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January 11 2012

10:00

January 07 2012

10:00

How to use Google Analytics to Drive more Traffic to Your Website

There are probably thousands of articles on the web talking about Google Analytics, such as how to use the free reporting tool, how to set up Google Analytics for your website, and what Google Analytics reports you can take advantage of. This is all great information, especially for novice website designers. What I think is missing is the most critical piece of information, which is “How do I analyze these Google Analytics reports in order to actually make impactful changes to my website?” In this article we are going to answer that question, as well as, provide you with some examples of taking certain data from Google Analytics, analyzing it, and then using it to make changes to your website and/or website marketing.

Analyze Your Website on a Quarterly Basis


Tools like Google Analytics allow you to check your website traffic data as frequently as you’d like. I definitely recommend keeping an eye on your Google Analytics reports daily or weekly. With that said, we all know that checking your reports and actually taking time to analyze them are two different tasks. This is why I recommend that every website owner take a full day each quarter to analyze their reports and implement any needed changes to their website based on what the data is showing.

What Website Data should I be Paying Attention to?


use google reports

It’s easy to get lost in Google Analytics. There is SO much data that you can analyze. Not only is there a ton of data, but the ways in which you can slice it up seem almost endless. Every website owner is going to have different reports to focus on, but there are a few main data points that all website owners should be aware of during their quarterly reviews:

  • Traffic Sources – Keywords: Knowing which keywords are driving the most quality visitors to your website is crucial. You can begin optimizing more of your website around these keywords in order to capitalize on those searches.
  • Traffic Sources – Referring Sites: Understanding which websites are sending the most quality traffic to your website will allow you to focus more effort and time on those sites, and less of your time on under performing websites, moving forward.
  • Visitors Overview: How much of your website traffic is new visitors versus returning visitors? Knowing this might help you phrase content different or run certain marketing programs geared towards one type of visitor versus the other.
  • Content Overview – Top Pages: Having an idea of what pages are performing best will tell you what content your visitors are interested in. Produce more of that!
  • Visits: What days do you have the most traffic to your website? Knowing what days visitors are coming to your website allows you to publish new content or launch promotions on those days in order to capture the most attention.

Now that we have an understanding of some of the most important reports to analyze for your website, let’s dig into each of them to provide examples on how you can use the data to make real impactful changes to your website and website marketing.

Use Keyword Reports to Optimize Your Website


find keywords google analytics

Knowing which keywords to optimize your website with is crucial in attracting the right visitors. Here’s how you can utilize the Keyword reports in Google Analytics:

  1. Go into the Traffic Sources Overview section of Google Analytics
  2. Find your Top ten performing keywords and make a list of those keywords
  3. Go back through your website and begin infusing them into your website content
  4. Use them as anchor text for your URLs
  5. Name your images with your top ten keywords
  6. Add title tags and Alt tags to your images using your top ten keywords
  7. Create a list of new blog topics that you want to write about and be sure to infuse your top ten keywords into those articles

By analyzing your Traffic Sources – Keywords report and following the steps above you will significantly increase your website traffic for those specific keywords.

Once you have completed this first main Keyword optimization during your Quarterly review, go BACK through your Keyword report and sort the results by Average Time on Site. Find five keywords that might not be driving a lot of traffic to your website right now, but the traffic that is coming to your site from those keywords tends to spend a lot of time on your site. These are your “growth keywords”. Repeat the steps above using these keywords to see if with a little more use throughout your website they can produce more traffic.

Spend more Time on the Websites that Refer the most Traffic to Your Website


what sites send the most traffic to my site

Knowing which websites (or social media channels) around the web that are referring the most traffic to your website is critical. As a website owner you only have so much time in the day to market your site. It’s best to use that time wisely. Follow these steps in order to analyze your traffic sources and make impactful changes to your website marketing:

  1. Go into your Traffic Sources report within Google Analytics and review the Top Referring Sites data
  2. Ask yourself, are these the websites that I assumed would be near the top? Are these the websites I’m spending the most time using in order to drive traffic to my website?
  3. Start trying to figure out why some sites are near the top of this list, while others are near the bottom. Perhaps one of the websites near the top is a site that you recently wrote a guest blog article for. Contact the owner of that site and see if you can write another article for them.
  4. Is LinkedIn outperforming Facebook? If so, you may want to tweak the amount of time you spend on both social media sites, with more time being devoted to LinkedIn next quarter instead of Facebook. This strategy can be repeated for all social media sites that you use.
  5. Is Banner Ad ‘A’ outperforming Banner Ad ‘B’? If so, perhaps you want to cancel Banner Ad ‘B’ and ask for more space on the website that’s hosting Banner Ad ‘A’.
  6. Is there a website that you don’t recognize that’s currently sending a lot of traffic to your website? Reach out to the owner of that website and see if you can partner with them in some way in order to capitalize even more on all of the traffic they are sending your way.

Using the Referral Sources report in Google Analytics will help you become more efficient with your marketing time and more effective at driving traffic to your website.

Run a Contest for New Visitors, Say ‘Thank You’ to Returning Visitors


Analyzing your Visitor Profile through the Visitors Overview report in Google Analytics will let you know how much of your traffic is composed of ‘New Visitors’ and how much of your traffic is composed of ‘Repeat Visitors’. You want to encourage new visitors to become return visitors, as well as, continue to attract even more new visitors. Here are a few ways that you can take your data from the Visitors Overview report and actually use it to improve your website:

  • Post some sort of a ’Thank You’ message somewhere prominent on your website for returning visitors OR send out the periodic ‘Thank You’ email to your email list just letting your supporters know you appreciate them.
  • Do you have an e-Commerce website? Give repeat customers a discount on their next purchase.
  • Create a ‘FAQ’ page to help new visitors quickly understand your website and how to use it
  • Make the ‘Contact Us’ page as prevalent as possible in case new visitors have questions and need to contact you
  • Create a survey for returning customers to capture information that you think will help you provide more value to them in the future
  • Run a contest to encourage new customers to get engaged with your website/brand

Produce More of the Content Your Visitors Like


most visited pages on my website

Understanding what content is resonating with your visitors will help you come up with new content topics for the next quarter.

  1. Go into the Content Overview section of Google Analytics and navigate to the Top Pages report
  2. Find the top 5-6 pages visited over the past 3-6 months
  3. Think about what information is displayed on each of those pages and determine what information the majority of your visitors are looking for
  4. Develop a Content Plan for the next quarter, comprised of topics that you think are most relevant based on your findings above. A few ideas might be:
  1. Write blog articles around popular topics
  2. Focus social media efforts in promoting those top pages or discussing those top topics
  3. Write an eBook expanding on some of those topics that your visitors are finding valuable
  4. Shoot YouTube videos around those topics and embed them into your Top Pages

Producing more of the content that your visitors are finding valuable will keep them coming back, get them to share your website with their friends, and attract new visitors.

Publish New Content, Contests, and General Website Updates on High Traffic Days


Are the weekends a popular time for your website or do most people visit your website during the week? Knowing what days are high traffic days for your website and what days are low traffic days for your website allows you to be much more strategic in regards to publishing new updates to your website. By analyzing the Visits report in Google Analytics you can see which days seem to generate the most traffic. Make a list of your high traffic days and then start taking advantage of those high traffic days in the following ways:

  • Publish blog articles on those days
  • Begin and end contests on high traffic days
  • Spend time on social media during those days
  • Publish events to your website
  • Make architecture or functionality updates on low traffic days

Knowing when, and when not to, publish new information to your website can drastically alter the number of views your new updates receive. Be smart about when you publish new content, news, events, etc. Use the Visits report in Google Analytics as your guide.

Turn Google Analytics Reports Into Impactful Changes for Your Website


Google Analytics is great. The website data provided by Google Analytics can help website owners learn a ton about their website. With that said, unless website owners take time to review and analyze their reports on a regular basis, and then take time to use that data to make changes to their website, they are missing out on the biggest advantage that Google Analytics provides. Google Analytics provides you with a blueprint for giving your visitors what they want, when they want it. Be sure to take advantage of that.

December 29 2011

10:00

Use Paper.li to Grow Brand Awareness and Website Traffic

Are you looking to grow brand awareness and website traffic, but don’t have the time to create your own online content? You should consider using Paper.li to create an online Daily Newspaper about your website topic. In this article we will review what Paper.li is, how it works, the benefits to using Paper.li, how to get your Paper.li newspaper noticed, crafting the perfect Paper.li newspaper, and a list of the top Paper.li newspapers.

What is Paper.li?


Paper.li is a fairly new automated tool that allows users to create their own online newspaper. It’s a great way to provide relevant online content about the same topic as your website. Paper.li newspapers provide valuable information to your online community about a specific topic. Over time creating a daily newspaper that goes out to your online community will help drive more readers to your website. Website owners can use Paper.li to drive more traffic to their website.

How Does Paper.li Work?


Paper.li allows users to create their own online newspaper through links shared on Facebook and Twitter. Once set up Paper.li automatically collects links from within Facebook or Twitter, organizes them into an easy-to-read newspaper format, complete with imagery, headlines, and article descriptions. Subscribers receive their online newspaper each day filled with top stories around the same content topic as your website. It’s a great way for you to automatically aggregate online content relevant to your website topic and push it out to your online community.

On a daily basis a new paper.li newspaper is created around your topic. If you’re on Twitter, you can configure the system to tweet your Paper.li newspaper automatically. You can also promote your newspaper manually by promoting the URL on your social networks. For full integration we recommend that you embed your online daily newspaper into your website.

creative content marketing ideas

Benefits of Using Paper.li


Paper.li offers many benefits to website owners interested in finding new Content Marketing ideas to help build brand awareness and increase website traffic. Below are a few of the benefits to using Paper.li:

  • Paper.li is an automated Content Marketing tool. Set it and forget it if need be. We recommend you actively promote it each day as well OR embed it into your website for increased exposure.
  • FREE to use! You can create up to 10 online newspapers with the free account.
  • Provides a valuable educational resource to your online community. Helps them learn more about the topic of your website. Positions you as a thought leader around your topic.
  • Allows for cross promotional opportunities with the other authors who are featured within your Paper.li newspaper. When you tweet it, you include the Twitter names of those who are featured. Many of whom will retweet your newspaper to their online community, thus bringing more new eyeballs to your Paper.li newspaper.

Create a Paper.li Newspaper for Your Website


How to create paper.li

Paper.li newspapers are easy to create and the benefits are numerous, so we definitely recommend that you consider creating a Paper.li newspaper around the same topic as your website. If you’d like to move forward in creating a Paper.li newspaper for your website follow the steps below to get started.

  1. Navigate to Paper.li and sign in with either your Twitter or Facebook account
  2. Click ‘Start your paper’
  3. Select the option to “create a paper based on a specific topic or list of people”
  4. Create a Title for your Paper.li newspaper
  5. Add up to 10 content streams from which to pull article links from. Add as many as you’d like (up to 10). You can organize them in the order of importance. If you choose a Single Twitter User and a Twitter Keyword, you can rank them in order of importance of where Paper.li should pull articles from first, second, third, etc. The options include:
    • Single Twitter User
    • Your Twitter Stream and the people you follow
    • Twitter List
    • Twitter #Hashtag
    • Keywords on Twitter
    • Keywords on Facebook
    • RSS Feed
    • Single Google+ User
    • Keywords on Google+
  6. Select a language for your Paper.li newspaper
  7. Select the ‘Covered Topics’. Covered Topics are the ‘Sections’ that you’d like to appear in your Paper.li newspaper.
  8. Click ‘Publish’. Your Paper.li newspaper will be updated every 24 hours.

It’s that easy! You now have an automated content marketing tool to use every day for educating your online community on your website topic and for driving traffic back to your website. Before we let you go, let’s go through each of the different content options that you can use to construct your Paper.li newspaper. We will discuss why you might want to use each different content option.

How to Get Noticed


Getting your Paper.li newspaper noticed by relevant readers is the key to attracting subscribers. It’s important that you use all available marketing channels to help you promote your Paper.li newspaper. Here are a few creative ways to get your newspaper in front of the right people:

  • Set up an automatic feed to Twitter
  • Post your Paper.li newspaper on Facebook
  • Post your newspaper on Google+
  • Embed your Paper.li newspaper on your blog or website
  • Leave comments on each of the sites from which you pull content from and add a link back to your Paper.li newspaper
  • Reach out to the author of each article in your newspaper to let him/her know you used their article in your newspaper. Hopefully they will help you promote your newspaper by sending it out to their online community.
  • Add a link to your Paper.li newspaper to your email newsletter
  • If you are a business and have a physical location, put a flier or window cling in your store with a link (or QR code) to your Paper.li newspaper
  • Add the URL of your newspaper to your business card
  • Add the URL of your newspaper to your email signature
  • Promote your Paper.li newspaper on LinkedIn

Obviously you might not have time to do all of these things every day, but find a combination that works well for you and your audience and stick to it as best as possible. The more you promote your Paper.li newspaper the more subscribers you will attract.

Crafting the Perfect Paper.li

At first glance it might appear that crafting a Paper.li newspaper is a fairly standard process whereby you don’t have to put much thought into it. Unfortunately too many Paper.li editors go this route. The Paper.li editors who are successful are the ones who take some extra time to craft the perfect Paper.li newspaper. Here are a few tips for crafting a top-tier Paper.li newspaper.

  • Customize your Paper.li newspaper as best as possible. A good way to do this is find experts on your topic and pull content directly from them as a ‘Single Twitter User’ or by adding a RSS feed from their blog.
  • Organize your content streams with the ‘Single Twitter Users’ at the top and the more general content streams like ‘Twitter, Facebook, & Google+ Keywords’ near the bottom. This way your Paper.li newspaper will be filled with content from the experts you’ve chosen and any extra room will be filled with content from random publishers. This ensures your subscribers will get the best content each and every day.
  • Add 10 content streams. Paper.li allows you use to use 10 content streams so you should take advantage of them.
  • Use the Editor’s Note section to add a link to your website
  • Include one or more hashtags in the Title of your Paper.li newspaper. Paper.li newspapers can be automatically published to Twitter, so having a highly searched hashtag in the title of your newspaper will attract more readers.

5 Top Paper.li Newspapers


Here are a few examples of some of the best Paper.li newspapers. Each of these newspapers have thousands of subscribers. Take a look at each of these to see what they do well. Be sure to incorporate some of the things that these Paper.li editors do with their newspaper into your Paper.li newspaper.

Will You Create a Paper.li Newspaper for Your Website?


After reviewing this article, Paper.li, and all of the benefits it can provide to website owners, do you think it’s worth the time it takes (which is minimal) to create one for your website? We definitely think those who do move forward with creating a Paper.li newspaper will be happy they did.

Have you already created a Paper.li newspaper to help build brand awareness and increase website traffic? If so, how has it been working? Please share your comments below.

December 13 2011

10:00

Wield The Powers Of Holidays To Increase Website Traffic

Are you looking for new ways to increase traffic to your website? Holidays provide a great opportunity for website owners to increase traffic. Over the years of managing multiple websites I’ve seen big traffic spikes on sites that I’ve published articles geared toward an upcoming holiday. Another thing that I’ve noticed is that no matter what your website is about, you can usually come up with a blog article or contest idea that’s relevant to an upcoming holiday. In this articles we will review why holidays lead to increased website traffic, the best holidays to focus on, how to plan for taking advantage of holidays, and provide a few holiday content ideas for your website.

5 Reasons Why Holidays Lead To Increased Traffic


There are a number of reasons why holidays lead to increased website traffic, but here are the top 5:

Holidays are fun


Holidays are fun events for people. Fun leads to people being happy. When people are looking forward to fun things then they tend to spend more time focusing on those things. For most people, holidays are fun days throughout the year that they look forward to. When people look forward to something thye tend to spend time online looking for ideas on how they can get the most out of their holidays.

Time off from work


I think we can all agree that the more free time someone has the more likely his or her time spent online will increase. These days many of us work so much that we don’t have a lot of free time to spend searching the internet. All of that changes around holidays. Many people have time off from work, which allows them to spend more time doing other things, one of which is searching the internet.

Get together with friends and family


The holidays provide an opportunity to get together with friends and family. Whenever friends and family get together it usually means that they’ll be spending the day together, possibly eating, drinking, playing games, etc. When people get together a lot of times each person or family brings something to the party. If you’re in charge of one aspect of the party, then you might spend time online researching how to make that aspect of the party the best it can possibly be. If you need to make a certain dish for dinner, you may search for a recipe. If you’re in charge of entertainment, you may search for fun family games to play. The list goes on…

Planning leads to researching


Holidays require planning. Whether that means buying presents, decorating, preparing food, etc. many people must plan for upcoming holidays. Anytime someone needs to plan for an event like a holiday it usually leads to increased time spent online.

Traveling makes people look for something fun to do


Have you ever been on the road on or around the holidays? Traffic is horrible! That’s because many people travel on the holidays. When people are traveling, especially long distances or to places they have never been before, they usually spend time online researching their trip. It could be that they are looking for fun things to do near the place they are traveling to. It could be that they want to find places to stop along the way. Whatever it is that people are looking for, the key is that they are online looking for something. Knowing this provides an opportunity for website owners to capture some of that search traffic.

Now that we know the reasons why holidays can lead to increased website traffic, let’s review the best holidays for generating more website traffic.

3 Holidays To Take Advantage Of


ideas for increasing website trafficAll holidays provide an opportunity to generate more website traffic. With that said, over the years I’ve seen that some holidays provide better opportunities than others. Below are the top 3 holidays that you should take advantage of for driving more traffic to your website.

Christmas


Christmas is the number one holiday for organic search. People are performing searches to look for gift ideas, for travel, to find fun things going on in their community, etc. Be sure to have your Christmas content up no later than December 1st. Usually people start searching for Christmas-related information right after Thanksgiving.

Independence Day


Independence Day is a HUGE website traffic driver. Friends and families are always looking for fun things to do on or around Independence Day. A big factor is that July 4th is a Summer holiday and people love to spend it outside with friends and family. People are searching for fireworks displays, fun local events, holiday sales opportunities, and much more. Coming up with a fun July 4th promotion, giveaway, or even a safety tips blog article would do wonders for increasing your website traffic.

Halloween


Halloween is another fantastic holiday that should be leveraged to increase your website traffic. Being that it’s a holiday for young children you get a lot of parents searching the web for the latest costume ideas, hayride and haunted house information, events, ghost stories, and much more. Halloween is relevant to so many different types of websites that it’s almost impossible not to be able to come up with some sort of tie-in. If all else fails, just come up with a spooky story for your blog.

All holidays present a great opportunity to increase your website traffic, but Christmas, Independence Day, and Halloween are the top three holidays to take advantage of based on my analysis over the past few years. If you cannot come up with content ideas for ALL holidays be sure that you at least take advantage of these three.

Planning For An Upcoming Holiday


In order to capitalize on holiday web traffic, you must come up with a solid plan for how you will go about capturing some of that traffic. It’s important to start your planning well in advance of the holiday. Here are a few questions that you should answer when planning for an upcoming holiday:

  • How can I tie-in the upcoming holiday to my website topic?
  • What type of person am I trying to attract to my website?
  • What can I create on my website that might interest the type of person I’m trying to attract?
  • What keywords should I use within my holiday-related website content?
  • What other tools can I use to attract more website visitors (ie. social media)?

By answering these questions you will start to form ideas for what promotions or content you’ll produce for the upcoming holiday.

10 Tips To Boost Traffic During Holidays


grow website traffic

Understanding that holidays are great for increasing website traffic is important, but now that we know that, it’s time to start coming up with ideas for taking advantage of holidays. Remember, with a little creativity, almost ANY website (no matter your website topic) should be able to come up with ideas for taking advantage of holidays. Below are 10 ideas for taking advantage of holidays to help get you started. Not all of the ideas below will be relevant to your website, but you should be able to take advantage of a few of them OR modify any of them to work for your website.

  1. Simply offer a holiday discount on a product or service
  2. Run a holiday-related contest. If you don’t sell a product or service you can buy a Visa or American Express gift card (or any other cool prize that you think your readers will value) to give to the winner.
  3. Write a story on your blog about the upcoming holiday. Ideas include, but are not limited to, the history of the holiday, a little known fact about the holiday, a personal experience, etc.
  4. Provide a list of fun things to do with friends or family during the upcoming holiday.
  5. Write a short E-Book about the holiday and make it available for free download in exchange for readers’ email addresses and an opt-in to your newsletter or for future email communications.
  6. Publish a favorite holiday recipe.
  7. Gather Sales information from local retailers and publish it to your website as a ‘Savings Guide’ for your readers.
  8. Partner with another website to run a contest or giveaway. This cross-promotion technique can attract organic search traffic, but it also allows both you and your partner to share website traffic (increasing traffic for both parties).
  9. Publish a list of local events going on in your geographic area related to the holiday.
  10. Create a list of volunteer opportunities that people can participate in during the holiday. Volunteering information attracts a lot of website traffic around the holidays and you can definitely take advantage of some of that traffic by coming up with a list of volunteering opportunities that’s relevant to your website topic.

Again, not all of the ideas above will work for your website, but there should be a few that do. The important thing to remember is that holidays are great for increasing your website traffic. With a little planning and creativity, no matter what your website topic is, you should be able to take advantage of one or more holidays throughout the year in order to increase traffic to your website.

Are you currently using holidays to increase your website traffic? What are some of the things that you do in order to capitalize on holiday website traffic? Leave your comments below.

November 30 2011

10:00

How To Use Pinterest To Direct More Traffic To Your Website

Wouldn’t it be great if the things you did in your spare time directly affected the amount of traffic driven to your website? Like true 21st century people, a majority of us spend our time either tweeting, blogging, or poking each other on Facebook. Now you may believe that all of this time spent through various social media may be wasted but there are sites that are not only fun to use, but valuable in promoting yourself. With sites like Pinterest it’s not only possible to promote yourself, but also get encouraged!

What is Pinterest


Pinterest is a virtual pinboard that lets you share, discuss, and organize interesting things you find all over the Internet. With Pinterest you can save or share inspirations from anything ranging from photography to sports. You can use Pinterest to discover new blogs about design or simply keep track of recipes that look delicious. Pinterest currently has a rapidly growing user base that tweets and shares pins across the web that are beginning to spread like wildfire.

Pinboards and Pins

Pinterest revolves around the use of virtual pinboards with photos of different links or pictures pinned to them. Users can create their own pinboards with different categories and pin new pins onto each board to help organize content. Because there are so many categories that are constantly being updated with new pins you have an opportunity to pin your website or article on any number of different boards.

There are a vast amount of categories to choose from that may interest or inspire you and others around you. Now that you have a few categories in mind to help categorize your interests we can dive into how to utilize these boards to your advantage.

Posting Your Pins

There are a couple of ways to upload pins to Pinterest that will help you promote your designs or website. Users can either upload a picture, post a pin from a URL, use the ‘Pin It’ bookmark button, or use a Pinterest button that can be embedded in your website to let other users pin it on their pinboards. One of the great things about Pinterest is the ability for users to copy or “re-pin” content from one board to theirs.

To add a pin directly from the Pinterest website you simply click the ‘Add +’ button located on the top right of the Pinterest bar. From here you can use an already existing URL to link to a pin or upload a picture from your computer. Pinterest has several default boards for you initially but you can create new boards using the ‘Add +’ button as well. Each board you have is linked to a particular category, which will be important later.

Once a pin is added you have the option to click through the photos located on the website that the pin is linked to for your thumbnail as well as the option to either share your pin via Facebook or Twitter. Depending on the website you may have to first link directly to the main picture of your particular blog post or website article but you can edit your URL on any pin at anytime once it has been posted. Now that we know how to post a pin let’s take a look at how to make sure your pin gets noticed.

Crafting The Perfect Pin

Pinterest was designed so that users could share and organize things that they love. Because all of the pins are based off of a thumbnail it’s no secret that the pin should be just as attractive as the content that it is linked to. Here a few guidelines that will help your pin get spread across the boards:

Categories Are Your Friend

When first submitting your pin you are given the option to choose which board you would like to post your pin to. Because users can browse by category, pins that are in the correct category will be browsed by users with similar interests to your pin. This is why it’s important that you post your new architectural design for the museum district to a board that is categorized under the ‘Architecture’ category instead of ‘Other’. This is a simple but crucial step to getting the right amount of exposure.

Be Descriptive

After choosing the correct board and category for your pin you must enter a description. Describing your pin can work in your favor when you use expressive and enticing descriptions. Try using numerical statements and lots of colorful adjectives to help persuade users to repin your pin or visit your website. “10 Great Pumpkin Recipes” sounds much more appealing than “Cool Shoes”.

Thumbnails To Grow On

Pinterest has a light-hearted and fairly soft feel to its website. The majority of the pins featured on the site often correspond or contrast well against the background of Pinterest itself. Choosing the right thumbnail for your pin is the only opportunity for you to get exposure among the hundreds of pins in a given category. Thumbnails featured on the boards are often heavily manipulated and well-lit or have high contrast. Try to bring out some of the colors featured on the Pinterst website itself or adding a little saturation to make sure your pin stands out from the crowd.

Mind Your Pins and Q’s

Pinterest also has a loose set of guidelines set in place to ensure that the site is filled with meaningful and inspirational content. While posting pins, it’s best to keep these rules in mind. First and foremost it is expected that all users be courteous and polite while commenting and posting pins. Because the site is fueled by its user base, it is important that the users respect each other. Secondly always try to find the original source for any work you submit. Whether this is your own personal design or something you found on Google images, it is best to give credit to the author. After all you’d want the same done for you. Also keep in mind that there is no nudity or hateful content permitted and objectionable content can be reported and removed. Lastly and most importantly, Pinterest frowns upon having an account solely for the purpose of self-promotion. Remember to contribute to the community with things that other users might have in common with you.

How Do I Join Pinterest?

Currently Pinterest is invite-only. You can either request an invite directly through Pinterest or by receiving an invitation from a user that is currently registered on Pinterest. Once you request an invite a Pinterest staff member should send you a invite within a few days. Feel free to leave a comment here and I’ll try to send as many invites as I can. Kind in mind that Pinterest was created to share and inspire creative ideas and interests from around the web so try not to solely self-promote your website or blog but instead dive into the Pinterest community and discover new and interesting things a long the way. Good luck and happy pinning!

November 28 2011

21:00

5 Reasons Why People Aren’t Coming Back To Your Website

Are you wondering why visitors don’t seem to be coming back to your website on a regular basis? Does looking at your website statistics on Google Analytics make you cringe? This can be turned around with some updates to your website. First we are going to go over the top 5 reasons why people aren’t coming back to your website. Then we will provide you tips for overcoming those 5 obstacles. After reading this article and making some or all of the improvements we suggest, we know you’ll be excited to log into Google Analytics to check your website traffic each day!

5 Reasons Why Visitors Are Not Returning to Your Website

Every website is different, but more often than not, those websites that are not seeing repeat web traffic share a number of similarities. Here are 5 of the top reasons why people aren’t coming back to your website:

1. Your website is static

Do you ever take time to update or add to your website? Static website are filled with pages that never change, information that stays the same, and no updates for readers. Creating a static website is one of the biggest mistakes we see across the web. Readers want to come back to a website that adds new content on a regular basis.

2. Your website is hard to navigate

With websites that are not receiving return visitors we usually see one of two things when it comes to website navigation:

  • Your website has multiple links, which take readers to the same page. Does your site have a top navigation bar, side navigation bar, and links within your content which all take your readers to the same set of web pages? It’s good to drive readers through your website, but having too many links all taking readers to the same web page confuses the reader.
  • Your website has broken links. Have you checked your links recently? Are any of those links broken? Take time to go through your website to see if any of your links need to be repaired.
  • Does your website look like this? example poor website design

3. You’re not encouraging engagement

Do you ask your readers to email you or leave comments on your blog/website? Readers want to engage with the owners of the websites that they frequent. They want to know that they have a voice. Be sure to give them that opportunity. See the image below, the blogger ends his article by asking readers to share their opinions.

how to increase blog comments

Image Courtesy of MontcoHappening

4. Lack of social media involvement

Are you using social media to build relationships with your website visitors AND to encourage new visitors? Far too often managers of websites are not using social media to help build relationships with their readers.

5. You’re not providing any real value to your readers

Is your website so focused on making sales that you don’t provide any educational information to readers? Readers want to learn, that’s why they are visiting your website. If your website is all images or too sales heavy and lacks educational content, readers aren’t going to find much value in coming back to your website.

Websites that Do a Great Job Encouraging Return Visits

There are A LOT of great websites that do an amazing job encouraging return visits to their website. Here are 3 that I think are top-notch:

HubSpot

HubSpot provides marketing automation software to marketing agencies and businesses. In order to attract their target audience to their website they publish regular content on their blog. They produce top-notch content and give it away to their readers for free. Readers find that extremely valuable, thus they continue to visit the HubSpot site. Ultimately their blog helps to convert a certain percentage of blog readers into customers.

attract website visitors

Image Courtesy of HubSpot.com

Amazon.com

Amazon revolutionized e-Commerce. They did something remarkable and provide a valuable service to their website visitors. I’m not saying you have to create the next Amazon.com, but what I am saying is that within your industry, don’t dream small, dream big! Do something remarkable. Get people talking and sharing your website with friends.

Wikipedia

Wikipedia is a site for the people, by the people. Wikipedia invites their users to share information and knowledge. By inviting their readers to share their knowledge with others it appeals to those readers’ ego. It also puts the power in the hands of the readers. You can do the same by encouraging comments on your blog or engaging your readers on social media.

increase website traffic

Image Courtesy of theory.isthereason.com

5 Tips to Attract Readers to Return to Your Website

Now that we know the top 5 reasons why people aren’t coming back to your website, let’s review what you can do to encourage readers to make a return visit to your site.

1. Add a blog

Blogging can do wonders for website owners. Writing blog articles is your way to communicating with your audience. Adding blog content on a regular basis gives readers a reason to come back to your website over and over.

2. Redesign your website

If your website is tough to navigate, you should consider redesigning your website. You want to create a clean website with clear navigation elements and prominent calls-to-action if you want readers to keep coming back! With that said, be sure to build a website blueprint before you start building your website

3. Add calls-to-action to your website

If you want readers to engage with you, then ask them too! Ask readers to email you with questions or comments, encourage them to leave a comment on your new blog, and be sure to respond to any comments they do leave. Readers want to know you’re listening.

4. Use Social Media

Get on Facebook/Twitter ASAP. Social Media is not a fad. It’s a trend that has no end in sight. Being on Facebook and Twitter definitely takes time on your end, but the results are well worth it!

Add social media website

Image Courtesy of SocialMediaExaminer.com

5. Rewrite your website

Adding educational content will show your readers that you want them to learn something. It also gives you an opportunity to add searchable keywords to your website, which will increase your search engine traffic.

Conclusion

Do yourself a favor, go back and review your website against the list of reasons why people aren’t coming back to your website. Be honest with yourself and determine if your website falls into any of the traps listed above. If it does, come down to the list of things that you can do to encourage return website visitors and start implementing them one at a time. You’ll be very happy with the results six months from now!

November 22 2011

21:00

A Simple Guide For Skype Interviews To Boost Website Traffic

Are you looking for innovative ways to increase traffic to your website? Adding educational and entertaining video content to your website is a great way to do just that. Posting videos to your website sounds like a great idea, but recording traditional videos can be costly and time-consuming. In order to get around purchasing costly video equipment website owners can leverage Skype and Skype recording software to create video content for your website. In this article we will explain what Skype videos are, review the benefits of adding them to your website, review many different ideas for Skype videos that you can create, and explain how you can create your own Skype videos.

What Are Skype Interviews?

Did you know you can record your Skype video calls? Well, now you know! ;) Skype has over 1 billion users worldwide and that number has been steadily increasing over the past few years. As more and more users get on Skype people are finding new ways to leverage the online video chat tool. One very cool new way to use Skype is to conduct and record video interviews relevant people from within your industry.

Skype interviews can be recorded and outputted as side-by-side videos which can then be embedded in your website. These interviews serve as educational and entertaining video content that will attract new website visitors and keep existing visitors coming back. The man who made Skype interviews mainstream is David Garland of TheRiseToTheTop.com.  To get a feel for what a Skype video interview looks like, check out one of David’s signature Skype videos when he interviews Seth Godin on Skype.

The Benefits of Publishing Skype Video Interviews on Your Website

Record Skype video

Creating Skype video interviews for your website offers a number of benefits. Here are a few of the top benefits you will incur by taking time to publish Skype videos to your website. Skype videos:

  • Attract new visitors to your website
  • Encourage past visitors to return to your website
  • Allow you to engage with other leaders within your industry
  • Provide an entertaining way to educate your website visitors about your products, services, industry, etc.
  • Help you build relationships with website visitors and/or customers (think about using Skype videos as a way to obtain customer feedback)
  • Position you as a thought-leader and innovator within your industry
  • Increase SEO juice for your website

I’d say these benefits are probably exactly what you’re looking for when it comes to giving your website a boost. Add all of these to the fact that you don’t have to spend a dime on video equipment and Skype video interviews should be at the top of your list of ‘things to do to increase my website traffic’!

Ideas for Skype Interviews

Now that you understand the powerful benefits that producing Skype video interviews can have on your website, let’s come up with a few ideas to help you determine what type of Skype video interviews you’d like to produce. Below is a list of Skype video interview ideas.

Interview a/an:

  • Customer/Reader – Allowing new/potential customers or readers to hear what an existing customer/reader has to say about your website, product, or service might entice her to become a new customer/reader of yours.
  • Industry expert
  • Competitor (some might cringe at the thought of interviewing another website owner within your industry, but it could make for a great interview)
  • Employee/Writer – This could be a great way to recruit new talent to help with your website
  • Local community member
  • Athlete
  • Student
  • Professor
  • Politician

Each website focuses on different topics, therefore the list of ideas for Skype video interviews will be different for each. The list of Skype video ideas above is simply a list to help you get started. To come up with your own ideas, simply think about what you’re trying to accomplish and how Skype videos might help you do that.

Create a Skype Video – Pre-Recording Process

The Pre-Recording part of creating Skype video interviews is probably the most important part in the entire process. In anything that you do, planning is critical. Planning is even more critical when you are going to be taking someone else’s time (ie. the person you’re interviewing). You want to ensure that you’re ready to conduct & record the interview. Below are some of the things you should consider when planning to record a Skype video interview.

  • Establish a goal for the interview
  • Determine who would be best to interview in order to achieve your goal
  • Put a list of questions together (keep this to 3-4)
  • Reach out to the individual you’d like to interview, explain what you’re trying to do, and see if he/she is willing to participate
  • Set a date/time for the interview
  • Test the recording software prior to conducting the interview

Recording Skype Videos Interviews

Once the pre-recording process has been completed, it’s time to conduct your Skype video interview. When you have the right online tools, recording a Skype video interview is basically as easy as conducting a normal Skype video call. As you’ll see below, you essentially ‘flick a switch’, or in this case, click a button, and you Skype video call starts being recorded.

Record Skype Video Interview with Ecamm Call Recorder

Ecamm Call Recorder is a plugin that you can download for $19.95 (well worth the price when you think about how expensive video equipment is). When you’re ready to record your Skype video interview, simply do the following:

  • Call the person you’re interviewing. Cover a last minute details before you start the recording.
  • Make sure you both have your video turned on.
  • When you’re ready, simply navigate to the pop-up box entitled ‘Call Recorder’. If you’ve downloaded Ecamm, this appears automatically every time you make a video call on Skype. Click ‘record’.
  • Click the ‘Stop recording’ button when you’re finished with your recording

Here’s a great video tutorial on using Ecamm for Skype video recording.

Record Skype Video Interview with Pamela Call Recorder

For PC users, Pamela Call Recorder is a great tool to use. It’s just as easy as using Ecamm Call Recorder for Mac. Follow the steps below to start your first Skype video recording:

  • Call the person you’re interviewing. Cover a last minute details before you start the recording. Make sure you both have your video turned on.
  • A pop-up box from Pamela Call Recorder will pop up and ask you if you want to record the call, click ‘Yes” to start recording.
  • Click the ‘Stop recording’ button when you’re finished with your recording

Here’s a great video tutorial on using Pamela Call Recorder for Skype video recording. Once the video has been recorded, you can go into the software application to retrieve your video file for publishing to your website.

Publishing & Promoting Skype Video Interviews

As you can see from the information above, recording the Skype video interview is actually the easy part. It’s the pre-recording planning and the post-recording promotion that takes the most time. Both Skype video call recorders will create a video file of your interview. We recommend that you host your video file on YouTube and then embed the YouTube Video into your website. Depending on the content of the video, you can either embed the video to a main content page OR create a blog article and embed the video within the article. For SEO purposes, creating a blog article for each new video is a good idea. You can create content introducing the video and explaining what readers will see if they watch the video. You can optimize the article with keywords and embed the video within the article.

Once the video is published and embedded into your website you should go out to your social media channels to start driving web traffic to your video. Over time each video will attract hundreds, if not thousands, of new visitors to your website. You will also start to create your own video library, which is an extremely valuable resource for anyone who’s looking for information about your subject matter.

March 31 2011

10:00

Gain More Traffic: Useful Sites For Web Design Tutorial Submission

It can often be inconvenient and time consuming to visit each design or tutorial blog to check out whether there’s a new tutorial you’re interested in. Moreover if you’re a beginner you just want to find high-quality tutorials quickly and preferably in one place. Sites like this exist, but I bet most of you haven’t seen anything other than Photoshop Lady. I’m not a big fan of these large search engines, though they can be really useful and handy, and not only for visitors and readers. Having your tutorial published on various sites will generate a lot of traffic and publicity for you. It’s a win-win situation – more people will be able to learn from your tutorial and you will get more visitors to your blog.

1. Pixel2Life

Pixel2life-sites-submit-web-design-tutorials

Pixel2Life is the largest tutorial search engine on the web. Here you’ll find almost any Photoshop tutorial you can imagine as well as tutorials for web development, audio editing etc.

2. Good-Tutorials

Good-sites-submit-web-design-tutorials

Good-Tutorials is the largest source of tutorials on the web today. It has been featured on the BBC, SkyNews, TechTV (now G4), in the British magazine iCreate, PC World, and has been linked to by thousands of sites, blogs and forums.

3. PSLover

Photoshop-lover-sites-submit-web-design-tutorials

Although not that big, PSLover is another great resource for finding and submitting Photoshop tutorials. Categories make it easier to find the tutorials you’re looking for.

4. Tutorialized

Tutorialized-sites-submit-web-design-tutorials

Tutorialized is one of the biggest tutorial sites on the web and offers a really wide range of tutorials pertaining to graphic design, web development, databases etc.

5. TutorialVault

Vault-sites-submit-web-design-tutorials

Tutorialvault focuses on collecting and archiving the best graphic and coding tutorials on the internet. While a large part of their database features tutorials from the Adobe Family of programs, they also have a vast list of CSS, PHP and 3D tutorials.

6. Capital Tutorials

Capital-sites-submit-web-design-tutorials

Capital Tutorials is a relatively small community with 5000 Photoshop tutorials submitted.

7. Tutorials Garden

Garden-sites-submit-web-design-tutorials

With over 7000 tutorials submitted, Tutorials Garden, is a neat place to submit your tutorials.

8. DesignBump

DesDesign-bump-sites-submit-web-design-tutorialsignBump is a site where you can submit any type of news related to design. However it can be a perfect place for submitting web design and coding tutorials.

9. Tutorials Expert

Expert-sites-submit-web-design-tutorials

Tutorials Expert started its operation on 20th Sep 2006 with lightest and fast loading interface design on a dedicated server line. As many similar websites on the web, tutorials expert’s core theme is to provide public users with good quality tutorial links.

10. Photoshop Lady

Photoshop-lady-sites-submit-web-design-tutorials

Photoshop Lady aims to collect the best and free Photoshop tutorials around the internet. All of the high quality photoshop tutorials are categorized into 3D Effect, Abstract Effect, Drawing Effect, Photo Effect, Text Effect, Texture & Patterns and User Interface Design.

11. PSD Top

Psd-top-sites-submit-web-design-tutorials

PSD Top is an internet tutorial index catering to graphic designers, webmasters and programmers, with over 6000 tutorials listed in 40 categories. PSD Top aims to collect the best and free Photoshop tutorials around the internet.

12. FS Tutorials

Fs-tutorials-sites-submit-web-design-tutorials

13. Tutorial Kit

Kit-sites-submit-web-design-tutorials

Tutorial Kit is a comprehensive resource of Adobe Photoshop tutorials and tips to help users of all skill levels reach their full potential. The tutorials are updated daily from different authors and sites so that you won’t have to spend hours searching the web for them yourself.

14. Pxleyes

Pxleyes-sites-submit-web-design-tutorials

Pxleyes is the place for graphic artists. They are just an awesome community with one common interest – a lot of passion for computer graphics. They have contests, prizes, and of course the reason why I’ve included this site –  a tutorial section where everyone can submit their tutorials.

15. Tutorial Index

Index-sites-submit-web-design-tutorials

Tutorial Index is another source for free online tutorials covering Photoshop, Flash, 3D, PHP, HTML, SQL/MySQL and other topics. It’s possible find here some unseen and interesting tutorials/articles.

16. CG Links

Cg-links-sites-submit-web-design-tutorials

CG Links mainly focuses on computer graphics related tutorials however you’re free to submit your photo effect and web design tutorials as well.

17. CG Tutorials

Cg-sites-submit-web-design-tutorials

CG Tutorials seek to index all computer graphics tutorials in order to give authors publicity and to give everyone an easy way to find the tutorial they seek.

18. Learn AI

Learn-ai-sites-submit-web-design-tutorials

Learn AI is an Adobe Illustrator devoted tutorial search engine where you can find almost any tutorial you need. Though Illustrator isn’t commonly associated with web design they do have a web design category in which you can find some tutorials for creating UI elements.

19. Photoshop Roadmap

Photoshop-roadmap-sites-submit-web-design-tutorials

Photoshop Roadmap is a Photoshop dedicated website where besides tutorials you can also find resources, brushes and inspiration.

20. Design Float

Float-sites-submit-web-design-tutorials

DesignFloat is a web community for web designers and web developers similar to DesignBump.

21. Tutorial King

King-sites-submit-web-design-tutorials

Tutorial King aims to collect high quality Photoshop tutorials. With around 200k visitors per month it’s a considerable place to submit your web design tutorials.

22. Toxic Lab

Toxic-lab-sites-submit-web-design-tutorials

Toxic Lab offers free tutorials and instructions for web development software. They have over 150 000 unqiue visitor each month.

23. Tutorials Room

Room-sites-submit-web-design-tutorials

Tutorials Room is a fast growing tutorial site where you will find hundreds of Photoshop, Flash, coding and other tutorials.

24. Web Design Library

Library-sites-submit-web-design-tutorials

Web Design Library is an internationally referenced resource that provides a platform for the dissemination of design thinking and research. It covers all theoretical and practice-oriented aspects of the effective, efficient and attractive presentation of information on-line.

25. Best Photoshop Tutorials

Best-photoshop-sites-submit-web-design-tutorials

Best Photoshop Tutorials is an amazing resource for people who enjoy using Photoshop.  The site strives to publish the best Photoshop tutorials, brushes, and inspirational articles.

November 08 2010

20:00

45 Best Social News Websites: Get More Traffic

Here is an article that I have, a compilation of the best social news websites that you can find on the internet. Oh wait, have you ever heard of social news? Let me give you first an overview about this thing.

Social news refers to websites that are very much in the trend of online community today, wherein users visit these sites to submit and vote on the news, stories, media such as images or other links posted on the site. Basically, these social news websites that I am talking about here does one thing: to attract. Not only these give quick access with different contents, you can also connect yourself with the discussions on every topics posted. For bloggers, these sites are very much useful as great sources of traffic, as well as with users who are into viral marketing.

You can see a lot of social news websites on the internet. Most of them cover wide range of topics, and examples of this are Digg, Reddit and Mixx. Others have specific topics, those are popularly called, niche social news websites. There are also social websites that compiles bookmarks of users to share it to other users. You can find more examples on each type below. I compiled here not only social news websites that are about design or technology, but also social news websites about different topics such as entertainment, fashion, environment, politics, etc.

1. Digg

Digg is a social news website that is founded by Kevin Rose. In this site, the members vote the news, stories, and the like either up or down. When a person diggs, it means you promote the specific link. Mostly, the topics you can find on this website are about entertainment, technology, politics and others. It also has a section for videos and images.

2. Reddit

Reddit is owned by Condé Nast Digital and the users of this social news website are called redditors, sounds cool huh? This popular website contains different kinds of news, and it also has section of topics called subreddits that focus on topics such as politics, programming and business. This also has a feature wherein users receive karma for submitting popular articles.

3. Designbump

Designbump is a social news website that is dedicated for designers. Aside from it has a user-friendly interface, this cool website gives you the way to promote your website and boost traffic by adding the simple tools they provided on your site.

4. Mixx

Mixx offers general topics you can share and find relating to business, technology, sports and many more. You can use this social news website to tailor your content categories, tags, specific users and groups.

5. Delicious

Delicious is a social bookmarking website where you can share, store and discover great bookmarks. With this website, you can easily share those bookmarks with your friends, colleagues and students. Try it, it is free to use!

6. Design Float

Design Float is a niche social news website that covers the topic, design. It is one of the leading social news website over the web.

7. Pixel Groovy

Pixel Groovy is a community driven website where you can find and share computer learning resources and tutorials. The goal of this website is to create a place where people, especially designers can find reliable and informative resources.

8. Plime

I find Plime a very interesting social news website. Here you can edit weird or any links you find very interesting. Users also earn what they called, karma when other members vote on their actions.

9. Now Public

Now Public is a social news website that is focused on the citizen journalism. Each user who joins the site has their own profile blog where they can upload their videos to share, images and even news.

10. Care2

Care2 makes a difference from others because it focuses more on environment topics. Also, it has a service where you can shop and portion of the sales is donated for environmental causes.

11. NewsCloud

Are you a Facebook addict and loves to update yourself with the things going on around you with different news? Why don’t you try NewsCloud? NewsCloud provides software solutions for Facebook where it is possible to that you can share news, stories on your Facebook page or profile.

12. SWiK

SWiK gives users resources for open source software. This website contains information, guides and news about thousands of open source projects.

13. Sphinn

A social website where you can search and interact with marketers. This allows you to share and discover news and stories, take part with the discussions, and discover events of interest and network with other users.

14. Metafilter

Metafilter is a community weblog wherein users share links and discuss interesting links, websites or topics.

15. Slashdot

Slashdot, a site that sends a large traffic, covers mostly topics that is related to technology but also has several topics you can search on. You can also submit news, stories and if they are approved, they will be published on the site.

16. EarthFrisk

EarthFrisk is a social news website that combines social network and group features with a digg-style voting depending on the topics that you want such as politics, health, entertainment and business.

17. Kirtsy

For users who are searching for a social news website with several topics to explore on, technology, entertainment, design, food, then kirtsy is the best site for you. Name it, they have it.

18. Entirely Open Source

This website is entirely an open source social news website. It features open source news, tips, inspirations and the like from projects and communities all over the web.

19. Free Software Daily

Free Software Daily is designed for users, who are in search of free and open source software community with news, articles depending on your interest.

20. Dzone

Dzone is a website that has a compilation of links shared by its users dedicated for developers. Mostly topics covered here are about web design and programming.

21. Tweako

A user-powered social news website that provides guides, tutorials, news about computer, technology, and the internet.

22. Blog Engage

Engage with bloggers by submitting your blog articles in this website, then it will be reviewed by all users and will be promoted by the administrator or the visitors of the website.

23. I Am Bored

Are you bored? Try to visit this social news website that covers several and general topics that focuses on weird and offbeat news.

24. Chictini

Chictini is a social news website that covers everything you want to know about fashion. So basically, it is for women who are into the world of fashion and style.

25. Small Business Brief

This is a niche social news website that focuses on small business topics including marketing, sales, management and entrepreneurship.

26. Auto Spies

Are you a car lover? Be updated with different news and find reviews and photos of different automotive and vehicles.

27. Grow News

Grow News a social green news website where members can submit and share to others their interesting green news stories.

28. I Like Totally Love It

This website which has a cute domain name gives users to post products they purchase online and members can vote on each if they love it or not. Top loved products are the ones posted on the front page of the site. As what the mission of the website says, democratize marketing. For them, shopping is democratic. No one here should be pushed to market a product.

29. Value Investing News

Want to be updated with stock and investment news? Join in the community of Value Investing News. In here, you can submit your news or stories and bid on which to publish on the front page.

30. Technorati

Technorati is designed help bloggers succeed by collecting, highlighting, and distributing on the global online conversation. A blog search engine that caters different niches such as business, technology, sports, politics, etc.

31. Clipclip

Have you ever created a scrapbook? Where you will cut out articles and photos then paste it on your scrapbook? So basically that’s how clipclip works, the difference is this one is online. When you find something on a website, highlight it, then use their tool to add it on your online scrapbook.

32. Newsvine

Newsvine is a social news website that is a community driven news, stories and opinions. Users of this site have their own blogs where they can write articles and interact with other users by commenting on other stories.

33. Daytipper

Daytipper is an online resource for useful advice, tips, tricks, techniques and hints you can learn about buying, grooming, selling, etc. This is dedicated mainly for women, especially for mothers. But others can also grab some good tips here, too!

34. Tipstrs

This social news website is a collection tips, hints and advice given by different users on several categories.

35. DotNetKicks

This community-based social news website, DotNetKicks.com, specialized in development techniques, programming tools and technologies most especially about .NET and ASP.

36. Tip’d

Tip’d is a website that is dedicated for users who love reading articles about finance, investments and business. Users of this site can vote on stories by clicking the “Tip it” button and also you can comment on the links on each story.

37. Stylehive

Stylehive is an online community for people who loves fashion, style and shopping. In here, you can view style muses and follow them to discover their latest fashion.

38. Dealigg

Are you the type of person who likes buying bargains? Then Dealigg is the best website for you. As what they would describe their website, it is a social bargain hunting. The objective of this website is to publish the most voted style or products with the best of online shopping such as Amazon, Buy.com that are on bargain. The good thing about this social news website is it is run by shoppers and is updated every now and then.

39. Fark

Fark is not a web blog. It is a news aggregator and an edited social networking news site. Users submit news from different websites and with different topics, and then Fark picks funny and weird news and not-news of the day.

40. Muti

Muti is a social website that is dedicated to the content of interest to Africans or those interested in Africa. Africans and other interested people can vote on each link if they like it or not.

41. Inbound

Inbound Marketing is a community for marketers. It is a place where you, marketers can learn, interact and share your knowledge with one another.

42. Linkfilter

As what the name of the website implies, it is a link filter. Users of this social website give their comments and rank each links on many levels. Great thing about this website is it is moderated by the users itself.

43. BuzzFlash

BuzzFlash is a user-driven progressive political news website that allows you to submit a story that may be reviewed by all visitors and let them vote if it will be prompted on the front page or not. When you submit a story, it remains in the pending Buzz queue until it receives enough votes to be promoted to the main page.

44. P2PViNE

P2PViNE is a social bookmarking news site that gives latest news in file sharing news and peer-to-peer information.

45. TreeHugger

TreeHugger provides news, solutions, and product information that are about the environment. It is the leading media outlet dedicated to driving sustainability mainstream.

Tips and Guidelines

Now before you go, I would like to give you three tips about these social news websites. Here are they:

1. Study the website carefully.

In choosing the good social news website, you must research first if the news website you are choosing is the best for your website. You may read articles, reviews or other resources about the site to have a better knowledge on it. Make sure that you compare on which have good reviews and positive comments about the site. Also, consider the one who can give more traffic for your website.

2. Determine if the website covers your topic.

As I have said awhile ago, there are types of social news websites. There are who have several topics, some have specific topics, which are the niche social news websites. Before choosing, determine if the social news website covers the topic of your website. For example, if the topic of your blog is about web design, then choose a social news website that is designed for web designing. You can also join on social news websites that have several topics, but I would prefer those niche ones.

3. Interact with other users on the website you choose to join.

Try to join into discussions, share your thoughts, comment on other news or stories. Just give your opinions. This is one way of building relationships and gathering friends within the community. You may never know they can help you in some way by supporting or marketing your website or product.

November 02 2010

21:00

Why Focus on Money and Then Traffic (and How to Do That in Google Analytics)

If you’ve ever had your own website, you probably know that the first thing you need to do in order to promote it is to get traffic. Then you can install Google Analytics and track that traffic, learn more about visitors, where do they come from etc.

The need for getting traffic is emphasized a lot. Actually, it is emphasized to that extent that people forgot one fundamental thing:

- A visitor to your site, by itself, is useless. If a particular group of visitors from a traffic source don’t do anything then why bother attracting them in the first place? Yet, millions of webmasters do it every single day. They put traffic before money. All of this because of one fundamental assumption.

If you have traffic, you’ll eventually make money. THIS IS NOT TRUE.

How do I know this?

Because I’ve taken this concept the extreme. I created a site which ranked in the top 10.000 most visited websites in the world (according to Compete.com). I got all my traffic from Digg/StumbleUpon, thousands unique visitors per day. I actually got on the Digg front page 5-6 times and frequently got 30.000+ views from Stumbleupon on each of my articles. The whole site got over half a million unique visitors in 6 months.

My assumption was: Boy, I have so much traffic, once I put something like AdSense, I’ll be making decent amount of money. Maybe like $10 a day. So I put AdSense and waited for 3 days…

…and I made less than $1 a day. The CTR was less than 0.1%. Ouch! The sad thing was that I was working on the site for more than 6 months (you think getting into top 10.000 on Compete is easy?) and was operating under this flawed assumption.

I could have also made money via pay-per-view (some sites pay max. $2 per 1000 views) but still that would have been less than $1000.

Traffic = Money Sounds EASY

This is the reason, I think, people accept this assumption without being critical of it all. It sounds easy, comforting. Something like having a day job, you know that if you work for a month you’ll get the salary. Same here, just work on the traffic and the money will come. As we’ve seen, this is far from the truth.

What about Facebook?

There are exceptions, though, and this is where traffic is taken to the extreme. If you capture an enormous number of visitors (20.000+ a day) then you should make some money. Facebook has millions of visitors per day and they make a lot of money. What about Twitter? Well, they also have a lot of visitors but haven’t figured how to make money yet. Some people take Facebook/other high-traffic sites as an example that traffic = money. However:

a) Not everyone can have millions of visitors on their website per day. The number of people online is limited, so you’re way better off focusing first on monetization and then on traffic.

b) You will need a lot of luck to get to the size of Facebook. You also have a big competition for traffic. Many people are myopic in terms of blindly competing for traffic without realizing that, if they were to have a business online, their first priority should be MONEY, not traffic.

And if you think about this, the sheer amount of volume Facebook got allowed them to attract a whole different range of advertisers a smaller site would have no way of attracting.

5000 Visitors Per Day and Making $1  or 500 Visitors Per Day and Making $20?

I met people who are making barely $300 with 100.000+ visitors coming from Stumbleupon/Digg. On the other hand, I’ve met people who are making $10.000 with around 30.000 visitors coming from Google/other high-quality traffic source. The idea I want to propose here is to focus on MONETIZATION first and TRAFFIC after that (like most businesses do).

When was the last time…you’ve seen a fastest growing business focus on getting prospects first without selling anything? Most of them actually have their own products which is (and will probably always be) the best way to make money in any industry. The reason for this is probably because you have the most opportunities when you’re making your own product: you can do PR, SEO, paid traffic, pay bloggers to blog about your product etc. You can then carefully analyze and see which traffic source brings most sales and focus on that. Then you have the word-of-mouth advantage, you’ll have people that will spread the word to their friends and you’ll also have repeated customers.

How to Focus on Money Using Google Analytics

There’s one great feature in Google Analytics called GOALS. If you have an Adsense account, you can automatically link Analytics + AdSense and the goals will be set up automatically for you. In case you’re selling a product you’ll need to do the setup yourself.

For example, you can count as ‘goal’ the moment someone gets to the ‘thank you for purchasing’ page. What that means is that they’ve gone through all the steps like taking a look at your product, going through the shopping card, entering their payment details and purchasing.

Google Analytics can then tell you what referrers sent you the biggest % of people who completed a goal (purchased your product). For example, if you’re selling an anti-virus software, you might discover that 3% of the people who type ‘good antivirus software’ on Google but your product. You might also discover that you did a recent PR campaign and people coming from some famous magazine tend to buy more  than average.

In that case, you’ll want to do more work for those traffic sources. Let’s take the previous example. If you rank #4 for ‘good antivirus software’, you might want to get to #1 in order to receive a bigger number of people who will eventually convert at 3%. Or you might want to create a deeper relationship with that famous magazine so they do more cover for your software.

Another good strategy is to focus on the low-hanging fruit. Identify traffic sources outside of the top 10 that brought you a sale or two. Do some research on them and see if you can bring more visitors from these traffic sources to see how they convert at a bigger scale. For example, you might notice that you got 2 sales from some old guest post you did. What about doing another guest post on that blog? Let’s suppose you did another guest post and saw that people convert consistently from that blog. Here’s an opportunity for forming a deeper relationship and posting regularly there.

Mark Joyner, the founder of Simpleology told one really profound story. While Mark was in the U.S. Army Officer Candidate School, they had an instructor whom they called Yoda because of his superior skills/accomplishments. One day they had a class from Yoda. He asked his students “What is the one skill that defines a leader?” Many people tried to guess. Some guy said “Communication skills!” Yoda replied: “Oh really? So let’s have you have a suicidal tactical and you communicate it oh so clearly to your troops. That makes you a leader?”

Another fellow student tried to guess: “It’s charisma!” Yoda replied: “Oh, are you joking? So you’re a tactical moron but you look good in your BDUs. I just wrote your tombstone for you. No charge. Next!”

And so it went and nobody was able to say what’s the defining characteristic of a leader.

Then Yoda finally told the answer:

“The one skill that defines a leader is the ability to see the battlefield”.

A really profound lesson. When you think about it, it might have been obvious…what’s the use of communicating clearly or having charisma when you can’t figure out what’s going on the battlefield?

In the business battlefield, money is the main way businesses keep score. But can you see the battlefield? Can you see where money comes from? You decide. Focusing on traffic for a long period of time without focusing on promotion is ignoring to see the battlefield for a long time.

WHEN to Focus on Traffic

Of course, you should focus on traffic but always ask yourself whether it brings you money/any other benefit. For example, you might want to test some traffic source. Bring some visitors from it and see whether they buy your product/affiliate product/click on ads.

The main point is, traffic does not always equal money. The best way to see whether a particular traffic brings money is to test and not just assume.

January 08 2010

11:13

53 Promotional Websites To Gain Traffic Quick And Easy

title-fresh-promotional-user-links-sitesIt started very long time ago (to be exact December 27, 2008), when I created my first promotional article with 40 promotional links in it. Then I was just starting and I was excited, there exist such things like user news and sites like DesignBump or DesignFloat.

Time passed, and I needed to update my article, add more links, delete old ones because I have been promoting EVERY article in these sites. Now this promotional article consists of 70 sites, but again I wasn’t sure how all links work – I mean how much traffic they return. And now you will hear why this article is so outstanding and extremely valuable for every design-related blogger! Since I’ve been submitting all my article on those sites this whole time, I have also very precise statistics based on several months.

Now I completely reviewed whole article and here TOP 53 sites are arranged in ascending order – from the most valuable websites to less ones. Unique visit count and information is based on my Google Analytics latest 3 months statistics. At the end I added several new and unverified but promising promotional websites.

Needless to say I will update this article regularly, so be sure to bookmark it for later reference! This is really assured list because I’ve tested it and I can tell – these sites really deliver impressive traffic! If you need that traffic – go ahead and take it now! I give you tools, you just need to realize them in the same way I did!

1. StumbleUpon* ( 160,154 unique visits)

StumbleUpon is no different – you need a lot of friends, good network to bring traffic. But if you have that all, again it totally pays off 10 times. You should have few powerful stumbler friends as well, who could discover or maybe even share your stories – returning you with easy traffic in that way!

su-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

2. Digg* (80,214 unique visits)

Certainly not easy traffic, but when you get the first time of Digg FrontPage you will never doubt it’s power and beautiful traffic income source. Building community takes a lot of time, so be sure you build contacts with few power diggers in your niche.

digg-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

3. SmashingMagazine + Noupe (74,494 unique visits)

Since now SM owns Noupe, their design news are now tied together. This number is not so accurate because I am on SmashingNetwork and get traffic from their features as well, but certainly worth submitting – 2 in 1!

smashing-mag-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

4. Twitter* (22,119 unique visits)

Seems like now Twitter is getting even more popular as it is – if it is possible! It’s good to have powerful account or powerful friends with big networks to share your links with.

twitter-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

5. CSSGlobe* (7,528 unique visits)

If your links will be accepted in this site, you will get serious traffic regularly! This site is my big discovery, I was surprised how valuable it is and what kind of traffic it can deliver.

cssglobe-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

6. Facebook* (6,574 unique visits)

You need here to think seriously about community building or fan page, because it can really be good traffic income source.

facebook-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

7. DesignBump* (5,921 unique visits)

designbump-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

8. Dezinerfolio (3,678 unique visits)

deziner-folio-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

9. Design-Newz (3,436 unique visits)

design-newz-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

10. WebdesignNe.Ws (2,709 unique visits)

webdesign-news-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

11. InstantShift (2,525 unique visits)

instant-shift-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

12. CSSDrive (2,145 unique visits)

cssdrive-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

13. DesignrFix (2,083 unique visits)

designrfix-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

14. Devsnippets (1,831 unique visits)

devsnippets-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

15. Designm.Ag (1,692 unique visits)

design-mag-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

16. Dzone* (1,400 unique visits)

dzone-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

17. Abduzeedo* (1,381 unique visits)

abduzeedo-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

18. Psdfan (1,337 unique visits)

psdfan-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

19. Reddit* (1,308 unique visits)

reddit-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

20. TripWireMagazine (1,219 unique visits)

tripwire-magazine-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

21. DesignMoo* (1,185 unique visits)

designmoo-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

22. DesignYourWay (1,171 unique visits)

design-your-way-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

23. DesignFloat* ( 1,003 unique visits)

designfloat-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

24. 10Steps.sg (948 unique visits)

10steps-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

25. ShareBrain (942 unique visits)

share-brain-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

26. Graphic-Design-Links* (753 unique visits)

graphic-designr-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

27. Hongkiat (735 unique visits)

hongkiat-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

28. InspiredN (733 unique visits)

inspired-news-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

29. TheDesignMag (686 unique visits)

the-design-mag-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

30. SpeckyBoy (570 unique visits)

speckyboy-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

31. BlogFreakz (557 unique visits)

blog-freakz-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

32. FuelYourCreativity (521 unique visits)

fuel-your-creativity-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

33. NaldzGraphics (516 unique visits)

naldzgraphics-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

34. DesiznTech (499 unique visits)

desizn-tech-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

34. TheWebBlend* (342 unique visits)

web-blendr-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

35.ZaBox* (383 unique visits)

zabox-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

36. MyInkBlog (250 unique visits)

myinkblog-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

37. ScriptAndStyle (249 unique visits)

script-style-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

38. CSSLeak (209 unique visits)

cssleak-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

39. WhoFreelance (207 unique visits)

who-freelance-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

40. PVM Garage (151 unique visits)

pvm-garage-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

Envato network

41. PSD.Tutplus (1,019 unique visits)

You need to submit in those 3 sites articles one by one, because spam filter somehow work between these sites, I mean if all three pages are open you need to refresh page to get valid CAPTCHA numbers.

psd-tuts-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

42. Net.Tutplus (550 unique visits)

net-tuts-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

43. Vector.Tutplus (538 unique visits)

vecto-tuts-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

Fresh additions:

I will add here constantly new websites I will find or our readers will suggest and test it myself so I can drop out worthless sites out and put great websites higher in main list.

44. KnowteBook

knowte-book-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

45. GraphicMania

graphic-mania-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

46. PSDeluxe

psdeluxe-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

47. ChethStudios

cheth-studios-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

48. CypherBox*

cypher-box-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

49. AnimHut (right sidebar)

animhut-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

50. PSDVibe (right sidebar)

psdvibe-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

51. DesignNussion

design-nussion-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

52. Styletime

styletime-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

53. DesignInformer (right sidebar)

design-informer-fresh-promotional-user-links-sites

If you know more VALUABLE promotional sites or links, where we could submit articles, let us know and I’ll consider about showcasing that site as well here!

Related posts:

  1. 10 Ways How To Track Site Traffic, Popularity, Statistics
  2. Google Adsense Monetizing, Traffic, Testing Tips, Tricks And Resources
  3. 40 Promotional Sites Where To Submit Your Design Related Links
  4. 35 Websites To Teach You How To Use CSS Effectively
  5. How To Create Popular Blog With Keyword Research, Heatmaps And SEO?

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