So what is a digital footprint and why should I care?

Well, if you’re working solo, you’re on a budget and strapped for time, you need to care!

Ideally every piece of work you do should be ageless, continuously gaining in value and authority over time.

It’s like compound interest for your labour.

Your digital footprint refers to your unique set of traceable digital activities, actions, contributions and communications carried out all over the Web.

So why am I telling you this?

Because this is one of the most powerful techniques for growing your audience and increasing your traffic that very few fully grasp.

Let me explain…

“Imagine for a moment the Internet as the transport network for the world, and your digital footprints act as signposts.  Over time as you strategically place more and more signposts on busier and busier intersections, more and more people will get directed to your blog”.

We all leave a digital footprint whether we like it or not, but the value of our digital footprint differs immensely!

In this post you’ll learn the highest value, most effective digital footprint building methods, with the highest return on investment on the internet.

WHY YOU MUST LEVERAGE YOUR DIGITAL FOOTPRINT

As a Solopreneur you have no option but to work smart.  You have to be efficient with you time and get the maximum value and longevity for every piece of work you do.

Every action you take on the Internet adds to your digital footprint.  However, some actions compound over time, and some fade away quickly into the abyss of the internet never to be seen again.

Let me share an example:

“Stockpicks.com makes regular posts on top stock market picks and trade updates.  These posts are quick to produce and are very time sensitive. These posts have incredible value to their audience, but, the value is very short lived.

As soon as the trade set-up has passed, the information becomes worthless.”

These posts add little to no value to their digital footprint.

Lets for a moment imagine another scenario:

“Stockpicks.com writes a blog post about “How to trade stocks”.  The article is super informative, well researched, and is a great resource for anybody looking to learn how to trade stocks.

Unlike the trade updates, this post matures like a fine wine.

Over time, more and more people read the article (some share it on social media with their friends), and a few influencers even link to in their articles.  

Googles algorithm picks up on all this activity and sends this post to the top of their search pages.

All of these factors compound over time increasing the digital footprint, giving stockpicks.com a steady stream of free traffic from Google.”

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DIGITAL FOOTPRINTS WITH THE BIGGEST IMPACT!

Your goal is to leave a digital footprint that compounds over time gaining in value and authority.

Lets get stuck in..

ACTIVE DIGITAL FOOTPRINT.

“Active” refers to the fact that this is something that you can actively control.

Blog posts

Blogging is the best form of digital footprint you can leave.  Google will love you for it.

Every word you write gets crawled and indexed by Google.  Over time your content will show up in more and more search results, driving more traffic your way.

The one caveat is…

Your content has to be good, and it genuinely has to actually help people.

YouTube videos

YouTube is now the second biggest search engine in the world.

Making helpful, relevant videos on your niche will expose you to an annual audience of over 1.5 billion people.  As you create your video content you’ll build authority, boost engagement and drive more people to your site.

Stacking YouTube videos on top of Blogging is a winning strategy for sure.

Guest posting

Guest posting is where you write an original post on somebody else’s blog.  It’s an excellent way to reach out to a new audience, build authority and also gain backlinks to your blog.

The SEO benefits of guest posting have diminished over the years, however it’s still a strong technique for expanding your digital footprint.

Podcasting

Over 124 million Americans tuned into podcasts in 2018, that’s a whopping 40% of the population (and that number is on the increase).

Image courtesy Podcasting stats

The numbers don’t lie and Podcasting can’t be ignored.

If you’ve got the skills to crush it with podcasting then it can be a great tool to building your overall digital footprint.

Answering questions on forums

Getting out there and getting your hands dirty in forums and websites like Quora or Reddit is a great way to drive new traffic to your blog.  Each answer will act as a signpost directing people (and Google) back to your site.

In alignment with our digital footprint objective, these answers are permanent and will mature over time.

Posting on social media

Posts on social media are time sensitive and degrade quickly (often in a matter of hours).  They are however still a powerful tool in driving new users to your site.

Utilise tools like Buffer or Hootsuite to automate and schedule your social media posts.  These tools will save you a tonne of time and ensure you’re prioritising other more impactful tasks.

Blog commenting

Reaching out, engaging and commenting on other blogs in your niche will build rapport.  It’ll get your name recognised in your industry and each blog comment you leave will act like a breadcrumb trail to your blog.

Don’t abuse this feature though.

Overuse is considered spammy and will result in a Google enforced penalty.  So use it scarcely and make it genuine.

Social Media engagement

Liking, sharing, subscribing etc. will get you noticed in your industry and build connections.  Also, by engaging with others around you (sharing and commenting on their posts), they’ll be more likely to reciprocate.

Although it’s value as a digital footprint will dilute rapidly, the connections you build won’t.

PASSIVE DIGITAL FOOTPRINT

“Passive” refers to the fact that this is something that you cannot actively control.

Backlinks are the HOLY GRAIL of a digital footprint.  Google literally drools over them and they can’t be overlooked.

Although Google got rid of Page Rank as a ranking factor a number of years ago, they didn’t remove the importance of backlinks.

Each backlink you get (a backlink is where another website links to yours) acts as a huge positive ranking signal to Google.  Not all backlinks are equal however, and there is definitely a science to doing it well.

However, as this is a beginner tutorial (and building backlinks is a whole science in itself), the easiest way to build backlinks is to create content so good that people can’t help but link back to it.  If you do this, the rest will take care of itself!

Social likes and shares

Echoing the words above ^ Create killer content and people will want to share it.  Simple as that.

Although these likes and shares don’t carry anywhere near the weight of backlinks, they’re still a good positive signal too Google, and they also project your content to a bigger audience.

Blog comments

This is when your audience engages with your blog posts.  Each new comment is not only a chance for you to connect with your readers, it’s also a way to add to your digital footprint over time.

Comments can add value in a couple of different ways, by increasing the average time spent on your page (which is a ranking factor for Google), and also in creating new keyword rich comments that compound over time and increase your chances of ranking on page 1 of Google.

CONCLUSION

Building out your digital footprint is definitely not going to be done overnight.  However, with a little forethought and some good tactical planning you can focus your work primarily on tasks that compound over time.

That’s what being a Solopreneur is all about, and that’s the type of work that’s going to actually get you out of your day job sooner rather than never!

Don’t leave this shit up to luck, and don’t prioritise easy (instant gratification) work over the stuff that’s proven to work.

Just follow the steps above.

Work like a nutter for 12 months and before you know it you’ll have reached your Minimum Viable Life and you can finally make decisions on your terms.

Peace out.

Rowan.

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What methods are you using to build out your digital footprint?

Share it in the comments below and get the conversation started.