A common misconception a lot of people have is that other people will automatically find their blog. As long as you have a blog, they will come to you. All you need to do is to write your posts, and then wait for the readers to come along. As if a voice à la Kevin Costner has told you “If you build it, they will come!”. Well, unfortunately it’s not that simple. People don’t just find your blog, you have to promote it. We’re talking marketing here! Not big budget marketing, but the kind that everyone can afford.
Let us start with the obvious. Registering your blog with all the major search engines, as well as the smaller ones. Using appropriate meta tags to feed the search engines with information about your blog, such as keywords, description and so on. This is your basic SEO that all website owners should apply.
Word of mouth
Once you’re done with the basic SEO stuff (although you’re never really done, to be completely honest), you go on to the next step. This is where you start spreading the word, so to speak. In everything you do, such as sending emails, letters, giving out business cards and so on, you need to include you web address. You may not think this will do much, but believe you me … it will do a lot more than you think. People don’t always rely on search engines, sometimes they get there information from other sources, like emails, letters, business cards, articles, word of mouth and so on.
Also, don’t forget to always add a link to your website to your Facebook account, as well as LinkedIn, Twitter, Foursquare, Xing and any other website you might be a member of. Spreading your link to and via your friends, both offline and online, is crucial.
Now, this is where we start getting a little bit more advanced … but still not. It’s just a matter of finding and using the right plug-ins for your blog. I’ll tell you about a few good ones to start with, which I use for my own blog.
All in One SEO pack
Automatic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) out of the box for your wordpress blog … simply follow the instructions after you’ve installed this plug-in and you’ll see your blog in much better positions in the search engines.
Google XML Sitemaps
This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing and Ask.com to better index your blog.
Sociable for WordPress 3.0
Sociable people need sociable! Sociable now for WordPress 3.0. Add sociable bookmarks to posts, pages and RSS feeds. Choose from more than 100 different social bookmarking sites like Digg, Facebook, and del.icio.us, or add your own sites! This is what I would call one of the most important plug-ins you will be using!
TweetMeme Retweet Button
Adds a button which easily lets you retweet your blog posts. Twitter has become one of the most influential sites for marketing, and you should be using it too!
WP FB Like
With more than 500 million users Facebook has turned into a great source for potential customers/visitors. Adding a Facebook Like button to your blog gives you yet another channel for promoting your blog.
Tweet old post
Tweet Old Posts is a plug-in designed to tweet your older posts. Tweet Old Posts randomly picks your older post based on the interval specified by you. The primary function of this plug-in is to promote older blog posts by tweeting about them and getting more traffic.
All of the plug-ins I’ve recommended can and probably will have an impact on your blog. I would recommend to use them all, as I do. However, if I had to pick the one that has had the most impact, at least the most tangible impact, it would have to be the last one in my list of plug-ins.
When it comes to promoting and spreading the word about your blog, it’s easy to focus your effort on the new posts. The reason I favour the last plug-in (Tweet Old Post) is that I think it’s a huge mistake to neglect your older posts. Just because they’re old doesn’t mean that they’re not still interesting to read. This plug-in will help you by automatically promoting your older posts via Twitter. This will also increase the traffic on your blog. I’ve been using it with great success.
I have most likely missed one or two (or more) plug-ins that are equally as useful as the ones I’ve listed. Which plug-ins do you use to help you in promoting your WordPress blog? Please, let me know!