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.
If you are a small offline business and you are building up your online presence with a blog and a social media campaign you will know that it isn’t easy unless you are creating and sharing content.
Creating fresh content isn’t particularly easy either especially if this is all new to you or creating digital content is not the nature of your job. I am a writer and content creator and I knew that I had to write a post today but I was struggling to think up what to write about, and I write regularly so for someone who is new to all of this it can be a real nightmare.
I looked through a few of the last posts I had written recently for numerous projects and found some inspiration for today’s post. For a new website owner you might not even have much to go back through to help inspire your creative side.
Well today I want to share with you the best and fastest ways to create content for your website and social media campaigns and that is to curate content from the web. Content curation is a newish term that describes basically what newspapers have been doing for years now.
Papers need to sell papers for their businesses to survive and to keep people buying those papers they needed to fill their pages with good content. If there were a big event happening like the tragedy of September 11th 2001 then there is a lot of content for them to fill their paper with but if it was a quiet week for news and they needed to fill out their pages they would source interesting news stories from around the country and often the world then re publish them.
There would be a specific journalist who would look for these stories then re write them to go into the paper and include all the relevant and important source credits. The people who read the paper would still keep on buying it even if a lot of the stories were sourced from other papers.
They very rarely went out and changed their daily paper for those where the stories came from, mainly because they were too numerous to mention and often small regional papers. They preferred to have all of the interesting news and stories delivered to them in one place.
When you have a website and a social media campaign you can do the same as long as you give the right source credit and play fair. For example, if you ran a local Cup Cake Bakery and you had a blog that you were building up, you could do a post that included the ’10 Best Cupcakes We Have Ever Seen’ and include 10 pictures of cakes you have seen in magazines or on the web.
You write a little blurb about the cakes then add any relevant source links to the image/cake owners etc and then you are good to go. You might see in a magazine an article with images about a cup cake bakery in Australia and decide to re write the article in your own positive way re using the images.
Again you make sure you have the right credit links in place, if you do then most people would be flattered that you have featured them or their work on your website. After all it is free advertising and exposure for them.
Some people may ask you to remove their images or stories from your site but it isn’t personal, just remove them if you are asked. It is unlikely though, if they do then they are seriously missing the big picture. As I said it is free advertising and exposure for these people.
Now you are beginning to see that you can mix up your website content with your own images and content with content you have found and enjoyed that is other people’s work. This is actually good for your social media campaign because it can do two very important things..
Your followers will not get fed up if you share content that is interesting and not just yours. If you posted on Facebook & Twitter everyday your own images with a dull ‘Like My New Cupcake Picture’ style posts people will get fed up. Sharing other interesting stuff and other people’s work shows that you are an interesting person and not just out to ‘Constantly Sell & Push Your Products’.
You can start to build a network of likeminded friends, you may not be able to meet up with or work with your fellow cupcake bakers in Australia but you can share ideas, chat work and share each other’s videos, pictures and articles. You might make friends with bakers in a neighbouring city which might lead to some work or at least a great friendship.
It is building up a network of like-minded friends that led to this bizzebee site being developed.
Curating content is big business and yes there is some work involved especially when re writing the content or adapting it into a series of fun images but there is no big thinking needed or planning required. You have access to all of the information right in front of you and usually all of the images you need just require you to download them to your computer and upload them to your site.
If you want to add more content such as a YouTube video or more images you have all of the details you need to do a search for more information. For example if you were recreating an article on the ‘10 Best Cupcake Shops In England’ and you were writing about the shop ‘Cupids Cupcake’s’ in Colchester (Fictitious example). But the article you were using as your base only had 2 images for this shop yet it had four for the rest, you could easily do a Google search for more because you have the exact keywords to find out more information and images for ‘Cupids Cupcake’s.’
Curating content is not theft if you correctly use source credits and links to the places where the images and content come from. You might not have permission to use them and if you really want to be all above board then shoot off emails to the right people asking for permission but usually it is seen as ‘fan advertisement’.
There are millions of websites online run by fans and they often write about the things they love like films & TV, books and sports, they would use images of the actors/sports people but rarely get sued because they were generating free advertising which is good for these industries. In fact when blogging by fans became huge with many websites having millions of regular visitors big companies took notice and now regularly send fan writers free stuff to review or just to say thank you.
When you curate content you are not using those images for commercial gain in its truest sense, yes you are using it for site content to help grow your business but you are not using their images as your own or recreating them within a book that you plan to sell.
They can ask for the content to be removed but if you have done your work properly then the chances are they will be happy that you have shared and featured their work or they will ask for the content to be removed in a friendlier manner than they would if you had stolen the work for your own use.
So if you have a website and growing a following on social media but struggling to think up or create content then why not look at the things you are reading and enjoying online then curate it into your own relevant content? It can be done while relaxing at home in the evening in front of the TV because it does require less thinking than creating your own unique content.
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.
Having a great headline is essential for any post throughout your content marketing strategy. It’s the title that makes the reader decide to click through to read more, to open that email or post instead of opting for the many others. Magazine publishers spend millions of dollars trying to perfect their content strategy and the headline will be a big part in that.
Next time you are at a magazine stand try and see which magazines your eyes are drawn too (careful, try not to drift up to the top….) and then check out some of the headlines on the front cover. They will have on the front cover titles of articles that are included in that edition.
It is these headlines that will essentially make you decide if you are going to buy it or not. Was it intriguing enough? Did it leave you wanting to know the answer?
People say you should not judge a book by its cover – but essentially people do, whether we like it or not. It’s the same with magazines for the first time buyer. You see the magazine company hopes you will become a new regular reader obviously. But its winning you over from all the other competing magazines that matters the most. Once they have converted you the hard part is done…..
So How Do They Do It?
Well, like with any successful blog post or actually any successful content marketing strategy online or offline they use great, captivating titles; or headlines.
Lets take some examples. If you were a Gardener and just discovered a great way to double the size of your tomatoes, which headline would captivate you the most?
How To Grow Bigger Tomatoes
How I Doubled The Size of My Tomatoes With One Simple Trick!
Sure in some ways both are fairly captivating, but in my view and hopefully most of yours the 2nd headline seems more appealing.
It gives the reader an understanding of what they are going to get from the article. The first one is a little vague and does not really say too much. The next headline draws people in and also gives a promise that by reading the article you will learn something simple that you can apply with your own tomato growth!
Here is a presentation from We Are Visual showing you 12 killer headlines you are free to use and adapt in your own content marketing strategies:
The best thing about these titles is they are already proven – these are taken from some of the top magazines around the world. The publishing houses spend millions of dollars on advertising and making sure they get the best hook from their audience.
They are all everygreen and you can apply them to virtually any niche.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
One question that comes up time and time again when talking to new bloggers is “How often should you post on your blog?” It’s a valid question, I mean how many times should you post? I’m sure everyone will have their own opinion, but I thought I would share my views and explain why I view them like this.
Every Blog Needs Regular Content
In order for your website to even stand a chance of being a success, you will need to produce and publish regular content.
Your site visitors will also appreciate regular content on your site, as it encourages them to keep coming back for more. At the end of the day that is what you are after – more traffic to your site. Think about it, if you found a site that you liked and then came back in a couple of weeks to find that nothing had changed, would you keep revisiting the site? Probably not!
So updating your site regularly with new content will help to encourage new (and returning) traffic. But when we say “regularly update your site”, how regularly do we mean?
How Often Can YOU Post On Your Blog?
Before I give my views – how often can YOU post on your site? I only ask this as it’s important to think about how much time you can give to your site. You may have; other work commitments, other sites that need your attention, a family, etc. After all, you are the one that is going to need to put in the work into updating and publishing new content your site, so only you can judge how often you can post.
If you are just starting out in the world of blogging, it can often be good to start by publishing only a few (maybe 1 a week) and then work your way up. This way, you can get a feel for what you are doing and learn about all the other aspects that go with it along the way.
Quality not Quantity
Ideally, you want to post as often as possible. HOWEVER, when I say that, I mean you want to publish as many “high quality posts” as possible. Posting 4,5, even 10 posts a day is just ridiculous as you can’t hope to publish anything of “quality”.
If it’s just you running your site, then I would aim to publish 1-2 posts a week. When I first started ‘Online Income Teacher’, I published 2 a week (every Tuesday and Thursday). This was great as it allowed me to work on the other aspects of my site (monetizing, email list, branding, social media, guest blogging, etc.) for the rest of the week.
I’ve since switched to 3 times a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) as I am a much faster writer now and can manage my time much better.
Here on Bizzebee, we also publish 3 times a week. Whilst we could publish every day (and did for a bit to get the site up and running), we all have individual work that keeps us busy, as well as creating content for ‘The Hive‘ – the Bizzebee membership area.
It’s important that you pick a posting schedule that you are happy with. If you feel that you can produce a quality post every day, then go for it! But like I say, you may be better off starting at a slower pace and working your way up.
Post On Your Blog Like Clockwork
Whatever your schedule is, make sure that you stick with it. If you decide to publish twice a week, publish 2 posts a week – every week! There is nothing more frustrating for a reader than their favourite blogger running out of steam. You would be quite disappointed if you found a blogger that you liked, only to find that they went from publishing every day to now only 1 a month (if that).
Similarly, if you write 5 posts one week, then 1 post the next, then disappear for a month, etc. people aren’t going to stay very loyal. Readers like to know where they stand. They will only keep visiting your site if they can expect to find something new. We are all creatures of habit, if we know that you publish once a week, we will come to expect that.
There is no magic number of how often you should post on a site. Publish as often as you can, but make sure that what you are publishing is of the highest quality. Consistently publishing quality content (however often) will always attract traffic.
How often do you post on your blog? Have you changed how often you post? If so, why? Please let us know in the comment section below!
All websites need quality content as that is what ultimately attracts visitors. Content also helps you rank well in the search engines and (hopefully) will be shared on social media by your readers once they find it. That is why it’s important that your content is up to scratch, because if it’s not, you can’t expect to create a popular site. Content is king after all!
What Makes Quality Content?
So what makes good content I hear you say? Well there is no secret formula; a lot of it will just come down to practice. There are, however, certain things that you can do to improve your posts. Let’s take a look at some.
Check Your Spelling & Grammar!
One thing that readers really hate is poorly written articles! Nobody will begrudge the odd genuine mistake (we all make them), but if your posts are littered with them, then it doesn’t look very good. It doesn’t take long to double or even triple check your posts before you publish them, as it will certainly make a difference.
This may seem obvious, but I’m constantly finding blogs that don’t seem to do this. It gives the impression that they have rushed writing the article or just don’t care. These types of mistakes will just end up costing you traffic. I’ve seen lots of great quality posts written by people whose first language isn’t English, so it’s even more frustrating to find poorly written posts by people who actually speak English as their first language.
For me it is a matter of pride. You are creating something to be published online, which is a reflection on you. You don’t know who will end up reading that, so you may as well make sure that it is of the highest standard that you can.
Use Paragraphs, Subtitles & Bullet Points
Let’s face it, large chunks of text can be quite boring. If we wanted to read a novel, we would have bought a book.
Readers can be quite intimidated by a mass of text, especially when it is a rather long post. That is why it’s important to try and break up your posts as much as you can.
Structuring your posts with short paragraphs, subtitles and bullet points are all great ways to break up your posts. Not only does it make it easier for people to read, but it makes it easier for them to scan through. Like it or not, the vast majority of people scan through posts to find the bits they are after, so you may as well make it easy for them.
Similarly, adding images can help break up your posts. Text on its own is rather dull, so adding images can help brighten them up and make them a lot more visually appealing.
Don’t just use them for the sake of it though. Images are great to help make a point or explain something in a more visual way. Tutorial posts are a good example as you would want to include as many screenshots as you could to help guide the reader through what you are talking about. Infographics or slideshows are another way that you can add quality information to your posts in the form of images.
The added benefit of images (that most people forget about) is that they can help bring in traffic to a site. Your post images can appear in the Google Image search results, so people can find your site that way.
People are lazy! If given the choice between reading something or watching something, more often than not they will choose to watch something. Adding videos to your posts can help to engage your readers and keep them on your site for longer.
The added benefit to videos is that you can convey a lot more information in them. Instead of simply writing a tutorial, why not record a tutorial showing people how to do something (or better yet do both). That way, your readers can see exactly what you are trying to show them.
They don’t even need to be your own videos! You can embed any videos from YouTube into your posts. People won’t mind, as they will get more views and you get a nice video for your site. It’s a win-win.
At the heart of any quality content should be your readers. They are the people that you should be writing for, they are your audience, your customers, the lifeblood of your site – so make sure you are writing for them!
It’s easy to get distracted and end up writing on what you want to focus on (believe me, I’ve done it enough times), but you should always try to take a step back and assess whether this is what your audience wants.
Why not just ask them yourself! Get on social media and ask your followers what they want to read about next or whether they have any questions they want you to answer. This is one of the best ways to produce quality content as you are giving your readers what they want. Plus, you can get some very loyal readers if you made a post for them specifically.
Be Patient, It Takes Time
At the end of the day, you can’t expect to write quality content from day 1. It will take time for you to find your voice and get into the swing of things. All these tips will help you along the way, but the more content you write, the better you will get – it just takes practice and perseverance.
What do you think makes good quality content? What do you think makes bad content? Please let us know by leaving a comment below!