave in a Freelance Switch post
If you have an ongoing relationship with a client you don’t have to spend time to find that work. The key for retaining clients, of course, is to provide great services that satisfy the client. Additionally, you’ll want to be sure that they are aware of all of the services that you are able to offer. Follow up with clients from time-to-time and see if they have a need for ongoing services or for additional work. Repeat clients are also a plus because they will tend to have more loyalty to you and you’ll be more familiar with them and what they need from you.
There are multiple ways to get repeat clients. Most of them revolve around providing incentives or continuing to stay in touch. I will be researching this topic further and will report my results.
17. Provide Superior Quality
Steven wrote about this further in his post about increasing referral business
The best thing you can do to improve your chances of getting referrals is to provide a quality of work that blows clients away. Clients that get these results will be your best advertisements as they have had a great experience and can share their story with others in need of great service.
Without high quality work, you’re unlikely to get many referrals, if any. People simply don’t want to refer a friend to someone who won’t live up to their expectations. If you’re focusing too much of your effort on the other methods of growing referrals, your quality of work can suffer and your other efforts will be wasted.
This point is very true and can also apply to blog posts. If you focus on getting traffic or referrals, you can lose money because other aspects will suffer. It can be hard to find a balance between the two and again, I will be researching this further.
18. Use twitter for sharing resources
Steven said this in his post detailing why he no longer hated twitter.
Most of the things I post to Twitter are either interesting links that I’ve come across or re-tweeting links from other users. I really like being able to quickly share links without the need to write a blog post or send emails to friends. And I love finding new things through the tweets of other users.
Twitter has fast become one of the best, and quickest, sites for sharing resources. This has significantly changed how I market my posts and is something you should focus on.
19. Don’t Hold Back
Steven wrote about this as being one of his tips for using a blog to promote your own services.
The natural inclination from most blogging service providers is to hold back the “good stuff” for paying customers. While there’s nothing wrong with the mindset, the fact is that it will be hard to produce a truly outstanding blog if you are holding back. Most likely there are other bloggers out there who are willing to share more information with readers, and so your watered-down blog will not stand out as a leader in the industry.
Sure, there may be some times where there are pieces of information that you don’t want to share publicly on your blog, but the main issue here is that you should have the mindset of creating a high-quality, exceptionally useful blog, even if it means sharing some valuable information for free.
There are so many bloggers I know who didn’t hold back. They shared the information freely and provided paid alternatives if you wanted further information. People were very willing to pay it because they already knew that the author didn’t hold back.
20. Stop Wasting Time on Too Many Social Media Sites
Steven included this as one of his methods to improve your results with social media.
Are you using a number of different social media sites consistently? It’s important to be able to build a presence or a profile at social media sites in order to help your chances of success, and this is impossible to do at too many sites. Rather than spreading yourself thin by voting and submitting at a lot of social media sites, pick a few that are well-suited towards you blog on focus on them.
I really like this tip. I used to jump upon every new social media site and try to see how I could best use it. Now, I try to focus on a select few and use them to their full potential. This has really paid off in terms of traffic and new contacts.
21. Focus on Solving Problems
Steven discussed this in his post on developing unique blog post ideas.
Rather than looking for ideas for blog posts, try to take a completely different approach and identify some common challenges or problems for your readers. At this point don’t worry about blog content, just focus on the readers and what issues they have. Once you have identified some, brainstorm as to ways that you could help them with these problems through your blog posts. Do some research if you need to, but solving problems is a tested and proven way to build a loyal audience.
It has also been said a post that solves a problem can be one of the biggest earners for your blog. People will appreciate them and refer to them often.
22. Have a business-like approach
Steven identified this as being on of 10 critical elements in creating a profitable blog.
A profitable blog should be treated like a business, not a hobby. Those who view their blog as a hobby are unlikely to ever reach the level of financial success with their blog that they could reach if they simply took a different approach. Treat your blog seriously and you’ll see the results of your work.
This doesn’t mean that you have to be boring or completely change your attitude. It means that you should focus on being professional and treat your blog like a business if you want to create an income from it.
23. Have Realistic Expectations, but be Aggressive
Steven expanded on this in his blog post for building a blog part time.
If you start out by expecting to earn six figures by working part-time hours, you’re setting yourself up to be disappointed, even if others would consider your results successful. Those who have realistic expectations of what they’ll get out of their blog and what they’ll have to put in will usually be able to stick around long enough to see the fruits of their labor.
Although I think it’s important to realize how much work and time is involved in building a blog, I also think it’s important to be aggressive and to go after success. Those bloggers who I know personally that have done very well did not just put in some effort to see what would happen. Aggressively go after success and it is very achievable.
I have realistic expectations for this blog, but I still intend to be quite aggressive in achieving them. I know it will be hard to get to a reasonable level of income. I know it will be even harder to scale back my workload. However, I am increasing my chances of success just by putting in that effort.
24. Keep Pages Loading Quickly
Steven included this as one of his methods of increasing pageviews per visitor
If a blog’s pages load very slowly, visitors will eventually stop visiting more pages, sometimes sooner rather than later. A blog that has quick-loading pages is a pleasure to browse and it encourages more clicks.
Slow loading pages are one of the reasons I quickly leave the blog posts I discovered through either Twitter or Stumbleupon. I’ll be investigating ways to speed up your blog in my upcoming e-course.
25.Use blog pages extensively
Steven listed this as one of 7 ways to extend a blog. He said that
Blog pages are one of the most overlooked opportunities by bloggers. Personally, I have a few pages on my blogs, but nearly as many as I probably should. When I check my stats for this blog, the categorized list of social media sites is consistently one of the most viewed pages/posts on the site. That page has been great for building links and getting noticed by readers.
I haven’t done this, but I will be using pages as part of my long term traffic strategies.