Twitter: Growing Blogs Without Google Since 2007

by Robb Sutton

So here you are, a new or experienced blogger looking for traffic to start things off or get over that plateau in traffic. In the olden days (like they were really that long ago), you were at the mercy of the search engines. How can I word this article so that it will rank well? How many keyword strings do I need? Are people actually going to read this after I throw in a bunch of crap just to improve rankings and grow my blog? I hate being at the mercy of the corporate search engines to grow my blog!

Then something happened that changed the blogging world for forever…Twitter and other micro blogging sites (Facebook can be included in this mix) gave the small blogger a voice and an audience without the aid of Google. It was an amazing turn of events as you could now reach targeted readers faster, easier and you can do it under your terms! You are no longer at the mercy of the infamous keyword. You are now actually building a following, community and network online by connecting with people instead of statistics! It’s a wonderful thing.

As I look back at 2009, it really was the year for Twitter. With record breaking growth numbers, Twitter gave businesses, blogs and the random neighbor down the street an easy to grow outlet to promote their content or what they were eating that morning in 140 characters or less. If you need proof, you can look at how John Chow grew his blog to epic proportions while being banned from Google completely (has since been let back in after having subscriber counts above the 50k mark). This shows the powerful leverage power of Twitter and social media as we move forward into the blogging future.

So how do I grow my blog to epic proportions with Twitter and other social media outlets without looking like a spammer trying to promise unrealistic goals?

Twitter Tips That Grow Your Blog

The key with Twitter and other social media outlets online is to grow your following, increase your spread and network in a way that brings value to BOTH your blog and your Twitter account. When you try to run them mutually exclusive…it doesn’t ever come out with the results you are looking for. So…as we move forward…keep in mind…a QUALITY social media profile (more than just self promotion that looks like spam) and QUALITY content on your blog is what wins out in the long run. The trick is fusing these two together so they grow as one.

  • Syndicate Your Blog Feed On Twitter – Typically, syndicating your rss feed on Twitter has been handled through TwitterFeed, but…recently…Google released a new feature on FeedBurner (which you should already be using to syndicate your feed to your rss subscribers) that automatically tweets your latest article with a host of options including excluding categories, adding hashtags, controlling the text amount and even making sure there is room for your followers to RT. While I used to recommend TwitterFeed, I now use FeedBurner due to the new options and ease of having less accounts to sign into. By syndicating your feed on Twitter, you are automating a process that you would normally have to do manually and driving your followers to your latest content. You are also giving them an opportunity to spread your new content for you by ReTweeting that article to their followers within their preferred Twitter application or web app.
  • Search Out and Follow Like Minded Twitter Users – Social Media is very much a game of finding people and being found. Twitter is one of the purest forms of that application by being able to search for hashtags, keywords and trending topics. In all reality, unless you are a New York Times best selling author or Oprah, Twitter users are not going to follow you just because you want them to. You are going to have to search out these users, follow them and then hope they check out your profile and follow you back. I do not have time to do this manually every day of the week, so I use a tool called Social Snipe to handle that chore for me. The trick is to find people who are tweeting about what you are blogging about…and then interacting with them on Twitter.
  • Provide Alternate Resources and Articles Related To Your Blogging Topic – No one likes a shameless self promoter (only promotes themselves constantly without any other content), so it is always good practice to tweet other articles in your blogging topic that you think your readers and followers would find benefit from. This increases your credibility online and brings more attention to your articles as they hit the Twitter stream because they are not seen as self promoting spam.
  • Make ReTweeting Easy For Your Followers – If you want your content spread on Twitter, you have to make it easy for people reading your blog to spread your content. As much as you think your readers are going to copy and paste your url into their Twitter app, most if them are not going to go through the trouble even if they like your article. By installing the Tweetmeme plugin, you can insure that you have provided the easiest outlet for your readers to spread your content on Twitter. I typically recommend having an option to submit at the top and bottom of your article. You can see my Tweetmeme button at the top of this article…hit it…I know you want to! ๐Ÿ˜‰ And a Twitter icon that submits at the bottom of the article.
  • Display Twitter Profile and Latest Tweets On Your Blog – A lot of social media and blog integration is to make sure you are properly displaying your profiles on your blog. You do not want to make it hard to find you on Twitter and other social media because…the harder you make it…the less follows you will see. On your blog, you are going to want to use a widget (plugin like Twitter for WordPress will do the trick like you see in my footer) and link to your profiles on your About Page and other related sections of your blog. If you want people/readers to find you…you have to make it easy.
  • Run Contests On Twitter – One of the fastest ways to grow your following on Twitter in a way that compliments blog growth is to create a contest on Twitter where they have to follow and RT some line you setup to be entered in the contest. For best results, you are going to want to give away something your blog readership wants (does not have to be expensive) and link to the contest article in the RT line. You are driving traffic to your blog and increasing your Twitter following with targeted leads that will help grow your blog down the line.
  • Have A Complete Twitter Profile – What is a complete Twitter profile? Let’s break it down…a user name that compliments your blog title/brand, a Twitter background that compliments your branding and blog (usually includes urls, useful info, etc.), a link to your blog in the sidebar of your Twitter page and a short excerpt of who you are and what you blog about in the description (DO NOT use the word expert, guru, etc…you can not give yourself those terms and it just looks like spam). It really surprises me sometimes when people completely overlook their Twitter page and leave the background generic. You can get fantastic backgrounds on the cheap from freelancers (TwitterWalls.com did mine for @robbsutton) and you will see an increase in follow rates by having a professional looking profile.

So there you have it! Follow these steps and you will watch your blog grow without the aid of Google. With social media growing by record numbers each year, you can actually grow your blog and your business easier than ever before. It just takes making the right decisions and carry out a plan…the rest will be history.

17 comments

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17 comments

Henri January 7, 2010 - 10:14 am

This was helpful. I’ve looked at Social Snipe but I’m too lazy to use it. I think that may sound wrong, because it actually allows me to be more lazy.

However, I’ve looked at similar software and even tried them. I always end up following a bunch of crappy twitterers even while filtering a lot. How do you get around this with Social Snipe?

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Robb Sutton January 7, 2010 - 10:19 am

I follow people that are replying to other bloggers by setting up @twittername search preferences. That keeps it to people that are actually interacting.

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Louis January 7, 2010 - 11:25 am

Thanks for sharing and great to see Twitter is working well for you.

But facebook has generated more traffic than twitter for my blog.

Currently, Facebook has more subscribers around my region. The Twitter sign up rate is still very slow here.

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Robb Sutton January 11, 2010 - 12:41 pm

The key to any social media outlet is finding where your potential readers are…and going there. If Twitter is not where they are hanging out…then it is a waste of time for you.

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Muzi Mohale | AlreadyInspired.com January 7, 2010 - 1:00 pm

I use http://www.socialOomph.com to automate replies for all new followers…you can add your customise message to them.

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Brandon @ WeBlogBetter.com January 7, 2010 - 4:51 pm

Excellent advice, Robb. I started a blog two months ago to hit a new niche and I didn’t even care when I was indexed in Google. I don’t expect to see high Google rankings for quite some time (although it did just get a PR4 ranking). I relied almost entirely on social networks and it’s taken off well. Good traffic, higher readership. Twitter and other networks have simply changed the game.

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Robb Sutton January 11, 2010 - 12:40 pm

Another success story of using social media the right way! Awesome!

BTW…I really like the design at WeBlogBetter.com.

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lee January 9, 2010 - 1:42 pm

Hey Robb
Thanks for the email of the post. I will check out social snipe hadn’t heard of it before. My question to anyone is where do I find a legit small retweet button like you have up there Robb? I had a tweet this button and it only worked for about a day then went lame. Now I have one that works and does the job but it’s the bigger one and I don’t really like it that size. I prefer the one like you have. Looking for one for blogger not WP by the way. Thanks ahead to whoever

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Robb Sutton January 11, 2010 - 12:37 pm

The Tweetmeme plugin has an option for compact widget. I then manually inserted the code into my single.php theme file.

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Brad January 10, 2010 - 7:11 pm

Never new about the feedburner auto tweet…I usually are first one to notice.

I personally see no point in twitter…no clicks and can’t seem to grow but I am doing everything listed.

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Robb Sutton January 11, 2010 - 12:34 pm

That was a nice added bonus to feedburner. Of course…it does also get you to use the Google url shortener.

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Gordon January 10, 2010 - 9:25 pm

Two things I’d like to comment on: First of all, what is the point of showing your last few tweets on your blog? I’ve been thinking of taking those down because I think they just take up space and who ever wants to check out your twitter stream can do that by clicking on the Twitter bird icon or whatever you got going.
Secondly, the part about making it easy for your users to re-tweet your post is under rated. I’ve seen people with re-tweet plugins on their blogs and when I click re-tweet it just pastes the long blog post URL along with the date and post name inside my web Twitter box. Now what’s up with that, you want me to RT your post and to shorten the URL as well? Even add an @ reply so you know how many people RT-ed it … cmon people, we all have stuff to do, we can’t spend 5 minutes re-tweeting a single post.

There, I got it all out of my system. Thanks for the post and keep it up ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Robb Sutton January 11, 2010 - 12:33 pm

First point – I do it to show that I am actively using Twitter. Increases on follows.

Second point – That is why I use the Tweetmeme plugin. It shortens the url and puts your @username on. All your reader has to do is click a button.

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lee January 10, 2010 - 10:21 pm

Gordon,

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Chad @ Tech201 January 11, 2010 - 12:42 am

The days before Twitter were pretty lame, being at the mercy of a search engine to send you traffic.
I was able to build up a modest (for a new blogger) subscriber count before I started getting any regular search engine traffic. Thanks to Twitter..

Good stuff, Robb.

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Robb Sutton January 11, 2010 - 12:32 pm

Twitter is great for instant satisfaction as well. I think there are a lot of bloggers that would have given up early if it wasn’t for some instant traffic from Twitter.

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Ken Yuen January 13, 2010 - 3:37 pm

Thanks for the TweetMeme Button plugin idea Robb, I’m trying to get traffic to my blog, and I’m sure the button will help sooner or later ๐Ÿ™‚

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