Announcing a Multi-language SEO Plugin

via http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Path_to_Planet_Earth_at_Science_City_Ahmedabad.JPG

If you use WordPress and have pages or posts in more than one language, then you may like Hreflang for WordPress Plugin – for International SEO.

Google suggest a few different ways to handle language and country targeting, including using a sitemap and using the rel=”alternate” tag to indicate alternate versions of pages.

We’ve put together a plugin to help websites who have pages, or posts in multiple languages.

Which Languages Are Supported?

The plugin has support for 233 languages and regional variations, from Abkhazian to Zulu and everywhere in between!

Regional languages are useful for serving specific versions of a page to different countries that use the same base language. For example, a website that has sections targeted visitors from the UK, Australia and New Zealand could serve different versions of pages for each:

en-GB is English for Great Britain

en-AU is English for Australia

en-NZ is English for New Zealand

You can find a full list of languages on the plugin page.

Who Is The Plugin For?

It’s for websites that have content in more than one language, and run on WordPress. It’s quite hands-on so might not be suitable for huge websites, but will suit a lot of business sites.

If you want to reach out to other countries but don’t have content in more than one languages, then you’ll need a proper translation service.

How Do I Use The Plugin?

Full details on how to use the plugin can be found here:

> Hreflang for WordPress for International SEO (Plugin) details

Mac SEO Tools & Productivity Tips

Mac Tools for SEO & Productivity

When I switched to a Mac (around eight years ago), I was totally confident it was the right way to go. PCs were still too unstable for my liking back then, and with an idea of how I wanted to work in the future Apple offered a more robust platform combined with a physical appearance of quality, which brought a few positive comments from early clients.

Macs weren’t (and still aren’t) the most popular platform for SEO Software, but that was always okay because most SEO Software simply wasn’t worth owning.

Most SEO Software still isn’t worth owning IMHO, with some notable exceptions.

When it comes to Tools, Software and Productivity Hacks, I’m primarily concerned with saving time whilst keeping standards high.

With so much hyperbole and affiliate nonsense associated with SEO Software, I ask these simple questions when making an investment:

  • Does this software allow me to work more quickly?
  • Does this software allow me to maintain a high standard of work?
  • Does the cost of this software fit within my budget?

Those questions let me use certain SEO Tools whenever they’re necessary for a certain task and when a project’s budget allows for it (most tools are reasonably-priced, enterprise-level tools come with enterprise-level pricing).

Tools won’t replace ever knowledge and hard work, they just enhance it.

Website Development Tools

For Website Design projects, or for on-site search engine optimisation, code work and visual design, I use these tools:

Microsoft Remote Desktop for IE Testing – https://remote.modern.ie/

That’s right – the first tool on the list is one of those “but Macs don’t run Windows programmes” solutions. If you want to develop websites on a Mac, Internet Explorer has been an elusive platform for testing, so much so that I’m sitting near a Dell PC and Acer Laptop kept solely for those purposes. With Azure RemoteApp I’m able to connect to a Windows setup and remotely test on IE, which means that the PC and Laptop can gracefully retire.

Coda 2https://panic.com/coda/

For coding. Code autofill, local indexing, regex find and replace, lovely syntax highlighting, plus lots of other things I don’t know the names for but use regularly: Coda 2 is my code editor, and it works very well.

Transmithttps://panic.com/transmit/

For file transfer, FTP.

Image Optimhttps://imageoptim.com/

To retain image quality whilst reducing filesize, helping with loading speed.

Adobe Suitehttp://www.adobe.com/

It’s hard to replace Adobe software with decent alternatives, so I’ve stuck with Photoshop et al., which means work goes on.

Sketch Apphttp://bohemiancoding.com/

Sketch has been called a good replacement for Adobe Fireworks. Whether that’s true or not, it is good for graphic work including Branding/Logos, Icon, Infographic design and User Interface design.

Productivity Tools

Keyboard Shortcuts

Our computer setups include Mac Minis or Macbook Pros with separate keyboards and second screens or large screens. Using keyboard shortcuts is essential when working solely on a laptop, because trackpads are comparatively slower, but also allow me to use muscle memory whilst my brain is busy doing other work whatever computer I’m using.

If there’s a repeatable task that can’t be automated, learning the keyboard shortcuts is one of the first things I do.

TextExpanderhttps://smilesoftware.com/TextExpander/index.html

This falls under the “if there’s one tool I’d recommend” category. TextExpander allows you to save snippets of text that appear when you type a certain series of characters.

For example if I type ;comp then the Company Registration number appears.

I use TextExpander for everything from code snippets to passwords to outreach email templates to admin to URLs to customer service or staff email responses.

Alfredhttp://www.alfredapp.com/

I have a friend who doesn’t use an App Launcher. It seems to take him a whole century to launch anything.

TextWranglerhttp://www.barebones.com/products/textwrangler/

The clue is in the name – TextWrangler can rifle through files and spit out everything you need to use at a given moment. This is handy for lots of tasks – from Grep-ing server logs through to concatenating Magento CSVs, to prefixing long lists of domains in a disavow file.

Togglhttps://www.toggl.com/

Toggl tracks time, letting us tag segments of time and manage projects effectively.

Dropbox for Businesshttps://www.dropbox.com/business

Dropbox synchronises at all times, so there’s no chance of any client work disappearing by mistake. It’s secure and fast, making it a good place to keep things like Video guides to help clients administer their websites.

Google Drive

Drive is very good, and getting better. It’s a good replacement for MS Office, except for a few features that I’m sure Google are working on.

Microsoft Excel

There are some things that Google Sheets doesn’t include, so Excel remains in use. To be honest, some of the simple things like quick conditional highlighting are used so often that they can’t be replaced by inferior software.

Emoji Keyboard

CTRL+CMD+SPACE brings up the possibilities of adding some 🚀 to our work.

SEO & Content Tools

Screaming Frog SEO Spiderhttp://www.screamingfrog.co.uk/seo-spider/

The best SEO Audit tool out there.

URL Profilerhttp://urlprofiler.com

The best link audit tool out there, and a good partner tool for Screaming Frog when doing content audits.

Scripts & Terminal

There’s a lot of data to handle with campaigns, so scripts offer big savings on time and allow for easy data management. Macs come setup with Python, so despite not knowing any Python in 2011, I was still able to quickly grab data from the Webmaster Tools API.

Using the Command Line is easy – if you need some help, start here.

AdWords Editorhttp://www.google.com/intl/en_gb/adwordseditor/

Despite a nicer appearance, it’s not quite as good as it used to be, and not nearly as good as it needs to be, but it’s still my favoured way of import/export and management of thousands of keywords and ads.

Chrome Tools for SEO

Safari doesn’t get anywhere close to being useful for SEO, and any nostalgia for Firefox is long gone in the wake of Chrome’s speed and invaluable Extensions.

My current Google Chrome SEO Tools setup includes, but is not limited to, these extensions:

Communication Tools

FaceTime for WiFi Calling

This has the added bonus of allowing me to wear a headset, which looks ridiculous but keeps my hands free for note taking or digging around in email.

Skype

If everyone was on Skype, the world would be a better place. As it stands, some people use Skype, which means we use Skype, sometimes.

Slackhttps://slack.com

Slack is solid for project communication, especially because it integrates with Trello, amongst other things.

No Cloud SEO Software As A Service Tools?

There’s no mention of Cloud-based SEO SaaS here. Well, they’re not strictly Mac tools.

Don’t forget – Tools don’t replace knowledge and hard work, they just enhance it.

😁Emoji Indexing 👍 in SEO & Google’s Search Results

Emoji SERP Search Results

Every now and then, a new technique comes along that can make a website stand out in search results. It’s something that SEOs and Internet Marketers pray for 🙏.

The world’s first Emoji domain was published by Panic, a (great) software company, who went for 💩.la (let’s be honest, somebody would have done that sooner or later…).

Emoji is big, no? 💡

Despite this, and despite the huge takeup of the emoji keyboard (I couldn’t find any data to support this, but am still willing to bet my reputation on it), there wasn’t huge use of emojis in page titles and meta descriptions commercially.

If you google emoji you’ll see something like this:

Emoji SERP Search Results

Emoji for SEO: The Click-through Rate Question

So will emoji make a result more likely to receive a higher click-through rate? Click-through rates are notoriously tricky to predict, but easy to analyse 📈.

Here are a few places Emojis could be used:

  • 🏆🎯 Page Titles
  • ⏰📧📋 Meta Descriptions
  • 🏠🏢 Google My Business Listing titles
  • 📣💭 AdWords Ads (unless you’re in Japan)

What types of emojis can be used?

The ‘beauty’ of this little language is that it covers everything from the most basic of human emotions through to…ambiguous expressions that convey a deeper emotion that can only truly be understood in the context of the conversation the emoji is used in.

Emojis might be worth to check against your brand guidelines and house style, but most business websites could use these emojis:

  • ☎️☎︎℡ Phone
  • 📉📊 Sales Graphs/Charts
  • 👠🚲 Product pictures (you may have a product represented by an emoji)
  • 👨‍👩‍👧‍👧🙈 People (for ‘about’ pages)
  • 🎁 Gift (for items on Sale)

If you have a seasonal offering (🎄Christmas, 🎆Bonfire Night, 🎈other seasons are available) then you’re in luck.

  • ✈️ Address & Directions
  • 🇬🇧🇰🇷🇳🇴 Different Language versions (throw away your hreflang tags! – just kidding 😜)

Right that’s enough writing for now ☕️

Local Business Link Building Tactics That Work

‘Link Building’ is a phrase that confuses and even puts fear into small business owners. There’s a lot of misinformation as well as old advice that used to be good, but hasn’t stood the test of time against updates search engines have made to their ranking algorithms.

The thrust of effective local link building is simply this: having relevant, respectable websites link to your website will send traffic and increase the rankings of your website in search results for words and phrases you target.

It really is that simple. The lines between effective and risky link building become blurred when time and budget come into the equation – short-term, cheap tactics may seem attractive, but can hurt and even destroy a website’s visibility in search results.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to use successful link building tactics that you can use again and again, in the knowledge that it’s going to have a good effect on all concerned.

It’s important to realise why these are valuable, scalable tactics – because they’re basic, business-type opportunities that already exist “offline” and are legitimate things for any business or individual to be involved in.

Here is a handful of Local Business Link Building Tactics that work – now, in the past, and in the future. This is only a “handful” – I’m sure you’re smart enough to break down the incentives and wide variety of use-cases for each of these tactics and apply them to other ideas.

Testimonials & Endorsements

The reason links carry weight in search engine rankings is because they are a measure of communication – someone who links to you is, to some extent, endorsing you (unless they’ve written something negative next to the link). By that definition, it’s legitimate for one website to link to another in a natural way, if there is a good reason to.

This tactic delivers that very reason. You can offer a valuable incentive to the website you’re reaching out to for a link – you’re going to make them look good.

By offering a review of a service you use to the service provider, it’s possible to secure a link next to your company name or logo, on their “testimonials” page, or even their homepage.

Why would they want to publish your testimonial?

  • It mentions the benefits of their service to their prospective customers
  • If you have an established business, linking to you gives the indication that they contribute to your business success

Charity & Altruism

Charity in this case can mean a few things – either you donate money to a charity, or you work with a charity by offering your own time or a service provided by your business.

Let’s be clear here. If the charity you assist, or are thinking of assisting is large, running huge events, the opportunities for a valuable link may be limited – but it’s still worth looking at from a linking perspective.

If there’s a smaller, perhaps local charity with a website, they might be able to publish your link more readily.

Some charity websites have lists of supporters, including company logos and website addresses. If you can get onto that list – brilliant. If they have a blog or news page detailing events you’ve supported, those pages can represent another linking opportunity.

Apprenticeships & Work Placements

There are similarities to these tactics – you have a relationship with another organisation that you can use to publish links on their websites, because you can give them something of value.

If your business offers apprenticeships or work placements to schools, colleges or universities, then the relationship you have with those institutions can be looked at as a link opportunity.

Some ways you could go about securing a link are:

  • Write a case study of the student/apprentice for the institution to publish
  • Write a press release/news item about the apprentice scheme/student to be published in local media, which the institution can then reference whilst referencing your website

Closing the loop

There’s one crucial aspect of the above tactics that’s worth emphasising – if you’d like a link from the websites you’re working with, you might actually have to ask for one, and keep asking the right people until they publish the link.

For some hands-on link building, or a consultation, please get in touch.
Find out more about Local SEO

3 Business Websites Featuring Admirable Content

content-driven-business-edge

People are talking about Content Marketing.

What is it? Well, it’s nothing new.

Skip the definition and go straight to the examples.

‘Good content’ can differentiate one website from another, build recognition for an author, organisation, product or brand, establish trust, increase enquiries and sales – put simply, it can help fulfil many of the goals a website might have.

Content Marketing involves producing content that reaches a target audience and appeals to them in a number of ways. As a practice Content Marketing can include the placement of content outside of a brand’s website – although not necessarily by the brand itself. A message shared by its own audience is a real win in Content Marketing. Sharing isn’t limited to social media – blogs, forums and communities, email and actual word-of-mouth can all play a part.

Whilst this is similar in some ways to traditional link acquisition, or link building, it doesn’t have exactly the same purpose, or effect.

Link acquisition has a correlation with good rankings and is part of a well-planned SEO campaign. Content Marketing’s goals can include link acquisition, but aren’t focused so specifically on that.

Placement of a piece of content on a website can help raise awareness or spread knowledge of an event, brand/company, message or product – people who see the content might not necessarily have a link to click through to the website, but can share what they enjoy with others and return to search for the brand or engage with the brand on other channels at another time.

Choosing where content should be placed is a vital part of Content Marketing planning. Building up an audience with an appetite for certain types of content can depend on where said content is published – (to some extent the medium is the message). Below I’ve picked three websites whose approach to content I admire. I’ve picked these examples because they all do something different with their content, but all have the same business goals of selling products.

Some use separate blogs and domains to their ecommerce website URL, which allows them to be free of the smell of sales language and able to focus on the content itself.

Has Bean Coffee

Stephen Leighton’s Has Bean is a popular online coffee company with a loyal following whose passion for coffee matches Stephen’s. Has Bean have built up a lot of content across a number of websites, social profiles and apps. They cater for content consumption in both frequent and infrequent bursts, with In My Mug offering a weekly Video Podcast focusing on featured a coffee, and Has Blog delivering broader content including News, content announcements, Coffee producer spotlights and more.

The Has Bean website, which uses Shopify, features further “evergreen” coffee resources including detailed Brewing and Roasting Guides and articles.

content-driven-business-has

via Has Bean Coffee

What Does Their Content Do For Their Business?

As a Has Bean customer, I find their content exciting. To some extent they’ve followed the Gary Vaynerchuk way of creating a mass of content backed by a strong personality. This gives them a public face that has become an an “authority” in online coffee circles.

Their content plays a part in both sales and customer service. Being able to promote the benefits of a product with descriptive video and personal comment helps sell it. Giving away guides on different ways to use a product helps customers to continue to use the product, increases trust between the brand and the consumer and allows Has Bean to answer customer service-type questions only using content.

The Edge Cycle Works

This is a really simple example of good content from a local bike shop (or “bicycle boutique”, The Edge Cycle Works. They have a clear mission statement on their About Us page – “we care”.

content-driven-business-edge

 

via The Edge Cycleworks

What Does Their Content Do For Their Business?

The content that I find most interesting on this website is the Mountain Bike Routes they’ve published. This is just a perfect resource for local MTB-ers who want somewhere to ride, and it’s all free.

This type of content can build trust with an audience – it’s not such a leap from going into the shop and asking the staff if they know of good places to ride. However by publishing these Routes, they’re broadening their audience.

Mamnick

If you like storytelling, you’ll love Mamnick. They make clothing and accessories, “one thing at a time, as beautiful as possible”. With their roots firmly planted in the local countryside (the brand name comes from a road in the Peak District – they’re keen cyclists) and local community (there’s a strong personal association with Sheffield steel production).

Their use of content is subtle and sincere. There’s an emphasis on craft and purpose, with products designed for everyday use. There’s a real sense of heritage that Mamnick gives off, which comes across in their written content, which encompasses a Blog (or Journal, as they call it) containing cycling posts related to The Mamnick Challenge, local history and announcements of collaborations with retailers who stock their products. It’s great to see someone creating products that promote the retailers that sell their wares.

content-driven-business-mam

via Mamnick

What Does Their Content Do For Their Business?

As with Has Bean, there’s a clear passion behind Mamnick, which is easy to empathise with. Looking back through their Journal you can see images of products being created in the workshop. Coupling this with the ideal of creating “one thing at a time, as beautifully as possible” and the heritage story, a customer is taken from product conception through to completion. The brand is the story, and so are the products. When you buy a Mamnick item, you’re not just buying a purposeful or attractive piece of clothing, you’re buying the whole story behind it, which is a compelling thing.

Great Experiences

These three small examples show just how much scope there is for creating great experiences for customers. You don’t have to be a strong personality to use content in the way that Gary Vaynerchuk does (although it helps). With consistency and some creativity there are opportunities for all kinds of business to attract, sell to and really connect with their customers.

The Best WordPress Flat Design Themes in 2015

Flatter (theme-preview)

The Best WordPress Flat Design Themes in 2015

Undoubtedly due to iOS, Flat Design appears to be taking off. There are a good number of Creative, Portfolio and ‘Agency’-style WordPress Themes featuring ‘Flat Design’.

Here’s a closer look…

Multi-purpose Flat Design Themes

The beauty of WordPress is its versatility – it can do SO MUCH – which is why a ‘Multi-purpose’ theme exists. These Flat-design (and responsive) WordPress templates will change shape and bend to your every need, whilst looking great and offering all of the functionality that WordPress provides – which is a LOT.

Flatter

Flatter (theme-preview)

The7

the7 (promo-image-version-3)

Satellite7

Satellite7 (preview)

X

x theme (preview)

Karma

Karma WordPress Theme (preview)

Ecommerce Flat Design WordPress Themes

Flat Design has arrived for ecommerce – and here, Woocommerce specifically. If you’re looking for a cutting-edge design trend to follow with your new ecommerce website, then this flat responsive woocommerce template will do everything you’ll need it to:

Flat Responsive WooCommerce Theme

Flat responsive woocommerce theme (preview)

Flat Portfolio WP Themes

One of the great things about Flat Design is its simplicity – it puts focus where it should be, and with these themes, the focus is on YOUR portfolio. These flat wordpress portofolio themes are simple, but incredible:

Showy

showy-preview.__large_preview.__large_preview

Cluster

Cluster_preview

Flat

Flat preview

Hypertext

Hypertext (preview)

“One-Page” Flat Design WordPress Themes

Never has simple design been more apparent than in the ‘One-Page’ WordPress Theme – these flat designs are great for fast-loading, responsive sites that feature all of your information and conversion activities on a single landing page – they are perfect!

Proxy

Proxy_preview

Flatco

flatco large preview

 

Animated GIF Search Engines

cap-18

google it!

Search isn’t limited to Google web search, oh no.

YouTube is the second largest search engine, and obviously focuses on video.

If you want to look for GIFs on Google, you need to add the keyword ‘GIF’ to your search, or use the ‘Animated’ option under Images > Search Tools > Type.

cap-18

Finding Images For Content Creation

There are many ways to find images to use in content you publish. It’s important to be aware of copyright issues that may arise from using images you’re not allowed to. Searching for images with a Creative Commons license will unearth resources you can freely use, depending on the license.

Good places to find images you can use include:

search.creativecommons.org searches other websites for assets that match the creative commons license of your choice.

Compfight does something very similar, but has an interface that keeps you on compfight.com, which in my opinion gives you a better user experience.

Which Animated GIF Search Engine Is The Best?

The answer depends on the results you get.

Here are some GIF Search Engines and good places to find GIFs:

Giphy – the first “GIF Search Engine”.

Gifly – is a nice and clean site that features GIFs that are searchable by tag, but you have to skip through images one-by-one.

GIFBin has GIFs with popularity scores, so you can find animations that are likely to perform well alongside your other content.

GIFSoup allows you to not only search for GIFs, but also to create them from YouTube videos. This is a good way of porting video content to a slightly different medium.

Tumblr sites – If you want to go viral on Tumblr, using GIFs could help – it’s also a great place to find GIFs.

Reddit r/gifs is another place full of user-submitted content. Good GIFs can often be found in comments on conversation threads.

Enjoy having fun with GIFs!

Computer GIF

Quality Link Acquisition Service

Search Engines see links from other websites to your own similar to “votes for” your website. If your website pages have more links, or higher quality links, than other websites then it will out-rank them in search results.

Building the “authority” of a domain by acquiring links is a key aspect of search engine optimisation.

By acquiring links from “high quality” websites, your site can also receive an increased amount of traffic from those other websites.

Links, “backlinks”, “in-links”, “followed links”, “acquired links” are all terms used frequently within search marketing circles.

Our Link Acquisition Service
We offer a Link Acquisition service, where we’ll acquire good quality, worthwhile links that send traffic to your website whilst boosting your rankings.
This service is for all budgets starting from £240 per month. Make an enquiry here!

How does a website acquire links?

Link Acquisition is the practice of gaining a link from another website to your own. There are a number of ways to achieve this, including:

  • Creating a linkable asset on a website that’s compelling enough to attract links from other sites
  • Hosting any kind of linkable asset on a website and promoting it so others are likely to link to it
  • Developing relationships with others who may offer you a link for free
  • Developing relationships with others who will offer you a link or in exchange for goods, services or assistance
  • Manually creating links from a website under your control
  • Submitting your site to other sites which will link to you for free or in exchange for a fee or a reciprocal link

Adhering to Google’s guidelines

There are a number of Link Acquisition tactics that are against Google’s guidelines.

The value of links acquired in ways that violate those guidelines can be devalued and the websites involved in the scheme penalised, or “de-indexed” (removed) from search engine results.

Link Acquisition, or Link Building?

Link Acquisition as a general term is often and perhaps more commonly referred to as ‘Link Building’.

There is on-going discussion within the Digital Marketing industry as to the merits of ‘Link Building’ as a term. Some feel it has connotations of “spammy” practices. Link Acquisition encompasses every way that links are obtained – whether they are earned or built – and there are very legitimate, non-spammy ways of building links.

Link Acquisition can be a by-product of Content Marketing, a practice that isn’t specifically focused on acquiring links, but marketing a business, website or entity through content tailored for particular audiences.

If you’re looking to acquire some high quality links to your website feel free to get in touch for a conversation about your business goals.

How To Stop “Would You Like To Translate It?” Appearing On Your Website

Pieter Bruegel The Elder The Tower Of Babel (Vienna) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The experience people have when using your website is important. Crucial, really, to its success.

There are many reasons that a visitor might not enjoy using your website – from something simple such as not being able to find what they were looking for, to becoming frustrated with an overly-complex checkout process.

Language is (obviously) very important. You know this. I know this. Google knows this. Do Google know this? Well, kind of.

An ecommerce website recently had an issue with visitors using Google Chrome being asked “This page is in Italian. Would you like to translate it?”

They were given the three choices of “Nope”, “Translate” or “Never translate Italian”.

The thing is, the page wasn’t written in Italian, it was in English.

Would You Like To Translate It?

The page happened to include a single Italian word, “espresso”, a number of times, which made Google think that the whole page was in Italian, which was:

Potentially confusing for visitors
like many words and phrases in regular English usage, “espresso” has merely been adopted by English speakers.

Potentially annoying for visitors
pop-up bars, including “official” browser pop-ups might be annoying.

Potentially a barrier for conversion
Pop-up bars remove focus from the products and are a distraction from purchasing. “Official” browser pop-ups might be enough to send a visitor running a mile – most of the time in-browser bars appear is with technology warnings, malware, broken SSL certificates and other errors of a more serious nature.

There’s A Quick Fix, But Not An Ideal Solution

Ideally, Google would offer to translate a foreign language into your native language, excluding any foreign words that are in everyday use in your native language (which includes a lot of names of food and recipe ingredients).

Google Translate is not there yet, so there are two paths you can go down:

  1. Don’t change anything (and live with the consequences)
  2. Stop Google from showing the “Would You Like To Translate It?” message completely

It’s a simple thing to implement – you only need to add a Meta Tag to the page of the website that’s experiencing the problem.

If there is an issue with every page of a website, add the tag to each page – obviously if you’re using a CMS such as WordPress, Drupal or other then you can add the tag to your template.

Here’s the Meta Tag:

<meta name=”google” value=”notranslate”>

No Translate Meta Tag

I hope that solves your problem, and leads to better experiences for visitors to your website!

Going “Viral” On Tumblr: A Microblog Micro-Case Study

Going Viral On Tumblr

Tumblr is my favourite social network. I joined it fairly early on (mid-2008) because I wanted a blog, but didn’t have much to say. I’ve been having fun there ever since.

I now run a few Tumblrs, for various personal and client projects. Last year, for the first time, I managed to make it onto the Tumblr Radar, which for a keen user/Tumblr fanboy was a special day.

The Tumblr Radar is Tumblr’s internal way of showcasing Trending posts – usually images, and showing them in every logged-in user’s Dashboard. If you want to reach a portion of the owners of the 105,000,000 blogs using the site, the Radar is the place to be.

Tumblr Radar

Tumblog owners publish 900 posts per second, collectively. That’s 77,760,000 new posts every day. The marketer in me reacts to that statistic with “woah that’s a lot of noise”.

How is it possible to stand out amongst such a huge amount of content? What’s the formula for going viral on Tumblr?

The answer is good advice for Social Media Marketing: there is no clear answer. You have to test.

You can wait for serendipity, but you can’t guarantee it. The best thing I could have done was maximise my chances of success, and leverage the audience I already had.

So I followed something of a “best practice” plan, which worked. This is what I did…

Tumblr Dominate Your Niche Space

Focus On A Niche

I had a few things going for me here. My niche was:

Visual

– Images, not video or animate GIFs, were the media of choice. This is fortunate, because image posts do well – on Tumblr, “doing well” means gaining traction through sharing and engagement.

Seasonal

– The Tumblr focused on the key aspect of a seasonal event, which means it only has one chance to be successful each year, and that it won’t be successful for very long during that period. It has to be as successful as it can, during the time it can be successful. Tricky, isn’t it?

Basket Cat Tumblr

Be Consistent

I’ll break it down. Consistency here means:

Publishing Regularly

I was trying to grow a following whilst also getting return visits. The lack of Tumblr Analytics wasn’t a problem, because you don’t miss what you never had, so I used Google Analytics to find traffic sources. I wasn’t getting much referral traffic from anywhere outsite of the Tumblr network, where reblogs from others led to a steady stream of traffic. I was ranking well in Google for head terms along the lines of “niche keyword tumblr”. There was a low chance of ranking for phrases without the keyword Tumblr in without adding pages of text content and some serious link building – but that wasn’t an objective, I had something of an audience and wanted to increase it.

Publishing at appropriate times

Most of my audience was US-based, so I found the times of day that the site had the most US visits in Google Analytics, and set up the Tumblr Schedule to automatically publish queued posts during that time.

Tumblr Schedule

Because of the seasonal aspect of the content, I planned to increase the number of posts leading up to the day of the event, which helped build momentum. The aim was that I’d be able to ride the wave of interest in the event itself with lots of incoming submissions for content that would be published in the days following the event.

Publishing similar content

I’ve tried to publish fewer than ten Text posts on the site, to minimal response. It seems that most of my audience only hammer the Like and Reblog buttons on image posts.

Engage With Your Audience

When Tumblr first appeared, one of the slogans they used was “the easiest way to blog”. It’s also one of the simplest places to engage with your followers.

Likes & Reblogs

Tumblr was built with mass-sharing in mind. A key feature of the Dashboard is the little heart button (for Likes), but perhaps more importantly, the Reblog button. Reblogs not only allow people to share your content on their own sites, but they also generate a dofollow link back to the source of the post.

Tumblr Ask

Ask Your Audience

As I mentioned above, people didn’t respond to Text posts, but the option is there – Simply add a question mark to any post you write and Tumblr inserts a little “Let people answer this” checkbox.

User-generated Content: Submissions

Tumblr gives you a built-in form to accept submissions, from which you can easily tag, edit and publish a post. I enabled this feature as a navigation button on my site, but also included a Call-to-action in text form to encourage submissions further.

I’d drip feed these posts to be pubished as per my scheduled times.

Tumblr Reblorg

User-generated Content: Reblogs

A simple way I tried to grow my following was to reblog them. My niche was full of user-generated content that people posted on their own sites, so a simple Saved Search for the appropriate keywords gave me access to quickly reblog others, which they were notified of. This is a great little way of ego-baiting people to check out your site, follow you, like or reblog your content and submit something else for you to feature.

The Tumblr Radar Effect & Traffic Sources

I knew there was a lot of traffic to the site, because I had Google Analytics Real-Time Report open. Unfortunately Tumblr still don’t offer any Analytics data for a site’s performance on the Dashboard, which is where a large amount of an audience will see a post.

Here’s the Google Analytics screenshot:
Tumblr Google Analytics

If you’ve had success with Social before you’ll be used to seeing this kind of spike in traffic. The site went from 1,000 visits per day to over 20,000 on the day of being on Tumblr Radar.

Obviously, Tumblr was the main source of traffic during that period.
Tumblr Google Analytics Traffic Sources

The post was featured on the Radar for around 12 hours.
Tumblr Google Analytics Time

These are the ‘Notes’ for the post that was featured on the Radar. A ‘note’ is either a Like or a Reblog:

Tumblr Notes

Before the post was featured on the Radar, the site had around 1,000 followers. It’s currently up to around 12,000.

Careful How You “Monetise”

I tested a few different ways to try and earn from the site. It’s a little tricky because there really isn’t much commercial intent in visits to the site. It’s a good place to find inspiration for the creatively-inclined to come up with their own ideas to create something that would otherwise be purchased, but few people came looking for a product.

I tried:

Affiliate links
I linked to search results pages on Amazon, but got very few clicks and no sales.

Ecommerce links
I have a friend with a related ecommerce website, so allowed him to put a banner ad near the top of each page. Whilst there was some traffic, it didn’t generate any direct sales.

Google Adsense did generate some earnings, which was nice, if a little surprising. I got a little cheque that paid for a couple of presents for people, so it was a nice bonus.

Importantly – none of my efforts to earn from the site seemed to hinder its performance. I didn’t annoy the audience with pop-up ads, and didn’t over-do Adsense placement. The affiliate links and banners didn’t get much click-through, but those things are easily ignored when there are nice images to reblog.

Lessons Learned: Further Thoughts & Business Cases For Tumblr

What else should I have done to increase the audience size of the blog?

Social Integration

I’m keen on integration, especially with content-based marketing. That said, I hadn’t setup a Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest page for this website.

Using the pinterest.com/source/yourdomain feature, there seems to be a lot of pins from images hosted on the site. The post that went viral has been pinned 984 times, which seems okay as the Pin button was only added to the site after the event.

I’ve started to cross-post content on other social networks, so hope to build on the following I have this year.

Paid Promotion & Outreach to related sites

Some coverage for on Buzzfeed would go down nicely this year, but paid promotion of a post would probably have resulted in increased exposure of the website. A few paid stumbles, for example, would probably have delivered a constant stream of organic traffic following the initial paid push.

Tumblr Business Cat

Business Partnerships

The best way to generate business from an existing Tumblr site, as far as I can see, is to partner with appropriate businesses. I’d welcome the chance to do that with this website, and the opportunity to run a Tumblr with a brand or business with solid content, community and revenue goals in mind.

Major brands have been using Tumblr for a couple of years now. Those that do it successfully create content for the Tumblr audience specifically. There are solid ‘branding’ reasons to engage with Tumblr communities, but also great opportunities for:

Content Marketing and Promotion – If your target audience is using Tumblr, then you should get involved with them. Your content could spread – not necessarily quickly and “virally”, but steadily over time.

Search Engine Optimisation – There are a number of SEO benefits for Tumblr (I’ll write another post on this), including Online Reputation Management and link acquisition.

Integration – One reason Tumblr is successful is because it bridges the gap between blogs (which usually feature longer, more permanent content) and more-instant social media (the lifespan of a Tweet can be very short). It’s a relatively simple effort to cross-post content on Tumblr and other media.

Best Practice is what helped my site get added to the Tumblr Radar. Bizarrely, I’ve come across a few abandoned/deleted Tumblrs from brands – one in particular is from a supposedly forward-thinking brand (think top five social media success stories for major brands of the past five years), which was very odd to see.

Am I planning to hit the Tumblr Radar again?
Tumblr We're Back

**** Yeah.