Evaluating Blog Marketing Efforts

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Due to popular demand I am going to try to keep this blogging tips series going. Time will tell if I can keep posting tips every week or whether every 2 weeks is best. It depends on how busy I am and how many more tips I can come up with.

It is pretty satisfying hearing how helpful this series has been for fellow bloggers. I already help a lot of people via e-mail, but by putting up permanent posts, hopefully this is able to help a lot more people.

If you’re new to this series, check out some of the previous blogging tips posts:

Last week I wrote a post about blog statistics and why you should be monitoring them. That post ended up being a general overview of different stats to watch and how it can help you. I had numerous requests to expand upon some of that advice. So consider this post a sequel to last week.

How to Evaluate Your Blog Marketing Efforts

When you’re marketing your blog it is far too easy to get immersed in a specific routine and stick with it for months. A lot of you probably picked up those strategies from other bloggers and are just hoping it is working. If you’re just starting out, that it probably limited to just commenting on other blogs and possibility interacting on Twitter.

The problem with that approach is that online marketing strategies aren’t always universal. What works for one niche or one blogger won’t necessarily work as well for you. We all have our own strengths and specific strategies will have all kinds of nuances. Little things like what time of day you comment, which blogs you comment, the quality of your comments and more all play into what kind of effect you get from those efforts. The same can be said for any other blog marketing strategy.

Unfortunately it isn’t black and white whether a strategy is working for you. Some strategies are planting the seed for long term benefits. Maybe you’re building up backlinks that will build up into SEO strength that will produce strong search rankings down the road. Maybe you’re building up networking connections that could turn into invaluable allies over time.

Analyzing Current Blog Marketing

First take some time to think about all of the things you are doing to market your blog. Don’t be ashamed if that list is currently limited to one or two things. We all have to start somewhere and online marketing is something that has to be learned.

Now think about what are you hoping to get out of each strategy. Hopefully you are not just blindly doing it because others have said that’s what you should be doing. There must be some concrete benefits that you are aiming for. If you’re not sure, do some reading up about the strategies you’re using or ask some fellow bloggers…my contact page is easy enough to find πŸ™‚

Traffic – If you’re aiming for just traffic and comments, that is super easy to measure. Just take a look at your traffic and comments before you were using that strategy. Some people try stopping a strategy for up to a month to get a true measure, but that may have too much overlap as those benefits may still keep coming in.

Blogger Connections – Perhaps you’re using that strategy to build up connections with fellow bloggers. The success of that benefit can be subjective. Look into how much that blogger reciprocates your actions. If you’re commenting on their blog, are they commenting back or finding some other way to help you? If you’re sharing their content on social networks, do they return the favor? Have your efforts led to expanded communication with that blogger?

SEO Strength – For any strategies where you’re hoping for SEO benefits, this is the toughest area to measure. It’s not as if you can build a single link and expect to see it immediately affect your search engine rankings and search traffic. It usually takes much longer for the SEO benefits to really blossom. The harsh reality is that most of the links built by bloggers don’t have significant SEO value. So you’ll need to build up a ton of links to really improve your SEO strength and Google likes to see links from a wide variety of sources. Or you really need to focus on the links that produce greater effect on your SEO strength (stay tuned for a future post about that topic). If this is your focus try to monitor how many new links are showing up via Ahrefs or other backlink trackers. Or if you’ve been using this strategy for a while now, try comparing search engine traffic before hand after.

Reacting To Current Marketing Effects

Now that you’ve dug into your current blog marketing strategy results a bit, now is the time to try to improve upon those efforts. You don’t want to keep beating your head against the wall expecting the bricks to wear down. Again I’ll break it down by what benefit you are hoping to gain.

Traffic – The decisions you make in regards to traffic benefits can be tough. I know when I was doing a lot of blog commenting I eventually decided to pare down my daily commenting list based on the amount of traffic they send me. It was difficult making that move, but it was necessary to make my time more efficient. If the strategy you’re analyzing involves blogger connections, keep that in mind. A blog sending less traffic may still benefit you more in other ways. Also think of whether that strategy has other side benefits such as SEO strength building. Maybe read my previous post about link strength.

Once you find areas of your marketing that are not pulling their weight, determine what you could do in that time instead to be more efficient. If that overall strategy is working for you, maybe try swapping in some new sites to see if they are more effective. Or you could put that time towards an entirely different approach. Google does love a lot of variety in your backlink profile. Sometimes with blog marketing you really have to use trial and error to see what works for you. When something isn’t doing as well as you’d hope, be willing to move onto something else. If in doubt, reach out to some fellow bloggers to see what they recommend.

Blogger Connections – No matter how hard you try, there are some bloggers who will refuse to help you out. Usually it is the ones who has grown big enough that they feel they are above helping fellow bloggers. In the finance niche that is fairly rare though. Most finance bloggers are very generous and helpful. I know I’ve helped some more established bloggers and they straight up refused to do anything for me in return. So when you are trying to build connections with bloggers, just accept that not everyone wants to help you. If they don’t, just move on.

You also have to consider what kind of help they can provide…if you really care about marketing that is. If all of your strongest blogger connections are fairly new (with weak stats to match), you can’t exactly rely on those bloggers to help your blog grow as quickly as you may like. Having some newer blogger contacts is no problem, but when it comes to marketing, you do have to consider what’s in your best interests. Don’t forget that you should actually like the bloggers you network with so that your blogging journey is more enjoyable and you keep those blogger friends long term.

SEO Strength – Since analyzing current SEO efforts is difficult, you should take the time to follow some SEO blogs or participate in a SEO forum. This will keep you much more informed about which strategies are currently effective and which are being devalued by Google. To build up stable SEO strength, don’t overly focus on any one link building strategy. The more diverse your link building, the more you can withstand Google algorithm updates.

If you’re ever in doubt of where to focus your link building efforts, find some blogs that are well ranked for keywords you’d like to rank well for. Then dig into their backlink profile to see where they have focused. Usually that gives good ideas of general link building strategies to use and a ton of links that you can directly copy. Then plug away and keep building as many quality links as you can without being spammy about it. It will take a lot of time, but you’ll build up a backlink profile that will help deliver search engine traffic for a long time to come.

Summary

Regardless what kind of benefits you’re focusing on, you should be proactive with your strategy. If you’re not sure if something is working, take the time to verify that and do something about it. In my opinion you shouldn’t just focus on one benefit either. Ideally your marketing efforts fulfill all three main benefits mentioned.

Over time you should be keeping an eye on progress too. A strategy may be working well for a while and then the benefits could start dropping off. It is up to you to recognize these warning signs and not let your marketing hit a plateau. By staying on the ball you can keep your blog momentum going long term. Also remember that your blogging journey is a marathon and not a sprint. So be patient with things and give strategies adequate time to play out.

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