3 Simple Methods to Get More Traffic to Your Website and Make More Sales

Traffic

Source: fyggy

If you are a blogger or internet marketer chances are that you could use some more traffic to your website.

After all, more traffic = more money.

Or does it?

The reality is that traffic by itself is worthless. You can write an article that gets over 50,000 visitors from StumbleUpon…but all those visitors will do you almost no good. Why?

Because you don’t need traffic, you need an audience. You want engaged readers who will share your posts, subscribe to your email list, and buy your stuff. And all the untargeted traffic in the world isn’t going to do that.

So how do you go about getting targeted traffic? It’s simple, but it certainly isn’t sexy. Here’s the formula:

  1. Create awesome content.
  2. Share your content with people who will like it.

See, simple.

“Ah, but it isn’t that simple!” You say.

Of course it’s that simple! The problem is that we try to over complicate everything. This is just an excuse to not take action. We get confused because there are all these different methods for sharing your content with the world. it is so easy to lost in a sea of all the different tactics that we fail to do anything at all.

With that in mind, I’m going to share just 3 of the many methods you can use to get your content out there so you can start drawing in more traffic. Just do these 3 things and you will be off to a great start.

Social Media

Sharing your awesome posts using social media is one of the easiest things you can do. There are probably thousands of plugins that will automatically post your content to your various social media profiles, and you should be using them. Social marketing isn’t exactly my strong point, but I can at least do that much, and it does help.

One method I’ve had some success with is sharing my new posts with some well targeted LinkedIn groups. I simply look for groups that are a good fit for my content, and when I publish an article I push that little button at the bottom of the post to share it with those groups.

This starts a new discussion in the groups, with a link to my site in the topic. I usually get a few comments from doing this.

Document Sharing Sites

There are hundreds of sites where you can upload free ebooks, pdfs, slideshows, and other types of digital content in exchange for a link back to your site.

Many people create junk documents and upload them to these sites willy-nilly expecting to get some kind of reward. The truth is that you want to focus on creating quality content for these sites just as much as you would for your own site. If you do a good job, once people find your content there they will want to visit your site to see what else you have to offer.

The best part is that you can outsource the uploading of these documents for cheap. You can easily find people willing to upload your content to these sites for $5 on Fiverr.

Video Marketing

I’ll have to admit that I haven’t attempted this method to scale, but it is probably one of the best traffic generation methods out there. I plan to start using this soon and will report on it in a future post. The key here is, as always, to create quality videos that help people solve their problems.

If you have any tips for generating more traffic and building an engaged audience, I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below.

Posted in Conversions, Get More Traffic

Are You a Writer or a Dreamer?

Writing with Ink

Photo by: urbanworkbench. Creative Commons.

I first discovered my love of reading when I was just a kid.

A friend introduced me to The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe and for the first time I was drawn into another world. A world full wonder, adventure, and heroics. A world which swept me up into a grand story that awakened my imagination. I quickly devoured the whole Narnia series and then kept looking for more books to read.

I have been an avid reader since that day. There is not much I would rather do than sit with a good book and lose myself in the story.

As you can imagine, I also dreamed of becoming a writer. I dreamed of crafting grand stories of adventure and wonder for the world to read.

In my teen years I started three books which never came close to being complete.

Other than that, I haven’t done much creative writing beyond what I needed to do for school. I’ve written a few blog posts and web 2.0 articles in attempts to make some money as an affiliate marketer, but that’s about it. Nothing fiction since those teen years.

I was a dreamer, not a writer. I wanted the glory, the recognition associated with being a writer.

I just didn’t want to do the work.

It’s only recently that I started to embrace my dream to be a writer again and started taking steps to fulfilling that dream. Yet if you look at the publication dates of this blog post and compare it to my last post you will realize that it’s been months since I’ve published anything on this blog.

It seems I still have some work to do if I want to overcome my dreamer tendencies.

If I am to be a writer, the one thing I need to do is write. Every day.

It doesn’t matter if I write 1000 words or 100. I’m still learning to stretch my creative muscles. I doubt I have the ability (yet) to write 1000+ words each day. Some days I can manage it, but I don’t need to hit that mark every day.

As long as I write something.

If I can keep the habit of daily writing my creative muscles will grow, and it will become easier to write more and more each day.

Dreaming won’t get me there. Not if I don’t put in the effort to make those dreams a reality.

What About You?

Are you a writer, or a dreamer? Do you spend all your time reading writer’s blogs, or are you in the trenches, writing each day?

Dreams are great. They give us the drive to push forward when things get tough. But when we don’t take action on our dreams they are little more than wishful thinking.

Unfortunately, wishful thinking won’t do you any good if you actually want to achieve your dreams.

If, like me, you are struggling to get into the habit of writing every day here are some tips that can help:

  • Wake up early or go to bed late. Even if it’s just an extra 15 or 30 minutes. Just make sure to actually use that time for writing rather than checking email or reading blogs or forums.
  • Set a daily word count goal. You don’t have to be too ambitious with this. If you think you can write 1000 words a day then go for it, but if not 100 words is also good if that’s what you need to get started.
  • Ask your family for help. Family can be distracting. I have two little kids running around, so I know how difficult it can be to find time to write when you have family around. But your family can also be your greatest strength if you get them involved with what you are doing.
  • Don’t give up if you fall behind. I could have said something like this: “Oh, I haven’t written in months. Gosh, I guess I must not be cut out to be a writer after all.” That wouldn’t be very constructive though, would it? The only thing I can do is get back in the game and try again. If you miss a few days, or a few months, don’t get hung up on it. Just move on and keep going.

Do you have any of your own tips or experiences to share? I’d love to hear your suggestions. Just leave a comment below. I’d also appreciate it if you would share this post if you found it useful.

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Posted in Discovering Your Voice, Getting Started

Are You Missing This Ancient Secret to Building a Thriving Blog Audience?

The ancient world understood the secret to building a large audience of loyal readers.

This concept is found in various forms in documents going back as far as 4000 years. It is written in laws and philosophical texts. Buddha, Confucius, and Jesus all taught it to their followers.

The most important thing you must do if you want to be an influential blogger is contained in these ancient teachings.

Call it Karma, Reciprocity or the Golden Rule.

Treat others the way you want to be treated.

You will never build a loyal audience of raving fans if you miss this core principle. And this doesn’t apply only to blogging. It is central to every form of marketing. If you can’t serve the needs of your target audience, you’ve got nothing to sell.

People are only interested in your blog for the solutions you provide.

Yes, personality is important. People gravitate to people who share similar interests and ideas.

But the primary question your audience is asking is “What’s in it for me?”

If you can’t answer that question all the personality in the world won’t save you. People will read your blog for entertainment and to socialize, but they wont buy from you and they won’t include you in their network of influence.

So how do you learn to serve the needs of your audience?

It starts with having an intimate understanding of who your perfect reader is.

This is where many blogs fail. If you go in thinking you need to please everyone you will write generic crap that resonates with no one.

The best way to overcome this is to imagine one person and write for him only. What are his problems? Struggles? Fears? Doubts? Dreams?

Give him a name, a family, and a job. Figure out exactly what his most pressing problems are, and write to solve those problems.

Now, I’m not saying to charge in blindly. You still need to do market research. Go to forums and blogs. Look at Yahoo! Answers. Figure out what your target audience spends their time talking about and how they say it. And give your imaginary person these same problems.

For instance, my imaginary person for this blog is…me.

Yep, that’s right, I’m my own imaginary friend. Kind of creepy isn’t it?

But here’s the thing. I’m a writer, blogger, and internet marketer. This blog is for people just like me. People who dream of making a living from writing. Freelance writers, bloggers, self publishers. It doesn’t matter. If you are a writer, or dream of being one, this blog is built for you.

And I understand the kinds of dreams, fears, and struggles that writers face, especially when first getting started.

So when I write, I ask myself what I need most or what has helped me the most in the past, and try to find the best answers to those problems.

This might not work for you. You might not be in your own target audience. That’s ok. Just find someone.

And treat him the way you want to be treated. Solve his problems.

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Building Your Audience

How Can A Freelance Writer Benefit From Creating Flash Fiction Stories?

One of the hallmarks of a great writer is the ability to create compelling content that immediately grabs the attention of the reader.

This is true in practically any type of writing, whether it is for magazines, corporate clients, or your own blog or website. The writer who fails to keep the reader intrigued will have a hard time finding anyone who will pay for his work. Not if he wants to earn more than $5 for 500 words. And you can’t build a serious writing business at those rates.

Flash fiction is a great exercise in writing engaging content that reels the reader in and keeps him hooked all the way to the end. It is a complete story in under 1000 words.Good flash fiction has to start with a bang, raise the level of conflict, and bring everything to a satisfying close as quickly as possible.

Here are some ways flash fiction can benefit the freelance writer

Any Writing Is Good Writing – Sort Of

The most common advice I see on blogs and writing forums for writers to improve their craft is to simply write. And write some more. This is good advice, but there is one caveat: You must approach your writing critically, looking for things to improve in your work with each new piece of content you create.

One of the best ways to do this is to put your writing where others will see it. Every bit of criticism you collect on your writing is an opportunity to get better, either by improving what doesn’t work or keeping what does.

Flash fiction is a different style of writing that will help you to stretch your creative muscles in ways that you aren’t used to (unless you’re already proficient at flash fiction writing). Allowing others to comment on your work will help you stretch these muscles even more.

You Will Learn To Hook Your Reader

Getting the attention of your audience from the start is critical if you want to create compelling content that achieves it’s purpose. You don’t want to lose your audience before they have a chance to take your Most Wanted Response (MWR).

This is also important in flash fiction because you only have so much space to get the reader invested in the story. This is important in longer fiction as well, but you have more of an opportunity to make up for a poor start. If your reader sticks with you long enough.

Stick The Landing

The end of a blog post, article, or sales letter is the time to amp it up and go in for the hard close. If your reader has stuck with you to the end you know he is probably interested in what you have to offer, so this is where you need to ask for the sale.

The ending is also incredibly important in flash fiction. Here, you are selling your ability to bring the story to a satisfying resolution. The ending is often the hardest part of a story to write. If you fail here your reader may decide to write you off, even if the rest of the story was excellent.

And please, stay away from the OMG it was a dream the whole time sequence. Seriously.

Have you tried your hand at flash fiction? Let me know your experiences in the comments.

And because one of my aspirations is to be a fantasy author, my next post will be my first attempt at fantasy flash fiction. Follow me on Twitter or G+  be notified when I publish it.

Posted in Uncategorized

How to Conquer Procrastination, Overcome Fear, and Achieve Your Dreams

You’re doing it again.

You have wild dreams in your head of being an A-list blogger, who is able to put out epic content on command, with a huge and loyal audience of fans and customers who will eagerly pay you for your work.

And so you sit down to write.

But there’s a problem. You’ve read sites like Think Traffic, which insist that in order to make it online you have to produce Epic Content on a regular basis.

And you don’t think your ideas are epic enough.

So you procrastinate.

You have a dozen false starts, but can’t seem to come up with anything epic enough to meet your own standards. You give yourself a mental lashing, thinking that you should be able to do better. You do some Internet research, looking for the magic bullet that will turn you into an epic writer. Or you take a walk out in the nice summer sun, hoping for inspiration to strike you from on high.

You do anything besides actually writing that damn blog post.

We Are All Born With One Basic Desire

We want to make a difference. We want to fight for a cause. We want to change lives and inspire people. This is a basic part of the human psyche.

We want to matter. We want to leave a legacy for future generations.

This is why stories are so fascinating to us. The Hero slays the dragon and rescues the princess.

The rogue is actually a noble hero at heart, he just hasn’t realized it yet.

The ugly old hag is actually a beautiful enchantress.

The frog is really a prince, waiting for true love to break the curse.

These stories matter to us, because they speak to hidden truths. They speak to the reality of the human condition. We can deny it all we want, but the truth is, we all need a hero. We need an epic quest and a cause worth fighting for.

But Fear Holds Us Back

We all have our own personal heroes. Maybe yours is Brian Clark, or Corbett Barr. Maybe it’s Jeff Goins, or Jon Morrow, or James Chartrand.

Whoever your hero is, you judge your work against theirs. But when you feel that your work doesn’t measure up you hold back. You don’t write that post. You procrastinate.

Your stick with the status quo, because that’s what is comfortable.

You don’t put your best work out there, because you don’t think your best work is good enough. You are afraid of being judged and found lacking.

You think that if you put out sub-par work, you will forever ruin your reputation and your chances of ever getting noticed.

You think you have to produce at the level of a master craftsman, even though you are just getting started.

The Secret to Overcoming Fear

Do you want to know the secret? You just have to get started.

You are the hero, you just don’t realize it yet. And the hero always has to go through a journey before he learns what he’s truly made of. Or she, if you prefer.

But first, the hero has to decide whether to accept the quest, or just huddle in fear waiting for the world to fall apart.

And during the quest, the hero is going to make some mistakes. There will be botched battles and the hero will only barely escape tragedy. He will make a bad decision that holds the quest back.

But he keeps going, and eventually the hero emerges and the enemy is defeated.

If you want to be a top blogger with a loyal following, you’re going to have to pay your dues. You have to go on a journey and you have to be willing to make mistakes.

Before you can write 1000 words of epic content you first need to create tens or hundreds of thousands of words of content that is just good enough. But if you judge yourself too harshly you will never give yourself the chance to get there.

So write that post. Make it the best you can at your current level. Publish it.

Then do it again, and again, and again. Do it on your own blog. Do it with guests posts and magazine article pitches. Just find the courage to fail, however many times it takes.

Eventually, you will hit your stride. You will find your voice. You will find the audience that appreciates your work.

Posted in Uncategorized

What Does It Take To Be a Well Paid Freelance Writer?

As a new freelance writer one of my biggest hold-ups is the fear that my writing isn’t good enough to get paid good rates for it. If I stop to think about it for a minute I realize that this is complete rubbish.

For one thing, It’s very easy for me to be overly critical of my own abilities. This is a trap that many writers and would be entrepreneurs fall in to. We underestimate our value. In fact, this holds true for most people. We really are our own worst critics.

Of course, I should always be able to look at my work critically. There is always room for improvement. But this should not hold me back from getting my feet wet. Is it realistic to expect myself to perform at the level of an expert who’s been doing this for years if I am just starting my writing career? Of course not.

And that expert? He had to start somewhere, too.

But there is another reason why this should not hold me back.

What It Really Takes To Be A Well Paid Freelance Writer

Freelance writing success does not require mastery of the English language. In fact, some of the writers I follow and respect, and who make a full time career of writing, actually have worse English than me! Their blogs are filled with grammar and spelling mistakes that I can easily recognize.

Has that stopped them from getting paid for their work? Nope.

That got me to thinking about what it really takes to be a successful writer. I’ve come up with a small list that sums up what I’ve observed. If I can learn to do these things well, I know I can be successful as a freelance writer.

Capable at Writing in the English Language

As I said above, you don’t need to be an English expert to earn a full time living as a freelance writer. You only need to be good enough. Now, there are some people who shouldn’t be working as freelance writers. This includes people who have a poor understanding of the English language. There are quite a few foreign writers out there, writing articles for $5 or less a pop. Many of them have a poor grasp of English and need a lot of work before they should be writing for hire.

Marketing

Marketing is the most important skill to have if you want to be a well paid freelancer. In fact, I’m not sure that skill is the right word to use here. I think that bravado might be a better term. You just have to have the guts to put yourself out there and let others know what you do and how it can help them.

Other than getting word out, marketing is all about positioning. The better you position yourself as an expert in the field of writing, the better rates you can command. This is where skill and experience really helps, which you can develop over time.

Meeting Client Expectations

If you can get your clients to like you they will be much more receptive to the idea of hiring you again. This is why it is important to meet deadlines and communicate with you clients. You should be able to understand their goals and deliver a final product that fulfills those goals. Establishing expectations early on is critical in this respect, and the revision process will allow you to close the loop on this.

Getting Ideas Across in Writing

The last skill you need to be a successful freelance writer is the ability to get ideas across clearly in your writing. This is where the importance of clear and concise writing come into play.Writing that is redundant can be confusing to the reader. As long as you can get a message across decently well, you can get professional rates for your freelance writing.

And that’s it.

None of these skills require expertise. You only have to be able to do these things moderately well and you can make a full time living as a writer. That is all it takes to be able to get work at professional rates.

You don’t need to languish at $5 for 500 words until you master these skills. In fact, you can charge 10 times that if you can do all of these things at a basic level.

So what does it really take to be a well paid freelance writer? You just have to put yourself out there and charge what you’re worth.

Posted in Uncategorized

How To Effectively Communicate Your Marketing Message With Your Business Blog

Have you ever read a blog post and wondered what message the writer was trying to get across?

Many times a blog post will ramble on about irrelevant topics and will only serve to confuse the reader. Or, at the very least, the reader will lose interest and hit the back button.

Have you ever scrutinized your own blog posts to determine whether your message is coming across clearly? Or maybe you’ve put together a post without even having a message in mind in the first place? Here is a checklist that can help you to clearly communicate your message with your blog readers:

Is your title specific enough?

The title of your blog post is the most important element in effective communication. The title is the first thing a visitor to your blog or a searcher on the web will see. If you want them to read the post, your title must clearly tell them what they can expect to read about in the post.For instance, when I first sat down to write this post the title I had in mind was:

“3 Rules For Effective Communication On The Web”.

But I realized that a title like that was far too generic. After all, communication on the web comes in many forms, including email, social media, web copy, and even the images on your site.

By narrowing it down and focusing on business blogs I’ve made it much more specific. You know exactly which form of online communication I’m talking about. Additionally, your post title is the best place to tell the search engines what your post is about, as well.

Hook your reader.

Writing a great title that get’s clicked on is awesome, but what happens next? If you lose your reader in the first 5 seconds they will never subscribe to your email list or buy something from you. The first sentence of your post needs to hook your reader into reading further.

I’ve done that on this post by asking a question that many people will identify with. Another method is to connect with an emotion your readers may be feeling or have felt in the past.  Which of these would you be more likely to keep reading:

“Many people in this country are overweight. This can be a real problem and can lead to emotional issues. Overweight people often don’t feel very confident and can suffer from a lot of rejection…”

Or:

“When I was in High School, I was obese. I can remember walking through the hallways seeing all the jocks and how popular they were with the girls and feeling extremely jealous. If that wasn’t bad enough, I was constantly being called names like ‘Jabba the fat’ by kids with less imagination than a turd. Even my own parents seemed embarrassed by my size. I decided it was time to drop the fat or die trying… ”

I think the second option makes for a much more interesting read, don’t you?

Be clear and concise.

Just because you know CPME means doesn’t mean your target audience does. Avoid confusing your reader by staying away from industry jargon and acronyms.

Also, avoid redundancy and unnecessary words. Stay on topic and don’t ramble needlessly. Anecdotes are fine if they help you clarify your point. Talking about your cat is a big no-no unless you can make an object lesson of it. Even then, there’s probably a better object lesson somewhere.

What about you? What examples have you seen of blog posts that failed to get the point across?

 

Posted in Uncategorized

What Is The Standard Rate For Freelance Writing?

The internet is flooded with “freelance writers” who believe that the standard rate for a 500 word article is $5.

I don’t know about you, but I certainly would not want to promote my business with content in which only $5 worth of effort was invested.

And yet, I frequently see people on forums who are convinced that it is impossible for a writer to earn more than this, at least when they are first starting out. Attempts to correct this false belief are often met with extreme skepticism. After all, who would pay more than that when there are many writers on freelance job sites who are more than willing to work for such rates?

Only someone who cares about the quality of the content they are outsourcing.

This sad trend has been brought about by two factors.

First, content on the internet has become a commodity due to the nature of search engines. It used to be easy to get high rankings for poor content simply by building a massive number of backlinks from equally poor content.

This is no longer the case.

Everyday, the search engines are getting better at returning quality content that provides real value. They have begun to rely heavily on reader engagement as a measure of the true value of content. There is every reason to believe that this trend will continue.

The second reason prices have dropped so low is the large number of Third World writers who are happy to work at such rates. In such places, working for $5 per article is enough to earn a livable wage.

And yet how many of these writers truly understand the various nuances of the English language? Not many.

For some reason, writers from more educated countries believe they need to match these low rates to stay competitive. As if price were the only point on which they could compete.

Of course, there are a number of very accomplished writers from the Third World. However, these writers have spent years mastering their craft and have raised their rates accordingly.

Imagine if an US based writer were to attempt to make a livable wage by writing $5 articles. In order to earn a modest $40,000 per year they would need to write 8000 articles per year! That’s almost 670 articles per month or 23 articles per day! They would need to write 3 articles every hour for 8 hours per day.

Can you imagine researching and writing 3 articles per hour? I certainly couldn’t manage it. I would burn myself out quickly in the attempt.

On the other hand, imagine a writer who charges $150 per article. This writer could earn over $50000 per year just by writing 7 articles per week. A good writer could easily manage to research and write 7 quality articles per week.

A single article which is well written, engaging, and useful to the audience can bring in thousands of dollars worth of sales (or list subscriptions) in a short amount of time.

If you are a freelance writer, why would you shortchange your efforts by offering such low rates? You have more value than you realize. Remember, the internet runs on content. So stand up and charge what you are worth or get lost in the shuffle. It’s your choice.

If you are a business who hires $5 writers, do you really think that such poor content can get you any kind of worthwhile results? Sure, you may be able to create good content on your own sites, and then outsource crappy content that you spin into oblivion for backlinks…

But for how much longer?

Google has declared war on these tactics. They will not continue to work. You are building your business on a very shaky foundation.

Here’s a novel idea. Invest in quality work and get quality results in return.

I don’t care if you hire me or hire one of my competitors who’s been around a little longer. Just hire someone who will put more than $5 worth of effort into the work they produce for you. Hire someone who you will be able to turn to for the next 5 years because they are actually charging what they are worth.

Hire a real writer.

Posted in Freelance Article Writing