How to use Social Bookmarking to Increase Traffic

Any business interested in driving traffic to their website, and increasing customers, as a result, need to take part in social bookmarking as part of their internet marketing strategy. Not only is this pool of customers ready and available to listen, but developing a brand presence within specific communities can lead to ongoing traffic and most of all, results.

If you’re looking for a valuable strategy to boost sales, increase customers, or simply develop a steady stream of visitors for your blog, social bookmarking offers many benefits for propelling your business towards success. Developing a consistent strategy will take some time, but once you begin, you can look forward to increased traffic and customers—for life!

WHAT IS SOCIAL BOOKMARKING?
Social bookmarking is based on the concept of sharing information on the web and has evolved rapidly with the growth of internet communities and interactive sites. As more people turn to websites to learn, research, and even read the latest news, the ability to track and monitor this behavior is becoming even easier.
Collective intelligence is leading the wave of sharing information based on specific keywords and subjects and can help marketers and business owners in many ways. Today’s social networking sites are incorporating many social bookmarking elements into the platform. This allows users to learn even more about each other and is engaging people online by building communities, opening up new networking channels, and giving marketers and business owners a chance to track behavior.

Discovering and sharing information with keywords in specific topics is what allows social bookmarking networks to grow; as more information is provided, the categories of interest also developed to provide key information.

Digg.com is a perfect example of social bookmarking that is growing rapidly. Users can rate and comment on articles, video content, and podcasts on thousands of topics; the more popular items are posted on the Digg.com front page, while others are rated and logged for the community to review.

BENEFITS OF SOCIAL BOOKMARKING FOR BUSINESS
In addition to the marketing and branding benefits of participating in a social bookmarking network, there are other benefits involved. The following metrics can be generated as a result of ongoing participation:

Increased traffic; articles and submissions posted to social bookmarking sites can be tracked easily.

Increased revenues: customers that are continuously participating in a specific genre or community are more likely to simply buy something through this portal or channel. This gives rise to increased revenue.

Rankings: determining how well a specific product is doing becomes much easier as it reaches the high ranks of a specific community.

• Lower expenses: social bookmarking and marketing on the web offer the added benefit of reduced costs. Businesses are more likely to reach a wider audience with minimal effort.

HOW TO GET ON THE FRONT PAGE OF A SOCIAL BOOKMARKING SITE
Given how simple it can be to get information in front of influential customers, it only makes sense to take the steps to get on the front page. The front page of social bookmarking sites offers an opportunity for increased page views, visitors, and increased exposure across multiple channels.
Getting on the front page makes it easy for millions of visitors to get the ‘first impression’ with very little effort. Still, it’s not an easy process. Sites such as https://mix.com/, for example, can generate as many as 20,000 page views after just one showcase on the front page. But how is this possible?

The first step in reaching the top ranks is to develop a creative headline. All articles on social bookmarking sites that have some leverage contain a unique and compelling opening; they encourage readers to click on the link and essentially draw people in. It may be helpful to brush up on article writing and effective web copy to understand the guidelines for writing compelling headlines.

The next step is to write an appropriate description. Descriptions are essential for ensuring your captive audience stays with the article through completion. The first 10-15 words can make or break the article, and this is the time to keep the information short and concise but informative enough to keep the reader engaged. Some social bookmarking sites don’t allow more than 150 characters, so you may need to edit the text down according to site standards.

After reviewing the headlines and description, you will need to make sure the first paragraph is just as compelling. You’ve grabbed the user’s attention, and now it’s time to continue on with a unique presentation. Posting irrelevant information may result in banning from the site, so it’s important to stay within spamming guidelines.

If you are posting information from a blog, it may be simpler to just add a bookmarking button on the site. Bookmarking buttons can be pasted within a website or blog with some simple HTML code. You will simply copy the code and implement it on the site so that others can link to it easily. Or instead of adding bookmarking buttons one at a time from each social bookmarking site, you can run simple scripts that will add multiple buttons all at one time like the free script from https://www.addtoany.com/share

Once you’ve submitted your piece, it’s important to network and ‘socialize’ with other people in the community. This can help you create an active profile with various communities, but also provide added exposure for relevant posts or links. Cooperation and collaboration on social bookmarking sites are essential for creating a valuable network, and you can gain an even more influential presence as you find the right networks and communities to join. Responding to comments, posting information on other people’s articles or blogs, and just staying connected to various channels will help you build a positive online reputation.

HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT NETWORKS AND COMMUNITIES TO JOIN
Finding the right networks and communities to join will take some time; you will need to set up your profile first, highlighting key areas of interest, tagging your information appropriately, and sharing the information in already-established web communities. After that, you can start communicating with other social bookmarkers to learn about the different groups available.

Many social bookmarking sites are organized by topic and subject, and you’ll want to narrow down your fields of interest to about 4-5 different areas. If you are selling beauty products, for example, you may choose to set your sights on Fashion, Lifestyle, Shopping, and Style. If you are promoting a home products-based business, you may choose to focus on Stay at Home Mom groups, Entrepreneurs, and Small Business networks. It’s important to think in larger terms when choosing communities and networks to join, as you can narrow down the crowds after entering and introducing yourself.
Also, it’s important to learn about community rules and guidelines, and then begin posting in areas that are relevant to your identity.

EXAMPLES OF SUCCESSFUL BOOKMARKERS
The internet is filled with successful social bookmarkers on a variety of topics and subjects, but its sites such as Reddit.com and Mix.com formerly StumbleUpon.com that can really get a startup noticed. Even if you are joining these networks on a personal level, it can help to begin learning about a community, understanding key preferences and ‘lingo’ of particular communities and utilizing the common applications and tools available on social bookmarking sites today.

Some of the most attractive opportunities lie in:
GENERAL NEWS

• Reddit.com:
http://reddit.com/
where news and topics about the most recent lifestyle and daily topics are ranked in a Top 25 on the front page, as well as a listing of popular ‘subreddits’ for upcoming topics

• Digg.com
http://digg.com/
is a popular site that lists topics in the last 24 hours, 7 days, 30 days, and 365 days in the ‘All News’ section. Categories filed here include Technology, Science, World & Business, Sports, Entertainment, Gaming, and a listing of the Top 10 overall.

NICHE MARKETS

• ThisNext:
http:/www.thisnext.com
is a social shopping service that specializes in online shopping. The dedicated shoppers on this site share and recommend specific
products, and anyone can upload a profile and start creating wishlists.

HOW TO INCREASE LINKS TO YOUR WEBSITE

Link building is a natural by-product of social bookmarking sites since you are using your links and blog posts as leverage while you network. It becomes very simple to locate groups of interest, and then to proceed with sharing your links through article submissions and relevant posts. Building a profile with a link to your website is the first step, since the more prominent your position on the network, the more that other community members will want to learn more about you.

Increasing links to your website can be done in a few different ways, without spamming:

1. Commenting on blogs, articles, and posts and providing link back information of relevance.
2. Including your link as a tag on your profile name.
3. Making sure people are aware of new information that you have posted, by copying and pasting the link on relevant discussions or comments.

These are all effective traffic builders for your website and you can start to spread the message about a particular topic or article of interest.

HOW TO DIRECT VISITORS TO YOUR SITE ON SOCIAL BOOKMARKING NETWORKS

The simplest way to direct visitors to your site is to simply provide relevant links. You’ll want to ensure that a link to your main website is always included on any profile pages and signatures, and even sending out an e-mail blast that highlights which social bookmarking networks you are on can help you create some momentum. Ensuring that all visitors can see which social bookmarking sites you are linkable to is the next step.

DO’S AND DON’TS OF SUBMITTING CONTENT
Even though submitting your own content first hand is a practical way of getting some immediate results, it will not work in the long term. Ideally, you will set up a system where fans and visitors are voluntarily submitting content that they find on your site. If a story is on your site, you will want to have a friend submit it on your behalf. Remember that anonymity is difficult to keep on maintain on most social bookmarking sites, and it is better to be a
participant as a social bookmarker with relevant links than actively promoting your own. The idea is to create a positive presence within the community of your target market; the chances of interactivity are much higher, and you won’t be breaking any community guidelines as a result.

Buying votes has become a popular way for many ‘successes’ of content on social bookmarking sites, but will not necessarily help you grow authentically. A large part of successful networking is the organic growth involved; this means you need to put time and effort into community-building, and the success of your site will largely depend on the quality content you create and the frequency of visitors.

It is essential to avoid spamming in any way or form at all costs; spamming will break community guidelines and possibly have your website delisted from the network—for life. You’ll want to participate positively and build a reputation so that you do not become vulnerable to spamming as often as possible.

Be generous about linking. You can do this by including links in articles, linking out to sources, and even including links within a blog. AS you develop fresh content, make sure to send a quick e-mail to the article owners that you link to; this can create an instant new fan or prospective customer and will help with building business relations overall.

After a significant amount of time and effort, you can become a top user on a variety of sites. Gaining this status in different communities will provide additional exposure, and thus increase the likelihood of others linking to you.

If you can submit quality content on a regular basis, it will help you build a reputation that’s hard to break!

DO’S AND DON’TS OF CREATING CONTENT FOR SUBMISSION

There are some specific rules that apply when creating content for websites, and you will either need the expertise of a proficient web writer or pick up the skills to make your content both readable and search engine friendly.

SEO-FRIENDLY CONTENT
Developing SEO-friendly content needs to be a part of your plan when you develop an article or piece of media on your website. SEO-friendly content allows search engines to index and finds your information much more quickly than a standard spider search, and you will reach the top ranks of search engines much faster. Still, this does not necessarily mean it will be well received on social bookmarking sites. Keep in mind that social bookmarking sites are looking for creative, unique, and appropriate content, and much of
today’s SEO-focused content has become mechanical and almost robotic in format.

TIPS FOR WRITING SEO-FRIENDLY CONTENT
Here are some tips for writing SEO-Friendly content:
1. Don’t use hidden text. This is a tactic used by many black hat SEO artists, and search engines are simply getting smarter at spotting these. You’ll want to keep things clean.
2. Use keywords in all ALT tags in images; these are effective ways to get search engine spiders to pay attention
3. Create keyword dense paragraphs in your first few paragraphs and headers. The first couple of paragraphs offer the most potential for a search engine crawl, but you do need to make sure that these sentences make sense and ‘flow’ with the rest of your article
4. Keep the website up to date; making sure you are posting new content regularly and frequently will help you develop a strong search engine presence, and also allow any RSS subscribers to take note. Remember that the more visible you are to potential subscribers, the higher the chances of being bookmarked.
5. Use major keywords inside the H1, H2, H3, Title, Anchor, and META Tags. This will be an element of your web publishing platform and it is very important that you pay attention to headings and subheadings as a result.
6. Break up the content into multiple pages; remember that most people lose interest after about 400-500 words. You can separate our content to make it easier to read, simply by adding bullets and spaces as needed.

HOW TO WRITE RELEVANT ARTICLES FOR WEBSITE READERS

Writing articles for the web is very different than standard copywriting, and you will need to ensure that the information is provided in an easy-to-read format and that you have included enough links and relevant information to track back to your main site. Even when an article is only published on one page of your website, you will need to include linkbacks, links that go out to
resources, and even interlinking for the maximum effect.

The first step in writing relevant articles for the web is to develop a central topic. Remember that you can easily turn off visitors, (and lower the chances of having this specific piece bookmarked) if you provide something poorly written or something that is not legible. Paragraphs are organized differently on websites, as well as headings and titles. Keep in mind that
web readers are looking for:


• Quick reading
• Simple concepts
• Illustration
• Easy to understand words
• Simple examples
• Keywords

When you are developing a story for print, it’s likely that you’ll use multiple resources and quotes from interviews. Web writing can also do this, but ultimately you are writing to inform and illustrate with just a couple of examples. Blogging culture has made it even easier to simply link out to another article to show an example; it’s no longer necessary to quote or paraphrase in a complicated format, and your content will benefit immensely from simple linking out like this.

Structuring content for the web reader involves:
Keeping it short and simple
Using a conversational tone
Making sure you are providing references and additional resources
whenever possible
Creating scannable content; the page must be easy to read from top to bottom, not necessarily left to right
Providing specific information, and avoiding generalizations and
complicated information

Here are some tips for writing effective content for the web:

1. Make sure it is keyword rich but still uses the right tone and sentence structure
2. Start with the conclusion. This can help summarize the article and encourage readers to learn more
3. Use bulleted lists; bullets help to make web copy much more readable
4. Use typeface variations. This can help emphasize the main point
5. Be direct. This helps to maintain the flow of your web content
6. Provide timely and relevant material. Outdated material does not fare well on the web and will be less likely to be submitted to social bookmarking sites as a result.
7. Only include appropriate affiliate links, if any.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SELLING AND PRESENTING INFORMATION

Many businesses make the mistake of hiring a copywriter to develop creative content that isn’t intended to sell anything. When you are writing web copy, it is important to highlight the goal of each piece. Indirect selling is still possible with articles that are simply involved with presenting a new idea, but there are some key things to keep in mind.

• First, do not place links within the article unless they are relevant. Web readers are becoming warier about what is considered
‘spam’ content, and if they feel that you are trying to push or promote something, you will have a higher chance of being blacklisted. Your articles and web content needs to cater to your target market; anything beyond this may lead to negative comments and reduced readership.


Secondly, present the information in an easy to read format. Web
readers can get bored very easily, and will simply move somewhere
else if they are not getting solid information. Use bullets, headings, and titles to streamline your content so that they can quickly pick up the basic message. . .and move onto your next article.

Finally, when you are selling something, sell directly. You can do this in a friendly and conversational manner by simply introducing the product; it’s no longer necessary to create ad copy that imitates those found in publications.

IMPROVE PAGERANK WITH THE TOP SOCIAL BOOKMARKING NETWORKS

Improving your PageRank overall will take time and patience, but with diligent effort, the process will become very simple and natural. Here are a few more ways to improve PageRank and boost the chances of ranking within the top social bookmarking networks:

• Add link exchanges; these offer both visitors and search engines to determine your online ‘integrity.’ The more valuable links you have available, the more credible your website will become.

• Only submit your website to search engines and directories ONE time. It is important that you list yourself on the top search sites only once, or you will risk being banned for life. Sending in repeated submission to these directories is considered spamming, and you will lose the chance of increased exposure and marketing from this very valuable resource.

• Use conventional file naming with underscores and hyphens;
remember that search engines cannot index spaces in your title tags, so it’s best to include tags and meta-tags appropriately.

• Submit press releases with backlinks. Many of the top press release directories on the web are free, and you can create a brief 400-450 word article to obtain the right amount of exposure.

Being responsible for both content submissions and the networks you join in social networking communities is essential to business growth. Your online reputation is just as important as any offline business, and the more involved you are with providing material on the web, the higher the chances of brand exposure. Making sure you follow all community guidelines and submitting effectively will help set a strong foundation for your growth across many different networks.

As you can see social bookmarking is quickly becoming a valuable opportunity for businesses of any size and scope. With the explosion of online media channels and advertising opportunities, the potential to grow traffic through a fresh outlet presents itself as a prime opportunity through social bookmarking.

Social bookmarking is just one way to help create exposure and brand leverage for your business, and strategizing an internet marketing approach with a social bookmarking element can help create new opportunities; a chance to nurture customers for life!

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