One of the best ways of creating your own online community is using Twitter. Enough has been said & written about Twitter. But as a new blogger, you will find it rather difficult to create your own community on Twitter.
The first part of the challenge is to get good followers. The second part of the challenge is to engage your followers, or the people you are following, into more meaningful conversations.
Simply following, or being followed, does not help anyone.
Getting popular on Twitter is not easy – simply because its too crowded already. It has famous people twittering & it has spammers crying for attention. Creating your own conversing Twitter community is going to take time. You can begin with the simple tips that had helped me get started:
1. Tweet regularly, but Tweet sense. Think of what all could be essential to your followers – what you think could add some value to their time & Tweet about that. You have to keep it less than 140 words!
2. Use the Twitter Plugin for WordPress. This helps you send a Tweet anytime you post. You may wish not to publish certains posts on Tweet & the plugin has the option to do that too.
3. Show your Tweeter activities on your blog sidebar. This is a nifty way to let your readers know what you are busy with at that moment.
4. Use Twitter apps to search for popular Tweets. Addictomatic helps you search for the hot Tweets & TweetBeep sends you an email alert every time Twitter finds a match to your search. With these you can easily find out the other people on Twitter who are talking about topics useful to you, or you can contribute too.
5. Follow some of the more respected people on Twitter. They may not even know who you are, but you can follow them to learn from them – how they tweet, what they tweet, when they tweet, how they respond to tweets etc – a complete range of behavior.
6. Say Thanks & Say it often. Well you are thankful to anyone who is following you, but you should be specially thankful who are willing to engage in more meaningful conversations with you. They are equally inclined to build an online Twitter community with you. Return the favor with contributions & a simple thank you.
7. Re-Tweet – I picked this up from Kevin Rose, the architect & founder of Digg. Kevin explains retweeting as broadcasting a tweet to your group. This is a viral way of spreading any messages from one network to another.
8. Create activities in your twitter groups – I used to do a lot of “asking questions” & “asking for suggestions” to my Twitter groups. Many of the people following me would not respond, simply because they are busy following people. There would always be some who would take the time to respond. They are very valuable members of your Twitter followers. Track them carefully.
9. Create your Twitter profile with all the essential information. I always suggest to post a picture of your self – this helps people to put a face to a name. If you are serious about your Twitter community, do not post a scenery on your profile. Most suspicious people & spammers would put up a vague picture. I usually block such followers. Use your primary website or blog as a link to your portfolio.
10. Answer questions in your twitter community. If anyone has asked for information or help, respond with your thoughts & follow through. It is all right if you do not know what to answer, but if you do, reach out to help! Online communities are all about helping & co-operation. If you cannot help while you can, you will not be helped either.
I have followed most of the above when I began using Twitter. I had reasonable success & I got to know of quite a few people in various other networks through my Twitter friends.
I must say it was not always easy. You will ask questions & no one will answer. You will answer to someone’s question & you will not hear back. Do not be disappointed, keep doing it & over a period of time, you will get through to the right people.
The one thing I would stress is to be cautious of your image & identity. If you are a serious internet blogger & want to make money from blogging, you should create your online identity accordingly. And done right, Twitter could help you in the long run.
Most bloggers have gone through this phase in building their blogging business where no matter what topics they write on, their traffic decreases. As such it is difficult to write quality articles on topics that you are unfamiliar with, leave alone excel in that area to build your traffic!
We receive many emails each week asking us how to rescue a blog when it becomes difficult to compete in unfamiliar domains, how to keep getting traffic when you hit the low spot on publishing your blog posts.
1. Blog Regularly
It is important to blog regularly. Especially when traffic is down, it becomes more important to continue to publish. Write small articles, to the point, but keep posting with regularity.
2. Break Long Posts into Multiple Small Posts
Very often you can break up a single post that combines multiple ideas into smaller posts around each individual idea. This helps you to keep the content focused & help you keep posting very often.
3. Go Back to the Basics
If you are facing the challenge of not being able to publish quality articles because you chose a niche that is not close to your competency, go back to the basics of Effective Blogging. Orient your posts to something that comes naturally to you. You will be able to publish from heart & spend less sweat!
4. Experiment with Different Calls to Actions
It could be difficult to understand why traffic is going down. But its a good idea to start experimenting as soon as you notice a decline in traffic. Change your calls to actions or even introduce different calls to actions to maximize your returns from each visitor.
In one of our blogs we removed all advertisements & added one simple call to action – a Sign Up Form. Our traffic started to increase steadily & we started to get more Sign Ups that ever. We later found out that Google Adsense was not able to serve any ads relevant to the content. The ads were driving traffic away.
We switched to Google Adsense Alternative Advertisements immediately.
5. Keep Your Email Subscribers Growing at Any Cost
Even if your blog traffic goes down, try to keep the email subscribers happy & growing. The email subscribers are worth 100 times than a single ad click – you cannot afford to upset them at any cost. You can sign up with our recommended email service for a dollar now!
6. Use Social Media to Get Attention & Popularity
Social media is a powerful tool to get you a lot of good attention, popularity & traffic. We have a lot of good articles on Using Social Media Effectively for your blogging business.
Social media is a two edged sword – correct use could do you a lot of good, incorrect use could ruin your business badly. The best way is to plan ahead of time what networks to use & how to use them.
It could be frustrating as a blogger when you see declining traffic. It happens to everyone & it often happens for various reasons, some well beyond your immediate control (like Google indexing issues, other people copying your content etc). To be successful, you have to keep on writing & start looking at data to analyze how to recover your traffic
An open, nasty by honest web is better than Google sanitising search, argues Nicole Kobie
The problem with having everything at your fingertips is you sometimes end up with nasty stuff on your hands.
Type the most innocuous phrase into Google’s search box and there’s always the chance something terrible will come bounding back to shock you. Enter “kittens” and you’ll not only get adorable photos, but Flash games letting you bloodily slaughter them.
But when truly offensive or repulsive websites work their way to the top of the search results, rather than staying buried unnoticed on page 54, users start flinging mud at Google, begging it to do something to protect our delicate and sensitive minds.
On the other hand, when Google censors Chinese search results – or rival Bing drops pages with sexual content in Arabic countries – they also get slated.
Is it really up to Google to manage the web for us? The point of a search engine is to find information, not hide it
It’s clearly a fine balance, but is it really up to Google to manage the web for us? The point of a search engine is to find information, not hide it – to give us more understanding of the world, not less.
At a recent Google event, one attendee mentioned that the search engine serves a racist site third in the rankings when searching for Martin Luther King Jr. While the material is exceptionally distasteful, and disturbingly sells itself as a resource for students, isn’t the fact that racism persists despite King’s work a fact worth knowing?
Blocking sites isn’t always as clear cut as racism, as Google fellow Amit Singhal noted. Consider Scientology. The space-religion of choice for Hollywood’s elite has attracted much mockery from online pranksters, a fact followers would rather not see publicised.
Would you rather Google intervened or have the information there so you can decide for yourself? “You have two sides. Both sides decide they are right,” Singhal said. “Should we actually suppress anti-Scientology sites?”
As Singhal notes: “We don’t induce our subjectivity into our searches, because my subjective opinion – although always right – is just my subjective opinion.”
Of course, sometimes Google’s algorithm is clearly a bit daft, suggesting sites that aren’t as relevant as the ones they’re ranking ahead of, regardless of the sanity of the content – a great example is Googling “search engine”, which all but ignores the top ranking site itself. But instead of sifting through mountains of content and fixing them by hand, Google rightly prefers the tactic of improving its algorithms to better judge content.
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