8 Data KPIs Every Blogger Should be Using to Grow Their Blog

8 Data KPIsThis is a guest contribution from Justin Butlion.

When it comes to growing a blog, there are a hundred different directions one could take. Some decide that the design of their site is outdated while others remove or add share buttons in the hope of increasing engagement.

In this day and age there are many free tools that provide insights with data that eliminates the need to guess. In this post, I cover eight different key performance indicators that every blogger should be tracking, and how each of these metrics can be used to grow a blog over time.

1. Bounce Rate

Definition: Bounce rate is the percentage of your visitors that view a single page during their visit.

Can be found In: Google Analytics

Bounce rate is one of the best metrics available to determine if there are any major issues with your site from a design or compatibility perspective. The first thing you should look at is your site-wide bounce rate. If this figure is very high (above 85%) it could indicate that your site has major design problems which are putting off the vast majority of your visitors.

If your site-wide bounce rate falls within the standard 65%-80% then you should compare your mobile vs non-mobile traffic. If there is a big difference between the bounce rate of the mobile version of your site compared to the non-mobile version, then your site is not fully compatible for mobile or tablet viewing, and you should address this issue ASAP.

If you don’t have any of the two issues I mentioned above, but still suffer from a high bounce rate, then break it down by traffic source. You might find that there are certain traffic sources which are bringing you junk traffic which is bouncing at a very high rate.

If you are happy with your bounce rate but still think there is room for improvement, then work harder on driving more relevant visitors to your blog via activities on social media, certain niche forums, and by getting backlinks from other sites in your space.

2. Exit rate

Definition: Exit rate is the ratio of page views of a specific page and the number of exits from your blog from that specific page.

Can be found in: Google Analytics

Exit rate can be very confusing, but in a nutshell it represents the likelihood of someone leaving your site from a specific page. The exit rate, similar to the bounce rate, can be used to help identify specific pages where visitors are leaving your site en masse.

If a page has a very high exit rate, it could indicate that visitors deem the page irrelevant or not what they were expecting. If you have certain flows in your blog then you can analyze the exit rates of the different pages in the funnel to determine which pages need your attention.

I wouldn’t obsess over exit rates because these will drop when other areas of your blog like better navigation, improved distribution of traffic and better formatting are implemented. The only thing I would look out for is if there are obvious issues like a high exit rate (above 80%) on pages which should lead to deeper dives into your blog like say your category pages.

3.Traffic distribution

Definition: The breakdown of your blog’s traffic by channel

Can be found in: Google Analytics

sources report google analytics

Capture: The Source/Medium report from Google Analytics shows the performance of traffic by different sources.

Understanding the distribution of your traffic is key to understanding the health of your blog. You can find a detailed breakdown of your traffic distribution in the “acquisition” reports in Google Analytics. I personally prefer to look at the “Source/Medium” report to see the breakdown of my blog’s traffic and I recommend you use the same report.

There is no perfect distribution of someone’s blog traffic because every blog is different and some niches can expect traffic from multiple channels while others might have to rely solely on two or three channels.

The major traffic channels are:

  • Organic search traffic – Traffic from search queries run on search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.
  • Direct traffic – Includes all traffic which isn’t in any one of the other four channels. Includes traffic that comes directly to the site by typing it in the address bar, traffic from bookmarks and traffic from emails which don’t have UTMs tags in their links.
  • Referral traffic – Traffic that came via a link on another website.
  • Paid traffic – Traffic which came to your site from paid channels like Adwords.
  • Campaign traffic – Traffic which is tagged with UTM tags will appear in this category. Paid traffic is also technically campaign traffic.

The kind of distribution I’ve seen on a few different blogs is around 30-50% organic search, 10-20% referral, 20-30% direct and 1-10% campaign traffic.

If your blog’s traffic distribution swings heavily towards one channel, like say 80% of your traffic comes from search, then this could indicate that you are not distributing your content well enough and other sites in your niche are not referencing your content.

You should try and balance your traffic distribution to lower risk and maximize your growth potential, just like you would a financial portfolio.

4. Organic traffic percentage and growth

Definition: The percentage of your overall traffic that comes from organic search and the change in the absolute number of visitors from this channel.

Can be found in: Google Analytics:

If you are already looking at your traffic distribution then you will already know the percentage of your overall traffic which comes from organic traffic. The reason I specifically focus on this channel is because I believe it is the one metric early stage bloggers should try and improve aggressively.

Search remains a major channel for bloggers and needs to be a big part of any blog’s growth strategy. Understanding first the overall percentage of traffic from search, and then how this number is changing from month to month will help indicate if you are doing a good job in ranking for more and more keywords and improving the overall SEO strength of your site.

I highly recommend using a tool like Moz for tracking your rankings for specific, relevant keywords. By focusing on climbing up the SEO ladder for relevant keywords in your niche, you will drive more search traffic to your site. The best thing about this traffic is that it is highly relevant so it will convert very well, resulting in more revenue for your business.

5. Shareability of posts

Definition: Average number of total shares that your posts generate.

Can be found in: Social metrics WordPress Plugin or Feedio

The shareability of your posts is an important indicator for your blog. The number of shares your posts get help indicate the relevancy of your traffic, the quality of your writing and the readability of your posts.

The best way to track this metric is to use a tool like Social Metrics WordPress plugin or Feedio which shows the total share and mention counts from Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn for all your recent posts.

You can use this data to determine your average share count and use that benchmark to measure the performance of individual posts.

Your aim should be to increase this average over time by improving your content, the quality of the traffic you are driving to your site, the formatting of your posts and use of media like video and images.

social shares

Caption: Feedio is one of many tools which show you the total number of likes, shares and mentions your posts are getting from different social media networks.

6. Pages viewed per visit

Definition: The average number of pages viewed by an individual visitor per session

Can be found in: Google Analytics

The number of pages viewed per visitor is a classic Google Analytics metric which helps indicate how easy it is to navigate within your site and the overall quality of your writing.

If you know that the right traffic is hitting your site but your average pages viewed per visit is very low then it could indicate that your site is very difficult to navigate and visitors simply can’t work out how to navigate to different pages.

You can use Google Analytics Behavior Flow Report (see screenshot below) to determine how visitors are moving through your site. You can also use the exit rate per page, bounce rate and landing page data to determine where visitors are hitting your site and where they are leaving.

behavior flow

7. Time on site

Definition: The average amount of time an individual spends on your site per session

Can be found in: Google Analytics

Like pages viewed per visit, the time on site metric helps indicate the overall appeal of your site to your visitors. If your bounce rate and pages viewed per visit are very low, then your time on site will also be low. In order to improve this metric you should concentrate on improving the other site performance related metrics like pages viewed per visit, bounce rate and shareability of posts. If you can improve each of these metrics then time on site will improve

Because the time on site metric is directly related to many other metrics, there is no reason to monitor it on a consistent basis. Look at it once every few months to see if it is moving in the right direction.

If you’re putting a lot of effort into improving metrics like your bounce rate, pages per visit etc and none of these metrics are improving then make sure you’re driving the right traffic to your site.

8. Call-to-action conversion rate

Definition: The percentage of your visitors which take a specific action on your site

Can be found in: Depends on the CTA (more details below)

Every blog should have at least one action that you want your visitors to take. This might be signing up to your email list or clicking through to Amazon to hopefully buy your latest book. Whatever that action is you should track the conversion rate in order to determine a benchmark and try and improve it over time.

Tracking CTA conversion rates can be tricky but thankfully there are good methods and tools available to help with this process.

There are a number of different CTAs that you can have on your site which can be at different stages of a funnel. Each step of the funnel should be tracked in order to determine where in the funnel people are falling out. Below is a list of different CTAs and how to determine the percentage of visitors which end up completing the action at the end of the funnel.

Email form to collect emails for a newsletter or RSS-to-email:

The funnel: Lands on the blog > enters email in sidebar, or lands on the blog > navigates to a different page > enters email in sidebar

To determine this conversion rate you would look at unique visitors to your blog and unique emails submitted to your email capture service (Mailchimp for example).

Purchases of a product which is hosted outside of your website

The funnel: Lands on the blog > clicks on banner, or link > purchases product

To determine this conversion rate you would look at unique visitors to your blog, clicks on the banner or link and purchases of the product.

To determine unique visitors to your blog, you would look in Google Analytics; for clicks on the banner or link, you would use a tool like Bitly, and for purchases of the product you would look in the platform which is hosting the product like in your Amazon account.

Downloads piece of gated content on your blog

The funnel: Lands on the blog > clicks on banner or link > fills out form and downloads content

To determine this conversion rate you would simply set up a goal in Google Analytics. This will allow you to dive into your traffic data at a higher resolution and determine interested things which are much tougher to determine in the previously listed funnels. For details on setting up a funnel-based goal in Google Analytics check out this guide.

If you consider yourself technical and you have a budget then I recommend investing in a tool like Mixpanel or Kissmetrics which will allow you to track every event on your site. These tools provide advanced reporting tools to help you run complex analyses of your funnels and traffic performance.

km-funnel-report

Caption: Example of a funnel report in Kissmetrics

Conclusion

Thanks to Google Analytics and similar web analytics tools bloggers have access to in-depth, useful analytics on multiple aspects of their blogs. Growth has moved from being something your address with your gut and passed experience to one of a science with methodologies and proven approaches.

If you consider yourself a serious blogger that really wants to grow their blog into a thriving business, then you will have to learn and master your site’s data so you can make informed decisions.

I hope this post has helped shed some light on where and how to start this process. If you have any questions, feedback on the post or tips you think should be added to the post then please comment below.

Justin Butlion is the co-founder of Feedio, a marketing platform for bloggers that focuses on RSS-to-email, social media engagement and blogging analytics. Justin loves to write and talk about online marketing and entrepreneurship and is a die-hard English Football fan.

3 Project Management and Organisational Apps that I Use in My Blogging

The last two weeks have been crazy. I’m sure you know the type of weeks I’m talking about. Onn top of my normally full weeks…

  • I impulsively decided to launch a month of daily podcasts (and I crazily decided to do all of the show notes, editing and production myself)
  • We launched our mid year sale on dPS
  • Our two day ProBlogger event is just 5 weeks away and preparations are getting to that ‘frenzy’ point
  • I accepted 9 invitations to be interviewed on other people’s podcasts
  • 3 out of 5 of our core team are away overseas so I had a few jobs that I’d normally have them do on my list
  • Two of my sons had birthday parties – shenanigans!!!
  • It’s school holidays so I’ve had to take a couple of afternoons off to do family stuff
  • I had a full day photoshoot to get some new headshot scheduled

In hindsight I probably bit off a little more than I could chew – although I do find that when I’m busy I am more productive – but I’m also feeling pretty much in control this week for two other reasons.

Firstly, I really believe that my recent changes in healthy living have played a massive part in helping me stay in control, not feel overwhelmed and being super productive. Diet and exercise are paying off in many ways!

Secondly, for the first time in a while, I feel like I’ve got my act together with a task management workflow that is working for me.

Someone asked me on Periscope earlier in the week (yes I’ve started using it this last week too – find me at @ProBlogger) what tools and app I use so I thought today I’d jot talk about 3 that I’ve found helpful in this crazy period. I hope that they help others who might be looking for some help in this area and would love to hear what you’re using below in comments!

1. Task Management – Wunderlist

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Wunderlist is the latest tool that I’ve added to my system.

I was previously trying to use Evernote for task management but found it came up short for me on that front. While you can set reminders in Evernote I needed to be able to see a days tasks in a list and to be able to move them around easily, set recurring reminders, create sub lists etc.

Wunderlist has enabled me to do this and more (and I’m still discovering its features).

  • I love that it sits on my iPhone, Macbook and iMac (and my new Apple Watch)
  • I love that I can set up folders for different types of tasks
  • I love that I can set myself due dates and reminders
  • I love that it gives me a ‘smart list’ for todays tasks, this weeks tasks etc
  • I love that it allows me to set up recurring tasks (daily, weekly, monthly etc)
  • I love that it allows me to share lists (although I’m a bit scared to let my team or wife add to them yet!)
  • I love that I can email myself tasks
  • I love that I can add to my lists from browsers to take note of what I want to read later
  • I love that I can add notes/comments to my tasks
  • I love that I can put my tasks into my calendar

I’m also excited to see some Wunderlist integrations with Zapier (which I’m yet to explore) which allow it to be connected with other apps including Evernote.

2. Calendar – Fantastical 2 from Flexbits

NewImage

I’ve always been a big user of Apple’s Calendar but in recent months I’ve found myself increasingly frustrated by it. This has been because I’m finding my days are fuller and fuller of appointments, reminders and tasks and I just wasn’t satisfied with the way they were being displayed.

I wanted a daily view that arranged my tasks better both on my computers, phone and watch. I had tried a few of the alternatives including the original Fantastical app but it wasn’t until I found the updated Fantastical 2 that I found something that suited my needs.

I will say I’m still on the trial and have not committed to buy it (I’m not a fan of having to buy it for my computer AND my phone) but I’m very tempted.

In many ways it has the same features as the normal Apple Calendar but it just displays what I have on each day/week better and I find that if I’m seeing what I have on arranged better then I spend less time messing around in my calendar and most importantly I miss less appointments!

NewImage

I particularly love the ‘mini window’ which is in my menu bar on my computer which is a quick glance of my day that is easy to scroll through into future days.

Adding appointments is really easy too – you can do it in a very natural language (although Apple’s calendar isn’t too bad at this either).

The iPhone app is fantastic too – so easy to use, clearly laid out and very intuitive. The ‘daily ticker’ is really cool.

Screen Shot 2015 07 09 at 11 36 43 am

It looks good on the watch too!

NewImageI’ve also set up a Wunderlist calendar so my daily tasks are imported into my Fantastical calendar!

Last of all it syncs really well with other calendar apps so if it doesn’t work out I can always go back to another option.

3. Project Management – Evernote

NewImage

While I’m not using Evernote any longer for task management I’m still a big user for many other things. I only really adopted it a few months ago now after seeing one of my team members use it for a day while we were travelling but it has literally changed my life in so many ways!

I have notebooks set up for many aspects of my business.

For example the ProBlogger podcast has a notebook which has notes for:

  • outline/plan for future episodes
  • each episode’s outline which contains bullet points I want to hit and notes that later become show notes
  • templates for sponsor mentions
  • brainstorming of ideas for future episodes/guest
  • marketing ideas

I am also finding that I’m writing more and more of my blog posts in Evernote. I just wish there was a way to export them directly into WordPress (I’m sure it can be done with IFTTT but I need a dummies version. Update: I’m told by Chris in comments Coschedule has this feature – I’m going to test that out!

NewImage

  • I love that I can share notes or notebooks with team members.
  • I love that I can use it to scan documents on my iPhone and then keep them there.
  • I love that I can record audio notes to myself (or my team) on my phone and store them there.
  • Most of all I love that it is always with me in my phone or computers. Having such a powerful tool there all day means I’m capturing (and being able to find again) a lot more of my ideas whereas previously I had ‘notes’ everywhere (in my pocket on paper, on different apps, in different documents etc).

What Productivity Tools and Apps are you Using Right Now?

I’m using a heap more than these 3 tools but these 3 are more recently adopted ones for me that I’ve not written about previously.

Note: I should also mention that another ‘newish’ tool we’ve been using as a team lately is Slack. It’s more of a communications tool that we’ve particularly been using among our events team but it is certainly something I see us using more and more going forward in other aspects of the business too.

I’d love to hear what tools you’re using and how you’re using them in comments below?

8 Ways to Stop Your Blog Crashing as Soon as it Gets Popular

person-apple-laptop-notebookIn this guest post, Andrew Maybin, managing director of web hosting and digital infrastructure company Tibus, gives tips on how to avoid the hosting pitfalls associated with high-traffic blogs.

It’s the nightmare scenario for any blogger. All the hours and effort you’ve invested in writing, promoting and developing your site, only for it to go down as soon as you hit the jackpot.

An article that goes viral, a retweet from a high-profile influencer or a link from a top-tier website: it’s what you’ve been working towards, but is your blog ready to cope with the resulting traffic?

If you’re yet to find out the hard way, your web hosting and server setup can play a hugely important role in making your blog a success.

Pieces of content – in the form of blog posts and social media output – are often described in terms of being building blocks. Your hosting is the foundations on which your content is built. Get that wrong and it all comes tumbling down pretty quickly.

How important is it that your blog is available?

That is the first – and perhaps the most important – question to ask yourself. It is something you need to repeatedly come back to when making decisions about your hosting arrangements.

National broadcasters, popular tech websites and high-traffic niche blogs are make up a huge portion of web hosting clients. Even within that relatively close demographic, people have different budgets, hosting requirements and answers to that all-important question.

In the ‘jackpot’ examples we mentioned, how much would it cost you – or maybe pain you – for your website to crash? Act according to your answer when weighing up which of these hosting tips for high-traffic blogs is right for your website.

1. Choose the right hosting package

The most fundamental aspect of website hosting is getting the right sort of package to begin with. As with anything in life, you tend to get what you pay for so don’t expect an entry level package to serve enterprise ambition. Be realistic and choose a package with enough CPU and RAM to give the raw power your website needs.

As a rule of thumb, websites that attract flashes of traffic, like blogs, are well-suited to private cloud hosting supported by a content delivery network (CDN). This option gives the efficiency and scalability of the cloud, but with extra control and security. The CDN takes the strain off the main server by hosting photos and other static assets that might otherwise drain your resources.

2. Pick something scalable

As alluded to in the previous point, the way to deal with surges of traffic without breaking the bank is to opt for a hosting package that’s flexible enough to scale-up when the crowds arrive and scale back down to something that’s a bit more affordable when they’ve gone.

3. Use web server caching

A cache takes pages or assets within your blog and creates static versions of them which load much more quickly. This can result in 20x better performance from exactly the same server.

The impact on user experience is limited and the improvement in site speed dramatic. We tend to use caching tools such as NGINX and Varnish. Any blog that uses WordPress will benefit hugely from caching. In fact it’s a must for maintaining decent performance levels.

4. Use servers close to your readers

Where is your traffic coming from? It is a good idea to have versions of your website hosted in data centres close to your main geographic hot-spots.So, if you’re big in Brazil, hot in Hungary or in-demand in India, move your content closer to the audience. The result will be a better user experience and a more efficient use of your resources.

5. Tune your database

A tidy database can go a long way towards stopping your website crashing during busy periods. Slow queries, inefficient calls and multiple table joins – all of which can occur naturally as your website evolves over time – can cause slow performance on high-traffic websites

6. Use a database cache

Database queries are very often the cause of performance problems for high traffic websites, even if you’ve tuned your database as outlined above. Using a tool like Memcache or Redis will improve performance when large numbers of visitors are concurrently dipping in and out of articles, photos and other pieces of content.

7. Use lateral scaling and load balancing

Even the most powerful servers and their software have a ‘hard limit’ at which point their resources hit a wall. You can circumvent this by using more than one server and balancing the load across them.

This is the web hosting embodiment of the old adage, ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’. It can achieve greater capacity and better performance while retaining cost-effectiveness.

8. Pay attention to your network

This starts at home by making sure you’ve got the basics right. In the past we’ve seen people tick the wrong box with usage limits or firewall settings and inadvertently limit their server resources.

Further afield, your hosting company will be using internet exchanges as part of their network. Check that there are no bottlenecks with their infrastructure and that sufficient bandwidth is being made available to your website.

The tips in this guest post have been kept as simple as possible. You can find a bit more technical detail at tibus.com.

Four Blogging Tools to Make your Content Go Further

This is a guest contribution from Chris Crawfurd of sovrn.

You put in countless hours to create the highest quality content possible week after week. Maybe you even spend money on hiring a graphic designer to make your work look even better. But what good is a solid piece of content if it’s not being put in front of the right audience?

These four blogger tools are must-haves for any publisher looking to increase the reach of their online content:

1. Use Visual.ly to increase your content distribution

Visual.ly is the world’s marketplace for visual content. Whether it’s an infographic, video, interactive, or presentation, their streamlined process makes it easy to distribute your content and get it in front of the right audience. Visual.ly is sort-of like a social network for infographic and visualization sharing (talk about niche markets). You can explore, share and, in the near future, even create your own. When you open up the home page, you are greeted by a continuous scrolling of some of the best infographics currently on the website, and signing up takes a minute via the link on the top-right of the page (sign-up is free).

Let’s say we are searching for a particular infographic about, say, Digital Advertising. All you have to do is type Digital Advertising into the search box, hit Enter, and Visual.ly will bring up a list of visualizations tagged with the keyword Digital Advertising. While searching for visualizations, you can organize your results in a number of different ways, for example, by visualizations that are currently trending or by most commented or most viewed visualizations. You can also change the layout of your search results – the most useful view shows a description of the graphic so you can find exactly what you are looking for.

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Next Steps:

  1. Register for a free account onVisual.ly
  2. Upload your content
  3. Enjoy the sudden flux of digital eyeballs and link love

2. Use BuzzSumo to gain insights into what your competition is blogging about

BuzzSumo provides insights into the most popular online content and the influencers behind it. The next time you’re brainstorming blog topics for your upcoming content cycle, try researching the topic you’re interested in via the BuzzSumo platform to see what other bloggers and content influencers have to say about it. It might help steer you in the right direction.

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Here’s a breakdown of what BuzzSumo actually does:

  • Allows you to search for content that has been widely shared within social media sites
  • Gather metrics around content and segment it by content format
  • Quickly find guest posts, contests, videos, interviews and infographics
  • Find out who the influential content curators/aggregators are within any niche
  • Gather statistics on industry influencers and their associated websites
  • Export all of the intelligence into Excel spreadsheets

The real meat of BuzzSumo is in its “Pro” version. Through BuzzSumo Pro you can access its Content Analysis Reports. Think of these as regular BuzzSumo reports on steroids.

For data nerds (and I know there’s a few of you out there), this level of reporting will keep you up at night.

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From this dashboard, you can see just about everything there is to know about a specific topic. In this example, “AdWords” is the content area of interest. In addition to tons of other cool graphs, you can also see, at a glance, which domains are just killing it in your industry. 

3. Use Hootsuite to manage and distribute your social media

Manage social networks, schedule messages, engage your audiences, and measure ROI right from the Hootsuite dashboard. Hootsuite is a third-party tool or application that is designed to collate all of your social media account streams into one handy dashboard. You can write, send, schedule and track posts from its simple interface across multiple networks and multiple accounts. It is therefore a good option for those people or businesses that have either multiple accounts on one social media network or accounts across multiple networks – for example Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Hootsuite is web-based and does not require any software download. You can also add team members (and implement work-flow) as well as monitor analytics and performance.

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The primary use of Hootsuite is a social media dashboard (or social media management system) that provides a view of all your social media activity across all your accounts and allows you to post to all of them from one place. It gives you access to up to five of your top social media streams for free – including Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, WordPress, Mixi, Instagram, Google+ among others, which can be much easier than trying to manage all of these accounts directly from a browser. Not only can you track your posts, but you can also reply directly within Hootsuite as well as post updates on every network from the one place.

What do you get with Hootsuite?

  • Manage multiple Twitter, Facebook (profiles, events, groups and pages), LinkedIn (Profiles, Pages and Groups), WordPress, Google+, Foursquare, MySpace (does this even still exist?), Vimeo, Instagram, ping.fm and more accounts from one place
  • Schedule your social media updates
  • Collaborate as a team – including ability to assign replies, mark as done, track messages etc.
  • Manage it all through mobile applications
  • Customized analytics, included automated scheduled reports (though this can be costly)
  • RSS integration
  • Customer support

4. Use meridian to harness the value of your data and grow your influence 

meridian is a new publisher platform built and designed by sovrn Holdings. meridian acts as a conduit between publishers and advertisers by providing publishers with unique data insights that allow publishers to create better, more targeted and lucrative content. Through meridian, publishers can: manage their ad tags; view unique revenue metrics paired with targeted audience segments; see how their site compares to other sites within their vertical; gain access to an expanding library of publisher tools and third-party integrations.

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meridian features detailed, individual advertising performance metrics on a site-by-site, and zone-by-zone basis along with clear trending information. Inside the platform publishers will see detailed audience segmentation detailing the advertiser-driven values and characteristics of readers visiting their sites. In addition to advertising management and optimization, sovrn’s meridian boasts easy to understand reporting and user-friendly data visualization. Publishers see their earnings in real-time. Payments to publishers happen faster than any other system, in virtually every currency, and in every major payment mechanism.

Here are more specifics on what exactly you’ll see in meridian:

  • Fresh, user-friendly interface with real-time data visualizations
  • Improved ad management tools and performance metrics
  • Vertical comparisons for benchmarking performance
  • Audience demographics and reader insights
  • Integrated content from sovrn’s Publisher Resource Center
  • Personalized support from the sovrn Publisher Advocate Team

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Pretty cool, right? Here’s what you need to do to gain access to meridian:

  1. Sign up for a sovrn account on meridian
  2. Create ad tags, install the audience analytics beacon and search widget
  3. Sit back and reap the rewards of your hard-earned data.

Well, what did you think? Were these tools helpful? If you have any other tools you’ve found useful in your blogging/content creating endeavors, contact me a [email protected] or leave us a comment below!

 

Top 15 FREE Internet Marketing Tools To Boost Your Online Business

This is a guest contribution from Kulwant Nagi.

Today, Internet marketing is evolving at a greater pace than ever.

Companies are pulling out all the stops to get more online exposure and, eventually, more customers. Using premium services for all the tools necessary for Internet marketing is not feasible for every business – that’s when free options come into play.

When I started my career two years ago, I was not aware of these tools, so I kept looking for the best and easiest ways to boost my business. I continued to add all the tools to my browser’s bookmarks for quick & easy access.

If you are one of the Internet marketers who is still banging their head against a brick wall to find free tools that can help you save your time, boost your productivity and ultimately bring some favorable results, then stay tuned for another 5–10 minutes. 

Here I am going to reveal 15 Internet marketing tools which I am personally using and getting huge benefits from.

15 Free Tools to Help Your Online Business

1. Content Idea Generator 

Being an Internet marketer, I can understand how difficult it is to come up with a great idea. Having writer’s block is one of the biggest enemies for all the Internet marketers.

When that’s the case, you can use this idea generator tool, which offers tons of creative ideas.

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 10.13.35 am2. Pocket

I am deeply in love with this tool :)

Such a killer innovation that makes it possible to enjoy articles anywhere in the world.

Pocket can be added as an extension on any browser or downloaded as an app for all smart phones. You can install this app in your browser and save articles for future reading. All the saved articles can be accessed at a later time.

The app not only enables you to read articles, but also makes a great repository for all the best articles in the world. The articles you save using the Pocket app will be logged in your account and you can access them anytime you want.

Here is a screenshot of my pocket app:

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 10.14.16 am3. BufferApp

This is great service for sharing your content on various social media websites. You can easily schedule your content on various social media and site and populate your content very simply, all from one dashboard.

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 10.15.08 am4. HootSuite

If we talk about social media management, HootSuite grabs the top position on the list. This little tool helps you manage all your social media activities from one dashboard. 

You can schedule your tweets, Facebook status updates, Google+ shares and various other awesome things which are only limited by your imagination!

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 10.16.19 am5. Backlinks Checker

Moz and SEMRush are the best tools to use to check backlinks for any website. Although they offer only a few searches for free members, you can still find your competitors’ backlinks very easily.

6. Keyword Niche Finder 

Keyword Niche Finder is an awesome and easy-to-use software. It will let you come up with most profitable keyword(s) in your niche.

The tool will categorise your keywords according to different niches and will provide you with keyword suggestions for different niches of your keyword.

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 10.17.30 am7. After the Deadline

This is a Chrome extension which will let you check spelling, style and grammar. It will check your spelling in real time, so you’ll never make the same mistakes again.

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Note: If you are a WordPress user, you can download this plugin here. 

8. Loading Speed Testing Tools

I love Google page speed and GTMetrix.

Both tools analyse websites to determine the loading time on your blog. Google gives priority to fast-loading blogs, so these tools will show opportunity areas on your blog to improve the loading time. After following suggestions given by these tools, you can improve your blog’s loading time dramatically.

See my blog’s speed here:

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Small SEO Tools

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Small SEO Tools is the best site I’ve come across in my blogging career.

They have included some of the best tools, free of cost. I personally use this site daily for different tasks.

They have tools like: 

  1. Plagiarism checker
  2. Article rewriter
  3. Keyword position
  4. Google PageRank checker
  5. Backlink checker
  6. Online ping tool
  7. Alexa rank checker
  8. Domain IP lookup
  9. Keyword suggestion tool
  10. Page speed checker tool

and at least 30 more tools to make your life easier.

10. Google Drive and Dropbox

I cannot imagine blogging without the help of Google Drive and Dropbox (As a matter of fact, I wrote this article on Google docs). Both are easy-to-use online tools where you can save your most important files and access them in any part of the world.

Google Drive continuously saves your data while you are still preparing a document so there is no need to worry if there is any interruption, like computer hangs or shutdown.

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 10.20.42 am

Dropbox gives you 2GB space when you join. By referring your online buddies, you can get an additional 20GB of space at no cost.

11. Audacity

If you love to create podcasts on your blog or are thinking about starting to create them, then this is one of the must-have tools for you. 

Audacity comes with a fantastic interface which helps you to mix your audio files, cut down little portions, adjust volume and many other little tweaks to make your audio file more professional.

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 10.21.26 am12. Email marketing software

MailChimp, MadMimi and Ininbox are three free tools which you can use to build subscribers on your blog.

They allow you to add a good number of subscribers, free of cost. They each have different tools that you can customise to your needs.

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 10.22.22 am

13. PhotoPin

More than 60 percent of images on my blog have been downloaded from PhotoPin.

Photopin fetches free images from Flickr, which makes a great collection. In the search results, the first 10-15 images will be sponsored images, so you can skip those images and choose the appropriate images from the rest of the collection for your blog post.

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 10.23.17 am

14. StatCounter

A killer alternative to Google Analytics, StatCounter will track each and every activity on your blog, like the source of recent visits, recent keywords, visitor’s location, visitor’s country, exit links, visit length, returning visits and many more awesome features that allow you to keep close tabs on your visitors.

You will get few lines of code which you can add to your blog and start tracking your visitors right away.

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 10.23.51 am15. Asana

Asana is a teamwork management software which was primarily designed for internal email circulation at Facebook headquarters. But soon after that, they launched it to the open market and made it free to use.

Asana lets you assign tasks to your team members and keeps you informed about their activities. As soon as they finish the task assigned to them, you will get an email notification. This will not only help you to track your progress, but you will also be able to manage your team’s tasks very efficiently. 

Kulwant Nagi is an Internet marketing expert. He writes at BloggingCage.com where he shares blogging and SEO tips to help you make your blogging career awesome.

 

How I use Google Analytics ‘Compare’ Feature to Motivate Me to Grow My Blog

This morning, a reader asked me this question:

“How do you motivate yourself to grow your blog traffic from day to day?”

We’ve covered a whole heap of techniques for growing the amount of traffic you attract to your blog in our Blog Promotion category (also check out this ‘how to find readers page‘ and listen to my recent finding reader webinar) but one thing that has helped me on the ‘motivation’ front lately is the report below in Google Analytics (click to enlarge).

comparing-traffic.png

What you’re looking at is the traffic so far today (the blue line) on Digital Photography School compared to the traffic on the site one week ago (the orange line) – arranged by the hour.

I’ll tell you how to get this report below but first, the reason I love this report is that it tells me whether I’m on track to get as much traffic to my site today as I had this time last week.

Having something to compare traffic keeps me motivated to better the previous week’s result.

Note: I always choose to compare traffic from exactly 1 week previous because on our site we see quite distinct rises and falls in traffic on different days of the week.

In the chart above you can see the day’s traffic started well, with the first 4 hours between 1.7% and 18.1% higher than the previous week.

This all happened while I was asleep so when I checked in at 9am I was pleased! However, I also saw that from 6am-8am that we were beginning to slip behind.

Knowing this gave me a little bit of motivation to find some ways to drive more traffic to the site today.

I took a look at the schedule of Facebook updates that I had planned for the day and decided to move a status update I thought would drive some traffic to be earlier in the day.

That status update went live at 9am and resulted in a nice bump in traffic to get the blue line trending up above the orange again.

I also identified some older posts from my archives that I then scheduled to be tweeted throughout the next 24 hours (based upon my advice from last month to promote old content), which I thought would help us to keep nudging the traffic up higher for the rest of the day.

Having this report open is a great little source of motivation to keep working not only at writing great content but also driving traffic to it.

I also find that having this comparison open during the day (and watching ‘real time’ stats) helps me to spot anomalies in traffic. It helps me to quickly spot if there’s a problem (server issues) or on the flip side it shows me when a post might have been shared on a big blog or social media account.

Knowing this information helps me to react quickly to fix a problem or leverage a traffic event.

UPDATE: here’s how the traffic looked at the end of the day in the comparison view:

Screen Shot 2013-11-21 at 8.56.20 am.png

Things slipped for the last hour or two but over the full day visitor numbers were up by 4.22%.

While a 4% increase in traffic isn’t the most spectacular result I see it is a small step in a larger race I’m running. I know if I can see even a 1% increase in traffic each week that over a year or longer that it’ll significantly grow the site over time.

How to Get This Report

For those of you new to Google Analytics here’s the easy process to get this report (it will only take you a couple of minutes).

1. Login to your Google Analytics Account

2. In the menu click on the ‘Overview’ link under ‘Audience’

Audience_Overview_-_Google_Analytics.png

3. By default you’ll be looking at the last months traffic. You want to drill down now to today so in the top right corner click on the date range and a calendar will open up like this:

Audience_Overview_-_Google_Analytics-6.png

4. Select today’s date.

Audience_Overview_-_Google_Analytics-5.png

5. Check the ‘compare to’ box and then in the new date field that opens up underneath you can put in last weeks date by clicking on the day you want to compare it to. Once you have – click ‘Apply’.

Audience_Overview_-_Google_Analytics-7.png

6. You’re almost done now. You should be looking at a report that compares the two days but by default it’ll be showing you the total of the days in the chart as two dots. You want to view this now as ‘hourly’ so hit the ‘hourly’ tab.

Audience_Overview_-_Google_Analytics-8.png

You now should be looking at the comparison of today’s traffic with the same day last week (note: your current days report won’t yet be complete unless the day is almost over and it does run an hour behind).

Variations on this report to check out

This comparison tool is really useful for a while heap of reports.

For example you can choose to compare one week with another:

Audience_Overview_-_Google_Analytics-10.png

In fact, any period of time can be compared with any other period.

Also, with a date range locked in you can drill down into many other metrics.

For example, earlier today I was doing some analysis comparing this last week with the corresponding week in September, which was just before we did our new redesign on Digital Photography School.

A day by day comparison showed a great improvement in overall traffic.

Audience_Overview_-_Google_Analytics-11.png

Drilling down further, and viewing the two weeks by the hour, was also fascinating and showed that the two weeks had remarkably similar patterns in traffic from hour to hour – so the increase in traffic was very even across the week.

Audience_Overview_-_Google_Analytics-12.png

Under that chart was some interesting data:

Audience_Overview_-_Google_Analytics-16.png

Not only were Visits and Page views well up – but being able to see that bounce rate was slightly down and that average visitor duration was up was encouraging. Seeing Pages Viewed Per Visit was down showed we have an area to improve on (we’re already working on this) and seeing that we had a good rise in ‘new’ visitors was something that should be investigated further.

To investigate the rise in ‘new’ visitors I moved into the ‘Acquisition’ menu on Google analytics. The same date range and comparison is still selected so now I’m able to compare the two periods when it comes to different sources of traffic and see why we’ve had rises in traffic:

It turns out we’ve seen increases in a few area:

Search Traffic is up:

All_Traffic_-_Google_Analytics_and_Preview_of_“Untitled”.png

Facebook Traffic is up (due to my recent experiments):

All_Traffic_-_Google_Analytics-2.png

But interestingly Feed traffic is down (giving us something to investigate).

All_Traffic_-_Google_Analytics-3.png

There are many other areas you can drill down into with the comparison tool – almost anything that Google Analytics has a report for you can compare from period to period and get a great overview of how that stat compares very quickly.

Have a go yourself – do some comparisons and let me know what you find in comments below!

5 Affordable Image Creation Tools that I use In My Blogging

Earlier in the year I published a post where I shared links to 13 tools and services that I use every day in my blogging business.

Today I wanted to add a four – particularly ones that relate to creating images for my blogs.

NewImage

PicMonkey

I use PicMonkey every day to help me create images for sharing on social media.

If you head to the Photos on the dPS Facebook page you’ll notice that most days we share at least one or two ‘collages’ of images from posts on the blog. Almost all of these were created with PicMonkey.

It’s a free web based tool (although there is an upgrade option that I’ve not used myself) and is really easy to use.

It also has some image editing tools that you might find useful for editing single images.

NewImage

Canva

I’m newer to Canva… because it is a newer tool but I’m using it more and more. It’s currently in beta but if you use this link you can get a VIP account (that’s just for ProBlogger readers).

Canva is similar to PicMonkey in some ways in that you can pull in images and text to create great visuals – but it comes with a lot of cool templates for different types of documents to get you going. It’s free to use but if you choose to use some of their images in your designs you will pay $1 per image for their use (I have only ever paid once and use my own images the bulk of the time).

It is all drag and drop and while it probably has a slightly steeper learning curve than Pic Monkey I think it’s definitely one to check out.

ZZ5B097521

Skitch (by Evernote)

I used to use Skitch a lot but for one reason or another stopped – until recently. A couple of my team members use Skitch a lot, particularly when we’ve been doing the redesign of dPS to communicate with each other. It’s great for creating screen captures and then adding notes with arrows or highlighting particular areas that we want our developers to work with.

I don’t tend to use the images Skitch creates too much publicly but it’s a handy tool for our internal communications.

It’s got a cool smartphone app too for doing these things on the run too!

NewImage

MindNode

This is a tool for creating mind maps. I use both an iPad and desktop app and it is how I created the ProBlogger Money Map that outlines how bloggers make money.

I use mind maps more for internal planning and communication than for creating images to share publicly. Having said that – I also have seen a number of people use mind maps like this for diagrams in blog posts as well as for powerpoint presentations.

MindNode is easy to use and creates lovely looking mindmaps.

Imagewell

ImageWell

I’ve mentioned this a few times in the past but continue to use it.

It’s a light weight mac image editing tool that I use mainly for resizing images and a little editing.

You can add borders, text etc. I will say I’ve used it less since discovering the two tools above but for quick edits when I am not actually online it is handy.

What Would You Add?

What other image creation and editing tools do you use in your blogging? I’m sure I’m just scratching the surface here – looking forward to seeing your suggestions!

How to Protect Your WordPress Site Before the Hackers Lock You Out!

This is a guest contribution from Caleb Lane, WordPress security expert.

Fool proof lock and chain

I am sure you already have on your to do list that you need to respond to emails, return phone calls, show up for meetings, write more content, and a whole lot more.

But, what if I told you that the effects of being hacked could cause all of your work to be destroyed and you would have to start over?  I bet your to do list would change a little bit if all of the work you have done on your website was gone forever.

That is why WordPress security is very important and you need to add it to the top of your to do list.

For those who use WordPress there are some things that you can do to make sure your site is as secure as possible. Here are 11 things that you should do to help ensure your site is as safe and secure as possible:

1. Create Strong Passwords

This is one of the easiest things to do to ensure your website is secure. Many people make excuses due to it taking too much time, but should be taken very seriously. Each of your sites should have a different password.

  • Every password should be at least 15 characters long, and it’s best if your password does not contain a real word.
  • You should use capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters such as a question mark.
  • Your password is your first form of protection against hackers, so make sure you come up with a strong one.

Once you have secure passwords for all of your sites, you should never just write them down.

The only two places your passwords should be are in your head or within a password manager with a strong master password.

If you are going to use a password manager, LastPass or KeePass should do the job for you. LastPass offers a free version and a premium version for $12 a year, while KeePass is open-source and completely free. If you decide to use KeePass, make sure you keep a backup of the password database file in case the file becomes corrupted or your hard drive fails.

2. Keep Your Site Updated

When it comes to WordPress, many people do not want to take the time to make sure they have all of the current updates.

Remember WordPress is not releasing these updates just so they can get media attention. The updates are released to fix bugs, patch security holes, and to introduce new features.

Will any solution always remain a step ahead of the hackers? No, but when there are security holes that are known and there are patches available, you need to implement them on your site. There are no excuses for not keeping up with the updates.

You should also make sure to keep your plug-ins and themes up-to-date.  Also, if you have a VPS or dedicated server, keep all of the things associated with the server up-to-date as well.

Now you may be thinking, how do I do this with all my websites?  Thankfully Infinite WP and Manage WP allow you to manage and update all of your sites from within one dashboard.

3. Changing the WordPress Login Username 

Change the username that is provided as the default admin user when you first set up your account.

Since most brute force attacks on your website are automated, they most likely will either use “admin”, “administrator”, “manager”, or your domain name to try to hack into your account, so use a random username instead. Of course the username should be backed by a strong user password using the guidelines that were covered earlier.

4. Guarding Against Brute Force Attacks

Many people do not realise that most sites have at least a few hundred unauthorised login attempts each day.

In addition to the possibility of successfully hacking into your blog, these attacks can also put a strain on your server resources. To guard against these brute force attacks, make sure you have taken the steps listed above. You can install a plug-in such as Limit Login Attempts that will lock out the hacker after a certain number of failed login attempts.

5. Malware Monitoring

You need to have a solution in place that will constantly monitor your site for malware.

A perfect free solution for this is WordFence which will scan your WordPress core, plug-ins, and themes for changes against the files in the WordPress repository. If there are changes to the files it will send you an email notification if you provide an email address within the plug-in options page.

Another malware monitoring solution that includes server side scanning as well as a variety of other features is Sucuri. Although it costs some money, it is well worth it for the additional features it provides.

6. Fix Malware Issues

In addition to your efforts to prevent malware from infecting your blog, it is always a good idea to find a way to clean up any malware issues that are detected. One of the costs that many blog and website owners tend to overlook is the cost of downtime that is associated with security problems and the time it takes to clean up those issues.

A good solution that will remove malware in the event that you are hacked is Sucuri. If you have been hacked already, you can sign up for their service and they will remove the malware even if you were hacked before signing up.

7. Choosing a Hosting Provider 

A substantial security risk comes from having your blog on a server that is shared. Consider the risks of your single blog and then multiply it by the number of blogs and websites on the same server.

If you choose shared hosting, it is likely that you are going to be lumped in with hundreds of other sites. The reason shared hosting is a big risk is because if another website on the same server as you gets hacked, your website can possibly be hacked as well.

While your own VPS or dedicated server may not be the right choice for you due to the knowledge to manage it and the cost, managed WordPress hosting may be a good alternative. They offer hosting that is more expensive, but well worth it considering the risks that comes with generic shared hosting.

With managed WordPress hosting you get better security, a faster site, better support, and full backups done automatically for you. The 3 managed WordPress hosts that stand out are WP Engine, Pagely, and Synthesis.  All of them are slightly different and have different benefits, so look into each one and pick the one that fits you best.

8. Clean Up Your Site

As well as protecting your blog you need to make sure you keep your blog tidy. Get rid of any old plugins and themes that you are not using anymore.

This also includes separating websites that are in production and still being developed by having them on separate servers.  Often times you will be working on a new website, but then forget about it for a few months. This causes the website to become out of date and vulnerable to being hacked. For this reason, it is always a good idea to separate websites on different servers that you are still working on from live websites in production.

9. Control Sensitive Information 

When you are cleaning up your blog files make sure that you are not leaving any important information available for the world to access. Check your phpinfo.php and i.php files. These are like roadmaps to your set up and a hacker will be able to use this information to break in.

Another area of caution: don’t store backups of your site directly on your website’s server.  This is just inviting potential hackers to download the backups and hack into your website without any work!

Disabling directory browsing is a good idea to prevent a hacker from browsing your blog site’s folders and files for information that could lead to them finding a way to exploit you.

You can disable directory browsing by adding (without the quotes), “Options –Indexes,” to your .htaccess file.

The last thing you have to be careful with is using the file manager within CPanel and having it save temporary copies of important files such as wp-config.php. That is why it is always better to use secure file transfer protocol (SFTP) with a program such as FileZilla.

Bonus Tip: Never store your passwords within FileZilla because they are not encrypted. If you were ever to get malware on that computer, it is very common for malware to search for passwords stored within FileZilla and use them for malicious intent.

10. Backup Your Site 

It is always a good idea to backup your blog site in case your site gets hacked or even if you made the wrong change to a file and want to restore a prior version.

The two best solutions for backing up your site are BackupBuddy and VaultPress. If you are using another backup solution already that is fine just make sure it isn’t overwriting the previous backup and that you have backups going at least a few weeks back. It’s also very important to test the backup to make sure it works even if you don’t need it.

11. Be Vigilant 

This is fairly simple to explain. You need to stay on top of everything that is going on in the WordPress security world.

Remember, preventing issues in the first place is better than detecting and fixing them later. While a managed WordPress host will have your back, it is also important that you have your own back as well.

Take the steps that are listed above to help make your WordPress site as secure as possible and keep an eye on stories about website security as well. Never think that the security issues are only affecting other sites… they can just as easily affect yours.

Caleb Lane is the WordPress security expert for Lockdown 2013, where you can learn how to secure your WordPress website.  He spends his time consulting with companies about their website security and keeping his clients updated about the latest changes and news in website security.

How To Stop Your WordPress Blog Getting Penalized For Duplicate Content

This is a guest contribution by Felipe Kurpiel, an internet marketer

I came across this topic by accident. One day I was monitoring my analytics data I noticed a big drop on my traffic stats and I didn’t understand why.

Actually, I had a hint because I was starting to interlink my posts. That gave me a clue that the problem was internal which I thought was a good thing. But that is not enough because then I had to analyze what Google is focusing on now.

If you have been involved with SEO at all you know that duplicate content is a bad thing. But how can you identify the duplicate content on your site?

Ok, let’s get started with that.

Identifying Internal Duplicate Content!

That is a little advanced because we are about the crawl our website the way Google does. That is the best way to analyze the source of any problems.

To do that I like to use a Free Tool called Screaming Frog SEO Spider. If you never used this tool it can be a little complicated but don’t let that scares you.

You just have to follow some steps. Actually you can analyze a lot of factors using this tool but for our example, we are just considering duplicate content.

First Step: Add your URL website into the software and let it run.

It can take a while depending on how big your website is, but after that we are ready to filter what we are looking for.

Screaming Frog tabs

Second: Go to the Page Titles tab and then filter by Duplicate

If you are lucky you will not have any result showing when you choose this filter. But unfortunately that was not my case and I saw dozens of results which were the proof that my website had internal duplicate content.

Third Step: It’s time to analyze what is generating the problem

You can do this on Screaming Frog or you can export the file to Microsoft Excel (or similar) in order to deeply analyze what you have to do to solve the issue.

In my case, the duplicate content was being generated by comments. Weird, isn’t?

That is what I thought and I also noticed that the pages with comments were being flagged by Google because they disappeared from search results.

When that happens, you have no turning back but fix the source of the problem.

Understanding Comments

Every comment on my website was generating a variable named “?replytocom”.

You don’t need to understand exactly what this variable does but put it simple; it is like each comment you have on your posts has the ability to create a copy of this particular post in your site. It can be considered as a pagination problem. And that is terrible because when Google crawl your website it can see that your site has the same content being repeated over and over again.

Do you think you are going to rank with that blog post? Not a change!

How to solve this problem

More important than to identify this issue is to create a clear solution to get rid of this pagination issue.

In order to deal with this variable there are two solutions. The first is really simple but not so effective and the second can be seen as complicated but it’s really the ultimate solution.

But let’s cover the easy solution first.

I run my blog on WordPress and one of the few essential plugins I use for SEO is WP SEO by Yoast. If you are using this plugin you just have to go to the plugin dashboard and then click on Permalinks. Once you do that just check the box to “Remove ?replytocom variables”.

Permalink Settings

This is really simple but sometimes you won’t get the results you are expecting, however, if you are having this kind of problem with comments you MUST check this option.

Second Option

After that you can run your website URL using Screaming Frog to see if the problem was solved. Unfortunately this can take a while but if after one day or two you are still noticing problems for duplicated content you have to try the second option.

Now we just have to access Google Webmaster Tools and select our website.

Then under Configuration we must go to URL Parameters.

We will see a list of parameters being crawled by Google in addition, here we have the chance to tell Google what to do when a parameter in particular is affecting our website. That is really cool.

For this replytocom problem I just have to click Edit and use the following settings.

Parameter replytocom

Click Save and you solved the problem!

Now if you tried the first option using the plugin, then you used Webmaster Tools to tell Google what to do with this parameter and after a few days you still see duplicate content, there is one more thing you can try!

Now I am talking about Robots.txt!

Don’t worry if you don’t have this file on your website, because you just have to create a txt file and upload it on the root of your domain. Nothing that complicated!

Once you have created this file you just have to add a command line in the file.

If your Robots.txt is blank, just add these commands there:

User-agent: *

Disallow: /wp-admin/

Disallow: /wp-includes/

Disallow: *?replytocom

If you already had this file, just add the final line: “Disallow: *?replytocom”

It will for sure take care of everything!

Final Thoughts and Monitoring

The best way to avoid this or similar problems is monitoring your data. So here are my three tips to keep your website Google friendly.

  • When working On-Page be careful with the settings you are using on Yoast WordPress SEO plugin. Don’t forget to review Titles & Metas tab and check the “no index, follow” option for every little thing that can be considered as duplicate content.

An example is the “Other” tab where you MUST check this “no index” option so your Author Archives will not be seen as duplicate content when Google crawls your site. Remember, you have to make your website good for users and for search engines.

  • At least twice a week, analyze your traffic on Google Analytics. Go to Traffic Sources tab then Search Engine Optimization and keep an eye on Impressions.

You should also use an additional tool to track your keywords rankings so you can see if your search engine positions remain intact or if some of them are facing some drops. When that happens you will know it’s time to take some action.

  • Every two weeks, use Screaming Frog to crawl your website. This can be really important to check if the changes you made on-site already had the impact you were expecting.

When it comes to duplicate content the most important tabs to monitor on Screaming Frog are Page Title and Meta Description. However, in order to have a website that can be considered Google friendly it’s vital to analyze the Response Codes as well and eliminate every Client Error (4xx) and Server Error (5xx) you identify when crawling it.

Felipe Kurpiel is an internet marketer passionate about SEO and affiliate marketing. On his blog there are great insights about how to rank your website, link building strategies and YouTube marketing.