Today, I would like to delve into the top ten tools that webmasters and bloggers can do to market their blog or website. For obvious reasons, websites and blogs want readers. This Top Ten list assumes that you are writing stuff that your audience wants to read, if not try working on that first then revisit my list. Trust me, there are so many more things you can do, some simple and others more difficult to better market your site but these are my top ten. Feel free to leave a comment if you have a question or email me.
Fire Critic side note: this list was created for fire and EMS blogs, however it can be used by just about any webmaster or blogger.
10. A sig (Signature file). A sig file is added to the end of EVERY email you send. Don’t be shy, but be concise. Add your website name, url, and maybe even the banner, but not much more. I have seen signatures that trail on into infinity. I don’t want to see the abbreviation of every credential, certificate, and degree you have in your signature…Nobody cares. If you are important, let other people make that determination on their own. Various email clients offer different ways of adding this. I have yet to do it for my email I use for this site, but do as I say not as I do.
9. Name drop. Whenever possible, talk about other bloggers, blogs, websites, authors and be sure to hyperlink to their site or article you are referring to. You would be surprised at how many people search for certain peoples names. You can get traffic from people searching for those people and your site coming up on the search pages! Trust me. You would not believe how many people come to my site because I spoke about guys like Ray McCormack, Dave Iannone, and Bobby Halton (see I just did it again!). Of course adding in a name like Megan Fox, Pamela Anderson, or Michael Jackson doesn’t hurt either!
8. Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Make every attempt to get every hit you can out of everything you write. This includes the internal code. For example, go to the top line of the browser at firehouse.com (name drop) and look at all the shit they have on there. I guarantee that if you search for any of those terms, they will be in the top of searches. There is a lot more to SEO, but we will start out small.
7. Post on Forums. You can get a lot of traffic by posting on forums. Utilize a name that is very close if not the same to your website/blog. Be sure to offer your link in your profile AND your signature on the forums so people can click right over to your site. However, do not be an ass on the forums…keep that for the lonely guys who post like idiots on The Watchdesk (name drop).
6. Reciprocal Links. Offer and ask for reciprocal links. Whenever someone links to you, link back to them. Whenever you ask for someone to link to your site be sure you have already linked to them. Don’t be a link whore though. If someone wants you to link to their carpetmunching website don’t unless you are running another carpetmunching website.
5. Comment on other blogs. One huge benefit of running a blog is offering the ability for readers to comment. Those comment will create CON-VER-SA-TION and keep readers coming back to read and re-comment. When you read another blog, leave a comment! Trust me, this works. Readers see it and blog authors see it and will visit your site. ALWAYS give your name or PSEUDONYM (like Fire Critic) and a link to your url when prompted. Be sure to offer the ability for readers to be notified when someone leaves a comment after them (I recently added this ability to the Fire Critic Blog).
4. Network. Network using sites like Facebook, Twitter, Firefighter Nation, Jems Connect, LinkedIn, and even Myspace if you are still a teenager. Use these sites to their utmost. With the advent of Mafia Wars and other games like that people are spending more and more time on these sites. Be sure to include your RSS feed so that people can get to your content from these sites! Twitter has become a great tool in networking too! You can even use your twitter account to update your facebook updates now.
3. RSS Feed. You must have an RSS Feed available if you are blogging. More importantly, offer the ability for readers to receive your feed via email. Try Google Feedburner.
2. Create an Image. Create an image for your site. Be sure to have your site name and/or url in the image. The image should easily identify your site much like the scary (boo) skull and fire shroud I picked! Either create one, buy one, or have someone make you one. Be sure to make a banner for your site as well and offer it in various sizes. One more better step is offer the code so that other sites can post your banner without hosting the image themselves. You can view the Fire Critic’s logo and banners here.
1. Get your own domain. Do not settle for a domain that ends in .wordpress.com or .blogspot.com people will never remember your url and might give up thinking about it. Instead of having that trailing url, spend the $10 a year and get your own. You can create a forward to the .blogspot.com url easily. Ultimately, you should get your own domain url AND hosting. This opens so many more options to you as a blogger/webmaster.