Larry BraunerI assert in Why Should I Like Your Facebook Page? that until you determine “what’s in it” for your Facebook page’s fans, you’re not ready to launch your Facebook page. You’ll only succeed by accident, if at all.

I’m ready to assume that your Facebook page already offers a lot of useful information, a way to subscribe to your web content, online customer service, news about events, contests, juicy gossip, entertainment or other perceived benefits that make it worthwhile for people to follow.

How Do I Get Fans for My Facebook Page?

FacebookNow, you’re looking to get fans for your Facebook page.

Perhaps you don’t yet have a strong web presence, and you’re trying to grow your Facebook fan base from scratch.  Your Facebook page deserves fans, and you’re asking yourself, “How can I attract people who’ll ‘like’ my page and become my page’s fans?”

There are lots of ways to get Facebook page fans, including Facebook ads, which I do not like. I’m sharing with you methods that can help you easily grow your small business or solo entrepreneur Facebook page fan base, in the hope that you can succeed without making the Facebook page building process more difficult or complex than it needs to be.

My Top Ways to Get Facebook Page Fans

These are the top ten ways that I’ve grown my Facebook page fans:

  1. Feather Your Nest - Ask 25 close friends or family members to help you reach the 25 Facebook page fans you need to obtain your custom Facebook page name, helping your page appeal to prospective fans.
  2. Your Facebook Friends - If you have few Facebook friends, ask each individually to “like” your Facebook fan page. Tell them that you’d love for them to join you there. If you have hundreds or thousands of friends, you can use the “Suggest to Friends” option to invite them. Be sure to add a personal message in the invite. Many people ignore Facebook page invites, so don’t expect more than 5% to 10% rate of acceptance.
  3. Your Email Lists - If you have email lists, invite contacts to visit and “like” your Facebook fan page. Be personal and friendly in your message. Use Edit Page >> Marketing >> Tell Your Fans. Don’t spam.
  4. Everyone You Meet - Tell everybody. Put your Facebook page link and Twitter handle on your business cards and in the signature of your emails.
  5. Link to Your Page - Link to your Facebook page rather than your Facebook profile from all the social networking sites you join and from your blog site or other website.
  6. Blogging About Your Page - Use your Facebook fan page to promote your blog, but make sure that you also use your blog to promote your Facebook page. At the end of posts, ask readers to subscribe to your blog and to “like” your Facebook page.
  7. Ask Your Friends to Help - I’ve asked some of my Facebook friends to suggest my Facebook page to their Facebook friends along with a message of recommendation. If you try this approach, you may find it to be highly effective, just as I have.
  8. Fan Page Events - I’ve added hundreds of Facebook page fans by holding events on my Facebook page. 4+ Day Blog and Website Promotion Event and Social Media Party and Facebook Fan Page Event Going Viral and Attracting Hundreds Already describe my most successful Facebook event.
  9. Facebook Widgets - I have a Facebook fan page widget on each of my websites, making it easy for site visitors to “like” my Facebook page and stay in touch.
  10. Engage Your Facebook Fans - Your posts must be made visible to your Facebook page fans. Read How Facebook EdgeRank Affects Your Visibility. Engage your fans, primarily by asking questions. When your fans comment on your status or “like” it, they’re sharing it with their Facebook friends.

Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day, Nor Was My Facebook Page

Accept reality. It will take time to get a large number of Facebook page fans, but if you add just three new Facebook page fans per day, you’ll have 1,000 fans in less than a year. By adding five to six Facebook page fans per day on average, I was able to add 2,000 new fans in the past year. You can do it too!

New blog subscribers and Facebook fans are welcome — and if you think that others might benefit from advice for getting Facebook page fans, please share this article with them. ;-)

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Larry BraunerLittle by little, Facebook members are discovering the dark side of the new Facebook groups.

In The Problem with Facebook Groups, I complain that old Facebook Groups lack member engagement. Members aren’t notified when content is added to the group and only learn of new posts or comments if by chance they visit the group’s page or if a moderator broadcasts a message to them.

Problems with New Facebook Groups

FacebookThe new Facebook groups have the opposite problem. By default, a member is notified every time another member posts. If the new Facebook group is large, members will be bombarded with unwanted email notifications and chat window popups. The engagement problem is solved, but a new notification problem is created.

Users who are bothered by the quantity of email notifications can change their notification setting to “only posts I am subscribed to” and reduce or eliminate the notification problem –  once they figure out how to do so.

However, there’s a bigger problem not yet mentioned: One can be added by Facebook friends to new Facebook groups without pre-approval. Therefore, before one knows what’s happening, and before one can leave the group or change one’s notification setting, emails start flowing into his or her inbox, seemingly out of nowhere. Sounds like fiction, but I’m not making this up!

Marketing vs. Collaboration

These problems render the new Facebook groups, as currently formulated, totally unsuitable for Facebook marketing.

On the other hand, new Facebook groups work very well for collaboration, especially with their group document creation and editing capability.

New Facebook Group for GroupGain Collaboration

GroupGainI’m working closely with a team of interns promoting GroupGain, a social networking site for group buying with a unique twist that’s launching soon. We have a new Facebook group that’s tiny, has just nine members, and each of us knew in advance that we’d be added to the group. As a result, there haven’t been any problems associated with our new Facebook group.

More Information about New Facebook Groups

I suggest you read Facebook Groups – A Walkthrough of Group Email, Docs, Chat, and More for the new Facebook groups basics, and Facebook Groups Spam and The Notifications Dilemma, as well. Both pieces are featured on Inside Facebook.

New Facebook Groups Verdict

If the new Facebook groups would require members to opt-in, not opt-out, members wouldn’t be taken as much by surprise. Until Facebook makes some adjustments, I give the new Facebook groups a thumbs-up for group collaboration (or small-scale networks) and a thumbs-down for marketing (and large-scale networks).

Having been forewarned, you my join my new Facebook group if you dare:

Larry Brauner’s Group

Have a new Facebook groups war story to share with us?

Please “like” my Facebook page and subscribe to my blog. :)

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Larry BraunerI’m writing about social bookmarking sites because of comments on my Facebook page indicating that people could still be unfamiliar with social bookmarking.

Social bookmarking sites are meta resources that help us to catalog and organize the vast amount of resources that can be found on the web from web pages to pictures to videos and more.

Social Bookmarking Sites Defined

My broad definition of social bookmarking sites is this:

Social bookmarking sites are websites that people use to save, categorize, share and search bookmarks, i.e., links and descriptive data, that refer to resources, such as web pages and other types of web media.

It’s important to note that the resources themselves aren’t being shared on social bookmarking sites, but rather bookmarks referring to the resources. Bookmarks themselves are the content on social bookmarking sites.

My definition of social bookmarking sites includes not only sites explicitly created for bookmark sharing, but multipurpose social networking sites, as well.

Reasons for Social Bookmarking Sites

There are a variety reasons for employing social bookmarking sites, such as saving links, sharing links with others, conducting research and generating traffic.

When generating traffic, it’s essential to share one’s own links sparingly, in order to appear neither as a social bookmarking abuser nor as a spammer.

Popular Social Bookmarking Sites

Social Bookmarking SitesI suggest to you a recent list of popular social bookmarking sites to check out. Let me append Facebook and LinkedIn to that list, which already includes Twitter, since Facebook-page and LinkedIn updates are much like Twitter tweets in that you can explain your links, and your bookmarks are indexed by and available through search engines.

Neither Twitter, Facebook nor LinkedIn are pure social bookmarking sites, as they weren’t created explicitly for social bookmarking.

While Twitter does enable some categorization using hashtags, Facebook and LinkedIn do not, which may have been the reason for excluding them from the eBizMBA list of social bookmarking sites cited.

I personally use a number of the social bookmarking sites in the eBizMBA list including Digg, but I especially like StumbleUpon and plan to use it more and more over time.

My favorite social bookmarking sites that don’t yet receive sufficient traffic to qualify for the eBizMBA list are Business Exchange and Amplify.

Exploring Social Bookmarking Sites

Preferences for social bookmarking sites are different for each individual and project. If you’re new to social bookmarking, explore, experiment and discover the social bookmarking sites that fit your objectives and style.

Karin Boode has started a social bookmarking group on the Small Business Networking site to help us learn from and share our findings with each other. You’re invited to join.

Let’s hear about your experiences with social bookmarking and social bookmarking sites.

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Larry BraunerYou post updates on your Facebook profile, page or group and want your friends, fans or group members to find them in their Facebook news feeds — and hopefully comment on them and recommend them to their friends.

Ever notice that much too often your posts don’t have the effect you desire? This result can occur for a variety of reasons:

  • Few Eyeballs - The quantity of your friends, fans or members is small to begin with, and since few check their news feeds regularly, your posts go unnoticed.
  • Relevance - Your posts are irrelevant or simply fail to resonate with your audience. They don’t appeal enough for people to engage them.
  • Passivity - Many people lack the assertiveness or the focus to react to your posts or share them, even if they enjoy them.
  • Low EdgeRank - Facebook buries your posts so far down in people’s news feeds, that they’re in-effect invisible. Facebook computes and uses EdgeRank to assess the relative importance of posted content. A high Facebook Edge Rank leads to visibility, while a low Facebook EdgeRank leads to obscurity. Your posts are competing with others, and a relatively low EdgeRank keeps them from appearing.

FacebookAs Jason Kincaid explains in EdgeRank: The Secret Sauce That Makes Facebook’s News Feed Tick on Tech Crunch, three factors influence the EdgeRank of your content:

  1. Relationship, i.e., your relationship with your potential audience as perceived by Facebook. The more you interact with Facebook users, the higher the EdgeRank of your posts, and the higher your posts appear on their walls. Facebook rewards you for building personal relationships. Invest time reading, commenting on and sharing other people’s content.
  2. Engagement, the extent to which people engage with your post. A strong interaction will drive up your Facebook Edge Rank. Of course, someone has to see your post and react to it in the first place. This can lead to a Catch-22 situation. If necessary, send a message to some of your good friends in order to get the ball rolling. By the way, the most engaging posts are status updates that ask questions.
  3. Time Elapsed - Over time your post loses EdgeRank, which makes room for newer posts to appear. No one post gets to hog the news, so keep your creative juices flowing.

Facebook values relationships between its members and engagement with member content. Give Facebook what Facebook values, and your EdgeRank and visibility will benefit. Use Facebook for pushing your ads or agenda, and your EdgeRank and visibility will suffer.

Please leave a comment, subscribe, and “like” my Facebook page. :-)

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Larry BraunerI launched @WelkinCapital and a Facebook page for Welkin Capital Group, a top broker of residential and commercial mortgage loans, located in New York City.

The process is still fresh in my mind, so I thought it would be worthwhile to share a bit of my thinking about the Twitter part of it with you. I prefer to leave Facebook for another time, as I haven’t discussed Twitter with you in quite a while.

Twitter Lists
Here then are ten Twitter social media marketing ideas for you to consider when you set up a new Twitter business account:

  1. Write Your Twitter Business Bio - Write a bio that is pleasant and easy to read. Use your principal keyword phrases so people searching for them can find your Twitter business profile. Appending your own personal Twitter @username will be appreciated by your visitors. For an example of this, please see @WelkinCapital.
  2. Your Twitter Profile Link - Link to your website or blog. However, if you don’t have a website, or your website isn’t ready to receive visitors, consider using your LinkedIn profile or Facebook page instead. In any case, for best results, the page you link to should be relevant and well-designed – absolutely not a sales pitch.
  3. Your Twitter Profile Picture - It makes sense on a business profile to use your organization’s logo. If you don’t have a logo, get somebody to help you create it.
  4. Tweet Before You Follow - Add half a dozen well-thought-out tweets to your business account before you start following other users from it and before you start promoting it. Otherwise, you might look like a spammer, and that would be awful.
  5. Feather the Nest - Follow the new business profile from your own personal account and ask your colleagues to do the same. Visitors will feel more comfortable following it if a few others have led the way.
  6. Update Your Personal Twitter Bio - Since Welkin is in the real estate industry, I added “real estate” to my @larrybrauner bio. This will attract real estate oriented followers to my profile who will then learn about Welkin when I retweet Welkin updates. Use this strategy if it makes sense for you.
  7. Promote Your Twitter Business Profile - Place links or widgets on your website, blog, social networking sites, etc.
  8. Follow Targeted Twitter Users - Target Twitter users using Twitter Grader search, Twellow categories and Listorious Twitter lists, in that order. If you follow relevant people, and your Twitter profile is set up properly, most will follow you back.
  9. Follow Back Relevant Users - Many Twitter users will follow you. Follow back those who are relevant. Ignore those who aren’t. They will unfollow you before long. Block obvious spammers.
  10. Influence - Use your personal Twitter and other social media  influence whenever feasible to support your Twitter business account.

I hope you will find these Twitter tips helpful as you set up your new Twitter business account or enhance an existing account.

Please subscribe and comment. :-)

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Larry BraunerWho wouldn’t want the kind of web presence that drives hundreds or thousands of targeted visitors to his or her web site or blog and converts them into customers or followers?

I’ve created that type web presence for myself. However, most businesses that try to build such a web presence fall short of achieving that objective. How about yours?

This a long article that covers a lot of ground. My hope is that this article and those articles and resources it links to will enable you to take a fresh look at your social media and web marketing program.

Over the past few years I’ve identified dozens of factors that contribute to lack of web marketing success, and in this article I discuss 25 of the most important ones:

  1. Failing to Plan - Strategy must precede tactics. Taking action is easy, but will that action help you achieve your objectives? Do you know precisely what those objectives are? It’s imperative that you define your objectives and devise marketing strategies to help you reach them effectively.
  2. A Flawed Plan - Including thinking too big or too small, e.g., with your keywords, quantity of social networking sites you employ or frequency of your blog posting. Be ambitious but realistic. Your time is limited. Make a plan that’s simple but not simplistic. Shama Hyder Kabani’s The Zen of Social Media Marketing provides an excellent overview of the planning process.
  3. Ignoring Your Competition - Developing your plan in a vacuum without any competitive intelligence prevents you from learning from your competitors and identifying optimal marketing strategies and tactics.
  4. Having Unrealistic Expectations - View social media and web marketing as a marathon, not a sprint. It takes a substantial amount of time to build credibility with your potential customers and with search engines too.
  5. Not Focusing on Your Niche - The more focused your message, the more it will influence your target audience. Trying to be everything to everybody will make your website look like a patch quilt. I’m sure you’ve been to websites that look like menus at diners or aerial views of battle zones. You hit the back arrow and breathe a sigh of relief. Successful offline marketers know that a highly targeted ad gets the best results, even with those people who aren’t targeted by the ad.
  6. Following the Pack - Don’t do anything solely because it’s trendy. Check new options at your disposal for consistency with your plan and expected return on time invested. You’ll need to rely mostly on intuition, but the more extensive your knowledge, the more reliable your intuition will be.
  7. Not Optimizing Your Web Site - What good is a website that looks great yet is dysfunctional? It doesn’t attract any traffic. Search engines are confused by it. Or it attracts traffic, but that traffic doesn’t convert. The lack of web site results is so wide spread that business owners tend to be very skeptical about the web’s marketing potential. See 10 Easy Way to Improve Your Blog or Website and 10 More Easy Ways to Improve Your Website.
  8. Optimizing for Search Engines Only - Some marketers optimize their web sites for search engines but fail to optimize for humans. The result: traffic that doesn’t convert. Optimizing “user experience” is more important than search engine optimization. SEO is only one of numerous ways to attract visitors to your site. On the other hand, all methods drive traffic to your website, and if that site is weak, your work is in vain.
  9. Your Logo or Flash Dominates Your Website  - A constant battle! A client said he wants his website to have an upscale image similar to that of the fluffy Tiffany site. Will that work for him? He’s trying to build his brand online. The Tiffany brand was powerful before the web even existed. All they really need is a pretty site with product illustrations and a shopping card to help you spend your extra funds on beautiful high-end jewelry. However, let’s be real. If you’re not a Tiffany or an Apple, nobody cares as much about your logo or flash as you do. They want content to digest. They want to know what you can do for them and whether or not they can trust you.
  10. Too Little or Lame Content - They say that content is king. I believe that is true. People are searching online for content. To succeed, feed people great content, such as text, video, pictures, podcasts, etc., and you’ll  gain positive recognition for your brand.
  11. Trying to Spam the Search Engines - Search engines are smarter than you might think. Game them, and you’ll come to regret it. But, feed them lots of solid content, and over time they’ll send your web site thousands and thousands of targeted visitors.
  12. Leaving Everything to Your Web Developers - Web developers are neither experienced marketers nor skilled copywriters. Check out Web Developers Don’t Know Social Media.
  13. Making Bad Money Decisions - How about the following example? You spent tens of thousands to engage top notch social media and web consultants, but you don’t want to spend a couple of thousand on the new website design they recommend. Why not? Because that would imply that the money you spent on the original design was wasted. Am I missing something here? Tell me.
  14. Not Hosting Your Website or Blog Yourself - Your website or blog is the core of your web presence. Should Blogger or Wordpress.com determine its disposition? Invest in a web hosting account — it’s not pricey. Learn how to use the Wordpress.org content management system to create and maintain your website or blog.
  15. Not Building Yourself an Online Community - If you have doubts about social media or the power of your own community, Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk will make you a believer. Gary has built a community of wine lovers around his Wine Library TV brand, and his social media efforts have greatly added to the bottom line of his business, the Wine Library.
  16. Not Engaging Your Community - To cultivate and nurture your community of customers and fans is a golden opportunity to connect with the people who matter to your brand.
  17. Not Being Authentic - We live in an age of trust and transparency. Being who you’re not will set you apart from your competitors in a counterproductive way.
  18. Not Integrating Online Marketing with Offline - Relying only on Internet marketing when you can achieve results offline as well, including driving visitors from offline to your website. Marketing offline is not dead.
  19. Never Meeting People Face-to-Face - Nothing builds trust like an in-person meeting. If you’re in the New York area, let’s have coffee or do lunch.
  20. Not Diversifying - Don’t put All Your Social Media Eggs in One Basket — nor all your other eggs.
  21. Not Using an Autoresponder to Build an Email List - Most potential customers need to get to know your brand better before they buy. Keep in touch with them by letting them add themselves to your autoresponder newsletter or blog subscription list — even if you use RSS.
  22. Not Touching Base Frequently with Your Email List - If you don’t stay on people’s minds, they’ll forget you. Then when you do email them, they’ll flag your message as spam. That in turn will hurt your ability to get your email through the filters of the Internet service providers.
  23. Relying on Trial and Error - Keep reading. Keep learning. Trial and error is a luxury you may not be able to afford.
  24. Never Seeking Help - A little help can save you from much trial and error and many hours of spinning your wheels but remaining where you are.
  25. Taking Your Web Marketing Too Seriously - Lighten up. Make friends. Have fun.

Here are social media and web marketing resources you might find useful:

Wishing you success with your web marketing. :-)

Please subscribe, leave a comment, click on some of my Facebook like buttons and share this article with your friends and colleagues.  ;-)

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Larry BraunerUnderstanding your blog or website traffic requires more than merely counting your visitors.

You ought to know too where your visitors are coming from and the suitability of each source of traffic, as well as how effectively your website is performing when visitors arrive.

Average time on site and bounce rate are two of the statistics that help you gauge the relevance of your website to your site’s visitors.

Google Analytics Bias

Google Analytics is a popular free tool for monitoring your website traffic that has many great features including advanced visitor segmentation, a favorite of mine.

Sadly, Google Analytics reports bounce rate and time on site statistics that are biased. The Google bounce rate is too high, while the time on site is too low. This problem tends to be especially acute in the case of blogs.

I defined Google bounce rate and discussed the bias in Google Bounce Rate Misleads Bloggers (Oct. ‘08). Please read that introductory article if this subject matter is unfamiliar to you.

Cause of Google Analytics Bias

Google Analytics assumes that a visitor who views only a single page on a site is dissatisfied and leaves immediately, which is often not the case. A visitor can spend time on a single page and leave contented, especially if that page contains a blog post.

However, Google’s assumption was much simpler and more cost effective for Google to implement at the time they made it than an alternative would’ve been. Yet, a change in that one assumption would permit Google Analytics to provide more useful estimates of both bounce rate and time on site.

Better Web Analytics

Technology has advanced since Google formulated its bounce rate. Web analytics service providers now have access to faster servers and greater bandwidth.

Real Time Web AnalyticsIn search of better web analytics, I have tried other service providers.

My favorite is Clicky, an innovative web analytics service that exploits newer technology.

Clicky devised and implemented an approach to estimating bounce rate and time on site that is quite elegant and superior to that which Google implemented in Google Analytics.

The Clicky script installed on each website communicates at pre-assigned intervals with the server. This interaction enables Clicky to estimate time on site, even if the visitor views just a single page. Clicky then makes an arbitrary yet fair assumption that any visitor who was on the website for at least 30 seconds found the site to be relevant.

The difference in methods is striking: My overall Google bounce rate last week was 79% vs. my overall Clicky bounce rate of 26%. Google average time on site was 1:55 vs. Clicky 3:41.

(For statistics buffs out there, the correlation between Google and Clicky bounce rates for the top nine keyword phrases was only 0.2 indicating that data from each is likely to lead us to draw a different set of conclusions.)

Clicky makes comparing keywords and traffic sources cleaner and updates results in as close to real time as I can expect. Clicky offers a choice free or premium service. I started with the free service and later upgraded to the premium one.

No more Google bounce rate or Google time on site for me! ;-)

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Larry BraunerAre you using website widgets effectively?

I listed 10 Types of Widgets for Your Blog or Website. Now, I discuss strategies for employing widgets on your site.

While using website widgets is not rocket science, here are some important concepts worth keeping in mind:

  1. Widgets Are Content - Recently, a Twitter connection told me he liked my content and use of widgets. I thanked him, but the truth is that website widgets are content, as is each other aspect of your web site’s design. When you select widgets for your site, realize that they are just as much a part of your site as the copy you write. When you select a widget, customize it to the extent possible to appear as you wish, including both its size and color scheme.
  2. Widget Privacy Issues - In Website Widgets and Ads Raise Security and Privacy Issues (recommended reading), I discussed security and privacy issues and concluded that, “You are responsible as a blogger or web site owner to protect the privacy of your visitors as best you can. Use web widgets from reputable sources and banner ads, too.”
  3. Space Considerations - One way you pay for the use of a widget is by giving it valuable space on your website. There are only a modest number of widgets you can reasonably host on your website without it becoming cluttered. Choose carefully and don’t clutter your web site with widgets (or anything else).
  4. Website Widget Placement - As I stated in 10 More Easy Ways to Improve Your Website, “If visitors need to scroll down to view vital content, you’ll most likely lose them. Similarly, if you have an important widget, such as a Facebook fan page widget, place it where it will be visible without scrolling down.” Place key widgets near the top of each page and prioritize the rest.
  5. Most Useful Website Widgets - Community building, subscription, tracking, and social networking widgets (see 10 Types of Widgets for Your Blog or Website mentioned above), can add important functionality to almost any website.
  6. Monitor Your Widgets - Periodically, monitor and reevaluate your website widgets. Don’t set them and forget them or fall in love with them. Your needs and priorities can change, and widgets can also stop working or become obsolete.
  7. Your Website Layout- If you plan on using many website widgets, I suggest picking a theme with two sidebars, rather than one, to better accommodate all your widgets.

When you surf the ‘Net and find sites you like, look to see which widgets they use and how they use them. That’s a good way to come up with new ideas.

Here we are, coming to an end of our time together. Don’t go yet. Please subscribe first and leave a comment. :-)

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Larry BraunerHow much do you know about website widgets?

Last week, in Website Widgets and Ads Raise Security and Privacy Issues, I shared my concerns about security and privacy issues connected with the use of widgets on a blog or other website.

I concluded, “You are responsible as a blogger or website owner to protect the privacy of your visitors as best you can. Use widgets from reputable sources and banner ads, too.”

Today, I list 10 types of website widgets that can enhance your site:

  1. Community Building Widgets - I use both Google Friend Connect and Facebook fan page widgets here on Online Social Networking. They work on blogs, as well as other websites, and I like them very much. Make sure you enable and use the Google Friend Connect newsletter feature.
  2. Subscription Widgets - I use RSS and NetworkedBlogs widgets, which are suitable for blogs, and I also use an email subscription widget that works with any website.
  3. Tracking Widgets - In addition to embedding Google Analytics internally on every page of this blog, I use Get Clicky, Alexa, Page Rank Checker, Website Grader and Flag Counter widgets to acquire a broad range of additional statistics.
  4. Social Networking Widgets - Social network widgets encourage visitors to connect with you on Twitter, Facebook, BlogCatalog, MyBlogLog and other key social bookmarking and social networking sites. An Entrecard widget enables me to network and expose my blog to thousands of bloggers.
  5. Polls and Survey Widgets - I use the interests and comments features of Google Friend Connect to obtain feedback and preferences from my GFC community.
  6. Content Sharing Widgets - The Add This widget at the end of each article makes it very easy (hint, hint) for you to share content with friends in your networks.
  7. Advertising Widgets - Ad widgets from Google Adwords, ad networks and retailers such as Amazon help you generate income from your blog or other website.
  8. Syndication Widgets - Display news, other information, YouTube videos and Flickr pics on your site.
  9. Widget Bars - Here’s an example of a page with a Digg toolbar widget (hint, hint again). Widget bars are becoming more and more common.
  10. Widget Gadgets - See Google Gadgets for everything else under the sun.

My favorite website widgets are community building widgets, subscription widgets, tracking widgets and social networking widgets. In a subsequent article, I’ll provide useful tips for using widgets. :-)

However, one more thing before you leave. What types of widgets do you use? What are examples of each?

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Larry BraunerIn 8 Simple Ways to Penetrate Social Media Clutter, I recommended  that you leverage multiple traffic sources. In Looking for Traffic in All the Wrong Places, I gave you a partial list of the places I look to get more website traffic.

Based upon Google Analytics data pertaining to my recent blog visits, bounce rates and average time on site, I present my top 10 blog traffic sources along with some notes on each:

  1. Search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and Bing - They account for 35% of my traffic. When my blog was new, I didn’t get any search engine traffic at all. Now, however, I get 5,000 visits from searches per month — including business people seeking precisely the types of services I offer. The credit goes to search engine optimization and to a growing reservoir of content.
  2. Entrecard, a traffic exchange for bloggers - Admittedly, Entrecard provides me with lots of worthless traffic. Fortunately, however, the site provides me with some great traffic too and an opportunity to build key relationships with other bloggers. One of my favorites at Entrecard is Gera from Uruguay, owner of the Sweets Foods blog. He and I are now also connected by email, Facebook and Twitter. As with all other traffic sources, to benefit from Entrecard you’ll need to make a long-term commitment to developing it.
  3. Twitter - I’ve written at length about Twitter. Read Twitter Stats Defy Measurement. I’m happy to have started with Twitter in 2008 when Twitter’s rules didn’t get in the way of building a large following. Today, different tactics are necessary to connect with your target audience. Start by encouraging your website visitors and friends on social networking sites to follow you on Twitter. Then gradually introduce new Twitter tools into your mix. My favorite tool, Tweet Adder, which I use daily, is worth the small investment.
  4. Facebook - I turned my attention to Facebook in June 2009 and experimented with the NetworkedBlogs application, which may have introduced new readers to my blog, but proved to be a poor source of ongoing traffic. On the other hand, profiles, fan pages and events showed themselves to be excellent traffic sources. It seems to me, so far, that Facebook fan pages are very effective as a form of web site subscription.
  5. Ning social network - I’m sorry to report that Ning has morphed into a host of unrelated niche sites. If you have your own Ning site, or a group or lots of friends on someone else’s Ning site, you can use that site to move traffic. As with Twitter, getting started with Ning is harder than it used to be, and the marketing benefits are fewer. I belong to many Ning sites and have several of my own. My primary Ning site is Small Business Network.
  6. Business Exchange - Discovered this social bookmarking site recently and wrote about it in 12 Tips for Using Business Week’s Social Bookmarking Site. I’m hoping that Business Exchange will help me generate a lot of high quality traffic in the year to come.
  7. Blog Catalog - If you have a blog and decide to use BlogCatalog, start your own group there; make many friends on the site and invite them to join your group. Those who join are interested in you and your group’s theme.
  8. StumbleUpon - Planning to learn much more about StumbleUpon and use it much more this year. I’ll keep you posted.
  9. LinkedIn - While well connected on LinkedIn, I’m not using it much at present. Most of my LinkedIn traffic is coming as a result of the Twitter LinkedIn integration.
  10. Ryze - Here I first encountered online social networking back in 2003. I  find Ryze very underwhelming in 2010. The traffic I get from Ryze comes from posting in groups, which are really forums.

I believe that Blogger is sending me websitetraffic because of Google Friend Connect. Also, I heard a rumor that Yahoo! is dumping MyBlogLog. Will let you know about both of them.

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