How To Make First $500 From Your Blog (A Step-By-Step Guide)

A friend told me that he would like to launch a blog around a topic he is passionate about to get ahead in his career and bring an extra income.

Making money blogging is an exciting idea.

You can be your boss, live a very flexible lifestyle, and even work from anywhere in the world.

Here’s how you can earn first $500 from your blog.

Make money infographic

Here’s a list of top money making blogs to inspire you

Some bloggers publicly post their blog income reports which is useful for you to learn more about what’s possible to do and get inspired.

Here’s the list of some of the top money making blogs online:

  • Entrepreneur On Fire – A business blog making just under $200,000 per month by selling own products and doing affiliate marketing.
  • Smart Passive Income – A blog that’s helping people build a passive income business makes $100,000 average per month with 70% of that coming from affiliate links.
  • Pinch Of Yum – A food recipe blog that makes just under $100,000 on average per month with majority of that coming from display advertising and sponsored content.
  • Just A Girl And Her Blog – A blog about organizing your life and decorating your home makes approximately $40,000 on average per month by selling own products such as ebooks and courses, and doing affiliate marketing.
  • Wait Buy Why – Elon Musk’s favorite blog which makes more than $13,000 per month by being funded by its true fans with a monthly subscription amount of their choice.
  • Kitchen Sanctuary – A recipe blog making around $10,000 per month through freelance work and display advertising.
  • The Modest Man – A fashion blog making about $7,000 per month in a diversified way through sponsored content, display advertising, affiliate links and selling own products.
  • Single Moms Income – A blog about creative ways to earn and save money that makes approximately $6,000 per month through affiliate marketing, display advertising and freelance work as a virtual assistant.
  • Easy Baby Life – A blog about motherhood making just under $5,000 per month with a majority of that coming from display advertising.
  • The Endless Meal – A recipe blog making just under $4,000 per month through display advertising.
  • Living Off Cloud – A blog about creating various income streams online making approximately $1,500 per month through display advertising and affiliate marketing.

Three ingredients required to start making money with a blog

First, these are the ingredients required to be able to bring in the revenue from a blog.

Make sure you work on these before expecting to make money.

1. Your content needs to be useful and valuable

You cannot just “sell” as that will affect your ability to build an audience.

Sales pitches are not what people want to consume.

You won’t believe how many bloggers expect to do well by publishing pure marketing messages.

Just telling people about some product and asking them to buy will not entice anyone.

You need to have expertise in your topic and you need to create value through the content that you publish.

The best content is the content that relates to your audience, which people find useful and valuable, and that integrates promotional messages naturally within it.

See my full guide on creating content that people want.

2. You need to focus on a buying market

The topic you focus on has to have a buying market and has to be monetizable.

Some topics are tougher than others so make sure your topic has an audience interested in spending money if you want to monetize the blog.

Research the problems that you are looking to fulfill.

Use Google’s Keyword Planner to see what people search for and how much companies are paying to reach those people.

Identify products on the market that are relevant to your topic and to the audience you’re trying to reach.

Create content that is targeting people who are looking to make a purchase.

When people become aware of a need they need fulfilling, they go into an information search and look at the different alternatives before making a decision on what to buy.

People start the product hunt by doing a Google search when they are ready to make a decision and buy.

You need to rank well for those searches to be near their wallets.

You can be the one that helps them evaluate the alternatives by publishing useful product reviews, detailed product comparisons and discount offers.

See my detailed advice on how to pick your topic.

3. You need to build a loyal audience

Making money online is all about building authority and trust with an audience.

You need traffic to your blog, especially targeted traffic from a specific group of people.

Without people visiting your blog and without having a loyal and targeted audience, it will be tough to earn revenue.

Targeted audience is what can be monetized and whom sponsors want to reach.

You don’t need millions of loyal visitors either.

1,000 true fans are enough for most bloggers.

So how do you start getting loyal fans?

See my complete guide on how to grow traffic and build your audience.

How to make money blogging: The most popular options

Now let’s take a look at the most popular options for earning an income online.

Pick and choose several of the methods below to diversify your blog income and turn your DIY-project into a real business supported by display advertising, sponsored posts, affiliate sales and other revenue.

Experiment, test and take your time choosing the methods that fit your topic and your audience the best.

Don’t force it as you will find that the best methods will come to you naturally over time.

1. Affiliate marketing such as referring visitors to purchase products on Amazon

Affiliate marketing is the practice of recommending products and services to your visitors and getting a commission if they decide to make a purchase.

Thousands of companies who will pay you a commission on sales that you generate through your content.

Even the New York Times entered the affiliate marketing by acquiring website The Wirecutter.

The Times paid more than $30 million for the site which has affiliate revenue as its only income source.

The products you recommend must be relevant, useful and valuable to your audience and the needs they want to fulfill.

Find opportunities in your market and products you are familiar with.

Create valuable content about the product, help people use the product better, show how the product can improve their lives.

Rather than using banner ads to promote the product, put the affiliate links naturally within the content itself.

Banner blindness is a very known phenomenon which was proven by several eye-tracking studies and has shown that visitors tend to ignore banners.

Always remember to disclose your relationship with the company you promote.

So how do you find affiliate programs to join?

Amazon has a large affiliate program where you can earn a commission of up to 10% on anything they sell.

You can also join one of the larger affiliate networks such as Commission Junction, Clickbank or Shareasale which all feature opportunities from hundreds of merchants.

Skimlinks is an option if you want an easy way to take advantage of affiliate marketing.

They scan your content and automatically insert relevant links from thousands of merchants, so you don’t have to worry about joining affiliate programs and thinking about links.

You can also visit a company website directly and see if they have an affiliate program.

If they don’t, contact the company, explain your situation and ask if they would like to agree to do an affiliate deal with you.

2. Display advertising such as inserting Google Adsense banners

Google Adsense and other display advertising opportunities are one of the easiest ways to get started making an income on your blog.

It’s easy because Adsense automates the process of selling, displaying and optimizing the ads for you.

You place a piece of code and Google delivers text and image ads that are relevant to your audience and your content.

You don’t need to advertise that you have sponsorship opportunities, you don’t need to find advertisers, you don’t need to negotiate deals and manage payments and invoices.

You just join Adsense, choose how you want your ad to look like by matching the look and feel of your blog, install a piece of code on your blog and ads will start showing.

WordPress plugin Google Publisher Plugin, made by Google, will help you insert Google ads into your content.

As an alternative to Google Adsense for WordPress bloggers, you can try the WordAds platform made by people behind WordPress.

There are many more display advertising networks such as AdThrive, Media.net (which is Yahoo!/Bing version of Google Adsense), BlogHer (for blogs with a female audience) and Sovrn.

The alternative is to sell display ads directly to the interested advertisers.

Identify products relevant to your audience, then simply approach the company and ask if they would be interested in sponsoring your blog in exchange for a fixed monthly fee.

Discovering, approaching and in general dealing with advertisers can be a very time-consuming process compared to automated options like those above.

Display advertising networks either pay per click that your visitor places on an ad or per impression of the banner ad.

One negative aspect of monetizing your blog using display advertising is that your blog has to be broadly popular to make a living as you need a vast number of visitors to make a higher income.

Ad-supported platforms often pay less than $0.01 per view.

Depending on the demand of the topic you cover, a click can earn you anything from few cents to several dollars.

Many bloggers try to increase click rates by displaying several advertisements per page or using more intrusive formats such as pop-ups, but these methods are not very user-friendly, and you will lose your audience by using them.

It’s also worth considering how tech savvy your users are and if they use adblockers on their browsers.

If your audience consists of many younger and tech-savvy people you may be leaving a lot of money on the table by using banner ads that they ignore.

3. Get crowdfunded directly by your true fans through subscriptions and donations

If you’ve built a very passionate audience for your cause, a very effective monetization strategy is to ask for donations

In exchange, you can reward those who pay you by reserving them premium access to some of your content.

Some bloggers also create branded merchandise such as t-shirts, hoodies and coffee mugs for those faithful fans.

Jason Kottke, one of the very first bloggers, allows fans to purchase yearly memberships to support his blog.

And that’s even without promising any exclusive content.

Patreon is a platform that can help you accept funding from your true fans.

More than 50,000 creators use Patreon with more than 1 million true fans being monthly active paying patrons.

35 of the creators make more than $150,000 each per year while thousands earn more than $25,000 per year.

PayPal offers these buttons too and it just might be the way for you to get rewarded for the help you provide to your readers.

You can also limit access to some (or all) of your content and allow your true fans to get access to it by paying a small fee.

Most major newspapers such as The New York Times and Wall Street Journal have these paywalls as one of their primary sources of income.

WordPress has plugins that can help you create a paywall on your own blog, such as Memberful WP plugin.

4. Work with brands directly by posting sponsored content

Bloggers and other online influencers are seen as a more trustworthy source of product recommendations than traditional advertising.

Depending on the topic of your blog, there could be many companies looking to get their products and services reviewed, used and covered by bloggers.

There might be the possibility for you to create a classified ads or job board using WordPress plugins where you would allow brands to post their listings for a fee too.

Most bloggers are regularly contacted by companies that want them to review their products.

Some brands would pay for this service.

Some would send gifts, pay for trips or hotel stays or just give their products for free.

Some bloggers, especially those that are very influential in the fashion industry, can command thousands of dollars per sponsored post.

Many agencies work directly with bloggers and other influencers to find suitable sponsoring opportunities such as Klear, Sway Group, Reward Style, and Whalar.

A negative point to monetizing through sponsored content is that the content you end up creating can be less useful to your visitors compared to your best content.

If you can make a deal with a suitable company and you have complete freedom to create a great piece of content, this option is very attractive.

Just remember also to disclose that it is a sponsored post.

You will also discover that many companies will contact you directly asking to buy reviews or text links.

Even though many bloggers accept these, I would recommend you ignore these offers.

Selling links ruins the user trust, it’s not something search engines like either, and by accepting them, you risk being banned from the search results.

5. Sell your products and online courses

One of the best options for monetizing is to invest your time in creating a product or a service that is genuinely helpful to your true fans, which solves a problem that they have and that will provide enduring value to them.

The product that you sell should be related to what you stand for and what you talk about.

You are seen as the expert and the authoritative figure in that field and you have built the audience of people who trust you and follow you.

Pick an audience problem and cater to it.

Dig in, and really focus on meeting their needs and answering their questions.

Create the content once, put it in a permanent form such as an ebook, a webinar or a private membership site and sell it over and over to bring you a continuous revenue.

This one-to-many approach helps you scale your efforts and make more money than the personal one-on-one coaching which is very limited to the amount of time you have in a day.

It basically stops you from trading your hours for dollars.

There are many sites such as Teachable and Udemy that can help you run online courses on any topic.

On Udemy there are more than 20,000 instructors offering almost 50,000 courses between them and have made more than $8,000 on average.

You could charge a one-off fee or you could get people to sign up for a recurring monthly membership.

You will be selling a product just like you do in affiliate marketing but in this case, you’re selling the product that you own and get total profit from.

It does take more time and effort to create the product and you also have to consider customer support but if done well it’s more passive income than doing one-on-one coaching and consulting.

6. Do freelance work by being a coach, a virtual assistant or a consultant

This one focuses more on the credibility, authority and trust you have built as a blogger skilled in a particular topic.

You could become a consultant and charge clients for providing the services you specialise in.

You could become a coach and charge for people to have one-on-one private sessions with you.

You could also focus more on the freelance aspect and get paid to create content and write for other sites.

Many websites are looking for influential and authoritative contributors that they would gladly pay for.

Some are looking for copywriting help where you can submit content as a ghost writer without having your name on in public.

All these are time-consuming and depending on your name may not pay the most but you get to practice your writing and the payments do add up over time.

The downside of doing freelance work is that it’s not a passive income and you need to keep producing something of great value to earn those fees.

7. Extend your content to other platforms such as Amazon Kindle Publishing and YouTube Partnership

You can use your existing content to earn passive income on other platforms.

If you produce many videos, you can become a YouTube partner and monetize your videos on YouTube.

You can add your blog to the Amazon Kindle store and get paid when people read your content on Kindle.

It takes about 5 minutes to set this up and is a new revenue stream for your blog so no reason at all not to do it.

Amazon Kindle Publishing for Blogs is a self-publishing tool that allows you to submit and sell your content on the Kindle Store.

This is the quick process you have to go through to get your blog approved and stocked in the store:

  1. Go to the Amazon Kindle Publishing for Blogs
  2. Create a new Kindle Publishing Account (free)
  3. Add your site via a simple one-page process

Should I quit my job to start a blog?

It’s possible to make money from your blog, but it’s important you have realistic expectations.

The idea of quitting your job, leaving the rat race behind and doing something on your own terms is the fantasy that appeals to many cubicle bound employees all around the world.

It’s a great idea, a great dream to have and definitely something that can help get you motivated to achieve big things.

Finding yourself stuck in a boring job reading about all the people who have chosen to follow their passion can tempt you to give it all up and pursue the unconventional path.

But blogging is not a get rich quick scheme.

Don’t jump into it though assuming that just having the courage to pursue a different path is the only thing that matters, while everything else are just small details that can be worked out afterwards.

Most sites will fail to earn any income, some will make some pocket change only, while only a few might do so well that they can quit their jobs and planning is key in this process.

Everyone needs to pay the bills after all and just leaving your job to start a blog you have thought about is not very responsible in most cases.

My recommendation is to keep your day job but start working seriously on your blog in your free time (or in the working hours if you can get away with it 😀).

You start small without taking too many unnecessary risks.

Having a steady paycheck is very comforting in these situations, as it allows you to keep your living standards while investing your time in things that have the potential to make your life better in the future.

Starting a blog is less about becoming rich than it is about turning a comfortable profit from your hobby.

And building a blog where you can make enough money to replace your day job is very hard work and is not going to happen overnight.

During these long months, you can live off your salary or savings while working on growing the blog.

On the way to your first $500… and then what?

Keep working hard on your blog, work consistently over a longer term, and as long as you never give up, in due time you will become a success and your blog will start making even bigger money.

What it comes down to now is that you must take action into your hands.

It’s not enough to read all the “become a problogger” advice – you must start creating something.

Create a great blog, find and connect with your audience.

Do this daily for a long time, before you slowly start getting the results, and start being able to live the blogging dream.

  • You could then quit your daytime job and focus entirely on your blog.
  • You could use the authority you’ve built with your blog to get yourself a more prestigious or higher paying job.
  • You could accept high-paying fees for speaking at events.
  • You could get a publishing deal and write a bestseller book.
  • You could extend your brand by putting together your themed events in the real world where the money could be even bigger.
  • You could also sell your blog if there is an acceptable offer at the table and you feel that you have done what you could for this topic.

The post How To Make First $500 From Your Blog (A Step-By-Step Guide) appeared first on HowToMakeMyBlog.

17 Tasks To Eliminate, Automate And Outsource For Blogging Productivity

Keep your blogging momentum during holidays

Struggling to find the time to blog?

You’re in the right place.

Today I will share with you advice and productivity tools that will make you a productive blogger.

This guide will help you remove distractions, eliminate redundant tasks, automate where possible, and outsource certain tasks to free your time for the core activities.

Let’s get started.

Three simple principles to blogging efficiency

Do you wonder how big bloggers keep publishing new content all the time?

How come their publishing machine is so well oiled?

Where do they get the time and the ideas?

Are they online all the time every day?

Do they have assistants working for them creating and publishing their content?

These questions can be answered in three simple steps:

  1. Eliminate the redundant steps and tasks
  2. Use technology and tools to automate and schedule as many of the remaining tasks as possible
  3. Delegate and outsource non-essential tasks to virtual assistants and free your time for essentials

Blogging productivity is a matter of re-evaluating your priorities

Time is a limited resource, but you still have 24 hours in every day.

You have a job that takes some 9 hours, you probably sleep 7 hours which leaves you with 8 hours a day for housework, friends and family, and hobbies.

That is plenty of time.

Being too busy to blog is just a bad excuse.

It’s all a matter of re-evaluating your priorities and being better at time management.

You have to figure out what’s important to you, learn to control your hours better and put some smart systems in place.

Be a productive writer infographic

Work smarter, not harder: The 80/20 principle

Knowing the best uses of your time is much more valuable than trying harder, working longer or complaining about not having enough time to blog.

Excellent prioritization skills are critical for a blogger.

You need to distinguish between what needs to be done and what doesn’t, and you need to know the difference between make work and real work.

Do things that are worth doing and let go off things that are not.

80% of your best blogging will come from 20% of the things you do. This is the Pareto principle.

Figure out which of your chores are those 20% tasks that have the highest impact on your blogging goals.

Then spend most of your time doing those meaningful activities, and stop wasting time on unproductive tasks that you’re not good at or that are irrelevant to your success.

These non-essential tasks can be automated using tools and delegated to virtual assistants in order to free your time to create more content and do other meaningful activities in which you cannot be easily replaced.

Outsource and delegate these 4 non-essential tasks to free your time

A blog is normally a company of one employee.

You are the jack of all trades.

You do everything from creating content, improving the design and doing the marketing.

You have the complete knowledge of everything about your blog, you do not need to communicate to anyone else and you make all the decisions yourself.

But as your blog grows you might run into challenges by doing everything yourself.

A single person project cannot scale, especially if you want to achieve big things.

You might need to get some help to grow and scale your blog.

This means relinquishing control and delegating and outsourcing some of your work to virtual assistants.

Many bloggers struggle to make this leap and grow beyond the one man show.

Trying to outsource the core activity of creating useful content is a huge mistake as it cannot be done well easily.

Outsource other building tasks that would give you more time to spend creating content instead.

The hard part is knowing what tasks to outsource.

So, here’s 4 building tasks I recommend giving to your virtual assistant:

Task 1: Post research

The best way to get value from a virtual assistant is to have them help you with research.

Say you’re writing a post about the top 10 screen casting applications on the Mac.

You’d ask your assistant to create a document featuring all the software he can find in this category.

Next to each piece of software, you’d ask him to list the name, price, and website address – as well as the main features of the software.

Or, let’s say you’re planning to write a blog post about how to barbecue a trout.

You might ask your assistant to find other articles about barbecuing trout that you could read before you start writing.

You’d ask him to find somebody a YouTube user who’s posted a video of themselves cooking trout on a barbecue – and set up an email interview with them, so that you have some quotes to put in your article.

You want to get to the point where when you sit down to write a post, you’re basically walking into the kitchen and finding all your ingredients washed, chopped, and laid out – so all you have to do is assemble the parts and serve up the result.

Task 2: Finding posts to comment on

Another great job for your virtual assistant for is finding posts to comment on.

When you know your topic reasonably well, the hard part about commenting isn’t cranking out the comments – it’s actually keeping up-to-date with other people’s posts.

So, ask your virtual assistant to create a list of blogs in your niche that you want to monitor.

Then, have your assistant look at them two or three times a week and send you a daily or bi-weekly email with a digest of what’s been posted.

Then you can quickly dash off your comments, and your assistant can post them on your behalf – under your name, with a link back to you.

Task 3: Interviews

One problem you have as a blogger is finding fresh content to post.

Interviewing other authors is a brilliant way to get expert content quickly.

You can ask your virtual assistant to spend one or two days a week finding other bloggers in your niche to interview.

Usually, fellow authors are happy to be interviewed – and they’ll often share the resulting post with their audience too.

If you give your assistant this task one two days a week, then pretty soon you’ll have a steady flow of autopilot interview content for your blog.

Task 4: Reviewing other blogs

One tactic that I’ve tried with one of my websites was reviewing other websites in my niche.

It works really well – it was great content and it won me a lot of respect and gratitude from fellow bloggers in my industry.

Here’s what you do.

Ask your virtual assistant to go out and find other blogs like yours and write out a quick 40 to 50 word summary of what’s on the website.

When she has 10 of 12 of these, you can combine them into a list post that can sit on your website as a great piece of cornerstone content.

Make sure you link to all the sites featured of course.

It’s good SEO to link to other pages in your corner of the Internet, and it also encourages other bloggers to reciprocate and link back to you – which never hurts.

Remove the noise, pause the input

There is too much noise everywhere around us.

Our brains are hard-wired for social media.

We’re curious about the new and unexpected, we constantly refresh news feeds, review notifications and mindlessly click on links.

We’re easily interrupted and distracted which makes us restless and easily bored.

It reduces our capacity to absorb and retain information.

Information gathering becomes a shallow distraction and a waste of time.

It’s a skill to be able to shut out the distractions and choose what, when and how to consume information.

To pause the input and filter the noise from the signal.

To be more purposeful about your habits and the way you spend your time online.

To let go of that curiosity need and to not feed it all the time.

Don’t do FOMO.

Curate your sources better by giving attention to those that respect your time.

Limit the time you spend following political scandals, breaking news, celebrity gossip, sports and the time spent TV-watching and game-playing.

Block websites that waste your time, cancel meetings, turn on the airplane mode.

Don’t let others force their goals onto your schedule and gain back the hours these suck from your life.

Stop being a consumer of media, be a producer instead.

Stop planning and take action

Planning is essential, but only to a point.

The more time you devote to planning, the more fears and doubts you start having.

Many spend too much time thinking about blogging, instead of taking action.

Don’t fall into this analysis paralysis.

Focus on the output.

“Just do it” usually works.

Taking action produces the appetite for more action.

Turn your ideas and dreams into reality.

Set up your working routine with tight but realistic deadlines.

Break the unreasonable big blogging goals and dreams into smaller and more manageable tasks.

Have a brief and prioritized to-do list every day.

Use the Pomodoro technique to block off your time and do intense sprints of uninterrupted work.

Having limited time makes you more focused and productive.

Without constraints, tasks may end up expanding to fill the unlimited time available for their completion.

Set reminders.

Stop trying to multitask and get into the habit of ticking items off that to-do list.

Send that email, reach out to that person, finish recording that video and publish that blog post.

Show up every day.

To become great at something you need to have the fire within you, the internal drive and determination.

It helps you show initiative, drives you to do more, keeps you committed to putting in the effort and the hours needed to succeed.

Dedicate your every blogging moment to creating the best work that you can.

Have the discipline to always keep going at it, work consistently, never lose the focus and never give up on your dreams.

You don’t need anyone else to push you to do this.

The motivation, desire, and work ethic come from within yourself.

Don’t be led by perfectionism and other fears

People have a phobia of the “publish” button.

There’s always something to add, change, polish, more research to do.

It never stops, and you drag the process on and on.

Fear leads a lot of people.

Fear of being ridiculed, fear that you’re not good enough, fear of what others might say, fear of having no readers, lacking talent, fear that others have a better way of doing things.

All the uncertainty is unsettling.

You should accept and learn to live with things that are beyond your control.

Overcome your fears, don’t wait for a masterpiece, be positive and free yourself to just write, write, write.

Write fast, constantly, anywhere at anytime.

Don’t allow your mind to have the opportunity to wander, let your thoughts flow, get the ideas down quickly, and don’t worry about spelling and grammar errors.

Spit first, shine later.

Ultimately, you have to ask your own questions, try out things and find the best way for yourself.

Close your eyes and click on the “publish” button.

Your blog post is now online for the world to see.

You’ll realize how silly it was to have any fears and how you should have published that article a long time ago.

Your first blog post may suck, but you will become better.

The best way to get better is to practice.

By practicing in public, you get feedback, and that improves your work.

Measure, learn and improve as you go along.

Write something, get feedback, write something more, get more feedback and round and round it goes.

Optimize your health for maximum energy

Your passion is what drives you.

You do your work out of love.

If you love what you do, you won’t be able to fall asleep because you would want to do more of it.

You’ll wake up very early and energetic to get out of the bed to do even more.

But it’s important to take care of your body too.

Your health has to be your priority.

Help your mind be focused, and your body have the energy to go through all the tasks in your list.

Eat real food, don’t skip meals, make sure you are hydrated throughout the day.

The right diet gives you physical stamina, patience, focus, and a positive attitude.

Always have water next to you no matter where you are and what you are doing.

Take frequent micro-breaks to rest your eyes and mind.

Stretch and move your body regularly.

Do some push-ups and sit-ups.

Exercise harder, sleep longer.

A good night of sleep helps you recover from the long day, improves your body and gives you energy for another important day.

Disconnect from your day-to-day sometimes

Following the principles in this post, you will work more productive when you’re in the zone working on the essential tasks.

But you cannot be in the zone all the time.

It’s a very good idea to take a break to travel or just to relax and get new inspiration.

We all need a break once in a while.

Some people get addicted to being online and continuously staring at the screen.

Disconnect from your day-to-day activities frequently and get away from the computer and the smartphone screen to do something else.

Read books and magazines, listen to the people you are speaking to, relax and recharge.

Be curious and open-minded about the world around you. It’s full of inspiration.

It’s in those “not so busy” moments that you have time to think, reflect and that inspire your new adventures.

Take the best ideas from these different experiences and apply them to your work.

Don’t accept that there’s only one way of doing things.

Cherish and respect your time, then get back to work.

Living an interesting life improves your energy levels, gives you clarity and reduces your stress.

Both your mind and body will appreciate it.

It will put you in control of your life, work and dreams.

You’ll be fresh and focused for blogging.

It will improve your productivity and will win you quality time.

Suddenly there will be enough time in a day for you to achieve your blogging goals.

How to keep your blog active while you’re disconnected

Going offline doesn’t mean you need to let your blog die while you’re away.

With a bit of planning, scheduling and automation you can still keep your blog and social media live and active.

Regular visitors should not be able to see much or any difference from a week when you’re concentrating on the blog full-time to the week when you’re out getting inspired.

Here are the steps and tasks you can automate.

1. Get your mobile setup ready

If you’re going away on a vacation you should get your traveling setup ready.

These days I normally take a mobile phone when I’m on my travels.

I use it for everything from checking mails, managing social media and doing blog updates when necessary.

WordPress has nice apps for both iOS and Android.

The app syncs with the web instantly so you can start a post on your mobile, save it as a draft to continue editing in your computer browser.

You can edit articles, you can respond to comments and so much more.

I’m not too comfortable with creating new content on a phone, the smaller screen just feels too slow to write on.

It’s more suited for consuming content, communication, marketing or slight edits.

My discomfort with creating content on small screens is why steps below are key to have a relaxing vacation but keeping my blog active at the same time.

2. Prepare your content in advance

You know how long you will be away for.

You know if you will have an internet connection while on vacation.

You know if you plan to have time to get some writing done while you are away.

Think about these factors and plan ahead.

If you won’t be able to get online or if you’ll be busy with other activities, you should create the needed amount of content in advance.

Edit them, style them and get them ready to be published according to your normal schedule.

If you want a real break you could source some guest posts to be published during your time off.

This will save you from being too stressed and needing to create a large amount of content in the weeks up to your trip.

You can either ask bloggers you are connected with to submit something for your site, or you can announce on your site or in social media that you are taking guest post submissions.

A lot of bloggers are very active guest posters as there are many benefits of doing it.

This means that as long as you have a site with a decent popularity you should be able to get some quality posts sourced.

3. Schedule posts to be published in the future

WordPress has this great built-in feature that allows you to schedule your posts to be published in the future.

You can write your post today and set it to be published automatically at any time you wish.

It’s called WordPress TimeStamp.

Write your post as you would normally.

All the same process.

The only difference is that instead of publishing right away when your post is ready, you schedule it to be published at a future date and time.

To schedule do take a look at “Publish” section in the right hand side of your post writing screen.

Where it says “Publish immediately” click on edit.

Now you will have the option to select a date and time in the future that you want your post to be published.

Select the date and time and click OK.

When you have confirmed the future date and time you want your post to be published on, the “Publish” button will become “Schedule” button.

You will also have a “Scheduled for” date and time there for you to see.

If you click on the “Schedule” button your post will be automatically published at the chosen date and time.

4. Set Akismet to moderate the comments automatically

Comment sections are the lifeline of many sites.

This is also one of the tasks that consumes the most time for majority of bloggers.

Some bloggers prefer to manually approve comments, but that might be impossible to manage when you’re going away.

As you don’t want the discussion to die out while you’re away, you should set Akismet WordPress plugin to do all the work for you.

In WordPress settings in “Discussion” some bloggers usually have “Comment author must have a previously approved comment” checked.

By removing this you let Akismet automatically approve comments.

There is a tiny risk that one or two spam comments might go through the filter but I find Akismet generally does a great job.

Get comfortable about letting Akismet control and moderate the comments section for you.

See my complete guide on how to setup your blog to automatically fight comment spam.

5. Automate your social media marketing

Having a large established audience is a great promotional tool for your content.

As you’re set to publish several articles while you are away your audience will help you spread the word as they normally would.

Help your visitors do the promotion for you by including social media sharing buttons in your articles.

There are several good plugins for this, such as this one.

Sometimes I use my mobile phone to go through my after publishing marketing routine on social media when on holidays.

This would take me some 10-15 minutes a day, but there is an even better solution.

If you prefer you can also schedule your social media activity.

You can write your posts in advance and schedule Twitter and Facebook to send out messages announcing your new articles.

It results in clicks to your site from your followers, and helps the promotion as people do retweet, like and share interesting articles.

You can schedule your posts directly on your Facebook page and use a tool like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to schedule on Twitter.

If you prefer to be completely hands off you can get all your new posts to be posted automatically on social media without needing to do any work.

One great service for automating social media posts is IFTTT (If This Then That).

It connects you to more than 100 different platforms and allows you to set “recipes” like: IF I publish a new post on my blog, THEN automatically post the link to my Facebook page.

These are the most relevant recipes for keeping your social media profiles updated:

Automation and outsourcing is not the same as auto blogging

A word of warning: You should automate and schedule tasks you can but you should still remain engaged with your blog.

The goals of scheduling, automation, outsourcing and delegation are not to remove your blogging work completely.

Outsourcing is here to help you delegate some tasks to allow you more time to focus on the tasks that only you can do.

The goal is rather to help you do your blogging more efficiently, saving you time and letting you use your time more wisely.

You should avoid all the salesmen selling courses, software and automated tools to “help” bloggers get rich quick.

That dream sounds great except that it doesn’t work and doesn’t do any good to your readers or to your site.

Don’t use any auto blogging software (these tools normally create automatic posts based on RSS feeds from other sites).

If it’s not obvious why you shouldn’t be doing “auto blogging”, this is why:

  • It’s not great content. If you a want to be successful at blogging, you need to create unique content that people love to consume and share with their friends.
  • Google hates spam and all these sites are just copying content, and they give no value to the user.
  • Your host will eventually shut down your site because of the copyright infringement.

Following these simple steps can assure you that you work more efficiently, that you spend your time more wisely, and that your blog is not inactive even while you are away on holiday or disconnected.

Your visitors will always get fresh content, comments will be moderated, traffic will be coming in and your blogging momentum will keep on going.

The post 17 Tasks To Eliminate, Automate And Outsource For Blogging Productivity appeared first on HowToMakeMyBlog.

A Simple Guide To Figuring Out What To Blog About

You know you want to start a blog but you have no idea what to blog about.

This guide is for all those stuck trying to come up with a blog topic.

In this post, I will show you the simple process to follow and find the right topic to cover.

This perfect topic, your sweet blogging spot, is found by interlinking your passion and personality with the demand from the market.

Your sweet blogging spot

1. Write down a list of things that interest you, that you like and care about

Your blog cannot appeal to everyone.

If you attempt to post content about every idea or issue that pops into your head at any given moment, you will lack direction.

You can’t teach everyone about everything, so don’t even bother.

It’s much easier to attract visitors if you have a very focused topic.

Fully embrace your passions and obsessions.

The topic of my first website was about the rock’n’roll band Metallica.

I loved them, spent a lot of time listening to their music, figuring out song meanings and going to their concerts.

I curated all the info that I could find about the band and put it all together in a nicely organized website.

The band didn’t even have an active official website in those days, so I was able to create a niche site that other fans and people interested in the band found very attractive.

To find your perfect blog topic, you should look inside and see where the raw energy comes from.

There’s no point in putting a lot of effort into a blog on a topic that you don’t care about.

Success isn’t guaranteed but it’s much more likely when you are emotionally invested in the work you’re doing.

When you blog about things that you love, it makes you enjoy what you do and turns the “work” into play.

It gets you over hurdles and fuels you day to day.

How you spend your time reveals what your true passions and interests are.

Write down a list of things that interest you, that you like and care about.

Something that engages you emotionally and makes you come alive.

What gets you up in the morning?

What do you love to do and what do you dream about?

2. Look for something people are already trying to do, then help them do it

Define the problems you are trying to come up with the solutions for.

Teaching sells. Reputations are built by those that teach, share knowledge, experiences and insights.

We live in the information age where people rely on information and use the internet to do research.

If you cover a topic that other people can use to improve their lives and careers, you can become an authority and make a living by teaching those people those skills.

Some blogs are created by experts with a valuable skill and an asset that differentiates them from others.

People pay attention to those they see as experts.

In words of Mark Twain: “Write what you know”.

Look for something real people are already trying to do, then help them do it and solve their problems.

Which topic do people around you perceive you to be an expert at?

What do your family and friends ask you for help with?

Look at what you do better than other people, things that don’t challenge you but that others struggle with and teach others how to do it too.

But you don’t have to be the expert and the best in the world on your favorite topics to start a blog.

Some successful blogs are created by people who are just starting out sharing their experience in a new field.

They express a unique point of view, share their journey and the lessons learned.

There’s always someone that knows less about you on a topic and that can get valuable insights from your guidance.

Choose to ride the wave of a completely new and growing trend by doing research, learning about the field, experimenting, acquiring skills and taking the visitors on your journey.

New trends are typically less competitive than mainstream trends.

Knowing simple things and getting the basics right counts for a lot.

Instead of being a small fish in a big pond, you aim to become a big fish in a small pond.

And if the trend really breaks through, the pond will increase and you stand to win big.

3. Consider the reality in the market, the demand and interest from an audience

Successful blogs are not built on passion and ideas alone.

Just because your heart comes alive at a calling doesn’t mean that there is an audience for it.

You need to consider the reality in the market, the demand and interest from an audience.

Use Google’s Keyword Planner and Google Trends to see how many people search for the topics you’re interested in.

Use sites like Buzzsumo and Ruzzit to monitor the most shared content topics on the web.

Use Google Hot Trends to figure out the new trending topics people search for.

Search social media for people talking about the topic.

Pay very careful attention to the things users complain about.

Search for phrases like “I wish I could do…” or “I hate…”.

Use question-answer platforms such as Yahoo Answers and Quora to find questions real people are asking.

Look also into the trending topics lists on Twitter, Imgur, Reddit, and Pinterest.

Find out how many other successful blogs exist in your chosen fields by searching Google.

Look for niche communities, forums, and Facebook groups where people get together to discuss this topic.

Many successful blogs, communities and people interested in the field are all very positive signs.

It proves that there’s a market demand and that people are willing to pay for products and services about this topic.

How can I break through and attract an audience?

The world is drowning in an ocean of blogs.

When a field is highly competitive, it can be challenging to get much attention to yourself.

The common angle of looking at a topic is no longer of any real interest.

You should add an angle on an angle.

Will you be visiting every country in the world and blogging about it?

Will you be developing a new start-up idea every month and teaching people how to do it too?

Keep an open mind as you might happen to find that various passions mixed in a personal way can create something unique.

There are a gazillion sites about fashion, but there’s only a handful about fashion and cooking.

Spice things up and develop your own unique concept and a unique selling point that differentiates your blog topic and makes it more compelling than the other blogs on the market.

Here’s my complete guide to creating attractive content: Use These Highly Engaging Concepts To Publish Blog Content That Gets Visitors And Shares.

Steps to starting your own blog

Do you have the perfect topic in mind? Great!

The process of actually starting your blog is pretty simple.

First, you need to decide what blogging platform you will use.

I love WordPress and use it to run all my projects.

It’s an open-source platform, powers more than 60 million blogs and gives you the complete control over the look and feel, features and other aspects of your blog.

Don’t build your own software to run your blog, just use WordPress.

It will save you weeks and weeks of work.

Don’t get a custom designed theme for your blog either.

Just get one of the free or premium templates that already exist for WordPress.

They are amazing and will save you lots of money and time, and there’s a much better use of your money and time right now.

You also get access to resources such as my blog to help you with all the WordPress tips and tricks you may need.

WordPress needs a domain name and a web server space to work.

A domain name is the address people will type to get access to your blog and a server space is where your content and files are hosted online.

Don’t worry too much about where to host your blog in the early days.

There are many capable and affordable providers for hosting. Expect to pay around $5 per month.

I recommend Bluehost. It’s simple to use, offers a free domain name, an affordable hosting account with unlimited space and WordPress officially recommends it.

More than 2 million WordPress blogs are hosted there.

It will take you 5 minutes to get your blog online with their 1-click installation feature. Just like this.

See my complete guide here.

Disclosure: I do earn a commission if you sign-up to Bluehost using my link at no additional cost to you. Plus you do get an exclusive discount as a visit from my blog. Please know that I only recommend products and services that I find helpful and useful. If you do choose to buy through my affiliate link, thank you for your support!

The post A Simple Guide To Figuring Out What To Blog About appeared first on HowToMakeMyBlog.

The Top 21 Tips That Can Make You a Better Blog Writer

The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White is recognized as the best book on writing.

Stephen King’s On Writing is an amazing helping hand to people who express themselves in writing too.

This post features all the top tips gathered from these legendary books.

Learn from them and implement them in your own writing if you want to publish better blog posts.

Let’s get started.

elements-of-style-infographic

Just start it

Whatever you plan or wish to do, just start doing it, take the first step and start chasing your dream.

When you’re brave enough to start, you will be able to succeed and you will make it happen.

You will not get anywhere if you just keep thinking about it or just planning to start.

Right now is the best time to start your project and the scariest moment is always just before you start.

Follow your passion

No matter what people say, always do what you like to do.

Stephen King’s family and teachers all said that he was wasting his time writing, but he didn’t listen and kept going on as he believed in it himself.

He listened to his own passion.

It turned out very well for him and it will turn out very well for you too.

Listen to your passion and follow it.

Do it for joy

Don’t be afraid of rejection.

Is nobody reading your posts yet?

If you really enjoy it, it shouldn’t matter to you.

And if there is no joy in it for you, it’s just no good.

Writing is not about making money, it’s not about getting famous and making friends.

Writing blog posts should be inspired play and it should not feel like work.

When you do it for joy, you can do it forever, no matter what.

You need to have fun and enjoy what you’re doing.

If you’re not having fun, it might be worth looking for something else to spend your time on.

Find your own writing space

When writing, get rid of the whole world.

Find your own writing space, close the door and concentrate.

Eliminate all the distractions.

Turn off the TV. Block emails. Disable notifications. Get rid of your Facebook and Twitter.

Removing all time-wasters will improve the quality of your life, save you a lot of time which you can spend on working on your passion.

Work from a suitable design

Work from a suitable design when composing a new blog post.

The more clearly the writer perceives the shape of his writing, the easier it is for the reader and the better are the chances of success.

Make sure to create a design that works for you and that provides a great user experience.

Get your visitors comfortable with the design and get them used to your style or writing, teaching and presenting information.

This will build loyalty, will help you get people who love your posts and want to share them with their family and friends.

Make it unique

Blend in your own personal knowledge and integrate your personality into the work that you are doing.

You are unique and what you know makes you unique.

You have your own thoughts, interests and concerns.

Be brave and tell people what you think and what you know.

Write for the web

People are lazy and they have too many options for things to do online these days.

Readers are reluctant to tackle large blocks of text online.

You need to make it easy for them to consume and get stuck into your articles.

Make your writing reader-friendly by writing for the web.

Just by looking at the text you can see if it’s going to be easy or hard to read it.

Easy stuff contains lots of short paragraphs and a lot of white space.

Break long blocks of text into paragraphs as a visual help.

It’s easier to skim short(er) sentences than tangled blocks of text.

Concentrate on one idea per paragraph.

Deal with each topic of a post in a paragraph by itself to aid the reader.

Give each speech or each quote a paragraph of its own.

Begin each paragraph either with a sentence that suggests the topic or with a sentence that helps the transition or with a descriptive subheading that explains what the paragraph is about.

Highlight important parts and keywords with typeface variations.

Readers skip over additional ideas in a paragraph if they are not attracted by the first few words.

Split your paragraphs with descriptive subheadings.

Include bulleted and numbered lists.

Revise, rewrite and cut the fluff

Edit yourself.

You cannot produce what you are after on the first try.

Revising is part of writing.

Write the first draft, get away from it, take a break for a bit and do something different for a while.

Then come back and look at it once again with the fresh eyes.

You will see new things and figure out what you can do to improve it, make it better, make it easier to understand or more simple to learn.

Spend a lot of time on the first draft before making it live.

Edit the copy. Rewrite it. Add to it.

Make sure your content reads well, fix the typos and spelling mistakes, and pick up inconsistencies.

Do not be afraid to experiment with what you have written.

Vigorous writing is concise, a sentence should contain no unnecessary words, and a paragraph should contain no unnecessary sentences.

Every word is important, every word should tell.

Reread your writing, edit it, revise for length, omit needless words, cut the bullshit, ruthlessly delete the excess and cut the fluff from your writing.

1st draft – 10% = 2nd draft.

Use definite, specific, concrete language

Writing is a form of communication and clarity is a virtue.

Make your writing simple to read and understand.

Follow the K.I.S.S. principle (keep it simple, stupid!).

Simple is much harder than complex so do practice perfecting simple.

Be direct and to the point.

Report the details that matter.

Use words that evoke images and sensations.

Use definite, specific and concrete language.

Specific is better than general. Definite is better than vague. Concrete is better than abstract.

The best way to arouse and hold the attention of the reader is to be very specific, definite and concrete in your post writing.

Use the active voice

Don’t write in the passive voice.

Your school taught you that using the passive form made you sound formal and objective.

Time to wise up, because today the opposite is true in successful writing.

When you address people as “you”, they’re more likely to tune into your words.

And when you refer to yourself as “I”, it makes you sound accountable.

It is more direct, bolder and more concise than the passive voice.

It works better online too.

Do not overstate

A single overstatement or a carefree superlative diminishes the whole.

You want your readers to trust in your recommendation, in your advice and your opinion.

Readers will lose the confidence in your judgement and will be instantly on guard if you keep over-promising.

Do not write spontaneously

Not everything that comes to your mind is interesting to your readers.

Do your work, be informative and keep a tight rein on your material.

Think about your readers before writing.

What questions do they have and needs that they want covered?

Always have something to say when writing a new post.

This will keep the quality standards high and will contribute to better articles that get more views and engage more people.

Write in a way that comes naturally

Don’t be fake and something that you are not.

Your visitors will see through it.

Write in a way that comes easily and naturally to you.

Use words and phrases that come readily to hand.

This will also help get your content discovered in search more often.

Use orthodox spelling

Forget “nite”, “thru” and “pleez”.

Forget simplified spelling, forget Internet slang.

It distracts the reader and makes your posts hard to read and understand.

Use the standard words.

Avoid fancy words

Those big smart-ass words are letting you down.

At school, using big words got you better marks but articles have to be very clear, focused and tight to arouse and hold the attention of the readers.

Your goal is to be clear and persuasive – not score points for using a thesaurus.

If you write for beginners, any kind of jargon is going to lose and confuse your readers.

Ditch the jargon to make your site much more friendly to new visitors.

To use the language well, you should cherish its classic form.

Do not be tempted by a fancy word when there is a plain word to use.

Same with foreign language expressions.

As long as you have an English word for it, use it.

Keep in mind that your visitors may be complete newbies to the topic you are covering and don’t know as much as you do about your topic

You need to serve them, get them comfortable and help them learn about your topic.

Do not take shortcuts at the cost of clarity

Write things out.

Do not use initials of abbreviations unless you are certain it will be understood by your readers.

There are readers that encounter the name for the first time, make it easy for them to see the words.

Start your articles by writing names in full and shorten them later in the article.

You cannot please everyone

Don’t worry about the negative feedback.

It is a natural part of being a writer.

You can’t please all the readers all the time, you can’t even please some of the readers all the time, but you should always try to please some of the readers some of the time.

Teach yourself

Writing can be hard, even for those who do it all the time.

Forget the classes, the lessons, the seminars… you learn your trade best by putting the effort into it and doing it.

You don’t need to pay someone else to teach you.

Internet is an amazing resource as it allows you to dig deeper and learn about anything that interests you.

That is the easy way out and in most cases doesn’t get you far.

The most valuable lessons of all are the ones you teach yourself.

Just keep learning, improving, working on producing new material and winning readers one by one.

Every new post that you publish should build on the experience and learnings you acquired from your previous posts.

Every new post should be better than your previous posts.

Write a lot

Good writing is the result of thousands of hours that the writer has spent composing.

Don’t talk about writing, but write. Just do it. Commit to writing a certain amount of words every day. And keep to it.

Your time is valuable and you need to understand that the hours you spend talking about writing is the time you don’t spend actually doing it.

And actually writing and publishing your work helps you improve and gets you name out to more people.

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”

Read a lot

Good writing is also the result of the tens of thousands of hours spent reading compositions of others.

If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time or tools to write either.

Everything you read has its own lessons.

Reading good stuff helps you aim higher and work harder. You see what can be done, and experience different styles.

Reading bad stuff helps you recognize bad things and helps you steer clear of them in your own work.

Reading gets you inspired and helps you get new ideas for your own work.

Stick to it

Never give up on your dream no matter how hard it seems and no matter how impossible it looks.

Stephen King's writing tips - Infographic

The post The Top 21 Tips That Can Make You a Better Blog Writer appeared first on HowToMakeMyBlog.

40 Places To Share, Promote And Distribute Your Blog Content

Traffic growing lessons

This post will show you my blog marketing routine and actions I take to draw people’s attention to my content.

If you’d like to get visitors to your blog you will love these key traffic driving principles.

Let’s get to it…

Overcoming the stigma of self-promotion

You’ve created what you believe is a great blog post, gone through the checklist of things to do before publishing, and your article is now live.

Don’t just sit and wait for visitors to come.

It won’t happen.

They won’t come.

You need to overcome the stigma of self-promotion.

You need to make it a habit to spend at least 50% of your time promoting your content.

Without a marketing push, your content will most probably go unnoticed no matter how good it is.

A friend of mine told me that his goal is to have 500 loyal visitors per day within the first six months of launching his new blog.

Most blogs will never attract that large an audience.

In a world of millions of blogs, starting a new one is not news, but growing it to attract hundreds or even thousands of true fans is.

500 daily visitors is a very ambitious goal and it’s not easy to reach but it is possible to do.

You do need to take massive action right now.

Content marketing routine

1. You’re a dinner host; get your house ready for your guests first

Think of yourself as a dinner host.

Before inviting guests, you need to make sure that your house (your blog) is ready to host your guests (your potential visitors).

Get a domain name that helps people discover you

You need a domain name for your blog.

That’s how your visitors will find you (and remember you).

In my experience, an inviting and descriptive domain name works much better than one of those long and free domain names.

It especially helps you rank well in the search engines.

If you don’t have one, register it, and you won’t regret it.

Here’s my guide on picking a memorable domain name.

Earn attention by publishing amazing content

Posting valuable content that your target audience wants is the most effective thing you can do to generate visitor interest.

When it comes to content, you should focus on quality and not quantity.

One excellent article will bring you so much more traffic than many dull and uninviting posts.

Every other step you can take to attract visitors relies on the quality of articles that you publish.

Check out my complete guide to creating excellent, high-quality content.

Without eye-catching headlines your content will be ignored

People are bombarded with too many choices for things to click on.

The best way to get attention among tons of competing choices is to write remarkable and irresistible headlines.

Don’t just write some headline at the end of the process as an afterthought.

Spend just as much time creating your headline as you devote to the article itself.

See my 25 rules and formulas for writing compelling headlines.

Turn first-time visitors into true fans and build direct connections

A visitor that comes to your blog, spends a few seconds on it, but clicks on the “back” button and never comes back, is a lost opportunity.

You need to get a first-time visitor to become a true fan that you can reach out to and get them to return again and again.

Make it easy for people to give you permission to stay in touch with them.

Let them subscribe to your email newsletter.

Open rates on emails are higher than reach you get in social media.

Email is an open platform and very easy to start with.

It’s a direct line of communication with you in control.

Here’s my complete guide to starting a mailing list.

Facilitate social media sharing

Word of mouth and social media plays a significant role in the viral spreadability of your content.

Your true fans love your content.

You should empower them and encourage them to help you spread the word and do the marketing for you.

Highlight most important points of your post and ask people to share them using plugin such as Better Click To Tweet.

Include social media sharing buttons using plugins such as Mashshare and Social Sharing By Danny.

2. Now is the right time to send out those guest invites

When your house is all tidy and ready, it’s a good opportunity to send out the guest invites.

Without invites, no guests will know about you, and nobody will show up.

Take advantage of the network effect on social media

Ensure that you actively spend time on reaching out to new people and spread the word about your work.

Create a marketing routine of places where you share your content, and follow it after publishing each new post.

Places where your potential audience is.

Your audience will be somewhere and will like an expert to help them out with their questions and problems.

These platforms and websites are tools for you to reach that audience, introduce them to the work you’re doing and get them to visit your blog.

Diversify your social media presence and do not over commit to one platform as you don’t want to be platform dependent.

Tailor your promotional approach to the particular network

Just setting up an account on a social media platform doesn’t automatically get you anywhere.

Actively sharing your content doesn’t mean that you send spam.

There’s a fine line between good content marketing and spam.

You only mention your blog where it makes sense, while also creating value, sharing interesting information, helping people out, solving their issues, and being a part of a wider community.

Spend some time learning the guidelines and the way to approach each individual platform.

Twitter only allows a 140 character limit so you have to be smart about the way you write your copy.

In general, all the platforms are very visual so posting attractive and shareworthy imagery is a great start and will result in more reach and engagement.

Inspirational quotes.

Curious stats, impressive facts and nice graphs.

Funny videos.

Provocative statements.

40 places to share, promote and distribute your blog content

Here’s the list of all the places I go to in order to share my content.

Some may not fit your blog.

Some will.

Go through the list.

Make your own list.

And use it every time after you’ve published something new.

Send to your mailing list

If you have a newsletter or a mailing list of loyal subscribers, you should send some special (or even all) posts to them.

These could be the first wave of visitors that help you share your new content to even more people.

Tweet it out

One of the first things I do is to tweet out the headline and the link to my Twitter followers to make them aware of the new post.

Many times I also include an image as that seems to get more attention.

See more on my Twitter strategy and how you can get more followers.

Post it on your Facebook page

I do the same thing on Facebook where I post the link with the image attached on my Facebook page.

I find that displaying the image on my wall instead of the link thumbnail works best in terms of reach and engagement.

See how to boost your Facebook reach.

Share the images on Pinterest

I submit the post image to the relevant Pinterest boards.

I make sure to include a headline in all the images that I put on my site and that was mostly thanks to the increasing importance of Pinterest as a traffic driver.

It makes the images look better.

See more on using Pinterest for traffic.

Post it on LinkedIn

I also publish the link to the post on my LinkedIn profile.

You can even post it in relevant LinkedIn groups you are a member of.

Guest post and syndicate your post

The idea is to go to big sites that are popular with your target audience, publish excellent content as a contributor, and use it to attract new visitors to your blog.

Many sites host articles from a variety of writers.

Many blogs accept posts from guest authors too.

Write a targeted article that’s useful and attracting to that particular kind of audience (some sites even allow you to repost your existing content).

Include a link (or two) to content that’s already published on your blog to make it easier for readers to click over and visit you

Here’s a list of some of the most popular sites that are looking for writers:

Share the article on Tumblr

I keep an active Tumblr account with the main objective being for it to be a traffic driver to my blog.

I post any new article on Tumblr adding the relevant tags.

I have explained this strategy in this article.

Post the picture on Instagram

Instagram is a bit different as you don’t have an option to add a link, but it is still an interesting platform.

People on Instagram can be more engaging than on other platforms and you can catch their attention by using some stunning imagery and lead them to manually type in and visit your blog.

See more on Instagram marketing here.

Share it on Reddit

Some of the articles I publish fit well in certain subreddits on Reddit.

Reddit has the potential to drive thousands of visitors to you so it is definitely worth exploring if you have a relevant article to submit and you can find a relevant and popular subreddit.

Post it on Quora and other Q&A sites

Quora, Yahoo Answers and other Q&A sites.

If you’ve done research before writing your post you’ve probably found a question people have and answered it in your post.

Now you can go directly to different Q&A sites, look for people asking similar questions and help them out while at the same time indirectly promoting your content.

Search for people on Twitter

search Twitter for keywords and phrases relevant to my content and my target audience.

I then follow, interact with, and help the real people who talk about and ask questions about my topics.

I used to spend hours on this every day in the early days of my blog.

It’s a great real-time way of getting visitors and spreading the word about your content.

It helps you establish your name in the field.

Go to Facebook groups

Almost a billion of people use Facebook Groups every month and they’re highly engaging properties.

Find the relevant groups to your work and start adding value.

Be an authority and you will be noticed.

As you start building trust and relationships with people in the group, you can start sharing your relevant content.

Go to niche sites, forums and other communities

Depending on the niche you are in there will be several community sites and forums that allow you to submit content.

Sites like Hacker News.

There’s a Hacker News type site out there for every niche.

For example, if you’re a food blogger it is worth submitting your posts to niche sites such as Foodgawker and TasteSpotting.

Flipboard is another interesting community.

StumbleUpon your article

Stumbleupon is still a nice source of traffic and I aim to stumble all the posts that I publish in hope of getting some visitors from there.

See more on how I drive traffic through Stumbleupon.

Share it on Google+ communities

Google+ may not be very popular but depending on your topic there might be some active communities on there.

Join relevant Google+ communities, be active by sharing your knowledge, and then post your link once in a while too.

Reach out to other bloggers and influencers

Build relationships with influencers (bloggers, journalists, forum moderators, social media power users) who have the attention of an engaged audience relevant to your field.

One tweet from an influencer recommending your content can result in a cascade of traffic and shares coming your way.

This does take longer time than the other advice in this post, but it’s a robust strategy.

I send personal tweets and emails to certain bloggers and other influencers that I think the post might be interesting to in hope of getting them to share it with their networks.

I also reach out to anyone that I have mentioned in the post.

Don’t beg for retweets, let the quality of content speak for itself.

Take a look at things you need in your outreach pitch.

Comment on other blog posts

I comment on the most recent posts on relevant sites that have good traffic numbers.

Commenting on posts is a simple tactic that can be very useful when building a connection to another blogger.

Proper commenting etiquette is all about respect.

When you’re on someone’s blog, you’re on their “property.”

Just as you would treat someone’s home with respect in life, you should treat someone’s site with respect in the virtual world when you leave a comment.

Find sites related to your content using Google or social media.

Subscribe, follow them and explore their content.

Show up regularly.

Feedback on their content.

Contribute with your opinion.

Don’t just comment for the sake of it.

Most comment areas list their comments from first to last.

You must comment on the post soon after it has been published.

If you do that you will expose your comment to thousands of people who are going to read the post.

The earlier you are, the more people will see your comment.

Repurpose your content in multiple formats to multiple platforms

There’s a lot of potential in reusing and recycling your content in different formats on different platforms.

Here’s how it works for BuzzFeed:

A seven-step web recipe for slow-cooker chicken becomes a 46-second Facebook video, and then a 15-second Instagram clip with the instructions written as a comment, and finally a Pinterest post with two images and a link back to the Facebook video. And if it’s going on Snapchat, it needs to be shot in portrait mode as well. It’s all the exact same recipe, but “we put it on Facebook, and we put it on YouTube, and we put it on AOL and Yahoo, and all of a sudden it’s 15 different MP4 files.”

Take, for example, the series about short-girl problems: It began with an article on the website that attracted more than 8 million views, titled “30 Awkward Moments Every Short Girl Understands”; it then became a scripted YouTube video (“10 Problems Only Short Girls Understand”); and ultimately it inspired a cartoon titled Trans Girl Problems that appeared on Facebook.

Check out more options for recycling and repurposing your content.

Include links to your new content on your old posts

I try to link to my new post where it’s relevant in the popular posts from my archives.

In that way I try and lead some of my visitors to explore more of my newer content too.

Use social media paid advertising

It’s increasingly difficult to get reach and clicks on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

Investing a bit of money in strategically important posts can give you a great boost and get your content in front of a larger audience.

The majority of platforms mentioned in this post also accept paid advertising in order for you to boost your content to a larger audience.

Getting a bit of marketing budget can work wonders for you.

Repeat the push

Aim to repeat the push on selected profiles several times over the next few days.

Sharing content more than once brings many more clicks as most followers don’t see the first post.

On Facebook, for example, less than 10% of your audience sees your post. 

Nobody is bothered by you reposting and your clicks will increase so it’s hard to argue against this.

Twitter is perfect for reposts and I aim to tweet a post 3-5 times over the 48 hours after the article has been published.

Add some variety and mix it up if you wish not to be repetitive and boring.

You can do “title + link” once.

Next time use an interesting quote or a fact instead.

Monitor and analyse the results of your activities

Take a look at the results, feedback and the data on your marketing push.

What is the pickup like in the social media?

This will help you figure out what went well and what didn’t go so well.

It will help you improve and optimise your marketing strategy.

You might need to make some slight changes to the original post itself according to the feedback to make it more interesting.

You can try with a different format or a different angle to the story.

Can you make a better headline or a more interesting image for example?

There you have it.

All the easy and practical advice that you can follow to attract people to your blog.

Taking these actions (and putting in the time and effort over a longer time) will put you on the road towards getting 500 or even more loyal visitors.

The post 40 Places To Share, Promote And Distribute Your Blog Content appeared first on HowToMakeMyBlog.

SEO 101: The Definitive Guide To Ranking Your Blog On Google’s First Page

How To Rank Higher On Google

In this guide, I’ll show you how to rank your blog on the top of the first page of Google’s search results.

You’ll love it if you want to get more visitors from search engines.

This post features everything you need to know about blog search engine optimisation (SEO).

Let’s get started.

What bloggers need to know about how Google search works

Google wants to please its users.

If someone uses Google to search for something and quickly finds a satisfying answer, both Google and that user will be happy.

This means that Google strives to provide the value to its users by displaying the most relevant and reputable content on top of its search results.

And when I say the top of the results, that’s what I mean.

Around 50% of all clicks go to either the first or the second of the results.

If you’re not on the top, you’ll struggle to get many visitors.

Clicks on search results

So how does Google make sure to only rank content that its users want?

This is done best by reducing and eliminating any unsubstantial and useless content.

This type of content won’t make the users find answers to the questions they’re asking.

Google’s search algorithms extensively evaluate different aspects of the content assess the value and quality when choosing what to rank in their results.

Google values trust and wants to rank trustworthy sites only.

This means that you need to build a blog that people love and trust.

Your knowledge and experience help you create great content that will get other people to take notice.

You want your blog to be a highly reputable place with relevant and useful content about the topic you’re covering in order to be considered for that coveted top spot.

There are no shortcuts and scams that can get you to the top of search results as some “experts” promise you.

There are no easy ways and tricks that you can learn by buying their SEO products.

It’s a long, hard way to the top of Google’s results.

Relevancy is internal. It’s the topic that you create content about. It’s about the quality and usefulness of the content that you publish. It’s how you present yourself and your content to the world.

Reputation is external. It’s what people say about you in social media. It’s about the links you get from other places on the web and the importance of sites that link to your content.

Let’s look at both of these in detail.

Forget about SEO! Relevant content that your audience loves is king

Google has published a list of evergreen questions that you can use to assess the quality of your blog.

This is how I summarise the elements Google sees as key to a search-friendly blog:

SEO elements

Some bloggers go wrong by being so obsessed with search engine optimization that they neglect the content quality.

Google algorithms evolve continually, so it’s difficult to tweak and patch your site to keep up with the latest algorithmic update.

Forget about the SEO.

Don’t worry about the search engines and their algorithms.

Don’t publish tons of shallow content covering a long range of long-tail keywords and keyword phrases.

Fewer articles but of higher quality can actually result in more organic search traffic.

This is because low-quality content on parts of your blog can impact the rankings of the rest of your content.

Quality trumps quantity.

Start with your audience in mind and focus on the creation of the best user experience for people who are interested in your topic instead.

Publish quality content frequently so people come and visit you more often.

You want your blog to feature enough of relevant material so that search engines can discover you.

Without great content, there won’t be any visitors, no social media shares, no relevant links from reputable sites, and this means no traffic from the search engines either.

So what exactly is this great quality content?

The audience you are targeting will decide that.

Quality content means original and comprehensive content that answers questions real people have.

Content that “speaks” in the natural way that people in your target group would use when they speak.

One good way to get you on the right track is to think about what your target audience would type into Google to find the topic you’re covering.

Use Google Keyword Planner to find the keywords and phrases people search for.

Identify in-demand keywords, phrases and other topics that your potential audience is searching for.

Then create amazing content covering those topics and include the words people use naturally within it.

Something educational, informative, educational.

In-depth reports, analysis, insights and research.

Studies show that the average post listed on the first page of Google’s search results contains almost 2,000 words.

Content word count in search results

The opposite of high quality content is short content that adds no value to the visitors.

Don’t just rely on keyword research and on publishing weak articles full of keyword phrases people search for.

Thin content is not useful, it’s copied from another source or it’s so keyword-optimized that only robots are interested in it.

Don’t post content on topics that you don’t care about, that you have nothing interesting and useful to say about.

This is such an important area within SEO that I have created a full guide just on the topic of creation of quality content: 15 To-Dos To Publish Awesome Content That Attracts Visitors And Shares.

Your blog design is the queen

The design of your blog and the way you present yourself and your content play a big role in building trust with a first time visitor.

It’s about creating real and lasting connections with people in your audience.

And this connection is what Google values.

You keep your visitors happy.

Google keeps their users happy when they click on your content and find answers they are seeking optimally designed and presented.

Using WordPress is a good first step as it features a large selection of great designs that are SEO-optimized out of the box.

Look for a quality theme.

Something clean, simple, effective, pretty to look at and fast to load.

Google is expanding the use of mobile-friendliness as an important ranking signal so find something mobile friendly too.

Consider activating the official WordPress plugin for Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages to speed up your loading time on mobile devices.

Avoid designs with fancy, complicated navigation as they tend to turn visitors away quite quickly.

The Google crawler doesn’t recognize text contained in images, Flash navigation or links contained within Javascript.

So keep it simple and use good old text-based menu navigation towards the top of your blog.

Present yourself.

Show your face.

Create an about page.

Include full information, address, phone number and other contact details.

Tell your story, your achievements, experience and explain why you are worth listening to.

If you are providing services or selling products, include testimonials and reviews from real customers and people.

Include the list of sites and other media that you have been featured in.

Display social proof.

Your social media follower counts and the number of times your content is shared.

Use one of the many WordPress plugins to do this.

Limit the number of banner ads (remove them entirely if possible), especially those prominent banners above the fold.

Google downgrades sites with a high number of prominent banner advertisements.

There are other revenue sources with more potential.

As you can see the design is another highly relevant topic for SEO.

I’ve created the definitive guide on everything you need to know about blog design: How To Design A Blog And Make It Look Pretty.

What do I do if I’ve already published tons of not so good content?

You may not have followed the above advice when you started your blog and find yourself in the situation where you don’t get much search traffic.

It’s not too late for you though.

If you’re unhappy with your current performance in the search results, you can do a content audit to get your blog back on track.

The idea of the content audit is to review your entire content archive and get a good overview of your current content.

Do a search on Google for “site:yourdomainname.com” to get a list of pages within your domain name that Google knows about.

Do the full audit of all of these pages and consider quality and relevance of each and every one of them.

For each article in your current content archive you need to consider if you should:

  1. Keep it as it is
  2. Upgrade and improve it by adding more recent info, more useful examples, better imagery and other media
  3. Merge and consolidate it with other posts to create a more substantial and higher quality post
  4. Delete it from your blog

Are there any very short and shallow articles that don’t really answer any user questions?

Are there bad and unsubstantial guest posts that you have featured that link out to some irrelevant and dodgy sites?

Are there any duplicate posts that you just copied from another site on the web?

Are there several posts that cover the same or similar topic?

Are there posts which have low visitor engagement such as little time spent on them or high bounce rate?

(Bounce rate is the percentage of readers who navigate away from the site after only viewing one page.)

Are there inappropriate posts that have nothing to do with the topic you’re covering or the audience you’re looking to attract?

Review everything in detail.

Be tough and very critical.

Don’t be afraid to remove any bad or irrelevant content.

You may just see a spike in search traffic coming in the weeks following the content audit.

Your blog’s reputation and what you need to know about links

A major component of increasing your search rankings is the quality of links you get to your content from other sites.

The original idea behind Google’s results was based on the citations and the fact that the number of citations a research paper has is a good way of judging its quality, credibility and influence.

Links give your blog that authority, trustworthiness, credibility and influence that Google wants to see.

It’s not all about the number of links pointing to you.

It’s about the quality and the importance of places that link to you.

The quality of links depends on the relevance, context and popularity of the site that is linking to you.

The higher the quality of a site that links to you the more importance that link gets.

How do you know if a site is a quality site?

You can understand that by asking yourself these questions.

Does it rank in Google’s search results for relevant keywords phrases?

Are there many social media shares and conversation around the posts they’re publishing?

Is there a lively discussion in their comment area?

  1. Publishing quality content is step one towards high quality links.
  2. Proactively reaching out and doing marketing for your content is step two to acquiring links and shares.

You need to be ready to put in a lot of hours getting yourself and your content out there.

Commenting on other posts, in relevant forums and other niche communities.

Being active in the conversations around your topic on the social media platforms that are important to people you’re trying to target.

Syndicating your content to bigger and more influential sites relevant to your audience.

Your marketing work is just as important as the work you’re putting into the production of amazing content.

Perhaps even more important.

I recommend you spend at least half of your time on promoting your content.

This is why I have published a detailed guide on places you can go to share your content and get links that will help you rank in search engines: 40 Places To Share, Promote And Distribute Your Blog Content.

Help visitors discover and explore more of your content

You need to link to your own content within your articles.

It’s the best way of directing your visitors from one story to another and make the traffic flow.

Internal links are a great service for your visitors.

They introduce them to relevant articles, provide them more detailed information and get them to look deeper and further explore your content.

Internal links lead to an increased stickiness of your content and improve the usability of your blog.

Time spent on site and the number of pages per visit should increase with an increase in the number of internal links.

The bounce rate should decrease too.

Your visitors will love your content and stay on it for a longer period of time.

WordPress makes it very easy to link within the content so do it whenever it makes sense to help your visitors explore your relevant content further.

Click on the “Insert/Edit Link” button.

It lets you search for keywords that you are writing about and easily discovers relevant internal pages to link to.

Select the relevant article and click on the “Apply” button.

You don’t necessary only have to link from new to old posts.

You can also do it the other way around.

If you have a good, older post that is relevant to something you have written more about lately, go back and edit the old one and include a link back to the new post.

Your internal links should indicate and describe what it is that you are linking to in order to attract visitors to click on them.

Phrases like “click here” or “go here” may work sometimes but as the link anchor text does not indicate what you are linking to it does not help your visitor know what will happen after they click.

This is a much more effective method for encouraging people to explore deeper than making them have to use the “back” button to search for relevant content.

Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link.

Enable breadcrumbs as they are a great internal linking tool.

Install this plugin or use one of the themes that enable breadcrumbs by default.

Show related posts at the end of your articles.

Several plugins are available for this including YARPP.

Link to your popular posts and latest posts from your sidebar.

Use your footer to place links to contact us, about us and other similar pages

How to optimize WordPress to make it 100% search-friendly

You’re most probably using WordPress to run your blog.

There’s some very good SEO news for you.

Matt Cutts, the former lead of Google’s web spam team, praised WordPress for being an SEO-friendly platform that automatically solves a ton of issues bloggers might have.

It’s a fantastic piece of software, makes your site easily crawlable by search engines, solves some 80-90% of mechanics of SEO and is the first big step anyone can take towards creating a popular online business.

Watch Matt’s full talk below.

It has stood the test of time and is an excellent introduction to the blog SEO:

Matt recommends you do these things to fully optimise your WordPress blog for search engines:

Enable pretty permalinks.

Create a custom permalink structure of your posts and pages.

These are the options you have:

Wordpress permalinks

Having keywords from your post titles in your URL is a very important step in ranking well in search engines.

The majority of search traffic that I get contain keywords closely related to the words in my domain name.

You could help yourself by using a descriptive domain name and pretty permalinks too.

Go into Settings – Permalinks and choose “Post Name” or “Custom Structure”: /%category%/%postname%/

Tag or categorize the posts to make them more discoverable.

This will make sure that your new post is displayed in the relevant sections of your site.

Every one of your posts should contain a descriptive category or a descriptive tag link.

Manually edit the permalink of the individual posts to make it nicer and cleaner.

Make a different post title from the URL itself to help cover more keyword alternations that you wouldn’t cover if they were both identical.

It’s easy to edit the URL of your post, so it’s more concise and clean compared to your headline.

Make sure to click on that “edit” button and do it.

Edit post url

Upgrade your software to keep your site secure.

Older versions of WordPress are easier to hack and that will negatively affect your site.

More tips on making your site secure.

Speed up the loading time.

Make sure your site is fast to load as that is another factor that contributes to people staying longer.

See more advice on speeding up your blog.

Check for broken links.

Search engines and your readers do not like broken links so use the Broken Link Checker plugin to discover and fix broken links.

It is a simple plugin that automates the process for you.

Use HTTPS instead of HTTP in your domain name.

Especially if you’re an online store selling products or services.

Or if you’re accepting payments and ask users to submit other personal info using forms on your site.

Google prefers encrypted and secure sites as these protect the users better and browsers warn against sites that are not secured.

Google Search Console is a valuable free tool that you should use

Search Console (formerly known as the Webmaster Tools) is a free web app created by Google that’s an essential part of optimizing your site for search engines.

It can help you improve your site and thereby get more visitors.

With Search Console, you connect your site to Google and share information directly with the search giant.

In return, Google provides you insights into how they “see” your site and many other useful details:

  • You can see how your site appears in the search results
  • See which search phrases and queries people use to find your content
  • See which of your posts get most visitors from search
  • View clicks, impressions, click-through rates and average search positions for your content
  • See which sites link to you, which posts they link to, and what words they use to link to you
  • See which internal pages you link to and how many times you link to them
  • See “page not found” errors that Google has discovered on your site
  • See any other HTML, usability and security issues detected
  • Get notified if you’re running an old version of WordPress
  • Google notifies you if and when there’s something you should fix to rank higher or even to regain your lost rankings.

All this means that you can learn about specific problems Google has with your site.

Many of these are also issues that may annoy your visitors.

Alongside the tracking code from Google Analytics, verifying your site with Search Console should be one of the first things you do when starting a new blog.

Adding and verifying your site to Search Console

Visit Google Search Console and log in using your Google account.

Click on the “Add A Property” button in the top right corner.

Type in the domain name of your site in the window and click “Add”.

Verify the ownership of your domain name.

Google’s recommended method is to upload a verification file to your server, but a plugin such as Jetpack can help you do this too.

Alternative options are to verify your domain through Google Analytics (if you’ve already set it up), or add an HTML tag to the <head> section of your site.

Choose the method you prefer and go through the process.

After you verify the ownership of your domain name, your setup is complete.

Four things to do after connecting to Search Console

These are the things you should do after signing in to your profile for the first time:

In Crawl > Sitemaps you can add your sitemap file to tell Google about your content and help them learn which pages are most important to you and how often those pages change.

An XML sitemap is a file that lists URL’s of your pages with additional metadata such as when the post was last updated.

Several plugins can help you create an XML sitemap.

This one is one of the most downloaded.

Install a sitemap plugin, activate it and submit it to Google Search Console.

Add sitemap

Create a permanent redirect of your domain name.

Decide what is the URL of your website.

In Settings – General in WordPress choose either www version or non-www version and stick with it.

If you decide your main URL is yourblog.com (without www) you need to always link to yourblog.com, and not to www.yourblog.com.

Then set your preferred domain in Google Webmaster Tools.

Click on the Settings button on the top right and then “Site Settings“.

Here you can specify your preferred domain.

Preferred domain name

In Search Traffic > International Targeting, you can inform Google if you are targeting a specific language or a specific country.

This could be the case for those that run multilingual sites.

You should subscribe to get email notifications if you don’t plan to check the Search Console regularly.

Click on the Settings button in the top right corner, choose “Search Console Preferences” and enable email notifications.

All the valuable insights will now be delivered to your email inbox.

A guided tour through Google Search Console

Webmaster Tools navigationThere’s quite a bit of information that you get access to in the Search Console.

It all helps you get a better picture of how optimized your content is, and what changes you need to make.

Here’s a guided tour of the different sections and information they provide:

Dashboard is where you get a quick overview of any significant and critical messages that Google has sent you and the current status of your site regarding Crawl Errors, Search Queries, and Sitemaps.

Make sure to monitor these as Google will give you warning signs if there are things that need your attention such as Google robots being unable to crawl your site, new 404 pages found that you should fix immediately, and any increase or decrease of your rankings in search results.

You will also be notified via email.

“Messages” is your inbox which features any message that Google sends you about your site.

These are mostly automated messages that can alert you to some things that Google has discovered that you may have to take a look at.

Things such as an increase in the number of “page not found” occurrences or a drop in rankings.

Search Appearance gives you more details on how your site and pages appear in the search results.

This includes information about Structured Data (your schema.org data), Rich Cards, and HTML Improvements (issues with titles and tags of your pages).

Review these recommendations and fix any outstanding issues.

Search Traffic is very interesting.

It tells you what keyword phrases Google ranks you for, how many impressions and clicks you get from the individual search results, what positions you are ranked in, and even which of your pages are best ranked.

Google also shows information about internal links and external sites linking to you.

“Manual Actions” part tells you if Google has taken action and removed your site from their index because of spam, harmful content or any other reason.

“Mobile Usability” section informs you if there are any usability errors with your site design on tablets or mobiles.

Google Index gives you the status on how many of your pages are indexed and what keywords you are using the most.

Here you also have the option to remove URL’s from Google’s index if you don’t want them to display any longer.

Crawl section gives you “Errors” (such as 404 page not found) encountered on your site.

There’s also details on how Google crawls your content and how frequently.

Make sure to fix or redirect any missing pages.

This helps improve the user experience and will contribute to you having better rankings.

The easiest way is to use a plugin such as this.

You do also edit the .htaccess file on your server. Add a new line for each redirection:

Redirect 301 /old-post-permalink/ http://yourdomainname.com/new-post-permalink/

Get free links by finding links to non-existent pages on your site.

See “Linked From” to identify sites that linked to these pages and either fix the page or contact the author of the link to get them to update it.

Security Issues section will be empty hopefully.

Do check and see if Google discovered some important matters you should deal with.

Other Resources section gives you links to some other useful Google products, such as “Structured Data Testing Tool” and “Pagespeed Insights” which help you speed up the loading time on your content.

That’s it.

Google is the biggest search engine and a very important referral of traffic for most bloggers.

Make sure to follow these blog SEO tips for your content to get ranked and get traffic from search.

The post SEO 101: The Definitive Guide To Ranking Your Blog On Google’s First Page appeared first on HowToMakeMyBlog.

Don’t Miss The Hottest Blogging Trends Of 2017

A number of active blogs numbers over 100 million, so how do you make your blog a standout?  Whether you are starting a blog for the first time, or you are looking to get more traffic to your blog, there are always trends to follow to make your blog shine.  Follow these blogging trends to get your site the following it deserves.

Include Engaging Media

Blogs are no longer just made up of blocks of text and a few images scattered here and there.  In today’s blogging environment, a variety of content is key.  This means not only making sure your images are high quality, but varying your use of different types of media. Fun and creative videos are the latest and most popular trend in blogging. Do not hesitate to create videos and encourage followers to follow your social media accounts. 

You can create videos using GoPros, amazing new drones, and even your iPhone! There’s no excuse not to use video today.

BlogPress Images and Video
Taking your own photos and video is a great way to get really creative with your blog.

The crème de la crème of blogging at the moment, however, has to be live streaming.  Live streaming is at this time the most immersive experience for viewers because it puts them right there with you.  Followers have the ability to interact with you, ask questions, and comment while you are streaming.  More and more people want to buy into a totally immersive experience in which they are engaging with the content as it happens in real-time.  In many cases, it goes farther than what many blog videos and images cannot do.  Depending on the brand of your blog, you can conduct interviews with special guests or even immortalize your travel adventures.

Go for Quality Over Quantity

BlogPress: Blogging, Training, and Incredible Personal SupportToday, there is simply too much content on the web to sift through.  The sheer amount of blogs that may surround your topic can be overwhelming, so the answer to this is simple: less is more.  Readers and viewers today want quality work.  Their time is precious and they want to find something worth looking at.  If they cannot find it in your content, they will quickly move on to something else.  The cure to this is to elevate the quality of your content.  Feel free to go in-depth about your specific entry, or divide the topic into a series whether it be politics, lifestyle, or media.  Sometimes this means writing more, and sometimes this means writing less.  If you are not the best editor, perhaps have a trusted friend or family member who has the skills to elevate your work for you.

Keep in Touch With Your Followers

A great deal of criticism has surfaced about the cold and impersonal nature of social media.  While these critiques do have their merits, they don’t have to hold true for you.  You can influence your followers by becoming more personable.  This means that when a follower reaches out to you, you should make an effort to reach out to them.  Often, a popular blogger or YouTuber will have followers that look up to them, so making yourself accessible via a bio, a question and answer session, or a live stream will help your followers connect to you.  It may be impossible to answer everyone’s questions, but you do have the ability to reach out when it’s appropriate.

Try Guest Posting

BlogPress: Blogging, Training, & Support
Guest Posting is a great way to get your blog in front of a new audience.

Instead of competing with your fellow bloggers, try contacting them for a guest post on something you enjoy.  It need not be a direct competitor, but you can write for a variety of blogs that cover a vast network of topics.  Form relationships with your fellow bloggers and you may be surprised at the following you will gain.

Blogging should be a fun and engaging experience for both you and the audience.  If you want to continue to have a successful blog in the future, follow these tips add a nice polish to your blog.

The post Don’t Miss The Hottest Blogging Trends Of 2017 appeared first on BlogPress.


Don’t Miss The Hottest Blogging Trends Of 2017 was first posted on April 25, 2017 at 12:31 pm.

Blogging Strategy That Works: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Content To Attract A New Audience

The New York Times shut down some of their blogs.

The reason was that they “got very, very little traffic, and they required an enormous amount of resources, because a blog is an animal that is always famished.”

The visitors “expected us to be filling the artificial container of a blog” with new content frequently.

The NYT have got it wrong!

Blogging is not about feeding the hungry beast and constantly churning out new content.

Strong content ideas need time, patience, attention and nurture to shine.

They cannot coexist with the emphasis on assembly line content schedule.

You need to think differently to do great blogging. Work smarter, not harder.

Reduce Reuse Recycle content strategy

The Vox story: New visitor records by republishing content

In 2015, web publisher Vox started a “refreshing the evergreen stories” experiment by rewriting and updating older articles, republishing them and promoting them in social media just like they were new posts.

In 5 days 88 of these “new” articles brought in more than 500,000 visitors combined.

Some of the articles even got more views than when they were originally published.

Vox did not get any complaints from their audience either.

Nobody noticed that these were republished stories.

People actually found the renewed articles useful.

This was a huge win and a valuable lesson learned for Vox.

Vox is not the only one being successful with this strategy.

Brian Dean gets 260% more search traffic when he relaunches his posts.

Hubspot does two to three content updates per week and gets an increase of more than 100% on average in search traffic from each update.

Search views after update

Reduce your posting frequency by focusing on timeless content

An essential tool in your blog content strategy toolbox is timeless content.

Timeless (or evergreen) content is the durable content that has a long shelf left.

It can be reused, recycled and repurposed in many ways on the different platforms and in different formats over a long period of time.

It’s content that thrills, that’s as useful, as interesting and as true in a year as it’s on the day it’s published.

It keeps working for you as it sends you traffic from search engines and from social media shares months and even years after it has been published.

Timeless vs timely content

The nature of content online means that new articles rule, while the old material is quickly forgotten.

But it’s difficult to publish a lot of new posts continuously and keep the quality high at the same time.

Better way is to publish less content but make sure it’s the timeless kind.

Reuse existing timeless content to get more mileage out of your old ideas

Don’t let your best and timeless ideas disappear into your archives never to be heard about again.

Instead of giving up on that old and long forgotten content, squeeze out more mileage out of it by breathing new life into it.

Your how-to guides, tutorials and other long-form timeless content need to be revisited and refreshed once in a while to keep it completely relevant and up-to-date.

Do an audit of your existing content.

Identify posts that get a lot of traffic or used to get a lot of traffic.

Check full details on how to do a blog content audit here.

Do a detailed review of each of these posts and think how they can be updated and improved.

Sometimes new facts, information and ideas have become known that help you tell a better story. Update the article.

Sometimes the site you were giving instructions for makes a change in their design. Update your guide to feature the new design.

Sometimes you may need a better graphic.

Consider changing the headline if the old headline doesn’t work or doesn’t fit as well.

You can also recycle these old ideas into new formats that fit new and different platforms.

Some people like to read. Some prefer to learn by watching. Others learn best by listening.

You can accommodate them all and expand your audience at the same time without the need to come up with more new content ideas.

When you’re ready make sure to update the WordPress timestamp too so your refreshed blog posts get put back up on top of your blog.

Wordpress edit date

Recycle your content in these 25 different formats

These are the simple but effective tactics you can use to reuse your old content by giving it a fresh look and a new format that you then can spread on new platforms:

Content recycling

Promote the refreshed content in social media in multiple rounds

All of the above has helped you to stop focusing on the creation of new content.

Now you also need to spend time and effort on getting your reused and recycled content in front of more people.

Most bloggers just push and promote their latest articles only.

It’s a fact that only a small percentage of your total audience actually sees what you publish in social media.

It’s a very big mistake and a loss of opportunity if you just promote your latest article for a day or two, and then focus on promoting a new article you have just published.

Don’t be scared to tweet and Facebook the article again even though it is only a refreshed “old” article.

Distribute your great and updated posts to those of your followers who may have missed it the first time around.

One tweet is not enough either.

Repost parts of your content regularly over a longer time after publishing your article.

Post them on several different platforms that you decide to include into your marketing routine.

Keep it fresh by pushing the article with different headlines, different quotes or by using different imagery.

Something valuable, something share worthy. Something that can live natively on a social media platform and do the marketing work for you.

Remember this is not you spamming. This is you reaching out with targeted messages that will help people.

See here my list of 40 places where you can share and promote your blog articles.

Shift the way you think about the blog monetization

The Daily Mail Online and other major sites spend a lot of their time on timely content.

Being first to break the news and reporting on current events and happenings that everyone is talking about.

These big sites sell banner ads on cost per thousand (CPM) impressions which forces them to chase page views.

This is why they publish a large volume of content daily and report on all the trending topics.

They keep chasing visits, keep trying to get the page view count high and sell as many ads as possible.

This strategy puts you as a blogger on a treadmill of constant content creation.

It is not realistic to keep at it for a longer time and it will burn you out.

The better way is to aim to get your 1,000 true fans instead:

1000 true fans

If you monetize by selling your own product or doing affiliate marketing to your true fans, you can step away from the treadmill.

Then you can aim to produce more of the timeless type of content, content that is not perishable and much more valuable than content that is instantly out of date.

How can I create more timeless content?

Focus on topics that connect to people on a deeper level.

Whenever you are about to start creating a new piece of content, always make sure to ask yourself is this article timeless?

Could this content be viewed and still be relevant a month or a year from now?

Timely content is normally short and features facts and information on what exactly happened.

To differentiate yourself and make your content more timeless you need to add extra value.

Share insights.

Give away your secrets.

Focus on the meaning of what happened rather than the happening itself.

Provide fresh views and opinions to the story.

Provide context, connection and the larger picture.

Explain to your audience why they should care and how this affects them.

Take a look at my ultimate guide to the creation of awesome content that attracts visitors and social shares.

It’s this value that you provide that makes your story stand out, makes it timeless and people can get benefit from it for a long time.

If your new article is relevant today but not tomorrow, it’s not relevant at all.

Replace “published at” with “last updated” in your blog’s byline

Remove the “published at” date and add the “updated” date in the article byline.

This will contribute to your visitors taking your posts more seriously.

People care about information being relevant and accurate.

If you have an old date in a prominently placed byline of a timeless article visitors might think your article is outdated and incorrect, even though it may not be.

Post byline is one of the first things people notice and I believed that it would give a wrong impression to a new visitor.

The impression of an outdated and irrelevant post, or even worse an impression of an inactive site.

That is not the image you want to give your visitors.

Avoid time specific references

Avoid including specific dates, times and other time specific references in your content as much as you can.

Saying something has happened “today” or will happen “tomorrow” is only relevant for those few hours in those days.

Even if your article is still valuable, people may see it as inaccurate, irrelevant and outdated just because of the dates and times you mentioned.

The post Blogging Strategy That Works: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Content To Attract A New Audience appeared first on HowToMakeMyBlog.

A Quick Guide To Coming Up With A Memorable Blog Name

This guide has all the inspiration you need to choose a great and catchy name for your blog.

A credible name that attracts visitors, that’s unforgettable, and projects the message you want to convey.

Picking a memorable blog name is one of the biggest challenges when starting out.

You’ll love this guide as it breaks down this roadblock and makes the process much easier.

Let’s dive right in…

How to choose a memorable domain name

A blog name and a domain name

You cannot have a blog without a domain name.

A domain name is the internet address (the URL) that visitors type into their browsers in order to get to your blog.

Domain name consists of a blog name followed by an extension such as .com.

Some say that all the good domain names are taken but that is simply not true.

Sometimes the name just comes to you instantly.

Sometimes you need to spend some time thinking and brainstorming the options.

These are the main approaches you can use to quickly choose the right blog name.

1. Use descriptive words that are connected to your purpose

Think HowToMakeMyBlog, Product Hunt, Trend Watching, SmartPassiveIncome…

A descriptive name is appropriate to the topic and tells the visitors (or at least hints at) what they can expect.

It does the marketing work for you as upon seeing the name people will know what your blog is about.

It’s also good for getting targeted traffic from the search engines.

Start by describing what you do and the topics that you want to cover.

What do you want to help people with?

What values do you want to communicate?

Write down these topical keywords.

Use a thesaurus to find relevant words, synonyms and antonyms.

Use a thesaurus

Now come up with some phrases by combining your descriptive keywords.

Be clear and to the point.

2. Come up with something brand new and unique

Think Google, Instagram, Twitter, Ikea…

Coming up with something new, cool and brandable can be a really powerful way of starting something big and unique.

Get your creative juices flowing, take your descriptive words and invent interesting words and metaphors. Use tools such as this and this.

Mesh words

Mix and compound whole words. Think YouTube, WordPress and FaceBook.

Blend, mesh, overlap and truncate words. Think Lego, Pinterest and Groupon.

Make up new words. Add affixes (prefixes and suffixes) to words to form a basis of new words. Think Napster and Spotify.

Misspell words. Think Digg, Flickr and Tumblr.

Create phonetic contractions. Think Reddit as in “read it”.

Use foreign words as long as you are certain what they mean. Think Vox and Nike.

Don’t try to be too clever as it could confuse people or become unintentionally inappropriate and embarrassing.

Unintentionally inappropriate names

3. Just use your full name as your blog name

Think GaryVaynerchuk.com, KaylaItsines.com, AustinKleon.com, JamesAltucher.com…

Name your site by your full name.

This creates a more personal and warm presence.

It also helps you build a personal brand which could lead to conference talks and even book publishing deals.

It’s also a great method if you switch between different topics you focus on as your name will always fit any project that you’re doing.

It’s not for everyone though as some won’t be too comfortable about putting themselves in the spotlight that much.

The characteristics of an unforgettable blog name

Now that you have a list of ideas, imagine that you share your domain name to a person you meet at a conference.

Will he or she be able to recall and correctly remember it?

The following characteristics of great names are very elementary, but they are essential for a memorable domain name.

Get inspired and be creative. Try to find a balance between a catchy, descriptive and brandable name.

It’s got to be easy to remember.

TheFacebook changed to Facebook. MyMint to Mint

Simple. Can you make it one word?

Short. Can you make it a four letter word?

Catchy.

Pleasing to the eye.

It’s got to feel natural in your mouth.

Easy to spell.

Easy to type.

Easy to pronounce.

This means no numbers and hyphens.

Appropriate to your topic.

Reflects on your messaging.

But not so descriptive so it sounds generic.

Different from your competitors.

Available and not trademarked by another company.

If your name is similar to another band’s, they could sue you and you could lose a lot of money and time.

Not too specific so it may limit you down the road.

Many ideas inevitably evolve, especially in the online world where everything moves quickly.

Snapchat had to rename to Snap as they’re no longer all about chat.

A name is a long term decision so make it open to long-term expansion.

You don’t want to change your blog name in the near future.

It could cost you a lot of time and money.

It could negatively affect your branding and search engine rankings.

Just think Yahoo name change to Altaba.

Dot what should my domain name be?

Domain names have extensions such as .com, .org, .net or .gov. There are many extensions available. See the full list.

I always try and get the .com domain name. It’s especially important if you are writing to a global audience.

The .com extension is the most popular and most recognizable one.

Most people regard that as the default extension and would automatically type .com after any name.

Some recommend you change the name you had in mind in case you cannot find an available .com domain.

The majority of big and successful sites are on the .com extension.

All of top 20 most valuable Y Combinator startups and 94% of top 50 are on a .com domain.

You will also notice a lot of the search results have .com domains on top.

But .com is not the only way to go.

Many newer startups use the .io extension.

Google used .xyz extension for their new brand name.

You could also do an emoji domain name.

Emoji domains

If you are writing a site in a language other than English, then try and use a domain extension of the country.

It’s positive to have a local extension as visitors will understand that the site is targeted to their territory and search engines might send you more visitors from that country too.

How to check if the domain name is available and register it

So you now have some domain name ideas in mind for your project?

Very good!

The process of checking if the domain name is available and then registering it is pretty simple.

You need a domain name registrar in order to register it. They typically charge you an annual fee for the registration of the name.

I recommend Bluehost for this. You can get your domain name for free there as long as you also get them to host your blog too.

Click here to check if your chosen domain name is available and to register it.

Note that when registering a domain name some of your personal details such as name, address, email and phone number will be publicly available through Whois lookup tool as you’re the legal owner.

In case you prefer to remain private, you can select the “Domain Whois Privacy” option in the registration.

This puts the details of the registrar in the Whois database instead of your personal details.

Disclosure: I do earn a commission if you signup to Bluehost using my link at no additional cost to you. Please know that I only recommend products and services that I find helpful and useful. If you do choose to purchase through my affiliate link, thank you for your support!

The post A Quick Guide To Coming Up With A Memorable Blog Name appeared first on HowToMakeMyBlog.

Education Blogs: How To Stand Out From The Crowd

Did you know that almost 16 million of Americans participate in education and training programs? It means that if you decide to start an education blog, your audience will be huge.  Educational blogging is a good way to share your experience with people who need it and to become more popular in your industry. Moreover, there is a great opportunity to earn some money and to travel around the world, as you will be able to work online.

Teachers, students, and parents need time and effort to adapt to the changes. They need to get instructions and fresh information. That’s what educational blogging is all about.

Education blogs are usually maintained by teachers, tutors, or even parents. They cover anything from new teaching methods to homeschooling plans. Some bloggers provide full online courses, as well as technology tips and news about the current state of education. They are making huge contributions towards the growth of the industry.

The majority of educational bloggers use their blogs for class blogs, student blogs, and class blogs with individual student blogs. However, personal blogs are also very popular in the education niche.

Education Blogs: How To Stand Out From The Crowd

What Are Education Blogs And Why Do We Need Them?

  • Every blog makes important contributions to the online base of knowledge. Whenever we have questions or problems, we find solutions in high-quality blog posts.
  • They are great for communication between teachers. An educator can use the blog to share their experience with other teachers and ask for their feedback.             
  • Teachers can also use the blog to share news, assignments, reminders, and tips with students and their parents.   
  • Thanks to blogging, teachers, students, and parents can encourage debates on important issues related to education.
  • The students can share their studying methods, as well as the progress they make on different projects. Blogging is a nice way for them to share thoughts and opinions.
  • When a student starts blogging from an early age, they are developing valuable writing skills. Consider it this way: you’re training the next generation of successful bloggers, who will make the Internet better.

It’s clear: any teacher or student can benefit from a blog. There is a huge challenge to overcome, though: there are thousands of blogs that already cover topics similar to the ones you have in mind. Uniqueness and value are the most important principles of blogging. How do you make your project different?

Education Blogs: How To Stand Out From The Crowd

Educational Blogging Tips: How To Stand Out From The Crowd

How do you define the concept uniqueness in blogging? It’s not about thinking of a topic that has never been covered in the history of blogging. Get real: can you think of such topic? Maybe you have an idea, but you can’t maintain a blog based on that premise. Uniqueness is all about tackling trending and evergreen topics in a different way. It’s about finding your voice and conveying it through captivating posts that the audience loves reading. We’ll share some tips that will help you get there.

1. If You’re Tackling Politics, Make Strong Arguments

Every educator and parent have their point of view regarding education. Every blogger, in general, has opinions about society. Whether we like it or not, that point is often related to politics. Criticism is highly necessary for this niche since that’s what drives the education system forward.

However, you have to keep in mind that people don’t like reading blogs exclusively focused on politics and pedagogy. If you really want to bring light to some issues, you need to do it occasionally. Most of all, you have to expose unique arguments and support them with facts. Keep in mind that you’re just another blogger in this niche. You’ll come across different points of view and you’ll have to handle criticism if you cover these topics.

Share Unique Experiences

Storytelling is an effective method for writing blog posts. People are not after strict guidelines and lecturing attitude when they read blogs. They want tips and opinions supported by actual experience.

If you’re an educator, tutor, or homeschooling parent, you should personalize the process of teaching according to the needs of your students. Each student has unique interests and a different capacity to process information. You experiment with different methods so you can share them with the online audience. Think out of the box and provide something valuable for your readers. For example, Julie Petersen, an educational blogger, provides scholarships at her essay writing companies review blog, to help students take the most of their studies.

2. Listen to Your Readers

You already wrote about the ed-tech products you use, you shared your teaching methods, and you covered some personal experiences. Now what? When you’re on a consistent blogging schedule, you’ll inevitably come to a point when you’re blocked. Every blogger faces such blockade. All topics will seem boring. That’s when you need your readers more than ever.

Ask your readers for their opinions at the end of each post you write. They will use that opportunity to give you credit for the good ideas and criticize you for something they don’t agree with. However, they will also ask questions that reveal new topics for you to work on. When you’re listening to your audience, you write more relevant posts.

3. Make Case Studies

HubSpot is one of the most successful marketing blogs on the Internet. Do you know why? First of all, it’s a high-quality blog with huge value for marketers. Many of the articles are supported with case studies, which make the readers aware of the way theory works in practice.

Let’s say you started using a new note-taking app in the classroom. You invited your students to use their tablets instead of the usual notebooks for taking notes. How did that work? How did their productivity, engagement, and efficiency change after this? You can measure their speed in taking notes and note if they are listening more when they don’t have to write in a notebook. Notice what results they will have on the test at the end of the lecture and turn that experience into a case study.

You can turn various classroom experiences into unique case studies.

There is no magic formula that leads you to successful blogging. Focus, persistence, and uniqueness – that’s the clear recipe for success. You’ll discover your own ways to attract the audience, and that’s what makes you a unique blogger.

The post Education Blogs: How To Stand Out From The Crowd appeared first on BlogPress.


Education Blogs: How To Stand Out From The Crowd was first posted on March 23, 2017 at 10:51 am.