The Problem with Almost All Blogs—and An Easy Solution

This guest post is by John Trayhorn of the ECHO Affiliate Blog.

This post describes a problem that affects almost all bloggers, and almost certainly affects you. Implement these changes, and you should see page views, revenues and social sharing soar.

How it begins

You start off a great blog.

To start with almost nobody reads it. Hey, it takes time to build up an audience. (If you’ve just started, don’t give up—longevity is one of the keys to a successful blog!)

As time passes, you slowly gain an audience. When you publish a new blog post, you get a surge of readers.


  1. Most of those readers will never see your old blog posts.
  2. Despite your increasing popularity, many people who do visit your blog and like it will miss many of your new blog posts.
  3. The readers never see your blog organised into a logical and coherent sequence.

There’s a solution.

What’s more, it’s easy to implement, has huge benefits and doesn’t take a lot of your time.

The solution to the problem

I first found the solution when I ran an Adsense website.

I noticed that most of the revenue came from our articles about jobs. We were already using an autoresponder website to send out our newsletters. But to maximise revenue, we needed to do something more.

Email blogging, done right

You may well have heard of autoresponders, or use one yourself, but hang on in with me—there’s more to it than sending out a few emails when you write a new blog post, or have something to sell.

Instead, you send out an email about every post you have ever written.

Not at the same time, of course. If you have an old blog with a lot of posts, the process could be spread out over years! And don’t include the post in the email—the aim is to get the reader back to your blog.

Instead, explain how each blog post will create value to your reader, and then include a link with a call to action back to the post. Remember to use a fantastic headline and to test these over time, so you get more and more opens—and more and more clickthroughs.

In my case, I took all our jobs articles, organised them into a logical sequence, emailed users about them over a couple of months, and watched our Adsense revenue explode from a few few hundred dollars to a peak of just under $3000.

You can see an example of one of our autoresponder emails here:

Autoresponder example

As I found out later, this approach works even better if you have a high-value product to sell.

Benefits for you, benefits for your readers

Think of this:

  1. Everyone you sign up gets to see every great post you have ever written (if any have bombed, you should cut them out of the email sequence—if not your blog).
  2. A one-off visitor can be turned into a person who visits your blog multiple times over the years using this technique.

What’s more, an increase in regular visitors leads into other benefits, such as:

  • more social sharing
  • more links
  • more comments
  • more revenue
  • and the much greater relationship you get with long-term readers.

This approach does require a change of emphasis on your blog. If you use this technique, your primary goal should be to get readers to sign up, not just to read.

You will also need to create a clear benefit to signing up, such as a free guide, an email course or, if you are selling a product, discount codes. (An email course can be as simple as your existing blog posts organised into a more logical sequence.)

Don’t think you are being selfish, either. There are clear benefits to the reader, who gets an organized sequence of free blog posts about a topic they’re interested in.

Have you used autoresponders to get traffic to your old posts? Tell us how it worked in the comments.

You can read more tips like this on the ECHO Affiliate Blog. And, of course, make sure you sign up so you get all of our fantastic tips via auto-responder!

Seven Traffic Techniques for Bloggers—and Metrics to Measure Them

Over the last couple of months here at, we’ve taken a tour of the traffic techniques that are essential to bloggers. While not all bloggers use or focus on all techniques, the ones we’ve covered probably make up the core traffic tools used by bloggers today:


Image courtesy stock.xchng user angel_ruiz

I’ve used all of these methods myself, and I daresay that the longer you’ve been online, the more of them you’ve tried. The thing with traffic, though, is that it’s easy to focus just on our total traffic figure, rather than considering whether the traffic we’re attracting is right for our blog, or how it affects our other metrics.

So today what I’d like to do is point out a few alternative ways to consider your traffic levels. Taking a more holistic perspective of how your traffic is reaching your blog can open our eyes to new possibilities not just for promotion, but for reader retention. Let’s see how that can work.

Search engine optimization metrics

Most of us spend a little time each week looking at the content that’s attracting the most search traffic to our sites. we might analyse that content, to try to work out what we’ve done right, or the keyphrases searched on, to see which ones we’re ranking well for. But here’s a slightly different take, that looks at the keyphrases that generated the lowest bouncerates, as a way to get to know your readers better.

  1. Open Google Analytics, and go to Traffic Sources.
  2. Select Search, then Organic.
  3. In this list, you’ll see some of your older posts, but you might also find some more recent ones that have attracted a large amount of search traffic. I think that looking at these posts can give us a good idea of the information our target audience is currently searching for—the problems they’re having right now. To find that out, click on the newest post that’s in the list.
  4. Analytics show you a page dedicated to search traffic for that post. Select Traffic Sources from the Secondary Dimension dropdown, and choose Keyword in the list that appears.
  5. You’ll see a list of all the keywords searchers used to come to your site, along with other information (visits, pages per visit, etc.) for each one.

This is where things get interesting. We know that these days, fewer and fewer visitors land on our sites’ homepages—most are entering our blogs through deeper pages (check your stats to see how this works on your blog). And we also know that many people who come to our sites through the search engines may not be in our target audiences.

As an example, this post attracts a lot of search traffic to ProBlogger, but since he material’s of interest to such a wide range of users, we can immediately guess that only a small portion of those readers are going to stick around. The bounce stats on that piece reflect this.

That doesn’t mean the piece doesn’t target my desired readers, though. In among the high bounce rates are some lower ones, and by looking at the language that those people used to find the post, I can get some valuable insights about how the people who stick around phrase their searches on this topic. If I take a look at a few other high-traffic posts, I can start to form a clear picture of how these users search.

For example, that post I mentioned above, on setting up an email account that uses your domain name, got the lowest bounce rate by people searching with the phrase, “how to set up personal email on gmail.” When I compare this with some of the higher-bounce rate search phrases, like “use gmail with my domain,” I can start to get a hint about the types of people that that content satisfies. When I look at the other low-bounce rate phrases that were used to find other high-search-traffic posts, that picture really starts to take shape.

I could use this information to:

  • see if I can lower bounce rates for similarly formed search phrases on other posts by including key phrases that are written more like these ones
  • review the success of this topic with my current readership as a way to work out if these searchers fit with the larger audience I’m trying to attract, and…
  • …if so, consider dropping in some more content around this topic, using the low-bounce rate key phrase, to better meet the needs of current and potential users
  • see if I can use this kind of language to target more engaged traffic with other techniques, like search or social media advertising.

If nothing else, by reviewing low-bounce rate organic search phrases that searchers use to reach my blog, I can get a feel for the kinds of keyphrases—or, more broadly, topic-specific language, that might attract people who are more likely to be satisfied by the site as a whole. I wonder how this could work on your blog?

Content marketing metrics

Most bloggers are well versed in the process of reviewing their stats after a guest post publication on another site, to see how the post performed, and get ideas about what works, and what doesn’t, and how we can make our content marketing more effective over time.

But if we look at referred traffic levels only, we may not get the full picture of how effective our content marketing effort was. What about social shares and the quality and quantity of comments? Compiling a collection of relevant metrics for each guest post into a tracking sheet that contains information on all your guest posts can help you build up an understanding over time of:

  • which types of content work where
  • how (e.g. they’re readily shared, or the host site has a massive audience that always generates a spike on your site), and
  • why (are your headlines particularly great, is it that you always choose the right format, that your information stands out from the crowd, or something else?).

Taking your subscription levels and bounce rates into account as part of that ongoing analysis can help you get a hold on the other side of the equation: how well you’re managing the traffic that your content marketing generates, and where you can improve.

Looking at pure traffic levels can really limit your understanding—and the efficacy—of your content marketing efforts.

Online advertising metrics

At their most basic, online ad metrics are something we look at to assess the impact of our campaigns. If you use advertising as a traffic generator, it’s pretty easy to assess whether it’s working: just look at your ad service interface.

Once you know what’s working for you to generate traffic through ad networks, why not look to apply that knowledge in buying ad space directly on other sites in your niche? Invest the time honing your visuals and ad CTAs to suit the ad networks, and you’ll have a head start when it comes to creating ads specifically for the readers of peer sites in your market.

Those successes might also play into other traffic generation techniques—keyword selection, for example, which can play into strategies for SEO and content generation. But perhaps you’ll also start looking at tying advertising to some of the other traffic generation tactics you use. Advertising on a site as your guest post is published there is one example. Advertising your subscription offering or downlaodable, free whitepaper is another.

Subscription metrics

It’s easy to look at a rising subscription level and think “great!” but to get a clear picture of what’s going on, I like to consider it in light of overall traffic levels—and the proportion of that traffic that’s new and returning.

A typical increase in my subscriptions is good … unless traffic increased by more than usual over the month. On the other hand, a disproportionate rise in subscriptions when traffic growth has remained normal presents other questions. In both cases, I’ll want to investigate further—to see where subscriptions are or aren’t coming from, and work out if there’s something I should tweak to try to improve the figures.

These questions work well in conjunction with some of the other traffic stats we’ve been looking at. If my review of low-bounce rate search traffic suggests certain language or key phrases could catch new visitors’ attention, I might try a different call to action on my subscription page. If they’re coming from a certain other sites—perhaps as a result of content marketing efforts or backlinks—then I might offer a relevant free download for new subscribers next month, and see if that helps boost conversions.

Ultimately, reviewing the ratio of subscriptions to new traffic often prompts us into some kind of action, and in a way that looking at conversions alone may not.

Social media metrics

Analytics’ Referrals screen gives you access to a good deal of information about all referrers—including social networks. Again, looking at these stats alone is okay for finding out which of your posts is getting a lot of clickthroughs, but there are a lot of variables that can affect click in social media, including how the information is resented by those who share it. So I prefer not to take that information on its own.

Instead, I might compare the clicks Analytics has recorded on individual links through a given social network (e.g. Twitter) with the shares I’ve tracked for that article, to get an idea of a shares-to-clicks ratio. For those that got the most clicks, I’ll also compare those stats with overall traffic to the article for the month. This is a good way to get an idea of which kinds of content perform well in social media, perhaps even over a longer time.

As an example, a post that generated a lot of clicks through Twitter in the last month was Neil Patel’s Guide to Writing Popular Blog Posts, which is nearly a year old. A deeper investigation shows that the post was reshared at the start of the month, causing a traffic spike that lasted for a period of days as that initial retweet was re-shared.

So social media metrics aren’t just about what’s trending—they can also be a good indicator of posts that could provide you with strong traffic opportunities over the longer term, and perhaps provide material for use in other formats too.

Backlink metrics

Their SEO potential aside, organic backlinks offer a real opportunity for the blogger who wants to give their content marketing efforts more punch. For example, looking at your referring sites for the last month can alert you to sites and sub-niches that are relevant to yours, or of growing importance. It can also show that content that’s hiding in your archives is getting attention from others—and may be worthy of more attention from you, too.

This month, I found that this very old post, RSS vs. Atom: What’s the Big Deal? had been linked to from a tutorial on making an RSS feed of your Facebook updates. Although that tute was publish more than a year ago, it’s obviously had some traffic in the last little while—and some of that has flowed through to my blog!

How can I use this information to boost traffic?

  • I could do some interlinking and updating to try to reduce bounce rates from the new traffic coming to that post, and encourage more of these new users to look at other content I have on related topics.
  • At the very least, I could include a link to my own RSS feed in the article, since these users are obviously interested in the kinds of tips that we talk about here on ProBlogger, and are comfortable with RSS.
  • I could compile a Facebook marketing guide using evergreen content from my blog and use it as an incentive to encourage these visitors to subscribe, so I can try to increase their repeat visits to the blog.
  • I could create more content on that topic, specific to that audience need, and send it to other sites in that niche as guest posts (containing more backlinks of course).
  • I could ask the post’s author if he’d like to revamp and “republish” the post on my site as a means to attract even more attention to it.
  • I could offer the site that linked to the piece a sponsorship package for that article, and others like it on my site.

These are just a few ideas‚ but the options are almost endless for each niche and topic area. While bloggers may feel that they’ve lost control over backlinks following the last Google update, backlinks are obviously still worth paying attention to as an indicator of what your audience—and those in related niches, feel is valuable about your blog. And as we know, value is the way to build strong recurring traffic over the longer term.

Networking and collaboration metrics

Of all the traffic sources we discussed, this one’s probably the most difficult to track in aggregate. While you can count traffic generated through a guest-posting collaboration or a shared effort like a cross-blog competition or carnival, it can be difficult to gauge the full traffic benefits of these efforts even in the short term—let alone over longer timeframes.

It’s true that for some of the collaborative opportunities I mentioned last week—writing book, for example, or running a highly localised event—you can do some forms of analysis. You can track the time it takes to organize and run the event, and compare that with the income and subscriptions you generate from it, and traffic levels immediately following that effort.

But I think that often, the number don’t tell the full story here. These kinds of collaborative efforts can have far-reaching effects over the longer term, and often that impact can be subtle, or difficult to attribute directly to the event you ran eight—or eighteen—months ago.

So one of the ways I “measure” the impacts of these efforts is to think about how energised I feel by doing them. If you’re engaged with your blog’s audience, you should get a good feel for their response to these events and ideas. Are they excited? Are they telling others about it? Are they asking you questions about it and engaging with the products of your collaboration wherever they can? How does their response make you feel? Are you as excited as they are? How does your collaborator feel?

Answering these questions should give you at the very least a rough idea of the long-term potential of a joint effort with your blog’s readership.

What traffic metrics are you keeping an eye on?

The world of traffic generation involves a galaxy of metrics. But in truth, with all the other things bloggers have to do, few of us pay very focused attention to the details of our metrics all the time. For most, a general overview, supplemented by a few key metrics, may be all we go on most of the time.

I’d love to hear which metrics you’re paying the most attention to at the moment, and why. Are you looking at your referrers to gauge the impact of your social media efforts, or a guest post you’ve just had published? Are you working hard on SEO, and keeping an eye on your organic (or paid!) search traffic levels? Tell us what you’re watching in the comments.

The Secret to Crazy-Happy Blogging

This guest post is by Lisa Cash Hanson of Mompreneuer Mogul.

“Try to discover
The road to success
And you’ll seek but never find,
But blaze your own path
And the road to success
Will trail right behind.”
—Robert Brault

I’ve spent much of my life mastering the art of impersonations—basically copying a singer’s style and recreating that on stage.  It’s what I did for a living before I became an entrepreneur and a new mother to my baby girl Matilda. I would study movements, accents, costumes and then replicate, much the same as an actor would when studying for a film role. I was a Las Vegas Impersonator.

I suppose, due to the fact that I spent so many years portraying other people, I now have a deep desire to never copy anything by anyone ever again. It is from that perspective that I share this blog post with you regarding your true writing voice.

No one’s as good at being you as you!

The Internet is filled with so many amazing writers and information. However if we copy those writers we will always be a poor copy instead of a promising original. The most valuable tip I have learned in all my years of impersonating is that no one is as good at being you as you are. So why should we copy any other blogger or their style?

I want to share some quick tips that I believe will challenge you to discover your true voice and at the same time help you to stand apart from the blogging crowd. If you apply these tips I know that you will tap into something really powerful. When you write from a place that’s real, then the traffic and offers will come. Then you will discover a creative flow that you probably never knew existed.

In order to be original you have to release all fear and anxiety and dare to try something new. Here are some things that may help you on  your journey to becoming unique.

The They-may-not-like-me Syndrome

This is where the fear rises up that if we try something unusual and different a reader might not like us. Perhaps they will even stop following our blog.

Let me help relieve that fear for you. That will probably happen.

“Lisa, that is not inspiring,” you’re thinking. “I thought you were helping us?” I am. Listen. I was featured on the home page of Yahoo! not too long ago, and my blog blew up. Super-cool. Until I read all the comments. Super not cool.  It was so bad that I wrote the post, ” The Best And Worst Day Of My Blogging Life” and I have to admit I whined a little. Basically I received a lot of backlash and it wasn’t all that great.

However a lot of great things came from that experience. I discovered the value of moving past negativity and pressing through. I no longer think “What if they don’t like me?” I understand that I can’t please everyone.

Decide on purpose to move past any negativity then launch out, be brave, and try something new and daring. You may find that more new people flock to your blog then those who leave. And in the words of a very wise man Dr. Seuss, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

Be brave enough to be first

Your blog is your space. Just because you may not see an idea on someone else’s blog, that doesn’t mean it’s not a valid and amazing idea.

When I wrote Darren to do this guest post I really wanted to add a vlog. It’s part of my personality and my blogging platform. I could have talked myself out of it, saying, “I never see any other guest bloggers doing a vlog. Darren must not like video.”

But no. Instead, I simply suggested it and asked if it was possible along with my post idea. And the result? Obviously I did a guest vlog on ProBlogger, and I’m super thankful. The point is I was not afraid to ask. So be brave enough to be first. Ask and you may be shocked by what comes your way.

Forget perfectionism

Many times we allow our fear of not being perfect to stop us from creating something beautiful. But we have to be gracious enough with ourselves to allow space to make a mistake and not hinder the creative process. “Have no fear of perfection—you’ll never reach it.” So said Salvador Dali.


You may think a confession has no place on a blog filled with tips about blogging. But I will tell you it does. I have no doubt the words I speak over my own life daily are what has opened many doors for my business and my blog.

Confess things like, “I am uniquely made.” “I am filled with creative and unique ideas.” “I am daring.” “I am bold.” “I think of posts that are completely original and help tons of people.”

By the way, yes I did say to Darren as I looked at his profile, “I will guest blog for you.” See how that works? It did take a few attempts, in case you were wondering. (A side note: a non-answer may just mean “not right now,” so make sure to try again.)

Laugh at yourself

I have a weekly vlog, and every Wednesday I share tips and questions from my readers. It’s far from perfect. One time my husband was watching my video before it went live and said, “Babe, you’re weird.” He said that because I made a mistake and then just laughed at myself and kept going, almost talking to myself on camera—but out loud.

I told him, “What they see is what they get. I’m real.” And guess what? I get weekly comments about how genuine I am and that it makes my audience laugh. That is much better than having a perfect, stiff video. So always remember to laugh—even if it means you may be laughing at yourself.

Look outside blogging platforms for original ideas

I’ve shared before that it is amazing to follow blogs like Problogger, CopyBlogger, Firpole Marketing and others. But if all you do is read those blogs one after another, how can you ever truly expect to get new motivation?

Sometimes you need to stop looking at blogs for your inspiration—even if it’s just for one night. In Las Vegas we have some really killer shows. My favorites are the Cirque De Soleil shows. One night of watching them, or a great concert, or a night of playing games with friends, could fill your head with some awesome new ideas for blogging. So try to get outside of the virtual world and into the “other” world to draw on some inspiration.

Care about design

I know that you are probably shouting “Content is king! Who cares about design?” True, content is the most important aspect of your blog, however if you change something in your design, you could be surprised how that will serve you. Maybe you could start a new trend. You’ll never know unless you try.

Who are you?

Do you really know who you are? Or are you a rehashed version of someone else on the planet who’s work you’ve read over and over?

Spend some time alone with yourself. Think about what makes you laugh, what makes you cry, what makes you mad, what makes you passionate—and include all of those things on your blog. Then your voice will shine through.

Remember, Celine Dion is a powerful singer but it would be super-boring if every singer sounded like her, no matter how beautiful her voice. Be yourself. Share a great gift with the world-yourself.

When it comes to matters of money

I know there are many tips on how to make money and how much to charge, but guess what? It’s your blog, and your business, and you have the ability to run it your way.

I have created unique ad campaigns and charged for guest posts differently than most. And people pay. I’ve received more money on some projects merely because I asked for it—and then I created such a unique experience for that person that they couldn’t go anywhere else.

Let your creativity flow, and you may find new ways of making money on your blog. If you are a food blogger you could do a PDF of a recipe and invite readers to download it for 99 cents. Or if you are a photographer and you have many pictures, you could create a private membership site where people come to use your awesome photos for their blog. The possibilities are endless.

The results of being your true you

Crazy happiness

Honestly you may feel a little crazy due to your new state of happiness. It feels good to be different.

Media attention

You will soon learn that you get much more attention via social and traditional media by being unique. There will be a new spark that comes out of you, and that spark is contagious. People are drawn to others that are filled with life. It’s often referred to as charisma. So get that pumping and see what happens for you.

Increased income

Many of us love to blog but we also love when some cash comes along with our blog. Who doesn’t like to make a little extra income? You will find that the more original you are, the more financial opportunities will come your way.

When I launched my blog it didn’t look like anyone else’s. Immediately I was getting offers for paid posts, and ads. Why? Probably because it looked so unique that it attracted business’s attention. When you are your true self, money will follow. And it’s a sweet feeling to be yourself and get paid to do it at the same time.

Crazy-happy blogging

I hope that these tips give you a small glimpse into the world of originality. As I said in my video, there’s no one else on earth like you. Dare to be different you’ll see you will reap rich dividends.

Now don’t forget to test this out and share in the comments below what you’ve done to stand apart from the pack. I’m excited to see what you do.

Lisa Cash Hanson is the author of the “Get Famous The Most Amazing Mom Bloggers Resource On The Planet” and creator of the Blogs To Riches Club. Lisa was recently featured on Yahoo!, named Circle of Mom’s Top 25 Mom Tech Blog & Blogtrepreneur’s Top 40 Mompreneurs to follow on Twitter. She is the founder of Mompreneur Mogul an award winning blog where business and inspiration meet. Her weekly Newsletter is packed with tips for those who want to make money blogging and get media attention for their blogs.

10 Steps to a Sales Page That Doesn’t Suck

This guest post is by Jessica Albon of,

In general, writing comes pretty easily to me. When I’m in the flow (which is relatively often), I can write about 2000 words in an hour. And yet when it comes time to write a sales page for myself, my writing flow and speed used to ground to a halt.

I’d spend hours on a single paragraph feeling frustrated that I wasn’t making any progress at all.

What was especially frustrating was that when I’d write a sales page for a client it didn’t take nearly so long—it was only when I sat down to write sales copy for myself that I couldn’t seem to get the words out.

Looking back now, I see the reason I struggled was entirely my own fault—which is a good thing because it means I could fix it. If this is something you’ve noticed with your own writing—blog posts flow but when you try to write sales copy that writing flow deserts you—you can fix it too.

In the past, when I’d write my own sales letter, I’d try to do everything at once—a little research, a little figuring out my goal as I went, a little getting to know my audience better, a little writing. I did everything all at once in a mish-mash.

And that may work when writing blog posts, but it’s a painful way to write a sales page. What’s more, when you write your sales page in dribs and drabs like this, it either takes a ton of editing to polish it up, or the reader will notice those starts and stops (which means they’re unlikely to make it all the way to the end). So, not only is writing this way making the writing more difficult, but the sales letter that results isn’t nearly as good as it would be if you tackled each task, one at a time.

We’ve heard a lot about how multitasking can hamper efficiency. But usually multitasking is seen as performing several very different activities at once (like watching TV, answering emails, and playing the kazoo). “Writing a sales page” on the other hand seems like just one activity.

But it’s not. “Writing a sales page” actually requires a number of distinct processes. When we separate out these distinct processes, we write more efficient, more effective copy.

The next time you have a sales page to write, try out this sequence of tasks and see if it helps make you a more efficient writer.

  1. Brainstorm: Spend ten minutes generating as many ideas as possible about the sales page, your hook, your audience, your product. Get them all down on paper.
  2. Distill: Go over your notes and determine the bones of your letter. What key thing do you want people to know after reading your sales page? Who are you talking to? How will you talk to them?
  3. Research: Learn your market inside and out. Research your competition, competitive advantage, and where your product or service fits. What’s the latest research that supports your product? What’s the evidence that your product or service is necessary?
  4. Write a project brief: Write everything out as if you were hiring a professional copywriter. Include everything about your product or service—all the nitty-gritty details—as if the person reading it knew nothing about you, your blog, your audience, or your offer.
  5. Brainstorm again: Now that you’ve done your research and written the project brief, you probably have some new ideas popping up. Get those down on paper.
  6. Winnow: When you were in school, you might have used index cards to collect notes for reports. This can be a really effective way to comb through your research, brainstorming, and brief. But even if you don’t get out the index cards, go back through everything you’ve done so far and review the essentials.
  7. Write your first draft: I highly recommend setting a timer for this step—don’t choose a crazy limit, but do choose a limit that’s a bit of a stretch. Write as quickly as you can without stopping from beginning to end of your sales page.
  8. Take a break: If possible, set your writing aside for a day or two. If you need to make more progress, going for a walk or run can help clear your head before you move to the next steps.
  9. Write a new first draft: Don’t throw out the first first draft, but do set it aside. Writing a second first draft from scratch tends to result in a smoother draft because you already know what you’re going to say. It’s usually easier to write a new draft  than to revise the original first draft. (Plus, this method often results in new insights that make for a more effective letter.)
  10. Revise, revise, revise: Finally, it’s time to polish your sales page until it’s compelling from start to finish. As you revise, add your headline and subheadings.

It sounds like a lot of steps, but except for that break in the middle, these are the steps your brain already takes when you write a sales page. It’s just that up to now you’ve been mashing them all together. By separating out each task and performing them one at a time, you’ll gain focus, the writing will be easier, and the finished letter will be much more effective.

You might even find you actually enjoy writing sales copy!

Jessica Albon is the creator of the upcoming Sales Copy Play Dates and, a digital branding, design, and copywriting agency.

Taking the Mystery Out of Ghost Blogging

This guest post is by Jennifer Brown Banks of Ghostess.

There’s no doubt about it. The thrill of a byline never gets old.

I’ve been penning pieces for publications for more than a decade, and every time I’m in a grocery store and see my name in a magazine, or have it grace the online stage, it’s still magical for me. Still.

I liken it to falling in love over and over again.

And, if you’re a serious writer, no doubt you feel the same way too.

But let’s face it: “love don’t always pay the bills”!

Enter, ghost blogging

Simply stated, ghost blogging is the practice of writing posts for others without name recognition. They get the credit, you get the cash. And sometimes, lots of it.

Ghost blogging affords today’s bloggers opportunities to expand their creative projects and their bottom line. Because more and more busy professionals are seeking “ghosts” to pen posts to increase awareness of important causes, promote products, and cultivate a connection with the public, it’s becoming a pretty popular field.

Aside from time factors, some businesses and individuals bring on ghost writers because they’re primarily “idea people.” These clients are excellent in terms of innovation and creativity, yet they lack the ability to write effectively and communicate concepts to an audience clearly.

Ghostwriters can save them time, headaches, money, and potential embarrassment.

Ethical issues

For some, ghosting practices pose ethical issues.

There are those, (both writers and readers) who sometimes perceive ghosting as dishonest, in that it misrepresents true authorship, and lacks a degree of credibility.

Maybe. Maybe not. It all depends on how you look at it.

It’s really not much different than a speechwriter penning a speech for the president, or a resume writer putting someone else in a better professional light through his skills.

Or, think of it this way. How many of us in corporate jobs have worked for bosses who presented our ideas as their own? At least with ghostwriting, somebody is paying you to be a silent partner!

What does it take to be a good ghost?

Like other genres and fields of writing, ghostwriting is not for everyone.
But, if you’re straddling the fence on it, here are a few things to consider.

1. Confidentiality is a must

In this line of work, loose lips sink ships—not to mention that they can ruin careers.

Sometimes you may have the good fortune to pen posts for a celebrity or top-dog blogger, and you’re itching to brag about it. Don’t! Like any good relationship—personal or professional—once the trust is gone, so is the union.

It should also be noted that typically, ghost clients will have writers enter into a confidentiality agreement, stating that they will not disclose their identity, or the nature of their projects. You could be sued if you violate these conditions.

2. Good ghosts should have a wide knowledge base and a wide “speaking”range

Are you well read? Have you had multiple careers? Could you be a contestant on Jeopardy Game show? If so, it’s highly likely that you’d be successful in this field.

A broad knowledge base means that you will have a basic understanding of various topics, thereby allowing you to speak with a degree of authority and authenticity. It also means that the client has to do less hand-holding and feeding you information.

3. Good ghosts should have good people skills

As a ghost, you might be required to work with someone for whom there are creative or moral differences. Or perhaps you just lack chemistry. Suck it up. Remember, it’s their vision, and their decision.

Good ghosts know when to remain silent. If you’re not able to take directions from others, or to deal with a wide range of personalities and temperaments, this wouldn’t be the best type of gig for you. Do not pass go.

4. Good ghosts have the flexibility of a rubber band

To be a good ghost, you must be flexible.

For example, a client may change the direction of the project, or he may misplace files, or you may have to work around his schedule for the successful completion of the project. Keeping cool is crucial.

5. Good ghosts are good project managers

Writing skills only touch the surface of what effective ghosting entails.

Depending upon the type of client, and the range and complexity of the project, a good ghost might also be called upon to organize information, compile data, do research, and make recommendations accordingly.

Pay for your say

How much do ghost bloggers make? There isn’t a “standard” going rate. A lot depends upon the type of client, their budget, your experience level, and the length and frequency of the project.

To apply for opportunities, check popular job boards like Pro Blogger, and

Have you ever been a ghost blogger? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments.

Jennifer Brown Banks is a seasoned blogger and professional ghostwriter. Her work has appeared at various top-dog sites such as: Pro Blogger, Men With Pens, Daily Blog Tips, Technorati, and The Well-Fed Writer. Visit her sites at: and

How to Succeed in the Video Game Blog Niche

This guest post is by David Edwards of A Sitting Duck.


A screenshot from my game, Candy

This year was a land mark year for A Sitting Duck. What started as a blog and creative community has evolved into a limited company that is on track to publish a multi-platform game very soon.

As John mentioned yesterday, gaming is a large and growing niche, with a massive, very passionate audience. It’s a great space to operate in as a blogger, and a business person.

Top tips for succeeding in the video game niche

Over the last four years I’ve moved from illustrations to animations, and now to interactive gaming. I guess as a blogger/publisher the focus for me has always been to build engaging, free content which then makes it much easier to sell services and products.

Here are my tips to build a successful blog in the video game niche.

  • Start with big games: It’s really important if you want search engine traffic that you write reviews on (or otherwise cover) the big games up front. Sure, the big blogs in the niche will cover them, and they’ll probably get first position in the search results. But often, you can get hits from angles they didn’t cover, like “ How To Pass Level 50 On Angry Birds”.
  • Use big pictures and tweet them: By adding the picture from your latest blog post to Twitter, you’ll get instant attention—and the chance to suggest that there are more to look at over on your blog.
  • Embed game trailers from YouTube and describe what happens on the video: This is such an easy thing to do, and it’s sure to get you extra traffic that the video producers will miss out on, because they’re busy working on more videos!.
  • Make your own videos: It’s no surprise that top video game blog IGN Entertainment  has produced thousands of videos: it works! Video gamers want to see how the game plays, and without actually playing it, a video is the closest they’ll get to the experience. Your best bet is to have a look around for a high-quality capture to stream, and save footage from the XBOX, Playstation, Wii and so on.

Trends do change with blogging, but from what I’ve seen in the video games market, the current popular formula is: upload a video to YouTube, produce a short post blog with extra images, tweet, and find another game to repeat the process with!


The Candy Menu

The Candy menu

When it comes to making money, development companies like use a blog to capture a free audience to save money on banner advertising, and sell their own games.

Large video game blogs sell ad space, from a bespoke full skin (like Pocket Gamer), where they fully re-brand the home page to promote the sponsor’s game, to the regular box ads at a more reasonable price.

Monetization gets interesting when you look at the smaller blogs in this space (avergaing 5,000 – 50,000 hits a month). These guys usually go for the approach of selling paid reviews, where developers pay, say, $300 to look at your game and write a positive or neutral review of it (it’s never bad—hence the fee!).

If you did ten or more reviews a month, it would start to work out as a full-time salary. is a great example of this approach in action, and that blog’s founder is looking to expand quickly over the coming year.

What are you waiting for?

Overall I’d say you should start off by building up your volume of blog posts and video catalog, as this market is very much focused on quantity rather than quality, thoughtful stuff.

Then, once you have that base, work with other active blogs on videos, get them in on the commentary, and you’ll have the kind of banter that really brings in the video views (thousands, and in some cases millions!).

David Edwards is the founder of and produces animations over at

How Bloggers Can Profit from the Weight Loss Niche

This guest post is by John Smith of

The internet is growing every day as more people hear about the concepts of internet marketing, blogging, and other ways to make money online that revolve around carving out their own niche.

But one mistake is becoming very common.

Due to the mass of examples and hype surrounding the marketing niche, most new bloggers believe you have to blog about blogging or making money online to succeed as a blogger.


If you’ve been reading for more than a while now, you’ll notice that is contrary to what is taught here.

The key to building a viable blog business is to having something to offer; you don’t have to force a niche on yourself because it is profitable, nor should you go into a niche because everyone else is in it.

The truth is that every niche has the potential to be profitable.

3 Powerful niches that prove every niche is profitable

You’ve probably assumed from the title that this article will be focused on the weight loss niche and how you can profit from it. But since that niche is popular and competitive in itself, let’s first look at two other examples of niches that you can start a blog in today, and which will probably have more profit potential than a new blog in the blogging or make money online niche.

Niche 1. Animal care

This is an ever-growing niche, with increasing importance in countries like the U.S. According to 2011-2012 data from the APPA, 62% of U.S households own a pet; that equates to 72.9 million homes.

Since this stat counts households with a pet, and there probably two or more people with interest in pets in each household, you can well expect the total number of people interested in pets in the U.S alone to be around 100 million.

Of course, this niche covers various forms of pets, but this number alone proves that there’s an audience for you irrespective of which pet you want to help people with. Not only is there an audience, there’s profit: more than $50 billion US was spent on pet-related services in 2011, and the estimate for 2012 is around $53 billion.

Tomorrow, will look at the pet niche in detail—specifically, at a blog that focuses on domestic pets. If you’re interested in this niche, check back tomorrow for tips and advice that can help you harness the profit potential of pet blogging.

Niche 2. Video games

Another powerful niche you can tap into right now is video games. Almost everyone plays a video game today, so not only will you probably have more than enough to say about the subject, but there’s an unlimited supply of people who will want to benefit from your advice.

Over 67% of US households play video games, and the average gamer spends eight hours a week gaming.

A lot of us barely spend eight hours a week tending to hour blog, so you can imagine the level of commitment you can get from an audience that spends an average of eight hours a week playing games—even when they have little or nothing tangible to gain from doing so.

In terms of revenue, the gaming industry is worth $10.5 billion. Tomorrow, we’ll take a closer look at this fun, exciting, and quickly evolving niche—and see what it takes to build a successful, profit-producing blog in this space.

Niche 3. Weight loss

Today, there are more than 1 billion overweight adults in the world, according to Worldometer, and this number is increasing every day.

Also, according to data from the CDC, 35.7% of U.S adults—more than one-third of the entire US adult population—are obese.

The weight loss industry is now estimated to be worth $60 billion; a huge rise of around 200% from 20 years ago, when it was just a $30 billion industry. In other words, the weight loss industry is growing daily, and there’s huge potential for you there.

Just so you get an idea of how big this is, over $160 million has already been spent on weight loss related products today, and even more has been spent on treating weight loss-related diseases.

The question is, how can you profit from such a massive industry?

How to profit from the weight loss niche

The techniques shared in this section are written with the weight loss industry in mind, but they can easily be applied to any other niche you can think about (including those we’ll discuss tomorrow).

If you’re familiar with the U.S weight loss market, then you probably already know of big commercial weight loss programs like Weight Watchers, Medifast, and Nutrisystem, which sell their weight loss solutions in the form of diet food (or meal replacements). But you don’t have to have big budgets like they do, or open a retail chain, to profit from the weight loss industry.

The non-medical people reading this will probably think you need a degree to pull off success in this niche, but you don’t need that either!

Here are my top tips to help you profit from the weight loss industry.

1. Make value your philosophy

What is your philosophy? What are the set of beliefs that guide your existence, especially as a blogger? I’m sorry, but if it’s just to make money then you’re going to suffer.

We’ve talked about how big the weight loss industry is, but that doesn’t mean there’s easy money here. The reality is that the weight loss industry is one of the most competitive industries online, so unless you can “out-value” your competitors, you’re probably not going anywhere.

Even if you’re not a weight loss expert, your desire to help others change the way they view their lives and health can make a huge difference.

You’ve probably tuned in to the TV to see that expert that lost a lot of weight in three months, or read about the expert who gained weight just to show others how to lose it, via a major digital platform.

The common thread between those stories is that they offer value, and people will be willing to follow the experts as a result.

Of course, the value you offer doesn’t have to be this obvious—or tangible, for that matter; even if you’re just giving someone the motivation to lose weight, it will be a great help.

2. Lead by example

Success in this niche isn’t just about talking the talk, but about walking the walk.

While photoshopping earning and traffic screenshots might work in the make money online niche, people are probably too smart for that in the weight loss niche. Of course, you’ll probably get a follower or two no matter what you do, but it’s only a matter of time before you get kicked out—unless you can walk the walk.

The key is to create a brand that people talk about. Don’t just give people advice and tips that can help them make weight-related changes. Lead by example: let them see that you’ve experienced the same thing as them, and help them find the motivation to make the hard decisions that they—and you—know they need to.

3. Make an offer

Don’t wait for people to start begging you before you make an offer, because they probably won’t.

Make an offer right from the beginning, and make your position clear.

The thing with the internet is there are a lot of freebie-seekers, who want more no matter how much you give. While it’s always recommended that you give a lot of free value before expecting something in return, it’s important to ensure you have the right people in your audience to begin with.

You have to make money because it’s the only way you can keep adding more value to people’s lives, and there are various ways to do this. A few top ways to make an offer in the weight loss niche are:

    • Recommend a product:This is especially easy if you have no expert status in the weight loss niche but want to help people nonetheless. There are a lot of quality weight loss products out there, and you’d have tried a few of them if you really know what you’re doing.You can make an offer by creating a list of your recommended diet, and then reference products you’ve used and trust as an affiliate. This is something I do on my weight loss blog, and the results have been awesome.

      Of course, it’s important not to just recommend a product because you’re an affiliate. Yes, you have to make money, but your end goal should be to change lives. If you find a product very helpful but are not an affiliate for it, recommend it nonetheless. When your readers learn about this, their respect for you will only increase.

      If you don’t know whether your favorite program has an affiliate system, you can check to see if it’s listed on Amazon. If it is, then you can make up to 5% commission just by referring someone to purchase it via your Amazon affiliate link.

      Darren once wrote about his experience with making money from products on Amazon a while ago, and even though the article was written in 2009, the tips in it are invaluable and still apply today. You should read the post for a head start.

    • Offer and package your advice:This could be in many forms. You could offer health consulting to others, you could give speeches to organizations and groups on how to lose weight, or you could create your own product.Not everyone has this option, though, because you have to be actually qualified to give health-related advice. But this shouldn’t be a problem if you know your stuff. There’s a great market waiting for you somewhere!

Your own experience

You’ve probably heard more than once that it’s a good idea to start a blog in the blogging or making money online niche, yet you know within you somehow that it’s not right for you.

Do you have any experience with succeeding in a niche other than blogging and making money online? If you do, share your experience with us in the comments below. And don’t forget to check back tomorrow, when we’ll look at building a profitable blog in the pet and video game niches in more detail.

John Smith is an expert weight loss blogger who likes to help others. Some of his must read posts are on Weight Watchers discount for September, and bistro md delivery discount.

5 Reasons to Start a Niche Blog, and 3 Niches to Consider

When the opportunity came up for us to do a series on niche blogging here on ProBlogger, I jumped at the chance.

Blogging isn’t what it was. I mentioned recently how blogging has changed so much that these days we may not even realise we’re looking at a blog as we use the web.

Picking the winner

Image courtesy stock.xchng user Rbut

This weekend’s little series of posts are a testament to that kind of variety. But niche blogging is also a topic that’s important to me. My main blog, dPS, is a niche blog that started as a personal passion of mine. There are a few things I love about niche blogging, and that’s at the top of the list.

1. Niche blogging lets you indulge a passion

It’s true that if you blog about something that you have a passion for, you’ll probably find it easier to write posts and establish your authority within that space.

But for me, the greatest advantage of niche blogging is that it’s allowed me to really indulge myself in an interest that captivates me: photography. Talking, reading, and posting about something I love—and which really intrigues me—is a great way to spend my work day.

2. It’s easier to create emotional engagement with a niche blog

I honestly believe this is true—and I’ve got a long list of now-defunct blogs to back me up!

If you blog on a topic you genuinely care about, that will come through in your posts. Your readers will be able to see instantly that you know where they’re at, and that’s the fastest way I know to lay the foundations of a strong emotional connection. Over time, you can build upon that connection to create loyalty, and hopefully give readers good reasons to subscribe or buy what you offer.

3. Niche blogging “feels” more creative

This is just my opinion, but I find it easier to be more creative when I think about personal-interest or “hobby” topics than when I’m blogging about business topics.

I think this might have something to do with our natural affinity for the hobby topics we choose to blog about. That passion is innate for most of us—I know my interest for photography is—and so a lot of the creative spark comes from an unconscious place. Often, it feels like it just happens—and I think they’re the moments of true blogging inspiration.

4. Niche blogging can seem more manageable

Cutting down your blog to concentrate on your chosen niche can help you focus your attention and efforts. It can make the often daunting task of blogging seem more manageable, because that focus can help you make decisions and prioritise the things you need to do.

Niche blogging can also help you to home right in on an audience, which, again, can reduce the burden bloggers often feel. If you run a niche blog serving a tightly defined audience, you know you don’t need to meet everyone’s needs. The tighter your audience definition, the more clearly you may be able to picture your readership—which can only help you to create content, as well as products and services, that those readers want.

5. Niche blogging is fun

This is true for all the reasons I’ve already mentioned, but also because your niche blog will allow you to connect deeply with readers who can relate to your passion, who understand your interest in the topic, and who can expand your knowledge, networks, and experience within the niche.

Niche blogging lets you dedicate yourself, your time, and your energies to something that really matters to you—and to help others while you’re doing it. What could be more fun than that?

Carving out three niches

If you think that this all sounds very fun and altruistic, don’t forget that many niche blogs are strong money-makers.

This weekend, we’ll take a tour of three specific blogging niches in which you can make money. And none of them is the “make money blogging” niche. We won’t cover online marketing or business blogs either.

What we’re looking at in these posts are genuine, personal-interest niches that attract strong audiences who have a deep passion for their topics and are willing to spend money on them. Those three niches are:

While our intention with these posts is to profile each of the niches, and provide a bit of market-specific information for those who might be thinking of targeting them, the posts also shed light on key blogging tactics that any blogger can use—no matter which niche you’ve chosen for yourself.

This series is a little different from our multi-topic blog weekend project. You could say that it sits at the other end of the spectrum, since this weekend’s posts focus on picking a specific niche, rather than combining many topics into a single blog. While the latter approach might be more complex, I think that both single-topic and multi-topic blogs can be used to target a given audience niche.

One of the great things about blogging is that it allows us to connect with people who share our interests from all over the world. And as this weekend’s project shows, no matter how particular you feel your interests are, through blogging, you’re sure to find others who share those interests. Moreover, you might be able to make some money at the same time.

I hope you’ll enjoy this weekend’s series. First up, though, I’d love to hear in the comments which niche you blog in (or if you’re a multi-topic blogger)—I’m hopeful that we’ll see an interesting cross-section of topics. To get us started, I blog in the amateur photography niche. What about you?

From Blog to Profitable Business in Four Steps

This guest post is by Michael Chibuzor of Content Marketing Up.

Let’s face it: updating your blog on a daily basis doesn’t necessarily make you smart. It might be helpful, but there is more to blogging than writing.

How about doing this online “thing” as if it’s a real business? A brick and mortar business?

I strongly believe you could turn a profit easily if you change your mindset and style.

Of course, you’ll continuously write quality content—after all, that’s what your readers need. But turning your blog into a real-life business would help you connect, share, and breathe life into your blog.

It’s about productivity that leads to profit.

You need confidence to win

There are good reasons why you need confidence in your business. Confidence electrifies you and your readers, and prompts action. Entrepreneurs are risk-takers, yet many bloggers may decide to hang on to outdated principles instead of challenging the status quo.

But we can change that.

With all the noise in the blogosphere, it takes extra wit to attract targeted readers and build a tribe. Without confidence, you won’t be able to organize and manage your business.

You need to challenge yourself to take responsibility.

If you want to build a profitable blog, you must run it like an offline business. You need to master:

  • organization and management
  • customer service
  • social etiquette
  • profit

Those are the four essential factors in building a successful offline business—but they’re extremely beneficial to blogging, too. Are you ready to explore?

1. Organization and management

Jesus picked up twelve men from the bottom ranks of business and forged them into an organization that conquered the world.—Bruce Barton

“How do I get more people to trust me?” many bloggers ask.

Trust isn’t a one-off decision. You need to be consistent and build trust over time. As you interact with the target audience and provide valuable information, your readers will start to take your words to heart.

That is why you need to organize and manage your blog. A well organized and managed blog will soon become the go-to resource for your target prospects and readers.

First, you need to organize and manage your time. Use your time wisely. Your blog attracts people who have needs. They want answers. Use the limited time at your disposal to focus on answering your readers’ questions, and outsource the other tasks to professionals.

The easiest and most lucrative way to stay organized is to outsource. Before I launched my first ebook, I didn’t understand outsourcing one bit. I had to do the entire task myself—market research, keyword research, cover design, writing, and marketing. As a result, my blog suffered, and my engagement with my audience was broken. I also observed a drop in daily traffic and comments.

Like offline businesses, on your blog, the management (that’s you) is responsible for delegation. Use outsourcing as a corporation uses its departments, and your blog will grow and produce better results. Identify your greatest strengths. Outsource the other tasks (find freelancers at Odesk and Elance).

You don’t have to be a jack-of-all-trades to succeed online.

2. Customer service

We’re so used to customers in the offline business, but bloggers often don’t recognize who our customers are online.

Your readers are your customers, and how you treat them is important to your success.

It’s your responsibility to respect your readers and visitors. Address them by name and reply to their comments with the proper salutation. When someone comes to your site, they should feel that you care. They don’t have to be strangers—at least, not any more.

Create an environment of warmth with prospects and readers. When you give away valuable ebooks or software, or something that will make readers remember you, you’re building a solid relationship.When you send a quote to a prospect, send a gift, too. No matter how small it looks, it’ll create a bond between you and your target audience.

Also, your readers need to know what’s happening at your blog. If you’ll be making changes, you should notify them beforehand. Surprises are good, but not at the detriment of your business. And when there’s a complaint, accept it peacefully and with good humor. See your readers as your friends.

Good customer service can boost your online business and expose you to a world of opportunities.

3. Social etiquette

You can’t help it—you’ve achieved so much in life, and feel a bit fulfilled. Perhaps you have a slight tendency to brag when you blog. But is this healthy for your audience? I don’t think so.

Social etiquette is an attitude. It requires you to look at your personal life, and consider how you bring it to the table as a blogger. Those who don’t share, communicate, and help others have problems with their lives. The problem isn’t the blog or the business—it’s their personal life.

If you focus on helping people, there won’t be a room for bragging. Your level of blogging success today is directly proportional to the value you create. So change your approach and focus on readers, their problems, and how you can help.

That’s how you can use etiquette to make your blog a profitable business.

4. Profit from your blog

As your blog grows into a business and you build its uniqueness, you’ll begin to attract high-paying prospects and outstanding offers. Are you prepared for the opportunities your blogging business could create?

Blogging offers different opportunities to profit. When you visit my content marketing blog, you won’t find an affiliate banner or link. I sell my writing services and generate enough income to pay my bills. And guess what? I didn’t apply for any writing job; I was contacted directly by entrepreneurs because they discovered I was business-minded.

Land a job

Perhaps you’d like a secure, and well-paid job. If that’s the case, running your blog like a real business can be of help. I’ve worked with a human resource firm prior to running my online business. Employers were looking for hard working, passionate, confident go-getters who could help reach the organization’s goals.

Most bloggers don’t have these qualities. They see a blog as a tool, rather than the true business that it is. Are you confident to put your blog’s URL on your resume? If not, consider running it more like a business that you can be proud of.

You’ve seen blogs featured at CNN, Fox News, and so forth. Those are no half-baked blogs—they’re manned by savvy entrepreneurs. If they can do it, why shouldn’t you?

Monetize your blog

Most blogs have no product to sell, but they’re updated regularly. I once asked a blogger friend of mine, “Why don’t you monetize your blog?”

“I don’t want to chase my readers away,” he replied.

Who says selling chases readers away? Monetizing a blog is as important as setting up and updating the blog. Without this, people won’t take you seriously. You’ll be regarded as a newbie at worst, and an amateur at best.

Sell a product

Selling a product or offering a service via your blog won’t annoy readers, provided it’s valuable and offers practical solutions to their problems.

If you decide to monetize with affiliate offers, be honest in your reviews. Let readers know you’ll earn commissions when they buy via your affiliate link. This helps to build credibility and shows that you genuinely want to help them.

If you decide to create your own product, spend time with your audience so that you can understand what they need, and build a product that truly delivers.

Do you see your blog as a real business … or “just a blog”?  Is it time you changed your philosophy? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Michael Chibuzor is an entrepreneur, a freelance writer and the founder of Make Money Hi. Are you looking for a creative writer to help grow your site/blog’s traffic and increase sales? Hire Michael to write for you. He loves the color Red. He’s 23 years old and likes to meet new people.