51 Blogging and Online Marketing Tips for the New Year

iStock_000006031387XSmallHere are 51 blogging and internet marketing tips that you can use as inspiration for the upcoming year.

Mindset

1. Revisit your goals. Take a moment and rewrite your goals. You may find that they may have changed since the last time you really took a good look at them. If you don’t have any goals, than what are you working towards?

2. Remember where you were. Where was your online business or blog at one year ago? Are you seeing any improvements? If yes, be proud of how far you’ve come along and the fact that you haven’t given up. If you haven’t seen any improvements, why do you think that is?

3. You can always do a little bit more. If you’re up to it, try this 2-step exercise:

  1. Raise your hand as high as you can.
  2. Raise your hand even higher.

If you do this exercise, you’ll notice that you can always stretch your hand a little higher, even though you were told to put it as high as you can at first. When I did this exercise as a teenager, it changed how I thought about everything I did after that moment. It made me realize that I can always do a little bit more. Apply this to what you do online.

4. Take action. As I mentioned in my first law of business and success, every business in a state of motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it. With that in mind, you can read and get inspired all you want, but nothing will happen unless you take action. Become the external force that is required to get your blog, business and life to exactly where you want it to be.

5. Flaunt your unique. In other words, know what makes you stand out from the crowd, and milk it. In order to succeed, especially online, you can’t blend in and just be another blog or website that talks about X. Your site can still be about X, but you should be one of the only ones that does Y, or Z.

6. No fear. Fear kills progress, and it kills business. When you’re reluctant to take an action or do something new, take a minute and think to yourself, “what’s the worst that can really happen?”. The worst usually isn’t as bad as you might think.

7. Failing is okay. We all want to succeed, but we shouldn’t ever be afraid of failing. Failing is part of the process and teaches us valuable lessons along the way. Learn from your mistakes, and improve on your next attempt.

8. Don’t work more, work smarter. When we think of putting in the extra mile to get things done, we often think that means just putting in more hours of work. Instead, think of ways that you can work smarter, which will accomplish the same (or even more), in a considerably less amount of time. It may take a small investment of time in the beginning to figure out how to work smarter, but you’ll make up for that time (and stress) soon enough.

9. Give back. I truly believe in “online karma”. The more you help others and the more you give back, the more success you will find. If your primary motivation is just to make as much money as you can and do things just for yourself, you’re only going to see a limited amount of success, if any.

10. Just freakin’ enjoy what you’re doing! If you enjoy what you’re doing, it doesn’t become work anymore. You’ll accomplish more, and be happier. If you’re not doing something you enjoy, why not?

Blog Content

11. Be consistent. Write new content on a schedule. Whether it’s once a week, three times a week, or every day – pick a frequency and stick with it. It will not only help your readers know when to expect a new blog post, but it will help you consistently put content out there that Google will crawl to improve your site’s ranking and authority.

12. Be different. In most niches, there are a number of blogs talking about the same thing. Like I mentioned in tip #5, if you do what everyone else is doing, and talk about what everyone else is talking about, you’re just going to blend in. Give people a reason to notice your blog over the rest.

13. Use keywords in your title. It’s cool to have a clever title, but it’s inefficient to leave out important keywords. One of the top things the search engines look at when determining how relevant your site is to certain keywords is the title of your post. This is why so many bloggers who understand search engine optimization rank higher in the search engines for topics that online newspapers and companies write about, because they are so concerned about catchy headlines, with no keywords.

14. Use relevant anchor text for your links. When linking to another website or blog within your posts, don’t link to them in words like “click here for…”, or “which you can read here.” Use the phrases or keywords that are relevant to what you’re writing about. As far as SEO is concerned, it will help you a little, but for the websites you’re linking to, it will help a lot. It’s good practice.

15. Break up your post with different text styles. If you write an entire blog post in the same text the entire way through, it’s going to be difficult to read and hard to scan. Use different sized headers, bullet points, and numbered lists to separate your content and make it easier for your readers to consume.

16. Emphasize parts of your content with different text styles. If there’s a particular word or phrase within your paragraphs that you’d like to emphasize, make it bold or italic so your points are even more pronounced.

17. Use stories. People love stories because they can connect and relate to them. It makes what you’re writing about more real, and it often serves as proof for your points as well. Are you just telling people what to do, or are you illustrating how it worked for you? I believe that my internet success story is part of the reason why I’ve been able to amass a considerable amount of subscribers in such a short period of time.

18. Use data. Other people are more attracted to data and logic, rather than stories. Support your content with raw data, and your arguments will seem that much more believable. I use data all of the time, for example when I talk about my success from writing on eHow.

19. Write for your readers, not yourself. Unless you have a strictly personal blog, one of the biggest mistakes you can make while writing content is writing for yourself. Your audience should be your first priority, and you should do what you can to write about topics they are interested in. In the process, you’ll get more comments, more subscribers, and have more people linking back to you as well. Now who doesn’t want that?

20. Enjoy what you write! Believe me when I say that your readers can tell when you are just trying to finish a blog post versus really enjoying the writing process and having fun with it. I hope you can tell that I’m having fun writing this one :)

Blog Design

21. Perform the squint test. Go to your blog’s homepage and squint. By doing this, you’ll notice which parts of your design stand out the most. If the things you notice first aren’t the most important pieces of your website (featured content, opt-in/subscriber areas, about, etc.), then you have have to redesign a little. Advertisements are okay, as long as they aren’t the very first thing people notice (in which case, they’ll probably leave).

22. Work on your blog’s “elevator pitch”. Can new visitors to your blog understand exactly what your site is about in the first 10 seconds without clicking on anything? If they can’t, then more than 70-75% of people will leave almost immediately. In your web stats and analytics, check your “bounce rate”, which is the percentage of people who visit your site that leave without taking any action. To improve your bounce rate, work on your tagline and/or include an “about me” area on the homepage.

23. Make it easy for people to subscribe. People are lazy, so the more searching, clicking, and scrolling have to do before they can subscribe, the more chances they have to skedaddle. (I love that word.) Put your RSS feed button (and any other buttons you want them to click on) on the homepage, above the fold, at the top where it can easily be found.

24. Avoid clutter. I know you’re trying to make a buck with all of those advertisements and affiliate links, but seriously – there is a thing as too much clutter. People are becoming smarter and smarter as more and more people go online these days. They aren’t just going to click random ads that blink, turn and twist anymore. Keep your site clean, and people will be more likely to stick around and respond to what you have to say.

25. Show yourself! If you’re hiding behind a logo, or even a caricature, I can’t help but wonder why. Your blog is yours, and you shouldn’t be afraid of showing your face. If your blog took off and you were asked to do an interview for a television station, would you hide your face behind a cardboard cutout of your logo or a caricature during the broadcast? You want your blog to take off, don’t you?

Getting Noticed

26. Comment on more blogs. Find other blogs in your niche and leave useful, insightful comments on posts that interest you. You probably comment on a few already, but look for other “rising star” blogs that seems like it has good content. Many of these blogs will appreciate your comments and begin to notice who you are. Kind of like how I’ve started to notice Howie, Ms. Freeman, and Azad on mine. Thanks guys!

27. Write guest posts for other blogs. This is probably the best technique for getting lots of traffic and subscribers, in the shortest amount of time. Write a killer blog post on other blogs in your niche, and you’ll begin to become a part of the network and community yourself. In addition, you get some nice search engine love from any links back to your own site, which most host blogs of your guest posts will allow.

28. Participate in forums related to your niche. Here’s a quick tip. Type in “forums:keyword” into Google, and you’ll see a number of forums related to your niche, usually listed in the order of most popular at the top. Join them, because part of the community, and be sure to include your link in your signature so people can click over to your site. If you become a knowledgeable authority for a particular topic in the forum, chances are people will head to your blog for answers too.

29. Do interviews. There are tons of people who host shows and podcasts, and some of them are probably related to your niche. Contact the hosts (contact info is usually on their main page, their itunes page, or through a voicemail line in their show), tell them a little bit about yourself, and offer to do an interview if they are in need of content for a show. Now, you will be speaking live to this person and they will be asking you questions, so you may have to step out of your comfort zone for a bit. It’s good practice, and again – what’s the worst that can happen? If you have a website about something, you obviously know a lot about it, so don’t be afraid, and get some exposure!

30. Write about something controversial. One way to get noticed is to go against the norm. Not all websites may be fit to do this, but if you can spark up a heated debate, you can get your readers involved and grab some new ones at the same time.

Networking

31. Join a mastermind group. If you hang out and chat with like-minded people with similar goals, you can’t help but improve what you’re doing online. Every mastermind group I’ve been in has been such a blessing, and I attribute a lot of my success to ideas that came directly from those meetings.

32. Utilize meetup.com. Meetup.com is an awesome site where you can type in any topic and find groups of people in your local area who are interested in the same topic, and when and where they meet next. I’ve been to a few meetup.com meetups for “internet business” here in the San Diego area, and I’ve met some great people, all doing different things online. It’s pretty cool!

33. Go to a convention. For almost any topic, there are conventions where mass amounts of people gather who are interested in that topic. For comics and fantasy stuff, we have Comic-Con. For LEED, there’s GreenBuild. For bloggers, there’s the Blog World Expo. Although there are usually speakers and experts who present new ideas, the biggest benefit from attending these conventions is the networking that takes place between the attendees. You can be sure I’ll do my best to buy my ticket for the Blog World Expo next year.

34. Online Groups. Many of you may not live in an area where you have easy access to groups of people interested in what you’re interested in, so a live mastermind group or a meetup.com meeting is out of the picture. But, there are online groups that you can utilize to get your networking on. You can get connected with people in forums related to your niche (see #28, above), you can find groups on yahoo, Facebook, or even pay to join a like-minded community like I do with the Internet Business Mastery Academy.

35. Utilize Social Networks. Social networks, like Twitter and Facebook, are excellent ways to connect with people in your niche. A lot of deals and joint ventures sprouted from connections from within these social networks. If you aren’t utilizing either Twitter or Facebook for your blog or business (or both), why not?

Twitter

36. Get Targeted Followers. So you’re on twitter, and have 10 followers (2 of them happen to be family members). That’s ok. Here’s the trick for getting targeted followers for your niche, if you didn’t know it already. Find a top player in your niche by doing a twitter search, and follow that person’s followers. That’s it. Some of them will automatically follow you back because they have auto-follow on, but others will visit your profile, and if they like what you’ve tweeted so far, and your bio, they will follow you back too.

37. Twitter Bonus Trick. Using the method above, you can use this bonus Twitter trick of mine (3:36 YouTube video) that I use to increase the amount of people who end up following me back.

38. Use a nice, personal photo for your profile picture. If you’re on Twitter and haven’t changed your profile picture yet, you’re using their little default birdie picture, which just screams “PLEASE DON’T FOLLOW ME OR READ ANYTHING I TWEET!”. If you have a logo, that’s better, but most people will respond to you (and click on the links that you tweet), if you have a nice picture of your face.

39. Use a custom Twitter background. If you visit my Twitter profile, you can see a custom twitter background in action. It’s just a background picture, so you can’t have anything clickable on it, but it’s perfect for quickly showing any new visitor to your profile exactly who you are and what you’re about. Some people put all kinds of text in their background, but personally I like to keep it clean and simple. If you’re a designer out there, my background is simply 259?×?1707, and the right edge of the vertical image matches the twitter background, which you can customize as well. One of my favorites is Darren’s from Problogger.

40. Track your links and test your copy. Use a url shortener such at bit.ly, to not only shorten huge urls that you don’t want to eat up your 140 character limit, but also to track the links you tweet as well. Test different kinds of copy each time you tweet any links to see how your particular group of followers responds to each.

Facebook Pages

41. Setup a Facebook page. If you haven’t explored Facebook as an extension for your blog or business yet, I would definitely do that as soon as you can. I don’t want to make any predictions, but I think Facebook has a lot more in store for us as they begin to cater towards businesses and non-personal type accounts. Although everything you need to know about how to setup a Facebook page is already written on my blog, I will reiterate a few important points below.

42. Utilize a Facebook landing page. If you’re trying to get fans for your page and you don’t have a landing page, you’re wasting your time. A landing page will drastically increase the number of people who become fans. Without it, visitors will end up on your “wall”, which is ugly and doesn’t tell people what they have to do. Trust me.

43. Engage in conversations. Because of the way Facebook works, it’s really easy to engage in multiple conversations, with multiple people at the same time. This is why I like Facebook better than Twitter, and the people who click over to your webpage from Facebook generally tend to have a lower bounce rate and stay on the site longer as well. Ask questions, write compelling thoughts, and your audience will respond. Some of the comment strings on my Facebook page are 30-40 comments deep at times.

44. Encourage others to post links and start conversations too. Another cool thing about the Facebook page is that your fans can post links and start their own conversations as well. This is a nice way to reward those who are your fans who may have something to add from their own sites, or who just have questions they need help with. You have full control of what’s shown and what’s not, so if anyone posts something naughty, you can simply remove it from your wall.

45. Don’t get lost in Facebook. Although I love Facebook, it’s really easy to get lost in it, especially if you have a personal account where you can see that your friend from high school has just gotten engaged. Remember, it’s important to engage with your fans, but your blog or website should be your primary focus. It is where you will be linking to from your Facebook page anyways from time to time.

Take it to the Next Level

46. Expand into other forms of media. So you have a blog. Have you ever thought about expanding your content into other media types, such as video, audio, or even going live? If you really want to take yourself to the next level, you’re going to have to branch out. Even just one episode or video a month is great practice.

47. Create information products. So you have a blog. Have you ever thought about expanding your content into information products that you can either giveaway or sell for an extra income? Now’s the time. You can create eBooks, audio, video, or a membership website, all of which are great information products you can use to expand your brand and increase your reputation and authority in your niche.

48. Hire some help. As one person, we can only do so much. Even if we put in more hours and work more efficiently, we’ll eventually reach some kind of plateau. Hire some people to do some of the mundane work that you don’t really enjoying doing to get to that next level. For example, if you spend a lot of time editing and submitting videos, or social bookmarking your blog posts, you can easily find cheap help from places such as Elance.com or oDesk.com to do those kinds of things for you. Soon, you’ll end up with your own virtual assistant team you can go to for anything when you need it.

49. Work 1 hour extra for yourself a day. Maybe you work a 9 to 5 job, maybe you don’t. Either way, try and devote at least an extra hour a day to you and your online business. Yes, finding an extra hour a day may be close to impossible, but if you really want to “crush it”, you’re going to have to hustle and sacrifice a little. Gary Vaynerchuk suggests working in the late hours of the night if you have to, and I totally agree with him. Do what it takes to get to where you want to go. Even just an hour a day would be huge for the growth of what you do online, especially if you know exactly what to do with it, which I hopefully have given you some ideas for in this post.

50. Be confident with every decision you make. Excuse my language here, but if you go into something half-ass, you’ll see half-ass results. Whenever you make a decision, small or big, go into it knowing that it’s the right decision, because you made it. Even if it ends up being a wrong decision, at least you know that it wasn’t from putting less than all of your effort into it. You can then learn from your mistakes, and put confidence into your next decision. You don’t want to end up with a

And Lastly…

51. Shoot for the stars. Seriously, try to be the best. Wait, let me rephrase that…

BE THE BEST.

Know that you have what it takes to be a top player in your niche, and don’t think anything less of yourself, ever.

Here’s to your success in the upcoming year.

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  • http://studenomics.com MD @ Studenomics

    Tip #49 really hits home for me. It’s also probably the reason why I’m so out of it this morning. I tell everyone that asks me about starting a side business the same thing- stop watching tv at night and creeping people on Facebook, put this time towards your new business venture.

    I try to devote all of my spare time to my blog. Unfortunately, the results aren’t what I would like them to be but that just means I have to work harder and longer.

    My goal for the next 2 weeks is to spend an extra hour each evening working on my ebook project. I wish I could be as productive as you from home, Pat!

    • Pat

      Hey MD, glad to see you’re putting in the extra work for your blog. As a reader, I can tell you’re putting a lot of time and effort into it, which is nice, and is partly the reason why your blog has grown like it has. Keep up the good work.

      As far as productivity from home…it took me a while to get used to, but after doing it every day for a while, you start to learn how to best focus. Keeping the goals in mind helps too, of course :)

  • http://www.forty2fifty.com Jason @ forty2fifty.com

    Pat,

    Wow… This is a lot to think about. However, I’ve been considering many of the points you’ve made. Mainly the redesign of my lifestyle design blog. I feel like it’s a bit design heavy and to improve the efficiency for my readers I need to streamline the design.

    That’s just one of many points I need to work on if I’m going to parlay this into the income generating machine I desire.

    Thanks again for the info. and Happy Holidays…

    • Pat

      Hey Jason, I totally agree with you on your redesign. Although it’s a freakin’ awesome design aesthetically, it may not be the best practically for your readers and what you’re trying to accomplish. Think about the content you provide, and how important that is to your readers, relative to how much space you give for it on the page. That’s something I’ve addresses in my redesign as well. Happy Holidays!

  • http://www.wakeupcloud.com/ Henri @ Wake Up Cloud

    Wee, I especially enjoyed the twitter and facebook part. I’m only focusing on twitter now because I don’t know what to do on facebook basically, so I’m leaving that for another time.

    Better to focus on the tasks that work for now instead of getting my head bogged down with new stuff. I might get someone to help me with the facebook stuff. I’m lazy so I love it when others can show me exactly what to do to get results.

    List posts are awesome. You have a lot of material now, because you can expand on each point. How about making a Online Marketing and Blogging Series with 51 parts? Joking of course… or am I? That would be pretty cool.

    • Pat

      Hey Henri, I think you make a great point. There are always a lot of “new” things we could all try, but if you devote time to learning about them, you may lose productivity in the things that you know that do work.

      On the flip side, you don’t want to miss out on things that could potentially help your business as well. It’s hard to judge sometimes, which is part of the battle.

      Happy Holidays!

  • http://www.azadshaikh.com Azad Shaikh

    Can’t believe it. You had just compiled the the most important tips for blogging success so efficiently. Now i think you are going on the problogger steps.
    I like all the points in mindset.
    Really you have to be prepare mentally for your success before tasting any real success. All those technical task can be outsource but you can’t outsource your mental task. As said in the book “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne mind the is most powerful part of any human body. What you think is what you become.
    I am not a good blogger but i think i can do wonders in technical task regarding blogging. So i am soon coming up with my own theme and plugins for wordpress.
    Hey pat i am waiting for your new blog design. And what happen to the naming contest, have you decide the winner yet?

    Azad Shaikh
    http://www.internetgeeks.org

    • Pat

      Hey Azad,

      I’m honing in on a winner. I’m still accepting submissions, although I think I’ll close commenting very soon. We’re almost there.

      Thanks for all of your kind words, and your great insight. Good luck with your WordPress themes and designs. Let me know when those are completed :)

  • http://www.EngagedMarriage.com Dustin | Engaged Marriage

    Wow Pat, you’ve done an excellent job of summarizing the keys to blogging success! I enjoyed each one, but it’s funny: my favorite was #3. And remembering that we can always reach a bit higher applies to everything in life and is not specific to the blog world. I may have to “borrow” that thought as the theme for an upcoming post on relationships. :)

    Thanks Pat, and Merry Christmas to you and your family!

    • Pat

      Sure Dustin! I can’t take credit for that trick, my band director in high school used it on us, but it was pretty cool. I think Tony Robbins does something similar in his presentations too.

      Merry Christmas to you and yours too :)

  • http://www.freemanlegacyllc.com Ms. Freeman

    Excellent link list of Things-To-Do!, and not to do. This is one of those post that is a must read and a must bookmark, as I wil be refering back to it from time to time. Great words of encouragemtn and insprations.

    Other than the Ebook and site re-design, What are some of your goals for the New Year?

    • Pat

      Thanks Ms. Freeman! As far as goals, I’ll have a post about that published right before the new year, so stay tuned! I’ll also be revisiting my goals from the past as well. I’m excited!

  • http://www.residualbacon.com Tyler @ ResidualBacon

    I read your list from top to bottom, great ideas all around. I feel like I have had a little experience in all little areas that you have mentioned.

    I especially like your raise your hand, raise it a little bit more ‘tid-bit’, but can you raise it till it hurts? Sometimes I feel like I stretch too far and find myself strained. I guess you just need to be stretching yourself in the right direction. :)

    • Pat

      Hey Tyler, awesome name for a website, and I like how it ties into the whole piggy bank thing. Nice.

      As far as your comment about raising your hand till it hurts, sometimes it does take a little pain to reach a little higher. Plus, another analogy is that the more you stretch yourself, the easier it will be to reach higher later on.

  • http://www.slymiser.com/ Darryl

    Once again, nice job Pat. There’s a lot to think about here. I especially like “No Fear”, “Avoid Clutter” and “Enjoy What You Do”. 47. “Create Information Products” is also really good. I know this is a post that I’ll keep coming back to. This really helps set a blue print for creating a professional and informative blog.

    Thanks for posting this and keep up the good work in the New Year.

    • Pat

      Thanks Darryl, I appreciate it!

  • http://genywealth.com/ RJ Weiss

    A great list!

    I have to agree with Dustin #3 is most important for me. If I can just stretch myself 1% more each day this year, I know I can achieve everything and anything I want.

    • Pat

      Ahh, well put RJ. It’s like putting in that extra hour a day for your business – same idea. Good luck with everything, happy holidays, and thanks for the tweet I just say you write :)

  • http://www.DejanaeEvents.com Desiree

    Thank you for this article! It was a good read and it got me to think about using social media more effectively for my business. I just really started blogging, tweeting (that’s how I discovered your article) and really using my FB Fan page, so I’m very excited about learning how to use this form of “free advertising” for my business. Looking forward to reading more of your material.

    Thanks and Happy Holidays!

    • Pat

      Thanks Desiree! These social media platforms are definitely something one shouldn’t look over, so it’s great that you’ve already begun to utilize them. Keep up the good work, and I wish you all the best! Happy Holidays!

  • http://www.reachourdreams.com Jen

    Great post Pat, I’ll be back to use your tips over the holidays to re-look at my blog and where I’ll be taking it next year. :)

    • Pat

      Thanks Jen! Great to see you back on the blog. All the best to you, and Happy Holidays!

  • http://www.freemanlegacyllc.com Ms. Freeman

    I’m only on tip number 26, but I have to go outside and run around, do some flips and yell joyously. Thank you so much for the mention…teeeheee LOL :)

    • Pat

      Haha! I appreciate your participation and comments Ms. Freeman! Thank you!

  • http://www.makemoneyonlinehow.com/ Alan Mater

    The first 10 tips are something that every marketer needs to be reminded of, including myself. Mindset is so important and sets the way for everything else. You can’t be effective with your marketing if your mind and thoughts aren’t in the right place. Staying positive is key. Very nice list of tips.

  • http://enlivenpublishing.com/blog/ Helen Calder

    Hi Pat,
    This was such a helpful post, my holiday blog homework is to work my way through all of your tips! Thanks so much

    But a quick question–Facebook has me very frustrated.

    Your Facebook page seems to be configured as a ‘page’, and yet your Facebook Smart Passive Income permalink doesn’t have ‘/pages/’ in it.

    Whenever I try to set up my business page, it comes up as ‘facebook.com/pages/’ which is then treated differently, not showing up in Google search rankings. (I can’t use it as a Facebook link for Ezine Articles either because it’s a ‘page.’)

    Help! Is this somethin Facebook has changed since you set your page up, or is there a solution to this issue?

    Helen

    P.S. Big congrats on the newest addition to your family :-)

  • http://www.thegoldandoilguy.com/ Christina

    Very helpful, I need to follow most of your advices. Thanks for taking time to compile and share this list.

    Happy New Year.

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  • http://cure-for-infertility.weebly.com/ Sanjeev

    This is first time I have read you. It was very useful.
    HAPPY NEW YEAR

  • http://singlemomandteenagedgirl.blogspot.com/ Teresa

    I just came across your site and this blog! It’s wonderful! I stopped when I noticed that you are in San Diego! I organize a couple meetups, one in San Diego and one in South Orange County! Would you ever be a Guest Speaker for our groups?

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  • Prince

    Wow this post is really good.
    Thanks for the free tips this has really helped me with getting my name out there!