Generating Content, Traffic & Happiness!

We all know by now (or at least those of us in the know 😉 ) that WordPress Rocks! If you’ve spent any time generating content with the platform, most likely there have been blood, sweat and tears shed. Hopefully of joy and the satisfaction which follows.

Right?

More than just a totally groovy content management system (CMS), self-hosted WordPress installations provide amazing opportunities for business of all types and folks of all flavors to create and publish nifty content. Add in the gazillion themes and plugins available for the platform and the extensible nature of it approaches infinity.

And that’s all darned well and good. But hear me when I tell you how easy getting lost in developing one’s WordPress website can be. Spending hours looking at WordPress themes. Or for the more affluent among us who want a lovely, professional quality theme, spending hours poring over premium WP themes happens as well. (Not to take anything away from some of the free WordPress themes available in the repository. Many of them are either “lite” versions of beautiful premium themes, or very lovingly created by extremely talented theme developers.)

The same goes for choosing which plugins to add extra functionality to one’s installation. Most website owners have a specific set of actions which they need their online presence to accomplish. Others, like myself, simply enjoy finding new and interesting ways to extend a WordPress site. The time spent on these endeavors–choosing themes, testing plugins–all takes away from one of the main reasons for having a website.

Whether one uses their site to just publish and share personal thoughts and ideas or aims to generate tons of traffic and sell millions of gizmos, one thing remains the same–Content makes everything happen. Being able to develop quality articles or blog posts (or any number of other custom post types one might set up with WordPress) has to happen before the first gizmo sells or reader enjoys a memoir.

The following list endeavors to layout exactly how I generate ideas for content, research various resources, write the article, publish it, and then use social media marketing and search engine optimization to aid the inbound traffic to my site. Enjoy!

Generating Content and Traffic with WordPress

Some websites lend themselves to idea after idea for posts and articles. Others? Not so much. From my experiences the broader a site’s focus might be, the more challenging generating interesting and unique ideas becomes. Take this website, BoldlyGoing.com for instance. My content goals are to help you learn, understand and know WordPress websites.

Tall order, eh?

So, one of the first things I needed to do was break that down into bite sized chunks (otherwise known as categories!) I decided to go with the following:

  1. Website Worries
  2. Winning Websites
  3. Plugin Power
  4. Dream Themes
  5. Spotlight Articles (Like this one!)

Now that the site is broken into categories, focusing on generating ideas becomes a bit more fine tuned. The following idea generation tips easily get applied to these five areas my site will generate content for. If you find it challenging to come up with your next post idea at times, try focusing on your categories. They can give you a much needed head start!

With this narrowed focus in mind, consider using the great advice of Unbounce.com guest author, Angela Stringfellow in her recent article 5 Tips to Use News Events to Drive Traffic to Your Landing Page.

While Ms. Stringfellow focuses her article on using “news events” to drive targeted traffic to specific landing pages you create, one can find much, much more in the post. For example:

  • Using various freely available news resources like Google’s Alerts, Trends and News services can be the treasure trove for currently trending topics that spark ideas which fit into your site’s category game plan
  • Services like Alltop and the advanced search functions available at most social networking communities, such as Facebook and Twitter, clue you in to what your peers and thought leaders are currently talking about with respect to your site’s focus
  • Creating rich conversations between yourself and the audience you hope to entertain or inform benefits everyone involved with quality content that lasts and outperforms those 300 word quick posts you used to create

Have Idea Will Create Epic Content

Or as my friend Corbett Barr of ThinkTraffic.net oh, so eloquently put it, just “Write Epic Shit” (OMG, yes, occasionally “bad” words might get slung around the BoldlyGoing.com website! I’ll understand should you bounce away. It’s all groovy.) Definitely head over there and add that article to your reading list, if you’ve not read it already.

I’ll give you Corbett’s synopsis with this single quote from the article:

Building a raving audience online all starts with writing epic shit. Period. Hands down. End of story.

Preceding that nugget of wisdom, another jeweled take away included the harsh facts that “…promotional tactics only make up 20%…” of the success of a website and the other 80% is about the aforementioned creation processes.

Create content you care about. Create content others care about. Otherwise, it’s all just a waste of time, isn’t it?

You’ve Created Stellar Stuff, Now What?

Well, now you probably should do some promoting of that content. But do it in epic fashion–yes? Understand that I really take to heart the teachings of young Mr. Derek Halpern, owner/operator over at SocialTriggers.com (& you should get over there and get some of his juice as soon as you can, too!) One of the first things I heard Derek teach on was using social media to bring traffic to my site, not using my site to send traffic to the various social communities. To simplify that lesson, basically remove all the icons and links from your site that take your valued and valuable visitors away from your direct influence. But, still use those channels to your advantage.

Let’s review some of the standard options for getting out the word on our blog posts and articles:

  • Twitter–Suffice it to say if you don’t have a Twitter account for your site, or yourself, get one. Got one? Good. If you are using WordPress, know there are well over 1,000 variations in the Official Plugin Repository. Some of these provide for automation of publishing one’s new blog posts instantly to a Twitter account.

    In the past, I admit I used these types of automated opportunities. Not so much because I was lazy–well, maybe because I was lazy. Don’t get me wrong, they definitely have their place. But today, I actually hand-craft all of my tweets. I do, however, automate when those tweets get sent out. For this you can use any of a number of services like CrowdBooster, Buffer, even HootSuite.

    Remember, effectively use those 140 characters to your advantage for the crowd that follows you. Give them something interesting–more than the Title of the post and the link.

  • Facebook–There are a couple of ways to use the Facebook. Again, I discourage using the automated posting plugins or even setting up Facebook to pull your posts directly into your Wall. (I think they may have stopped allowing that. Not sure.) You can always create an entry into your personal wall, or the wall of the page for the website (you have one of those, yes?).

    Or you can use Facebook Notes on the Wall for your website and get a bunch of birds for the effort. As commented on above, the use of the Notes feature provides you the ability to not only grab the attention of your friends on Facebook (and fans of your site’s page), but with judicious use of “tagging” within the note, you get the content (and links to your site!) onto the walls of others and access to their followers. BONUS BINGO BABY! These are good links and should greatly aid in your inbound marketing efforts.

  • Pinterest–Yup, if you’re not taking advantage of this community for the links and potential traffic, well, you’re missing out on opportunities. How do I know? Am I seeing tons of traffic to my sites as a result of pinning the images onto my boards at Pinterest? No. Not yet. But only because I’ve just accepted that the community will be here for a while. I know that it works, however, because of the massive amount of spammy activities that are going on there.

    Of course, in no way should you adopt some of those “techniques”, but the fact that some of those folks see great value from the traffic generation clearly indicates that traffic is there to be had. Take advantage of Pinterest by using nice images in your articles and posts. Then, after you’ve created your epic stuff, and are on to the promotion portion pin those images to your boards, again, write up nice excerpts that will attract other Pinterest users to your site. Be sure to add the post’s URL to the pin. You may have to do this after you’ve pinned the image, depending upon the way you go about pinning.

  • Blog Comments–Even though many blog owners turn off the “dofollow” option on links generated in the comments section, don’t dismiss a quality site from your follow up promotional efforts as a result. You will still get traffic from those sites which do allow your links to be displayed. Want to know the super secret trick to using this technique to generate successful traffic into your site?

    There is no super secret trick!

    Just take the time to participate in the conversations on those sites. Actually read the damn post! And then read the comments that appear before you. Those folks took the time to read and leave intelligent comments of their own (well, we hope they did!) By interacting with both the author of the post as well as the regular followers of that site, you indicate your willingness to join them, offering a quality comment of your own. Folks will click on your link and check out your site when you take the time to do this technique the right way.

Are You Asking ‘Where’s the Happiness?’

The happiness surrounds you, provided you work this stuff well. Since you asked so nicely, following are some of my personal tips for squeezing out every drop of goodness doing this type of work:

  1. Just Love It: You know the saying, “Do what you love, the money will follow.” Figuring out the “what you love” part can be difficult, admittedly. For those of you fortunate enough to have that activity in the bag, keep on loving it and it will love you back many times over.
  2. Pay Attention to the Journey: Someone shared with me, a long time ago, success was in the journey, not the destination. Not sure I got the meaning then, but now I get it. Completely. If you are not finding the amazing things with all steps of the process you use to generate content and traffic for your website, I can almost assuredly assume the destination will hold much less for you than you hope.
  3. Do “It” for the Right Reasons: Also known as “Do Good Not Evil”, “Use the Force (for good)”, and “What Goes Around, Comes Around”. Techniques like spamming, phishing, email bombs, and other nefarious actions may get you to a destination faster, but not necessarily in better fashion. You want to build a strong, solid, long-term business–yes? If so, be good by doing good. We good? Good!

On a final note, I understand that “happiness” likely changes for each of us. That’s cool. And that’s the way it should be for sure. If you have decided to take up some sort of online entity and are hoping to feel some Internet love and possibly even make a living to support yourself and/or your family, take the time to get the education you need. Hopefully some of what you need can be found right here at BoldlyGoing.com. My goal is to share what I’ve learned since coming online in 1996. (Yeah, the browser I used back then was the NCSA Mosaic!)

Mostly this site will focus on WordPress as a content management system (CMS) but there will certainly be general website information which can be applied to any platform. Remain diligent, and focused. You can get to where you desire and might even be surprised when you arrive somewhere you never dreamed possible because you took the time to do things right–the Boldly Going Way!

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