The first 3 parts of this series discussed many topics surrounding the initial startup phase of your blog. In this fourth installment we’ll dive into marketing and promotions. After all you want the ideal situation of having a steady stream of traffic

This is by no means a definitive guide to but perhaps a jump off point that may help you maximize the potential power of your blog.

Getting to the masses

So maybe you have spent a few months getting your blog on and are slowly developing a style and tone that you think might be appealing to others. You have become knowledgeable on your chosen subject matter and really want to share your thoughts with those outside of your inner circle of family and friends.

The problem is you need to get the word out on the street. How do you get the people excited about this new resource you created and have them tell their peeps about the kick ass website they just visited? To but it bluntly you gotta whore yourself out a bit. Pimp your site as if it was the hottest piece of street ass on the corner.

While you may find the idea of promoting and marketing your site like a high class Vegas hooker vulgar it’s the truth. Pimp with all your might my friend.

The strategy behind search engines

The easiest way to get noticed is to have your site as search engine friendly as possible. That means it must be visible when the search engine spiders start crawling around the Internet looking for new content.

Random searches are probably going to be the number one source of traffic to your site and you need to be aware of how to manipulate them for your benefit. You always want your site to have a high search engine ranking and be at the top of the list of search query results.

This is called Search Engine Optimization. The more you know about this, the better off you will be. Many books and online documents have been written about this subject and they’re quite numerous and sometimes dry reads. The most important thing you should take away is that you want to be near or at the top when a search is done.

Use keywords effectively

Strategic use of keywords relevant to your topic in the URL, title and content of your posts will be a tremendous help in upping your search engine ranking. Don’t go too crazy trying to fit so many keywords that it becomes ridiculous. You don’t want to spam, you want to discreetly promote what you are trying to say.

If you know how to edit the META data of your site (Or you have a plug-in that does it for you), by all means go absolutely crazy dropping as many keywords in that section as possible. I would advise you have an SEO plug-in installed on your site. That makes the job of doing this much easier.

Should that not be possible think of what you would type into a search engine and drop those words in your posts at appropriate times.

Link to others

You may find something of interest while browsing that you can write a rebuttal to or use as a reference. Linking back to your sources can give your readers an idea of where you are coming from in your article.

Of course it’s always nice to ask permission or notify the author that you have linked to them and it’s okay if you don’t. But if you’re going to be linking to one of the bigger sites on the web it’s probably not a bad idea to drop an e-mail to prevent any legal complications.

You can also create a blogroll of sites that are similar, relevant or are just plain interesting. This is more like subtle name-dropping but it can help generate traffic to your site if someone reciprocates and puts you on theirs. Maybe one of their readers will click on that link out of curiosity and you will gain a new reader.

Social Media

Social Media is a must these days and it’s a good idea to create accounts and pages for some of the major players like Twitter, Google+ and Facebook. Sure it’s more redundancy to maintain but there are many automated ways of adding content to your social media stream directly from your site depending on your blogging platform.

Once you’re set up make sure you announce to the world that you are on whatever the popular social media networks are in your part of the world. There’s no point in utilizing these tools if you’re not going to tell anyone where to find you.

If you’re part of a forum then add your site to your signature or make a post in a related thread pimping your site. If there isn’t one, make a new thread if forum rules allow shameless whoring.

In your posts have a way for your readers to share your content with their followers on all forms of social media. While this is not a guarantee, it will greatly help improve the possibility of increased exposure for your site.

Content

You probably want to keep site content as fresh and up to date as possible. For some out there this will be difficult, especially if you’re a single person operation. Depending on what you write about, there could be an overwhelming amount of information to process and regurgitate to the masses.

You could spam the world with the most useless of information in order to generate traffic or you could be picky about what you post. I believe that quality over quantity is a good rule to follow.

That perhaps can be bypassed if you’re just starting out. After all, you want to let others know who you are and what your site represents. But once you’re more established perhaps scale back on the spam and start generating something with some substance.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with outsourcing some of your writing work to others who are also knowledgeable in the field of your choosing. It can keep your content flowing and differing opinions keep things from being too biased or stale.

As long as you can keep things interesting for your readers your can keep them coming back.

Keep track of who is coming and going

All of this work would be rather useless if you have no way of checking if it’s actually working. For that you need find some sort of statistics to work with.

I would recommend Sitemeter or Statcounter for those who want something that is simple and free.  If you’re really cheap and use WordPress you can install JetPack and it will give you some basic information about how active your site is.

Regardless of what you use for your metrics, pay attention to what people are looking at. High traffic posts may give you an indication about the direction your site should go in. Or at least make you feel happy that someone is reading.

Analysis of statistics may sound like a chore but if used properly it can help cater your site to your readers needs and help retain their loyalty.

In the end there are a myriad of ways for you to promote your site and most of them for free. If you really have the need to pay a marketing company to help you out be wary of those that look like they’re too good to be true. There’s no need to get ripped off for the sake of taking a shortcut.

Should you decide to go about this on your own you will be working hard to convince people to visit your site. It may seem like a fruitless effort but if you keep pushing you can gain and maintain a loyal audience.

In the next installment: Interacting with the readers