Sign up right now for email updates and get two free ebooks:

WordPress SEO Secrets Review

WordPress SEO Secrets from Michael Martine is launching today, and I am sure it will make a big splash. I have contributed a bonus and a testimonial. I guess you could say I am supporting the product!

Frankly, when Michael told me he was developing a blog SEO product I was worried.

You see, most of what I read about blogging and SEO is just plain wrong. I get sent a lot of products to review, and it seems to be the ones that focus on SEO that contain the most misleading information. The risk with SEO information is if it is wrong you can cause more damage than good. When Google is happy with you then you get a ton of profitable, targeted traffic, but upset the mighty Google and you can have a world of hurt that is a pain to clear up. Michael is a friend, how could I tell him if it was bad, or worse, damaging?

Thankfully, Michael has put in a lot of hard work to make sure that his facts are accurate, easy to follow, and most importantly, based on his and his clients real world experience of gaining search rankings.

Yes, blogs are said to be decently optimized out of the box, especially WordPress, and especially when you use DIYThemes Thesis Theme but that is only the beginning. You can gain so much more traffic very easily when you know how. Anyone who is a member of my Authority Blogger Course or has been through my coaching or consulting already knows the difference search optimization can make to a blog. Better search rankings are there for the taking, and any one of Michael’s tips could give you the boost you are looking for.

Now, inevitably you might be thinking that you can get this information for free from websites and forums. That might be true, if you have the time, and can filter out the good advice from the bad, and find immediately implementable tips rather than abstract theories and untested ideas. WordPress SEO Secrets puts everything you need to know in one package, with a guide book and walk-through videos not just telling but showing you exactly what you need.

Think: How much more traffic and profits will you make when you rank higher in the search engines? Much more than this product costs I bet, and hey, there is a full money back guarantee, so there is no risk in trying it.

If you are blogging on WordPress and want a boost in search traffic then I recommend you grab WordPress SEO Secrets today, before the price goes up

How to Grow Both Twitter Followers and Your Blog Subscribers

Check your Twitter Follower Count and compare it against your Blog Subscriber Count. Which is the bigger number? Which of those counts is growing faster?

I asked my Twitter followers this question, and overwhelmingly the answer came back that you have more Twitter followers or Twitter is catching up fast and likely to overtake.

The folks who have far fewer Twitter followers than blog subscribers are those who I would call “Well Established”. Their audience has been subscribed for a long while and in large numbers, while their Twitter following is recent and likely made up of a subset of their huge blog or email list audience. Uber bloggers like Darren Rowse and Brian Clark come to mind, and internet marketers who can call on hundreds of thousands of email subscribers like Frank Kern, Jeff Walker, and Rich Schefren.

Why is Twitter Overtaking Blog Subscriber Count?

In the case of Twitter dominating, I believe this is down to the relative ease of recruiting followers and the method in which it happens.

Twitter is like blogging but accelerated and concentrated. Rather than links, comments and trackbacks, we discover new people to follow through replies, both to you and to others. If someone replies to me with an interesting comment, or if someone I am following has an interesting conversation with someone I haven’t discovered, I am more likely to follow them. People who would otherwise go unnoticed in the blogosphere have found attention far more efficiently in the Twittersphere.

This is even more pronounced when you get noticed by the Twitter movers and shakers. As in the blog world where an A-List link can boost your subscriber count, this happens much more often on Twitter. Tweets are cheap, it isn’t a big deal to fire off a message, compared to writing up a blog post, so a conversation with a big named Tweeter can drive hundreds of follows with little effort or risk on either side.

There is also the “reciprocal follow” where someone follows you so you follow them back. It doesn’t happen all the time but it is virtually unheard of in blogging.

In the case of personal blogging, Twitter has mostly taken a big chunk of the action. Before we would subscribe to the feed of people we wanted to stay in touch with. Family, friends, or just people who we found interesting. Twitter now provides the same role, with the bonus of immediacy of updates and instant interaction.

The End of the Blog Feed?

There is much to be said for the blog, or email newsletters. Not least is depth and detail that is not possible in 140 characters. But that in itself could be seen as a disadvantage as reading more than a few sentences feels like “effort”. Writing a few hundred words even more so. 140 characters means “just the facts”.

Blogs will more and more have to provide value greater than mere links, quips and trivialities. The chit-chat conversation has moved, and your content and community will need to evolve. Discussions on blogs will need to take more thought and provide more value.

What Should We Learn?

People with large, established audiences, can add many more Twitter followers just by pointing out their Twitter Feed, but to move their audience to follow in quantity will require the promise of something over and above business as usual. That requires interaction and original content. Not everyone will have the time or see the benefit, so we are unlikely to see 1:1 matches across the board, however those that do engage will benefit from viral effects and social audience growth.

Chris Brogan is the reverse of the big-blogger stereotype. While obviously being an established blogger pre-Twitter, it was social media and Twitter especially that cemented his popularity and profile, and therefore I see his Twitter following fueling his blog subscriber count growth through fantastic content promoted via cleverly tweeted links. The lesson here is your Twitter Feed can grow your blog if you model successful Tweeters like Chris B.

Either way, you need to:

  • Provide unique value in both Twitter and Blog.
  • Drive followers to your sites with carefully crafted and selected links.
  • Encourage subscribers to engage you in conversation in Twitter.
  • Be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of both.
  • Continue to observe those who are gaining traction and learn from their example.

What Do You Think?

Are you seeing this phenomenon? Have your own theories? Please share your thoughts in the comments, or of course, on Twitter ;)

Thriving on Social Media Network Effects

Benefiting from social media network effects requires you to be vigelant about who you are connecting with.

Benefits of Growing Your Social Media Network

In general the more contacts you have, the more you will benefit from social media, or any network for that matter:

  • More opportunities
  • Greater access to expertise, information, news
  • Frequent, valuable feedback
  • Accelerated growth through viral effects
  • Lower cost and better quality attention

There can be downsides of course, mainly in the area of “noise” and time spent maintaining many loose connections.

Your experience of growing your social network connections will be down to your management of it.

Due to the annoyance and productivity problems, many people aim to keep their network contained and high quality.

This is a perfectly good solution, and precisely what I was doing with my FaceBook account. The maintenance impact of the silly side of FaceBook, and other services, meant I retreated to Twitter.

Thing I have discovered is I have a history of trying and abandoning social networks, only to “get” them on my second trial. Each one will succeed or fail based on who you interact with and how. Right now I am giving FaceBook another go, based mostly on experiments I am observing from people like Frank Kern (who up to now I considered to be a total IM guru but behind the social media curve, go figure!).

Maintaining Signal Versus Noise

I have found that Twitter has provided me with a good training on maintaining signal versus noise. The solution is simple – Set a standard and ruthlessly stick to it. If you follow people who pester you with nonsense or tweet about their eating habits, you only have yourself to blame. It’s not Twitters fault, it’s not FaceBook, it is your choice of friends.

When you think about it, you wouldn’t blame a restaurant for your boring dinner conversation, would you?

How to Stop Social Media Taking Over Your Day

  • ONLY SHARE WHAT IS SAFE TO SHARE – Once you connect to people outside your close friends and family you need to restrict the information you place in these networks. If in doubt, keep it to yourself.
  • Observe before following.
  • If people are taking too much of your time, drop them, and do not feel any guilt about it. There are no rules that say you have to follow everyone who follows you!
  • Pick your venues and do not try to be active in all of them.
  • Do not take part in time-wasting activities, such as quizzes and zombie games.
  • Set Social Media time and log off when that time is over.
  • Grow your network selectively and steadily – Learn how much activity you can manage.
  • Use tools where appropriate.

That last one took me a while to figure out. Tools can actually hurt your productivity if they demand too much of your attention. Turn off beeps and popup message alerts, they just take you away from work. In my case using TweetDeck has helped me a great deal (when the thing doesn’t freeze on me) because it puts front and center the most important stuff while keeping less priority stuff accessible.

My Social Network Schedule

Once you have tried out a social network you can discover your own rhythm. You don’t have to live in social media like Chris Brogan or Robert Scoble to benefit from it :)

Right now the main social networks I am involved in are:

  • Conversation – Twitter – Few times a day
  • Bookmarking – Digg and StumbleUpon – Daily
  • Groups/Social – FaceBook – Few times a week
  • Business Contacts – LinkedIn (chris at chrisg dot com) – Weekly
  • Pictures – Flickr – As and when

I find I can spend maximum an hour a day on these quite happily with only a positive impact on my business.

By sticking to this schedule, and the guilt-free policies outlined above, I have found I can maintain a large and growing network quite happily. People send me messages, I mostly reply to them, but not necessarily right away that second. People are aware and not too insulted that I don’t take part in FB games and applications. It’s all good.

As with anything Social Media, take advice (even mine!) as a guide, there are NO RULES. Do what works for you. If people do not like what you do or how, they can un-follow.

Do you have social media tips to share? Agree or disagree with me? Share your thoughts in the comments …

Reciprocation Works Both Ways

Reciprocation is often talked about in terms of what you can get out of it. You might be forgiven for thinking of it purely as a tactic to get other people to do what you want them to do. But, as common sense would tell you, that is not the whole story, in fact it is just a simple human trait of “give and take”.

I do something for you, you do something for me. Simple, but often abused. If you want a good reputation, you need to be a generous “giver” and not a “taker”.

Reciprocation needs to work both ways. When people do good things for you, show you have recognized what they have done and reward them.

At the very least if people who do something for you then they need to be acknowledged.

So answer comments, thank people who send you feedback, link or vote up your articles, re-tweet your twitter messages, and so on. If someone subscribes to my blog they get free ebooks (more coming), as well as all the lovely regular content you would expect :)

What if it is more than one comment?

I don’t like “top commenter” sidebar widgets because that often turns your comment area into a quantity competition, but you still need to show gratitude for people who keep your comment area lively. Occasionally I will write up a post and thank my top commenting folks or find  a way to help them in some way.

People who go above and beyond need extra special appreciation, along with acknowledgement.

Let them know you want to show thanks even though you know they were not being kind or helpful in the hope of receiving an award. People are sometimes offended otherwise, and whatever you do, do not show gratitude with money! That is a sure way to turn friendship into offense.

On my forum we have a Featured Blogger each month, to recognize valuable community contributions. The winner gets a free Authority Blogger Course membership as well as the praise and awe of forum members.

Contributions often matter most when they are simply and honestly friendly and helpful. In October the winner was Jamie Horrop from Jamie who got some excellent conversations going, and last month it was Educator Dan from Daily Home Renovation Tips who we have all watched go from a cautious newbie to helping out others by sharing his blogging experiences.

What can you offer in gratitude?

Have a think what you can offer people by way of thanks. Here are somethings I do that won’t cost you the earth and that you can do even if you don’t currently have any products to offer:

  • Comment and guest post at their blog
  • StumbleUpon submissions and social media votes
  • Links and tweets to get them some attention and buzz
  • Have they got something you could review?
  • Add as friend to all your social media sites
  • Suggest some positive improvements or tips? (be careful that you don’t throw criticism back in return for their kindness!)
  • Write a “character reference” style testimonial – LinkedIn profiles are a perfect place
  • Call them up and speak to them on the phone or skype

Of course you can also say “I am so grateful to you, is there anything I can do for you in return …” :)

If there is one thing we all need in this new media world is helpful friends, so when you find them, make them feel valued!

How do you show gratitude to people who help you out?

Thanksgiving Links

We don’t do thanksgiving in the UK quite like our North American cousins overseas, but I like the idea of it anyway, so here goes:

  1. I am thankful for my family, pets and friends,
  2. That my work is something I love doing and am passionate about,
  3. and my wonderful clients who keep life interesting and a roof over our heads!

Here are some links to share the love:

Got any links to share or things you are grateful for? Have you written up a thanksgiving post with a twist? Add yours in the comments, and the best one or two in my extremely biased opinion will win a copy of the ProBlogger book!

Partnering+Profits Launched – Plus Bonus from Me

Partnering Profits has now launched, and there are great bonuses for anyone who moves fast. Previous products from Brian Clark and co have rushed out the door, so you don’t want to miss out on this one.

Can I recommend Partnering Profits? 100%, you will see on the Partnering Profits landing page that in a way I have put my name behind it already, Darren Rowse and I are going to feature on one of the calls!

Seriously though, a great deal of my income has been generated through the partner opportunities that blogging has brought me, and the more partnership projects I work on the more opportunities that come along.

Partnering has helped build million dollar businesses from scratch. Brian makes over $100,000 a month because of his partner businesses. At only $97 this course is a bargain, I am sure you will agree, but as an extra incentive, I am going to discount my blog critiques by the same amount for anyone who buys Partnering Profits through my link.

Don’t hang around, grab your seat and bonuses now, you will not regret it and it could actually be the best move you ever make for your business.

Search, Segmentation and Silos

Knowing who and what your site is for is key.

As important, is knowing who and what your site is NOT for.

Consider this site, there are lots of things I can and do talk about, but in most cases I try to bring it always back to the main themes of boosting your authority and business via new media.

Pictures of my cat are more likely to appear on my personal site. Photography stuff goes on my photography blog.

What about when a topic does have relevance to your audience, but only a small subset?

That is when segmentation comes in. This is where you get people to opt-in to a more focused site, list or feed, so that the rest of your audience are not bothered by it and where you can comfortably lavish the full package on just those people.

Sub-lists though are not the only way to do it. You can create off-shoot websites, as I did with Authority Blogger. These satellite sites can attract their own search traffic through creating highly targeted content and some kick-start links from your main site.

This traffic will also be funneled to join your niche email list or feed, and will not be distracted by your broader content outside of that silo because they will not get to see it unless you intentionally link it up.

Yes, creating new sites is additional work, but often a highly focused site does well both with audience and search, much more easily than a broad, cumbersome and disorganized monolithic site. A domain and ten pages of killer flagship content might be all you need.

Worth a try?

Partnering Profits – Free Teleclass and Ebook Downloads

Partnering Profits is both a true statement and the name of Brian Clark and Jon Morrow’s new training where you can get free cool stuff!

If you have read my free ebook, Authority Alliances, you know I believe that partnering has been a huge factor in me being able to make an income online. For those of you who haven’t read it, you might want to subscribe now and grab your copy. Existing subscribers just go to the download page.

Already I have had feedback that my small free ebook has helped people put together joint ventures and team projects. Just think what you could do with a detailed partnering blueprint?

Once you have read it, go grab the free Partnering Profits ebook and live teleclass. Believe me, the stuff Brian and Jon have put together goes way further than my introduction to the topic and it will blow your mind with the possibilities for your own business.

Partnering Really Does Produce Profits

Right from the start of my online career I have been collaborating.

Rather than try to do everything yourself you can gain the benefit of key resources from those best able to provide them. It’s the most efficient route to success.

You will likely already be aware of some of my past collaborations, such as co-authoring books like the ProBlogger Book, and startups such as Performancing. Right now as well as working on several websites with business partners, I am partnering on a banner ad network, a web application aimed at small businesses and a competitor analysis tool. Several more projects are in discussion. On top of that I have partners who refer me consulting work or send me Authority Blogger customers.

Each collaboration or joint venture leads to more opportunities. So as well as my income far exceeding what I would have been able to create alone, in addition it is through these projects that I have met cool people like Brian Clark in the first place.

Partner Up and Profit Now!

Why struggle to do everything on your own? People are out there ready, willing and able to help if you can approach the right people and cut the right deal. You can learn the full strategies and how to approach it with their course eventually, but even if you just take the free stuff I am sure you will have enough ideas to take you to the next stage of your business.

Sign up and get your Partnering Profits freebies now!

Why Internet Marketing is Like Driving Supercars

There are often unexpected perks to being a blogger and this Sunday was one of the best I have experienced. On top of having a great day out, I realized something about internet marketing that can benefit you in your business.

Me and my Ferrari

What put this goofy expression on my face? Read on …

6th Gear Driving Experiences had invited a bunch of online geeks, Al Carlton, Dave Naylor, Kieron Donoghue, Patrick Altoft and me, for a day of thrashing supercars around a race circuit. This involved us driving £1million worth of posh motors at bowel-shaking speeds, all the time wearing grins like the one you see above.

What Supercars and New Media Have in Common

As the day went on I did improve marginally in my driving ability, but it made me think of how driving supercars and success in the activity of marketing online are related with the following three factors:

  1. Power of the setup – Is your site, marketing campaign or content holding you back or providing the power and momentum you need?
  2. Skill of the operator – If you or your team are holding you back then you need to update your skills to maintain competitiveness
  3. The field of operation and environment – You might have everything you need but still be held back by your niche and environmental factors, in which case change direction. There is no good in having a supercar capable of 650bhp that is trapped and constrained by conjestion, speed bumps and potholes – take your whole package to a place where you can really let rip!

Obviously in my case with the driving, number #2 let me down. I was in brilliant and expensive machines, in an ideal environment (purpose built track on a clear, dry day), but the instructors showed how someone with actual driving skill could really do the business.

Now if in your business something is holding you back, you can put these essential elements back on track:

  • First ensure you work a niche with sufficient potential, or redirect your efforts and audience targeting into a related niche that offers more room for growth and acceleration
  • Bring your skills and knowledge up to requirements by taking courses, attending seminars and putting in the study hours.
  • Develop your site, content and marketing campaign to make sure it attracts, retains and converts paying customers

Have you got the whole package? It would be worth taking an honest look at your setup then putting right any deficiencies now …

Would You Be Up For It?

We were all so buzzed on the day I am sure there will lots of ideas percolating amongst our collected brains so let me know in the comments if you would be up for taking part in a supercar event next year.

It’s impossible for me to adequately describe how cool it was, so I won’t even try, it is written all over my face in the picture. Suffice to say I would totally recommend the supercar driving experience to anyone, and if you don’t want to take my word for it, check out the reports of the day from Dave, Kieron and Patrick who have wasted no time in blogging the event, and my flickr gallery here.

Aweber Popup Email Subscription Form Test Results

For just over a week now I have been testing the Aweber “lightbox” popup email subscription form. I wrote about the experiment here, and now I wanted to share some results.

Aweber Email Subscriptions

Google Analytics Traffic for Same Period

As you can see when I placed the form up I actually got a small dip in subscriptions before it corrected to become an increase to eventually settling down to a 5.9% conversion rate, up from 2.4%. A client is trying it also and is getting a 5.5% conversion.

Why the dip? There is a weekend lull, but I looked at my analytics and I believe it is because of traffic source. Referral links and search traffic seems to convert much better than social media and my regular visitors.

Aweber Report Key

Aweber Report Key

What I need to keep my eye on is the unverified and the unsubscribes. It’s hard to tell at the moment but I think some of the people signing up were just looking for the freebies and nothing more.

Thing that surprises me is if you take a wider view, the results are not terribly dramatic:

30 Day Lead Growth Aweber Report

So what is the conclusion?

It’s worth a try for newer blogs to get that early momentum, and certainly others are gaining subscribers at a better rate, but for me I am not entirely convinced the results justify the damage to credibility and longevity.

I want my content to sell my subscription, and I want people to stay subscribed because they see value. Like I often say on this blog, it is not worth burning up your long term value for the sake of some short term gains.

To test this I am going to look at segmenting people who join via popup and see if there is a difference in engagement before trialling my alternative.

Make sure you stay subscribed so you don’t miss those results or what my alternative subscription idea is!