Most of us remember when blogs were a new medium. Sponsored posts and the arms race that’s become SEO weren’t much of a factor. Now, however, blogging has revolutionized marketing and free expression. It has become hyper competitive and highly commercialized. Today, we’re going to look at some resources to help you start or maintain your blog.
As this medium has evolved, so have consumer expectations. Once relegated to the nerdy set, blogs are a ubiquitous way to reach out to the masses. Everyone, from college students to large enterprises, seems to have one. From these posts, you’ll be able to see the reasons for blogging’s continued popularity.
Did you know that over 4 million blog posts are published daily? That’s not surprising, because blogs provide a very high return on investment. Statistics show that while content is cheap to produce, it’s also a great way to drive website traffic. That’s probably one reason why 75% of corporate websites have a blog section. Also, content marketers say that blogs are so effective that they’re one of the best tools out there, with the result that these are prioritized. People like to share these posts with others, usually to help someone else. Statistics show that long-form posts are the best for SEO, but very few posts are this long. For B2B brands, hearing from experts is especially important, and where better to do this than on a blog. Finally, for best results use list-based posts like this one.
Some people think that blogging is dead, but as Konrad Sanders points out it’s still relevant with changes. For one thing, don’t use that boring repetitive SEO content. Instead, think about quality over quality for your content. People want substance, not fluff. Make your content easy to skim, because people are busy and want to read things that are right to the point. You’ll also want to produce unique content and keep the conversation going. Allow, no, encourage, people to subscribe to emails and blog alerts. Furthermore, include plenty of links to encourage extended website browsing. Finally, give your topics in-depth coverage that encourages people to linger. These posts often have the best results.
Just like everything else in marketing, your blog needs a strategy. After all, if you put out random thoughts constantly then your blog will probably not be a go-to place for anyone but friends and family. Once that happens, you can forget about monetizing or becoming an influencer. Here are some resources to help you get started with a comprehensive-and cohesive-blog strategy.
If you’ve never blogged before, starting one can seem like a daunting task. However, this quick guide will leave you less mystified by the process. Before you do anything else, select a topic for your blog. It could be some hobby you have or, for corporate blogs, center around your products and services. Next, decide where you want to start blogging. Options include WordPress, Blogger, and several others. Make sure you understand the limits of each. Then, you’ll need some sort of domain name, which can be purchased through a domain registrar. Web hosting is also critical, because that’s who stores your website data and fields visitor inquiries. Set up a blog platform, which will allow you to edit your new website. Finally, have fun starting to publish content.
Here, we’ll talk about the three challenges of blogging and how to overcome them. First, there’s the level of competition. Unfortunately, the best option is often to find a niche (or set of keywords) that’s less competitive and make yourself remarkable in that area. Second, there’s the rapid changes in social media that make monetization challenging. Your best bet here is to diversify: put content in more than one place or use multiple platforms to drive blog traffic. Third, search engines change their SEO algorithms all the time. For success, try optimizing for topics rather than keywords. Topics change less over time, and carving out a niche keeps the traffic coming. As a final note, don’t forget sound marketing practices for your blog. This includes building an email list, adding videos, and connecting with other bloggers.
If you want to really grow your blog, check out these goals that will help. First, try to grow traffic by 6% a month. Then, write one post every week so people have something to read. Publish a guide that’s over 3,000 words to make your blog a destination. Start an email list and increase your opt-in rate by 50% for best results. Lastly, connect with a new influencer each month and feature their stuff on your blog. This helps draw their following to your blog.
Kim Kardashian is quite the cultural icon, and especially well known for her impact on the beauty industry. But did you know she has some lessons to teach bloggers? For one thing, she’s wonderful at working with others, which bloggers will want to do as their site grows. She also is excellent at knowing her audience, which in blogging means knowing what your readers will want to spend their valuable time on. Differentiating herself from everyone else is also a highly effective tactic she uses, and which can help you compete for an audience. She diversifies her topics, while keeping it relevant to her brand message. Your lesson is to not let the blog get stale with the same stuff all the time, while still retaining some consistency. Rather than using expert language, Kardashian keeps her material conversational, and you should too. Increased readability is the reward in this case. Be careful about oversharing, because it attracts the wrong type of attention-just like Kim Kardashian. At the same time, have fun, because when people enjoy your content they come back for more, and seek exposure to drive more traffic. Be consistent with your message and create the kind of intrigue that has people checking out your blog to see what the fuss is all about.
The jury has returned its verdict: storytelling is a fairytale for marketers. In fact, telling a “brand story” is the best way to attract and retain engagement and, with it, sales. So, how do we marketers master the art of storytelling? Try using one of these examples. Analogy driven stories are great when you’re trying to explain something that’s a bit more complicated, because the analogy is based in the familiar. Or, you can dramatize the truth so people see your point immediately. However, these techniques aren’t the only thing to consider. You should try to add sensory information that grabs and retains the reader’s attention. Another technique is to build anticipation, which is especially good on longer posts and when you’ll use more than one to get it said. Lastly, think about building characters to root for, just like they do in those classic novels
One of the best ways to become an influencer is with a blog. In fact, names like Neil Patel, Tim Ferriss and yours truly have all started that way. Why? Well, for one thing it gives influencers a great opportunity to create engaging content that readers love. They have an opportunity to be authentic, talk about their interests, and make learning fun. If you want to be the next influencer, try these steps. Put your best effort into blogging, and then create the kind of quality content that keeps people coming back. Next, make sure you have a great content strategy, and decide when or if you’ll start collaborating. Then, use social media to spread the word. Finally, when your analytics say it’s time be sure to scale up and start leveraging that influence.
One thing we talk a lot about on my blog generally is the importance of having a strategy. However, we also talk about tactics. In this case, it’s the structure of blog posts and the way in which we capture reader attention that is the main focus. Not every writing style or structure is engaging or effective. So, here are some posts that can help the novice and experienced blogger alike.
Need some content ideas? Give these a try. Customers love product updates, because it tells them what’s new at your company. Explainer posts are an awesome way to make your products more accessible while reducing customer service calls. Company news and industry-related content keep customers abreast of what’s going on in your world and theirs. Finally, add some infographics to help the time-strapped consumer find out what you have to say. Is this too much for you? Consider hiring help in the form of full-time marketers or content writers, adding guest posts, or outsourcing your content creation.
Nobody questions the usefulness of blogging anymore. In fact, we marketers swear by them. So how do you structure blog posts for both readers and Google? Your first step is simple: think about your audience, and plan accordingly. Next, be sure to research the right keywords for inclusion in the post. Once you’ve done that, write a well-structured introduction that tells everyone what the post is about. Next, be sure to use headings and well-organized paragraphs that give your post structure. Include images, and don’t forget a conclusion. Calls to action are important to inviting engagement, and don’t forget to solicit feedback. Finally, make sure to adjust to your audience by using analytics as a guide.
For this post, Prince Kapoor gives some basic tips on getting leads from your blog posts. However, many of them are important for other aspects of blogging. Probably the best tips here are the importance of personalization and email marketing. Especially for new bloggers who haven’t monetized yet, these are easy things to omit. However, as the blog grows you’ll find that these items are important to increasing your influence and monetization opportunities. Other hints include tips for great layout and SEO power.
Infographics are hot, and there are several reasons for this. For one thing, they’re easy to share on social media, which also increases readership. Infographics can also be used to enhance brand voice and meet content goals. They should be SEO optimized, just like the rest of the post. Lastly, infographics let you try something new that provides visual interest. With all these benefits, why not give infographics a try?
Are you running out of space on your storage account? Need to get rid of nonperforming content? The best way to do this is with a content audit. Before you begin, be sure and set a goal for what stays and what goes. Then, take an inventory of what is posted on your blog. Organize your content into relevant categories like length and type, then look at analytics data on each post. Consider how each post meets (or doesn’t meet) your content goals. Finally, decide what content is going to be updated, rewritten, or retired in order to improve the blog.
How to Promote and Increase Traffic to Your Blog
The days when you could just put something out there and get it discovered is long gone. Instead, you need to promote your blog so people will come and read it. Not only that, but you’ll need significant readership to become a thought leader or influencer. Luckily, we’ve written on this problem as well.
Need more subscribers? Most of us can certainly use a larger readership, so here are some tips. First, turn some of your posts into lead magnets. Then, optimize your blog to yield a higher conversion rate, which in this case is readers into subscribers. Distribute lead magnets all over the site for maximum effect. Use online ads and reach out to your awesome subscribers. Finally, branch out from email subscribers, so people can add you by RSS, Facebook Messenger, and others as appropriate.
If you’re writing a blog, you want people to read it, right? Here are some ways to do it. Setting goals and collaborating with other bloggers are both highly effective. Develop a personal brand and use email newsletters to expand regular readership. Write regularly but keep a content calendar to stay on track. Use SEO techniques and promote your blog on social media networks. Finally, use both affiliate agreements and banner advertising to generate cash.
One of the best ways to increase traffic is to boost your search engine ranking. First, define your audience and their search intent, and then research your keywords. Once you’ve chosen target keywords, use them wisely and learn from your competitors. Think up an engaging title, and ensure your post is highly readable, as both help with rankings. Be sure to create a meta title and description, because Google indexes them favorably, and don’t forget to optimize your images. Add both internal and external links, and encourage people to comment on your posts.
There are a number of ways to boost blog traffic. While some of them, like creating awesome content, are standards, guest blogger Enstine Muki has a few fresh ones. Notably, he recommends being active on platforms like Quora, where people can ask questions and get answers. Another suggestion is to get interviewed, and then to syndicate your posts. Both get your name out there, which encourages people to check you out.
Here are some more methods for increasing blog traffic. Unique to this post is the suggestion that you post on news aggregator websites. In this case, you’ll use a link to encourage visitors. Another suggestion is to interview thought leaders, which helps by attracting some of their followers to your blog. Syndicating your content by paying for sponsored posts on Facebook or Instagram works well, too. Also, Pinterest and YouTube are places you can post and attract attention for your niche. Finally, creating a community around your blog is a valuable technique.
When used properly, LinkedIn is a great way to drive website traffic. One way to do this is by optimizing your profile, then creating useful content. Leverage groups and then share posts with specific individuals. Follow influencers and publish content of your own, while also knowing what your audience will go for. Finally, be sure to nurture relationships, because this network is one of the best for professional connections.
Blog Branding, Design & Imagery
If you just slap words up onto a blog, there’s a good chance people will see it as boring. For that reason, you need to make sure you design your blog to be visually appealing. And, especially if the blog is for business, you will want to ensure that design is consistent with overall branding.
For bloggers, branding includes the way things are written. For that reason, you should make sure the “voice” of your blog is consistent. Know your audience and talk about things that make sense to them, but make sure the blog also reflects your corporate values. Then, make sure you enlist the help of the right influencers. This will increase traffic and, hopefully, the leads your blog generates.
When you’re ready to take that blog to the next level, check out this set of design tips by Lana Miro. She dishes up a large helping of actionable suggestions for making it really look professional. For instance, she suggests using some bright, eye-catching colors and including quality graphics. She also recommends quality web design and video content.
While it’s occasionally necessary to buy images for your blogs, free images often will do the job nicely. This is especially true when you don’t have much blog budget and don’t need high-quality pictures. So where do you find them? Here, you will find a list of great free image resources. License rules are listed, as well as a sense of what kinds of pictures they host. A few have one-time subscription fees or limits on the number of images you can download.
Guest blogging is advantageous for most bloggers, whether they’re the host blog or the guest. Why? Guest blogging cross-pollenates readership between writers. It also provides readers with variety and a different point of view. However, there is an art to guest blogging, especially if the purpose is to build your blog with influencer voices.
Post author Dave Schneider offers a solution to those who want to invite influencers to guest blog. His idea is surprisingly simple: pitch them first. Influencers gain readership in part by guest posting on other people’s blogs, and they spend a good bit of time asking people for the opportunity. While you should still be familiar with the influencer first, sometimes it’s as simple as asking. Really.
Growing a successful blog is hard work, especially as it gets bigger. For instance, you’ll need to keep track of analytics information and monitor the comments. For my blog, tool recommendations are focusing on three types: making money, promoting posts, and tracking competitors.
This is one of my mega-lists that talks about anything you need to blog. Some tools listed are native to Google or blog hosting services. Others are multipurpose, like graphic design and other image tools. However, the biggest sections provide hints on what to use when it’s time to monetize your blog. For instance, social media tools help you become an influencer. Improving your analytics is another road to blogging success you’ll want to pursue.
One of the best ways to improve your readership is analyzing competing blogs. This is because you want to know what they are doing right, and where you can improve. So, you need to start by identifying your competitors. See what their strengths and weaknesses are by manual review. Then, call in the analytics tools to determine their overall performance. With this information, you can improve your own blog to be competitive.
How to Blog on WordPress
While WordPress is just one of many blogging options, it is also very popular. Other places like Blogger don’t have the customization options, and with WordPress you’ll be able to build a full-fledged website. Another reason for its popularity is the overall ease of use. No coding skills are needed, because it’s all done for you. Here, we’ll talk about ways to master the platform.
Plugins are small bits of software that add functionalities to a WordPress-based website. Most WordPress sites have a few, including mine. In this post, you’ll learn how to choose which plugins to install, and then how to do so effectively. At least three methods are available. Finally, we close with some steps you need to take before installing new plugins. Hint: always back up your site.
Speaking of plugins, what should you consider adding to your business blog? This is a long post, so we’ll only gloss it over. For one thing, you’ll need some kind of SEO aid like Yoast. Monetization tools, broken link checkers, share buttons, and many more can be added as your website grows and ages. However, it’s always worth leaving a word of caution: make sure you don’t add too many plugins, or you’ll slow your site down too much.
Blogging Outside of Your Blog
While most bloggers have their own website, there are other options available. For instance, LinkedIn and Medium offer places to park posts. We would argue that both are strategic areas to consider syndicating your blog content on.
There’s no question that blogging on LinkedIn is a great way to get viewers because of its relative exclusivity. However, there are some other factors you should consider. First off, make sure you understand the Pulse platform and its limits. Then, make sure your audience is an appropriate one for LinkedIn. Understand the importance of both comments and good research on LinkedIn. One of the drawbacks of using this network for blogging is that the wrong content can result in professional embarrassment a lot faster. Finally, understand that this is a professional network, so you need to create appropriate content for business.
According to Tiffany Sun, there are several reasons to repost some of your blog content onto Medium. This is a longstanding place to do syndication, and it’s overall very effective. So, why should you be part of the trend? First, it offers you more exposure. People go onto Medium that don’t normally read a lot of blogs. Second, this technique will add traffic to your site. Authors are allowed to link to their main blog, and there are also the internal links. Third, posting on Medium gives you some name recognition. It isn’t as crowded of a field as LinkedIn or Twitter. Worried about the Google duplicate content penalty? Don’t. Apparently, this problem is a myth unless you’re keyword stuffing. In short, Medium is a great place to boost your blog traffic. Best of all, it requires a minimum of additional work: just a few minutes per post. Easy, no?
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