Curating Content For Your Business Website.

If you are a small offline business and you are building up your online presence with a blog and a social media campaign you will know that it isn’t easy unless you are creating and sharing content.

Creating fresh content isn’t particularly easy either especially if this is all new to you or creating digital content is not the nature of your job. I am a writer and content creator and I knew that I had to write a post today but I was struggling to think up what to write about, and I write regularly so for someone who is new to all of this it can be a real nightmare.

I looked through a few of the last posts I had written recently for numerous projects and found some inspiration for today’s post. For a new website owner you might not even have much to go back through to help inspire your creative side.

Well today I want to share with you the best and fastest ways to create content for your website and social media campaigns and that is to curate content from the web. Content curation is a newish term that describes basically what newspapers have been doing for years now.

NewspapersPapers need to sell papers for their businesses to survive and to keep people buying those papers they needed to fill their pages with good content. If there were a big event happening like the tragedy of September 11th 2001 then there is a lot of content for them to fill their paper with but if it was a quiet week for news and they needed to fill out their pages they would source interesting news stories from around the country and often the world then re publish them.

sept 11 newspapersThere would be a specific journalist who would look for these stories then re write them to go into the paper and include all the relevant and important source credits. The people who read the paper would still keep on buying it even if a lot of the stories were sourced from other papers.

They very rarely went out and changed their daily paper for those where the stories came from, mainly because they were too numerous to mention and often small regional papers. They preferred to have all of the interesting news and stories delivered to them in one place.

When you have a website and a social media campaign you can do the same as long as you give the right source credit and play fair. cupcakesFor example, if you ran a local Cup Cake Bakery and you had a blog that you were building up, you could do a post that included the ’10 Best Cupcakes We Have Ever Seen’ and include 10 pictures of cakes you have seen in magazines or on the web.

You write a little blurb about the cakes then add any relevant source links to the image/cake owners etc and then you are good to go. You might see in a magazine an article with images about a cup cake bakery in Australia and decide to re write the article in your own positive way re using the images.

Again you make sure you have the right credit links in place, if you do then most people would be flattered that you have featured them or their work on your website. After all it is free advertising and exposure for them.

Some people may ask you to remove their images or stories from your site but it isn’t personal, just remove them if you are asked. It is unlikely though, if they do then they are seriously missing the big picture. As I said it is free advertising and exposure for these people.

Now you are beginning to see that you can mix up your website content with your own images and content with content you have found and enjoyed that is other people’s work. This is actually good for your social media campaign because it can do two very important things..

  1. Your followers will not get fed up if you share content that is interesting and not just yours. If you posted on Facebook & Twitter everyday your own images with a dull ‘Like My New Cupcake Picture’ style posts people will get fed up. Sharing other interesting stuff and other people’s work shows that you are an interesting person and not just out to ‘Constantly Sell & Push Your Products’.
  2. You can start to build a network of likeminded friends, you may not be able to meet up with or work with your fellow cupcake bakers in Australia but you can share ideas, chat work and share each other’s videos, pictures and articles. You might make friends with bakers in a neighbouring city which might lead to some work or at least a great friendship.

It is building up a network of like-minded friends that led to this bizzebee site being developed.

Curating content is big business and yes there is some work involved especially when re writing the content or adapting it into a series of fun images but there is no big thinking needed or planning required. You have access to all of the information right in front of you and usually all of the images you need just require you to download them to your computer and upload them to your site.

cupcakesIf you want to add more content such as a YouTube video or more images you have all of the details you need to do a search for more information. For example if you were recreating an article on the ‘10 Best Cupcake Shops In England’ and you were writing about the shop ‘Cupids Cupcake’s’ in Colchester (Fictitious example). But the article you were using as your base only had 2 images for this shop yet it had four for the rest, you could easily do a Google search for more because you have the exact keywords to find out more information and images for ‘Cupids Cupcake’s.’

Curating content is not theft if you correctly use source credits and links to the places where the images and content come from. You might not have permission to use them and if you really want to be all above board then shoot off emails to the right people asking for permission but usually it is seen as ‘fan advertisement’.

There are millions of websites online run by fans and they often write about the things they love like films & TV, books and sports, they would use images of the actors/sports people but rarely get sued because they were generating free advertising which is good for these industries. In fact when blogging by fans became huge with many websites having millions of regular visitors big companies took notice and now regularly send fan writers free stuff to review or just to say thank you.

When you curate content you are not using those images for commercial gain in its truest sense, yes you are using it for site content to help grow your business but you are not using their images as your own or recreating them within a book that you plan to sell.

They can ask for the content to be removed but if you have done your work properly then the chances are they will be happy that you have shared and featured their work or they will ask for the content to be removed in a friendlier manner than they would if you had stolen the work for your own use.

So if you have a website and growing a following on social media but struggling to think up or create content then why not look at the things you are reading and enjoying online then curate it into your own relevant content? It can be done while relaxing at home in the evening in front of the TV because it does require less thinking than creating your own unique content.

NEW Individual Courses & Membership Price Drop – The Hive

Individual Courses

Today, we are happy to announce that we are launching a new feature to our premium site ‘The Hive’.   You are now able to purchase individual courses that we have put together for a one-time payment.  Better yet, you can become a member and get access to all of our great courses and content for a NEW REDUCED PRICE!

Individual Courses Now Available

We have spent a lot of time putting together our membership site (The Hive) for people to sign up to and access all of our premium content.  One thing that kept cropping up, however, was that certain people were only interested in some of our individual courses.  Well, we pride ourselves on listening to your needs, so we decided to package them up individually for you.

Currently, we have 2 fantastic courses for you to purchase, but we are working on plenty more behind the scenes that will be published when ready.

Individual Courses

If you are just starting out online and need help getting your business up and running, check out our ‘Beginners Guide To Creating A Website’ course.

Here, we guide you through the process of setting up your site online and introducing you to WordPress with our detailed videos.  You also get an accompanying eBook with the course so that you can refer back to it when needed.

Learn more about this course here.

Individual Courses

Nowadays every business needs a social media presence online as that is a fantastic way to both, find new customers and interact with existing ones.

In our ‘Beginners Guide To Twitter’ video course, we guide you through the process of setting up your Twitter account for your business, we show you how to begin to grow your following, different types of tweets that you can use and more.

Learn more about this course here.

Membership Price Drop!!!

We also have BIG news in the fact that we are dropping our membership prices for all new members.   Gain access to all our existing courses, videos, audio, eBooks and future content for a monthly subscription of $39.99 $9.99.

Alternatively, purchase a lifetime membership for $399.99 $99.99 and gain access to all our existing and future content FOREVER!  If that’s not enough, lifetime members also get access to us, the Bizzebee team, to help them individually with whatever they need help with their business/website.

So what are you waiting for?  Head on over to The Hive and take a look at what we have to offer you.  If you have been thinking about getting your business online then we are here to help.

How To Get A Guest Post Published

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.

have a blog

Should You Have A Blog?

should you have a blog

In this day and age each and every website that offers a service should have a blog. Simple as that, and in this post I will tell you why. Gone are the days of complex code and hours of pain to set one up. The costs have come down dramatically and hosting can be found at very reasonable rates now. You can get a blog setup with your own domain for under $10 and hosting for less than $10 per month. So, no excuses in that department.

As mentioned the technical side of things are no longer a big stumbling block. In fact in the Hive you can get access to several step by step videos that will show you exactly how to do this in no time at all.

Does My Company Need A Blog?

Yes. I don’t care if you are the local PC repair man in your village, the garden center, the hobby cupcake designer or a multi-million pound enterprise. You should have a blog. Your blog gives you the potential reach unrivaled by any other of your marketing strategies. Why companies pay to have a large advert on a billboard on a highway is beyond me. Sure – your advertisement is going to get in front of thousands upon thousands of cars each day but how many of them are targeted? A very low number I can tell you.

Whereas your blog is about your chosen niche, and will only get in front of eyes that want to read it. It opens up many doors of opportunity.

What Should I Blog About?

Let’s go back to the local garden center. They should be writing a blog giving tips on all things gardening related and could also do reviews of mowers, products, sheds, you name it. Sounds daft? No – it’s exactly what their audience will be looking for. If they wrote a post on “Top 5 Tips For Growing Tomatoes This Year” the people that read that post would almost certainly be looking at growing tomatoes fairly soon. Giving away free advice like this builds trust and people who have this relationship are more likely to buy and use the services. The blog could be a nice way to bring in leads for more expensive high ticket services. The key point here is that they are putting their services in front of an already interested audience.

For a more established high revenue business the blog should be no different. It should be aimed at the company’s audience and customers again. This is where the real Q & A should come in, even a complaints department should be utilised here. Your customer service department will have complaints, questions, improvements and suggestions. You should take these very seriously. And answer them on your blog! This is the perfect platform to do this.

customer service

If you had a small team of 10 people working in a customer service center why not get them all to write 1 post a week on a topic or suggestion from a customer? In no time at all you would have a well-established blog that the search engines would love and more importantly your customers would love – as it is from their input that you are creating the content!

This brings me on to the next point. Get your customers feedback, without this you will struggle. Spend the time to get your customers or audience’s point of view where you can. You can set up a simple form using Google Docs, I highly recommend doing this from the outset.

A simple survey of just a few questions can give you a gold mine of data that you can extract ideas from hopefully with solutions to the issues.

So, with all that in mind and everything outlined above can you or your company really afford not to have a blog?

5 Pages Every Website Needs

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.

9 Step Guide To Writing Quality Blog Posts

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!

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

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

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?

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.

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