Matt Smith

E-mail : [email protected]

Matt Smith is a professional blogger and the founder of Online Income Teacher, a site that teaches you all about setting up a website and running it online. When not creating new posts and tutorials for his sites, Matt loves watching the latest sport and cooking up some tasty food.   You can follow Matt on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.   Read more posts by this author

How To Get A Guest Post Published

  • February 17 , 2014

Guest Post Published

I have a bit of a love hate relationship with guest blogging.  It’s great when you get sent a really great article that you would happily publish on your site, but for every one great guest post there are countless really bad ones that never see the light of day.  I personally get emailed quite a lot of guest post submissions for my other site, but of those I’d say that I turn down 99% of them simply because they were not good enough.

Now I know from speaking to a lot of other bloggers that I am not alone on this matter.  That’s why I wanted to put together this post to explain EXACTLY what to do to get your guest post published!  Let’s get started.

Find A Site To Write For, Not To Blindly Submit To

Before you write a single word of your post, you need to find a site to write for.  That may seem counterintuitive to some, but that is by far the best way to get published.

Like I say, I turn down 99% of guest post submissions, and of them a large majority are simply because people keep sending posts that have no relation to my site.  Why would I want to publish an article about credit card interest rates, campervan buying tips or holiday deals (all genuine examples that I’ve been sent) on my “blogging” related site.  It makes no sense.

What people are doing is that they are writing out a generic post about something and then pitching it to everyone in hopes of getting it published.  What they fail to realise is that this approach will get them nowhere.

Instead, look for a website to write for that is related to the subject that you want to write about.  Then set about reaching out and getting in touch with the site owner.

Reaching Out To The Site Owner

You should be able to tell pretty quickly whether a site accepts guest posts or not.  Usually they will have a ‘Write For Us’ link somewhere that you can find, or you will notice that they have multiple different authors writing for them.  Either way, find the appropriate contact form and draft out your message.

At this stage you are simply enquiring about writing for them.  If you have a specific idea about a post, then let them know what it would be about.  This shows that you have thought about your idea and gives them insight into how it would fit in with their other content.  Be as detailed as you can, as this will greatly improve your chances of being accepted.  If you are too generic (i.e. I want to write about social media, business, etc.) then it doesn’t give them much to work with.

Another good thing to do is reference and link to other work that you have had published.  This allows publishers to read examples of your writing which will greatly improve your chances.  If you haven’t had anything published yet, don’t worry, just try to be more detailed with your initial idea.

Spend Some Time Looking At The Site You Want To Write For

This should be an obvious one, though believe me many people don’t.  No matter how good your article might be, if that site already has posts covering that subject, chances are they won’t be that interested in publishing another.

It takes only a couple of minutes to search through a site’s previous articles.  Just search for keywords that are related to your idea and see if anything comes up.  If anything, site’s will be more interested in topics that they haven’t already covered, so if you have a burning desire to write for a specific site, look for what they are lacking.

Writing Your Guest Post

So you have got in touch with a site, pitched your idea and they are interested in what you have to offer.  Great!  You have your foot in the door.  Now you need to deliver a quality post for them.

Always, always, ALWAYS stick to the guidelines that the site has given you.  Those guidelines have been given to you for a reason, so ignoring them is not going to do you any favours.  For example, one thing I always stress to potential writers is that posts must be at the very least 700 words long, yet the number of people that come back to me a few days later with a 300 or 400 word post is ridiculous.  None of those ever get published!

Try to include images/videos where appropriate in your post.  That way, you save the publisher lots of time as they don’t have to add them themselves.  Also, if you mention other sites, remember to add links where appropriate (not just the backlinks you want adding).

Sticking with the “links” theme, one thing you can do that just about every publisher will like is to include internal links for them.  Read though your post and look for relevant articles on their site that you can link to.  Publishers will likely add these anyway to your post, so by doing this it makes their life much easier.

Essentially, the easier you make it for your post to be added to their website (images, links, videos, etc.), the more likely it is that you will be accepted.

The Waiting Game

Once you have emailed off your article, give it a couple of days before you chase it up.  Often, sites get sent that many that it takes them a while to get through them all.  If you still haven’t heard back from them after a couple of days then send a follow up email.

You must be prepared to make any adjustments that they may want making.  Just because you feel it is a brilliant article, an editor may not.  It could be as simple as fixing spelling mistakes or changing a section or two.

Another thing that you should be prepared for is that even if your post is accepted, it may not be published straight away.  Some sites have busy publishing schedules, so you could be waiting a week or two before your post goes live.  I know at one point I had a 4 week waiting period for posts as I had had that many scheduled to be published.

After It’s Published, Follow Up On Your Post

Once you have had your article published on a site, don’t just forget about it and move on, follow up on it.  Reply to any comments that people leave on it, answer any questions that they have, make sure to share it yourself across your social media sites, etc.

The whole point of guest posting is to help raise your profile with another audience.  If they can see that you are a good writer and helpful with your replies, they are much more likely to search you out for more of the same.  You are also much more likely to be asked back again by the same site if you prove to be popular, so it always pays to follow up on your post.  And of course, if anything else, you can add a link to your post in your next email when pitching to another site.

Do you write guest posts?  What tips do you find help you to get published?  Do you own a site that accepts guest posts and if so, what do you look out for in a guest post submission?  Please let us know your views in the comment section below.

5 Pages Every Website Needs

  • February 3 , 2014

5-Pages-Every-Website-Needs

No matter what your site is about, there are just certain pages every website needs to include.  Whether you have a small site that only consists of a few pages or one that has hundreds, you need to make sure that you have these up and running for people to find.  In this post we will take a look at these vital pages and explain just how important they are.

About Us Page

Many websites seem to overlook having an ‘About Page’, which is daft really as it is arguably THE most important page of a site.  For anybody wanting to find out more about a certain website after finding it, the ‘About Page’ is the perfect place to go.

Here you can introduce yourself/business and share information about what the main aim of your site is.  This might include when you first started the site, what made you set it up in the first place, where you are based (perhaps with a map), or simply what you can expect to find whilst browsing the site as a whole.

You’ll often find that your ‘About’ page is one of the most visited pages of your entire site.  This means that it is crucial that you make a good first impression.  Think of it like a big advert for your site that people can find, so be open, honest and welcoming to all your new visitors.

Contact Page

No surprises to see that a ‘Contact Page’ made our list.  Having said that, I do see many sites that seem to forget to include one.

There are a million and one reasons why someone would want to get in touch with you/your site, for example;

  • To ask a question,
  • To ask for advice,
  • Advertising options,
  • To point out a problem with your site,
  • Guest post submission,
  • Product question,
  • Customer service,
  • Complain,
  • To say thank you,
  • …and so on.

I have personally had people contact me for every one of the above points, some of which have led to building some great professional contacts.  Now it’s always nice to hear some positive feedback now and then, but some of the best emails I’ve received are when people spot something that’s wrong/not working on the site that I have not noticed.  It’s almost impossible to keep an eye on every single image, link, URL, etc. of a site that keeps growing, so having someone point that out via the contact page is always welcome.

Contact pages are really simple to set up as all you need is a contact form for people to send you an email.  There really shouldn’t be any excuse for not having one on your site.  As well as an email form, make sure to include your social media links so that people can contact you that way as well.

Sitemap

One page that is easily forgotten about is the sitemap.  For anyone that doesn’t know, a sitemap is… well exactly that, a map of your entire website.  It consists of a list of every single link that makes up your site in one easy to find place.

A sitemap has 2 main reasons;

  1. Help people find your pages,
  2. Help search engines crawl your site.

By far the most important of the two of these is to help search engines crawl your site.  Search engines will naturally find your site whilst crawling the web, but only tend to go a couple of pages deep into your site (follow all links on any one page > follow the links on the following pages).

The more of your site that you can show to search engine spiders, the more likely that they will index all of your content.  This is where the sitemap comes in.  By adding a link to it in your footer, search engine spiders will be able to crawl your entire site and find your latest content.

Legal Page(s)

Yes, they are boring and dull, but you need to make sure that you include the proper legal information on your site for people to find.  “Which” legal information will depend heavily on the type of site you are running, for example an eCommerce site will likely need legal info about payment details and shipping costs, or blogs (like ours) may need affiliate/advertising disclosures.

There are plenty of copy & paste type legal information that you can use online, so find the ones that are most appropriate for your site and add them in your footer.

Blog Page

This may seem like an odd one to include, especially if you don’t run a blog type website, but a blog page is pretty important for most kinds of sites.

You may run an online shop selling different colours widgets and thingamebobs, but you will still need a blog.  You see sites need to publish regular content in order to be seen as “active” by the search engines.  Without regular content, your site could be viewed as “dormant” or “inactive”, in which case they won’t send you as much traffic.

There is an infinite number of things that you could write about for your blog.  Try and keep it themed around your website (or perhaps product line) and it will help attract traffic.

These are just some of the types of pages every website needs.  Depending on your niche, you could also include pages such as;

  • Subscription page,
  • Landing page,
  • Thank you page,
  • Confirmation page,
  • FAQ page,
  • Product page,

What other important pages would you add to this list?  What pages couldn’t you do without?  We want to hear from you, so please leave a comment below.

Win Lifetime Membership To The Hive! GIVEAWAY

  • January 31 , 2014

Giveaway

The whole team here at Bizzebee are very excited to announce that we have a fantastic giveaway for you to enter!  We are offering 3 lucky winners LIFETIME ACCESS to our membership site ‘The Hive‘ (worth $399.99 each).

Setting up your online business or blog can be tricky, especially if it is your very first.  There is so much to do that you perhaps didn’t even realise when you first started, such as;

  • Registering your Domain & Hosting,
  • Setting up WordPress,
  • Setting up all your different Social Media accounts,
  • Branding,
  • Content creation,
  • …and much, much more!

That is only getting you up and online, after that comes the hard work of attracting traffic/customers, regularly updating your site with different types of content, managing all the technical aspects that go on behind the scenes of your site, and so on.  This is where ‘The Hive‘ comes in.

The Hive – Membership Site

The Hive is Bizzebee’s very own membership site, full of tutorial videos, audio, whiteboard presentations, vidcasts, eBooks and more that help guide you through the different aspects of running a site online.

The Prize

3 lucky winners will 1 lifetime membership access account to ‘The Hive’ (worth $399.99 each).

How To Enter

Log in below (with your email or Facebook) and follow the on-screen instructions.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends on the 8th February (2014) and winners will be announced within 48 hours.

ENTER NOW!!!

9 Step Guide To Writing Quality Blog Posts

  • January 20 , 2014

9-Step-Guide-To-Writing-Quality-Blog-Posts

There are many things that go into running a blog online, but at the heart of it you need to be writing quality blog posts.  That is what will ultimately bring in traffic to your site and allow you to monetize via; advertising, affiliate marketing, product sales, etc.

There are many bloggers, especially new bloggers, that find it difficult writing quality blog posts on a regular basis.  I plan on changing that opinion by putting together this 9 step guide for you to follow.  This is kind of like a blogging blueprint that you can follow to help you create quality content for your own site.  I use this exact method myself for all my posts and know that many other top bloggers use a very similar approach.

Let’s get started!

1. Thinking Up A Post Idea

Establish An Idea

This is without doubt the hardest part of the whole process.  It’s all well and good learning about how to structure out your posts, but you need a decent idea to write about in the first place.

One of the best things you can do is to carry around something to jot down ideas on when inspiration hits you.  I always have a pad of paper and a pen next to me when I’m working so that I can scribble down things when I think of them.  This can be when I am surfing the web reading other posts, when I’m working on something else that I think could make a good topic, when chatting to clients, reading emails, answering comments, etc.

If you want to be a bit more modern, a note taking app such as Evernote, Google Keep or OneNote is a good thing to have on your phone.  That way, whenever inspiration hits you, you can make a note of it for future use.  I make use of Evernote quite a bit when I am out as I always seem to think of something when I least expect it, be it when shopping at the supermarket or out and about with friends.

Making a note of ideas when you get them is a good habit to get into, but what do you do if you just haven’t got any ideas?

Two words – ‘Mind Maps’.

Mind maps are a great way to organize your thoughts and help you think about different areas to write about.  Try to imagine your whole website as one giant jigsaw with each of your posts a piece of that puzzle.  Doing this can help you to take a step back and see which areas you can add more too.    By looking at the content that you already have, you can begin to see areas that you can expand upon.

Another thing you can do is read – a lot!  Now, I don’t just mean read content from other sites in your niche (though you should be doing that already), but read content from a whole host of different subjects, such as;

  • News stories,
  • Fiction,
  • Non-fiction,
  • Reviews,
  • Tutorials,
  • …and so on.

By broadening your horizons, not only will you gain new ideas, but you will also help to improve your writing style.  I personally like watching a lot of movies, so I try to read different film reviews after seeing something.   There are a couple of film reviewers that I really enjoy reading as they do it very well.  Whilst I myself don’t write film reviews, I try to use some of the same writing techniques that they use in my own posts.

These are all good tips to help you when you are in need of inspiration, though if you are still struggling, check out our previous ‘15 Blog Post Ideas To Use When You Are Stuck For Ideas’ article.

2. Write Out The Main Bulk Of Your Post

OK, so you have your post idea, now you need to turn that into an actual article.  One of the worst things you can do is stare at a blank Word document hoping that it will just appear.  That blank white page can cause you to seize up no matter how good your idea is, so it’s important to get something down – anything really.

A good way to start is by splitting it up into sections.  So, for example, let’s say you wanted to write a tutorial post on ‘How To Do X’.  List all the different stages (1, 2, 3…) that people would need to work through to achieve that.  Doing this helps you to structure out your post as you now have clear sections that you can write about.

I did this for this exact post.  I had the idea of writing about ‘Writing Quality Blog Posts’ and began by listing all the different sections that would go into it (Idea, Post, Intro, Title, etc.), which made up my subheadings.  Instantly I knew how the overall bulk of the post would pan out, so the task of writing was made much easier.

Breaking a post down into smaller sections can, not only help you to write it out, but it also encourages people to continue reading.  A great big block of text can be off-putting, so breaking it up can help people find what they are looking for.

3. Introduction

Once you have the main bulk of your post, you need to add an introduction.  This is VITALLY IMPORTANT as your introduction determines whether people will end up reading your post or not.

Not only will your introduction appear at the start of your post, but it will appear as an excerpt on your blog page.  This alone helps people decide whether to click onto your article in the first place, so it needs to be up to scratch.

Your actual introduction doesn’t need to be that long (one or two paragraphs at the most), but it does need to do one thing – not give the game away.  I always try to imagine it like a movie trailer – you need to give a brief outline of what the post is about without actually spoiling it by revealing everything straight away.

4. Call To Action

Whilst not quite as important as your introduction, the end of your post is still key.  You ideally want them to stay on your site and not just click away to another, and in order to do that you need to give them a gentle nudge in the right direction.

This “nudge” is called a ‘Call To Action’, which is where you are essentially telling your readers to do something.  Now this could be many different things, for example;

  • …and if you liked this post, check out our other post [LINK] that you might find useful.
  • …and remember to sign up to our newsletter [LINK] for more information.
  • …we want to hear from you, so please leave a comment below.
  • …if you liked this post then please feel free to share it on [Facebook/Twitter/G+].

You can word it however you like, but the aim is to get people to actively do one of these things.  I personally tend to go with the ‘related link’ and ‘please comment’ option as this helps keep people on the site for longer, but encouraging them to share your post or signup to your email list is equally useful.

5. Add Multimedia Content

How-To-Write-A-Blog-Post

So, at this point you should have a lengthy blog post written out with both an introduction and call to action added.  The vast majority of people would now just add a title and hit publish, but we are only half way through our list.  You see there is a lot more that goes into writing quality blog posts.

Your post is hopefully great at this point, but it is still essentially text.  Whilst we have helped split that up by adding subtitles and breaking it up into easy to read paragraphs, we can still do more.  You need to realize that the vast majority of people online have short attention spans, so you need to make your post a little bit more interesting.  One of the best ways to do this is by adding multimedia content.

I won’t go into too much detail here as I’ve already written about this in our ‘Quality Content – The Lifeblood Of Your Website’  post, but essentially adding things like; images, video, slideshows, infographics, etc. helps to break up your text and make it more visually appealing.

Images, especially, are a great way to brighten up a post, which leads me to the next step in our blueprint…

6. Add A Featured Image

Each and every one of your blog posts MUST have a featured image!

For the exact same reasons that we add an introduction to our post, the featured image helps to draw reader’s attention and encourage them to click onto the post from your blog page.

What many people forget is that your featured image also appears when you share your link on social media.  Again this helps to draw people’s attention and can be the difference between them clicking or not on your post.

There isn’t really any secret to picking a good featured image.  Try to look for an image online that somehow reflects what your post is about.  This could be a great looking image, a metaphorical image or simply your post title displayed in an interesting way.  A lot depends on what your article is about, but really it just needs to be something that stands out.

7. Add Links

The next thing that you need to do is go back over your post and add links where appropriate.  This includes both internal (links to your other posts) and external links (links to other people’s posts on other sites).

Internal links are useful to allow people to navigate around to other areas of your blog and find your other content.  This is particularly helpful when you can link to other related posts that you have written that explain something in more detail.

External links may seem counterintuitive (why would you include links to other people’s posts?), but there is a good reason for that.  It all has to do with SEO.  You see search engines look at your blog posts to try and work out what it is about so that they can rank it properly when people search for that subject.  One thing they look at is what other sites that posts links too.

Search engines value posts that link to other relevant high quality content as it shows that you value your readers.  They actively rank sites that do this regularly higher than sites that never link out, so it is always worth adding some external links.

8. Remember SEO

SEO - Search Engine Optimisation

We just talked about the SEO benefits of including some external links within your post, but that is not the only thing you can do.

Keyword optimization is something that you should try and do with all your posts before publishing them.  This involves researching keywords and keyphrases that are related to your post that people are actively using to search for things in the search engines.

For example, if I wrote a post explaining how to build your own PC, keyphrases such as; build your own PC tutorial, how to build a PC, how to build a computer, etc. would all be relevant.

These are the types of keywords and long tail keyphrases that you should be using throughout your post.  If need be, go back over your article and look at how you can include these phrases naturally within your writing so that search engines can determine what your content is about.  This process is commonly referred to as on-page SEO and you can use a plugin called WordPress SEO to help you.

9. Title

Last but not least we need to add a title.  I left this until last as it’s arguably THE most important part of the whole process.

Your title needs to;

  • Convey what your post is about,
  • Be eye catching,
  • Be interesting,
  • Include your main keyword/keyphrase,
  • Not too long,

Including all of these is certainly no easy task, but with practice it is possible.  It’s important to try and tick all of these boxes as your title will be the one that people; read, click onto, see on social media sites, share with their friends, link to within their own posts, etc.

Writing Quality Blog Posts Made Easy

If you have followed this guide, you will now have a post that is worthy of publishing on your site.  You have made sure to break up your post into manageable chunks, made it visually appealing by adding images and video, optimised it for search engines and included links to your other relevant pages.  Simply double check your post for any errors and then hit publish!

Like I said at the beginning of this post, this is the method that I use and I know many other bloggers use (though maybe not necessarily in this order).  Get into the habit of constructing your posts in this way and I can guarantee that they will reach more people.

How do you go about writing quality blog posts?  Do you have any other steps that you take before publishing?  If so, please let us know by leaving a comment below.

Welcome To The Hive – Official Launch!

  • January 6 , 2014

The-Hive-Launch

It has been a long time coming, but today is the day that we finally launch the official Bizzebee membership areaThe Hive.  I can’t quite express just how excited I and all the rest of the Bizzebee team are to launch today.  We are all eager to see what you think of it.

What Is The Hive

Here on the Bizzebee blog we strive to provide you with great free content for you to use and learn from. That can only go so far though, which is why we wanted to create a separate area for members who want to learn even more from us.

In ‘The Hive’, members will gain access to; tutorial videos, audio files, whiteboard presentations, eBooks, vidcasts and more that we have put together for you.  These will cover subjects, such as;

  • WordPress tutorials,
  • Social media tips,
  • SEO,
  • Blogging,
  • Content creation,
  • Business tips,
  • Web Design,

…and much, much more!

This Is Only The Beginning!

We are all very proud to launch this membership area, but as far as we are concerned this is only the beginning!  We will be adding more content to The Hive every month; we are planning on doing some exclusive Google hangouts for our members, one-on-one consultations, podcasts and more.

Our overall aim is to help you get your business up and running online and teach you how to grow it.  There is an awful lot to learn along the way, but we are here to help you.

So register today for your Hive membership, or try us out for FREE for 30 days!

Recharging The Blogging Batteries & Planning For The Future

  • December 23 , 2013

Recharging-The-Blogging-Batteries

As I write this post, it’s only a few days until Christmas.  I love this time of year as it’s great to be able to spend some quality time with the family.  Christmas is also a good time of the year to recharge the blogging batteries, so to speak, and plan on what you will get up to in the following year.

Tis The Season To Be Refreshed

This year seems to have flown by and I seem to have done quite a bit.  It’s certainly been a busy year work wise, what with helping to setup Bizzebee and The Hive, running my own sites and setting up lots of client websites as well.   I have learnt so much within the last 12 months, it’s been great!

If I’m honest though, I am really looking forward to taking some time off over Christmas and New Year to recharge the batteries.  The last few weeks have been pretty manic, so it will be good to spend some time away from the laptop for a bit.

Whether you are self-employed or not, it is very important to set aside some time for yourself away from the pressures of work.  It is easy to get bogged down and stressed about business related issues, but too much of that can be bad for your health.  Of course, that is easier said than done.  As a business owner myself, I know just how difficult it can be to switch off at times.  There is always something else to be done or task to be completed – it’s never ending.

Now, I’m not a very religious person, but I really love Christmas as it’s great to be able to spend time with the family.  There really is no better way (in my view) of forgetting about work than getting together with your loved ones and having a great time.

A Break Helps Refocus The Mind

Taking a break isn’t just about recharging the batteries though; it can help you to refocus on what you need to do in the future.  Being active every day at work is great, but it is easy to become short-sighted on the little tasks that need doing.  Being able to take some time out can help you to re-evaluate everything and see things in a different, much broader perspective.

Cliché as it may be, New Year’s resolutions are a great way to do this by setting new goals for the upcoming year.  This could be things like;

  • Taking your business/career in a new direction,
  • Learning a new skill that you can use,
  • Perhaps ditching something that you were doing that wasn’t working,

For any other blog/website owners reading this, you may want to include things such as;

  • Launching a new product,
  • Looking at new/different ways to increase traffic/revenue.
  • Expanding your site by adding something new (e.g. a forum, membership area, newsletter, etc.)
  • Reaching out and expanding your networking connections,

Whatever your goals may be, try setting them AFTER you have taken a break to reflect on everything.   It really can help you to make better decisions on where to go in the future when you do this.

Is It OK To Take A Break From My Blog?

Before I “wrap up” this post, I just wanted to touch on a question that often comes up when talking about this subject.  Often people think that you mustn’t, under any circumstance, leave your site for too long otherwise everyone will leave for good.  Bloggers and website owners can be a little too obsessed with this and feel like they must work on it constantly.

Regular content is vital, don’t get me wrong, but that doesn’t mean you need to be chained to your desk 24/7.  You can take a break from your site whenever you want, just be sure to let your viewers know.  I think most people are focused on Christmas anyway at this time of year, so I wouldn’t stress about it too much at the moment.

If you are concerned though, you could always write some posts in advance and schedule them to be published whilst you are away.  That way, you get to have a break doing whatever you want and your site still gets content.

Personally, I don’t see the harm in missing a week or two (in the context of a year that is, not just taking a break whenever you want).  Like I say, just remember to tell your viewers, via a post or newsletter, that you’ll be away for a bit and they will understand.

Merry Christmas!

So enjoy your blogging break.  Recharge those batteries and plan out what to do for next year, so that when you come back you are ready and raring to go!

From me (Matt) and all of the rest of the Bizzebee team, we want to wish you a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!

MerryChristmasLogoVector-no-bar

The Best Of The Web 14/12/2013

  • December 14 , 2013

Weekly Roundup

Hello Bee’s, Matt again here with this week’s roundup from around the web.  We have a great selection for you that I think you’ll enjoy.

It’s just over a week to Christmas now, so not long left to go to get any last minute presents that you still need to buy.  I still haven’t found time to put up any decorations yet, though I’m determined to do that at some point this weekend.  Never quite feels like Christmas until the tree is up with all the lights on.

Just another reminder that you can sign up for a FREE trial to our brand new membership site ‘The Hive’.  This offer won’t be around for long as we are officially launching on the 6th January 2014, so get in quick.  I’d also like to add that we have a very special Christmas offer planned for our subscribers.  I can’t reveal anything just yet (everything’s a bit hush, hush at the moment), but we are very excited about it, so if you want to learn more, subscribe and we’ll send you info about it in the next couple of days.

Anyway, here is this week’s pick of the bunch from around the web to take a look at.

1. The 12 Cyber-Scams Of Christmas

Sticking with the Christmas theme, however not everything is quite so jolly this time of year.  Online shopping is increasing in popularity, but there are some cyber criminals making the most of this who are looking to scam you out of money.

This post (from the BBC) looks at 12 cyber scams to watch out for online so that you don’t get duped.

2. Staying Ahead of the Curve

This great post was suggested by Clair, mainly because it features Gary Vaynerchuk and she is a HUGE fan of his, but also because it gives great insight into how to stay on top of the competition.

Gary explains some of the things he and his team have done to “stay ahead of the curve”, which is great advice for many businesses (whether online or offline).

3. The Hootlet: Social Sharing for Lazy Professionals

Good friend of the site and former Bizzebee Kapil Jekishan talks about the incredibly useful ‘Hootlet’.

Hootlet is an add-on extension for Google Chrome and Firefox that allows you to share content via HootSuite.  All of the Bizzebee team use HootSuite, so this little add-on is of great help.

4. How to Harness the Power of the Pause

John offers up a great slideshare presentation from ‘WeAreVisual.com’ that looks at speaking.  Many online content creators use video to get across their message, but one issue with that is that it is easy to tell when someone is inexperienced at speaking in front of camera.  Lots of “erm’s” and “err’s” doesn’t come across very well.

In fact this doesn’t just apply to video, anyone that does (or is planning to do) public speaking can learn from this as well.

5. The Purple Cow that’s Right Underneath Your Business’ Nose

This week’s award for best title goes to this post.  Here Marcus Sheridan suggests one of the best ways to make your business stand out amongst everyone else – much like a purple cow.

Every business wants to stand out in some way, as that helps you to get noticed and ultimately (or at least hopefully) leads to creating more sales.

6. 7 Superheroes Who Can Enlighten Entrepreneurs

One post now for the geek inside all of us.  Who doesn’t like a superhero, we all have our favourites (Radioactive Man is mine from the Simpsons) and Ronald Alexander (the writer) has put together a list of traits that can be applied to entrepreneurs.

It’s a bit of fun, but still highlights some of the important characteristics that make up great entrepreneurs.   Which characteristics do you have?

7. 10 Writing Tips for More Engaging Content

This awesome post by David Aston looks at some great tips to help improve your content and make it more engaging for your readers.  He argues that people are a lot more interested in how you present your content rather than what it is actually saying.

All online websites need content, so this post will help you make the most of  it to try and keep your readers on your site for longer.

8. Blog Growth: How to Build a Mega-Following

This post is quite unique as it includes both an interview with Syed Balkhi (founder of WPBeginner.com & List25.com) and information about how he managed to grow his sites to be so popular.

Not only do they talk about the popularity of Syed’s site’s, but they also look at the types of content that they use to create a site that people want to read.

9. Optimize The Top Mobile Tasks On Your Site

This new video by the Google Webmasters team looks at which aspects of your website you should be optimizing for mobile users.

If you haven’t watched any of the Google Webmasters video’s before, I suggest you subscribe to them and spend some time learning from them.  They publish some vital information that can really make a difference to the success of your site.

10. 12 Killer Social Media & Content Marketing Blog Posts from 2013

Lastly, we have a link to a post with some absolutely great social media and content marketing tips for you to take a look at.  The ‘TopRankBlog’ site lists their very best posts from the last year for you to read through again.  I’m a big reader of their site, but there was a couple that I had totally missed.  Make sure you don’t miss out either.

…and finally

To round off this post, we have a sweet and quite amusing letter to Santa from a ten month old for you to check out.

A Ten-Month-Old’s Letter To Santa

There is no need to buy this kid any expensive presents as he seems pretty keen on stuff that you wouldn’t have thought of (makes sense when you read the post).

I’m now off to put my Christmas tree up and wrap up some presents.  Make sure to check back next week for another ‘Bizzebee – Best Of The Web’. 🙂

Blog Post Length – How Long Should I Make My Blog Post?

  • December 9 , 2013

Blog post length is something that many bloggers think about and is one question that I get asked a lot online.  So exactly how long should a blog post be?  Well this is what I’ll be discussing in this post.

Short Blog Posts vs Long Blog Posts

If you read online about this subject you will see that there are generally two viewpoints as to which is the best approach – short blog posts or long blog posts.

Of course another BIG factor is the subject matter that you are writing about.  Certain content (i.e. tutorials) will naturally be longer as you would need to explain in greater detail, whereas other content (i.e. news) may only need to be brief.

Now, both long and short posts have their advantages and disadvantages, which makes it a complicated decision to make. On the long run, it might be best to consider hiring PlacementSEO and have them do a complete competitor analysis and determine what the length of your blog post should be.

Short Blog Posts

Advantages

Short blog posts are obviously much quicker to write.  This is a major benefit if you have a site that needs to publish lots of content, perhaps daily or even multiple times a day.  In comparison, it is much harder to write out a really long blog post (i.e. 1000+ words) on a daily basis, as that can take its toll on the writer.

Short blog posts can encourage visitors to read the entire post.  People don’t have long attention spans online, so short, quick to read posts are a great way to get the information that they want.  This is particularly noticeable on news or magazine based websites as they publish a lot (not all) of bite sized content for their readers.

Disadvantages

Short blog posts don’t tend to include a lot of information.  Whilst they may be good for news related items, anything else really requires more info for readers.  You couldn’t hope to explain the inner workings of a subject in 300 words or less.  If anything, trying to do that would just end up frustrating your readers and encouraging them to go elsewhere to find what they were looking for.

Short blog posts can be harder to rank in the search engines.  Now I’m not saying that they can’t because plenty of short posts can rank well, but I do believe it is harder for them to do so.  This is because of the way SEO (Search Engine Optimization) works.  For search engines to determine what your content is about, they look at different aspects of it.  These are referred to as on-page SEO techniques, so obviously the sorter your post is, the less of these you can include to help you rank.

Long Blog Posts

The advantages and disadvantages of long blog posts are basically just the reverse of short posts, so to make it easier I’ll just list these as bullet points.

Advantages

  • Can contain much more information for people to read,
  • Can include more on-page SEO techniques and keywords to help it rank well in the search engines.

Disadvantages

  • Long blog posts take much longer to write,
  • People won’t generally read the whole post, instead preferring to scan through it for the information that they are after.

So Which Is Better – Short Blog Posts or Long Blog Posts?

A lot will depend on the subject that you are writing about, but if I had to choose I would lean towards longer posts.  This is simply for the fact that they are easier (not guaranteed) to rank in the search engines.  That is something that you should really focus on doing as search engines can send you a lot of traffic if you can rank well.

Essentially though, there is no “better” type.  As we have discussed, both have their pros and cons.  If anything, people should try to stop thinking about blog post length all together and just focus on producing the best quality content that they can.  Try mixing it up a bit on your site and produce both long and short posts – long posts to help rank well and explain topics on greater detail and shorter ones to keep your readers interested and up-to-date on news in your industry.

What is your opinion on blog post length?  Do you prefer to write/read short blog posts or long blog posts?  We want to hear your opinions, so please let us know via the comment section below.

The Best Of The Web 07/12/2013

  • December 7 , 2013

Weekly Roundup

Hello Bees!  It’s Saturday and you have me, Matt, writing up the ‘Best Of The Web’ post this week.  Andi is off on his holidays to somewhere nice and sunny for a couple of weeks so I will be taking the reins whilst he is away.

Well I can’t quite believe that it is December already.  The last few months seem to have flown by, though I’m really looking forward to putting my feet up with the family over Christmas.  Thankfully I managed to get all my Xmas shopping done last month, leaving me free to carry on working on The Hive (and other stuff), which is due to launch on 6th January 2014.

Anyway, here is this week’s pick of the bunch from around the web to take a look at.

1. How to Get an Edge and Stand out in the Networking World

To kick off this week’s roundup we have a post suggested by Clair over at BusinessNetworking.com.  Here Ivan Misner explains why it is important for you to try and do something differently when networking so that you can stand out from the crowd.

Networking is SO important for bloggers and online businesses, so anyway to gain an advantage or make your efforts more effective is well worth learning about.

2. How to Grow Your Blog with Pinterest

John spotted this great post about Pinterest and how it can be used to help grow your blog.  The great thing about this article is that Jenna (the writer) not only explains “why” you should be using it, but also “how” you can with some great tips about the types of images that get shared.

There is even a mini tutorial explaining how you can create your own great looking images for your site that people will want to share on their own Pinterest boards.

3. Shocking Facts About Steve Jobs (10 Pictures)

Steve Jobs has become an iconic figure to many people all around the world, not only because of his immense success with Apple, but also because he never gave in and overcame adversity in his life.

You may think you know a lot about the man, but this post proves that there were a few things that you probably didn’t.

4. The No-Nonsense Guide to Setting Financial Goals

Over to FreshRag.com now for a post about financial planning for your business.  This was a post that John found via a connection on SlideShare.

In order for your business to succeed you NEED to plan it out.  Putting it off until next week or next month is just like sticking your head in the sand.  Stop wasting time and make a start now.  Set yourself goals and targets to reach for and work to meet them.

5. How To Measure Social Media Engagement

This fantastic post was shared by Andi and if I’m totally honest, I was blown away by it!

Social media is obviously a vital tool to help market your business, but how can you effectively measure it usefulness?  Well this is what Russ (the writer) talks about in his article.  In it, he goes on to explain why conventional methods of measuring engagement can be hard to understand and shows you a better method to use.

6. A Peek at To-Do Lists of the Wealthy

It can be easy at times to look at successful people and think “I could never be like that.”  It doesn’t have to be like that though.  Most successful people are just better at managing their time that’s all.

This post looks at some of the positive habits successful people get into and how you can do the same.  Of course the hard bit is actually getting into those habits yourself though.

7. The Latest SEO Scam: If You Don’t Rank, You Don’t Have To Pay Us (anymore)

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is an extremely important part of getting your site seen online.  That is why many companies turn to ‘SEO Agencies’ to help them.  Whilst there are many legitimate SEO Agencies around, there are some equally bad ones that you should avoid.

This post, suggested by Sam, talks about a scam that some of these bad agencies use to get your money.  The problem is that many are falling for it simply because they don’t know any better.  Well check out this post first.

8. 3 Conversion Optimization Tips You Can Implement on Your Website Right Now

Your business website can have all the bells and whistles on it to make it look good, but if, at the end of the day, it isn’t converting visitors into customers then it’s a waste of time running it.

This post highlights some simple tips that you can use to help convert traffic into sales.  I thought these were great (especially the “Squint Test”) as they all follow the common sense principle.

9. How I Went from $15 to $450 per Article in Under 90 Days

One way to make money online is to become a freelance writer and produce articles for websites.  Businesses are always looking for content to help attract traffic and are willing to pay people to produce quality content.

In this post Dan Stelter (the writer) talks about his experience of being a freelance writer and how he managed to go from charging $15 to $450 per article!

10. Making Yourself Redundant

This great post by Paul Boag over at SmashingMagazine.com asks you to look at your role online.  We are only really just beginning the Digital Revolution, but that doesn’t mean that your online job will be around forever.

This post gets you to question what exactly your role is.  Know that and you will become better placed to see how long your online career will last (it makes sense after reading the post).

…and finally

Yes, it’s that time of year again that we dread.  The same songs are on loop for the next few weeks, you have to put up with distant family members that you wish would remain distant and the streets are full of Zombies, aimlessly wandering from shop to shop in search of “gifts” that you wouldn’t ever think of buying for yourself.  Hurray, it’s Christmas!

Despite that cheery description, I actually quite like Christmas – especially sitting round the table to tuck into Christmas dinner.  The only problem is that Christmas dinner seems to take forever to cook.  You spend all day preparing it, when you’d much rather be doing other things.  Enter…

Christmas Dinner In A Tin (AKA The Christmas Tinner)

Mmmmm Mmmmm. Yes, that’s right!  All the best bits of Christmas dinner condensed into one, easy to open, tin (gag).

A gaming retailer has launched the ‘Christmas Tinner’ for gamers who are too busy playing on their new PS4 or Xbox One to cook on Christmas day.  Everything is included in delicious layers to enjoy (wretch)…. Yummy!

Christmas-Tinner

Where Are My Website Visitors Coming From?

  • November 25 , 2013

Where-Are-My-Website-Visitors-Coming-From

Traffic is something that is talked a lot about online, and with good reason as it is vital for all sites.  That being said, people tend to focus heavily on “how many” and often overlook “where” your website visitors are coming from.  I feel that this is a mistake, which is what I want to talk about in this post.

So Where Are My Website Visitors Coming From?

Many experienced website owners will agree that one of the most important pieces of information you should learn (and keep an eye on) is where your website visitors are coming from.  If you can tell where your website traffic is coming from, you have a better overall understanding of your site as a whole.

Key information that you will want to learn about your site includes;

  • Where in the world your website visitors are coming from,
  • What websites are sending you traffic (known as referrers),
  • Which social media sites send you the most traffic,
  • Which keywords & keyphrases are sending you the most traffic,
  • Which type of device (desktop, mobile, tablet, etc) are people viewing your site with,
  • Which browsers (Chrome, Safari, Explorer, Firefox, etc.) are people viewing your site with,

This information will give you a MUCH greater picture of how your website is performing online, as well as allowing you to see key areas that you can improve upon.

By far the easiest and most effective way of learning this information is by setting up Google Analytics for your site.  A vital tool for any site, it allows you to monitor all the above mentioned info, as well as statistics like; number of visitors, pageviews, bounce rate, average time spent on a page and much, much more!

Where In The World Are Your Website Visitors From?

This is by far my favourite piece of information to take a look at for a site.  I find it amazing to learn just how far reaching a website can be, as you can often be blind to that when sat at a desk all day.  Seeing that your site is getting lots of hits from other countries from all around the world can really inspire you to push on and create an even better site.

With Google Analytics, not only can use see your site traffic statistics from each individual country, but you can also view continental traffic, sub-continental region traffic and even traffic from individual cities!

Google-Analytics-Geolocation

So, why is this information important?  Well, not only does it give you a more accurate representation of who your site visitors are but it allows you to tailor content to a more targeted audience.

For example, let’s say that you ran a sports blog.  You may tend to write a lot of posts on Football as that is what interests you, but having checked your Analytics and found that the majority of your visitors were from India, you may want to focus more on sports that they like (i.e. Cricket).

Not only that but knowing where your visitors are from, you can work around national holidays and even work them into your site somehow.  Why not run a promotion around Thanksgiving for your American readers, mention the Chinese New Year for your Asian readers (which is on a different date that our New Year) or get into the spirit of Bonfire night for UK readers.  All that helps to reinforce your relationship with your global readers, not just the ones who you “think” are visiting your site.

Which Websites Are Sending You Traffic?

Take a look at your Analytics data to see which websites are sending you the most traffic.  You may find a new site that has linked to you, written a review about you or mentioned you in a post.

A good thing to look out for is “how” these sites as a whole are sending traffic to you.  Let’s say that you had 100 sites linking to you, but 99% of that traffic was coming from one single site.  That would tell you that;

  1. You need to get more links to try and diversify (as if that 1 link were to disappear, you’d lose out on a lot of traffic),
  2. The site sending you so much traffic is clearly a great site to try and get mentioned more on.

This is a great way to look at improving your linking strategy.  Find what is working and try to replicate that, and for what isn’t working try to concentrate on different methods.

Which Social Media Sites Send You The Most Traffic?

The Social Media Commitment | Bizzebee

Social media should be a key part in your marketing strategy, but that doesn’t mean that you should be spending equal amounts of time on each.  Doing that would eat up a LOT of time, which could be better spent doing other things, such as creating content.

Depending on your site, you may find that despite your best efforts your Twitter campaign just isn’t sending you any traffic, whereas Facebook is.  If that’s the case, you may be better off spending more time on that instead.

Looking at it a different way, you may feel that you need to step up your efforts on the social sites that aren’t working so well.  Maybe try marketing yourself in a different way and switching up your daily routine.

Which Keywords & Keyphrases Are Sending You The Most Traffic?

Finding out what your most popular keywords & keyphrases are can really help you.  Not only will you see how people are finding you on the search engines, but it gives you a better idea of what you should be aiming for more of in the future.

For example, let’s say that you run a cooking blog.  You may write on a whole host of different cooking recipes, but learn that the keywords/keyphrases that are sending you the most traffic are ones about baking.  In that case, perhaps you should spend more time writing baking recipes as that is clearly what is bringing in the traffic.

Which Type Of Devices Are People Viewing Your Site With?

lovefilm mobile_opt

The internet is changing!  More and more people are browsing the web on their smart phones or tablets whilst on the go.  This means that it is VITAL that you site is responsive (mobile friendly) for people to access.

Checking your stats can help you see whether there is a problem with your site that you may not be aware of.  You may notice that your mobile visitors have significantly dropped in the last month, which could indicate there is an issue that needs fixing.  Alternatively, maybe you are only getting visitors from iPhone users, which may mean there is a problem for Android users getting on your site.

This information can be key if you can’t check your site manually.  Personally, I use an Android phone, so it’s good to check that iPhone users can access my site.

Which Browsers Are People Viewing Your Site With?

If you are like me, you tend to use the same browser most of the time.  There are lots of different browsers that people use, so it’s good to know that your site works across all of them.  Now, whilst you should check them yourself (especially when making design changes to your site), looking at your Analytics data can help you out.

For much the same reasons as checking different devices, it just helps you to see if there are any problems occurring on your site.  You may notice a significant drop in traffic for Internet Explorer users, which would probably indicate a problem.  The faster you can spot the problem, the faster you can get it fixed.

Summary

Learning exactly where your visitors are coming from is extremely important for your site’s success.  It gives you a much better understanding of who your overall audience is and, more importantly, areas that you can look to improve upon.

Always remember that a site is NEVER finished, it should always look to evolve and improve upon itself.  Only then will you continue to move forward and keep growing your site.

I hope you enjoyed this post.  If so, or if you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below.

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