Blog Marketing: What Every Small Business Owner Should Know!

Over the years blogging has become an essential tool for business online promotion. Unfortunately, many small business owners, till this day, still look at blogs as personal journals. Worst still, many others simply consider blogs as some social networking tool that is popular among young people out there in cyber space!

If you have that opinion back in 1995 you would be correct but not today!

One thing you can be sure of today is, Blogging Has Evolved!

The question is no longer, should you blog? Rather it is, do you have a blog?

Let me say it categorically that if as at this day you’re not blogging, as a small business entrepreneur, then you’re missing out BIG! And so, you must move from defining blogs as personal journals. They are presently powerful marketing tools. Savvy business owners are using blogs for brand recognition, connecting with clients/customers and of course, create more opportunities for their businesses.

But in this blog article we are talking about blog marketing.

Small business blog marketing tips

So,

What Is Blog Marketing?

It is important that we have a clear understanding of what blog marketing is for us to better appreciate its benefits. Over the years I have to tried to really get a grasp of this. I want to say that of all the definitions of blog marketing that I have come across, I think this clearly captures the true meaning:

Blog marketing is any process that publicizes or advertises a website, business, brand or service via the medium of blogs. This includes, but is not limited to marketing via ads placed on blogs, recommendations and reviews by the blogger, promotion via entries on third party blogs and cross-syndication of information across multiple blogs.

As you can see blog marketing involve a whole lot of things. But for this article I will restrict myself to the aspect that is concerned with using your business blog to directly market your business online. This consists of creating blog articles and using same to drive traffic to your business website.

Why Blog Marketing?

There are various benefits your business can get from blog marketing. Please read this article to understand some of the reasons why you should add a blog to your business website.

But to really understand the importance of business blogging, here are some stats that will interest you:

  • B2B marketers that blogs receive 67% more leads than those that do not.
  • Marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13x more likely to enjoy positive ROI.
  • Companies who blog receive 97% more links to their website.
  • Blogs have been rated as the 5th most trusted source for accurate online information.
  • By 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationships without talking to a human.

As a small business owner it is sure you wouldn’t ignore such stats, or do you?

 5 Tips for Effective Blog Marketing

Here are some ways you can ensure good results from your blog marketing efforts:

1. Link Your Business Blog to Your Website

If you have a website for your business, link your blog to it. This is a good way letting your customers/prospects know you do blog. This could create an immediate surge of traffic to your small business blog thereby making it popular in a short time.

2. SEO Optimized Content

When you are marketing a blog, you pretty much do it the same way that you would market a website. It is going to need keywords, and content. You can write the content yourself, or pay someone else to write it for you. That part is totally up to you. However, you will want to be sure that the content is decent and something that your readers will want to read. This will keep them coming back.

Make sure that the content is written from special keywords that you choose. You will also want to become familiar with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO will help you to optimize your blog to get a better ranking with the search engines.

3. Exchange links with relevant sites

Once your blog is up and running with the right keywords and some content published, you will need to get it out there some more. Link exchanges are wonderful for marketing your small business blog. You want to try and exchange links with sites that are relevant to yours, but not in direct competition. If you try to exchange links with sites in competition with yours, you are going to find that many of them will turn you down in fear of losing business to you.

4. Submit To Blog Directories

While this may not really make much impact today but it is not a bad idea to do this. There are many online directories that caters specifically to blogs. Submitting your business blog to these directories is a big part of small business blog marketing. You can pay some directories to list your blog URL in their directory under the specific category that it falls under. However, some of these even have specific qualifications that you must have to get in. Follow all of the application steps, and you should be ok. Just do not try to submit your blog to a directory that it does not qualify for, or fit in.

5. Make Your Business Blog Truly Interactive

This is important for small business blog marketing. For example, if someone leaves a comment on your blog, acknowledging and responding to it make your blog a truly interactive platform.

You can also comment on other blogs that are relevant to yours, and leave a link to your blog as well. This will help bring in visitors to your blog, and you will begin to see more and more traffic.

Conclusion

Small business blog marketing is something that anyone can do. It’s not rocket science. Having a blog and keeping it up to date with the latest information is not hard. All you need to have is a plan and you will be set to market any type of business from your blog. Whether you are selling a product or a service, it does not matter. A blog that is marketed the right way will be beneficial to any business whatever it might be.

Search Engine Optimization: 6 Golden Rules for Staying Up To Date with SEO!

How to stay up to date with SEo changes

One thing that SEOs have come to learn, howbeit, the hard way, is that you can’t become complacent when it comes to SEO. This is because the best practice in search engine optimization is always changing. You just can’t learn about SEO, and then you’re done forever. A big NO!

If you want to stay up to date and keep your website up to date too, it needs to be something you keep an eye on. You should be watching the changes and trends in search engine optimization so that you always have your finger on the pulse of the industry.

Unfortunately, doing so can be easier said than done. But don’t worry. In this post you will learn a few simple methods that will help you make sure you don’t get left behind.

How to Stay Up To Date with SEO Changes

1. Subscribe to Blogs

One of the best ways to stay up to date with everything that’s happening is to learn from the experts. These people know what they’re talking about, and the best ones have blogs you can follow. They won’t always be right all the time, so don’t take their word as gospel. But subscribe to their blogs to keep up with the latest news and opinions.

2. Get On Twitter

If you’re not already on Twitter, you need to get on there right now. All those experts with blogs are on Twitter too, and they use it to say plenty that’s not in their blog posts. Create a stream of all your favorite SEO experts to see what they’re saying. Twitter allows you to have conversations too, so you can even ask them questions.

3. Go Straight to Google

If you want to know how Google works, asking Google seems like a sensible idea. Stay up to date with Google Webmaster Tools if you want to know how your site is performing. It will also give you lots of information on SEO and tell you how the search engine crawls your site to rank it in searches.

4. Make Time

Subscribing to blogs and following people on Twitter is no use if you have no time to learn. Make sure you set aside half an hour each day or a couple of hours a week just to read new information. Just a few minutes a day could help you stay on top of things and make sure you don’t miss any significant changes.

5. Hire an SEO Service

Just learning about what’s happening in the SEO world isn’t enough. You need to use the information too. If you don’t have time to do everything yourself, an SEO agency is your best bet. Most business owners can’t do it all themselves, so they need some help. You should still keep up with trends and changes, however.

6. Put Knowledge Into Practice

Without an SEO company to help you, it’s up to you to keep your website updated. Use everything you learn to keep your website changing and prepare for any changes that could affect its rankings. You should be pruning your site all the time to keep it moving so that it doesn’t remain static and fall out of date

Conclusion

It takes time and effort to keep up with changes in the world of search engine optimization. If you want to stay knowledgeable about it, don’t drop the ball and neglect your reading. Keep at it and you will see the benefits in your website performance.

How to Treat Your Blog like A Business: A Guide for Newbies

Building a business from your blog

Do you run a blog? If so, there’s a high chance you want to make money from it. Unfortunately, many have problems when it comes to monetizing their .

Over the past few years I have come across many bloggers who have problems when it comes to monetizing their blog. In fact these bloggers consider it unethical to monetize your blog.

Now, if you are a newbie blogger you don’t want to listen to these . You must understand that blogging has gone beyond some personal journal where you simple want to share your thoughts with your friends and family. Blogging is big business these days.

I invite you to read post I did some time ago in reply to some fellow bloggers who had this wrong. It is titled:

“Are You A Blogger or an Entrepreneur Who Blogs?”

The unfortunate thing is that many of these people, though they labor every every day to run their blogs they are still struggling to pay the bills and put food on the table.

You don’t want to go that route, do you?

That is why you MUST not  treat your blog as a hobby but as a business. When you treat something as a hobby, you’ll seldom make any money from it!

to help you do this with ease I offering you 2 useful tips that will help you monetize your blog starting now. The information contained in this article will show you how to treat your blog as a business rather than a hobby!

How to Build a Business and Not Just a Blog!

Make Sure You Have the Right Tools for the Job

The first step in encouraging growth in your blogging empire is to ensure you’ve got the right tools for your “trade.” I know that translates as spending some money. But, as you’re thinking of your blog as a business, you should think of doing this as an investment both in yourself and what you do!
For example, is your computer archaic, slow and unreliable? If so, it’s time to upgrade to a newer model. When I blog, my weapon of choice is an Apple MacBook Pro. But, yours might be a Windows 8 desktop; whatever works best for you.

You should also have a decent Internet connection. When you go online, the last thing you want to do is end up with errors on your blog posts because they fail to load. Fiber Internet connections are fast, affordable and reliable.

And what about your printers? You do have some printers, right? Believe it or not, professional bloggers rely on their printers for many reasons. First, they use them to print out ideas for new featured blog posts. Those ideas get assembled into a “mood board.”

Second, they need them for business purposes. For instance, they’ll need to print out invoices. And because many bloggers use multifunction printers, they’ll use them to scan receipts too.

Konica printing services are an example of a vendor that can find out what devices you need to support your business. Yes, that’s right; you’re . It just happens to be your blog!

Stick To a Routine

Regular blog readers expect to find content delivered to them through your site or RSS feed on a particular schedule. If you break that schedule, you’ll end up forcing those loyal readers to go elsewhere.

Just as you would in a business environment, make sure you have a set routine. For instance, be ready to start working from your desk at 9am. Take your lunch break between 12pm and 1pm. Publish new content on your blog before 5pm.

It doesn’t matter what your particular routine and schedule is; what matters is that you stick to it. By following the tips in this article, you’ll soon reap the benefits of running a busy blog site!

There you have it. Do this today and you will be able to take your blog to the level of a business starting now. And who knows, you might just be the next success story of probloggers making millions from their blogs!

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Revealed: The Top Reason Why Over 95% Of Bloggers Fail!

Top Reason Why Many Bloggers Fail!

There is a pathetic phenomenon happening around the blogosphere of late. More and more bloggers are abandoning their blogs. In the past few months I have personally counted about a dozen of such bloggers MIA (Missing In Action!)

The amazing thing is that most of these bloggers are actually some of those whom you may have looked up to as “successful bloggers!”

Now, no matter what reasons these bloggers may have given for their action, we really should be concerned because, personally, I believe no one changes or abandons a winning team!

In another post I wrote on this same topic when I asked the question:

Why Are You Not Making Money With Your Blog?

While that post identify basically what I called the “bloggers’ mindset” as the main culprit why many bloggers fail to make money online with blogging, I have realized, after about 5 years of running different blogs and interacting with different bloggers, that this problem is actually playing out in different ways.

In this post therefore, I want to reveal to you what I have uncovered after writing that earlier post.

So, Why Do 95% Of Bloggers Fail?

Please note that what I referred to as the “bloggers’ mindset” in the post referenced above has not really changed (you are advised to read it here), today I’m seeing this played out in what I’ll simply call the…

“Herd Mentality”

In my 5 years as a blogger I have seen this to top the list in the manifestation of the bloggers’ mindset.

It’s simply an attempt by many bloggers to “belong” which unfortunately leads them to end up doing just what everyone out there is doing!

Take a trip today round the blogs you have always frequented and you will agree that this is true. Not only will you find the same bloggers posting comments, you will also discover that there is nothing really different in their content – the same tips and strategies; the same dos and don’ts and a common hatred for the probloggers whose tactics and strategies are drastically different from theirs!

None of these bloggers ever question why all the bloggers who read their so-called “expert tips” and strategies every day never go on to become 5-figure bloggers! They never care to question why the same set of bloggers run around the same set of blogs posting comments, meeting on social media and doing other same things over and over again!

They may not know it but the truth is, this is simply the herd mentality in action!

Now, I do not doubt the fact that it is a good thing to build a community around your blog. But if you look critically you will discover that these bloggers are actually seeking for acceptance among others of their kind!

So, How Can You Escape This?

Mark Twain once said:

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect!”

I think this is the right advice to heed right away. Simply doing what everyone else is doing will only help you achieve the average results being posted by many of these bloggers.

You need to separate yourself from the herd!

Evaluate the crowd you are presently following and if you discover none of these are really posting the type of results you aim to achieve then it is time to step out!

Can you picture the wild for a moment?

Now, which of the animals usually run in herds? They are the prey, right? And why do they do so? Of course, they believe that makes them safer.

How about predators?

These either stay in small groups or run alone!

This is NOT different online.

There are the “producers” and there are the “consumers.” A simple look around will convince you that the “producers” online actually run in small groups. They are always coming up with one product launch after another while the “consumers” (those who have the herd mentality) fall over themselves to either promote or buy these products. In doing this they create a stiff competition among themselves – a competition that is heightening by the day and is now seeing more and more of those in this group being “pushed” off the cliff!

Blogging Is Hard Work; Except With The Right Systems!

You need a blogging planIt is amazing that while bloggers who have the herd mentality are throwing in the trowel a few other bloggers are evolving into business conglomerates with their own systems. For example, CopyBlogger.com started as a one-man blog a few years ago but today it is a business with well over 115,000 unique customers with a team of employees!

Even with its many employees, copyblogger.com understands the rigors of moderating and replying to blog comments. And, what did they do to solve the problem?

Removed blog comments!

That one decision, instead of helping those who have always preached that you MUST reply to every comment if you want to succeed as a blogger see reason, it rather spiked a lot of debate amongst them.

The irony of it all is that they ended up linking back to copyblogger.com thereby giving the site some more free promotion and SEO juice!

Herds Are NEVER Followed but Led Or Fed Upon!

Making money online is like the predator and the prey in the wild

Like I have mentioned earlier, animals that move in herds are always seeking for protection. They are either led by someone else or they fed upon by the “predators.” They are never leaders. So if you desire to lead, if you ever desire to set the pace for others to follow, then it is time to step out of the herd.

You simply need to stop running with the crowd. And you can do this by setting your own rules, questioning the status quo and of course reevaluating your blogging activities. You need to take responsibility for your actions instead of relying some one else.

Of course, if you are just starting out, all of these may seem overwhelming.  But you need not despair because the truth is you are in luck. You can get this 7-Part  Special Guide that reveals the CORE areas you must focus on in order to build your online success. After you have understood the fundamentals you will be able to move on to form your own rules and judgments.

However, if you have gotten stuck with the “herd mentality” and its damnable ideas, you’ll need to do yourself some good and un-learn those things! The truth is I may not be able to help you except you make that decision yourself.

So, the decision is yours to make. Feel free to go run with the herd or pull away today!

I’ll love to read your comments. Whether you like this or not, let me know what you think.

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How to Stop Blogging From Killing Your Business

 

There’s no doubt about it, blogging is a powerful tool for marketing and promoting your business online.

As one report has shown…

  • Companies that have a business blog drive 55% more web visitors than those that don’t!
  • B2C businesses that blog generate 88% more leads per month than those who don’t! and,
  • B2B businesses that blog generate 67% more leads per month than their counterparts that do not blog!

Impressive figures there you must agree…

However, despite these wonderful stats, blogging can kill your business and shred it into pieces as quickly as salt would an earthworm!

I’ve been blogging for about 5yrs now and within this period I have seen many entrepreneur bloggers fall into the blogging “black-hole” and losing their businesses in the processes!

In this article, I want to draw your attention to the dangers of blogging and how it could kill your business quickly than you can imagine. Of course, I’ll also give you some insights on how you can stop that from happening.

Blogging could be killing your business without your knowing!

The Dangers of Blogging to a Small Business!

1. Blogging Is Addictive!

Yes, this could be both good and bad for your business.

It is true that adding a blog to your business site is one of the greatest ways of driving traffic and connecting with your potential clients/customers. However, because of the addictiveness of blogging you will soon discover that you feel more “happier” and “elated” working on your blog than working on your business.

This is dangerous to your business.

You must remember that your business blog is a tool that will help you promote your business. Whether you have your business as your blog or you have a blog as a support to your business site, the fact still remains that the purpose of the blog should be aligned with your overall business purpose.

If this is not done, you soon discover that you don’t have a business!

What to do about this: Have a clear cut purpose for your blog taking into consideration your overall business purpose.

2. There Is So Much Bad Blogging Advice Out There!

This is really a big one!

Over these years of my running a blog I’ve discovered that there are many “experts” in the blogosphere who have very wonderful pieces of blogging advice, which if not taken with care, could be harmful to your business’ health!

For example, how many times have you heard things like:

You should blog every day if you want to succeed with your blog!

The secret to blogging success is quality content!

You should be reading and commenting on tens or hundreds of blogs every day and make sure you reply to every comment posted on your blog!

You mustn’t ignore social media. You should spend quality time updating and connecting with your online networks everyday!

Now, on the face value these are truly great pieces of blogging advice but do not lose sight of this fact: to achieve all of these in a day, you will need more than 24 hours to work on your blog!

Running around social media sites, blog hopping to post comments, researching content ideas and then packaging “quality” content every day for your blog will soon take you away from doing what your business really needs to flourish.

Please don’t get me wrong, these things are good for building a community around your blog and subsequently your business but done wrongly, they will quickly kill your business!

What to do about this: Ensure you have a blogging plan that is designed around your business overall plan. Your business should be the focus of your blogging activities and not just your blog!

3. The Dangers of Being Assimilated Into the Blogging Mold!

Be careful or you will fall into the bloggers mindset!This is another big problem of blogging.

When I said above that blogging is addictive I meant it literally. You see I’ve discovered that bloggers have such a connection with their blogs that you sometimes hear things like:

“I just can’t stop blogging no matter what, I’ll always blog!”

That is good, right?

But, whatever good is in that statement the fact is, many of those who say such things are not saying it because blogging is helping them put food on their tables. Rather what they are saying in effect is,

“Even if I’m not getting anything from blogging I love blogging for what it is and will not exchange it for anything else!”

That is passion at play, right?

but the fact is that is the blogging mold…

…and falling into it will soon make you forget why you started blogging in the first place. In fact, those who are entrenched in this mold actually believe that blogging to make money is ethically wrong!

I have referred to this on several occasions as the bloggers’ mindset. The problem is that as you visit and read different blogs you will soon begin to accept these anti-business blogging ideas as the truth and once they get settled in your mind, your business would be the one to suffer!

What to do about this: Mind the company you keep. As the Good Book puts it: “Evil communications corrupt good manners!”

Don’t let those anti-business ideas being thrown around on many blogs out there get into your head. Remember you’re an entrepreneur running a blog to build your business.

Instead of just running around reading blogs about blogging, go out there and read blogs about business blogging. Subscribe to them so you can gain from their insights!

4. It Could Distract You From What Is Important – Productivity!

From experience in these past few years I’ve discovered that bloggers relishes in activities!

Read blogs about blogging and you’ll soon discover that there is a long list of what to do as a blogger every day. The general advice is that except you do these things you cannot succeed as a blogger.

Unfortunately however, most of these activities hardly translate to results for your business. As pointed out earlier when you spend most of your daily hours working on your blog you will soon discover that your business will be neglected.

But please note: Businesses don’t thrive on activities but on productivity!

Your return on investment (ROI) is what matters when you are building a business. I have seen blogs that are “successful” only on the number of blog comments they have but when you look really closer you will discover that the blogger is hardly making a hundred buck each month!

As I write this the biblical story of Jesus and the cursed fig tree is greatly impressed in my mind.

The story goes that on one of the days while Jesus was on his earthly ministry he desired something to eat and seeing a fig tree ahead of him with every sign of fruitfulness, he thought he could get some fruits from it and satisfy his hunger. But what a disappointment when Jesus got to the tree and discovered that the fig tree only had an appearance of fruitfulness but had nothing to show for it!

I’m sure if you know that story very well then you know what happened to that fig tree!

Now, that is a strong analogy indeed but the fact is that when you start a blog as a tool to promote and market your online business you should be aiming for results – productivity and not just activities!

What to do about this: From the start define what productivity is to you as a business. Is it a long list of blog comments, most of which are posted by other bloggers who expect you to return the “favor” else you’ll never see them again? Is it how many blog posts you are able to publish in a week and the number of traffic you are able to drive?

Or,

Is it about the number of traffic you are able to convert to leads and subsequently, customers?

If the latter is what productivity is to you then you must see your blog as the top of your marketing/sales funnel.

You simply cannot afford to concentrate your efforts on just your blog. You must learn to use your blog as an email capture system and put more effort into building relationships that will eventually result in more business profits!

Final Thoughts

Blogging is a veritable tool for your online business. Adding a blog to your business website is the quickest way of growing your business. But you must learn to use it well else, like a two-edged sword, it can become a dangerous weapon against your business!

You must always constantly evaluate your blogging activities so that they do not sideline your business purpose. Most importantly, be vigilant enough so that you do not pick up the bloggers mindset that does not expect anything in return for your labors.

Don’t let blogging kill your business. Clearly determine where your blog should be in your business scheme of things and then let it do what you have designed it to do – drive valuable and potential clients and customers to your business!

Your turn: Did you learn anything from this post or do you disagree with what was discussed? Make your voice heard in your comments below.

Shocking Truth About Blogging In 2014: Evolve or Go Extinct!

Blogging has changed in 2014!

Have you noticed what is going around the blogosphere lately?

I don’t know about you but I believe that the blogosphere is undergoing a transformational change! It is clear from all indications that blogging is evolving; and this is happening right before our eyes. Very soon only those bloggers who are able to recognize this and then make a conscious effort to change with the times will be alive to enjoy the gains!

Already fossilized remains of blogs whose owners tried to ignore this fact dot the blogging landscape. I did mention some time ago how I visited some blogs and to my surprise I discovered that many of them have been abandoned. While some have their domains packed because they have not been renewed others have not been updated for months!

Since observing this trend, I have written various blog posts calling on bloggers to take special note and do something about it quickly. But the question is who is listening?

Where are all the Bloggers?

A few days ago, I read a blog post by Emmanuel Kabenlah Cudjoe of www.Kabenlah.com. In the post titled: Where are all the Bloggers? Emmanuel voiced his concern about what he observed around the blogosphere lately.

Hear him:

“…the blogging world seems to see a general decline in activity. Most blogs aren’t updating anymore and the trend seems to cut across the board. Haven’t you notice that? Or maybe it appears I am the only stranger in Bethlehem?

Hahaha! Somewhere 2013, I ventured into blogging and the rate and enthusiasm one realized in the blogosphere was really high. The same time last year saw lots of new faces in the blogosphere with great insights being shared on every blog but this year is different and I don’t understand why.

Reputable blogs are hardly updating and new bloggers are rarely found these days. I have a tradition of visiting lot of blogs within a day but it appears they aren’t writing and the question which pops up now is, why aren’t they updating?”

Now, you can imagine my reaction when I read that post. Of course, why Emmanuel may have just noticed this, I actually knew that we will soon get this time. I knew that this was bound to happen!

If you had read my post: Hey, Blogger Please Quit! You will observe that that post was done with a passionate desire for bloggers to really reconsider their ways and start seeing their blogs from an entrepreneurial point of view instead of just a blog.

If you have not read it please do so right now because it is indeed a classic!

Blogging Is At A Cross Road!

Frankly, I think what Emmanuel observed in his post is far deeper than what most of the comments tried to make of it. Why most of them see it as not a problem, but rather a result of many bloggers still trying to get their sails ready for the year, we mustn’t rule out the issue of discouragement for lack of real returns for their efforts.

This is why I think Akaahan Terungwa offered some real insights in his comment. Here’s his comment:

“Blogging isn’t easy, I must be frank. Monetization too is a hell lot more difficult these days as all the traditional channels simply pay peanuts! The persons who are updating very frequently are either those who have found a way around the monetization bottleneck or are damn passionate (and can never run out of ideas). This is a motivation game, you’ll have to accept.”

To me this actually comment hit the problem right on the head!

There is no need playing the ostrich. There is a problem and except, as a blogger you are ready to confront it head-on, you would only be doing your blogging career a disservice.

It is time to wake up to reality!

What Is The Way Out?

How can you avoid ending up among these unpleasant blogging stats that are becoming the order of the day around the blogosphere?

Instead of trying to give more tips and insights here I will simply ask that you read the following posts as I have written severally on these issues:

And for a quick guide on how to make money blogging read:

Conclusion

I know this is a topic that many will want to debate. Most of the arguments I have heard over the years have always been that blogging is not just about the money. As much as I agree with this, I also want to say that of all the bloggers I have come across not up to 1% are really blogging because they just want to have some fun.

If you are among this 1%, great! Enjoy yourself. But, let me say I’m speaking to those who desire to make money with their blogs. And if you are in this group, I ask you to pulse and consider your ways again!

Feel free to let us know what you think in the comment section below. Whether you agree with this or not, share with us your take.

[ALERT] Guest Blogging Set For A BIG Surprise From Google!

Google ready to penalze guest posts links

From all indication it does appear that it is time to braze up for another big surprise from the almighty Google! And when I say “big” that might just be an understatement!

A few days ago, Matt Cutt, the head of Google’s webspam team, again shook the SEO world when he wrote on his personal blog that he “expect Google’s webspam team to take a pretty dim view of guest blogging going forward.”

Of course, that assertion drew the ire of the SEO community and Matt had to quickly add an update some clarifications. But that notwithstanding, it is clear from the tone of Matt’s post that Google is definitely up to something!

Stick A Fork In It: Guest Blogging Is Done!

I personally want to look beyond the clarifications.  His message is clear enough. Hear him:

“Okay, I’m calling it: if you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop. Why? Because over time it’s become a more and more spammy practice and if you’re doing a lot of guest blogging then you’re hanging out with really bad company.”

Going further, he said,

“So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy. In general I wouldn’t recommend accepting a guest blog post unless you are willing to vouch for someone personally or know them well. Likewise, I wouldn’t recommend relying on guest posting, guest blogging sites, or guest blogging SEO as a linkbuilding strategy.”

I’m sure the warning signals are clear enough.

Will Google Really Go On With Such A Threat?

Considering the fact that Google had issued some form of warning in the past (like the warning against content farms before the Panda update, we just need to take this one real serious.

For sometime now Google has being giving some form of warning against guest blogging. For example, take a look at these ones issued through Matt:

I’m sure you can clearly see the handwriting on the wall!

This simply reminds me of a saying among my people that when the hen repeatedly pecks the head of the cockroach, it would definitely swallow the cockroach! 🙂 So, if Google has repeatedly warned against guest blogging, we cannot expect anything less.

We must also recall that Google issued this type of warning against content farms before releasing the Panda update.

How Will This Affect The Blogging Community?

Though we cannot clearly say for now what the outcome would be if Google made good its threats (Google has always been unpredictable), one thing I can say for now is that like the Panda update that affected both the “good and the ugly”, any harmer on guest blogging will definitely affect many blogs.

My reasoning here is the fact that nearly every blog that accepts guest posts usually rewards the guest blogger with a dofollow link. It’s kind of expected. And thus far there is no indication if Google has the tools to differentiate between guest posts that were done “purely” for SEO purposes and those that were not. If this is not in place, any penalty targeted at guest blogging would definitely have wide sweeping effects!

Is There Anything We Can Do About This?

For now, I think we need to carefully study Matt’s post especially the update he was forced to add after the many reactions from the SEO community.

Here’s the addition:

“It seems like most people are getting the spirit of what I was trying to say, but I’ll add a bit more context. I’m not trying to throw the baby out with the bath water. There are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging (exposure, branding, increased reach, community, etc.). Those reasons existed way before Google and they’ll continue into the future. And there are absolutely some fantastic, high-quality guest bloggers out there. I changed the title of this post to make it more clear that I’m talking about guest blogging for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes.

I’m also not talking about multi-author blogs. High-quality multi-author blogs like Boing Boing have been around since the beginning of the web, and they can be compelling, wonderful, and useful.

I just want to highlight that a bunch of low-quality or spam sites have latched on to “guest blogging” as their link-building strategy, and we see a lot more spammy attempts to do guest blogging. Because of that, I’d recommend skepticism (or at least caution) when someone reaches out and offers you a guest blog article.”

If you it reading carefully, it is clear that multi-author blogs might just escape the harmer if it ever fell! But for the rest of us, the recommendation is, be skeptical and cautious!

Very elusive you might say!

Final Thoughts

In the recent past Google has shown that it’s indeed the almighty when it comes to search engine marketing. They set the rules and they enforce them. Internet marketers and content marketing practitioners have always been at Google’s mercy. I think what we just need to do right now is to prepare our blogs for this update. Trying to fight or live in denial mood will not help.

Over to you: What is your take on this new move? Do you think Google would be doing the blogging community good if they hit at blogs that accept guest posts just because those posts have dofollow links?

What Facebook And Other Social Media Sites Can Teach You About Blog Monetization!

Recently, there has been a whole lot of controversy regarding the subject of blog monetization. While some bloggers agree that monetizing your blog is a good thing, since you deserve some form of compensation for your labour, others vehemently oppose the idea emphasizing that blogs are for relationship building and trying to make money off your relationships is unethical!

Still among those who accept the idea of blog monetization, many readily frown at the idea of selling ads spaces on your blog as a way of monetizing your blog. To these ones, displaying adverts on your blog is simply a put-off and should be discouraged!

Now, I’m not here to argue whether blog monetization is right or wrong. However, having observed the confusion that many bloggers face because of these divergent views, I want to use this post to make a statement on these various beliefs and leave you to make your decision on what is best for you!

Recommended: Who Is Making Your Rules?

Blog Monetization – What Really Should You Do?

Blog Monetization: Example of Facebook and others!At this point let me say what really pushed me into writing this post was a comment in a discussions in one of the groups in LinkedIn.com. During this discussion, which centered on the recent changes by Facebook, a member of the group mentioned how much he now disdain Facebook because, to him, Facebook has lost its focus and is now more concerned with making more money for the site owners rather than being a truly social networking site!

What, Facebook has lost its focus?

Now, I understand that many people have this view. Of course, most of the new changes on the site are nothing but subtle ways of increasing the number of businesses and individuals that advertise on the site.  But does this make Facebook to have lost its focus?

Of course, you may not stand the sight of the ads on these social networking sites but you must remember that you are not the one who calls the shots. For one, you use the site for FREE, not caring about how the various resources you’re enjoying for free, are being financed.

Besides, how much do you know of the mission and vision of these sites that you now think that sites like Facebook have derailed because they are selling ads on their sites?

Indeed, when I read that comment the controversy surrounding blog monetization, which I’ve read on different blogs over time, came to mind. I realized then that why many are against the idea of monetizing a blog through advertisements, stem from the same root.

The fact is, a blog is nothing different from a social media site.  Indeed, many have come to accept it as a socializing tool – both for connecting with your readers and also building relationships with them.

But beyond that, a blog could be a business and a marketing tool.  In fact, to get the maximum results from your blog you must accept it to be so.

So, How Do Social Media Sites Make Money?

I think this is a question that we need to ask if we must learn anything from these social media sites and making money online. As you read this I’m sure you have profiles on different social networking sites. And of course, if you are on Facebook, which I believe you are, you have been using the site for free all these years.

But have you cared to know how they keep providing those tools and resources for free? Do you realize that Facebook, Google.com (G+), Pinterest, Linkedin etc are registered business concerns?

What this means is that while they offer you the opportunity to connect with your social circles on their sites for free they also aim to cut a profit as businesses!

But depending on the social media platform, the business model and monetization strategies may differ.  But the truth is, no matter how different the strategies may be, it still stand that they must make money for their venture capitalists!

Here are some ways social media sites are making money that could be interesting to a blogger:

1. Advertising – This is a common one to all the social media sites.

2. Selling subscription – Depending on the target market a few social media sites sell subscriptions to keep the network going.

3. Building and selling applications – This is another fast growing way social media sites are now monetizing their traffic.

4. Replacing affiliate links – This was actually the monetization model of Pinterest. They opened the site to all of us, encouraging us to share our user-generated content with our online friends, but unknown to us, something else was going on right under our nose!

5. Feature upgrades – This is a big one for LinkedIn. While you are free to have your profile for life, if you however desire to use some of the advance features of the site, you then need to upgrade your membership.

Any of these monetization methods can actually be used on a blog. take a cue from these social media sites or you’ll soon be packing your bags and luggage and hitting the door!

Recommended: Hey Blogger, Please Quit!

Go To the Ants and Learn!

Ok, that’s what the Holy Book says. And why not, if social media sites like Facebook and the rest are making money through the sale of adverting space, why not a blogger? And so, I’m saying, it’s time when bloggers should go to the social media sites and learn how to monetize their blogs.

I’ve always said it that bloggers are among the most hard working people on the internet today. That labor shouldn’t be in vain – a worker is worthy of his reward!

Or, don’t you think so?

Over to you: Do you think bloggers should sell advertising space on their blogs just like the social networking sites? Share your thoughts with us in your comments below.

Driving Organic Traffic: My Real Estate Blog as a Case-Study!

Driving free organic traffic is something that many online marketers desire to master any day – who wouldn’t anyway? But unfortunately, it is only a pipe dream for many!

But this shouldn’t be because driving targeted organic traffic is not really as hard as some people think it is. Truth is, if you understand the basic requirements of search engine optimization (SEO) and you commit to applying them in your marketing content, pulling free traffic from the search engines becomes a child’s play!

In this post I want to share with you a few SEO tactics and strategies I’ve used in the past few years to grow my real estate blog.

Targeted Organic Search Traffic

But first, let me emphasize that the online Real Estate market is a big emerging market. Only recently, this market has grown increasingly diversified and very competitive. Despite this big competition however, a few years ago I started a real estate blog because I’ve always had a deep passion for real estate. Today that real estate blog is pulling in free organic traffic from the search engines like a magnet!

So, how did this come to be?

Here Are 3 Simple Organic SEO Traffic Strategies To Begin With:

1. It Begins With the Understanding

Yes. For your blog to surge free organic traffic from Google, you need to understand your niche.

What kind of people are you building the blog for?

Lawyers, Accountants, Marketing Consultants, Realtors? Name it! You’ve got to find out the specific people you’re building the blog for.

There was a time when I had challenges of ranking my web pages on the first page of Google; at first, I thought I was going about it the right way, but didn’t realize I was actually messing the whole thing up.

Let me point out this truth:

It’s not enough to know the problems or challenges people face; you’ve got to understand and find out what got them into the problem at the first place. You’ve got to proffer solution to those challenges.

Pro Tip: Prospects don’t want to know the pain they’re going through, they’re after the solution. Give them the solution—that’s what blogging is all about.

Recommended: The Watertight Strategy for effectively Writing Content for SEO in A Post-Penguin Internet!

2. Write Profit Pulling Content

The only way to resurrect a dead blog or turn a dying blog into a money making machine is creating quality content.

My real estate blog is today surging a whole lot of free organic traffic from Google because, my content is well written and planned.

I had my reader’s goal in mind. Usually, before I write anything, I study my readers to know the kind of problems they’re seeking solutions for.

By doing this, you’d gather helpful information to help create better and more informative contents.

Driving Organic Search TrafficThe best way to go about creating quality contents that get ranked in Google within 2 weeks is by planning a keyword strategy.

And, do you know that the best keyword tool or strategy isn’t Google’s keyword tool or any other SEO tool?

An effective keyword strategy can only be discovered when you take time to study and understand your readers.

Are you a real estate blogger, social media consultant or Word press expert?

Then make LISTENING the ultimate thing to do in your business.

Don’t listen casually; listen with your mind; feel the pain and desperation in your prospects mind…

3. Build Quality Links

I can’t stress this enough. Most of my external links are from related real estate and investing blogs.

Here’s what I mean:

The page rank of a blog doesn’t matter, what matters to Google is the relevancy.

If you’re starting out in the blogging world, you don’t have to struggle to build quality backlinks from Problogger, Huffingtonpost, or Copyblogger, you can start from niche based blogs.

Begin with small blogs of PR 2 to 4. Contact the blog editors or owners and propose to write for them.

Recommended: 5 Awesome Free SEO Tools For The Wise Blogger/Webmaster!

Don’t be scared of getting a ‘’No’’. The fact is, some are going to reject you but don’t allow that discourage you. Don’t give up or give in. If you’re rejected, take up your mantle and move on to the next blog.

Pro Tip: Do you know that if you publish ten quality guest posts in real estate or investing blogs in 7 days or less, you can easily rank on the first page of Google for your desired keyword in 90 days?

But you cannot achieve this if you use primary key phrases. You can only get results from your guest posts if you use keyword variations.

Here’s what I mean: If my main keyword is, ”real estate Dallas’‘ and I’m linking from realestate.com which is a top real estate blog; I’d use ”Dallas real estate investing” as my primary anchor text and link back to the same page or article on my blog.

Take-Away Tip: That’s how to get quality results from your guest blogging campaign.

I’ve got to end this now

I’m sure you learned a few things from this post content.

But please note, my success did not come overnight. I had to work hard, invest a lot of time and efforts into creating quality content.

I didn’t give up–you shouldn’t.

Don’t give up–don’t give in; keep working hard and Google will send you more traffic than you can handle.

Were you inspired by this post?

Kindly share your thoughts and views in your comments below.  Feel free to share with us your experience on driving free organic traffic to your sites. I’d be waiting to reply your comments.

How to Drive Website Traffic That Converts

If you ask any blogger, content marketing professional or web entrepreneur what their #1 priority is, the answer you will get most of the time is, generating website TRAFFIC!

Indeed, traffic is like the magic wand that opens the door to online riches. Unfortunately, many of us are getting it wrong every way when it comes to generating traffic.

You must know this:

TRAFFIC on its own does not guarantee riches. To get the best from every piece of traffic you generate, that traffic must be the right kind of traffic.

Many a time I’ve heard a lot of online marketers talk about TARGETED traffic but I’ve also discovered that many who advocate this go on to suggest the wrong places where to get that targeted traffic.

For example, the last time you were told to drive targeted traffic to your sites and business blogs where did you go looking for that targeted traffic?

My guess is, other SIMILAR or related sites/blogs, right?

But did you take into consideration that 99% of those sites and blogs are nothing but other businesses trying to drive the type of traffic you are aiming to drive to your sites?

Did you consider the fact that these are marketers like you, who even when they visit your site or blog are only looking to drive more traffic to their sites and blogs?

Indeed, those similar or related sites and blogs are good for link building but not what you will call TARGETED  traffic.

This is where you are getting it wrong 99% of the time!

Targeted traffic is simply this:

Getting visitors who already want what you’re selling to your sites or business blogs!

It’s as simple as that. If you are not driving that type of traffic, no matter the high traffic stats you are getting, it will amount to nothing!

web traffic failures and how to overcome them

So, how do you drive this type of targeted traffic?

1.    What Is Your Product?

This is indeed the biggest determinant of how much success you will get from your traffic generation tactics. This could be a physical product, digital product or a service. Whatever that may be, it should be able to meet the needs of your target audience whether it is healing a pain or answering a question. This will be much easier for you if you create your product in response to an existing demand.

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2.    Who Is Your Perfect Prospect?

This is where many online marketers get it wrong, greatly. As mentioned above if you’re driving mostly other internet marketers who are looking for customers for their businesses, you will end up broke! Your perfect prospect is that person who is online with her credit card in hand ready to buy what you are offering or who is online researching more information about what you are offering.

There are different tools and products out there that will help you determine your perfect prospect. But if you have created your product in response to an existing demand as in #1 above, you would have known your perfect prospect from the beginning.

3.    Where Do You Find Your Perfect Prospect?

From my experience online, I have discovered that this is the biggest problem for many online business persons. This problem is biggest if you are in the internet marketing niche. I’ve also seen this among entrepreneur bloggers. In these markets, I’ve discovered that everyone is looking for the same prospect as you are. That blogger who is coming to your blog to post a comment is, most times, doing it because he/she expects you to return the “favor.” Any time you fail to return the favor that is the end of that traffic! (#1 Commandment of Blogging: Thou shall commit to post comments on my and I’ll do the same on your blog if not if not, count me out!)

Recommended For Further Reading: Hey Blogger, Please Quit!

This is also the case in the make money online niche.

getting target website traffic

This is why I am always wary of traffic generation tactics that advise you to use keyword phrases that are related to your business to build connections on social media sites like twitter, Google plus etc. Matter of fact is, most of those whom you connect with on the social media sites using those keywords are nothing but other marketers who are looking to create customers for their own businesses.

Just think about it, how many times have you connected with someone on twitter or LinkedIn only to be sent a link promoting some product or service similar to what you are marketing?

I’m sure you get my point here, right?

Now, I’m not advocating that you stop blog commenting or networking with other marketers on social media sites. You definitely can build relationships that will be of benefit to you later on from such connections. But never you regard such as your perfect prospects.

The point here is, 99% of the time, your perfect prospect is not using the same keyword phrase you have in mind! The secret in targeting your perfect prospect is in thinking like your target prospect and using the same lingo they are using!

And that brings us to…

4.    What Are They Using To Look For What You Are Offering?

As mentioned in point #3, your perfect prospect is not looking for you with what you think they are using. Again this is where about 80% of the keyword research guides out there are misleading you.

Indeed, keyword tools like the free Google adwords tool are very good when you are looking for your perfect prospect. But unfortunately, most of the results you get from the Google Adword tool, for example, are what some other marketers are using to do keyword research.

These are not looking to buy but to sell!

Over 80% of marketers doing keyword research use Google every month.  When you use the Google adwords tool for your research, all of these figures are returned. They may look good but in reality, they are not what you want.

This is why the Google adword tool is faulty for keyword research.

To know what your perfect prospect is using when they are searching for your offerings, it is better to use ecommerce sites like eBay, Amazon and Clickbank.com. The good thing is that there are plugins and keyword tools that will help you determine what people are using to find such sites or in searching within such sites.

Recommended: Small Business Blog Marketing Failures And How To Overcome Them!

Conclusion

Whether you are paying for your traffic or using free methods to drive traffic to your business sites or blogs what you should look out for is your “visitor value.” This will help you determine where and what to spend your money and time on.

Indeed, some traffic generation techniques pay over a longer time than others. Go for such techniques rather than the ones that happen only once. This is the simple reason I am a big advocate search engine optimization.

No traffic beats organic traffic any day any time.

This is one aspect internet marketing you must commit to learn as a blogger or content marketing professional. And as a web entrepreneur if, by any means, you lack in-house resources to effectively create SEO optimized web content for your sites and business blogs, you should get the services of an experienced SEO web content writer to help you write some. This way you will be able to position your sites and blogs to drive the right kind of traffic over time.

Ditch the idea that any traffic is good traffic. That is a recipe for failure. Many businesses who took that route have failed woefully. If you have too much of the wrong kind of traffic you will end up as another statistic in the dotcom trash can. But you cannot fail because you have too much qualified traffic!

Over to you: What is your idea of targeted traffic? Can you give an insight into your experiences in driving traffic using similar sites? Share with us in your comments.

Photo credit: Flickr.com