If you already have a Gmail (or Google) account, then the hard part is out of the way. Google Groups are like a blend between message boards and e-mail lists, where various topics can be discussed. Not only can you learn a lot and establish yourself using Groups, you can also build traffic to your blog.
Initially, you may not be a member of any Groups, however, you can quickly change that by browsing the various groups by category or doing a search. Try to find groups that have active discussions and that spark your interest. Once you’ve chosen a few groups, I’ll provide you with some tips for making the most of them.
Give Your Profile Some Attention
Before you jump into all the discussions, it’s a good idea to fill out your profile so when people begin to wonder about who you are (and if you participate enough, they will), they’ll know how to find your website. To spark additional interest, you may want to add a picture to your profile as well.
Discover Blog Topics
People are usually asking plenty of questions in Google Groups and if you happen to know the answer, great. You can respond to the group, but you can take it beyond the group by polishing up the answer and blogging it. Of course, it should go without saying that you shouldn’t reveal any personal information about the inquirer.
A discussion may even spark a heated debate that you can chime in on from your blog, and also get a wider group of people involved. Be sure that you also check the group’s rules to make sure that certain topics aren’t confidential and to be contained within the group environment first.
Contribute to the Discussion
You don’t have to be a know it all to participate in the rhetoric. Ask questions or garner opinions about a topic. Whenever the opportunity does come up to answer a question, do so. And don’t be afraid to put your opinion out there in an open discussion.
Add a Tasteful Signature
Your signature doesn’t need to be big and flashy to get noticed. Simply signing your name, followed by your web address, should be enough. If you participate regularly and offer insightful commentary, people will be more inclined to click through to see what else you have to offer.
But, before you run off to start crafting your new signature, make sure that the group you’ve joined allows them. Some groups specifically request that you don’t use signatures or that you keep them under a certain number of lines.
Play By the Rules
This is common sense, but bears repeating. Various groups will have their own code of conduct. Not playing by the rules can land you in a kettle of hot water. You may end up being labeled a spammer or kicked out by the group admin.
Conduct yourself as you would being a guest in someone’s home, and you can’t go wrong. If you keep your nose clean, get involved, and show others that you are passionate about a topic, then you’ll be opening many doors for networking and growing your website.
[tags]google groups, blog traffic, blog optimization[/tags]