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  • How to Create a Plan for Getting Your First 1M Visitors

    Thursday, November 19, 2015 by
    Louis CK is arguably one of the funniest men alive right now. He fills up massive theaters, sells out in minutes, and is so well known that he makes millions selling his recordings on his site with no advertising.  But he didn’t get there overnight. In 1984, he was getting on stage for the first time, and did so poorly that he didn’t try stand-up again for two years! Eventually he came back with a plan, worked his way through the ranks, and became a massive success. Louis CK Building a successful website follows the same path. It’s like Biz Stone’s famous quote: “Timing, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.” You can’t get your first million website visitors overnight. It requires creating a plan, having dedication, and constantly iterating and adjusting what you’re doing to make sure you hit your goal. Here’s how to do that.

    Planning to Get 1 Million Visitors

    We made a spreadsheet for you to make this easy. 01 Spreadsheet Go ahead and open up it here, make a copy for yourself, and follow along, plugging in numbers as you go. The only areas you need to edit are the ones in blue. The ones in grey update automatically.

    1. Figure Out Where You Are Now

    At the top, plug in your current number of monthly visitors. Current Traffic This is your starting point. Your goal will automatically be set to double your current number. It’s aggressive! But it’s the best start on the road to 1 million visitors and we believe you can do it.

    2. Pick Your One Channel

    Now I want you to pick one channel to focus on. Pick the one that’s most exciting, or that you feel the most comfortable with. Here are your options:
    • Organic (traffic from search engines)
    • Advertising
    • Referrals from other websites
    • Emails
    • Social Media
    Why these options? Because that’s how Google Analytics breaks out your traffic channels so this will make it easier for you to assess how you’re doing. The easiest way to monitor how you’re performing in these channels as you go? Just use an on-site Google Analytics dashboard plugin. 03 Pick your channel Your #1 focus for the next month: getting this ONE channel up so you can hit your goal number. To make up the difference between your goal and where you are now, you’ll need to try some things that you’re not currently doing. This is where the experiments come in. 04 Experiments

    3. Brainstorm Experiments

    Now, for this first month, come up with 3 things you could do to get more traffic. Make sure they’re actionable. Don’t say “get more twitter traffic” say “tweet five times a day and include at least one hashtag in each.” Here are some ideas: Organic Traffic
    • Optimize existing content for keywords
    • Reach out to 100 publications for getting backlinks
    • Set a search volume minimum for future content and stick to it
    • Add more internal site links
    • Buy PPC ads to test potential keywords
    • Spend $500 on Facebook ads to see how they perform
    • Try the same with Google and Twitter
    • Use an automation service like Automate Ads to test different ad designs
    • Reach out to 50 bloggers in your field to build relationships and links to your content
    • Find people who compile lists of products / blogs and ask to be included
    • Look for podcasts / webinars you can participate in and get linked to from
    • Use a tool like Mention to find references to you that aren’t link to you
    • Start an email list if you haven’t!
    • Read up on copywriting to improve the emails that you send to your list
    • Add an email popup tool to your site to get more people to sign up
    • A/B test your emails when you send them out to see what headlines get more clicks
    • Simply change the frequency of your emails to your list to see how it affects activity
    • Join a new social network you aren’t currently using
    • Optimize your tweets for the best number of hashtags
    • Find Twitter chats that you can join in on
    • Create strong visuals for each Facebook post
    Not sure what to do for experiments? Ask in the comments! Someone else is bound to hop in with more ideas :)

    4. Guesstimate Your Traffic

    With your experiments in place, guesstimate how much traffic you think you can get from each idea. Think about it on a daily schedule, and base it on your existing numbers. For example, if a tweet usually results in 5 visits to your site, then sharing 3x a day would get you 15 more visits a day, or 450 a month. Don’t worry about your guesstimate being perfect, the point is to give you an idea of what to prioritize. 05 guesstimate traffic Now you’ll see the one experiment you should focus on. This is where you need to start putting your efforts for traffic building, everything else is a distraction. ONLY do 1 for the next 30 days.

    5. Print it Out

    Last, print that baby out and put it by your computer. You should be getting reminded of your goal and experiments daily to make sure it happens. To recap, here’s what you should have done. If you skipped a step… well do you want your million visitors or not?
    1. Grabbed your most recent month’s traffic from Google Analytics to get your goal
    2. Picked which of the channels you want to focus on
    3. Come up with three experiments you could try for that channel
    4. Guesstimated your possible traffic from each, and put it by that experiment
    5. Printed out your spreadsheet and put it by your computer
    One Last Thing Post what your first experiment is, and how much traffic you want to get with that experiment, in the comments below. Making a public statement will help you follow through, and other people might join in with ideas to help make it happen. Let’s get your traffic growing like crazy.
  • How To Use Guest Posting To Increase Your Traffic And Rankings

    Thursday, November 5, 2015 by
    How To Use Guest Posting To Increase Your Traffic and Rankings
    Guest posting is an incredibly powerful tool to generate traffic and subscribers. In fact, guest blogging is one of the most effective free traffic strategies. However, a lot of people approach the guest blogging process in the wrong way. In order to get the most out of guest blogging you need to be posting on websites that have overlap with your ideal audience. Below you’ll find an exact strategy you can utilize time and time again to send new traffic and leads to your website.  

    What Is Guest Blogging?

    Guest blogging is the process of writing for high profile blogs and websites in your niche. Most often you guest blog for free. But, in return you can associate yourself with a high authority website to borrow authority, and can illustrate your value to your market. Guest blogging is an incredible way to build your authority and send qualified traffic your way through dropping backlinks throughout your post, or within your author byline.  

    What Are Your Guest Blogging Goals

    Before you start actively guest posting it’s important to define your goals. The last thing you want is to start guest posting on a regular basis only to see no result for your business. Are you looking to generate more traffic for your website? Are you trying to build authority and a name for yourself in your niche? Or, are you trying to build high-quality backlinks to grow your search engine rankings? Define what results you want to achieve for your business, and track every post you write, so you can refine your strategy over time.  

    Developing A Guest Blogging Strategy

    Your guest blogging efforts won’t succeed unless you have an actionable and trackable plan to follow. Below you’ll find a five--step process you can implement time and time again. 1. Build Up Your Online Persona or Platform Before you start guest blogging it’s important you take the time to build a solid online presence. You’ll need a solid foundation in the online space that you’re going to be sending qualified traffic to. 2. Identify Guest Blogging Opportunities When you’re identifying blogs to contribute to make sure they have a sizable audience and have at least some overlap with your niche. Obviously, the blogs you end up choosing will depend your niche and goals. The two processes below will help you build a targeted list of blogs to contribute to.
    • Search Google for “[your niche] + guest blogging”, or “[your niche] write for us”
    • Visit Alltop and select your niche for a list of high-quality blogs.
    These will help you build a solid list you can pitch over time. 3. Start The Outreach Process Every blog you contribute to will have different writing guidelines. Some blogs will require you to submit a full post, while others will prefer you pitching a group of ideas. Your pitches will be rejected every time if you don’t adhere to the writer’s guidelines. When finding the right person to email always try to email the editor or the content manager if it’s a larger website, as they’re in charge of the content for the site. If it’s a single author blog then reach out to the blogger directly. When pitching the blog make sure to build rapport with the author or editor first, as this will increase your chances of your post being accepted. 4. Create Epic Blog Posts When writing in front of another audience you want to bring your best writing to the table. Don’t hold back, and don’t send off your secondary content. You want to make a good impression on these websites, and build a connection with their audiences. By providing extreme value you’ll have readers flocking to your website to learn more about what you have to offer. 5. Continue The Process Luckily, there are so many blogs and websites looking for high-quality content that you can replicate this process time and time again. Over time, after you’ve exhausted all of the blogs in your niche you can move on to related blogs and websites. Guest blogging is an incredible strategy that doesn’t require any upfront investment besides your time. The steps above will help you build a strategy that works for you and your business for the long-term.
  • Top Tips For Spotting Comment Spammers

    Wednesday, November 4, 2015 by
    Top Tips for Spotting Comment Spammers
    User generated comments and reviews are a good indicator of the quality of any blog or site. Engaged users creates a more dynamic website which is both more inviting and valuable. Yet, not all comments are genuine. Link builders and competitors often use comment spamming as a tool for link building and reputation management. So how can you tell if a comment is genuine or if your blog is being used for someone else’s marketing efforts? Be aware that deleting every negative review or comment you don’t like could result in a page that is too polished and users will mistrust. Only delete as a final resort when you are sure it is fake. Here are some top tips for spotting fake reviews and comments.  

    Look At The Text

    Before anything else, read the comment; you will already have a feeling if something is off. Link commenting is oftentimes outsourced to countries where English is not the primary language. If the comment has broken English to the point that you cannot make head or tails of it but it has a link, it is most probably the work of a link builder. These you should delete as it lowers the quality of the page. You should also select the text of the comment and do a search of it, oftentimes link builders reuse the same text across multiple sites for both comments and reviews. Keep an eye out for links to unrelated sites or download pages. Merchants and their competitors will oftentimes comment spam as a strategy for reputation management or to tarnish the competition. You can easily spot this by looking out for blatant ‘Marketing Speak.’ Merchants will include their brand name in addition to the product name several times across the review, no organic user would do this. They will also do a shoebox broadcasting of features rather than discussing the product. A review like this is a clear red flag: “I was a loyal (insert ‘name of competitor’) user for years, a friend made me try (insert ‘name of brand’s ‘name of product’) and I was totally blown away. I especially loved feature ‘X’, (insert ‘name of brand’s ‘name of product’) is the only one for me. I am never going back to (insert ‘name of competitor’).” Merchants will also often go for the oversell so keep a wary eye for overly impassioned users. You should look primarily at 5 star and 1 star ratings as well as any reviews that are written in ALL CAPS. So reviews that read, “THIS IS TERRIBLE IT DOES NOT WORK!!!!!” Or, “These headphones are NOT as advertised! It said it would last 2 years guaranteed. Well I have been using it for 4!!” Also be suspicious of a vague review that is not specific to the product, but rather a push for the company.  

    Look At The User

    One of the advantages of managing reviews and comments through WordPress and similar platforms is the ability to easily eyeball who is commenting. You can easily see if different reviews are from the same IP or email address. Keep a wary eye out for obviously fake email addresses and usernames with 3+ numbers in them, these are oftentimes computer generated bots and pretty easy to spot. The comments or reviews would be generic and of no value with something like, “This is great, thanks!” Or, “really interesting read.” For these bots the comment would sometimes contain excerpted text from the article the comment is on, or sentences that drop off in the middle. If you are unsure of the user, do a quick search for other comments or reviews they have written. Link builders will have used the same username across multiple sites. Not only will you be able to spot carbon copy reviews across sites but the same will show obvious inconsistencies such as the recommendation to try product X came from interchanging genders, ‘when my husband recommended’ then, ‘when my wife recommended’. All in all just trust your instincts, you will be able to smell a fishy comment a mile off. Deleting comments should never be a first choice, but if they are of no value than you are better off without them.  
    Author Bio: Natalie Lehrer is a senior contributor for CloudWedge. In her spare time, Natalie enjoys exploring all things cloud and is a music enthusiast. Follow Natalie’s daily posts on Twitter: @Cloudwedge, or on Facebook.  
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  • 5 Reasons Your Website Is Turning Off Your Customers

    Wednesday, October 28, 2015 by
    5 Reasons Your Website Is Turning Off Your Customers
    You know that having a website is an important asset for your business. However, if you have very low conversion rates, or have been seeing a steady decrease in traffic it might be time to fix your website. The web is constantly evolving, and your site needs to be up to the current web standards and user preferences if you want to keep your visitors happy. Below you’ll find a series of problems that a lot of websites currently fall victim to. If you’re committing any of the following mistakes it’s important to fix them as soon as possible.  

    1. Slow Loading Speeds

    Most web users are becoming more and more accustomed to fast loading speeds. This means that when your site loads slowly you’re testing your visitor’s patience. In most cases they’ll hit the back button, instead of waiting for the site to load. Having a website that loads slowly can also lead to lowered search engines rankings, as Google factors in page loading speed into their search engine rankings algorithm. Put simply, your website must load quickly and cater to the fastest internet connections.  

    2. No Mobile Optimization

    Our world is becoming increasingly mobile. Mobile Internet usage is only continuing to increase and it shows no sign of slowing down. So, if your site isn’t optimized for the mobile web your users aren’t even going to attempt to navigate your website. When creating a separate mobile website, or are optimizing your current website it’s important that you consider every possible interactive element and piece of your website. For instance, some ads may not display properly, so you’ll want to ensure they won’t display on certain screen sizes.  

    3. Poor Photography

    Stock photography is dead. If you’re using dated stock photos your visitors will be able to tell and it will make your website feel cheesy. However, keep in mind that not all stock photography will have a negative impact on your website. Using images is a great way to create a more emotional experience for your user, but just make sure they’re high quality, unique, and showcase your actual business or products.  

    4. Keyword Stuffed Copy

    Over a decade ago you could get away with having walls of keyword stuffed text across your website. Most web copy was written for the search engine robots, not human beings. However, those times are long gone and your copy needs to reflect this. If your web copy speaks to the search engines more than your readers, you’ll actually see your rankings start to decline. Keywords are still important, but even more important is making a connection to your visitors. The only way to do this is to write copy that’s geared towards your visitors and their needs.  

    5. Too Much Clutter

    When it comes to your website less is always better than more. Even though it can be tempting to hit your visitors with everything at once, and embed interactive widgets, this will lead to nothing but overwhelm. Think about your visitor every step of the way, and engineer your site towards the best user experience for them. By taking time to fix the mistakes above, your site will start to see higher levels of traffic, and increased levels of engagement across the board.
  • 9 Best Practices For Social Based Customer Care

    Wednesday, October 14, 2015 by
    9 best practices for social based customer care
    It is no question that social channels can be an extremely valuable tool for a business. It not only increases brand awareness and connects you to potential users, but gives you a direct channel to your current users as well. Yet, as the saying goes, ‘with great power comes great responsibility.’ Now that you are talking to your users, know that your users are talking to you, and it is not always positive. Using social media as a tool for customer care not only let users feel heard in a medium they feel comfortable with, but it also sends the right signals to potential customers about how you treat your users. Here are some best practices to doing this properly.  

    1. Don’t Disregard The Issue

    Everyone wants to be heard, and a generic, “take a look at our FAQ’s page for answers to most of your issues,” is just useless enough for your user to look elsewhere. Put a pinned comment at the top of your Facebook page, or in your twitter bio, that sends user to try your customer care channels first. Many may ignore it, but a number will listen and be dealt with there, only coming back if the problem persists. You may need to try harder to keep them happy after the process but at least it isn’t clogging up your social feed.  

    2. Treat Your Users As People Not Problems

    Don’t be afraid to banter and have an informal chat, as long as you don’t make it inappropriate or too personal for a public forum. Users respond to the human element and will have a more positive impression than if they receive generic, robotic answers. Look at your user’s basic information. The instructions you give to a tech-savvy teen, would not be appropriate for someone with less technology experience. Adapt your support accordingly.  

    3. Keep It Short And Sweet

    You need to keep you user engaged, the worst kind of service is one that is met by the sound of crickets because you have lost your audience 4 tweets ago. Make sure your answers are informative but do not drag on longer than necessary. If you can be as effective with three words as using a paragraph, opt for the three. You will maintain your audience’s attention span and not make them feel that their time has been wasted with superfluous information.  

    4. Don’t Be Afraid To Take It Elsewhere

    Some issues are universal and your reply could be of value to all users, if this is not the case, then you should carry on the conversation in a direct message or through email. If they have opened a support ticket before contacting you, take their ticket number and flag it up with your support staff to be prioritized.  

    5. Give Clear Answers

    Try to make your post, tweet or Facebook message as informative as possible. Be aware that talking on your Facebook homepage or through main twitter channels means that anyone can see your interaction. Both current and potential users can be listening, and your decorum can be a make or break for some of them. Make sure not only that you are patient and helpful, but also that you are using proper grammar and punctuation. When someone’s account is frozen, it is not the time to bombard them with emojis.  

    6. Look Out For The Little Guy

    There will always be that shy user that will post once, oftentimes as part of an unrelated thread that will get lost unless you are actively looking out for them. Signaling them out and answering their issues or concerns sets you apart from much of the competition, and lets the user feel important which could result in lifelong loyalty.  

    7. Deal With Complaints

    Some users are out for blood, ignoring a negative comment can be more disastrous than you realize. Be warned that some users may use their social following to bombard you page or ‘trash’ your brand. They can do this by creating inflammatory hashtags or posting multiple comments across all of your social channels. Early intervention is key here.  

    8. Separate The Wheat From The Chaff

    Not all users on your social channels are what they seem. Keep a sharp eye out for competitors looking to harm your brand, and destroy your service’s reputation. If you are sure a user is not what they seem, and they are becoming more hassle than their worth, don’t be afraid to block them from your account. You should only do this as a last resort! A perfect page looks fake, and will cause you to loose trust from potential users.  

    9. Manage Expectations

    If you are a small business, no one expects you to have a large social media support team. Be honest with your audience and don’t spread yourself too thin. If users know that it could take up to a few days to have their complaint attended to, their expectations will be better managed and they are less likely to be fed-up and leave. Just be sure to keep your promises, if you say it will be up to two days, make sure it is.  
    Natalie Lehrer is a senior contributor for CloudWedge. In her spare time, Natalie enjoys exploring all things cloud and is a music enthusiast. Follow Natalie’s daily posts on Twitter: @Cloudwedge, or on Facebook.  
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