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 (I like VCita) 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 hour a day to do my own social media.)

2. Got mentioned in a few articles as a social media expert. (Builds SEO. Adds credibility.)

3. Started regular posting on Google +. I know nobody uses G+ but the Google search engine likes Google + and these posts boost your page rank and SEO.

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?

7 lazy ways to shamelessly promote your blog and social media posts to get more traffic

Put your social media on autopilot - reach thousands of influencers, worldwide while you're still asleep or drinking your first cup of coffee.

 

1. Use “Share This” widgets to shamelessly self promote.

Whether you’re using WordPress or any other blogging or web development tool, you can use the “Share This” widget on your website to quickly promote your posts .  Just install the widget on your site and right after you file your post share it shamelessly! Take an hour and share your story with every possible site out there–especially Digg and StumbleUpon. The more you share, the more links you are generating back to your site — and the more traffic you’ll get.

2. Use the “Publicize This” feature in Wordpress.

Yesterday WordPress announced some improvements to make their Publicize This feature more friendly.  Follow the instructions and watch your traffic soar.

3. Time your posts strategically.

In the world of old school journalism and PR, we have learned to strategically project which times and days will generate the most pick up for a news announcement. Tuesday at 8 am EST is when I’ve found press releases get the most pickup.

Why? Because on Monday at 8 am, everyone’s still groggy and drinking coffee (or they’re rolling in late to the office, or sitting in meetings.)

Tuesday is when business gets rolling. And it’s the day when publications traditionally have their story meetings.

Wednesday is the day the weeklies traditionally file their stories.

Thursday is still ok, but your story might get forgotten by the following Monday when reporters are writing again.

To bury bad news, you use reverse psychology. To bury bad news, announce on Friday afternoon, or right before a holiday weekend when everyone’s jetting out of town early. (This is the day for announcing the departure of a CEO or dismal profits that you don’t want to influence the market with.)

Well, I’ve discovered the same theory works with blogging, Tweeting and Facebook:

Tuesday at 9 am EST is the perfect time for a Tweet or post you want to get noticed because:

– It’s 9 am on the East Coast and everyone’s drinking coffee and checking their email, Twitter and Facebook.

– It’s 12 noon on the West Coast and everyone’s checking their social media profiles while on lunch break.

– It’s 6 pm in London, and everyone’s finished their work day and are checking their PCs.

There are lots of tools that help you write your Twitter posts in advance and time them. WordPress also let’s you schedule a post in advance so it blasts out just at the right time.  Marketing consultant Gary McCaffree has this great chart that helps you predict the “sweet spot” for a Tweet — he says the best time is between 9 am and 3 pm.

4. Have everything connected so your WordPress updates your Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, automatically.

This is so easy and so potent. (And you can even rig it so that it’s on autopilot while you’re still asleep — tricking your clients and colleagues into thinking you are a hard working early riser!)

– Set up the Wordbook plug in to post your WordPress to your Facebook wall.

– Now set up the WordPress to Twitter plug in so that your WordPress post automatically goes out to your Twitter subscribers.

– And use the Twitter to Linked in widget to set things up so your Tweet automatically updates your LinkedIn status.

Wow! You just got out the word to thousands of professional connections while you were still asleep!

5. Use a press release to dramatically boost your story’s pick up.

There are hundreds of free press release sites that will help you blast out your story to the planet, or you can use a professional press release wire service for a fee.  You can time your news in advance to go out at a strategic time, and you can load up your press release with key words that will make it stand out in the search engines. Plus, if you use a paid newswire, your news will automatically go out into Yahoo News and Google News where it’s picked up like an AP or Reuter’s newswire story.

With one well written article or news release, I have consistently generated from 50,000 to 100,000 links back to a client’s website. (That’s not a typo.)  And your traffic will only increase as spiders and bots pick up your news, reprint it on RSS feeds and blogs throughout the web, and yes, generate more links back to your blog which in turn permanently increase traffic and search rank.

But the key word here is “well written.” You can’t get this kind of pick up for self serving fluff — your content has to be genuinely newsworthy, interesting, engaging, funny, controversial, keyword-rich or relevant. If you’re not a wordsmith, hire a professional.  Ultimately it’s a juicy headline and great content that gets noticed, reprinted, passed along virally and linked to.

6. Time your email newsletter to go out at the same time.

Start a news virus! Put your blog post in your email newsletter and time it to go out simultaneously to your customers, internal company employees, investors, partners, influencers and your press/blogger list.  With everyone hearing about your news announcement at the same time, it has more psychic impact and feels more important.  Also it’s courteous to give the news to your most valued contacts just as it goes out to the blogosphere.

7. Spin it and send it out again.

Tweet your story several times in one day or week by simply spinning your Tweet slightly and changing the headline to focus on a different aspect of the story. For example, my headline here is: “7 lazy ways to shamelessly promote your blog posts.” My next headline could be: “7 lazy ways to get more traffic on your website,” and then “7 shamelessly lazy ways to get more Twitter traffic,” and then, “Get more web traffic while you’re still asleep,” and so on… and yes, you can even set them up in advance so they go out on autopilot.

Well, (gloat, gloat) just wanted to let you know that this post went out to thousands of friends and influencers, all over the planet, boosted my search rank and increased my credibility while I was lounging around doing my morning yoga and drinking my first cup of coffee.

That’s why I love social media!

8 free (or cheap) ways to give your web branding a new look for the New Year

Start the new year with a fresh new look for your personal brand.

This down time between Christmas and the first week of the New Year is a perfect opportunity to give your personal branding a lift and start the New Year with a fresh image.

Here are eight ways you can use free templates and other inexpensive tools available on the web to give your business or personal brand a lift.

1. Reinvent your name for the new year.

Is your business name unique–or is it lost in the crowd? Consider finding a new name for your business and a unique URL — an identifier that people type into the browser to find your website. Do a little research on  Go Daddy or directly from WordPress, and see if your business name (or your personal name, or the name of your book) is available. If your name is generic, hard to remember or hard to spell, change it today before you start your branding campaign.

 

Check for copyright availability too before you buy your URL. If your business name is no longer available in Facebook, Twitter or Go Daddy, consider modifying or changing it today to something unique before you move on to step 2.
If you aren’t the first whatever that shows up in Google, you’ll need to pay dearly for that in advertising. Names are free. Ads are expensive. Save money by choosing a unique name before you start your web marketing campaign.

2. Start a blog with a free WordPress theme.

Do you have a blog yet? Or do you have an old website that desperately needs an update? A blog is the hub and the center of the wheel of your integrated web marketing strategy, so start with it first.

I recommend a blog, not a Website, because blogs are filled with words, and Google uses words to search for you. In short, blogs, which are filled with Tags and Categories and Words are instantly Search Engine Optimized.

Moving from an old static website to a new WordPress blog (or adding a blog as a link on your old static site) will generate an instant surge in traffic and customers in the New Year.

With one click and you can move your old, outdated WordPress site into a new theme and try it out.  Just click “theme options” in your Dashboard to try on a new look — or spend a little to get your site hosted and you’ll be able to choose from thousands of free templates for your site.
Choose a template that offers a “custom-background” and “custom-header” and custom colors, such as this Elegant Grunge template I used for Visibility Shift.
Your background is important and spend enough time to really find one that strikes you. I like to start with a clean, white, simple zen-like template as a blank canvas and add bling from there:
3. Add a new free custom  background to your theme.

You can find a free wallpaper online to use as your background, or buy stock art or better yet, use your own photo that you have rights to.  There are thousands of free backgrounds available, here’s just one site to check out:
4. Create a new custom banner for your page:

Some WordPress sites enable you to drop in a photo, crop it and add text to create a custom banner or header. I used a photo by my brother in law, Adrian Fernandez, (of a galaxy) for this blog, Visibility Shift. Prior to that, I used a free image of Times Square that matched the wallpaper in my Twitter page.
Here is just one of many sites that let you create free banners without needing to know Photoshop:
You can also find sites that offer cute, free custom backgrounds for Blogger, like this one I used for the blog, Shopping for Love:
5. Add free plug ins or custom fonts to your blog.

If you are hosted, you can use a wealth of free Plug Ins to jazz up your blog. If your site is WordPress hosted, you can use Typekit for two free fonts. (Two is the max you should use anyway for clean design.)
Unique fonts will really make your site stand out. I used two very distinctive Typekit fonts in the Laughing Heart site and the colors of pink, lavender and purple for a playful look that suits this husband-wife spiritual comedy team.
The most important plug in is a Share This button that will encourage readers to virally share your content via email, Facebook, Twitter, Stumble Upon, Digg, etc.
6. Start a free newsletter.

Your newsletter should use a similar color scheme, template, banner, background, photograph and font as the rest of your branding. My branding designer recommends the free My Newsletter Builder for a newsletter. Most of my friends and clients use Constant Contact. A new service, My Emma, is more stylish.
Make sure you add all of your social networking pages into the signature line in your newsletter.
While you’re at it, update your email list and type in or scan the contacts from all those business cards you gathered in 2010. When you build social media pages, you can use that email list to invite customers and contacts to join your pages.
You can manage your email list for free in a free email program like Fastmail or Gmail.
7. Update (or start) your Facebook Fan Page, Twitter page, Linked In profile and Yelp page.

If you don’t have a social media presence yet, the winter break is a great, quiet time to hunker down and do the tedious, time consuming work it takes to get your pages built and invite all of your contacts into them.
Again, use the same photo, name, background wall paper or logo, and the same fonts consistently in all of your web and social media pages.
8. Send out a New Year’s holiday greeting with your e-newsletter to announce your new look.
There are tons of free New Year’s wallpapers out there that you can use to spruce up your newsletter, or better yet, commission a portrait of your family, work group or business, or a collection of photos that sum up the highlights of 2010.  Use your newsletter to announce your new website and Social Media pages to your friends, family, business contacts and customers and start the New Year with a fresh look for 2011.