We received a few good accolades and feedback on our recent Daily Golden Nugget series about how to monetize the website traffic you already have. One reader sent back a good question that I'm answering as today's Nugget.
Question: As an ecommerce business, is there any benefit to "leaving your name" across the internet (for example, answering peoples' questions and leaving your website). Some specific examples are:
1. Posting in consumer forums
2. Answering questions on twitter, yahoo answers, or legitimate question/answer sites
3. Leaving reviews of books about diamonds, etc.
4. Commenting on jewelry blogs
Each of the 4 suggested strategies has some value for increasing traffic, link building to your site, and gaining a public reputation; but since this is a manual process, the real question is if it's worth the manual labor for the potential return?
When it comes to ecommerce, time is money, so make sure you are spending time engaging good websites. As I recommended yesterday, I use the Quirk Search Status extension for Firefox (download it here: http://quirk.biz/searchstatus/ ) to find sites with a PageRank of 3 or more and an AlexaRank of 2,000,000 or less before commenting.
Here are some specific ideas to answer each of the 4 topics above.
1. Posting in consumer forums: Many forums are riddled with Google Ads. Google refers to these as "thin content sites" since they add little value to the internet. Only get involved with forum sites that meet the Quirk criteria I outlined above. On the other hand, keep a lookout for any and all forums that your vendors are running. Those forums will have real consumers showing off their jewelry and asking questions that you should be answering.
Always be yourself and be honest on forums, and avoid simple posts like "WOW! Great looking ring," because that's an obvious ploy to post your contact information.
2. Answering questions on twitter, yahoo answers, or legitimate question/answer sites: Yahoo answers are always showing up in search results and highly when someone types in a direct question. Type a jewelry related question into Google and see how many Yahoo Answers sites appear. There should be a few.
With Yahoo, you should be able to create an account and jump right in there to answer a question. You could also post your own question using one Yahoo profile then answer it with your official Store's Yahoo profile.
To maximize your efforts, you should stay focused and only answer questions that only to the types items that you sell online or have a direct connection to your business.
For Twitter Q&A you will need a tool to search for topics, and then answer them in 140 character snips. This can be powerful; it will build you followers, but it sure is time consuming. The process is too long to explain in a Daily Nugget.
3. Leaving reviews of books about diamonds, etc: If you've legitimately read the book then this would be a good way to illustrate your expertise about "diamonds" or whatever the topic of the book is. Don't spam the book review systems on Amazon or Google Books just for the sake of creating a backlink or saying "hey I'm a jewelry store that sells diamonds." Quoting the book or referencing a specific chapter will add credibility.
Readers may decide to shop your online store because of your review. Links from Amazon do generate traffic for popular items, but don't overdo your reviews. Limit it to once a month, or as often as you finish reading a book.
4. Commenting on jewelry blogs: Comment spam doesn't work, so only post a comment if you have something legitimate to say. For this to be effective you should look for blogs on the websites for every vendor you carry, and look at their Facebook or Google+ pages. Refer to yesterday's Nugget for some additional tips on blog commenting and transparency.
If you interact with your vendor's official blogs, you can freely share links to your specific website product pages.
As a final thought, don't spend a lot of time on any of these strategies. To start you should make a list of vendor blogs, forums, and Facebook pages, then include those into your daily online activity. Only post comments when you have something of value to say, something helpful, or something additive that you feel the consumer would be interested in knowing.
You could hire someone to do this for you, and slightly speed up the process, but the above recommendations are true organic ways to build online value, and sales.