Blogging for Homebuilders (Part II)May 21, 2009
Written by Meredith Oliver
In the part 1 of Blogging for Builders, I talked about the basics of blogging such as why blog, what is a blog and how to set up a blog. Today I am teaching part 2 of the webinar and wanted to post some of the ideas here. If you are interested in the webinar, it is part of a series, Insight into On-Site & On-Line in 2009.
Now that you’ve got your blog going, it is time to think about marketing your blog. First, you need to establish a baseline of how much traffic your blog is currently getting. Within your blog account you should have a tool called “blog stats.” If you are using WordPress.com, click on Dashboard/Blog Stats. The blog stats in WordPress.com are powered by Google Analytics so everything you need is built right in. If you are using WordPress.org you can download a number of plug-ins to track your blog traffic or you can use the free Blog Stats powered by Google Analytics that is built in.
In the blog stats, pay attention to the following. You can click on each one in the Blog Stats dashboard and drill deeper.
>Views per day – This stat tells you how many unique visitors (unique IP addresses) come to your blog on a daily basis and gives you an idea of overall traffic to the blog on a weekly and monthly basis. What is a good number? That depends on how much you are marketing the blog. If you are spending millions of dollars on a primetime television campaign, then expect millions of visitors. If the only marketing for your blog is a link on your corporate Web site, expect a small percentage of your corporate website traffic to click through. The key is to steadily increase the views per day as you develop a following. The best way to do that is to offer tons of value and write in a voice that speaks to your audience.
>Referrers – List of websites that sent traffic to your blog. You can learn a lot by looking at the referrers. If you are paying for online advertising you should see that source listed under referrers. If you don’t, that source may not be producing enough traffic to warrant the amount you are spending. The referrer list often times will have websites list you didn’t even know were linked to your blog. And, it’s interesting to note that sometimes the non-paid referrers send more traffic than paid referrers.
>Search Terms – List of keyword phrases visitors used to find your blog. The list of terms will help you refine your search engine optimization and positioning. For some of you, the search terms revolve mostly around your corporate name or brand, while other blogs search terms revolve around a topic or product name.
>Top Posts & Pages – Lists what posts and pages are clicked on most often which gives you a feel for what content really appeals to your audience and what content flops. This helps you refine your content and focus in on what your audience wants to hear.
>Clicks – Finally, look at the list of clicks. The clicks tell you what links in your blog visitors click on the most. Again, this feedback tells you what is popular and of interest to your audience. It gives you insight into their likes, dislikes, wants and needs.
Once you’ve looked at how your blog is currently performing, it is time to consider marketing the blog to increase traffic. Here are a few ideas:
1. Networked blogs on Facebook – You can find my blog on Networked Blogs at http://apps.facebook.com/blognetworks/blog/creating_wow_blog/. This is a fantastic application in Facebook that allows you to promote your blog in Facebook both separate from your profile and within your profile. Since I added my blog to Networked Blogs, I get several clicks a day. Nice! I added it recently so I am sure it will continue to grow.
2. Twitter – One of the best ways to drive traffic to your blog is to tweet interesting facts, trivia, quotes and link to your blog for more detailed information. I’ve also noticed that on the days I tweet, I get much better traffic to the blog than on the days I don’t. My twitter profile is http://twitter.com/creatingwow.
3. Email marketing – Isn’t email dead? No! Email marketing is very much alive and kicking. Email is by far the BEST way to market your blog. Out of all the links in my email campaigns, the blog link is clicked on the most. I highly recommend you tease your blog post in an email, send it out to your database and link to the rest of the post in the email. If you haven’t gotten my email eNewsletter, email me at Meredith@CreatingWOW.com and I will put you on the list so you can see how I do it. I get great results this way!
4. Blog directories – There are search engines just for blogs. You want your blog to show up in their results. Some blog directories are paid and some are non-paid. I found a list of the top 20 blog directories from another blog! Of courese! http://tinyurl.com/2xf2xz. We went through the list and submitted this blog to all the non-paid directories. Haven’t seen a lot of traffic from it yet but will continue to track.
5. RSS Feed – Frequent blog visitors can add your RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed to their browser so when they click on Favorites/Feeds your latest post is there. Or, they can sign up via email if you use a service like Feed Burner to be notified anytime you post. RSS is an easy way for your followers to know that you have updated the blog without having to go there and check it. As a marketer, you need to put your RSS symbol everywhere! Push it on your Web site, email signature, email marketing, Twitter etc… Don’t wait for people to figure out how to sign up for your RSS, teach them how and lead them to it. Make it easy! The RSS feed for this blog through Internet Explorer is http://creatingwow.wordpress.com/feed/ and through Feedburner it is http://feeds2.feedburner.com/CreatingWowBlog. Why both? Cover your bases by offering both so you cover the main types of feeds.
I hope this helped you learn how to measure your blog’s effectiveness and how to increase traffic with online marketing. Have a great blog success or disaster you don’t mind sharing? Please comment and tell us what you do to market your blog that has worked! We would love to hear from you!