Category Archive: Blogging

Smart Social Networking Stragtegies

Social Networking

Want to increase your traffic?

How would you like to increase your traffic and conversions?

Are you really taking advantage of social networking?

Many people think they’re covering their bases by setting up a Facebook page and a Twitter account.

But there’s much more (and maybe less!) you can and should be doing to maximize your traffic through social networking.

New In-Depth Articles

Today I’ve added three new pages to our site with in-depth information and tutorials. The first page, Promoting Your Site Through Social Networking, covers the best ways to get more visitors through smart social networking. The second page is a detailed tutorial on Enabling and Increasing Blog Subscriptions, with code examples you can copy and paste for use on your blog today. And the third page is another detailed tutorial, How to Build an Email List, again including code you can copy and paste to use on your site now.

New social media is the rage today, and it does have its place. But giving up on old school social networking is a mistake, as it not only creates long term value for your business and your visitors, but is also a great way to increase traffic with more engaged users. Check out the articles above to make sure you’re not missing out.

Why Using Facebook and Twitter Kills Your Profits

Don't LikeIf you’re using Facebook and Twitter for work, you may be wasting time and money.

And most companies selling social media marketing either don’t know what they’re doing or they’re selling snake oil.

Want to know why hyped-up social media is more noise than value, and what you should be focusing on instead? Read on…

Let Them Talk About You

First, you don’t need to have a Facebook page to have your website or company talked about or liked on Facebook. And your business can be spread on Twitter without having a Twitter account.

Social networks are places where “friends” go to talk and share. If you provide something of value that people want to talk about, they will. And not only would it be better for people to share your website instead of your social media page, where a visitor is far more likely to “convert”, but spending money and time on your own business is a better use of resources.

Lots of Noise, Little Value

People with active Facebook and Twitter accounts are bombarded with messages. Your messages are likely to get lost in the noise. And even if you do get traffic from social media, it’s horribly unprofitable traffic.

Facebook and Twitter are designed around a high quantity of low quality messages, where a user’s attention quickly shifts from one blurb to another. And this is reflected in social media referrals. Anyone who monitors their analytics knows this. A site with a 15% bounce rate (number of users who arrive and quickly leave) from both natural and paid search will notice their bounce rate shoot up to 80-90% during social media referral spikes. Visitors coming from social media are like squirrels on crack.

Yet, you still hear stories of great social media success. Then again, what you don’t hear about are the vast numbers of failures. But of the successes, how successful are they?

Social Media Success or Flawed Metrics?

Most of the success stories are based on meaningless metrics. Businessweek’s Larry Popelka claimed in his article GM Doesn’t Get Social Media that “Ford has more than 1.5 million ‘likes’ on it’s Facebook page, vs. fewer than 400,000 for GM”. So what?!? A fake company can generate 3,000+ likes in 4 days for $60, and it would be easy to do a multiple of that. Even Facebook admits that not all likes are legit. And for the likes that are legit, what Larry doesn’t seem to understand is that likes don’t put money in the bank.

What You Should Be Doing Instead

The biggest problem with social media marketing is opportunity cost. No individual or company has unlimited resources. In a reality where resources are limited, does activity on social media mediums like Facebook and Twitter lead to more profit than the alternatives? I’ll answer that. No.

Robert Wynne from Forbes agrees:

“There’s only so many hours in the day. You can spend time meeting reporters, crafting your message and getting placements in major media or your local publication, or you can type the keyboard for hundreds of hours hoping someone “Likes” your brilliant post on Facebook or follows your wickedly awesome tweets on Twitter.”

There are PLENTY ways you can spend your time that produce more value for your business or website than on Facebook or Twitter.

Email and RSS: Far Better Alternatives

For communicating with your customers, email and RSS/blog subscriptions are much better options. Instead of working on and promoting your Facebook and Twitter pages, work on your blog or newsletter and promote them. Email referrals have FAR higher conversion rates than social media referrals, and people who subscribe to your blog via email or a feed reader are going to be much more engaged listeners.

You’re better off working on and increasing the value of your own business, website, or blog than being a source of user-generated-content for the social networks.

Real Social Networking

Real social networking is about active communication with your community or customers. It’s about building real relationships. And you’re not going to do that with Facebook and Twitter, at least not to the extent you could with your own website, email, or subscription to your blog or newsletter.

There are too many people on social media networks, blasting out a massive stream of noise you’re either going to get lost in or quickly glanced over by. But by writing useful or informative articles on your website, blog, or newsletter, you create relationships with people who want to come back for more. Spend time emailing people who run sites in your industry, comment on industry blogs, write guest posts for popular blogs in your niche. That’s real social networking that will create lasting relationships and value.

What do you think? If you’re using Facebook and Twitter for work, do you think you’re actually getting more value from those efforts than you could be by working on your website? Let me know in the comments.

WordPress Installation & Security Tutorials

Today I’ve added two in-depth WordPress tutorials to our site.  The first is on installing WordPress and the second is on making your WP installation secure.  The installation tutorial covers both one-click and manual installs, depending on what your host has available.  And the security tutorial has 7 easy-to-follow steps to stop your site from getting hacked.

While there are other tutorials on both of these subjects, most of them don’t include step by step images.  These do.  And the security section has all the best tips on one page.  Before implementing the recommended security tips, one of my WordPress sites was getting hacked about every two weeks.  It was a hack that was redirecting normal visitors (including myself) to the original versions of the site, but sending Googlebot to the hacked versions, where the hacker was inserting links to their sites.  I wouldn’t have even noticed the hack, but Google de-indexed my site due to the ton of spammy links they were seeing.  My visitors dropped down to nothing until I figured out where the hack was and filed a reconsideration request with Google.  I started using a file monitor to catch the hacks and fix the files, but until I implemented all of the steps, I kept getting hacked.  So if you haven’t made your WP site secure, I hope you’ll follow the advice and save yourself the frustration of losing all your visitors and having to figure out what happened to your site.

How To Add an RSS Feed Page To WordPress

Here’s a simple tutorial on creating a page where your visitors can subscribe to your blog via email or feed readers, like this.

If you’ve got a WordPress site, you’ve already got RSS functionality built in.  However, it’s probably not set up so people can easily subscribe via their favorite feed reader, and definitely not set up to allow visitors to subscribe via email.  To create your own page with options, first, set up or log into your Google account on their FeedBurner page:

FeedBurner

After you’ve added your feed URL, which with WordPress should be http://www.yoursite.com/blog/feed/, you’ll be taken to a page with tabs at the top.  Click on the Optimize tab, and then on the SmartFeed link:

SmartFeed

Go ahead and activate that, as it will properly format your feed. Do the same for the BrowserFriendly and FeedFlare sections, adding social networking links with FeedFlare.

Now click on the Publicize tab, and Email Subscriptions in the left sidebar. This is what you’ll get:

Feedburner Email Subscribe

The code you see in the box right above this text is what you’ll need to copy and paste into your new WordPress Feed page. That will create the form where visitors can enter their email address to subscribe to your feed.  Go ahead and copy that code and paste it into a Notepad or TextEdit page to use in just a moment.

Click on the Publicize tab again, and then click on the friendly graphic link in the middle of the page. Here’s where you’ll end up:

Feedburner Subscription Options

Notice I’ve got the radio button next to the Google Reader option selected.  The HTML code is displayed at the bottom of the page, so insert that image and link so visitors can subscribe with Google Reader.  Select each of the options you’d like to offer on your feed page, copy the code, and paste it below the code for the email subscribe box in your Notepad or TextEdit document.

Making Your Page

Now it’s time to make your page.  In the WordPress admin area, create a new page.  I’ve named mine “Subscribe to the Hungry Piranha Blog”.  Click on the HTML tab and paste in the code you copied from Google’s FeedBurner pages.  Add a couple of headings like I did on my page, a bit of explanation, and your page is ready to go.

Adding Your Link

Depending on where you’ve got your subscribe link, you’ll want to change it to your new page rather than the default WordPress link to YourSite.com/blog/feed/.  My link is in the header.php file, so I simply went in and changed it to the newly created page.

Why Start A Blog

I generally dislike blogs and blogging. My preference is for static sites with simple and usable navigation, where you can quickly find exactly what you’re looking for without going through post after post after post. I also dislike the unnecessary complication of a content management system, database, constant updates, and continuous hacking threats that come with a blog, among other things.

Static sites are far easier to manage. You put up a great site with quality content, one that answers every question your visitors might have, and you’re done. There’s no need for regular updates if nothing substantial is changing in whatever industry your site is covering.

The front end of this site is a static site, based on our free website template. Only the blog runs on the WordPress CMS. If you’re looking for information on building a profitable online business, you should find everything you need quickly and easily from the navigation on the front end of this site. So why start a blog?

A few reasons.

In the world of internet marketing, things change fast, often blindingly fast. Specific techniques and tactics that work today may not work tomorrow. One day, a certain method of promoting your site is endorsed by Google, and the next…they’ve changed the game and are hitting you with a penalty. The front end of this site has very good general information on promoting a site through SEO, PPC, and social networking. If you follow it in spirit, you should do very well. But having a blog is a nice way to highlight specific things you should and shouldn’t be doing right now. Lots of websites that follow Google’s rules still get penalized. I’ll use this blog to cover the penalties along with ways to avoid or escape them.

Blogs allow for social interaction. People may be more likely to ask a question on a post in the comment section rather than emailing it in. And if one person asks a question, it’s fair to assume others have the same one. So having a blog (or forum) is a good way to help address questions in a way you can’t do with a static site.

Another aspect of social interaction…with a blog you can add posts on interesting bits around the web, temporal stuff that might not be worth having a static page on, linked to in the main navigation. This creates the opportunity to interact in your industry by linking to other sites, getting noticed, and having people link back to you. Blogs make giving and getting natural links and traffic easier.

This site screams for a blog. Thus, it begins…