How did your website do in 2013? I am stunned to discover that even though I mostly ignored mine, my Alexa rank soared by 15,966,175%! - this personal blog,Visibility Shift, is now in the top 3 million sites in the world!
How did this happen? In this post, I dissect and analyze everything I did — there are lessons here for you too, if you are building a Personal Brand, Thought Leadership or platform for your workshops, speaking and books.
For anyone looking to build Thought Leadership and their personal brand, a WordPress blog or website should be the hub of your personal marketing strategy. Your social media feeds into this blog — and out of it. I call this “social media syndication.” In future posts, I’ll reveal my secrets about how to do this, and how to gain similar spectacular results and traffic for your brand.
Here’s a frank and blunt review of my website, www.VisibilityShift.com, in 2013, and where I can improve it in 2014. Take note of my advice to myself — there are tips for you here too!
By the way, I was sick for almost a month in January-February 2013, and spent that time at home, tediously working on my SEO, updating my blog, and building up my social media. I think this focused time, boring and unpaid, generated huge payoffs for my personal visibility in 2013 — results that paid off in higher profile clients, celebrities, and inquiries from big brands. Remember, there are no rules in social marketing–everything is new and we’re all learning this as we go along.
My 2013 highlights:
New business: In 2013, my website (and social media) brought me so many fantastic new consulting clients “the shoemaker’s children went barefoot” and I barely had time to update my own blog. This is my second year as a blogger, and to watch my site soar to the top 3 million in Alexa in this short time is really quite remarkable considering how little I posted. Much of my traffic came from old posts — which means my writing has “staying power” in the search engines.
More traffic: Even so, traffic increased dramatically and my page rank zoomed up – I’d gather this is by using a syndication service (Networked Blogs) to drive more traffic to my posts, and by promoting and reblogging them on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn — which is where half of my traffic came from. Also by tagging my posts, WordPress automatically syndicated them where they were picked up by other blogs. More about how to “social syndicate” your blog in a future post.
New template: I updated to a fresh new template and designed my own banner, with photos of events I’ve built online communities for (to illustrate that social media is about people — not “content”.)
Better SEO: I also spent two solid days entering my site in directories (like Yahoo, DMOZ, Yellow Pages, CitySearch, etc.) to boost the Search Rank. This also helps business find you.
My Alexa rank increased by 15,966,175%! It is now an impressive 3,230,007 – meaning it is ranked in the top 3 million of all the billions of websites on the planet. This made my site a desirable target for advertisers. Or a potential buyout target for a blog syndicate. (A URL with traffic and page rank is worth money — sometimes thousands of dollars at auction.)
Klout rank increased: My Klout rank soared to a pretty impressive 66 in the competitive Social Media category — this is mainly from using the iPad to post photos of networking events and client events to Instagram, tagging my posts and building a following there. I call this “Digital Red Carpet” service — kind of like being an instant paparazzi. It’s fantastic for building traffic.
Started Visibility Shift Fan Page on Facebook: I also started my own Fan page on Facebook, finally. (Ahem – too busy posting for clients to maintain my own page.) I put a feed from my Fan page into my blog — which brings traffic fro the blog to the Fan page and vice versa. Remember — your fan page and LinkedIn profiles show up first when people Google you.
My URL went out on Press Releases — a lot of them: I do PR for clients, and my URL and the name “Visibility Shift” went out on PR Web press releases. This generated inbound links and more traffic to my own page — and higher page rank. I recommend that you also send an occasional press release on PR Web, even though it costs more than other services, because it is highly keyword optimized and your story shows up in Google and Yahoo news for an entire month. Free press releases can also be very effective. More about how to integrate PR with your social media (Social PR) in future posts.
Press coverage with my name in it: While managing PR for some high profile events (like the Synthesis festival in Chichen Itza, Mexico) I was a spokesperson in quite a few stories and interviewed by German television. This put my own name in stories — driving more credibility and traffic back to my blog.
Made “friends” with influential people: This also gave me a chance to “friend” the celebrities and CEOs I was promoting–after all, I needed to be friends with them in order to “tag” them in posts I made on their behalf. All of this leads to higher Klout and credibility. You can also simply follow famous people and engage with them — you’ll be surprised who follows you back. One retweet from a big name and your traffic will surge.
I followed a very high profile CEO on Twitter at midnight on a Saturday in 2013 — and retweeted his post with a compliment. He immediately responded! We became friends on Facebook. This lead to an immediate job interview with his high profile business. He then invited me to be a VIP guest at his personal party — which was cohosted by Google. This is how you, too, will win friends and influence people with social media in 2014!
My 2014 personal branding strategy:
Advertising – I think it’s time to start generating passive revenue from my page, so I’m planning to get some banners or use AdWords. Why not at least try?
Passive revenue - The best way to do this is an Ebook. Yes, it’s time to write an ebook! The other way to generate revenue is use affiliate programs — such as selling Amazon.com products and books related to your blog topic.
More frequent posting – I’m going to stick to a regular posting schedule. Yes, you should too — even if it’s just a paragraph. Force yourself to post regularly on your blog instead of Facebook. Your posts last seconds on Twitter and merely 45 minutes on Facebook — they live forever on your blog in Google! I vow to blog more, Tweet less in 2014 and make my posts shorter, more frequent and more sharable.
Pithy headlines – The rise of Upworthy and ViralNova taught us that mysterious, evocative headlines are viral and shareable. Quite often people will retweet or share your post without reading it at all — simply because the headline is so engaging. Also, remember to write your headlines for Twitter — add @ and #hashtags and keep them short.
A splash screen with a “call to action” - I’m seeing other consultants “ask” for clients with a pop up screen that offers consulting services for an hourly fee–it’s time for me to do this too and “walk my talk.”
Capture your audience–their email that is: I will add a pop up screen that asks my visitors to give me their email address — or like my Fan page.
Better branding – Gosh, I do this for clients all the time and my own branding sucks. It’s time to brand my own website too and hire a graphic designer to update the banner and customize my template.
New template - I recommend updating to the latest template every year so your look stays current and fresh.
Guest blogging - It’s time to guest blog on Huffington Post, or Social Media Examiner, to bring more credibility to my blog.
Speaking engagements - By ramping up my own image, I got a few offers to speak in 2013, and it’s time to be proactive, pitch myself the way I pitch clients, and speak once a month or more. I’m speaking about “Mindful Marketing” at the Mystic Island Festival, Maui, HI, January 30-February 2, 2014, and I will be part of the Wisdom 2.0 Unconference at Google, February 8, 2014. (These are both clients I have advised on social media, content marketing and PR this year.) I was also offered a speaking engagement and “sponsor status” (link back to their website and logo on marketing materials) at a high profile tech conference as part of the deal I negotiated with them as their social marketing strategist.
Press releases – I always ask my clients to use PR Web or free press release services to drive up their traffic. That’s a good idea for me too. A press release every month will keep you in Google News and Yahoo news adding tons of traffic to your site — sometimes 50,000 visits with one release.
Press coverage – Don’t be shy about talking to the press. I am so busy pitching my clients to the media I forget to pitch myself. It’s time to be a spokesperson about social media and PR issues and get a little limelight shining on myself too.
How about speaking at my local TEDx? Yes, join a TEDx in a small town — this makes it easier to get a speaking engagement and it’s a high profile and prestigious perk to have your TED video in YouTube.
Add logos to my bio - I’ve worked with a lot of big names over the past 30 years — this year I added Google, Twitter, Facebook, Steve Wozniak, Eckhart Tolle, Byron Katie, Alanis Morissette, Iggy Pop, David Starfire, Daniel Pinchbeck and some other heavy hitters to my client list by promoting conferences and music festivals with these speakers on the bill. It’s time to play that up more and add their names and logos to my bio, some “Rave Reviews” and testimonials and toot my own horn a little louder. These names on your website also drive more traffic to your site in random searches.
Google Hangouts, Conference Calls and Video Seminars – Yes, it’s time to get on camera and create my own webinar. I helped a client promote his webinar this year. My turn.
Newsletter – Again, the shoemaker’s kids are barefoot. Where’s my newsletter and mail list? (Slap slap.) Where’s my “call to action” on my website? And how come I haven’t done a “fan page squeeze” to export the 100,000+ fans I have access to on 20+ fan pages and turn that into an email database?
Add a Blogtalk radio podcast – How about an “Ask Giselle” Q&A show where people call in and ask for advice? I have clients with radio shows that have generated so many followers this year they were offered TV shows. Yes, podcasting builds your platform and following and you can do it with a mic you can buy at Radio Shack that snaps on your smart phone.
Or add a vlog (video blog) or YouTube show - Tape a video with your smartphone and host it on YouTube and post it to your blog. No skills in video? Appear at a conference and speak for free — they usually have professionals taping these conferences. Ask for a copy of the video and repost on your blog, social media and YouTube channel.
It’s time for all of us to make beautiful shoes to wear in 2014! Make yours a pair of Manolo Blahnik stiletttos. Reach for the stars in 2014 — you deserve a visibility shift too.
This year, the WordPress.com “stats helper” even prepared an automatic summary of the year’s posts .
Here’s an excerpt:
A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,900 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.
Click here to see the complete report.