Blog Diagnostic Tool – Wordle: Graphic Illustration of Your Blog’s Content

One of the basics of internet marketing is to recognize that keywords play a huge role in internet branding. Use the right keywords, and your blog will find it’s target audience quite easily. Use the wrong keywords and you’ll be left wondering why more people aren’t reading your great blog posts.

With that in mind, here’s a great big SHOUT OUT of thanks to Liz Strauss over at Successful Blog for introducing me to the very cool and very illustrative blog toy er, I mean tool Wordle.

Wordle will take any text you plug in and create a cool graphic of the keywords contained within. You have the option of choosing random text or you can pull text from your blog’s RSS feed.

Wordle To the left is the Wordle created from this blog’s RSS feed.

Not only is a Wordle visually interesting, your blog’s Wordle can also act as a diagnostic tool to answer the question “Why is my blog not working?”

In order for your blog to act as a powerful marketing tool, you must focus your (marketing) message. Focusing on the right keywords is the key to blog marketing success.

For example, you can see in this blog’s Wordle image, that the keywords “marketing” and “credibility” play a HUGE roll in the content on my blog. That’s good because those are the drums I tend to play in my business… so seeing those words appear in “large print” pleased me.

The term troll is a bit more prominent than I’d like… but then again, it’s a recent blog entry AND contained in the title as well. I have to ask myself, what did I expect that particular post to do to my Wordle?

Since I didn’t know about Wordle then, I couldn’t have thought much of it. However, the World of Wordle can help you to get a clear perspective of the role each post plays as you build your blog.

THIS IS A KEY TO SUCCESS AS YOU ARE CREATING AND BUILDING YOUR BLOG!

Often, when we’re blogging, we don’t think of each blog post as a part of the whole. It’s easy to view blog posts as standing on their own – when in fact, they are essential building blocks. Each building block makes a contribution to making up the blog as a whole.

From the looks of my Wordle, I’ve been focusing upon marketing, selling and credibility here. The whole troll reference actually fits into that theme if you read the post. I just should have named it something different to fit better into my Wordle.

So Wordle gave me good news on this blog. On to my other blog holdings.

I have another blog where the focus is EXCLUSIVELY upon using blogs as marketing tools for small businesses. The Wordle for that blog is pictured to the left.

Seeing the Wordle for this blog allows me to see that I’ve been focusing too much on the “blog” aspect of blogs as marketing tools in the content on that blog.

Not exactly good news, but useful news none the less.

With this information, I know that I need to start featuring the “marketing ” aspect of blogs in this blog’s content.

On to my next blog.

I created the Wordle to the right for the blog which I use to promote my book (Beyond Niche Marketing).

Ouch again. It looks like I’ve been focusing a bit too much on that magical marketing word “free” in the content of that blog and there’s not enough focus on the term niche. On the other hand, marketing is playing a nice role on the keyword parade for that site.

Informative and fun. This is great.

Just for kicks and giggles, I ran a Wordle for a client who is complaining that her blog isn’t “working” for her. She’s frustrated and with good reason. So I ran a Wordle for her blog. The image to the right is what Wordle came up with for her blog.

Now, if my client’s business had ANYTHING to do with gardening, then this Wordle would be a good sign. But her business isn’t gardening nor is it focused on kitchens. Her ideal prospective clients wouldn’t use ANY of those words featured prominently on her Wordle to find her business.

Unfortunately for this client, her business is about journaling and writing as a way to achieve spiritual healing. I say unfortunately because it doesn’t appear that is what she’s communicating via her blog.

So I ran a Wordle for another client who specializes in executive training.

To the right is what her site looks like through Wordle’s eyes.

Rosemary will be pleased to see how the posts on Miboso Training are shaping up, thanks to this tool!

Then, just as I was playing with this tool, another client emailed me and was wondering why despite consistent blogging her blog isn’t picking up any readers. So, I ran a Wordle for her blog.

This client’s business is coaching people who want to lose weight. Lose weight is an important keyword for her and is included in her domain name.

Yet, when you look at her Wordle, the word YEARS is by far the most prominent and coach does play a big role too. Weight does make it to the hit parade, but lose doesn’t.

Maybe it takes a bit of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) to build a blog full of the “right” keywords, but I’m really beginning to see a pattern here.

For kicks and giggles, I run Darren Rowse’s Problogger.net site through the amazing Wordle tool.

Hmm… blog, people, community, readers, campaign, advertising… those all look like words that readers of Darren’s ProBlogger.net blog would want to read about.

What I find fascinating is Darren has achieved this ideal “mix” while having guest bloggers write posts for his blog. Now THAT is the sign of a blog with a vision!

Wordle may appear to be a “toy” but in fact it’s a powerful blog diagnostic tool you can use to see the word picture you’re building with your blog’s content.

Take your blog’s content for a Wordle spin and see what you can see. It might be the best blog diagnostic tool yet!

Web Promotion Advice

Sometimes, when you’re trying to promote your website (be it a blog or a traditional website) it can feel like you’re in a tiny row boat being tossed about on a roaring sea. It’s easy to feel lost in the sea that is the internet. Website promotion via the web is a “natural” but to really stir things up, create a website promotion strategy that includes OFF LINE promotion tactics.

Website Promotion Advice

Web Promotion Tool #1: Off line or hard copy newsletters

Darren Rowse of Problogger.net recommends allowing offline publications to print your content. In Darren’s case, he gave permission for a newsletter to translate and reprint an article he had written. As a result, he got 50 new sign ups for his photography website.

Web Promotion Tool #2: The Postal Service

ScribeFire suggests using snail mail as a website promotion tactic in the post Offline Blog Promotion Techniques:

Go Postal – this morning I got to my PO Box to find that inside it was a rather large parcel. Inside was two things – a book and a T-shirt. I didn’t know the name of the person who sent them to me but on the accompanying business card and note was the name and URL of a blog which I will check out later today.

A popular blog gets hundreds, sometimes thousands, of emails each day. Most of the time it’s people seeking the opportunity to be showcased on the popular blog. Its a great website promotion strategy to partner with a popular blog to promote your own website, however you need a way to stand out from the crowd. Taking the time to send a card via snail mail can be the difference between making contact and getting marked as spam. Including a T-shirt, a book or another promotional piece in the mailing is even better!

Web Promotion Tool #3: Traditional Media

Way back in the late 1990’s, if you listened to AM radio, you would have heard ads for the largest bookstore in the universe. These wacky radio ads featured such silliness as trying to rent warehouse space on Mars because no where on earth was big enough to house all the books offered for sale by this emerging online bookseller. You’ll probably recognize the name of the online merchant that ran those ads: Amazon.com.

Traditional media has been slammed of late because it’s a “spray and pray” approach to marketing. In most cases you’re reaching tens of thousands of people who are NOT prospective customers. However, if you can create a compelling and captivating message, you’ll find that traditional media can be even very effective at driving traffic to your website.

When people find your site via a radio, television, newspaper or magazine ad, this is known as a DIRECT REQUEST. According to the WWW Observer, this is what is known as Low Bounce Rate Traffic and is exactly the type of traffic you should be striving to create.

Web Promotion Tool #4: Social Networking Media

BlogGrrl in her post A Very Long List of Ways to Get Blog Traffic lists 13 different social networking sites plus another 36 tips on ways you can introduce your website to new people.

Web Promotion Tool #5: Commenting on Blogs

This one usually makes my skin crawl when I read someone who advises people that they don’t need a blog, they can just comment on other people’s blogs and get all the benefits of blogging without the time and expense of maintaining your own blog.

Commenting on blogs is NOT a substitute for having your own blog, but it can be a great way to promote your website.  The key here is to find the right blogs to comment on.  Rather than go over that, University Kid has a post on the subject Make Money Online By Blog Commenting.

When making a comment, make sure you give it the care and consideration you would take if that information were appearing on your website.  A blog comment can act like a banner ad for your website so watch what you post!

These 5 Web Promotion Tools are just a few website promotion tactics.  What ones have you used to promote your website?

What No One Ever Tells You About Blogging

Every where you turn, you’ll find people raving about blogging, with good reason. Blogs are easy to use communication tools… and businesses NEED to communicate with potential customers. So if you’re a business and you need to communicate to customers WHY they need to be doing business with you… you need a blog.

However, while blogs make PERFECT sense as a business marketing tool… there are drawbacks to blogging.

What no one ever tells you about blogging

Blogging is not marketing magic.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it is true.

I’ve had several clients who paid to have the most popular and powerful blogging software on the planet set up on their own hosting account. I installed essential plug ins to make their WordPress blog even more attractive to the search engines.

More than once I have gotten emails from clients wondering why their blogs aren’t getting great search engine rankings on their highly desired keyword terms. When I load their blog, I’m greeted with the “Hello World” initial WordPress blog post. There are no other posts published. There are no categories set up. Nothing but “Hello World”.

Successful Blogging Takes Planning

Planning and research are both ESSENTIAL keys to blogging success.

Planning begins with knowing who your target audience is and why they are at your blog is the most critical element in your blog’s success.

(Here’s a poorly kept secret… it’s also the key to your BUSINESS SUCCESS!!! That’s why I wrote the book Beyond the Niche: Essential Tools You Need to Create Marketing Messages that Deliver Results. In the book, I take business owners step by step through the process of identifying your ideal target market and then the keys to creating marketing messages which deliver results.)

Once you know who your audience is, then you need to figure out what keywords they are using to find your site. This is the “research” side of th equation.

Top A-list bloggers have shared that on average more than 50% of their traffic comes from the search engines. That means using the right keywords is a KEY element in your blogging success.

There are plenty of free tools you can use to find keywords. However, I got an email today which calls into question the accuracy of those free keyword tools. My client ran her favorite keyword through 3 separate free keyword tools and got the following:

Google: “Average”
Overture — 1211
Keyword Discovery — 600
Wordtracker — not listed

So, I ran her keywords using a new tool I recently discovered called Wordze.

Wordze gave the COMPLETE picture on what was happening with her keyword. It not only showed the standard info… it also showed her who her competitors are on that keyword as well.

PRICELESS!!!

Using the link above saves you $10 a month if you decide to subscribe.

Successful Blogging Takes Effort

The most successful blogs have posts published on a regular basis… at least once a week… more is better.

Many, many blogs begin with a flurry of posts… and then, the new blog owner loses interest and stops posting.  Defining your blog’s direction is essential to achieving blogging success.

Successful Blogging Takes Time

There is no such thing as an overnight success when it comes to blogging. The blogs that do “race” to the top usually find their stay at the top to be precarious at best.

You won’t launch your blog tomorrow and then cash a six figure adsense check within 30 days.  It just doesn’t work that way.

However, if you’re willing to invest the time and effort into this powerful business communication tool… then you’ll find that your blog can act as a powerful, versatile, easy to use marketing tool.

Tangible Evidence: Your Blog Can Increase Your Profits

David Maister is an expert on the management of professional service firms. In his post Pricing Consulting Services he writes:

Raintoday.com has just released a new study Fees and Pricing Benchmark Report: Consulting Industry 2008. 645 respondents in the consulting industry completed the survey. Among the findings:

Firms that are well-known in their target markets receive higher fees, see their revenue grow, and earn higher profits than their lesser-known counterparts. Brand leaders were more likely to price their services at a higher level than their competitors in the market (42% of brand leaders were premium-price vs. 28% of lesser-known firms). And, they were more likely to actually get higher fees by up to 35%.

There are a LOT of ways to become “well known” to your target market.

  • You can spend money on advertising in various media that reach your target audience.
  • You can write articles for publication in magazines read by your target audience.
  • You can arrange to speak before groups of your target audience.
  • You can write a book to demonstrate your expertise to your target audience.

If you want to become well known to your target audience, I STRONGLY encourage you to engage in any and all of the above activities.

However, if your budget is screaming and your time is limited, then the best low cost, highly effective method of becoming “well known” to your target market is to launch a self hosted WordPress blog.

Becoming well known used to be thought of as an “ego” thing.  The report above demonstrates that becoming well known is necessary to affect the bottom line performance of your service based business.

Is a Blog the Best Marketing Tool for Your Business?

There is an adage in advertising that says, “I know that half my advertising dollars are wasted – I just don’t know which half!” Several authors claim credit for this quote, but no matter what the origin, I can assure you the saying is wishful thinking.

Not only is it possible that more half of your advertising dollars are wasted, on the flip side, it’s also possible that your marketing efforts are working very hard – against your business!

One every popular “advertising” avenue being touted is using blogs to promote your business. With all the hype surrounding blogs, you may be wondering if a blog could help your business.

The answer is easier than you might imagine. But in order to answer this question, you must first recognize that there are two different types of sales your business can be making.

Neil Rackham is the founder of The Huthwaite Corporation, which launched a 12-year, $1 million research study into effective sales performance. Rackham is not your typical “sales guy” but rather he’s a psychologist who studies the sales process. The study results are available in the book, Spin Selling, where Rackham differentiates sales into two categories… the Minor Sale and the Major Sale.

While Rackham applies this theory to sales people who make sales calls, I have taken this theory and applied it to advertising and marketing, because these activities are “selling” activities.

If your business is making Minor Sales, then a blog probably won’t be a really effective marketing tool for your business. However; if you’re making a Major Sale, then a blog can be a GREAT marketing tool for your business.

Are you making a Major Sale?

The elements that make up the Major Sale extend beyond the financial investment required. Asking a customer to spend a lot of money is one way you know you’re making a Major Sale… however, it’s not the only factor in play. To determine how much of a Major Sale you’re making, ask yourself the following questions:

QUESTION 1: How much risk is there in purchasing your product or service for your customers?

In other words, how much trust do they need to have to become your client or customer? How “high” is the risk if your customers make a wrong choice? Most businesses doing business on the internet need to establish a level of trust, but some require more trust to be built than others.

For example, if you’re selling office supplies, the consequences fof your customer of making a mistake and purchasing the wrong kind of copy paper is very, very low. If your customer orders the wrong kind of paper and then finds out that he/she made a mistake… the consequences aren’t very high. If the customer has children, then he or she merely brings home the reams of paper and the kids will take care of it in short order.

On the other hand, the choice of a financial planner is a VERY high risk decision for most consumers.

Several years ago, a financial planning firm in my home town made BIG news when it was discovered that the “investments” offered by the “financial planners” were not investments at all but actually a complex Ponzi scheme. As a result, several thousand of the firm’s clients in the area lost their retirement savings.

If you need to establish TRUST with your potential clients… then a blog is a GREAT marketing tool for your business.

If you’re selling baseball gloves to Little Leaguers… well, then trust isn’t quite as important as it may be if you’re a CPA or a financial planner. On the other hand, if you’re selling copy paper, trust may be downright irrelevant!

QUESTION 2: How much TIME will customers invest in researching their purchasing options?

The higher the “risk” is for your client or customer in purchasing your products or services, the more time he or shee will spend researching providers and searching for alternatives.

It’s important to note that devoting a lot of TIME to making a decision about buying changes the buying process significantly. Just because someone is spending time researching a purchase, it doesn’t mean that the decision will be made based ENTIRELY upon which provider has the lowest price.

If your customers are spending a lot of time researching options, then a blog is a great marketing tool because, via regular posts, you can illustrate time and time again why they should make an investment and build a relationship with you. You can use those blog posts to clearly illustrate WHY the lowest PRICE provider may not be the BEST provider.

If your potential clients spend a lot of time researching their options… then a blog is a GREAT marketing tool for your business.

Blogs are MAGNIFICENT COMMUNICATION TOOLS!! If you’ve got a good “handle” on the information you want to communicate to potential customers and your customers are SEEKING more information to make an informed choice.

QUESTION 3: How much TIME will your customers be spending with you after the sale?

Yet another factor that moves a sale from Minor Sale status to Major Sale status is the RELATIONSHIP that you’ll have with your customers or clients once the sale is completed.

The more interaction you expect to have with customers or clients, the more information those clients or customers need BEFORE they make the final decision. If you expect to have a lot of interaction with clients or customers AFTER the sale, then even if customers aren’t making a major financial investment, they still treat the transaction as a major sale. After all, breaking up with a service provider is hard to do!

So while the investment in choosing a baby sitter for a Saturday Night out on the town may not require taking out a loan, it still falls into the Major Sale category.

If your potential clients will develop a relationship with you after the sale… then a blog is a GREAT marketing tool for your business.

If your business is involved with making Major Sales, then establishing communication with customers BEFORE they make a purchasing decision is essential. When communication is key, a blog is a GREAT way to communicate with customers and clients.

This article was published at BizNik
Biznik - Business Networking