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.
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.
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.
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.
I wrote a post recently about people hesitating on starting a blog, which let’s face it, many of us do when first starting out. This led to a few questions though on social media asking what people should actually do within their first week blogging. Well ask and you shall receive.
I’ve put together a simple 6 step plan for you to follow during your first week blogging. Now, this isn’t a strict “Day 1 do X, Day 2 do Y, Day 3 do Z…” kind of plan, it is more of a loose guide for you to follow. The main aim though is to highlight key areas that you should be focusing on initially so that you don’t get distracted by smaller, insignificant details that can wait for later.
So without ado, let’s get blogging!
1. Pick Your Niche
If you plan on starting a blog, THE most important decision that you will have to make is on what subject to focus on. This can/will determine whether your site will be successful or not almost from day 1.
I go into much greater detail in a previous post about picking a niche to blog about, but essentially you need to take some time to really think about and analyse your preferred subject. Rushing in and committing to a blog all about your favourite hobby may sound like a good idea to you, but does it appeal to a wider audience? Without a large enough group of people who would be interested in your site, it is doomed from the start.
On the other hand however, if you pick a subject that is too broad, you run the risk of being too generic and not attracting visitors. There is a definite balance that you need to find;
Blog niche is targeted at a large group of people.
Blog niche isn’t too generic that people won’t know what your site is about.
Blog niche is too small to appeal to enough people.
Let’s take a look at an example. Say you had a passion for cheese cake and wanted to start a site on that. A blog that focused purely on cheese cake would probably be aiming for a much too narrow niche to attract that much traffic (and you’d likely run out of ideas pretty quickly). If on the other hand you broadened it out to include all types of cakes, that would appeal to a much broader audience. Take it to the furthest extreme though and broaden it out to “cooking” in general and you risk being too generic. If people know you as a “site about cakes” or “the cake blog” they know what they are getting.
2. Set Up Your Site
A pretty important part of setting up a blog online is to actually set it up. Now this is a lot easier than most people first think as all you really need is;
A domain name,
WordPress theme (optional).
A domain name is essentially the address of your site (e.g. www.ExampleSite.com) and every site needs one. If you can, always go for the ‘.com’ version as that is what 99% of people will type in without thinking about it. We would recommend you to GoDaddy* to get your domain, we use them for all of our sites and have never had a problem with them.
Web hosting is essentially the space where your site is stored online. In order for people to access a site 24 hours a day, all the images, text, website files, etc. need to be stored on a server somewhere. This is why you need web hosting. Bizzebee and the whole Bizzebee team use HostGator to host our sites online and would recommend them to you.
WordPress is a CMS (Content Management System) that makes it incredibly easy to setup and manage your blog, and what’s even better is that it is completely free! You simply install it onto your web host and then you can add posts, images, edit the look of your site, etc. without the need for any complicated coding.
You may want to install a WordPress theme for your site, as this can greatly improve the look of your site. There are plenty of free WordPress themes available online, but for a professional looking site you probably want to go for a premium one. There are lots of sites that offer high quality themes for you to buy, such as StudioPress.
3. Set Up Your Key Pages
Once you have actually setup your site online, it can be tempting to just start writing your blog and focus on that. You really need to setup some important pages before you do that though, including;
About page – Who you/what your site is about.
Contact page – Allowing people to get in touch with you.
Sitemap – Very important for the search engines to find all your content.
Subscription page – Allowing people to subscribe to your newsletter if you have one.
Legal page(s) – Affiliate disclosure, earnings disclaimer, privacy disclosure, etc.
Category pages – Allowing people to easily find all your content.
Home page – With a good, clear layout.
Creating these pages right at the beginning of your site will help greatly in the long run. You may need to come back and edit them now and again, but at least people will be able to navigate around your whole site easily.
4. Get Writing
You have started a blog, so at some point you are going to have to start blogging.
As this is your first week, there is no need to go mad and publish tons of content. One or two posts would be more than enough to launch your site with. After all, you will probably be spending most of your time this week on the other points that we have listed.
One thing that you should do, however, is to make a list of future posts that you want to write. This doesn’t need to be a definitive list of post titles, more like a list of ideas that you can pick from. You will need to produce regular content for your site every week (2-3 posts at least) in order to begin to build up an audience, so having a list of ideas to draw inspiration from is very beneficial.
5. Plan, Plan, Plan
Successful sites don’t happen by accident. Owners have planned out where they intend to take the site over the weeks/months/years and work towards achieving that. Since you are just starting out, planning is more important than ever, as without a plan you are destined to fail. As the old quote goes;
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin
…or another of my favourites;
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Think about how you will;
Attract new traffic to your site,
Get people to navigate to your key posts/pages,
Compete with other sites in the same niche,
Make your site stand out against the competition,
Develop and grow your site over time,
…and much more.
6. Set Up Your Social Media Profiles
A massive part of attract traffic to a site and building a brand is linked with social media. This is why it is very important that you take the time to, not only, setup social media profiles for your website, but also take time to be active on them as well.
Again, as we are focusing on your first week blogging we shall just look at setting up your profiles. It is better to do all these at the beginning as then people will be able to find you on their preferred network.
Start by setting up profiles/pages on;
Depending on your site, you may want to create profiles on sites like Instagram and Flickr as well.
It is also important that you brand each of these profiles in the same way. A brand identity can be built by consistently using your logo for each profile picture. What you don’t want to do is create profiles that all look as though they are by different companies.
7. Get Involved
Lastly (and this links in nicely with our last point), you need to start getting involved online to help spread the word about you and your site. There are literally hundreds of ways that you could do this, but some methods would include;
Follow people within your niche on social media,
Get involved in conversations online to do with your niche,
Get involved in the comment sections of rival sites (don’t spam though),
Keep up to date on what is happening in your niche,
Join forums within your niche,
Essentially, just get involved with the community that you are aiming your site at. Ask questions, answer questions, be helpful to everyone and always remember that what you say online can (and will) reflect on you in the long term.
Go And Get Started!!!
There is no getting away from the fact that there is a lot of work to do to get your site up and running. If you are serious about starting a blog though, you will approach it in the right way.
Blogging is a fantastic industry to get involved in. It is great to, not only be involved in an online community that you are passionate about, but also to be at the heart of that community where people come for information. I am a firm believer that anyone can create a successful site online, they just need the right attitude and a good plan.
Are you thinking about stating a blog? What would you add to this plan to do in the first week of blogging? Do you have any questions that you would like to ask us? Please feel free to get in touch via the comment section below.
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.
2. You Don’t Have Anything For People To Subscribe To
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;
It is polite to reply to someone that has taken the time to leave a comment,
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
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
To point out a problem with your site,
Guest post submission,
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.
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;
Help people find your pages,
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.
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.
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;
Thank you 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.
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
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?
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;
…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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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,
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.
Running a website is no easy task, so it’s inevitable that we will make mistakes from time-to-time. Mistakes can even be a good thing if we learn from them, but to save you the hassle, I’ve put together a list of some common website mistakes to avoid to help you.
1. Unresponsive Website (Not Mobile Friendly)
You are making a BIG website mistake if your site is not “mobile friendly”. More and more people are connecting to the internet via their smart phones and tablets, which is why it is vital that your site is responsive across multiple devices. If it is not, you are simply limiting the number of people that can visit your site.
There are plenty of WordPress themes that you can install that are ‘mobile responsive’. Sites like StudioPress have a wide variety of responsive themes for all types of site that you can use. There really isn’t any excuse for people not being able to access your site on their mobile devices, so make sure that yours is good to go.
2. Bad Website Navigation
You can spend all the time in the world creating fantastic content for your site, but if no one can find it once they get there, then what is the point!
Bad website navigation stops people from finding all the great content on your site. Whether you have only a few pages or hundreds of posts, you want people (and search engines) to be able to find them easily. Only then will you get visitors staying on your site for longer, which helps to increase your pageviews.
Think about the menus and links that you display on your site. Are people able to find the different sections/categories of your site? Do you display a search box? Can people easily find your search box? Which are your most important pages/posts? These are the types of questions that you need to be asking yourself in order to improve your site navigation.
3. Not Building An Email List
An email list is a very powerful thing for a site to have, which is why you should be building one. You see, the people that signup to your site (whether it’s to an eCourse, newsletter, to receive offers, etc.) are your best customers. They are the ones who are interested in what you have to say on your site, allowing you to send them offers, promote products or just encourage them back to your site.
AWeber is the market leader for email marketing software where you can create and schedule a set of emails to be broadcast automatically once people subscribe. You can create signup boxes, newsletters, broadcasts and much more by using them, helping you to grow and manage your email list.
4. Not Posting Enough
Every website needs regular content published as that helps to drive traffic. People (and more importantly search engines) will see that the site is active, which will encourage them to come back again and read more.
If you don’t post enough, then your site can become stagnant. A lot depends on what your site is about, but you wouldn’t keep coming back to a site if nothing changed.
Make a list of all the things that you can write about and keep adding to it when you get inspiration. If you end up struggling for ideas, it may mean that your niche is too small, in which case you may need to broaden out a bit. I think a lot though comes down to getting into a regular routine. Try to update your site regularly (perhaps once or twice a week) and stick to it.
5. Posting Too Often
Some people go to the other extreme and post far too often. Like we said, regular content is good, but too much can be overwhelming for your readers. If you are publishing 4, 5 or even more posts a day, then you can’t expect visitors to keep up. Sites that post this frequently tend to be massive news sites with lots of writers and millions of visitors. That is certainly something to aim for, but you certainly can’t do that on your own.
You also have to consider the quality of what you are posting. Publishing 1 high quality post is MUCH better than lots of little mediocre posts. As the saying goes, “It’s quality not quantity!”
6. Doing Zero Social Media
Social media is a fantastic way to market your site, so it makes sense that you should be using it. Make sure that you have an active presence on all the major social networks (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.), particularly the ones that relate to your site.
Just having a page setup on each of these networks will help people to find you, but by engaging with your audience, it is such a great way to build a following for your site that you shouldn’t overlook.
7. Doing Zero SEO
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is an often understood practice that seems to confuse and petrify people at the same time. It may sound complicated and unfathomable, but it’s really not too difficult when you get to know it.
SEO is simply a way of getting your website/content seen by search engines so that they can index it and present it to as many people as possible. Search engines, like Google, are by far your best bet to get traffic to your site, so it’s best to work with them.
By using On-Page & Off-Page SEO techniques, your content can rank highly on search engine result pages (SERPs). The higher you appear on the SERPs, the more traffic you will get.
Essentially, all it involves is making it clear what your posts are about. This is done by including keywords in your post/page titles, meta descriptions, sub-headings, alt-tags, etc. That way, when the search engines find your content, they have a better understanding of what it is about, allowing them to show it to people who are looking for that information.
If you are doing zero SEO for your site, you are essentially sticking your head in the sand. Spend some time learning about SEO and actively doing some for your site. It’s not as scary as you may think.
8. Not Interacting With Your Readers
If people spend the time leaving comments on your site, sending you emails or asking questions via your social media channels, you should make sure to respond to them. Not only is it good manners but it is also good for business. If people see that you are happy to interact with them and help, they will be much more likely to keep coming back for more. It also shows that your site is an active one, which again can encourage people to keep visiting your site.
Admittedly, this can become a problem if your site is very popular (can’t reply to everyone), but you should at least try to reply to as many as you can.
I have in the past made changes to my sites, only to find that they were not displaying correctly on another browser that I didn’t use regularly. Once you know about the problem, it’s usually very easy to fix, but you need to test it to find out.
Get into the habit of testing your website on Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera and Safari (the 5 most popular web browsers) whenever you make any changes to your site. That way, you can see whether there are any issues that need fixing.
10. Thinking That Your Website Is Finished (Biggest Website Mistake!)
This is probably one of the BIGGEST website mistakes on the list that many people fall victim too. The minute you think that your site is “finished”, you may as well pack up and do something else.
The internet is constantly evolving and there is always competition looking to overtake you. You should always be looking to update, reinvent, add new features/products/content, etc. to your site to keep it fresh. This is one of the things that I absolutely love about what I do, there is always something new to learn about and improve on your site that you should never find yourself standing still. Keep pushing yourself and striving to create a better site for your visitors. That is the best way to run your site.
What website mistakes have you made on your site and how did you go about fixing them? What other common website mistakes would you add to this list? Please let us know below by leaving a comment.
I thought it was about time we got down to talking about something that all of us Bizzebee’s do with our own sites – affiliate marketing, which can be a fantastic way to monetize your website. In this post we will talk about what affiliate marketing is and try to answer some of the questions that you may have. Let’s get started…
So, What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a way of earning money on your site by promoting other people’s products. You get a commission for every sale that is made via a referral from your site. Many websites like productexpert.com use affiliate marketing as a way of monetizing their website (as well as other methods) as it can be quite effective when done properly.
What Products Can I Promote On My Site?
Short answer – more than you think!
Many people new to affiliate marketing think that there must only be a handful of affiliate products that they could promote, but in fact there are vast amounts that are available for you to promote.
Think about it – if someone has a brand new product that they want to sell, instead of selling it themselves, they setup an affiliate program for that product and pay a commission (let’s say 30%) to everyone that helps to sell it. This can help that product reach a much wider audience than would have been possible by doing it themselves, which in turn helps them to earn more money.
For this reason alone, many current products, in a wide range of industries, have some sort of affiliate program that you can sign up too. All you have to do is find where the affiliate program is.
OK, So Where Can I Find Affiliate Programs?
There are a few different places to find affiliate products to promote.
The first place you should try is a product’s official website. You may find a link somewhere (usually the footer) where you can join their ‘affiliate program’ or ‘become a partner’ – something along those lines. If you can’t find one, it probably just means that they don’t have an official one.
The second place you can try is a dedicated affiliate product website (like clickbank or commission junction) and search for them there. These affiliate marketplaces have thousands of products available for you to promote (though admittedly they aren’t all worth promoting), in a number of different niches.
The third place you can try is big eCommerce sites. Sites like; Amazon, iTunes, WallMart, etc. all have their own affiliate programs that you can sign up too, allowing you to promote and earn commission on the products that they sell. This method can really help you to find the type of product that you want to promote for your site as they literally have thousands to choose from.
The best bit though is that you can signup to as many different affiliate programs as you want and promote multiple products on your site, all of which can earn you a commission if a sale is made.
What Are The Highest Paying Affiliate Programs Then?
This is a question that comes up time and again and frankly this is the wrong question to be asking!
Instead of asking “what the top affiliate programs are?”, you should be asking yourself “what products would my readers be interested in?” Only then will you truly be able to make the most of affiliate marketing.
For example – Let’s say that we found an amazingly good, high paying affiliate program for an airline and we wanted to promote holidays with them here on Bizzebee. This simply wouldn’t work as Bizzebee is a business site. People aren’t visiting our site looking to book a holiday, they want to learn about ways to help their online business. It wouldn’t matter how much we got paid for a commission as we likely wouldn’t make any sales because our readers aren’t interested.
When thinking about what to promote, ask yourself;
What are your readers interested in?
What products do you use that you could recommend?
So If I Pick The Right Products, I’ll Make Loads Of Money?
Affiliate marketing “can” potentially make you lots of money, HOWEVER a lot depends on the traffic your site is getting. Remember, you only get paid for every sale, not click, which is a result of someone buying via your affiliate link. The more people you get to your site, the more chance you have of people buying.
Affiliate marketing is simply one way that you can monetize your site, but just like any other method, you need to work on building up your traffic. This is not some “get rich quick” scheme, it requires lots of hard work to make it work, but if you do, it can be quite rewarding.
Do you use affiliate marketing on your website? Where do you find products to promote? Please let us know by leaving a comment below.
I previously wrote about the need to publish quality content on your site, why evergreen content is great for long term success and even how often you should post, but what do you do when you just can’t seem to think of a blog post ideat? This is something that ALL bloggers suffer with at times, which is why I decided to put together a post full of blog post ideas to help you out.
Feel free to bookmark this post and keep coming back to it as hopefully it will help you out when you are suffering from writers block and struggling for inspiration.
15 Blog Post Ideas
1. Product Reviews
Everyone likes reading reviews as we all like to get a second opinion from someone. There are always new products coming out onto the market that you could write a review on. Try to find products that are related to your niche and write an “honest” review of them. Readers will prefer if you are honest with them, so pick out both the positive and negatives of products.
Also, remember to include your affiliate links if you have any.
Why I use ______
Why I don’t use ______
______ Review – The best product on the market
2. Website Reviews
As well as products, why not write a review of a website! It could be a site that you really like or really hate. Tell people why you like/dislike it and offer up suggestions as to how they could improve it or recreate it. The owner of the site you are talking about may get in touch to thank you for reviewing their site for them, especially if you pointed out something that they can improve.
Why I love ______.com
Why I hate ______.com
Why ______.com will never get any traffic!
3. What Tools Do You Use
There will be many people that will want to know more about the tools that you use for your business/website. This is a great type of content to write about as it is usually quite straight forward on your part.
Think about what software, online tools, equipment, etc. that you use every day that others may not know about.
______ – The best tool that I use for my business
Tools of the trade for my business
How ______ helped me improve my site
4. Case Studies – Use Yourself As An Example
You can talk about a subject until you are blue in the face, but people really like it when you can prove what you are talking about works. Using yourself as a case study is a great way of doing this.
Think about the things that you have worked on and what goals you have achieved with your business. Use these as examples that you can write about. Back this up with some proof (i.e. images, graphs, charts, etc.) and you will have something that people will love to read.
How I got 1,000 subscribers in a day! (Case Study)
(Case Study) How I sold X products on launch day
Reviewing our first 12 months online (Case Study)
5. Case Studies – Use Others As An Example
Why not use someone else as an example and write a case study on them. There will be plenty of people in your niche that you look up to. Do a bit of research on them and turn it into a case study.
(Case Study) How Joe Bloggs went from from zero to hero!
How John Smith made his fortune (Case Study)
How John Doe created his mega business in 12 months. (Case Study)
Interviewing people for your site can be a great way to create some interesting content. Not only will your readers be able to learn something from someone different, it can also help you to build contacts with people from within your industry.
The easiest way of doing this would be to send out a few emails with some questions included. That way, people can answer them in their own time and get back to you with their answers.
To take it a step further, why not ask to interview someone online via Skype or Google Hangout. Record it as a video or audio clip (possible podcast) and publish it on your site.
The great thing about interviews is that they can attract a whole different audience to your site. If you can manage to land a big fish from your industry that people know, you could end up getting a big boost in traffic.
Joe Bloggs Interview – Talking to a business hero
John Smith Interview – John shares his business wisdom
John Doe Interview – John explains what he did in his first 12 months
7. Compare X Vs. Y
We all like reading about comparisons, whether it’s a comparison between two people, two similar products, similar businesses/websites, etc. we can all gain some valuable information.
Products are an excellent example for this type of post. Think of two similar products in your niche and compare them. What aspects are better than the other, which is better value for money, which is easier to use, etc. These are all questions that people want to know when choosing themselves.
Why X is better than Y
X vs Y – Why I use X
Should you choose X or Y?
8. (Re)Introduce Yourself
The best writers and bloggers are popular because they have built up a relationship with their audience. If readers can relate to you and view you as a real person, rather than a faceless writer, then they will feel much closer to you.
Share your story of how you got to be where you are now, talk about what successes you have had, what winds you up, what makes you happy, etc. These will all help you appear more human and much more likable.
How I first got into ______ business
What I learned in my first 12 months online
How I opened up my first store
9. Talk About The Mistakes You Have Made
I don’t know about you, but I don’t really trust people who claim they do everything right first time. I like it when people share the mistakes that they have made along the way and what lessons they learned from it. They come across much more real when they do this, plus it is a great way to learn from others past experiences.
I am sure there are plenty of things you will have messed up on (I know I have enough times), so share that with your readers and explain what you learned from it.
The 5 biggest mistakes I made with my business
The big lesson I learned from messing up
Why failing in ______ was the best thing that ever happened
10. Be Controversial
These types of posts can either become really popular, or if you’re not careful, they can backfire. It all depends on what the subject matter is and how you write it.
Be controversial and arrogant (to a certain degree) about a subject and tell people why you believe that. It can get boring hearing the exact same thing from everyone else, so if you can stand up and be different, then people will be interested. They may not all agree with you, but hopefully that should spark a debate among your readers.
Like I say, this can backfire if you aren’t careful. You want to sound different and explain why you feel that way, but don’t overdo it. Readers won’t like it if you appear nasty or argumentative just for the sake of it.
Why I think ______ is stupid
Why I am ditching ______ and doing something different
______ no longer works, this is why
11. Run Competitions
Everyone loves the thought of winning something, especially if it is something of use to them. Running competitions on your site can be a great way of gaining interest from people.
Get in touch with some businesses (online or offline) that have some products that are of interest to your viewers and ask them if they would be interested in running a competition with you. You do all the work setting up the competition, running it and picking the winners, and they simply supply 1 or 2 free products.
Not only would they be getting some free advertising in front of your targeted audience, but competitions can help to bring in more traffic to your site. It’s a win-win for both of you.
Win a FREE ______ for your business
Win 12 months Free _______ subscription
Win 2 Free ______ tickets
12. Be Competitive
You can find yourself stuck in a rut if you aren’t consistently pushing yourself to improve and make your business better. A great way to overcome this is to compete against someone else.
You could find a rival and actually get in touch to turn it into a healthy competition that benefits both of you. Who can get the most sales in a month, who can get the most traffic in a week, who can get the most subscribers, etc. There are lots of things that you can do to turn into a competition. Perhaps the loser has to perform an embarrassing forfeit or give free advertising to the winner for a week.
Visitors can become quite involved in two sides competing like this, especially if it is all done in good spirits. Make it enjoyable and engaging for people watching/reading and have fun with it yourself.
______ vs Matt – Who will get the most traffic
Who will win, ______ or ______
How I will do X before ______
13. Reveal A Secret
Now, I’m not talking about confessing your sins to people, I am referring to giving the impression that you have insider information that you want to share with people. Everyone wants to get the upper hand on their competition, so content that sounds like they are giving away a “secret” will always spark interest.
For this to work, you do ACTUALLY need to know something worth sharing, otherwise people won’t stick around for long.
What you didn’t know about ______
Why no one is talking about ______
The 7 things people don’t know about in X business
14. Top Lists
I’m a big fan of top lists as it gives me the chance to compare it with my own views. I always like reading about people’s favourite top 10 movies, as no two lists are ever the same.
Instead of movies, think about the type of top lists you can create for your business. People will be able to see whether it matches with what they think, which can spark debate and get a conversation going.
Top 10 _______
Top 50 businesses to watch out for
5 great tools for your site
15. How To… In X Days/Weeks/Months
What sounds better; ‘How to lose 10lbs’ or ‘How to lose 10lbs in a week’?
Show people how to achieve something in a set time period and it can grab their attention. We are all lazy creatures really. If something doesn’t have an end date that we know to work towards and is just left open ended, then that isn’t as interesting.
How to do ______ in 7 days
How to ______ in a month
How to create a ______ in 6 weeks
These are just a few blog post ideas that you can use when stuck for inspiration. The best bit is that many of these can merge into one another, giving you even more options to use.
Why not talk about the mistakes you made when using a certain product, make a top list of all the things you can do on your site to improve it or compare your business to a competitors.
The more content you write, the more ideas you will get for future posts. There are literally an infinite number of things that you could write about, so there shouldn’t be any reason for being stuck for blog post ideas. But if you are, then feel free to come back to this post.
What other content types of blog post ideas would you add to this list? Which of these blog post ideas have you used before? Which haven’t you used? Please let us know in the comment section below.
Changing perspective can always make you see things differently, if I said that people should invest in a blog and spend a few years working on it most people would say that it wasn’t worth it. I however disagree, I believe starting a blog can be one of the wisest investments anyone can do. It can help you grow a business using the blog effectively, also getting a enterprise investment scheme can help you organizing an investment to grow a new business.
When you consider the cost of starting a traditional offline business on the high street of your town, you are usually in big debt before you have started your first day of trading. This is pretty common and is one of the main reasons why people file bankruptcy when just started a new business. In many cases it can take years to make your money back and turn a profit. Many restaurants go bust within the first six months of starting and other businesses can go bust within the first two years. The odds are not good for offline business surviving especially during this global recession.
Starting an online business can be far better than an offline business for many reasons; this great article will tell you more.
When you start an online business, and for this example I am going to talk about a simple blog, the start-up cost can be as little as $70 for the year. For that you will register your domain name and then get hosting. Hosting is your online rent; the cheapest package with Hostgator is $47.52. Unless you decide to outsource your content creation all of the work would be done by yourself.
So the cost for the year is around $70, you can start to build an email list if you like and often people suggest that you start at the beginning but there is a cost associated with building an email list and the truth be told, for the first 3 – 6 months you will probably get very few sign ups from organic traffic while you are growing your site. You could employ some paid methods to generate traffic to your site and start to build your email list faster if you wish.
Starting a blog and working on it can require some work and commitment on your part however I will give you a big, BIG secret here, the success of a blog is not always down to the commitment and work you put in but the quality of your plan. Every business needs a solid business plan and building a blog is no different.
Ok so you are probably wondering about the bank account part to this post, well I am writing this in the U.K. where we are currently in the 3rd year of recession or is it the 4th? Maybe more, it seems like the news has been going on about it forever! The banks which are the traditional way of saving your money pays an interest on the money you have stored with them, people put money into banks hoping to make some extra via the interest they pay. For large sums of money it can be useful.
Originally this interest was paid as a thank you for lending the bank the money that they could then lend to other people with help from their Johnson City Savings Accounts, the bank would charge a higher interest rate as part of the repayment and they would pay you back from that money as a way to say thank you. Everyone was a winner, the person wanting to start a business was given some start-up capital which he repaid back over time, the bank made a profit from the interest paid on the loan and you made a small profit for having your money in that bank.
Thanks to the banks getting greedy and making a big mess of everything they have had to claw back as much money as possible to prevent them going under and this has meant that many interest rates on savings accounts have been slashed.
While I write this I did a quick search and found on Google U.K. that if I had £3000 in an account and deposited £1000 each month for 12 months without an overdraft limited I could earn between £5 and £10 a month in interest.
What is interesting is that one account would cost me £10 a month in fees and only generate £5.92 in interest. I know that if I do not touch the money then compound interest comes into play.
“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it … he who doesn’t … pays it.” – Albert Einstein
But what I want to get across is this, I would need to have £3000 in the account and deposit £1000 a month to earn roughly £72. Now I ask, is it worth it?
I know you need to store your money someone where but it is wrong now to think of most banks and their accounts as a good way to generate money via interest. The example above would have £15000 in the account after the first year and earn less than £100 in interest and you might notice that some of the rates drop down to 1% after the first year.
Back to the online business, a blog that can cost $70 to run for 1 year can in fact generate far more money back in return, and let’s not forget something, with all the technology that we have today a blog doesn’t have to mean more work or pressure for you, there are a lot of innovations that can help you out; in fact, the future of AI is changing very fast and for the better. While growing your blog, writing posts and sharing them on your growing social media networks (every blogger should build a network of fans and followers on Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus) you could record a series of short videos or write an eBook complimenting the niche of your blog and then sell it to your site visitors.
Imagine that you created a series of 10 short videos and charged your site visitors only $10 to access them. You only need 7 of your site readers to pay for access and you now have $70, that is your money made back, increase that to 14 customers then you have doubled your initial investment. How hard can it be to sell 14 places to your online video course over 12 months?
Video and eBooks can be created very easily at home with the tools at hand. Videos can be made using free software like Screencast-O-Matic.com and eBooks can be produced using a range of free software like Libra Office and Paint.net for the images.
I know of one guy who was making around $300 a month from selling a blogging video course from a box standard WordPress site, he was charging more than $10 for access and it was his first project. His website cost was as little as $70 and he was using the very basic WordPress standard TwentyTen theme.
There is also the possibility of generating advertising revenue by using networks like Google AdWords or maybe even private advertising. Imagine selling an advert spot to a local business at $10 per month, at the end of the year you will have $120 which is $50 profit after your $70 cost is accounted for. Now imagine selling advertising space to several businesses!
When you get a lot of site visitors and customers you may require to pay more each month for hosting as your bandwidth and disk space will need to be increased.
Patt Flynn the legendary blogger makes over $40,000 a month from his blogs, his monthly costs are not $70 anymore, I am sure he would like it if they were however as his business grew so did the costs.
This April 2013 his outgoings were $8,650.93 and his gross incomings were $58,412.33 leaving him with a profit of $49,761.40. Now you will not get that, Pat is well established and has several sites and products that generate income including iPhone apps and a bestselling book on Amazon but what is interesting here is the ratio of what he puts in and what he gets out.He started out as a simple blogger!
Also after a couple of years you decide you have had enough and if you have worked on your blog and grown it to something generating a profit or at least has a potential to grow into a profitable blog you could sell it, some blogs have sold for several thousand dollars with some reaching the hundreds of thousands, after two years and a cost of around $140 you were able to sell your site for a nice respectable $500 you have still more than doubled your money.
There are running costs to websites and they do increase over time however as I am sure you are beginning to see, the investment is not only well worth it, it outstrips any return you get from relying on your bank account to swell your savings.