5 Reasons to set up your ActiveRain Outside blog.
I'm sure at some point, each one of you has asked yourself, "So, what's the point of an ActiveRain outside blog?" The answer is, there aren't very many reasons to start a new outside blog these days. Here are a few, and I hope this article can guide you to the reasons that work for you.
Keep in mind that there are people out there in ActiveRain-land that are seeing success with getting their outside blog in Google's results. If you're not one of them, these are some good ways to make your outside blog useful. I don't recommend starting a new outside blog until you've read everything you see below. If you have set up an outside blog with ActiveRain already and you don't care about anything you read below, forget that you have an outside blog. You'll be better for it. As far as yours truly can see, the only valid reasons to set up an outside blog are:
1) It's great for offline marketing!
It's easier to tell your potential client to go to "www.jeffhasanawesomebeard.com" than "www.activerain.com/blogs/jeffgray". (No, that page doesn't exist. ...Yet!) You control almost everything people see on your outside blog. It's branded. With your brand! Just don't forget to set up your Hit Router so you don't get frustrated. My advice is that you need to put your outside blog's URL on your business cards or don't set one up.
Before you read the next two reasons to use your ActiveRain outside blog, remember that everything gets posted to your AR Blog first and then gets sent to your outside blog afterwards. People who go to your AR Blog will see all the stuff you've put on your outside blog too.
2) You want a place to send people for hyper-local information!
You cover a large area and you don't want to make people wade through blogs about five counties they don't care about to get to the stuff they want. You might want to use your outside blog for this. The bottom line is, don't use your outside blog to tell me about Seattle. Your outside blog will not rank for Seattle without YEARS of work on your part. And it's possible that it never will. To make better use of your time, talk about homes in the Ballard area -- and only homes in the Ballard area -- in your outside blog, and you might see some success.
3) You want a place for your niche blog posts!
You want to be able to send people somewhere to find out about the next cool thing. So, you want to get traffic from a niche market? You know, something to reach people who are interested in green living or "green" homes, but you know that sometimes you're going talk about other stuff too? Have all your green living stuff on an outside blog. Post all the other stuff only on your AR Blog. If you're going to use your outside blog for niche marketing, don't ever post anything that isn't about your niche on your outside blog. Ever.
4) You can use cool things like Google analytics!
This helps you track how your readers are finding your blog. I'm not going to lie, this one's pretty cool. The problem is: Google analytics don't matter if the blog gets no traffic. If you want more help with making sure your blog posts get read, check out all the great information we have at the ActiveRain University!
5) You crave organization!
You want to make it easy for readers who find your blog to search what you've posted on your blog. Your outside blog has some cool built-in features that let you organize posts by topics. If you follow the instructions in my blog about organizing your AR Blog, you'll see that you can organize your AR Blog pretty easily. Remember that everything you post to your outside blog is on your AR Blog first. The other things on this list are the real reasons to set up your outside blog.
If you can honestly tell yourself that you want at least three of the five of these things, your outside blog is worthy of the time it takes to set it up. Remember that posting your information on ActiveRain in your AR Blog is a huge reason your information can be found on the top of Google's SERP's. We can't say the same for your ActiveRain outside blog. You have to be smart about how you use it! The reason ActiveRain still gives an outside blog to those of you who sign up for a RainMaker subscription is that there are some people who use them with great success. There is a very high correlation among the people doing what I've outlined here and the people getting traffic with their outside blog.
My advice about ActiveRain is, and always has been, do the things that will give you the greatest reward with the least effort. Post great content that's timeless. Get people as close to the information you think they will want or need when they are reading your posts. Link to your lead capture website if you have one. Get a lead capture website if you don't have one. This goes for anyone posting on ActiveRain for any reason.
I'm sure you may ask yourself, "What's the point of all this effort?". It's to get people to talk to you! To get more business! Right? You have to make it easy for your readers to contact you in a way that makes them comfortable. If they don't want to talk on the phone, they won't call you. It won't matter if your phone number is all over your blog. You have to give them other avenues to contact you. But that sounds like the topic for another blog post...