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 Edit Featured Image & Blog Post Excerpt Length In Genesis

  • November 11 , 2013

How-To-Edit-Featured-Image-&-Blog-Post-Excerpt-Length-In-Genesis

A website’s blog post excerpt is an important thing as that is what a lot of visitors will read before clicking onto one of their posts.  For that reason, it is important to make sure that your post excerpts are looking great for all your visitors.  Anything less and you could be losing out on traffic!

What Are Post Excerpts And Why Are They Good?

When you run a blog, you publish lots of different posts on a regular basis (or at least you should be doing).  All these posts need to be found on your site, otherwise they will just get lost under more and more content.

One of the best ways of letting people find all your content is to categorise them and present them on ‘Category Pages’ and ‘Blog Pages’ (just like the ones we have).  These are essentially just pages that list your posts one after the other depending on what category you add them too.

Post-Excerpt

Now, instead of having a (category) page that displays the full versions of your posts one after another, you can choose to display a post excerpt for each post.  This is good for several reasons;

  1. It helps speed up your site – Instead of having one LONG page with several posts all loading (with included pictures, video, audio, etc.), you simply have a page listing your latest posts with a short description next to each of them.  This helps to cut down on load time and speed up your site.
  2. It increases pageviews – By listing your posts with an excerpt, you are encouraging visitors to click on and read your post on a single post page.  This boosts your pageviews as you are getting visitors to navigate around your site’s different pages, which can be good for advertising revenue.  You also encourage them to leave comments and share the post via social media as those features can only be displayed on single post pages.
  3. It helps people find what they are looking for – Post excerpts can be seen on category pages, tag pages, blog pages, search result pages, archive pages, etc.  This greatly helps visitors to quickly browse through all your posts to find what they are looking for.  This is especially relevant if you have a large site.

Enabling Post Excerpts In Genesis

In order to enable post excerpts in Genesis, you need to make sure your theme is setup correctly.

Quick Note: Your theme may already by default be set to display post excerpts.

Navigate to ‘WordPress Dashboard > Genesis > Theme Settings’ and scroll down to the ‘Content Archives’ section.  Here you can switch between ‘Display post content’ and ‘Display post excerpts’.

With post excerpts selected, your blog pages will display your posts with the first few paragraphs next to your featured image.  For most people that will probably suffice, but what if you want to change the length of the excerpt?

Editing Your Post Excerpt Length In Genesis

For whatever reason, Genesis doesn’t allow you to edit the excerpt length in the theme options.  In order to do so, you need to add the following code to your functions.php file.  (WordPress Dashboard > Appearance > Editor > Theme Functions – functions.php)

//* Modify the length of post excerpts
add_filter( 'excerpt_length', 'sp_excerpt_length' );
function sp_excerpt_length( $length ) {
return 50; // pull first 50 words
}

Add this code and simply edit the number (50) to however many words you want your excerpts to display.  In order for this to work you MUST have selected the ‘Display post excerpts’ in your theme options.

Now that we have sorted that out, what about the featured image size?

Edit Featured Image Size

There are a few different ways to edit the size of your featured image next to your post excerpt.

Firstly, you can select one of the pre-existing sizes.  Go back to your theme settings (WordPress Dashboard > Genesis > Theme Settings) and scroll down to the ‘Content Archives’ section again.  Here you can simply choose to switch to one of the other images sizes to use.

If none of these pre-existing sizes is of use to you and you want to use a different sized image, you will need to set that up.  Either;

  1. Navigate to your Media Settings (WordPress Dashboard > Settings > Media) and change one of the image dimensions to suit.  Make sure you don’t change one that you are already using!
  2. Navigate back to your theme functions file (WordPress Dashboard > Appearance > Editor > Theme Functions – functions.php) and edit/add to this code.

Featured-Image-Size

Once you have set your preferred image dimensions, simply select that in the theme settings options.

Now you have customised both the excerpt length and featured image size.  If you have any questions about this, let us know in the comments section.

10 Common Website Mistakes To Avoid

  • October 28 , 2013

Website Mistakes To Avoid

Running a website is no easy task, so it’s inevitable that we will make mistakes from time-to-time.  Mistakes can even be a good thing if we learn from them, but to save you the hassle, I’ve put together a list of some common website mistakes to avoid to help you.

1. Unresponsive Website (Not Mobile Friendly)

You are making a BIG website mistake if your site is not “mobile friendly”.  More and more people are connecting to the internet via their smart phones and tablets, which is why it is vital that your site is responsive across multiple devices.  If it is not, you are simply limiting the number of people that can visit your site.

There are plenty of WordPress themes that you can install that are ‘mobile responsive’.  Sites like StudioPress have a wide variety of responsive themes for all types of site that you can use.  There really isn’t any excuse for people not being able to access your site on their mobile devices, so make sure that yours is good to go.

2. Bad Website Navigation

You can spend all the time in the world creating fantastic content for your site, but if no one can find it once they get there, then what is the point!

Bad website navigation stops people from finding all the great content on your site.  Whether you have only a few pages or hundreds of posts, you want people (and search engines) to be able to find them easily.   Only then will you get visitors staying on your site for longer, which helps to increase your pageviews.

Think about the menus and links that you display on your site.  Are people able to find the different sections/categories of your site?  Do you display a search box?  Can people easily find your search box?  Which are your most important pages/posts?  These are the types of questions that you need to be asking yourself in order to improve your site navigation.

3. Not Building An Email List

An email list is a very powerful thing for a site to have, which is why you should be building one.  You see, the people that signup to your site (whether it’s to an eCourse, newsletter, to receive offers, etc.) are your best customers.  They are the ones who are interested in what you have to say on your site, allowing you to send them offers, promote products or just encourage them back to your site.

AWeber is the market leader for email marketing software where you can create and schedule a set of emails to be broadcast automatically once people subscribe.  You can create signup boxes, newsletters, broadcasts and much more by using them, helping you to grow and manage your email list.

4. Not Posting Enough

Every website needs regular content published as that helps to drive traffic.  People (and more importantly search engines) will see that the site is active, which will encourage them to come back again and read more.

If you don’t post enough, then your site can become stagnant.  A lot depends on what your site is about, but you wouldn’t keep coming back to a site if nothing changed.

Make a list of all the things that you can write about and keep adding to it when you get inspiration.  If you end up struggling for ideas, it may mean that your niche is too small, in which case you may need to broaden out a bit.  I think a lot though comes down to getting into a regular routine.  Try to update your site regularly (perhaps once or twice a week) and stick to it.

5. Posting Too Often

Some people go to the other extreme and post far too often.  Like we said, regular content is good, but too much can be overwhelming for your readers.  If you are publishing 4, 5 or even more posts a day, then you can’t expect visitors to keep up.  Sites that post this frequently tend to be massive news sites with lots of writers and millions of visitors.  That is certainly something to aim for, but you certainly can’t do that on your own.

You also have to consider the quality of what you are posting.  Publishing 1 high quality post is MUCH better than lots of little mediocre posts.  As the saying goes, “It’s quality not quantity!

6. Doing Zero Social Media

Social media is a fantastic way to market your site, so it makes sense that you should be using it.  Make sure that you have an active presence on all the major social networks (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.), particularly the ones that relate to your site.

Just having a page setup on each of these networks will help people to find you, but by engaging with your audience, it is such a great way to build a following for your site that you shouldn’t overlook.

7. Doing Zero SEO

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is an often understood practice that seems to confuse and petrify people at the same time.  It may sound complicated and unfathomable, but it’s really not too difficult when you get to know it.

SEO is simply a way of getting your website/content seen by search engines so that they can index it and present it to as many people as possible.  Search engines, like Google, are by far your best bet to get traffic to your site, so it’s best to work with them.

By using On-Page & Off-Page SEO techniques, your content can rank highly on search engine result pages (SERPs).  The higher you appear on the SERPs, the more traffic you will get.

Essentially, all it involves is making it clear what your posts are about.  This is done by including keywords in your post/page titles, meta descriptions, sub-headings, alt-tags, etc.  That way, when the search engines find your content, they have a better understanding of what it is about, allowing them to show it to people who are looking for that information.

If you are doing zero SEO for your site, you are essentially sticking your head in the sand.  Spend some time learning about SEO and actively doing some for your site.  It’s not as scary as you may think.

8. Not Interacting With Your Readers

If people spend the time leaving comments on your site, sending you emails or asking questions via your social media channels, you should make sure to respond to them.  Not only is it good manners but it is also good for business.  If people see that you are happy to interact with them and help, they will be much more likely to keep coming back for more.  It also shows that your site is an active one, which again can encourage people to keep visiting your site.

Admittedly, this can become a problem if your site is very popular (can’t reply to everyone), but you should at least try to reply to as many as you can.

9. Not Testing Your Site On Multiple Browsers

Any changes that you make to your site, you should always check to see if everything is working OK on different web browsers.  Most people tend to use only one, but that doesn’t mean everything will display fine for all of them.

I have in the past made changes to my sites, only to find that they were not displaying correctly on another browser that I didn’t use regularly.  Once you know about the problem, it’s usually very easy to fix, but you need to test it to find out.

Get into the habit of testing your website on Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera and Safari (the 5 most popular web browsers) whenever you make any changes to your site.  That way, you can see whether there are any issues that need fixing.

10. Thinking That Your Website Is Finished (Biggest Website Mistake!)

This is probably one of the BIGGEST website mistakes on the list that many people fall victim too.  The minute you think that your site is “finished”, you may as well pack up and do something else.

The internet is constantly evolving and there is always competition looking to overtake you.  You should always be looking to update, reinvent, add new features/products/content, etc. to your site to keep it fresh.  This is one of the things that I absolutely love about what I do, there is always something new to learn about and improve on your site that you should never find yourself standing still.  Keep pushing yourself and striving to create a better site for your visitors.  That is the best way to run your site.

What website mistakes have you made on your site and how did you go about fixing them?  What other common website mistakes would you add to this list?  Please let us know below by leaving a comment.

Beginners Guide To Affiliate Marketing

  • October 14 , 2013

Affiliate Marketing

I thought it was about time we got down to talking about something that all of us Bizzebee’s do with our own sites – affiliate marketing, which can be a fantastic way to monetize your website.  In this post we will talk about what affiliate marketing is and try to answer some of the questions that you may have.  Let’s get started…

So, What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a way of earning money on your site by promoting other people’s products.  You get a commission for every sale that is made via a referral from your site.  Many websites use affiliate marketing as a way of monetizing their website (as well as other methods) as it can be quite effective when done properly.

What Products Can I Promote On My Site?

Short answer – more than you think!

Many people new to affiliate marketing think that there must only be a handful of affiliate products that they could promote, but in fact there are vast amounts that are available for you to promote.

Think about it – if someone has a brand new product that they want to sell, instead of selling it themselves, they setup an affiliate program for that product and pay a commission (let’s say 30%) to everyone that helps to sell it.  This can help that product reach a much wider audience than would have been possible by doing it themselves, which in turn helps them to earn more money.

For this reason alone, many current products, in a wide range of industries, have some sort of affiliate program that you can sign up too.  All you have to do is find where the affiliate program is.

OK, So Where Can I Find Affiliate Programs?

There are a few different places to find affiliate products to promote.

The first place you should try is a product’s official website.  You may find a link somewhere (usually the footer) where you can join their ‘affiliate program’ or ‘become a partner’ – something along those lines.  If you can’t find one, it probably just means that they don’t have an official one.

The second place you can try is a dedicated affiliate product website (like clickbank or commission junction) and search for them there.  These affiliate marketplaces have thousands of products available for you to promote (though admittedly they aren’t all worth promoting), in a number of different niches.

The third place you can try is big eCommerce sites.  Sites like; Amazon, iTunes, WallMart, etc. all have their own affiliate programs that you can sign up too, allowing you to promote and earn commission on the products that they sell.  This method can really help you to find the type of product that you want to promote for your site as they literally have thousands to choose from.

The best bit though is that you can signup to as many different affiliate programs as you want and promote multiple products on your site, all of which can earn you a commission if a sale is made.

What Are The Highest Paying Affiliate Programs Then?

This is a question that comes up time and again and frankly this is the wrong question to be asking!

Instead of asking “what the top affiliate programs are?”, you should be asking yourself “what products would my readers be interested in?”  Only then will you truly be able to make the most of affiliate marketing.

For example – Let’s say that we found an amazingly good, high paying affiliate program for an airline and we wanted to promote holidays with them here on Bizzebee.  This simply wouldn’t work as Bizzebee is a business site.  People aren’t visiting our site looking to book a holiday, they want to learn about ways to help their online business.  It wouldn’t matter how much we got paid for a commission as we likely wouldn’t make any sales because our readers aren’t interested.

When thinking about what to promote, ask yourself;

  • What are your readers interested in?
  • What products do you use that you could recommend?
  • Which products are related to your website niche?

So If I Pick The Right Products, I’ll Make Loads Of Money?

Affiliate marketing “can” potentially make you lots of money, HOWEVER a lot depends on the traffic your site is getting.  Remember, you only get paid for every sale, not click, which is a result of someone buying via your affiliate link.  The more people you get to your site, the more chance you have of people buying.

Affiliate marketing is simply one way that you can monetize your site, but just like any other method, you need to work on building up your traffic.  This is not some “get rich quick” scheme, it requires lots of hard work to make it work, but if you do, it can be quite rewarding.

Do you use affiliate marketing on your website?  Where do you find products to promote?  Please let us know by leaving a comment below.

15 Blog Post Ideas To Use When You Are Stuck For Ideas

  • September 16 , 2013

15 Blog Post Ideas To Use When You Are Stuck For Ideas

I previously wrote about the need to publish quality content on your site, why evergreen content is great for long term success and even how often you should post, but what do you do when you just can’t seem to think of a blog post ideat?  This is something that ALL bloggers suffer with at times, which is why I decided to put together a post full of blog post ideas to help you out.

Feel free to bookmark this post and keep coming back to it as hopefully it will help you out when you are suffering from writers block and struggling for inspiration.

15 Blog Post Ideas

1. Product Reviews

Everyone likes reading reviews as we all like to get a second opinion from someone.  There are always new products coming out onto the market that you could write a review on.  Try to find products that are related to your niche and write an “honest” review of them.  Readers will prefer if you are honest with them, so pick out both the positive and negatives of products.

Also, remember to include your affiliate links if you have any.

  • Why I use ______
  • Why I don’t use ______
  • ______ Review – The best product on the market

2. Website Reviews

As well as products, why not write a review of a website!  It could be a site that you really like or really hate.  Tell people why you like/dislike it and offer up suggestions as to how they could improve it or recreate it.  The owner of the site you are talking about may get in touch to thank you for reviewing their site for them, especially if you pointed out something that they can improve.

  • Why I love ______.com
  • Why I hate ______.com
  • Why ______.com will never get any traffic!

3. What Tools Do You Use

There will be many people that will want to know more about the tools that you use for your business/website.  This is a great type of content to write about as it is usually quite straight forward on your part.

Think about what software, online tools, equipment, etc. that you use every day that others may not know about.

  • ______ – The best tool that I use for my business
  • Tools of the trade for my business
  • How ______ helped me improve my site

4. Case Studies – Use Yourself As An Example

You can talk about a subject until you are blue in the face, but people really like it when you can prove what you are talking about works.  Using yourself as a case study is a great way of doing this.

Think about the things that you have worked on and what goals you have achieved with your business.  Use these as examples that you can write about.  Back this up with some proof (i.e. images, graphs, charts, etc.) and you will have something that people will love to read.

  • How I got 1,000 subscribers in a day! (Case Study)
  • (Case Study) How I sold X products on launch day
  • Reviewing our first 12 months online (Case Study)

5. Case Studies – Use Others As An Example

Why not use someone else as an example and write a case study on them.  There will be plenty of people in your niche that you look up to.  Do a bit of research on them and turn it into a case study.

  • (Case Study) How Joe Bloggs went from from zero to hero!
  • How John Smith made his fortune (Case Study)
  • How John Doe created his mega business in 12 months. (Case Study)

6. Interviews

Interviewing people for your site can be a great way to create some interesting content.  Not only will your readers be able to learn something from someone different, it can also help you to build contacts with people from within your industry.

The easiest way of doing this would be to send out a few emails with some questions included.  That way, people can answer them in their own time and get back to you with their answers.

To take it a step further, why not ask to interview someone online via Skype or Google Hangout.  Record it as a video or audio clip (possible podcast) and publish it on your site.

The great thing about interviews is that they can attract a whole different audience to your site.  If you can manage to land a big fish from your industry that people know, you could end up getting a big boost in traffic.

  • Joe Bloggs Interview – Talking to a business hero
  • John Smith Interview – John shares his business wisdom
  • John Doe Interview – John explains what he did in his first 12 months

7. Compare X Vs. Y

We all like reading about comparisons, whether it’s a comparison between two people, two similar products, similar businesses/websites, etc.  we can all gain some valuable information.

Products are an excellent example for this type of post.  Think of two similar products in your niche and compare them.  What aspects are better than the other, which is better value for money, which is easier to use, etc.  These are all questions that people want to know when choosing themselves.

  • Why X is better than Y
  • X vs Y – Why I use X
  • Should you choose X or Y?

8. (Re)Introduce Yourself

The best writers and bloggers are popular because they have built up a relationship with their audience.  If readers can relate to you and view you as a real person, rather than a faceless writer, then they will feel much closer to you.

Share your story of how you got to be where you are now, talk about what successes you have had, what winds you up, what makes you happy, etc.  These will all help you appear more human and much more likable.

  • How I first got into ______ business
  • What I learned in my first 12 months online
  • How I opened up my first store

9. Talk About The Mistakes You Have Made

I don’t know about you, but I don’t really trust people who claim they do everything right first time.  I like it when people share the mistakes that they have made along the way and what lessons they learned from it.  They come across much more real when they do this, plus it is a great way to learn from others past experiences.

I am sure there are plenty of things you will have messed up on (I know I have enough times), so share that with your readers and explain what you learned from it.

  • The 5 biggest mistakes I made with my business
  • The big lesson I learned from messing up
  • Why failing in ______ was the best thing that ever happened

10. Be Controversial

These types of posts can either become really popular, or if you’re not careful, they can backfire.  It all depends on what the subject matter is and how you write it.

Be controversial and arrogant (to a certain degree) about a subject and tell people why you believe that.  It can get boring hearing the exact same thing from everyone else, so if you can stand up and be different, then people will be interested.  They may not all agree with you, but hopefully that should spark a debate among your readers.

Like I say, this can backfire if you aren’t careful.  You want to sound different and explain why you feel that way, but don’t overdo it.  Readers won’t like it if you appear nasty or argumentative just for the sake of it.

  • Why I think ______ is stupid
  • Why I am ditching ______ and doing something different
  • ______ no longer works, this is why

11. Run Competitions

Everyone loves the thought of winning something, especially if it is something of use to them.  Running competitions on your site can be a great way of gaining interest from people.

Get in touch with some businesses (online or offline) that have some products that are of interest to your viewers and ask them if they would be interested in running a competition with you.  You do all the work setting up the competition, running it and picking the winners, and they simply supply 1 or 2 free products.

Not only would they be getting some free advertising in front of your targeted audience, but competitions can help to bring in more traffic to your site.   It’s a win-win for both of you.

  • Win a FREE ______ for your business
  • Win 12 months Free _______ subscription
  • Win 2 Free ______ tickets

12. Be Competitive

You can find yourself stuck in a rut if you aren’t consistently pushing yourself to improve and make your business better.  A great way to overcome this is to compete against someone else.

You could find a rival and actually get in touch to turn it into a healthy competition that benefits both of you.  Who can get the most sales in a month, who can get the most traffic in a week, who can get the most subscribers, etc.  There are lots of things that you can do to turn into a competition.  Perhaps the loser has to perform an embarrassing forfeit or give free advertising to the winner for a week.

Visitors can become quite involved in two sides competing like this, especially if it is all done in good spirits.  Make it enjoyable and engaging for people watching/reading and have fun with it yourself.

  • ______ vs Matt – Who will get the most traffic
  • Who will win, ______ or ______
  • How I will do X before ______

13. Reveal A Secret

Now, I’m not talking about confessing your sins to people, I am referring to giving the impression that you have insider information that you want to share with people.   Everyone wants to get the upper hand on their competition, so content that sounds like they are giving away a “secret” will always spark interest.

For this to work, you do ACTUALLY need to know something worth sharing, otherwise people won’t stick around for long.

  • What you didn’t know about ______
  • Why no one is talking about ______
  • The 7 things people don’t know about in X business

14. Top Lists

I’m a big fan of top lists as it gives me the chance to compare it with my own views.  I always like reading about people’s favourite top 10 movies, as no two lists are ever the same.

Instead of movies, think about the type of top lists you can create for your business.  People will be able to see whether it matches with what they think, which can spark debate and get a conversation going.

  • Top 10 _______
  • Top 50 businesses to watch out for
  • 5 great tools for your site

15. How To… In X Days/Weeks/Months

What sounds better; ‘How to lose 10lbs’ or ‘How to lose 10lbs in a week’?

Show people how to achieve something in a set time period and it can grab their attention.  We are all lazy creatures really.  If something doesn’t have an end date that we know to work towards and is just left open ended, then that isn’t as interesting.

  • How to do ______ in 7 days
  • How to ______ in a month
  • How to create a ______ in 6 weeks

Summary

These are just a few blog post ideas that you can use when stuck for inspiration.  The best bit is that many of these can merge into one another, giving you even more options to use.

Why not talk about the mistakes you made when using a certain product, make a top list of all the things you can do on your site to improve it or compare your business to a competitors.

The more content you write, the more ideas you will get for future posts.  There are literally an infinite number of things that you could write about, so there shouldn’t be any reason for being stuck for blog post ideas.  But if you are, then feel free to come back to this post.

What other content types of blog post ideas would you add to this list?  Which of these blog post ideas have you used before?  Which haven’t you used?  Please let us know in the comment section below.

How Often Should You Post On Your Blog?

  • August 30 , 2013

How-Often-Should-You-Post-On-Your-Blog

One question that comes up time and time again when talking to new bloggers is “How often should you post on your blog?”  It’s a valid question, I mean how many times should you post?  I’m sure everyone will have their own opinion, but I thought I would share my views and explain why I view them like this.

Every Blog Needs Regular Content

In order for your website to even stand a chance of being a success, you will need to produce and publish regular content.

Search engines absolutely love sites that are regularly updated as they will view it as being active.  This is VITAL as if your site isn’t seen to be active; you are much less likely to be sent traffic from them.  Active sites generally get much higher rankings in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages), which leads to more traffic.  It’s not quite as simple as that, as search engines also take a lot of other factors into consideration about a site, but regular content does help a lot.

Your site visitors will also appreciate regular content on your site, as it encourages them to keep coming back for more.  At the end of the day that is what you are after – more traffic to your site.  Think about it, if you found a site that you liked and then came back in a couple of weeks to find that nothing had changed, would you keep revisiting the site?  Probably not!

So updating your site regularly with new content will help to encourage new (and returning) traffic.  But when we say “regularly update your site”, how regularly do we mean?

How Often Can YOU Post On Your Blog?

Before I give my views – how often can YOU post on your site?  I only ask this as it’s important to think about how much time you can give to your site.  You may have; other work commitments, other sites that need your attention, a family, etc.  After all, you are the one that is going to need to put in the work into updating and publishing new content your site, so only you can judge how often you can post.

If you are just starting out in the world of blogging, it can often be good to start by publishing only a few (maybe 1 a week) and then work your way up.  This way, you can get a feel for what you are doing and learn about all the other aspects that go with it along the way.

Quality not Quantity

Ideally, you want to post as often as possible.  HOWEVER, when I say that, I mean you want to publish as many “high quality posts” as possible.  Posting 4,5, even 10 posts a day is just ridiculous as you can’t hope to publish anything of “quality”.

If you want to build a successful site, you will need to publish quality content that people actually want to read and share with their friends.  Anything less and you won’t last very long online!

So… How Often Should I Post?

If it’s just you running your site, then I would aim to publish 1-2 posts a week.  When I first started ‘Online Income Teacher’, I published 2 a week (every Tuesday and Thursday).  This was great as it allowed me to work on the other aspects of my site (monetizing, email list, branding, social media, guest blogging, etc.) for the rest of the week.

I’ve since switched to 3 times a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) as I am a much faster writer now and can manage my time much better.

Here on Bizzebee, we also publish 3 times a week.  Whilst we could publish every day (and did for a bit to get the site up and running), we all have individual work that keeps us busy, as well as creating content for ‘The Hive‘ – the Bizzebee membership area.

It’s important that you pick a posting schedule that you are happy with.  If you feel that you can produce a quality post every day, then go for it!  But like I say, you may be better off starting at a slower pace and working your way up.

Post On Your Blog Like Clockwork

Whatever your schedule is, make sure that you stick with it.  If you decide to publish twice a week, publish 2 posts a week – every week!  There is nothing more frustrating for a reader than their favourite blogger running out of steam.  You would be quite disappointed if you found a blogger that you liked, only to find that they went from publishing every day to now only 1 a month (if that).

Similarly, if you write 5 posts one week, then 1 post the next, then disappear for a month, etc. people aren’t going to stay very loyal.  Readers like to know where they stand.  They will only keep visiting your site if they can expect to find something new.  We are all creatures of habit, if we know that you publish once a week, we will come to expect that.

Summary

There is no magic number of how often you should post on a site.  Publish as often as you can, but make sure that what you are publishing is of the highest quality.  Consistently publishing quality content (however often) will always attract traffic.

How often do you post on your blog?  Have you changed how often you post?  If so, why?  Please let us know in the comment section below!

Quality Content – The Lifeblood Of Your Website

  • August 22 , 2013

Quality Content

All websites need quality content as that is what ultimately attracts visitors.  Content also helps you rank well in the search engines and (hopefully) will be shared on social media by your readers once they find it.  That is why it’s important that your content is up to scratch, because if it’s not, you can’t expect to create a popular site.  Content is king after all!

What Makes Quality Content?

So what makes good content I hear you say?  Well there is no secret formula; a lot of it will just come down to practice.  There are, however, certain things that you can do to improve your posts.  Let’s take a look at some.

Check Your Spelling & Grammar!

Create Quality Content for your site

One thing that readers really hate is poorly written articles!  Nobody will begrudge the odd genuine mistake (we all make them), but if your posts are littered with them, then it doesn’t look very good.  It doesn’t take long to double or even triple check your posts before you publish them, as it will certainly make a difference.

This may seem obvious, but I’m constantly finding blogs that don’t seem to do this.  It gives the impression that they have rushed writing the article or just don’t care.  These types of mistakes will just end up costing you traffic.  I’ve seen lots of great quality posts written by people whose first language isn’t English, so it’s even more frustrating to find poorly written posts by people who actually speak English as their first language.

For me it is a matter of pride.  You are creating something to be published online, which is a reflection on you.  You don’t know who will end up reading that, so you may as well make sure that it is of the highest standard that you can.

Use Paragraphs, Subtitles & Bullet Points

Let’s face it, large chunks of text can be quite boring.  If we wanted to read a novel, we would have bought a book.

Readers can be quite intimidated by a mass of text, especially when it is a rather long post.  That is why it’s important to try and break up your posts as much as you can.

Structuring your posts with short paragraphs, subtitles and bullet points are all great ways to break up your posts.  Not only does it make it easier for people to read, but it makes it easier for them to scan through.  Like it or not, the vast majority of people scan through posts to find the bits they are after, so you may as well make it easy for them.

Add Images

Quality Content

Similarly, adding images can help break up your posts.  Text on its own is rather dull, so adding images can help brighten them up and make them a lot more visually appealing. 

Don’t just use them for the sake of it though.  Images are great to help make a point or explain something in a more visual way.  Tutorial posts are a good example as you would want to include as many screenshots as you could to help guide the reader through what you are talking about.  Infographics or slideshows are another way that you can add quality information to your posts in the form of images.

The added benefit of images (that most people forget about) is that they can help bring in traffic to a site.  Your post images can appear in the Google Image search results, so people can find your site that way.

Add Videos

People are lazy!  If given the choice between reading something or watching something, more often than not they will choose to watch something.  Adding videos to your posts can help to engage your readers and keep them on your site for longer.

The added benefit to videos is that you can convey a lot more information in them.  Instead of simply writing a tutorial, why not record a tutorial showing people how to do something (or better yet do both).  That way, your readers can see exactly what you are trying to show them.

They don’t even need to be your own videos!  You can embed any videos from YouTube into your posts.  People won’t mind, as they will get more views and you get a nice video for your site.  It’s a win-win.

Just make sure that your videos are responsive so that they can be viewed on mobile devices.

Write For Your Readers, Not For Yourself!

At the heart of any quality content should be your readers.  They are the people that you should be writing for, they are your audience, your customers, the lifeblood of your site – so make sure you are writing for them!

It’s easy to get distracted and end up writing on what you want to focus on (believe me, I’ve done it enough times), but you should always try to take a step back and assess whether this is what your audience wants.

Why not just ask them yourself!  Get on social media and ask your followers what they want to read about next or whether they have any questions they want you to answer.  This is one of the best ways to produce quality content as you are giving your readers what they want.  Plus, you can get some very loyal readers if you made a post for them specifically.

Be Patient, It Takes Time

At the end of the day, you can’t expect to write quality content from day 1.  It will take time for you to find your voice and get into the swing of things.  All these tips will help you along the way, but the more content you write, the better you will get – it just takes practice and perseverance.

What do you think makes good quality content?  What do you think makes bad content?  Please let us know by leaving a comment below!

Niche Blogging – Picking A Niche To Blog About

  • August 14 , 2013

 

If you are just starting out in the big wide world of blogging, then THE most important decision you will have to make is what you want to blog about, especially if your plan is to create a profitable site.  This is where niche blogging comes in and why I thought it would be good to talk over a few things to help you.

It may sound straight forward to pick a subject to write about, but you’d be surprised how many people struggle with this decision.  It takes time to build up a site, which can be demoralizing if 6 months down the line you decide that you want to switch topics and effectively start again.  That is why it is so important to plan out your site and decide on your niche from day 1.  Believe me, it will save you a lot of hassle in the long run!

What Is Niche Blogging?

Niche blogging is where you decide upon and concentrate on writing for a select audience.  Essentially, this could be on any subject, but you will have researched the subject beforehand to find out whether there is an audience out there for it.

Let’s back up a bit…

Normally, when people start their first blog, it’s usually a personal blog where they write about themselves and their everyday experiences.  This could include talking about their favourite hobbies, movies, books, university life, etc. usually a bit of everything.  I started in a similar way with my first site and I know some of the other Bizzebee writers did as well.

Whilst this is a good way to get into blogging, it’s not a very effective way of building a profitable one.  Whilst you may build up a bit of an audience, you won’t likely build up a significant one as you are writing about a whole host of different subjects.  People won’t know if you are a movie critic, food writer, book reviewer, etc.  Worse still, advertisers won’t know what you are about.

Niche blogging is where you select a single subject and stick to it.  That way, when people come to visit your site, they know what they are getting.  Advertisers will be much more likely to approach you to advertise their products/services that are related to your site and better yet, you will be able to build a bigger audience.

Picking Your Niche

So, now that you know that a specific subject is much better than lots of different ones, you can go and select yours, right?  Well, there is a bit more to it than that!

Is Your Niche Popular Enough?

In order for your site to be a success, you are going to need to pick a subject that has an audience.  After all, you could create the world’s greatest site on, let’s say, ‘Amazonian Blue Spotted Frogs’, but if only 7 people are interested in it, then is it worth it?  Well not if you want to make any money from it!

The more people who are interested in your subject from day 1, the more people there are to market your blog to.  They are the ones who will be your potential readers/customers, so make sure that you have a potential audience BEFORE you start.

Is Your Niche Too Popular?

You don’t want to pick an unpopular niche, but similarly, you don’t want to pick a subject that is too broad.  There are billions of people interested in sport, but that doesn’t mean you should create a site on all sports.  You’d be much better picking an individual sport (e.g. Football), or better yet an individual team.  At least then, you will have narrowed down your niche to be more specific, which will in turn attract more interested people.

It’s good to pick a popular subject, but the more you can narrow down your niche within that subject, the better.  People will see you as the go-to place to read about that subject.

It also helps to narrow down your subject when you are first starting your site.  If you are too general, you won’t get a look in as you will be competing against much larger, well established sites.

Is Your Niche Shrinking Or Growing?

Niche Blogging

Everything is changing all the time.  What was once popular a year ago may not be that popular anymore.  Likewise, there are some subjects that are only just starting to become popular.  You need to think about your niche and judge whether it is growing or shrinking.

For example, a site about board games would be a lot less popular than a site about video games.  That’s because board games are much less popular (shrinking niche) than video games (growing niche).

You want to try and pick a growing niche if you can, as you don’t want to find a couple of years down the line that your audience has all moved onto something new.

Google Trends

It’s not always clear to tell how popular a subject is, so it’s good to do some research before-hand.  This is where Google Trends comes in.  This great tool lets you look at what people have been searching for online over the last few years.  This can help you to see whether a niche is growing, shrinking or remaining stable.

Let’s look at the board game / video game example from earlier.

Picking a blogging niche

It’s pretty clear to see that we were right about these two industries.  Board games (blue) are clearly a shrinking niche, as year on year their popularity has fallen, only spiking at Christmas time.  Video games (red) one the other hand have remained reasonably stable over the years, again spiking at Christmas time.

Hopefully this just shows that you can use Google Trends to see how popular a subject has been over time.

THE Most Important Part About Niche Blogging!!!

Lastly, THE most important aspect of choosing the right niche for your site is YOU!!!  You are the one that is going to be doing all the work, so you need to be passionate about the subject.  Like I say, it takes time to build up a site from scratch, so if you love what you are writing about it makes it a lot easier.

What influences you when picking a niche?  What tools do you use to do research (if any)?  Please let us know below in the comments section.

Create Evergreen Content For Your Blog

  • August 7 , 2013

Evergreen Content

Every site needs content that attracts traffic, as that is how you get people onto your site to then buy your products/services.   Certain types of content are better at doing this than other, which is known as evergreen content.  Whilst talking to people online, there is still many that don’t know what this is, which is why I decided to put this post together for you.

What Is Evergreen Content?

Content is king!  We’ve all heard that countless times before because it is true.  That is what your website is built upon.  After all, you can advertise and promote a site everywhere, but if when people visit it and see that there isn’t any decent content, they won’t stay around for long.

Evergreen content is a term used to describe the very best content on a site that brings in traffic. It can also be referred to as; cornerstone content, foundation content and pillar content.

How can you judge what your best content is though?  Well, evergreen content has a few unique characteristics from your other content.  It will;

  • Consistently attract traffic,
  • Not be time specific (so still relevant in a year, ten years, twenty years, etc.),
  • Naturally attract backlinks from other sites,
  • Rank highly in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages)

You may only have a few examples of evergreen content currently on your site, but that is what you should be striving to create more of.  The more of these types of posts you have, the more attention your site will get.

Different Types Of Evergreen Content

So now that we know what evergreen content is, what are the best types to create?

Well there are quite a few different types that you can create.  One of the key things to remember is to try and keep it timeless.  This means that news related items tend not to work as well (though they can still be good to bring in traffic over the short term).

Let’s take a look at some and why they are good to use.

‘How To…’ Tutorial Posts

Just about everyone likes ‘How to…’ posts and tutorials because they are useful.  There is always something that we can learn online and a tutorial is usually the first thing that we look for.  We will often go straight to Google and search for what we are after (i.e. ‘How to bake a cake?’, ‘How to build a house?’, ‘How to mend a car?’, etc.)

These types of posts guide people step-by-step through a process, usually including images and videos to help them.  These are great as people can keep referring back to them at any time to help them and are often linked to from other sites.

Some examples of How to… /tutorial posts could include;

Whatever your site is about, there will be some sort of tutorial that you can create.  Just think about what your readers would want to learn from you.

Definition Posts

I’m a big fan of starting from the basics and working your way up to more complicated aspects.  Visitors to your site won’t necessarily know all the different aspects you are talking about, so it’s good to be able to point them in the direction of a post that you have written explaining the basics for them.

If people can’t understand what you are talking about, then they will leave your site to find answers elsewhere.  If however you can include a link to a definition post, then you are more likely to keep them on your site for longer.  The best bit is that you can link to your definition posts from future posts to help out new readers.

Here are some examples of definition posts;

Top Lists

People love lists!  I’m pretty sure that you will have seen plenty of them whilst browsing your favourite sites.  Whether it’s; ‘Top 10 this’ or ‘Top 20 that’, there will always be something that you can make a list out of.

The reason why people like lists so much is because they can browse through them quickly.  Whereas with tutorial posts you have to follow them carefully, you can skim through a list to find what you are after.  This isn’t a bad thing as more people will likely click onto the post to take a look.

People also like to compare lists.  Let’s say that you write a ‘10 Greatest Movies Of All Time’ post.  People will be interested to see what you have included compared to their own opinion or other lists that they may have read.  This can encourage people to leave a comment to agree/disagree with your post or maybe suggest some that you missed off the list.  All this does is help start a conversation, which can, in turn, bring even more people to the site to give their opinion.

Here are some examples of Top List posts;

Opinionated Posts

Opinionated posts are exactly that, posts where you give your opinion on a subject.  These tend to be where you make an argument for one thing over another, instead of trying to be neutral.  That doesn’t mean you have to be nasty or argumentative just for the sake of it, you are simply giving your own opinion.

These types of posts work in that they attract debate from readers.  Either, readers will totally agree with you and tell you why OR they will completely disagree and tell you why you are wrong.  The point is that you are getting people talking on your site.  Hopefully, this will create debate between your readers as well.

Just remember, you’re trying to encourage debate, not to annoy and lose your existing readers.

Here are some examples of opinionated posts;

Start Creating Your Evergreen Content!

So, there we have it!  We’ve looked at some examples of different types of evergreen content and why it is good for your site.  Remember though, this doesn’t just apply to articles you write, it can also apply to; videos, podcasts, infographics, slideshows, etc. that you make for your site.

Now all you have to do is start creating your own!

Have you tried creating evergreen content for your site?  Had you even heard of it before?  Please let us know below in the comments section.

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