@ProBlogger http://www.problogger.net Blog Tips to Help You Make Money Blogging - ProBlogger Thu, 21 May 2015 06:13:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Copyright © ProBlogger Blog Tips 2010 darrenrowse@gmail.com (@ProBlogger) darrenrowse@gmail.com (@ProBlogger) 1440 http://www.problogger.net/wp-content/plugins/podpress/images/powered_by_podpress.jpg @ProBlogger http://www.problogger.net 144 144 Make Money Online @ProBlogger @ProBlogger darrenrowse@gmail.com no no Hey Bloggers! Is it Time to Focus a little Less on Your Blog and A Little More on YOU? http://www.problogger.net/archives/2015/05/20/hey-bloggers-is-it-time-to-focus-a-little-less-on-your-blog-and-a-little-more-on-you/ http://www.problogger.net/archives/2015/05/20/hey-bloggers-is-it-time-to-focus-a-little-less-on-your-blog-and-a-little-more-on-you/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 23:48:11 +0000 http://www.problogger.net/?p=38334 Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
Build a Better Blog in 31 Days

Hey Bloggers! Is it Time to Focus a little Less on Your Blog and A Little More on YOU?

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Blogging has been very good to me over the last twelve and a half years, but it’s come at a personal cost that I’m sure many can relate to.

Gradually over that time I’ve allowed myself to become more and more inactive. Gradually over time I became less and less fit and gained more and more weight.

Along with the weight gain and loss of fitness came a loss of energy and mental alertness. If I’m honest it also began to impact my mental health which in turn impacted numerous other areas of my life from relationships to my personal confidence and even through into my blogging.

Four months ago I had a bit of a wake up call after my annual doctors checkup, when I was presented with a list of areas I needed to do some work on. None of the things on the list were super-urgent or life-threatening but the fact that it was a list was enough to grab my attention and sparked a few changes in my life.

I recently wrote about my ‘slow decline’ and the changes I made in a post over on LinkedIn titled My New Project: Project Me.

In short I began to walk each day and made some significant changes to my diet (you can read the specifics in the post). The impact was pretty immediate.

  • Most importantly I’m feeling so much better within myself.
  • I have more energy than I remember having for a decade.
  • I’m thinking clearer and have more mental alertness and stamina.
  • My confidence has improved so much!
  • I’ve lost 13 kilograms (almost 29 pounds) and am in desperate need to go shopping to buy some smaller clothes!
  • My blood pressure is down!
  • I’m no longer out of breath when I play with my kids.
  • I’m getting more productive and the quality of my work is improving.
  • My mood and outlook has improved and I’m finding myself smiling a whole heap more

It’s Infectious

One of the other impacts that I had not expected of this journey is that as I’ve shared my story (with the above post) and in conversation I’ve noticed that it’s sparked others around me to make changes.

I was at a conference last week when three people told me that they’d started their own ‘Project Me’ campaigns. Each was doing it their own way and focusing upon a different areas of their life but each was sick of the ‘gradual slides’ that had happened in their lives and was doing something about it.

Join Us?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this over the last few weeks and have been wondering if there’s some way we could support each other more as a community in this area.

I’ll declare up front that I’m no expert in any of this. I’m four months into this journey and have been learning a lot but still have a long way to go. But I do know that I’m much more likely to have success if I’m doing this in community and have a little accountability from those around me.

As a result yesterday on the spur of the moment and without any planning or forethought, I decided to start a little group on Facebook for those who want to work on improving their health.

I’ve set the group up under the name of Feelgooder (the name of an old blog I used to have that I’ve never done much with) with the goal of it being alive for three months. On 19 August we’ll reassess whether the group is being of use to people and I’ll decide if we continue it or not.

The group is a closed group but you’re very very welcome to join it.

The objective is not to prescribe, teach or share any one way to get healthy. Rather it’s a place for support, share, be vulnerable and have a little accountability.

So far we’ve got 230+ people who’ve joined. People seem to be at all stages of the journey with their fitness, diet and other areas of well being. There’s also people from all parts of the world and different age groups.

So far the group is largely made up of bloggers or online entrepreneurs. There’s no rule on this but it’s who seems to be joining so I thought I’d open the invitation up to the wider ProBlogger community.

Whether this evolves beyond the group or ends up just being a temporary community I don’t know but I’m loving the first couple of days and hope that those of you who feel moved to do so might consider joining us.

Is it Time to Focus a little Less on Your Blog and A Little More on YOU?

I’d love to see you over on the Feelgooder Group on Facebook.

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
Build a Better Blog in 31 Days

Hey Bloggers! Is it Time to Focus a little Less on Your Blog and A Little More on YOU?

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5 Unmissable Fiverr Gigs that Will Make Your Life Easy as a Busy Blogger http://www.problogger.net/archives/2015/05/20/5-unmissable-fiverr-gigs-that-will-make-your-life-easy-as-a-busy-blogger/ http://www.problogger.net/archives/2015/05/20/5-unmissable-fiverr-gigs-that-will-make-your-life-easy-as-a-busy-blogger/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 14:04:36 +0000 http://www.problogger.net/?p=37935 Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
Build a Better Blog in 31 Days

5 Unmissable Fiverr Gigs that Will Make Your Life Easy as a Busy Blogger

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This is a guest contribution from Pooja Lohana.

Ever get mad at yourself?

Because your blog is not going the way you’d like it to?

You come to your desk, stare at the computer and realize there’s so much to be done. You’re tired before you’ve begun your day.

But blogging is supposed to be fun. At least that’s what you were told, right?

Thankfully, you can prevent that feeling of dread and overwhelm from the bulk of everyday tasks in business.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of Fiverr. It’s a marketplace where users sell and buy various services starting at five bucks.

You heard it right – be it a prank call, drawing a caricature or a song dedicated to your significant other – you can get it all on Fiverr.

Some of these gigs are practical, super-creative and even bizarre things you may never dare but these providers will.

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 12.05.31 pm

On a serious note, I assume you’re reading this because you’re a blogger and like to get a lot of things done during a day.

If that’s you, there are tons of time-saving gigs on Fiverr.

Here’s a sample of what you get:

  • I will write an EXPERT Press Release for $5
  • I will fix you WordPress problems for $5
  • I will design a killer Landing Page for $5
  • I will do a 15 second commercial for $5

You get the drift.

Business comes with a lot of work and you may not always have the right skill set, inclination or time to accomplish everything. So without further ado, here are 5 unmissable Fiverr gigs proven to be super-helpful for serious bloggers:

Ebook Covers

If you’re ever to write a Kindle book or an ebook (and you should), you can safely forget the saying “Never judge a book by its cover”.

Because buyers are going to judge it that way. A catchy cover can make all the difference between your ebook turning out to be a best-seller or a dud.

Most of the times, you can’t just use a print cover as its ebook counterpart. You need to consider if the typography reads well in the thumbnail version (60 x 90 pixels on Amazon) and how well the design uses available real-estate, among other things. This is where a professional designer can make your life easier.

Dave Chesson of Kindlepreneur.com recommends that when looking for an ebook cover designer, you go after the one who is just starting out on Fiverr. “You want the one who has a good portfolio, but is new enough that your positive review is life or death to their Fiverr business. You’ll get a lot more out of them this way than just going after the others.”

But regardless, there are plenty of Fiverr fish in the sea and new ones sprout up every day.

There are many good designers on Fiverr who use their own image library to create stellar, unique results. To make your job easy, I’ve listed two of the top providers below.

Providers to consider:

  1. Pro_ebookcovers
  2. Ravsingh

Video Marketing

Since a majority of people in the world are visual learners (40—65%), what better way to introduce your brand than using a video?

An intro video, or a logo intro as they call it, is a great way to engage your reader’s visual senses. It’s best to keep it super-short, like a teaser of about 30 seconds.

But if you want a longer video of about a few minutes, you can get it for a few extra $5 gigs.

Or, if you want to explain a concept, try one of Fiverr’s “whiteboard drawing videos” which feature a hand drawing little figures on a whiteboard animation.

Providers to consider:

  1. Ydrawing
  2. Studio 4

Transcription

If you do a lot of interviews and publish case-studies on your blog, you’ll need to transcribe your audios and videos.

Your readers might prefer readable PDFs to listening to an audio file. Transcripts come handy to create blog posts, feature stories and content for your website, or when you want to throw in a freebie with a video course.

Thankfully, Fiverr offers gigs for grammatically accurate and well-formatted deliveries that you might as well use with little or no editing.

Providers to consider:

  1. Transexpert
  2. Adnanjilani90

Mobile Apps and Websites

Recently, Google announced they will be using information from indexed apps as a factor in ranking for users who have the app installed and logged into it.

What does that mean? Search engine page results will take into consideration indexed apps more prominently.

As an estimate, there will be 4 billion Android and iOS users by the end of 2015. The human population is about 7 billion at the moment, so it’s obvious that a majority will be using these devices.

If you offer a product, creating a mobile app sounds only logical. Fiverr lists some cool app creation gigs. However, remember a complete app will cost you more than $5. So it’s always better to contact a provider before buying a gig.

That said, sometimes you just need a mobile-friendly website, not an app. Apps are applications that you can download on your handheld device, versus being rendered in a browser. If you’re offering something specific like a game, an app is your best bet. But if you want to share your blog posts over a wider range of audiences, start with a mobile website.

Providers to consider:

  1. Iphone_ipad
  2. It_service
  3. Seoparam

Create Something Different

How many times have you been told that? If you want to succeed at your marketing, be different.

Yeah right, but how?

A gig I found on Fiverr can help you through that block. This guy will go underwater and hold his breath to deliver your message.

Pretty interesting, right?

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 12.07.41 pm

Or, take this lady who will write a short message on the froth of a cappuccino.

More such gigs are waiting if you really like to experiment and zig when others zag!

How to Get the Most Out of Fiverr

Before you start using Fiverr for business, here are some tips to remember:

  1. Make sure you check the “Positive Rating” of the provider you’re considering. I like to shortlist providers by pressing the “Favorite” button at the top of each profile so I can compare a few in one go.
  2. Look at the number and type of reviews at the top of the profile.
  3. Check how many orders are in queue. Usually, a lot of awaiting orders should point to good quality results.
  4. Look at the average response time. If I need something fairly quick, and the response time of a provider is in days, I would look elsewhere.
  5. Always contact the provider before buying a gig. Most sellers encourage this. Tell them exactly what you need, how much it will cost (sometimes you will have to buy an “upgrade” or extra gigs) and what’s the turnaround. Make sure they are the right person for your job.

How do you use Fiverr for your business? Share your expriences in the comments below!

Pooja Lohana is a freelance writer, ghost writer and online marketing mentor featured on Problogger, Firepole, JeffBullas, MarketingProfs, Hongkiat and more. If you’re an aspiring writer and want to become self-employed, create wealth and live a better life by launching your online writing biz, steal her free mini-course to make your first $1000 (and more) writing at home.

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
Build a Better Blog in 31 Days

5 Unmissable Fiverr Gigs that Will Make Your Life Easy as a Busy Blogger

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7 Ways To Build Your Brand In The Blogosphere http://www.problogger.net/archives/2015/05/18/7-ways-to-build-your-brand-in-the-blogosphere/ http://www.problogger.net/archives/2015/05/18/7-ways-to-build-your-brand-in-the-blogosphere/#comments Sun, 17 May 2015 14:00:35 +0000 http://www.problogger.net/?p=38038 Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
Build a Better Blog in 31 Days

7 Ways To Build Your Brand In The Blogosphere

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This is a guest contribution from Jeff Foster.

Blogger outreach is one of the most effective ways to build your brand. It’s a great way to connect with potential customers – the blogosphere gives you a ready-made audience who are already interested in your type of product or service. But if you’re going to succeed, you need to build strong relationships with bloggers who want to be your brand ambassadors. This takes work – don’t expect to shoot off a few emails and have bloggers lining up at your door.

The good news is that there are proven ways to make your blogger outreach a success. If you’re wondering how to turbocharge your brand in the blogosphere, here are seven ways to get you started.

1. Use Introduction Sites

Online blogger introduction sites are a very effective way of finding bloggers to talk about your brand. Sites such as Tomoson, Brand Meets Blog, Nuffnang, and Blogger Connect attract high-quality bloggers who want to connect with businesses like yours. You can browse through bloggers by interest area – for example, food enthusiasts – to find the right bloggers for your brand. These sites also have tools you can use to measure blogger influence, which helps you narrow down the list even further. The other advantage of introduction sites is that the bloggers on them are already actively interested, so you’re going to get a better response than if you just send out cold-calling emails to bloggers directly.

hands

Image source

2. Give Bloggers Your Product

Product giveaways are a great tool for getting bloggers on board – in fact, this is one of the most frequent outreach techniques. Bloggers love to get their hands on products they can use and review. They’ll write better reviews if they can see and feel what you have to offer. Of course, blindly giving away hundreds of samples isn’t advisable, particularly if your product isn’t cheap. But if you target key bloggers with your giveaways, you’ll keep the cost down and get better results. A word of caution, however. Don’t try to control what a blogger says about your product. Bloggers value their independence, so this will just annoy them.

3. Ask For Feedback

There’s no better way to get bloggers on your side than to make them part of the process. By asking for feedback on your products or services, you show them that you value their opinions. A blogger is much more likely to become a brand ambassador if they feel that you are listening to them, and that they have influence over what you are doing and saying. You’ll benefit from this as well – bloggers know your target customers and what they want. Not only that, they’ve already proven that they know how to talk to your audience – that’s how they built a following in the first place. By following their lead, you’ll get insights on how to build an authentic relationship with your market.

4. Give Bloggers Exposure

Successful bloggers are always looking for new ways to expand their audience. They’re passionate about their subject and want to engage with as many people as possible – which would also increase their income potential. By promoting bloggers to your existing social media channels, you give them the exposure they’re trying to build. This can be as simple as retweeting their tweets and sharing their blog posts. To take this to the next level, ask trusted bloggers to write guest posts for your corporate blog, but remember not to try to control what they say. Also, be prepared to pay bloggers to write for you – after all, writing is how bloggers make a living.

5. Meet In Person

You can build a great online relationship with a blogger, but there’s no substitute for seeing them face to face. If you travel regularly as part of your business, make a point of letting bloggers know that you’re in their neighborhood and would love to catch up if it suits them. Offer to meet them for a drink or a meal – and make it a social occasion, not a hard sell.

Blogger conventions and conferences are also excellent occasions for meeting with bloggers. They are an opportunity to get together with your existing brand champions, and also with new bloggers who might be interested in talking about your products or services. You may even find conferences that focus on topics that you want to target – for example, the DBC Conference is for bloggers interested in interior design. If you have enough budget, why not sponsor a blogger conference or even host one yourself?

6. Create A Blogger Network

If you bring new products to market regularly, it’s tempting to find exactly the right bloggers for each one. But this means starting over again every time, which is time-consuming and expensive. It’s much more effective to build a “go-to” pool of bloggers who are genuinely enthusiastic about your brand. By getting them to mention your brand on a regular basis, their readers are more likely to trust what they say. You’re likely to get much better reviews as well – when you build a long-term relationship with a blogger, they’re already well disposed towards you.

7. Show Your Appreciation

Bloggers absolutely hate being used. If you only get in contact when you want them to write a post, you’re going to turn them off very quickly. Every time a blogger mentions your brand, show your appreciation by sending them a sincere thank you note. Make sure you keep them in the loop on what’s happening with your brand – a monthly insider newsletter is one great way of doing this. Send them exclusive content they can share – for example, high-quality images, fact sheets, amusing stories and anything else that will appeal to their readers. Finally, don’t forget to send them product samples from time to time – it’s a perfect way of reminding them that you genuinely care.

Jeff Foster is co-founder and CEO at Tomoson, the influencer marketplace. The platform allows bloggers and social media influencers to get paid for posting sponsored content, and lets businesses connect with targeted, niche audiences.

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
Build a Better Blog in 31 Days

7 Ways To Build Your Brand In The Blogosphere

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How Design Impacts Blog Readership http://www.problogger.net/archives/2015/05/15/how-design-impacts-blog-readership/ http://www.problogger.net/archives/2015/05/15/how-design-impacts-blog-readership/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 14:00:22 +0000 http://www.problogger.net/?p=37098 Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
Build a Better Blog in 31 Days

How Design Impacts Blog Readership

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How Design Impacts Blog Readership / problogger.net

This is a guest contribution from Damion Wasylow.

You have things to say, ideas to spread and concepts to share. That’s why you’re a blogger.

But, if you’re like most bloggers, you’re much better with words than visuals. As a result, many bloggers’ sites are poorly designed or rely on simple templates. Your content may bring people to your blog, but poor design and usability can seriously limit your readership.

First Impressions are Everything

Studies show that new visitors develop an opinion of your website within 50 milliseconds. That’s 0.05 seconds. In that time, they make judgments about credibility, professionalism and quality of information – all without ever reading a single word you wrote. If the first impression isn’t positive, they’ll almost certainly bounce away, and it’s unlikely they’ll ever return.

It’s human nature. Picture a restaurant with a rusty door, broken sign and trash in the parking lot. The food could be incredible, but you’ll likely never venture inside to see the menu.

Get Real Feedback

It’s nearly impossible to honestly review your own site’s design. You’re biased, and so are your friends and family. After all, they don’t want to hurt your feelings and your dad probably isn’t your target audience. So, turn to a third party.

UserTesting.com is an excellent resource for gauging user experience. I often use UserTesting.com’s Peek Tests to gather initial feedback. Peek allows you to watch and listen to five-minute videos of real people encountering your site for the first time.

Testers answer three questions:

1) What is your first impression of this site?

2) What is the first thing you want to do on this site?

3) What stood out to you and what frustrated you about this site?

While this feedback isn’t comprehensive, it should at least offer some insight into whether your site’s design is on the right track or completely off-target.

Design Changes to Consider

You don’t have to be the world’s most talented web designer to create a visually impressive site that retains users. You simply have to understand the core elements of design and how they work together.

Color – Your color palette should be simple, consistent and reflect the overall tone of your content. Too many colors can be overwhelming, and the wrong colors can confuse your audience. Use standard color theory to select a palette that matches your blog’s personality.

Images – Users embrace photos and illustrations as a way to quickly get the gist of a story without investing too much effort. Effective images therefore leverage white space, contrast, color, interruption and other techniques to intrigue and draw the reader in. Images may not be worth 1000 words, but a recent study by Blog Pros showed that the 100 highest-ranking blogs on the Internet use at least 1 image for every 350 words.

Shapes – Chunky, square design elements evoke dramatically different feelings than free-flowing organic shapes. Circles are soft and inclusive, while angles can help carry a reader down the page. Partitioning content within shapes is a valuable way to help users segment information into digestible sections.

Typography – Typeface, font size, leading, kerning and placement all play significant roles in affecting user experience. Great typography conveys emotion, while also allowing users to focus on your message instead of struggling to interpret the structure of the letters before them. Note: never use Comic Sans or Papyrus.

Highlight Your Call-to-Action

You created your blog for a purpose, presumably beyond simply having individual visitors read your articles. Perhaps you want them to share your writings with others, purchase your product or service or download your e-book. Whatever the goal, design your site to highlight that call-to-action (CTA).

Use color, contrast, whitespace and size to make your CTA standout from the rest of the page. But keep it classy. Nothing undermines credibility faster than a flashing rainbow starburst. Here are some great examples of web pages with effective CTA designs.

Make it Mobile-Friendly

Mobile traffic accounts for nearly 60% of all web traffic, so you’re missing out on a lot of readers if your site isn’t designed to accommodate mobile visitors. And, really, even more if you count on social or email sources. When a mobile user lands on a site that offers a standard desktop design, they are far more likely to bounce away.

Ideally, your blog should be responsive, meaning that elements restack to match mobile screen dimensions when the site identifies a visitor on a mobile device. This makes your content easier to read and navigate on mobile screens.

Google recently announced that mobile-friendliness will be an increasingly important ranking factor. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, there’s a good chance it will dramatically drop in search engine results.

The importance of blog design cannot be overstated. Take the time now to improve your site’s aesthetics and usability. You’ll attract more visitors, keep them engaged and drive them to actions that match your goals.

Damion Wasylow writes for University of Florida’s Web Design and Online Communication master’s degree program. He has more than 20 years of experience in graphic design for publications, agencies and non-profits.

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
Build a Better Blog in 31 Days

How Design Impacts Blog Readership

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4 Things to Consider When Choosing Your Domain Name http://www.problogger.net/archives/2015/05/13/4-things-to-consider-when-choosing-your-domain-name/ http://www.problogger.net/archives/2015/05/13/4-things-to-consider-when-choosing-your-domain-name/#comments Tue, 12 May 2015 14:00:57 +0000 http://www.problogger.net/?p=37730 Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
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4 Things to Consider When Choosing Your Domain Name

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Choosing a domain name - Don't choose anything until you've read these four things to consider at problogger.net

When there’s more than 284 million registered domain names online, you’re going to want yours to stand out. But you also want to be easily remembered, have a URL that accurately describes your business, and it would help if it ranks well in Google. Right?

Right.

It’s very easy to buy a domain name that you come to regret later. What was useful and fashionable years ago suddenly is unwieldy and a pain in the butt to describe now. You might take what you can get if your favoured domain is already taken, only for that to expire later on and you’re stuck with one you don’t like.

Even worse, you could pay a great deal more for it later, or even spend quite a bit of money rebranding and redirecting years after you’ve become established just because that domain you’ve always wanted has suddenly become available.

It might be tempting to buy up quick to stop other people from taking the one you’re currently considering, but it won’t hurt to take a few minutes to ensure what you’re getting is what you want, what works, and what will stand you in good stead for the long haul.

The four things you should consider when choosing your domain name are:

The Human Perspective

Ease

You want a domain that’s simple to read, simple to say, and simple to remember. It also helps if it’s easy to type.

It’s one of the core values of marketing to be memorable, and simplicity is usually best. If you can create a url that is no longer than two or three words, with no phonetic bits to confuse people’s ears (razinghomes.com and raisinghomes.com might sound exactly the same but mean the total opposite of each other – confusing, right?), and doesn’t have unusual spelling, you’re well on your way to creating a domain name that works for you.

Readability

It probably does sound a bit fun to do some teacherstalking.org, but I’m sure the people behind Teachers Talking have other ideas. In the same vein, ferrethandjobs.com still cracks me up although they soon changed to ferrethjobs.com before going offline – no ferrets getting frisky to see here.

Have a look at how your words run together. Are there any surprises there you haven’t thought of? Send your proposed URL to a friend and ask for their initial reaction. Write it down, say it out loud – how does it roll off the tongue? any word that ends in “s” only to be followed by a word that begins with “ex” is a recipe for disaster so probably best to avoid that combination!

Unless you’re super-niche and you’re expecting a super-niche audience, it’s a good idea to steer clear of slang and corporate-speak. Different countries also have different vernacular and that can actually work in a lot of cases (see skintdad.co.uk for example), but outside the UK and Australia, “skint” and other colloquial terms might be unfamiliar.

The Brand Perspective

You’re always going to want people to know what you’re about in the shortest amount of time possible. You don’t really want a URL that doesn’t accurately describe what you do, or at least isn’t easily understood fairly quickly. It’s best to do some research and some brainstorming to find out what’s popular, what works, what sums up your business and what gives the right impression.

You might consider calling your blog or website something reasonably long, but that doesn’t mean your URL has to be the exact same name. The URL is like your business card, it should be short and sharp and to the point – just giving the recipient enough info to get started. You can then expand on your site if need be, but unwieldy URLs aren’t usually going to be useful when giving prospective audiences a snapshot of what to expect on your blog.

Domain Extensions

Back in the day there were a handful of choices – .com, .net,  .org, etc, and a lot of them had extra extensions depending on what country you were in.

While it’s still sensible to stick to what works, there are also other options to consider, especially if they work particularly well with your business name or genre. Newer ones include .biz, .info, .me, .shop – all sorts of things (a larger list is here) that might describe your work more accurately. Do keep in mind though, most people’s minds revert to “.com” when trying to remember URLs, so an exotic one might mean you’re missing out on traffic.

Uniqueness

There’s no way around the need to be unique when it comes to business names. Not only do you want to be memorable and hopefully the only one – but you also don’t want to get yourself into legal trouble either. Do some Googling to see what business names and URLs already registered are similar (or the same) to yours. You can search through business directories, phone books, and blog curation sites like Bloglovin‘ to find out who is blogging under what name and make your decision from what you find.

The SEO Perspective

Relevance

Just about everyone is looking to rank well in Google to help all those people searching for exactly what your blog provides. If you’ve got a clever and funny blog name but it has no bearing on your actual content, then your URL is not going to be the first few options a searcher sees when they’re looking for what you’ve got. You don’t have to make it boring as hell just so it ranks well, you just need to be able to strike that balance between cute and useful.

For many, their URL is going to be dependent upon their blog or business name, and if your blog content isn’t easily identifiable from the name, then it’s going to be that much harder for your blog to show up in search results. Not impossible – because with consistent posting and hard work to get yourself out there and linked to, you can begin to build credibility – but just that little bit harder without the natural traffic that you could be getting.

Keywords

For the super-expansive lowdown on how to make a great URL that ranks highly in Google, you have to read Moz’s SEO Best Practices for URLs. It’s going to take you through what a URL is, how to make a great one, and what are the ways search engines prefer. In a nutshell, if you’ve got keywords in your URL that pertain to your content, the better your SEO results. Keeping in mind the content you write will populate the longer URLs directing to each blog post, which means there are more chances for your keywords to show up naturally. But if you can create an original URL for your site that contain the keywords for your content, you’re halfway there.

How do you find your keywords? Brainstorm a list of what your site is about. Is it recipes? Fashion? Travel? Write down all the words you can think of that people will be searching for, and the key words in your content pieces. You can also check sites like Google Keyword Tool, Buzzsumo, Keyword Tool, etc to find out what are the popular searchwords are for your genre.

The Legal Perspective

Copyright and Trademark

Obviously it’s going to cost you a lot of time, money, and heartache if you’re sued for infringement because you’ve started trading as a company with the same name as, or can easily be confused with another company. To a lesser extent you might just piss another blogger off who has worked hard to establish themselves, and are now losing traffic to you. Copyright is difficult to control on the World Wide Web, but there are avenues for people to take if their intellectual property – including blog names and URLs – has been compromised.

I can’t stress enough to check and re-check other blogs, sites, and company names before you embark on your URL buy. There may be people out there with the same blog name as the one you want, but they haven’t bought the official domain or their blogs are left stagnant (which actually happened to me! So I started a blog with that name and it’s been going five years without incident). It is up to you whether you want to take that opportunity and make something of it, or if you’re not entirely confident it’s available for you to use. It will be obvious what you can’t have, as someone else will be currently using it – but you need to do your homework to avoid future legal battles and one hell of a headache.

You can do this by first checking trademarked business names, and then doing an informal search for other current blogs and sites. In the US, you can check who owns what at Copyright.gov and uspto.gov –  The Patent and Trademark Office even have a Trademark Electronic Search System to make searching easier. In Australia, you can search for a registered business name at asic.gov.au, and search for registered trade marks at ipaustralia.gov.au. Doing Google, Bloglovin’, Facebook, and Twitter searches for the blog name or URL you want will turn up all the people currently blogging under that name. Who knows, you might be inspired to choose something you like better than what you had in mind, thereby bypassing legal and blog-community troubles down the road.

 

Do you have a URL tale of woe? Nailed it right off the bat? I’d love to hear!

Stacey is the Managing Editor of ProBlogger.net: a writer, blogger, and full-time word nerd balancing it all with being a stay-at-home mum. She writes about all this and more at Veggie Mama. Chat with her on Twitter @veggie_mama or be entertained on Facebook.

 

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
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3 Content Tweaks to Increase Your Blog Traffic without Spending a Penny http://www.problogger.net/archives/2015/05/11/3-content-tweaks-to-increase-your-blog-traffic-without-spending-a-penny-2/ http://www.problogger.net/archives/2015/05/11/3-content-tweaks-to-increase-your-blog-traffic-without-spending-a-penny-2/#comments Sun, 10 May 2015 14:15:27 +0000 http://www.problogger.net/?p=36815 Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
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3 Content Tweaks to Increase Your Blog Traffic without Spending a Penny

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Simple content tweaks to drive traffic to your blog (and they don't cost a thing!) / problogger.netThis is a guest contribution from Jawad Khan.

Who doesn’t like more traffic?

Not matter how many monthly blog visitors you have, you still want more. Because more traffic means more opportunities to build relationships, generate leads, close deals and make money.

However, the problem with most of the conventional traffic generation advice is that it’s either too expensive or it’s just simply outdated, ineffective and useless.

Writing high quality content, guest blogging and blogger outreach are all great tips for a long-term traffic strategy. But what if you need something to create an immediate impact?

In this post, I’ll share three changes you can make to your existing and future blog content, without spending tons of money, to immediately start getting more traffic from search engines and social media websites.

Use Relevant Long-tail Keywords

You must’ve seen bloggers who aggressively advocate the concept of “writing for humans” not search engines. I’m all for it, but so is Google.

Over the last few years Google has been making regular changes to its algorithms all aimed at making its search results more natural and user friendly. SEO is not what it once used to be. You can’t stuff your articles and blog posts with keywords, create unnatural backlinks and expect to rank higher in search results.

Things have changed.

So, in a way, writing for humans and writing for search engines are similar concepts now (if not the same). To rank higher in search results you need to write for humans.

But there’s a twist.

You still need to use smart tactics, which are in line with Google’s recommendations, to beat the competition for the first page.

So when you write your next bog post, focus as much on long-tail keywords as the high competition head keywords. To make this work effectively, go to your Google Webmaster Tools account and select Search Queries (under Search Traffic).

Note: You first need to configure Google Analytics for your blog, and integrate it with Google Webmaster Tools.

Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 11.05.44 am

You’ll find the list of keywords that are sending you traffic, along with your average ranking for each keyword. Copy a keyword from this list, from example “freelance blogging”, and search for it on Google.

When I did this for my own blog, I was nowhere near the first page of Google on this keyword since it’s so competitive. It has a lot of traffic and competition. But if you scroll down to the related search area, you’ll see several long-tail keywords.

Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 11.08.39 am

These are the long-tail keywords that Google finds relevant to the keyword “freelance blogging”. And here’s your opportunity, since these keywords are not as competitive as the main keyword, but are closely related to it.

Copy these long-tail keywords and use them, in a natural way, throughout the body content of your post. Try using different variations of these keywords as well. This will improve your rankings not only on the long-tail keywords but also on the main keyword, since Google considers all of them closely linked with each other.

Neil Patel shared his case study where he was able to increase his monthly search engine traffic by 50,000 using this technique.

You can apply this on your archive content as well. Just pick up your main keyword, and use the related long-tail keywords throughout your content in a natural way.

Create Longer and More In-Depth Blog Content

Another way to attract much more traffic to your blog content, and generate more social shares, is to write longer, in-depth and epic content. I know these have become buzzwords, but let me quantify this for you so that it’s easier to understand.

Research after research confirms that search engines love longer content. Kevan Lee discussed the ideal content length in this truly epic post on the Buffer blog. Neil Patel has also discussed the ideal length of blog posts in detail on his blog.

There’s clear consensus that posts longer than 2000 words rank much higher than say 1200-1500 word posts. And this study by SerpIQ provides further proof of this fact.

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Longer posts also tend to get much more social shares which suggests that readers also prefer more in-depth blog posts.

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All this means that you need to make your blog posts more in-depth and valuable. So the next time you’re writing a 1000-1200 word blog post, try expanding it by using more examples, stats, references and studies. Make it as comprehensive and as detailed as possible.

But don’t add words just for the sake of it. Make sure every word in your post provides value to the readers. I personally use forums and platforms like Quora and MyBlogU when I need more in-depth knowledge on a topic. MyBlogU is particularly useful since it’s a dedicated platform for bloggers and content marketers where they can discuss and brainstorm ideas, seek advice and even hire freelancers to help with content creation.

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Intelligently Promote and Amplify Existing Blog Content

It’s easy to focus too much on creating new blog posts for traffic generation, while completely ignoring the existing content on your blog. Every piece of content on your blog, no matter how old, is an asset and can be used to bring more traffic and boost conversions.

There are several ways you can do that.

  • Promote Archive Content on Social Media

You need to aggressively promote your older content on social media to attract regular traffic. You can use social media management tools like Oktopost to schedule weekly or monthly social updates. I particularly like the Evergreen Post Tweeter plugin that automatically Tweets your archive content on a set criteria.

  • Optimize Conversion Routes

Visitors come to your website from numerous different routes. But certain routes have higher conversion rates as compared to others. You can use TrenDemon to identify the most profitable and high conversion routes to your website. After identifying these high conversion routes, TrenDemon brings more of your traffic onto these routes using personalized content recommendations and calls to action.

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This not only boosts conversions on your website, but also helps you identify the top performing content, the ideal length and the best platforms where you can promote your content for more traffic.

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  • Link Back to Your Older Content Using Natural Anchors

To leverage your older content, you need to regularly link back to it in your new blog posts. With the new Google algorithm changes, however, you need to be careful while choosing the anchor text on your internal and external backlinks. Don’t use keyword based anchors. Instead, go for natural anchor text like, Click Here, Read This, Read More. You can also use longer phrases for linking back to your content.

Every blog needs regular and high converting traffic to survive and grow. But you don’t always need to create something new or spend extra money to get traffic. You can boost your traffic numbers, and conversion rates, by making the right changes to your SEO, back linking and content promotion strategies.

I’ve discussed three techniques that I’ve personally found very effective. But I’d love to hear how you attract more traffic to your blog. See you in the comments.

Jawad Khan is a content marketing consultant and a freelance blogger for hire. Follow him on his blogWriting My Destiny, Twitter, and Google+.

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
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3 Content Tweaks to Increase Your Blog Traffic without Spending a Penny

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Five Essential Steps to Removing a Google Manual Penalty http://www.problogger.net/archives/2015/05/08/five-essential-steps-to-removing-a-google-manual-penalty/ http://www.problogger.net/archives/2015/05/08/five-essential-steps-to-removing-a-google-manual-penalty/#comments Thu, 07 May 2015 14:25:31 +0000 http://www.problogger.net/?p=36935 Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
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Five Essential Steps to Removing a Google Manual Penalty

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This is a guest contribution from Nick Chowdrey.

Google takes webspam very seriously. The search giant currently sends over 400,000 messages a month to webmasters, warning them that their site performance could be at risk due to a manual Google penalty.

But what exactly are these manual penalties, and what can you do should you receive one of these notifications?

Five essential steps to removing a Google manual penalty

Number of manual penalties issued per month. Via Google.com.

Google’s webspam team is split into two divisions: algorithmic and manual. The algorithmic team focus on improving Google’s automatic algorithm modifiers, such as Panda, which deals with spammy content and Penguin, which deals with artificial backlinks.

The manual team consists of Google analysts over multiple countries who sift through domains looking for blackhat SEO practices – specifically, buying links that pass PageRank and participating in link building schemes, including excessive link exchanges between sites, and the use of automatic link building software.

If the team finds that your domain is in breach of Google’s webmaster guidelines, you may receive one of two penalties – either a partial manual penalty that affects the ranking of only certain pages on your site, or a full manual penalty, that affects the rank of your entire site.

You might be notified of a manual penalty through your Google webmaster tools. The message will look something like this:

Five essential steps to removing a Google manual penalty

Be careful, because this process is manual, you won’t necessarily get a notification. Thankfully, there are some free tools that you can use to check your SEO visibility, which can help you work it out for yourself.

So, what can you do should you receive this notification?

Here’s a five step guide to removing a manual penalty.

1. Link discovery

The first step in legitimising your links is to get a full picture of all the links that currently point to your domain. From this you can determine which links are good and bad, and take steps to removing the bad ones.

Google want to see that you’ve put in as much effort as possible to legitimize your link profile. If you don’t identify as many bad links as possible then everything you subsequently do to remove the penalty will be jeopardised.

There are many tools to choose from for discovering links. You can use Google’s own Webmaster tools, or third party tools like Majestic SEO or Cognitive SEO. It’s important to use more than one tool, as no single service is able to provide a complete backlink profile at this time.

2. Link classification

This is the process of assessing links to see if they’re either natural, suspicious or unnatural. All natural links can be kept, unnatural ones deleted and suspicious ones changed to no-follow links, so that they don’t pass PageRank.

This process must be done manually, but you can use link classification tools to automatically grade your links. This being said, Google will expect you to do a thorough job, so assessing each link manually is recommended.

You should keep the following in mind when classifying your links:

  • Links from spammy directories are almost always unnatural
  • Links from article farms that exist for link building purposes are usually unnatural
  • Consider removing links from sites that are irrelevant to your business sector
  • Links created in blog-rolls or footers are suspicious and should assessed
  • Exact-match links – e.g. where the link text is your company name – are also suspicious
  • Ensure any links acquired through paid means are ‘no-follow’

3. Manual link amendment

The next step is to get those bad links removed and your suspicious links changed to ‘no-follow’. The only way to do this is through a process of manual outreach – that means getting in touch with all the webmasters where you have unnatural or suspicious links and getting them to change or remove them for you.

It’s important to keep a record of every site that you’ve contacted, including which part of the outreach process you’ve reached. This is because webmasters from certain sites that have been known for hosting bad links may be overwhelmed with demands, so you may need to contact them several times.

Also make sure that any changes you’ve requested actually take place – don’t just take the webmaster’s word for it.

4. Submitting a disavow request

You might not be able to change or remove some links, for various reasons. Perhaps because you can’t get in touch with the webmaster in question, or perhaps because the site is now defunct.

Luckily, you can use Google’s disavow tool, which lets you mark links that you’d like Google to ignore when assessing all your site’s backlinks. Simply add all the links you want disavowed to a .txt file and upload it via your webmaster tools.

You might want to consider including the whole domain rather than individual pages for sites that you know have engaged in very black hat link building tactics, as this will disavow all links from that domain.

Here’s how your text file should be laid out:

#The following sites have been classed as spammy or low quality links, web directory links and article directory links.

#Links List Can be Found At the following addresss: https://drive.google.com/file/example

#Some domains have not been contacted, as there was no obvious way to reach the webmaster.

domain:<domainurl>

domain:<domainurl>

# website links that need to be disavowed due to websites not being indexed (sign of penalty) or are of low quality.

<pagelink>

<pagelink>

5. Submit a reconsideration request

This is the part where you suck up to Google and beg them to reconsider their penalty. It’s your opportunity to provide extra notes for when your case is reviewed.

You should include what you’ve done to clean up your act, highlighting the fact that you’ve stopped further black hat link building, and also providing any helpful supportive data to demonstrate your point.

See this video by Google’s head of webspam, Matt Cutts, on how to submit a successful request.

You can submit your request via your Webmaster tools. Don’t expect an immediate response – the Webspam team will have to manually check your site, which can take between 3-6 weeks. You may not be successful first time, so if at first you don’t succeed, go back to step one and try again!

Nick Chowdrey is a staff and freelance writer specialising in marketing and technology. He currently works in content marketing at Jellyfish, a UK digital marketing agency. Follow Nick on Twitter @nickchef88.

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
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Easy Ways for Bloggers to Use Keywords to Drive Traffic http://www.problogger.net/archives/2015/05/06/easy-ways-for-bloggers-to-use-keywords-to-drive-traffic/ http://www.problogger.net/archives/2015/05/06/easy-ways-for-bloggers-to-use-keywords-to-drive-traffic/#comments Tue, 05 May 2015 14:12:27 +0000 http://www.problogger.net/?p=37648 Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
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Easy Ways for Bloggers to Use Keywords to Drive Traffic

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Confused about keywords? We break it down to help you get started. Easy Ways for Bloggers to Use Keywords to Drive Traffic / Problogger.netThis is a guest contribution from Nick Rojas.

The world of web promotion and search engine optimization has never been a consistent one.

Constantly changing Google results algorithms compete with tricky marketers in what is essentially an arms race, with each side trying to gain a lasting advantage against the other. However, though the tools change constantly, the battleground stays the same.

We’re talking about keyword research. Every time a Google update levels the playing field again, it comes back to this: if you create high quality content that people read, you will gain prominence in Google results. And the best way to do this is with keyword research. We’ve got some great tips to help you make sure your blog has its keyword game in top form. Read on!

Make a list of the most important topics that you cover on your blog

One good way to conceptualize the idea of a keyword is to think backwards. What kind of people are you trying to attract? What is your ideal reader looking for?

Go back through your blog entries and mentally sort them into vague lists. If you use tags or categories, this can help a lot as well. Basically, you want to create large “content buckets” that you can fit most of your posts into.

Transform those content buckets into keyword lists

Once you’ve assembled some buckets that most of your posts fit into, you can identify keywords to fill those out. These are phrases that you’d like to rank highly on the search engine results page.

An example might be a blog about maternity fashion that provides some affiliate referral links to clothing stores where readers can buy the recommended clothes. This hypothetical maternity wear blog would want to rank highly on searches like “clothes to wear during pregnancy”, “maternity fashion”, and other searches like this.

This isn’t a be all, end all list of the keywords you’ll be using, but rather just to clear your mind of all the obvious ones.

Get a good mix of short tail and long tail keywords

Some keywords are easier (and cheaper) to rank on than others. The cheap, easy ones are long tail, and are associated with much less traffic than the short tail keywords, which are particularly popular and frequently searched. The web has tons of tools for all kinds of things, from business name generators to tools like the Google Adwords Keyword Tool, which is great for this sort of thing.

Use tools to get a great keyword spread

Other great tools for this are Topsy and Buzzsumo. Topsy helps you uncover the confusing and convoluted work of social media keywords. Topsy is essentially the Google Trends of social media, allowing you to page through the recent history of keywords on social media to identify trends in that medium.

Buzzsumo helps you make sure that your keyword list is as comprehensive as that of your competitors. It helps you analyze their sites directly, helping you to spot when a new trend in your industry or field is coming up and letting you stay on top of it.

Keywords: always relevant

No matter how many Google updates happen, it seems likely that keywords will remain just as relevant as they have always been. It’s how people actually think and actually search for things, so barring any major sea changes in how people interact with their computers, keywords are likely to be an extremely important way to organize search and rankings. It pays to stay on top of your keywords!

Nick Rojas is a business consultant and writer who lives in Los Angeles. He has consulted small and medium-sized enterprises for over twenty years. He has contributed articles to Visual.ly, Entrepreneur, and TechCrunch. You can follow him on Twitter @NickARojas, or you can reach him at NickAndrewRojas@gmail.com.

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
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Easy Ways for Bloggers to Use Keywords to Drive Traffic

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3 Places Your Best Ideas Are Hiding In Your First Drafts http://www.problogger.net/archives/2015/05/04/places-ideas-hide/ http://www.problogger.net/archives/2015/05/04/places-ideas-hide/#comments Sun, 03 May 2015 14:00:48 +0000 http://www.problogger.net/?p=37745 Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
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3 Places Your Best Ideas Are Hiding In Your First Drafts

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Many bloggers write drafts and then ‘edit’ their writing – but ‘revising’ is a little different and is definitely a good exercise.

Today I came across a great short video by Beth Dunn from Hubspot that was recorded earlier in the year at the Inbound conference.

In the video Beth talks about ‘fixing your writing’ by learning to ‘revise’ your work.

There’s lots of take home points in this video but what resonated with me most were the three points Beth makes about the places in your first drafts that your best ideas often hide (at around the 9.30 mark).

These best ideas (or the ‘screws’ or the ‘points’ as Beth calls them) are often the things that you need to pay particular attention to and that you should make the centre pieces of your revised drafts.

These points regularly can be found:

The Change

The place in our writing where we hit a fork in the road and it changes course in some way. Some writers call this the pivot.

For me in my writing I find myself regularly feeling tempted to take a tangent in my writing halfway through a post and have trained myself to take note while I writing of these moments because they are often golden moments that can trigger me to completely change what I’m writing or that lead to followup posts.

The Laugh

The moment while you’re writing when while you’re writing something just ‘lurches out onto the page’ and you laugh out loud and wonder where it came from.

This reminds me of a post I wrote back in 2011 about ‘Listening to Your Inner Crazy Voice‘ where I identified that I’ve noticed that many times my best ideas have made me either laugh or gasp when I’ve had them.

As I wrote back then:

In each case, the reaction I had straight after having the idea was to either laugh or gasp. In most cases, the reaction was the same when I told those around me. I’m learning that the laugh and gasp reactions are good. They tell you that you’ve thought of something a little out of the box—something that will, at the very least, get noticed.

The End

The vast majority of your great ideas will be found at the end of your first draft.

This resonated with me very strongly. I regularly find that after banging out a post that the crux of what I say is in my conclusion.

This is logical in many ways – we spend a lot of time exploring an idea in our writing and after all that grappling with the topic we refine our idea to the point where they’re a lot better when we’ve finished than when we started.

In some ways the first draft becomes the opportunity for us to think out loud to help us get to ‘the point’ or the idea.

The mistake at this point is simply to publish what we’ve written. Rather – treat your first draft as the raw material for what comes next. Take that idea that you’ve refined and make it the centrepiece of your writing.

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
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3 Ways Scheduling Will Make You a Better Blogger http://www.problogger.net/archives/2015/05/01/3-ways-scheduling-will-make-you-a-better-blogger/ http://www.problogger.net/archives/2015/05/01/3-ways-scheduling-will-make-you-a-better-blogger/#comments Thu, 30 Apr 2015 14:20:46 +0000 http://www.problogger.net/?p=36551 Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
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3 Ways Scheduling Will Make You a Better Blogger

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There's more things to do with a blog than there is hours in the day. These tips will help you schedule like a pro and get your life back.Do you feel a bit like a slave to your social media? Always thinking about your next blog post, forgetting to respond to that guy on Twitter, and never Pinning at the right time?

I know what it’s like to always feel like you’re running to catch up, instead of being in control of how and where you spend your time.

There’s nothing wrong with flying by the seat of your pants and only writing or hanging out on social media when inspiration strikes – if it works for you. If you’ve found that’s a little too chaotic to be sustainable long-term, then you’ll benefit from being more intentional with your time. Which frees you up to have even more of it.

Three Reasons Why Scheduling is Good

It gives you more time

If it’s one thing I hear the most, it’s that bloggers don’t have enough time in the day to do all the things they want to (or think they should) to build their blog and make it the best it can be.

Time is finite, it’s so easily wasted, and yeah, it feels like there’s just not enough of it. Many of us are working on our blogs in the cracks of time we have around other work, family, and life commitments, and there are periods where we feel as though we are succeeding at the juggle about as well as we’d succeed at performing brain surgery on a puppy.

The reality is, you have to make time. Nobody is going to walk in, grab your kids and say “we’re going to the park, you blog for a couple of hours” (are they? If they are, can you send them to me?!), or take on a big project at your day job to free up time for you to finally get started on that eBook you’ve been putting off. If you’re not scheduling in time to blog, and scheduling your posts and social media updates, then of course you’re not getting as much done as you would like.

Scheduling = more time. Time to live, time to work evenly on all your projects, time to take your own kids to the park. (Tweet that!)

It gives you more flexibility

To be honest, I don’t know of any blogger who can sit on the internet all day and respond in real time, whether that’s publishing at the most appropriate hour, or answering every email, tweet, and Facebook message received. Nobody is up at two in the morning Pinning their latest posts because that’s when their particular audience is online (hello working from the Southern Hemisphere).

There are some people who like to read my blog at five in the morning. There are hundreds who come after I’ve gone to bed at night. The last thing I want to do is hit publish before sunup, but I also don’t want to miss out on the traffic that comes at the most convenient time for them, so post scheduling works in both my favour and theirs.

I know sometimes the word “schedule” makes people shudder, and they’ll tell you they prefer “flexible” any day. Schedule sounds locked down, tight, rigid. The beauty of working online is so we can publish immediately, spontaneously, and so we don’t have to toe the line of a 9-to-5. But done right, scheduling can bring freedom – what you want is a flexible schedule, something that works just for you.

Scheduling means I can more effectively work around my young family, who I really do have to respond in real time to. When my work is scheduled and my home day goes awry, I’ve got the flexibility to be present in the moment. If home is quiet, I’ve got the flexibility to blog and maybe set a few more scheduled posts and updates for the times I can’t be online. This kind of flexibility is invaluable.

It gives you control

One of the biggest lessons I learned last year is that I don’t work well in chaos. Trying to work, live, run a family, and blog all at once however I could fit it in was benefiting no-one. Least of all me. I felt stressed, constantly undone, forever forgetting things, and I went to bed almost every day knowing I’d let at least one person down.

Feeling always behind the eight ball is not how I want to get through each day long-term. I don’t want to feel reactionary to each situation as it arises, I’d rather be a step ahead, with a clear head, and proactive.

Scheduling allows me to control my time online, instead of it controlling me. I can write when I want, I can publish when I want, I can be on social media when I want, and there’s flexibility at the end of the day to rejig it if necessary. My readers get content in the times that work for them, and I can interact in the times that work for me. Win-win!

Three Ways Scheduling will Make You a Better Blogger

You are more present

Well, OK – the beauty of scheduling means you can blog without actually physically being present. But the times when you are online, you can be fully present. This is your time to blog, to interact on social media, to chat on Twitter. You don’t also have to be cooking dinner, finding gym shoes, or emailing your boss.

You can work when you’ve got the time spare, and you can concentrate better during that time.

You are more considered

So many mistakes are made when you rush, when you’re throwing something up and running out the door. If you’re writing something that isn’t going up until next Tuesday, there’s no rush. You can write, edit, and give it a once-over between now and then, picking up issues, typos, and adding that link to the article you just couldn’t remember at the time.

When you’re fully present with your writing or your social media, you write better and are more likely to avoid problems that crop up when your concentration is divided. You look more in control and authoritative. And you’re interacting when it’s best for you.

You’re sharing what matters

I know what it’s like when you’ve just found five cool things that your readers will love, but you can’t share all five at once – and you’re likely to forget or give up if you physically post them across a reasonable period of time. Scheduling helpful or funny articles at the times your audience would most like to see them (i.e. when they’re online and they’ve actually got the time to click through) means you’re being the most useful to them you can be. And we all know Usefulness is King!

You’re also not rushing to share something, anything in order to be seen – you’re sharing what’s useful, entertaining, or inspiring because you’ve got the time to find those things, and you’re giving it to your audience at the right time.

Three Ways To Schedule your Work

Start with a plan

I always say planning is essential to be more efficient and to use your time more wisely. In 5 Ways to Make Your Blogging Life Easier, I talk about planning (and scheduling + automating!) and how they can give you more freedom. In order to schedule your time and your content, you have to know what you want to do, where you want it to take you, and when you work best.

I do everything from long-term checklists and calendars to a five-minute brainstorm and rough outline of the tasks of the day and in what order I’ll do them. I can’t recommend enough that five-minute brainstorm before you get started – it saves a lot of time and heartache later. Slotting your tasks into the time you have available that day will be the best thing you can do that morning to get started on the right foot.

Then, of course, you can branch out into larger, more long-term goals and lists (and refer to those lists when writing your monthly, weekly, or daily plan).

Related: Setting Blog Goals: Why You Need Them, and How To Write Them

Do what works

Get to know the automation tools available out there for bloggers – Buffer, Hootsuite, CoSchedule, Edgar, or whichever one works for you. Get to know when your audience is online, what kinds of updates they respond to, and what kinds of content you enjoy creating. There’s no point posting to Facebook 11 times a day if it’s irrelevant, uninteresting, or clickbait.

Related: Boost Your Organic Reach on Facebook with These Tips

Use social media scheduling

Different apps work for different needs, although the ones I mentioned in the previous point usually cover several platforms. For example, I use CoSchedule to schedule my daily posts to Facebook and Twitter, and they make it easier to post way into the future. I can post several times to Twitter without leaving my WordPress dashboard. Facebook prefers its own scheduling tool, so if I can, I’ll delete the CoSchedule upload to Facebook and use the Facebook scheduler. If’I’m out that day, I leave the CoSchedule one – I do find that the Facebook schedule has better reach.

I use Tailwind for Pinterest scheduling, Buffer for tweets on Twitter or tweeting articles from other sites, and I’m interested at looking into Edgar for a couple of other things I’ve got in mind. I’d love to know which one you use though, and why? I think they’re all useful for different things.

Related: How to Socialize Your Posts for Maximum Effect

Stacey is the Managing Editor of ProBlogger.net: a writer, blogger, and full-time word nerd balancing it all with being a stay-at-home mum. She writes about all this and more at Veggie Mama. Chat with her on Twitter @veggie_mama or be entertained on Facebook.

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
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7 Digital Marketing Skills Every Professional Needs http://www.problogger.net/archives/2015/04/29/7-digital-marketing-skills-every-professional-needs/ http://www.problogger.net/archives/2015/04/29/7-digital-marketing-skills-every-professional-needs/#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 14:08:11 +0000 http://www.problogger.net/?p=36635 Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
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7 Digital Marketing Skills Every Professional Needs

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Digital Marketing Skills 1

 

This is a guest contribution from Brian Burt.

“Whatever you are, be a good one.”

That popular bit of wisdom has a timeless ring of truth to it, but we may want to update it for the internet age.

“Whatever you are, be a digital marketer” might be more apt in this era, when nearly everything that matters happens online.

The new reality is that in order to be marketable in any field, you need to sharpen your digital marketing chops. Whether you’re an administrative assistant or a CEO, you can be a better version if you have a basic foundation in web marketing.

7 Digital Marketing Skills You Need to Succeed

1. The Online Hustle

If there’s one thing that internet marketers are masterful at, it’s the online hustle. And by that I mean, the ability to jump online, identify key influencers or companies, figure out how to contact them and then be persistent as hell about getting what you want. This skillset is critical in everything from finding a job to getting guest blogs to nabbing new clients.

Every professional today needs to be a digital ninja, adept at tracking down opportunities online and coming up with creative ways to turn those opportunities into reality. Maybe that means Tweeting at the hiring manager of your dream job or doing some light online stalking of a new business partner you want to impress. Regardless of your goal, you’d do well to learn how to become an expert at leveraging the web to get what you want. 

2. E-Relationships

In the digital age, your first point of contact with anyone new is almost always done online. So it’s absolutely crucial that you hone your interpersonal e-mailing skills. You might be thinking, “Uh, I’m pretty sure I know how to e-mail,” but just because you can type and press send doesn’t mean you’re doing a bang-up job at using e-communication to your advantage.

When it comes to forming and maintaining excellent professional relationships online, it’s all about finesse. Digital marketers are pros at becoming BFFs with people they’ve never even met in person. Sometimes that means making a cheesy joke about the weather or asking an authentic question about the recipient’s life, but the point is to go the extra step to turn your faceless e-mail address into a real, living, breathing human with whom people want to work.

3. Social Media Savvy 

The only person who can acceptably say things like, “Oh, I just don’t get social media” is your grandmother…and even she’s probably posting funny pictures on Facebook. Social media know-how may have once been a bonus, but it decidedly necessary by now.

Regardless of the field you’re in, you should have a polished LinkedIn profile at a minimum, but you should also have a decent working knowledge of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr. Anything less makes you come across as a bit of a dinosaur in the professional world. This is especially true if, like many, you’re working in the start-up world, where every employee is a jack of many trades and should be ready to take the helm of the company’s Twitter account or Pinterest boards if asked to do so.

4. Finger on the Pulse 

In the digital marketing field, it’s essential to keep up with trending topics, modifications to the Google search algorithm and new social media policies, just to mention a few things. As the game is always changing, it’s stay current or perish. And while things might not move at such a breakneck pace in other industries, keeping abreast of news and trends in your niche is pretty much always a surefire way to get ahead.

5. Data Matters

Internet marketers are not just about crafting cool messages and viral social media posts. Hard data is actually where the rubber hits the road, because no amount of hard work or clever words matter unless they’re having an impact on the goal of increasing exposure and opportunity. All professionals would do well to become more data-oriented if they want to be more successful. After all, the work only works if it has your intended result.

6. SEO 101

It’s not really necessary for all of us to be SEO experts. But as internet users and professionals, we should all have a basic grasp on how websites earn a high ranking position in Google searches. Here are a few key understandings:

  • How to spot an ad versus an organic result in search results.
  • The fact that websites that are in the top organic results of Google searches are there because they’ve established themselves as a legitimate and reliable, over time.
  • Google punishes websites that use cheap shortcuts to try to rank quickly.
  • The more reputable websites that link to a website, the higher its ranking.
  • The more people share links to a site on social media, the better it does in rankings.
  • New businesses need to work hard to establish themselves online – no one will find your new website if you don’t put in serious work to build a presence.
  • For content to boost SEO, it needs to use popular search key terms naturally.
  • One easy and reliable way to climb the rankings is to consistently add original content to your site in the form of blog posts. 

7. In Your Audience’s Shoes 

The digital marketer’s perennial question is: Who is my audience? In this world, that may be the customer or the potential client. Even if that’s not true for your field, you have an audience. When you tweak your resume or put together a presentation for colleagues or just write a new blog, you’ll improve your work in a serious way if you make every move with your audience in mind. Marketers know that their opinion is sort of irrelevant in the sense that they can be over the moon about a new idea, but if it won’t resonate with the audience, it’s worthless.

As the internet becomes an increasingly dominant part of business, all professionals have a duty to become proficient in basic digital marketing skills.

And when you add this skillset to your already impressive qualifications in your field, you become a double threat and infinitely more valuable to current and future employers.

Brian Burt is a digital marketing pro who’s been in the field for more than a decade. As the founder of WebRev Marketing & Design in Chicago, he’s constantly learning about and experimenting with new strategies that help businesses improve their online presence. In his rare spare time, Brian also enjoys fixing up vintage cars and guest blogging on a variety of business and marketing sites. Check out www.webRevmarketing.com for more.

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
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6 Steps to Make Your Nonprofit’s Blog a Must-Read Web Destination http://www.problogger.net/archives/2015/04/27/6-steps-to-make-your-nonprofits-blog-a-must-read-web-destination/ http://www.problogger.net/archives/2015/04/27/6-steps-to-make-your-nonprofits-blog-a-must-read-web-destination/#comments Sun, 26 Apr 2015 14:08:29 +0000 http://www.problogger.net/?p=36817 Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
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6 Steps to Make Your Nonprofit’s Blog a Must-Read Web Destination

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1-Nonprofit_Blog_org_imageThis is a guest contribution from Eric Rardin.

Managing a nonprofit is already more than a full-time job. Often, when operating on shoestring budgets to make a dent in large-scale, intractable problems like poverty or human rights, writing up a few hundred words for a blog post can seem like the least important of the myriad to-dos.

But that couldn’t be farther from the truth! For your supporters, your organization’s blog is a window into your world. It showcases what matters to you, how you’re achieving your mission, and provides insight into the type of organization you are or want to be. Perhaps most importantly, it’s a critical marketing tool to spread knowledge of your work and the issues you prioritize to millions of potential supporters.

Yet, too often, nonprofit blogs look like an afterthought, with infrequent posts, poor editing and lack of a unified voice. Rather than give up and let your blog collect digital dust, try a few of these strategies to make sure your blog reaches its full potential:

Define your objective up front

The first step is to determine what you want your blog to do. Is it a place to showcase your research, field projects, and other activities? Are you hoping to use it as a platform to raise the profile of your issues and experts more broadly in the media world? Both? Answering these questions can help you figure out exactly what your blog looks like.

Organizations that rely on gifts may want to show donors what their money has bought, or encourage passive supporters to become active funders. In that case, readers may be your existing audience and the tone may be convivial and community-oriented. The Alameda County Food Bank in California uses its blog to highlight community action and features volunteers and recipients, nurturing both the community of volunteers and the organization’s place within the community.

Groups working on under-the-radar issues or developing large coalitions may strike a more journalistic tone aimed at non-supporters and the general public. The UN Foundation’s blog educates readers about their programs and features on-the-ground stories that connect readers with people benefitting from their work.

Harness your staff’s creativity

Think for a second about Buzzfeed. While quizzes like What Flightless Bird Are You? and listicles like 17 More Smells ’90s Girls Will Never Forget may not seem that important to your work, there’s actually a lot you can learn from them. Buzzfeed is the most notorious purveyor of a new style of online content geared toward catching people’s attention and providing information in easily digestible snippets. The lesson here is about creativity: while a painstakingly edited executive summary may be the right way to start a report, long paragraphs and lots of jargon may not be the best way to reach a blog audience.

Think about how you can best tell your story. It may be that a short video clip, a photo slideshow, or listicle conveys the information better than a traditional article. The most successful blogs—both for-profit and non-profit—have a personality and aren’t afraid to try something new.

Write something you’d like to read. Not every post will work, but they all provide a chance to learn about what works for your audience, your brand, and your mission.

Incorporate blogging into people’s jobs

Your staff, from assistants and temps to program managers and executives, is doing a lot of great work to further your mission. But part of making their work as meaningful as possible is sharing their success stories, issue briefs, and opinions. While the communications team may manage the blog day to day, relying on just a few people to provide content can be limiting. Having multiple voices sharing their real expertise adds excitement to your blog.

The Natural Resources Defense Council’s staff blog Switchboard does a great job of integrating the organization’s diverse work portfolio by letting employees tell their own stories about their challenges and successes. There may be some push back at first, but developing a smooth editorial process and providing guidance about writing subjects and style can actually make blogging fun for employees.

Recruit guest bloggers (and their guest audiences)

Blogs are a critical part of outreach and a great tool for connecting with other organizations and reaching out to new people. Guest bloggers can offer a fresh perspective on issues that your organization covers. It’s easy to see how publications benefit from high-profile writers that bring an audience with their name. But even featuring local folks (perhaps the beneficiaries of your work) and relaying their experience in their own voice can add depth and engage your supporters. You can also use these relationships to cultivate dialogues among practitioners and develop on- and offline relationships.

Develop a promotional strategy

The worst-case scenario for a nonprofit is to devote time and energy to a blog post that no one reads. The internet is a big and complex place, so you can’t just rely on Google Search to direct folks to your page. Integrating your blog into your other points of outreach can drive readership. Your blog is a trove of great content for your official social media accounts. Don’t be afraid to ask your employees to tap into their own networks. Blog authors should want to share their work on their personal accounts, especially your employees who’ve created a strong online presence around their professional work.

Beyond social media, you have a lot of other ways to push your content out. Make sure to feature your blog on your own website and link heavily within it. That means not only links to the blog as a whole from around your site, but also connecting posts together to give readers a chance to delve deeper within an issue and learn more. New posts are also ripe for inclusion in your newsletters to engage your existing supporters. And don’t forget to practice good SEO, so that when people are searching key terms, your post has a better chance of showing up in the results.

Don’t forget fundraising

Behind every successful and influential organization is a team of people finding the money to fund great work. While your blog shouldn’t only be a vehicle to support the development team (after all, who wants to read 5 posts in a row asking for money?), every post is a good opportunity to turn a casual observer or activist into a donor. Consider building a donation button into your blog’s layout to take advantage of reader’s excitement about your organization and desire to contribute to the change you’re making every day.

Eric Rardin is the Vice President of Business Development at Care2 and the ThePetitionSite, where he advises on donor lead acquisition and multichannel conversion strategies. He has helped nonprofits in over 100 countries, including here in the U.S..Eric has an MBA from the Carey School of Business at Johns Hopkins University, an MA in government and international studies from the University of South Carolina and a BS in political science from the University of Wyoming.

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
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The Full Blog Monetization Menu – 60+ Ways to Make Money With Your Blog http://www.problogger.net/archives/2015/04/24/the-full-blog-monetization-menu-60-ways-to-make-money-with-your-blog/ http://www.problogger.net/archives/2015/04/24/the-full-blog-monetization-menu-60-ways-to-make-money-with-your-blog/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 14:17:58 +0000 http://www.problogger.net/?p=36434 Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
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The Full Blog Monetization Menu – 60+ Ways to Make Money With Your Blog

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60+ Ways to make money on or with your blog  problogger.netThis is a guest contribution from Paul Back.

You think about it all the time – how great it would be to make money from your blog.

Yet, with monetization, things can get a little confusing. There are just so many different options.
Making money from your blog is not something that happens by accident.

It takes forethought, planning, and a winning strategy.

Once you understand all of the possible ways to monetize your blog, it’s much easier to devise the right plan.

Succeeding at Monetizing Your Blog

The First Step is Understanding Your Options

There are almost limitless possibilities for a blogger like you to earn money online, but most of these fall into a small number of distinct categories.

This post is designed to show your options so that you can go on to make the right monetization decisions.

Without having a clear idea of what’s possible, you simply can’t make a solid choice.

Your destination is a blog that makes you money – you need to choose some routes that will get you there.

Let’s face it – blogging is hard work, so don’t make it even harder by failing to create a clear path to reaching your goals. You’ll end up investing time and energy on something that just won’t work for you.

When analysing your options, think about your end goal – do you want a more passive way to earn? Perhaps you want to offer a service? Maybe you just want to create and sell your own products? Not sure yet?

Whatever it is – we have it on the menu.

The Full Menu

I scoured the Internet for months trying to find the most diverse and proven ways to make money from blogs.

I’ve talked to every contact I have, conducted research, done free and paid courses and classes, read real books and e-books, watched videos, attended webinars, and have tried a lot of these strategies myself – if it’s not on the list, it probably doesn’t exist or just doesn’t work.

So don’t worry; I’ve got you covered!

Look through the list, and find your best options — or just see what’s available. Use it as a guideline for your blog monetization plans.

Display Advertising

Ads are great, but they can be tricky.

They can deliver staggering revenues, but for most people, they make very little. If you want success with ads, you must consider traffic, audience, and context.

Generally speaking, the traffic numbers of most blogs don’t have the volume to make a real dent with display advertising, and once you have the traffic, there are usually better ways to monetize.

Of course there are exceptions to the rules – so aim to understand your niche and audience before deciding if ads are right for you.

Overview

  • Pros: Easy to set up, offers passive income (set-and-forget), requires no special skills, works on most audiences, and works from day one.
  • Cons: Usually results in relatively small profits, requires a lot of traffic, turns off some audiences, makes your blog look less attractive, and is usually not the main revenue maker for a blog.
  • Best When: You have a lot of traffic, you have other sources of revenue, and you’re waiting to develop your own products for sale or quickly monetize without much effort.

You have many ad networks to choose from. Google AdSense is the most popular, but look into Media.net (Yahoo/Bing) and Clicksor. These ad networks are contextual – they automatically display ads based on your page’s content.

After you choose an ad network, there’re many different ad models you can use – each one has its benefits.

Here are the best options:

Display Advertising Options:

PPM

Get paid whenever a visitor lands on a page displaying the ad, as its “seen” — it doesn’t matter if the ad is clicked or not.

  • Pros: Visitors don’t have to click on your ads to make money.
  • Cons: Needs even more traffic than other ad types and usually pays less.
  • Best When: This is great for high-traffic blogs that have little audience interaction – news-type blogs for example.

PPC

Get paid when someone clicks on the ads displayed on your blog. (Prices depend on niche — more competitive = more money.)

  • Pros: Standard advertising model — it is the best bang for your buck.
  • Cons: You want advertisers with relevance to your blog to increase ad clicks.
  • Best When: In high competition niches that are relevant to your blog.

Banner Ads

Banner ads are placed in sidebars, headers, and individual posts. These can be PPC or PPM.

  • Pros: Common and effective form of advertising.
  • Cons: Can ruin the look of a blog depending on which ads are displayed.
  • Best When: You have control over which banners display.

RSS Ads

Appear in the RSS feed of a blog.

  • Pros: A great way to make money from your RSS feed.
  • Cons: With the decline of RSS feeds, these have become less popular; that doesn’t necessarily make them bad.
  • Best When: You have a large RSS list.

In-text Ads

These are ads that are embedded within your written text. When a reader clicks on them, it displays the corresponding ad.

  • Pros: They look like links, so there is no need for banner ads.
  • Cons: Distracting. People may find it annoying. Makes your blog worse from a usability perspective.
  • Best When: You don’t use other forms of advertising.

Mobile Advertising

If you have a mobile app or want to advertise via mobile channels. See: ADMob, Millennial Media, and Adfonic. There were 7.1 billion mobile devices connected to the net in 2014 – mobile and app advertising is set to take advantage of this in a big way.

  • Pros: Take advantage of a growing sector, less competition in the app sector, majority of web traffic comes from mobile devices.
  • Cons: Situational – you need to have an app or want to advertise in apps.
  • Best When: You have an app, and you want to capitalise on the growing number of mobile devices or when your audience largely uses mobile to view your content.

Advertising widgets

Use widgets such as AdSanity to help you manage and customise ads on your blog.

  • Pros: Detailed advertising information, makes your ads more profitable and customizable (e.g., display ads with higher revenue). Works with single or multiple ads.
  • Cons: Cost of entry, needs more effort on your part.
  • Best When: You already use ads with some success and want to increase their profitability.

Bulletin/job board

Create a bulletin or job board and let others advertise on it for a fee.

  • Pro: Easy to set up and can drive huge amounts of relevant traffic to your blog, which amplifies other monetisation avenues and turns your blog into a “hub” in your niche.
  • Cons: Usually this is not a primary source of income; your blog has to be sufficiently popular.
  • Best When: Your blog is seen as a hub in your space when you already have a lot of traffic and when combined with other revenue streams, e.g., Problogger Job Board.

Audio ads on your podcasts

If you have a podcast, use audio ads similar to a commercial radio station and promote people’s products, services and get paid — e.g., use networks like this, and this.

  • Pros: A great way to earn money from your podcasts.
  • Cons: You must have a regular audience for your podcast to have any real effect.
  • Best When: You have a large and consistent podcast audience.

Sponsored content

Sponsored content is advertising material in the context of a blog post (should be disclosed). Its effectiveness is determined by audience size and relevance. A good example of how sponsored content works is mashable.com. They regularly use content from big companies and get huge brand visibility in exchange for money.

  • Pros: Good way to earn money. Most people would have no issue with sponsored content, if you label it as such.
  • Cons: Would turn some people off and would only work well in some niches (depending on sponsored content opportunities and how well they match your blog).
  • Best When: You have a large reach and you are in a niche with good sponsored content opportunities.

Ads on your videos (for other’s products or your own)

Use your videos as platforms for advertising. Use the YouTube advertising program, or create an agreement with a sponsor, and mention them or display their logo in your videos.

  • Pros: Make money from the content you create, easier to get noticed than blog banner ads, relatively unexplored area for most bloggers, and can go viral.
  • Cons: Only applies to video content. Traffic needed. May need relationships with businesses.
  • Best When: You are a successful video content creator.

Directly sell ad space on your blog

Sell ad space to other bloggers or businesses without going through a middle man (ad networks).

  • Pros: No middleman, total control over what ads you want to display, more profit, and you can choose ad designs that complement your blog.
  • Cons: Fewer ads to choose from and harder to arrange than AdWords (or equivalent).
  • Best When: You share an audience with a blogger or business that’s interested in advertising on your site.

Sell, Sell, Sell – Blog Stores

Sometimes, the best way to make money off your blog is to treat it like a sales platform.

The biggest problem for most online businesses is they lack traffic volume and a repeat audience. As a blogger, that’s your bread and butter.

Bloggers get so hung up on providing free content that they forget they are allowed to sell to their audiences. If you provide real value with your content and offer something relevant, your audience would love to buy from you.

Here are the best ways:

Create blog merchandise:

Sell shirts, caps, or just about any merchandise from your blog.

  • Pros: A fun idea which under the right conditions will make a great income; check out Cafepress and Merchify for ideas.
  • Cons: Situational — some brands just don’t make for good merchandise.
  • Best When: You have an active, engaged community and a cool social brand. E.g., it’s perfect for health blogs.

Auctions/eBay store

You can create a simple eBay store for your blog. It’s easy and a quick way to start earning an income. Alternatively, you can auction items to your audience without eBay.

  • Pros: Easy and cheap to set up.
  • Cons: Not suitable for every blog, people might take you less seriously depending on niche, and probably not a steady income.
  • Best When: You are in a creative category such as DIY or in a niche that has many physical products associated with it.

Start an ecommerce store

Sell items directly from your blog with no third party involvement.

  • Pros: This is a great way to monetize a blog; a varied inventory can create fantastic revenue.
  • Cons: Need products to sell. Not all niches can be successful – or at least not without thinking outside the box. Check out Lynne Knowlton’s selection of products.
  • Best When: You have many things to sell or have a blog for business purposes.

Reviews and Sponsorships

As a blogger, your biggest asset is your audience.

They give you authority and influence. And when influential people speak – others listen.

This makes bloggers like you perfect for product reviews and sponsorships. These strategies have been around for a long time – and for good reason; they work.

You can use the power your audience gives you to earn a living, without violating your audience’s trust or using any sleazy tactics.

Here are the best ways:

Paid reviews

Paid reviews are where an advertiser pays the blogger for a review of their product or service. Bloggers should let the audience know when a post is paid for; in some countries it’s required by law (including the U.S.). You can use PayPerPost, com or make your own arrangements.

  • Pros: You get paid to review products and services in your niche. It’s easy and requires little effort.
  • Cons: Not every niche and blog has the opportunity to review a product. This method is a short-term monetization strategy.
  • Best When: You have a popular blog with a lot of reach and an audience that is understanding.

Receive gifts for reviewing products

Getting paid in the form of products or services can be another source of revenue.

  • Pros: An easy way to get rewarded. You can set up a page on your blog to let people know you do reviews, or you can email people directly if you are interested.
  • Cons: Most people would prefer cash payments.
  • Best When: You have a large audience that values your opinion.

Get sponsored by a company

Leverage your audience and influence to get sponsored by a company that will pay you in cash or gifts to promote them.

  • Pros: Can be lucrative, and you don’t have to do your own development or branding.
  • Cons: Usually you need to have a popular blog.
  • Best When: You have a popular blog and you outreach to companies that you have an interest in working with.

Become a brand ambassador

If you love a particular brand, you can try to become a brand ambassador. You promote a company and get paid in commissions, free gifts, or cash.

  • Pros: A great way to earn and promote your favourite companies.
  • Cons: You need to have a company you strongly believe in that fits your image, you need a large following, and your reputation is in another’s hands.
  • Best When: There is a company that lives up to your expectations of quality, service, and ideals — and is beneficial to your audience.

Passive Income

Every blogger has fantasized about making a fully passive income at some stage.

And affiliate marketing is the best way of doing that. But even with passive income, you still have to do some work.

Well, initially at least.

But get it right and your life will change in a big way. So kick back, relax, and watch that money come rolling in.

Here are the best ways:

Join an Affiliate Program

Becoming an affiliate is the perfect way to make money selling products or services without having to invest time in creating them yourself.

  • Pros: Great source of potential revenue, no need to develop your own products.
  • Cons: Turn your audience away if you promote the wrong type of product, lose audience to competitors, lose audience if you overdo it, and not as much money as making your own products.
  • Best When: You have a large devoted audience, you want to make extra money to an already successful blog, or you want to “test drive” an idea before committing your own time and money.

Affiliate links in posts

You create “evergreen” content with links to affiliate products – this is not promoting another blogger’s products via email advertising. For an example of affiliate links in posts, check out Darren Rowse’s Digital Photography School. The difference is subtle, but some audiences simply do not want to hear about other people’s products in your email messages.

  • Pros: Earns money while providing value to your audience. Perfect for monetizing your current content.
  • Cons: Takes some effort to set up; very few people could make a full living off affiliate links in posts.
  • Best When: You create incredible list articles with affiliate links and you have a large audience.

Webhosting referral affiliates: (Bluehost, Godaddy, Hostgator)

Promote a service you trust and use on your blog to earn commissions.

  • Pros: It’s easy, no special skills are needed, and anyone can do it. All website owners need hosting.
  • Cons: Like other affiliate links, this usually won’t be enough to make a full living, and needs lots of traffic.
  • Best When: Using hosting companies that you trust and use with your blog. Your audience has or intends to have a website, e.g., blogging, social media, and business niches.

Affiliate sales from social media (Instagram and Pinterest)

If you have a large presence on Instagram or Pinterest, you can promote affiliate products using RewardStyle or ETSY. This is a great way to use your blog in conjunction with social media, and earn money – perfect for visual merchandise, i.e., fashion or design blogging.

  • Pros: A fantastic way to leverage your social media presence.
  • Cons: You need to have a large following to be accepted.
  • Best When: You are a popular blogger that focuses on visual content.

Create an affiliate program for your own products

This is a way to get extra reach and revenue from one of your own products.

  • Pros: Increase profits for no extra work, and a great way to make extra sales and get exposure.
  • Cons: Not as profitable as tapping into the market without a middleman.
  • Best When: You have an expensive product to sell and have relationships with influencers in your niche.

Directly sell other bloggers’ products and get commissions

Like affiliate marketing, you’re selling other people’s products, but unlike traditional affiliate marketing, the commission is determined directly between you and the other party.

  • Pros: High commissions and relevant to your audience. Good way to build goodwill and relationships with other bigger players in your niche.
  • Cons: You need strong connections to other bloggers – which means you are already established. Has potential to lose your readers to your competition.
  • Best When: You already have a medium to large email list and have good relationships with other bloggers/businesses/gurus. 

Be a Leader

As a blogger, you’re naturally a coach and mentor to your audience.

You love what you do, and you wouldn’t change a thing. So, why not get paid for it?

Everybody wants your help, but it’s not possible to help everyone. You need to prioritize and still find the time to create quality content.

When you charge for your services, you can focus on your work, provide quality advice, and spend

your time more wisely.

Here are the best ways: 

Consulting

Consulting is about using your expertise to provide specific problem-solving or troubleshooting – such as providing marketing advice or strategy. E.g., Neil Patel. Consulting usually requires you to have a specific skillset.

  • Pros: Usually more lucrative than coaching and builds your credibility faster. Great as a primary or secondary revenue stream.
  • Cons: Requires a high level of authority and credibility in your niche when compared to coaching, therefore not the best option for total beginners. It’s also time intensive.
  • Best When: Your intervention can have quick and measurable results (changing marketing strategy, providing SEO audits etc.), usually “service” based.

Coaching

You offer expertise to help your clients resolve a problem – coaching is similar to consulting, but there is more emphasis on providing support, encouragement, motivation, and guidance. With coaching, there is less emphasis on having a specific skillset or qualification in general and more emphasis on support and feedback.

  • Pros: Provides a consistent flat rate and a reliable income, and you also learn more about your audience.
  • Cons: It is a time-heavy process that slows the growth of your blog and requires a certain amount of authority.
  • Best When: There is a longer-term issue or problem that requires more than one or two sessions to resolve — e.g., lifestyle change, personal development.

Group coaching programs

Like advanced consulting for a whole group of clients through a predefined curriculum. You provide lessons, exercises, feedback, and mentoring.

  • Pros: You learn new skills and get rapid feedback about what your customers want – while being paid.
  • Cons: A lot of time is taken in running and preparing these courses. You need some level of experience.
  • Best When: You have already had success with one-on-one coaching and are looking to take on more students at once — e.g., Selena Soo.

Get Paid for Superior Content

It’s your job to create incredible content for your audience.

You spend countless hours researching, writing, creating and editing. But some content is just too valuable, too time intensive and too in-depth to be given away for free.

If you didn’t charge for it – it would be impossible to keep your standards that high.

This is a natural progression for any blogger, and it’s a fantastic way to earn money.

Here are the best ways:

Private interview series

You interview experts in your field on a number of important topics and charge a fee for accessing this material — e.g., Yaro Starak from EJ.

  • Pros: These are cheap to set up, easy to scale, and are incredible relationship-building opportunities.
  • Cons: The experts have to be well known authorities in your space for people to consider it valuable enough to pay for. The interviews must provide real value. You need to be fairly well connected.
  • Best When: You are well connected in your niche as well as have other products (with higher prices) for sale.

Develop and sell your own self-paced courses

Self-paced courses are teaching resources that a user goes through at their own pace; usually it’s a combination of text, video, audio, and live calls.

  • Pros: One of the best ways for bloggers to make sustainable, high-level profits. Courses like this build your credibility and can be your sole revenue stream.
  • Cons: Time and effort intensive to put together, and you need a lot of experience in your field (to create worthy learning resources).
  • Best When: You are a popular blogger who’s ready to step up to the challenge – this separates the casual bloggers from the big boys. E.g., Jon Morrow’s Guest Blogging

Create a video course

Video courses are similar to self-paced courses, but they focus heavily on in-depth “over the shoulder” type videos. These are perfect for instructing complex tasks that users need to view multiple times to follow.

  • Pros: Same as a self-paced course.
  • Cons: Video courses take a lot of time to set up, may require special video and editing software, and high production value is a must, due to repeated viewing.
  • Best When: You are in a technical niche like link building / SEO. E.g., Brian Dean.

E-books

E-books are a great place to start monetizing.

  • Pros: Low up-front and overhead costs, no ongoing cost or customer support, easy to create, and you gain credibility and widen your audience.
  • Cons: Relatively low profit per sale, and requires high volume to make money.
  • Best when: You have other forms of revenue, and you are looking to expand your authority. E.g., Enchanting Marketing.

Membership Site

Create regular private content that users pay to view.

  • Pros: A great way to get consistent money (this works by charging a relatively small, recurring monthly fee).
  • Cons: You need to produce regular high-quality content that’s worth paying for.
  • Best When: You have a ton of high-quality topics to discuss, and you’re invested in creating high-quality content consistently for the long term.

Private forum

A great way to reach out to hundreds or thousands of clients at once.

  • Pros: Like private membership content but usually more time intensive. The quality is usually lower than that of premium courses.
  • Cons: It takes a lot of time and energy to set up, and the level of service is usually not as high as a self-paced course.
  • Best When: You have a loyal audience and you are willing to spend time each day to review threads and post in forums, or when you have other “power users” that will aid you in the forums.

Leverage Your Blogging Skills

As a blogger, you develop a particular skill set.

This skill set is extremely valuable in the real world. But most bloggers take it for granted – some don’t realize how sought after these skills can be.

But if you’re smart, you can use these skills to your advantage.

Here are the best ways:

Paid guest posts

There’re blogs and business sites that pay you to guest post. Do this regularly and the money starts to add up. Check out some great resources for paid guest posting: here, here and here.

  • Pros: Great way to polish your writing and get paid for it.
  • Cons: Too time intensive to make a lot of money.
  • Best When: You want to earn some money while polishing your writing skills.

Ghost-writing for other bloggers or sites

Earn money by offering ghost-writing services for other blogs or businesses. This is similar to guest posting, but you’re not credited for the work, and you’ll usually get paid more per post.

  • Pros: Fantastic way to boost revenue and build relationships.
  • Cons: Time consuming, and a lot of bloggers may find it unsatisfying in the long run.
  • Best When: You are in the freelancing / blogging / writing niche, which means you can charge a lot more and build a reputation with popular bloggers and businesses.

Use your blog as a platform for a higher-paying job

Use your blog as a launching pad for a much higher-paying career in the real world. Make yourself an authority in the niche your ideal job fits into, and use it as leverage in your workplace or the job market. You can also launch your own freelance career as a blogger, writer, or coach.

  • Pros: Gives the security of a “real” job. A lot of people prefer more traditional and structured ways to earn money.
  • Cons: Ultimately, you are bound by the job market.
  • Best When: Your passion lies within a particular business sector or you are self-employed.

Write sales letters

Writing a sales letter is similar to a sales page for a business, but it’s longer, more detailed, more difficult, and requires a high level of copywriting and marketing skills.

  • Pros: Direct marketing is a particular skill that can earn you much more money compared to traditional copywriting.
  • Cons: It’s an acquired skill, and not everyone is capable of doing it well.
  • Best When: You’re a blogger in the marketing/copywriting niche with a few years of experience.

Publish a book

Write and publish a physical book. Many bloggers have become bestselling authors; some even have a few books under their belts.

  • Pros: Books are an incredible authority booster, and you receive huge acclaim and open up other opportunities. Not only do you make money from book sales, but you also can increase your rates on all your other offerings.
  • Cons: For this to have any real chance, you need a fairly large and devoted audience.
  • Best When: You’re a gifted writer, and you run a popular blog. E.g., Seth Godin.

Write web copy for businesses/blogs 

A great way to use your copywriting skills is to write sales copy for websites. Copywriting for company websites and sales pages is a sought after skill, and can be hugely rewarding. 

  • Pros: Get paid a lot more than just writing articles.
  • Cons: Providing a service like this usually only applies if you are in the blogging, social media, or marketing niches.
  • Best When: You are in the right niche and have some degree of authority and/or marketing experience.

Form a partnership (with another blogger, online business, or physical business)

Enter a mutual business relationship with another blogger, business, or physical business, and get paid to do so.

  • Pros: Access to revenue or skillsets that you otherwise wouldn’t have. With a mutual partnership, you have the option to split up work, access to products you normally would not have, and the freedom to focus on doing what you’re best at.
  • Cons: Not receiving full profits.
  • Best When: Your blog is related to an industry with business opportunities, and you are well connected.

The Power of Events

You’re probably pretty social.

You love talking with your audience, you love networking with other bloggers, and you love to share what’s on your mind – and the best way to share ideas is to share with a receptive group.

And creating an event is an excellent way to teach, raise your profile, and get paid.

Here are the best ways: 

Organize an event (in real life)

Step out from behind your keyboard, and organize a real-life event. Take the lead and earn money from real-life events — like Copyblogger, Problogger, or NerdFitness (check out this awesome fit camp) — if you have readers that are in proximity to you or are willing to travel. Most people put more value in a face-to-face interaction and are willing to pay for the experience. Events will bond you with readers, and are mutually beneficial.

  • Pros: You can make great money and strong bonds with readers.
  • Cons: It can be difficult logistically and may not work in some niches; usually you would need to be well known and respected.
  • Best When: You have a strong bond with your audience, and you can organise an event worth paying for.

Paid speaking gigs

Use your blog as a platform to launch a speaking career.

  • Pros: Branch out from your blog for a well-paid and rewarding speaking career.
  • Cons: The suitability of this depends on your authority, niche, and comfort with public speaking.
  • Best When: You’re passionate and imagine yourself “blogging” in front of a large, live audience. E.g., Neil Patel (above) or Adam Franklin.

Host a branded Twitter party

Bloggers have more authority on social media than most businesses or online users. If your blog gives you clout on Twitter, approach a business or company to host a branded Twitter party and get paid for your efforts.

  • Pros: Leverage your large Twitter following and get paid to promote.
  • Cons: A Twitter party is audience specific and brand specific. This strategy requires your audience’s “permission” and participation, and it would put some people off.
  • Best When: You know your audience likes the brand/product being promoted, and you have a large Twitter following.

Live workshops

You can hold a webinar online, or a real-life local event, which requires payment to attend. E.g., Jon Morrow’s live workshops for his Guest Blogging program.

  • Pros: A cool way to teach and engage an audience which is very rewarding and provides you with a good income. Similar to group coaching but with a higher price bracket.
  • Cons: You would need to organize well and have a high level of service and value for this to work.
  • Best When: You have had some practice with webinar software and consulting.

Get the Crowd On Your Side

Rally the troops and form an army.

With the power of the crowd on your side, you can achieve incredible things.

Harnessing the power of crowdfunding has never been easier; there is money to be made, projects to complete, and lives to change.

If you have the will, and the right people behind you, there’s a way.

Here are the best ways:

Create a crowdfunding page

If you have a specific goal or mission for your blog, create a crowdfunding page, and source funds from your audience.

  • Pros: Get paid for having a vision and the initiative to start something your audience appreciates.
  • Cons: Ideally, you need a mission people can get behind, and this method usually doesn’t provide reoccurring income.
  • Best When: You have a vision, goal, or mission that inspires people to take action — you may be helping others (like Pat Flynn did), have a special project you want to work on, or be developing a product your fans want ( with an epic $50 million dollars from crowdfunding – check out their blog here).

Enroll in the Beacon network

Get donations for your creative work.

  • Pros: An innovative way to get paid for your work.
  • Cons: Not yet a proven way, and it’s mostly for creative work.
  • Best When: You have a blog in the creative space, and you want to try something different.

Get fan funding with Patreon

Get donations for your creative work – this is like crowd funding but for a sequence of smaller projects.

  1. Pros: A great way to make money for content in the creative space. A unique way to build a bond with your fans.
  2. Cons: It’s not mainstream, and your audience would need to adopt the Patreon system.
  3. Best When: You create creative projects, and your audience is open to new ideas. E.g., Cliff Ravenscraft uses Patreon for his podcasts.

Get your audience on Flattr

An interesting platform for you to share your creative content and get paid for each “like” from any Flattr user. 

  • Pros: In theory, it’s a great way to get paid for your creative work.
  • Cons: You have to convince your audience to use the Flattr system.
  • Best When: A large part of your audience uses Flattr.

Get tips on Tiptheweb

Encourage your readers to use a tipping service to get paid for your creative work.

  • Pros: You get rewarded for your outstanding work on a per case basis.
  • Cons: This is in the beta stage, meaning you most likely won’t get enough people tipping to make a solid income.
  • Best When: You consistently create great content, and your audience members are early adopters that benefit from your work.

Let your audience show gratitude on Gratipay: Similar to tipping but provides a reoccurring weekly donation for doing good work.

  • Pros: You have a better chance to make regular income than tipping since you get weekly payments.
  • Cons: Might have a harder time convincing your audience to commit to reoccurring weekly payments.
  • Best When: You have a loyal audience, you create great content, and you do not advertise or sell any other products.

Just ask for donations (PayPal)

A bit of an old-school way to make money blogging. Just put up a donations page, and ask your readers to donate, either for a specific one-off purpose (e.g., buying a new microphone) or just in general. This can work well, depending on your audience. E.g., Scooby’s Fitness Network.

  • Pros: One of the easiest ways to make money from your blog.
  • Cons: Not a dependable income and as most people will not donate.
  • Best When: Your readers feel in debt to you and your great work, especially when you don’t push any products on them. 

Get Technical

Sometimes it’s necessary to get technical.

Creating a unique product for your audience takes a lot of resources, planning, and work. If you have the know-how and the will to make it happen, you can achieve great things.

I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m saying that if you do it right, it’s going to be worth it.

Here are the best ways:

Develop and sell your own physical products

Much like selling your own programs, but this product is physical. 

  • Pros: A physical product lends you credibility and makes you seem more serious than your competitors. Physical products are often easier to market.
  • Cons: Costs are higher due to producing prototypes. Higher risk strategy when compared to non-physical products or courses due to upfront costs.
  • Best When: You are in a niche that allows for physical products. E.g., no meat athletes gear.

Sell your blog/site template or theme

Sell your custom designed blog theme or template.

  • Pros: A great way to make money if you have a unique theme that people like.
  • Cons: Not every theme and template would apply; most wouldn’t.
  • Best When: You have your own custom theme that your readers ask you about regularly.

Develop and sell your own software:

This is specific to your industry; your programs could be web-based programs, software, or systems that you directly sell to your audience.

  • Pros: The best option for high revenues, and it can be your sole revenue stream. Specifically designed with your audience in mind, which makes it much easier to sell.
  • Cons: An advanced method, it takes a lot of time and money to set up. It’s crucial to have experience (or an experienced team) in development and to really know your audience before you attempt to create these programs.
  • Best When: You have an already popular blog, in the right niche, with a proven track record in sales, and you have money to invest in hiring experts to help you. For example, AppSumo, created by Noah Kagan who runs his own blog at OkDork, or KISSmetrics.

Create a mobile app

Create a mobile app related to your audience, use it as a way to sell something, or leverage it for promotion, advertising, and brand awareness opportunities.

  • Pros: A unique approach, and unlike other app developers, you already have an established audience. Use your blog as a platform to distribute your app, build awareness, and create cross-promotional opportunities.
  • Cons: Technically challenging, and you need to have a good idea of what people want.
  • Best When: You have experience in development, you know your audience well and understand what they need. The level of complexity varies, but you would need a developer if you do not have the skills. Here is a non-tech example.

Try Something Different – Break the Mould

Sometimes, the best way to make a living from your blog is to try something new.

That’s the beauty of it; there really isn’t a limit to what you can do.

If you have the courage to try something different, you may get the rewards you’ve always wanted.

Try something unconventional, innovative, cutting edge – or even downright crazy!

If you have the vision, passion, and drive, no one is going to stop you.

Now go get ’em tiger!

Here are the best ways:

Treat it like a business, and look for an angel investor

If you’re looking to turn your blog into a profitable business, search for investors to back you financially and strategically. Look to Mashable and BuzzFeed for examples.

  • Pros: Secure funding to invest in your blog and the security of knowing successful business people are backing you.
  • Cons: It’s less like a traditional blog and more like a business, which requires a regimented and profit-driven approach.
  • Best When: You have a vision, and you want to build a business around that.

Use a paywall

Paywalls are commonly associated with news websites, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t use them for a blog.

  • Pros: Proven in other industries to make money with your content. A great opportunity to make it work for blogging. Great with in-depth content or more news-type blogs.
  • Cons: Will put a lot of people off.
  • Best When: You have a popular blog with exclusive

Try an “out there” idea

Check out Lynne’s awesome treehouse. She thought outside the box and made money from it. You may not have a treehouse, but you have skills, services, opportunities, or physical products that a portion of your audience will be interested in. 

  • Pros: Unique to the individual; almost everyone has something special they can offer.
  • Cons: You have to look hard to create opportunities.
  • Best When: You identify your unique offer, and you have the courage to try it out.

Sell your blog

Sick of your blog? Sell it. Get paid for your effort; look how Ramsay Taplin and Yaro Starak sold theirs.

  • Pros: Get rewarded for all your hard work with none of the pressure.
  • Cons: It’s usually only one payment unless you have a licensing contract, which can be complicated to arrange. Your blog needs to hold a business value to be eligible for sale.
  • Works Best: When you have a successful blog that you want to get rid of.

Here’s a Toast to Your Success

You have choices to make.

Choose the right ones for you and your blog – and you’ll be rewarded.

Hundreds of thousands of people make money from their blogs; some even make enough to quit their day jobs.

Stop wondering what it would be like – join them.

In reality, it’s no harder than what you do as your job every day.

But without blind luck, the only way to get there is understanding your options, choosing some strategies, and working toward your goal.

Targeted action is the difference between success and failure.

There is a lot riding on your decisions.

But don’t use that as an excuse to take no action.

The only decision you’ll regret is the one you don’t make at all.

Right now, action is vital.

Even if it means you make mistakes.

You can adapt and change later – just start now.

You have your options laid out in front of you – make your choices, and work at them.

It’s time to make a move.

Are you ready?

 

Paul Back will help you grow your blog, increase your traffic, and teach you to make money online. If you’re serious about blogging, then head on over and get your free guide to The 3 Most Effective Blog Monetization Methods and start earning a good living from your blog, quickly and without frustration.

 

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
Build a Better Blog in 31 Days

The Full Blog Monetization Menu – 60+ Ways to Make Money With Your Blog

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ProBlogger FAQ: How Often Should I Post? http://www.problogger.net/archives/2015/04/21/problogger-faq-how-often-should-i-post/ http://www.problogger.net/archives/2015/04/21/problogger-faq-how-often-should-i-post/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 03:24:21 +0000 http://www.problogger.net/?p=37583 Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
Build a Better Blog in 31 Days

ProBlogger FAQ: How Often Should I Post?

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ProBlogger FAQ - How often should I post Darren gives his answer : problogger.net

Post frequency is a topic that comes up often among bloggers. It doesn’t matter if you’ve just started or you’ve been posting for years – people change, algorithms change, and even your motivations for blogging change. No-one is immune from wondering if their schedule is working, or if tweaks can be made for more successful audience interaction.

As I said in my previous FAQ post on how long posts should be – it depends on several factors. The length of posts, the frequency of posting, and definitely post content all require trial and error, and for the blogger to know what their readers respond to best.

There’s been a shift I’ve seen lately – two shifts, actually – in posting schedules that work for certain bloggers posting certain content.

There’s the shift toward following the Upworthy/BuzzFeed model of 10-20 posts a day, and others doing slow, longer, deeper posts.

The choice can even depend on your monetizing model. If you are dependent upon banner ads, your’e going to need more posts. More eyeballs mean more clicks, which mean more money can be made that way.

If you’re selling a product or service, then you’ll do better with slower paced, deeper content. You’ll notice that’s what we’ve been experimenting with here on ProBlogger recently.

Finding a posting schedule requires some homework on the part of the blogger – checking their Analytics to see what posts work best, what times work best, and at what speed. You can canvass your audience for their opinion outright by asking them on Facebook, email newsletters or including the question in your regular surveys and make your decision based on their answer. You also need to canvass yourself – how many posts can you reasonably fit into your schedule before quantity overcomes quality?

In this post on How Many Posts Should a Blogger Post I go into detail about the pros and cons of daily blogging, which might help you make your decision. Of course there are benefits of both, and sometimes it can take a while of testing before you find which works best for you.

You might also find this post useful where our guest writer Ali Luke discusses the surprising answer she found to the universal question.

Have you struggled with this? Or have you found the perfect posting schedule? I’d love to hear in the comments.

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
Build a Better Blog in 31 Days

ProBlogger FAQ: How Often Should I Post?

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Make Money Blogging for Real: 3 Must-Know Factors http://www.problogger.net/archives/2015/04/20/make-money-blogging-for-real-3-must-know-factors/ http://www.problogger.net/archives/2015/04/20/make-money-blogging-for-real-3-must-know-factors/#comments Sun, 19 Apr 2015 14:16:36 +0000 http://www.problogger.net/?p=36639 Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
Build a Better Blog in 31 Days

Make Money Blogging for Real: 3 Must-Know Factors

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This is a guest contribution from Jerry Low.

Most people have heard of the success of Perez Hilton’s blog and that he makes somewhere between $200,000 to $400,000 each month blogging about the latest celebrity gossip.

Success stories like Hilton’s might make the prospect of earning a fortune blogging seem real, but the truth is that it is hard work and not very many crack that six figure per month mark. Still, you can make a decent living from blogging, if you know how to go about it.

Every now and then, I’m pulled aside at a family gathering or am emailed by someone who wants to know if it’s possible to make money blogging.

Some of the common questions include:

  • How do you make money online?
  • How does AdSense work?
  • Should I attend this “make money online” course?

The answer is an absolute yes. You can make money blogging.

While not in the six figures, Matthew Woodward, for example, made approximately $20,000 in December of 2014. That’s a pretty nice paycheck for blogging.

Even a simple idea like Michael Malice’s Overheard in New York, where people submit posts of things they’ve heard somewhere in New York, earns about $9,000 a month from private advertising revenue, such as banner ads placed on the site.

Personally, I have been making money online since 2004. I quit my day job as a rubber dam engineer in 2006, and never looked back.

So, again, the answer is: Yes, you can start a blog easily and make some money.

There are a lot of different online business opportunities, too.

The only question left is: Do you have the writing quality and blogging know-how to get it done? It’s not something easy, but I promise you it’s worth it.

5 ways of making money from your blog without having your own product

When you think of making money from a blog, you might think about Google ads, but there are a few different ways you can make money from your blog:

  • AdSense – People make hundreds of thousands from Google AdSense ads. AdSense makes up about one-third of Google’s revenue. Pay is good, but you will need to play by Google’s rules. There are reports where Google AdSensers get bumped out of the program without warning.
  • Affiliate marketing – This is simply a way to sell related items without the cost of developing a unique product. This is mainly how I make my living online, so this is a viable way to earn money from your blog.
  • Banner ads – Another way to make money from your blog is to sell banner ads on third party sites such as BuySellAds.com. My experience is that this is fairly low pay, but better than nothing. All the different areas of your income can pool together to make a difference in your overall blog earnings.
  • Selling ads directly on your blog – You can earn good money by selling banner ads directly on your blog. However, your blog must first have a good amount of traffic to attract the higher paying advertisers. At first, it might be better to focus on building that traffic and then you can more easily attract the big players.
  • Product reviewer – This might not pay you monetarily, other than the amount you’re earning from blogging, but it can help you try out the newest products in your niche. Merchants send you their products for trial, and you write an honest review. WHSR blogger Gina Badalaty, for example, does this and wrote some great tips on how to become a product reviewer. The key to becoming a product reviewer is that you need to be an influencer in your niche. Personally I get free hosting accounts to test at WHSR so I can write a review on it.

3 key factors: What makes my blog work and why yours doesn’t?

1. You need to be in a profitable niche!

One of the first things you want to think about is your niche and whether it is profitable. Some experts advise being a big fish in a small pond, but I think the exact opposite. You should try the big pond because that is where the money is.

While your great Aunt Mary’s unique recycled dress quilts might be amazing, not that many people are as interested in reading about them as about quilting in general. Don’t limit your topic too much.

When I first got started, I created a site selling inflatable boats online. Can you imagine how many people might buy inflatable boats online? That’s right, not many.

What’s worse, this product is a seasonal product and only sells during the summer, so I was further limited in my sales. Having that said, I did make some money from the site – averaging not more than two sales per year. My inflatable boat business didn’t even take off enough to launch it onto the small pond, much less a big pond.

So, how do you find a profitable niche? Personally, I use SpyFu to check out what advertisers are spending on a niche that I think I might like to tackle. If advertisers, or merchants, are spending big money on that industry, then it means there is money to be made.

spyfu-cpc

There must be a reason why these people can afford $8 – $17/click on these keywords.

If you do not have a SpyFu membership, you can simply do a Google universe search (search at .com, add &pws=0 at the end of your search strings) on the niche you are interested in. Are there any advertisers in the search results? If so, then there may be money in this niche.

Use Google keyword planner to guesstimate the average price of a click in your industry – with that you can predict roughly how much you can earn per Google AdSense click. The higher the pay per click, the more potential there is to earn.

Login to CJ.com and search merchants – use Network Earnings (the green bar) as a potential earning indicator. See image below to understand how I interpret the numbers at CJ.

cj-adv

Network Earnings = How much the advertisers are paying compare to overall. Higher Network Earnings = more affiliates in the program;. 3 month EPC = Average earning per 100 Clicks = How profitable is this affiliate program in long term; 7 day EPC = Average earning per 100 clicks = Is this a seasonal product?

2. Are you getting sufficient targeted traffic?

Another thing you need to keep in mind is the targeted traffic possibilities for a given niche. To be able to make decent money, your blog must have sufficient targeted traffic possibilities. This is where your SEO and social media marketing (SMM) kick in.

When people search for info relevant to your niche topic, they become your target audience. The more people who search for that topic, the bigger your potential audience.

Also, if someone follows your competitors on Facebook, those people are your targeted audience. If you are thinking about jumping into a niche and you see that your closest competitor has a couple million page likes on Facebook, then that is a good sign that there is a big target audience.

More targeted traffics = more money

However, to win the attention of this target audience, you have to gain skills in both SEO and SMM. It is simple math. The more targeted traffic your blog gets, the more money you’ll make.

Here’s how it works: Let’s say you are selling a web hosting service as an affiliate and the average conversion rate is 3%. On average, every 100 visitors that you refer to the web hosting provider, you’ll manage to get three sales. If you manage to refer 200 visitors, then theoretically there will be six sales down the road.

We want all tails keywords

longshorttail Image credit: Bytelaunch

You’ll want to be sure that you figure for both primary and secondary (short-tail and long-tail) keywords to get the best idea of overall traffic possibilities.

Owen Powis, the CEO of Wordtracker, advises that:

“A clear, well-organized site structure helps Google find your content and makes the navigation of your site easier for your customers.”

Being aware of the different target keywords (both primary and secondary) and the advertising basics aimed at those keywords will make your blog more successful.

3. Are you building a List?

You’ve probably heard multiple gurus saying that building an email list is of ultimate importance when driving traffic to your site. If you want to make money blogging, you’ll want to capture your site visitor’s emails and send them emails that will drive them to visit your site over and over again.

If you need help with building and making money out of your email list, here is a very handy guide written Marya Jan on Problogger.net.

Why is an email list so important? An email list is your greatest asset online because those signed up are trusted leads who have visited your blog. Your email subscribers already trust you and your authority on this topic.

If you were going to buy something online, you would probably look at products based on the recommendation of someone you trust. If you wanted to buy a guide to read, you would first look at guides written by or recommended by someone you trust.

If you were following Adam Connell (from Blogging Wizard) new venture WP Super Stars from the beginning, you should note of is that he started collecting email subscribers ahead of time. That’s right -You can start collecting subscribers before you even have a blog. Reach out to family, friends and acquaintances to get started.

Bottom Line – You can do this!

When it comes to making money from blogging, you have to be creative and keep an eye out for new opportunities and changes in how search engine algorithms and advertising work. However, with a bit of foresight sprinkled with hard work and consistency, you too can make a living from blogging.

Jerry Low is a geek dad who enjoys building web assets. You can get more of his blogging tips here

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
Build a Better Blog in 31 Days

Make Money Blogging for Real: 3 Must-Know Factors

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The Only Business Training Resource I Promote Just Opened for Enrolments for One Week http://www.problogger.net/archives/2015/04/17/the-only-business-training-resource-i-promote-just-opened-for-enrolments-for-one-week/ http://www.problogger.net/archives/2015/04/17/the-only-business-training-resource-i-promote-just-opened-for-enrolments-for-one-week/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 16:29:19 +0000 http://www.problogger.net/?p=37447 Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
Build a Better Blog in 31 Days

The Only Business Training Resource I Promote Just Opened for Enrolments for One Week

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Update: this course will be open for enrolments for just over 1 more day.

I only promote one blogger training resource each year and this is the only week this until 2016 that they have enrolments open.

I’m very fussy about what blogger training resources I promote (because there is so much hype and dubious practice in this space) but today have a recommendation for an authentic and valuable program that I know will help many ProBlogger readers.

Here’s what you need to know.

The Short Story

The Elite Blog Academy is one of the most comprehensive blogging courses I’ve ever come across – and it’s available to enrol in with an early bird offer for just the next 5 days with the coupon code PROBLOG (which saves you $50).

Check it out here

NewImage

The Longer Story

NewImageLast year I had the opportunity to meet a great US based blogger by the name of Ruth Soukup.

We only had the chance to grab a quick coffee while I was in Portland but in that time Ruth really impressed me with her story of starting and growing her blog Living Well Spending Less.

While like us all Ruth made her share of mistakes in the early days over the first four years of the blog Ruth managed to grow its readership to over a million monthly readers and to generate a full time income from it.

I was really impressed with both Ruth’s success but also the clear and strategic she applied to her blogging.

Numerous times as she spoke I wanted to take notes as she’d been experimenting with techniques I’d not come across before – particularly around Pinterest and social media.

At the end of her story I remember thinking ‘I wish we could bottle what you’ve done and share it with ProBlogger readers’.

No sooner than I’d thought this Ruth slid across the table a white folder with an outline for her EliteBlog Academy course. Yep – she’d bottled it!

The Elite Blog Academy: Enrolments Close in Five Days

Ruth’s Elite Blog Academy is literally her stepping you through her process for building a profitable blog in 12 wonderfully crafted lessons. You can learn more about it here (but use the coupon code PROBLOG to save $50).

Here’s a short video about the course:

The course is delivered through

  • 12 fantastic unit videos
  • 12 very detailed workbooks (with video outlines)
  • 16 helpful handouts, 30 assignments
  • a series of 4 live webinars with Ruth
  • weekly office hours to chat with the team
  • a weekly newsletter
  • a a Private Community forum where you can interact with Ruth and other attendees.

This course is not designed for the faint of heart – it requires work (as does successful blogging) and a willingness to really buckle down. That said, for those who are willing to do the work, it also comes with a 100% money-back guarantee.

Anyone who completes the course and has not seen measurable results in both traffic and income growth will get their money back, no questions asked. That’s a pretty incredible promise, but it means that you’ve literally got nothing to lose. 

If you are ready to finally take your blog to the next level, sign up now to secure your spot here.

Don’t forget to use the coupon code PROBLOG – it’ll save you $50 at check out. The code expires and enrolments close at midnight on 21 April.

Disclaimer: as stated above – I want to be clear that I’m an affiliate for this product but do so having checked it out and genuinely recommending Ruth it’s creator and the program itself. I’m also so impressed with Ruth’s teaching I’m flying her to Australia later this year to do some teaching at our ProBlogger Event – she’s the real deal!

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
Build a Better Blog in 31 Days

The Only Business Training Resource I Promote Just Opened for Enrolments for One Week

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3 Reasons to Stop Relying on How-To Lists for Information (and What to Do Instead)! http://www.problogger.net/archives/2015/04/17/3-reasons-to-stop-relying-on-how-to-lists-for-information-and-what-to-do-instead/ http://www.problogger.net/archives/2015/04/17/3-reasons-to-stop-relying-on-how-to-lists-for-information-and-what-to-do-instead/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 14:21:46 +0000 http://www.problogger.net/?p=36644 Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
Build a Better Blog in 31 Days

3 Reasons to Stop Relying on How-To Lists for Information (and What to Do Instead)!

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 This is a guest contribution from Daryl Rothman.

calendar-checklist-list-3243

The truth is out there.

At least, we hope so.

How-to lists are all the rage in the burgeoning blogging world. And many are good, but there is an absolute deluge. The list of lists is growing.

Who has it right? How do you choose? What lists you should rely on?

Simple. None.

Before you loose the slings and arrows of recrimination upon me, hear me out. I didn’t say you shouldn’t read any how-to lists. There are some great ones. Read away! I am saying you need to stop relying upon them. Here’s why.

  • We are so inundated with lists it is easy to get overwhelmed. You are busy. You have important things to do—including writing, especially writing—and you don’t have unlimited time to be navigating your way through the vast sea of offerings. Have you ever been excited about an idea and set about researching related pieces, only to find there were so many that it was impossible to know where to begin or how to prioritize? Did you feel the motivation slowly ebbing away? The ability to strategically focus—in our writing and in our research—is critical, and if you get overwhelmed it is easy to succumb to exasperation and become paralyzed into inaction.
  • “Expert” advice may not in fact be just that. Again, a caveat: questioning one’s expertise is not to suggest they are unmeriting of admiration and respect. But you must be judicious, and proceed with a healthy dose of skepticism. What are this writer’s credentials? Has she presented certain things as fact which are, in fact, opinion? Are there other perspectives she’s neglected? “Expert” advice can be that shimmering mirage in the desert, but danger lurks just beneath: in our anxious quest to be enlightened, to find that quick fix, the holy grail of literary wisdom, we all too often sublimate and diminish our own power and expertise. Be wary of “gurus,” particularly self-appointed ones. Look past the accolades and glitz and learn to be persuaded by—well, persuasion.
  • Most lists are by their nature prescriptive and one-size fits all. And, inevitably, too good to be true. Diamonds are formed about 100 miles beneath the earth’s mantle, and even after they finally breach the surface only a little bit shows—we have to dig to get at the rest. So too with your best literary gems. Lists are inherently dismissive of the myriad and often subtle dynamics and variables unique to each writer. The gurus know we’re busy, and not only crave answers, but prefer them in bite-sized morsels which are easily digestible and immediately applicable. You are jolted with a surge of motivation, and it may even last for a few days, sometimes longer. But then what? Unless the list happened to be the best way lists can motivate you eternally, the magic ultimately begins to fade. And no wonder– little in life is that simple or easy—nothing meaningful or enduring, anyway. Your writing, I hope we agree, is meaningful. And we want it to endure.

So What Now?

Well, I would be negating every point I’ve just raised above if I tell you precisely what. But I do have some suggestions which have been helpful to me and which I believe —if you contemplate and tailor them within the context of your unique goals and experiences—will be useful for you too.

Determine why you may rely upon lists.

Are you short on time? Out of ideas? Struggling to get organized and get started? These are common challenges and it is normal to seek easy answers.

As I’ve said all along, there are good resources out there, including some terrific lists, but once you understand the reasons behind your reliance, you will be better able to address them in more enduring ways.

Seek information which focuses on you, which helps you find your own voice. This WTD article, while admittedly a list, does just that. It is a great example of deferring to your own wisdom, which is in the end, the best kind of advice.

Just the Facts…

Learn to find valuable, credible, reliable information which aligns with your needs and your goals. I am a writer and an early childhood advocate, and in the latter arena, the term “evidence-based practice” is bandied about quite a bit. Evidenced-based, not, “opinion-based.”

There is nothing wrong with reading and enjoying opinion pieces, but if you are reading something with an expectation of expertise and actionable information, you must be judicious. Take a moment to read the author bio and credentials, and evaluate critically that which is being presented.

Embrace your inner expert.

Learn how to build your own cadre of reliable information. Or, as I sometimes call it, “getting your nerd on”.

I do it (it’s really not a big leap for me), and it can be emboldening and fun. Rather than seeking that Holy Grail which contains all the answers for which you’ve thirsted, recognize that “truth” is not conferred upon us through the waving of that wand, and that a good deal of effort is required.

We are lifelong learners, and truth is never quite ours, but we move closest to it when we recognize it is a matter of the journey itself, which can sometimes be a bit of a grind. Writing, reading, networking, researching. But there is a fair bit of magic and community along the way. Keep notes as you go. Seek and consider a diversity of ideas and approaches. Commune with other literary spirits.

Consider the challenges for which you seek counsel and jot down how you would answer if someone else queried these things of you. I’ll bet you have some pretty good thoughts. A simple reminder that the best and most enduring ideas reside within you.

You are an expert in your own right. Embracing that, and sharing it with others, can be very rewarding.

So what do you think? Have I just committed anti-list sacrilege? Please comment and list a few thoughts. 

Daryl Rothman’s debut novel is being published by Booktrope in 2015. He has written for a variety of esteemed publications and his short story “Devil and the Blue Ghosts” won Honorable Mention for Glimmer Train’s prestigious New Writer’s Award Contest. Daryl is on Twitter, Linked In and Google + and he’d love you to drop in for a visit at his website. Daryl is not sure why he is speaking of himself in 3rd-person. And, like George, he likes his chicken spicy.

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
Build a Better Blog in 31 Days

3 Reasons to Stop Relying on How-To Lists for Information (and What to Do Instead)!

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Tips for Creating Your First eCourse http://www.problogger.net/archives/2015/04/15/tips-for-creating-your-first-ecourse/ http://www.problogger.net/archives/2015/04/15/tips-for-creating-your-first-ecourse/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 14:22:08 +0000 http://www.problogger.net/?p=37319 Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
Build a Better Blog in 31 Days

Tips for Creating Your First eCourse

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Tips for starting your first ecourse  problogger.netThere’s a reason you’re seeing an influx of ecourses in the blogosphere of late – it’s a fantastic way to share to a higher (and sometimes more concentrated) degree your talents and knowledge. If you have a niche blog, then there’s a good chance you can come up with an in-depth and useful course that will be helpful for your readers and profitable for you.

If an ecourse is something that’s been on your mind, then read ahead. Last year, Chantelle Ellem of Fat Mum Slim ran her very first blogging ecourse, the Clever Cookie School of Blog, which was a huge success. I picked her brain about how she started the course, what platforms she used, and what she learned. If you have any questions, please ask them in the comments and we’ll try and get an answer for you to start your ecourse journey off on the right foot!

The Overview

What made you decide you wanted to offer an online blogging course?

I was getting emails every single day asking me how to do things on the topic of blogging, really specific questions that needed a lot of time and energy to respond to. And of course I was responding to each of them! I decided that there was obviously a need for a blogging course. It was actually back in 2010 when I dreamed up my blogging course, and it was a time when no one (or not that I knew of) was doing it. Over the years I’d revisit the idea, write the content and structure for the course and eventually I got my butt into gear and launched it this year.

When you began putting the course together did you have a specific outline in mind, or did it come together more as you were writing it?

Because I wrote it back in 2010, so much happened since then, like… Instagram! So I knew that I wanted to cover off everything I knew in my own head about blogging, and put it down into lessons. It definitely evolved as I started writing the content, and realised that I had so much more stuff I wanted to share.

How engaged have people been with it?

People have been amazingly involved. It’s been so well-received. I’ve done blogging courses before and it felt a lot like we were dumped with the information and left there to absorb it. I wanted to be really available to the Clever Cookie students, and let them pick my brain whenever they like. It’s been time-consuming, but good time-consuming. I’ve loved sharing conversations about blogging with the students.

What was the motivation behind getting “guest speakers” in? Were they hard to source?

I don’t know everything there is to know about blogging, and I don’t think anyone does… so I wanted to bring other people in to share their knowledge. I also wanted to teach the students that there’s not just one way to blog successfully. I wanted them to take bits of information from all the different sources, decide what felt right to them, and then make it into their own recipe for blogging success.

Has it been hard to fit it in alongside your regular work?

I’m not going to lie, yes it has. But I love blogging, so it doesn’t always feel like work. And, who needs sleep anyway? I think if I’d just created the content, scheduled it to go live and left the students to it, I’d have more time on my hands… but I want to be there as much as possible, and I wouldn’t be happy doing it any other way

What has surprised you about the course?

A few weeks before I did the course I read a quote that said, “Obvious to you is amazing to others” and it made me realise that the really basic general knowledge is something that I shouldn’t overlook sharing. And that feeling was right, because the most simple lessons I’ve taught in Clever Cookie have been the ones that have resonated most with the students.

What has delighted you?

The community! I love the community that has already blossomed amongst the bloggers. They’ll be their own support network moving forward once the course has long finished. They have access to a Facebook group for graduates and will be able to share, give advice, help each other out and support each other on their journey. Also, we sent out little welcome packs at the start of the course, and people loved getting those presents. Seeing and reading their reactions was a great way to kick off.

What did you learn about running a course like this that you will know for next time?

One big thing I learnt was with finances. The forum we run the course in takes a big chunk of income, and PayPal takes some too. We factored that in of course, but it was expensive, as were the welcome packs and postage. Because my Paypal account hadn’t had income coming in before, Paypal seized all the money (it’s a long story but they like to look after customers so they’ve frozen half the income for the course for six months in case anyone requests a refund). So I learnt those things, which I never knew before. I also learnt that there is some pretty amazing up-and-coming blogging talent out there. That’s exciting!

What would you advise other people if they wanted to run an online course?

I would say to do it! Be organised, set a schedule for the content, make it as social as possible and easy to digest. I’d also have to remind people of that great quote I read before we launched, “obvious to you is amazing to others”.

Tips for starting your first ecourse : problogger.net

The Nitty-Gritty

Platforms

The platform I used to host the course was CourseCraft: https://coursecraft.net/ In an ideal world I’d create my own platform, but this was pretty seamless. They take a percentage of all your profits, but it removed a lot of the stress for us.

Learning Curves

Tech-wise, we really only had to get to know how to use CourseCraft, and that was hard when students would ask about functionality but we didn’t know the answers to. A lot of the teething problems we had were more around figuring out Paypal, grabbing people’s addresses {we sent everyone a welcome pack in the mail}, and working out international times for the Facebook chats that we had with experts in blogging.

Social Media

We didn’t think that Clever Cookie required too many social media platforms to support it, as we already had our own assets, but we started a Facebook page and a new website. We also used MailChimp to email students, and to create a database to gain interest.

Useful Advice

Going into Clever Cookie we just tried to put into it what we’d like to have learned 4 years ago, and went with that. We asked for feedback from our students on completion of the course and it was really, overwhelmingly positive. Over these past six months we’ve seen lots of our graduates go on to achieve awards for blogging, grow their audience, and really soar.

Have you ever considered creating an ecourse? What tips do you have for us? I’d love to hear!

Stacey is the Managing Editor of ProBlogger.net: a writer, blogger, and full-time word nerd balancing it all with being a stay-at-home mum. She writes about all this and more at Veggie Mama. Chat with her on Twitter @veggie_mama or be entertained on Facebook.

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
Build a Better Blog in 31 Days

Tips for Creating Your First eCourse

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The Structure of a Proper Client Proposal That Will Land You a Blogging Gig http://www.problogger.net/archives/2015/04/13/the-structure-of-a-proper-client-proposal-that-will-land-you-a-blogging-gig/ http://www.problogger.net/archives/2015/04/13/the-structure-of-a-proper-client-proposal-that-will-land-you-a-blogging-gig/#comments Sun, 12 Apr 2015 14:45:42 +0000 http://www.problogger.net/?p=36649 Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
Build a Better Blog in 31 Days

The Structure of a Proper Client Proposal That Will Land You a Blogging Gig

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This is a guest contribution from Karol K.head

Struggling to make money blogging, aren’t you?

SEO doesn’t seem to work for you.

Neither does social media.

And don’t even get me started on commenting on other blogs and online forums … it’s just noise.

Maybe you even subconsciously hate people like Darren, Jon Morrow, or Brian Clark, purely because they’ve succeeded and you haven’t (yet).

First of all, it’s okay. Don’t worry, not being satisfied and trying to look for outside reasons to justify our problems is a natural human reflex. It will pass.

Second of all, maybe you’ve been putting your efforts in the wrong place…

I don’t want to sound too much like a preacher of some kind, but there really are different ways of making money through a blog out there, and they don’t all revolve around: (1) creating content, (2) building an audience, (3) selling info products to that audience. This is just one of the possible methods. A very sound method if executed properly, but still just one among many.

For instance, a counter approach I’d like to present to you today is based around freelance blogging. In other words, it’s about offering blogging services to other website owners. Or to say it even more plainly, it’s about getting paid to blog.

So naturally, the most important question here is how do you convince anyone to hire you, and why would they even want to hire you to write for them if they have a pair of perfectly good writing hands themselves?

This is what we’re going to answer today. Namely, we’re going to discuss how to craft a proposal that will win you freelance blogging gigs.

The method I like to use is something I call the hungry carnivore tactic.

The Structure of a Proper Client Proposal that will Land You a Blogging Gig / problogger.net

Corny, I know. But it works. It’s a four-step process:

  1. Induce hunger.
  2. Serve the appetizer.
  3. Serve the meat.
  4. Serve the dessert.

Let’s take it from the top.

1. Induce hunger

The Structure of a Proper Client Proposal that will Land You a Blogging Gig / problogger.net

It all starts when the carnivore enters a restaurant – your restaurant.

(The carnivore is just a metaphor for your client, by the way.)

The first thing you need to do when you set your eyes on that prospective client is to induce hunger in them.

You want them to feel exactly like a person feels when they enter a restaurant and see everybody eating. In such an environment, they will become hungry right away and inevitably order something.

So how do you do this to a client?

A very good starting point is identifying their problem and talking about it openly. You want to appeal to them by making things tailor-made.

For example, you don’t actually want to offer a standard blog writing service. Instead, you should identify the areas where the prospective client’s blog is lacking and point those areas out. When you do so, the client will start craving a solution.

As much as possible, try using research data when talking about problems. For instance, if you’re pointing out that the client posts irregularly, try looking up a study about standard blog ROI vs. posting frequency; just to name one possibility.

In general, the more you can help your client to understand the issues that need to be addressed, the more they will want to hire you.

2. Serve the appetizer

The Structure of a Proper Client Proposal that will Land You a Blogging Gig / problogger.net

This is the time to start serving up your solutions.

So to grab your carnivore and make them pay attention to you, serve an appetizer that presents a good overview of what’s to come – the meat.

This is about listing goals and objectives – the main vision of what you can provide as a freelance blogger.

Focus on the following:

  • what’s the most important business goal for your client in relation to their blog,
  • what benefits you bring to the table that can make this goal achievable,
    • list specific benefits that are measurable and easy to grasp and be confident about it (in a way, you’re telling them what dish you’re going to serve them),
    • emphasize why those are the benefits the client should be looking for.

Doing all this might sound like a lot of unnecessary work. I mean, after all, why wouldn’t you just send a standard pitch and offer a simple writing service, right? Well, you can do that, but you’ll be leaving a lot of business on the table.

And it’s not just me talking. Here’s what Ruben Gamez – the founder of Bidsketch (client proposal software for freelancers) – thinks about the no.1 mistake that freelance bloggers make when building a pitch or a proposal:

Almost everyone does the minimum in their proposal. Do more than what has been asked.

They’re looking to get more traffic? Research content for their audience, show a couple of popular posts, and suggest similar topics that will do well.

Whatever their goal is, spend a little time doing research, and include your recommendations.

Ruben surely knows what he’s talking about here, considering the fact that he’s built his whole business based on his client proposal skills and years of experience in that area.

Essentially, this is what appetizers are about – getting someone more excited about the main dish that’s to come. Which brings me to:

3. Serve the meat

The Structure of a Proper Client Proposal that will Land You a Blogging Gig / problogger.net

This is “the what” of your offer. In this part, you need to take the things you’ve talked about in the appetizer and list a specific solution that you’re going to provide.

There’s a handful of important elements you should focus on here:

  • Define the scope of the project. Talk about what you will do as part of the project. For example, writing X articles, each one Y-words long, and so on.
  • Describe your process. How you’re going to deliver the articles. How many revisions are possible. The goal here is to secure yourself from any sort of scope creep.
  • Provide the timeline. When each article is going to get delivered. Is this done in one large package or will you be delivering in batches?
  • The payments. Break down what the client is paying for and how you expect to get the money (PayPal, wire transfer, 50-50 split, etc.).

Now the tricky part.

Try offering more than one possible option. The sweet spot is three. Here’s how:

  • Tier #1 (let’s call it that). Consisting of just the minimal number of services that the client needs. Let’s say this one has the price tag of $2,000 – for the sake of this example.
  • Tier #2. The advanced package. This is Tier #1 plus some additional service that the client already mentioned and will consider useful. For example, this can be an overall WordPress blog management service if you’re into such things. This one could be $3,000.
  • Tier #3. The trickster package. This is Tier #2 plus one more additional service. Again, something valuable. Like social media management for their blog posts. The price tag: $3,000.

No typo there, by the way. Tiers #2 and #3 have the same price tag. This is the whole trick. The goal is to convince the client to always go for the most expensive option. If I’m not mistaken, I first learned about this in Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely.

The reasoning behind this tactic is that comparing each option is hard for the human brain, so we need to provide a common denominator. In this case, it’s the price. So when the price for both options is the same, it’s easy to tell which one is a better deal. And that is most likely what the client will end up selecting. This is the meat.

4. Serve the dessert

The Structure of a Proper Client Proposal that will Land You a Blogging Gig / problogger.net

Now the final part. At this stage, the carnivore should already be fairly satisfied with what they’re seeing, so we just need to give them this final nudge.

Some possibilities:

  • List an expiration date. Say that your offer is only valid through {date here}.
  • Provide an early action bonus. Say that if they act today, you will give them one extra service (but make it a simple one – something you can take care of relatively quickly).
  • Display testimonials. This is a good moment to reference some of your previous clients’ opinions. Just two quick testimonials with names and pictures will be enough here.

Finally, conclude with a good call to action.

Just tell them what to do next. You can even use a sub-headline like “Next Steps.” Tell them how to accept your proposal and make it easy. You don’t want the client to get stuck at this point.

In short, list the bare minimum of things you need from the client in order to get started with their project.

The cut-out-n’-keep template

Okay, so that’s it for the theory. But I do have one more thing for you. If you’d like a complete proposal template – built on the principles explained here – just go ahead and click this link.

Finally, what’s your take on this? Is freelance blogging something you’re planning to do in 2015 to grow your blog business in a more direct way?

Karol K. (@carlosinho) is a freelance writer, published author, founder of NewInternetOrder.com and a blogger at Bidsketch.com (delivering some cool freelance blogging and writing tools, advice and resources just like what you’re reading now). Whenever he’s not working, Karol likes to spend time training Capoeira and enjoying life.

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
Build a Better Blog in 31 Days

The Structure of a Proper Client Proposal That Will Land You a Blogging Gig

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Why Should I Make My Webpage Interactive? http://www.problogger.net/archives/2015/04/10/why-should-i-make-my-webpage-interactive/ http://www.problogger.net/archives/2015/04/10/why-should-i-make-my-webpage-interactive/#comments Thu, 09 Apr 2015 14:07:35 +0000 http://www.problogger.net/?p=36705 Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
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Why Should I Make My Webpage Interactive?

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This is a guest contribution from Ben Shwartz.

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover… but does that extend to eBooks? How about webpages? In the current state of our globalized, media-saturated society, it’s difficult—if not outright impossible—to live by this seemingly antiquated adage. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the World Wide Web, appearance often conquers content in terms of user retention, which makes your landing page the golden ticket to your website’s success.

“If you had one shot, one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted, one moment… would you capture it, or just let it slip?”—Eminem on landing page optimization… or a rap battle.

Generating a home page with interactive features (think layered multimedia and on-site social networking) allows the fireworks to come directly to the customer, instead of having the customer waste his or her precious time searching for what exactly it is that you have to offer. With that said, put your best foot forward and take advantage of all the…well, advantages, an interactive site can procure.

Capture the social media-unfriendly.

For better or for worse, social media often gets a bad rap. For the stubborn old-timers, social media shy, and those who are proud to have never given a virtual thumbs-up or double-tapped to “like,” having an on-site source for communication can be an easy (and potentially covert) transition to get these hesitant folks more inclined to digital networking.

If you’ve already won the first battle by getting them to your site in the first place, the immediate presence of focused content and engaging topics relevant to their interests may compel them to take part in the conversation. Easy, automatic signup options (i.e. via your email account) saves time and gets the user directly apart of the conversation. As a bonus, user profiles are limited within the site’s perimeters, ensuring an extra level of privacy that will be happily received by any reluctant recluse.

For the sake of organization.

If you’re a startup or an e-commerce retailer, chances are you have a string of social media accounts representing your business all around the web. From obvious mainstays like Facebook and Twitter to the more professional LinkedIn and less structurally restrictive Tumblr, there’s a whole pond full of big name outlets for one little fish to navigate. Streamline key topics of interest to establish your site as the primary source of discussion, so as to provide a clear, exact, and timely authority on your site’s content. Allow your social media links to direct traffic back to your site, whether they target new customers with catchy captions or retain existing customers with reminders regarding updates to the content with which they are already familiar.

On the contrary, if you’re looking to give your customers some extra context that you find may interest them (and thus further establish yourself as a thought leader), multimedia tools are available on the market to create centralized hubs of outsourced interaction. Simple, customizable icons link to related and relevant content. Should one recommendation prove beneficial to your customer, there’s a good chance you’ve converted him or her into a repeat user on your own site.

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Enjoy the benefits of live personal presence in real-time.

Social networking, especially within a particular niche, can quickly get to look a lot like a high school cafeteria. You have a few cheerleaders on the hunt for prom dresses, a gaggle of brainiacs preparing for the next Comic-Con, and devoted group of traveling Phish fans. While each individual adheres to a different class schedule, eating at the lunch table affords a precious punctual platform from which to vocalize their hopes, needs, and desires.

While these “lunch tables,” or online outlets for communication, do currently exist (and in great numbers), the current state of cyber affairs stimulates the desire for instant gratification, or feedback in real-time. While alerts and notifications on other outlets can remind you of existing conversations, having an on-site communication tool allows a more organic flow of communication. Customers can feel that they’re actually a part of a dynamic conversation, rather than uttering anonymous nothings to the wind. Users can create more substantial relationships with one another and in turn, return to the site to continue these budding interest-based friendships. Topics will be more likely to stay on course given their placement in a centralized, authoritative position, and you will be more likely to sustain P2P relationships given that your site will be the common link (literally) shared between viewers.  Just like in high school, everyone wants to be a part of a group and their conversation. Your on-site social network will give your viewer a voice and heighten the likelihood that he or she will be heard.

Educate others while educating yourself.

In terms of building a community, user retention is more likely to increase if your viewers feel at home. If they’re already engaging in a conversation, they’re more likely to resume input if they feel that they’re in a group consisting of thoughtful peers based on mutual interests and respect.

Having one (or several) of your team members as an active social presence on your site is a win-win for all parties. From a customer’s perspective, they can gain insight from interaction with a thought leader, and the informal setting in which it takes provides a more humanized and less formal or mechanical component.

Additionally, it goes without saying that a business needs to determine its customers’ desires and interests, and having an inside source on the front lines is one of the easiest ways to do just that. By learning the popular topics in your forums, you’ll have a better idea of what can be added, edited, or removed to maximize your website’s potential and propel your future business goals.

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In essence, an interactive website prioritizes and centralizes not only the products by also the discourse associated with your brand. Your landing page is your money maker, given its status as your company’s official authority. If we stay with the times and realize that consumers must be efficiently engaged to ensure conversion, then we must recognize how important it is to create a visually appealing product that provides a one-stop shop for your audience’s needs.

Finally, consumers strive for a human connection rather than a technical, formalized response to their social networking input. Combine winning visuals with interactive, informal discussions to ensure that your site is one worth reading from one day to the next.

Ben Shwartz is the VP of Marketing for Spot.IM. He loves to buy and sell websites, and immerse himself in anything and everything in the realm of online marketing.

Originally at: Blog Tips at ProBlogger
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Why Should I Make My Webpage Interactive?

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