8 Tips for Using Twitter to Drive Traffic to Your Website

1. Fill out your Twitter profile in its entirety. Add a biography to let people know who you are and what you do. Put your website or blog URL into your profile, and upload a photo, even if it’s just your agency logo. There’s nothing worse than being mistaken for a spam account, because your account has no information.

 

2. Tweet consistently. Your followers are more app to pay attention when they know you show up on a regular basis. Post at least once a day–more frequently, if you can. Users will quickly ignore or unfollow you, if you don’t provide frequent updates.

 

3. Automate your website and blog updates with RSS. Services like TwitterFeed and various WordPress plug-ins make this easy, so you don’t have to manually update your timeline with these URLs. Of course, you should consider reposting them, with different text, throughout the day to reach a wider audience.

 

4. Share content from other people. It’s easy to get into a “me, me, me” mindset on Twitter, but you want to avoid this. Share others’ content, as this shows you’re not selfish. It also gives you content to talk about when you’re running sparse. Is something going on in the local economy, or does your area have something to offer new residents? Let followers know!

 

5. Encourage people to follow you with deals, discounts or giveaways that are only available to people who follow you on Twitter. Everyone wants something for nothing, and Twitter is no exception.

 

6. Use services like Klout to find those accounts with whom others are dying to communicate. Build connections with those who already are influencers to accumulate your own audience, or simply jump in on the conversations people are having with those popular accounts. Some users have over 10,000 followers and love to chat. Plus, you can look at what they do right and incorporate that into your own activity.

 

7. Join the conversation. When you see someone communicating with popular accounts or the hottest trending topic is in your industry, join in. Actively search for the keywords that relate to your area and industry with Twitter’s search feature. When you see that someone’s discussing things pertinent to your own interests, chime in. Add your opinion and expand your network by being chatty.

 

8. Don’t forget about hashtags. This feature of Twitter is one of the easier ways to attract followers who might not know of your existence. When you participate in a hashtagged discussion, you improve your visibility, so if you’re talking about “#seattle”, those people who are interested will see you and, hopefully, follow, too.

Website of the Month: Could Yours Be Next?

Do you think your website has what it takes to be featured as Brain Host’s “Website of the Month?”

If think that your website has what it takes to be the first “Website of the Month,” please send an email to socialmedia@brainhost.com with a brief description of why you think your website should be the website of the month along with the following information:

  • Name
  • Website URL
  • Email Address associated with your Brain Host account

How to Add Social Media Icons to Your Website

The Benefits of Manually Adding Social Media Icons

Plenty of websites offer pre-made icons. You can find the ones you like and even mix and match to create a unique set that represents your blog. Custom icons can blend with your blog or stand out in a jaw-dropping way. Manually controlling these icons lets you add the newest or lesser-known services before the plug-ins. For instance, there was a lag with the popular social bookmarking tools when Google+ first emerged. You can forget about bulky widgets, if you just want to add one or two links.

 

Find and Upload Icons

There are plenty of websites online that offer sets and individual icons for social bookmarking. If you have any experience with photo editors, you can create your own from the logo of the site, but you may find a pre-made group of icons that works just as well.

After saving the icons to your computer, you may want to resize them, however. The size depends on the area on your blog where you will show the icons. If you want them on a single line, you may need to shrink them to fit into your sidebar, while you may enlarge icons so that each is the width of your sidebar.

First, you will need to log in to your WordPress dashboard and click to add new media to your library. Select the files from your computer and click “Upload.” Once uploaded, expand the information for each image to get its URL. Copy and paste to a new tab or note pad, to keep the image addresses handy.

 

Adding Social Media Icons to WordPress

The simplest way to add icons is to add a widget from your dashboard (Appearance > Widgets). Select a new “Text” widget, which lets you add HTML. You’ll use a simple line that links to widget to your profile URL for each social service. For example, a link to Twitter will look like:

<a href=”http://twitter.com/Username“><img src=”path_to_your_icon” /></a>

Remember to change the hyperlink to your Twitter URL and the image source to the actual image source from your uploaded icon. If you put a space between each line of code, the images will appear next to each other vertically. However, you can put a line break between the icons using the following format:

<a href=”http://twitter.com/Username“><img src=”path_to_your_icon” /></a><br />

<a href=”http://facebook.com/Username“><img src=”path_to_your_icon” /></a>

Remember to press “Save” once you add your code.

 

Polishing Appearance

A few lines of CSS will add final touches to your social network icons. For example, you can center the whole block by wrapping it in a center-aligned div:

 

<div style=”text-align: center”>

<a href=http://twitter.com/Username“><img src=”path_to_your_icon” /></a><br />

<a href=http://facebook.com/Username“><img src=”path_to_your_icon” /></a>

</div>

 

Justifying the block works similarly:

 

<div style=”text-align: justify”>

<a href=http://twitter.com/Username“><img src=”path_to_your_icon” /></a><br />

<a href=http://facebook.com/Username“><img src=”path_to_your_icon” /></a>

</div>

 

If you want more space between the edges of your icons and the sides of the container, add padding:

 

<div style=”text-align: justify;margin:5px;”>

<a href=http://twitter.com/Username“><img src=”path_to_your_icon” /></a><br />

<a href=http://facebook.com/Username“><img src=”path_to_your_icon” /></a>

</div>

 

To increase the space between the icons themselves and the size of your container, use the padding attribute:

 

<div style=”text-align: justify;padding:5px;”>

<a href=http://twitter.com/Username“><img src=”path_to_your_icon” /></a><br />

<a href=http://facebook.com/Username“><img src=”path_to_your_icon” /></a>

</div>

 

Any of the box-level attributes can apply to the div, including, margin, padding, border, width and height. Because your social icons are also links, you might want to remove any underlines with the following method.

 

<div style=”text-align: justify;margin:5px;”>

<a href=http://twitter.com/Username” style=”text-decoration:none;”><img src=”path_to_your_icon” /></a

</div>

 

However, consider the following, if you want to add an unique border to the linked icons:

 

<div style=”text-align: justify;margin:5px;”>

<a href=http://twitter.com/Username” style=”text-decoration:none;border:1px dotted #000000;”><img src=”path_to_your_icon” /></a

</div>

Cleaning Up Your Code

 

If you have access to and feel comfortable editing your WordPress theme’s CSS file. Open “style.css” in the theme editor (Appearance > Editor).

 

If you wanted to center align your div with padding at five pixels and a dotted border for your links, add the following CSS to the end of your style file.

 

#social-icons

{

text-align: justify;

padding: 5px;

}

 

#social-icons a

{

text-decoration: none;

border: 1px dotted:

}

 

Save the file and change your widget to display the following:

 

<div id=”social-icons”>

<a href=http://twitter.com/Username“>”><img src=”path_to_your_icon” /></a>

</div>

 

However, you can keep your CSS within your widget, if you feel more comfortable doing that. Either way, you have custom social icons on your website and are providing visitors with more ways to connect with you.

 

Website SEO: Determining Good vs. Harmful Links when Linkbuilding (Continued)

First, not all links are created equal. Not all backlinks to your site will work to increase your page ranking. In fact, some links may actually hurt your SEO efforts. Other backlinks may simply be ignored. According to Google and Bing, there are basically three types of backlinks that may appear on a website:

1.) Links that are ignored by search engines

2.) Links that help build page rank

3.) Links that hurt page ranking

Evaluation of links by search engine algorithms is basically on a continuum. On one end of the continuum, the link may be interpreted as “manipulative.” Google and the other major search engines frown on manipulative links. Manipulating backlinks is known as “black-hat SEO.” On the other end of the continuum, backlinks are deemed “beneficial” and will actually work in the site’s favor to increase page rank. In the middle of the continuum is the “ineffective” or ignored link. These links neither add to nor detract from the site’s ranking.

 

Link Building Sites, Link Farms and Blog Networks

Recently, a rash of sites that were utilized by SEO pros to build backlinks have been shut down, or at the very least, rendered completely ineffective, by Google. Google has gone so far as to de-index certain link building sites, link farms and blogs, causing the sites to completely shut down. In the past, SEO pros would list backlinks to client sites on these link building sites. Google and other search engines weighted these links as valid and the page ranking for corresponding sites was enhanced by the practice.

Google has determined that link farms and link building sites were violating the “organic” nature of the Google search by contriving rank based on these manipulative backlinks. Therefore, Google rewrote the algorithm for page ranking to estimate the positive or negative SEO “signals” that are displayed by the site. For example, the new iteration of the algorithm reviews anchor text listed in the link in light of the keyword phrase that is used to search for the page.

 

How Google Estimates Organic and Beneficial SEO

The new iteration of the Google algorithm estimates the chances that the site is over-optimized or manipulative. Using statistical strategies, Google estimates the quality of the backlinks, anchor text and keywords to evaluate the site for being optimized enough to lend to an organic display in page ranking, or if the site is over-optimized in attempts to manipulate page ranking.

The latest version of Google’s algorithm looks for naturally occurring trends within a website. The algorithm determines the level of optimization for a site based on statistical trends. Therefore, one or two paid backlinks or links on link building sites will likely not get the site evaluated as manipulative. This is because, statistically, the algorithm expects that there will be a few outliers. Therefore, a link on a site that is not relevant to yours probably will not have a negative effect on your site’s page ranking. These outliers will simply be ignored.

 

Evaluation of Link Types

For SEO pros, it is greatly beneficial to know how to link build without doing harm to clients’ sites. Some link building methods are considered “organic,” and others, even those that have worked in the past, are now considered manipulative and will harm a site’s ranking.

Good Links:

1.) Content Links

One of the best places for link building is relevant content. Content links in relevant, high quality blog posts, as well as white papers, Word documents and eBooks are all great for link building. However, the link must be organically utilized in the content. For example, posting a relevant and rich article with links to your site is great, but add the practice of sending a heads-up to quality bloggers and others who will write some additional content and link to your article. Keep in mind, however, that the content must be quality content. Develop your network to include others, such as bloggers and writers, who will promote your work, and then return the favor. This is an organic network that is useful for promoting your site.

2.) Social Media Links

Consider the relationship between the social media site and the search engines. For example, Google+ is indexed by Google and will show links from those in one’s Google+ circles in personalized search results and rankings. Bing will index Twitter links from those people who are associated and display the links in two places: People You Know and News.

 

Bad Links:

1.) Text Links

Text links that link to off-site content, such as those that often appear in footers and sidebars.

2.) Article Sites 

The old school practice of listing links in spun content on article sites is no longer effective. This practice has been deprecated by algorithms for a long time now.

3.) Link Farms, Blog Networks and Link Building Sites

Avoid listing backlinks on these sites. With the next updates to the Google algorithm, listing on these sites will possibly even have a negative effect on ranking.

4.) Apps and Badges

Though once thought to be a clever SEO strategy, apps and badges are no longer effective for link building.

5.) Directory Sites

 Though your site should be listed in directories, when appropriate, over-use is simply a waste of time and money. Google ignores many directory listings that are not considered relevant.