Venue for the 1st Write on Finance event.
These are my notes from the Write on Finance conference held in Leeds and organised by Karen Bryan of Help me to Save. Search engine optimisation is a huge topic and not particularly interesting to talk about but one of the biggest challenges I have found is link building. In this post I am not going to talk about on-page optimisation or keyword research – these are ideas on how you might look at attracting more links to your blog. I am not an SEO expert, but I have spent the last seven years learning about how the search engines like Google work. This post is based on my own experiences as a blogger.
How to link build for your blog
You need to think out of the box and try and be creative nowadays with link building. Link Exchanges, blogroll links are pretty much useless these days because of the continuous changes that the search engines are making to how they rank a website in its search results. Bear in mind that it is not the number of links but the quality. A good point that one of the attendee’s made is make sure that the link is followed, i.e. does not have rel=”nofollow” html tag.
Choose the places you publish your blog post wisely. Make sure that the blog is on topic to your niche. Contact the blogger beforehand with an idea for a guest post and ask if they would accept it. Ideally if you have the time spend some time networking with the blogger, build a relationship with them. Make sure you research their blog and look at their audience. While this is a good way to get a link or two, it will also help you raise your profile and help you become an authority in your niche.
If you’ve used a financial product or service, look on their website and see if they have any testimonials. Contact them and briefly tell them about your blog and that you have used their produce and would they like a testimonial. Try and keep within your niche.
If you have written about a product or service on your website, for example, one of my writers on My Life in Leeds recommended a few restaurants in one of the guides – I contacted the restaurants and asked them if they would link to the guide. All of them did. Businesses like being recommended as much as bloggers do.
Over the years I have built up relationships with journalists, other bloggers and writers on Twitter – this has left to countless links, including a nice one from authority websites like the Guardian and New York Times. Build relationships with other bloggers and writers.
Become an authority
Becoming an authority in your niche takes years, but over time you can gain lots of links from the media and high profile websites. Over the years I have become a travel consumer spokesperson and this has left to me being on TV, radio and in magazines and newspapers all over the world. If I was all you writing about Finance I would create a personal brand around yourself and work on proving to people that you know what you are talking about.
Don’t be afraid to ask
Be cheeky; never be afraid to ask someone if they will link to your blog. I noticed on the BBC website that they have a regional page for Leeds with useful websites like the Yorkshire Evening Post so I cheekily emailed the webmaster, and asked if he could include my website – a few weeks later he replied to say that the link had been included.
Being controversial has meant that I have managed to get lots of links but don’t be just for the sake of it though – believe in what you have opinions on. Make sure you can back up your opinion with stats or evidence. If there’s something in the Finance industry that you do not agree with then why not write about that. You must have thick skin though, remember that not everyone is going to agree with you.
Organising events are a good way to get links. Organise a tweetup, or bloggers meetup like this. In Leeds I organised a TwitWalk – basically a group of us, around 20 people, got together and went on a walk around the various parts of the city. This helped gain links and make people aware that I was knowledgeable about the city because I tried to use routes that not many people were aware of. I also organise an event in London called the Travel BlogCamp where we have in excess of 120 bloggers, journalists and writers attend.
These are just a few suggestions – to be honest, you have to become creative with link building and think outside of the box.
Useful WordPress plugins
Hopefully this post will help you plan your next link building campaign. As I mentioned in the talk, link building is just one part of building a successful blog – you quickly realise not only do you have to write good quality content, but you also need to learn about SEO, PR, social media and many other skills – so bear this mind before you jump into creating a blog just because someone has suggested that they earn £100,000 a year on theirs.