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Increasing Web Site Traffic with a Blog

By Virginia Lawrence

We are reading about blogs everywhere, and publishers wonder whether a blog would have any effect on Web traffic and business. Well, an appropriate blog, updated frequently and marketed properly, can make a big difference in attracting the target market to a publisher's Web site.

Market-appropriate Blog

When we consider the contents of our upcoming blog, we must plan to write about a topic that interests our target market. That is, if the Web site sells baby books, we want to attract mothers, so we will write and post short articles about babies and motherhood. We'll stick to the range of topics read by our target market, and we certainly won't write about our favorite politician.

Frequently-updated Blog

It's ideal if we can write a post to our blog every day. However, even when we only write weekly posts, the blog will attract visitors as long as those posts are highly targeted.

Syndicating the Blog

Every blog needs syndication. That is done in several ways, and we set up the two simplest of these when we set up the blog.

  1. The simplest is to set the blog to ping (notify) the most important blog directory automatically. That directory takes notice, Google/Yahoo/MSN check out the listings there, and the search engines start to display the blog entries. Even so, the blog entries will help only if they contain the keywords that people would use to find the information they need. If people are searching on the keywords, the recent blog entry carrying those keywords tends to be ranked high in the search engines. It doesn't stay on top very long; Google and the other top search engines are always ready to replace the listing with the latest "news." That's why it's a good idea to post a new blog entry as often as possible.

  2. Another simple syndication method is to allow individuals to subscribe to the blog so that they can easily see the latest posts. We set up the blog so that people can add our blog to their list of blogs or RSS feeds on their My.Yahoo.com, My.MSN.com or other newsreader. And the new Google blog search engine offers readers links to subscribe to each blog directly.
  3. Subscribing to blogs will be easier for everyone when the new Internet Explorer comes out. That version of Internet Explorer will include a blog reader so that program users can subscribe whenever they visit a blog they like.

  4. True syndication involves offering the blog to appropriate Web sites through several blog search engines or by writing to extend the offer. This can be wonderfully helpful in increasing traffic, but it is more complex than the previously mentioned syndication methods. If we are planning to try true syndication, then the most important question is the content of the blog. A syndicated blog carried by other sites must have a consistent theme, which interests those sites. Think of a newspaper carrying a technology column. The newspaper would drop the column if the technology writer suddenly started writing about literature or sports.

In contrast, #1 and #2 give us the freedom to write about what we want for our own target market. We can announce a new book, display a great book review, talk about how the books are researched, list upcoming signings, talk about new stores carrying the book, give author background, etc.

–© 2005 Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D. is a professional Web Developer and Online Marketing Consultant. She routinely places client sites on the first page of a Google search. Contact her at virginia@spawn.org or visit her Web site at http://www.cognitext.com.

 

 

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