Archive for Driving Traffic

Free/Low Cost Social Networking Scripts

A friend and client of mine asked me about SNEmpire today. I wasn’t sure exactly what it was, but a quick Google I discovered it’s a $500 social networking script. The sales page actually looks pretty good, but I went to one of the sites running the software (imsocialize.com) and was less than impressed by the user interface presented there.

Instead of recommending a buy, I pointed my friend to several open source social networking scripts that might server her needs:

Dolphin
The demo site and the showcase of sites running this script are very impressive.

Elgg
This looks like another contender. It’s got a pretty basic interface, but from a user standpoint, the simplicity is great.

Mahara
Mahara is a little less like Facebook, and a little more like LinkedIn. If your users are all about business and achievements, this might be the best solution for you.

Insoshi
A bit basic, but like Elgg, it’s got lots of potential.

PHPizabi
A great looking site right out of the box.

While each of these will require some customization, and they don’t come with tutorials, and maybe that makes all the difference to my friend. But making sure the foundation of my business — the software — is rock solid would be more important to me than spending time on the customization and learning curve were I planning a social networking site.

Do You Squidoo?

One of the hottest sites to come out of the Web 2.0 phenomenon is Squidoo. If you are not building sites to Squidoo, you are missing one of the quickest and easiest ways to build free traffic for your website or blog.

Squidoo is a cross between a blog, a mini site, and a My Space page. Squidoo calls the sites “lenses” and the people who produce the sites are called “lensmasters.”

Squidoo lenses are very easy to make, even if you have not ever built a website or blog before. You can have a lens up and running in as little as 15 minutes.

Squidoo lenses are made up of “modules”. Squidoo has dozens of modules to choose from. There are modules for making lists. There are modules for You Tube videos. There are modules for Amazon and Ebay auctions. With a little knowledge of the module system, you can have your lens built in no time.

Squidoo also offers you a chance to make money from your lens. Squidoo makes its money from affiliate advertising with Google AdSense, Amazon, Ebay and several other sites. They keep track of the earnings of each module and split the profits with you 50-50. You can also donate your profits of your module to charity if you wish.

Squidoo is very lenient about allowing you to use third party advertising on your lens. You can promote your own website if you wish or promote your favorite affiliate product. Savvy network marketers often use Squidoo lenses to promote their products and recruit new reps.

Squidoo lenses often rank very high on Google, so it’s a great chance to build some backlinks to your primary site, or promote a variety of Clickbank links on a given topic.

Check out Tiffany Dow’s “Social Networking on Squidoo” for the best information on using Squidoo to capture leads and make sales in any niche with Squidoo.

Click here!

More uncommon thoughts incoming links

It seems that people really, really want incoming links. I don’t know how many people reading this actually will follow through and DO the things that will lead to tons of incoming links, but I’ll throw some more ideas out there anyway, for those who DO have the motivation.

 1) Articles. Yep, articles with links back to your site. They actually work to some degree, as long as 1) they are well written and specific, 2) they are in a niche that is at least moderately well covered by other marketers building their sites.

2) Articles on steroids… would be to not just distribute articles, but to create a few variations of a full Adsense-optimized website with multiple links to you.  

3) Templates… This works too. Create WordPress templates, blogger templates, vbulletin templates, myspace templates, neopets templates… whatever floats your boat, and give them away as long as a link to your website is maintained.  (In some cases, you can even sell the template and require the link. I just paid $160 for a vbulletin template. The terms state that the link back must stay unless I pay another $120 to remove it.)

 4) Template Adaptations— A thought for those with some HTML knowledge but no design ability – adapt OSWD.org templates for your favorite tool, whether it be Instant Niche Site Builder or XSite Pro.

5) Organize the unorganized : If you don’t know how to do either 3 or 4, why not find a tool where templates are scattered hither and thither and compile a directory of all the best templates. A well organized template directory site is easy link bait.

6) RSS. I don’t mean putting feeds on your site, I mean offering a really solid daily article, recipe, craft, themed photo, or other valuable tidbit via RSS that other people can host on their site. Include your link in every article, and you’ve got a one-way link, and the webmasters using your feed get free evolving content they can monetize.

7) Syndicate a database of …. anything. If your site is focusing on fishing rods, why not create a widget that people can plug in to their websites that offers a search of fishing rod repair shops by location? You can include a “widget by yoursite.com” link to get the return from the main widget and any results pages too. You’re offering solid, useful content to webmasters that use the widget, and in return you’ll get plenty of front page high profile links to your site. And depending on the complexity of your content, I’d bet you could have something built for under $100 on RentACoder. And if your widget gets a lot of use, you could charge repair shops for inclusion in the database.

8) Reciprocal linking. It’s not dead, it just needs to be more discriminate. Try SiteSell’s Value Exchange for a way to exchange links that doesn’t turn your links pages into a liability instead of an asset.

9) Buy links… but not necessarily through text link brokers. Why not find a blogger with a closely related subject and offer them cash to link your site to every instance of “keyword” on their website.  You could even offer a WordPress plugin that does the work for them automatically — just follow along with this tutorial and change ‘fu’ and ‘bar’ to ‘keyword’ and  linked keyword and you’re home free.

10) Social Bookmarks – ok, I know this is probably self-serving, but it does bring links and traffic, so just check it out :)  

My son wants me to color with him now, so that’s where I’ll leave off. Use your imagination to come up with variations. If you offer webmasters something that’s valuable to them, you can get links back. Not just links on hidden link directories and invisible pages, but solid, high profile links.

But you have to take the time or money to create, invent, or develop something worth the link first.