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Blogging

10-Point Checklist for Starting a Successful Blog

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Blogging is one of the fastest and easiest ways to get on the internet. It’s also one of the most cost-effective. In short, all you need is a domain name, hosting and a quick install of WordPress and you are potentially on your way to starting a nice little hobby or side business for yourself. Still not sure if a blog is for you? Just check out the many benefits I’ve had since starting this blog back in 2007!

If you get a little lucky and put in the time and effort, you may end up creating a site that could make more money than your full-time job, and allow you to live the “laptop lifestyle”. While this dream is quite a dream for most people, finding success with blogging is definitely possible if you know what to do and look for.

Today we are going to break down a 10-step process for how to start your own blog, while also keeping the goal of making money with your site in mind. More specifically, these ten steps will be covering the foundation process and to make sure you have enough structure in place for long term success. While some of these points may seem basic, they are often overlooked and can lead to further disaster down the road when not set up correctly.

In addition to the many resources that can be found online, you can also check my latest blogging tips course on Udemy, which currently has over 10,000+ students and more than 100+ 5-star reviews. It’s definitely a great kick-start course to help you get your blog headed in the right direction within the next 30 days.

How to Start a Blog

Figure out the point of your blog.

With over a billion active sites on the internet and more than 300 million of them being blogs, it’s safe to say that anything you were thinking about blogging about is probably already being covered. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still start a blog… it simply means you should be thinking about why you are going to create one. Questions to ask yourself are, why are you creating your site, who is your target audience, how do you plan to make money with it and how will you stand out from the crowd. Knowing the answers to these questions beforehand will allow for faster success as you develop your blog.

Unique_Blog_Ideas

Create a persona

Starting a blog is easy, building a brand is not. To follow up on my previous point, with over a billion sites in the world today, you need to have a personal brand or persona for your site that helps it stand out from the crowd. Not only will associating a name and expertise with your site make it more personal, it will also grow your personal brand and reach in the process. If this is something you want to do as a real business and develop into something big, building out an established blog of your own is one of the best ways to do it.

Becoming_a_Top_Blogger

Choose a domain name.

The domain name for your site is how people are going to find you online — it’s essentially real estate on the internet. Just like you have a home address that no one else has, domain names are the same. Once they are gone, they are usually gone for good.

This is why it’s heavily recommended to always try and register and secure your personal name as a domain name (preferably .com). There are likely several other people in the world with the same name as you, and if your name as a domain is still available, go grab it as soon as possible. If you currently have a brand or business name, you should register that as a domain name as well.

Wordpress_and_Coding

Pick a hosting provider.

One of the first things you will need to do to get online, is to setup a web hosting account. For first-time site owners, this might seem quite confusing. All you really need to know is a web host stores your site data online, making it easy for people around the world to access your content. To find a hosting solution,  simply look up hosting reviews online to see what their customers say about them, then sign up for an account. Hosting usually costs less than $10 a month and some will even offer a domain name for free. When looking for a host, try to find one that also offers one-click WordPress installs.

Responsive_Blog_Design

Install a theme.

WordPress is the free software that is used to power the majority of blogs and sites on the internet today. As mentioned, most web hosts now offer the ability to install WordPress on hosting accounts for free. If you can learn how to use Microsoft Word, you should have no problems with WordPress.

One of the many perks of WordPress is not needing to touch any lines of code or programming to design your site. Instead, you can download and install WordPress themes. There are millions of themes to choose from, many of which are free. However, I personally use and recommend MyThemeShop as they have the best premium themes around.

Setting_Your_Blogging_Goals

Optimize your SEO.

SEO stands for search engine optimization and that is how your site will rank in the search results. SEO comes down to many different factors, but site content, structure and linking are three of the most effective factors of it.

Again, WordPress makes the process of SEO on your site quite simple. Refer to this list of SEO tips for beginners to learn more about ranking your site in Google.

Blogging_Research

Write out a list of articles.

With most of your site foundation now in place, it’s time to start thinking about the content you are going to create. One important thing to remember is that longer content is more effective than short content. Many site owners and bloggers get this wrong. They think going live with a new 500+ word article every day will bring them traffic and success, but it won’t. Instead focus on creating a few 1,000+ articles per month, then spending the necessary time to promote each of them effectively.

In reference to what type of content you should be creating for your site, go back to the questions asked at the beginning of this article. Know what your audience wants, and provide it to the in the best way possible. Always put content value and user experience first.

Blog_Content_Writing

Create your first post.

The first post on your site is quite important and not one that should be taken lightly. Way too many bloggers will leave their first post as “Hello Word”, and not leave much content on it. Instead, delete this post and create a detailed 1,000+ word article that will provide value and act as a resource to your article. Even if only a handful of people are coming to your site when it’s soft-launched, you still want them to see something great. This first post should provide text, images, videos and shareable content such as infographics — all with the common goal of providing value and acting as the launchpad article for your site.

Blogging_Schedule

Create an editorial calendar.

If you are already having problems coming up with ideas for content for your site, you may be in trouble. However, remember how it was mentioned earlier that you don’t need to come out with a lot of content… but instead, just long form and great content. This will always be the case with online content.

For bloggers that have what seems like an endless amount of content ideas, setting up or writing out an editorial calendar is a great option. This will allow you to write out what content you want to go live with, and when. This will also help you come up with better ideas and a streaming flow of content so it comes out in the correct order. Along with content creation, make sure to also set up social promotions within your calendar as well.

Outreach_and_Promotion

Outreach and Promotion.

The last step in the foundation process is to make sure you focus on your outreach and promotion. It’s been mentioned several times now, but so many site owners and bloggers keep neglecting it. The success of your site will come down to the content you create and the promotion you put behind it. There is simply way too much content out there already, you need gain new backlinks and site mentions to stand above the crowd.

This can best be accomplished through organic SEO (going after long tail keywords), creating shareable content (like infographics) and contributing to other sites within your niche (through guest blogging).

Start Your Blog Today and Make Money Tomorrow

Yes, starting a blog is extremely cost-effective and easy, but actually making something out of it and earning a few dollars will take some work. Don’t look at the most successful bloggers in the world today and expect to see the same results overnight — or even within your first few months! This is a very competitive space and it takes a lot of time to compete and see growth.

Follow each of the ten steps listed above to build a solid foundation for your blog, which will allow it to continue to grow for many years to come.

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Blogging

7 Ways to Compliment Your Written Text Content with Online Video

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Creating articles and blog entries is essential to your website. It engages people and gets them to want to know more about your brand. If done well, you are offering quality content that makes people want to come back for more. But, let’s face it. Text alone can be boring sometimes.

We are visual by nature, so adding a beautiful picture or graphic to your text can help bring out the essential aspects of a post and help create hype for your brand.

Better yet, use video. Video is the most engaging format of media available today as evidenced by statistics on video marketing. Users respond to it 66 times more often than text because it adds a visual element to your content. It is also more shareable because you can add social media share buttons or have people share it on YouTube.

  • Video marketers get 66% more qualified leads per year.
  • Video marketers achieve a 54% increase in brand awareness.

Below are some practical ways that you can incorporate video within your text to complement what you’re saying while not interrupting your main message.

1. Use humor.

Using humor in videos is one of the best ways to captivate your audience through video. Whether you were using talking head and interviewing people on the street about what they think about your products or creating hand-drawn animations through a whiteboard presentation, using humor is one of the best ways you can attract an audience.

People love to laugh, and they want relief from the stress that they face every day. Studies show that people come to the internet through mobile devices many times looking for funny videos. Use this to your advantage by adding funny videos to your page to accent your text.

2. Create an engaging thumbnail.

Remembering that people are visual, make sure that you create an engaging video

That emphasizes what your video is about. Having bright colors or a logo that attracts their interest will help but always make sure to capture one of the most interesting aspects of the video. If you use actual video footage for the still shot, take a little extra time at this point to think about how to create an interesting thumbnail. The thumbnail will get indexed as an image in Google and also on YouTube when people look for content.

3. Try whiteboard animations.

One of the best things about using whiteboard animation is that you can tell an entire story of your brand or explain how to use your products or services. Through this systematic and detailed approach, users will see a hand drawing out the information that you want to show them, and you can build a whole city by showing the hand what to draw when you create your whiteboard animations.

People love whiteboard because perhaps it reminds them of their early days in school when teachers drew out things on the chalkboard. It may also be reminiscent of some of the old cartoons that were built on simple frames. Whatever the case or the motivation people love whiteboard animations and you should love them too if you’re a business owner. They allow you to take the viewer from start to finish all the way to your call to action. Also, studies show it keeps their attention longer than other kinds of video and may, therefore, make them stay until your call to action.

3. Create infographics.

Infographics were developed about 10 years ago, and they combined some of the best elements of informational text with graphics that appeal to someone’s visual interest. What’s more, you can make an infographic into a video using some simple technology and software such as you might find on the simpleshow website. Check out some of the video examples here and see what you might want to do to bring your content alive through whiteboard video for infographics.

5. Place the video at the top of the blog or website entry and describe the information in the video below it.

Some of the psychology involved in sharing videos that work is the placement as to where you put them on the page. If you put the video at the top of the page, it is going to be the first thing they see when they enter your website and therefore they will assume that it is one of the most important aspects of your site. Put it in your blog as well to draw more attention and make sure and use keywords in your video description so that you will pull in people from both YouTube as well as general search engine traffic.

6. Try a cartoon with frames and text written below.

Have you ever thought about creating a frame by frame cartoon the way they used to do it? You can do this through whiteboard animation. Take a look at some samples of whiteboard animations and decide for yourself which one might be the most effective with your branding. You’re entertaining people when you use white boarding, and that is the key to keeping their attention. People want information, but they also want it given to them on an interesting platform and format. You can communicate anything you need to communicate attractively and dynamically that will keep them coming back for more.

To learn more about the many different ways individuals and brands are creating hand drawn cartoons and using them within whiteboard videos, click here.

7. Use video testimonials and use captions to illustrate what people said.

Create character animations of people talking and recommending your brand. You can use dialogue from customer service emails or from the feedback you’ve received on social media so that it will be authentic. Then use characters to deliver the dialogue.

Remember you want to increase the visual interaction and draw more customers to your website, so whiteboard animation is a great way to do this while keeping their attention and staying on focus. Customer testimonials should talk about the positive aspects and why the people liked your brand so that they will want to share this with others.

There are many ways that you can build your brand by adding video as a main component to your content. This keeps the material interesting instead of just putting out text, which can be boring to people over the long-term. You can use these techniques on your blogs or websites and other sites by cross-advertising across your platforms using the same keywords throughout.

This is a part of building your brand and integrating your marketing strategy so that video becomes a focus of what you do. This will greatly increase your impact and this is backed up by research.

Think Visual!

Whatever you do, think video and think visual, because the future is about handheld devices looking for videos that tell them what they want to know fast. If you can meet this need you will be on the top of the heap in the near future as we move toward an AI dependent and video mobile-focused world.

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Blogging

3 Examples of How to Promote Your Brand with Targeted Blog Content

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Blog content works wonders if you know how to effectively promote it and rank it in the search results. The main problem is that most bloggers and content creators are simply focused on creating content and then not putting in the time, work, and effort to actually promote. This is a direct path to failure for many reasons, such as:

  • Wasted time being spent on publishing 500-word articles
  • Not having evergreen content you can refer to time and time again
  • Scattering your SEO and link building efforts all over the place

A better way to create content for your site or brand, is to make sure you are covering as much content as possible, while also staying niche specific and having a call to action in the process. It’s also best to publish content that has at least 1,500 words of content, and is something that you can refer to over and over again. Even better, is if you can include some industry resources, references, and graphics, which can legitimize your content and also increase your chances for picking up some additional backlinks and social shares from regular site visitors.

With all of this in mind, let’s take a look at a few different brands that are doing content creation correctly, and how you can also grow your brand, blog, and business using these same methods.

Before We Get Started

Before we jump into the list of sites and a few examples of winning content for each, we should cover a few valid points when it comes to blogging.

WordPress makes blogging and content creation extremely easy. There are already more than 300 million WP-powered sites and blogs on the internet today.

There are also many different ways to create content, share it online, and also make it rank higher and more effectively in Google.

Before creating content for your site and clicking the publish button, you should have a solid content creation and marketing plan.

To learn more about the various components of effective, be sure to check out this start a blog guide.

Examples of Brands Using Evergreen Content

One of the most important things to remember when looking at different online companies and brands, isn’t just how well the content they create is performing, but also how they are creating content for their audience. Content is great, but if it doesn’t provide value and funnel new leads or sources of revenue into your business, it’s pretty much just more clutter being added to the one billion+ active websites online.

Making Job Search and Business Opportunities Easy

JobCompass is a website that covers the concept of making money in the world today, while also creating niche-focused content that targets a select group, demographic or audience. You will find a wide range of list and resource articles on their site, but you will also find some useful ones like this one on  where to find jobs for pregnant moms.

The revenue generation on the site comes from a range of sources, but it’s mostly based on affiliate marketing and lead acquisition. This makes it ideal for JobCompass to continually come out with as many useful resources and money making opportunities on their site, while also having their own recommended (likely an affiliate offer) method as well.

With a ton of evergreen content in place, and audiences all over the world always looking to make more money, this is a win-win situation for both JobCompass and their audience.

The Business of ‘Business on Social Media’

Facebook and Twitter are multi-billion dollar companies, but the business of marketing and growing a brand on social media collectively is even much larger. When you look at the many different brands and businesses in the world today, they all need to be active and growing on social media. Throw into the mix that there are plenty of social media platforms out there and new audiences to reach daily, it just seems like a never ending supply for demand and advertising dollars.

One such company that focuses on social media marketing services, is Famoid. Through their social media growth strategies, brands can reach new audiences without needing to create their own marketing an content creation plans. Instead, Famoid does the work for them.

On the Famoid blog, you will come across a wide range of case study articles like this one on gaining traffic on Pinterest. They also have a bunch of similar ones for Twitter and Facebook, while also profiling other brands and strategies they are using as well.

This is ideal for two main reason. The first, is that it creates content for the Famoid brand and allows them to reach new traffic. The second, is that Famoid creates these case studies, brands read it, and then sign up for their services when they realize they don’t want to put in their own time, work, and effort.

Again, win-win for the brand and end customer reading the content.

The Business of ‘Business on Social Media’

Facebook and Twitter are multi-billion dollar companies, but the business of marketing and growing a brand on social media collectively is even much larger. When you look at the many different brands and businesses in the world today, they all need to be active and growing on social media. Throw into the mix that there are plenty of social media platforms out there and new audiences to reach daily, it just seems like a never ending supply for demand and advertising dollars.

One such company that focuses on social media marketing services, is Famoid. Through their social media growth strategies, brands can reach new audiences without needing to create their own marketing an content creation plans. Instead, Famoid does the work for them.

On the Famoid blog, you will come across a wide range of case study articles like this one on gaining traffic on Pinterest. They also have a bunch of similar ones for Twitter and Facebook, while also profiling other brands and strategies they are using as well.

This is ideal for two main reason. The first, is that it creates content for the Famoid brand and allows them to reach new traffic. The second, is that Famoid creates these case studies, brands read it, and then sign up for their services when they realize they don’t want to put in their own time, work, and effort.

Again, win-win for the brand and end customer reading the content.

Free Content, Expert Names and Valuable Content

People use the internet for a few different reasons. They either want to buy something, find information, or to be entertained. If you can cater to one of these demands, then you can definitely create a business or revenue stream in the process.

As mentioned earlier, there is plenty of demand for making money online and entrepreneur/business marketing. Sticking with this content, we can now take a look at Mixergy.com and see how they are using a few different methods to reach new audiences, create killer content, and make money in the process — while also leveraging the power of industry experts and well-known entrepreneurs from around the world.

First off, Mixergy is subscription style site that is focusing on helping businesses and brands grow, while also getting the valuable information they need to do so. It was also created by Andrew Warner, who does most of the content and interviews for the site. You can see one of his most popular interviews here.

Once you take a look at the site, you will notice it’s mostly a landing page that makes the user enter their info before getting access to the content. It’s brilliant and I bet it works amazing. But again, it’s also a perfect example of how a website can provide real value to their audience, while also benefiting in the process.

Some site visitors will leave when they see the call to action, others will sign up for free. Of those who do subscribe, some will then upgrade to the premium plan. It’s all a numbers game, and the more valuable content Mixergy continues to create, the more value they will offer, and the more their business will grow.

The Best Blog Content, Doesn’t Look Like Blog Content

From a business standpoint and from a marketing perspective, blogging doesn’t necessarily have to mean sitting down and writing boring text content that ends up wasting your time.

Just take a look at the few different examples above of how these brands are using blog content to not only offer value, but to also increase lead generation and growth in the process.

If you don’t have a solid content creation and marketing plan, blogging isn’t something that you should be wasting your time on. The internet is way too saturated with content, and if you are just pushing stuff out there to hope it ranks and is being seen, it simply won’t happen.

To learn more about how to create fully optimized content that works in search and for lead generation, be sure to check out my list of top SEO analyzer tools that you should be using in 2019.

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Blogging

5 Reasons Why Your Business Should Be Writing Blogs Right Now

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Blogging is a great way to get your website noticed and generate more traffic and sales. 86% of companies use a blog on their websites, so you can’t afford to miss out.

You may think that blogs aren’t that important, or that they don’t make a lot of difference to your business. But they are a lot more effective than you may think.

Blogging can increase your lead generation by 67%. Whether you’re a new or established business, this can prove invaluable. Here are 5 reasons your business needs to start writing blogs now.

1. Generate Traffic

Blog posts add more content to your website and thus attract more people to visit your site. Creating web content means that you can direct your readers to other parts of your website.

This means you can write a post about one of your products or services and use yours as an example. When readers discover this, you have a greater chance of boosting sales.

2. Boost SEO

When it comes to marketing your business, SEO is king. SEO determines where your website ranks on search engine results. In turn, it impacts how many people find you.

There are a lot of things that affect your SEO. Things like a fully optimized website and using the right links can make a real difference. Hook Agency says that having the right SEO can double or even triple your traffic from search engines.

Once you have your website sorted, blog content is next. The more blogs you write, the better the SEO. Use popular keywords and terms that your audience would search for. This will make your posts rank higher on search engines and get customers your way.

3. Create a Brand Voice

There are a lot of company blogs out there which may be interesting, but they have no distinctive voice. When they have no voice, they all blend into one.

But if you write blogs with a specific voice, you make an impression. When people can recognise your writing style, they recognise your company.

Set featured imageTry to give your posts a personality. They are more fun to read and will keep people coming back to read for more. They make your brand more trustworthy and encourage people to choose your brand.

4. Showcase Your Services

When it comes to your business, you’re the expert. You know all about your own products and services, so use your blog to show off this knowledge!

Explain what you offer and what you can do for your customers. People want brands to know exactly what they’re selling and it makes you more reliable.

It also serves as a free way to advertise your business. You can write as much or as little as you want on the services you’re offering.  

5. You Stay Ahead of the Curve

When you give your website a blog, you’re also future proofing your business. Those who don’t have blogs are lagging behind and missing out on a lot of great opportunities.

It gives you the chance to be creative and boost your business in a whole new way. You can also add other media like videos and photos to your posts to boost your SEO even further.

Chances are, you’ll find blogging very fun. Regular content on your site gives your business a firm presence and will keep you on the SEO map for longer.

Your Business Needs to Start Writing Blogs Now

Now that you know how important it is to start writing blogs for your business, it’s time to get started. It’s a fun creative challenge which can lead to more traffic and more sales.

Want to start a blog on your website? Check out our services and see how we can help you set it up.

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