Hold it. Let’s put on the brakes for a moment.
After totaling up the amount of hours you spent marketing your site last week, you discover you’ve spent 4 hours on blog commenting, 3 hours posting to Facebook, 3 hours on Pinterest and 2 hours on article submissions.
It’s been at least four months since you started this routine, but you’re seeing minimal results.
You’re frustrated and starting to wonder if you’ll ever have some kind of breakthrough and you long for any signal that shows you’re moving in the right direction.
So what now?
I understand the frustration. There’s so much information out here, it can be difficult for a new marketer to figure out where/how to start and what to focus on.
But there’s also a false belief among many who feel that if they just put in X amount of hours, they will be guaranteed some kind of income.
I’m often asked, How many articles should I write before I start seeing X amount of traffic? or How much time before I make $X per month?
The truth is, this is not a gig that rewards you for the quantity of work or hours logged. It’s less about how much time you spend, and more about if you’re using your time effectively and actively measuring the results.
Because if you’re not careful, you can waste massive amounts of time on busy work that gets you nowhere.
If you’re just starting out with social media, my advice is to start with one or two sites instead of trying to master too many. For example, if your site is visually-oriented and targeted toward women, Pinterest may be a great place to start.
And in case you haven’t heard, they recently launched brand pages, so now you can create a business page for your site by either upgrading your existing account or creating a new one.
This growing network is now one of my top 3 traffic sources for my hair website. And it’s quality traffic that yields 4-5 page views per visit and a 50% bounce rate.
Remember, all traffic is not created equal, so it’s important to measure what people are doing once they land on your site. Maybe you received 50 visits from a campaign, but how valuable is that traffic if 90% of the people bounce and spend less than 10 seconds on your site? Did you set a goal? Was it met? How’s the engagement? Always measure the results so you can spend more time on what works and less time on what doesn’t.
Now just because I’m recommending you start small doesn’t mean you should ignore the rest of the major networks (Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn, etc.) Test them all and see which ones fit best with your business.
In fact, I highly recommend creating accounts with all the major sites just to protect your brand and establish a presence in case someone wants to reach out.
For example, I don’t use Pinterest for this site, but I did create a business page just to grab the 2createawebsite name.
But if your site is not a fit for Pinterest, don’t feel pressure to join and post pictures just because everyone’s talking about how great it is for their site. Pinterest may work well for someone else, but become a major time waster for you because of your niche.
For this site, I spend more time on Facebook because that’s where I see results. I track results from links I post compared to other networks and it just makes more sense to focus there. I also receive the best engagement.
Do I completely ignore the other networks? No, but I prioritize my time spent based on the benefits gained.
When I posted a link to my Clickbank guide a few weeks ago on Facebook, that link instantly received hundreds of visitors. I don’t get this kind of traffic from links I post on Twitter, but it is still very valuable to me because of the connections.
People often reach out to me with questions and I like being accessible. So I may not see instant traffic rewards from Twitter like I get from Facebook, but being accessible still provides indirect benefits.
Understanding the roles the various networks play in your business will help you better prioritize your time and marketing.
Experiment with services like JustRetweet and find the right balance between automation (HootSuite) and manual interaction to determine what combo works best for your site. And of course, everyone’s strategy will be different.
SEO Time Wasters
This is an area where I feel people waste too much time today. Not because SEO is a waste, but many of the strategies we used to rely on have died/are dying.
SEO is becoming more and more manipulation proof. In other words, activities that can be easily replicated will have less impact than they did before.
Anyone can submit a bunch of articles, forum signatures, amass oodles of links through schemes, submit to numerous directories, etc. Spending hours per week on those activities will no longer give you the same benefits you may have realized years ago.
So you could spend your day chasing backlinks or write one really solid article for a popular blog like ProBlogger or Basic Blog Tips.
Of course, the idea is to guest post on blogs that are relevant to your niche. Check MyBlogGuest to look for potential sites.
By the way, if you want to keep up with what’s going on with SEO, subscribe to SEOMoz. There’s always current and useful information there — especially the Whiteboard Fridays.
A couple of weeks ago they published a thought-provoking post about how anchor text may be replaced by co-citation, thus impacting SEO even more in the near future. Definitely worth a read.
Track Results and Feed Your Brain
So in the end, measuring the results from your efforts and educating yourself on what works/what doesn’t with regards to marketing is one great way to stay focused and prevent you from spinning your wheels on activities that may leave you exhausted and feeling stuck.
Just because you are working hard doesn’t mean you’re working smart, and working smart starts with educating yourself so you can stay up on the changes in the industry.
If you are just blindly posting links everywhere and not tracking what’s working and what’s not, you could be headed down a long road of frustration.
Here are links to some useful articles that will help you stay on track and up to date with Internet Marketing today and in the future.
Search Engine Optimization
Post-Penguin SEO Link Building: The Naked (URL) Truth
How Your Social Media Reach Influences Your Google Rankings
Prediction: Anchor Text is Dying and Will Be Replaced by Co-Citation
How Does Google Consider Sitewide Backlinks?
All Guest Posting is Not Beneficial for SEO
3 Quick Tips for Building a Solid SEO Foundation With Google Webmaster Tools
Google is Trying to Tell You Something, Are You Listening?
40+ Tips on How to Become a Social Media Rockstar on Twitter, Facebook and Google+
The Best Times to Post to Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus etc.
7 Social Media Tactics Your 2013 Budget Needs to Succeed
Finally Achieving SEO Value From Google Plus
The Future of Email Marketing (2012 Edition)
How to Use Email Segments to Get Higher Open Rates
5 Tips to Empower Your Email Marketing
4 Ways to Measure Your Social Media Success
5 Simple Metrics to Track Your Social Media Efforts
How to Best Use Goals in Google Analytics
Using Social Reports in Google Analytics
Need a Dose of Inspiration and Fresh Marketing Ideas?
Since we’re talking about strategies that work, I cannot close this post without giving a shout out to the BlogCastFM podcast.
Srinivas (the host) always manages to unearth successful, out-of-the-box thinkers you probably have never heard of before.
The interviews are always chock full of practical strategies and actionable advice that will shower you with fresh perspectives, ideas and inspiration.
If you ever feel like you’re stuck in a marketing rut and are growing tired of reading the same ole’ recycled tips, I guarantee you’ll learn something new with each and every interview. Definitely make room on your iPod for this podcast.
The Wrap Up
I realize the Internet is noisy and you may feel as if you have to learn everything today. Start small. Focus on a couple of strategies and track results as you go along. Remember, all busy work is not effective work.
And finally, always make time for education and inspiration. The articles above will give you a good start on the education part, and BlogCastFM has enough inspiration to get you through the next few years…
At least. 😉
Here’s to your success!
Nowdays, after post panda penguin period, social media sharing makes greater impact than building hundreds of low quality backlinks
Thanks for sharing your ideas through this nice post. All the newbies will definitely get addicted to this idea.
Googma Sansar says
Really awesome information and it is rally helpful for optimize my web page. in this competitive blogging age, its hard to get visitors without promote a site at the proper way. thank you for sharing resourceful SEO tips.
I’m a newbie and I just got my website up and running not getting much traffic and I realize that’s the norm at first.This is Just a short post, I wanted to hear your thoughts on sitemaps the good the bad and the ugly. I worked all evening with the google web master tools and also the google xml sitemap plugin for wordpress, I think I installed everything correctly. Am I wasting my time with sitemaps ?
Hi Lisa , Your SEO Time Wasters is very useful for me.
CSK Squad says
Gosh… am I the first to comment? Thanks for the post. I do feel at times overwhelmed (actually more often than not). There always seem to be another avenue to explore to engage more and another site to visit. It is endless.
Nowdays, after post panda penguin period, social media sharing makes greater impact than building hundreds of low quality backlinks. and u get a wider audience wiling to see your content and ya it takes time also.
manisha singh says
Wow What a wonderful article,It is right that success can’t be achieved overnight,it takes time.
Thanks for sharing such a encyclopedia post.
Thanks Lise, there is some really great information here to get me started. I have been glued to this site it has really helped me out.
I think this article brings up a really interesting thought; what will web marketing look like further on in the future and how will it change? I’d be interested to see what others think.
Since social media became the major place of advertising and getting the word out, every business no matter small or big should spend most of their time socializing and getting traffic.
That is something interesting and useful, which i found from your post. I totally agree that working smartly is more important than working hard. but i just want to add that you need to do work hard to be smart.
What do you think about it.?
Thanks for this excellent post. I agree with you, many SEO techniques are dying. In my opinion, video marketing and social media, are two very strong ways to succeed as a blogger and Internet Marketer.
i already gave up with this seo stuff. i dont know, what ever i done its not make big impact in my site. i already use all tips on the internet and its just waste my time. as you say maybe i do it in wrong way. maybe i will hire some SEO expert to boost up my site rank and visitor.
Hunter Pate says
SEO can be double edged sword if you don’t do it the right way. That was some class A tips, thanks.
Since the Panda and Penguin update, I really do not know what works nowadays. I have done most of the things that were mentioned in this post. But I still do not get any results. My sales is still negative. What could possibly go wrong! Informative post Lisa! 🙂
Helen @ Search Engine Marketing Phoenix says
The beauty of this SEO industry is its ever changing nature. To keep up in the competition one needs to keep himself updated. The one who are lacking research are still using the old school techniques which includes spinning article and other such link building tactics, they are only bound to produce more and more links. But the point is that whether these tons of links are giving you the benefits that you are looking for? Definitely not! My advice would be to rely on quality instead of quantity; this will save your time and reward you in form of traffic.
I really found this article informative because I came across introduced with brand pages launched by Pinterest. Thanks for that 🙂
Carmen Rane Hudson says
I always feel better when I come by your blog, Lisa. 🙂 I’ve actually been ridiculed in the past for saying that it’s better to just focus on delivering quality and to avoid manipulation, so when I come over here and see that it continues to work for you it’s pretty great! 🙂
Larry James says
Thank you for your great advice Lisa. I have been trying to focus my attention on Social Media since the Google changes, and I am only now starting to see some results.
Danielle McGaw says
Wow – what an awesome resource Lisa! You never fail to put out information that truly helps people. I especially like that you’re making people aware of the fact that our old SEO techniques just are not going to cut the cake anymore and we need to concentrate on providing value if we want to get anywhere!
Thanks Danielle! Appreciate you stopping by. 🙂
Ann Smarty says
Thanks for mentioning MyBlogGuest, Lisa! And for your very detailed and inspiring advice here! You may also love our new venture ViralContentBuzz – it’s about collaborative sharing and it’s based on “high-quality” approach.
No prob! MyBlogGuest is such a great concept. It’s one of those sites that makes me say “Why didn’t I think of that?” Will check into your ViralContentBuzz.
I don’t think backlinks have the same effect on SEO since Google changed with Panda. I try and keep backlinks in my niche. Facebook and Twitter are still hard for me since I am basically just starting out, but your guide is an excellent resource. Thank you.
all depends on the competition of the theme. verified by experience)
Rhys Newton says
Hi Lisa, I agree with your article here. Blogging is a hard thing to do, many people confuse blogging to be an easy method to earn $X per month. As said by many: “Quality of work, not quantity”. A simple reasearch, knowledge and understanding what you want towrite is a step closer to success.
Karl Lans says
Google have definitely had it with SEO’s. Many top ranking pages for competitive keywords now have ridiculous number of backlinks (like 20 or 40), while those with 100’s or 1000’s of not-quite-spammy-but-artificial backlinks are nowhere to be found in SERP’s. Time to rethink SEO.
Shornia Rahman says
Really your post was just awesome. As a newbie i have just found this helpful. In previous days i was busy in wasting time, now i can understand. However i believe that social media marketing can give me lots of traffic.
angry birds says
Wow, thanks much Stephen.
I stumbled apon this site, blog, I don’t know what you call it. It has been good to read. I started an online business 3 months ago and I just do not understand the internet. I set up a Facebook page but do not know how I get it out there. My friends don’t want my posts all over their page and I do not understand twitter either. I have a linkedin account but I don’t really know how I connect to ppl on there. I create dvds as well so I made a dvd and put it on youtube but then realised I don’t know how to get it out for ppl to watch. If anyone can give me a clue I would be so grateful.
I started an online biz because it is just getting so hard to find work here in Aus and I am not stupid or unable to work, it just isn’t there and I believe I can work an online biz, I just need to learn.
Hi Lisa as a newbie i do find it frustrating with all the advice thats out there so its always nice to hear your thoughts, i still get confused but i’ll get there eventually with your help.
I will thank God when all this old SEO tricks would come to an end. It takes a hell lot of time with minimal results. Hope it would be more sensible rathan than just doing spammy comments, forums and guest post things. hmph
branding workshops says
Social media really does wonders to a brand. Social media marketing should always be a major marketing strategy. Great insights, Lisa!
Alison Moore Smith says
As you said, tracking is key in business and on websites.
As an accountant, I know just how unsexy tracking is to a lot of people. It’s “boring” or “confusing” — mostly it’s not what they are interested in. But once people spend the time to track results — and reap the benefits — they’ll be hooked.
Event Checklist says
Awesome post Lisa. It is sure that there are a lot of ways to market your website and I think it is way better to be expert from one strategy before jumping to another one though I agree that you have to create profiles from every sources available to secure your name and branding.
Yeah its true that we can’t do the same bunch of things that we did earlier in the name of seo and get the same results.I want to write an article for pro blogger, got rejected the first time I tried it, any tips…
Thanks Lisa! I always enjoy your reading your content and watching your videos. Since this is my first post here, I’ll give a little “background” on my site…
I’ve just gotten “serious” with my site within the last few weeks. My site is a flash-gaming site, and there are already hundreds (thousands?) of those out there, but I’m finding my own crowd and it’s just awesome. It started out as a project to do so that I can apply the stuff I’m learning in college, and the response has been good, so figured “Why can’t I make money off this?”. I’m now getting between 100-200 visitors a day, and most of them are spending a lot of time on the site, and returning. That’s actually more than triple what I was getting in September and early October on an average day. Most flash gaming sites use arcade scripts that are “plug and play” (Pun intended). I think people see mine, and realize that it’s different, and I hand pick every game and only add the ones that I truly think people will like. So many of these flash games sites claim they have 10,000 games, but 9,900 of them are low quality games that very few people like.
I definitely find most of my new traffic coming from Google searches, but I do occasionally get a couple from Twitter and Facebook… I really need to work on Facebook a lot more. I’m now exploring StumbleUpon and Pinterest, and see if either of those bring in more people.
I have helped out a lot of people improve their websites, and the biggest thing is definitely to get in Google and rank high. Another one is BE PERSISTENT! Add new content frequently that get people coming back. People who keep coming back for more tend to tell their friends about your site. Don’t give up after a week or take “breaks” because those people that do visit the site won’t return if it’s the same old-same old every time. I think some of the best traffic is word of mouth.
So many visits to my site, being a gaming site, are from people searching for a specific game. It’s just awesome to see my site on the first page of searches when people search a game title, considering that same game could be on several other sites too. Over time I know the site will continue to grow.
Congrats on your progress and I couldn’t agree more with persistence. Most people give up too early and it definitely takes time.
I have tested you the social media and found out that facebook is the king among them, because of quality traffic i always get from it. Again guest posting help me a lot in terms of traffic and will never do without it.
Simply Queen of classy posts, great reading Lisa, especially the tip of MyBlogGuest, never knew of this, excellent.
Wow, thanks much Stephen.
This is one of the most sincere blogs that I have read in a long time. You are giving it like it is. No BS about it. Thank you so much.
Thank you Alain.
Nice post, stressing on working smart. I am newbie and so it is a great learning resource for how to manage the time for all the marketing we are doing.
That is really great.
you’re certainly right. Instead of wasting time in building hundreds of low quality links, it’s essential to focus on building few but quality links. They would give good results.
Social media marketing is also really essential, it helps you to reach wider audience and increase your conversion ratio. However you must know which social networking sites could be more useful for your niche.
Hi Lisa, great points there, and I agree it is easy to get bogged down in too many media platforms, and not concentrate on the best one for your niche or segment. Having only recently started on twitter, I can already see engagement is going to be much better for me there than on facebook. Horses for courses I guess.
I will say that it is really easy to wile away a lot of time on twitter if you don’t have an active plan for using it efficiently. Yikes! 🙂
Thanks for sharing your ideas through this nice post. All the newbies will definitely get addicted to this idea.
Lisa, as you know you’ve been such an encouragement to me. I’ve gone through many battles with discouragement in making money online. With all of Google’s changes that are affecting our sites, who isn’t a little discouraged.
Here’s the thing though, because I didn’t throw in the towel a few years ago, I now have income streams that never stop producing money. I get deposits from Adsens, Clickbank, Commissions Junction, Linkshare, Paypal, Amazon Associates and Fiverr on a regular basis. I’m by no means making millions, but I’ve achieved my goal, passive income.
With a couple of email blasts to various subscriber lists, I always make money. What an awesome way to live. Spend three minutes sending out a few emails and make decent money.
Thanks for being such an encouragement Lisa to me through the years.
Gotta luv it!! Jordy, that is awesome. Email marketing definitely takes time to master so that’s great that you are earning consistently from your email blasts. So happy for you!
Great job again Lisa:-)
A very useful post Lisa.
I think when you’re considering which marketing methods to use you need to consider your own site and the market you’re aiming at.
I was going to look into using Pinterest but my site is not especially visual nor aimed mainly at women, Pinterests largest user group. I’ll probably try it, but now it’s further down my to do list.
Yes, it’s easy to try and emulate someone else, but what they do may not be best for you. Trial, error and experimentation is key. Good luck!
Sunil l Entrepreneurship & Personal Finance says
nice post Lisa.
three practices have helped me greatly over the years
1) see what’s working and do more of it
2) see what’s not working and keep learning and trying something new to replace it (if it does not deliver the move on to the next)
3) self reflect – evaluate the overall strategy and tweak as needed at least annually – probably should be done sooner
you make a powerful point though when you write about focusing on one or a couple avenues at a time
Hey Sunil, well said. It’s easy to get so focused on doing/posting, etc. and not evaluate the results.
Thanks Lisa for the encyclopedia of advice. I like to review my marketing strategy at least twice a year. I am in the middle of updating my business plan for 2013 and these articles will be very helpful. Since the internet is always changing our marketing strategies have to change also in order to stay aligned with the visitation patterns!
Such a great point about reviewing twice a year. What worked in 2008 may not work as well in 2012. Fabulous point, Ann!
What a fantastic post, and I’m not just saying that because you gave me a shout out! Many thanks for that.
I also get questions from people who want to quantify the amount of time spent on social media or the number of articles they should publish per week, etc. But the truth of the matter is, what works for me or for you might not work for someone else. It takes time to build up your content and to analyze your traffic to see where it’s coming from and what people or doing once they get on your site.
I love what you said about “working smart starts with educating yourself so you can stay up on the changes in the industry”. It’s an ongoing process that we all need to take an active role in. We can’t just sit back and wait for someone else to drag us around by the nose.
Thanks so much for the encouragement and guidance Lisa!
Thanks, Ileane and you’re welcome. I feel like a broken record but I cannot say enough how impressed I am with what you’ve done with that site in just two years. You deserve the props!
Lisa, it’s not a broken record for me. It’s more like one of my favorite songs that I want to hear over and over again. Thanks for playing that tune. 🙂
Gosh… am I the first to comment?
Thanks for the post. I do feel at times overwhelmed (actually more often than not). There always seem to be another avenue to explore to engage more and another site to visit. It is endless.
For now I MUST focus on my mailing list.
However, if there is one thing I would like to know more about is Twitter. It could be a cultural thing, but I simply don’t get it. I have my twitter account, but I don’t know what to do with it. Perhaps another post? 🙂
Hi Andrea, I hear people say Twitter is their #1 source and others say they hate it. I would start with following people who have sites that are similar to yours and begin engaging/sharing. Download Hootsuite. It’s a great tool for Twitter management and you can schedule posts. I’m not a huge Twitter fan myself, but it does drive traffic to my new posts (I use Twitterfeed to automate the announcements of new posts.) So it’s about discovering how it works best for you.
Same Here. I also want to discover how it works best for my BLOG. Please Lisa write a post regarding this or give me a link.
Rick @ Web Traffic says
Lots of nice and useful tips! – And everyone should focus on quality traffic. There’s one traffic source i miss here, Youtube. Videos posted on Youtube can bring in good quality traffic. You can convert your articles into videos and post them with a link back to your post or blog and Google seems to index Youtube pages pretty fast.
Absolutely Rick. Not only can you earn a lot of money with the partner program, but YouTube also helps with converting ebooks, affiliate offers and can of course bring traffic to your site. It’s probably my favorite promotion method because I enjoy doing video so much. Thanks for chiming in.
Hi Lisa, i am a big fan of yours. i like to read your all articles and gives me motivation to run my blogs. I agree with your article here. Blogging is a hard thing to do, many people confuse blogging to be an easy method to earn $X per month. As said by many: “Quality of work, not quantity”. A simple research, knowledge and understanding what you want to write is a step closer to success.