Tuesday, January 19, 2010

All roads lead to...

I just joined a local bloggers collective called The Lake Erie Moose Society (don't ask about the name) and posted some of my thoughts and experiences about setting up a website/blog and promoting it. My post is entitled "All roads lead to your web site".

You can read the whole article on the Lake Erie site, but I've excerpted just a bit for you here:

I've been building web sites as an amature for over 14 years now. Being a new member here, I wanted to share some of my thoughts and observations about blogs and websites in general . Based on what I've been doing and building lately, here are some (semi organized) thoughts:

First and foremost, think "channels", not "flyers". Web-based communication is not like publishing a flyer or newsletter. Or even like a daily newspaper. It's more like being your own media conglomerate. The idea is to leverage as many different channels of communication and let the consumer decide which works best. Some of my readers like to receive twitter updates to their "dumb" phone. Others prefer facebook messages on their smartphone. Still others want new posts to appear in their RSS feedreader. Many will want an email in their inbox. The point is that none of these methods are wrong, and you CAN manage all of them without losing yourself into a digital circle of hell. As long as you have a plan.

That having been said:

  1. Everything you do should lead back to your web site - that one place on the internet that contains the heart of what you are doing. If you are a consultant, it's the place where people get your service listing and rates. If you are a writer, it's where people can get your resume and samples. You get the point.
  2. (Almost) Everything you do should not only LEAD back there, but it should be created IN ORDER TO bring the reader there. If you are writing a guest column, make sure you at least get a mention of your site, if not direct links back to it. Don't post main articles or content anywhere else. Post it on your site and then link from other places back there. Etc.
  3. If you publish a newsletter (whether physical or electronic), consider publishing only PART of the article, with a "click here to read more".
  4. Cross-post! Very few people are going to read your archives list (you DO have a link to your archives, don't you?!?!). More people will look at your "top xx posts" list (and I'm SURE you have that on your sidebar, RIGHT?!?!). But if you reference your other posts within the post they are reading, those links are just screaming to be read.
  5. Cross-post (the sequel): Write guest bits for other bloggers. They will appreciate the additional content as much as you would, and you get an entirely new set of readers to see your stuff. I've found that even offering a repost of things that appear on my site is often deeply appreciated.
  6. Finally, whenever you create a link - whether it is to someone else's site or your own internal stuff, use the _blank tag. This will open a new window or tab, which means your reader can get back to YOUR page without hitting the back button (which they never do). To use this, the format of the html looks like this:
    a href="www.newsite.com" target="_blank"

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