Whilst developing a website (and content) is hard work, there are a number of things that you can do to help yourself achieve more results for less. This particular post breaks down a couple more tips on blogging and marketing strategies to further your reach, and improve your blog.
These span the entire content creation and marketing spectrum and are handy little hints that you can apply instantaneously that will make a difference to your site and traffic.
1) Syndicate, Syndicate, Syndicate
Syndication is the process by which web feeds are available from a site in order to provide other people with a summary of the website’s content. If you are supplying an RSS feed for your visitors – then you are syndicating.
Once your blog or website gets to a certain size, you’ll notice that more and more frequently other websites want to use your content for their own, either with or without your permission.
This can be both a blessing, and a curse.
A common recipe for those looking to make a quick buck online is to use your RSS to republish your content (sometimes in its entirety) on another site, and fill the remainder of the sites full to the brim with Adsense. So called MFA sites.
Other times, you may actually be encouraging syndication – setting up relationships with other authority websites that will republish your content with attribution, and increase your reach, brand exposure and subscriber count.
At the crux of it, I recommend you don’t fight it. You can delay your RSS feed by a few minutes to help Google figure out who the content belongs to, and you can ensure that you aren’t getting outranked by someone else. Make sure that you have links back to your blog from within your posts, or simply within your RSS, and you’ll benefit. Personally, I ensure that the title of my posts are links as well as headings so that scraper sites republish the main theme of my posts as a link when they do so, giving maximum relevancy.
The way I look at is, copy theft, in this particular instance is more likely to benefit the original source than the thief, especially in the long run as search algorithms improve to combat it.
A couple of rss plugins and links to help you out:
Add a digital signature to your RSS with Copyfeed (WordPress plugins) – this can help find the folks who rip your links out completely by creating your own RSS digital signature.
Delay your RSS feed – this little snippet in your WordPress blog will do just that.
How syndication can backfire – Dave shows us a case study, and what to do.
RSS Footer – allows you to insert additional links back to your posts only in your RSS feed.
2) Find new places to carry your content
When you are just getting your feet wet, often, you’ll not have a clue where abouts to get syndicated from, or where the low hanging fruit is. Thankfully, there’s a great big Google in the sky to look after us, and give us the information we need. It’s not rocket science, simply a matter of thinking a bit more creatively. I have three favourite techniques for finding new places to share my content.
1) Exploit user news sections
Loads of websites advertise the fact that they allow user contributions. In the web design niche, there are an absolute shed load of places you can submit your links to. But the real magic is finding them. A couple of Google queries for me turn up a whole boat load of user news links.
My own collection of these previously shows the sort of things that you can search for, with the majority of WordPress blogs, including my own using the ‘TDO mini forms” plugin, which has its own digital fingerprint in that it publishes to the ‘user-link-feed’ URL by default unless you specify a different one. You may find a common thread inside your own niche that can be exploited.
2) Follow the A-list breadcrumb trail.
A-list bloggers are at the top of the syndication tree. You’ll notice that whenever you get a link from them, a multitude of additional links show up around the web, embedded in the exact same article, syndicated on a different domain. That’s great news for SEO, as it gives you not just ONE link back, but many.
Using this knowledge, you can easily find the places that others get syndicated from. Here’s an example. Pick a blog. Any blog. Let’s say for example – Seth Godin’s.
One of Seth’s recent posts is entitled “Do You Have the Right to be Heard” – we can easily see where this is post is being syndicated with a Google query. Notice how I’ve included both a snippet of the post alongside the title with the ‘+’ operator. This helps filter out the people who are tweeting, or mentioning the post, and are actually including the content alongside it.
You can trawl these results manually, picking out the low hanging fruit that you can use for your own site. Some of the sites you can just email and ask if they will syndicate you stuff – others provide a web form to add yourself.
The great thing about this technique is that you can repeat it across a variety of niches and with various high profile bloggers to turn up other interesting sites that you may not be aware of.
3) Use Pligg fingerprints to find social sites in your niche
Pligg is an open source ‘Digg clone’ – a website which allows visitors to vote up and down stories and promotes both news and blog posts. There are many successful Pligg sites out there. Sphinn is one. Developers Niche another. The great thing about software like this, for marketers is that it can be easily fingerprinted.
Here’s a couple of searches that turn up Pligg sites.
Again, you can use this in conjunction with other keywords related to your sites topic to return relevant sites to promote your content.
3) Link to fresh or viral content
When you write a blog post, often you’ll need to find good reference material to support your content and provide value to your visitors. One often overlooked tip, is to link to fresh content – especially when faced with the choice between the old and new. If you can find a blog post that you like the look of, which is still on the home page of the site in question – you are likely to benefit for two reasons.
Firstly, the majority of traffic to large sites lands on their home page directly. It stands to reason that fresher content therefore gets more eyeballs, and if you have managed to (pingback) the post, you will also get a steady trickle of their visitors as a result.
Secondly, if you are really quick to link to content that has only just been published, you’ll also benefit from the RSS subscribers of that blog clicking through to the blog post you’ve linked to, and thus again, receive a percentage of these visits following your pingback home. There are a number of ways to stay ahead of the curve, but these change detection plugins can be set to alert you when high traffic sites publish new content.
Linking to viral content offers the same sort of benefits – just take a look at the Digg, Reddit or Delicious homepages, or PopURL‘s to view the content that others are swarming around. All of these provide evidence as to both what content people care about, AND where perhaps you can link to both now and the future.
What do you think? What do you do to increase your reach that bit further?