The 50 Best WordPress Plugins For Your Blog In 2017

Best free WordPress blog plugins

Plugins are like software that extends your WordPress blog. You can use a plugin to improve the look and feel of your blog design or to add new features or functionality to your blog.

Over the years I have tested many of the most downloaded WordPress plugins. Activating a handful of essential plugins is one of the first things I do after starting a new blog.

In this post, you will learn how to install a WordPress plugin to your blog. I will also share some of the best plugins that you must have.

Discover best free plugins in the official plugin directory

There’s a plugin for everything. As of October 2017, there are more than 52,000 free WordPress plugins in the official plugin directory. There have been more than a billion and a half plugin downloads in total.

Take a look at the official directory or see the plugin section of your WordPress blog admin dashboard. Just click on Plugins in the left-hand sidebar of your dashboard and click on “Add New”.

There you have a list of featured plugins. You can also view “Popular” (most downloaded plugins) and “Recommended” (according to the other plugins you have installed) lists. There’s also the search box for deeper discovery.

Every plugin features a page with the plugin description, number of active installs, the user rating, and last updated date. To learn more about a particular plugin you can also view screenshots, FAQ and the reviews.

These are some of the signs to look out for to find a good WordPress plugin:

  • High number of downloads and active installs
  • Regular updates and a recent latest update date
  • Good ratings and reviews from the users
  • Developer that’s accessible and answers user questions
  • Compatible with your WordPress blog version

How to install a WordPress plugin on your blog

Most plugins can be implemented to your blog with little hassle. You don’t need to know how to code. Just install a plugin, activate it, and job done.

When you find a plugin that you want to try within your WordPress dashboard, click on the name, and then click on the “Install Now” button.

Plugin overview

Click on “Ok” in the pop-up window to finish the install process. When the installation is complete, click on “Activate Plugin”.

Activate the plugin

The new plugin is now live. Most plugins will work out of the box as soon as you activate them. Some will need you to go through the “Settings” section to set them up.

If you wish to delete a plugin, go to the “Plugins” section and click on the “Installed Plugins”. Click on “Deactivate”, then click on “Delete” to remove the files. On the next page, click on “Yes, delete these files”.

Mo plugins mo problems?

A word of warning first.

Keep in mind that adding too many plugins can make your blog heavy and slow to load.

More plugins can also add more security vulnerabilities to your blog. It’s not uncommon to hear about thousands of blogs being exposed to different attacks due to a bad plugin.

It’s also more likely that you could introduce code conflicts between plugins and any custom work you have done on your theme design.

You don’t want your plugins to break your blog or the latest WordPress update to break your plugins.

Make sure you only use plugins that are necessary to achieve a better usability and user experience.

Don’t go overboard installing too many. Keep it simple, light and fast.

Keep an eye on your blog’s speed and performance. If a plugin is not what you expected or you no longer use it, just delete it.

There’s even a plugin that will help you find plugins that slow your blog down: P3 Profiler. Install it to measure the impact of plugins on your page load.

P3

Take a look at my guide for more ways to speed up your WordPress blog.

Now let’s get started with a list of best free and premium WordPress plugins that you should explore:

The mother of all plugins: Jetpack

Jetpack

Jetpack is an all-in-one plugin that offers many features and is created by the folks that make WordPress.

Jetpack is one of the very few plugins I would recommend to any blogger.

Using Jetpack can help you reduce the number of other plugins you need to run on your blog.

By installing Jetpack you can integrate the following features into your blog:

  • Akismet anti-spam filter to block and remove spam comments,
  • two-step authentication to make your blog login more secure,
  • visitor stats to learn about your visitors and how they use your blog,
  • contact form to allow people to get in touch with you,
  • the ability to automatically share your newly published posts to your social channels,
  • social media icons for your sidebar so people can follow your social profiles easily,
  • social media sharing buttons so people can share your content,
  • related posts so people can explore your blog,
  • the ability for users to subscribe to posts and comments,
  • mobile responsive design to make your blog looks great on mobile devices,
  • infinite scroll to have a more engaging presentation of content,
  • advanced spell checking to help you write better content,
  • prevent brute force attacks to further secure your blog,
  • monitor downtime to alert you when your blog is down,
  • CDN to speed up the loading time of your images,
  • image gallery to beautiful display your blog photos,
  • the ability to automatically update your plugins,
  • generate XML sitemaps and help search engines discover your content,
  • ability to verify your blog with search engines such as Google.

Do install it and review all the different options before continuing your plugin hunt. Chances are Jetpack will cover all your plugin needs.

50 best WordPress plugins (if you need more than Jetpack)

Here’s the rest of the list of the best WordPress plugins.

I don’t advise you to activate all of these on every blog. Review the list and see if some of these are relevant to your needs.

They are all great and recommended plugins but not all of them are useful for every blog.

On top of the Jetpack plugin, you may only need to add two or three additional plugins from the list below and have all your needs covered.

I’ve tried to include the main use case for each recommended plugin too to help you discover those that will help you the most.

Let’s get started.

WordPress plugins to monetize your blog

Best for selling products or subscriptions: WooCommerce

woocommerce

Use WordPress to create your own online store to sell your products or services. Or to sell subscriptions and memberships. Created by the same people who have created WordPress.

Best for Google Adsense and other banner ads: Ad Inserter

Makes it easy to insert banner ads from Google Adsense and other marketing platforms into your blog content. An alternative to this is Quick Adsense.

Best for selling memberships: Members

Members

A user, role, and content management tool that makes WordPress a more powerful CMS. It allows you to sell memberships to your audience. Couple of alternatives to this are Memberful and WP-Members.

Best for affiliate marketing: Linker

Linker

Track all the outbound links and clicks on them. Very useful for bloggers using affiliate marketing to monetize their blogs.

Best for accepting donations: PayPal Donations

Paypal donations

Some bloggers monetize their blogs by accepting reader donations. This plugin helps you do just that. Add PayPal buttons in your content or the sidebar. An alternative to this is the Patreon button plugin.

WordPress plugins to integrate social media to your blog

Best for Pinterest: Pin It Button For Images

Pinterest pin it

Displays a Pin It button directly over your images and helps you drive traffic from Pinterest. Perfect for blogs that feature great imagery (fashion, travel, food blogs).

Best for adding social media sharing buttons: Shareaholic

This is a very extensive and flexible plugin that allows you to easily implement social sharing buttons on your content. Let your visitors spread the word about your content to their networks.

Best for sharing your quotes on Twitter: Better Click To Tweet

Better Click To Tweet

Allows you to insert “click to tweet” boxes into your content and prompt your visitors to share more of your quotes on Twitter.

Best for getting shares for content access: Social Locker

Social Locker

Use it for PDF reports and similar. It can help increase your social media presence by making your visitors tweet or Facebook like to get access to the content.

Best for tracking social shares: Social Metrics Tracker

Social metrics tracker

Easy overview of how many shares your content has got on the different social media networks.

WordPress plugins for blogs written in multiple languages

Best for multilingual content: Polylang

Polylang

For all you running multilingual blogs. This plugin makes the process of having multiple versions of your content in different languages very straightforward and user-friendly.

Best for translations: Google Language Translator

Google translate

Allow translations with a single click between 58 languages on your blog.

WordPress plugins for speeding up your blog

Best for caching your blog: W3 Total Cache

W3 Total Cache

It dramatically improves the speed by using cache as well as Minify and content delivery network (CDN). It helps your server handle a higher load without crashing.

Best for optimizing the database: WP-Optimize

WP Optimize

Allows you to clean up and optimize your database to make it run better. You can also remove all your post revisions automatically.

Best for reducing the image size: WP Smush.it

WP Smush

This plugin reduces your image files size automatically and makes your blog faster and easier to load. EWWW Image Optimizer is an alternative to this.

Best for loading your pages faster: BJ Lazy Load

BJ Lazy Load

For image heavy blogs. Only load images that are in the browser’s view (i.e. above the fold) and load the rest only as the visitor scrolls down the page.

WordPress plugins for tracking visitor data and usage

Best for tracking visitor data: Google Analytics

This plugin makes it easy for you to insert your Google Analytics code and start tracking your visitors. Learn more about Google Analytics and how tracking data helps you run a better blog.

Best for tracking search box usage: Search Meter

Search Meter

This tracks what your visitors search for in your “search” field. You can know what your visitors are looking for and what they find. Can help you make your design more usable and give you some topic ideas to cover.

WordPress plugins to keep visitors longer on your blog

Best for related post flyouts: upPrev

UpPrev

This is a New York Times-style alternative to related posts. It displays a fly out in the bottom right corner of the screen with a related post.

Best for displaying related content: Yet Another Related Posts

YARPP

Displays a list of related posts at the end of your articles. Allows customization of the display – you can even show thumbnails of the posts.

Best for improving the search: Swiftype Search

Swiftype

This replaces the default search form. It is very much like Facebook or Google search. Upon starting to type a search query, your visitor will get a drop down of different options and results. Comes with detailed analytics and controls.

Best for discovering broken links: Broken Link Checker

Broken Link Checker

When you start posting often, you will soon have so many posts and pages that it will be hard to manually check them one by one. This plugin automatically checks all your content and informs you of any broken links.

Best for pagination: WP-PageNavi

WP Pagenavi

Adds a more advanced paging navigation interface.

Best for table of contents: Table of Contents Plus

Contents plus

Automatically creates a table of contents for your long form posts and allows you to display it in a beautiful and user-friendly way.

Best for embedding video: Fluid Video Embeds

Fluid video

If you are a video blogger and work a lot with video embeds, this plugin is a big time saver. It auto resizes your videos to full-width and keeps the original aspect ratio.

Best for welcoming visitors: What Would Seth Godin Do

What would Seth Godin do

Allows you to display a particular message on top of the screen to your new, first time visitors only.

WordPress plugins for search engines optimisation

Best for SEO in general: WordPress SEO by Yoast

Wordpress SEO

A good SEO solution. It combines what two of the most popular plugins ever used to do. It helps you optimize your on-page SEO (META Title, Description and Keywords) and generates an XML sitemap for search engines to easier find and index your content.

Best for redirecting different URL’s: Redirection

Redirection

Manages 301 redirections and keeps track of 404 errors in a very simple interface without you needing access or experience with .htaccess files.

Best for mass-changing links: Search and Replace

Search and replace

This one can save you a lot of time. For example, if you have moved the domain name and now want to change all the internal links throughout your blog. This plugin makes it a one-click process. An alternative to this is Velvet Blues Update URL’s.

Best for food recipes: ZipList Recipe

Zip list

If you run a blog with food recipes, this plugin adds all the necessary microdata to your recipes so that they will show up in Google’s Recipe Search.

WordPress plugins for blog comments

Best for thanking commenters: Comment Redirect

Comment Redirect

Redirect your first-time commenters to a page of your choice. Thank them. Ask them to subscribe to you. This can help turn a first-time visitor into a fan. An alternative to this is Thank Me Later that sends a ‘thank you’ email to your commenters.

Best for attracting bloggers to comment: CommentLuv

Comment Luv

Encourage more comments by rewarding your visitors by automatically placing a link to their last post at the end of their comment. This works especially well if your visitors are bloggers themselves.

WordPress plugins for calls-to-actions and conversions

Best for pop-ups: Scroll Triggered Box

Scroll box

If you’re trying to convert more of your visitors, it’s worth testing pop-up boxes. This plugin offers a beautiful and straightforward solution. An alternative to this is the Popup Maker.

Best for building your email list: Mailchimp for WordPress

This plugin makes it easy to integrate your Mailchimp newsletter to your blog. Easily insert subscribe forms and other calls-to-action in order to get more of your visitors to subscribe to your mailing list.

Best for browser push notifications: OneSignal

Browser push notifications

Your visitors can opt-in to receive browser push notifications from you. This plugin works for Chrome, Firefox and Safari browsers.

Best for alerts on top of the screen: Notification Bar

Notification bar

A quick and easy way to send alerts and other calls to action on the top of your blog design.

Best for sticky widgets: Q2W3 Fixed Widget

q2w3

Allows you to put in a sticky widget in your sidebar, so it scrolls through alongside the visitor. This helps you never have any blank space in your sidebar.

WordPress plugins for better content

Best for importing content: WordPress Importer

Wordpress importer

Imports posts, pages, comments, custom fields, categories, tags and more from a WordPress.com export file into your self-hosted blog. See more on moving your blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org.

Best for converting post types: Post Type Switcher

Post type switcher

Have you ever been in a situation where you’d like to convert a page into a post? Or a post into a page? This plugin is perfect for those cases. Makes the process very simple directly from your dashboard.

Best for managing a content calendar: CoSchedule

CoSchedule

Helps you organise your content calendar and the posting schedule, and take control of your content strategy.

Best for including charts: Visualizer

Visualizer

Make your posts more shareable and social media friendly by creating and adding a variety of interactive charts with this plugin.

Best for showing maps: Leaflet Maps Marker

Map marker

Need to show maps in your posts? This is a simple and great looking solution that works with Google Maps.

Best for showing future content: Show off Upcoming Posts

SOUP

This plugin displays your upcoming scheduled posts in a sidebar widget.

Best for frequently asked questions: Quick and Easy FAQs

Quick and easy FAQs

Do you have a frequently asked questions section of your blog? This plugin helps you display it all in a nice and easy format.

Best for analyzing your words: Word Stats

Word stats

Gives you a quick overview of all the words you have published and helps you write better. It counts words, the number of times you mentioned a certain keyword, and does a readability analysis of your posts.

Best for podcasting: PowerPress Podcasting

Podcasting

The most popular podcasting plugin for WordPress. Supports iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play and more. Covers all your podcasting needs.

WordPress plugins for backups and security

Best for backing up your files: BackWPUp

BackWPup

On-demand backup. It can also backup in an automated schedule. It allows you to save the database backup to your computer, in the cloud or get it sent via email.

Best for keeping your blog safe: Sucuri

Sucuri Security

A set of tools here to help you keep your blog secure. Security monitoring, malware detection and more. An alternative to this is Wordfence.

WordPress plugins to improve your blog’s look and feel

Best for customized sidebars: Custom Sidebars

Custom sidebars

Create your own custom widgetized areas and sidebars. Allows you to pick on which pages a certain sidebar should show.

Best for improving the author box: Fancier Author Box

Fancier author box

Give more identity to your single or multi-author blog with nice looking author box at the end of posts.

Best for improving the navigation: Max Mega Menu

Max mega

Boost your navigation menu with this mega menu and fly out menu. It’s responsive, retina and touch ready.

Best for fonts: Easy Google Fonts

Google fonts

This plugin makes it easy for you to use a different font (more than 600 available) to spice up your blog.

Best for responsive sliders: Soliloquy

Soliloguy

Nice and simple way to create post and image sliders for your blog.

The post The 50 Best WordPress Plugins For Your Blog In 2017 appeared first on HowToMakeMyBlog.

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.

Quick Hacks To Help You Come Up With Attractive Blog Post Headlines

Rules and formulas for irresistible headlines

Are you struggling to grab the attention of people in the busy social media news feeds?

One way to fix this is to come up with better and more attractive blog post headlines.

There is an art to writing post headlines and bloggers have to learn this art in order to better attract visitors.

This guide features proven headline formulas, real-life examples of successful headlines, structural rules and trigger words to use when creating your own headlines.

Let’s get started.

Why the headline is the most important part of a blog post

The majority of people that see your posts will see the headlines only.

Without a compelling headline, not many will actually click to visit your blog article.

Your potential visitors are busy people.

You are competing to get their attention and a share of their valuable time, and you compete against many other things.

Their work, their family and friends, their social network, their interests, all the other media and websites and many more factors.

To attract visitors and draw them in you must write powerful, relevant and eye-catching headlines for your blog posts.

Your headlines must be sharp.

They must make people curious and prompt them to click on your link no matter the distractions and the competing choices in their news feeds.

If you achieve this, your headlines will help your posts get more clicks, more shares and more engagement.

Test your blog post headlines using these tools

There are tools you can use to analyse your headline for emotional impact.

Try this Headline Analyzer and this Emotional Value Analyzer.

Headline analyzer

Write at least five headlines per blog post

Some bloggers feel that it is difficult to explain what their post is about in a few words.

Maybe that just shows that the post is not interesting enough and not written in the most optimized way.

In other words, an article that you cannot explain in a punchy headline may not be an article that you want to publish in its current state.

Many writers would spend the majority of their time on the body of content itself and then just create a last-minute headline to finish it off before publishing.

This is not the optimal way of doing it.

Instead, you should try and spend much longer time on figuring out the best headline for a blog post.

After all, not many will read the body of the content unless the headline attracts them in the first place.

Spending more time on the headline should be devoted to writing several different alternatives.

Writing more than one headline for each post forces you to think more about the headline and makes you think outside the box.

This also gives you more options and interesting angles when posting and re-posting your content in social media.

Your first couple of choices might be something you’ve tested before or might be just something that comes first to your mind, but making yourself think of more than five headlines gets you in a more creative mindset.

Eventually you’ll get to something that is not your typical headline and that might just be the one that works best.

Don’t resist this.

Five headlines are not much actually, the people from Upworthy recommend you write at least 25!

Upworthy's 25 headlines

Look for inspiration

Buzzfeed headlinesNewspapers, magazines and websites online can be great idea sources, full of inspiration and ideas for your own headline writing.

Keep an eye on them.

Magazine front pages are full of irresistible headlines.

Just take a look at front pages of Men’s Health or Cosmopolitan.

Also, online sites such as Buzzfeed, Upworthy and The Daily Mail have their headlines and listicles as a big traffic driving factors and major reasons for their success.

Explore them, learn from them, note interesting styles and formulas, and try and implement them on your own site.

Some bloggers use social media to test out ideas for posts before writing them.

You could try this out too.

Send out a tweet with a quote, a statement or a piece of advice and see how people react.

If you see a larger-than-normal amount of responses and engagements, it might be a topic you could expand into a complete blog post.

Structural rules for headlines guaranteed to get you clicks

Creating attractive headlines

It is difficult to pinpoint a distinct pattern of blog post headline writing as there isn’t one really.

If there were a simple solution, we would all be getting thousands of clicks and shares.

There is a lot of guesswork and trialing involved.

Here are some structural rules, tips and ideas that you can follow in order to reach the widest audience and boost clicks when writing headlines.

  • Develop a headline that tells people exactly what the article is about and what is in it for them so they know right away whether or not it is something they would like to click on.
  • Tell a story and make people curious in your headline but do not give everything away. Just give them a sneak preview by including statements such as “You won’t believe the number 5” or “Number 7 has worked incredibly well for me”. This forces them to click to check out the full thing.
  • Work in curiosity, benefits or a combination of the two in your headline. Talk about “secrets”, “hacks”, “techniques”, “strategies”, “warnings” and “mistakes”. Make people feel they will miss out on something amazing and important unless they click on your post.

Curiosity gap

  • Promise quick and easy to follow, how-to advise, instructions, guidelines and solutions to challenges your readers are facing. People love “simple”, “easy”, “fast”, “instant” and “quick”.
  • Create a great resource of information. Make it “the ultimate”, “the complete”, “the definitive” or “the best”. Everything something needs to understand about one topic in one single post.
  • Try adding numbers and top lists to your headlines. The larger the number the most interest there will be. Everyone’s bored of top 3 and top 5, but top 77 might just do the trick.
  • Ask questions. Write headlines in a question format. Just make sure to break the Betteridge’s law that says that every headline that ends with a question mark can be answered with a word “no”.
  • Namedrop celebrities and other names your audience recognizes. I’ve compiled lessons learned from names such as Stephen King and Steve Jobs with great success.
  • Be conversational and direct. Refer to the audience. Make your headlines self-referencing to your visitor by adding “You” or “Your”.
  • Make your headlines condensed. Examine your headlines with a critical eye to make every word count.
  • Be informal and personal. After all, you are competing in Twitter streams and Facebook news feeds amongst posts from friends and family.

Proven headline formulas you should try on your site

Most winning headlines can be distilled down to a fill-in-the-blank formula template.

These templates can then be used for any topic that you are covering.

For some ideas and examples of the above structural rules try writing your headlines using the formulas below.

Do save this blog post so you can reference these when developing your own post headlines.

Blog headline hacks and formulas

  • How To ___________ – Step-By-Step Guide
  • The Ultimate ___________ List
  • How To  ___________ In 10 Minutes
  • The Pros And Cons Of ___________
  • The Easiest Way To Make Your ___________
  • 12 Sure Fire Ways To ___________
  • 8 Shortcuts For ___________ In Record Time
  • Get ___________! 12 Ideas That Really Work
  • The Lazy ___________ Way To ___________
  • 16 Lies ___________ Like To Tell
  • 13 Warning Signs That ___________
  • The Shocking Truth About ___________
  • 10 Things Your ___________ Won’t Tell You
  • How Safe Is Your ___________ From ___________?
  • Do You Do Any Of These ___________ Mistakes?
  • Don’t Do These 17 Things When ___________
  • 16 ___________ Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making
  • 11 ___________ Mistakes That Make You Look ___________
  • 15 Things Your ___________ Needs To Hear You Say
  • Unlock The Secrets Of ___________
  • 7 ___________ Secrets Every ___________ Should Know
  • The 16 Essentials Of ___________
  • How To Take Charge Of Your ___________
  • How To Make ___________ Work For You
  • What ___________ Can Teach You About ___________
  • Can You Really Trust ___________?
  • 5 Little Known Ways To ___________
  • 3 Little Known Factors That Could Affect Your ___________
  • Get Rid Of ___________ Once And For All
  • 12 Cool Tools For ___________
  • The Complete Guide To ___________
  • 18 Tips To Jump-Start Your ___________
  • 14 Things I‘ve Learned About ___________
  • 18 ___________ Hacks: A Cheat Sheet For ___________

One note from me is not to overuse any one of these as that would make them less effective.

Use emotional trigger words to engage people

Trigger words engage people on an emotional level and they work exceptionally well in headlines.

They are also some of the most persuasive words in the English language.

Trigger words

Here’s a list of some trigger words you can start with:

  • Amazing
  • Avenge
  • Banned
  • Blissful
  • Boost
  • Breathtaking
  • Conspiracy
  • Controversial
  • Cure
  • Delightful
  • Discover
  • Empower
  • Energize
  • Exposed
  • Eye Opening
  • Forbidden
  • Greatest
  • Insider
  • Jaw dropping
  • Jubilant
  • Magic
  • Massive
  • Mind blowing
  • Overcome
  • Payback
  • Provocative
  • Reclaim
  • Sky rocketing
  • Spectacular
  • Stunning
  • Surprising
  • Uncensored

Deliver on what your headline promises

An important point to make is that you should not oversell in your headlines and that you should always deliver what you promise.

Do your best to write a compelling blog post headline but do also deliver the quality content.

There is nothing worse than clicking on a great headline and then seeing the content that is not being able to live up to the headline.

The headline is worthless if the post does not deliver on its promise.

The headline frames the rest of your visitor’s experience on your site.

Visitors would feel tricked into viewing and nothing is more frustrating than clicking on a killer headline but getting a weak article.

Think how Google displays the headline in their search results

Google may not be as important in driving traffic to a blog as it was before the rise of Facebook and other social media platforms, but it can still be a very valuable way of getting your content to more people.

You should make sure your headlines display well in the search results.

Google shows between 50-60 characters only – it shows exactly what fits in a 512 px.

If the headline is longer, they will not display the full headline.

In cases where your optimal headline is longer than that, try and do a shorter and more concise version for search engines only.

WordPress SEO WordPress plugin previews your search results snippet the way it will look in search results.

It also allows you to write the “SEO Title”.

This is the title that will show in search results while you still keep your original title on your post itself and in social media shares.

SEO post title and description

Some of the most successful blog post headlines in the history of my blog

An important part of the headline writing process is analysing the data and implementing the learnings to improve your future headlines.

An easy way of doing this is to go through your blog visitor data and see which posts worked well and which don’t.

Let us take a look inwards at some of the most visited articles on my blog and analyze the headlines.

Here are some examples of my posts that have been quite popular that you could learn the format of and adapt to your own content:

  • Best WordPress Plugins: 18 Most Downloaded WordPress Plugins Ever
  • 8 Thesis Theme Design Tips To Make Your Site Better
  • From 0 To 200.000 Visitors, 8 Blogging Lessons Learned
  • 10 Elements Of Style Of Post Writing
  • 24 Plugins That I Currently Use On My Site And Why You Should Use Them Too
  • How To Install WordPress – Step-By-Step Guide
  • 8 Things Every Blogger Can Learn By Studying Perez Hilton

What I learned from my past headlines is that having a “how to” or “top list” headline works great to attract visitors.

Other things that seem to make headlines more clickable are quotes, numbers and popular names.

These types of headlines make a specific promise of what’s in store for the visitor, they also make the visitor curious to find out more, or they attract the click thanks to the use of a popular name that the visitor has feelings for.

Just keep on writing and improving

What makes people click is a difficult question to answer and I hope that this article has explained you a little bit behind the art of headline writing and inspired you to work on your upcoming headlines or even go back and rework the headlines of some of your existing posts.

The last piece of advice is to constantly test your headline writing, see which articles get most shares and views and do more of what works best.

Some of your headlines will suck and will fail but you have to accept it, move on and keep writing more.

All you have to do is explain to people why they should click and read your article and not the next one that is in line waiting on their Twitter feeds.

Good luck!

The post Quick Hacks To Help You Come Up With Attractive Blog Post Headlines appeared first on HowToMakeMyBlog.

12 Easy Ways To Speed Up Your WordPress Blog Loading Time

Speed up your site

Your blog posts are very slow to load?

You are in the right place.

In this guide, I will show you simple steps that you can take to speed up your WordPress blog loading time.

Why blog page loading speed is essential

The “back” button on a browser is your enemy.

You only have a few seconds to hook a visitor and get him or her to stay away from the “back” button.

You better make each second count.

Great looking design, stunning imagery and valuable content are essential elements of a blog.

They help you convince a first-time visitor that your blog is worth their time.

None of this matters if your blog is impossible to reach or very slow to load.

53% of mobile visitors abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load according to a Google study published in September 2016.

Page loading time is also one of the ranking factors Google uses to determine which content will show on top of their search results.

WordPress speed test: How fast is my blog right now?

The best starting point for improving your blog’s page speed is to check your current loading time and performance.

Run the speed tests at sites below to see how fast or how slow your blog is right now.

These tools analyze the performance of your blog, and provide useful advice on things you can do to optimize the loading time:

Now you have an overview of the current performance of your WordPress blog.

The Google study that I mentioned earlier found that the average mobile site took 19 seconds to load.

Any load time below 3 seconds is excellent in my book.

Monitor your blog server uptime/downtime

Keep an eye on the uptime of your blog’s server.

Uptime basically tells you what percentage of time your blog is up and available for visitors.

The more reliable your webhost is, the more uptime you will have and your downtime will be minimal if any at all.

WordPress runs Jetpack plugin which allows you to activate a “Monitor” add-on that constantly checks your server and notifies you in the case of a downtime.

Check the speed impact of the WordPress plugins that you use

Measure the impact each plugin has on the blog loading time.

There’s a plugin for that: P3 Plugin Performance Profiler.

After analysing you should consider removing any of the plugins that slow you down.

Alternatively, you can consider more “light” options that can replace the feature of a plugin that slows you down.

P3 might, for example, identify your social media sharing buttons plugin as one of the plugins that slow you down.

This is very common as those buttons with share counters can be the enemies of speed.

Consider using a lightweight option like Social Sharing By Danny instead of the official buttons.

These use external scripts and make too many calls to services.

Deactivate and remove P3 when you have finished testing.

Always deactivate and delete any plugins that you do not use.

How to speed up your WordPress blog: The checklist

Let’s look at the checklist first before getting into details:

Speed up WordPress checklist

Decrease and compress your image size

High-resolution images are an integral part of any blog.

They brand your blog, and they keep your visitors interested in your posts.

The size of these images is huge and can dramatically impact the loading time.

When saving the image make sure to resize the picture to the exact dimensions that you need in your content to help keep the image size low.

Aim for somewhere around 100-150kb per image.

Compress the picture by using “Save for web” in your image editor before you actually upload it to your blog.

You can also use one of the image optimizer plugins for WordPress.

From my experience, they can help you reduce the picture size by 30+% without compromising the image quality itself.

EWWW Image Optimizer plugin is a solution that compresses your images as you upload them onto your blog.

WP Smush.it can help optimize your existing archive or images in a lossless way by stripping meta data and compressing.

Use lazy loading of images

If you have an image heavy blog like a fashion blog or a food blog you should consider using BJ Lazy Load plugin.

Lazy loading only loads images that are in the browser’s view (i.e. above the fold).

It loads the rest only as the visitor scrolls down the page.

Use Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is an open-source initiative from Google.

It optimizes your content for mobile devices and helps it load instantly when visited from the search engines.

Here are more details from Google:

Speed matters and instant is the ideal. Research shows that the bounce rate can be as high as 58% for web pages that take nearly ten seconds to load. Using the AMP format will make it far more compelling for people to consume and engage with more content. But this isn’t just about speed and performance. We also want to promote enhanced distribution so that publishers can take advantage of the open web’s potential for their content to appear everywhere quickly – across all platforms and apps – which can lead to more revenue via ads and subscriptions.

There’s the official WordPress plugin for Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project.

Just install and activate the plugin to have your blog AMP-ready.

Enable a caching plugin and minify your files

This part is a bit more tech heavy but is arguably the fastest and most effective way of speeding up your blog page loading time.

Install and activate a caching plugin and you will immediately see an improvement in your speed.

Caching plugins speed up your blog by generating static files and serve those files to your visitors instead of the dynamic files as WordPress does by default.

“Dynamic” means that they are refreshed every time they are viewed.

I use W3 Total Cache on several of my projects, and it’s a very powerful and advanced plugin that does a great job.

The plugin was created by Frederick Townes, the senior technical advisor of Mashable and they use it too.

It can be a bit overwhelming the first time you look at it because of all the different options.

Activating it with the default settings on will be fine for the majority of bloggers, though.

In “Performance” -> “General Settings” make sure all of the below are enabled:

  • Page Cache to create a static version of your site and serve it to your visitors. Choose “Disk: Enhanced” as page cache method
  • Minify to remove unnecessary characters in your files. It also consolidates CSS and JavaScript files to reduce the size and the number of files needed to be downloaded
  • Database Cache, Object Cache and Browser Cache to cache the static files and do gzip compression

Most of the above will impact your theme files.

Do make sure to test your site when you enable these options and see if it displays the way it is supposed to.

Use a CDN

You also have the option to enable CDN (Content Delivery Network) support to offload static files to fast data centers around the world.

MaxCDN is the very powerful premium CDN solution.

It might be too much power for a newbie blogger, but it’s useful to more experienced and bigger bloggers that have more traffic and are OK with investing some money into having a speedy blog.

CloudFlare is a free alternative that you can test.

Another free alternative for your imagery is Photon which is a part of the Jetpack plugin that Automattic (the company behind WordPress) runs.

Keep your WordPress updated

WordPress comes as a very light and speedy platform out of the box.

It gets regularly updated with cleaner and leaner coding and functionality.

You should always make sure to keep your WordPress updated to the latest version.

It’s an easy process that can be automated.

Optimize the WordPress database

You should make sure to optimize the WordPress database too.

This is where WordPress stores and organizes all your data.

WP-Optimize is a great plugin that helps you run regular database maintenance without any tech know-how and with one click on a button.

It cleans all post revisions, spam comments and reduces the size of your database.

Aim to set it to do this process automatically at least once per month.

Choose the right web host for WordPress beginners

Invest in a good web space and the right hosting plan.

Your server is the foundation and the first step towards having a speedy WordPress blog.

Free hosts are usually not too fast, unreliable with regular downtimes, so I would avoid them.

You want a host that is reliable and guarantees at least a 99% uptime and a server that has a fast response time.

Look for webhosts with managed services that specialize in WordPress blogs.

You can get these for around $50 per year for basic WordPress blogs and they are great options for starters.

See my post on getting started with WordPress for the recommended hosting services.

Eventually, as your blog traffic increases you may outgrow the basic hosting account.

Only then you may need to invest in a dedicated server, but here we talk of thousands of visitors daily.

Use a light, fast, clean and minimalistic design theme

Some WordPress design themes have more features than you will ever need, some have bad and bloated code, unnecessary images and JavaScripts.

You should choose a light and clean coded design theme with a good balance between the looks, functionality and speed.

The theme should also be mobile responsive and optimized for visitors on tablets and mobile devices.

One option is to go with a premium theme like the one that I use on my blog.

Premium themes are highly likely to be developed clean coded.

They offer you great flexibility, are speedy out of the box, and allow you to customize your design.

Premium themes also provide support and are continuously upgraded and improved.

This is not always the case with the free-to-use WordPress themes.

Here’s all my advice on picking the right blog design.

I’ve handpicked these free, minimalistic, lightweight and mobile responsive options for you to consider:

Wilson:

Wilson WordPress Theme

Decode:

Decode WordPress Theme

Ignite:

Ignite WordPress Theme

Reduce the number of WordPress plugins you’re using

I love WordPress plugins as they allow me to add any feature that I can imagine to my blog.

The potential issue is that the more plugins you add, the more CSS and Javascripts you have and this hurts the page loading speed.

You should try to avoid using a plugin when a bit of modification to your theme will get you the same results.

I’m currently using 5 plugins on my blog, down from having some 20+ not too long ago.

A ballpark figure is to try to keep your WordPress to 10 plugins or less activated at any time.

Consider whether the plugin truly adds any value to your site before installing it.

You should only use plugins that are listed in the official WordPress directory.

Quality signs to look for are:

  • High number of downloads and blogs using the plugin.
  • Regular and recent updates.
  • Good reviews.

For a list of 50+ plugins that I recommend check here.

Just keep it simple, stupid

In order to keep your WordPress blog speed as fast as possible think like a minimalist.

Consider simplicity and user friendliness when making any design and content decision.

This will help your user’s experience and it will decrease the loading time and the bounce rate too.

Remove and eliminate all the elements that don’t matter such as buttons, widgets, flashy ads and pop-ups.

Think about what purpose these elements have and test how they affect the speed.

Show fewer posts on your front page and category pages. You can do this in the “Reading” part of WordPress settings.

Show post excerpts and summaries instead of full posts on the front page and category pages. Many themes allow this change to be done.

Simplify your navigation menu, sidebar and footer. Only keep necessary and essential widgets. Or simply remove the sidebar.

Restrict the amount of flash and image based banner ads. There are more effective options to monetize your blog.

Make sure to take these steps to fight and eliminate those spam comments. Spam comments (and the comments area in general) can slow down the loading time.

Last but not least do follow this advice to keep your WordPress safe and secure.

Aim to implement the majority of the steps recommended as they will make a difference in your blog’s speed and loading time.

Get speedy as Your visitors will love you for the faster and more efficient blog experience and so will Google.

The post 12 Easy Ways To Speed Up Your WordPress Blog Loading Time 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.

Blog Topic Ideas: A Simple Guide To Figuring Out The Niche To Blog About

You know you want to start a blog but you have no idea which niche 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 figure out the right niche idea 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

Here’s a list of 36 most popular blogging niche examples

It is a great sign if many successful blogs exist in a specific field.

Another great sign are the existence of niche communities, forums, and Facebook groups where people get together to discuss the specific topic.

Many successful blogs, communities and people interested in the field are all very positive signs for the potential of a blog.

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

This means that not only can you build an audience with this niche but you can also make money blogging about that niche.

Some of the most popular niche examples for blogging are:

  • How to make money
  • Personal finance and investing advice
  • Personal development and self-improvement
  • Frugality and budgeting
  • Games and entertainment
  • Sports and sports clubs
  • Celebrities
  • Minimalism and simpler living
  • Health and nutrition
  • Losing weight
  • Physical fitness, running and exercise
  • Vegetarianism and veganism
  • Food and recipes
  • Travel advice and travel guides
  • Environment and eco-tourism
  • Photography and videography
  • Cars, car maintenance and driving
  • Makeup and beauty
  • Fashion and personal style
  • Pregnancy, parenting and family life
  • Home schooling
  • Interior design and home decor
  • Career advice
  • Small business advice
  • Self-employment and freelancing
  • Working from home
  • Personal branding
  • Public speaking
  • Location independence
  • Learn how to speak a language
  • Learn how to play an instrument
  • Learn how to play a sport
  • DIY projects
  • Writing advice
  • Gardening
  • Humour
  • Learning how to code
  • Web development
  • Web design
  • Mobile application development

Look for a niche topic that people want and ask for, then help them do it

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.

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

These are topics that are important to them, and real pain points too as people have taken their time to ask questions about them.

So how do you find what people want and ask for?

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

Use tools that help you discover popular questions and themes people care about such as BloomBerry and AnswerThePublic.

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

Use Google’s Keyword Planner, Google Trends, and Google Hot 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.

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…”.

After doing this research you should have a long list of popular topics that there is a market demand for.

Evaluate these popular topics and select those 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.

To choose the 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.

No matter how popular that topic is.

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.

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.

Fully embrace your passions and obsessions.

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?

After doing this exercise you will have focused your long list of popular topics into a handful that you also love and care about.

Now identify which of the popular topics that you love you can also be very good at

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.

Those that are specialized, have a deep expertise and a fundamental edge in a particular field.

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

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.

Which of these popular topics that you care about do people around you perceive you to be an expert at?

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

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

But you don’t already 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.

You can also choose to ride the wave of a 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.

After doing this exercise you now have one to three topics that there is a market demand for, that you love and care about, and that you believe you have something good to contribute with.

How can I break through and attract an audience in a popular niche?

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 no matter how good you are.

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.

Something that grabs the attention of your target audience.

After this exercise you are left with at least one great concept for a topic there is a demand for, a topic that you love and a topic to which you can contribute something different and fresh.

How to start your amazing blog today

Do you have the perfect topic in mind? Great!

The process of actually starting your blog is pretty simple.

WordPress is an open-source blogging platform, it powers 60+ million blogs and gives you the complete control over the look and feel of your blog.

Using WordPress will save you weeks and weeks of work, and lots of money too.

You don’t need to build your own software to run your blog. You can just use WordPress.

You don’t need to get a custom design for your blog either. Just get one of the free or premium templates that already exist.

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

WordPress needs a domain name and a web hosting server 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.

There are several capable and affordable providers for hosting.

WordPress users offerI recommend Bluehost.

They offer a free domain name, 24/7 live support and WordPress recommends them.

More than 2 million WordPress blogs are hosted there.

And you can get hosted at $2.95 per month.

Click here to get started now.

It will take you 5 minutes to get your blog online with the 1-click installation feature.

Follow this process:


Disclosure: I do earn a commission if you sign-up using my link at no additional cost to you. Please know that I only recommend products that I find helpful and useful. If you do choose to buy through my link, thank you for your support!

The post Blog Topic Ideas: A Simple Guide To Figuring Out The Niche 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: How To Rank Your Blog Posts 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.

And you DO want visitors from Google as almost 80% of all traffic to the biggest websites comes from two sources: Google and Facebook.

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 and your focus has to be on the production of quality content.

Google is very clear on that.

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?

I have a complete guide on figuring out how to identify the right websites to reach out and syndicate your content on: Guest Blogging: The Definitive Guide.

  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.

Secure your blog with HTTPS.

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

Or if you’re accepting payments.

Or if you ask users to submit personal info using forms on your blog.

Google prefers encrypted and secure sites (HTTPS and not HTTP) as these protect the users better.

Chrome browser is showing a “Not Secure” warning against blogs that are not secure from October 2017.

The warning shows up on any page that includes text input fields such as blog comments area, search box or contact form.

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: How To Rank Your Blog Posts On Google’s First Page appeared first on HowToMakeMyBlog.