Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Publicizing Your Blog

by Elaine Hirsch

Bloggers need readers. If you write for money, you must find ways to publicize your blog for it to ever become a viable venture financially. It's all too easy for any blog to be lost among the millions of others if you don't make a concerted and sustained effort to promote it. Fortunately you don't need a PhD to do a little online promotion.

Of course, your blog's content and design are the two most important things to focus on initially. Once you've created and built up a blog that will grab people's attention, it's time to publicize it. Here are some in-depth methods you can use to get your blog read by the world:

Submit your blog to major search engines.

Having your blog indexed by the major search engines greatly increases your chances of being found by relevant searches. Google, Yahoo, and Bing make it very easy to submit your blog to their indices. There are two different ways you can speed the indexing process. First, you can manually submit your blog's URL to Google and other search engines. Second, you can embed meta-code directly into your site allowing search engine spiders to crawl and index your blog.

Some blogging platforms will do this for you. For instance, if you use Wordpress, on your blog's dashboard is a section called “tools.” Go into “available tools” and you'll notice a section for verifying your site with different search engines. Follow the links in that section to obtain three different meta-tags to enter into the blank fields.

Submit your blog to blog directories.

The big search engines aren't the only ways readers find blogs. Some dedicated directories specifically index blogs in general or in particular niches for search results. Being in these directories increases your blog's chances of being found by users specifically looking for blogs to read.

Inclusion in blog directories is especially useful for bloggers who frequently address common questions, needs, or problems. The more problems you address, the more likely your blog will show up on various blog directories when users search in the form of questions.

Submitting your site to blog directories is fairly easy. Often all you need to do is enter your site's URL. You may be asked to temporarily include a certain code in your site's HTML or post the code as a blog entry. The blog directories will look for that code to verify your site.

Promote your blog on social networking sites.

With over 800 million users, Facebook alone could be its own country. You can reach a wide audience by promoting your blog on various social media platforms. The three most popular sites, at the moment, are Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Google+ is also quickly growing, and LinkedIn is popular as an expressly professional network.

The Wordpress and Blogger platforms allow you to connect your blog with your social media accounts. You'll usually have the option of immediately sharing new posts on all connected sites simultaneously.

Social media are effective because they're personal. You can communicate with your readers directly, in addition to the exchange of ideas that (hopefully) occurs in your blog's comments. Most importantly, social media allow your readers to easily and directly share your writing with other users you might not reach otherwise. This allows what without social media might've just been a good post to snowball into a massive increase in traffic and readership.

While there are many ways to publicize blogs, there are only a handful of methods that are truly effective. Beyond the basics of putting out good content through an engaging site, simply making it easy for readers to find your blog and sharing it through the online connections you'll develop will go a long way. Hopefully these three tips will give you a good idea of where to start publicizing your writing and expanding your readership.

Elaine Hirsch is kind of a jack-of-all-interests, from education and history to medicine and videogames. This makes it difficult to choose just one life path, so she is currently working as a writer for various education-related sites and writing about all these things instead.
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