Hints for bloggers, 2, USE social media

This is the second piece on driving traffic to your web site or blog.

From the point of view of a blogger or webmaster, the sole reason social media exists is to drive people to your website or blog.  You tease them with something cool you posted and provide a link.  What’s the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything?  If you’re a Hitchhiker fan, you already know it’s 42.

However, the 42 should be on your blog.  Unless you have a better answer, in which case you might lead in with, “What’s the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything?  I have it, and it’s NOT 42!  Look on my blog at biganswer.com!”  (A quick check reveals someone has already registered biganswer.com, but it’s a dead site.  I bet they want to sell the domain name.)

There are two corollaries to this.  One is, don’t disappoint people when they get to your site.  Make them want to come back.  Disappointment can take so many forms.  Like getting to your site and finding the answer is five links away.  No, I’m a modern age person, I want what you promised, I want what I want and I want right damn now!  And the other common form of disappointment is not delivering.  If you tell me the answer is 44, I’m gone, you were playing with me.  You just gave me “click bait” like the teasers at the bottom of some news sites that promise to show you naked starlets.  You never see them (please, don’t ask me how I know).  I want something better.  Whether that is the ultimate answer that is better than 42, naked starlets or your prized gefillte fish recipe.  We’ll talk more about setting up and meeting expectations in future notes.

The next corollary is to not drive off people before you get them to your site.  The title of one of Alton Brown’s books, “I’m just here for the food” is a great mindset.  For most of us, it helps two have at least two social media accounts.  One where you go to have fun and hang out with your friends, share cute cat photos, let your hair down, “kick the cat and call the dog a bastard” as Heinlein put it.  And where you probably connect with few, if any, of your day job coworkers or people who are interested in your blog or website.  And another account you use to push people towards your main site.

I have Mike and BakeWithMike accounts, though I use BakeWithMike too little.  There are twitter clients that can handle multiple accounts.  Which can also time the release of your tweets.  You could pre-program a week’s worth of tweets if you’re clever.  So far, I’m not that clever.

If, like me, you have food related websites and blogs, I can promise you this – if you share your political or religious views, no matter what they are, on the same account as you use to talk about your website or blog content, you will alienate people.  My strong feeling is the only time you should talk about religion or politics in the accounts you use to drive people to your website or blog is if your website or blog content is political or religious.  Stay on topic.  I’m only here for the food.

Again, it doesn’t matter what your political or religious beliefs are, if you share them in your promotional account, you’ll alienate someone.  I hear someone in the back saying, “But… I’m a CHRISTIAN! Why shouldn’t I share my views?”  I have an answer in three parts.

First, on a global scale, Christianity is a minority religion.  According to http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html, about a third of the world is Christian, so you risk alienating about 2/3 of the world at the git go.

Next, what kind of Christian are you?  Every socially divisive religious topic that is currently destroying America (that wasn’t politics or religion, it was an observation) has faithful Christian adherents on both sides of the question.  Who, arguably, have the Bible on their side.  And who will be less willing to go to your website or blog because you believe differently than they do.

Finally, yes, you can say whatever you want in any of your posts.  There is no rule against it.

However, you will be driving people away from your site before they go to it.  It IS your choice.  If your goal is to drive people to your automobile maintenance oriented website or blog, talking about your politics or religion won’t help, no matter what your beliefs are.

Knowing that, it’s your choice.  As I like to say, on the other hand you have more fingers.  Maybe you want to only attract Roman Catholics or Anglicans to your web site about automobile repair.  That’s cool.  You need to do the math to determine if the target market is large enough to be worthwhile.  It may be.  In any case, it’s your call.

You might get the idea by now that there aren’t many hard and fast rules, and you’d be right.  We’ll talk about that more in a note or two.

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