Category Archives for "Blogging Tips"

May 19, 2016

18 Essential Blogging Tools For Beginners

You could just start your blogging career by starting a blog and typing away. But blogging tools will help you make better use of your time by creating better content, making things look more appealing, helping readers understand what your message is, and getting your content shared, talked about, and ranked. All of these things are important to helping you create a successful blog, not just a blog.

According to DMR, there are 50,000 new WordPress websites added daily. According to Social Triggers, there are 164 million blogs and most of those blogs are not getting very much traffic. The people behind these blogs are likely not having the success they want to a variety of reasons, including not putting a lot of effort in and not using simple blogging tools that could help them reach more people.

A Note On Paid Blogging Tools

A lot of the blogging tools I’m going to talk about are free, and some are free to a certain extent. I still want you to take into consideration these tools!

If you are just starting out with blogging, or you are not making a lot of money through blogging, then you may be resisting paying money for blogging tools. I totally understand that, but, the fact is that some paid blogging tools have the potential to help you achieve much more success, which is why they are considered an important investment for bloggers. I know bloggers that tried to do everything for free, and they spent years getting themselves to the same place someone who was willing to spend money took to get in a few months. It can really make that big of a difference towards your blog’s success!

I highly recommend reinvesting any money you make in the beginning into blogging tools that cost money. Even if you are investing as much as you are making, your income can start to rise, and you can start to get a huge return on your investment.

18 Essential Blogging Tools

There are just some tools that I wish I had known about when I started blogging. While 18 tools might seem like a lot, you will find each one of them valuable in their own way. Moreover, they will actually speed up your blogging efforts, not hinder them. So, let’s get started.

1. BuzzSumo

This is one of the blogging tools that you will find extremely useful for content creation and much more. You will use it before you write a post, during, and after, so make sure you keep it easily accessible.

The tool allows you to plug in a topic in the search bar and then see results of the most popular articles that have been written around that topic. You can see how well each of the articles did on popular social media channels, which can give you an idea of how well the post was received.

Moreover, if you are trying to come up with content around a specific keyword or topic, BuzzSumo can give you a ton of ideas. It can also give you a lot of information to add to your article (with proper backlinks to the original article, of course) and places to point to in your article for more related information.

You can also search for key influencers around a certain topic or keyword, which can help you schedule in potential guest blog posts at their sites and definitely give you a place to go and comment for a potential link back to your site. As well, interacting with key influencers can help boost your online blogging reputation, which will benefit you in a big way!

And you can find trending articles to get the latest scoop on what is popular. Use this information to create a post related to your niche around a hot topic and increase your chances of getting shared!

You can also find your most popular blog posts or the most popular blog posts of a competitor to help you figure out what people want and don’t want to read.

You can use BuzzSumo for free with limited results, or you can pay to use it. The paid version has a lot more information, such as backlinks to specific articles, filter for what is trending by times, and access to content analysis on keywords. It is expensive to use, coming it at around $99 per month, but if you can afford it, or once you start making more money to justify it, this will be one of those blogging tools that allow you to grow your blog on an exponential level. It really is essential.

2. Easel.ly

Infographics are popular. They earn you more shares socially, and they keep people’s attention more. You can also get backlinks from people who want others to see your infographic. In short, they are essential for your blog. But, they can be time-consuming to make.

Easel.ly has different infographic templates that are easy to use with its drag and drop functions. You can add your own text, change the colors, and add your own pictures.

You can get some standard icons and infographic templates for free, but you can also pay $3 a month (yes, that’s only $3) to get more choices of images, fonts, and templates. Considering how popular infographics are and how much traffic they can bring in, $3 is an investment everyone can make! You can download the infographics you create as an image or PDF, and there is no watermark or need to put their site on your infographic. You can find it at http://www.easel.ly/.

3. Easy Tweet Embed

This is a plugin for WordPress that makes sharing on Twitter so much easier for your readers. The plugin puts a Twitter icon in your toolbar. When you write a new post, and all you have to do is click on that icon, fill in the anchor text, such as ‘Tweet This’, and then write out your tweet that will be included in the Tweet if someone clicks on your anchor text. Then, insert a permalink, which will link to your blog post, and insert it into your blog post.

This works best for quotes. Write out your quote, and use Easy Embed Tweet to help people easily tweet out that quote, which people are very likely to do if it’s easy!

4. StayFocusd and LeechBlock

One of the hardest things about blogging is staying focused enough to get things done in the limited time you have. Because blogging requires you to be on the Internet, you will find that articles, such as ‘Celebrities Who Matured Gracefully’ will catch your attention, and before long you will have wasted an hour or two doing nothing for your blog.

If you want to see results on your blog, and you are currently doing all the work for your blog instead of outsourcing, then you have to put in the time. If you do, you will be rewarded with increased wealth from your blog.

Think you can stay focused using motivation alone? I used to as well! I used to keep a picture of what I was working towards by my computer, which I thought would help me stay on point knowing what I was trying to achieve. I didn’t. I got caught up in YouTube videos, Facebook shares, and all kinds of ridiculous articles. I always wonder what extra success I would have happened had I used that time wisely. Take my word for it – you don’t want to be left wondering.

If you are using Chrome as your browser, then StayFocusd is what you need. You can add sites to block yourself from for a certain period of time that you want to stay focused, such as Facebook, YouTube, or other social media sites.

If you are using Firefox, then LeechBlock is your answer for being more productive. You can block sites for a certain amount of time and get really focused on making the most of the time you have to blog.

5. Hootsuite

I use Hootsuite daily, and I think it’s a tool that every blogger who uses social media should have. You can add your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, and Linkedin accounts to Hootsuite so that you can manage all of your social profiles from one place. You can even manage your Facebook pages from Hootsuite.

For each social profile, you can add streams that allow you to see different aspects of your profile. For instance, if you have a Twitter account hooked up to Hootsuite, then you can add streams to see your tweets, mentions, and messages. You can also set up streams based on a keyword, hashtag, or person on Twitter. This comes in handy to follow your competition and figure out what other people are tweeting and talking about.

Hootsuite takes your social media and organizes it. You can clearly see what is going on everywhere by logging into just one place. It saves you time and energy, and you can post, tweet, and communicate directly from your Hootsuite dashboard.

You can only add three social profiles on the free account, but if you are just starting out blogging, then you are probably only focusing on a few social profiles anyways!

6. Statcounter

One of the things you need to do for blogging success is understand who is coming to your blog and what they are doing while they are there. These insights can help you understand what your efforts are doing and tweak your website for better results.

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May 9, 2016

18 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started My First Blog

When I first started blogging, I didn’t know too much about it. In fact, I didn’t even know people were making money through their blogs. I was working at a job I didn’t like, and I saw an ad on Facebook for something that sounded like a data entry job. The thought of working from home online and making good money was enough to get my interest, and after some reading and research I realized the ‘data entry’ they were talking about was blogging as an affiliate marketer. I was already hooked on the idea of working online, so I started my first blog with an enthusiasm I had never felt before, and I tried to learn as I went along.

Unfortunately, the more you try to learn when you are naive, the more you will be reeled in by unethical people telling you that you can earn millions of dollars blogging in your first year using their methods. It’s hard not to believe what they are saying because you WANT to believe it so badly. So, because I listened to their advice, which was complete nonsense, my first blog didn’t do much for the first year. In fact, I had it for a few years and, because I started off on the wrong foot, it didn’t earn me much more than $100/month near the end. I finally sold it for $1000 and started a new blog with a little more knowledge on what to do and what not to do.

Now, years later, I know exactly how I would have started that first blog off, and I wonder if it would have been successful. Would I have been earning a full-time income by the end of that year? Would I have been earning 5 times or 10 times more by now with an established blog that has been around for close to a decade? I will never know the answer. But, what I do know for sure is that there are some things I wish I knew before I started my first blog. Following are 18 of them.

1. Blogging Requires Time, Energy, And Money

The one thing I bought into when I started blogging was that I could make a full-time income only working a few hours a day. Have you heard that blogging myth? I’m sure some people might get into the right niche and interact with the right people and have the exact right knowledge that people are looking for and luck out. But, for most of us, blogging requires time, energy, and money.

Time is needed to put together blog posts and interact with social media and other bloggers. You have to make time in your day in order to blog, especially if you have a job, a family, or other obligations.

Energy is the driving force behind doing what you need to do when you have other things going on in your life that demand your attention. You got to be passionate about your blog in order to do what you need to do otherwise it will get put to the bottom of the priority list, especially because blogging is a long-term game and you need to build something up in order to start seeing success. It can be frustrating to see little progress and keep putting your energy in.

And money invested towards real blogging courses, niche education, advertising, blogging tools, and outsourcing are all important to grow your knowledge and your blog. Let me make it clear; you don’t need to spend a ton of money in the start. But, if you have it, paying for things like keyword tools, themes, plugins, email marketing, outsourcing, and advertising can help you grow your blog quicker.

If I were to start over with a first blog, I would dedicate some serious time to my blog each day. At least 2-4 hours. And, on weekends, I would make it my full-time job. I would also have picked a more exciting niche that I was passionate about – not just one that I thought was going to earn money. And, I would have bought some of the essentials, like an email marketing membership and some real courses on how to blog for money.

2. WordPress And A Paid Theme Are Important

When I started my first blog, I was using Intuit Websites powered by Homestead. I have a friend who is an accountant and he was creating a blog through that platform, so it was the only thing I had heard of.

It was such a pain in the butt. To do anything on that platform, it took hours. Unlike WordPress, the blog editor was a blank page, and you had to place your text, pictures, videos, widgets, and ads where you wanted them, and usually the published version looked a lot different than the version you edited. I remember spending the whole week trying to get one page to look right. What a waste of time!

Then, after about 6 months, I was introduced to Blogger, which is a free platform to build blogs on. I kept my Intuit membership for my first blog and then started a free blog on the same subject. It was so much easier to use because it was just writing and publishing. I didn’t have to put any text boxes or HTML boxes anywhere. It was all set up. But, the free blogger platform turned out to be a bloggers nightmare – at least for me who wanted to make money from it. I couldn’t add elements I wanted to add. I couldn’t find a theme I liked to represent the colors and look I wanted. And, I could write about certain things or put certain products on my site because it was against Blogger’s rules.

Then I found WordPress. I tried it out and was hooked. I moved my first blog over immediately, which mean copying and pasting every single post I had done. I couldn’t believe that WordPress made it so easy to write a blog post and create a blog that looked exactly how you wanted it to look, and you could write about anything you wanted!

This is another one of those expenses that I was talking about in the last point. Just like at Intuit, you had to pay for hosting, but I realized that if I really wanted to make the blog my own, I needed to buy a theme. Once I found a theme I liked and got it on my blog, things ran so much smoother for me! Who knew that blogging could be about writing and publishing instead of trying to create a good looking post for hours on end? WordPress saved me countless hours and headaches, and the plugins that it offered increased my ability to get seen and do what I wanted to do as a blogger.

3. Proper Email Marketing Is Important

Email marketing felt scary to me. I didn’t want to have to talk to my readers and listen to their comments about my blog. As a blogger, connecting with your readers is important, but I thought that I could write amazing blog posts that went viral every time, and I wouldn’t need to build a list in order to build a readership and make sales. They would all just flock to my blog because it was so great.

I was wrong.
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May 1, 2016

10 Ultimate Blogging Tips To Increase Traffic And Sales For Free

If you are blogging to create a successful business, then traffic and sales are important to you, and you are probably looking for some blogging tips to help you increase them. Traffic helps you convert people into subscribers who will buy from you repeatedly and recommend you to people they know for even more traffic and sales. If you don’t have a lot of traffic to your blog now, then that’s a problem that needs to be worked on. Without traffic, you might as well just be writing in an online diary for yourself to read later on because your blogging efforts are reaching mostly you and no one else.

You can advertise to increase your traffic and sales. Advertising on social media, on Google, and on other people’s blogs is a great way to get in front of an audience and increase your traffic and sales dramatically. In fact, if you have the money to do so, it can boost your traffic quickly with the right strategy.

However, if you don’t have the money to advertise or don’t want to pay the money to advertise, then you have to use time and energy to increase your blog’s traffic and ultimately your sales. That’s the free way to do it! And, it can be very effective done correctly! Following are some of the ultimate blogging tips to increase your traffic and sales for free.

1. Make ALL Of Your Content Count

This is one of the blogging tips that requires some serious extra time and effort, but will be well worth the commitment. Sometimes we get busy writing post after post after post, and we only focus on the most recent posts when it comes to promoting and taking care of them. This is because the older posts are good, and they will take care of themselves. Right? They will find their way into the search engines and be found by the right people at the right time. Right? The answer is probably not. Your old posts, even the popular ones, can get dusty, unseen, and be underutilized on your blog.

If you put the work into writing a well thought out and structured blog post, then you should want your posts, no matter how old they are, to do well. The better your older posts do, the more traffic and sales you will be rewarded with. This means you must take a look at your old content and see how it’s doing in terms of shares, SEO, comments, and views. If it doesn’t look good, you can either lay that post to rest or revive it. (I suggest you do that latter for more traffic to your blog!)

How To Revive Old Content

Starting today, create time in your blogging plan to bring old content back to life. Start from the oldest post and work your way towards the newest so that you don’t leave any of your posts behind.

Take A Look At Your Keywords

First, look at the keyword for your post. Many of us try to use crazy hard keywords, or no keywords at all, at the beginning of our blogging career. So if your keywords are lacking, too hard, or just plain ridiculous, then you need to optimize your post for keywords that will do a better job.

Note: You may want to invest in a tool like SEMrush to help you revamp your blog’s keywords. You can read my review on it to decide if it’s for you.

Once you figure out a better keyword for your old post, then revamp your content to match that keyword’s tone. Use long tailed keywords and similar keywords to help you really drive home exactly what your older blog post is about. The clearer the topic is through your keywords, the more likely it will start to be found through the search engines and on social media.

Add More Content

If an older post is too short, then you should add some more relevant content to it. This is one of those blogging tips that can impact your traffic in a big way. According to many different blogging experts, longer posts do better both in the search engines and with readers. In fact, longer posts get more shares on social media, more comments, and more conversions on their call to actions.

The chances are good you have some new viewpoints or things to say about your old content. So, draw from your experience and find new angles and information to add more value in the posts.

Make Your Content Easier To Read

Another thing that we tend to do when just starting out is to write content posts with nothing to break up the content. Even the most interested reader might have a hard time going through your content without pictures, videos or graphs to back up what you are saying.

If you want someone to read to the end of your post, you need to make sure that you include things that keep their attention and make them think and help them understand the content they are reading. Therefore, add things like pictures, videos, graphs, polls, quotes, interesting facts, or embedded social media posts to help you keep your reader’s attention and increase their desire to share the interesting blog post they just read.

Change Your Title And Post Description

Your title and post description help people understand what your content is about in the search engines and on social media. If you have older posts with irrelevant titles and boring descriptions, then you could be ranked first in Google and still not get any clicks. But if you have irrelevant titles and descriptions, then you are probably not getting ranked at all in search engines.

To make your titles and descriptions more click-worthy, think about what you would click on in the search engines or a social media share, and then come up with title ideas and description ideas that align with that.

Following are a few ideas:

– Make titles more interesting using power words that spark emotion or interest.
– Use the title and description keywords in a way that makes it clear exactly what the post is about.
– Add numbers to the post title to increase interest.
– Make sure you are not misleading readers with your title or description to keep trust and improve conversions.

Share Your Old Content More

This is often overlooked by bloggers, but it is one of the blogging tips that can help your older articles get the attention that they deserve. If you use a plugin, such as Evergreen Post Tweeter, you can have your old posts shared on Twitter easily. This plugin takes your old posts and tweets them out according to certain filters you set up.

You can also share your older content yourself on your popular social media accounts for more attention. The more popular you are on the social media channel, the more this is going to benefit you in terms of shares, traffic, comments, and conversions.

Create More Inbound Links To Old Posts

As you write new posts, link to your older posts when relevant. For instance, if you are writing about ‘blog posts’ and you include some information about ‘finding the best keywords,’ which you also happen to have a post about, then add a link to that post to help people realize that you already have content about that subject that they can check out.

You should also be using a related posts plugin to help you share related posts, despite their age, with readers. If someone is interested in your post, then there is a good chance they will want to read more from a similar post. For instance, if you are writing about ‘recipes with potatoes,’ then a post from years ago on ‘what potatoes to use in soups’ will likely be something they want to read. Get my drift?

Create Roundup Posts For Your Content

Lastly, when it comes to revamping old posts and getting more traffic and sales because of it, you can create epic roundup posts that feature specific topics of interest.

For instance, if you have a food blog, you can create a post about your top 10 corn recipes, and then write a unique paragraph about each recipe and include a link to the old post. Anyone looking for corn recipes will appreciate easy access to some older recipes. Just make sure you write unique descriptions for each of the blog posts you are referring to so that your new roundup post is unique and ready for the search engines to index.

2. Get Links To Your Site

Recently Ana Hoffman, of Traffic Generation Cafe, pointed out that Andrey Lipattsev, a Search Quality Strategist at Google said that links pointing to your site is one of the top ranking factors for content. In other words, the more quality links you have pointing back to your site, the better.
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