22 steps to double your website traffic and lead generation.

22 steps to double your website traffic and lead generation.
22 steps to double your website traffic and lead generation. It’s not brain surgery. And it brings more business and clients.

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.

STRATEGY FIRST:

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.)

TACTICS:

Website:

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.

Social media

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?

15 free tips to boost your “organic” SEO and get more traffic for your website in the new year.

Can anyone find your old static website?
Use the right words so people can find your blog in Google.Advertising, as the saying goes, is the awareness you pay for.

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 others to 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.

SEO? It's all about storytelling. Today people discover you through your stories. Make yours worth sharing.
SEO? It’s all about storytelling. Today people discover you through your stories. Make yours worth sharing.

How to drive more traffic from Google to your website.

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.

6 Ways to Make Passive Income from Your Blog or Website

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.