SL Blogger Support

How Linden Lab uses web marketing and how “What Second Life Means To You” can help drive traffic to your blog

Pete Linden by Caity Tobias

If you’re interested in web marketing, I’ve written a detailed post on how Linden Lab uses paid search marketing to drive traffic to the Second Life website. In the post, I cover target marketing, website landing pages, and conversion rate testing and optimisation.

It’s unlikely that many Second Life bloggers will use the specific types of marketing tactics that Linden Lab employs, but the principles behind these approaches apply when creating content to appeal to your specific audience. Principles like target marketing (niching), using search as a marketing tool, writing persuasive content, using compelling images and testing. If you’d like to read it, the full post is here.

Also in the post, I share Pete’s appeal to Second Life residents to create videos for the What Second Life Means To Me series that the Lab is sharing on YouTube. In part, Linden Lab is using this initiative to get more user-generated video content that they can share with specific enquiries from the media. There are nearly two dozen videos in the playlist already, including some from fellow blogger support contributors Wendz Tempest and Caity Tobias.

I’m working on my video, and I urge you to do so as well. It’s not terribly difficult, and might be a fun learning exercise! For help, see Caitlin Tobias’s very useful post on creating basic machinimas in Second Life (who is also, by the way, responsible for the great shot of Pete Linden that I’m featuring on this post).

Making the effort will not only help the Lab, but it might also help you: How about shooting a short video of what Second Life means to you as a Second Life blogger? It would be a great feature for your ‘about me’ page, and if you add your blog link to the video / description in YouTube (remember to tag it with all those juicy keywords you blog about) it will definitely help to get your blog more exposure!

Remember, the Lab is sharing each one of these videos on their official YouTube Channel which at the moment has 15,238 subscribers (not to mention all of their other social media properties like Facebook and Twitter). These videos are highly sharable too, by Second Life residents who like them. With that said, many more people will see your video than is otherwise likely if you to post it on your channel alone. Don’t miss this opportunity!

In a broader sense, if more bloggers make these videos, it might also help existing residents who don’t now know much about Second Life blogs to learn more about the huge amount of activity in the Second Life blogging world – and that, my friends, can help us all. Remember too, there are all levels of quality here – it’s not a talent contest – it’s about sharing your story, your way.

Here’s a bit of inspiration to get you going:

Oh! One more thing: After you’ve uploaded your video to YouTube, make sure you ping Linden Lab on this forum thread, to let them know where to find it, and they will add it to the playlist!

8 easy tips to drive more traffic to your old Second Life blog posts gems

Mining for Gems_Banner

Unlike static websites, most blogs are distinct in how they display your most recent content first, followed by the rest of your content in reverse chronology. While it’s universally agreed that the more you post the more traffic you’ll get, the downside of the format is that as you keep posting, the more you bury your old content. Some of that content is timeless and worth sharing with new visitors to your blog. In this post, I’m going to give you 8 tips on how to drive traffic to your hidden gems and evergreen posts, to get your new visitors to see your very best stuff!

Before we start, I’m going to give you a lot of ideas here about resuscitating your old posts, but please don’t misunderstand my intentions – this is totally different from spamming social media again and again with exactly the same content. This is also not about simply reblogging old posts without any context. There is nothing sneaky or lazy about doing this.

What this is about, is writing new posts or pages that feature classic content that still offers value to your visitors today. Remember, most of your visitors today haven’t seen most of your posts – so for most of them, your walks down memory lane will often be the first time they ever see this great content. For them, it’s new.

1. Write ‘Best of’ posts

‘Best of’ posts are posts where you curate a short lists of your favourite posts. Examples of these are:

  • My 10 most viewed posts
  • My 10 most commented posts
  • My 10 most liked posts

‘Best of’ posts are a bit like going shopping in your closet – you can find all sorts of hidden gems in there if you only look! However, there’s more to this than writing a list and pushing ‘publish’. Good ‘Best of’ posts involve writing a brief insight into why you think these posts were the most viewed, commented, or liked. After you’ve found these posts and listed them, review the list yourself and ask yourself “Why were these posts successful?” This will not only help you write your ‘Best of’ post, but will also give you valuable insights on what you might want to blog about in the future.

You can easily write ‘Best of’ posts around anniversaries or milestones (see my examples below).

You can also write ‘Best of’ posts thematically. For example, as a fashion blogger, you might publish a post at the end of Summer, entitled “6 classic summer shoes that have timeless style” from your posts on summer shoes from last year.

Location bloggers might write a post this week entitled “8 most relaxing beach sims and why I love them” (assuming the places are still around of course). On that note, you could write another post called “4 Second Life places I still miss”.

Editorial / news bloggers like me, might write a post entitled “5 most interesting stories this Spring” or “4 posts to read to better understand [news item].”

Have you noticed I like numbered posts? See my post on writing seductive copy (especially catchy headlines) to find out why.

Tagging your posts well will save you loads of time in finding these kinds of posts in your archives. So, if you tag, use that functionality to your advantage now by finding all your posts about the topic and choosing the best ones to share.

Regardless of your niche or genre, everyone can write a “Post of the week” (if you’re prolific and write at least 5 posts a week), or “Post of the month”, or “12 best posts of 2015” (one for every month if you like).

In WordPress, you can use your statistics to discover your most viewed posts by day, week, month, year, and all time. With WordPress’s new Stats, all-time is not that easy to find anymore. To do so, follow this path

Dashboard > Site Stats (navigation) > Top Posts & Pages (box) > Summaries

where you’ll see a page with this on the top:

Your top posts in WordPress Stats

Your top posts in WordPress Stats

Your WordPress dashboard Posts screen displays how many comments (sortable by clicking the comment icon) and likes (stars) your posts received.

Looking at your posts for total comments and likes

Looking at your posts for total comments and likes

2. Remember to link back to your relevant posts

See what I did up there in point number one with the headline reference? I found a reason to link back to my archive post on this site (Writing Seductive Copy). Look, most of the visitors reading your posts will probably like your old posts too (as long as they are relevant and good). We built the internet on hyperlinks – do your part. As a bonus, Google loves posts that have links in them (OMG, I just can’t stop myself!!) because it helps their robots spider through the rest of your website. Also, it keeps visitors on your blog longer, resulting in more views and more engagement.

Note: I’m afraid the rest of my advice will focus on what you can do in WordPress – mainly because that’s what I’m most familiar with. If you’re a Blogger user, please share your advice in the comments below.

3. Use your Widgets

Under your Appearance menu (in your Dashboard), you’ll find a sub menu called Widgets. Here you’ll find two widgets that can help you bring your old posts to the forefront of every page on your blog. Simply select them and drag them to the sidebar or footer, and configure the options.

You can use the Archives widget to display your archived posts by month, or as a drop down menu in your sidebar. I’ve added that widget to the right sidebar of this blog so you can see it in action. Look for the widget called “Archives”.

The Categories widget does the same thing, but instead of organising by month, it does so by category (and sub-category, if you wish). I’ve added that widget under “Categories” on the right sidebar to this blog as well.

You can add these widgets to sidebars or footers (assuming your theme has sidebars and footers as an option, which most themes allow).

This is an automatic way to help visitors find your old posts. It’s not as customised or as attractive as what I suggest above, like ‘Best of’ posts, but they are ubiquitous and can help make your older content more accessible.

4. Add archive sub-menus to your custom menus

You can make a menu item called ‘Best of’ or ‘Classics’ and link it to a static page so people can refer to it more easily.

We do this on SL Blogger Support. For example, if you navigate to the top nav entitled “Blogger Tutorials”, you’ll find a subnav called “A Blogger’s Marketing Tools”. There, you’ll find an evergreen page with all the posts I’ve been able to find related to marketing your Second Life blog. (I did it again ;) )

You can do this with categories too. For example, on my blog I have written many essays. These are long-form posts that I consider timeless content, so I created a menu item that displays a blog listing page that only displays posts that I tagged with the category “Essays”. You can do this with any (and as many) category(ies) as you like (another good reason to categorise your posts properly).

You’ll need to have a custom menu (making one is beyond the scope of this post but you can learn more here). If you already have one, then navigate to your WordPress Dashboard, choose the subnav entitled Menus, and open the drop down menu called Categories. Check the Category or Categories of which you want to make a menu item of, and click “Add to Menu”. Your category menu will appear at the bottom of your custom menu. Simply drag it to where you’d like it to nest in your menu structure and you’re done!

Adding custom menus by category

Adding custom menus by category in WordPress

5. Use shortcodes to auto-magically list your favourite blog posts

You can also use shortcodes inside posts or pages, to dynamically list your posts without having to create these lists manually. Shortcodes are codes you add into your post or page HTML to do fancy things for you.

I’m going to use this shortcode:

The list post of a certain category shorcode - just one of many you can use

The list post of a certain category shortcode – just one of many you can use

and it’s going to auto-magically display a list of all of the posts I consider my must read posts on this page called “Must Read List” on my blog.

How did I do that? I first made a category (Posts > Categories) called “Must Read” and I tagged my favourite recent posts with that Category. Then I added the shortcode above to make the list. You can name a Category whatever you like, I used “Must Read”. Simply customise the above code appropriately with your category name – and voila – your own dynamic list of posts of whatever category you wish. You can make a menu or sidebar image that links directly to the page, or you can share it as a blog post.

If you want, you can do a lot more with archive shortcodes than create a simple list. You can add thumbnails, excerpts, list by author, or limit the amount of posts that appear in a list based on dates, among many other options you can find on this support page on the topic of archive shortcodes for WordPress.com.

If you make a list like this, then it might be a good idea to create a small image that you can add to your sidebar so that visitors are more likely to see it.

Your walks down memory lane will often be the first time many of your new visitors will ever see this great content. For them, it’s new.

6. Use post sliders to wow your visitors to visit your older posts

Some WordPress.com themes contain sliders that you can add to your homepage. I don’t personally find it a functionality that suits my purposes at this time, but that will likely change when I move to a self-hosted WordPress account and use third-party theme (which I’ll be writing a post about soon).

Very few free themes offer this functionality, so I won’t spend too much time on the merits of sliders at this stage. One very good use for them is to visually display your archive content. Here is a page featuring all of the WordPress.com themes (free and premium) that offer sliders.

One free theme that does offer a slider is the Blissful Blog theme. Huckleberry Hax uses this blog theme, and employs a slider on his homepage to great effect. He’s a great writer and very good friend of mine, so have a look around if you like – and don’t miss his amazingly beautiful contribution to the “What Second Life means to me” video meme celebrating SL12B. Don’t forget to come back here and finish reading this post!

7. Celebrate holidays and anniversaries by sharing your past content

On the topic of celebrations; just like going to the cupboard where you keep your classic holiday decorations, holidays are a great prompt to resuscitate your old posts related to content around Valentine’s Day, the Spring Equinox, the Summer Solstice (yesterday!), Ramadan, Memorial Day, Remembrance Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. In Second Life, we also have Rez day posts, and of course, SLBs. You can feature archived content in these occasions, because people love looking back as often as they like looking forward.

From a blogger’s perspective, you can also write posts featuring archive content around milestones. Consider the following milestones and post ideas:

  • 100 followers – write a post thanking all your followers and sharing some posts that they might like that you published in the past that they missed before they followed your blog
  • 1000 likes – write a post thanking people for liking your posts, sharing how much you appreciate the encouragement, and share your other most liked posts
  • 500 comments – write a post thanking your commenters, sharing how much you enjoy hearing their views, and share your other most commented posts
  • 100 posts – write a posts when you reach 50, 100, 250 or 500 posts. I couldn’t wait, so I wrote a post about reaching 400 posts on my blog yesterday, including my 10 most viewed posts so far this year as a gesture to my new followers.
  • 2 of years blogging – WordPress will sometimes give you a notification about this, and it tells you the number of posts you’ve published every time you publish a new one. Share your favourite posts in the last year of blogging, or of all-time to date.

8. Stay organised with an editorial calendar

With so many ideas for archive blog posts, remembering when to write them can be challenging, especially since many of them are date dependent. To stay organised I suggest keeping an editorial calendar for your blog(s). I write articles for 4 blogs related to Second Life. I manage half a dozen for clients in my professional life as well. If I didn’t calendarise my writing, I’d simply go nuts.

For some of you, a calendar might seem a bit too organised for your blogging hobby. For others, creating an editorial calendar might be just the thing you need to help you take your blogging to the next level, so I’ll be writing a post on how to make one very soon.

As always, your ideas and comments are welcome. Do you like these suggestions? Can you share some examples of how you might use them in your own blogging? I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

Machinima, how about adding some life to your blog!

Movies

Yes. I am going to talk about machinima, or: short online videos you can produce when in Second Life. Social Media as a whole is a very visual world. Pictures win from text, videos win from pictures. This does not, by all means, imply you need to stop writing on your blog, not at all! Blogs still need written text, if you want them to be found in search engines and picked up by the Google bots, as fellow contributor Becky has pointed out in this excellent post on this subject.

But have you ever considered making short – lets say 1 minute – videos to show off what you are blogging about as an extra in a post?
Not only will this look awesome on your blog, but also : when published on YouTube and tagged the right, smart way it will help you getting audience and traffic  because YouTube is the second largest search engine on the internet (after Google).
If you are still in doubt about the power of Social Media, here is a good video on the Social Media Revolution (bonus is the awesome music!)

Now, before you zone out, or run away screaming,  thinking : zOMG I cannot make videos! Do not panic. You can. You really can.
I have been playing around all weekend, with free software and I am sure I will make Second Life videos in the future, to enhance the content of my blog-posts. How cool is it,  to not only show awesome images, but also a short video?

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