Blogging Income

Earn Money Quickly

Blogging

now browsing by category

 

Education Blogs: How To Stand Out From The Crowd

Did you know that almost 16 million of Americans participate in education and training programs? It means that if you decide to start an education blog, your audience will be huge.  Educational blogging is a good way to share your experience with people who need it and to become more popular in your industry. Moreover, there is a great opportunity to earn some money and to travel around the world, as you will be able to work online.

Teachers, students, and parents need time and effort to adapt to the changes. They need to get instructions and fresh information. That’s what educational blogging is all about.

Education blogs are usually maintained by teachers, tutors, or even parents. They cover anything from new teaching methods to homeschooling plans. Some bloggers provide full online courses, as well as technology tips and news about the current state of education. They are making huge contributions towards the growth of the industry.

The majority of educational bloggers use their blogs for class blogs, student blogs, and class blogs with individual student blogs. However, personal blogs are also very popular in the education niche.

Education Blogs: How To Stand Out From The Crowd

What Are Education Blogs And Why Do We Need Them?

  • Every blog makes important contributions to the online base of knowledge. Whenever we have questions or problems, we find solutions in high-quality blog posts.
  • They are great for communication between teachers. An educator can use the blog to share their experience with other teachers and ask for their feedback.             
  • Teachers can also use the blog to share news, assignments, reminders, and tips with students and their parents.   
  • Thanks to blogging, teachers, students, and parents can encourage debates on important issues related to education.
  • The students can share their studying methods, as well as the progress they make on different projects. Blogging is a nice way for them to share thoughts and opinions.
  • When a student starts blogging from an early age, they are developing valuable writing skills. Consider it this way: you’re training the next generation of successful bloggers, who will make the Internet better.

It’s clear: any teacher or student can benefit from a blog. There is a huge challenge to overcome, though: there are thousands of blogs that already cover topics similar to the ones you have in mind. Uniqueness and value are the most important principles of blogging. How do you make your project different?

Education Blogs: How To Stand Out From The Crowd

Educational Blogging Tips: How To Stand Out From The Crowd

How do you define the concept uniqueness in blogging? It’s not about thinking of a topic that has never been covered in the history of blogging. Get real: can you think of such topic? Maybe you have an idea, but you can’t maintain a blog based on that premise. Uniqueness is all about tackling trending and evergreen topics in a different way. It’s about finding your voice and conveying it through captivating posts that the audience loves reading. We’ll share some tips that will help you get there.

1. If You’re Tackling Politics, Make Strong Arguments

Every educator and parent have their point of view regarding education. Every blogger, in general, has opinions about society. Whether we like it or not, that point is often related to politics. Criticism is highly necessary for this niche since that’s what drives the education system forward.

However, you have to keep in mind that people don’t like reading blogs exclusively focused on politics and pedagogy. If you really want to bring light to some issues, you need to do it occasionally. Most of all, you have to expose unique arguments and support them with facts. Keep in mind that you’re just another blogger in this niche. You’ll come across different points of view and you’ll have to handle criticism if you cover these topics.

Share Unique Experiences

Storytelling is an effective method for writing blog posts. People are not after strict guidelines and lecturing attitude when they read blogs. They want tips and opinions supported by actual experience.

If you’re an educator, tutor, or homeschooling parent, you should personalize the process of teaching according to the needs of your students. Each student has unique interests and a different capacity to process information. You experiment with different methods so you can share them with the online audience. Think out of the box and provide something valuable for your readers. For example, Julie Petersen, an educational blogger, provides scholarships at her essay writing companies review blog, to help students take the most of their studies.

2. Listen to Your Readers

You already wrote about the ed-tech products you use, you shared your teaching methods, and you covered some personal experiences. Now what? When you’re on a consistent blogging schedule, you’ll inevitably come to a point when you’re blocked. Every blogger faces such blockade. All topics will seem boring. That’s when you need your readers more than ever.

Ask your readers for their opinions at the end of each post you write. They will use that opportunity to give you credit for the good ideas and criticize you for something they don’t agree with. However, they will also ask questions that reveal new topics for you to work on. When you’re listening to your audience, you write more relevant posts.

3. Make Case Studies

HubSpot is one of the most successful marketing blogs on the Internet. Do you know why? First of all, it’s a high-quality blog with huge value for marketers. Many of the articles are supported with case studies, which make the readers aware of the way theory works in practice.

Let’s say you started using a new note-taking app in the classroom. You invited your students to use their tablets instead of the usual notebooks for taking notes. How did that work? How did their productivity, engagement, and efficiency change after this? You can measure their speed in taking notes and note if they are listening more when they don’t have to write in a notebook. Notice what results they will have on the test at the end of the lecture and turn that experience into a case study.

You can turn various classroom experiences into unique case studies.

There is no magic formula that leads you to successful blogging. Focus, persistence, and uniqueness – that’s the clear recipe for success. You’ll discover your own ways to attract the audience, and that’s what makes you a unique blogger.

The post Education Blogs: How To Stand Out From The Crowd appeared first on BlogPress.


Education Blogs: How To Stand Out From The Crowd was first posted on March 23, 2017 at 10:51 am.

Discover The One Detail that Boosts Your Blogging and Marketing Engagement – Every Time

one detail effective blogging

It’s funny the things you pick up as you spend more time in an industry. Little ideas, strategies, and patterns that are usually completely lost on you in the beginning stages but that the “experts” all seem to know.

The blogging industry is no different. There are so many details that, once discovered, make a huge difference to how you operate on a day-to-day level.

In today’s post I’m going to talk about one idea that I have always kind of known but never really appreciated fully. It makes an enormous difference to how many emails get opened, ads get clicked, etc.

I hope this helps someone out there do things a little quicker.

So what is this one detail we should all know?

When you work in a crowded space like blogging it’s important to try and get every little advantage that you can.

And while this detail might not sound that exciting when you first hear it, I guarantee it will impact the way you do things tomorrow.

So what is it? Here we go:

The time and place that your intended audience interacts with your newsletter, blog, or advert is of paramount importance. Click To Tweet

Make sure to differentiate this from the time that you send out your newsletters or publish a blog post as those are different things. Here we are talking about the time that they actually see and interact with it.

Let’s have a look at how this works and how it applies to all the things we are trying to do online.

The importance of timing on the web

I have been thinking about this topic for a while but was reminded of it today when I was listening to the latest episode of This American Life where the editor of the Dallas Morning News replied to a critical email from a newspaper reader in less than 20 minutes.

It occurred to me that (other than it being a really cool thing for the editor to do!) the email must have come at a time when the editor was receptive to such a criticism, had time to open and reply to the email, and was in the mood to actually do so.

That’s a lot of factors.

And I wonder how many of us know, on average, what time of the day/week we are most likely to hit that sweet spot with our readers and subscribers in our niche and on our lists specifically?

Taking it to the next level, I wonder how many of us know the same information for platforms like Facebook and Twitter when we are promoting our new articles or interacting with people about them?

This is really important stuff to figure out because a few hours could mean the difference between a post going viral by hitting a certain number of social shares, a sales target being reached, a post getting indexed well on Google because it got a huge amount of traction, etc.

So how do we do ensure that we’re publishing, emailing and setting adverts to go out a time when people are most likely to action them?

How to get the timing right for your blog

Here are some thoughts based on experiments that I’ve done on my own blog. As always, if you think I’ve missed anything exciting please head to the end of the post and leave me a comment.

1. Know your audience and their daily schedule

How much do you know about your readers and their daily schedule? What about the readers you want to reach but haven’t quite done so yet?

Let’s say that you have a blog about teaching. While general email marketing wisdom might suggest emailing your list at, say, 9am on a Wednesday, this has obvious problems for teachers who would be in the middle of a class!

Of course, we’re only talking about averages here, but every industry will be different and so it’s important to have at least a vague idea of your blog’s demographics, time that they are online, their habits, and so on. This is a very important starting point.

2. Send out a survey and get feedback

One way you address this in a direct way is to send out a survey to your readers and ask them directly when they would like to see your newsletters in their inbox. This is a really interesting tactic because it then sets up an expectation in the mind of the reader – they will be looking out for your content and feel like the have participated in the process of having it created.

Giving your readers a sense of ownership in your blog is a very powerful marketing tool. When someone feels like they have a stake in something they are more likely to share content, leave comments, and generally evangelize your brand more.

blog survey

You can do this by simply publishing a blog post and asking people to respond in the comments with their preference. However, I prefer to send out an email survey with a service like Survey Monkey as then the results are private and you’re more likely to get detailed responses as people are responding straight out of their inbox.

Be careful about how you structure your questions. For example, just because someone says they would like something on a Wednesday doesn’t mean that Wednesday is the day that they will read it. Researching about how to craft your survey questions is really a worthwhile exercise.

3. Research industry standards and then compare

Around this time you’ll also want to take a look at your industry standards. This is important because you might actually be getting good numbers without knowing it. For example, I have had people ask me why their open rate of 20% is so low when actually it’s a full 5% to 10% higher than average!

best times
Image source: MailChimp

There is some absolutely excellent research by Mail Chimp on some of this stuff and it’s a really good starting point. This is obviously very heavily catered towards email marketing but, seeing as that is a big part of what we bloggers do, it is a really good way to get an overall picture.

4. Get anecdotal advice from people in your industry

If you can’t find any solid research that comes from massive amounts of data then the next step is to look to those in your industry who may have run their own experiments.

forums

Places like Warrior Forum and Inbound.org have a lot of really smart people who are extraordinarily generous about giving away the things that work for them. I am often pleasantly surprised at how much detail people are willing to share about their own “trade secrets”.

I’d highly recommend joining one of these and also looking for some niche-specific forums or communities where you can drill down in to the stuff that works for your particular topics. This is also a really good way to make contacts for collaborations, guest posts, etc.

5. Run split tests and compare

Of course you knew I was going to mention split testing! To be fair, this is really the only way to solidify the ideas that you have into actual real and practical information.

If this is new to you, split testing is essentially where you have two identical versions of an email or landing page and where you change one element and send it out to segments of your audience to see which performs best.

The element that you change might be a color, title, image or, as we’re doing here, the time that you are sending out the newsletter to your audience.

A/B testing can turn into a maddening and endless pursuit of the perfect result, and it often distracts you from things like creating really good content for your blog. For that reason, I’d recommend starting with a few basic email split tests and then move on to some slightly more complicated advertising tests like running the same advert at different times of the day. This can be easily done with Facebook advertising and most other platforms.

6. Train your readers to expect certain times

One thing that you will see a lot of bloggers do is send out their newsletters at the same time every week. This is an interesting tactic because, while it might not be the ideal time of the day, it trains people to expect the notification and thus might make it more likely to be opened.

dps weekly newsletter

One example of this is Digital Photography School which is a real powerhouse of content. Instead of sending out notifications of every article they encourage readers to sign up to a weekly summary which goes out via email and is also occasionally used for promotions.

Again, if you go down this road you’ll want to make sure you inform readers at the time of sign up so that they know what is going on. And, as always, you’ll need to test it for a period of time and then compare it to something else to see if it’s getting the desired results.

7. Stalk people on Twitter

This tip relates specifically to emails that you send out to other bloggers in your niche when you are trying to organize a collaboration, guest post, etc. as part of your ongoing blogging strategy. Of course I don’t mean actually stalk them, but using Twitter and social media to find out about the times they’re online and their preferences can be very useful.

For example, have a look at this Tweet and subsequent video by majestic SEO dragon, Rand Fishkin. This is a prime example of how a little bit of research can save everyone time because it is clear, in this example, that Rand ain’t gonna do roundup posts. In my opinion, it could damage your chances at getting future responses from Rand if you send him a mass email asking for a reply (P.S. I’ve done that!).

A final word on timing

You might have got to the end of this post and decided that you still don’t think it is that important of a factor to spend all this time thinking about and that is okay.

But if that is you I’d encourage you to think of all the hours that go into your blog posts, newsletters, etc. and then think about how much of a waste it is to miss out on a few hundred/thousand views just because you’re sending it at a time when people can’t take an action. It’s especially sad if it’s a really helpful product or service that you’ve worked for months on.

You don’t have to get this stuff perfect, but a few little experiments or questions could give you dramatically different results, and those results might make your blogging, email marketing, and adverts a lot more effective.

Have you experimented with this?

I’d love to know whether any of you gals and guys have done any experiments with this. Do you find any particular day of the week effective? And how do you know that it is the best option for your blog? Please leave a comment below and let me know.

A Comprehensive Guide on How to Write Effective Post Titles

Ever wondered how to consistently write effective blog post titles? It’s one of the most important skills to have in the online world. Let’s look at a graphic summary and then jump into some big details below:

blog post titles

An introduction to blog post titles and headlines

An entertaining and eye-catching headline can help a blog post (that might otherwise have gone unnoticed) get thousands of social shares, hundreds of comments, and a boost in Google rankings.

Write a boring title, however, and even the best blog post will get skipped.

Now, I’m not saying that I always write effective titles for my blog posts – I still have so much to learn and there are countless websites that do them a whole lot better than me. But, I’ve been asked about my methodology a few times now and thought it might be something a few of you might like to read.

So here we go!

A question about titles from Frank

In a post about mailing lists I got a question in the comments section from Frank which got me thinking about this topic some more:

question

Now, Frank’s question is primarily about email subject lines and crafting them so that people open up your emails. But seeing as there is a lot of similarity and crossover between email subject lines and blog post titles and so I am going to talk about it all in one post.

What makes for an effective post title?

Let’s start this post by talking about what makes a title effective.

To my mind there are a few things we can talk about here – each one slightly more challenging than the last:

  1. It should catch their eye
    The very first thing a title needs to do is catch someone’s eye whether they see it in an email, Facebook feed, Tweet or whatever. Cutting through noise is hard.
  2. It should get a click
    The next thing you need to do is get them to click through to read it. This is much more difficult than it sounds – some formats only have 0.5 to 1% click through rates.
  3. It should cause an engagement or action
    Some people will share or like an article simple based on whether they think their friends will like the article’s title. More likely, however, is that your title encourages someone to read your excellent content.
  4. It should assist your longterm Google rankings
    A good title not only gets people interested in the article but also helps you to rank well on Google. More about this later.

You might write a title that you really love and think is clever as hell but unless it is leading to these types of responses you will be wasting your time.

How to write effective post titles

Okay so writing a good title is not easy.

We all know that.

It takes a lot of practice and it also requires a lot of testing to see what works and what sort of tiny variations you can make to elicit a big change in performance.

But there are some things you can do every time, sort of like a routine, to ensure that you get the best possible chance of success.

Today’s post is not going to be a formula that you can follow – mostly because I don’t follow one myself. Rather, what I want to do is just give you a few different things that you can think about and do each time you sit down to write.

Hopefully that helps you get results.

1. Always consider your target audience first

Before you write a title for a blog post you need to think about your target audience.

Who are they? What do they do? How old are they? These are all important questions that can have a big impact on how your titles form.

Perhaps most importantly, however, is the question: what problems do they have?

If your title can tap into that anxiety (and perhaps solve it!) you’ll find yourself getting a much better engagement rate.

Always know who you are writing for and what issues they are having. Successful websites that are aimed at professional corporates “feel” completely different to music sites for teenagers. That’s important.

2. Think about where they are reading the title

This point relates heavily to Frank’s question about email subject lines because when your title is designed to be read in an inbox you need to factor in things like mobile screen sizes.

phone screen

Here’s a screen shot of two emails that I sent to myself using some pretty lazy examples of my own headings. You can see how on my iPhone the subject gets quite cropped and the text underneath plays a really big role. If you have a large percentage of people reading your emails on their mobile you’ll need to pay careful attention to how much fits.

3. Know exactly what short and long-tail keywords you’re targeting

Keywords are a vital part of blogging success.

You need to know exactly what keywords your blog as a whole is targeting, and you need to know what keywords each individual post is targeting and how that helps to create a big blog-wide picture. To do this well you need to know a little bit about short and long-tail key phrases and how they all work together.

Here’s an example if you aren’t sure:

Short-tail: grow a blog

Long-tail: how to grow a blog in 2017

As you can imagine, short-tail keywords are extremely competitive and difficult to rank for. What most people now do is try to rank for a series of longer-tail alternatives where you add an extra bit of information on the end to target a smaller group of people.

I’ve written a bit about keyword research for blogging before so I won’t go over it again in too much detail. At a minimum, you want to spend 20 minutes to an hour researching and making sure you can compete and are targeting the right things.

4. Pick a post title strategy and work your keywords into it

So now we are up to the bit where you actually start to draft some titles.

This is where it gets lengthy!

It’s at the point where we have to communicate our ideas to our readers, show them what we want to achieve, generate some curiosity, and also add in the key phrase for the benefits of Google SEO.

Each thing that you leave out makes for a less effective title.

So how do you do that?

Well, the best bet is to use some kind of title strategy that gives you a little method or guideline to follow.

Here are some examples:

  • Shock value
    Two titles that have worked really well for me personally are Why I Hate Copyblogger which was published on Copyblogger itself and an email I sent with the subject Goodbye Old Friend about switching to my new responsive theme. Both caused a big stir, but had the downside of a bit of negative feedback for scaring people! Note that these don’t address all of our criteria.
  • Scarcity
    Human beings are hardwired to minimise loss and as such using a title that indicates that readers are already losing something, or that there is a limited amount of something available to them can be incredibly effective. My most effective example of this is probably Why Blogging is a Waste of Time because so many of the readers were already heavily involved in blogging.
  • Time sensitivity
    Time sensitivity is closely related to scarcity – if there is a limited amount of time available people will be more likely to act. My favorite example of this is from Glen who actually uses that phrase in the title Time Sensitive: How to Reach 100,000,000 Unique Visitors in Just 6 Months. If you don’t feel compelled to click this link you might actually need to see a doctor. Another big example from this week is the article Google Search is About to Make a Major Change.
  • Exclusivity
    Sticking to our biological needs, humans really love being part of something exclusive. We can see this awful ego in action all over the place with premium memberships; the clubs and groups you join when you buy a Porsche, for example. Even just hinting at something exclusive can be very powerful as I was happy to see in my post REVEALED: 19 Things to Know Before You Start a Blog which has been a big post for me.
  • Fear and anxiety
    Marketing is normally about solving a need that someone has (although we could argue that these days marketers create artificial needs to sell us crap…). If you can incorporate a fear or anxiety into your title you’ll generate immediate interest. The title How a Single Guest Post May Have Gotten an Entire Site Penalized by Google does that extremely well because we’ve all done guest posts and we’re all kind of scared of that penalty. Note: Please only do this is you feel the fear is necessary and your post has some answers. Don’t just aim to scare people.
  • Extraordinary value
    Titles that communicate an extraordinary amount of value often do really well, especially if the article itself actually follow through with the promise. I tried to do this with a post called My 9,381-Word Guide on How to Start a Blog and Dominate Your Niche. It took a long time to write but the results have been pretty good. In my opinion Glen is the king of these types of titles with examples like How 3 Guys Made Over $10,000,000 Last Year Without a Single Backlink.

These are just some very basic examples. I’ll try to give you a few more tactics towards the end of the post in case you want to go deeper on how to work these motivations into your title and headline writing.

5. Keep your title in view and constantly tighten it

When I was in university someone told me to read the essay question every few minutes to stop myself going off track.

It was very good advice.

I like to keep my title in view and read it again and again as I type each paragraph. This helps me stay on track, but it also forces me to review the headline and tighten it up as the post evolves – which it always does.

On average I would say that my titles get re-written at least 20 to 40 times before I publish.

Sometimes the title will change because you realize that there is a better topic/angle for your overall blogging strategy, other times you just figure out better and better ways to say what you want.

The main iterations of this post’s title went:

How to Write A Blog Post Title
Why My Blog Post Titles Take Hours to Write
My Method of Writing Effective Blog Post Titles
How I Write Effective Blog Post Titles
Why Writing Blog Post Titles Can Take Hours
Why My Effective Titles Take Hours
How I Write Effective Post Titles (and Why it Can Take Hours)
How I Write Effective Titles (and Why it Takes Hours)
Etc.

(Dear Google, I am not keyword-stuffing here. 😉 )

Each one of these variations also probably had two or three versions that I toyed with. Sometimes I will sit there and do this until I feel solid about it, other times I will revise the title as I write the article itself in order to get the whole entity flowing together.

6. Publish your post and tweak for different versions

Okay so this is where the “art” of title-writing starts to turn more into the “science” of title-writing.

Once you’ve finished writing the perfect blog post you hit publish and then start to take care of all the other versions of your post title that need to be addressed.

For example, the way your title appears on Google, Facebook, your blog itself, and your mail out can all be completely different if you so choose.

I touched on the mail out above with the iPhone sizing so let’s talk more about the appearance in the search engine rankings here.

With a plugin like All in One SEO Pack or Yoast’s WordPress SEO you can actually change the title of your posts so that they appear different in Google.

For example, here’s a result from Blog Tyrant:

search result

As you can see, the blog post title is too long and gets cut off. The tricky thing about this, however, is that the title length that Google shows will be longer depending on the key phrase that was searched. In the old days it was around 70 characters and so we could easily cater for that. Not anymore.

So it’s important to think carefully about the main key words you want to rank for an ensure you have a good appearance for that main target.

ctr

You can track all of this in Webmaster Tools and a bit with Clicky.

Here you can see a post where I’m getting a 46% click through rate from Google for the displays where I rank in the first position. This could be better but depends on lots of things like the type of search people are doing (how-to’s vs general info), the number of ads around it, etc.

One thing that’s good to note here is that you don’t want to change your title too much on Google (or anywhere else…) such that people get mislead when they arrive on your post and see the actual title. That will cause a big increase in your bounce rate.

If you want to test the effectiveness of your subject lines for mail outs it’s a good idea to segment your list and split test different versions and see whether you can get any meaningful results that you can learn from and replicate next time.

Some more tips for writing effective post titles

Now that I’ve kind of gone over my own process for writing effective titles, I thought it would be a good idea to give you a few miscellaneous tips and resources that I have found useful over the years.

In other words, here are some things that I couldn’t figure out how to fit into the main content:

  • Jon Morrow’s free eBook on writing headlines is probably the best resource on the internet for headline development. I regularly refer to it to “borrow” ideas. You’ll need to submit your email to get it.
  • Write a lot. There’s a story here that Brian Clark made Jon Morrow write 35,000 headlines in one year in order to help him become the best at it.
  • Copyblogger has an absolute boatload of headline material that you can get all in one place. Man I really hate these guys.
  • Find people to learn from. I regularly look at ViperChill and ViralNova to see whether they have any super-successful post titles that I can adapt to my own blogging formula.
  • Study your real results. Learn to look at your data and see what is getting the actual results that count. That could mean subscribers, sales or some other metric important to your blog. Once you know, copy those posts.
  • Be scientific. Tools like AWeber, VWO, etc. can help you use different testing methods to see what is working most effectively.

In the end, writing effective titles is just like any other skill that you want to develop – it takes study, practice and a lot of testing to get it right.

What is your most effective title?

I’m really kind of curious to see what kind of post titles the Tyrant Troops have come up with. If you know what your most effective title has been please write it out below in the comments. We might all learn a thing or two from your success!

Is English the Best Language for Your Blog?

blog in english

English is usually considered the default language of the web. But is it really the best choice for your blog?Click To Tweet

One of the most common questions I get from new bloggers is whether they should blog in their own language or try to do it in English, even though they don’t feel that confident.

And as blogging and high-speed Internet spreads from the usual places like the USA, UK and Australia to newer markets like China, India and many African countries, the issue of language becomes even more important and complicated.

In this post we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of English and how to determine what’s best for your blog.

Should I blog in English?

Just yesterday I received this question in my email from a new blogger called Ahmed. He phrased it really well so I’ve included it here with his permission. Have a quick read:

blog in english

Ahmed’s concerns are all legitimate, and it’s great that he is thinking about them early on in his career. Let’s take a look at how we can try and figure this out.

When is English is good for blogging? It’s not clear.

I wanted to start this article by looking at the pros and cons of using English on a blog but, after doing research beyond my own experiences, I found that it was really difficult to isolate each aspect in that way.

For example, the statistics are all very different and it’s unsure what is relevant. This graph by W3 Techs says that about 50% of websites are in English, but then we can see here that only 26% of people online use English. While that is still the highest portion, it still hundreds of millions of other language speakers on the table.

In the end I came to the conclusion that it is all really about your goals. That is something we have talked about a few times on Blog Tyrant, and it is really important to think about before you start a blog and get too far down the road because it will influence many choices like this one.

For example, if your goal is to promote a local business and that business is in China then there is not much point doing a content marketing campaign in English. You want local people to notice the business and the vast majority of them are speaking and reading a Chinese dialect.

It gets a little bit more complicated, however, when your goal might be to sell a physical product that has worldwide appeal. While you might be based in a non-English speaking country like China, you might still have huge markets in the USA. Furthermore, you main marketing channels might be sites like Etsy or Pinterest which have a huge English-speaking bias.

Lastly, what if you have no product at all and are looking to either make money through other means, or not make money at all and just try to raise awareness for a cause or build up an email subscriber list for some future reason? Is there a good answer then?

How do I decide on my blog’s main language?

With all that in mind, how do we then go about deciding on what language to blog in? As with most decisions, it is all about weighing up the opportunity cost.

This means that you have to consider what benefit you are foregoing by choosing one course of action over another while trying to decide which option is better. Here’s an example scenario:

***
You live in Germany and want to start a vegetarian food blog that is not location specific. German is your first language, but you also can write and read in (not great) English. You decide to write you blog in English in order to tap in to a larger traffic base in America and around the world. You have some successes with content on social media and Google, but no one engages with your blog or subscribes because the slightly broken English makes the otherwise quality blog seem amateurish.
***

If this blogger had chosen to blog in German the traffic might have been slightly lower, but that traffic may have been more engaged and lead to opportunities in a local market like a book deal, speaking presentations, coaching, etc. In this scenario the opportunity for more traffic had an increased cost.

Keeping opportunity cost in mind, I would look at things like:

  • What are your goals?
    Think carefully about what direction you want your blog to go in and how it will be used in the future. If you want to try and make some money then think about whether it will be affiliate programs or something more location-specific.
  • What is your best language?
    Generally I think starting a blog in your best language is a good idea because it can give you more confidence to move forward. There is so much competition these days and something it can be a bit depressing when you struggle to get traction. A broken-English set back is not what you need at the beginning.
  • Could you benefit from a multi-language site?
    Would it be possible to make one site with multiple translations? You can do this yourself or hire a translator to help you create various versions. Neil Patel is someone who has started doing this recently.
  • Are two blogs necessary?
    Is it beneficial or perhaps even necessary to create two separate blogs in different languages and with slightly different goals and maybe slightly different content? This is something I’d only look at after having some success with one blog first.
  • What is your competition doing?
    As always, a little bit of competition analysis can be a very valuable thing and is something that we bloggers should try and do more often if we can. Look at a few different segments of your niche and see what those blogs are doing and how effective it has been.
  • Ask people who might know
    The last point that I wanted to mention is that it is a good idea to to what Ahmed did at the start of this post and shoot an email to people who might know, especially if they are in your own niche. Most of the time they will be happy to help a new blogger in their area and it can save a lot of guess work.

All of these factors and options can play a role in how you decide to proceed when it comes to the language of your blog. As much as I’d love to give a hard and fast answer about the best option, it really depends too much on your own skills, goals, location and so on.

A final word on languages and translations

Of course I know absolutely nothing about other languages, but I have been lucky enough to spend a good deal of time in non-English speaking countries and around people who specialize in translations.

One thing that has taught me is that language is a very important thing to a culture. I am very skeptical of translation bots and websites because, as soon as you use them, you notice that they miss a lot of the nuances and hidden meanings of the words.

If you do decide to translate your blog I recommend hiring someone to help you at least edit the work. And try to remember that translating your content might really help someone out there who might never have encountered you. That’s even better than finding a new source of traffic!

Have you thought about this before?

I’d love to know if anyone out there has thought about this for their own blog and how they came to decide. Did it work out as well as you’d hoped? Or perhaps you’ve found a good middle ground? Please leave a comment below and let us know. It might really help someone.

How to Write the Perfect Blog Post: A Complete Guide to Copy

Want to learn how to write the perfect blog post? Of course you do! Let’s start with a graphic you can save for future reference.

The Perfect Blog Post

Feel free to share or use this graphic on your own blogs if you like. Please just link back to this post as a credit.

Now we can get into the bulk of the details that you might want to bookmark and follow along whenever you write a new article.

Okay, so what makes this the perfect blog post?

Okay, so let me do a bit of explaining.

I’m not saying that I know how to write the perfect blog post and that everything I do on my blog is perfect.

It’s not.

In fact, I really don’t like my writing that much at all. (Do all bloggers feel like that?)

But I have been blogging for quite a while now and in that time I’ve been able to hone my posts by looking at what has worked and what hasn’t over the years.

It’s basically a lot of trial and error.

Today all I am doing is sharing the elements, strategies and ideas that I have seen make a big difference to the stuff I write. I’m hoping that you might read something new, apply it to your own blog and see a big difference in your own results.

So it’s more like a quest for finding your own perfect blog post based on what has worked for me.

5 things to keep in mind before you start

Let’s start this post by talking about a few background idea that you kind of need to keep in mind while you are writing your posts. This is a bit like the instructions as opposed to the actual creation.

1. Ask yourself “…and then what?” before you start writing

One of the best lessons that I ever learned as a blogger is this:

All your blog posts should form one big beautiful picture as opposed to each being stand alone items. Tweet this.

What this means is that you need to sit down and carefully figure out what it is that you want your blog, and your blog posts, to achieve every single time.

The question “… and then what?” seems to help me the most.

I’ll sit down, log in, and fiddle around with a title and an idea. Once I’m pretty sure on the topic I’ll ask myself very deliberately what I want people to do before I write any words.

Make sure your post all work together as a team to achieve one or two very deliberate goals – and remember that everything that you write should help people solve problems in their lives and generally be something that adds a bit of goodness to the world.

This is so important.

2. More is more

The next few items are really going to grate on a few people – the idea that more is more is kind of something we’ve all been trained to disbelieve.

But, in blogging at least, the longer posts with more perceived value seem to have some of the best results. This also counts for landing pages that are selling a product or service.

Of course, no one is going to read 5,000 words of rubbish. But in my experience, if you can write a hugely long post you are more likely to grab someone’s attention as they instantly associate the length or number of compiled items as being of high value.

As always, test it for yourself. But here on Blog Tyrant I rarely publish anything less than around 2,500 words.

3. The way it looks matters as much as what it says

When I’m drafting my posts (I always do that in WordPress) I’m constantly hitting “preview” in order to see how the post is looking from a visual point of view.

Many writers out there will hate this idea.

But the more I go on, and the more aware I become of my own blog-reading habits, the more I realize how important it is for the layout to be appealing, simple and easy to read.

That means making sure you have:

  • A nice large font-size
    I talked about this a little bit last week but you want to make sure your font is easy to read and matched to your brand.
  • Quality images
    Draw people in with high quality (but fast loading) photos and images that add value to the post and pull the eye down.
  • Small paragraphs
    Make sure you don’t waffle on for lines and lines of text. People are used to skimming so keep the paragraphs short.
  • Bold text and bullet points
    Whenever you can break up the text with burst of bold or bullet points you should do it. Just imagine this section as one big bulk paragraph vs how it is now.
  • A narrow-ish content width
    Don’t make people read your text over a hugh long line. You want your content area to be no more than around 700 pixels (mine is 650) because tired eyes will get lost.

A lot of this is not based on any data I have from my blogs, but more based on how I go about reading blogs, and how I used to design websites for clients. Readability is very important, and you want to develop a level of consistency so that all of these things add up to a blog post that “looks” like one of yours.

The reason I say that this stuff matters as much as what the post actually says is because I firmly believe that a lot of people just won’t read even brilliant text on a super-ugly blog.

4. Adding something for everyone helps uptake

It’s very difficult to please everyone, but one thing you can try to do is cater to as many “groups” of people as possible.

For example, when writing my post about blogging in 2015 I noticed something interesting: the people who shared the post on Twitter weren’t the same people who shared it on Pinterest.

What this means is that people consume things in different ways. Some people like technical explanations, others like a big old infographic and a quick skim.

If you can create a blog post that covers all of these things you are on to a real winner because you are going to touch a lot of different groups of people who will hopefully want to pass on the element of your post that they found compelling.

This also has the dual benefit of being excellent for SEO – Google is constantly looking for websites that have different formats and features in order to provide a more varied front page of results.

5. Each headline/post should address a single evergreen problem

Something that we’ve talked about a few times is the idea of “breaking down” your blog posts and just focusing in on one smaller topic.

For example, a post about How to Be Awesome at Karate might actually be better of as a dozen posts made up of smaller topics like How to Throw the Perfect Karate Punch or How to Make a Fist in Karate.

Dudes like Mehdi from Strong Lifts have absolutely killed it by focusing in on topics like how to bench press.

Over the years I’ve noticed that articles that focus in on one problem such as how to sell a blog or how to start a fashion blog seem to do the best because they solve very narrow problems and these problems never really go out of fashion.

A guide to writing the perfect blog post

Okay, so, with all those things in mind, here is the way I go about writing my perfect blog post. I hope these steps might be useful to you as well.

  1. Generate your idea
    Idea should be distinctive in the market. Try to base the post on reader feedback, a known problem in the industry or competition analysis. Research the front page of Google and your main competitors at this stage to see how you can improve on what’s out there. If you can’t, don’t bother.
  2. Develop headline
    Address problem in the headline using fear (not to scare people, but to show how you’ll solve it!), scarcity or intrigue/questions. Keep under 65 characters long. Ensure SEO key phrase is in title. Constantly refer back to headline as you write. Use websites like ViperChill, Boost Blog Traffic and Viral Nova as a guide for headline generation.
  3. Write introduction
    First line of post should re-address your problem, headline and key phrase. Rest of introduction aimed at drawing eye down towards main points. Tell people what you’re going to do with the rest of the post, what they’ll learn, etc.
  4. List out the main points
    Rattle out your main points of the blog post so you can see the shape of the article and what you’re going to be covering. This helps to avoid double-ups and omissions.
  5. Open up tabs
    At this point I open up dozens of tabs relating to research, competition and topics that I want to cover. I then link to them as I go and if I get stuck I re-read information and try to improve on it.
  6. Write a base of 2,000 to 2,500 words
    I have a little personal rule that if I’m not hitting at least 2,000 words I’m not covering the topic deeply enough. I write out my main points to at least 2,000 words addressing the main keyword.
  7. Add bonus material
    At this point I’ll add extra paragraphs, tips, quotes, videos, photos, click to tweets, references, etc. in order to take the main content to the next level. This might take the article up another 1,500 to 2,500 words. Try to link to influencers who have written extensively or well on the same topic. Make sure you link to your own posts extensively.
  8. Don’t finish topic/pose question
    Don’t quite complete the topic. Leave room for discussion. Pose a question at the end of the article to encourage discussion.
  9. Select main photo
    I spend quite a lot of time looking for a good photo. I want it to be curious, involving a human being and something that fits with my brand. I use a lossless smusher to keep the size down but the quality high, and always make sure they are the same size and format.
  10. Publish at a peak time
    Do a quick read over for spelling and formatting but don’t waste too much time. Hit publish at a peak time. For me that is between 8am and 10am on Monday, Wednesday or Friday on East Coast USA time.

Okay so that’s the main formula that I follow every time I sit down to write. Of course, sometimes it varies based on the topic or strategy that I’m following but for the most part that’s how it goes.

How to ensure your perfect post gets results

Once you’ve written your post there are a few follow up things that you’ll want to take care of.

1. Email the people included

If I know the people well I’ll shoot them an email and let them know that I’ve included their website/post in my own article. I usually don’t ask them to share it because I don’t like putting the pressure on, I just let them know and that’s it. If your article is good enough they’ll usually give it a tweet.

2. Mail your list

I always mail my list to let them know that a new post has gone live. I send these out at peak times when the most people are online and I follow a very simple template of plain text with one link to the post. These emails are a great way to test your short-form copywriting which is aimed at getting people to open emails and click links week in, week out.

3. Test regularly

The perfect blog post will only be revealed through testing. You might hit a winner and go viral and never be able to repeat that success because you aren’t actually sure what made it stick. Split testing titles, formats, length, timing, etc. are all very valuable things to do.

4. Throw $20 at it

Sometimes it takes me a whole week to write a post, especially if it’s 9,000 words like my guide on how to start a blog. And if I’m spending that much time working on an article I want to give it the best chance of success. A quick $20 on Facebook Ads or Twitter Ads can really help to give it a boost.

5. Tweak it regularly based on feedback

As a blogger you get feedback from both human and non-human sources. It’s very important to keep posts “alive” by tweaking them based on things you hear and see. For example, if someone tells you that you’ve missed something, add it in. If Google Webmaster Tools tells you that your title isn’t getting a good CTR then change it and monitor.

Examples of some perfect blog posts

It wouldn’t be right to finish this post without showing you some of the most perfect blog posts that I’ve seen out there in the wild.

  • The Beginner’s Guide to the Paleo Diet
    Steve Kamb’s post over at Nerd Fitness has had over 2,000 comments and 45,000 likes on Facebook. It’s a massively detailed article with photos, videos and even it’s own app! Incredible value for anyone searching the topic.
  • Northern India: the Good, the Great and the Ugly
    I only found Legal Nomads recently but have been blown away by the quality of the articles that Jodi puts up. This one on India took my 20 minutes to get through and is filled with the most wonderful photos – a blog post made only after actually visiting the place!
  • How to Start a Podcast
    This tutorial from Pat Flynn is absolutely massive and contains the most complete instructions you’ll find on the topic. It includes a complete walk through and then a bunch of high res videos that take you through each step. This isn’t ranking number one on Google yet but it will be soon.
  • A Long, Ugly Year of Depression that’s Finally Fading
    One of the most heartfelt and comprehensive posts you’ll ever read from a CEO. Rand completely laid out his story of depression but also included emails, screenshots, slides, etc. about how and why it all happened. Fascinating read that touched a lot of people.
  • The Advanced Guide to SEO
    These guides that Neil Patel puts together are absolutely outrageous. Different design and content features and often longer than an actual book. They cost a lot to put together but they really cut through. This is the type of value we should be aiming for.

Do you have a perfect blog post?

Have you ever written a blog post that went viral or brought you a heaps of awesome results? I’d be really keen to hear about it. Please leave a comment below and feel free to leave your links as long as they are appropriate and on topic. Oh, and as always, let me know if I’ve missed anything!

These Simple Changes Will Make Your Blog Ultra User-Friendly

A user-friendly blog is essential if you want to make sure all your traffic acquisition activities don’t go to waste.

When you first get started on a WordPress blog there’s a temptation to be overwhelmed by all the choices you have for your design, functionality, technical setup, etc. Sometimes all of that cool stuff can lead to a bad user experience.

For example, these days there are a lot of beautiful WordPress and I’ll often see people choose a visually stunning template that takes ages to load because it is so graphically heavy.

In today’s post I’m going to show you a few simple ways I’ve tried to make my blogs more user-friendly in the hope that it helps you build a blog that your readers really love to be on.

Shall we?

How to make your blog user-friendly

As always, a lot of this stuff is based on my own experiences and could be very incomplete. If I’ve missed anything please leave a comment and let me know.

1. Simplify navigation based on a goal

One of the main pitfalls that new bloggers fall in to is the idea that visitors should be able to access any part of their blog from any page. It leads to a complicated navigation system that, most of the time, just makes people more confused.

For example, in this post we looked at what links the top blogs put in their menus. It was quite interesting to me to see how minimal a lot of them were, and how they are generally focused around a goal.

I recommend looking at your overall blogging strategy and deciding carefully on what actions you want people to take when they visit your blog. For example, do you want them to sign up to a mailing list or do you want them to purchase a product? Both of these options will lead to a drastically different navigation.

amazon nav

One example that always amazes me is Amazon.com and their tendency to add as many menus as possible. They are everywhere! It’s interesting because Amazon is famous for making their checkout process one of the simplest in the world by reducing the amount of steps you need to take.

It might be necessary for sites like Amazon to have this many menus options, but it really isn’t for us. There’s only a few options that a reader might want to take and, often times, it’s best for us to suggest a navigation option for them as they are totally new to the site.

tickets

Another important point is to remember that a navigation menu doesn’t have to be static and can (and should!) change based on different events or page structures. Above you see a screenshot from The Next Web where they have a scrolling header bar on their conference page that allows you to quickly buy tickets.

Making a blog user-friendly often means making things easier to find and that has a lot to do with how the menu is structured for different promotions, goals and events.

2. Increase your font size

While the overall design trend is now moving towards larger fonts there are still a lot of websites and blogs (especially in corporate niches) who stick to a small font size. This is a big mistake as we can see summarized in this article as far back as 2011.

A larger font has a few benefits when it comes to user-friendly design:

  • Easy to read long content
    Larger font sizes cause less eye strain and thus makes it easier to read long-form content or difficult content that takes you a while to digest.
  • Better for the elderly and others
    Small fonts can be really difficult for the elderly and those with eye problems and while many of them can adjust their screen zoom to compensate there is a large population who is new to web browsing and need more assistance from a design point of view.
  • Content that stands out
    The last point is that you really don’t want someone to miss a promotion, link, etc. because the font was so small that they glanced over it, often because people are scrolling really fast and moving on. That is a prime example of when your design impacts on conversions.

Of course, we don’t want to have disgusting huge and obnoxious typography either – it needs to match your branding and style-guide (should we should talk about style-guides?) so that the whole visual experience is very easy, flowing and natural for your traffic.

3. Make sure everything loads quickly

As we all know, it is critical that your blog loads as fast as possible in order to prevent an increased bounce rate, user frustration, etc. It’s also important to remember that a slow loading blog will often lose rankings to those that load faster – Google wants to link to the best quality websites.

Some of the quickest ways to speed up your site include:

  • Use a caching plugin
    Use a caching plugin like W3 Total Cache so that your blog doesn’t load pages every time someone call them up.
  • Optimize server-side configuration
    Your sever staff can do things like enabling Gzip and helping you set up a Content Delivery Network in order to deliver pages and posts as fast as possible.
  • Compress big images
    Do you have a lot of blog images that are HD photos or big graphics? Well, a lot load time goes into displaying images and as such it’s important to save them as small as you can without losing quality, and then compress to remove all the extra information that jpg and png files tend to carry. You can do that with a plugin like this one.

As an little aside, a fast loading blog is also better for the environment because it theoretically uses less energy to power each visitor’s time on site. That’s pretty important if you’re getting a lot of traffic.

4. Change your theme design to encourage site flow

Some of the best blogs are really nice to visit because the design inherently teaches you how to move around the site and how to interact with different elements, content, etc.

For example, if you look at an article like Science Isn’t Broken you’ll see how the menu changes to help you find your way around the post:

This can be used in a variety of ways depending on where you want people to go next. For example, if it’s an advanced tutorial you might want to direct them to the next stage or a related topic that builds upon the post they’re currently reading.

You can use graphics and colors to indicate different areas, changes in content, separate categories, etc. Try to think about how you can use you theme to guide people around the blog naturally. I tried my best to do something like that on this page about how to start a blog:

start a blog

I’ve used numbers and a kind of timeline design to draw people down the page to see the different stages of starting a blog at a glance. My hope was that with a design like this there would be very little confusion about what to do next. The possibilities are endless and, thankfully, a lot of good WordPress themes have stuff like this built in.

5. Be careful about how you use pop ups and slide outs

We all know that pop ups work. The annoying part is that they’ve become so wide spread and mainstream that people are trying new and annoying things to get more attention.

For example, the other day I visited a blog that had a pop up on arrival, a slide out offer and then another pop up that was triggered when I tried to leave (that’s called an exit pop up). I was only there to get a small piece of information and it honestly wasn’t worth all the clicking.

Interestingly, Google is now penalizing websites that have pop ups that affect the mobile experience. As such, I’ve totally removed pop ups from mobile devices just to be sure.

exit

There is nothing wrong with a pop up, but make sure it fits with your brand and doesn’t impact the user experience in any immediate way. Set them to appear after 15 or 30 seconds, or just use and exit intent one that only appears when people are done with your content anyway.

Most important, however, is to test these things to see what is getting more subscribers, and whether those new subscribers are actually engaging in your content after they have signed up.

6. Make it memorable and enjoyable (especially on the sticky points)

A big part of a successful brand is one that is distinctive and different and memorable. If you can find a way to do that on your blog you’ll go a long way to improving user experience because people perceive the site differently.

One of the reasons many download/crunching websites employ little “loading” animations is because it makes you feel like you are watching some kind of process instead of just regular load time. As such you get less frustrated. Here’s an example from Pingdom that I like:

loading

This is an interesting example of how you can use design to make you website a little bit more user-friendly, even if it isn’t actually going any faster. As bloggers, we might add something like this to the email sign up process – especially if you are doing double opt-ins and people might get bored waiting for their email to arrive.

speed test

I found another example of this a few years ago when researching how to speed up your Internet at home. This particular speed test has a great “speedometer” effect that you sit and watch and enjoy instead of getting frustrated that the test takes between 1-2 minutes.

Of course, a regular blog doesn’t have a lot of need for advanced graphics just for the sake of it. But you might be able to take inspiration from these types of things (and design blogs like these) to develop some extra design element that makes your blog stand out from the others in your niche. It doesn’t take much, but can make a visit to your blog so much more enjoyable.

7. Minimize

The last thing I wanted to talk about was how important it can be to simplify your website. That means getting rid of clutter and figuring out what people really want from your blog.

For example, here on Blog Tyrant I try to publish quite long articles and as such I want the focus to be solely on the words and images that appear on screen and, in the case of affiliate promotions, the links that I put in the content. This is why I redesigned the blog to have no sidebar and an improved focus on content.

You can see some more popular examples of this on sites like Zen Habits where Leo took pretty much everything off the site except for black text and a few links. It is truly minimal for a site with two million readers!

There’s no need to go to that length, but I recommend at least taking things like blogrolls, links to other sites, advertising, etc. out of your sidebar and replacing them with a simple intro and email list offer.

How to take user-friendless to the next level

If you really want to take this stuff to the next level you need to test it. That is the only way to get reliable information about whether or not a change has been effective.

A simple and cost-effective way to do this is to literally invite a few friends over to your house, sit them down on your laptop and watch them navigate around your site. Give them a few tasks (like signing up to your list) and see what roadblocks they run into. It’s cumbersome but you’ll be surprised what works.

But if you want to get more high-tech you’ll want solutions like Crazy Egg and Optimizely which are websites that can do things like track where people look, click, as well as testing multiple versions of your blog or sales page to see which one works best and which one causes people to leave.

Is your blog user-friendly?

I know we all probably think that our own blogs are extremely user-friendly but I’d love to know what makes you think that. Have you changed anything and seen a big increase in time on-site or other relevant metrics. And if you’d like me to change anything here at Blog Tyrant I’d be very open to the suggestions.

Please leave a comment and let us know!

How to Get Google to Send You 119,717 Visitors Every Month

google visitors

Last Updated February 23rd, 2017

Are you wondering how to get more traffic from Google? This post might be able to help.

I’ll never forget the first time I got 100,000 visitors from Google in one month. I still feel extremely lucky. Today I’m going to show you how I think I did it in the hope that something will be new for you.

When you first think about starting a blog you kind of don’t imagine you’ll ever get more than a trickle of traffic.

And then you have your first 100-visitor day.

Then your first 1,000-visitor day.

After a while you might even have a 10,000 or 20,000 visitor a day and you still can’t believe it’s happening.

What I want to do today is show you as much of what I did as possible to see whether it helps your blog get more traffic. Let’s look at all the ins and outs of how to get over 100,000 visitors a month from natural organic Google search.

Things are so much nicer when you have a plan.

Why is Google traffic still the best?

If you’ve been reading Blog Tyrant for a while you’ll know that I occasionally warn against relying on Google too much.

And I stand by that.

Organic traffic from Google search is still the most valuable traffic you can get because it grows, it’s free (sort of), and people who are using search engines are usually in a buy-ready frame of mind.

Google traffic
A screen shot of my Clicky Analytics account showing one of my first 28 day periods where I had 100,000+ unique visitors hitting my blog from Google searches.

However, if your begin to rely solely on that traffic you run the risk of getting yourself into a bit of trouble in the longterm. Every time Google updates its algorithm there is a chance your blog is going to be less relevant.

And that means your traffic vanishes.

My own little story with this issue

I’ve told this story before but when I first got into blogging I had a few fitness blogs which made money pretty exclusively through Google Adsense. One day I woke up and all my traffic (and revenue!) had gone – I’d received a pretty significant Google penalty for some unknown reason.

Lucky for me, the traffic came back.

But it was a very scary experience and it taught me that I need to ensure that I have diversified traffic sources that act as a back up in case one of them gets accidentally or deliberately turned off.

How long does it take to get 100,000 visitors a month from Google?

Something I want to stress in this post is that my approach to Google traffic is one that is very clean, natural and safe.

And “safe” isn’t always a word that sits well with entrepreneurs.

Because it usually means slow.

If you’re after some short term SEO tricks to help you get an inferior website ranked in two weeks then this isn’t the post for you. This is all about a high-value approach to blogging that you can use on a site that you love and don’t want to take unnecessary risks with.

But saying it will take 6 months or a year is kind of irresponsible of me because every blog and niche is different. It will depend a lot on how prolific you can be, and how willing you are to learn a new approach.

How to get 100,000 visitors a month from Google

Okay, now we can get into the real tofu and potatoes of the post.

And, as always, if you get to the end and think I’ve missed something important or have any questions please leave a comment and let me know.

1. Choose a topic, keywords and target market that has the depth

The very first thing you need to do if you want to have a good SEO strategy is know what keywords you are going after and what target market you are trying to tap into.

Too often I see blogs that have a very generalised topic which leads to a lot of fragmented content, an unresponsive mailing list and not a lot of success.

When researching your topic, please make sure you know what you want to talk about and how your blog is going to be different to all the others out there. It is very important that you think about deliberate ways that your topic is going to stand out.

When researching keywords, it’s a good idea to know who your competition is and how saturated the market is. There are some niches that are very, very hard to compete in. The main worry, however, is a niche with not enough traffic.

google traffic estimator

One simple place to start is by logging into Google Adwords and using their suite of Tools. One of them will estimate search volume and show you the Adwords bidding competition. This will give you a pretty good idea about whether your market is worth the effort.

Make sure you try a lot of variations of your keywords here. Even small changes like plurals or alternative words that seem similar can have a massive effect on traffic numbers.

At this stage you’ll also want to look at your competition using a service like Majestic to see what keywords are going around, who is working on what, etc. You can then go and spend some time manually searching and clicking through to websites to see if there is anything that you can do better than what is already out there.

At this point I’d like to just mention that passion really is the most important thing here. It’s something I’ve heard successful bloggers like Glen from ViperChill say again and again. Even if you find a profitable niche to work in, you’ll soon lose interest at all the hard (and boring tasks) if you don’t love it and sincerely want to help your readership.

That is very important.

2. Get your own domain name and self-hosted WordPress setup

How many times have you seen a free blog like Tumblr or Blogger in the first position on Google? Not often is the answer.

Google gives a much higher weighting to websites and blogs that have their own domain name and host because it is a pretty basic signal that that website is going to be taking itself more seriously – hence better quality. Here’s a quick video explaining my preferred setup.

So how do you choose a good domain name? Well, there are several options:

  • Exact match keywords
    A few years ago if you could get an exact match phrase you’d be more likely to rank at the top. Now this isn’t so popular and can look a bit spammy. However, for local search, things like ArchitectMelbourne.com.au still rank extremely well if you can get them.
  • Keyword + noun
    Another popular method is to take the keyword that you are targeting and add a noun or adjective to it. Blog Tyrant could be an example of this approach if I was targeting the keyword “blog”.
  • Distinctive domains
    This is actually now the best option given that all the good keyword domains are taken. Being distinctive is important. Look at a site like ViperChill where the domain name has nothing to do with anything but you’ll never forget it.

Once you’ve decided on your domain name you can register it and do all your WordPress set up through BlueHost. This is a good idea because then everything is in the one place. Here is a tutorial on how to start a WordPress blog and bit more about blog hosting in general if you’re interested.

3. Change your general WordPress settings for better SEO performance

For the most part, WordPress is a pretty SEO-friendly platform. That being said, there are a few little default things that we want to change from the get go.

The first is your default permalinks structure which is often set to some combo of the date and name. I like to set this to just post name as we will want the keywords that we are targeting to show up in the post. Just go Settings > Permalinks > Post Name.

postname

Remember, if you already have your blog up and running you don’t want to change any existing permalinks as that will result in any links pointing to that old structure to throw an error. We only want it for future things.

The next thing you want to make sure is that your post titles are set to h1 tags and not anything else. Often you find that WordPress themes have the site name as the first header and then the post title is h2 which is a mistake. You can change this by going Appearance > Editor > Single Post and then changing your post title to the right tag.

The last basic WordPress thing we want to change is your sidebar. Get rid of everything in there except for an email subscriber opt-in form and maybe some links to your most popular posts. You don’t need all that Meta stuff in there, and you especially don’t want any blogroll links.

4. Install an SEO-specific plugin like WordPress SEO by Yoast

Now you’ll want to get a little more advanced and install a plugin that has been specifically designed for improving your WordPress blog’s search engine performance. The most popular and well respected is WordPress SEO by Yoast.

This plugin is actually quite intimidating for beginner/intermediate level bloggers. There are a lot of settings and options and you will be introduced to a whole new lexicon of SEO-related words.

Don’t panic.

Firstly, Yoast has written a really comprehensive guide on how to get yourself properly setup. Secondly, it’s not the kind of thing you need to get totally correct before you do anything else – you can tweak as you go. I would earmark half a day of your time to add the plugin and go through the above article making changes and then just leave it for a while.

wordpress-seo-plugin

The great thing about this plugin, as you can see above, is that it will tell you if you are making any large mistakes or errors as you go along. Combine this with the installation guide and you will find yourself learning a lot about SEO best practices for a WordPress blog setup.

5. Carefully tweak and improve your user experience ranking factors

The above plugin and settings mostly tweak your site to make it look better in the eyes of Google bots. But what we want to do now is make sure it looks good in the eyes of your human readers.

The interesting thing about this is that improving a blog’s user experience also leads to a better ranking performance because Google only wants to refer its customers to highly useful sites.

Start by making sure you have a mobile responsive WordPress theme. This is especially important since the Google mobile update that happened a few weeks ago.

If you’re not sure whether your site looks good to Google then use their mobile testing tool. Here’s what it says about Blog Tyrant:

mobile friendly

The next most important user experience ranking factor is speed. Google only wants to send visitors to website that load extremely quickly because they know that people are impatient. If your site is taking longer than about 2-3 seconds to load then it is too slow.

blog load speed

The above is a screenshot of a speed test I did on Blog Tyrant using Pingdom Tools where the results are very positive. Of course, this speed varies depending on the location of the user, how many people are on the website, etc. but overall my site is loading pretty well.

Some of the basic things you can do to ensure your blog is loading quickly include:

  • Shrinking images
    I’m always surprised at how often bloggers upload images that are > 2MB. It’s too large. Ideally you want to shrink your images down to around < 50KB or smush them.
  • Talking to your server technicians
    If you are on a good web host you will usually find that your server technicians will offer you some free advice on how to best optimise your blog. Open up a support ticket and tell them you need to make some site speed improvements and see what tips they give. They can do things like enabling GZIP which is a server-side speed improvement.
  • Using a caching plugin
    Caching is another big topic that takes a while to get your head around. A lot of it can be done on the server side of things, but there are also several good WordPress plugins like W3 Total Cache which you can install and get good results with.

Now that you’ve taken some steps to speed up your blog, you’ll want to start looking at the layout of your theme and ensuring that you have the design setup in a way that will encourage visitors to take an action.

For example, it’s a very good idea to ensure that you important stuff is above the fold. This is the area of your blog that people see before they have to scroll. Any opt-in forms, calls to action, etc. really need to be in this area, or at least catered to in a design that encourages scrolling.

You’ll also want to look at things like your typography and replace any slow self-hosted fonts with either web safe versions or a Google Font version which always seem to be quicker and you can test out text to see what looks nice.

typography

Make sure you use a large, easy to read font size that fits with your branding. The general wisdom is that fonts like Arial, Verdana and Georgia are good choices because people are used to reading them and thus it feels familiar. Here’s some interesting recommendations from Apple on the topic.

6. Create strategic content based around keywords, value and point of difference

Ever since I first sold a blog in college I’ve preferred to approach blogging, SEO and online business with a “quality first” attitude where my stuff hopefully helps people.

And one of the mantras you hear a lot in the blogging world is the idea that content is king.

Well, I actually think that is a pretty ordinary phrase.

Quality content alone is not enough. It needs a strategy. – Tweet this.

If you really pay attention to what is appearing at the top of Google these days you’ll notice that there is a mix of local stuff, videos, long form content, aged content, fresh content, photos, etc. Have a look at a few results for the term “email marketing”.

email marketing

It is quite varied.

So instead of just attempting to write something “quality”, what we need to do is really dig deep into the niche and figure out what we can create that is not only useful, but different. How can I make something that will get attention?

That is very important.

But that content that we create also has to form part of an overall blogging strategy otherwise it is all a complete waste of time. There is absolutely no point in getting over 100,000 visitors to your blog each month if they aren’t taking some type of action towards your goals.

Here’s some more reading on why a blog is not enough in and of itself.

Let’s look at WPMU DEV as an example of someone who does strategic content very well. If you do a Google search for “most beautiful responsive WordPress themes” you’ll see they have this article ranking near the top.

Then at the top of that article they have this in-house promotion:

responsive design

This is a really clever way to build traffic using organic methods in order to sell a product that you own and control. A lot of their tutorials and articles are very closely related to the plugins and WordPress themes that they develop. This has the dual effect of benefiting their existing customers as well as finding new ones through Google.

Oh yeah – they have over 370,000 customers paying minimum $24 a month.

7. Leverage other sites’ authority and build links by providing value around the web

There is something quite intangible about this point but I want to write about it anyway because I feel like it has been really important for my own Google rankings.

Over the last few years I’ve noticed something interesting.

If you can write something really good about a topic everyone knows but have a new angle to it, and then get yourself in front of influencers regularly, you will find that they start to link to your articles quite naturally.

In the last few weeks alone I’ve had links from Neil Patel, Moz and Search Engine Watch all for things I’ve done on my About page or my article about About pages!

Another example would be the link I got on Boost Blog Traffic for an article about controversial titles where they featured a controversial title that I wrote.

Simple stuff.

This is another example of the fact that you don’t have to be first in your niche, you just have to try to find a way to stand out and be noticed. Sometimes you can do that with something as basic as your own personal story.

One of the other ways I do this is to make sure I link to all my favorite bloggers regularly when I write something that I think is pretty good. Bloggers really love getting links, and if you’ve included them on some awesome new resource that you’ve made you might just find that they link back to another one of your posts when they’re writing something new.

If you’re doing a guest post on someone else’s blog then this is the absolute best time to mention someone that you’d like to get in front of.

8. Update old stuff (including titles and descriptions)

These days Google is giving a lot of weight to fresh content.

What that means is that some of the brilliant articles that you wrote five years ago, even though they may be the best thing on the web, might not be appearing as high as they should be because some new whipper snapper is stealing your thunder.

One way to combat this is to go back and figure out which posts might need a bit of a fresh coat of paint and add things like new information, graphics, photos, videos, etc. and really make it feel modern again.

One of the good things about the WordPress SEO plugin mentioned above is that it lets you re-write your titles for search engines. One of the main reasons you might want to do this is to show that it has been updated.

For example, in 2014 I wrote a post about the things to know before starting a blog in that year. The content is still perfectly relevant today in 2015 so I updated the description to reflect that fact.

starting a blog

If it still had the old 2014 information in there I might see a lot fewer people clicking through from Google. I don’t recommend you go and do this for every post in your archive either – just try and keep the posts that need to be updated updated.

9. Reinvest part of your earnings to increase exposure

I know a lot of you might be getting sick of me talking about this but it’s so important so I’m going to keep saying it.

Advertising on Facebook Ads and Google Adwords is actually a really big part of good SEO.

Expert SEOs are going to laugh at me for saying that but I don’t care, hear me out.

When you have a really good piece of content that you’ve invested countless hours into researching, writing and editing, you want to make sure it does well. Now, even if you main goal is to get that article to rank on Google you’ll want to make sure you spend money on social advertising.

And the reason is simple.

The wider reach your article has the more likely it is to get seen by someone who’ll eventually link to it.

Think about it.

You can go onto Facebook and in five minutes create an advert that will target only people interested in XYZ niche. That might include other bloggers in the XYZ niche – hopefully even some influencers. If your article is any good it’ll be on their radar next time they are writing about that topic.

This type of promotion works extremely well for long form content and types of content that people can download and use as an everlasting resource. I reckon I’ve probably link to Jon Morrow’s headline PDF at least five times.

10. Listen to Google but don’t be afraid of Google

One of the things that I’ve learned from ViperChill that I’m very grateful for is the idea that you should listen to Google but not always be afraid that you are doing something terribly wrong.

Glen takes a lot of risks with his SEO approach, something that I’m not willing to do here, but he’s also kind of helped me loosen up about trying out new things without fear of a Google penalty.

I wrote about one example in my post on why guest posts still work.

When Matt Cutts told everyone that guest posts were a dangerous way to build backlinks everyone just kind of stopped doing guest posts.

That’s silly.

Guest posting is still a fantastic way to get traffic to your site and find a whole new readership, many of whom will link to your content, promote it on social media and share it with their own audiences. So guest posting for SEO is still very much alive, it’s just smarter now.

Make sure you know what Google wants and doesn’t want, but don’t be so scared of the rules that you stop making content that people want to consume.

One practical task you can do right now

I want to end this post by giving you one practical task that you can start today that will get you closer towards your first 100,000 visitors from Google in a single month.

Start by reading this post (I’m assuming you have if you’re this far) and taking into account all the ideas on keyword research, strategic content, etc. your task is:

Write one brilliant post of at least 3,500 words (include links to big bloggers in your niche, graphics, photos, etc.) based around one strategic keyword set and a point of difference. Find another blog to give it away to as a guest post.

This is something that I notice a lot of bloggers still really struggle to do. When it comes to getting traffic from Google a lot of it really starts with getting your name out there and building links by building up your brand awareness. And that can be done really simple with some good guest posting.

How much traffic do you get from Google?

If you have any questions about how to get more Google traffic I’d be more than happy to try and answer them in the comments below. I’d also be really interested to know how much traffic you get from Google searches and whether you think you could be doing better.

This post took quite a while to put together so if you enjoyed it please consider giving it a share using one of the buttons below. I’d really appreciate it.

Top image © Alexoakenman | Dreamstime.com.

Timeline: What to Do When Your Blog Goes Down

blog downtimeWhen your website or blog goes down it can be pretty frustrating while also having consequences over the short and long term. Yuck.

And while it is not the end of the world, it can be a little bit scary if you rely on your blog for an income.

When a site goes offline there is a sequence of events that take place and, depending on how you manage them, annoying consequences that follow.

Let’s take a very basic look at those events and what to do in that kind of situation so that you can hit the ground running.

A general timeline of a crashed blog

Here is a quick example timeline of what can happen when a website or blog goes down, and what you might want to be doing at each stage of the process. This could vary a lot depending on your situation, so I’ll try to keep it as general as possible.

1. Notification

The first thing is usually that someone lets you know that your blog is down. This might happen on Twitter or you might get an email from a reader who was trying to access the site. If you run a very professional setup you might even get a notification from your server or a monitoring service like Sucuri.

What to do here:
At this stage you’ll want to get to a computer so you can begin researching what’s happening. Try not to panic.

2. Identification

The next step is that you will need to try and figure out whether your site is actually down and, if it is, what is causing the problem. For example, is it a server issue, a hack of some kind, an issue with a plugin, etc.?

What to do here:
The first step is to check Down For Everyone to see if it’s just you. Then the next step is to email or call your web host and notify them of the problem. Your support staff is always the first point of call.

3. Resolution/Non-resolution

At this stage your problem will either be resolved as being some simple error or temporary server downtime. If not you will need to move on to the next stage.

What to do here:
If your problem was resolved you can move on the section about prevention and backups, if your problem wasn’t resolved you’ll need to investigate further.

4. Further investigation

Sometimes your web host will not be able to resolve the issue if it is a more specialized problem that involves your WordPress theme, plugins, or some malware that is present on your blog. Often they will be able to identify the issue but not want to attempt to repair it due to the possibility of making it worse.

What to do here:
Here you want to engage a systems admin expert or a service like Sucuri that can look deeper into the issue. This will generally involve giving them access to your server so it’s best to go with a reputable person/company. Ask for a report and quote.

5. Outside effects become noticeable

Sometime around this stage you will probably start to notice some effects of the downtime. For example, you will see a notification in Google search or Webmaster Tools that there is a security threat on your site, or you’ll start to notice your Google rankings changing/dropping in response to the server no longer being reachable. Keep an eye on your important backlinks as well. If you throw a 404 error for too long there’s a chance that the linking site will change to someone else.

What to do here:
At this point you might want to publicly acknowledge that there is an issue by posting to your social media accounts and advising readers what is happening and how they can help. Here’s a good example of how to do it.

6. Start researching alternatives

Unfortunately, if your issue is not resolved quickly it might mean that a more complicated solution is necessary. For example, you might need to migrate your domain name and/or website to a new host due to some issue with the current one.

What to do here:
Start looking around Google for people who have had similar problems to this and seeing what pith advice they have. Start emailing other providers to find out about the migration process should that be necessary. Look for staff who might be able to help you re-build any damaged or broken bits.

7. Final resolution

Some point in here the damn thing will be fixed and you’ll wonder why you got into Internet business in the first place. You’ll also experience some pretty great relief.

What to do here:
You can do this but also move on to the next step.

8. Put in place future protections and backups

If you didn’t have them in place initially, an event like this will really motivate you to start thinking about how to prevent future incidents. This involves better server set ups, security protocols, backups, monitoring, etc.

What to do here:
Make regular backups. My Blog Tyrant server makes a full server back up every two days, and once a week sends a full copy to a completely separate server as a secondary backup. Harden your website’s security using measures like these. Talk to your server staff about improvements that can be made or pay an independent expert for an audit.

Has your blog ever crashed?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below if your blog has ever crashed and how you dealt with the situation. What steps did you take and how effective were they? What tips or steps would you say should absolutely be added to the article above? Please leave a message below.

7 Strategies To Attract More Blog Readers

Blogging is still one of the most effective ways of having your voice heard, promoting your brand, building your audience, and even growing your own business. Not to mention it’s an incredibly fun way to pass your time. Also, there are so many different niches you can explore with blogging and find people who are interested in what you have to say.

The most popular niche is usually IT, and you will find plenty of blogs on modern technology with no surprise, because being tech-savvy these days is just as important as being literate. And then, there are health, fitness, education, and fashion blogs, which are always at the top in terms of visits and social media shares.

So what is their secret? Well, let’s find out. Here are 7 strategies professional bloggers use to attract more blog readers.

1. Guest Posting

This is one of the most effective blogging strategies, especially if you are a new to the world of blogging. Popular bloggers like Neil Patel, despite reaping all the benefits that come with being successful, are often under pressure to keep on producing great content on a regular basis, and if you reach out to them and offer to create amazing new content for their blog for free, in exchange for a link, they will more than likely jump at a chance to collaborate with you. By publishing your post on a different platform, you are exposing yourself to an entirely new audience, which will inevitably drive more traffic to your own blog.

2. Share Your Content Multiple Times

Of course you’re going to share your content multiple times, because there are so many different social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or even Tumblr, where you can share a link to your new post and attract readers.

However, we are talking about sharing your content on the same platform more than once. For instance, you can invite your followers on Twitter to check out your new post, and then remind them several hours later. Then remind them again tomorrow, next week, and even a month later.

They will have a chance to catch up in case they have missed it the first time around.

3. Repurpose Your Old Content

According to the Australian Writings team, who are experts on writing stunning content, creating something new and fresh is not the only way to grow your readership.

  • Your old content can be just as effective, if presented in a different form.
  • You can turn shorter posts into an eye-catching infographic, your longer pillar posts into podcasts, or how-to articles into video tutorials.
  • You can even gather your best posts and create an ebook.

Some of your content won’t receive the attention it deserves, whether it’s because you didn’t have a bigger audience at the time, or because you haven’t gotten the format right. This is your chance to make it shine again, and save some time in the process.

4. Restructure Your Posts

You can also make use of your existing posts to attract new readers, without having to change them drastically. Try breathing new life into them by tweaking their structure. For instance, break those huge blocks of text into smaller paragraphs, each one with a catchy and intriguing subheading.

These days, people scan the content for something that might catch their eye, so make it easier on them. Also, make your posts readable, both in visual terms and in terms of substance. Also, you can make it more appealing by optimizing your website’s performance, and introducing responsive design, thus attracting mobile users.

5. Reach Out to Influencers

Reaching out to experts and influencers in your niche is a complex task, but it’s well-worth the effort. Once you are sure you have a killer post on your hands, get in touch and ask them if they would like to contribute to it with a quote, for example.

Since you probably can’t offer them money, you can give them your product for free, or share a link to their website. On the other hand, in case they decide to share a link to your post with their readers, you can expect to receive a ton of traffic, some much-needed exposure, and a huge boost to your authority in the niche.

6. Write a Better Headline 

About 80% of the people will read the article simply based on how much they like the headline, which makes sense, because you would be more likely to check out a shop which has a nice window, right?

Writing a great headline is an art, because the best one manage to let the reader know what they will find inside, and how they will benefit from it, while appealing to their emotions. For instance, headlines like “22 Fresh Tips to Grow Your Audience Today”, or “10 Unexpected Reasons Why Online Businesses Fail” let the reader know what they will be getting.

Also, the first one promises a clear benefit which they can experience almost immediately. The second one appeals to their emotions, because nobody wants to see their business crash. If it is difficult for you to come up with great headline ideas, you should check out these 7 effective writing techniques for modern professionals, which will make this process easier for any blogger.

7. Optimize Your Content for Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords are great, because they tell you all about your readers’ intents, as well as what sort of content you should create and which needs you should meet. Also, if you do your research right, there is very little competition there, and according to this article from Search Engine Journal,  you can boost your organic traffic by 78%. And all you really need are Google Autosuggest and Google Keyword Planner. The former will tell you which long-tail keywords your readers are looking for, while the latter will provide you with an insight into how much competition there is for each keyword. You can also check out user-generated content on forums to find even more long-tail keywords.

Conclusion

Blogging can be both lucrative and fun. But, regardless of great your content is, it’s not going to be of much use if nobody is reading it. It is all about your readers, because that’s who you’re creating the content for. This is why you should also take the time to figure out the best ways to reach them, and we hope this post will help you do that.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this guest post from Jessica Freeman. Jessica is a freelance writer. She is interested in traveling and online learning. She enjoys writing on education, technology innovations, and blogging tendencies. Find out more about Jessica’s work by visiting her blog http://topwritingtips.com.au/ where she provide excellent writing tips for blog for students. You can also follow her on Facebook andGoogle+.

The post 7 Strategies To Attract More Blog Readers appeared first on BlogPress.


7 Strategies To Attract More Blog Readers was first posted on February 8, 2017 at 1:33 pm.