Lovely Little Leaps of Faith

This post was written by the Web Marketing Ninja—a professional online marketer for a major web brand, who’s sharing his tips undercover here at ProBlogger. Curious? So are we!

For most people, spending money isn’t an automatic thing.  You’ve worked hard for your money, and when you’re about to part with it, you want to believe your hard work will actually mean something.

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This meaning doesn’t need to be a logical thing—it can be completely emotive.

But with the inherent desire for meaning, there’s always a little voice inside us looking for a reason not to spend our cash.  As bloggers and online marketers, we’re often our own worst enemies.  With some of the tactics we use, we’re basically handing a megaphone to our readers’ little voices, and encouraging them to scream, “Get the heck out of here!”

When I’m evaluating my own work, or that of others, I often refer to these as leaps of faith. The bigger the leaps of faith you expect your customers to make, the less likely they’ll be to make them. Let’s look at ten of the most common, and see how you can make them lovelier!

Not making it clear what your blog is about

Some say three seconds, some five, and some ten—but so often to I come across blogs that I can’t even figure out in five minutes!  If a user’s thinking, “I don’t know what this site is about,” how could you expect them to give them your email address, or their money?

Not communicating what’s going to happen

Our fear of the unknown is strong. Chances are low that I’ll give you my email address or my credit card number if I have no idea what’s next in the process.  If you’re collecting email subscriptions, make sure your reader knows what they’re singing up for; if it’s a ebook download, make sure they know as soon as the payment is made that they’ll be emailed instructions on how to download; if it’s a physical product, tell them the fulfillment process up-front. This is simple stuff, but it’s important.

Making people feel like you’ve gone back to 1999

Design isn’t that important, right?  Wrong.  If your website looks like it was built in the 90s, then all I’d say is you’d want to have some pretty awesome content.  You’re blogging on the web, so it needs to looks like it fits here.  I doesn’t need to be a work of art, though—good is enough.

Not showing people how secure you are

If your readers or potential purchasers feel in any way that giving you money is going to compromise their information, they’ll scamper. Use PayPal as one payment option—it’s widely regarded as secure. Use Visa and MasterCard logos and “secured by” messaging to show that your site and checkout processes are secure.

Making people jump through hoops

More clicks makes for fewer sales. Equally, the more convoluted you make your sales process, the more clients will drop out.  We’re busy people with short attention spans, so only ask for the information you need to complete the transaction—ask for all the nice-to-haves later.

Breaking down before their very eyes

If your sales process breaks somehow, only the most motivated buyers will tell you about it. And by the time you realize, customers—and their money—will have left for somewhere else.  Make sure your key buying processes are bulletproof from reliability, validation, accessibility, and cross-browser compatibility perspectives.

Not showing safety in numbers

We like to buy in crowds—it makes us feel safe and secure.  If 10,000 people purchased your product and they’re all okay, then I’ll see the purchase as low-risk, and I’ll buy.  As a matter of authenticity, show real numbers rather than a figure you made up.  Users are pretty switched on to those kinds of errors now.

Not showing the past or the future

If you have a lengthy sales process, which for some products is a must, then make sure you show people the journey, so they know where they have come from and how far there is to go.  It puts the process (its length and level if intensity) up front, and keeps users motivated, as they know there’s an end in sight.

Asking for too much too soon

Passwords are a common factor in this point. Unfortunately, too many people use the same password for every site and service they use, so asking for a password on a small purchase can be like asking people for access to their bank accounts. On the flip side, people will likely trust you pretty quickly if you ask for a password, but there is a time to do this, and it’s after you’ve proven your worth to them.

Looking, talking, and thinking small

There’s nothing wrong about being small, but you can make yourself bigger buy showing you keep pretty good company.  It might be mentions in mainstream press or from larger personalities, or perhaps just showing you keep good company.  Be small—but only when it works in your favor.

I had a conversation with friend this week about a checkout process that, after three attempts, I simply couldn’t figure out. He mentioned that it was complicated because the tax rules in his country were complicated. I responded with the same comment I say to everyone:

Don’t make your customers’ lives hard just because yours is

After 30 minutes of exploring different options, we found a way to make it work—you always can.

… and that’s the real secret to lovely little leaps of faith.

Stay tuned for more posts by the secretive Web Marketing Ninja — a professional online marketer for a major web brand, who’s sharing his tips undercover here at ProBlogger.

Is It Time to Hit the Reset Button on Your Blog?

This guest post is by Joseph of Blog Tweaks.

Don’t worry, nearly every blogger knows the story. You’ve been writing for six months or more, but haven’t seen a significant increase in traffic. Some of your posts have have been successful, but the majority have gone unnoticed.

Quite frankly, you’re ready to quit.

But should you?

No. Don’t give up just yet.

Why you shouldn’t give up yet

Did you know that most professional bloggers weren’t successful with their first blogs? This list includes Darren Rowse, Jon Morrow, and Johnny Truant.

With so much to learn in the first year, it’s almost impossible to start a successful blog on the first try.

But you also learn a lot in that first year. You learn how to write better posts and how to craft compelling headlines. You learn how to use Facebook and Twitter for promotion, and how to work the technical side of WordPress or Blogger or whatever platform you’re using.

After a year of blogging, you’ve got a lot invested in your blog. If things are going rough 12 months, it’s not time to quit just yet.

So what should you do instead?

Hit the Reset button

Instead of giving up on your blog, you should hit the Reset button.

It’s not that your blog isn’t any good—you just didn’t know what you were doing when you started. This is the case with most bloggers.

When starting, they don’t know what they want to write about, and they don’t know how to write for an audience. Most people don’t even know how to write a simple post or headline.

It makes sense that you wouldn’t be successful with your first blog. Does a magazine owner start a successful magazine without any experience? Of course not.

Magazine owners start successful magazines after being in the industry for a decade or more. After years of experience, they’re ready to start a publication. That’s what the first year of blogging is all about—gaining industry experience.

So now that you have some experience, how do you use it to run a successful blog? And what do you do if your current blog isn’t performing as well as you’d like?

Here’s what to do—instead of giving up, hit one of the two blog Reset buttons.

Reset button #1: the Refresh button

If your blog is good enough, you may be able to get away with hitting Reset button number one—the Refresh button. This means cleaning up the clutter, giving your blog a new look, and planning for the future.

To refresh your blog, mercilessly delete any weak or unnecessary posts. After this, take a serious look at everything else on the site. If there are any tags or widgets that are creating clutter and adding no value, get rid of them. All of them.

Widgets shouldn’t just take up space. If you can’t think of what value that they add or if they take away from something important, it’s time for them to go.

Here’s an example: Do you really need a calendar widget for your blog? Do people actually use it? And even if a handful of people do, should it really sit above other important sidebar elements like your subscription widget?

The answer is no. It’s got to go. If there’s anything else like this, it needs to go as well.

The goal is to have a clean, uncluttered site that doesn’t distract from the steps that you want people to take. That means reading your posts, subscribing for future posts, clicking on ads, or anything else that is really important for you.

If there’s anything that doesn’t fit into one of these important categories, it needs to be removed. Immediately.

After cutting out the unnecessary clutter, the next step is to refresh your blog’s look. This is the time to invest in that premium theme you’ve been looking at. They’re usually around $80 and totally worth it.

If you want people to take your blog seriously, you need a professional looking site. To get one, invest in a premium theme.

This is how to hit the Refresh button. If your blog needs more help than this, it may be time for the Eject button.

Reset button #2: the Eject button

It’s possible that your blog is in worse condition than the refresh button can help with. When you started, you really didn’t know what you were doing. Your blog was totally an experiment, and you don’t even like your topic any more.

In this case, you need to hit Reset button number two—the Eject button.

If you’re really tired of your blog and you know you’re ready to start over, now is the time to do it. Hit the Eject button and get out of your blog while you still can. It’s time to start over.

The harsh reality is that you have a limited amount of time to write for your blog. Everything you write needs to be creating value for the reader and needs to contribute toward your long term goals. If you feel like your blog is headed in the wrong direction, don’t just try to wash it up a bit—get out as quickly as you can.

If you do, don’t quit—start another blog. Take some time to decide what you really want to write about, and then get to work.

Pick a topic that will get you going in the direction that you want to go. Then, start a self-hosted WordPress blog with a premium theme that will give you the flexibility and look that you need to create a professional impression that readers will take seriously.

After getting these pieces in place, it’s time to start writing again. Go ahead, make that keyboard work.

A fresh start

Don’t worry, it’s okay to start over. A fresh start in a new direction may be exactly what your blog needs. You may not realize it, but most bloggers have done it already. Most successful bloggers didn’t start out with the site that they’re currently writing. Most of them hit one of these two Reset buttons.

So what do you think? Is it time for you to hit the Reset button?

Joseph recently started Blog Tweaks which specializes in helping bloggers reset their blogs. Check out the site to see how you can get your blog tweaked.

5 Reasons to Blog Anonymously (and 5 Reasons Not To)

This guest post is by Phil (not his real name) of somehighschoolblog.

It used to be impossible to run a business anonymously. Sure, some authors could pull it off, but if you worked at an office, what were you supposed to do? Go to work with a bag over your head? But today anyone can accomplish this, because anyone can author a blog (and you thought I was going to tell you to work with a mask on, or something).

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Depending on your motives, you may or may not have considered blogging anonymously. You probably didn’t contemplate blogging anonymously if:

• your only motivation is to become “famous”
• your blog connects to another part of your life
• you are blogging to build more connections with your friends or boss.

You should consider blogging anonymously if:

• you’re planning on touching on a sensitive or taboo subject
• you don’t want to be identified with your blog
• you are worried about negative real-world consequences that could arise from your blog.

If you’ve already started your blog, it is too late to change to an anonymous persona (but you can always create another blog). However, if you are thinking of blogging anonymously, you should consider these points.

Reasons to blog anonymously

The concept of anonymity has always held a special enchantment for some people, and, for others it is purely practical. Whatever your blog topic, there are a five strong reasons to blog anonymously.

No pressure

If no one knows the “real you,” then they can’t tell you, in person, any thoughts they have on your blog. This means that no one will be able to make fun of, disagree strongly with, or ask to be featured on (using peer pressure) your blog. If your blog is a total flop, you won’t be publicly embarrassed.

While I wouldn’t advise disregarding your manners and morals, you don’t have to worry about close acquaintances or family members being offended by your posts.

A fresh start

Creating an anonymous identity also allows you to create a new character, if you so choose. Let’s say you are working full-time as an auto mechanic, but you are trying to create a blog on entrepreneurship. Your readers might not think you could be an authority on this subject as an auto mechanic, but an anonymous identity removes this doubt.

Instead, you could create a back-story to fit your blog; for this case, it could be something about how your latest entrepreneurial project is to build a blog anonymously.

You’re shy or unsure

Were you one of those people who is unwilling to put yourself on a blog for all to see, you should choose to blog anonymously. This way, you can hide behind a fake identity and not worry about what others think (similar to there being no pressure). You could also use anonymity to discover how people will react to your content before associating yourself with your content.

It’s a gimmick

Blogging anonymously might fit your content. For example, if you were to start a blog involving content that you received anonymously. Also, blogging anonymously places a shroud of mystery around the author and limits your personality to how you network and write your blog.

Additionally, you could make it into a marketing scheme, such as offering to reveal your true identity after reaching a certain number of subscribers.

Reasons not to blog anonymously

As an anonymous blogger who uses a pseudonym, I’ve been able to experience many of the negative aspects of choosing to remain anonymous firsthand. However, I have not yet encountered any one thing that was impossible to work around or ignore, so I have remained an anonymous blogger.

It’s harder to build traffic

Some of the initial things that many blogs recommend new bloggers do to build traffic cannot be done anonymously, and, thus, must be ignored or adapted to anonymity. For instance, many of the tips here and around the web encourage you to put your link in your email signature.

The only thing I use my anonymous e-mail address for is my blog, so this is redundant (it would be odd to have it in my real email). Also, linking to your blog from your Facebook page or Twitter account ruins your anonymity.

And, while you can (hopefully) trust your family not to share your blog’s identity, you can’t tell your friends or acquaintances to check out your blog and to spread the word, which is a great initial traffic builder.

More pressure

This is the exact opposite of “No Pressure,” but depending on what type of person you are, blogging anonymously could actually be more stressful than blogging as yourself.

You have to constantly watch yourself to make sure your anonymous identity never reveals your true identity (even in something as simple as signing your name to an e-mail) and vice-versa. Often, extra measures must be taken to ensure anonymity, and, while I won’t delve in to all of those, you must always check when giving any real information that it is not easily accessible.

Take this into account when creating user profiles for services or when registering a domain name (but you can choose to keep your information private for an extra $10 in this case).

No real-life connection

Since you can’t tell your friends about your blog, you can’t ever reference your blog in conversation.

You will need to depend on the digital world for feedback, and there will be no “Did you like my last post?” conversations. Instead, you will have to rely entirely on comments to gain a sense of how your readers feel about your blog.

The truth always appears

In such an interconnected society, if enough people put effort into it, they will discover your true identity. If/when this happens, you need to consider whether or not your readers will feel betrayed or angry towards you. You should consider this even if you plan on going public with your identity yourself at some point.

Feeling a loss of accountability

Many people think blogging anonymously protects them from whatever they write, so they are incredibly rude, untruthful, or worse. You should always know that people can find your true identity, and it is just plain useless to write this way. After all, no one will want to read it.

Furthermore, though, (and I can attest to this) it may sometimes be easier to excuse not posting for an extra few days, or not pursuing a guest-posting opportunity, because no one holds you accountable but yourself (no inquiries from friends or family). Therefore, you must be responsible and motivated to successfully blog anonymously.

Should you blog anonymously?

While there are both pros and cons to blogging anonymously, I feel that the negatives don’t outweigh the positives in certain situations. Each blogger is different, but, in my case, it is the lessened pressure combined with the creation of a new character that led me to blog anonymously.

Also, because it is harder to build initial traffic with previous connections, I think it is more challenging to build an anonymous blog (therefore, any experienced bloggers looking for a new project should try building a blog with an anonymous persona, disregarding any previous connections they’ve accumulated).

Do you have any experience, or advice for those thinking of blogging anonymously?

Using the pseudonym of Phil, Phil is a high school freshman who writes for, markets, and manages a humor blog about all aspects of high school life. Phil is unsure of what career he wants to pursue, but a few possibilities can be found here.

How to Use SEO Wisely for Long-term Profits

This guest post is by Moon Hussain of Experiments in Passive Income.

By now, we have all read about the basics of search engine optimization.  But despite knowing all the best practices, only a very few of us practice them.  I know this because shamefully, it was only recently I realized that most of my content isn’t search engine optimized.

This doesn’t make sense: you work hard using social media to get the word out about your glorious new post and are dying to see your Twitter stream blow up with your content.  That’s great and all, but why not optimize your work for the search engines and receive consistent, targeted traffic every day?

See, it’s the year 2011 and having grown up in an age where the Internet has morphed into a powerful tool, we use it for far more than stalking people on Facebook; I personally use the Internet for online shopping, restaurant reviews, dentist reviews (not kidding!), product reviews, checking out bands, downloading music… I could go on forever.  Whoever has their sites ranking in the top few related results is (potentially) raking in a lot of targeted traffic and money. This could be you.

If you have a blog online, the bottom line is you need to reach targeted audience.  You need to draw in new visitors on a constant basis to expand your online domain.

Shucks, Pa! How can I reach my target audience?!

With a few more simple but smart moves, you can really get a nice amount of new visitors on a monthly basis.

Hopefully, you know what type of audience you are trying to reach.  To reach your audience, a big part of what we, SEO practitioners, do is called keyword research.  You can use a free tool like the Google Keyword Tool to decide what keywords are worth your time.

For a solid year, I have been relying a little bit on keyword research and more so on social media (thanks to Twitter and my fellow network) to drive traffic to my site.

The main keyword that I have been trying to rank my blog for receives a nice 9000-10,000 hits a month.  Nice big fish, right?  Only problem is, it can take a while to rank for competitive keyphrases.  However, something pretty cool happened in the process of trying to aim for the main keyphrase: I now rank for another keyphrase that receives about 2000 searches a month globally.

Thanks to ranking for this “smallish” keyphrase, I get new visitors consistently every day.  Without having to do any extra work!

What does an extra 50-100 visitors a day mean for you?  Could this result in extra subscribers to your email list, affiliate sales down the line, new loyal readers?

Start with your blog posts

Even though you have a main keyword you want your blog to rank for, you should take a look at your past posts. Do you have any posts that review a product or shed light on a sub-topic?

For product keywords, you can easily optimize your post to rank for “product name”, “product review” type of keywords.  Even if these terms receive a low number of searches a month, you can earn a few affiliate sales because these are known as buyer keywords. People use such keywords to make up their minds about purchasing the products by looking up reviews; if everything checks out, they are ready to buy the product or service.  You want your link to be the one they click through to make that product or service purchase!

Move onto sub-topics

As for a sub-topic, again conduct some research using the Google Keyword Tool.  Just because you want your blog to rank for “vegetable gardening” [5400 searches globally] doesn’t mean you can’t have a post that ranks for “grow tomatoes” [1300 searches globally].  You can surely see that people who are interested in growing their own tomatoes would most likely also be interested in vegetable gardening.

Better yet, if you do proper keyword research, you can end up with a keyword pyramid which can help you dominate your competitive keyphrases a lot easier.

Since my blog is well over the year mark, I have made a list of five posts (and keyphrases) that I’d like to rank.  This may take me a couple of months but it ensures the survival of my blog.  I have already begun my SEO efforts on this post: Why Blog Blueprint Rocks For Your Backlinking Campaign—The Most Important Words You’ll Read Today.

About a month ago, this blog post didn’t rank in the top 1000 search results in Google.  Thanks to an awesome gig on Fiverr, it ranks #23 in Google now and I will keep up my backlinking efforts until I see it ranking in top three in Google search results.

If we take a look at my keyword research, you may think that ranking for this post isn’t even worth my efforts:

But that’s where you’re wrong! Not only is the competition for these keywords low but ranking this post in conjunction with a few other posts for the appropriate keywords will result in new, steady traffic.

Take action NOW

Which two or three posts can you rank with some on-page and off-page optimization?  Doing keyword research for these posts and hiring someone on Fiverr should take less than an hour.  The purpose here is to leverage your existing content using search engine optimization to get new visitors.

Ranking your post or website can take a nice amount of work and time.  It takes patience and endurance, kind of like a ninja. Seriously!

The first step in getting your site to rank is to conduct search engine optimization on the post.  If you are using WordPress for your blog, then hopefully you are using the All-In-One-SEO Pack for on-page optimization.  If you’re not, then you have some work to do.  This plug-in makes it super easy to fill in tags, description and title of your post (as in filling in the meta tags specifically for the post) for the search engines:

Next, you need your post to receive some backlinks.  If you have a powerful network, you can ask your friends to link to you (yeah right!)  For blogs with a small readership, this won’t come so easily.

If not, you can take matters into your own hands.  You can create social bookmarking links, article links, web 2.0 links or a nice link wheel.  You can take it a step further and use Fiverr to get your backlinking done.

However, don’t expect results overnight.  Rarely does this happen.

By ranking three of your posts for search terms that receive 1000 searches each, you have potentially added 1500-2500 new visitors every month.  For small blogs, this number of visitors a month is a lifeline.  Once the work is done, you will reap the benefits for months and years to come.  Even Darren dedicates time to search engine optimizing his posts once a month, only on a much bigger scale.  But you can start small and build your way up.

Why SEO is your friend

Most people new to search engine optimization give up before they see any results which is a shame because it can sustain your blog and your business.

Advertising takes money.  Search engine rankings can take time.  However, I’m a fan of SEO and ranking your website because it’s a low cost solution as long as you don’t mind putting in consistent effort and have time.

Within one month’s time, I’d love to share with you how my blog post is faring in the search engines.  Why not throw in the gauntlet?  What post(s) will you be working on ranking in Google?  Please let me know in the comments section.

Moon Hussain loves utilizing search engine optimization to fuel her so-called passive income experiments blog.  Check out her free report, To the Moon & Back: Honest Guide to Building Successful Passive Income Businesses Online in which she discusses all that she’s learned in a year.

Finding the Rhythm of Blogging

This guest post is by Stephanie Krishnan of

I play the African drum: an instrument called the djembe. I’ve been playing it since 2005. Until last year I used to play it as often as four times a week with a local group. My husband requested that I reduce the frequency of my playing (as it took a lot of time away from our time together: he travels a lot for his work). Initially I resisted, however, now I play very infrequently—probably only once every three months when he’s out of town.


Image is author's own

One of the things that made it easier to reduce the frequency of my drumming was fear. It wasn’t that I couldn’t play. Our teacher had a series of 20 rhythms of varying complexity and I did fairly well in mastering those. I could play them practically on demand (and still can). I even liked playing them in front of others at performances. The problem was that when it came to improvising and soloing, which was expected of everyone who had played for a couple of years, I believed I was terrible.

I tried various methods for overcoming this.

I would put together a “planned solo”—a rhythm that I could play when it was my turn to go alone. When it came to crunch time I would get nervous and forget it.

I tried to play the rhythm over and over again—on my car stereo, on my iPod, at home—and just play what felt natural to see if anything fit. Nothing seemed to fit together, or if it did, I couldn’t repeat it. Again, when it came time to perform I would go a brilliant shade of red, drum out a few beats and pass it on to the next soloist, convinced I’d just embarrassed myself royally in front of an audience and in front of other players whose opinion I cared about.

Now, I’m not an A-list blogger. I’m not even a P-list blogger (does the list go that low?). I have a passion for Office productivity software (eg., LibreOffice, etc.). I love what it can do and I love the idea of open-source. I love the idea of developing something and giving back to the community. So open-source-office-productivity-software just plain floats my boat. I have also found that others don’t like Office productivity software. They see it more as a necessary evil. They use it because they have a task to do and want to know the best way to achieve that task without the software hanging or producing undesirable results.

I try to fill this gap.

So you would think that I had identified a problem and a solution to my problem?

Possibly—there is no guarantee. The problem I have is not with this. The problem I have is that now I have my “product”, I’m scared and I’m over-thinking everything. I’m back to the same problem I have with my djembe-playing.

Lessons from the djembe

My djembe teacher used to say that there are a few things that you need to do in order to solo well.

  1. Don’t think too much. If you think about what you are going to do too much, you’ll be slow, and you’ll miss the beat. Then your performance will sound as bad as you are afraid it will sound, and you will think even harder. It’s a never-ending cycle.
  2. Let yourself go. You have the knowledge and the skill. Now just let your body do what it feels is right. If it’s wrong, it will find its rhythm again and you will have an opportunity in the next beat to make it right.
  3. Find your voice. Think about what you want to say with your instrument and say it. Joy? Sadness? Love? Express it with your instrument!
  4. Practice. Often. Keep at it. Don’t give up. It will come and it will steadily get better.

I have intellectually known that I have not been applying this to my blogging. I have been letting fears that I am not expert enough, and that I don’t have enough information/expertise/whatever to put out the ebook that’s been sitting in the back of my mind.

I read blogs. I do research. I read on twitter. I read, read, read.

But I forget to write.

I see my figures on Google Analytics—the meagre 100 visitors that I used to get every month are dwindling – 80, 70 and now 60.

It’s time I learned to solo.

From drumming to blogging

Now I will put my djembe master’s guide into practice.

  1. Don’t think too much. I will commit to sitting down and writing Not reading, not researching. Just doing. A minimum of three times per week. Nike’s will be my mantra—”just do it.”
  2. Let myself go. I will start my ebook: first as a series of blog posts that will build into the full book. I can correct the mistakes based on feedback and I can put together solutions that people will be able to follow.
  3. Find my voice. I know what I want to say. I’ve just been afraid of what people will say. But you know what? There will be mistakes. There will be better ways to do things. And I can learn and grow and adapt as my readers do, and my voice can be one that shares this growth with others.
  4. Practice. And this means write. And keep on writing. And don’t stop. It will get better.

I can do this. I know I can. And then maybe I’ll get back to soloing on the djembe as well.

Have you found your blogging rhythm? Tell us how in the comments.

Stephanie Krishnan is passionate about Open Source and all Office Productivity Software, and her site at provides solutions, templates and tutorials on getting you the results you want from your Office software. You can follow Guide2Office on Facebook or Twitter.

Guest Posting and The Panda Update: Is Guest Posting the Problem?

This guest post is by Philip Rudy of

The recent Panda update has affected many websites, and not only the “content mills” of the Internet. Many bloggers are scrambling and wondering what they can do get their rankings back to where they were.

Side note: If you feel you have been wrongly effected by the recent update, let Google know about it here.

Many bloggers have even gone as far as to delete each and every one of their guest posts until their rankings bounce back, thinking that the guest posts they have allowed on their sites are what is affecting their rank.

However, guest posting is not a problem if it’s done right. If accepting guest posts is what’s keeping your web site at the bottom of the SERPs, then it’s time to start taking a better look at the guest posts your web site is accepting.

Let’s take a close look at the similarities between your sub-par guest post and the type of pages that were affected by the Panda Update:

Original content makes up a low % of content, either at the page level or throughout a whole site

Unfortunately, many guest post topics are rehashed over and over on the Internet. Is it always the guest poster’s fault? No, but when people are trying to build links rather than provide value through their writing, then topics become rehashed over and over again. If you have many guest posts like this then your web site starts to look like a duplicate content monster—and sometimes you wouldn’t even know it.

Solution: Research proposed guest posting topics and see what’s already out there. Let guest bloggers know that if they want to write on topic, then it has to be something completely different from what comes up in the SERPs.

Ads that don’t coincide with the content

Many times when you accept guest posts they may be a little off topic from what you are usually writing about. When you accept many off-topic guest posts, your site begins to look like a content mill—more like an article directory than a blog.

If you have advertisement on your site that’s the same on each page, you begin to have totally irrelevant ads on many of your pages. This is a sign of a poor-quality website—and one that is now measurable in Google’s algorithm.

Solution: Make sure when you are accepting guest posts that the topic is at least somewhat related to the ads that you run on your website. If you run a blog that covers a few or many different topics then make sure you place the appropriate ads to place on the pages that are guest posts.

High bounce rate and low time spent on the page

Low-quality guest posts ensure that the visitor will leave the site as soon as they land on it. Since many guest posts do not have the in-depth analysis on the topics that the visitor is searching for, and are usually just cover a broad generalization of the topic, a visitor will automatically assume that the rest of your website will be just as low quality.

Solution: At first glance the solution to this problem might be to require lengthier articles—but that of course is not a solution. It may in fact just add to the problem. There is no magic word count that will keep your visitors on your site longer—only good content can do that. A good solution to the problem is to require some type of study case or detailed analysis with each article—something to capture the readers’ eyes and keep them there.

Guest posting is not the problem

Guest posting should not be a link-building exercise first and foremost. It is a valuable tool, but one that can definitely be taken advantage of, and doing so will definitely leave your site susceptible to algorithm updates like Panda and others that will be similar in the future.

If you think submitted guest posts will increase the value of your blog, accept them. If they’re just filler, then you are probably better off without the unneeded content.

This article was written by Philip Rudy. Philip helps to run, which is an Internet marketing company that provides a white label link building service.

Why Your Next Post Should Be a Short One

This guest post is by Martyn of Two Hour Blogger.

  1. It does not take long to write.
  2. It does not take long to read.
  3. It forces you to write efficiently.
  4. It increases the number of comments.
  5. It makes you stand out.
  6. It gets spread a lot.
  7. It builds your audience.

Get more from Martyn at Two Hour Blogger.

From $0 to $1000 on a Blogspot Blog

This guest post is by Sid of GeeksMakeMoney.

It has been a year now since an eventful day when I was browsing the Internet and clicked on an advertisement that seemed an obvious scam: Get 90% off a new iPad. “Yeah, right,” I thought. But I wanted to check it out anyway since I seemed to recall seeing the same ad previously, and I wondered if it was a new type of scam I should be aware of. As it turned out, it wasn’t a scam, just misleading advertising … and thus began my blog on penny auctions, which are a class of entertainment auctions.

I found the idea exciting enough to blog about. I was just getting interested in multi-player game theory and thought that auctions are a nice field to study. The problem was, I had no experience of problogging at all. Like so many others, all I previously had was a blog for my random musings but nothing serious. I had a very elementary knowledge of SEO which I gained working as a freelance writer. I knew nothing about how to rank well in Google or how to use backlinks effectively. As a writer, the only promotional tool I did know about was article marketing.

I started this blog in May 2010, and it’s been growing for one year now. Looking back, I have learned so much and there is still so much to learn. Here is my journey in a nutshell.

Blogspot is okay!

The thing that surprises people the most about my blog is that it is a Blogspot (or blog. Yes, it is against the holy grail of problogging, but there is a very simple explanation—I didn’t know better! If I had waited to gain all the technical knowledge needed to have my own hosting, I know I would never have started, which would have been an even bigger mistake.

If I had a chance to create this blog all over again, I would of course choose WordPress and have my own hosting. That being said, I was just following the very fundamentals of blogging: sharing with others what I knew and what I thought. These details didn’t matter to me then.

Using Blogger is really convenient for me as I can spend almost all of my time writing posts instead of anything else. Since my primary purpose was just to share my thoughts rather than making money from the blog, Blogger was a natural choice. However, even now, it seems it isn’t as bad as it is made out to be!

The jump from blogging to problogging

No, I didn’t start the blog with the intention of making money from it. Truth be told, I didn’t even know how to at that time. I just started the blog because I felt intrigued by the niche I was blogging about and had a thing or two to share. I wouldn’t say I was passionate about the niche like a dog-lover is about his dog-related blog. However, I was certainly interested and curious and it was always a good learning experience.

The shift from blogging to pro-blogging for me was very gradual. As I saw more and more people visit my blog, I thought it would be a good idea to start monetizing the blog. As is common with beginners, I really had an information overload and didn’t really know where to start. The simplest was Google Adsense and I started off with it. Even now, I get about $100/month from one ad unit of Google Adsense on my blog although I have moved to better ways of monetization.

If you have a blog, you don’t need to monetize it immediately. You don’t even need to get started with that intention. It is true that it is all about the traffic. Once you build an authority in this area, there are a hundred ways to make money. The first step is not about making pennies and then dollars but about building an authority and brand that people look up to and trust.

Blogging in a new niche: advantages and disadvantages

When I started a year ago, there were very few blogs on penny auctions, if at all. There was just one famous forum on this topic and no well known blogs. This has plenty of advantages and disadvantages and it was a very different learning experience than blogging in Internet marketing, affiliate marketing, or other more common areas.

The biggest advantage that I can think of is the ease of ranking. When I started, I wrote a couple of general posts and then a strategy which would help people improve their winning chances on an auction. I didn’t have any backlinks to this post at all. It so happened that it was indexed and ranked within the first page of Google then (it would never happen today!) and I could see a small but steady stream of traffic. For me, without this initial encouragement, I would never have taken to problogging.

The biggest disadvantage was there was no community of bloggers. I couldn’t comment on related blogs, which is central to most other blogging success stories. Even today, I hardly know of five bloggers in my niche. Another disadvantage is that there is no precedent so you need to do your own research and take leaps of faith quite often. You do things that you think are right, which may be absurd for this particular industry. For example, when I first started banner advertising on my blog, I had no clue how to go about it or how to price them. I only learned through a series of failures, which looking back seem like obvious mistakes.

The importance of knowing how your niche is unique

I think it is very important to realize how your niche is unique and different from other niches. This is particularly so when you are blogging in a new area because there is ample scope to do things differently and be creative. Finally, it is all about creating value to readers and advertisers.

I figured out relatively early that there are plenty of new businesses opening up and they don’t have adequate ways to advertise except with Google Adwords. I gave them a very good alternative: advertise on my blog! I have had excellent advertiser feedback for the amount and quality of traffic my blog sends to their site, which is also why I charge more than what a blog in another niche would for the same amount of traffic. I also realized that featured blog posts, especially promotional ones with coupon codes are good both for my readers and my advertisers, so that was another area I was making money off.

It is very important to know what the readers of your niche are looking for and what the advertisers are looking for. By matching their two needs, you can create a good harmony and make good money off it in a sustainable fashion.

Knowing what to promote

Reading online about affiliate marketing, I wanted to enter the niche as well. Problem was, I didn’t have many products that I could promote. I found an ebook about winning penny auctions on ClickBank that I wanted to give a try, but I never liked the idea from the beginning—I thought my blog had superior information!

With time, I found some sites that gave me a percentage of sales that I make—CPA advertising. If my visitors registered at the site and bought a product, I would be rewarded. With experience, I figured out this would be the best way for me to make money from my blog and I was right. Today, more than half of my income comes from affiliate marketing but not from promoting a product but from promoting a website. Of course I need to be extremely careful that the site I promote is indeed good for my readers.

Earnings overview

In the end, I want to share with you my breakdown of earnings. As of now, I have three primary sources of money on my blog:

  1. Google Adsense: One ad unit near the header. For May, I made about $100 from this.
  2. Direct advertising: I contact advertisers directly and tell them how they can get value from my blog. I usually combine banners with featured blog posts (mostly coupon codes). For May, I made about $350 from this.
  3. Affiliate marketing: Out of a bunch of sites, I chose the one that I found the best fit for my readers. For the money of May, I made about $750 through this route.

Did you start blogging in a new niche? Do you run a Blogger blog as well? I would love to hear comments from you!

Sid is a freelance writer and blogger. He is one of the top Penny Auction Blogger and an expert in this niche. He is sharing his tips to Make Money Online and is the blogger at Geeks Make Money. He is always happy to connect to his readers through blog comments and ready to help those are beginning their journey online.

The Intimidating Secret Every Blogger Shares

This guest post is by Jamie Harrop of BloggingZest.

Like you, blogging often scares me and repeatedly takes me to a point of stale conversation and blocked fingertips. Tonight, I want to share my story with you; the story of how I admitted and overcame a fear so strong it stopped me blogging for six months…

I sit here tonight with the ever dimming light of day flowing over my garden behind me, and for company the slight bronze glow of my desk lamp and the 30 minute chime of the cuckoo clock on my office wall. It’s approximately ten years since I started blogging at this very desk. And tonight, I realized something that has taken me those ten amazing, fun, and delightful years to discover.

I deeply fear your rejection

My readers, I fear your rejection. I fear my ideas aren’t worthy of your eyes or your opinion. I fear others have written before me what I wish to write. I fear you already know the lessons I wish to teach. I fear the conversation my articles provoke, should they by some miracle provoke any at all, will be stagnant, old, and lacking in passion. I fear my voice is just one in a million million; a vast ocean of attentive writers; a vast mass of brilliance.

I fear rejection, and that is why I’ve been inconsistent in my writing. I’ve lacked a clear voice. Sometimes I’m sensitive. Other times I’m blunt. Occasionally I’m controversial. I’ve also lacked a clear schedule, often taking breaks from blogging of months at a time.

“I don’t have the ideas.” I said. “I don’t like where the industry is going.” I griped.

But tonight I realized I was wrong. I did and do have the ideas. I did and do like where the industry is going. And I did blog and I do blog and that is what my fingers were made for.

Tonight, I realized I wasn’t bored. I wasn’t lacking inspiration. I was scared. I was scared of rejection.

I’ve spent the past ten years writing online. I started with a static Web site, updating the HTML code with new text each time I posted something new. Then I created my own blogging software. Then I moved to WordPress, and in amongst all that I tried Blogger, WordPress Hosted, Journal, and TypePad.

Throughout those ten years, I wrote several times about the fear of rejection and the role it plays in blogging. I’ve read about it even more. It’s something I knew others experienced, but never thought I would. Surely, after ten years, I wouldn’t worry what I was writing wasn’t relevant? But I did, and that’s why I stopped blogging.

Throughout the past six months I had hundreds of blog post ideas, but they were all thrown in the trash for one reason; I didn’t think they were good enough for my audience, for my reputation, for the person that I and others had come to expect.

“Hands down some of the best blogging tips I’ve read this year”

Over the past ten years I’ve been told my advice is the best blogging advice to have ever been read. I’ve been told I’ve motivated people to start blogging or to reinvigorate their blog with new life. I’ve even had one of my blog posts taken by a parent and read to her children who were so captivated by it she took the time to tell me. It’s no wonder I’ve set my standards high, and it’s no wonder I began to fear rejection.

I’ve wrote hundreds of posts over the past ten years, and not a single one has been rejected. The occasional abusive comment or fiery debate? Sure. But nothing that has ever been rejected. So it came as a complete shock when, this evening, I finally realised that a fear of rejection has stopped me from doing what I love.

Admitting to myself, and dealing with the issue

It came as a complete shock, but that feeling lasted just a few short seconds. As soon as I realized what had been holding my creative self back for so long I felt able to deal with it. I felt a huge paper weight removed from my fingers. I can deal with it now that I’ve admitted it. I’m not lacking ideas. The industry isn’t falling flat on its face. Those were excuses, an attempt to blame somebody or something else other than my own trepidation.

If we wish to continue building our reputation as bloggers, we need to listen more to the very advice we give to others. So stop being scared of publishing that latest blog post. Stop thinking it isn’t up to scratch. Stop worrying it won’t get any comments, and stop throwing your ideas in the trash. The fact is it’s your job as a blogger to make any topic interesting, to bring your voice to even the most stagnant of tables, and to spark the invigorating conversation that blogs were made for. Go on, you can do it. It’s what you do.

This evening as I sit here with the final rays of sun shimmering behind me, the light warmth of the desk lamp on my face, and the occasional “Cuckoo” ringing out above me, I’ve let my fingers do the talking. My fingertips softly tap the keyboard as I let my thoughts flow, as I share my lessons, my wisdom or lack of it at times, my insecurities, and my story. This is what blogging is about. It’s about sharing with the world your vocal delicacies. And that’s why I love it and I could never stay away.

We all face rejection, but we only fall so we can learn to stand. I’m planting the flag of pride in this post, standing tall and asking you to share. Leave a comment, and let me know I’m on the right track.

Jamie Harrop has been blogging for nine years, tweeting for three years and now writes at BloggingZest. Today, with posts such as, How to Stand out in a Blogging Crowd he writes about blogging, online relationships, social media and SEO.>