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Blogging Pitfalls Blogging Tips

5 Blogging Pitfalls to Avoid

Blog Trackr has presented numerous articles detailing what bloggers should do to find success, ranging from having a good keyword, to designing an eye-popping website, to marketing their ideas across social media channels.

However, blogging is a science and, if you are starting out in the blogging world, there are some common mistakes bloggers make that you can avoid duplicating.

Therefore, here are 5 common blogging pitfalls you should avoid if you are thinking about creating a blog to express your interests or grow your business.

A Poor Understanding of Your Audience and Your Own Availability

One of the first blogging pitfalls that beginning writers fall into is lacking a solid understanding of your audience. When you first start out blogging, the harsh truth is that your audience does not care too much about you. They care about what you can teach them.

Much like dealing with people face-to-face, you should put yourself into your audience’s shoes and see how things look from their perspective. They will be looking for something very specific so creating a blog simply for social media marketing may not be the best use of your time.

Concurrent with this problem is your own availability. When you start a blog, you will be, most likely, ecstatic at its potential possibilities to grow your business. However, one of the first things you should create is a publishing schedule that will keep you on track.

If you begin with the mindset of writing five articles per week, you may feel overwhelmed and quickly abandon the project.

However, if you allot time to write and edit your posts you will feel much more confident in knowing that your blog posts are generating the most traffic and are engaging for your audience.

Not Self-Hosting

The second common blogging pitfall is electing not to self-host your site. Now, if you are blogging just for family and friends it could be fine to host a blog on WordPress or BlogSpot.

However, if you ever want to be taken seriously as a blogger or make money from it, you will need to find a site to self-host your blog.

Blue Host, in combination with WordPress, is probably the best web hosting site for your blog.

Avoiding Social Media

It is almost impossible to avoid this blogging mistake, but it is worth mentioning nonetheless. When starting a blog, it is important to integrate your blog across social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Tumblr.

Posting great content will not be enough if people cannot discover it! Make sure to add the social sharing buttons to every post and to your website’s home page.

Writing Long Paragraphs and Not Differentiating Content

Due to the proliferation of smart phones, the average human attention span is about eight seconds.

Therefore, writing long, analytical paragraphs may work for a research paper, but it will not work for a blog.

Another common pitfall in blogging is emphasizing the written word too much. Be sure to break up large amounts of text with pictures, videos, GIFs, and other multimedia options.

This will not only improve traffic to your site, but give it some variety that distinguishes it from your competition.

Expecting Instant Results

Much like cooking a good meal for your family around the holidays, blogging takes time. You cannot start making money on your blog without an audience. You need to cultivate your audience, respond to their comments on your posts and engage with them on social media.

Growing your audience will take time, but the biggest blogging pitfall bloggers can make is to give up too early. When you start out, you are literally starting with no one. Rejoice in the people that do follow you and focus your efforts on making quality content available on a consistent basis.

Your blog will grow and, in turn, so will your business.

 

Marketing Tips

Infographic: SEO best practices

SEO can be a bit of a frightening subject. Between Google’s search algorithm and keyword analysis where do you even begin? That’s why we’re rolling out our info-graphic on our SEO best practices!

Now we’ve written about SEO best practices before, so why stop there? With this handy and quick guide you’ll be able to tackle your site’s SEO needs and rise the ranks to command a larger share of traffic in no time. Sure it will take a lot of work, but all good things do. Take our SEO best practices to heart and give your blog’s content strategy a face lift today. You can thank us when the views start pouring in!

SEO best practices

So go forth and market! With some know-how and determination you can re-shape your blog’s marketing strategy and gain new readers. Sure it may be a bit tough at first, but with some hard work and good old fashioned elbow grease (well…) you can kick some serious butt!

Podcasts Marketing Tips

How Podcasts can Increase your Visibility and Diversity

If you are looking to improve your blog’s search engine optimization rank, diversification is important. Using different forms of multimedia like pictures, videos and infographics can assist in making your blog more visible online. Podcasts are another form of presenting your content that can help increase your reach to different consumers.

Why use a Podcast?

These days, people are increasingly mobile. They travel from one business opportunity to the next and may not allot the necessary time to read your content. So, if you are a sports blogger reporting on injury updates, a movie blogger reviewing a recent release or a political blogger recapping the last presidential debate, podcasts are an easy way of transporting your readership into a mobile, diverse group of people who can absorb information that your blog provides, anytime, anywhere.

Podcasts also provide a voice to your written content. Readers can gain an insight into your unique personality and learn about the voice behind their favorite stories.

When you are hosting a podcast on your site, you also benefit in terms of establishing a position of authority. Inviting fellow bloggers to participate in a dialogue can build who is reading your content or watching the videos you produce. Readers will be looking for a news source they can trust to provide accurate and insightful information. This is where a podcast becomes even more valuable.

Finally, podcasts can allow you to expand to platforms like iTunes which works similarly to a simple Google search. By creating customizable URLs and calibrating your podcast title and description, you can stand out on iTunes and expand your blog in an alternative way.

If you would like to see the process for uploading a podcast to iTunes, check it out by clicking here.

Keys to Podcasting

Much like the radio, podcasts only work if you provide engaging content. When you drive a car, you may switch to a station playing your favorite hits if the announcers start to engage in irrelevant banter. To make people linger over your podcast, it is important to keep it concise. No one will want to listen to a podcast running longer than 20 minutes.

How can you maintain your audience’s interest? The first step is to provide information of value that is relevant, engaging, creative and entertaining.

One way this can be accomplished is through dialogue. Having someone else engage in a debate with you or hosting a roundtable discussion can be an ideal way of making your podcast worthwhile to listen to.

Finally, remember to promote your podcast. If it is buried on your blog, no one will find it. Provide a link in your weekly email updates or share it across social media platforms.

How to Start a Podcast

Before you begin your first podcast, you will first need a script. By typing up a script, you can remain on track with what topics you would like to discuss and allow you to seamlessly transition from one to the next.

Second, you will need some equipment to get started such as a desktop microphone and a portable XLR recorder or an audio interface on your computer to capture analog audio and convert it to digital.

Finally, you will need some form of audio editing software. There are many options out there but one like Audacity is free and easy-to-use.

This may be expensive for you up front, but if you take good care of audio equipment and maintain a large audience already, it can be a worthwhile investment.

Additional Resources

If you would like more information on podcasts and how they can help your blog, check out this from Life Hacker or Buzz Sprout.

how to get verified on twitter Uncategorized

How to get verified on Twitter

Notice something about this image? No not that it’s the Red Sox Twitter account, do you notice a little blue check mark?

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That my friends is an official mark that this is what Twitter calls a “verified account”. It used to be that Twitter would only hand these out to prominent organizations and celebrities. To be verified meant you were somebody. Not just a Twitter user, but someone special. Someone Twitter wanted to recognize. That is, until recently.

Just this year Twitter unveiled a process which allows users like you and me to get a bit of a headstart at getting that little blue checkmark. So how, you ask? Well that’s why we’re unveiling our guide on how to get verified on Twitter.

How to get verified

In the dark days of social media marking, ie before 2016, it was tough getting verified. Unless you were a politician, an actor/actress, or a prominent business owner/journalist/someone famous you weren’t verified. The little blue check was a status symbol. It still is, but it’s a slightly more attainable one.

Twitter recently announced that they are opening up the floor to anyone who dares try. Well, it’s no so dramatic. Really it’s just an application process they unveiled back in July 2016.

It’s a fairly straight forward process too (one we plan to take on soon). You just need to have a Twitter account set complete with full info as well as some backup as to why you should be verified. You can access the application here. For the brief amount of time it takes to actually fill this out I highly recommend giving it a shot. Especially if you want your blog to gain some social standing, or you want to expand your business and customer network.

So now we know how to get verified on Twitter, but why bother?

What it means

There are quite a few reasons to bother getting verified on Twitter so let’s outline them.

Online Credibility

Even though Twitter opened the door to anyone, there is still an application process. You can’t just ask Twitter to verify you, you need to prove that you’ve earned it. With that little blue checkmark comes an implicit message that “I matter”. It means “I’m somebody” to those who encounter you online. The difference between a small-time blog, and a blog that is verified is that the verified blog has cultivated an online community and is a though leader and strong internet presence. Why should I get verified? Because much like any other status symbol we idolize it sends a message to those who see you.

Social Media Presence

Verified accounts are those that Twitter deems to be “authentic” as well as ones that contribute to the online community. It signifies that Twitter values your content, and as a result when someone searches for a term or type of account you’ll be up top. Search Red Sox and you find the verified Red Sox account. That’s not by accident and if you want to expand your social media presence and rank on Twitter, getting verified is a GREAT place to start.

Building a Network

With an expanded social media presence comes a broader network as well. When you build the web extension of your organization you are able to reach new readers and customers than you would have before. All for free! Why spend money when you can get verified? Sure lots of followers look good, but what if you had that little blue check mark? It means a heck of a lot more if you ask me, and will help you go a long way towards drawing in new customers to build your book of business.

Going Forward

So what are you waiting for? With our guide on how to get verified on Twitter you’ll be rising the online ranks in no time. With a strong following and a good application you can get that little blue checkmark and join the ranks of some pretty influential accounts. So go ahead and apply and reap the benefits.

Infographic Marketing Tips

Why should I use Infographics?

If you are a teacher, you are always thinking about innovative ways to present material so that students can easily comprehend and utilize the knowledge you share. Similarly, bloggers need to consider infographics as a way of presenting your material to readers in a different way.

“On their own, text and graphics are both useful yet imperfect methods for communication, argue Barbara Miller and Brooke Barnett.

“Written language allows an almost infinite number of word combinations that allow deep analysis of concepts but relies heavily on the reader’s ability to process that information.”

“Graphics may be easier for the reader to understand but are less effective in communication of abstract and complicated concepts. … combining text and graphics allows communicators to take advantage of each medium’s strengths and diminish each medium’s weaknesses.”

Why Should I Use Infographics?

It is easy to quote someone else’s research and claim that infographics improve your blog, but what other evidence points to their usefulness?

The first reason you should incorporate infographics into your blog is the fact that it increases your brand awareness. An infographic allots enough space for you to include your blog’s logo, website address or even your email.

Another reason to include infographics on your site is the possibility of engaging the most viewers and helping them analyze the information you provide on your blog. 90% of the information that enters the brain occurs through the optic nerve and thus depends on visuals to retain information.

On this site, we have discussed the importance of improving SEO rank and infographics help with exactly that. If you create an infographic that is picked up and used by other websites, they have to provide a backlink that leads right to your site.

Infographics also possess implications on other social media channels. For example, they generate more likes, comments and shares than a simple text update on Facebook. This two-way communication via social media can immediately lead to higher followers across social media platforms.

Beyond being easily understood, infographics are also easily embeddable as they often come with a code so that they can be integrated seamlessly into your site. Finally, infographics assist non-native English speakers understand your content over an image rather than a merely text-based blog.

Finally, infographics can be tracked with analytics as you can often see who clicks on, shares and views your image in the same way that you can use analytical software to see who is reading your site.

How to Make an Infographic

The main problem that people may raise with infographics is that it may take too much time to actually create the image.

Time is definitely a valuable resource, but there are tools out there to help your infographic stand above the rest.

Three suggestions of sites that help you create infographics include the following:

Canva: Easy-to-use, free, and allows you some customization to change up its pre-made templates.

Piktochat: $15 per month, provides you with editorial tools, design flexibility, a database of images, charts and maps and other ready-to-use graphics

Vengage: Limited use of the site is for free, otherwise $19 per month, more advanced features in comparison to the other two.

Conclusion

To sum up, the main recommendation that we can offer is to invest your time in infographics. They are easy to share, easy to make and offer an appealing way to summarize the complex material that your blog produces.

Invest in infographics today so that readers can see your creativity and your blog in a whole new way.

 

top three productivity tips Uncategorized

Info-graphic: Top three productivity tips

Feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day? How about stressed to the max? Then you ought to check out our top three productivity tips in our helpful info-graphic below inspired from our recent post on our five productivity tips that actually work. Check out our top three productivity tips right here:

infographic

No matter what you’ve got going on, armed with these tips you’ll be able to rock the work day. So go on and crush it!

productivity tips Uncategorized

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.