Category Archives: advertising and marketing

Blogging reputation words of wisdom

How to Manage Your Blogging Reputation

As a blogger, your reputation is everything. If people view you as being untrustworthy, fake, or too “generic,” it’s doubtful they will follow your blog. But if you are able to create and maintain a positive reputation, you’ll have an easier time connecting with your audience and building a strong following.

Take TechCrunch founder and blogger Michael Arrington, for instance. Most tech enthusiasts are well aware of his credibility on the web.  And according to the website TheRichest, Arrington is the world’s richest blogger, earning an estimated $500,000 to $800,000. While there are countless elements that are attributed to his success, it’s safe to assume that a positive reputation is one of them.

So, how can you manage your online reputation as blogger?

Think Twice Before Posting

Whether you are writing a short 300-word post or a longer 1,000-word post, always read back over it before posting. Could the post be perceived as offensive in any way? Does it contain questionable or inaccurate information? If so, you should probably delete or modify it. When blogging, you want to put your best foot forward, and this means only publishing high-quality content that’s not going to offend your readers. Granted, you can always delete questionable content after publishing it, but it might be too late if visitors have already copied it and posted it elsewhere on the web.

Register Your Domain Name

If you haven’t done so already, scoop up the dot com, dot net and dot org of your first and last name. Why is this important? Well, someone like a competitor or unhappy visitor could register these domain names in an attempt to rank for search queries consisting of your first and last name. Let’s say your name is Joe Bob (lovely name, huh?). Knowing that you are a popular, well-known blogger, a competitor may register www.joebob.com, placing a simple redirect script on the website to funnel visitors to his or her own website. If Google ranks joebob.com high in the search results for “Joe Bob,” your competitor could benefit from tons of practically free traffic.

Create a Google+ Profile

In addition to registering your first and last name as domains, you should also create a Google+ profile to better manage your reputation as a blogger. Having a profile will allow you to brand yourself by revealing information like your name, age, country/state of origin, blog URL, and more. Once created, Google will display a link to your profile in its search results, at which point visitors can click the link to learn more about you.

Use Your Name

If you want to create a positive reputation for yourself as a blogger, be sure to use either your real name or a pen name when blogging. I always cringe when I come across posts created by the “admin,” as it doesn’t feel very personal. A better approach is to use either your actual name or a faux pen name.

How do you manage your online blogging reputation? Let us know in the comments section below!

Image attribution: https://www.flickr.com/photos/krossbow/

Graphic with SEO keywords

Optimizing Your Blog for Higher Search Rankings

Still struggling to achieve a top search ranking for your blog? Conventional wisdom should lead you to believe that the higher your blog ranks, the more traffic it will receive. But how exactly do you increase your blog’s search ranking?

Use an SEO-Friendly Blogging Platform

The platform on which you build your blog will directly affect its search rankings. Some content management systems (CMS) contain messy code that’s difficult for search engines to properly crawl, which subsequently harms the site’s search rankings. You can avoid this problem, however, by using an SEO-friendly CMS for your blog like WordPress. Powering tens of millions of blogs and websites, WordPress is the world’s most popular CMS. It’s cleanly coded, patched with new updates in a timely manner, and features a plethora of plugins and themes.

Beware of Duplicate Content!

When blogging, use caution to ensure that your content isn’t being published in multiple locations. It’s not uncommon for blogging platforms to place new content in two or more locations, such as the original URL, authors, tags, categories, and archives. Just because you “think” your blog post is being published in a single location doesn’t necessarily mean that it is. Double-check your blog’s settings to ensure all new posts and pages are not being published in multiple locations. And if they are, use the noindex attribute to discourage search engines from crawling them.

Allow Visitor Comments

How can allowing visitor comments boost your blog’s search ranking? It’s no secret that content is a ranking factor used by Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines. Websites that are updated with fresh content on a regular basis will reap the benefits of higher search rankings. While you can always create new content by hand, a supplemental method of content creation is to enable visitor commenting. Each time a visitor leaves a comment, whether it’s positive or negative, creates new content for your blog. Search engines will notice this content, taking into account when determining where and how to rank your blog.

Social Sharing

Don’t underestimate the importance of social media when optimizing your blog for higher search rankings. All of the major search engines place an emphasis on social signals like Facebook likes and Twitter tweets. Assuming you are able to attract social signals like this, you can expect your blog to rise in the SERPs.

But how do you encourage readers to share your blog posts on their social media accounts? One helpful tip is to place social media buttons directly on your blog. Instead of forcing readers to leave your blog and login to their Facebook/Twitter accounts to share a post, they can do so directly from your blog. This alone can make a huge difference in your social media marketing efforts.

Have any other SEO tips for blogs that you would like to share with our readers? Let us know in the comments section below!

Simple Yet Effective Ways to Promote Your Blog Posts

Can’t seem to gain any traction with your blog? Check out some of the promotional techniques listed below!

Add Images

Don’t underestimate the value of images within a blog post. Studies have shown that Internet users respond to content with images with a higher level of engagement when compared to text-only content. It will generate more comments, more Facebook “likes,” more tweets, etc.

But adding images to your blog posts has a second benefit that often goes unnoticed: the images will be indexed by Google Images and Bing Images. So the next time someone searches for a keyword related to the image in Google or Bing, they may discover your blog post. Just remember to follow the basics of image optimization, such as renaming the file name to something more relevant, using alt text, and using the appropriate file extension.

Leverage The Power of Social Media

When it comes to promoting blog posts, nothing holds more value than social media. Creating a Facebook update with a link pointing back to your new blog post can send tons of traffic to it, many of whom will share the link on their own accounts. When done correctly, this can create a viral effect in which one user shares it with another user, who then shares it with someone else — and the cycle repeats.

If you really want to take advantage of social media, add some basic sharing buttons to your blog. Granted, users can always like or share your blog post by logging into their Facebook account, but you can make it easier for them by adding these buttons to you blog. Rather than leaving your site to “like” a post, they can simply click the button. It doesn’t get any easier than that!

Stay on Top of Trends

A third way to promote your blog is to publish content that’s currently trending. By definition, trends come and go, which is why it’s important to act fast when you notice a trend that’s relevant to your blog’s niche. Whether it’s a news story, current event, viral video, etc., give your perspective on the trend by writing up a short post. You can then share it on social media using the appropriate #hashtags.

There are dozens of ways to find trends, but one of my personal favorite tools is http://trends24.in/. This simple, free-to-use tool reveals trending Twitter #hashtags from the past 24 hours.

Quote Relevant People

How can quoting relevant people yield more traffic to your blog posts? It serves a few different purposes. For starters, there’s a chance the person you quote will notice your content, linking to it from their own website. Second,, search engines will notice that you are quoting an expert, possibly boosting your blog’s search ranking as a result. Third, your blog’s visitors will view your site as being a leading authority figure since it contains actual quotes.

What methods do you use to promote your blog? Let us know in the comments section below!

blog - rss

Should I Syndicate My Blog’s Content?

blog-rss-01This is a question many bloggers ask. Syndicating your content will almost certainly bring more visitors to your site, which subsequently results in more sales/conversions, but there are both pros AND cons associated with this technique. So before you make a hastily decision to syndicate your blog’s content, you should read the following.

What is Content Syndication?

The term “syndication” is used to describe the duplication and reuse of content on web properties other than the original source.  I know what you’re probably thinking: why would I publish my blog’s content on other websites? One of the most notable benefits of content syndication is the simple fact that you can reach a larger, broader audience, many of whom would otherwise never see, let alone read, your blog. Readers will see your syndicated content and visit your blog to learn more.

Content syndication can also be used to generate backlinks, as most syndication sites include a link pointing back to the source of the content. While there’s still some debate regarding the search engine optimization (SEO) value of such links, the general belief is that it will help, not hurt, your ranking.

What About Duplicate Content?

Of course, there are some potential disadvantages associated with content syndication, one of which is the potential for duplicate content. Conventional wisdom should lead you to believe that any content you syndicate will be considered duplicate in the eyes of the search engines. According to Google, however, small amounts of duplicate content won’t cause any issues. It only causes problems when content is duplicated for the purpose of manipulating Google’s search results.

However, in some cases, content is deliberately duplicated across domains in an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings or win more traffic. Deceptive practices like this can result in a poor user experience, when a visitor sees substantially the same content repeated within a set of search results,” wrote Google in an article about duplicate content.

WordPress RSS Settings

If your blog is currently running the WordPress content management system (CMS), there’s a simple way to reduce duplicate content. Log into your blog’s dashboard and choose Settings > Reading > and choose “Summary” for the option labeled “For each article in a feed, show.” This prevents syndication sites from showing your full post content. Instead, they’ll show an excerpt or summary of the post, enticing readers to visit your blog to read the rest.

Keep Syndication To a Minimum

The key thing to remember when syndicating your blog’s content is to keep it to a minimum. In other words, don’t focus the bulk of your marketing and SEO efforts on content syndication. Sure, it’s an effective way to generate traffic and drive sales, but aggressive syndication techniques could be construed as an attempt to manipulate Google’s search results — and that could negate all of the benefits it offers. Syndication should be a small part in your overall marketing strategy.

What are your thoughts on content syndication? Let us know in the comments section below!

Essential Browser Add-Ons For Bloggers

Still using the default, “vanilla’ version of your preferred web browser? Whether it’s Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari or Microsoft Internet Explorer, there are hundreds of excellent add-ons that can improve its functionality. This is particularly helpful for bloggers, as the right add-ons can boost your productivity while enhancing your overall blogging experience. But with so many different add-ons available, how do you know which ones to choose?

What Font

What Font lives up to its namesake by revealing the font names, families, font sizes, HTML color code, line height and more of any web-based text. You might be wondering how this can benefit you as a blogger. Well, it’s not uncommon for bloggers to come across an article with the perfect settings, so they try to mimic it on their blog. Using What Font, you can find out exactly what type of font the article is using, at which point you can duplicate the settings on your blog. It’s a free, simple-to-use add-on that can help you find the perfect text design.

WhatFont is built to support both Typekit and Google Font API. Furthermore, the app’s developers have included a click-to-tweet function, meaning you can tweet the font information directly from your Twitter account. WhatFont is a pretty cool app that’s definitely worth checking out!

Lazarus Form Recovery

Have you ever spent an hour (or longer) crafting the perfect post for your blog, but when you click the “Save” or “Publish” button, it takes you to an error page? I think every blogger has found him or herself in this scenario before. If your Internet goes out while you are writing a blog post and you attempt to publish it, chances are it won’t be saved. It’s discouraging to say the least when you lose an hour’s worth of work, but Lazarus Form Recovery can prevent such heartache from occurring.

Lazarus Form Recovery is designed to store all blog posts, articles, social media postings, forms, and any other web-based content locally to prevent loss of data. In the event that your Internet goes out and you accidentally attempt to publish a new blog post, the content will be saved in your web browser. So when your Internet is back up and running, you can simply re-publish the post and voila, everything is still there. This makes Lazarus Form Recovery a must-have browser add-on for every blogger.

Grammarly

As the name suggests, Grammarly is a browser add-on that’s designed to help users identify spelling and grammar errors. We all make mistakes from time to time. Heck, even the most prolific blogs on the Internet have grammatical errors. But Grammarly is an otherwise simple plugin that can make a world of difference in the quality of your writing. It automatically underlines spelling and grammar errors, allowing bloggers to see and fix them before the content is published. Oh yeah, did I mention it’s completely free to download and use with no strings attached?

Which browser add-ons do you use? Let us know in the comments section below!

Tips To Increase Your Blog’s Adsense Revenue

budget-013There are dozens of different ways to monetize a blog, but one of the easiest is to display Adsense ads. Google’s Adsense program allows webmasters and bloggers to display pay-per-click (PPC) ads from its Adwords program. When a visitor clicks an ad, you earn a percentage of the total price paid for that click by the advertiser. It’s a simple formula in which bloggers such as yourself get paid for each ad click. To maximize the amount your earn through Adsense, however, you’ll want to follow the tips listed below.

Identify Your Keywords

The first step towards optimizing an Adsense-driven blog is to identify your keywords. This doesn’t necessarily mean the keywords for which you are trying to rank, but rather the keywords you want associated with your Adsense ads. You’ll generally earn more money per click by targeting keywords associated with expensive Adwords ads. For instance, you can expect to earn much more if you display an ad for car insurance as opposed to pet accessories.

You can check out Wordstream.com for a list of the top 20 most expensive keywords in Google Adwords.

Blend Your Ads Into Your Blog’s Background

Another simple yet highly effective tip is to blend your Adsense ads into your blog’s background. Ideally, you want your ads to look like they are a part of your blog’s theme/template rather than a foreign object. This encourages visitors to click, which results in higher earnings. Google has a helpful Adsense creation tool to achieve this goal, which you should certainly use.

Use The Right Ad Formats

The format of your Adsense ads can make a world of difference in terms of revenue. Generally speaking, leaderboard-style banner ads are best suited for the top area of your blog (directly under the header) and square-shaped ads are best suited for the sides. While there are always exceptions to this rule, some of the best all-around formats include the 336×280, 160×600, and 300×250 medium ads.

Optimize, Optimize, Optimize!

Just because you are earning a decent amount of Adsense revenue on your blog doesn’t necessarily mean there’s no room for improvement. On the contrary, you can almost always improve your earnings by making small changes to your blog. Feel free to adjust your blog’s layout, navigation, ad placement, and other elements to see how it affects your Adsense earnings.

Do you use Adsense on your blog? Let us know in the comments section below!

How To Craft a Blog Post From Start To Finish

guest-posting-01Still struggling to gain any traction with your blog? There are tens of millions of blogs currently online, but unfortunately only a fraction of them ever receive any noticeable amount of traffic. Unless you want your blog to fall into the abyss where countless others remain, you should take a methodical approach to crafting relevant, meaningful posts.

Step #1) Choose a Topic

The first step in crafting a blog post is to choose a topic. This is arguably one of the most difficult steps in the process, as many bloggers experience writer’s block. They may initially have several ideas, but once those are gone they struggle to come up with new post topics. If this sounds like a familiar scenario, try using Topsy, Google Trends, or Google News to find topic ideas that are related to your blog’s niche.

Step #2) Write

The second step in crafting a blog post is to write it. After choosing a topic, pull up your preferred document editing program (e.g., Microsoft Word, Open Office, etc.) and write your post. Some bloggers write directly in their blog’s content management system (CMS), but I recommend writing in a Word document first. Doing so will reduce the risk of your work being accidentally lost, and Word’s grammar and spell check will catch things you might  miss.

When creating a new blog post, write with the end user in mind and snot the search engines. Far too many bloggers focus on things like keyword density, word count and other metrics, assuming it will improve their search rankings. But in reality, this only hurts their efforts by taking away from the reader’s experience. After creating your blog post in a Word document, copy and paste it into your blog’s CMS (note: use the Word paste function to prevent formatting from being carried over). If you want to retain the formatting, (e.g., headings, bolt, italics, bulleted lists, etc.), you can save your Word document as an HTML file, and then copy / paste it into your CMS.

Step #3) Proofread and Edit

Next, go through and proofread your blog post to check for spelling and grammar errors. Even the most experienced blogger will have a slip up from time to time. Proofreading, will allow you to catch these mishaps before your visitors see them. You can also use this time to polish your blog post, making it sound more natural and appealing. When you are finished, go ahead and publish your new post.

Step #4) Spread The Word

Last but not least, let the world know that your blog post exists by creating links on your social media accounts. At the bare minimum, you should have an account on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter, all of which can be used to promote your new blog posts.

What’s your preferred method for crafting new blog posts? Let us know in the comments section below!

Pros and Cons of User-Generated Content

trustrank2Do you struggle to come up with new topic ideas for your blog? If so, you may want to consider allowing user-generated content. Doing so is a great way to regularly  fill your blog with fresh, unique contents. When your blog has unique content, it will usually reap the benefits of a higher search ranking. However, there are both pros and cons to allowing user-generated content, which we’re going to discuss further.

Free Content

Let’s face it, buying content from professional authors and service providers is downright expensive. While many companies sell articles for as a little as 1 cent per word, high-quality, error-free content often costs ten times as much. User-generated content is  free. Each time a user publishes a new article, comment, forum post, etc., it adds value to your blog in the form of free content.

Higher Search Rankings

While Google has yet to reveal its exact formula for ranking websites, we know that content is a prime ranking signal. This means websites that allow user-generated content will usually — but not always — achieve a higher search ranking. New content encourages search engine bots to crawl your blog, at which point they’ll view it as being an authority figure.

Credibility

Allowing user-generated content to be published on your blog helps to build credibility. Visitors will view your blog as being a leader in its niche/industry if it contains helpful information published by other users. Of course, it can have the opposite effect by hurting your blog’s credibility if you allow the wrong type of content to be published.

Security

One of the biggest issues associated with user-generated content is the potential for malware, viruses, spyware or adware being uploaded to your blog. Even if you restrict users to uploading specific file types, hackers and other individuals with malicious intent may bypass these measures by spoofing the file name. Long story short, user-generated content can leave your blog susceptible to viruses and malicious software.

Moderation

Another hurdle faced by blogs with user-generated content is the task of moderation. Unless you want to take a chance your blog will be riddled with low value content, you’ll need to ensure all new user-generated content is reviewed before it’s published. Going through and approving or denying users’ content will ensure only quality, relevant content is published to your blog.

Do you allow user-generated content to be published on your blog? Let us know in the comments section below!

5 Undeniable Benefits of Blogging For Businesses

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Still haven’t taken the time to set up a blog for your business? Many people assume blogs are used strictly for personal purposes, sharing with the world political views and movie criticisms. While many blogs fall under this category, many businesses find  blogs increase their sales.

#1) Boosts Your Credibility

Businesses that maintain active, informative blogs are viewed as being more credible in the eyes of their target audience. When a user searches for information related to your business online, he or she may notice your blog. If your competitor doesn’t have a blog, users may may assume you are more actively engaged with helping customers. They will view your business as being more credible and trustworthy since it contains an informative blog.

#2) Drives Traffic

Of course, another undeniable benefit of business blogging is it drives traffic to your website. If potential or current customers find your blog useful, they will read it,  and some will return periodically to see if you’ve published new content. You can use this extra traffic to your advantage by selling your product/service either directly on your blog or on a website linked to your blog. This alone should be reason enough to launch a blog for a business.

#3) Easier For Customers To Find

A lesser-known benefit of business blogging is the simple fact that it makes your establishment easier for potential customers to find. Let’s face it, the old days of finding a business’ street address and phone number in the Yellow Pages are long gone. Now, consumers use the Internet to locate this information. By maintaining an active blog, you’ll make your business transparent so it’s easier for potential customers to find. Just remember to include all of the pertinent information on your blog, such as the address, hours of operation, phone number, email address, etc.

#4) Showcase New Products

Business owners can also use their blog to showcase new products or services. You can use it to announce new offerings, or offer a discount for the first X number of buyers, or any other promotional offer. The next time your business adds a new product to its lineup, think about how to use your blog to hype the new product and get customers interested.

#5) Encourages Sharing

Blogs naturally encourage users to share the content on their social media networking sites/profiles. How does this benefit business owners?  If your blog readers share a blog post with their network of friends, family and associates, more users will see your blog, which in turn drives traffic and sales. You can drive even more social shares by including Facebook, Twitter and Google+ buttons on your blog.

How To Interview Someone For Your Blog

interview-861513-mStruggling to come up with new topic ideas for your blog? Regardless of the niche, I think every blogger has found themselves in this scenario at some point. But when you fail to publish new content on a regular basis, both visitors and search engines begin to turn a blind eye to your blog. A simple and effective source of new, original content is interviews. If you’re willing to put forth the effort, you can conduct interviews with people who are relevant to your niche and publish them on your blog.

Identify Relevant People

The first step in conducting an interview is to identify people who are relevant to your blog’s niche and/or the interest of your readers. LinkedIn is a helpful tool for this purpose, as it’s the only true social media network for business professionals. Spending 15-20 minutes browsing through the site should provide you with a list of several potential interview candidates.

Craft a Proposal

The second step is to create a proposal for the interview candidate. You don’t have to spend an hour writing some long essay-style paper, but instead create an email introducing yourself, explaining what your blog is about, and asking the person if they’d like to participate in an interview. Be sure to let them know that you’ll include a backlink to their website on your blog. This little incentive is often enough to entice professionals to answer a few questions. When you are finished with the proposal, email it to your list of candidates, personalizing each one according to the recipient’s name.

You can’t expect every candidate to accept your proposal. But if you send enough proposals, some people will respond and accept the interview.

Create Your Questions

It’s recommended that you go ahead and create your interview questions ahead of time. Some bloggers may attempt to wing it by asking questions on the spot, but this is one instance where it’s better to plan ahead. Think about questions that interest your blog’s readers. Questions should be short, to the point, and relevant to the interviewee.

There are several different ways to conduct an interview for a blog, the easiest of which is through email. Many people assume that interviews are done strictly over the phone, but this isn’t the case. Sending the interviewee a list of questions via email is easier and more convenient, making it a popular choice for bloggers and professionals alike. Once you’ve received the interviewee’s response, you can publish it to your blog.

Have you ever interviewed someone for your blog? Let us know in the comments section below!