Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Financial Blogging - Part III: Publicize

You have your article composed and out in the 'public domain', but where do I get my readers from? When your blog is floating amongst a sea of blogs it can be hard to get it noticed. However, there are ways you can bring it to the attention of readers. I did a brief piece this time last year on starting a blog.

[1] One of the easiest ways to get things going is to submit an article to one of the many Blog Carnivals out there. These cover areas of stocks, investing and personal finance. Blogcarnival.com is a good one stop-shop for all that is out there. The best articles for Carnivals are timeless; look more at the big picture and less at the 1-minute activity of a stock.

[2] Get personal. Join Feedburner as a start. Then link your feed to your Facebook account, LinkedIn, or whatever social bookmark tool you use. Sign up for MyBlogLogs, add your blog to your email signature (Feedburner have a great little widget which can be added to your signature which cycles through the title lines for the past 5 posts). Whenever you comment on another blog, ensure there is a backlink to your blog.

[3] Submit your blog to the various blog directories. Sites like Blogcatalog.com, Blogtoplist, and Blogtoplists are generalists, while WallStreetSignal and PhatInvestor are stock specific. Personally, I don't find the former great for foot traffic, but it can give you an idea as to where you stand in the broader picture. Instantbull.com has a good list of blogs and is an excellent starting point when building your feedread list, but also send a request to get yout blog added.

[4] Get Analytical. Google Analytics is the obvious choice, but don't forget sites like Spotplex, Sitemeter, and Activemeter. MyBlogLog has a similar referral link tracker. It's not only important to know how much traffic your blog is getting, but where it is coming from. Perhaps your getting a reference link from another blog. This is a good opportunity to send a 'Thank You' intro-email for the foot traffic and help build your contact list. Knowing who is interested in what you do makes it easier to publicize yourself without having to resort to broad spamming of bloggers to get attention. Should your write a follow up article on the linked piece you can notify interested parties (through email, or a comment on their blog) that new information is available which may be of interest to their readers. If you blog is U.S. focused then adding Quantcast can provide some handy demographic data.

[5] Make it easy for readers to social bookmark your site. Del.icio.us, Ma.gnolia and StumbleUpon are some of the primary players. A Digg link can help too. A note of caution, it is rare to see financial articles on the front page of these sites; whether that has to do with the nature of financial blog readers (who tend to be older and likely less inclined to social boookmark), the smaller readership compared to other sector blogs, or the content itself - is debatable.

[6] Get connected. Build up a feed list of your favorite bloggers and start commenting on those blogs you like. For example, you can use Google Reader, Netvibes or Bloglines. Comments need only be brief (though relevant). Ensure your name has a linkback to your blog. Don't spam the comments with unnecessary links to your blog; remember you are contributing content and added value to the other blogger for the purpose of building up a rapport - not using their comment board as a billboard for yourself. By all means include links to your blog which supports or adds value to the article you are commenting on, but don't overuse the facility.

[7] This may sound silly, but download the Alexa toolbar ('Sparky'). Why? For a reason I cannot explain, my blog only ranked on Alexa when I had a toolbar on my computer. Alexa only measures blog traffic from users with the toolbar, so if you at least have the toolbar then your blog will be given a ranking. Because of this oddity, my Alexa ranking of 400K appears entirely attributed to the number of visits I make to my site from the three computers I use which have the toolbar. Stupid? Yes. Worth ignoring? Probably not. Why? Sites like Instantbull.com use Alexa to rank you blog. Having an Alexa ranking might make the difference between a top-25 blog and a top-100 blog.

9 ways to make your blog more inclusive
54 ways to get traffic to your blog
12 Ways to be a more interactive and accessible blogger
How to be a ruthless blogger
How to blog successfully - 70 reader blogging tips.
7 Types of blog posts which always seem to get links and traffic
101 Blog tips I learned in 2006
Top 25 blogs about blogging
7 Ways to promote your site with a bit of money

Dr. Declan Fallon, Senior Market Technician, Zignals.com the free stock alerts, market alerts, and stock charts website