Monthly Archives: October 2014

Uncovering Money-Making Opportunities For Your Blog

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Blogging for money is something that just about anyone can do. All you need a computer and internet connection. It allows you to to work at your own pace, set your own hours and be your own boss.

One of the decisions you’ll have to make is whether you want to blog on your site or for others. If you wish to blog for others, you’ll have to find someone willing to purchase your blogging services.. Thankfully, this isn’t hard to do, as there are dozens of blogs and third-party websites looking for the talents of skilled writers/bloggers.

You’ll likely find that blogging for your own websites gives you more freedom and will likely make you more money. The downside is that you’ll have to know the technical aspects on setting up and maintaining your blog. This means knowing to register a domain name, buying a hosting service and keeping your website updated. Don’t worry if you’ve never done this before or don’t know how; it’s fairly easy once you get the hang of it and there are plenty of online resource out there to help.

Deciding what to blog about can be frustrating for people of all experience levels. First, you need to come up with an overall theme for blog. Try to think about what you’re good at blogging about and have expertise in. Many beginners fail at blogging for money sites because they try to blog about too many topics or things they don’t know about. Only blogging about things you’re experience or trained in will help captivate and keep your readers attention.

Now that you have your blog up and going, you need to come up with some money making ideas for it. If your blog is receiving a significant amount of traffic, you could offer to sell advertising space. This is a time-tested method of making for making money is easy to do, especially if you’re using a blogging platform such as WordPress. Just install for an ad rotator plugin and upload your images with their respective hyperlinks.

Selling your own product is another way you can make money blogging. One of the easiest ways to do this is by selling digital products, such as e-books, guides or tutorials. For example, if you’re a skilled dog trainer, you could write a .pdf e-book and sell it on your blog. Because it’s a digital product, there’s no overhead or cost of production, meaning you get to keep 100% of the sales.

The possibilities with blogging for money sites are endless. The internet is is only going to expand and grow in the years to come, opening up even more money making opportunities online. If you’re serious about making money blogging, sit down for an hour and educate yourself on the technical part of setting it up, as it will help you in the long run.

Saving Time

If reading the above advice makes you nervous, don’t worry. In the beginning, your research and writing will be more time-consuming. However, many of the steps outlined above will become unnecessary as you gain comfort with the material. After all, you won’t need to look up what the important keywords and phrases mean after you’ve done it the first time. From that point on, you can focus the bulk of your research on identifying what your readers are searching for so that you can deliver it to them.

In effect, this new method of SEO is really just a process of becoming an authority. Even if you do not have personal experience in an area, you can speak authoritatively by looking at what others have said.

Of course, it’s easiest to become an authority on a topic that you are already experienced with or at least very interested in. If you have not yet begun building your site, you should give some thought to your topic of choice. Now more than ever, choosing a niche that you are comfortable writing about at great length is a crucial component to success.

How To Lower Your Blog’s Bounce Rate

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A high bounce is indicative of a more serious underlying problem. If your blog isn’t delivering the right content to visitors, they will leave without a clicking through to another page, triggering a “bounce.” This will not only hurt your traffic and conversions, but search engines will factor this into your blog’s ranking. The good news is that you can lower your bounce rate in just a few simple steps.

Let’s first discuss the basics of bounce rate, as some people are likely hearing the term for the fist time. Bounce rate is defined as the percentage of visitors who leave a website after visiting just a single page. If a third of your blog’s visitors click the back button in their web browser, close their browser, or remain idle for at least 30 minutes, without clicking through to another page, it will have a bounce rate of 33%. Bounce rate can be site-wide or page-specific, meaning an entire website can have an average bounce rate, as well as each page.

Bounce Rate vs Exit Rate: What’s The Difference?

It’s a common  assumption among  that bounce rate and exit rate refer to the same metric. While they are share some similarities, they are two different measurements with their own purpose. As previously stated, a bounce occurs when a visitor leaves a website without clicking through to another page. Exit rate is defined as the percentage of visitors who leave a page, even if they’ve clicked through to multiple pages.

Tips To Lower Your Blog’s Bounce Rate:

  • Interlink your content using relevant anchor text. The more internal links you have spread across your content, the greater the chance of visitors clicking through to multiple pages.
  • Ensure your blog is compatible on mobile devices. With more and more people opting to access the Internet via smartphones and tablet computers, mobile compatibility is something that bloggers can no longer afford to overlook.
  • Publish high-quality content for visitors, not search engines.
  • Install a yet-another-related-posts plugin. YARP displays links to related posts and pages, which subsequently encourages visitors to click through to multiple pages.
  • Use Google Analytics to identify pages with high bounce rates. You can then work to optimize problematic pages, focusing your attention where it’s needed most.
  • Limit the number of external links included in your posts, as an excessive amount will send visitors away from your site.

Have any other tips you’d like to share with our readers? Let us know in the comments section below!

How to Write Like an Expert

The process of writing like an expert is a matter of research. First, you must identify the niche vocabulary within a given topic. Next, you must determine what all of those words mean and how they relate to one another. Then, you must craft content that will speak naturally to the topics encompassed by that niche vocabulary, keeping in mind the needs of your audience.

If you are already well-versed in a subject, writing authoritatively about it should be pretty simple. You would just sit down with a topic and explain it naturally, using the vocabulary necessary to discuss it. For example, if you were going to talk about health insurance, you would probably explain the difference between an HMO and PPO; you might talk about deductibles, out-of-pocket costs, coinsurance and copays. All of these are related keywords that arise naturally in a discussion of health insurance, and you would use them in your explanation of a topic.

However, imagine that you didn’t know anything about health insurance. However, you need to produce a high-quality website about healthcare coverage. To do this, you must research the topic. This is where the keyword tools from the last section come into play.

First, find a few sites written by obvious authorities on the topic. For health insurance, this might include a major health insurer’s website or a government health department site. Next, run an SEOquake on the site to identify the related keywords used in the site. Make a note of common words and phrases that are repeated throughout.

Now review this list of words and phrases and make sure that you know what all of them mean in context. If you’re unsure, look it up. You need to use these words correctly in order to convey useful information to your readers, and using keyword terms inappropriately will result in poor search engine performance.

Once you have a general idea of what the keywords mean, you should also have a pretty firm understanding of the basic concepts behind the topic you’re writing. At this point, if someone were to ask you to explain this topic to them, you could do a reasonable job at relaying accurate information.

Put this knowledge to work by identifying what people are actually searching for. Using your list of keywords, start dropping a few important ones into the AdWords keyword planner as described earlier. This will bring up a list of actual searches that people are doing.

A search on health insurance, for example, will turn up a number of searches such as “buy health insurance,” “health insurance plans” and “cheap health insurance.” Based on that, you can reasonably assume that most of the people searching about health insurance are looking to buy an affordable plan. Your goal, then, is to create a webpage that will provide relevant information about that topic: Talk about what affects health insurance costs; explain the difference between different types of plans; give tips for trimming insurance costs.

When you’ve finished your page, you can run it back through AdWords or SEOquake to make sure you’re including the correct vocabulary. You’ll also want to review it for writing quality, paying attention to style, grammar and the quality of information. Before publishing a page to your site, ask yourself whether you could see it at home in a glossy magazine or large newspaper. If not, your quality is not high enough to beat Google’s ranking system.

3 Ways To Uncover News Topics For Your Blog

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If there’s one common denominator that all successful blogs have in common, it’s fresh content. Unless you’re publishing new content on a regular basis, there’s simply no incentive for visitors to return. Over time, this can lead to a stagnant blog with few (if any) actual human visitors. Publishing fresh content, however, will keep give readers a reason to return in the future, which subsequently increases your exposure, traffic, and possibly search engine rankings as well.

Alltop

Alltop (short for all topics) is a powerful tool that can yield hundreds of relevant current event and news topics for your blog. Founded by the creators of Truemors, it’s a aggregator that collects and groups stories from leading news websites and blogs. Alltop displays the five most recent news headlines of each respective topic category, along with the first paragraph of content.

There are literally hundreds of different topic categories available on Alltop, ranging from conspiracy and cosplay to biotechnology and home automation. Of course, you can always use the search box to locate topics relevant to your blog as well.

Google News

If you aren’t using Google News, you’re missing out on one of the easiest ways to find up-to-the-minute current event topics. Google is constantly scouring the web, locating and curating headlines in its News service. The next time you experience writer’s block and can’t seem to think of a new topics for your blog, head over to Google News and search for a keyword related to your blog’s niche. You can also view the Top Stories on the left-hand side of the page.

In addition to pushing a headline and snippet of each news link, Google also reveals when the original news article was published. This is particularly helpful for bloggers, as it allows your to easily identify recent news sources. It’s not uncommon for Google News to link to publish stories within minutes of them being created, which is pretty impressive.

Topix

A third tool for uncovering current events and news topics is Topix. This site differs from other aggregators in the sense that it’s community-driven, meaning users can add, edit and discuss stories published on the site. Topix currently boasts over 360,000 pages of news from over 50,000 different sources, some of which include newspapers, blogs, magazines, TV, and corporate websites. It offers several different top-level categories of news headlines, including All Topix, Top Stories, Forums, US News, Tech, Sports, Entertainment, Business, Offbeat, Politix, Weird News, Videos.

Writing Evergreen Content

Very-Green-Forest-green-19511297-950-632In all my years of blogging and teaching others how to blog, the one question I’ve been asked the most is simply, “What exactly should I be blogging about?” There are, of course, several answers that would suffice. Some of these answers may be something like “Make sure it’s relevant.” Or maybe even, “Blog about whatever your audience wants to read most about!” While both of these answers are true to an extent, keeping things relevant or simply interesting won’t necessarily help your SEO, which is the number one way to ultimately increase the traffic to your blog. I have a different answer to this question – an answer many may have never heard before.

My answer? “Make sure you are writing evergreen content.”

Now some of you may be asking, “What is evergreen content?” This topic has been discussed in great depth over the last several years, and has proven to be an incredibly effective way to assure both your readers are maintaining interest in the blog while also satisfying the SEO requirements that have been set by Google and other search engines. Now, to answer the question you’re all asking:

What exactly is evergreen content?

Evergreen content, put simply, is content that will not become outdated. While it’s okay to write about current events every now and then, it’s important to realize that over time, content written about current situations will only be relevant and useful for so long. Eventually, people won’t be searching for those current events anymore because, well, they eventually won’t be current! Evergreen content, on the other hand, is a topic that will always and forever be something that people will be interested in and continue searching for. For example, a DIY (do it yourself) article that teaches people how to build an outdoor fire pit is a great example of an evergreen blog. People will always be interested in building something like that, and it’s something that likely remains fairly average in terms of search volume year round.

Many have asked me, “Isn’t evergreen content the same thing as making sure your blog is relevant?” It’s true that these two things are similar, but keeping your blog relevant to your readers and creating evergreen content isn’t always the same thing. When I say “keep you blog relevant,” I really mean that you need to make sure your topics are in key with the overall mood and feel of your website. This also applies to evergreen content. You should never change your topics and overall themes around just in order to provide more SEO friendly situations. Your readers know you and look forward to your relevant posts each week – of course we want to keep it that way!

In closing, I think it’s very important to point out that not every article needs to be evergreen. After all, there are only so many topics you can come up with and write about. In fact, many very successful blogs use only current events, and they still remain very sought after.  But if you choose to go that route, you simply need to realize that traffic won’t be consistent and will come in random spurts, depending on how popular the topic you’ve written about is. Evergreen content, however, will likely remain active and popular throughout the year.

Google Adwords

If you have experience with SEO, you are probably already familiar with Google AdWords. Officially, the point of this program is for businesses to utilize the targeted advertising system, AdSense. AdSense works by identifying the words within a page and displaying advertisements based on the content of the site. For example, a website about car insurance might display ads about accidental injury lawyers or vehicle repair shops. A website about dogs might display ads for dog breeders, trainers or pet food vendors.

AdSense functions on exactly the same technology as Google’s web searches. The program views a page, identifies particular keywords and phrases, then determines the site’s topic from that information.

As a webmaster, you can take advantage of this. To make AdWords work for you, you will need to go to the “Keyword Planner” tool. Select the option “Search for new keyword and ad group ideas.” Type the topic of your website or page into the “Product or service” field and leave everything else blank. Click search.

What you will receive is a listing of what words are related to that primary keyword and what people are searching for on a regular basis. In the past, you would use these keywords to build a website. Now, you will take a more indirect approach: Instead of using these words exactly as they’re displayed, you will look at the general trends among searches and use that to guess at the intent of people searching. Once you know what people are searching for, you’ll have a clear idea of what you can offer that will be valuable to them.

Once you have written a webpage, you can go back to AdWords to review your keyword usage. Return to the keyword planner. This time, instead of typing in a keyword, you’ll want to place the URL of your new page in the “Your Landing Page” field. Leave the rest blank. Click “Get Ideas” and AdWords will generate a list of keywords targeted at the content of your site. If these keywords and phrases match the niche vocabulary that you’re trying to use, you have succeeded. If not, you will need to go back into your article and tinker with it to ensure you’re using the right words to let Google know what your page is about.

LSI Keyword

LSI stands for “latent semantic indexing,” and this is one of the most popular tools for identifying related keywords and phrases. You can input a specific topic and receive keyword lists for single-word, two-word and three-word keyword phrases that frequently appear together in clusters.

One of the most useful elements of LSI is the ability to search for keyword phrases within specific Google rankings. So you can easily use this tool to compare the phrases in the top result against those in the top five or 10 Google results. That can help make it clear what the general related keywords are and what words might be more specifically related to a particular website.

In the past, LSI Keywords and its related service, ThemeWriters, was used to create targeted articles for SEO purposes. The idea was to identify several valuable keywords and cram them into an article to boost a page’s rank for that keyword. Today, this type of keyword stuffing will cause more harm than good.

Instead, you should look at LSI Keywords as a tool for inspiration. Rather than trying to stuff a list of keywords into every piece of content you write, you should look at the listed words and phrases as a whole to see what relationship they have to one another. Use this to inspire your own content by giving you an idea of what major points should be addressed within an article on that topic.

Creating a Connection With Your Readers

Having been a blog writer for several years, I have come to understand a thing or two about blogs, writers and his or her readers.  While a background and understanding of proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation create an atmosphere that draws readers in, writing a blog is more than just a splash of words on a page in order to drive traffic to your site. Rather, I’ve learned that a blog can become a connection. It can be a hub that brings thousands of people together to discuss something that is ultimately emotional and meaningful to each and every reader present. If your readers can relate to a post on an emotional level, you can bet your bottom dollar that they’ll be more than willing to bookmark your page and come back another day, thus increasing your traffic and boosting your SEO.

How can you make this connection with your readers? It’s not simple, and countless blogs throughout the Internet can attest to that. However, I have thought of several tips and pointers that have helped me connect with my readers. Check these tips out below and figure out which ones can best be implemented on your site!

1 – Keep Things Relevant

First and foremost, make sure that you’re writing about something relevant. Too many times have I been surfing a site and stumbled across something that felt out of place and forced in. While it’s necessary for a company looking to expand to push the limits on topics and content, it can certainly be tamed. For example, if a reader hops on to a video game website, he or she likely wants to read about video games, not wildlife. While this is a far-fetched situation, it does happen, and it turns people off.

2 – Provide Examples

A good way to keep readers entertained and engaged is by providing examples. Short stories (notice I say short – too long of stories will bore) help your reader understand what they’re learning and help them feel involved.  With that being said, make sure that each story you share is relatable. People read because they want to learn, and hearing stories of others success, fame and fortune is hardly the motivation they’re looking for.

3 – Ask a Question 

Whether it’s at the beginning of your post or at the very end, just ask a simple question for your readers to ponder as you pour out your thoughts. As readers browse your blog, they’ll keep this question at the back of their minds, allowing you entry to their train of thought and promote your business, website, or anything in-between. If your topic could be argued, invite your readers to share their thoughts or answers in the comments section, providing a reason for them to engage with you. Others will see this and follow along.

4 – Find Your Mood

Each blog, each article, and each post is tailored to a certain audience. Find that audience, and adjust your writing in order to best serve them. Keep your writing consistent, as well. There’s nothing more uncomfortable than finding a failed attempt at a joke within a serious article detailing the seriousness of breast cancer, for example. It just doesn’t fit, and it can quickly turn your readers off. Finding the right mood, however, and adjusting according to your audience and topic will provide a following that will last for years to come.

5 – Offer Something No One Else Can

Anyone can create a blog about cats. In fact, almost everyone has, and that’s why it’s simply not popular! You need to write about something that makes readers say, “I need to come to this site to get this type of information.” With that, they’ll keep coming back for more! You don’t necessarily need to be writing about something no one else has thought of, but you need to make it feel like you are the one and only expert on the subject.

With these tips, you can easily engage your readers and provide an experience that will keep them coming back for more. Re-read them all and pick out the ones you’ve done well, along with those you could improve on. Can you think of some other pointers that you’ve found to be useful? Let me know in the comments section (refer to tip #3)!

SEOquake

A valuable tool for any webmaster is SEOquake, a toolbar and browser add-on that will give you useful insights into pages throughout the web. It works with Firefox, Google Chrome and Opera, and you can use it to learn all sorts of things about the pages you see including their page rank and keyword density.

SEOquake also offers a helpful tool for identifying niche vocabulary. To use it, identify a high-quality website in your niche. Use the SEOquake “keyword density” tool. This will automatically pull up and highlight recurring words and phrases. Make note of what these phrases are. When you go to another page in the same niche and analyze its keyword density, you should come up with a very similar list. Analyzing several high-quality websites within a given niche should give you a very clear idea of what related keywords are essential to discussing a topic.

You can use SEOquake’s keyword analysis tool to spot the difference between high-quality and low-quality websites within a given niche as well. Simply run a keyword analysis on an authoritative, well-respected page, then run the same analysis on a page on the same topic that does not rank as well. You’ll see quickly that the related keywords that are prevalent in the top-tier results will be lacking in the lower quality sites.

Using SEOquake on your own website or page will help you identify the keyword density and measure it against well-respected sites in your niche. This can help you see whether you’re on the right track and whether you need to make any vocabulary adjustments.