7 Unofficial Rules Of Blogging For Newbies

7-Unofficial-Rules-Of-Blogging-For-Newbies

Blogging has become an integral part of online business as it is a fantastic way of attracting traffic to a site.  Saying that, however, when you first start out in the world of blogging there is a lot to get to grips with.  That is why I decided to put together a set of unofficial rules of blogging for newbies to help them out.

1. Always Respond To Comments

Every site’s priority should be to try and build a community of people around their website.  There are numerous ways in which you can do this, but one of the very best is via the comment section.  Comments are essentially the lifeblood of any site so you should really make the most of them.

One thing that I see quite often and, that if I’m quite honest annoys me terribly, is when site’s don’t respond to any comments.  I can come across a well written blog post with plenty of comments left by readers, but none have been replied to by the author.   This is just wasteful!

If people have taken the time to leave a comment, ask a question or ask for help, etc. then it is your job to reply.  Not only is it simply polite, but it can also greatly benefit your site by doing so.  New visitors to your site will see that your website is active and that it is somewhere that they can go for genuine help/advice.  This can really help to build a community around your website and slowly build your readership.

2. Get Involved With Commenting

Sticking with the “commenting” theme, it is equally important to get involved on other people’s sites.  This can help spread the word about your blog and help people to recognise you online.  As well as that, if you can prove to be helpful on other people’s sites, they will be more willing to visit your own site.

Try to stick to sites within your own niche as this way people in your target audience can get to know you.  It can also help to get to know other blog owners by doing this, which leads nicely to my next point.

3. Acknowledge Other Bloggers

Don’t be reluctant to mention and link to other people’s content within your own posts.  Not only can this be beneficial in the eyes of the search engines (as they value content that links to other high quality content), but it can also encourage others to link to your content as well.

4. Share & Share Alike

Social media is a huge component in the blogging world.  In the same way that it is beneficial to link to and mention other people’s work within your own posts, it is also beneficial to share (Tweet, Like, +1, Pin, etc.) other people’s content with your own followers.

Whilst this may sound counter-intuitive, it can really help to build your following.  People generally dislike profiles that just self-promote themselves.  If you can mix it up a bit and share with your followers links to other high quality, relevant posts, then they will appreciate that.  Similarly, other bloggers will be much more willing to share your posts with their audience if you do the same.

5. Quality Is Always Better Than Quantity

One question that always crops up online to do with blogging is “How often should I post?

There are many varying opinions on this, but most would agree that quality is always better than quantity.  Instead of trying to publish as many posts as you can simply for the sake of it, focus more on producing high quality content that people want to read.

6. Longer Posts Are Better Than Shorter Posts

Another common question that comes up a lot is “How long should my posts be?

Again, there are varying opinions on this, but most would agree that longer posts are much better than shorter posts.  Much of this comes down to quality, as you can’t expect to include that much detail and helpful advice in a really short post.  Longer posts allow you to be much more descriptive for your audience and cover a subject in more detail.

It has been suggested that Google tend to favour lengthy posts, as articles of 2,000+ words ranking much higher than much shorter posts.  This is another reason why you should try to make your posts much longer.

At the end of the day though, there is no “magic number” that you need to aim for in terms of word count.  Your posts should be as long as they need to be, just remember to put more emphasis on quality.

7. Forget About Stats

Statistics are something that a lot of new bloggers love to look at and keep checking on a regular basis.  Whilst stats are very important for sites to monitor in the long-term, they are practically irrelevant to brand new sites.

New bloggers often wrongly assume that their site can sky-rocket to getting millions of hits within a few weeks.  In reality it can take a while for a site to begin to build an audience online, which is why constantly checking stats is a waste of time.  You are probably better off just forgetting about them altogether for the first few months and just focusing on getting your site up and running.  If anything, it can be demoralizing to see little to no growth when you first start, but like I say this can be quite common for the few months.

Summary

These are just some unofficial rules that came to mind when writing this post.  Ask other bloggers and I’m sure they would come up with some additional ones.   If you follow these though you will be on the right path to building a successful blog for the future.

What blogging rules do you live by?  What good advice have you been given to do with blogging?  We want to hear from you so please get in touch below.

Ways To Improve Your Google Ranking

Improve-Your-Google-Ranking

How to improve your Google ranking?’ is a common question that crops up online because it is such an important issue.  Search engines send, by far, more traffic to websites than any other method, so it makes sense to make the most use of them.  You can only do this, however, by ranking highly within them.  But how do you do that?  My friend bought from this https://glassboxmarketingconsultancy.com/ and is getting huge ranking boost for his website. The agency put together 11 free ways that you can use to help improve your Google ranking.

Let’s get started!

1. Give People What They Are Looking For

First things first, in order to attract traffic to your website you will need to know what people are searching for.  This may sound simple (and it is really), but too often website owners write for themselves and not for their readers.

The easiest way to go and find what people are searching for is simply to open up Google or Bing and start typing away.  Whatever subject/topic/keyphrase/question, etc. that you were aiming to rank for can be instantly adapted to fit in with what people are actually typing in and searching for online.   Of course there are some excellent tools online that can help you do this, such as the keyword planner tool and Google trends, but nothing can quite beat a quick manual search on the search engine yourself.

Only by providing this type of targeted content will you be able to improve your Google ranking, so make sure that you spend some extra time to research your keywords and keyphrases.   This leads nicely to my next few points…

2. Use Keywords Within Your Post Titles

Once you have identified which keywords and keyphrases that you are aiming for, you need to include them in your content.  By far the best and most effective place to do this is by using them within your post titles.  It makes sense of course because obviously (as we have just covered) this is what people are typing into the search engines, but also it encourages people to click onto those pages.

Now, before you go cramming as many keywords and keyphrases into your titles as you can possibly fit (titles can only have a maximum of 70 characters), know that the ones that read properly and make sense are the ones that get the most clicks.  This is why ‘question’ titles work so well as;

  • That is what people are typing in,
  • That is what people are wanting answering.

For example, let’s say that I was searching online for help on how to make pancakes.  If I type into a search engine “How to make pancakes” all the relevant posts and pages will appear.  Any post that wanted to rank for this term but simple stuffed their title with keywords (e.g. Pancakes, Cook Pancakes, Easy Pancakes, Pancake Recipe.) then they won’t stand a chance.

How-to-make-pancakes

As a rule of thumb, try to only use 1-2 keywords/keyphrases within your title and ALWAYS make sure that it makes sense when you read it.

3. Use Keywords Within Your Post Content

Your keywords and keyphrases should also be used throughout the main body of your content.  Search engines don’t read in the traditional sense that we do to understand what an article is about, instead it scans your content for words and phrases and determines what it is about based on that.

Again, this doesn’t mean you should stuff your articles with as many keywords and keyphrases as you possibly can.  Search engines wised up to this practice long ago and now penalise sites that do this extensively.  They should make up no more than 3-4% of your overall article, but if you write normally anyway, you are bound to include plenty naturally.

4. Use Keywords Within Your Post Headings & Subheadings

Keywords and keyphrases should be included in your headings and subheadings, much for the same reason that we include them in our titles.

As we have said, search engines scan through your content to determine what it is about.  What they also do though is they look more closely at the text that you make standout in your posts.  Subheadings come under this (also known as H1, H2, H3, etc. tags) as they are a good way to gauge what each of your post sections are about, but this can also apply to italics, bold words, quotes, etc.

5. Internal Links Can Improve Google Ranking

A very simple and effect thing that you can do to help improve your Google ranking is to include internal links within your posts.  These are links that point to your other articles and pages of your site.

This is especially relevant when you use internal links that are relevant.  For example, this professional resell seo company has a lot of information about Search Engines Optimization;   This is actually another way that search engines assess what a post is about by looking at what content you are pointing to (both internal links and external links), so it always helps that they are relevant.

Of course the added benefit of using internal links is that readers will get to find more of your own content and stay on your site for longer, which is always a good thing.

6. External Links & The Importance Of Anchor Text

Whilst internal links are very useful, they are expected as obviously sites want to keep people viewing there content for as long as possible.  What search engines do though is they also look specifically at the external links that you include (links that point to other websites).

Search engines value the fact that you are willing to point readers to other sites, but which specific sites you point to is especially relevant.  Again the key word here is RELEVANT as sites/posts/articles that you link to should in some way be related to what you are saying.

For example, for this post I can quite happily link to other sites that talk about the benefits of external links and SEO techniques because they are relevant to what I am saying.  If on the other hand I randomly linked to a site about Orangutans, that would be out of place.

The same can be said about anchor text (the text that you use for the link).  This needs to reflect what you are linking to and not be generic (i.e. ‘click here’ is not as good as ‘SEO techniques’ when linking to a post about on-page SEO techniques).

Orangutans Laughing

7. More Links To Your Site = Good

Search engines look at the number of links that point to a site and use them as a way to assess how good that site actually is.  Think of it like a popularity contest, sites with lots of links pointing to it clearly must be good because they have so many people wanting to link to it.  Sites with not very many links pointing to it must be less popular or not very good.  This is clearly a very basic way of putting it as obviously, as we have discussed, there are many other factors that are taken into consideration, but it is one metric that search engines use.

A word of warning though.  Don’t just think that you can spam links to your site to help boost your ranking.  There are many dodgy companies that offer to sell X thousand links to your site, but you should avoid these like the plague.  Often these links are from dodgy sites themselves who you don’t really want to be associated with.  Also, search engines look at the rate at which sites build up links.  If anything looks unnatural (like buying X thousand) then it looks suspicious and could cause you more harm than good.

8. Social Networks

Social media is the most influential channel for you to promote your website or business plan. You can use various social networking sites for marketing purposes which can be pivotal for your online business. Positive social activity can upgrade your chances of exposure and recognition. My friend Ameet Kahbra in Ameet Khabra Marketing helped me really set up a business social media account.

A company doesn’t need to have a physical presence to become a retailer on the internet. Even the smallest online company can turn out to be engaging and as functional as a large one. A little effort in the right direction can help a business reap its rewards in the future.

9. Shippment Logistics

From the manufacturing facilites and before to reach the end consumers, the products will transit through centralized distribution centers.

For each one of these steps, goods will be split further and carried on shorter distances to more locations; For instance, the manufacture will produce several goods in bulk, and they will be shipped to the distribution centers; Generally the manufacturer will take care of all that huge scale logistic work, but you still need to delivery the products from your warehouse to the end consumer, depending on the size of the order and customer location it can take a lot of unnecessary physical effort and transportation vehicle requirements. I suggest to contract our pick and pack delivery services in order to save valuable time, money and effort.

10. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Once you are done with the website the next step you have to take is to draw attention of the users through SEO, you can find a local seo company in your area to help you. A survey reports that 89 percent of people use search engines to find a product online, this is exactly why you need your business to appear first on the search engine listings. It is crucial to keep a constant check on your content and make sure it is updated and correct.

11. More Quality Links To Your Site = Better

Quality-over-Quantity

As the old saying goes – “It’s quality not quantity that matters.

Search engines look at the sites that are pointing to yours and judge their worth based on how good those sites are.  This is done using Google’s PageRank (PR) statistics.  High quality PR8 sites are significantly better than much lower PR2 sites.

So having 1,000 links from PR1 sites is good, but it is MUCH better to have 100 links from PR5 sites.

In order to help improve your online Google ranking then, try to aim to get links from quality websites within your niche instead of from any old site.

12. Improve Your Google Ranking By Improving Your Website Speed

Increasingly, search engines are taking into consideration how fast a site is.  The faster your page load time is, the better.

This is actually very beneficial to your readers, so this is something that you should look to improve upon anyway, regardless of the search engines or not.  It is estimated that people only stick around on a site for a few seconds before getting bored and navigating away.  If they click on your site and end up staring at a blank screen whilst waiting for everything to load, then they won’t hang around for long.  Instead you really want everything loaded up quickly so that they can start reading or viewing your content.

13. The Longer People Stay On Your Site The Better

Another factor, that is both beneficial for your website in general and search engines, is how long people stick around on your website.  This includes;

  • Pages / Session
  • Avg. Session Duration
  • Bounce Rate

If you can increase how long on average people stay on your website and how many posts/pages they view in a single sitting, then you are on your way to dramatically improving your rankings.  Unfortunately there are no easy solutions to these problems and can be affected by things like; website design, writing quality, how easy it is to navigate around your site, etc.

14. Your Site Gets Better With Age

Search engines can see and record how long a website is active for.  The longer you are around online, the better it looks.  Think of it like this – if a site was rubbish and no one was interested in it, then it wouldn’t last very long.

This is why many people like to buy existing sites and “do them up”, so to speak.  They get the benefit of a matured domain and everything that comes with that, whilst they can improve upon it and attract more traffic.

Obviously this point is something that you can’t really get around.  You simply need to focus on creating and maintaining your site to a high level over time.

Summary

Improving your Google ranking is certainly not easy, not least for the fact that search engines never quite let on exactly how they rank sites as they are always changing and adapting.  Hopefully though, these free tips will help you to focus your attention on what does work.  If there are 3 key things to take from reading this post though, it would be;

  1. Use relevant links,
  2. Quality is what really matters,
  3. Improve your site for your readers and it will improve in the rankings.

What are your views?  What other free methods would you add to this list?  Do you have any questions?  Please feel free to get in touch below via the comments section and we will try to answer them for you.

4 Reasons Why Your Blog Is Rubbish! (And How To Fix It)

Why-Your-Blog-Is-Rubbish

There could be many different individual reasons why your blog is rubbish, but from my experience it usually comes down to a select handful of reasons.  I see many sites make these big mistakes, which only makes it harder for them to succeed.

Let’s take a look at some of these mistakes to avoid and, more importantly, how to fix them.

1. You Site Is Slow, Very Sloooooow

Search engines have stated that they are taking a websites speed into consideration when ranking them, which is why it is so important that you work at speeding up your site.  Too often I have landed on a site that takes forever to load.  All that does is encourage people to click off of your site and go elsewhere.

A websites speed can be affected by many things, such as;

  • The website theme that you are using,
  • The number of plugins that you use,
  • The number and size of your images,
  • Excessive number of on-page elements that need loading,

Your first stop that you should take to determine what work needs to be done is the Google PageSpeed Tool.  That will give you a score out of 100 whilst also identifying areas that you can improve.

For more information on how to speed up your website, check out my ‘7 Ways To Speed Up Your Website Load Time’ post.

2. You Don’t Have Anything For People To Subscribe To

Subscribe

Any successful blogger will tell you that you need to grow your subscriber list.  One of the best ways to do that is to encourage people to subscribe by giving something away for free as an incentive.  This doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, something as simple as giving away a free eBook or an eCourse can be a great way to get people to sign up to your list.  We do this ourselves here on Bizzebee, offering subscribers a free eCourse to ‘Help You Get Online In 7 Days’.

AWeber is the industry standard tool for email marketing and it is really easy to setup.

3. You Don’t Reply To Peoples Comments

Comments are at the heart of any website (or at least they should be) as they are from your loyal readers.  People can get fixated with the amount of comments that they receive, when in reality it is more important to focus on the quality of the comments you receive.

To encourage more interaction on your blog posts/site, you should be making the effort to reply to each and every comment that you receive.  This is for two simple reasons;

  1. It is polite to reply to someone that has taken the time to leave a comment,
  2. It gets the conversation going, helping to encourage other people to comment.

If people have spent time crafting a question for you to answer or need further clarification on what you have written about, you should make the effort to follow up on that.  This can actually refer to social media as well, as you should make the time to reply to people’s questions on Twitter, Facebook, G+, etc. as it is all a reflection on you and your site.

4. Your Blog Content Is Rubbish

How-To-Write-A-Blog-Post

A blog is only as good as its content.  If you want to create a quality website, you will need to publish quality content to attract readers.  It is your blog content that brings in the traffic, that encourages people to subscribe, that brings in the advertising/affiliate revenue, etc. so it needs to be up to scratch.

Some common examples of poor quality content would include;

  • Very short posts that don’t go into much detail (i.e. less than 300 words).
  • Poorly formatted content, with no headings, subheading or paragraphs to break it up.
  • Visually unattractive (basically just text, no images or videos are included).
  • Poorly written.

Of course, the absolute worst thing you can do is to simply copy & paste content from other sites and try to pass it off as your own.  Not only can you get banned from the search engines by doing this, but it is also illegal (as content is copyright protected) so you risk having your site closed down entirely.  I have been the victim of people stealing my content and passing it off as their own, but I have (along with many others in the blogging community) always chased up those offending sites and reported them to their hosting providers.

In order to create quality content you need to spend time working on the “quality” aspect of it.

  • Write longer posts that are helpful and detailed for people.
  • Include multimedia aspects (Images, Videos, Slideshows, etc.)
  • Format your content properly (Paragraphs, Headings, Subheadings, Bullet points, etc.)
  • Follow up with a call to action at the end of your posts.
  • Include internal & external links to relevant posts.

Check out our ‘9 Step Guide To Writing Quality Blog Posts’ for more info on producing better content.

Summary

These points may seem obvious to some but I can guarantee that all sites will have suffered from these at some point or the other.  There is so much to learn about running a blog that it is easy to let things slip in certain areas if you are not careful.  Some of my early blogs were truly horrendous looking back on them now, but you learn from those mistakes and move on.  Only then can you begin to improve your existing site(s) and look to take them to the next level.

What things have you spotted that other sites are doing that would make you label them as rubbish?  What areas do you think you could improve upon on your own blog?  Please let us know in the comment section below.

The Secret To Blogging Success – Fast Food Of Course!

Fast-Food

Yes, you heard me right.  The secret to blogging success is, of course, fast food.  I mean it’s obvious, isn’t it?

OK, maybe I should explain before you pick up the phone and order another [insert favourite food] from your local take out.  The secret isn’t about the food itself – that will just lead to diabetes and obesity – instead it is more about why fast food is so popular.

Why Fast Food?

Ask yourself why fast food is so popular.  We all know that it is bad for us (really bad!) yet people still eat it.  I consider myself reasonably healthy and I even follow fitness plans from sites as https://www.tophealthjournal.com/, yet I am still partial to the odd curry from my local take away restaurant now and again.
hre
You see, fast food (and junk food in general for that matter) is popular, not because of the taste but because it is both convenient and cheap.  Just walk down the street and you will pass several take out restaurants.  Supermarkets are stocked full of convenience food and there are vending machines on just about every corner.  Frankly it is everywhere!

What Has This Got To Do With Blogging?

Ok, bear with me.  I’m getting to my point.

Fast food is simply a product that is widely available to the mass population, which is why it is so popular.  Blogs can learn a lot from this as the real key to success is to simply try and make their content as widely available to the mass population as it can.

The internet is a wonderful thing.  Never before have we been so connected as a global species.  Despite this fact, sites still need to work on making their content accessible in order for people to find.  Just because it is online, it doesn’t necessarily mean that people will be able to find it easily.  You need to do what all the fast food companies do and get your quality content in front of as many people as possible.

There are plenty of ways of doing this, including;

Anything basically to help people find you and your site.  Some of the biggest fast food retailers (McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell, etc.) aren’t really successful because of the food they make (I could make a better burger), it’s more to do with the fact that they can deliver that food to everyone because they are everywhere.

Advertising is usually the first method that people choose to use to help promote their website, but arguably the better option is to focus more on SEO.  Search engines are how the vast majority of people will find you online, so by concentrating on improving your ranking within Google, Yahoo & Bing, you can greatly increase the visibility of your site online.

Another way to think of it is like this.  Think of each of your blog posts as fast food outlet.  The more of these quality “outlets” that you have ranking highly; the more people can potentially find you online via the search engines.  Only then can you make money yourself via your own advertising, product sales, affiliate links, etc.

There are too many bloggers out there that give up and throw in the towel simply because they are not getting the traffic that they expected.  On inspection of their site however, it is usually clear to see that many of these are doing very little promotion (if any at all) of their content, which is why they are getting no traffic.

Summary

I hope this post has helped highlight the important factors that you should be focusing on with your blog.  The fast food metaphor was simply used to try and hit home the message.

I’m now off to eat something incredibly unhealthy.  Please feel free to leave your comments and feedback below.

4 Simple SEO Tips For New Bloggers

SEO Tips

According to this top SEO reseller a pretty important aspect to focus on when starting a new site is SEO (Search Engine Optimization).  This is because the vast majority of your traffic will be coming from the search engines.  Now I know many people struggle with SEO when they first start out, which is why I thought I’d put together a list of some helpful SEO tips for you to use, you can visit here for SEO services. You may have already seen some answers to this question on our about as page, but if not, please do have a quick read, as it explains our approach and gives details of our experience, discover answers some vital questions about SEO. The purpose of any SEO activity, either national or local, must be to attract potential customers.

1. Learn About SEO!!!

Yes, it may sound obvious but it is VITALLY IMPORTANT (I can’t stress that enough) that you spend time learning about how SEO works.

I get the sense (from readers, comments, emails, etc.) that many new bloggers think that they can put off learning about SEO until later.  Something along the lines of “…oh, I’ll build up my site first and gain a following before I read up on SEO” is what comes up a lot.  This is just the wrong way to look at it.  You may as well say “…oh, I’ll jump into the ocean and splash about for a bit before I learn how to swim.”  That’s not going to go well!

Traffic is essential for any site, so if your plan is to build a successful site, then SEO is one of the first things you need to learn about.  Putting it off will only slow you down.  Start by learning the basics about both on-page SEO and off-page SEO techniques.

2. Think Long-Term, Not Short-Term

Think-Long-Term

SEO is certainly no “quick fix” for a site and can’t instantly make a difference to your traffic.  Instead you need to think of SEO as a long-term strategy for your site (which is another reason why you should learn about it sooner rather than later).

When you first start out online, your site will likely only have a handful of pages.  While you can (and should) optimise those pages for the search engines, they can only make so much of an impact. Some of the best best seo company‘s have said that the real value of SEO comes when you have built a much bigger site with hundreds, if not thousands of pages, all optimised for the search engines.  This creates a snowball effect – as your best pages help to raise the rank of your site, which in turn helps to attract more traffic to your other pages, which helps to raise your rank – and so on.

Always try to think “long-term” with your website.  After all, the tortoise always wins the race in the end.

3. Always Write For Your Readers

As important as SEO is for a site, readers should always take priority.  Again, this may sound obvious, but it can be easy to fall into the trap of just writing content purely aimed for search engines.  That may help attract traffic to a site, but you want them to stay when they get there.

Search engines have gotten a lot better at spotting the fake sites who are only interested in manipulating their traffic.  They wised up to them and now heavily penalize sites that abuse this practice.  Instead, it is much more beneficial to write quality content for your readers and attract traffic that way.  That doesn’t mean you can’t use SEO techniques, just not to overuse them and spam keywords just for the sake of it.

4. Don’t Fall For The Scammers

There are plenty of individuals and “companies” online that will happily scam you out of your money when it comes to SEO.  The sad thing is that it is easy to get fooled by them when you are just starting out.

Stay well clear of ANY adverts that claim to be able to “get you to the top of Google in X days/weeks/months” or that suggest that they have “the secret to ranking highly”.  In most circumstances they are simply talking out of their ass.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of legitimate SEO companies online and the only real way of knowing is by talking with them.   You see, SEO is a very specific service that has to be tailored to a specific site’s needs.  That is why you should avoid doing business with any that make promises before you have even spoken to them.  How do they know what business you are in, where you are from, what keywords you are aiming for?  All that information is key to planning out your SEO strategy.  Again, this is why you should learn about SEO, even if you plan on outsourcing the actual work.

Meet with L.A SEO Experts to learn more about what SEO is and have them help you with your website because if you understand the fundamentals of how SEO works and how a site can attract more traffic through it, then you will save yourself a lot of work in the long run.

What other SEO tips would you like to add to this list for new bloggers?  What helped you out when you first started?  What SEO questions do you have?  Feel free to let us know by leaving a comment below.

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.

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.

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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