For the past 6 months I have been using the free Zemanta WordPress Plugin on a few of my sites. We have just installed it for Blogging Your Passion, but I wanted to share with you how my other sites have benefited. While I do not love everything about this plugin, but there are some benefits to using it.
I originally decided to use the plugin because it allows you to easily drag and drop royalty free pictures into your post. However, I found other features to be much more beneficial. Here are some of the other features of Zemanta that I like to use:
The ability to easily add Amazon affiliate links. You can add your amazon id to your Zemanta account for easy insertion of affiliate links. At the bottom of your post, Zemanta shows you the keyword phrases in your post that could be turned into affiliate links.
Most of the time for me these are book titles. However, if you have a blog that discusses products, I have found that Zemanta easily picks these up as well. All you have to do to add the affiliate link is just make one click.
The ability to add related articles from your site and from other sites. I can quickly add related links to other articles I have written that are closely related. All I do is click to add the ones that I want to link to.
Zemanta also does a nice job of finding other blogs that have written on the same topic. This has been a time saver and a goldmine for me. It is a time saver because I do not have to go out and search for other related articles. I can simply click and have it added to my related articles at the end of my post.
Is it a good strategy to link out?
There is a big debate as to whether or not you should point links out to other blogs and sites. After all, common sense tells you that you don’t want to lose readers to other successful blogs, right?
However, I have found the opposite to be true. First, I think Google likes it when they see a site that is linking out to other sites. I think if you only have “in-bound” links pointing to your site, it raises a potential flag for Google. This is probably especially true for those that display Google Adsense on their sites.
My Personal Example of how I added 5,000 unique visitors by linking out
One of my goals of writing on this blog is to constantly share with you what is working on my own blogs. Like I mentioned, I have been using the Zemanta plugin. As you are probably aware, I have a self productivity blog, which is a passion of mine. Several times over the past few months, I have been linking out to related articles at LifeHacker.com. It is probably one of the largest self productivity blogs that sees 8 million+ visitors in a month.
To my surprise a few weeks ago, I was featured in one of their blog posts. It was a complete shock as I was not expecting it. You can read the article by clicking here. Anyways, below is a screenshot I took of how much traffic I have received to date from the article that I was featured on.
As a result, I have also had 6 other bloggers write blog posts about this topic and point links and send traffic to my site. I share this with you not to impress you but to impress upon you the power of linking out.
By linking out, I caught the eye of the blogger over at LifeHacker. Trust me, bloggers are aware of people that link to them. I know I pay attention.
Lessons Learned from This Experience
Here are a few random lessons I learned both good and bad:
Linking out and networking with other bloggers is a powerful way to build targeted traffic to your blog. Bob and I have often said, that your best traffic strategy in the first year of your blog is guest posting. Get to know other bloggers in your niche. Search engine traffic is awesome but normally floods in after a year of blogging consistently.
Try your best to write epic content because you never know who might be reading it. Write your articles with the best of your ability. Even if you have very little readers at this point, write as if millions are reading. To be honest, my self productivity blog is still young. I only have 110 posts on the site.
Be ready when traffic floods in suddenly. This is an area that I wish I had been better prepared. I did add about 40-50 email subscribers to my mailing lists, 80+ rss readers and an additional 75+ facebook fans. However, I have been procrastinating on an ebook I want to give away for subscribers. Had I been ready I could have captured much more traffic. I can think of several other things that I could have done better to capture more traffic. I just got a bit lazy.
My goal for you is two fold. First, start networking with other bloggers and write guest post for them (once you have written quality articles on your own site). Second, start linking out to other great articles and it just may return to you 10 fold.