Conversion Optimization: Our New Series

Of all the topics that bloggers ask me about, conversion optimization is among those at the top of the list.

Sale sign in a shop

Image courtesy stock.xchng user linder6580

All of us have conversion goals of some sort. It doesn’t matter whether you’re aiming to make money blogging, or you’re in it purely for pleasure, you’ll probably want to grow a subscriber list at the very least! Some of the blogger’s most common conversion goals include:

  • grow signups to an email subscription list
  • attract Facebook fans and Twitter followers
  • boost downloads of free products, whitepapers, and samples
  • increase sales of products and services.

These days, competition within the blogosphere is only getting stronger, and readers are only getting more savvy. Most of us have  good data on our blog usage, but of course boosting conversions isn’t just a matter of statistics.

From your audience to your offer—and everything in between—there’s a lot to consider. So we’re dedicating ProBlogger to the challenge of boosting conversions, with a series that’s been put together by some of your favorite experts.

This series assumes that you have some kind of conversion goal, and some tools in place to make that happen—even something as simple as a Sign Up form in your sidebar. We’ll take you through five steps to improving those conversions, as we look at:

  1. Reviewing your offer.
  2. Revisiting your conversion funnel.
  3. Revamping your communications.
  4. Running A/B tests, then tweaking and refining your marketing.
  5. Reaching all of your audience segments using this process.

Before that, I’d like to hear from you. How are your conversions looking right now? What tactics have you used to improve them? What’s worked—and what hasn’t? Share your experiences with us in the comments.

The Naked Marketing Guide to Getting Dramatically More Traffic and Subscribers

This guest post is by Danny Iny of Firepole Marketing.

Let’s be real for a second.

There’s a lot of information out there about traffic. Tons of it. Entire blogs. Some good, some bad, and some just in between. And tons of posts about it, too—including right here on this blog.

So with all this information out there, let me ask you something:

Do you have all the traffic you want?

Hmmm, I thought not.

Okay, then just what the heck is going on? Why isn’t any of this working?!

Maybe your traffic problem … isn’t a traffic problem!

Considering all of the great information that’s out there about getting traffic, if you haven’t been able to use any of it to actually get some then odds are that your problem isn’t a traffic problem at all.

It’s not about how you’re using Facebook or YouTube, or your Twitter strategy, or even your SEO activities. None of it.

What you probably have is a marketing problem.

You see, all of the traffic generating tools and tips generally work if they’re used correctly within a larger marketing framework. Without having that kind of framework, there’s no way to even know if you’re using Facebook, Twitter, or anything else in the right way.

It’s really, really tempting to look at your problem as a tactic gone wrong. It would be so much easier to fix, wouldn’t it?

If you found out your Twitter headlines weren’t captivating enough, then you could fix them and the problem would disappear. Of course, that’s usually not the issue, and you’re much more likely to spend weeks, months, or longer tweaking and testing things that won’t make a bit of difference.

Take it from me—save yourself the frustration and look at the bigger picture!

The naked marketing guide to traffic that converts

One of the biggest problems with marketing is that anyone who reads a book or a blog post thinks they’ve got it. They’re suddenly an expert.

You’ve probably heard the phrase “everyone’s a writer?”, generally said with a wince and an eye role. Well it’s the same with marketing. Feel free to wince and roll your eyes.

The truth is that most people aren’t expert marketers. They might know some terms and basic concepts, like maybe the Four Ps of Marketing—but very few actually know what those concepts really mean, or how to use them in their business.

That’s where naked marketing comes into the picture—it will make you a dramatically better marketer by helping you understand why you’re going to be doing certain things, and how they all fit into the larger plan for your business.

Without, I might add, any of the jargon, cheap theory, or techno-babble that usually passes for marketing instruction.

We don’t have time to waste, so let’s get started. The first thing you need to do to start using naked marketing is to figure out who turns you on. Yep. This is going to be fun!

So, who’s your type, really?

Don’t worry—we’re not actually talking about fishing for singles! That would be another post entirely.

But in all honesty, the very first step in getting more, better traffic—traffic that converts—is to figure out the one person you should be writing for. I’m talking about that holy grail of readers: the single individual who was made for you, your business and, of course, your blog.

Spend some significant time creating a customer profile that includes everything from their age, gender, location, and income, all the way to their hopes and dreams, favorite books, and frequency of eating tofu for dinner.

If you put in the time doing this, it’s a short leap to imagine where they hang out—both online and offline.

Are they likely a Twitter user? Maybe they spend more time on Facebook? Maybe they use LinkedIn, or even MySpace. Wherever they spend their time online is going to be the best source of traffic for you.

It’s not rocket science—get to know them so you can figure out where they’ll be. And then? Be there!

How to be sexy to them

Okay, all that work you just did, finding out who your one best person is and where they’re going to be? It doesn’t matter unless you’re giving them the right message.

Getting naked is always a two-way street, and you can’t just show up at the party, strip down and demand the same. (Not at most parties, anyway.)

It’s time to bring out your A game. You know what your best traffic source is likely to be, so you’ve got to pull out all the stops and create content and messaging that will be downright irresistible to your one person. So irresistible that they stop and look.

The good news is that this isn’t even all that hard, really.

Think back to the last headline you read that got your attention. How did it do that? What grabbed your interest? I’m willing to bet that it offered you something you wanted in a place that you happened to be. So do the same, and you’ll have your audience’s attention.

But of course, attention isn’t enough. Attention has to turn into desire before their attention is grabbed by something or someone else!

How to evoke desire that prompts action

Getting attention isn’t enough, of course. You want your new reader and potential customer to do something—to engage with you a little. You want them to be interested enough to take action.

Messages (a tweet, a forum post, a status update—whatever) are sexy enough to prompt action when they speak to a problem that your ideal customer has, and promise a solution. Or when they tickle their funny bones and promise more laughs. Or offer a taste of information that they want more of.

Get the idea?

You know who you’re talking to, and you know what turns them on, too—now give them what they want!

This is very powerful, because you’ll be starting a cycle in which you promise something good in exchange for a little effort on their part. At first, it’s going to be a deliciously scintillating headline that promises a fantastic bit of information if they click on it. Once that happens, the ball is back in your court, and you make another offer in exchange for another action.

You never ask for something that is unreasonable given the strength of the current relationship, and with each step in the process you reward them past their expectations, and their commitment to you deepens further and further.

In plain English, that means that they’ll start by reading your headline, then make it back to your website, then subscribe, and then buy everything that you’re selling.

Do you look great naked?

So, are you doing this already? Are you irresistible to your target market, and are they happily consuming the content that you give them? Are you getting the traffic you want from the sources you’re using?

If you are, then congratulations!

But if you’re not, then it might be time to give your marketing a thorough review—strip it bare, see what’s working, and toss out what isn’t. You won’t believe the difference a little “nudity” will make in your marketing!

Danny Iny (@DannyIny) is the co-founder of Firepole Marketing, the “Freddy Krueger of Blogging”, and the co-author (with Guy Kawasaki, Brian Clark, and many others) of Engagement from Scratch! (available on Amazon, or as a free download). The latest and greatest thing you can get from him (for free, of course) is his Naked Marketing Manifesto, about marketing that really works!

Use Monroe’s Motivated Sequence to Call Your Readers to Action

This guest post is by Sean Davis of

Blogs do not produce income. Simply writing and publishing content does not increase your bank account balance.

The idea that money is a direct result of blogging is a myth that the best bloggers have dismissed, but most choose to treat it as a law of the blogosphere.

What a shame.

Many new bloggers will jump out of their online careers just as quickly as they jumped into them when they realize that it’s not enough to simply create content.

There is, however, another goal for creating content. It’s not until you understand this goal that you will know how to make money from your blog.

The goal of blogging is not to earn money. It’s to earn attention—the attention of those who will, in turn, provide the revenue you’re looking for.

Why you need to focus on attention

“If you build it, they will come.” We can argue all day about whether this is true or not. No matter what, though, we should all agree that just because people come to your blog doesn’t mean that they will buy your product, sign up for your email list, click your advertisement links, or whatever it is you need them to do in order to produce income.

As a personal testimony, I created an infographic about four months ago that seemed to be pretty popular on the internet for a day or two. The blog I published it on was only about three months old, and the infographic brought me over 1,000 visitors in one day. For some, that’s nothing. For me, it was the attention I had been dreaming about.

Take a wild guess at how many email subscribers I earned from that infographic.

If you guessed zero, you’re wrong!

The answer is actually one. One lonely person out of over a thousand visitors signed up to my free newsletter, which, by the way, offered a free gift for those who signed up.

This is when I learned that blogs have the power to bring attention, however, it’s what you do with that attention that matters most.

Introducing Monroe’s Motivated Sequence

If you’ve ever taken a college-level language course or a speech or communications class, chances are you’ve been introduced to the art of persuasion.

Simply put, in the business world, whether it be brick and mortar or internet marketing, you have to know how to persuade people to take action—especially when they are visiting your blog.

Almost a century ago, Alan Monroe of Purdue University introduced a persuasion method that takes the human mind through a natural cycle of establishing a need, developing a solution to satisfy that need, and then becoming enthusiastic about implementing that solution.

There are actually five steps to this sequence:

  1. Attention: The first step is to gain the attention of the target audience. You can do this with a story, a thought provoking question, or anything that makes the audience stop what they’re doing with curiosity and focus.
  2. Need: This is where you explain to the target audience what their need is. This can be an obvious, well-known need, or a need that you create on the spot. Often, a need is established by giving an extreme example of some unfortunate event that should never happen again.
  3. Satisfaction: Now that your target audience understands the need, it’s time for you to fly in like Superman and save the day. Provide a solution to erase that need and prevent the aforementioned unfortunate event from ever happening again.
  4. Visualization: Tell your target audience exactly how your solution can be implemented and how it will solve the problem. Also, tell them how things will progress (that is, get worse) if your solution is ignored. This is where you would provide proof—preferably a previous instance in which your solution was implemented—that convinces your audience that your solution will work. Politicians do this a lot when referencing what other nations have (or have not) done, and why it is important that we make the same (or different) decisions.
  5. Action: Get the target audience involved. You’ve already explained to them what the need is, how to satisfy that need, and what things will be like for them once the need is satisfied. Now, you have to convince them that they play an important role in making that change happen. In other words, you introduce an action that they can take to implement your solution.

If you take a step back and thoroughly observe TV commercials, political campaigns, sales pages, etc., you will notice that the most persuasive ones follow this sequence. Why? Because it was developed to follow your own natural thought patterns.

It was developed on the basis of human nature.

How to use this persuasion technique on your blog

What if you could use Monroe’s Motivated Sequence in every area of your blog?

From the content you produce, to your blog’s unique design, you can follow the steps in the sequence to lead your readers down a path that causes them to take action.

Derek Halpern of enlightened me a few weeks ago on why he doesn’t write the typical “17 Things You Can Do To Blah Blah Blah” articles on his blog.

He said that he encourages the reader to focus on one action to take with each of his articles. As a result, his readers leave his blog with something they can actually implement instead of a list of options—something that’s been shown to be less effective at prompting action, by the way.

Considering Derek builds email lists like crazy, it’s safe to say that he understands human psychology and what makes people tick online.

Does he use Monroe’s Motivated Sequence? I don’t know. But imagine the results you could produce, article by article, if you focused each one of them on one specific action to take, as Derek does, and you used Monroe’s Motivated Sequence to do so.

Are the ideas flowing yet? I hope so.

Remember: blogs don’t earn money. Blogs earn attention. Once you have attention, which is nothing more than a visit to your blog, you have to know how to guide the visitor down a path that leads them to an action you’d like them to take.

Whatever your goals for your blog, you can start using Monroe’s Motivated Sequence right now. Simply break something you want your visitors to do down to one single action, and then follow the steps of the sequence.

Take a few moments to think about communications you encounter every day and how they follow this sequence. And imagine the possibilities for your blog if you can master this technique.

Sean Davis is an internet entrepreneur dedicated to constant growth and helping others. Check Sean out at and follow him on Twitter @SDavisMedia.

5 Effective Tricks to Create a Killer Call to Action

This guest post is by Greg Digneo of Sales Leads in Thirty Days.

Here’s the dirty little secret: there are actually two steps to building an extremely popular blog.

The first and most popular step is to drive traffic by guest posting, social media, and SEO.

The far less sexy step is to convert that traffic into loyal readers who will become the backbone of your community.  Who will share every piece of content you produce with their friends.  And who will ensure that every post sparks an engaging discussion.

But most of all, they will be the first to buy your products and services.

The key to converting random traffic into loyal readers

Most likely, your readers have dozens of blogs in their RSS feed.  They follow hundreds of people on Twitter and have “liked” quite a few brands on Facebook.  With all this noise, your message is bound to be lost.

The most guarded space in a person’s online world is their inbox.  If you are able to get your blog post into your reader’s inbox, then there’s a much higher chance of your post being read.

But, you have to earn your way into someone’s inbox by creating a killer call to action.  Give your readers exactly what they want, when they want it, in exchange for their email address.

Below are five ways that you can create a killer call to action.

1. Get a celebrity endorsement

On the back of every non-fiction book, you’ll see at least four notable authors or industry experts boasting about how great the book is. On television, weight loss ads are endorsed by actors and athletic apparel ads always feature athletes.

Marketers have long used the power of celebrity endorsements to motivate their target audience to take action and buy their products.

This is a tactic not lost on Derek Halpern, founder of the site Social Triggers. When you arrive at the Social Triggers blog, the first thing you will notice is a feature box at the top of the site. Derek’s feature box promises to give you psychology-based marketing advice in exchange for your email address.

But what makes Derek’s feature box so effective is the celebrity endorsement by Chris Brogan that says “I’m totally loving Social Triggers.” Derek is a master of psychology.  He understands that his readers will be more willing to subscribe to his email list because someone of Chris Brogan’s clout loves his work.

An endorsement from an A-list blogger is truly something that needs to be earned by posting high-quality content and building strong relationships over time. However, it is one of the most powerful ways to help build your email list.

2. Create a tangible offer

Research shows that when you create a very tangible benefit, your audience will be more inclined to take action.

On, Neil Patel creates a very tangible call to action in three steps that explains to his audience exactly what they are going to get.

The first thing Neil does is create a very compelling headline.  Instead of making a vague promise such as “How to get more traffic”, he decided to create a headline that will tell you exactly how much traffic you are going to get.

The headline “Double your traffic in 30 days” is so compelling because his readers can imagine how much better their blog will be next month with twice the traffic.  They can easily imagine more Tweets, more comments, and more money.

Second, by telling his readers that the course is worth $300, he provides a specific value.  This further increases the reader’s excitement because they feel like they are getting a bargain.

Finally, he has pictures and books and CDs just below his headline that provides a physical representation of the information.

By offering a tangible benefit that your readers can wrap their heads around, you will be able to grow your email list, and your blog, much faster.

3. Create social proof through trusted sources

When Ramit Sethi drives traffic to his blog on, one of his goals is to get readers to sign up for his free “Dream Jobs” course.

Ramit’s niche is the extremely competitive personal finance space.  Aside from being a great copywriter, he creates a great call to action by pointing to readers that he has been featured in mainstream media outlets such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, CNBC, and Fortune.

Because everyone interested in money and career advice is seeking credible experts, citing his features in the most renowned mainstream publications makes Ramit’s call to action almost irresistible.

There’s a good chance that you have never been featured in the New York Times or the the Wall Street Journal, but you can use similar tactics to build credibility by guest posting on popular blogs.

The most popular blogs only publish guest posts with unique and interesting content.  If your content has been published on a popular blog, then you’ve built credibility in your reader’s mind that your blog is interesting and worth reading on a regular basis.

4. Speak to your readers’ innermost desire

Do you know what your audience really wants?  Do you know what they think about late at night when everyone else is fast asleep?

Jon Morrow knows. He has an intimate knowledge of what his readers truly desire.  On his blog, Jon is giving away a free cheat sheet that reveals 52 hacks to write great headlines.

While bloggers may be interested in writing great headlines, Jon understands that bloggers really want blog posts to go viral. And headlines are one of the elements that make viral posts possible. The only way for Jon to truly understand the inner desires of his audience is to speak with them on the phone or in person.

If you are able to speak with your readers frequently, you will understand what keeps them awake at night and create a call to action that speaks to their innermost desires.

5. Create a relevant offer

At the bottom of every post on Hubspot is a call to action that gives readers more information on how to be better at social media and internet marketing.

What’s remarkable about Hubspot’s call to actions is their relevance. For instance, this offer for a free ebook on email marketing came at the bottom of a post titled “How to Breathe Life into a Boring Email Newsletter”.

By offering an ebook on email marketing after a person has just spent five to ten minutes reading an article on the subject, Hubspot is able to increase conversions—they’re simply offering a way to receive more information on the topic in which a person has already expressed interest.

Creating relevant offers isn’t something that can be done right away.  Hubspot is able to do it because they have an entire team of marketers creating ebooks, webinars, and tools for their readers to download. As your blog progresses, you will be able to repurpose your content to create relevant calls to action.

The bottom line

The truth is even the most perfectly crafted call to action isn’t going to turn you into an A-list blogger overnight. You probably won’t get thousands of people to subscribe to your email list tomorrow.  That takes connections, work, and time.

But what if you get a hundred email subscribers this month?  And what if five of those subscribers buys your $500 course? How can you transform random traffic into loyal readers and paying customers?

Get thinking. Be creative. And over time, you will have a raving mob of loyal readers eager to consume your next blog post or purchase your next product. Just be sure to remember me when you’re rich and famous.

Greg Digneo is the author of the blog Sales Leads in Thirty Days and is hosting a free webinar that shows bloggers and content marketers how to drive more traffic to their blog and convert that traffic into sales.

How to Be a Problogger on Tumblr

This is a guest post by Gregory Ciotti of Sparring Mind.

When it comes to blogging, a number of platforms have come and gone. Recently, Posterous was acquired by Twitter, signifying that a shut-down of the platform was imminent.

I noticed this in a big way; my blog, called I Love Tumblr, which focuses on Tumblr tips and tutorials, had a huge influx of new traffic (especially to my Tumblr vs Posterous article—no surprise there).

I also started to receive a ton of emails from former Posterous users asking me if the Tumblr platform was right for them (or whether WordPress or Blogger was a better choice).

In most instances, I (like Darren) would advise a self-hosted WordPress blog above all others, however, in instances where that really isn’t desired, I have been able to honestly (and highly) recommend Tumblr to many bloggers.

Given my large amount of experience with the platform (and given its serious growth in the past few years), I thought I might explain to all of the Tumblr users here on ProBlogger how you can become a problogger on the platform.

Being a problogger on Tumblr

Being a problogger on Tumblr essentially boils down into two broad categories of advice:

  1. understanding the best practices and strategies specifically for the Tumblr platform (and knowing what makes it different)
  2. utilizing smart blogging and marketing techniques that work on any platform, and making your Tumblr blog more open to non-Tumblr users.

These pieces of advice sound contradictory, but really they are not. The point is, you need to understand both the Tumblr platform and other standard “best practices” for blogs in general to succeed, and I’m going to show you how to do both today.

Mastering the Tumblr platform

First things first: we need to understand what makes Tumblr different. The three biggest points of difference that you need to understand about Tumblr are:

  1. the social networking aspects of Tumblr
  2. what kind of content works well on Tumblr
  3. how to use the “on-site” features of Tumblr to grow your blog

1. Tumblr’s social networking aspects

Tumblr has a number of features that make it resemble a social networking platform as much as a blogging platform.

The main one is that Tumblr users can “follow” other users’ blogs—in essence, they can amass a group of followers as well as follow other blogs that interest them.

Sound familiar? It’s pretty much the same concept that Twitter uses, except that Tumblr’s a blogging platform ( has now incorporated this feature as well).

I’ve written about how to get more followers on Tumblr in the past, and largely, that advice revolves around the topics we’re discussing today: knowing what works on Tumblr, and knowing what works on the web at large. We’ll address this “follower” aspect more later on, so be sure to keep reading.

The other big social networking aspect that defines Tumblr is the act of “reblogging”. Reblogging is similar to retweeting on Twitter, or Facebook sharing, but on Tumblr, you’re actually sharing an entire blog post to your followers.

The reblogging is a very powerful feature for Tumblr users: they have the option to either Like or reblog a post they’ve enjoyed, and they will often choose the latter if it suits their interests. Reblogging showcases whatever you’ve posted to an entirely new following of Tumblr users.

It’s one of the main reason that some quirkier Tumblr blogs have grown so quickly, in addition to the large amounts of press they sometimes recieve (think Garfield Minus Garfield as an example). Currently, my most reblogged post sits at 17,848 reblogs, and it was a goofy post on my personal site, although it did attract about 125 new followers.

I’ve found it’s not the sheer number of reblogs that counts, but rather how related your overall site is to the content being reblogged (i.e. if you post some viral content about cooking, you won’t get a lot of followers unless your site is also about cooking).

The last difference with Tumblr is now no longer a difference at all: Tumblr used to be the only platform with post types, but now WordPress has incorporated that feature as well (and theme designers have followed suit), so the only true difference remains in the followers (not available on self-hosted WP blogs) and the reblogging of content, in terms of how the platform operates.

There are numerous SEO differences between Tumblr and other platforms, and the debate over whether anything but self-hosted content is safe to pursue continues, but we will tackle those issues later.

2. What content works well on Tumblr?

The Tumblr userbase is different from other blogging crowds in that it focuses on certain interests more than others. There is definitely a targeted demographic for Tumblr, and there are certainly topics that do better there than others.

Largely, Tumblr users are younger than those on most other blogging platforms, and there is a heavy focus on photo and image content over anything else. See for yourself—here are Tumblr’s demographic data from Alexa:

Alexa data

That’s not to say text posts cannot go viral on Tumblr, it’s just that the “bread and butter” of most Tumblr blogs is going to be image and short multimedia content (audio/video), often catering to younger interests.

The reason for this isn’t only to do with Tumblr’s demographics, but also with how the platform works.

Reblogging is far more popular with image posts because they are much easier to digest (ah, the typical internet user’s attention span!) and because they take up less screen space; if you reblog an entire text post, it might take up a lot of room, while a simple image reblog does not. Users are more likely to share text posts to Twitter and other sources, with the reblog being used almost exclusively for image content.

One popular blog that takes advantage of all of these aspects is the Fake Science Tumblr. Creating humorous, original image content based around a single topic (“fake science” facts), this blog grew tremendously fast with the help of people reblogging all of its images. The vintage style, the crude humor, and the focus on images is the perfect example of the type of blog that would go off like dynamite on Tumblr (not that others won’t, it’s just that this blog was made for Tumblr).

Another blog that has done quite well on Tumblr is TinyCartridge. This is another successful blog that uses Tumblr’s interface well: the topic of the blog is handheld and retro gaming, and as such, many posts are short and focus on a single image or video, perfect for Tumblr.

Don’t be fooled, though: Tumblr isn’t as limited as you think though… Some big sites have made Tumblr “microblog” additions to their main offerings, and many of these aren’t the goofy image-based topics I’ve been pointing out above.

Examples include the Time Magazine Tumblr blog, the National Post Tumblr, and the LIFE Tumblr.

You will notice of course, that the focus here is still on images, emphasizing my point that Tumblr does best with images, no matter what the topic.

3. Utilizing Tumblr’s on-site features

We’ve already talked about reblogging, but now let’s go into more depth and discuss how to use some of Tumblr’s other on-site features to increase your blog’s exposure.

One of the most powerful features that you can utilize is the Tumblr search feature, located on the right side of all Tumblr dashboards. To make the most of search, you are going to need to understand how tagging works in Tumblr, as it’s very different (and much more important) than in WordPress.

Essentially, you can tag your posts with keywords before you publish them to your blog on Tumblr:

Tumblr tags

These tags are important because they’re at the heart of the way Tumblr’s search operates: it looks for recent posts on your search via the post’s tags. So, if you’re running a surfing blog and you aren’t tagging each post with “surf” or “surfing”, you could be missing out on a ton of on-site searches.

Luckily, you don’t have to “overtag” on Tumblr, as it picks up on related content that’s tagged with similar terms. Take this example search on “bicycles”:

Bicycle search

You should add about seven to 15 tags at most to each post. Tagging is important to get your content into the search results, but don’t add so many that you look like a spammer.

Mastering “non-Tumblr” tactics

Now it’s time to step back from Tumblr for a second, because one of the biggest mistakes I see people make on the platform is that they become too reliant on it, forgetting about the smart marketing strategies that all bloggers should be using, regardless of platform.

The three biggest issues I see are that Tumblr bloggers fail to:

  1. use the best subscription options
  2. create an easy-to-navigate and high-converting blog design
  3. promote their blogs outside of Tumblr.

I’m not sure why these three elements are so often neglected by Tumblr users, but they are, so let’s tackle them one at a time.

1. Subscription options for Tumblr

The single biggest mistake people make with blogging (Tumblr or otherwise) is that they forget or neglect to start an email list. This is a tremendous mistake, and it is especially prevalent on Tumblr blogs. The thing that kills me: it’s a cinch to get started!

Simply select a good service (I recommend AWeber or MailChimp), check out some guides on how to increase email conversion rates, and be sure to place your forms in the right places (your sidebar is the critical one, although a feature box and end-of-post forms work as well).

It is so important to focus on email, as it’s one of the best ways to make your Tumblr more accessible to non-Tumblr users: everybody understands email sign-ups!

It’s also good to start a Feedburner feed for your blog, but I wouldn’t promote it: RSS readers know how to use it, and your email list is the priority anyway. You can also embed your social media profiles (such as a Facebook like box) into your Tumblr blog, but I’d stick to promoting one at a time—Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest, not all at once.

2. Creating a high-converting blog design on Tumblr

One thing that drives me crazy is how badly some Tumblr users set up their themes. I understand the use of trendy thumbnail or single-column themes, but those themes don’t convert! Two-column layouts still rules the roost, even for Tumblr, because they allow you to have sidebar where you put some incredibly important stuff, like your email sign up forms!

What stops people from picking a good theme? Tumblr charges up to $50 for themes on its ThemeGarden.

It’s a shame more people don’t know about the premium Tumblr themes available on places like ThemeForest that go for around $12, because they could solve this problem easily.

The other thing that most Tumblr users get wrong is anticipating the way people will navigate their blog. Ideally, you are going to want a few resource pages where people can access your best content, some important pages (about, contact, etc.) … and almost nothing else!

That’s right, unless you’re publishing like a mad man (or woman), you might not even need category pages (navigation menus that show posts via categories) or post archives.

You should remember that less is more when it comes to effective blog design: you are there to let people read content and to subscribe. Other than making sales, that’s all you should focus on letting people do. This way, if your users get too overwhelmed and don’t know where to go, they can always go back.

The only other decision that you need to make (partly a design choice and partly an accessibility choice) is whether or not you are going to enable comments on your Tumblr. Tumblr itself does not have a commenting system, so you’ll have to read up on how to install Disqus to Tumblr before you can allow readers to comment on your posts.

3. Promoting your blog outside of Tumblr

I explored the subscription changes at the beginning of this post because they’re relevant to a major aspect of getting your blog to be successful: promoting it off Tumblr.

While you can attract a huge number of followers (and hopefully email subscribers) from Tumblr itself, more attention outside of the platform is always good, and will likely be one of your main sources of new subscribers. So, if you’ve got email sign-up forms all set up, you can begin this process, one that few Tumblr blogs (or bloggers on all platforms) ever pursue.

One of the best, surefire ways to get more subscribers and more traffic is through guest posting. A guest post essentially allows you to be the opening act for another popular blog (preferably in your niche) that will also allow you to drop a link to your site, sending over traffic and potential subscribers. You should look for sites with at least a few thousand subscribers to guest post on. Any less, and the readership is likely to be too low to be worth the effort.

There are better alternatives to even the guest blogging strategy, however. One is to ask authors if they would like to interview you about something that you’ve achieved, accomplish, know about, or experienced. This works so well because the interview is all about you, and it looks more natural than a guest post. See what you can offer other bloggers in your niche and try to get featured on their sites.

Are you problogging on Tumblr?

As you’ve seen today, being a Problogger on Tumblr is largely determined by they way you approach and use the platform, as well as your ability to implement classic marketing knowledge and apply it to your Tumblr blog.

It definitely isn’t rocket science. But the question remains: is Tumblr the right choice for your blog?

While I will always fully support the self-hosted WordPress blog, for some people, Tumblr does make sense. If your content is heavily image-based and you think your style would do well on Tumblr, given what you know now about reblogs and the userbase, I would say give Tumblr a go.

The key thing here (I’ll say this 100 times if I have to!) is to focus on the end result, which in any blog’s case should be building an email list. It’s okay to build Tumblr followers and RSS readers and Facebook likes—just make sure you’re collecting a slew of emails in the process, and your blog will be built to last, no matter what platform it’s on.

Are you using Tumblr as part of your blogging strategy? Are you problogging entirely on the platform? Tell us how you’re getting the most out of Tumblr in the comments.

Gregory Ciotti is an avid blogger (he’s built many, and runs a few now!) and the author of Sparring Mind, where he writes about how to build a loyal following no matter which blog platform you are using. Learn what people are saying about Greg or check him out on Twitter.

Physical and Free: How to Use Real-World Gifts to Inexpensively Drive Online Traffic

This guest post is by Danny Iny of Firepole Marketing.

If you’re reading this, you probably want traffic. And when it comes to traffic, there’s a lineup of “usual suspects” to consider; there’s SEO, PPC, blog commenting, Facebook, Twitter, and the list goes on and on.

Except I’m guessing that if you’ve been online for more than a few weeks, you’ve already considered all of these options, and they haven’t panned out nearly as well as you hoped.

I’m guessing that if you’re reading this, it’s because you’re looking for another option. One that everyone else isn’t doing, and one that really will give you a chance stand out, build relationships, and develop a following.

Been there, done that, seen it already

Let me start by asking you a quick question. How many free ebooks have you traded your email address for lately? What about free reports? White papers? Video courses? Lots, right?

Giving and getting free digital content has become so common that it’s almost a joke, and it’s definitely a commodity that—while sometimes useful—doesn’t impress anyone.

Do you have a folder on your desktop for all the free digital products that you signed up for? Many people do, and so did I—until I realized that I’m never really going to get to them, and deleted it!

At best, it’s a folder that people have every intention of sorting through, making use of the contents, and hopefully learning something. But the honest truth is that most of these things don’t get read, or even noticed.

Which leads to a big problem that many bloggers and online marketers face when it comes to getting attention…

Forgetfulness, inattention, and digital overload

Most of the time, we download our free content, put it aside and forget about it. We’re busy. Well intentioned, but busy. And it doesn’t take long for “I’ll download it and read it eventually” to change into “I’m  not going to bother downloading it at all!”

It’s a practical and reasonable defense mechanism. There is only so much information a person can take in over the course of a day, and when you spend most of that day online, you’re looking at a veritable sea of facts, ideas and opinions.

So, out of necessity, we learn to filter our digital information input, and all too often that free report you slaved over ends up being passed over, ignored, or not even noticed in the first place.

But that doesn’t mean that you can’t capture attention by offering something, it just has to be done differently…

The beautiful difference of “physical”

I want to contrast—just for a moment—that folder of PDFs hidden somewhere on my computer with the pile of books looming over my desk. I bought most of them because I was interested, several of them because of a friend’s strong recommendation, and a few were gifts.

They sit in a pile on my desk and I look at them every day. They’re begging to be read, and I want to read them. And sooner or later, I make the time to do it (that’s why I made a point of creating a physical version of my book, even though it’s available as a free download).

Now imagine if your free giveaway had that kind of a hold on the recipient.

When the giveaway is physical—whether it’s a book or a refrigerator magnet—it creates… not quite a sense of obligation, but a sense of privilege.  You get to use it, because someone took the time to create it and send it to you. And you’re a lot more likely to make the time for it, remember it, and maybe even talk about it.

Why? Because we are physical beings. We like to hold things in our hands. We develop strong emotional and mental attachments to the physical objects in our lives. That’s just a fact.

So why not take advantage of it? Ah, yes, the issue of cost…

Doesn’t physical = expensive?

This is the part where people jump up and down and say “Wait a second, isn’t giving away all of that free stuff going to be expensive? How am I supposed to afford it?!”

That’s a fair point, except that it misses several important points:

  1. It’s not cost that matters, it’s return on investment. If you spend a certain amount per subscriber, and each subscriber generates several times that in annual revenue, then it’s a great deal.
  2. It doesn’t have to be expensive. You’d be surprised what you can have produced these days and how low the prices can be. More on that in a bit.
  3. Not everybody has to get one! Who said that a physical free product is available for anyone who raises their hand? Why not make it that much more attractive (and make the digital version that much more attractive, too) by limiting access?

The third point is what I really want to talk about here: limiting access by giving selectively, and doing targeted contests giveaways.

First, let’s define our terms. A blog giveaway is where the reader who leaves the best comment, creates the most social shares, or comes up with the best idea gets an awesome physical prize. In other words, you get the best of both worlds, and at a very reasonable price: everyone gets a shot at the prize, it raises the value of everything else that you’re doing, and it generates buzz and excitement in the process!

It’s a great way of having something physical, and valuable, showcasing it to everyone, and giving people a good reason to spread the word. But you don’t even need a contest to give something away for free.

Targeted giveaways of free physical goods

Sometimes, you’ll want to do a giveaway without all the fanfare, just as a gesture of appreciation of goodwill.

Maybe for people who have already bought stuff from you in the past, or who have been on your list for a long time, or filled out a survey … or maybe you just appreciate them for who they are and what they do, and give them a chance to feel the same way about you.

Your giveaway—whether it’s a book, booklet, CD, worksheet, or whatever—can be a wonderful testament to the value that you’re looking to offer, that will impress those who receive it. So if there’s someone that you want to connect with and impress, then send them something physical!

Or better yet, send them two—one for them, and one that they can use as a giveaway on their blog. We did this with Engagement from Scratch!, and it helped us connect with a huge number of new readers. And it wasn’t complicated, or expensive—we just added another copy of the book into the packages that we were already sending out, with a note saying: “Ideas are for sharing. So are books. I hope that’s what you’ll do with this—share it!”

So am I saying that you need to publish a book to make this work? No, of course not.

Getting started with physical and free

The key is to take the time to think about who you might want to give something away to, and what they would appreciate.

It can be as simple as turning your digital ebook into a physical book using a service like Blurb or Lulu (which are great for inexpensively self-publishing books, booklets, photobooks, etc.), or putting your logo (or a snazzy design) on some apparel, decorative office items, fridge magnets, or anything else, using a service like CafePress or Zazzle.

Just decide what you want to create, get the file ready, and upload it to the service of your choice. And order one copy. Just one. For you.

Once you hold it in your hand, your head is going to start spinning with ideas.

Why? Because we’re physical beings, and we like holding things in our hands. And so will your audience.

Danny Iny (@DannyIny), a.k.a. the “Freddy Krueger of Blogging”, teaches marketing that works at Firepole Marketing. Together with Guy Kawasaki, Brian Clark and Mitch Joel, he wrote the book on building engaged audiences from scratch (available on Amazon, or as a free download).

If Your Email Newsletter Isn’t Generating Cash, You’re Doing Something Wrong

This guest post is by Kelly Crawford of Generation Cedar.

The most important tool available to a blogger is his email subscriber list. It is the easiest and fastest way to increase sales. You probably already know that the readers who have voluntarily signed up to hear more of what you have to say are the ones who trust you the most, and the ones with whom it is easiest to keep building a relationship with. These are the people who will buy your stuff. Competing in today’s market demands that you build good relationships.

But a list by itself won’t sell your products. You must grow your list and make the most of it. Here’s how:

Grow your list

Obviously, the bigger the list, the more potential customers are getting your message. Here are three valuable ways to grow it:


A popover signup form will exponentially increase your sign-ups. A popover is the sign up box that “pops over” the screen a few seconds after they land on your site. Yes, it’s that annoying little box that I always click away from. But, statistically, far more people sign up from a popover form than a static form. I had to experience it to believe it (I had heard it was true but resisted), and found that my signups soared once I installed a popover. Aweber is one of the few companies that offer this feature.


Make it easy to subscribe, and remind your readers to do so if they haven’t already. Include a static form on your About page, and periodically Facebook and Tweet about the benefits of signing up.


The best incentive you can give your readers to subscribe is a series of some kind. Why? A series with several parts, sent periodically (and automatically) after they subscribe gives them repetitive exposure to you, which builds the kind of relationship that evokes trust, which will make them more likely to purchase your products.

If you’ve been writing for a while, you probably have plenty of posts you can turn into a series. What are your most popular topics? Put them in order and tell the reader what they will get: “Sign up now and receive my 5-Part Series, ‘How to Make the Most of Your Newsletter’.” Your newsletter company should easily allow you to set up automatic follow-up messages that mail at the designated time, to the subscriber’s inbox.

I also offer my readers a coupon code that’s given in the Welcome letter they receive as soon as they subscribe. This is not only an added purchasing incentive, but I tell readers they will receive it for signing up.

Make them want to open your newsletter

People get a lot of stuff in their inboxes. You have to compete and avoid being among the emails that get deleted without being opened. Here’s how to do it:

Make every newsletter count

Your subscribers are your prized customers. Reward them with good content. Except for the occasional sales announcement you might send by itself, if every newsletter has meat in it, readers will remember it and want to open the next one. Make it valuable enough that they are afraid of missing out if they don’t open.

Subject line is king

A 25% open rate versus an 80% open rate has huge implications for your bottom line. The subject line is all you get to convince readers to open. Be creative, and try to think like the recipient. What would make you open your email if you didn’t know what was inside? I’d caution you here not to deceive readers with your subject line. They won’t like it, and it will hurt your relationship—that thing you are working so hard to build.

Advertise Without Annoying

Remember how I said to put valuable information in your newsletters? Helpful articles, advice, and inspiration should make up the bulk of your content. Answer questions, solve problems, and readers will be back for more. But you can market at the same time, without being a nuisance. Here are some important points to remember:

Try affiliate marketing

Choose articles and subjects that support the natural use of affiliate products. Linking to them throughout your text lets the readers click if they’re interested, but doesn’t assume anything. Consider interviewing an author whose affiliate products you will consequently be advertising.

Use the sidebar

Use your sidebar. Routinely include pictures and links to your products (or those of your affiliates) in your sidebar. Offering a coupon code or limited-time offer is a useful incentive to push a potential buyer to act.

Add testimonials

Customer testimonials are your number one selling tools. Use them every chance you get. Instead of just listing your ebook, include a “What customers are saying” section.

The right formula

As it is with any platform, your newsletter will be the most successful when you implement the right formula. And what it that?

Persuade them of their problem, give them practical hints about solving it, then suggest a more thorough answer through your product offer, with, of course, a discount exclusively for them.

Let’s say you blog about weight loss. In your newsletter, you might write about five common foods that burn fat. Hopefully you have an ebook entitled “How to Lose Weight Eating What You Love,” or something like that. At the end of your article, you simply say, “Enter the coupon code ‘burnfat’ to get $1 off my ebook, ‘How to Lose Weight Eating What You Love’ now. Here’s what our customers are saying about it…” You get the picture!

Don’t forget to scan old but popular articles for newsletter fodder, tweaking them to implement all these strategies.

So, what are you waiting for? Go turn your newsletter into cash!

Kelly Crawford is a “mompreneur” and contributing author for five blogs, including her own, Generation Cedar. She also founded the membership site, Home Paid Blogger, a step-by-step guide for beginners to making money by blogging. You can follow Kelly on Twitter @generationcedar or on Facebook.

Unearthing Your Blog’s Money Pages

This guest post is by the Web Marketing Ninja.

Earlier today, Greg explored the question of pricing products that you’re creating for sale on your blog. Setting the right price for your products is extremely important, but I wanted to take that discussion one step further for those who are already offering products on their blogs and want to take their conversions to the next level.

When I approach conversion optimization on websites, which in most cases is simply cash optimization, I stick to a few golden rules:

  1. Think in people, not pageviews.
  2. People are looking for a reason not to buy—don’t give them one.
  3. Go for biggest bang for buck.
  4. Test everything!

I’ve already covered points 1 and 2, so in this post, I wanted to export number three, going biggest bang for buck.

If you’re trying to figure out how to turn some money into more money without creating new products, campaigns, or deals, you need to unearth the pages on your site that are going to give you the greatest return from an improvement in conversion.

…and for that, I have a three-point plan.

1. Understand where you money comes from, and find your influenceable end-point

Now, being the smart bloggers I know you are, you should know where your money comes from. Your income might be derived from ads, affiliate income, or product sales—among others. And I’m sure you’re able to identify your top-level driver of that income—the last point in the conversion process that you can influence. Here they are:

  • Product sales = successful checkouts
  • Affiliate sales  = clicks to affiliate site
  • Ads (CPC) = clicks on ads
  • Ads (CPM) = page views
  • Subscription = activated subscriptions
  • Service = contact form submissions

Whatever your strategy, knowing your influenceable end-point enables you to set some specific goals on key metrics for your blog (for example more sales, more clicks, more pageviews).

2. Set yourself up to track those end-points

Whilst it can be a bit of a challenge initially to set up measurements for your blog’s conversion goals, without them, you’ll never really know where your money comes from at a granular level. 

For most, a well configured Google Analytics setup is all that you need, as it has goal tracking built in.

If checkouts are one of your goals, then ecommerce tracking is what you need. If your ads are sold by CPM, then you’ve got it easy—you have the data already. If your goal is clicks, that presents a slightly bigger challenge. Let me explain.

In Analytics, a goal is measured by successfully reaching a page on your site that you’ve specified. When a click takes a visitor to another site, Google Analytics sees it as a visitor that exits to another site rather than a successfully reached goal. To solve this, you can use any of a few options.

  • If you’re using AdSense, you’re fine—that’s already integrated with Analytics.
  • Use a redirect page to collect goals. Instead of sending users straight through to the advertiser or affiliate, you can send them via a page that automatically redirects the user, but includes the analytics goal code to track.
  • Use a paid service like Kiss Metrics … but even that can be a bit tricky to set up.

I’m really hoping that at some point Google’s ad manager, Double Click, will integrate with Analytics so this issue is rectified. But even if it’s a little bit of a hassle for you to set up right now, it’s a hassle that’s worth going through in order to understand just how good—or bad—your conversion performance is.

So after a bit of research, action, and maybe fumbling, you’re now hopefully able to track the conversion rate of your commercial goals (whatever that are) and you’re ready to move forward.

3. Think in one-percents

The final step in identifying biggest bang for buck is to put a dollar conversion vale against all your pages. All this takes is a bit of simple math.

Page X

  • 10,000 page views
  • 100 sales
  • $4000

Those figures give us a conversion rate of 1% and an average income per sale of $40. If I increase the conversion rate itself by 1%, to 1.1%, my sales will total 101, and my income will be $4040. I’m up  $40.

Page Y

  • 100,000 page views
  • 50 sales
  • $1000

So this page has a conversion rate of 0.05% and an average income per sale of $20. If I increase this conversion rate by 1%, to 0.051%, my sales will total 51 and my income will hit $1020. I’m up  $20.

As you can see, there’s double the return for a 1% improvement on Page X, as compared to Page Y. So Page X the one I’m going to focus on. Not the one with all the page views: the one with the greatest return.

Obviously, on your blog, you’ll have far more than two pages to pick from, but this model will allow you to rank them in order.  Make sure you don’t forget to include your checkout process as pages in this analysis, as well. You might be surprised by how they stack up.

And just in case the figures of $20 and $40 don’t get you motivated to do any testing, remember that variances of over 100% are common across different variations of a page. So add a couple of zeros … feeling motivated now?

The three-point plan

So just to summarise, your three-point plan to unearthing those money pages is:

  1. Understand your last influenceable conversion metric.
  2. Start tracking those points in the sales process.
  3. Stack all your pages together and find the one that’s going to give you the biggest return for a 1% conversion increase.

…and that’s how you can unearth the pages that are going to give you the biggest bang for buck.

Stay tuned for more posts by the Web Marketing Ninja—author of The Blogger’s Guide to Online Marketing, and a professional online marketer for a major web brand. Follow the Web Marketing Ninja on Twitter.

A Systematic Approach to Writing Successful Blog Posts

This guest post is by Jane Sheeba of Problogging Success.

“Success” is a very relative term. Unless you define it precisely, it’s very easy to become lost in a sea of assumptions. You can work hard on building a blog without having defined your “success,” but if you do, how will you know if you’re progressing successfully?

A blog post is an essential part of the blog—in fact every single blog post is a very important entity of the blog. Subtract all the blog posts and you have no blog left.

So your blogging success depends heavily on the success of your blog posts. And as Shaun Connell explained earlier today in The Systematic Blogger’s Mainfesto, if you can systematize your blogging, you can create a more reliable path to whatever you’ve defined as success.

So in this post I’m going to show you a system for creating successful blog posts, every time.

1. Define your “success”

As I said already, “success” is a very relative term. It differs from person to person and blog to blog.

  • For some “success” may mean building an email list which is highly responsive.
  • For some it could be making X number of affiliate sales.
  • For some it could be directing people to a particular service.

So unless you know precisely what you want, you cannot know what to do in order to achieve success—or if you’ve succeeded at all.

Defining your success is nothing but setting a goal. This applies to blog posts just as well as it does to your blog overall. Every blog post you write should have a clear purpose. How can you identify it? Ask yourself, “What do I want from this blog post?”

Let me give you some examples:

  • If you’re writing a product review, your goal could be to make X number of product sales.
  • If you’re writing a series about how to make money blogging, your goal may be to attract a certain percentage of readers to subscribe to your email list.
  • If you’re writing a guest post, your goal might be to generate a number of clickthroughs to your own site.

Once you’ve defined your goal, and defined “success” clearly, you can start working on the post.

2. Choose a topic that your readers and the search engines want

Readers are the lifeblood of your blog, so you must write what your readers want.

Do not assume that your blog readers will be like you. Do not assume that a particular topic will interest them. Do not make any assumptions. Rather, research and find out what interests your blog readers. If your blog post doesn’t strike a chord with your blog readers, you will be wasting a lot of blogging energy with no return.

There are various ways to find what your readers want.

  1. Yahoo Answers and Quora are great places to start with. Type in your primary keywords and you’ll see what people are hungry for.
  2. Go to the free, famous, and useful Google Keyword Tool and type in the same keyword you used in Yahoo Answers and Quora. Then click on Phrase Match, and pick up a handful of potential keywords that have low or medium competition, but high global monthly searches.
  3. Visit Wordtracker Keyword Questions (you’ll have to register for a free account) and, again, type in your keyword. This tool will give you a clear idea of the questions people are asking for on that particular topic.
  4. Google is another great place to find out what people are interested in. Go to Google and start to type in your keyword slowly—don’t complete it too quickly! As you type, you’ll see Google’s suggestions appear below the search box. While these options are personalized if you’re logged in to Google’s services, you can use anonymous browsing mode to remove personal settings from your search results.

Once you know what people are looking for, you’ll be able to come up with a great topic to write about. Do your research and deliver useful, practical advice on the topic. In fact, go further and over-deliver.

3. Include elements to help you achieve your goal

Earlier, you set a precise goal for this blog post. Let’s say you decided you want the post to prompt a number of people to opt in to your list. The element you’ll want to include to help people sign up is a link to your sign up form.

If you like, you can adopt a hard-sell approach to achieving this goal. But when you deliver awesome quality information in a post, a simple form at the end will do the work. You don’t even have to hit people multiple times with your subscription invitation.

The key is, don’t forget to include that element. If you want to generate a certain outcome from a post, make sure you’ve included the elements required to achieve that goal in your post.

As another example, if you want people to buy a particular product after reading that post, don’t forget to include a link to the product or talk something about that product in the post. If you omit those elements, you can’t expect achieve your goal, no matter how great your post is.

4. Promote your blog post

The word “promote” is often read as “spam others with…” But you don’t need to resort to spam.

If your blog post is of great quality, and you believe it will help many people, share it in social media. Take five or ten seconds to manually add a description to the post link before you share it.

If you want to share your post with your newsletter subscribers, create a compelling, non-spammy headline, and write a compelling teaser so that people will want to check out the post.

Promotion doesn’t have to be spammy—do it in such a way that people want to click through.

5. Analyze your results

This is the crucial part where you’ll measure your success in terms of numbers. Don’t skip this step! You won’t learn anything from all you’ve done so far if you decide to ignore the results. And if you don’t learn anything, you won’t be able to improve your systematic approach to writing successful blog posts.

Again, let’s consider the example of people joining your subscription list after reading your post. You could create a special opt in form for this particular post (instead of your usual generic one). In Aweber, you might create a new web form and, in the Settings screen (where you fill out the crucial details), name the form appropriately so that you can easily identify it.

It’s a good idea to use a short form of the title of the post itself to name your web form. You’ll see that Aweber uses the same name for the tracking ID. And, when you look at the stats of all your web forms, you’ll be able to see how well that form converts in comparison to the others—that is, you’ll know how many people actually looked at that form, how many opted in, and what the conversion rate is (as a percentage).

This is a great way to see how successful your post was at achieving this goal.

If you want to track sales or see how well your signup funnel performed on the whole, you can always use Google Analytics. Go to the Analytics information for your target page to see the referral information.

You’ll usually see domains (that is, the home page of other blogs or websites) in the referral details. If you click on a particular domain, you can see the break down of actual pages of that domain that sent traffic to your target page, and the actual number of visits that came from each.

So you can pinpoint exactly how many visits are sent to your subscription or product landing page from a particular blog post you’ve written.

A systematic approach to blog post success

Don’t neglect to provide quality on every blog post you write. Every time you prepare to write a post, ask yourself: What do I want out of this blog post? What’s the purpose of me writing this blog post? How will I know that it’s achieved what I want?

Considering all this may sound like a big task to do on top of writing the blog post itself. But asking these questions, and being clear about the answers, helps you to actually write posts that achieve your desired results with ease.

Jane is a blog consultant and the founder of Problogging Success. She has authored two e-books Problogging Action Plan (winner of the Small Business Book Awards, 2012) and Guest Blogging Champion to help bloggers become successful in their blogging business.