*Learn some simple steps for optimizing your blog*
Your blog presence is such an important aspect of generating and sustaining yourself as a credible source of information online, be that publishing material, marketing information, or simply updates about your perspective business such as I do with this blog being an independent book publisher. When you take into consideration the vast array of "things to do" on a daily basis, it can be overwhelming. The most important thing is to start somewhere, even if you feel that your blog is falling behind the power curve. I have compiled a quick to-do list. You can work on each of these items a little at a time, everyday, and in time you will begin to see an improvement of your blog's appearance and more so, connect with more and more people online.
- Subscribe to other blogs that fall into your niche, such as other independent book publishers and authors. See what they are doing and how they make themselves presentable online. If you see they don't generate much traffic, then find others. But more than traffic--as they may be new to blogging--validate their content. If you consider yourself a credible source of learning, then offer something back in the way of comments. Bloggers love comments. Comments help validate their credibility and it also helps generate return traffic, both for them (you are helping them) and for you, because readers see your "regular" comments and the natural curiosity in all of us is to find out who that person is. Remember at the end of the day, learning is the objective here whether you are the teacher or the student. Try to learn something new about your market every single day. Period.
- Be sure to add content on your blogs side-bar, such as links to audio commentaries or interviews you may have done, first chapter postings or links to other blogs that have featured you in articles and reviews. By featuring someone else's blog, where they may or may not yet have featured your work, you are building a network of trust. When people see what you are doing for them, they in turn will return the favor. Building a presence online takes time but you can gain more exposure by helping others. It has worked for me and it has done wonders for my credibility and exposure.
- Be sure to post the Amazon widget for your book's online page so people can easily click-to and order your book online. Encourage people to post a review on Amazon or share their thoughts and feedback on your blog. You can do this for your CD if you are a band or your art if you paint or draw. The possibilities for exposure are endless, but the first order of business is to start!
- Be sure to make it easy for other bloggers to subscribe to your content via email. You can easily do this with such applications as FeedBurner and FeedBlitz. With subscriptions people will be notified via email everytime you post content.
- Speaking of content, make a point to post new material at least 3 times per week. Trust me, it may seem like you don't have a lot to say right now, but if you are working to learn your business, then you obviously learn something new everyday. What I did in the beginning some three years ago was this: Find something helpful online and blog it--share the information with your network of readers. Helping others (again) is your first step towards success.
- Be sure to add alternate content to every image you share on your blog. By doing so, you can make certain HTML edits to your blog posting that will allow your image to reference your name. Why is this important? Well, do a search on Google.com/Images for your name and see if your images (whether they are pictures of your face or not) come up within the searches. This is important because over time, you want more exposure directing traffic to your site. Put your mouse over the image below and you will see the following text: "Introducing Bobby Ozuna, author of Proud Souls."
- Create a custom blog signature. You can find pay tools or free ones. I created the signature below with MyLiveSignature.com. They have templates created for various fonts and you simply plug in your name and they do the rest. Save the image file and post it within your blog. It helps add a little more flare to the basic blog post. Having images helps break up the monotony of your page and makes it more appealing for your audience and guests.
These are just a few general tips for optimizing your blog and helping the appearance and layout.
I will share more tips later down the road... If you have any questions or comments, please post them here. (hint, you want to offer that to your readers to encourage feedback)