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51 Blogging and Online Marketing Tips for the New Year

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51 Blogging and Online Marketing Tips for the New Year

By Pat Flynn on

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, then what are you working towards?

2. Remember where you were. Where was your online business or blog 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 or oDesk (Note: Elance and oDesk have merged into Upwork.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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