Continuing my theme from a previous post about professional blogs, I want to talk a little bit about using your blog as a networking tool. So you’ve started your blog – now what? Learning how to navigate through the blogosphere is essential to building a solid readership and increasing your web visibility.
First, enroll in a blog search engine. These search engines are basically large indexes that encompass the blogging world, making it easy for readers to search for useful blogs in any given category. There are a lot of search engines out there, and most are free, so be sure to put your blog’s url in as many directories as possible. To get you started, some of the more popular blog search engines include www.technorati.com, www.blogsearchengine.com, www.blogsearch.google.com, www.icerocket.com, and www.blogdigger.com.
Start frequenting other blogs and leaving comments. Get your face out there – read other blogs (preferably in the same or similar genre as your own) and comment! Starting a rapport with other bloggers is essential to your blog’s health. Once you increase your visibility with these bloggers, you can start a relationship by asking them to link to your site, and vice-versa. Remember, just like a new friendship, these relationships take time to build.
While you’re at it, start a blogroll, a list of other blogs and websites that you find interesting. The links in your blogroll should direct readers to useful or similar blogs to your own – think of it as your blog’s “Recommended Reading” list. Check your specific blogging system to find out how to start a blogroll.
Once you start networking among other bloggers, use trackbacks frequently. Now, what’s a trackback? A trackback sends a message from your server to another blogger’s server every time you reference one of their posts on your site. Trackbacks are great tools to use because, if that blogger supports trackbacks, they’ll know you’ve linked to them in your post — and that’s a great way to start connecting with bloggers in your industry. Once they know you’ve linked to them, they’ll be likely to start visiting your blog, and they may even decide to link back. Every blogging system has different rules and requirements for trackbacks, so a little research may be required before getting started. For more information on trackbacks check out the trackback tutorial at http://www.optiniche.com/blog/117/wordpress-trackback-tutorial/.
For extra points, install buttons to social bookmarking sites on your blog. This encourages readers to recommend their favorite posts to others. Make it easy for your readers to recommend your particularly interesting articles by installing del.icio.us, digg, reddit, and furl buttons directly on your site. These social bookmarking sites can increase traffic to your blog exponentially if you get a large enough following.
In order to have an effective blog, someone out there needs to be reading it! Increasing your web visibility may take a little time and some savvy research skills, but once you get the hang of the new web 2.0, the benefits will be invaluable to the life of your blog.
After you’ve established a rapport with some of your fellow bloggers, it may be time to approach them about checking out your product or service (and possibly dropping a mention of it on their blog). This has to be done pretty carefully. Check out some tips on email pitching bloggers here: www.searchenginehelp.org/social-media/suh-wing-and-a-miss/.
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