Today I discovered my website traffic has quadrupled since December 2014 — and soared to the top 1.5 million US websites according to Alexa. (The prior rank was in the top 3 million).
The number of leads coming in per day are overwhelming me now — and are from business in the US as well as China, Russia, Israel and France. My Klout rating is now 69 — in the top 1% of all bloggers who write about social media.
How did this happen?
You know the saying: “The shoemaker’s children go barefoot?” I actually started using the Internet marketing techniques I get paid to do for clients to promote my own business.
First — I looked at my competition and analyzed the content marketing and websites of the top 50 Internet consultants listed on the “Forbes 50” list and tried to figure out what was working and not working for them, then copied it. (More about this in a future blog post.)
1. Redesigned my website with a state of the art mobile-first responsive template.
2. Chose a unique color palette for my personal brand. (Plum/Peach/Black.)
3. Changed my photo to a recent, digital photo with currently stylish clothing (a gray/black dress) and got rid of the old, black and white photo that was obviously taken pre-digital with a film camera.
4. Added client lists and work samples to my website.
5. Rewrote the first page as a “Pain Letter” writing directly to my potential client and stating how I can solve their problem. (No visibility on the Internet.)
6. Added logos of the clients I’ve worked with in the past on the right hand side of the page.
7. Added a “Contact Me” with a form to send an email.
8. Used a scheduling app so clients can schedule a 15 minute trial consultation.
1. Ramped up social media posts to 10-20/day on Twitter by using Buffer to time the posts 24/hrs. day. (It now takes only 1 hr/day to do my own social media.)
2. Got mentioned in a few articles as a social media expert. (Adds credibility.)
3. Started regular posting on Google + – the Google search engine likes Google + and these posts boost your rank
4. Created several new pages in listings and directories that built links back to my website
5. Put my URL on press releases on PR Web. This is huge. It drives tons of traffic back to your page.
6. Rewrote the first page of my website so it is loaded with key words clients are searching for. (Social media and PR consultant in Silicon Valley and San Francisco.)
7. Blogged 1 x/ week
8. Set up content syndication from my blog to Twitter, G+, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
9. Blogged on LinkedIn Pulse — creating more than 2,500 followers for my Pulse blog.
10. Built pages on About.me, Eolio and other sites that point back to my URL.
11. Tweeting about the “trending topics of the day” using #hashtags.
12. Changed my photo to one that looks directly at the reader instead of off to the right.
13. Choose a new color palette for my “personal brand” that no other consultant has. (Deep plum/peach/black.)
Can I do this for your business? Yes. And if I can’t do it for myself, why would you hire me?
I was talking to a client the other day who wanted more visibility. They had a hideously long URL for their company website.
I rolled my eyes. I immediately knew they were doomed to failure unless they changed their name.
I asked: “Is there any way you can find a shorter url?”
My prospective client hemmed and hawed about how attached he was to his ridiculously long company name.
There’s a reason why Google and Yahoo succeeded — and a host of other earlier search engine contenders like NorthernLights and AltaVista bombed.
There’s a reason why YouTube won the video wars and early contenders like, “uh, um, uh, whats their name, I forgot” failed.
Because YouTube is a freakin’ awesome brand. It says what it does. It has attitude. It’s memorable. You can spell it. It rhymes with things. It’s unique. It works in other languages and other cultures.
When I named my business, I spent an entire rainy day on Go Daddy typing things in at random until I found “Visibility Shift.”
Even though it’s not short, it’s memorable, it says exactly what it is.
And it’s relevant to my consulting practice, which is about shifting your visibility to a new level. I was absolutely floored when I discovered such a great website name was even available — and for $7.99.
Here are 10 reasons you want to take time to find a truly memorable stand out URL:
It’s easier to type a short, memorable name – a long or unmemorable or hard to spell url just discourages people
It’s memorable – (One word is best. Two words are ok. Three is just too much. Say it out loud. Can you pronounce it?)
Searchability (SEO) – A name that isn’t unique is going to bring up millions of search results in Google. You want a unique URL so you are the first and only hit in Google, without having to pay $$$$ to Google for adwords.
International localization – remember the web is global and your name has to translate easily into other languages — so it’s better if it’s not a word in any language. Run your name past some friends who speak other languages and some translation software and make sure it doesn’t translate into something embarrassing. (The Chevy Nova flopped in Mexico because “No Va” means “Won’t Run.”) Say it out loud again. Does it sound like something obscene in Chinese?
Put less words on your site, more pictures. Especially remember that the web is international and words need to be translated. So the fewer words, the more universal your message is. Learn from the success of big brands like Apple and Google who take a less is more approach.
It doesn’t have to be a .com — You can be successful with a .us, .tv, etc. For example, Delicio.us. And that’s even shorter.
Groupon is successful in large part because their name rocks. “Group + coupon.” Brilliant. Memorable. Unique. Short. Tells you what it is.
Get your name first before you spend time and money branding it. Changing your name later is very costly and it means you are undoing all the work you did on public relations, marketing and social media outreach. (Did you know that AirBnB was originally called “Airbed and Breakfast”? Seriously! The airbed rental idea flopped so they shortened it.)
VCs look at your brand and name as a big reason to invest. A great logo, web design, business card, brand and name are almost as important as the product or technology behind the brand.
Think about web branding when you name your products — and your kids, too. I’m grateful that my mother, very ahead of her time, gave me a name that is so unique that I go to the top of Google. Check that name out in Facebook, Twitter and Google and make sure it’s available. (The reverse applies if you want to protect your privacy — then John Doe is the way to go.) Consider adding a unique middle name to your name that describes what you do so you stand out. (ie: David “Avocado” Wolfe is a speaker in the health food field.)
This advice applies to any personal or corporate brand — a musician, band, artist, writer, book title or film. Choose your name carefully and snap up the URL as soon as you can, even if you end up sitting on it for years before you get your project started.
For more information about naming, visit Name Wire a blog about naming.
Old style SEO (search engine optimization) is about tricks, hacks and keywords. Your overpriced SEO geek may even convince you to pay him big bucks to put a big, ugly chunk of “geek speak” text written for the Search Engine (not human beings) on the first page of your website “for SEO purposes.”
Instead, the big opportunity to be discovered is by creating the most appealing, juicy, word-filled content possible and syndicating that yourself throughout the Internet via social media. Hire a professional writer and a social media pro and create compelling content if you want to drive traffic. (Not an SEO guru.)
Fire your SEO guy, and reallocate those resources to producing and syndicating more content that will drive free organic traffic to your website. (Now if your SEO person does most of the things below already, you should keep them. But I have a hunch they are still mostly doing the old-school tricks, metatags and hacks method.)
Here are 9 ways social search is the new SEO:
1. Answer the question in your headline. I know this is brain dead obvious, but you need to think like a search engine when you write every post, tweet and headline. What are people searching for? Ask the question in your headline. Answer the question in your content. (How can I get better organic SEO tips? How can I get more organic website traffic? How can I drive organic traffic to my site?) There. Done. Did it. Now send these headlines out into cyberspace from your social pages.
2. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is totally unnecessary if you build your website on a blogging platform like WordPress that incorporates keywords, tags and lots of “social sharing” features. This is the dirty little secret that the whole SEO industry kind of dances around.
3. SEO, or paid advertising, is doing absolutely nothing to build your visibility on social networks. SEO is no longer relevant once you start doing Social Media because your profile on Twitter and your tweets automatically get the same search rank as Twitter! That’s right — you can drive more traffic to your website with a Tweet than you’ll get from an article in the New York Times. See this example when I Google myself — note that the New York Times article that quotes me is buried deep in the string. The first 10 results are all social media pages. (Social media has even better Google rank than my own website.)
4. SEO on your website is nowhere near as effective as a key-word filled, search-engine friendly press release that drives traffic to your website. Press releases go straight into Google News and Yahoo News, can easily be picked up by 50,000 blogs and feeds, and you can also distribute them on your social networks. It’s like having thousands of messengers in cyberspace sending people over to your website.
5. The best kept secret that that SEO guy doesn’t want you to know is that you’re probably paying him to drive traffic to your dead, static, dated website instead of starting from scratch with a social media optimized blog. I know it’s scary and expensive to leave your 1990s static website behind and get with it. After all, it’s your baby. You have tens of thousands of dollars and hours invested in it. But your 90s website is not only invisible — it’s dated, like an old kitchen that screams “Avocado and Harvest Gold,” like shoulder pads on a suit, like a wide necktie. A 2014 WordPress site looks like this one — it can adjust to desktop screens, tablets and smartphones. The other thing about using a blog as the center of your content wheel is that WordPress has great content syndication features that will automatically syndicate every post to all of your social media pages.
6. All that SEO you overpaid for will disappear when you remove your old site and update to a 2015 responsive template. However, links to Twitter, news coverage, blogs, press coverage and Press Releases will last forever in Google. As long as you don’t change your URL, those pieces of content drive traffic to your website as long as those networks stay on the Internet.
7. SEO is about words. More words = more chances you will be found by Google. By putting those words out on press releases, articles, blogs, Tweets, Pins and multiple social media pages (not just one place, your website) you’re exponentially increasing the chances that Google will find you. Even more if that stuff gets shared.
8. Google likes relevant, timely, fresh content. Nothing is more timely than social media posts like Tweets and G+ updates, or your own blog posts. Stale website content from your 1999 website is not very interesting to Google. (Or your customers.)
9. Google likes (surprise!) Google products such as G+ and YouTube. Nothing impresses Google’s search bots like using one of Google’s products. This is the only reason to have at least a token channel on YouTube and a G+ page where you post at least 1 time per day. Note that most of the top 10 hits when you Google me are G+ posts.
Today, to drive organic traffic to your website (without paying for links or ads) you need:
– An updated site that contains a blog, preferably a WordPress template
– An excellent writer (hire a journalist, not some cheap person on Fiverr who can’t write in English) to produce regular, juicy, keyword-rich, interesting and topical posts. (Bonus points if they capitalize on the trending topics of the day.)
– A social media consultant (to get more posts out there into the social sites and distribute your blog content to drive traffic back to your website.)
– A PR consultant – to send out more press releases that drive traffic to your site, and get you press coverage which will drive up your search ranks and generate the permanent, high-quality links back to your site that Alexa and Google love.
With the rise of Social Sharing we’ve entered a new era of digital media: personalized discovery. The balance of power is shifting: Many web managers and publishers are seeing more audience coming from Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+ and Twitter, Reddit and other social sharing sites than from Google search.
Social signals are the new page rank — become a “trending topic of the day,” or comment on the trends of the day, and you will see your traffic soar.
People will discover you and find you through your content, your networks and your conversations.
I took the plunge into video shooting and editing with Animoto and a Canon DSLR camera. Here’s my experience and how you can get professional caliber video for your business on a shoestring.
Video is de rigeur for social media these days. You need video to convert those customers you send to your website with Facebook. You also need it to tell a story that can’t be told in still photos.
For my longtime client RiverGuidess Adventures, a pioneer in the “transformational river rafting” retreat, we’d been struggling for years to convey the magic of these events and falling short. These retreats combine dance, yoga, healthy food and rafting in a very upscale and comfortable fantasy estate that is more golf course than wilderness.
Video is the best way to convey the magic of this property, the lavish catered meals and the very special vibe of the heart-opening transformation that happens on these retreats. They appeal to the lucrative and mostly untapped older Baby Boomer market and families with kids — an age group often ignored by events of this nature that tend to market only to younger Millennials.
The retreats are pricey – $580 for a long weekend. To convey this value, and help transform the image from “hippie” to upscale, we have been sending pro photographers to each trip.
But every time, something was missing. Each photographer had a different artistic and personal vision of the experience that was not always compatible with our marketing goal — to attract the affluent “transformational” consumer and shift our appeal to a slightly younger demographic.
After struggling to direct outsiders to give me the results I wanted — I finally caved in and learned how to shoot and edit video myself.
I used a Canon DSLR camera ($299 on sale at BestBuy) and a high speed 64 GB card ($200) to shoot the video. Then I blended it with photos shot by four different professional wedding and event photographers plus a few images I shot on Instagram with an iPad.
I edited the photos in iPhoto and then imported the video clips and photos into a video editing app called Animoto.
This process took me more than 48 continuous hours — and resulted in 4 minutes and 30 seconds of video. This is about the average for how long it takes to edit video — generally one day per minute of finished video — so keep this in mind if you’re getting your feet wet. It’s time consuming!
The Canon DSLR is known as the camera of choice for Indie film photographers in Hollywood, but I found it clunky and hard to use. It also did not shoot well in low light (unless you add an optional lens.)
The quality of the resulting footage was sometimes very good, though (if I can just learn to hold it still and remove the lens cap!) I still found a DLSR awkward and heavy to hold and will be looking into smaller, lighter cameras in the future.
Animoto is an app that lets you host your images in “the cloud” — this solves one of the critical difficulties with video editing, storing all those huge clips. It also makes it very easy to share the process with the client or a team as the project evolves, and it includes some fantastic ready-made templates. It’s really not more difficult than making a Powerpoint and in some ways easier. The other beauty of Animoto is that it can time your clips to the beat of the music– generating very professional and engaging results.
We added the royalty free songs from Animoto’s library of 10,000 songs. I did a keyword search for “summer” to find the uplifting song that conveys our “summercamp for grownups” theme.
Taking the plunge on the rope swing. (The woman in this photo is over 50 years old. The client wants to create an experience for older Boomers who want more comfort. We call it “glamping.”)
Animoto for Business costs $39 per month. (www.animoto.com)
Here’s how the video looks when hosted by Animoto – sharper than You Tube:
Advertising is the awareness you pay for. And PR is the awareness you pray for.
Today, “PR” includes social media and “content marketing” — and that means “the visual stuff with words on it.” But to make people aware of your content, they need to be able to find it in Google. And this is why “organic” reach or Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is so important.
Great traffic means a lower Alexa rank. The lower your Alexa score, the more people are visiting your site, and the more “relevance” it has in the search engines like Google. (Alexa.com is the site that ranks other websites according to their popularity.) My Alexa rank continues to soar, and has surged from the top 12 million sites in the world, to the top 4 million. (I started the blog about two years ago.)
This is pretty amazing considering the fact that I am not specifically trying to drive traffic to this site, which is primarily a personal blog to promote my consulting practice.
My traffic is 100% “organic” reach — that means I get these visitors without paying for for advertising, Google Ad Words, Facebook ads, banners or link exchanges.
Here’s what I do to boost my SEO — and how you can use these techniques to boost traffic on your own site.
1. Content, content, content.
That is, just write interesting stuff. Write well. Be opinionated. Be a little controversial. Controversial, emotional, engaging content will get read and spread.
2. Teach and inform. Don’t just talk about yourself.
Create “how to” articles that teach others how to do what you do. Share information and don’t just promote yourself all the time. In fact, don’t promote yourself, ever, except in your bio and “about” section. Tell, don’t sell.
3. Use WordPress.
Build your website on WordPress — not a static website. If you already invested in a static website, add a WordPress blog tab to your site. Why? Because WordPress is very well optimized for search engines. WordPress also automatically syndicates your stories to other WordPress sites, and it also makes it very easy to tag your stories, videos and photos with juicy keywords.
4. Use lots of words on WordPress.
I know the current fad is towards “visual” websites and not a lot of words — but the fact is, Google and other search engines search for words, so use lots of them, and use the right ones.
Also make sure to write captions and search-worthy tags for every photo you use, so these photos can be found in search engines.
5. Think like a search engine.
What phrases do people search for? What questions do they ask that apply to your field or product? Answer those questions with your content.
7. Syndicate to all of your social media pages.
You can set this up in WordPress to syndicate your posts automatically when they are published so your posts go to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Services like Networked Blogs also help amplify your reach. A new service, Thunderclap can dramatically amp up posts for cause-related content and non profits.
8. Feed your social media pages into your site.
Syndicate the content into your page — and out of it. The more it flows, the more traffic you might get. There are free widgets that make this simple to add a fan page, Instagram or Pinterest
feed to your blog.
9. Add easy to find “share this” buttons to make it simple for othersto share your content.
Sounds obvious, but you would not believe how many businesses bury these icons on the bottom of their website. Bring them to the top and make them big, easy to see and find if people are reading on a small screen mobile device.
10. Comment on other people’s blogs, especially major news sites.
Once a week or so, while reading the news, make relevant comments as an authority in your field on other blogs and news sites — particularly if they are comments on topical news of the day. This brings curious people to your page and builds links to your site. Share these stories with #hashtags that refer to the Trending Topics and news of the day.
11. Discipline yourself to post at least once a week.
The more you write, the more you post, the more you share — the higher your Google rank and relevance and the more traffic you get.
12. Send out press releases
Press releases are the most amazing traffic generator, period. Ever. You can use free press release sites if you can’t afford a professional news wire, but I recommend paying for PR Web which is highly SEO optimized.
13. Get mentioned in “real” media. (That is, do PR.)
One fantastic article in a major newspaper like the New York Times can permanently shift your business to a new level, boost page rank — and generate traffic to your website forever. Yes you will need to hire a professional PR agency (like me) to get this kind of coverage. Be patient as it can take many months, and be prepared to pay through the nose. It’s worth it.
Or try this yourself — some people naturally have a gift for PR and can do it themselves.
14. Use Pinterest to generate permanent links back to your site.
Publish your WordPress photos from your WordPress articles as Pinterest posts — and then go back in and “tag” the posts with keyword-rich phrases and URLs so the pins show up in Google. Tremendous traffic builder.
15. Make your website worth coming back to.
I know this sounds obvious, but why are you wasting your time driving traffic to a website unless it’s going to close the deal and make the sale once people arrive? Make sure you have a way to sign up subscribers to your newsletter, capture visitors’ emails and lead them to follow your Social Media pages so you can bring them back again and again.
On December 21, 2012, I had the opportunity to help coordinate one of the largest global synchronized moments in history — millions of people participating in a candlelight ceremony at dawn (5:11 am UT) to celebrate the Winter Solstice and the end of the Mayan Calendar.
We succeeded in getting more than 20 million people to watch a live streaming video broadcast for 72 hours continuously for three days.
It’s quite possible that these global events, streamed over the Internet and self organized by volunteers will soon surpass those numbers. It’s an enormous, overlooked opportunity for global brands to capture the attention of the Millennials, a fickle group that doesn’t watch TV anymore.
When have we ever had the technology to simultaneously watch the sunrise at ever sacred site in the planet before? This was that moment when it shifted.
How significant is this?
– 7.4 million people watch Oprah.
– Only 8.5 million people watched NBC Nightly News and 21 million people watched 60 Minutes in 2010 — network news has been on a gradual decline for years and these numbers are sinking.
– 113 million people in the US watched the Superbowl in 2012 — which was most watched television event in American history.
3.1 viewers saw a television PR campaign I participated in for Hewlett Packard in 1992 for the launch of their first wireless palmtop device — which was then thought to be an incredible number. This involved an astronomical budget, multiple PR agencies, a press conference at the Rainbow Room and professional b-roll.
It’s quite possible that these global events, streamed over the Internet and self organized by volunteers will soon surpass the SuperBowl. It’s an enormous, overlooked opportunity for global brands to capture the attention of the Millennials, a fickle group that doesn’t own a TV anymore–let alone watch one.
Synchronized Internet meditations and dance flash mobs like this are becoming more and more common. Recently, a group called One Billion Rising had an impressive turnout for Dance flash mobs on Valentines Day 2013 — so we can expect this trend to continue to amplify.
While a few generous individuals contributed money to sponsor the December 21 broadcast, including a technology company that supplied some of the sattelite uplink equipment, the December 21 live stream was produced on a shoestring budget by global marketing campaign standards.
The outreach happened by word of mouth over the social networks and enthusiastic volunteers, including a group backed by Hollywood veteran Michael Short, called BeThePeace, which is composed of volunteer industry professionals who have experience with events like the Superbowl and the Academy Awards. It was also assisted by World Unity 2012, Synthesis, Birth2012 and Unify.org, a group of savvy young social marketing branding experts and web developers in San Francisco. who have been creating unified events such as MedMob.
Dozens of PR teams and social marketing teams from all of the festivals collaboratively promoted the December 21 event with their Fan pages and email lists encouraging viral sharing.
Celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher, Beyonce, Russell Simmons used their huge Twitter and Facebook networks to Tweet about #Unify and the events taking place worldwide.
The next global event will be Earth Day on April 20, 2013. The Earth Day festivals, which have been taking place globally for 40 years, now attract a global attendance of 1 billion people in 196 countries. That’s 1/7 of the planet! While not everyone at every EarthDay will be coaxed into dancing and doing yoga — the potential for large numbers are extraordinary.
It’s important for brands to recognized that dance, yoga or meditation flash mobs leveraged for advertising must be authentic — the Millennials can see right through hype and do not like to be “marketed” to.
Samsung got ridiculed by the media when they had a fake dance flash mob in New York’s Times Square to launch the new Samsung Galaxy phone. Reporters called the fake flash mob “cheezy” and “embarrassing.”
Says Adil Kassim, who is one of the masterminds behind #Unify and the upcoming Earth Day yoga and dance flash mob: “Brands want to associate with stuff that matters.”
And Millennials want to associate themselves with brands that matter.
Please share the graphic below on your Fan pages and help get out the word:
The success of the December 21, 2012 broadcast surprised us. I remember standing in Chichen Itza in the modest room where a team of about 10 extremely hard working volunteers (who barely slept during the weekend) running the show on a few monitors and laptops and struggling with the bandwidth issues in Mexico, managed the epicenter of the broadcast.
We were thinking, well, maybe 20 thousand people are watching. When we heard the numbers – 20 MILLION? We were astonished. 20 million people watching a candle ceremony? This is proof that simple, genuine, spiritual and unifying events can draw more viewers than sports, news or Hollywood blockbuster films.
This broadcast was live streamed on multiple websites, including Barbara Marx Hubbard‘s Birth 2012, The Shift Network, Unify.org and WorldUnity2012.com, simultaneously. Websites and social media outreach connected these ceremonies at festivals all over the world.
Viewers participated in a synchronized candle ceremony at sunrise — starting at The Uplift Festival at Ayers Rock in Australia, and moving across the planet in waves of synchronized meditation ceremonies, to events in Maui, HI, the Synthesis 2012 festival in Chichen Itza, Mexico, the Stonehenge festival in England, Newgrange monument for the Ireland 2012 festival in Ireland, the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt for a festival produced by the Do Lab of Los Angeles, then Jerusalem and Mt. Fuji in Japan.
The event didn’t feature any big rock stars — but New Age speakers like Rev. Michael Beckwith of the Agape Church in Los Angeles, author Barbara Marx Hubbard and ceremonies with Mayan and Indigenous elders. The peak viewership moment came when the author of “The Four Agreements,” Don Miguel Ruiz, gave a humble speech while sitting on the edge of the stage in Chichen Itza and swinging his legs back and forth. (Ruiz’ book was on the New York Times bestseller list for more than 7 years.)
A synchronized moment of dance on the beach in Santa Cruz, CA, captured by photographer Marianne Grace:
Synchronized Internet meditations and friendly dance flash mobs are becoming more and more common. We can expect this trend to continue to amplify and draw ever greater numbers, offering a tremendous potential for sustainable brands and global technology companies to sponsor these events for unprecedented global visibility at a fraction of the cost of traditional network television advertising.
If a sponsor would like to leverage the next global unified moment to get out the word about their brand at every Earth Day in the world — reaching up to 1 billion people — please contact: email@example.com
Yesterday I discovered a gold mine I had no idea I owned. A blog that I started in early days of blogging in 2004 is now ranked in the top 1,000,000 of all the sites on the Internet.
While this is a wonderful surprise, I am also kicking myself.
I could be making money, and my blog is just sitting there.
Are you sitting on an Internet gold mine?
Over time, blogs and websites can become “properties” with high virtual value on the Internet. If you have an old blog or even a business website, do yourself a favor and learn your Google Page Rank and your Alexa rank. You might be very surprised.
A surprising number of my clients also have no idea how potentially lucrative their websites are, and I’m usually the one who breaks the good news to them.
For example, one day, I typed a client’s url into Alexa and discovered his website was ranked in the top 1 million sites on the entire internet! He had absolutely no idea.
Another client just shut down a website because their event had ended — despite that fact that it was getting 1,000,000 hits a month from the aggressive promotion and PR we were doing. That site is now very connected on the Internet and it could be making money, or even flipped for a profit.
I checked the Alexa rank for a new client I just started this week and discovered she has 250 inbound links on her blog, and a very respectable rank in the top 2 million of all websites in the US. No, she had no idea at all she was sitting on a possible Internet fixer upper.
Even this site, Visibility Shift, has a surprisingly high search rank and great SEO. The main reason is because my name and URL go out on press releases on PR Web every time I send out a release for a client. This builds tons of links back to their page — and to my own page.
1. Sell Links
This is controversial, but I see no reason why not, as long as the links are for sites you feel ok about promoting and not just some skanky “enlargement” product. The advantage to links is they are small and unobtrusive and won’t clutter your margins like a virtual Times Square.
You can contact websites with products in your niche directly, and offer to sell them links, or you can use a firm like Magenet that will broker this for you.
2. Google Ad Words or other pay per click ad services
The trick to using Ad Words is to have lots of relevant key words in your content, and highly focused content relevant to an ad category that has a high cost per click. There are sites like About.com that generate the majority of their revenue this way.
3. Amazon.com Affiliate Programs
Personally, this has not been a big money maker for me, but I do know people who successfully promote books, supplements or other merchandise that is very closely aligned with the content on their page.
4. Niche Affiliate Programs
I like the idea of targeted niche affiliate programs better — for example, I have a spirituality and yoga blog and joined an affiliate program for an online store that sells buddah statues.
5. Banner ads
Create an “Advertise” tab on your blog, and offer an invitation to advertise. Include all the statistics that advertisers want to see, such as your Google page rank, Alexa rank, traffic, social media statistics, links to your social pages, press coverage you’ve received, and any other work you’re doing to build traffic, credibility and brand awareness. Include a phone number and email address so you can be reached. Then visit five blogs that are written by competitors, find out who their advertisers are, and contact those advertisers directly. A client of mine did this and got a banner advertiser the first day he tried.
6. Flip your website.
Yes, just like the flip and remodel craze that hit housing in the 1990s, you can flip and remodel a URL. A bare URL is not worth nearly as much as one with inbound links, a Google page rank and lots of keyword-rich content. Upgrade it with fresh content, paint it with a nicer interface and a new template, and do some social media promotion to spruce up your Page Rank, traffic and SEO and you might have a blog that’s worth more than your car. A friend sold one of his urls for $18,000. Go Daddy auctioned off two of my expired URLs for thousands of dollars — which is what tipped me off that I could be doing this myself.
Never let an URL expire until you check it out to see if it’s accumulated some traffic and a Page Rank. Even a page rank of 1 could pull in ads. There are many brokers that specialize in auctioning off websites, or you can even sell it on Ebay or Craigslist.
More about remodeling your blog or website for better Search Optimization and using press releases, press coverage and Social Media to drive traffic to it in a future post.