Creating and Promoting a Facebook Page

fbvisitors
There are currently over 400 million active users on Facebook, which is somewhat insane. Last month Facebook became my 4th largest traffic source (admittedly it is ‘currently’ quite away behind the top 3). Before reading on I suggest becoming a fan here so you can see what I’m writing about.

I’ve always been a huge fan of building lists and subscribers to my various sites, it removes some of the reliance on search engines and gives you a bit more stability. Using my site coolest gadgets as an example we currently have around ~69K RSS and 10K email subscribers. When speaking to people outside of the industry, only a small percentage know what RSS actually is never mind using it, however even my technophobic father has heard of Facebook, so around 9 months ago I started looking at building a list on Facebook.

Creating a FaceBook Page
Make sure you’re logged into Facebook, go here, click “Create Page” and follow then follow the simple wizard. You’ll need to create a logo, add links in to your site and write a simple description but nothing too challenging. Next up we need to populate your page, you can either make daily posts yourself, pay somebody to do it or if your site has an RSS feed you can automate.

I’m currently using RSS Graffitti (thank you Zath, Clarke and Keith for the recommendation). This will automatically post a thumbnail and excerpt on your pages wall whenever a new post is published on your site. This will then link to the relevent page on your site, like so
graffitti example
You now have a fully automated page and source of traffic on one of the most popular sites on the web, cool.

Promoting Your Fan Page
The first thing you need to do is get 25 fans so that you can claim your vanity URL, I’d suggest manually mailing friends to become a fan, explaining why and personalise your messages a bit. Once you have 25 fans head here and claim a more human friendly URL for your fan page.

I’ve tried a few different methods promoting Coolest Gadgets fan page, the following graph shows how it’s grown since inception
allfans

fbwidget
1 – Did a blog post saying we are now on Facebook
2 – LG kindly donated a LCD TV as a competition prize, to enter the contest readers had to become a fan or tweet about it (hence promoting the competition more).
3 – Did another blog post about the contest, this time keeping it really simple: Fan on Facebook? Then Stand A Chance to Win 42″ LG LCD TV
4 – We announced the winner
5 – The site was redesigned with much more prominence on becoming a facebook fan, including a banner advertising the page and a widget showing current fans (see right).

If you have the funds you can also promote the page using Facebook ads, as you can target based on peoples interests this can be highly effective.

My aim is to build the fan base up to 6,000+ by Christmas and promote various offers and discounts when available. If you’re not a fan (or friend) yet feel free to add me.

If you don’t have a fan page yet I’d suggest investing an hour of your time and creating yourself a new traffic source, let us know if you do and we’ll link them from here.

No.1 in google = 26% CTR

A long time ago data was released that many of us take as read, this appears to be dated and wrong. It was believed that if you ranked no.1 in a search engine which was AOL (many extrapolated that as any search engine) you would get a 42% CTR so therefore 42% of any potential search traffic, times change and sponsored ads at the top of Google and many other factors will have had an effect on the potential CTR.

Results may differ by search & genre but for a few I rank no.1 in I wanted to see what the ctr actually was:
While Ranking No.1 through October for a couple of keywords on a site I decided to look closer.

Google ‘exact’ Search tool stats :
Keyword = 246,000

Actual traffic according to Google analytics I received:
Keyword  = 64,035 visitors

At odds against the ‘old’ AOL CTR data set this works out at an actual CTR for position No.1 as:
Keyword  = CTR 26%

Around 26% seems low so it may be just me and this could be something I need to improve on, SO if you rank no1 for your main keyword(s), please check them against the exact search traffic in the keyword tool and see what CTR you feel you are getting and report back, are you getting anywhere near 42% CTR for your no.1 position? I’d be interested to hear. Please make sure it’s a large dataset, ie a decent search volume and not for something like your own business/domain name.

A Stumbling Improvement

I’m quite a fan of StumbleUpon as it has sent me a consistent trickle (100 or so per day) of traffic over the years. A few weeks ago I came across a plugin that I thought might help:
Increase Sociability WordPress Plugin

Basically what happens is it checks the refer (what page the visitor is coming from) and if it matches either Digg.com or StumbleUpon.com then it will simply welcome the user and ask them to give you a positive vote if they like the page.

.

Along with using the plugin I also thought it would help if I hid any prominent Adsense ads from these visitors (social traffic is more likely to be pissed at adverts than click them). To do this the code is pretty simple (expecially when copied from the fore mentioned plugin):

if($_SERVER['HTTP_REFERER'] != '')
{
$URL = parse_url($_SERVER['HTTP_REFERER']);
if ($URL['host'] == "www.stumbleupon.com" || $URL['host'] == "buzz.stumbleupon.com" || $URL['host'] == "digg.com" || $URL['host'] == "www.digg.com")
{
$noadsense = 1; // Check this variable before displaying ads
}
}

So far the results have been pretty good. Three different stories created nice peaks in traffic. The two most popular being:

The fact that Stumblers like knuckle dusters and knifes probably means Stumblers are best not messed with :) .

The true value of long tail search words

Long tail search phrases are often seen like a bonus, the one’s you don’t go after, the longer phrases and search strings that you rank for and get traffic for but never set out to achieve.

If you want a recap and some reading on what long tail search is I’d recommend this post and the one’s it links to. Al also did a specific post on it previously, long tail keywords have been explained very well before yet I still see webmasters getting hung up on top rankings for a few prized keywords which is an easy trap to fall into.

Checking your ranking for your top 3 keywords may make you feel better but by improving content and getting user submitted content you can glean more traffic through long tail search than you can from your main keywords.

Over the last 12 months the stats for my tattoo site help illustrate the long tail keyword benefits available by adding content, the main problem I had was my site is image based, not great for any keywords never mind long tail, this was something I had to and did address.

The main area I could address is the rate my tattoo area, this area lets users submit their own images which adds content but usually people are lazy and it’s easy to stay hands off and be lazy too, when people upload an image they often don’t give it a descriptive heading and lack clarity in the description, they just want to upload their image and have it rated like any other site.

So all images submitted are now moderated, thankfully my wife agreed to update this are of the site and before going live the title and descriptions are sometimes edited to make them reflect the image better, so when someone uploads an image called ‘tattoo’ which is one of my main keywords but doesn’t really describe the image, my wife now edits it in the admin area to call it ‘wolf with blue eyes’.

Time consuming? yes, but it really does make an overall difference for something that takes a few minutes everyday, when you get hundreds of images with good titles and descriptions you can increase your traffic by thousands. I also implemented a comments system, again moderated and being mainly image based this can add text and get users more involved.

To show the power of long tail search I will quote some numbers from July ’07 to July ’08

From the 9 million visitors, search sent 5,516,749 total visits.

My main keywords being tattoo, tattoos, tattoo designs account for 2,134,324 of these visits.
So without the long tail I could have had less than half as much traffic as I did!

I have 3 main keywords which bring in less than 50% of the search traffic, so how many keywords did the site rank for in last year remembering most of my content is image based?

Search sent 5,516,749 total visits via 157,337 keywords

Sometimes it’s good to have a change of scenery

Some genres/topics are so much easier to work in than others for backlinks, it is really refreshing to move on to a new website and development and then start looking for some nice links.

Scenery

Hobby sites can be amazing in that the network of sites out there still gladly review and link to good content at a time when people are more guarded than ever about their associations, I spent an hour looking for some nice relative links, nothing special – just the usual Googling the main terms and looking for good trustworthy sites and approaching looking for permanent or long term links.

The replies were nothing short of refreshing yesterday!

Around 20 relative links either live or setup to go when I am ready, really I never knew getting links could be so easy, of the 2 that I had to pay for, one was £40 for a year and the other $25 for a year with the other 18 were free gratis.

Sometimes it’s just really good to have a break and a change of scenery from the normal paranoid webmasters.
If you really want to build some links on really old pages often for very little money then head over to your favourite search engine and search for :               “sponsor this page” {keyword}

NB: There really isn’t too much going on just now so for the foreseeable future Al and myself shall post more irregularly when there is something to post about rather than for postings sake, better to have quality than quantity.

Get the services you need and a backlink

Search in Google for things like the following;

  • previous clients
  • testimonials
  • portfolio 

If you do you see portfolio type pages, strong pages with few links offering services which are often affordable, how about trying out a service and getting a valuable backlink?

BacklinkAfter using services it often pays to submit feedback in the form of a testimonial that could be used either on a portfolio page or even a homepage with your website link.

For example:
http://www.ziskadesigns.co.uk/clients.html
With products/services from £20 and a PR5 client page

In a climate where good links are hard to come by, if you seek out reputable services and give feedback & testimonials you can get great strong backlinks, for free. Even if you don’t need some of these services it almost works out pretty cost effective to try them at times.

Attracting RSS and Email Subscribers

email.jpg
Writing my task list the night before has increased my productivity, one of the things I wanted to do for a while was add an email subscription option to both here and CG. That was added to my list last night and done today, so if you want to receive a daily email from us containing the day’s post(s) simply fill in the form on the right hand side.

One thing I thought that would be interesting is to learn how our readers prefer to follow sites. So if you can spare 5 seconds please give us your vote here (email and RSS subscribers will have to visit the site).

How do you follow sites that you read regularly.
  • Add an Answer
View Results

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Trialling a Feed Advert

big-feed.jpg

I’m after a bit of feedback on this idea, so all thoughts and suggestions are very welcome (and there’ll be a bonus for commenting).

I’m trying to get more visitors to my site from my feed, so I spent an hour over the weekend creating a plug-in for WordPress that lets me display an extra sentence or so at the end of each post but only in the feed and not on the site. I intend to put an advertising link back to the main site where I can push visitors to affiliate pages with relevant offers.

If you want to see it in action subscribe to the SMM or CG feed.

After creating the plug-in it got me thinking how it could be used in a few different ways:

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Improve your ranking by one place and triple your traffic

RankingHave not seen anyone talk about this for a long time but it is incredibly important, do you want to know what difference it makes if you move up just that extra place in the rankings?

Well it may shock you to realise that you could get over 3 times more traffic just by moving up one place from 2nd to 1st.

Last year when the AOL search data was released there was a post on earnersforum where the number of searches were calculated and from that you could work out the exact difference from a data set large enough to be pretty accurate to work with.Continue Reading

Backlinks from authority, .edu sites & more

LinksAuthority Sites & their web search
Reading a post on Acorn the other week there was a suggestion that linking to specific results in authority sites like BBC & CNN could be an easy way to get you a valuable backlink.

After a quick check it seems search results from the BBC and CNN are being indexed in Google.

BBC

CNN

Searching those pages shows that the search results do link out to external sites, for example search CNN for ‘craft’ : http://search.cnn.com/search.jsp?query=craft, now this search result page is cached in Google.

How do you get your backlinks? if you do a web search on any authority website that lists your site in it’s search results you can then link to the search page directly.Continue Reading