Guerilla marketing for blogs… what the heck is that? For a blogger on a budget, or even a small business, it may be one of the best tools in your belt. In short guerilla marketing is the method of using unconventional and cost effective tactics to stick to a budget while crafting an effective marketing campaign. Read more “Guerilla marketing for blogs, not just for zoo critters”
Blogging is something single guys in their mom’s basements do right? Why should my company blog?
Well imaginary questioner, you’re wrong and you should blog because, frankly, if you’re not you’re behind. Blogging has become essential to growing and marketing businesses in the past five years, making companies still relying on cold calls look like they belong on display in the local museum. Read more “Why should my company blog?”
Money is, and likely always will be, an uncomfortable subject. But we live in a world where money is important. And you’d be lying if you said you didn’t hope your blog could generate some form of second income. That’s why we’re running out guide on how to make money off your blog.
I mean, who doesn’t love the day-time mom blogger millionaire story? While that’s largely falsified and an edge case, there’s no reason you can’t profit off your passion. During my time with Monstah Mash we made some profit and while there are plenty of resources on how to make money, but most of them are selling something or sound too good to be true. Let’s sift through some of the bs together.
When it comes to monetizing your blog you’ll have two main options: advertising or selling merchandise. With advertising it’s all about getting eyeballs on your site to increase your pageviews and therefore your revenue. With merchandise it’s about creating quality products people will want to buy, and setting up an easy way for readers to buy them. I’ll give you a brief run-through of how we did this with Monstah Mash and how your blog can start making money.
This is the primary source of income for many blogs, and is the bread and butter of the internet. Think of your site as a billboard, the more eyeballs on that billboard the more valuable it becomes. If your blog has a high viewership you can enroll in ad-sharing networks such as Google’s Adsense, or even negotiate your own deals. Adsense is a great simple platform as it allows you to embed code for ads on your site, while generating a dashboard report to view their performance at a glance. Depending on your traffic, this can be a great way to make money off your blog and leverage your readership.
With Monstah Mash we used a mix; we had a pretty good base of users and were able to make some money off of Adsense as well as an ad network specifically made for sports blogs. We even negotiated a few private ad deals giving us money to invest back into the site, leading me to the next method of raising money.
For private ad sales many reached out directly to us, however don’t be afraid to be a bit proactive in your efforts. After all, not reaching out is a guaranteed “no” so what do you have to lose?
Who doesn’t love stuff? Especially high-quality branded stuff? Merchandise can be a tricky path to take as the products you roll out must be of good quality for this to work. However if you can pull it off, it’s a great moneymaker. With Monstah Mash we took on a part time designer to come up with shirt designs that we sold through an online store. We had the shirts done up, rolled them out to our readers, and let them take care of the rest.
It was a great system, didn’t cost us and egregious amount, and brought in some extra revenue. Plus it allowed us to further cultivate our branded persona, which tied into the actual work we were doing on our site. Win-win.
Not sure where to sell your stuff? A few of my favorites are Zazzle, Redbubble, and CafePress. They make it easy to place your designs on a variety of products and sell through their store while making a commission. Personally I chose Redbubble as their easy-to-use interface made setting up shop a breeze, but the above three are a great starting point to get your site shop off the ground.
This is another commonly used way to make money, though not one I personally utilized. Affiliate links work by essentially placing a text ad or even a visual ad, and then making a percentage off the top of the sales. Essentially you’re selling another company’s product on your website, and getting a percentage of the sale for the effort. If you have a high-traffic blog and those readers are apt to make purchases on your site then by all means go for it. For Monstah Mash we were a news site, not a site people went to to buy things so this was never something we pursued.
There are tons of great resources on affiliate marketing so choose wisely as while there are many great avenues to make your millions, there are many duds as well.
As you can see, there are quite a few ways to make money off your blog. Don’t let that discourage for frighten you though! Sure not every strategy will work because each blog is unique, so take some time to experiment and find your sweet spot. For a short while we tired affiliate marketing but it just didn’t pan out, and we didn’t even try merchandise until our last two years during which it worked out great. As with all things in blogging it’s a journey and learning experience. So go out there, and try to monetize an aspect of your blog, who knows it may pay for itself and put some spending money in your pocket.
Simply put, running a blog and publishing content regularly is a challenge. How can you find the time to do it? One suggestion is to determine what niche your blog fits into. Blog Trackr, which went live online last week, can help in this process and determine what niche content is right for you and your blog!
What Is Niche Content?
There are millions of blogs out there and they cover almost every subject you can think of. Most first-time bloggers believe they need to cover everything, but that strategy often leads to frustration. You do not want to abandon a potential vehicle for getting your ideas out into the marketplace.
Part of the challenge of finding the right niche content is finding how your blog fills a need of your target audience.
Are you designing your blog to appeal to a specific geographic area? Or an industry? Or a particular demographic? These are the kinds of questions you should be asking as you examine the benefits of blogging and marketing.
Establishing Your Niche
The first tactic to find your niche content is to make it relevant. That seems simple enough at first, but what does that mean?
Make sure the content that you have is unique and provides value to your audience in some way. That practical information could consist in spreading your audience’s awareness about a previously-unexplored topic. Your blog could also just provide entertainment to your readers through its humor or interesting content.
Similar to your written articles, when you are looking to find niche content, finding your target audience is important. Right now, it may be someone ambiguous, but it is important to narrow your intended audience to one segment of the population. You may risk alienating your readers, but it is better to trim your audience down and then expand rather than start broad and abandon the project half-finished.
How Blog Trackr Can Help
If you are looking to find where your blog resonates most with readers, Blog Trackr’s software can help. With Blog Trackr, you can find your niche content by tracking your blog’s stats and discovering stories that will increase user engagement and client interaction.
Let’s face it: people seem to be on their phones 24/7. When you think about website design for your blog, you should not solely think about what it looks like on a computer. Most people may not access your site from a computer! They could be traveling, commuting to work or simply prefer to use their phone for business. There are some important tips to follow when going mobile and analyzing whether your blog is optimized for the mobile revolution.
What Is Most Important?
When potential business clients or fans of your blog access your website, what do they see? Remember, they are accessing your site on-the-go which means they are probably losing money in terms of increased data costs.
What is the most important feature of your blog that you want someone to see if they only spend a few minutes checking their phone?
If you are writing a food blog for a local restaurant, it could be the restaurant’s menu. If you are blog for a business, you could include a “best of” section on your mobile blog that features your most-viewed articles.
A search engine like Google has a separate ranking system for a mobile device called Mobile Google. Set up a site map for mobile users to rank highly in Google search engine results.
By creating a mobile site map, search engines can index your pages for mobile browsers.
Streamline the Site
When you are thinking about optimizing your website for mobile devices, you should recognize that long posts, anything using Flash or Java or elaborate pictures will cause longer loading times.
However, if you have multiple pages you would like to exhibit, make sure your website’s menu is easy-to-locate and navigate.
If you use WordPress as your online publishing platform check out this article for information on creating a mobile-ready responsive menu.
If you are thinking about ways you could include pictures on your blog that can be accessed from a mobile device, remember to think about Instagram.
Powerful visuals can stimulate action so be sure to add Instagram to your toolbox of optimizing your blog or business for a mobile user.
And, if you are more adventurous, think about…
An innovative way of incorporating mobile marketing to help boost readership of your own blog is to include QR Codes on places where your blog or business could advertise. For example, ads that appear on trains or at museums could have a QR code on them to allow interested viewers to locate more information about their business.
If you are blogging for a business, you could include a QR code to a popular blog post or offer that your blog is running. To generate codes, you can consider using the Kaywa QR Code Generator found here.
With these few tips in mind, you can begin to optimize your site for a mobile audience and appeal to business professionals and casual readers alike.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.