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The Real Secret of Attracting Links

Wednesday, July 18th, 2007

We all know how important links are.

They are to websites as sunlight and water are to flowers.

With this in mind it is critical we all understand how to attract links. There are several strategies, from begging other webmasters for links through to viral marketing. The problem is many people get stuck at the begging stage and become frustrated with the whole thing and then never make it past this initial stage.

I believe there is one main cause of this and I think I can clear it up in a sentence …

It’s not all about you!

Really, this is the best advice I can give on generating tons of inbound links to your site.

Put your ego in a jar and lock it tight. You can get it back out after your links have arrived. For now, ignore the ego monster, instead listen to your audience.

  • What does your niche really need?
  • What do they already link to?
  • What do you link to?
  • What gets attention from social media?
  • What has worked before?
  • What is evergreen, consistently attracts links over time?

In a nutshell, think about what your audience wants, not what you need.

The more you give, the more you get back.

Chris Garrett is a professional blogger and online media consultant. His eBook, “Killer Flagship Content” should be required reading for all bloggers.

An End to the Website Versus Blogs Debate

Wednesday, May 16th, 2007

Ah… the blogs versus website debate, where would we be without it?

The problem is, unlike other “this versus that” issues, this isn’t an apples and oranges debate at all, it is more like a Granny Smith’s versus … some other variety of apple. Um, red apples versus green apples? …

A website can have the attributes of a blog and a blog can do anything a website can. Why? Because they are both websites.

I use WordPress as a content management system; I have also added RSS to a traditional website before. It’s not always easy that way round, but doable.

Blogs do not even have to look like blogs, they can work however you want them to. Many people object to blogs because of “that front page with all the articles on it” or “I don’t like the archive based navigation” yada yada.

People who say “blogs must”, or “blogs can’t” or “blogs always” are probably overwhelmed with information and don’t want you to take their security blanket away.

Blogs can look or work however you want them to. It’s just a content management system and if you choose the right software, for example WordPress, then the only limitation is tweaking time.

If you think this is really about whether you should have a traditional website or a blog, that would be like asking “should my marketing only use one tactic” and my answer will always be a big fat sweaty NO.

I worked in the past with huge companies who only wanted to use one tactic. “Direct marketing will damage our brand”, “we are a premium brand, we don’t do radio *spit*”, “websites? websites? are you MAD, didn’t you know these products ONLY sell via point of sale/sales promotion/sampling/yada”. And yet every single time they allowed us to test an integrated multi-tactic strategy, sales improved.

You have to choose the tactics you believe you can make work and use them in unison.

Use both: use a blog for attraction and stickiness and use a traditional website for conversion.

… or put another way, articles and sales pages

OK, blogs can have community – how about forums versus blogs?

Again they are both websites, it is possible to hack up a blog so it works like a forum (I wouldn’t, but you can). They are two different types of venue really.

In a blog it is “I think this, what do you think?”, where as in forums it is question/answer. You generally have little control over the direction the conversations take (which is a good thing) in a forum.

So again, why not have both? When you need to control the agenda, you direct the conversation more in blogs. If you want spontaneous conversation go with forums. Think of a forum as friends talking whereas with a blog it can be more like a friendly salesman directing the conversation towards purchase.

Next time someone asks you “blogs versus websites”, just say “no, articles AND sales pages” and tell them Chris told you to say it. 😉

Chris Garrett is a professional blogger and online media consultant. His eBook, “Killer Flagship Content” should be required reading for all bloggers.
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