The Perfect Length Of Everything Online

As marketers and content creators, we either find ourselves bound by content length restrictions (like on Twitter), or […]

Author information

John Rampton

President at Adogy

Managing Editor John Rampton is an entrepreneur, full-time computer nerd, and PPC expert. President at Adogy. I enjoy helping people and am always online to chat +/@johnrampton

The post The Perfect Length Of Everything Online appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

Finding Readers Week: Corinne Talks Commenting, Engagement, and Are Forums Right For Your Blog?

Theme Week

Welcome to the first post in the Finding Readers series here on ProBlogger.net. Corinne runs the successful blog skinnedcartree.com, and consistently gets genuine engagement from her readers and community across the board. Corinne introduced forums at the beginning of the year and has seen that engagement increase sharply. We are very excited to have her here to share her secrets with you.

I only started blogging late December 2012. To be honest, I had no strategy or goals. I knew nothing about growing an audience or how to promote myself. The only two things I knew were:

  1. I wanted to write.
  2. I wanted people to read what I wrote.

I understand there’s more to successful blogging than simply getting comments, but I wanted engagement. So I did what made sense to me with the little knowledge I had, and it worked.

What I am about to share with you is simply how to build a network of regular commenters. It’s not a quick and easy tactic, and it’s not going to make your PageRank soar, enabling you to quit your day job – but is a key step towards doing so.

theme week social media

Call me an idiot, but during my first year of blogging I went against one of the most common blogging tips: I didn’t use Twitter to promote my blog. Since starting a Twitter account in January, I’ve been asked the same question multiple times – How do you get so many comments? 

Twitter is great for getting traffic to your blog, yet I find it’s not so fantastic at encouraging engagement. Those that engage with me on Twitter tend to only do so there rather than on my site. The same can be said about other forms of social media. It’s fabulous for page views, but does naff all for building a community within your blog – and as I can babble for England, a community is what I wanted.

How I created community and drove up engagement:

Twitterless and clueless, the only way I had of promoting my blog (or so I thought) was through commenting on other blogs. I had no idea how to find them, so I would comment on the few I knew. Then I would look at who else commented, visit their blog and find something to contribute.

The idea I had was that I was targeting:

  1. People within my niche who would probably like my blog.
  2. People who left quality comments on other blogs.

You can do this for hours –  and I did do it for hours – aiming for around 20-40 blogs a day at one point.

We all know starting a blog isn’t easy and it certainly isn’t quick. I don’t know about you but I’m sick of reading ‘write good content and they will come’ like it is the only thing you need to do to grow (I’ve never been a ‘sit and wait’ kinda gal). Good content is vital, but what’s the point if nobody knows you exist? The real trick is getting them to your blog and then getting them to return. As soon as they start engaging with you and contributing, they are more likely to return as they’ve invested precious time in you.

Remember: The quality of the comments you leave will reflect the quality of comments you receive. People are not stupid, it is obvious and frustrating when a comment is left purely to link drop. Nobody likes a spammer, yet people still use it as a tactic. We’re looking to build longstanding relationships here, not fickle ones.

theme week get your stuff shared

I find consistent posting makes a huge difference to the amount of readers I get. I’ve seen the daily number of readers that subscribe to my blog triple since I’ve started to update daily, as have my page views and the amount of traffic I am getting from search engines. I was updating every 2-3 days, but in the past few months I’ve posted daily and it’s the best thing I ever could have done for my blog. I have posts scheduled for the same time each day and link back to my previous two posts at the end to make it easier for readers that don’t visit daily to access them, which was one of my main concerns around daily blogging. The only downfall is finding the time to push out quality content, I plan my posts in advance using an editorial calendar and will sometimes write 4-5 posts in one day around my work schedule. Planning is key!

theme week whats next

Once I received comments, I replied to every one and returned the favour by leaving a comment on their next post. This encouraged them to return and even subscribe. I was using this tactic for around 10 months until I was unable to keep up with the amount of comments I was getting.

finding time
But guess what? I don’t need to keep up anymore and I no longer struggle with the ‘write vs. promote’ conflict like I used to. I find I need to spend less time commenting and am able to concentrate on creating daily quality content – I now have a mixture of long term readers I’ve made through commenting, and people who discover my blog through other blogs, social media, Google, etc.Leaving 20-40 quality comments on new blogs daily is a time consuming activity and is difficult while having a full time job. I aimed for 20 comments on work days and 40 for days off. I wasn’t blogging daily so had more time for getting my name out there and I commented a lot while watching TV on an evening or listening to music – I’ve always been a multi-tasker and struggle to sit and watch TV while not doing anything else. I often gave myself ‘goals’, such as leaving a certain amount of comments to a time scale. I found the more comments I was leaving, the easier it was to think of something engaging to say – it just became something I could naturally do.While I am still an active commenter, I comment on those blogs I love, rather than as a marketing tactic. If I have a spare hour or so, I may visit a few new blogs within my niche and leave a few comments, but it is not something that I do daily.You may have loyal readers that will lap up every word but don’t always comment, so I’ve targeted those blog readers that are active in commenting and brought them over to my blog.

Point of difference: Adding forums for your readers

I wanted to take my community to the next level by giving my readers a place they could all come together and share ideas. I find Twitter too fast paced and comments on blogs restrictive. As I’ve always been a lover of forums – joining my first in 2002 at 14, then being an administrator for another for over ten years – a forum was exactly what I was looking for. Finding none within my niche, I bought a new domain and set up my own.

I spent a couple weeks preparing the site and researching, then on 1st January 2014, I launched them, alongside a Twitter account. It’s early days yet – we are in the process of growing our member base with a view to branch outside of the current niche, adding specific forums as requested to welcome more bloggers to our community. We share our posts, ask questions, share tips and sometimes just have a general natter.

Top 3 benefits to creating the forums:

  1. Great for traffic – people will click my profile and then go to my blog as well as click links I leave on the forum.
  2. Great for post ideas – some of my most popular content has come from ideas from the forum. Members ask me questions all the time which has led me to write posts with useful information and blogging tips on my main site – these are easily my most shared and most engaging blog posts.
  3. Great for finding new blogs – I now read blogs from a variety of niches from our members.
theme week top takeaways

  1. Target bloggers in a similar niche to you.
  2. Leave comments that leaves them wanting to know more, or asks them a question.
  3. Remember, 20 readers that regularly come back and comment are more valuable than 2000 one-time readers.
Are you an active commenter?

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger

Build a Better Blog in 31 Days

Finding Readers Week: Corinne Talks Commenting, Engagement, and Are Forums Right For Your Blog?

Theme Week: How To Find New Readers and Create Community on Your Blog

FINDING READERS

If you’ve been around this year, you will have seen that we are running a themed week each month, focusing on a specific blogging topic. It is our aim that you will get a great deal of useful tips and info that will arm you with all the things you’ll need to stand out in that field.

Our first foray was in creating content, we moved into a week chock-full of info for new bloggers just starting out, and last month Shayne and I delved deep into creating products – an in-depth, step-by-step set of posts that aimed to answer all the questions you have about creating, launching, and selling products and services on your blog.

This week we have reached out to ProBlogger readers from various niches to share their success stories on how they found readers for their blog, and how they encouraged engagement: comments, shares, and a creating a thriving community.

Stay tuned for tips from the food, fashion, personal, social media, and blogging-about-blogging genres. No doubt there will be some fantastic information you can action that day that will help you on your journey.

We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter about this week’s theme.

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger

Build a Better Blog in 31 Days

Theme Week: How To Find New Readers and Create Community on Your Blog

MightyDeals giveaway: 3 WordPress themes bundle to win

A word about Mighty Deals

Mighty Deals offers unbelievable deals and discounts for creative professionals.The deals include products and services that are heavily discounted, exclusively for Mighty Deals customers, usually from 50% to 90% off. Each deal stays on the site for a very limited time and is available exclusively for purchase directly through the site.

The prize: DesignerThemes themes bundle

On this giveaway, you can win an amazing bundle of 5 gorgeous, high-quality WordPress themes. Their beauty is more than skin deep, though, as these themes are built on a responsive design, include an intuitive options panel, are highly customizable, SEO friendly and more! Wanna know more about the bundle? Then just have a look there!

How to join the contest?

Taking part in the contest is super easy: Just leave a comment on this post to let us know you’re in. In one week (April 2, 2014) I’ll randomly pick 3 winners which will receive designerthemes bundle directly from MightyDeals.

I Apologize to Our Community for Being Transparent #myblogguest

pigeon carrying mail 300x198 I Apologize to Our Community for Being Transparent #myblogguestHere’s my big confession: I was so stubborn with stating that we are NOT hiding anything that I put our community under the risk.

I want to publicly apologize for that.

Really, I thought the sneakier you get, the more obvious it is that you are doing something wrong. We never hid our sites or users, we never dropped the word “guest”, we were publicly sharing our best achievements, etc

I am a too bad marketer to be sneaky!

And now, when the most transparent guest posting brand is hit, what does it tell the world? That we should be hiding our tracks?

Oh well, our community will find ways to survive; the war (that Google declared to transparency) is not lost.

We are moving on!

Has your site been affected?

I am not angry; nor am I devastated. I am sad because I believe in what I preach and it’s tough seeing other people suffering from it.

From now on MyBlogGuest policy on getting out of penalty:

  • Nofollow all guest post links (if you need the list, please go to “Articles Gallery” -> “Articles Given to Me”)
  • Submit reconsideration request to Google (my assumption is, you should be fine)

What did this penalty show us?

Well, I am not going to rant, throw out names and accusations. If you know me and my projects, you have made your own conclusions.

Like I said, we are moving on and we’ll get even stronger. MyBlogGuest has been an awesome school for me. I am thankful for every day of its life. I love you, my followers and supporters.

#MyBlogGuest Update: Thank You for the Support!!!

fireworks #MyBlogGuest Update: Thank You for the Support!!!I’ll start by saying that I really appreciate that to happen right during my Pubcon session. I should have been enjoying my time in New Orleans instead of writing this article…

Now, to the most important discovery of the day: People are just awesome! I have much more trust in our community and in absolutely unbelievably supportive people out there. Here’s one of many, many quotes people say about what happened (thank you, my dear unexpected friend Hannah):

MBG should not have been penalized, whether they enforced dofollow or not. They weren’t forcing anybody to post links they didn’t vouch for, and it’s short sighted and I want to say even weak to insist that we should nofollow everything out of fear of Google. The fault should fall on owners of crappy sites…

What on earth are we supposed to do if we can’t post relevant content that links to relevant sites? What are we supposed to do if we’re not allowed to group up and introduce people who have content with people who have websites? Go home and hide under the covers?

Why does nobody understand the concept? Don’t just bow down and nofollow everything for fear of Google. Stand behind the content you post and only post content that you ARE willing to legitimately link to…

Now, to the fact: What actually happened?

I have just re-verified MyBlogGuest in GWT (it had been dropped earlier after some bug) and here’s the error they are giving:

Google has detected a pattern of unnatural artificial, deceptive, or manipulative links pointing to pages on this site. These may be the result of buying links that pass PageRank or participating in link schemes.

That means Google didn’t like links TO our site.

unnatural #MyBlogGuest Update: Thank You for the Support!!!

Am I going to try to re-penalize it?

No. Period.

I am proud of any backlink to my site… I am not going to send emails asking to remove them or use the ridiculous tool to remove them from the index. I stand by each link that ever was put for MyBlogGuest

Do You Think Your Site Was Penalized by Google Because of MBG?

If you have at least 0.00001% trust in what Google says, judging from the error they are giving us, they have problems with links TO our sites.

We’ve never asked our members to link to us, so you should be fine icon smile #MyBlogGuest Update: Thank You for the Support!!!

If you still think MBG is your only problem, please email me seosmarty AT gmail – we’ll bring up all your published articles from our authors and see if removing them could help.

Please don’t nofollow links in those articles. It’s only fair to give those articles back to authors or at least discuss that with them. Let’s value people more than bots…

Update: Apparently you cannot trust Google even a bit because they did hit the sites even though they were not doing anything wrong. Updated recommendations:

From now on MyBlogGuest policy on getting out of penalty:

  • Nofollow all guest post links (if you need the list, please go to “Articles Gallery” -> “Articles Given to Me”)
  • Submit reconsideration request to Google (my assumption is, you should be fine)

What’s the Future of MyBlogGuest

We are moving on!

Yes, starting from tomorrow we’ll give our publishers the flexibility to nofollow byline links (only byline links).

You will need to specifically label your site within MyBlogGuest as “using nofollow attribution links” for authors to know what to expect… This feature will be up tomorrow.

I have trust in natural links and if the author links to sources, those links will need to be follow. Otherwise, please just don’t use guest posts.

Conclusion

Did I manage not to rant at all? Good. That only means I haven’t drunk enough today icon smile #MyBlogGuest Update: Thank You for the Support!!!

On a more serious note, I am taking the full responsibility for introducing the SEO community to guest blogging.

Stay tuned and thanks again for the overwhelming support!

Matt Cutts Explains How To Let Google Know When There’s A Mobile Version Of A Page by @mattsouthern

Matt Cutts, Google’s head of search spam, answers a question about mobile sites in his latest Webmaster Help video where a user writes in to ask: Is there a way to tell Google there is a mobile version of a page, so it can show the alternate page in mobile search results? Or similarly, that […]

Author information

Matt Southern

Matt Southern is a marketing, communications and public relations professional. He provides strategic digital marketing services at an agency called Bureau in Ontario, Canada. He has a bachelors degree in communication and an unparalleled passion for helping businesses get their message out.

The post Matt Cutts Explains How To Let Google Know When There’s A Mobile Version Of A Page by @mattsouthern appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

#SMX West 2014 Recap: The Integration of Search and Social by @thebigdebowski

The integration of search and social is extremely significant and two SMX sessions addressed the subject in varied ways. The first of two was focused on top social tactics for the search marketer. Featuring Lisa Williams (Director of Digital Marketing Strategy, Search Discovery), Ric Dragon (CEO, Dragon Search), Lisa Buyer (CEO, The Buyer Group), and […]

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Debbie Miller

Blogger and Social Media Marketing Professional at Social Hospitality

Debbie is the Founder of Social Hospitality, a blog and boutique marketing firm focusing on social media, blogging, and SEO. Debbie is the Social Media Manager for Search Engine Journal and the Content Editor for Maximize Social Business. She is also the Digital Communications Manager for HyperDisk Marketing and a Social Media Instructor at UC Irvine Extension.

The post #SMX West 2014 Recap: The Integration of Search and Social by @thebigdebowski appeared first on Search Engine Journal.