Having your own blog is a great way to boost your search engine and direct traffic by building good content, but you don't need your own blog to enjoy the benefits of blogging. Here are some ways you can leverage your blog or other blogs to boost your online marketing efforts:
Participate and Comment
Regular readers of a certain blog will usually have something to say about the post they have just read. This is why blogs have the ability to comment. When you leave a comment, add your opinion and make sure you also fill out the fields for your e-mail address and website URL. This allows other readers of that post and comment to find you later. By commenting on other blogs, you may find that your site gets traffic from that site, and sometimes even the blog authors come to read and comment on your own blog!
Avoid spamming, flaming, baiting, or posting offensive content in your comment. Your comment will be deleted, and you might end up getting banned from commenting on that site again or reported to your internet provider.
If you would like to comment or add something to the discussion on a blog that is longer than a paragraph or two, write it in a post on your own blog and then use the trackback feature in your blog to link back to the original post. The two most popular blogging software vendors, WordPress and SixApart (makers of VOX, LiveJournal, TypePad and MovableType), offer trackback options. (There are others, but it's not implemented as well.) To trackback to one of these sites, look for something that says "Trackback" or "Trackback URI" and copy that address. You can then paste it into the trackback field of your blog post, and the trackback will be done automatically once you hit submit.
If your trackback doesn't instantly show up, don't worry—some blogs require all trackbacks and comments to be approved before they appear. It will show up eventually.
For more information on trackbacks, the TypePad Knowledge Base has a good article called "What is a Trackback?".
No blogger knows everything about everything. That's why a smart blogger will invite others to write guest posts for them. Writing a guest post is good for you because you can provide a short snippet about yourself (including your URL) in your content while promoting yourself to an established audience. Guest posting is good for the blogger because that blogger gets to expand his/her content while taking a day off from writing!
To get started, make a connection with the author of a blog that you read regularly. Offer to write a guest post for that person, and perhaps list topics or areas of expertise that you're able to write upon. Include a few links to other things you've written. If you are turned down, don't be offended—blogs are businesses in themselves, and the author may just feel your offer doesn't fit within the blog's business model or marketing plan. Simply try again with another blog!
One rule of note for guest posting: Don't submit an article to a blogger for a guest post that you've already published in multiple places. If the blogger does due diligence to make sure this is an original piece, that person will have every right to be angry with you for submitting duplicate content. If they don't discover this reality, you can embarrass the blogger or hurt the site with your article. Either way, it's not good for building a relationship in the blogosphere, and you may look at the site and find negative comments about you instead of positive reactions to the content you submitted!
Host a Blog Carnival
A blog carnival is, according to Wikipedia, "similar to a magazine, in that it is dedicated to a particular topic, and is published on a regular schedule, often weekly or monthly. Each edition of a blog carnival is in the form of a blog article that contains permalinks links to other blog articles on the particular topic." Hosting a blog carnival provides you with two things:
- A rapid increase in Google-loving inbound links
- A temporary boost in readership
To turn that temporary boost into a permanent one, you must have good content on your site that entices the readers to subscribe and/or come back on non-carnival days. Every time you host a blog carnival, your readership will take a significant jump, and a lot of those people will come back for the regular posts after being introduced to your site through the blog carnival. Remember to take a few lines at the start of your carnival hosting day to describe your site and what readers might find there.
To get started, find a suitable carnival for your area of expertise at Blog Carnival. Once you have found one, test the waters by reading current and past issues. You can either volunteer to host one, or just submit one of your own articles for consideration if you are not ready for hosting.
If you have regularly updated content on your site, you should also offer subscriptions. Subscriptions allow your users to get regular updates on your text feed, headline listing, podcast stream, video blog, etc., through their feed reader, web browser or email program. Subscriptions are important for marketing because they help turn one-time users into repeat visitors.
We highly recommend FeedBurner for your subscription fulfillment, especially since they were taken under the Google umbrella. FeedBurner is the top service on the market today, and is what StartupNation uses for the blog feed. Once you've connected to Feedburner using their tools, be sure to use their Chicklet Chooser to add sign-up options to your website.