6 Ways Bloggers Can Better Manage Their Time

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Creating high-quality blog content takes time; as do social media, networking, and blog promotion. If you want to find success on your blog, you must become an effective time manager. The problem is, if you’re working from home and setting your own hours, you may find yourself distracted, allowing the time to slip by unaccounted for. Use these tips to better manager your time.

1. Create a Work Schedule

Creating a basic (but flexible) work schedule can help you manage your time. Set aside work hours, play hours, and time to eat, and try to stick to the schedule as closely as possible. If you know you get to take a break at 1:00, you’ll be more motivated to finish your work before that time.

2. Use To-Do Lists

Once a day, write out your to-do list, separating it into three categories – things that must get done, things that need attention within a few days, and minor, but unnecessary, tasks. Post it at your workstation and refer back to it often. As you complete each task, mark it off the list and move on to the next item.

3. Reduce & Eliminate Distractions

Social media, emails, and fantasy sports leagues can be incredibly distracting during the work day. Identify the distractions that pull you away from your work, then come up with a game plan for reducing or eliminating them. For instance, if Internet surfing is your vice, use the free download, SelfRestraint, to block access to selected websites during your work hours.

4. Make Time for Breaks

Taking breaks may sound like a sign of laziness, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Taking frequent breaks helps keep you fresh and clear-headed. Schedule at least two each day, and commit to taking them.

Also, recognize when you’re just not being productive – it’s a clear sign that you need to step away from your work. Stroll around the block or visit a local park for 20 minutes to regain your mental focus.

5. Don’t Overdo It

Do you think you’re doing yourself a favor by banging out five or six blog posts all in one day? Do you have the habit of working morning, noon, and night? These strategies don’t work well, especially over time. Working too many hours to pump out content can lead to lower-quality work and burnout. If you’re always exhausted and you notice a decline in the quality of your content, commit to doing less.

6. Carve Out “Me” Time

Don’t forget to carve out personal time for yourself each day. Even if it’s just spending time on your PS4, or listening to music on your iPad, getting away from the business side of things is important.

Blogging for a living presents many benefits, but one of the biggest challenges is that you’re your own boss. You don’t have anyone breathing down your neck to get something done, or pressuring you to reach specific goals. This is why effective time management is so important. Start improving yours today to reap the benefits later.

Are you a blogger? How do you manage your time?

In 2014, Turn Your Forum Into an Ecommerce Media Giant

Cross-posted from the new ForumCon blog. ForumCon is the only conference dedicated to the business and future of forums  and community management and will be held this year in San Francisco on June 19. Follow this link to join us for the day and get a special VigLink 25% off discount!

Written by Chad Billmyer, CEO, Panjo

Businesses purchase forums based on trailing revenue and traffic growth. Do you want more revenue and more traffic? Evolve your forum into an ecommerce media giant.

In the last few days, VerticalScope agreed to acquire PBNation.com for $1.38M (a paintball vBulletin forum) and Freelancer.com paid $3.2M for Warrior Forum (a digital marketing vBulletin forum). You can grow the value of your community higher than that. To quote the Sean Parker character in The Social Network, “A million dollars isn’t cool. You know what’s cool?” A billion dollars.

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According to BuiltWith, the number of forums powering the top million sites on the web has declined by 33% since 2011. In the face of the decline of Web-based forums, you can still grow the value of your community. Now is the time for you to evolve your community into an ecommerce media business.

In a recent interview with Fortune Magazine, Ben Lerer, founder of Thrillist.com, explains, “Now we’re at the beginning of Commerce 3.0. Every day you surprise and delight people by showing them interesting things, and then you layer on great storytelling on a daily basis…. People come to your store more often because they never know what they’re going to find and what they could discover. When they get there, they spend more money buying the basics that they actually need. It’s been four years since we acquired JackThreads, and we’ve gotten really good into making a reader into a shopper and a shopper into a reader. We will do more than $100 million in revenues this year, and I believe we can be a $1 billion business.” [source]

This past March, Lerer spoke at the South By Southwest conference in Austin. You can find the slides from his talk, Content & Commerce: The Digital Cronut, on slideshare. There is an excellent recap of the presentation in Publishing Perspectives.  In summary, you have thousands of enthusiasts frequenting your site. You have earned their trust. You need to move beyond advertising, subscription, events, and licensing. Says Lerer, “you’ve got to actually physically sell something to that consumer” to have a chance at that billion-dollar goal.

Through his research, Michael Brito, author of Your Brand: The Next Media Company, found that successful media companies shared five characteristics. He shared the five characteristics in an interview with SocialMediaExaminer:

  1. Storytelling

  2. Content

  3. Relevance

  4. Ubiquitous

  5. Agile

Perhaps the sentiments of Lerer and Brito are a bit too theoretical or macro for you. You are in the trenches, building and moderating your community and keeping sponsors happy. What is your next step?

  1. If you don’t already have a content management system (CMS) attached to your forum, add one.

  2. Create a plan for the creation of compelling, original content. Focus on storytelling.

  3. Identify the ecommerce opportunities within your vertical. Who are the entrepreneurs, small businesses, and major vendors who want to reach your audience? What is the best way for those partners to sell product through your web property. What ecommerce platform will you use to power that commerce?

To help you execute on the three steps above, you can turn to tools and services like RebelMouse, Contently,DivvyHQ, SingleGrain, Panjo, Magento, and others.

Returning to the topic of valuation, let’s break down the valuations of the aforementioned forums. Warrior Forum’s $3.2M acquisition price means that Freelancer.com paid…

  • $4.36 per registered user
  • $0.44 per thread post
  • $2.62 per monthly organic search inbound visit for the trailing month
  • $1.23 per monthly visit for the trailing month
  • $4.36 per email address

CrowdGather purchased PBNation in 2011 for $2.4M. [source] PBNation’s recent $1.38M acquisition price, a decline of over $1M, means that VerticalScope paid…

  • $2.08 per registered user
  • $0.02 per thread post
  • $6.40 per monthly organic search inbound visit for the trailing month
  • $1.66 per monthly visit for the trailing month
  • $2.08 per email address

Usually, forums are bought and sold between two privately held companies and there is little or no public information about the purchase price. These recent transactions involved publicly held companies and as material transactions, required public disclosure.

Forums are not bought and sold based on the metrics above. As stated above, forum acquisitions are based on traffic and revenue. Do you want more traffic and revenue? Evolve your forum into an ecommerce media giant.

 

Promoting your site with Pinterest

We know a lot of you are using, or are starting to use, Pinterest, but you aren’t sure how to get the best out of it for helping promote your site. Since we are also newbie pinners, we thought we would bring in an expert, Bradley Taylor, to explain all the most pin-portant points we should know.

Pinterest is a rapidly expanding social network which you can use to promote your personal or professional site. The promotional potential of Pinterest is enormous; it currently has over 70 million users and research has revealed that users who were notified of products on Pinterest spent 70% more money on those products than users who were referred from other online networks. If you promote yourself effectively, you can capitalize upon this lucrative online audience.

 

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What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a pin board style photo sharing website which enables users to create and manage theme-based image collections of their personal interests or professional services and products. Users are able to browse neighbouring pin boards for images which they can then ‘re-pin’ onto their own pin boards. They also have the ability to like and comment upon photos. This wealth of activities facilitate multiple ways in which you can innovatively promote your site.

Discover the Pinterest community

In order to promote your business to as large an online audience as possible, it is crucial you engage with other members of the Pinterest community. A great way in which you can increase your site’s online popularity and reputation is through following the activities of other Pinterest boards which are relevant to your site. If you regularly re-pin interesting pins and leave relevant comments on other boards, you can encourage and sustain further discussions and participation with other interest users. By communicating with other users. You can establish an online presence and develop trust between other users, thereby raising your credibility and motivating others to visit your site. Sustained, relevant communication between a large network of users facilitates a direct channel through which you can continue to promote your site to as many users as possible.

Generate original, thought-provoking content

In order to promote your site to its full potential, it is crucial that you generate content which users will be motivated to share with others across Pinterest. According to recent surveys, roughly 80% of all pins on Pinterest are re-pins. This highlights that your primary promotional objective should be generating unique, engaging content which other users will be urged to re-pin. There are multiple ways in which you can achieve this; generate vibrant and enticing infographics and photographs to spark user curiosity. When creating new content, you fundamental aim should be generating something which other users will feel compelled to share with others. If you can achieve this, you will exponentially increase the promotion of your site throughout Pinterest and other social networks.

 

Pinterest

 

Unite all of your current social networks

Following on from the previous point, it is highly beneficial to the promotion of your site if you share your Pinterest board across your other social networks. By amalgamating your social networking communities, you can generate a greater amount of online traffic towards your site. By facilitating total access to your site from across a myriad of social networks, you can substantially heighten online awareness towards your site; attracting, and engaging with, as large an audience as possible.

Piggyback popular pins!

Research is key to the promotional success of your site. It is vital that you analyze the most popular pins currently active on Pinterest. If you are conscious of the most popular products, services, topics and creative styles which are being shared across Pinterest, then you can tailor your pins to appeal to these interests. By customizing your Pinterest content to associate yourself with popular trends, you can promote your site to a larger audience, who will in turn be more inclined to visit your site because it is appeals to their stylistic interests and hobbies. For example, if your site addresses content associated with interior design, you can affiliate yourself with current trends such as Sash Smart; whose pins feature interesting window and glass designs or if you are interested in weddings follow Martha Stuart Weddings whose pins feature decorative wedding ideas. Subsequently, users will be motivated to visit your site because it caters specifically to their interests. Moreover, they will be inclined to re-pin or recommend your site to others who share this common interest; thereby promoting your site to a previously inaccessible audience.

 

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A little more on Bradley, he is a motoring enthusiast and loves writing about cars, everything automotive, and sharing tips on how to be the best blogger possible. You can find him on Twitter and connect with him on Google+ for more info and to read his other top writing tips.

 

Don’t Make These 5 Blogging Mistakes

We seem to always share things you should do when it comes to your blog, but for every “do” there is many a “don’t do” if you want to make your blog successful. Jessica Berger,  @JezzDallas,  iFabbo‘s* Content Developer, shares the top 5 mistakes we are all inclined to make and the top tips for what we should do instead to avoid future hiccups in our path to blogging greatness. 

Writing from the Noun Project by Juan Pablo Bravo
Writing from the Noun Project by Juan Pablo Bravo

 

There is no one-size-fits-all recipe for the ultimate blogging success but there are most definitely a few mishaps every blogger should avoid in order to move in the right direction. Here are the 5 major mistakes that you can avoid to get the best out of your blog.

The top 5 blogging mistakes to avoid:
1. Stop wanting it all on the spot!

You already know, blogging success doesn’t come overnight. Growing an audience, creating meaningful content and keeping a consistent presence up does take time! Most bloggers aren’t even full-time bloggers yet they want 1000 followers within a week and get that sought-after sponsorship the day after tomorrow. It is as they say: Do what you love and the success will follow. Stop thinking too much about analytics, subscriber numbers or how to connect with those PR agencies.

Instead:  Focus on your content! Create interesting and captivating content to drive traffic and genuine followers to subscribe. Once that happens, everything else will fall into place. Also things like tracking your analytics will feel much more rewarding and insightful if you take a look once a month instead of every day. That way you have more time to focus on your goals and specializing on your niche.

Tip: The fashion and beauty blogosphere is growing and you might feel pressure to keep up with everyone else. Don’t bother looking at other blogs and websites when it comes to numbers and sponsorships.  All that matters is your personal goal, not what others have done. Find here more tips on how to deal with blogger jealousy.

2. Stop the blogging cluelessness!

You may have just started your blog or have been working at it for a couple of years, yet here you are still feeling as if you have no clue what you are doing. Again, there is no one-size-fits-all blogging tip that will get you on the right track. However, in today’s world there is no reason why you shouldn’t be informed about how to set up certain accounts and how to improve on your blogging skills.

Instead: Think before you blog. Take a moment to really elaborate on your blog. What is your blog about, what do you want your blog to represent, goals etc. Then, create a main outline of your schedule and connections. Think about setting up an editorial calendar, how to brand your blog or how to better your writing skills or how better time management could benefit your blogging routine.

Tip: Besides platforms like iFabbo, Google and Youtube, you have tons of useful how-to tutorials on all kinds of topics available. Photoshop basics or how to set up WordPress for SEO are no problem once you find the right one.

3. Stop the blog design madness!

Yes, you have all the right in the world to design your blog just the way you like it. However, if you look around how other blogs are designed and what their layout offers, you might discover some common denominators your blog is missing. Color overload, crazy pop-ups and zero navigation help are certainly not one of them.

Instead: It’s ok if you don’t want to create yet another black and white blog design but you might have noticed that a clear and easy to read blog attracts more readers and more importantly, keeps them around longer. Having to look for the mute button on your background music app, the comment section or your social media handles isn’t going to turn visitors into subscribers. Take a look at your blog with a fresh pair of eyes. What do you really need on your blog to showcase your personality and what is truly just distracting from your content? Create a concise, clear and easy to use space for users to enjoy and to remember.

Tip: Find more tips on how to choose the right blog design.

4. Stop ignoring your subscribers!

What is it about popular bloggers and vloggers that made you fall in love with them and ultimately come back over and over? It’s most likely their likeability and their ability to interact with their audience! It’s hard enough to get people to comment on your site or to sign up for your newsletter, don’t let that go to waste by never commenting back and replying to questions or post suggestions.

Instead:  Interaction is the number one key to keeping people interested and engaged. How long do you think people will leave a comment on your site before realizing you don’t read them or never reply, never leave a comment back on their blog? Appreciate the effort of someone else stopping by your site, taking the time to read your post and then to leave a message behind. Even a short reply such as a small “thanks” can go a long way. The more you interact the more people will remember you and will come back to your blog for more.

Tip: Engaging with your audience helps you understand your readers and lets you create even better content. Imagine knowing what your readers want before they even ask for it! Comments, emails or social media feedback will give you much insight on that.

5. Stop focusing solely on your blog!

Your blog is your baby, your little project that takes up a lot of time as is. You want to take photos on time and include the newest trends from this years fashion week before everyone else? That is completely understandable. However blogging these days is much more than just writing on your very own site. If you are focusing too much solely on your blog, you might lose touch with what is going on in the outside world. Don’t miss out on the possibilities other channels might have to offer.

Instead: Consider being more and more active on social media and guest posting on other blogs. Build your audience on a few channels other than your own blog and not only drive more traffic to your site but also establish yourself as an authority in your niche. Some people might just want to follow you on Twitter for quick updates, others prefer to follow you on Google+. Whatever the social platform of your choice is, work it consistently and efficiently.

Tip: Don’t just tweet about your newest shoe score but rather connect with other bloggers, companies and brands and show off that fashion knowledge or that beauty insider in you. Discover companies and people on a more personal level, connect on newer platforms before everyone else and you might just end up with that sponsorship after all.

*More info on iFabbo: Founded in 2010, iFabbo™ is a leading international organization for fashion and beauty bloggers and publishers. iFabbo focuses on quality, engaged and vocal influencers who are at the forefront of online publishing and content creation.  iFabbo’s innovative product placement platform, The iFabbo SHOP, allows brands and technology companies to selectively seed their products to highly targeted influencers they want to reach. With thousands of quality members worldwide, iFabbo works with brand marketers, agencies and publishing partners to harness the power of social influencers through targeted, content-driven campaigns, events and conferences. Brands immediately garner a stronger online presence within the blogger community quickly and effectively, while members gain access to some of the most coveted beauty and fashion and technology items.  In addition to iFabbo’s product placement platform, the organization is a premier education provider by introducing new and emerging technology, tools and resources to its members so they remain informed and up-to-date in ways to enhance and develop their publishing career.  For more information on iFabbo visit www.ifabbo.com.

How To Optimize Your Site In 3 Easy Steps

We are often asked about the best ways to optimize your site and so we thought it was about time to get an expert in to share their top tips. Murray Newlands is the Editor of The Mail and knows a thing or two about optimizing sites. We let him take it from here.

landing-page

We know that building an affiliate site or a blog can be an arduous task. It takes time and technical know how to really make it work and if you want to make money from it, you also need to know how to optimize it to convert. Unless you use a landing page builder, optimizing your site can be a painstaking process, and little mistakes can cost you clicks and sales. To help you out we’ve assembled this brief list of things to consider if you want to drive more conversions from your affiliate site or blog.

  1. Have a Sitemap — If you already have a site or a blog then ideally you should already have a sitemap. If a sitemap is something that you’ve overlooked along the way, it’s definitely time to build one. Whether you already have one or are building one, you should make sure that your sitemap provides an intuitive way for visitors to navigate through your site and make it easy for them to find exactly what they’re looking for. It’s unlikely that every visitor will take advantage your sitemap but those who do will probably end up completing your desired action. If you’re building a new page, start by creating an intuitive sitemap and if your site is older, you may want to take another look at your existing sitemap.

  2. Be Yourself — Having a unique personality, perspective, or voice will go a long way with your visitors and help your site build a fan base. Establishing a unique voice will separate your site from your competitors and help visitors build a relationship with your brand. An easy way to demonstrate that your site is unique and original is to write your own product descriptions and reviews and voice your opinions. If you prove to your visitors that you’re one of a kind you will build a relationship with them and hopefully convert them into returning customers.

  3. Make It Easy to Make a Purchase — The best way to ensure that your site does not convert is to make the checkout process long, difficult, or confusing. If you want to watch your abandonment rates increase instead of your conversions, then don’t worry about your checkout process. But if you’re like us and most other bloggers and affiliates, then conversions are important to your online business and you should make it easy for them to happen. This means streamlining your checkout process and making it as simple and efficient as it can possibly be. The easier it is for customers to make a purchase, the easier it is for you to make a sale.

Whether you’re a dedicated affiliate marketer or an avid blogger looking to monetize your site, these are some tips that can help you take full advantage of your page and increase conversions. If you have any questions, suggestions, or tips of your own please leave them in the comments section.

 

World’s Shortest Online Community Quiz

Cross-posted from the new ForumCon blog. ForumCon is the only conference dedicated to the business of forums  and community management and will be held this year in San Francisco on June 19. Join us!

Pop Quiz

Does your company “get” online community? Here’s a simple test:

What do you call it when somebody complains about your product or service in an online community?

a.) A problem

b.) An opportunity

If your answer was “b,” congratulations. You get it.

It’s amazing how often people forget that an online community is a group of real, live people. Imagine you’re at a gathering  — let’s say you’re at a cocktail party — and some guy says something bad about your company. In response, you quickly hustle him out of the room, then return, wave your hands around, and insist everybody forget what was just said.

Stupid, right?

When you delete a critical comment from a forum, you’re engaging in the online version of the same behavior.

More importantly, you’re missing an opportunity.

Let’s go back to the cocktail party.

Instead of trying to cover up this guy’s critical comment, let’s say you have a friendly drink with Mr. Complainer, find out what he’s sore about, and make it right. Not only have you won over the guy that was badmouthing your company, you’ve done it in front of a room full of party-goers who now think you and your company are pretty swell.

When you see disparaging comments about your company in an online community, seize the opportunity to impress the crowd.

Generally speaking, you see two kinds of complaints about companies in online communities.

One goes something like this: “That company screwed me.”

In cases like this, acknowledge the customer’s frustration. Ask for details so they know they’re being listened to. Do what you can to make it right. Most of all, be open and honest. If the customer’s demands are unreasonable, politely explain that you can’t do what they are demanding of you and why. But if you can fix the problem, tell the customer publicly in the community (being careful to avoid disclosing any personal or sensitive information) and wow the crowd.

The other type of complaint is more vague, like “I hear that company stinks.”

When responding to comments like these, seek specifics without  being confrontational. Skip the schoolyard “Says who?!” and go with something like “I’m with the company and I’m surprised to hear that. Is there a problem or concern I can help you with?” If there is a specific issue, address it head-on. If the comment was unproven innuendo, that will become evident when the response sounds like “Well, I heard it from a guy, who heard it from…” Or when there’s no response at all.

Deleting complaints makes your company look bad. It leaves the impression that you’re afraid to engage with your customers, or worse, that you’ve got something to hide.

Don’t be that company.

Authored by the ForumCon favorite Dave Cayem

Promote Your Home Business Through Facebook

There are lots of tools out there you can use to help promote yourself and your online business, but there are specific expert “tricks of the trade” you need to know to do it well. Bradley Taylor from Derby, England, is one of those experts doing it right. He kindly shares his top tips for using Facebook to promote your business successfully in today’s blog post.

A little more on Bradley, he is a motoring enthusiast and loves writing about cars, everything automotive, and sharing tips on how to be the best blogger possible. You can find him on Twitter and connect with him on Google+ for more info and to read his other top writing tips.

 

Facebook can be a pivotal entrepreneurial tool in securing an online presence for your home business. Due to the massive amount of users frequenting the site each day, you have a broad audience at your disposal to whom you can promote your business.

facebook-business-card

Creating your page

The very first thing you need to do is create a Facebook page for your business. Simply go to Facebook’s ‘Advertising Section’ then click on ‘Pages’. The following page contains tabs such as ‘Overview’, ‘Prepare’ and ‘Step-by-Step’, all of which provide easy to follow steps for you to build your own page. Once you have familiarised yourself with the process, click ‘Create a Page’ to begin constructing your page. You can select a type of business for your page which provides specific customization options to suit your business needs. After doing this, it is time to give your page a name.

You have 75 characters at your disposal with which to name your business. Think carefully about how you can title your page in order to receive the maximum amount of visitors to your site. For example, you could include certain terms related to your business which will help more people find you on Facebook. However, try to be fairly concise because overly long titles can often scare away users.

To finalise the process click ‘Create Page’. Once created, your personal Facebook account will now become the ‘admin’ from your page, granting you the authority to manage the page’s settings and content. The next stage is adding your company information.

Firstly, add a profile image to your page, such as your company logo or the product you are selling. Secondly, include a brief description of your business in the ‘Information’ box below your profile picture. Make sure you provide contact details in the ‘Info’ tab, so that your clients can view your company’s official website, ask you questions or contact you to purchase products.

shidler-college-of-business-facebook-pages

 

Promoting your page

Once you have finalised your page, it is time to publicise it. There are numerous methods you can use to promote your page and improve its online presence. One of these is to create a custom URL for your Facebook page. This will easily direct people to your page and raise the page ranking in search engine results pages. To do this, select a ‘Username‘ for your page. You will have the option to assign a username for your personal profile as well as usernames for your Facebook pages. Aim to use a simple, memorable name that is similar to your website name for branding purposes. Decide wisely! Also bear in mind that, according to Facebook policy, you must have at least twenty five fans before you can select a username.

To further publicise your business page, become a fan of the page yourself and then forward it to all of your current Facebook friends. You can ‘Suggest To Friends’ en masse or target specific people, it’s up to you. Moreover, if you have any other social networks, websites or blogs then include links to your Facebook page on them. Simply go to Facebook’s widget page and use a ‘Page Badge’ or ‘Fan Box’ to place links onto your various sites. If you circulate any electronic newsletters or emails, you can include a link to your Facebook page on them as well. All of these methods will increase the exposure of your Facebook page and subsequently the online presence of your business.

Additionally, you can invest in a Facebook advertisement. For a fee, you can create an advert which Facebook will display across their website. To do this, click ‘Promote with an ad’ and you will be presented with a series of steps wherein you can customize the details of your own advertisement. These include options such as targeting your advert to specific demographics. You can specialise your advert according to geographical location, age, gender, relationship status or employer. For example, if you are marketing an educational service such as Maths Doctor (who skyrocketed their business through a Facebook campaign), you can customize your ad to target potential students, as Maths Doctor did. These customizations enable Facebook to market your business to your target audience(s), improving your chances of acquiring lucrative business opportunities.

One of the most successful ways you can promote your business on Facebook is through consistent posts. If you present your fans with interesting content and links, they will revisit your page more frequently, enabling your site to spread across Facebook, generating more fans and subsequently more business opportunities. Promoting your business on Facebook is a fundamental resource for any modern business. You can keep up to date with consumer demands, as well as interacting with your prospective customers on an engaging and instant platform. The possibilities are endless!

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The Best Content Sharing Widgets to Generate Traffic

We are delighted to share the latest iFabbo* guest post. For their January edition, Jessica Berger,  @JezzDallas,  iFabbo‘s Content Developer shares her expert advice on the best content sharing widgets. 

Your blog is looking great but the amount of daily visitor numbers could be better? You lack interaction on your site and wish for more people to see the content you worked on so hard? Well, you are certainly not alone with these thoughts and luckily there are plenty of widgets available to use on your blog that can help generate more traffic and enhance the visibility of all your posts.

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Old but certainly not forgotten – the “You may also like” widgets

Most common under the content sharing widgets is LinkWithin. This widely known option enables you to place small thumbnail images and headlines underneath your posts to link back to related content on your blog. That way, older content won’t be forgotten and even posts from years back will still receive traffic. LinkWithin is easy to install, easy to handle and definitely reliable.

Yet Another Related Posts Plugin – This WordPress-plugin will do exactly as it says: Introducing your readers to related content on your site. Easy installation and maximum results guaranteed.

Also in the same category for WordPress only: Zemanta, Related and Related Posts Slider.

Ready to switch it up? Here are some more advanced platforms delivering a similar idea but with a twist.

Engageya – Choosing from a broader variety of thumbnail options is only the beginning. Here you will have the option of linking back to your own content or to mix it up with links to other websites of similar content. Why would you want to do that? Because every time someone clicks on those links, you earn money!

nRelate – With an even better variety in design options for your thumbnails, this site provides you with the same idea. Share your own content via small snippets or via pay per click and earn money through sponsored links. Very subtle and extremely easy to use, this widget will look great on any blog.

Want to go even further? Take a look at these options for maximum traffic and engagement

If you are an already advanced or pro blogger with a large amount of blog traffic, the following platforms might offer the right solution that suits the needs of your blog and its brand.

Outbrain – Get your posts recommended around the web. But here is the twist – This time you pay for maximum exposure. For a set budget of $10 minimum, Outbrain will place your content on other major websites that link back to you. Even your Youtube videos could be seen on relevant news and entertainment websites like US Weekly or People.com. Mobile friendly, you decide when, where and how many posts you want to share.

If you’re not quite sure yet about Outbrain, you might like MGID or Taboola. Taboola is very similar to Outbrain but rather new in the business of “Content you may like” and MGID though in the same arena, offers its services for free.

Gravity – Gravity lets you get personal. With the mission of personalizing the internet, this platform adds a unique twist to content sharing. Imagine browsing websites and only your favorite content shows up. How? Through the Gravity Sidebar. It offers a selection of the best content on your site tailored to the interest of your readers. Whenever they enter your site via Google,  Twitter or Facebook a news feed creates the content they probably would engage with most. If you don’t like the news feed, get one of the personalized widgets to install at the end of your posts. Additionally, sponsored posts will enable you to earn revenue.

InLinkz – Why not throw a party to spread the word? You might be already familiar with the term “blog party” or “blog hopping”. One of the most engaging and usually efficient ways to meet new people, connect with fellow bloggers and drive traffic to your site. InLinkz can help you with creating the widget you need to get the party started and lets you easily install everything. You can even share the code with others if you want to add co-hosts to an event. For special events or just for fun, this is a great way to get noticed.

Don’t forget, an important step is to always include the social sharing widgets for your Twitter, Facebook or Google+ account. That way you can help your readers to engage with you and share your content for you. Try this Share-Widget for WordPress or AddThis.

What is your favorite content sharing widget or plugin? Can you recommend other platforms that help with traffic and reader engagement?

Want to know more about how to increase followers and social media reach? Watch the Increasing Followers and Engagement Panel of the iFabbo Social Media Conference via PPV and get the scoop from the experts. Click here.

*More info on iFabbo: Founded in 2010, iFabbo™ is a leading international organization for fashion and beauty bloggers and publishers. iFabbo focuses on quality, engaged and vocal influencers who are at the forefront of online publishing and content creation.  iFabbo’s innovative product placement platform, The iFabbo SHOP, allows brands and technology companies to selectively seed their products to highly targeted influencers they want to reach. With thousands of quality members worldwide, iFabbo works with brand marketers, agencies and publishing partners to harness the power of social influencers through targeted, content-driven campaigns, events and conferences. Brands immediately garner a stronger online presence within the blogger community quickly and effectively, while members gain access to some of the most coveted beauty and fashion and technology items.  In addition to iFabbo’s product placement platform, the organization is a premier education provider by introducing new and emerging technology, tools and resources to its members so they remain informed and up-to-date in ways to enhance and develop their publishing career.  For more information on iFabbo visit www.ifabbo.com.

 

It’s Time to Optimize Your Mobile Monetization!

After last week’s news from PCMag that iOS ruled shopping this festive season. We knew it was time to source some additional expert knowledge on effectively monetizing your mobile site. We asked our friends at engage:BDR to share some of their top advice on effective ways to make your mobile site monetized.

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We all know that having an aesthetically pleasing, easy to use site is an important part of maintaining and growing an audience, which in turn can be used to monetize your content through strategic advertisements. However, this fails to factor in an important thing: your mobile presence. A staggering amount of Americans today spend as much, if not more, time browsing content and shopping for new items on their mobile devices. In fact, Lenovo, the world’s top PC vendor, actually sells more smartphones and tablets than PCs. Because of this, it is becoming more and more important for publishers to be just as strategic about designing and monetizing their mobile presence.

Once you have created a site that is easy to navigate on a mobile device, there are a few strategic things you can do to effectively monetize it. There are new technologies, which enable pixel-free domain, within content, native advertising strategies (ahem, you don’t need to look far to find a great example of this). There are some other additional approaches we have found work well. Two of our favorites are:

-Keep a banner on the actual page at all times, at either the top or bottom of the page. Have it refresh after 30 seconds with a new banner, so you can still monetize it while keeping the placement in a viewable spot. This creates a visual stimulus, which will slightly shift the reader’s attention and help the performance of ads, which will keep your advertisers happy.

-Use interstitials on long articles. This needn’t be done on every click, but one or two per visit can be highly effective. These perform very well, and you can charge a price that reflects their performance.

If you are interested in learning more or have more questions on any of the above, please leave a comment or contact us on, pub@engagebdr.com.

engage:BDR provides results-driven marketing solutions, advanced technology and custom programming by integrating display, mobile and video advertising along with branded entertainment all in one place. engage:BDR offers premium, publisher direct full-service display and video ad networks as well as an RTB ecosystem, a licensable ad server, and video production. Advertisers, publishers and affiliates alike rely on engage:BDR for high performing, cost effective online advertising.

 

Top 3 Ways to Promote Your Blog With Google+

For our final festive offering, Bradley Taylor from Derby, England share his top three tips for using google+ to promote your blog. Bradley is a motoring enthusiast and loves writing about cars, everything automotive,  and sharing tips on how to be the best blogger possible. You can find him on Twitter and connect with him on Google+ for more info and to read his other top writing tips. 

 

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Google+ is a great social media platform and if you’re not giving it the attention it deserves, your networking strategy might be heading in the wrong direction. If you own a blog, Google+ can be a great way to get it some traction and some new readers. There is a right way and a wrong way of promoting your blog with Google+, you’ll want to make sure you’re doing things properly.

Have a Google Plus Business Page

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One of the best things that you can do to promote your blog on Google+ is to set up a Google+ business page. This is similar in nature to the kind of business pages that you would find on Facebook.

In order to set up your own business page, you’ll need to have a Google+ account. When you’re setting up your page you can add a variety of details such as your location and some information about your blog. Your Google+ page should be an essential part of your blog’s marketing strategy, as recommended by various marketing agencies.

You can also customise your Google+ page with the help of some Google+ templates. You’ll be able to find templates on specialist websites that are dedicated to supplying people with stylish, eye catching designs.

Share with Circles

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If you don’t know much about Google+ you might not know about the circles on Google+. When you add a person to one of your circles, you are following them and will receive updates from them but they will not automatically receive updates from you. They must add you back in their circles. You can control which content is delivered to each of your circles. Circles give you a great chance to be picky about who you want to target when it comes to promoting your blog.

For example, if you have a blog about cars, you could promote your website to people who only like cars, by creating a circle of people based on their interest in cars. You would then promote your blog posts to this circle only, therefore allowing you to be more targeted in who you promote to.

It is important to note that circles need to be created in advance. If you take the time to create circles that allow you to target people effectively, you can be sure to get great results when it comes to getting your blog attention through Google+.

Get Involved

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You’ll find on Google+ that there are a ton of different communities. If you can find a community that is based on your niche, you’ll be able to talk to people who are interested in the same things as you. If you can answer some of the questions that people might have you’ll be seen as an authority figure and people will check out your blog, to see what else you’ve got to say.

Start networking your blog today!

Google+ is a great way to promote your blog. By following the advice given here, you’ll be able to get some great results and finally get your blog some of the attention it deserves.