Twitter cuts off API access to follow/unfollow spam dealers
Notification spam ruins social networks, diluting the real human interaction. Desperate to gain an audience, users pay services to rapidly follow and unfollow tons of people in hopes that some will follow them back. The services can either automate this process or provide tools for users to generate this spam themselves, Earlier this month, a TechCrunch investigation found over two dozen follow-spam companies were paying Instagram to run ads for them. Instagram banned all the services in response an vowed to hunt down similar ones more aggressively.
Today, Twitter is stepping up its fight against notification spammers. Earlier today, the functionality of three of these services — ManageFlitter, Statusbrew, Crowdfire — ceased to function, as spotted by social media consultant Matt Navarra.
TechCrunch inquired with Twitter about whether it had enforced its policy against those companies. A spokesperson provided this comment: “We have suspended these three apps for having repeatedly violated our API rules related to aggressive following & follow churn. As a part of our commitment to building a healthy service, we remain focused on rapidly curbing spam and abuse originating from use of Twitter’s APIs.” These apps will cease to function since they’ll no longer be able to programatically interact with Twitter to follow or unfollow people or take other actions.
Twitter’s policies specify that “Aggressive following (Accounts who follow or unfollow Twitter accounts in a bulk, aggressive, or indiscriminate manner) is a violation of the Twitter Rules.” This is to prevent a ‘tragedy of the commons’ situation. These services and their customers exploit Twitter’s platform, worsening the experience of everyone else to grow these customers’ follower counts. We dug into these three apps and found they each promoted features designed to help their customers spam Twitter users.
ManageFlitter‘s site promotes how “Following relevant people on Twitter is a great way to gain new followers. Find people who are interested in similar topics, follow them and often they will follow you back.” For $12 to $49 per month, customers can use this feature shown in the GIF above to rapidly follow others, while another feature lets them check back a few days later and rapidly unfollow everyone who didn’t follow them back.
Crowdfire had already gotten in trouble with Twitter for offering a prohibited auto-DM feature and tools specifically for generating follow notifications. Yep it only changed its functionality to dip just beneath the rate limits Twitter imposes. It seems it preferred charging users up to $75 per month to abuse the Twitter ecosystem than accept that what it was doing was wrong.
StatusBrew details how “Many a time when you follow users, they do not follow back . . . thereby, you might want to disconnect with such users after let’s say 7 days. Under ‘Cleanup Suggestion’ we give you a reverse sorted list of the people who’re Not Following Back”. It charges $25 to $416 month for these spam tools. After losing its API access today, StatusBrew posted a confusing half-mea culpa, half-“it was our customers’ fault” blog post announcing it will shut down its follow/unfollow features.
Twitter tells TechCrunch it will allow these companies “apply for a new developer account and register a new, compliant app” but the existing apps will remain suspended. I think they deserve an additional time-out period. But still, this is a good step towards Twitter protecting the health of conversation on its platform from greedy spam services. I’d urge the company to also work to prevent companies and sketchy individuals from selling fake followers or follow/unfollow spam via Twitter ads or tweets.
When you can’t trust that someone who follows you is real, the notifications become meaningless distractions, faith in finding real connection sinks, and we become skeptical of the whole app. It’s the users that lose, so it’s the platforms’ responsibility to play referee.
via Twitter – TechCrunch https://techcrunch.com
January 31, 2019 at 03:21PM
A Guide To Making Your Corporate Blog Relevant
What’s your favorite piece of social media real estate? A Twitter or Facebook profile?
Although those are great, the very first thing I would start with is a blog. Why? Because companies that blog typically have 97% more inbound links than those that don’t, which means more search engine traffic.
And the stats get even better from there…
If those stats don’t convince you to start a corporate blog, maybe this infographic will.
No matter what kind of a business you have, or how small or large your business might be, having a blog for your business helps you stay in touch with your customers.
A blog will draw your prospects closer because they can learn about your business and what you sell. Blogs help build customer loyalty, and they also help you create a personal relationship with your customers.
But that’s where things get a little tricky.
Because you’re writing directly to your customers and letting them have a conversation with you, while doing it in a way that markets your business, you can’t follow the same rules that apply to people who have personal blogs.
You need to be careful about the advice you follow on “how to blog” because that information isn’t always applicable to business blogging. Most of it is written by people and for people with personal blogs – they have much more leniency about what they post and how they post it.
If you’re here to do business, then you’ll have to blog a little differently.
For example, many bloggers tell heartfelt, personal stories infused with emotion, but that’s not going to work for you if you’re looking to improve your bottom line. You can’t write your opinion on controversial topics or vent in a rant on a matter that made you angry. You might end up hurting your sales if you did.
You also have to be careful about how much personality you pour into posts. Some bloggers curse like sailors or fling sassy remarks about, and that works for them because they’re not running a mid-sized business or a large corporation. Imagine if the CEO of Nike began swearing avidly on his website! Would that make you want to buy some running shoes? Probably not.
The point is when you own a business blog, you can’t play by the same rules as other bloggers do. You have to be more careful about presenting your words in a way that leaves a good impression with customers and potential clients and that helps you use your blog to market your business.
Here are 35 tips to help you do just that:
1. Never write about problematic clients
Writing about customers who skipped out on a payment or who were rude to your staff with the intention of being ‘helpful’ to your readers actually sends a message to potential customers that you’re not on their side or willing to do what it takes to create satisfied customers.
Plus, would you work with a company that may badmouth you? Or, even worse, your business? Businesses don’t like negative PR, so don’t make yourself look like a drama queen.
2. Always sound successful
I’ve seen some business owners blog about their quarterly losses and the economic crunch they feel. That just lets potential customers know that your business isn’t doing well and that they might be better off working with your competition.
And even if you were doing financially well, why on earth would you publish how much money you’re making? It makes you look dumb because all you’ll be asking for is more competitors. In case you didin’t know – where there is money to be made, businesses will flock.
3. Be careful with controversial subjects
This isn’t as easy as it sounds. Avoid sensitive topics, like sex and religion, but also stay away from sharing opinions or personal stances on potentially inflammatory topics like recent laws or industry practices. The old saying stands: if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.
And if you happen to write about something controversial, make sure you have facts to back up your claims and try not to let your emotions get in the way.
4. Show values
Talking about the values your business supports or upholds is a good idea. If you believe business should be ethical, transparent and environmentally conscious, then certainly post about that – but do so in passing, and be careful with your thoughts. Downplay hard stances or strong opinions, and never speak ill of the competition.
One of the best places you can show the values your company believes in is your About page. And don’t do this in a boasting fashion, but instead do it by talking about the problems you can solve for your potential customers.
For example, if I were Southwest Airlines and had a blog, I would talk about how we believe in going the extra mile to help family members have a great experience. I would blog about all the little things that make this possible such as preferred seating for families. When you have a family, traveling isn’t easy. Because Southwest doesn’t have assigned seating, a lot of families may decide to not book a flight with them, but that could change if people knew about the preferred seating for families.
5. Don’t write for yourself
In business blogging, you’re always writing for your customers first and your business second. Your personal needs have to come way down on your list of priorities. Remember that your goal is to get sales, draw in new clientèle, and boost business by informing readers, not sharing warm fuzzies.
As you start blogging, you’ll notice that when you blog about things that help your customers, you’ll get more of them. And when you blog about how cool your company is, you won’t get any new customers.
6. Put your blog in its place
My first blog was an online marketing blog, and I made the mistake of using it as a landing page. That meant visitors would land on the blog and think, “Oh, free tips on marketing. Great!” I would have had them rather think, “Here’s an online marketing consultant I can hire.”
A blog is an add-on feature, and you should treat it as such. Marketing your blog and your business is just spreading yourself thin. You need one brand, not two separate brands. Having more than one will create confusion.
7. Remember your purpose
A business blog has one main goal: to get customers and sales. Blog about your products, your services, case studies, satisfied customer stories, specials, promotions, new releases, etc. Your blog is a marketing tool for your business, so go ahead and promote it in your posts.
8. Don’t be boring
Having a business blog doesn’t mean you need to be stiff. It’s okay to connect with potential customers on a personal level. Just be sensible about sharing, maintain a good balance of business information and personality, and shy away from writing whole posts about your kids or your favorite sport.
9. Try not to give away the farm
Blogs make it easy for people to pour out tons of free information, but free doesn’t make your business more money. Give away just enough information to demonstrate your knowledge and credibility to your readers, but reserve the actual techniques or how-tos for those who hire you, buy your product, or sign up.
And if you decide that you want to give away some of your “secret sauce,” do so by releasing that information in a free ebook or whitepaper. Before people can download it, make them give you their names, email addresses, company names, and phone numbers. This way, one of your sales people can follow up with them and convert them into customers.
10. Don’t be afraid to ask
Feel comfortable telling people what you’d like them to do because in many cases they won’t think of contacting you, clicking the Buy button or signing up for more blog updates until you put the idea in their heads. Use a call to action in every post if you can. Just change the wording so that it looks new and different.
11. Only blog on relevant content
At KISSmetrics, our ideal customer is a marketer who works at an e-commerce or subscription-based business. For that reason, we should be writing about all things marketing, right?
Guess again! We tried the approach of blogging on marketing-related content, but the visitors this type of content attracts don’t tend to convert into customers. Plus, brand recognition we get from this type of audience isn’t very beneficial to us as it isn’t our ideal customer.
We realized that our content needs to be fine-tuned to our audience. What I mean by this is that if you are targeting marketers who work at e-commerce companies, you can’t write about general e-commerce marketing. You need to get much more specific.
For example, at KISSmetrics, people buy our product to help analyze their traffic data. In an ideal world, we should only be blogging on content that helps marketers at these e-commerce companies analyze their data. Even if the content is on competitor products, it’s still a good move as long as it offers analytics advice relevant to e-commerce marketers.
Based on our data, that’s the type of content that converts blog readers into customers – at least for us. If you are going to write on your corporate blog, make sure your content is very specific to your target audience. Don’t go too broad, even if that means you get less traffic, as the broad content won’t drive any signups.
Blogging on niche content will decrease your traffic by 218% and increase your income by 692%.
12. Don’t publish your best content on your site
Chances are you are not getting a few hundred thousand visitors a month on your blog. So, when you write an amazing piece of content, very few people will read it and share it on the social web.
For this reason, your best piece of content should be posted on someone else’s blog.
Just think of it this way. Blogs like Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, or Forbes probably get in excess of a 1,000 times, if not 10,000 times, more traffic than your blog. So if you publish your niche article on those sites, it will get more eyeballs because they have a much larger readership base.
By guest-posting, you’ll drive relevant traffic back to your site, generate more leads, and gain more blog readers.
This strategy is so effective that I myself guest-post five times a week. Guest-posting on sites like Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Mashable has been a strong strategy for all of my startups.
13. Train your readers to buy
Your readers won’t convert into customers unless you train them to buy. Blogging is a double-edge sword. Releasing great content is a great way to build up your traffic and brand, but people become so accustomed to reading your great content for free that they expect you to give away your product and service for free.
I know this may sound weird, but it is true. So true that I myself get over 20 emails a day from people asking me to give my services and products to them for free. Why? Because all of my blog content is free.
By no means should you make your blog content paid. Instead, you should train your readers to buy. The simplest way to do this is to have them make micro-commitments, forcing them to take an action to receive a benefit.
Here are some examples of micro-commitments:
By teaching your readers to take action, you are more likely to generate sales from your blog. When my buddy Timothy Sykes started to teach his readers to take action, he was able to increase his revenue by 84%. He made no changes to the product or service he was offering. He just taught his readers to buy.
90% of selling is conviction, and 10% is persuasion.
14. Always be consistent
A lot of bloggers take their foot off the gas pedal, especially when their traffic stops growing.
Back in 2009, my Quick Sprout traffic was flat. It was so flat that I decided to slow down on my blogging.
In May of 2009, a bit more than 45,000 people visited Quick Sprout.
In June, I didn’t blog, which caused my traffic to dip by 21%.
Just because your traffic isn’t going up doesn’t mean it won’t go down. It took you a lot of time and energy to get your blog to where it is, so don’t be foolish – don’t take your foot off the gas pedal.
It took me 3 months to recover that 21% traffic drop, so don’t make the same mistake I’ve made. By being consistent, you will be ensuring that your traffic roughly stays the same, if not increases.
Whether it rains or snows, you need to keep a consistent blogging schedule.
If you want to continually grow your blog, you need to learn to blog on a consistent basis.
15. Build a connection with your readers
I do this extremely well on Quick Sprout, but not as well on my corporate blogs – KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg. Every time someone leaves a comment on Quick Sprout, I do my best to respond.
Encouraging engagement is a great way to increase your revenue. The best way to encourage engagement is to respond to comments. It’s so effective that 68.1% of my revenue on Quick Sprout has come from someone who has commented before.
On KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg blogs, very few writers respond to commenters. For this reason, I myself started to reply to the comments on those blogs. It’s been helping a lot too – the repeat visit traffic is slowly increasing. Quick Sprout still gets the highest percentage, which sits at 40.8%, but I should be able to get KISSmetrics there within a year, and Crazy Egg within 2 years.
Without a strong connection to your readers, you won’t have many of them buying your product or service.
16. Monetize early
I used to wait till I had over 100,000 visitors before I monetized my corporate blogs. I did this with KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg. Boy, was that a huge mistake!
We didn’t really start capturing leads for KISSmetrics until our blog hit over 300,000 monthly visitors. With Crazy Egg, we waited till we had at least 200,000 monthly visitors.
The issue with waiting this long was that it took longer than it should have to find out that our reader base didn’t convert well into customers. Why? Because the traffic we were driving wasn’t very relevant to our product, which hits upon Rule #1.
We slightly shifted our focus with both of the blogs. At Crazy Egg, we started to write more content on conversion optimization, which is what our core audience is about. And at KISSmetrics, we started to produce more analytics-based content for e-commerce and subscription sites.
Sure, we still have a long way to go before our traffic becomes more qualified, but if we’d started monetizing earlier, we could have saved a lot of time and money.
By monetizing, you will quickly get a sense of where your blog stands and how qualified your traffic is. So, instead of waiting for you to get 100,000 visitors a month before you try to generate revenue from your blog, start testing the waters when you hit 10,000 visitors a month.
If you don’t value your time, neither will others. Stop giving away your time and talents.
17. Collect emails
From my sidebar opt-in to my offer before each comment section, I have a handful of ways in which I collect emails on Quick Sprout. Once I collect an email, I then add you to an email drip sequence that pitches you my products and services.
This method is so effective, we do the same thing on the KISSmetrics’ blog. Through marketing automation, we then entice you to buy products from us.
If you are looking to drive sales through this approach, there are a few things you need to know:
18. Write in the first person
Blogs are meant to be personal. Readers want connect with the human being, not the letters on a screen.
Start with a simple introduction that explains who you are and why you’re qualified to talk on the topic.
It’s okay to sprinkle in a bit of humor if you like, but not necessary.
Whatever you do, avoid the impersonal third-person writing style, which looks like this:
Instead, stick with the first person, which switches the example above to the following:
Feel free to use the second person too by addressing readers as “you” from time to time.
19. Convey authoritative industry knowledge
If you decide to run a corporate blog, it should revolve heavily around your industry. The more niche you make it, the better off you will be.
With that in mind, stay abreast of the latest industry happenings, and touch upon important topics as they arise.
Stay in the loop about the latest news and trends concerning your industry, and pay attention to what thought leaders in your industry are doing and saying.
This will have you jumping out of your seat with new, creative ideas.
20. Skip posts about blog or website updates
To you, updates to your blog or website are probably pretty exciting.
Trust me, though: no one else cares. Sharing such news in your blog only shows that you are completely out of ideas.
If you find yourself tempted to share news about technical updates, sit down and start over. Better ideas can and will come to you—I promise.
21. Be prophetic
Be like Nostradamus from time to time by making predictions about the direction of your industry.
It may feel a bit risky—will readers come back and call you out if you turn out to be wrong?—but it’s a great way to expand your horizons when coming up with new topics to cover.
You don’t need a crystal ball to make this work.
Just stay informed about your industry and share educated predictions with your audience.
22. Express emotion
A big reason for running out of writing inspiration is feeling like you must hold in your emotions.
Here’s the thing: Readers appreciate it when you do, and it makes your content a lot more relatable.
Go ahead and express how you feel about stuff from time to time. For example, are you excited about that upcoming trade show, or are you dreading it?
Expressing your emotions should open up many new possibilities for spicing up your blog.
23. Share inside stories
Let readers in on how your company operates by occasionally sharing inside stories about interesting happenings.
Giving them a glimpse “behind the curtain” will keep them engaged and give you a lot more interesting fodder for your blog.
For example, in the weeks leading up to an important product launch, create posts about how the company is preparing.
When important new employees come on board, share the news.
24. Be personable but professional
Writing blog posts is much easier when you keep it personable. Still, because it represents your company, your blog should maintain an adequate level of professionalism.
Spice up blog posts with occasional quips about how you’re thinking or feeling about certain topics. Write as if you are having a face-to-face conversation.
Everything else will fall into place from there.
25. Go in-depth
All too often, corporate blogs merely skim the surface of the topics that matter to their audiences. Generic, fluffy posts are easy to churn out, to be sure, but they leave a lot to be desired.
Your industry blog will be far more compelling when you delve deeply into topics from time to time. If you’re worried about holding your audience’s interest through such topics, create a series of posts to break things up into digestible chunks.
This has the added bonus of keeping your readers coming back for more.
26. Interview people
I know, you’re not a journalist.
However, getting out there and interviewing important people in your industry is a great way to come up with interesting topics for your blog.
Of course, you don’t have to literally interview people face to face.
Through email and social media, you should be able to conduct at least occasional interviews that will give you all kinds of blog fodder.
27. Become an expert
You are surely very knowledgeable about topics that relate to your industry.
Kick things up a notch by focusing your attention on a very niche area, and learn everything you can about it.
By becoming an authority on a particular subject, you will be swimming with ideas that matter to your audience.
As you learn new things, additional ideas will spring to mind more easily.
28. Write listicles
A corporate blog needn’t be stodgy or overly prim and proper (in fact, quite the opposite).
Like Buzzfeed does, create posts in a list format, publishing listicles from time to time.
Listicles are easy to write and fun to read even if they are written on dry topics.
29. Tackle tough topics
Corporate blogs tend to shy away from especially difficult topics.
Getting to the bottom of something that tends to stump people who rely on your products or services requires a lot of work, but it also gives you incredible ammunition for generating interesting blog posts.
Zero in on issues nobody seems to be trying to resolve, and commit yourself to solving them.
Whether you’re successful or not, share your findings with your audience.
30. Share memes
I don’t care how niche your business is—there are sure to be plenty of pertinent memes out there regarding it.
Dig them up, and share them on your blog from time to time. Provide commentary regarding the meme to keep your blog plugging along.
If you strike out and can’t find many memes, create your own.
There are tons of apps for this, so there’s no excuse for not giving it a go!
31. Share findings from surveys and polls
Use apps and widgets to quickly and easily survey clients and prospects. Share the results, and comment on them in your posts.
Don’t be afraid to seek out surveys and polls from other sources too.
Even if they are not very recent, they will probably be interesting to your audience, and creating posts around them is fun and easy.
32. Be empathetic
On the one hand, you want to come across as an authority in your industry.
On the other hand, though, you want to connect with your audience to keep them engaged.
You can’t do that without showing a little empathy here and there.
When the situation warrants it, use phrases such as “…like many business owners…,” “…I know how it is…,” and “…I see that all the time…” to show your audience you understand them and to give your posts more personality.
33. Tie posts to current events when applicable
If a newsworthy event impacts your industry—even if only tangentially—go ahead and write an article about it.
On social media, this has the added bonus of potentially having your post appear in trending topic feeds.
Don’t go too far, though. You may find yourself trying to tie every current event to your industry, and that just won’t fly.
When it makes sense to do so, however, this tactic can work wonders.
34. Offer a free webinar
You’ve been seeing us do a ton more webinars on KISSmetrics lately because they do well. Not only do they help drive sales, but they drive a ton of traffic to our corporate site.
Typically, if you are looking to do a webinar, it has to be on a topic that benefits your readers. You can’t expect them to attend a webinar that’s just a sales pitch without any benefit to them. Instead, you have to educate them on a topic related to your product or service.
Within the webinar, you can mention your product or give them an exclusive offer if they buy within the next 24 hours.
35. Use a talented writer
I can’t emphasize this one enough: Whoever writes for your blog should be an innately talented writer.
Moreover, they should actually enjoy writing, and their enthusiasm should shine through in their work.
It’s plainly obvious when an industry blog has been written by someone who lacks the necessary writing chops.
Even if you must pay for it, make sure your content is penned—or typed, as it were—by someone who can truly do it justice.
How to hire an exceptional blogger
Unlike for most jobs, you don’t find world-class bloggers through job postings. It’s not because a lot of great bloggers are already busy. In reality, a lot of them are not. Not only that, most of them don’t even get paid well.
The simplest way to find a great blogger is to scour marketing blogs. Although your business may not be about marketing, it doesn’t matter in this particular case. A great blogger can write on any topic due to the fact that anything can be researched on the web.
The first thing you want to do is make a list of all the popular marketing blogs such as Copyblogger, Problogger, and Moz. Each of those blogs accepts guest posters, which is what you want to look for.
Typically, if a blogger was able to get his or her content published on one of those blogs, this person is a good enough blogger as each of those blogs has strict editorial guidelines.
What a world-class blogger looks like
Now that you have a list of potential bloggers to hire, you need to look for the following qualities:
When it comes to evaluating bloggers’ abilities, you don’t have to look further than the points above. Sure, there are other important qualities a blogger should have. The advantage of finding these bloggers on other popular blogs is that those other qualities have already been pre-vetted for you.
Once you find a few bloggers that meet the requirements above, you’ll want to shoot them an email asking if they are interested in contractual gigs. Contract means you just pay them for every blog post they write.
What you’ll find is that most of these bloggers will want $100 to $200 for a blog post between 1,000 and 2,000 words. Paying more than $200 usually isn’t worth it unless your ROI warrants it. And paying less than $100 isn’t very realistic as most good bloggers spend four to five hours writing a great post. That means you would be paying them less than $20 an hour.
It’s as simple as that. There isn’t much more to finding a world-class blogger.
So what is the biggest factor that’s stopping you from corporate blogging?
Chances are it’s your lack of faith that blogging will produce revenue.
The last thing you want to do is spend weeks, if not months, blogging and generate no income from it, right?
To prove to you that blogging is an endeavor worth undertaking, I’ve created an infographic that shows you how blogging affects your bottom line.
When blogging for business, your ultimate goal is to convert readers into buyers, so make sure that you put effort into helping achieve that conversion. Link to your sales pages within your blog posts, talk about what you can do for people and play up the fact that you’re a business with something to offer.
Remember that your corporate blog shouldn’t be the main attraction. It’s just a gateway to help readers discover your business and get them excited about the bigger and better things you sell.
via Quick Sprout http://bit.ly/UU7LJr
January 31, 2019 at 03:17PM
19 Considerations For Increasing Conversions On Your Blog
Are you tired of spending money on content marketing… especially because it isn’t generating any income for you? Sure, you can throw some ads up on your blog, but unless you get millions of visitors a month, you probably won’t get a great return.
Just look at the image above. That content site gets over one million unique visitors a month and monetizes through AdSense. Can you guess how much money it makes each month?
If you guessed $10,000 or even $20,000 a month, you got it wrong. The site only generates $4,000 a month from ads. When you factor in hosting and maintenance costs, however, the site is actually losing around $3,000 a month.
So what’s a better strategy to convert your blog readers into customers?
Below are 19 tips to consider when working on increasing conversions on your blog.
1. Know your audience
You will get absolutely nowhere if you don’t consider your audience first and foremost.
It seems obvious, right? But many bloggers get this wrong. They post irrelevant content and then scratch their heads, wondering why the content didn’t do well.
Even if you put out awesome content, it’ll be worthless if your readers don’t love it. You need to find out what your readers want and make it happen.
But how do you get the scoop on your readers?
One of the best ways to get to know your readers is by surveying them. You can send out a mass survey or schedule calls with a few readers to find out exactly what your audience wants.
Next, check out your comments section. Read through each comment, and really listen to what your readers have to say. You’ll likely find that certain types of posts tend to have more comments.
And don’t forget to check your social metrics. Which articles have been shared or retweeted?
Last but not least, I’ll share one of my favorite tools for getting into your readers’ minds: Google Analytics.
Google Analytics (GA) can reveal a lot about your readers. You can find out where your readers are from and what their interests are. Every blogger needs to know and use GA.
2. Provide a ton of value
Value should be your number one priority as a blogger. I’ll even go a step further and say that it’s impossible to run a truly great blog without providing a crap ton of real value.
But can you sell based on value alone?
It’s a good question. So let’s look at what happens when you take price out of the equation.
Tom Morkes had a blog that people really liked, but he realized it wasn’t profitable. So he wrote an e-book and released it to a whopping 166 subscribers. Don’t laugh yet—the results will astound you.
Tom chose a pay-what-you-want method so his readers would have a choice. And lots of his readers chose a price of $0.
But Tom’s readers contributed an average of $15 per e-book. And he made an impressive $493.50 in the first month by offering something free.
See the numbers for yourself:
This is a fantastic case study to show just how well value can sell. If you have immensely valuable content, you can sell like crazy even if you offer it free.
3. Deliver content that is aligned with user intent
One of the most direct ways to gain more conversions is to create content that satisfies user intent.
What is “user intent?”
User intent is what someone wants when they type something into Google.
For example, if I want to fly to Delhi next week, I would type in: “tickets from Atlanta to Delhi.”
My intent as a user is to purchase an airline ticket from Atlanta to Delhi, India.
In response to my query, Google would show me some airlines with flight times and rates.
There are three main types of user intent, often called “query types.”
Google is pretty good at determining the type of query you’re using and the best results to provide.
When I searched for airline tickets, Google provided a quick and accessible way to make a purchase based on my transactional query.
When you’re creating long-form blog articles, you are most likely targeting informational queries. These informational queries often bring up blog articles. (Transactional queries, by contrast, usually bring up product pages.)
But we still need to understand the following: What does user intent have to do with conversions?
The answer lies within the buying funnel.
The buying funnel is a model that marketers use to demonstrate how users get around to purchasing something.
The iterations of the buying funnel are many. But the basic idea is this:
Congrats! The prospect has become a customer.
This is what the funnel looks like:
You, as a marketer or website owner, are targeting an individual within the second phase of the funnel—research and comparison.
Notice that the research phase is part of the user’s buying funnel. The information they find based on their query and intent can lead to a purchase.
Your content gives the user what they want.
They want detailed information? They want to hear a solution? They want a helpful discussion?
Enter your content, which satisfies their intent.
Such content can eventually lead to a purchase.
That’s why I recommend you deliver content aligned with user intent.
A simpler way to say it is this: Figure out what the customer wants, and give it to them.
Remember, at this point the person typing in a query is not a paying customer. They are an individual looking for information.
If they trust your website and content, they will move closer to becoming a customer—to converting on your content.
4. Link to a relevant product
Linking to one of your products is a simple but effective strategy for getting eyeballs to your storefront.
But here’s the catch: you have to share a relevant product.
If your blog post is about making the best pumpkin pie and you include a link to your guide to wine tasting, the conversion rate won’t be very high. That’s because your readers are there for the pumpkin pie.
But if you share a link to your guide to pumpkin-pie-making with those same readers, you’ll see much better results.
Here’s Carol Tice from Make A Living Writing using this strategy:
To give you some context, Carol’s post is about a freelancing scam. By sharing this product at the end of the blog post, she’s letting readers in on a surefire method of revenue.
Solve your readers’ problems by sharing relevant products with them, and you’ll make their day.
5. Describe an insanely valuable use of your product
It makes sense why no one would want to buy your product unless they saw its benefits.
So don’t beat around the bush--show off your products’ benefits.
But it’s important that you’re not just praising your product as the best thing since sliced bread. You have to give readers specific, detailed reasons why your product is great.
MailChimp does this excellently. Their post “Why Clients Render Email Differently” mentions their Inbox Preview feature, but it doesn’t read like an advertisement for that feature.
Instead, it talks about the similarities and differences in email clients that readers should be aware of.
This part is crucial: You can get value from this article even if you don’t buy their product.
Your blog post should still be value-packed. You’re simply letting your readers know that your product provides a shortcut to the results they want.
In other words, don’t dangle your product in front of your readers’ faces and say, “You have to buy this to get anything good.” Give them the good stuff in the post itself.
6. Blog about your customers
Sharing your customers’ experiences with your product can work wonders. Your readers get to see how your product is benefiting real people, and they’ll become more interested without feeling pressured.
TOMS does this with its “Locals Who Give Back” blog post series. Each post profiles a TOMS customer who is making a difference in their local community.
Don’t worry—you don’t have to be TOMS to do this effectively.
All you have to do is make heroes out of your customers. Listen to ordinary people’s stories, and broadcast them to your audience. Your readers will instantly connect with these stories, and that means they’ll connect more with your brand.
7. Do affiliate marketing (the right way)
There’s a reason why tried-and-true methods are tried-and-true. Affiliate marketing is no exception.
But you know what I can’t stand? When bloggers try to hide the fact that they’re using affiliate links.
If your readers really love your blog, they’ll be more than happy to help you out by buying something they were already interested in anyway.
Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income has two great rules for affiliate marketing:
Don’t be an intrusive salesperson who hawks products to their readers. Be your readers’ friend, and recommend products that will improve their lives.
8. Fix a problem
People will always have problems, and they will always want to fix those problems. That’s where you come in.
By fixing your readers’ problems with your blog posts, you’re earning their trust. Eventually, they’ll want to check out what you have to offer.
SumoMe does this by regularly posting monster guides that cover a subject exhaustively. And if you look at their articles (like this guide on content upgrades), you’ll see they go over everything. They leave no stone unturned.
But you don’t have to write thousands of words to fix problems—shorter can work too. No matter the approach you choose, make sure you’re thorough when fixing your readers’ problems. Don’t give them a temporary duct tape fix—give them a long-term remedy.
9. Give away a preview
You know what the trouble with a lot of products is? They’re all talk. Any product can sound great with a well-written description.
But if you know you’ve got something good, give your readers a free preview. Let them in on the action so they can see for themselves just how great your product is.
If you have a subscription service, give your readers a free trial. If you have an e-book, give away the first chapter.
Here’s my challenge to you: Give away more than you think you should.
When Seth Godin released his book Permission Marketing, instead of just giving away one chapter, he offered the first four chapters free. (And the offer still stands!) That free preview didn’t stop the book from creating a legacy with marketers all over the world.
And make sure your free preview is packed with good stuff. Don’t give away a limited free trial or an introduction. Give your readers the good stuff, and when there’s no more free content, they’ll likely pay for more.
10. Hold a contest
No one can resist the offer of something free. You can leverage this by holding a contest on your blog.
You’re probably thinking, “How can I generate sales if I’m giving something free?”
This is how. Contests help you grow your audience and build interest in your brand. After a successful contest, you’ll have a lot more people to share your products with.
To get the best results with your contest, go social. For example, use Rafflecopter to give extra entries to people who perform certain social actions, such as liking and sharing your page:
11. Offer a weekly webinar
If you have a product or service, you should consider doing a weekly webinar. The webinar shouldn’t just be about your product or service, but instead it should be around something that benefits your potential customers.
For example, although we sell a customer analytics solution at KISSmetrics, we continually create webinars on marketing-related topics as our ideal customer is a marketer.
Giving them useful information about marketing builds trust within our brand, and that drives signups. Plus, whenever we see a fit, we can always plug our analytics solution within our webinars.
Now, the tricky part about webinars is that you have to convince people who are watching them to sign up for your product or service. Here are the two ways we do it:
12. Pay for remarketing
It’s much easier to drive traffic to your blog than to your main site because content marketing can drive millions of visitors through the use of infographics, content guides, and plain old blog posts.
Once you have a large audience reading your blog, you want to remarket to them. Through services like Retargeter and Perfect Audience you can pixel all of your blog readers so that when they browse random sites like TMZ, they will see a banner ad for your company.
We’ve found that when you remarket to your blog readers, you will get a click-through rate .2%. Out of all of those visitors, 3.58% will convert into customers.
13. Collect emails
My favorite way to monetize a blog is through emails. It’s a much longer process than the above methods, but the conversion rates tend to be higher.
Let’s start with the ways you can collect emails on your blog:
I know the percentages above vary a lot, but it depends on how many of these opt-in methods you use. The more you use, the more cannibalization there will be, so your percentages across the board will decrease. But if you offer something for free in exchange for someone’s email, such as an eBook, your percentages can potentially be on the higher end.
Once you have the emails, you want to create an email drip system. Typically, the email drip consists of at least seven emails, and it is sent to people automatically over time. With services like MailChimp, Aweber or SendGrid, you can easily create a drip. Within those emails, you need to educate your customer base and sell to them over time.
A good email drip should convert at around 5%. So, if you collect 100 emails, 5 of them should turn into customers. And if you suck at writing drips, you can always hire consultants to write them for you.
The key to email copywriting is to educate first, build trust second, and then sell. And you can’t do this by just writing a few emails, which is why the rule of thumb is to sell on the 7th email as it is hard to accomplish all of that in less than 7 emails.
14. Create loyal readers
The first thing you need to know about converting visitors into customers is that the loyal visitors tend to convert first. They believe in what you are preaching; they appreciate everything you have to offer; and they tend to be early adopters.
You can increase your visitor loyalty by doing the following:
Although these three tactics will help you build a loyal audience, one strategy you should also consider is videos. Videos tend to have a higher perceived value, which is why people look forward to watching them.
But if you suck on camera like I do, another form of video content that you can leverage is webinars. They are just as powerful as other types of videos, but they are better suited to sell products or services.
15. If you use a form, limit it to three fields
I suggest only one field (an email address) if possible, but this depends on the product you’re selling.
SumoMe asks for only a user’s email address:
For creating an account—a different purpose—they’ve included three fields on the form:
It’s still easy, fast, and effective.
16. Create a low-barrier-to-entry conversion action
The definition of conversion is pretty simple:
When you ask for a conversion, you’re not asking your blog reader to pull out their credit card and give you their money. You’re simply asking them to take the next logical step.
Often, this is an easy, low-cost, and logical way to take the relationship to the next level.
Here are some common conversion actions. Notice that each of these takes a few seconds and clicks:
Let’s take a look at a few of these. Each of these are located on a long-form blog article.
Buffer invites you to get started with a free account. The header pictured below is persistent, meaning you’ll always see it as you scroll through the article:
The Optimizely blog invites you to get a copy of their customer stories:
The Marketing Sherpa blog uses a shadowbox popup to invite you to subscribe to their mailing list:
Kissmetrics asks you to try their SaaS:
17. Make it appealing and persuasive
Don’t lie, cheat, or steal when you’re asking for a conversion. Just be honest and ask for what you want.
The right kind of users want to convert. But sometimes, it takes a little persuasion and some good old-fashioned appeal.
Here’s an example.
If you read my blog, you’ve probably seen this little box:
I’ve put that call-to-action box in my content because I want to persuade you to get your website analyzed.
You have a choice. I’m not twisting your arm.
But I am trying to persuade you.
And the reason I keep using that box is because it’s working!
18. Make the content crazy good
The quality of the content will make or break the experience and you will lose conversions. If you can’t hook your readers and keep them interested, you’ll lose them because no one’s going to read thousands of words if the content is boring them to tears.
How do you keep your readers entertained that long?
There’s one trick to this: Strive to provide enormous value with every word you write.
If you’re constantly aiming at providing value, your writing will be more targeted. And that’s always a good thing.
(It also wouldn’t hurt to brush up on your copywriting skills.)
I’ll be the first to admit that you can focus on providing value and still struggle with writing great content.
Thankfully, there are other techniques you can use:
Aim to use short paragraphs, subheadings, and lots of images. This will help readers move through the post more quickly, increasing the likelihood that they’ll finish reading.
Check out this post from Buffer:
Subheadings are particularly important for longform content. If your readers are scrolling through your post and see paragraph after paragraph after paragraph, they’ll get tired. Fast.
Make sure your readers always know where they are in your post. Use subheadings as mile markers to remind your readers of the topic at hand.
And you absolutely have to include research. Your readers want to be sure that what you’re saying is backed by data. Posts that include real-life examples and case studies perform better than data-free posts.
Don’t skip over this step! Your article content plays a crucial role in conversion. If your content doesn’t wow people, do you think they’ll want to give you their emails? (Spoiler alert: they won’t.)
19. Ask for what you want
You know the expression “ask and you shall receive.”
It’s true in online marketing. Asking for the user to convert is a gift. They want to do it.
All you have to do is ask.
A business that uses free consults as part of its sales cycle should offer the user a free consultation.
Here’s are some examples:
A company that provides heat mapping analytics should ask users to create a heat map, like this:
The conversion action you choose depends on what you’re trying to accomplish, but sometimes all you have to do is ask for it.
Blogging can be very profitable. You simply have to focus on converting your readers into customers.
When you do it right, selling equals helping your readers. Only promote products you know will improve your readers’ lives and you will see an increase in conversions.
After you’ve been blogging and interacting with readers for a while, you’ll realize it’s a small community. These people aren’t facts and figures. They’re humans with problems that need to be solved, and you can help.
It’s all about helping. If you’re focused on providing value then the converting them into customers part becomes a lot easier.
via Quick Sprout http://bit.ly/UU7LJr
January 31, 2019 at 02:58PM
How to Write a Blog Post: 22 Actionable Tips
How hard could it be to write a blog post? If a teenager can do it, you can too, right?
Well, writing a blog post isn’t hard at all, but writing a great blog post is very difficult. Below are 22 actionable tips on how to write a blog post that will help make your content stand out from the crowd.
Blog On Your Passion
Blogging can be a chore, unless you are passionate about the topic. So, first and foremost, pick a topic you are passionate about.
Don’t just pick a topic that you “think” you are passionate about. Pick one that you definitely know you’ll love. It has to be a topic that you love so much that you want to constantly learn more about it.
Break With Your Old Ways
Do you remember writing term papers in high school or college? If you don’t, lucky you! If you do, writing blog posts is going to be a difficult task for you. You have to ignore all the things your professors taught you about writing.
You aren’t here to write a term paper—you are here to create a conversation!
If my blog posts sounded as if I was talking at you instead of to you, wouldn’t you get bored and irritated with me? Make sure you do the same: talk to your readers—not at them.
Know What You Want To Write About
Before you start writing the first word, you have to know what the last word is going to be. I don’t mean this in a literal sense, but you have to know how you are going to start off your blog post, the points you are going to convey, and how you are going to wrap everything up.
If you are one of those people who like to be spontaneous, that’s great. As one of those people, I have realized it doesn’t work well with blogging. It will only cause you to spend more time writing than you need to.
Plus, I am pretty sure you are already strapped for time. Right? So why waste more of it?
Find Popular Topics To Blog About
Find a topic that you are passionate about and create a list of all the popular blogs in that space. You can easily do this by searching Google. If there are not many popular blogs in your space, list all the blogs that are somewhat in your space and are popular.
Now that you have a list of all the popular blogs, make sure you browse them once a week. When browsing them, look for social buttons on each post that shows how many people either tweeted or liked the post. The higher the number, the better.
Take the posts that have over 50 or 100 social shares and list them in a spreadsheet as new ideas for future use. This can be your go to list for when you need a new topic to write about.
Create An Awesome Title
Until you can come up with an awesome title, you shouldn’t start writing your blog post. You could have the greatest content, but if your title sucks, most people won’t read it.
Let’s say that we were targeting the keyword, cake baking tips. Now, from an SEO standpoint you obviously want this keyword to appear in the title and somewhere early on in the title and from a blogging perspective. You need to make sure that the words surrounding your keyword are enticing enough for people to click through. I found that numbers tend to work really well for blog posts.
Instead of just saying cake baking tips, you’d want to put something like, 25 incredible cake baking tips. Okay? So, that’s something that’ll entice people to click through because they’re curious about the specific number of 25 and the word incredible also makes them a little more curious. That is what I would call an awesome title that should get some clicks!
Hook Your Readers
You have only a few seconds to grab people’s attention. If you can’t grab someone’s attention within the first few sentences you write, you have lost them.
Also, from a search engine optimization standpoint, you want your keyword to appear high up in the content preferably in the first or second or third sentence of your post.
Here is an example of how I might write a couple of sentences within a blog post intro that would hook most readers into reading more:
If you look at the paragraph above, you’ll notice I have done a few things:
In the second paragraph, I use social proof to demonstrate I am not just an average Joe who is giving advice. If you are new to this blog, you might need that proof.
Seeing I was a top 100 blogger helps you take my advice a bit more seriously. At the same time, telling you I screwed up shows you I am not perfect and that you can always improve.
Everyone has different writing styles, so I don’t expect your introductory paragraphs to be like mine, and that’s fine. As long as you use some of the elements I used, your readers will be engaged.
Create A Conversation
Have you noticed that I use the words “you” and “I” a lot within my blog posts? I do this because I am trying to create a conversation with you. The last thing I want you to feel is that you are reading an essay because that would be boring. I know that because it would be boring for me.
I’ve been writing blog posts – trying to make them as personable and relatable as possible – for years, which is why I get so many comments on each of my blog posts.
I’ve never A/B-tested essay-style vs conversation-style posts because I would never want to publish a blog post that was written like an essay.
Even without the test, there is one thing I’m confident about when it comes to using a conversational style in blog posts: it helps with readability.
Evidently, you prefer this as well because I get emails like this one every week:
By creating a conversation, you will see that your blog posts are read more and people are more likely to comment.
Just think of it this way: if you read a blog post that you loved and the author of the post asked you a question at the end… what would you do?
There is a good chance you would respond with a comment, right? I know I would.
By asking your readers a question, you will encourage more of them to leave comments. This will cause people to stay on your blog longer as it takes more than a few seconds to leave a comment. Plus, it gives you an opportunity to respond to the comments and get your readers to come back to your blog.
This is why I respond to every single comment on Quick Sprout. It’s the main reason why repeat visitors make up 40% of my traffic.
When you read a blog, how much do you really know about the person behind the blog? Very little, right?
If you are lucky, the blogger may have a bio and a photo of herself in the sidebar… but that’s pretty much it.
You can’t expect your audience to connect with you if you don’t open up. You can accomplish this through an About page. Not one that is about your blog or your company, but about you… the person behind the blog.
If you have a corporate blog, you can create an About page for each author on your blog.
To create an effective About page, you should consider doing the following:
Longer Content Is Usually Better
If you look at the data below, you will have to agree with me. Longer posts usually perform better on every level.
Let’s go through the reasons why this is true.
The first is the fact that a higher word count typically results in more search traffic. There are more than 200 factors that influence how your content ranks in the SERPs. Evidence suggests that the more content your page has, the better chance it has of a top position in Google results.
SerpIQ studied search results rank based on content length. Here’s what they found:
The higher the Google SERP position, the more content the page has. Notice that every one of these first page results has content exceeding 2,000 words.
Google’s web crawler, Googlebot, is responsible for indexing your site. When it does so, it looks at every single word, tag, and particle of information (with a few exceptions like rich media files and dynamic pages).
There are different content types that get indexed — page title, headlines (H1, H2, H3, etc.), metadata, alt tags on images, etc.
The more content you have, the more of it gets indexed. The more that gets indexed, the better it will perform in searches and results. It’s just that simple.
Another reason for longer content is that the greater your word count, the more link-backs you’ll get usually.
I’ve mentioned before that long content garners more link-backs. Here’s the proof from a Moz test:
The correlation couldn’t be clearer.
From a sheer data perspective, you can’t argue against this. Longer content gets more link-backs. More link-backs means better SEO. Better SEO means more conversions and revenue.
Also, longer content gets shared more frequently too! A popular online journal ran the numbers on how shareable its content was from a length perspective. What the team discovered was that longer articles got shared more.
Once the word count exceeds 1,500 words, it’s in the golden share zone.
My own research on Quick Sprout confirms this. All of my posts that are more than 1,500 words receive 68% more tweets and 22% more Facebook likes than the articles with fewer than 1,500 words. For all the talk about making posts “shareable,” it turns out that the defining factor is content length.
However, when it comes to web content, length is only one of the factors to consider. You’ve got to consider a host of other issues. Take into account how all these other factors affect the length of your post.
By no means am I saying that content length isn’t important. I’m saying that length isn’t the only thing you should be concerned about.
Make Sure What You Write Is Original
Anything you write for your blog or website must be 100% original. This means that the content can’t be redundant, duplicated or stolen.
By redundant I mean content that basically repeats itself. For example, let’s say one day you might write an article on 14 SEO copywriting tips, and another day you might write about SEO copywriting advice. Those two articles are redundant if they basically say the same thing, so you’ll want to either get rid of one of them or revise the other to make it unique.
Provide Practical Advice And Relevant Research
One of the best ways to create value for your readers and to earn great links is to think of problems or issues that your readers are dealing with and then provide how-to articles or tutorials on that topic.
Original research can serve the same purpose if it turns out to be something your audience wants or needs. Original research is content that has facts and ideas that have no known sources. You did the interview or dug up the story all by yourself and are providing not only the facts, but the analysis too.
You can also analyze or combine other analysis and facts to come up with original material. Search Quality Strategist Kaspar Szymanski at Google Dublin suggests:
Before you sit down and write an article, search the web for articles like your idea. One of the things that I do is take the headline I’m thinking about using and drop it into the Google search box. Then I look at what comes up.
Do I have a topic that is unique, or are there hundreds of titles similar to mine? If so, how can I make mine unique? Sometimes that means I have to narrow my focus. But after I narrow my focus, I have to make sure I’m providing information that goes deeper than the surface level.
For example, in my 7 Habits of Highly Successful SEOs post, I didn’t write about the obvious habits of SEOs like page optimization or managing PPC campaigns. I talked about the not-so-obvious intangibles like creativity, risk-taking and the unexpected: highly effective SEOs don’t just rely on SEO! I gave you something that was insightful and interesting – something you won’t find anywhere else.
Use The Proper URL Structure
You definitely want your keyword to appear in the URL. That’s important for SEO, but also from a user experience standpoint you want to have a very short URL. I recommend putting just your target keyword in the URL. For example if your post was about the best web hosting your URL would be https://www.quicksprout.com/best-web-hosting/
That’s important for SEO because Google wants to see that your keyword appears in the URL, but it’s also important for user experience because when people share this URL in social media if it’s too long they won’t be able to share on some platforms because it’ll go over the character count.
Use A Variety Of Related Keywords Within Your Post
The sheer variety of words is also an important factor that can improve your SEO.
For instance, let’s say you’re creating a short blog post on “writing great headlines.” You’re aiming for 200 words. In a post consisting of a couple hundred words, you’ll probably use the search term “writing great headlines” and maybe one or two variations on the theme. Good enough.
But what if you were writing an article that was 2,000 words long? You’ll get to use a variety of other keywords that are related:
You can use a lot more variety when you have a lot more content. The more variety you have, the better you’ll perform in search queries. Remember, Google isn’t just delivering results that have an exact match to the query. It delivers results that are semantically related.
I googled “creating a great headline” and got these results:
The first result is about writing “magnetic headlines.” The second result has to do with “catchy headlines.” I didn’t use “catchy” or “magnetic” in my query, but Google is smart. It knows that I’ll like these results.
When you write longer posts, you’ll be able to leverage the power of long tail keywords and latent semantic indexing. The spread of keywords creates a more effective matrix for search engine ranking potential.
Use Headings, Bullets, Lists, And Block Quotes
Why are books easy to read? Because their content is broken down into bite-size bits through the use of chapters, headings, and bullets. Your blog posts will benefit from the same use of content guides and dividers.
I had my developer run A/B tests on a few of my Quick Sprout blog posts. The original used no headings, while the variation used headings, bullets, lists, and block quotes.
Can you guess what the difference was? By using headings, bullets, lists, and block quotes, I was able to increase the average time you spend reading each blog post by 31 seconds. That small tweak increased your time on site by 17.8%.
As you know, the more time people spend reading each of your blog posts, the higher the chance that they read through the whole post.
Headings are also important from a search engine standpoint because that helps tell Google what your article is thematically about. Always remember to include one H1 and one H2, and a few H3/H4 tags where it makes sense. The H1 is typically your blog post title and the H2 is your sub heading. H3, H4, etc. can be used through out your post where it makes logical sense. Be sure to use your keyword, or a variation of your keyword, in your headings.
Increase Your Font Size And Spacing
By increasing your font size and spacing, you can make your blog posts easier to read. I myself have access to over 13 blogs that I can run tests on and play around with. So I decided to run a quick test to see if I can increase the overall time on site by increasing font size.
What I learned was interesting. Assuming you are picking a readable font type like Arial, Times, or Georgia, you can increase the time your readers spend on your site by increasing your font size.
By increasing the font size from 8 to 9, I was able to increase my average time on site by 13 seconds. By increasing it from 9 to 10, I was able to increase the time on site by another 8 seconds. And by going from 10 to 11, I was able to add another 6 seconds.
Depending on your font type, increasing your font from 11 to 12 or higher won’t help increase your time on site, or that’s at least what I found. It’s probably due to the fact that your text at a font size of 11 is usually easy enough to read. Making it any bigger won’t help much.
Link to Your Other Related Posts
One thing that the search engines love, and that are very useful to your readers too, are internal links to other related posts. Let’s say, that you had another article on your site about cake decorating techniques. Well, this will be a perfect opportunity to add an internal link to that article which increases user experience because people see another resource on your site.
It’s also great from an SEO standpoint because it helps rank this particular page that you’re linking to.
Link To Valuable External Resources
Including a few links to other related sites and resources that you find useful can also be helpful for SEO, and your visitors.
Let’s say that you wanted to add information about dry measuring cup, but you didn’t have anything on your site about that, or there was another resource on the web that was just so good that you want to link to it and share it with your users. Well, all I like to do is search for that particular keyword and see what comes up. In this case, Wikipedia has a nice little article about measuring cups which included information about dry measuring cups.
Linking to this external page from within my post will help my readers find additional information and Google will take notice that I am linking out to another authority site in the niche which can help with rankings.
Use Images And Videos (but not to many)
Multimedia is really important from a user experience standpoint because when people go to your posts they don’t just want to see text. They want to see images and videos. That helps with SEO as well because it makes for a more engaging content and more media rich content which Google prefers.
Be sure to include well written alt tags for your images that describe the image. This will help with your SEO and is useful for readers with images disabled.
Do note though, that while including images and video is highly recommended, using too many pictures can actually hurt the readability of your blog posts. It can distract your readers from reading your content.
By running a few scrollmap tests on Crazy Egg, I found that posts containing more than three images tended to get read less by roughly 15% than those with fewer than three images. Interestingly enough, the time on site for posts with three or more images was also shorter by 26 seconds, which is roughly 15% of the average time you spend on my site.
Use images when it makes sense. Just make sure you don’t get carried away with using distracting ones because your goal should be to get people to read your content, not to stare at images, unless you are running an image blog.
Do Not Clutter Your Blog Post With Call To Actions Or Advertisements
A simple test to figuring out if your site is cluttered is to step back and look at your site. Where does it seem like your eyes should focus? Where do you want readers’ eyes to focus? Is it obvious what you want people to do?
For example, when I was writing this blog post, one site that I was on was WebProNews. When I landed on the site, this is what I saw:
Do you notice all the ads? What about the headline? Where is it? It’s below the fold on my screen.
Unfortunately, a great article is buried by ads and other 3rd party stuff. This might not be confusing to search engines, but when it comes to readers, it’s confusing. So it’s best if you keep a simple, clean design on your website that readers love.
Correct Any Spelling, Grammar, Or Factual Errors
Did you know that your site could rank low because of bad spelling? Even way back in 2011, Matt Cutts posted a video explaining that he and his team saw a correlation between sites with a high rankings and better spelling and sites with a low rankings and poor spelling.
Always make sure to run your post through a spelling and grammar check before you publish it and double check your facts.
Get Someone Else To Read Your Post Before You Publish
Not only should you check and double-check for content and design issues yourself, but you should have someone else read through your blog post before you post it too.
If possible, get more than one person to read it to ensure nothing gets missed and that there is not room for improvement before you publish.
Write A Conclusion (Like This One)
Have you noticed that I have a conclusion at the bottom of each of my blog posts? I do this for one specific reason: if you don’t have the time to read my blog post, you can scroll down to the conclusion and get a quick synopsis of it.
I didn’t always write conclusions or clearly label them. What I learned from scroll tests is that by adding a conclusion and clearly labeling it, you can train your readers to scroll further down the page because that one section will explain what your blog post is all about.
By adding a conclusion section to my posts, I was able to get 10% of you to scroll further down the page. It has also created a pattern where a good portion of you scroll down to the end of the post first and then scroll back up to the top to begin reading the post.
Remember in school your professors told you to summarize what you wrote in your conclusion? That works great for an essay, but it doesn’t work well in a blog post.
I take a 3-prong approach to my conclusions:
So with that in mind, were these tips on how to write a blog post helpful to you?
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January 31, 2019 at 02:32PM
35 Blogging Ideas That Are Guaranteed to Be Popular Topics
Blogging with a purpose increases market share, consumer engagement, revenue growth, and ROI. Of course, you want to do that.
I mean, just look at this:
But a lot of people I know are still stuck on the fundamental question:
What do we blog about?
Here is a list of 35 types of articles, topics, and approaches that have demonstrated massive success for bloggers in the past and will continue to do so in the future.
1. How To Guides
People generally hate reading instruction manuals. When was the last time you snuggled up with a glass of wine and the instruction manual to your toaster?
How do people figure out how to do stuff?
They Google it.
WikiHow became insanely popular based on how-to articles alone.
You might be surprised to see the kind of things people are Googling.
If you can find your niche audience, cater to their curiosities, and give them some helpful answers, you can’t help but create a popular blog.
Politics are popular during every election year. Whether national or local, find a political topic to discuss, and join this conversation.
Politics can be dicey, however. People tend to get really polarized around political topics, so be prepared to handle some controversy.
Everyone loves bacon.
Huffington Post is one of the most popular blogs online, and it has an entire archive of bacon articles.
It’s not a trend going away soon, so get on board.
Recipes are a great way to draw traffic to your blog.
There’s always a new diet fad, e.g., today’s Whole30 is yesterday’s Atkins, so there’s always new recipes to be discovered.
5. Beginner guides
Before you can convince someone that you know the advanced stuff, start with 101 beginner guides.
My own beginner guides have been very popular.
Everyone has to start somewhere. Beginner guides are often the way bloggers build organic search traffic at the start, and they can even be done using infographics like this guide to Sharepoint.
6. Ultimate guides
Subject matter experts, on the other hand, are always seeking out the most credible ultimate guides for their areas of expertise.
The term “ultimate guide,” however, is a bit overused. You can use some alternate terms if you want, such as these from Business Casual Copywriting:
Whenever you’re writing an informative guide, back it up with statistics.
Use data only from authority sources, and give them credit for the information.
Adding data to your guides shows your readers your content is legitimate.
You didn’t just pull ideas out of thin air. You took the time to conduct research and then formed opinions based on your findings.
I use this strategy all the time. Before I take a stance or give advice, I find numbers to back up my claims.
If you are interested in doing original research, consider highlighting your case studies in a blog post.
This will help you get traffic from organic searches as well as through backlinks whenever another site uses your study as a source of information.
If you’re an expert on something, creating an ultimate guide is an ultimately awesome way to do some ultimately popular blogging.
7. Frequently asked questions
Be warned that posting answers to frequently asked questions online won’t stop people from asking anyway.
They do, however, serve as a resource for people, and they are often featured on e-commerce websites—but overlooked on blogs. FAQs are blogging gold in any age.
Google’s algorithm uses FAQs, questions, and other popular topics as part of its Knowledge Graph. If you’re lucky, you might score a top spot in this coveted place.
The best way to set yourself apart from the ocean of bloggers is to gain insight from industry experts.
Whether it’s with people on your team or from other companies in the industry, set up interviews on websites like helpareporter.com to gain valuable knowledge from a professional.
Thankfully, you don’t have to be in the same room as your interviewee to talk to them. Come up with a list of questions your audience would be curious about, and email it instead. You could also post the questions via Twitter or another social media channel.
9. Personal stories
While personal stories may not be the keyword-filled anchor pieces you want, they’re still valuable additions to any blog.
Through sharing personal stories, you give readers a chance to relate to your business on a personal level, which helps build brand affinity.
Learning how to tell a story is an art. Once you master this skill, the quality of your blog posts will improve.
A great story will keep your readers on the edge of their seats.
You need to understand the impact storytelling has on our brains:
When readers have an emotional response to your story, dopamine gets released from their brains.
Use this information to your advantage. The best stories are written to elicit some type of emotion, whatever that may be.
The choice is up to you. Maybe you want your readers to feel sad or angry while they’re reading your posts. And some of you may prefer to evoke joy, surprise, or love.
If you can make your readers feel emotions, they’ll be more likely to continue reading the blog.
As a result, they’ll come back to read more in the future.
Depending on the nature of your story, it can also generate traffic based on curiosity alone. For example, if I saw a blog post that said something like “How I Caught a Shark With a Pair of Jeans,” I would be very inclined to click on it to find out what happened.
10. Charity and activism
Any type of charitable actions, events, or activism you support should be blogged about.
Crowdfunding sites such as KickStarter, IndieGoGo, GoFundMe, and the like appeal to the good in people, and showing you’re active in these communities can build your readership. Even an occasional Change.org petition can help the brand image.
11. Product reviews
Reviewing products and services is another great way to drive traffic to your blog. Not only are product reviews a trusted resource online that will draw traffic, but they are also a revenue stream for bloggers.
If you want to monetize your blog instantly, this is a smart move.
By linking to product pages through affiliate links like Amazon Affiliates, you can monetize a blog almost entirely on product reviews. Make sure you go niche, since this provides the greatest platform for credibility and expertise.
Here’s an example of a recent blog post from TechRadar that reviews multiple products in the same post:
There are a few different ways to decide what products to review.
For starters, you could review items your company sells. The only issue with this strategy is that people will know your opinion is biased. You won’t post an unfavorable review about something you’re selling.
But if your blog covers a specific industry, you can review new releases. Make sure the reviews are relevant.
Refer back to the example above. The article is reviewing the most recent iPhone products. It wouldn’t make sense to review models released five years ago.
If you decide to review products on a regular basis, establish a flow to such posts so your readers know what to expect.
Start with a product overview, and explain what the product does. Then, you can discuss specifications and other details. List the price and where it can be purchased.
The review should have some form of a pros and cons list. Reviews should ultimately express your stance on the item. For example, you can explain which people would benefit most from the product.
12. Breaking news
Use your blog to discuss breaking news topics.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you should try to compete with actual news outlets. But you can still write about recent events.
When it comes to breaking news, timing is everything. Being the first one to break a story isn’t always the best.
Sometimes you’re better off waiting to publish your content until all the facts are straight. You don’t want to get a reputation for posting unreliable information.
Here’s an example of a news story published on the TechCrunch blog:
Make sure your news story is relevant to your business.
For example, let’s say you run a fashion blog. A breaking news story about a technological advancement isn’t related to your brand, so don’t write about it.
Every industry has facts and fiction, which is why shows like Mythbusters got so popular.
We love learning what we’ve been doing or thinking wrong this whole time, so popular bloggers debunk myths.
What are some common misconceptions or myths regarding your industry or niche? Compile a list, and then use it to create a really fascinating post for your audience.
Make sure you back up your claims, though. Otherwise, readers will lose their interest when they realize they’re reading the rants of someone who really doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Approach writing such an article with the intention of providing as much useful and usable information as possible.
For B2B businesses, automation is the buzzword of the day, so any posts regarding ways to automate something is Internet gold.
Automation, of course, is broad. You’ll need to select a type of automation in order to drive truly valuable traffic.
15. Troubleshooting guides
I’m always on the lookout for reliable troubleshooting tips.
Troubleshooting guides speak to the pain many content seekers are looking to eliminate. They want to solve a problem, which is exactly what a successful troubleshooting guide will do.
A great way to draw interest in a blog while rewarding readers is by holding a contest.
Contests once got a bad rap as being scammy or cheap, but they are on their way back as a valuable traffic-driving technique.
Both Lifehacker and Lifehack rose to prominence by featuring valuable advice to readers on just about every subject.
Life advice, regardless of the subject matter, is a valued commodity.
18. Productivity tips
People want to do more faster and are always on the lookout for tools, technology, or tips to help them get more done. Productivity tips are the bread and butter of many online blogs.
If I told you I could make your days longer and you’d be able to finish more work, make more calls, etc., you’d be interested, right?
Of course, you would. Time is important.
It makes sense then that we’re attracted to content focused on gaining more time.
In your upcoming blog posts, incorporate interesting productivity tips, whether showing how your product or service increases productivity or sharing which productivity tips and tricks are working for you.
If you’re familiar with Michael Hyatt’s blog, you’ve probably seen this work. Michael Hyatt is a leadership development expert, but he publishes a lot of productivity-related titles.
In fact, when I look back on his blog’s social sharing metrics over the past 12 months, two of his top five are on productivity:
This isn’t an accident. Hyatt knows that productivity topics get shared.
People love sharing practical content that they can vouch for and others can use.
No matter how connected we get, travel will always be a popular topic for online searches.
With 126 million passports in circulation in the U.S. today, you know people are traveling—or at least they want to.
We all want to travel somewhere exotic and new. Any advice on how to do it cheaply is always appreciated.
Start thinking about what you would want to read.
Depending on the season, you can write about physical locations your audience might search for, say, Jamaica.
If you’re a company that has this information on Jamaica on your blog, take advantage of that. Take control so your blog becomes a frequent destination.
What kind of blogs would benefit from travel-related articles? It might not be that hard to find a connection.
Take ToDoIst for example. They sell a productivity app.
But they blog about travel:
Even a camera maker such as GoPro can get away with publishing some interesting and super shareable travel articles:
Evernote knows that travel is a shareable topic, and its blog features plenty of travel articles:
Give travel a try, fitting it in however you see appropriate, and you’ll likely get some social sharing among an interested audience.
History lessons are a great way to fill a blog with useful information.
Long-time bloggers often get caught up on current events, so occasional forays into history help create consistent content.
21. Gifs and memes
It wasn’t just listicles that made Buzzfeed so popular.
Memes and gifs are widely used on the site too.
Gifs give people the experience of a video and usually provide a ton of entertainment.
22. Funny stories
There will always be a place for humor in this world.
Posts that make people laugh get shared on social networks. There’s a reason why Buzzfeed, The Onion, Clickhole, and BoredPanda are among the world’s most popular websites.
23. Parenting tips
There will always be parents around, and any parenting tips are appreciated.
Blogging moms have conferences and conventions around the country, teaching people to follow in their footsteps and growing a sustainable industry.
Dad bloggers are also coming into their own as popular and respected places of information.
24. Upcoming events
You can always tell when an event is coming up by the buzz in the blogosphere. Whether it’s global events like the Olympics or local events like a concert or book-reading, events saturate many of the most popular online searches.
25. Internet stars
Partnering with and featuring the biggest Internet stars helps grow your following, so many content creators are partnering up in order to stay competitive. If you don’t know who PewDiePie and The Fine Bros are, it’s time to do some homework.
26. Tech support
Companies that offer technology services, hardware, or software will often include technical support within their blogs.
Microsoft, Google, and Facebook have extensive knowledge bases online, and they’re only growing along with everyone else’s.
27. Gift ideas
Right about now, blogs around the Internet are preparing holiday gift guides to help guide consumers to the right presents to buy for their colleagues, friends, and family during the holiday season.
Affiliate links can help create revenue for these cornerstone articles.
The best ____ of 2019, the 2000s, this century, and of all time are all great articles to read.
WatchMojo built an entire business on top 10 lists, and many others are following suit. Including best-of lists focused on everything within your industry is a great way to draw reader attention.
29. Respond to readers comments
People have always been interested in getting advice from publications, whether it’s from old-school advice columnists such as Ann Landers or new-school ones such as Dan Savage.
Responding to readers makes you a real person having a real conversation and allows you to address individual concerns to prove you care.
Lists are another common type of blog post.
I use lists all the time. In fact, what you’re reading right now is one of my lists.
One of the reasons why list posts are so popular is that your readers know what to expect. They can scroll through each point on the list without having to read through the entire thing.
Readers like it when content is straightforward and organized.
Vary the formula for writing titles of list posts. Here are some examples to show you what I’m talking about:
The list goes on and on, pun intended. But you get the point.
Changing the position of the number within the title of your list ensures your content doesn’t appear stale. If someone looks through your blog and sees that each title starts with a number, they may not be interested in reading it.
Switch up the numbers as well. While top ten lists may be popular, they can get boring too.
Google the topic before you start writing. Try to come up with a list longer than other lists in the search query. This will give you an advantage over your competitors.
As I’ve said before, you need to incorporate visual content into your blog posts.
But you can take this strategy to the next level by publishing blog posts that are almost exclusively infographics.
You probably have plenty of facts and statistics about your niche and industry at your disposal. Put relevant ones together, and use them to create an eye-catching infographic to share on your blog.
Other websites are always looking for content that will help improve their blog posts. If you can come up with relevant, accurate, and visually appealing infographics, these sites will use them in their blogs.
As a result, you’ll get credit for the image source.
People who see your infographics on other sites may be inclined to click the link to visit your website. Furthermore, these links will also improve your SEO ranking, which I’ve previously discussed.
If necessary, hire someone to create it for you. Include it in a new blog post, and then provide commentary about the facts and statistics within the body of the post. Encourage sharing by providing an easy link for people to use.
Face it, there are mobs of people out there (myself included) who would love to just wake up with six-pack abs. That’s why there’s always something new to help get you there.
As long as science continues to discover new things, there will be new breakthroughs to talk about—perfect fodder for shareable blog posts!
Blog posts about fitness have historically been one of the most shared genres of content on the web.
Buzzsumo, the social sharing giant, reported this about 2015 content popularity:
They explain that the viral element of these articles was the topic of the content: health, diet and fitness tips.
Buzzfeed knows a thing or two about shareable content, and they were the clear leader in the socially-shared fitness topics.
A quick search for “buzzfeed fitness” produces over 800,000 results:
There are tons of shares on each one of these.
Depending on your industry, blogging about fitness can work well.
Begin this process by searching Google for the top fitness blogs, and scour them to find out what the fitness industry is talking about. Write a post from this, relate it to your business, and that’s it. Simple.
The fifth and arguably most successful blog topic is money and finances.
The Internet is chock full of people looking to improve their finances, get out of debt, plan for the future, etc.
James Clear, for example, typically writes about health and productivity, but he knows that money topics will hit a social sharing streak. Take this super-popular article he wrote for Business Insider:
It’s garnered 58K+ shares since it was published!
This is a great topic to blog about, and it’s excellent for highlighting the potential financial benefits your product or service provides. It’s a no-brainer.
33. Share your secrets
No, I’m not telling you to give away all your secrets. Rather, connect more deeply with your audience by giving them information about your business practices and processes “from the horse’s mouth.”
It’s all about transparency and authenticity, and it resonates strongly with readers. People enjoy feeling like they are privy to special knowledge.
I do this as often as possible, e.g., by updating my audience on the $100,000 challenge, showing all the relevant data, metrics, and revenue numbers, and sharing the lessons I’m learning from my experiment.
Maybe it’s time to pull back the curtain, and share your secrets in a blog post.
34. Start a series or a regular feature
Some topics are so extensive that they can’t be covered adequately in a single post—not even a long-form one. When you run across one of these, consider breaking it up into a series for your readers. Create cliffhangers at the end of each one to keep them coming back for more.
You could also come up with a weekly or monthly feature for your blog. For example, you could highlight happenings regarding your niche in social media every Monday, or you could feature a new product or service every month.
35. Share customer success stories
With any luck, satisfied customers will occasionally contact you to express their appreciation. When this happens, ask them if you can feature their comments in a blog post for your business.
In this type of post, begin by describing the problem the customer was facing. Describe the product or service they used, and then explain how they were able to solve their issue by using it. If possible, include additional comments from the actual client to make the post especially engaging.
Popular topics come and go.
You might pick a technique today only to find it went into disfavor the next day. That’s part of the excitement and drama of blogging. You’ll deal with it, pick up your traffic, and move on.
The topics, techniques, and tactics listed above are virtually guaranteed to make you the world’s most popular blogger.
Maybe you’ve got all the traffic you need. Maybe you have the audience you want. Maybe you’re content.
But if you want to see some improvement, it couldn’t hurt to try a few of these.
What blogging ideas will you be using that have the promise to be popular?
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January 31, 2019 at 02:09PM
3 Ways Companies are Getting Customers Involved in Their Social Media Efforts
Social media success demands engagement, and when a company creates its social media marketing campaign, it’s important to get customers involved. A lot of campaigns forget the importance of customer involvement in social media.
Now, more than ever before, people want to have a voice on social media.
Take a look at Instagram, and you’ll see a lot of people promoting their favorite brands for free. Lebron James is a good example. Sure, he’s not a “business,” but he is definitely a brand. Look at this Instagram post from King James. He’s promoting his new sneakers, but he’s also promoting Oreos. Whether or not this is paid, I don’t know, but with over 848,000 likes, you can be sure Oreos got a boost from the post.
Companies that can get their customers involved in their social media efforts will find success. A few ways that companies are trying to get customers involved include:
1. Creating Their Own Hashtag
Create a trend by creating your own hashtag. You can create a hashtag at any time, and it is a great way for companies to promote themselves on Twitter and Instagram especially. Let’s assume that you’re a potential customer of Old Navy, and you want to see what a shirt looks like on other people.
Well, head over to Instagram and search for “#oldnavy.” There are over 100,000 people that have used the hashtag and show off some of the company’s products. You can create your own hashtag and even ask your customers to use the hashtag in their posts. This alone will help build exposure and can lead to higher sales.
2. Promote Customer Stories on Social Media
People love to be the center of attention, and this can be used to help boost your social media efforts. Mursewold has chosen to share their customer’s stories on social media, and this includes posts on the company’s Twitter and Facebook pages.
Ethan Spiewakowski, a nurse, has his picture attached to a post that allows the viewer to click for Ethan’s full story.
He shares his story as a male nurse, and the story helps give Ethan a voice, promotes real users using the company’s men’s scrubs, and also is sure to have Ethan elated, sharing his story with friends, family and co-workers.
3. Actively Search Out and Engage with Customers
If you wore your new Nike shoes, and Nike decided to repost your post or comment on your post, chances are you would be elated. A brand that you like has acknowledged you, and they have helped you build some of your own credibility.
Brands can do this by choosing to search out and engage with customers.
This may mean searching through hashtags or responding to a post from a customer wearing or using your product.
When you start to acknowledge your customers, they will start sharing more of your content and products with their friends. Everyone likes to be acknowledged, and this can be mentioning the customer’s comments on your account or responding to a question or problem that they had.
The post 3 Ways Companies are Getting Customers Involved in Their Social Media Efforts appeared first on Social Media Explorer.
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January 31, 2019 at 01:02PM
When to Use WordPress for Ecommerce and When to Avoid It
If you’re building a site that’s 100% focused on content or 100% focused on ecommerce, the best choice on how to build your site is very clear.
What WordPress does best = Content
WordPress is now a decade old and is still the reigning champ for managing sites with a ton of content. If you plan on pursuing an SEO or content marketing strategy for your business, WordPress is the only legitimate choice for your site. Nothing else comes close to giving you all the features that you need to manage so much content along with all the extra functionality for SEO and other traffic sources. It’s the default content management platform for a reason.
What Shopify does best = Ecommerce
If you want to sell stuff with an ecommerce store, Shopify is by far your best choice. There really aren’t any legitimate contenders anymore. The functionality, the ease of use, and the price are unmatched. Even more impressive, Shopify will scale with your business no matter how large it gets — they’ve pushed into the enterprise segment in the last few years and are now considered ”best-in-class” at all tiers of ecommerce. From trying to sell your first product to selling one million products, Shopify is the default choice.
The problem is knowing what to do when you have a content and an ecommerce site?
This is when things get a bit trickier and more nuanced.
Why You Should (Almost) Always Use Shopify for Your Ecommerce Site
As much as I personally love WordPress, it just doesn’t compare to Shopify when it comes to ecommerce, even if you add an ecommerce plugin to WordPress.
There are a bunch of unique features that any ecommerce site needs:
Shopify was built from the ground up around all of these features. WordPress wasn’t.
With Shopify, you get every ecommerce feature you could ever need right out of the box. A bit of easy configuration and your site is ready to go. Of course, Shopify also has the ability to deeply customize anything you could want. With how popular Shopify has been, there’s now a large community of developers and marketers that can use the more advanced features of Shopify to tailor it to your exact situation.
Shopify also has Shopify Lite. It’s a super streamlined version of Shopify, perfect for adding a couple of buy buttons to your WordPress site or your Facebook page. So even if you want to run a few small tests to see if you can sell items on your site, it’s still worth starting with Shopify.
We really can’t over-hype the benefits of using Shopify — they’ve done an amazing job at building a tool to solve the needs of any ecommerce business owner.
The benefits of Shopify are so large that it’s not worth trying to contort WordPress into an ecommerce site itself.
The only real weakness to Shopify is it’s blogging functionality. Yes, you can technically publish a blog on Shopify, using that for your content. But you won’t want to.
The blogging features in Shopify are so bare-bones that they’re only fit for the occasional company updates every few months. But if you’re only posting a few times a year, you might as well skip the blog entirely.
In other words, the only companies that would get value out of the Shopify blog feature shouldn’t have a blog in the first place.
What to do?
Let’s say that you have your core ecommerce store on Shopify. It’s going great. But you also want to start a high-caliber blog that could generate some serious traffic and help increase sales.
Your best best bet will be to use Shopify for your store and WordPress for your blog. You’ll be on both platforms.
Using multiple platforms on the same site is very common. Lots of sites do it.
The Easiest Way to Use Shopify and WordPress at the Same Time
Put one of them on a subdomain and the other on your main domain, like this:
This is easy enough that you’ll be able to get this set up with your WordPress host, domain registrar, and Shopify account on your own. There’s no need to hire a developer to do anything fancy. Simply set up WordPress on your main domain like normal while setting Shopify up on a subdomain.
Should Shopify or WordPress go on the subdomain?
In the example above, I put Shopify on the subdomain at store.company.com. The reverse also works by putting WordPress on a subdomain while Shopify is on the main domain, like this:
Which one should you do? Which goes on the subdomain?
I would make this decision based on your marketing strategy.
If you’re pursuing an SEO strategy for your online store, your goal will be to get product pages to rank for keywords. In other words, your main SEO priority is the product pages within your store. In this case, you’d want Shopify to be on your main domain.
In SEO, the main domain will always carry a bit more weight than a subdomain. It’ll have an easier time ranking for any given keyword. So if your main goal is to get your product pages to rank for search terms in Google, install Shopify on your main domain so it gets as much help as possible.
Now let’s switch it up. What if you have a large blog and you’re using content to obtain the vast majority of your traffic? In this case, install WordPress on your main domain and put Shopify on a subdomain.
To recap, decide whether it’s a bigger priority for you to rank your WordPress content or your Shopify product pages for SEO. Once you’ve made a decision, put your first choice on your main domain and the other one on a subdomain.
What if you’re not pursuing SEO?
Then it doesn’t really matter. If you’re focusing on paid marketing or some other strategy for your ecommerce site then it’s completely up to you. In this situation, I’d use a subdomain for whichever tool hasn’t been installed yet since the main domain will already be taken.
The One Reason to Use WordPress for Ecommerce
It does make sense to turn your WordPress site into an ecommerce store if you meet these conditions:
In this situation, you’re already on WordPress so you’ll want to keep that. You also have enough products to warrant a store section in your site, you’ll need more than just a few buy buttons. But it doesn’t make sense to get an entire ecommerce platform set up on your site since you don’t plan on making it a major priority.
The best bet is to keep everything on WordPress and use an ecommerce WordPress plugin to add a store to your site. The most well-respected ecommerce plugin is WooCommerce. It gets plenty of great reviews.
Or if you really love WordPress and hate the thought of adding another tool to your site, WooCommerce is still a legitimate option. Feel free to use it if you’d prefer to spend as much of your time as possible within WordPress.
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January 31, 2019 at 11:15AM
Don Jr. thinks 'S&L' is short for 'Saturday Night Live'
Donald Trump Jr., who is the universally acknowledged king of comedy, referred to Saturday Night Live as "S&L" in a tweet Thursday morning.
Don was trying — bless his heart — to make a quip about the 2020 race. "It's almost like a funny version of an S&L skit," he replied to a (wrong) tweet about the "dem platform."
Who doesn't love to watch sketches ("skits") about Savings and Loans? This must be how Don cultivated his strong and good sense of humor.
via Mashable http://bit.ly/2DCFv97
January 31, 2019 at 09:42AM
How to Organize Social Media Marketing Tasks: 3 Tools
In this article, you’ll discover three tools to help you better organize social media posting, monitoring, and campaign execution tasks.
#1: Plan Your Social Media Schedule With ContentCal
One of the biggest challenges for multi-platform social media managers is keeping all of their channels meaningfully active and engaging. Finding content that works and keeping social media accounts updated are keys to building a solid social media presence.
A social media tool like ContentCal can help with this. It’s a neat social media editorial solution that helps you manage all of your social media entities using an online calendar and delegating tasks.
To set up your ContentCal calendar, you’ll need to:
From there, you can start filling in your calendar with all kinds of updates to make sure you’re posting something each day.
Team members can drag and drop their updates into the pinboard, which is your collaboration center. Moderators can post comments to the pinboard and add action items and feedback.
ContentCal lets you set up a multi-step post approval process to make sure any errors are caught before the content goes live.
In the monthly calendar, you get a nice high-level overview of how busy your month looks and you can filter the view by channel, category status, and more.
The nice thing about ContentCal is that it’s incredibly affordable, with paid plans starting at $12 per month. A free plan is available if you schedule fewer than 50 posts per month and manage no more than four social accounts.
More helpful resources:
#2: Productive Social Media Listening With SentiOne
Social listening and engaging go a long way toward building a positive online image, winning back unhappy customers, and fostering loyalty.
While social monitoring is one of the most important areas of digital marketing, admittedly it’s not easy to do. It’s hard to scale and delegate. And for bigger brands, it’s challenging to catch all of the important mentions and address them in a timely manner.
SentiOne is a powerful social listening solution that makes monitoring much easier through smart alerting and advanced reporting. To set up a new project at SentiOne, you need to register for a free 14-day trial (plans start at $299 per month) and provide your project keywords.
SentiOne has the most comprehensive mention search out there, with no limit on the number of keywords you type in. Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your keywords:
SentiOne will start sending email updates almost instantly. At the top of each email, you’ll see a quick summary that includes the overall social media sentiment and how many keyword mentions were found.
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The email alerts let you quickly decide whether any specific mention needs attention, how best to respond, and in what type of context your keyword was mentioned.
Additionally, SentiOne generates powerful reports that allow you to measure and compare the effectiveness of your social media marketing tactics and make data-driven decisions. These reports include:
Additional resources: Here are more social media listening platforms to check out.
#3: Create Higher-Level Strategy Checklists With Serpstat
Social media marketing involves a lot of strategic planning that often gets overlooked. Most campaigns follow the same tedious setup process:
To better organize these tasks, use step-by-step checklists to walk you and your team members through the process. Checklists also make it easy to delegate recurring tasks to your team.
Serpstat has a powerful productivity feature that lets you create and repurpose all kinds of marketing checklists, tie them to your projects/sites, and collaborate with your team members. To get access to the checklists feature, you need to sign up for Plan B or higher, starting at $69 per month.
To set up your first checklist inside Serpstat, register for an account and add your site as a project.
Next, click Add Checklist next to your project name. Then select from the available checklist templates (which is what I usually do) or create one from scratch. You can create a checklist, turn it into a template, and then easily put together new checklists with the same set of items.
When setting up your checklists, focus on fostering productivity, mention tools and pages that need to be checked, and add detailed notes. Remember that you only need to do this once.
If I’m adding a Twitter chat checklist for my admins to follow, for instance, I’ll include the following items:
Now, for each Twitter chat, I just need to go to my checklist templates inside Serpstat and create a new checklist with one click of a mouse. Then I simply assign it to my assistant.
There are many more (albeit simpler) checklist management apps, in case you want to check them out, but Serpstat is the only one that’s focused on marketing, as far as I know.
Social media marketing can be overwhelming. The fast-evolving technology is bringing new opportunities and new challenges. Apart from the need to be on multiple social media platforms at the same time, there are many more challenges social media managers face. You have to:
How do you manage all of these tasks on multiple platforms with different tactics and form a cohesive social blueprint? There’s no way to create an effective social media marketing strategy without getting organized and the three tools above can help.
What do you think? How do you get your social media marketing tasks organized? Do you use any of these tools? What tools would you add to this list? Please share your input and tips in the comments.
More articles on social media marketing tools:
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January 31, 2019 at 05:08AM
Changing the Marketing Team: The Journey: Season 2, Episode 19
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This episode of The Journey explores how Social Media Examiner’s Michael Stelzner begins the search for someone to replace himself as the head of marketing. It also covers the merging of the company’s social and marketing teams.
Have you ever considered replacing yourself? Share your ideas and thoughts in the comments below.
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January 31, 2019 at 05:08AM