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Five productivity tips that really work

It’s the end of the day and you’re exhausted. Work was hectic as per usual. And as you check your watch you realize there were still two things that needed to be finished by the evening but it’s too late. Do you find yourself wishing there were five or six more hours in the day? Do you feel wiped and washed out by Friday? Then this post is for you. I struggle as well, blogging, marketing, and working a day job can be a bit much, but with some of our helpful productivity tips I think you’ll be back on top in no time.

Now these aren’t some half-baked tips out of a jar. These are habits I’ve personally made it a priority to keep and use in my day-to-day routine. Life gets crazy, but by taking a breather and working through your daily battles and challenges you can come out on top and end the day feeling relaxed rather than stressed.

So let’s get to it!

Make a list

If you’ve got a lot on your plate there is no better place to start than actually outlining what you’ve got going on. So you’ve got a big day huh? Well write everything that needs to be done down. And this doesn’t just have to be work-related, you can jot down other things as well.

For example suppose I’ve got a busy day; I have a post to write, a meeting with one of my team members, I need to run errands, and book a doctor’s appointment. Sounds pretty packed right? Well how about I just make a list.

To Do

  • Finish blog post
  • Meet with team member
  • Run errands
  • Book doctor’s appointment

Looks more manageable right? It’s easy to get carried away when you are sitting in traffic mentally preparing for another grueling day, but by making a list and checking items off as you go somehow Mount Everest looks more like a pleasant hike than an adventurous summit.

Don’t even wait for the “next time”, when you get the chance today grab a piece of paper and a pen (or open a word doc or notepad if you want to feel like we’re in the 21st century) and jot down what you have to do today. It can be anything, but get a bulleted list going so you can visualize the day ahead and start things off right. Now let’s get to rest of our productivity tips.

Prioritize

On extremely busy days it can feel like your hair is on fire. We’ve all been there, heck I had one of those days last week. Making a list of what you need to do is the easy part, the challenge is prioritizing. How do you decide what to do first? And in what order?

They key to that, is the ability to assess the importance of each task you have and go from there. Back to my previous example, what should be done first?

Well I need to get my blog post up by 8:30am so I better get that done first. Not that it’s extremely urgent (if I miss the deadline no one will die (though some may be disappointed)), but it’s the closest immediate deadline and also fairly easy to complete. Next, I better make that doctor’s appointment, if I wait they might be closed and honestly it’s good to get those things out of the way. I’ve been meaning to meet with my coworker, so I’ll try to get that done mid-morning, and I can probably run those errands on my lunch break of after work.

It sounds simple enough, but that’s a list of four items, not 10 which is where prioritizing is deceitfully challenging. I encourage you to practice.  Make a list of things you need to do today and order them according to urgency, importance, and difficulty and go from there.

hair-on-fire
Some days we all feel like this, it doesn’t have to be that way all the time though.

Stay on task

So we’ve got a list of what we need to do, and a rank of the order things need to be done. Now it’s just a matter of staying the course. In today’s world it is extremely easy to get off task. With your phone as a door to the wonders of the web and instant communication with friends it can be hard to power through and get things done.

So don’t let it.

Turn your phone off or put it in a different room if need be. Get noise canceling headphones, and turn off social media so you have absolute peace and quiet with no distractions. In fact there is an even an app for that called Self Control which blocks certain websites for a set amount of time. You plug in the sites that cause distractions for you, the set time you are going to be working, and boom you’re distraction free with no access.

Pretty cool stuff right?

Take breaks

This is a bit contradictory to the above tip, but trust me it’s not. While you want to be distraction free, I don’t think you really want to sit down for eight, nine, or ten hours without getting up or taking a break.

At least I wouldn’t.

While being distraction free is crucial to getting the job done it’s also important to take breaks while you work. In fact breaking your day up into chunks of work, and a short break can actually boost productivity. Seriously.

When I’m at work or if I have a big project I need to push through, I’ll try to work for an hour, and take a 1o minute break. It varies, sometimes it’s 40 minutes, sometimes it’s an hour and a half but the key is that there is a short moment to help break up the day. Taking a brief rest helps you recharge, refresh, and focus on the tasks at hand while staying motivated to power through the rest of the day. Even taking a full day of rest when necessary can be a huge productivity boost, if you’re looking for a bit of productive R&R look no further than this post for some great tips.

Keep your breaks short and regular and you’ll find yourself sprinting through the day.

Reward yourself

Finally, when all is said and done you need to treat yo’ self.

You’ve put in a ton of hard work this week. You crossed every item off your list, prioritized like a champ, and got into a strong groove. Now it’s time to put your feet up and relax.

While this may not quite fit in with the rest of our productivity tips, it’s important to reward yourself for a job well done because A) it keeps you sane and B) it helps you to stay motivated for the next time you’re in a bind. However you treat yourself is up to you. Maybe pop in a favorite movie, order some takeout, go out with friends… etc. But be sure to give yourself some “you time” for all the effort and keep on crushing it!

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Going Forward

There is nothing stopping you now! Armed with our productivity tips, go forth and crush the workweek and give yourself a big pat on the back come Friday. Sure it may seem like there is a mountain of work ahead. But by breaking things down, prioritizing, and powering through with efficiency there is no reason why even the toughest jobs can’t be completed in record time.

When it comes to blogging especially it can feel like we wear many hats. You’re one part author, one part marketer, along with being a manager and host of other hats. With our tips, and our Blog Trackr app we hope to give you some breathing room so you can focus on what matters: you.

improving SEO Rank Marketing Tips

A Guide to Improving SEO Rank

We have discussed SEO (search engine optimization) numerous times here at Blog Trackr. However, if you are stuck with the same people engaging with your content, it can be frustrating and lead you to question whether you should continue blogging. Improving SEO rank requires dedication and a willingness to change what words will lead to increased reach. Here are just a few tips to get started at improving your SEO rank.

Publish Relevant and Timely Content

Your primary focus should be on writing quality content, not on simply thinking of a good keyword. Therefore, the first consideration to improve your SEO rank is to focus first on publishing enticing content. It is important to think of “dwell time.”

For those unfamiliar with the term, dwell time is how long people actually spend reading your article.

Based on research conducted by renewed entrepreneur Neil Patel, content ranging between 2,000-2,500 words tend to generate increased dwell time and rank the highest in search engine results.

Longer content gives you the opportunity to include your SEO keyword multiple times, increase the number of outbound links and provide more insight to your readers. Be sure not to overuse your keyword, but sprinkling it in here and there is a good way to go.

After writing your article, think about how people would search for that content to determine the keyword. Make sure the SEO keyword appears repeatedly throughout the article in order to improve your SEO rank.

However, keep in mind that what you are writing about most likely has been written before. Think of how you could differentiate yourself from the pack of other bloggers and be creative thinking about how your article could appear in specific or general Google searches.

Use different multimedia

When a reader clicks on your page, he or she may be bombarded with tons of text. While you may devote most of your time to writing, you should consider using images, videos, slideshows and audio to complement your written materials.

Search engines tend to look for “quality content” which is enhanced through an interactive presentation. Rather than posting passive content, creating interactive and innovative content can help your site soar. Not only will your SEO rankings improve, but your readers will thank you.

Think about implementing videos into your site as it has been shown that multimedia, and in particular videos, have a higher conversion rate than just text alone. When it comes to improving SEO rank, this is a quick strategy to implement into your workflow.

Optimize your site’s load speed

Have you ever been on a site where the content takes a long time to load? I think it would be impossible if you haven’t!

You need to capture readers’ attention quickly as a slow-loading web page will only deter your SEO ranking.

Studies have shown that a website loading for more than three seconds will cause 40% of readers to leave the page. Even from experience, how long do you wait for a slow page to load? My guess is not often and not very long.

After using a tool such as Pingdom or other website tools that track how long it takes your web pages to load will allow you to analyze what images or code is causing the site to load slowly. After adjusting accordingly, you can be sure that your SEO rank will improve.

The importance of metadata and layout

Although there are so many tips to improve SEO rank and is worth further research, the last recommendation is to consider metadata and layout.

In addition to the SEO keyword, metadata is where you can really stand out in a simple Google search. Having a strong title for your article as well as a good description that will appear right under the title in the Google search will provide readers with an incentive to click on your story.

Once prospective readers buy into what your attractive headline and metadata description, the layout of your article also plays a factor in improving your SEO rank.

Using an easy-to-read font size, bold colors, videos and other forms of multimedia and using short paragraphs all will improve your SEO rank.

Conclusion

There are many guides out there to help improve your SEO rank. While it would be impossible to dive deeper into the many techniques that can enhance your blog’s rank, here is a helpful guide from Moz.com that will help you even more as you endeavor to make your blog the most prominent influence on the Internet.

So go out there and take what you’ve learned about improving SEO rank to your blog. Sure it requires some work, but it’ll be worth it in the long run!

Strategic Advertising Marketing Tips

Strategic Advertising: How to Know When and Where to…

At Blog Trackr, we have discussed advertising before as we have posted articles detailing solid principles on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. However, there are other ways to gain attention for your blog and here, we present some advice on strategic advertising and figuring out ways in which others can know your name and check out what you have to offer.

Build an email list and outreach

If you have not already, be sure to build an email list so that you can keep your visitors apprised of site updates, new types of articles, or promote the website swag you ordered. If you allot one time per week to send out an email to your subscribers, it can be an effective way of advertising your blog and encouraging your subscribers to do some advertising on their own.

The second tip is to think of unconventional means of outreach. Ask other bloggers, businesses or others to share your content on their site. The worst they can say is “no” so always be sure to reach out.

Guest Post

When you write a blog post and you are just starting out, it may be difficult to get exposure. A key to strategic advertising would be to guest post on someone else’s blog with a much larger audience. Usually when you post on someone else’s site, you can provide a link to your own blog.

In order to optimize this technique to the fullest, make sure you reach out to blogs that are more popular than your own and see if you can submit your article to that blog.

A key aspect of guest posting is building credibility so before you submit an article to them, be sure to follow them on social media and comment on the posts they are writing.

Utilize Slideshare

You may not know it yet, but there is a social media site where you can put those Microsoft PowerPoint skills to work. Did you know that over 70 million business professionals use SlideShare? The key to successful blogging is to never limit yourself in what you can do. Think of ways in which you can take the articles you write and put them into a PowerPoint form where it can be easily digested by visual learners.

Participate in Quora

Like SlideShare, Quora is a unique social media site because it is relatively younger than other social media sites.

Quora is a forum whereby you can participate in a more detailed question-and-answer session than Yahoo Answers or a similar site.

If you participate here, you can provide a link to your site for a more detailed response to participant’s questions. The first step is to search the site for topics related to your blog’s area of expertise.

Apply for Inclusion with Google News

Google News is probably one of the best means of strategic advertising. If you are a political blog covering the 2016 election or a sports blog publicizing the latest in sports’ news, you can apply for inclusion to Google News here.

Conclusion

These are just some of the ways of strategic advertising, but there are many more. You will notice that we did not include any information on advertising on other websites. These suggestions try the best to save money for your blog by advertising in ways other than traditional social media sites.

Think of these strategies as you strategically advertise your blog in the future.

SEO best practices Marketing Tips

Our SEO best practices

While just writing and publishing posts used to be enough, nowadays to take your blog to the top you need more. You need to optimize your blog and leverage your content to gain readers. Because let’s face it, who views past the first page of Google search results? Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a method of optimizing your site in a way to take it to the top on Google. So let’s get to our SEO best practices! Read more “Our SEO best practices”

Target Audience Blogging Basics

Find Your Target Audience

For a moment, think of yourself as a landscaper. If you happen to blog about your work, you would write about techniques on creating a beautiful garden and how to leverage the available land that homeowners use. When it comes time to promote that content, what target audience would you reach out to? The first idea that comes to mind is that you would contact other landscapers. Seems obvious, right? How else would you get the word out about your business if you do not reach out to others who share the same interests?

However, think back to the nature of your business. You are a landscaper? Who are you writing your content for? You are absolutely not writing it for other landscapers. You are writing it for homeowners who are looking to discover how to upkeep their property. That is your target audience.

Blog Trackr’s goal is to show you how to tighten that target audience even further in order to better reach an audience who is curious or passionate about your blog.

Begin with Analytics

In order to start crafting your audience’s persona, you need to begin with analytical software. Google Analytics provides the best option based on the sheer data that it provides.

Google Analytics enables bloggers to discover what websites their audience is coming from. This knowledge provides bloggers the ability to post more frequently or advertise on particularly sites.

Analytics also can tell you where your audience is located geographically and what times they access your site. This knowledge can help you schedule posts that gets the most eyes on your blog.

Finally, Analytics also gives you insights into which posts get viewed the most often. Once you see what posts generate the most traffic, you can devote more of your time to articles that get the most views and spend less time on others.

Social media also provides helpful analytical tools such as Facebook Insights which tracks the age, gender, location and other demographics necessary to craft the ideal audience persona.

Conduct Market Research

Once you look at the numbers, you need to conduct market research.

There are many techniques that encompass this category of finding your audience. The first is to utilize keyword research tools to discover the words for ideal search engine optimization (SEO) results. Google and Bing offer research tools while LongTail Pro and Market Samurai offer more advanced SEO software platforms.

In addition to researching keywords, you can also scan your competitors analyzing what topics they cover, what content works best and what comments their articles produce.

Finally, you can conduct market research of your own through direct feedback with polls on your site or questions via social media.

Compose Audience Personas

After conducting market research, the next step is to come up with an audience persona for the people reading your blog.

Audience personas consist of answering the five W’s: who, what, when, where and why. However, the best audience personas go beyond these questions. With analytics and market research, you can also compose personas based on gender, personality, family life, job status, location, income and needs and other factors.

These personas can allow you to tailor your content specifically to them and reach out to individuals like this for feedback and discovering what kind of content they want to read.

Why do you need to create these audience personas? It is far easier to maintain the same members rather than attract new ones to your blog. If your blog is obsessed over a single subject, it can limit how many people you reach, but if it dives into multiple topics or produces varied content, it can enable your target audience to have a unified identity. This unity can grow over time as your audience shares your content with a wider community.

Create Compelling Content

After you write your audience personas, ensure you write your content in a journalistic style that anyone can understand.

Finally, ensure that your content provides too much detail rather than not enough. Being thorough leaves the reader with certainty about what you are trying to communicate.

Rinse and Repeat

One of the best aspects of blog writing is that there are many types of people who view your site. Every time you notice a different contingent of readers, sit down and go through this process to ensure that you maintain that new audience. You can never have too few audience personas if you work hard enough!

Obviously, this post is not enough to capture the unique craft of finding an audience and writing audience personas.

For more information, check out this blog post from CoSchedule or this guide for building a blogging audience from Quicksprout.

Sports Blogging Blogging Basics

The Principles of Sports Blogging

When you pour over ESPN’s website, you see a vast amount of information thrown at you. However, what’s hidden on their main web page by the Fantasy section are the links to the popular sports blogs FiveThirtyEight and The Undefeated. By simply Google-searching the most successful sports blogs out there, you will find one called SB Nation which collects timely articles throughout the athletic world.

Do you want to start a sports blog of your own? It is not as easy as you think. Luckily, Blog Trackr has some helpful tips about starting a sports blog and distinguishing it from the many voices peppered throughout the Internet.

Find your area of interest

If you have thought about starting a sports blog before, you obviously have strong opinions about sports. However, you should select a sport or team to follow. Obviously, you should choose to write about something that interests you the most. You would not choose to write about soccer if you have never watched a second of the game, would you? Writing intelligent, well-crafted articles emerges once you find something that is a natural extension of your own personality.

If you want to start a sports blog, find your sport or team of interest and demonstrate sound reasoning skills and the passion that drew you to the sport in the first place. Most importantly, select an angle that fills a void in the world of sports blogs out there. If you majored in economics for example, perhaps you could start a blog that focuses on the business side of sports? Or if you manage a high school football team, you could elect to focus on what you know (the ins-and-outs of high school football) rather than something you don’t (such as the broader NFL).

Choose a blogging platform

Once you find the area of interest that ignites your passions the most, the next step is to get the website up-and-running. At Blog Trackr, we have written about starting a blog before, but it is always good to have a refresher.

If you are a sports photographer, a free site like Tumblr could be an efficient way of displaying your work.

However, if you are like most other blogs, you will most likely elect to choose a blogging platform like WordPress.

Despite its simplicity, solely using WordPress has its disadvantages including the fact that you do not own your blog and your website name will include WordPress in its title.  How do you distinguish yourself as a sports blog with WordPress? Well…

Customize your blog by choosing a domain name and a hosting site

After determining the type of sports blog you want to write, you have to create its domain name. At this point in the blog-creation process, you may get discouraged because many ideas you have could already exist. However, if you remain persistent, design a logo and create a unique name, your blog can stand out.

Bluehost is an excellent hosting option because not only does it allow you to run your own site and market it to advertising executives, but it is also a site where you can check registered domain names across the web. Once you find one that has not been used, your sports blog is ready. However, before you make your first post…

Consider your audience, keep it short, respond to comments and make it come alive

Before you begin writing, make sure your writing appeals to the audience you want to attract. Is it young or old? Are they parents of athletes, athletes themselves or other sports fans?

Once you choose your audience, keep every post to a maximum of 750 words. Not many people have the time to pour over a long blog post. You should carefully select what words you use and ensure they capture the reader’s interests right away.

After publishing your post, make sure you respond to comments. Blogging, like social media, is meant to be social. It entails disagreements and engaging in back-and-forth bantering.  Sports fans are passionate and blogging allows you to express your thoughts in a logical manner.

How do you make your posts come alive? Blog Trackr has written about the importance of crafting a blogging persona, that is, ensuring that your blog is timely, unique and something more than just simply a game recap. If you have strong opinions, write them! If your team made a terrible trade call them out and explain why!

Where Blog Trackr Can Help

If you are a blog looking to regain the “edge” that characterizes powerful blogs, the Blog Trackr app can link you to exactly the right articles that will allow you to take a strong opinion and ensure that your sports blog experiences continual growth in terms of readership and engagement with the fans and other blogs out on the web.

 

Using pinterest to boost your blog Social Media

How to use Pinterest to boost your blog

We’ve written on some of the big social media sites, now it’s time to write on one you might not have thought to use. We’re talking about Pinterest. Pinterest is another form of social media that bloggers can leverage to drive interaction on their website. With more than 100M active users, Pinterest’s unique features can allow you to engage with your readership in exciting ways. So now let’s get down to it: how you can use Pinterest to boost your blog. Read more “How to use Pinterest to boost your blog”