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To increase website traffic is a challenge. Today I will share with you how I increased my blog website traffic from a brand spanking new website to over 1,000 visitors in just 3 weeks.

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If you have been following my blog you may have noticed that I like to keep Friday’s post short and sweet.  Most of the time I fail miserably because I love to share everything that I’ve learned with others.  So, thank you for reading and…  I’ll try to keep this brief.

One of the biggest hurdles I see people run into is lack of ideas.  It’s like you go full bore and then hit a brick wall.  I’ll be the first to admit; consistency is hard.  It’s hard to continually come up with fresh ideas that haven’t been already been exhausted.    Let’s take a look at 5 things you can do to keep your ideas flowing.

1. Don’t overcommit yourself

Posting a new blog post every day is a great goal and I guarantee that you will eventually have quite a following but keeping that up for any length of time is next to impossible.  Seth Godin does it and I did it for an entire Summer.  As much as I liked the growth of my blog it started to feel too much like work.  Since then I have committed to delivering 3 posts per week.  It’s much more manageable and I can still enjoy it.

2. Go outside

Sounds crazy?  God made our planet with such natural beauty.  Go outside and appreciate it.  Get some fresh air and exercise.  Enjoy a quiet walk or a hike.  Maybe just sit and watch the sun set.  Fresh ideas come from inspired refreshed people.

3. Read other people’s blogs

I love reading a good blog post; one that the author has really spent some time on.  Posts that are unique are always inspiring to me and spark new ideas.

4. Read Your blog

If you have been blogging for a while go back and read your posts.  When I do that I find so many ideas that I can expand on.  No one blog post is an end-all post.

5. Write it down!

I have forgotten so many ideas that by the mere number alone a few had to be great ones!  Do yourself a favor. Buy a small notebook and keep it with you.  Or get used to using your cell phone to record your ideas.  Send yourself a text with the idea. However you do it, just do it!

Conclusion

Keeping your blog current with fresh ideas is hard but there are things you can do to spark new ideas.  Reading your old blog posts and other creative blogs will help.  Don’t forget to take breaks!  Go outside and get some fresh air.  When your ideas come write them down or record them.  The next time you get stuck you will be good to go with a long list of ideas to keep your blog flowing with fresh content.

How do you keep fresh ideas flowing in your blog?

Early on in my life I figured out that if you want something done you are better off just doing it yourself.  Sadly, a lot of people are not good for their word and you just don’t know if they will show up.  

I have gotten a lot of “stuff” done since then using this approach of not depending on others.  But is this the best way to go about accomplishing your goals?  Is there a more efficient way to do things?  Are two brains really better than one?  Today I am going to share, just briefly, some lessons I’ve learned as a do-it-yourselfer.

1.  You do not have to be an expert at everything

Do not worry about becoming an expert.  Just give 100% at everything you do and know where to turn for answers.  Before long people will be turning to you.  

2.  Know who the experts are in your field

This is key to honing your skills and leveraging other’s expertise.  

A great example for me is with websites and search engine rankings.  I have worked with SEO (search engine optimization) a lot in the past and I know that it is not a simple black and white affair.  

The rules change (thanks to Google most of the time) often.  It becomes a full-time job trying to keep up with the criteria that will keep your website ranked at the top of the search engines.  

Thankfully, there are people out there who are passionate about the subject.  Joost de Valk developed and maintains a WordPress SEO plugin that is just fantastic.  When it comes to SEO (and I just happen to be using WordPress) he is the first “expert” I rely on.

3. Know where to turn for answers

This key point is not to be taken lightly.  With the Internet (and Google) you have access to the largest library the face of the earth has ever seen.  

When I started my career as a computer programmer years ago the Internet was still in it’s infancy and most companies didn’t allow their employees or contractors to use it.  So, each gig I went to I would cart 100 lbs worth of technical books.  I couldn’t remember everything.. nobody can.  Now-a-days you would be hard pressed to find a company that doesn’t have Internet access.

But, having access to the answers doesn’t mean diddly if you don’t know what to ask for.

4.  Know what to ask for

This seems simple enough if you are an expert in your field but if you are just starting out you know how much of a struggle it is not knowing what to ask for.

Personally, I don’t remember everything nor do I care to.  I know what to ask for and Google (my PA - personal assistant) finds me an answer 99.9% of the time.  

Conclusion

You can’t do it all yourself.  Know what questions to ask and where to get the answers you need.  A lot of the things you need are probably things that can just be plugged right in so leverage the work that others have already invested their time in completing.  Know the experts that you can trust.  Build your own team of “go-to” people that you can use.  

Most importantly, whatever you do, do it with all of your heart, 100%.

Tell me, what experts do you rely on?

For the past year I’ve been heading up the world’s largest most robust social network application for the healthcare supply chain industry.  The healthcare supply chain is a BILLION dollar a year business.  This business includes diagnostic imaging, cancer centers, home health, hospice, surgery centers, long-term care and hospitals (just to name a few).  Recently, as many of you may know, healthcare reform has become a major item on may political agendas.  How does this relate to your business?  Read on…

Healthcare reform has brought an end to “hospital systems”.  Or so it seems.  Long story short, the phrase “hospital system” is starting to become a phrase that connotes limitation and constraints.  

What is a Hospital System?

A hospital system is basically a partnership between surgery centers, physician groups, home health agencies, rehab facilities, and multiple hospitals.  They save on costs by grouping together and essentially become a one-stop shop for all of your healthcare needs.

Put into perspective, Casey Nolan, managing director of Navigant Health in Washington, D.C., states, ”The challenge for most organizations is they still think they’re in the hospital business.”

The Universal Lesson to be Learned

 ”That’s the reason railroads got into trouble years ago. They thought they were in the railroad business, not in the transportation business. Railroads experienced a golden age for about 40 years until cars, airplanes and other forms of transportation began to take over. The railroad industry didn’t redefine itself fervently enough, which led to hard times. “Hospitals need to realize they’re not in the hospital business, they’re in the care coordination business,” says Mr. Nolan.

Lesson: Define what business you are in.

Define the Purpose of Your Business

Take a long hard look at your business.  What business are you in?  Yes, you may have railroad tracks and use trains on them but what is your purpose?  You transport people and goods.

This is not an easy task to nail down.  It is easy to forget why your business exists however.

Here are a few tips for staying on track:

1.  Write down the ONE main purpose of your business
2.  Write down 3 other reasons why you are in business
3.  Look at your website - Does it reflect why you are in business or does it confuse the user?
4.  Before adding new services or features to your website ask the question, “Does this affirm our business purpose?”  If not, put it on the back burner list to come back to later.

I love how Mr. Nolan describes the railroad industry and relates it to the healthcare industry.  Take a moment and apply these same principals to your current venture.

Recently, I launched a marketing campaign for my book, How to Get Out of Debt: A Simple Biblical Approach to Living Debt-Free.  

The three basic pieces of the campaign are:

1. social bookmarking

2. book reviews

3. article marketing

I’m going to focus on article marketing today.

Article Marketing

Article marketing consists of writing articles relating to your subject, in my case, Christian finance, and submitting them to article directories.   One of the factors in your rank on search engines is backlinks to your site, or in this case, my book’s homepage on Amazon.

The more back links you have to your site the higher you will be displayed in the search engine results.  Google holds the majority of the search engine market share and that is what I’m basing all of my recommendations on.

So, if back links are so important then why not go pay some company for hundreds of them.  Sounds like a plan.  This used to work but, like always, Google refined their algorithms to not only weight the amount of back links but also to weight where the back links were coming from.

Google is all about quality.

Be very careful when trying to fool Google (or any other search engine for that matter).  The bottom line is users want to see relevant and quality content in Google search results.

Article Spinning - To Spin or Not To Spin

This leads us to article spinning.  Article spinning is when you take an article and basically rewrite it so that it’s no longer an exact copy.  A spun article is seen as unique by the search engines.  So, instead of writing 20 different articles to submit to website directories you could write it once and spin it 19 times.  Make sense?

Good to know:  Search engines weight a webpage based on it’s uniqueness. So, having the same article show up on multiple sites will decrease the rank across the board.

Article spinning is nothing new and there are several software programs that will do this automatically for you.  Most of them do not do this well.  Pretty much all of them do it poorly.  The best approach is almost always the most time consuming approach.  

The best thing you can do to spin an article is to rewrite it yourself and do just that… put a spin on it.  Think of your topic from a different angle.  Start at the end instead of the beginning.  Put a twist on it.

Ultimately, you will benefit the most by writing, writing and writing.  Commit to posting at least one new article a week.  Before you know it you will have dozens of articles that, if you want, you can put a new spin on.

Tips to Proper Article Spinning

  1. Try to write a new unique article before you consider spinning an older one
  2. If you use software to spin an article - proofread it and FIX all the mistakes.. there will be mistakes!
  3. Don’t spin someone else’s content.  Spin it or not.. you’re stealing.
  4. Only submit your articles to legit web directories.  Search engines could penalize or blacklist your site. Ouch!
  5. Remember, slow and steady wins the race.  The truth is: time flies!  Be consistent with your blog or project and you will get the visitors and customers you deserve.