10 surprisingly simple tune-ups to make your blog sexy (and get more blog traffic)

Make your blog sexy and get better results

We all want more blog traffic.

Way back, when Tyrannosaurs roamed the earth, blogs were personal journals for reflection and maybe for close friends to enjoy.

Not anymore.

Many blogs are for building your brand, attracting business, building your list, and hopefully even growing sales.

But the question is, how to get traffic to your blog in the first place?

In this post, we’re looking at super simple tune-ups to make your blog work better and, maybe, even a bit sexier.

Sound good? Let’s go.

1. Use keywords

Keywords are how organic searches (when someone searches the Internet for a solution, like “gardening supplies”) find you.

You can use keywords in your headline, subheadings and text copy. But stuffing keywords in just for the sake of SEO is bad form and makes your post less attractive and less likely to get shared.

Using the Google Adwords Keyword Planner is a great place to start to find long-tail (low competition, higher conversion) keywords. After that, include those phrases as a natural part of your writing.

2. Powerful headlines

The LAST thing I work on when writing a blog is the headline.

Your headline is the first thing people see in social media posts (after the image), Internet searches, and links from other sites—it’s worth getting it right.

It can make a world of difference when it comes to getting traffic to your blog.

While a headline like, “10 Ways to Deliver Better Customer Service” may be accurate, it’s as boring as ordering a cup of coffee.

So, what’s a better option? Something like this: “10 Ways to Knock the Socks Off Even the Most Reluctant Customer”.

Great headlines include words like this: lists, “you”, “your”, “free”, “how to”, “DIY”, “I/me/my”, “easy”, and “new”

3. Good images

More natural photography can help blog traffic
Stock photography vs. more natural photography

A quick fix for ANY blog is better images.

Try to avoid “stock images” of multi-ethnic teams smiling into the camera-instead look for natural images of real people doing real things.

A quick fix for any blog is better images. Click To Tweet

For posts longer than 400-500 words, insert a second image to break up the text and keep the reader moving.

If you’re serious about your blog, it’s worth getting familiar with basic editing tools like Canva or picmonkey.

4. Cross link

Here’s a simple strategy for how to get traffic to your blog and keep readers on your site longer (which is measured as lower Bounce rate in Google Analytics)…

Cross link from one blog post to another. 

Why?

The idea is to invite the reader to learn more about your topic by reading a related post. Like this one, where we offer up 21 blog traffic building tips you can’t miss.

See what we did there?

A simple strategy can keep readers on your site longer Click To Tweet

Start with a short list of 4-5 posts you ideally want every reader to see. Then, link to them whenever it seems like a natural opportunity.

5. Current dates

Consistent publishing dates is a good thing. Just like a magazine, it’s going to be easier to attract followers if they know they can count on the regular issues.

Or course, life happens and you might have a gaps between posts. The good news is, WordPress makes it easy to smooth out your publishing dates and even republish old posts.

Simply open individual posts, change the “Published on:” date and click “Update”.

Presto – your posts are re-dated or older posts are re-published.

Current dates

6. Opt-in is working

When was the last time you opted in to your your own opt-in?

You might be surprised to learn that your invitation isn’t, well, very inviting.

Here are some quick tune-ups for your opt-in sequence:

When was the last time you opted in to your your own opt-in? Click To Tweet
  • An inviting offer – Most people aren’t interested in getting “newsletters” anymore. Try offering “weekly tools and tips”, or “free helpful advice”, or “regular updates”, or simply offer your opt-in gift and let them decide if they want to join your list.
  • Double opt-in instructions – Remember the opt-in isn’t complete until they click on the confirmation email. On your “success” page (that pops up once they enter name and email) instruct them to check their inbox but also to “white list” your emails.
  • Send follow-up emails – Once a person becomes a follower, it’s time to nurture them and invite them to stick around. An email sequence (ideally, you remove them from regular emails while in this “quarantine” period) of 3-5 emails to welcome them and introduce them to your services is a smart way to build loyalty and even move a follower to a buyer.
Example of ‘success’ page and instructions on how to double opt-in
Example of ‘success’ page and instructions on how to double opt-in

If you haven’t started building your mailing list yet, be sure to ask these 5 questions first. 

7. Use the “Featured Image” for your main image

If you’ve ever noticed that the wrong image gets pulled from your blog on Facebook or Twitter, it could be you aren’t using the Featured Image option in WordPress.

“Featured Image” is a selection on the right-hand side of your WordPress editor that allows you to choose one image from your media library for the top of your post, but also to be the thumbnail pulled anytime the link to your post is used (like in Facebook).

The right image could be what makes someone choose your post over someone else’s.

 

Use the Featured Image feature in WordPress to ensure your image is properly pulled into social media
Use the Featured Image feature in WordPress to ensure your image is properly pulled into social media

Not sure if you’re using Featured Image?

Head over to your latest blog post, scroll down, and on the right-hand side you should see a thumbnail of your main image labeled “Featured Image”. Click there, select the image you want from your media file, and you’re set.

8. Social share buttons

When a reader shares your post on Twitter, Facebook, or any social media, they’re exposing your content to their followers.

That’s a good thing. For many bloggers, this is the primary way they get traffic to their blog.

The easier you make it for readers to share your content the better. But tiny icons from now-obscure social media channels, like Yelp and Foursquare, won’t help you get traffic to your blog.

To see what posts are getting the most shares, head over to buzzsumo, drop in your site URL, and you’ll get a list of your top five.

Encouraging sharing can help build blog traffic
The SumoMe social share menu floats on the page as the reader scrolls through your post

We use SumoMe by Noel Kagan – the Social Share menu floats alongside your blog as the reader scrolls down the screen and works perfectly on mobile.

 

Readers can click on these social share options, spreading the word, and getting more blog traffic.

9. Measure results

Google Analytics is your dashboard—it’s the only way to accurately know what’s really going on with your blog traffic, visitor behaviour, history trends, and sources of visitors.

As for opt-ins?

Your CRM (Customer Relations Management software, like Mail Chimp or Aweber) is the only place to accurately measure opt-ins.

If you haven’t been checking Google Analytics, first make sure it’s installed by following these instructions.

Next, get familiar with basics, like:

  • User volume (number of unique visitors),
  • Page views (total pages visited),
  • Bounce rate (percent that leave after one page),
  • Average session duration (time on site),
  • Behaviour (scroll down main menu, on left, and look for box icon > Overview – most viewed pages on site. This is where you can discover which blog posts are most popular.

Want to dive even deeper on this strategy? Check out these 5 quick ways to measure your blog’s performance. 

10. Click to Tweet

The old, manually-loaded “Click To Tweet” was a neat way to get readers to quickly fire off a tweet to point people to your post.

But now there’s a better version, cleverly called Better Click To Tweet. This makes it easier for you to create the tweet as you load your new post into the WordPress editor…You might have noticed a few of those throughout this post.

Once the plugin is installed, a blue bird will appear in your editor menu bar. Highlight and copy the text you want tweeted, click the bird, paste the text where asked and you’re set.

If you’ve gone through this post and realized you haven’t implemented some, or (GASP!) — any — of these strategies, it’s time to get to work!

No more asking how to get traffic to your blog — you know what you need to do.

Liked this post? Got another 5 minutes? Here are 3 more of our most popular posts all about putting your blog to work:

How to (finally) make money with your blog
How to increase blog traffic by almost 30% in only 90 days — a case study
9 blog topic ideas your audience will love

 

 

Tips on writing a blog post faster and better

Write blog posts faster and better

It can be a grind to write a blog.

You have to come up with clever ideas.

Find the time…write a draft…edit…add images…

Here’s what helps (and helps with any business):

You need a system.

When I started blogging I assumed ideas would pour from the heavens and my fingers would fly effortlessly across the keyboard pouring out publish-ready prose flocks of salivating followers would fall on.

Nah, didn’t happen.

As the reality of researching, writing, editing, image selection and publishing became clear my motivation started to slide.

…and slide…

…and slide…

Pretty soon, I was missing publishing deadlines.

Then there weren’t any deadline.

Then my blog routine became a random game of chance.

Enter the system

It took some time to realize that without a system blog writing was going to be painful. Later I learned the value of a system for that day when you want to outsource parts of the publishing process.

It took some time to realize that without a system, blog writing was going to be painful. Click To Tweet

The system I’m going to share is simple – it has to be – it’s designed to be repeated for every blog.

And it starts with finding the ideas. With a steady supply of fresh ideas you are halfway there.

1. Finding the ideas

In my post “How to never run out of ideas ever again” I shared sources for blog ideas. I also explained our process for republishing older blog posts (like this one). This is a strategy we’re now using with most of our clients and having crazy-good results. Read that post here.)

I’ll add you should be looking for micro ideas – not big, scary, all encompassing ones.

For example, this post is just about a writing system.

I could have also talked about researching, choosing the perfect topic, or how to use the WordPress editor. But, that’s too much width for a quick-to-read blog post.

When you tackle a micro topic it’s easier to complete the post and, I think, easier for the reader to quickly get value they can turn into action (without getting overwhelmed with advice).

Now that you have the ideas, it’s time to…find time.

2. Finding the time

The best way to find time for writing a blog is to not have to “find it” in the first place.

I recommend having one block of time for writing. For me, it’s the first thing I do every morning. For you, it might be 8:30-10:00, 3 days a week – whatever it is, make it a routine.

The best way to find time for writing is to not have to “find it” in the first place. Click To Tweet

At first, you might want to post this time for a month on your calendar to help develop the routine. You might also need a reward for your efforts, like crossing the task off a list, or marking your calendar with minutes spent writing every day.

The less you have to work at finding the time, the more likely the work will get done.

Now that you’ve found the time, you need to get started.

3. Sitting down and writing a blog

writing a blog post without distractions

I need to have a clear desk, a full cup of tea and a quiet room to write. I can edit on a moving train full of goats (still haven’t tried that), but writing requires complete concentration and no distractions (or goats).

Commit to a block of time. If you are writing at 8:30 in the morning, you might want to work for 90 minutes with quick breaks every 30 minutes – but commit to the time. That means Facebook and email are closed, papers are cleared away and your phone is put away or on airplane mode.

Whatever works best for you, create that situation every time.

Next, you need a template

4. Use a template

I can hear it now “But, I’m an artist and artists never use paint-by-number formulas.”

Bullhooky. Even artists use a template of sorts to organize their thoughts – certainly authors do.

Every blog posts (with exceptions to recipe blogs or vacation journal blogs) needs to take the reader on a journey. Usually that journey is from problem to solution.

My template for writing a blog (hundreds of public speakers use this template) is very simple. I follow it for every post (like this one) and the reader never complains.

Here it is:

  • The Problem – what problem does your reader have?
  • Personal – what is your experience with this problem?
  • The Promise – what are you giving the reader?
  • The Solutions – your solutions to the problem
  • A Call to Action – what do they need to do first?
  • Final thoughts – motivation

Like most books that follow a template for every chapter, we’re too busy enjoying the content to care much about the structure.

Template ready? Time to get the first draft done.

5. First draft

Your first draft will not be great – expect it. Anne Lamott famously calls it your “Shitty first draft” and for good reason.

When I’m writing an 800-1,000 word blog post, I like to crank out a first draft in about one hour. After that I let it simmer while I go for a run, do some other work, or read – but I don’t think about it.

When I sit down to finish the post, it’s amazing how obvious all the problems are. The run on sentence or weak arguments jump off the page and are much easier to fix.

Plan on two sittings and it takes the pressure off and allows you to write more freely for that essential first draft.

6. Ship it

At some point you need to admit this is only a blog – not a novel – or, as Seth Godin says, ship it.

“Shipping is fraught with risk and danger. Every time you raise your hand, send an email, launch a product or make a suggestion, you’re exposing yourself to criticism. Not just criticism, but the negative consequences that come with wasting money, annoying someone in power or making a fool of yourself. It’s no wonder we’re afraid to ship.”

More time fussing over semi-colons won’t get you more readers or more social shares, it just burns up more time.

Your goals should be to help the reader reach their goal faster and better than they could on their own.

Once you’ve done that, your job is done.

Now, get writing.

This post was originally published in 2016 and has been updated for your entertainment, education and just because.

Liked this post? Got another 5 minutes? Here are 3 more of our most popular posts all about writing blogs:

How to start a blog post – 5 examples that really work!
5 brilliant ways to start your blog post with a bang
9 blog topic ideas your audience will love

 

Why you need to stop micromanaging your startup

A hand controlling a marionette, representing a manager micromanaging employees.

“If you really want to grow as an entrepreneur, you’ve got to learn to delegate.”
– Richard Branson

 

Are you building your business with bold, brave action, or…

micromanaging the life out of it?

We see it all the time.

A new client signs up for our team at BlogWorks to write blogs for them (we also update old posts to get more traffic) and then micromanages us.

We love feedback – in fact we need feedback to get aligned with the style and goals of our clients.

But it can go too far.

The clues are pretty obvious:

We get back an email that starts with “I’m really disappointed with…” And then they point out two words that need to be changed.

Or, we’ve agreed on a publishing schedule, but they are checking every day to see if we’ve delivered the blog.

Building a startup is not easy.

Your business seems to have a million details: building your marketing, finding the work, delivering the goods, working with contractors.

It can be overwhelming.

And the temptation is to do everything perfectly – just like when you worked at your last job, or when you only had 3 clients.

Think again.

We love giving attention to detail, but we also know the value of getting shit done (excuse the French.)

Are you a micromanager?

Your micromanagement tendencies might be subtle or super sized – either way, you can’t change until you recognize them. Start by asking yourself these questions:

  • Am I delegating work and still doing more?
  • Do I easily get frustrated with the quality of other people’s work?
  • Do I find myself incessantly correcting people’s grammar?
  • Do I tend to tell people how to do something instead of letting them figure things out?
  • Do I take back assignments as soon as I see it not going smoothly?

If you said “Aaaaagh, yes that’s me!!” to any of these questions, please keep reading!

Here are our top 5 ways to stop micromanaging (hint, if you find a grammar error…smile and keep reading.)

“You don’t build a business. You build people, and people build the business.” – Zig Ziglar

1. Work with urgency

Everything changes if you’re leaving for vacation or a big client trip tomorrow. We call it the day-before-vacation phenomenon—you are working with urgency.

When there is urgency in your work – because you organized your week around specific high-value goals – you stop micromanaging. You simply don’t have time for it.

When there is urgency in your work - because you organized your week around specific high-value goals - you micromanage less. You simply don’t have time for it. Click To Tweet

The simplest way to stop micromanaging urges is to macro manage by working from 2-3 very important goals for the week.

2. Dive into delegation

“If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.” – John C. Maxwell

Nothing grows a business faster than delegation. It is like a multiplier on your work and leverage on your talents.

And you will screw it up horribly – at first. Everyone does.

You choose the wrong contractor, over pay, or don’t set clear expectations.

Nothing grows a business faster than delegation. It is like a multiplier on your work and leverage on your talents. Click To Tweet

Growth in your business only comes in a few packages: charge more, work more, or delegate more. If you know you need to delegate, start small:

  • Go on fiverr.com and outsource some market research or graphic work. Spending $30 on a single task will teach you how to use online outsourcing tools.
  • Use upwork.com to hire a freelancer to fix your web site, or set up an email sequence in your CRM. It’s easy to create a one-time contract that teaches you how to manage expectations.
  • Hire a local student to enter contacts into your email software or do social media for a month.

3. Sell the big picture

Effective delegation includes other people making decisions on your behalf. So, instead of telling people how to do the work (of course you have to explain what’s needed), sell the big picture.

Take a few minutes to share your goals, the history of your business or this client – create some context for the work.

The better you prepare the person doing the work the better they can make decisions without you.

4. Pick your battles

You can’t do it all and you can’t fight every battle. You will see endless opportunities to rewrite a paragraph, rework a graphic, change an email or coach on telephone skills.

Choose carefully.

Your goal is to grow your company. Right?

Micromanaging every detail is a sure recipe for burnout, frustration and stagnant business growth. Stop micromanaging. Pick your battles wisely.

Micromanaging every detail is a sure recipe for burnout, frustration and stagnant business growth. Pick your battles wisely. Click To Tweet

5. Love 90% good

Every author finds mistakes after publishing. Every new car model gets updated after it first rolls off the assembly line. And you will find mistakes in the work of others.

It’s inevitable.

And sometimes you have to love that it’s 90% done instead of shooting for 100% and it’s (still) not done.

We want you to be successful. 

It’s hard – you have chosen the path of the startup, the entrepreneur, the self-employed.

You will be faced with more details than you can manage and more opportunities than you can handle.

Growth will only come from delegation and letting go. But, remember this: letting go is not about losing control or allowing bad work. Letting go is about giving responsibility to others to get the work done, fix the problems and help build your success.

It’s time to get started.

How to start a blog post – 5 examples that really work!

How to start a blog post - 5 examples

“An opening line should invite the reader to begin the story. It should say: Listen. Come in here. You want to know about this.” ~Stephen King

There’s not much point having a blog if nobody reads it.

Right?

The trick is how you start a blog—it comes down to the opening.

Yes, you must have a dynamite headline that pulls readers in. And, sure, you might have 5, 7 or 51(!)  brilliant suggestions with dazzling arguments, but if nobody reads past the first sentence, well…

Before we jump into how to write the perfect opening, let’s revisit why more readers is so important.

Why you blog is so damn important

Every web site we look at has the same off-balance characteristic: people spend 5-10 times more time on your blog than on any other page on your site.

People spend 5-10 times more time on your blog than on any other page on your site. Click To Tweet

In other words, your blog is where you get people’s attention and get them interested in buying. Your blog is where the conversation starts.

It’s no different than striking up a conversation with a vendor at a farmer’s market or salesperson at a conference. The more time you spend with them the more likely you are to buy.

But, first we have to get them reading. And that’s gotten harder.

If your prospect searches for your solutions but don’t see a match right away…they’re gone. If they get your email, open the blog, but aren’t curious to read more, they’re gone.

And once people click away…they aren’t coming back.

So, we have to start our blog by snagging the reader by their synapses. And that starts with the first sentence.

At BlogWorks we do the heavy lifting for you. We write your blog with SEO-rich keywords, perfectly matched to your target audience so you can attract more prospects AND save hours and hours of time every week.

Before we get to that, let’s look at what kills the start of your blog…

How to kill the start of your blog

It’s easy to kill the opening and send readers away screaming. Here’s how.

  • Run-on sentences that go nowhere: “If you want to be a great leader you need to understand the needs of your team while simultaneously keeping an eye on the future and coaching for performance”…WHAT?!?!?!
  • Starting with a negative: “Bad leaders bring their team down.”…bummer.
  • Stating the obvious: “Every team needs a leader”, or “Technology has changed how we work.”….Duh!
  • Boring your readers: “This article will help you understand excellence in customer service”…Zzzzzzzz.

A good opening sentence is sticky – like Spiderman. And a great opening sentence is both sticky and does one more thing:

It makes you want to read the second sentence.

As William Zinsser wrote in the classic, On Writing Well “The most important sentence in any article is the first one. If it doesn’t induce the reader to proceed to the second sentence, your article is dead.”

Now that you’re (hopefully) convinced your blog is essential for attracting and starting meaningful sales conversations, let’s jump into how to start a blog.

5 ways to start a blog post and hook your reader

  1. Ask a question

In his now famous blog post How to Quit Your Job, Move to Paradise and Get Paid to Change the World, uber blogger, Jon Morrow doesn’t waste any time. With a 71 character headline that he assumes you will read, he goes straight to this opening question:

“After all, that’s the dream, right?”

Mike Stelzner’s massively successful Social Media Examiner blog has adopted a two-question opener that seems to be working. Like in this post:

“Are you trying to get more local customers? Have you tried Facebook video ads targeted to your local market?”

The technique is simple: work backwards from your topic to the question your prospects would be asking and start with that.

  1. Make a bold claim

What’s the most common (and useful) advice for creating viral videos on YouTube? Make a big claim in the first 7 seconds.

One way to do that with your blog is to start with a blog claim.

I like this style for two reasons: I think it grabs the reader by their curiosity and it challenges me to write a post that has some punch!

Here are some examples from our site at BlogWorks:

  • About making money: “You want your blog to make money. Right?”
  • About adding videos to your blog: Video is a great way to attract more readers to your blog and having them stay longer. If you know how to do it.
  • About measuring the performance of your blog: Let me ask you a question: Would you drive a car without a dashboard or put your money in a bank if you couldn’t see your balance?
  1. Be a contrarian

Another way to get your readers’ attention is to start a blog with an uncommon thought. Chances are you have some beliefs and theories that would work perfectly for this style of opening.

Best-selling author, Ryan Holiday used this approach in his post: “Dear Entrepreneurs: Please Don’t Write a Book—We’re Begging You” to attack first time authors who take writing short-cuts (like hiring book-in-a-box companies).

“There has been no worse piece of advice out there recently than: If you’re an entrepreneur, write a book.”

I like the surprising opening to the post: “A Public-Private Partnership Could Be Key to Your Startup’s Survival” from Entrepreneur.com:

“Despite what many of us might think, there are a lot fewer startups than there used to be.”

  1. Use a statistic (or two)

There is something about including a statistic that adds instant credibility to your post. If fact, 98% of bloggers (ha ha) agree with me on this.

Futurist, entrepreneur and author Peter Diamandis is a big fan of this style of writing. Here’s how he opens his post about the future of cities:

“By 2050, two-thirds of the population, more than 6 billion people, are expected to live in urbanized areas. Exponential technologies will radically change the way we build and organize our cities in the future.”

Or this article about cell phones and homicide rates from the NY Times.

“The increased use of cellphones reduced US homicide rates in the 1990s, according to new research distributed by the National Bureau of Economic Research.”

  1. Create a hook

We all love a mystery. It’s like a friend leaning in and saying “You know there’s something I’ve always wanted to tell you…”—you have to know what comes next.

When you start with intrigue you open a scene, but just enough for a movie to start playing in your reader’s mind. Now they want to know what comes next.

Here’s how uber-blogger Tim Urban of the massively successful Wait but Why blog opened his post about what would otherwise be a highly technical subject called Neuralink.

“Last month, I got a phone call.

Okay maybe that’s not exactly how it happened, and maybe those weren’t his exact words. But after learning about the new company Elon Musk was starting, I’ve come to realize that that’s exactly what he’s trying to do.”

And this is how artist, blogger Henneke Duistermaat of Enchanting Marketing breaks the ice in her post about mindfulness:

“At 3 AM, I was tossing and turning.”

And from one of my favourite authors, Ann Handley:

“Here’s the best writing I read all week. It’s 170 words tucked into a belly of a 7,000-word article.

And yes… it’s about stink bugs.”

Ready to start your next blog?

At the end of the day, your blog has to deliver value if you want it to be read, shared and bring you more followers. Kicking it off with a well thought-out opening sentence is a great place to start.

 

Enjoyed this post? Still not ready to go back to work? Here’s more great stuff:

5 brilliant ways to start your blog post with a bang
9 blog post ideas your audience will love
90 seconds to becoming a better writer

How to (finally) make money with your blog

how to make money with your blog

You want your blog to make money. Right?

Well, I’m sorry to tell you this, but you’ve been badly fooled.

Yes, thousands of dollars later, you have no idea what’s going on with your web site.

How do I know this?

Well, for the last 5 years I have been talking with business owners about their blog and for the most part…they are clueless. Of course, I’m sure you’re not in that boat and you can tell me what your blog is converting into dollars – right?

Typically, when I ask about measurements I discover there are no numbers, measurements, metrics, ouija boards, dashboards…nada, zip, zero, nothing.

But (sorry, I’m feeling a bit cynical), no worries, because your friendly web designer will happily charge you $5,000 more to “redesign” your site (one more time). Oh, and don’t forget to politely mention that maybe, just maybe, it would be really nice if they would think about installing Google Analytics so that you could, you know, see what’s actually working!

It’s time to change all that. You own your business and you need to take charge of your web site and your blog.

Let’s jump in and look at 5 ways to increase the money you make with your blog.

1. Get the numbers

As you might guess from my rant, if you want to make money with your blog, first you need some numbers. In this post learn how to make sure Google Analytics is installed. In this post learn how to begin reading Google Analytics to learn what’s really happening on your site.

The basic numbers you need to watch are total traffic and traffic to your “revenue pages”. These are the pages for your products and services. Overall traffic is reported as “users” and you can see traffic to revenue pages by going to Behaviour > Overview and entering the URL of your revenue page in the search bar at the top of the display table.

use a search for revenue page when trying to make money with your blog2. Make it obvious what you do

This will sound obvious…if you want to make money with your blog you need to make it obvious WHAT YOU DO.

Look, I can read 100 blog posts about leadership, customer service, or how to have a great marriage and I’ll guarantee you only about 10% ever mention what they do.

I can read 100 blog posts about leadership, customer service, or how to have a great marriage and I’ll guarantee you only about 10% ever mention what they do. Click To Tweet

Imagine you go to a sales presentation and the sales person never asks you to buy. Strange.

mention what you do to make money from your blog
Don’t make your readers work: every blog post needs to mention what you do.

The fix is easy. Mention a client experience, talk about a speech you gave, refer to a coaching client you helped. Don’t make the reader work hard…tell them what you do.

3. Drive traffic to your store

When readers come to your blog they stop and read. On average, visitors will spend 3-10 minutes on a blog. Whereas they might spend per visit an average of 1 minute on all your pages combined.

That’s a huge opportunity to make money with your blog! When we re-publish our clients’ articles we always include at least 2 links to their revenue pages.

to make money from your blog, tell people what you do
Every blog post would point readers to your revenue pages.

Instead of waiting to the end (only about 30% of readers get to the end of your blog post), insert links in your blog to your revenue pages.

On average, visitors will spend 3-10 minutes on a blog. Whereas they might spend per visit an average of 1 minute on all your pages combined. Click To Tweet

Look for words or phrases that describe what you do. Next, insert links to your products or services pages. It’s that easy—2 to 3 links in every post will start getting more traffic going in the right direction.

4. Build your list

Nothing beats a mailing list. Unlike social media posts that disappear in minutes, an email might get opened hours after arriving in your prospects’ Inxox – even days later. And when you write with a personal tone – your email can be perceived as more helpful and less like a sales pitch.

The trick is to keep building your list.

Start by making it easy to join your list. You can include an optin offer beside your blog, or use a free pop-up tool like OptinMonster or SumoMe.

And, just like traffic to your website, if you want your list to get bigger you need to track the numbers. At least once a month record in a simple spreadsheet the total list size and the change for that month.

5. Ask for the money

If you want to make money with your blog you need to start by doing what any good salesperson would do…ask for the money!

Ridiculous, right? Of course you ask for the sale.

Let’s try a little test…

Go to your latest blog post and count how many times you ask for the sale. Here’s what to look for:

  • Point your readers to your revenue pages: “To learn more about coaching click here.”
  • Invite your readers to download a self assessment: “Thinking about selling your home? Download my free guide ‘15 things to do before you sell your home’”
  • Send readers to your contact form: “Looking for a speaker for your next event?”   

Here’s the bottom line. Your investment in a website and especially in a blog should be returning revenues. You need an ROI on your blog.

The good news is it is possible to retrofit those old articles and put them to work. Instead of collecting digital dust, your blog posts can be generating leads.

That’s what we do. We identify blog posts that have the most revenue potential and then supercharge them with SEO juice (to get higher ranking in search engines) plus drive traffic to your revenue pages.

It’s time to put your blog to work.

Enjoyed this article? Here are three more of our most popular posts:

51 ways to get more business from your blog in the New Year
90 seconds to becoming a better writer
5 steps to writing an awesome blog post in less than 60 minutes

The Ultimate Guide to adding YouTube Videos to your Blog

the ultimate guide to adding youtube videos to your blog

Video is a great way to attract more readers to your blog and having them stay longer.

If you know how to do it.

In this guide you will learn how to quickly add a YouTube video. You’ll also learn how to add a Vimeo video, GIF, and SlideShare. And I’m going to make this very untechnical (even I can do it and so can you).

Once you have your video inserted and playing, I’ll also show you some neat tricks to get them to behave the way you want.

But, first let’s take a step back and talk about why you might want to add video.

More time equals more business

conference room of people
Your blog is like a series of breakout rooms off the main conference hall

Your website is like a conference hall – people come from lots of different directions to visit, explore, learn, and even buy.

Visitors arrive directly via your emails (announcing your new blog post) or from social media or organic searches (people find you by searching for a topic). Some will leave soon after arriving—as many as 25-40% won’t make it past the first room. The average time in that conference hall is about one to two minutes.

And then there’s your blog…

Your blog is like a series of breakout rooms off the main conference hall. Each room has a different topic – a new set of solutions tackling a problem your clients struggle with.

What’s different about those breakout rooms/blog posts is people stay a whole lot longer—like 5-13 minutes.

That’s a huge opportunity!

Imagine if conversations with your prospects were 5-10 times longer – that’s good, right?

That’s what your blog can do: make people stop, explore, look at your products and services and ask for more.

When you add richer, more detailed content – like video – this works even better. Now prospects will stay longer, get to you know you better and start to develop that know, like, trust relationship we all want.

That’s why video can be such a great addition to your blog. Now, let’s look at how to get the video into your blog.

How to insert your video

If you’ve already mastered the steps to insert images in your blog, adding video will be easy.

WordPress comes installed with a neat feature called auto-embed. This allows you to insert videos in your WordPress blog post by simply pasting the URL of your video directly in the post.

Auto-embed will work with YouTube, Vimeo and Wistia hosted videos. It will even work with your favourite Slideshare videos.

If you are working with a simple MP3 or GIF video, you can upload the file into Media, but note this will slow down loading time. You best practice is to always embed your videos from YouTube or a hosting site like Vimeo or Wistia. You can also embed your video directly from your Google Drive (see instructions below).

Here are the steps to embed your video directly from YouTube.

1. The first step is to capture the URL of the video you want. You can copy the URL from your browser’s address bar or directly from the YouTube share link button.

screenshot showing how to add youtube videos to your blog

Tip: For longer videos, you can easily change the start time (for example, 30 seconds in) by first checking the “Start at” box and choosing the time you want. Then copy the link.

screen shot of how to embed youtube video url

2. The easiest and quickest way to embed YouTube videos in WordPress is to simply copy/paste the URL into your new post. Make sure you are looking at the “Visual” editor, not the “Text” editor.

gif of how to add youtube videos

3. Once you have the video inserted, go to Preview and you can see it in action.

Want to change the settings? Use the WordPress blog edit menu. If you want to change the size of the video (this only works if you pasted the embed code), go to the “Text” editor and change the actual “width=” and “height=” settings.

Be sure to keep the ratio between the numbers the same (warning: this involves math!) For example “<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=” (315/560 = .56) could be changed to “<iframe width=”800″ height=”450″ src=” (450/800 = .56)

screenshot of how to edit inserted video

How to insert video from your Google Drive

If you are like us at BlogWorks, we like to have all the elements of our blog post neatly organized in one folder on our Google Drive. This includes the images and the videos for that post.

The goal is to embed that video, not upload it, so it will load faster and not take up room on our WordPress site.

It’s a bit of a work around, but once you’ve done it once (like making bread, Origami, or sex) it’s not so scary. Ready?

It’s a bit of a work around, but once you’ve done it once (like making bread, Origami, or sex) it’s not so scary. Click To Tweet

  • click on the video in your Google Drive.
  • once opened look for the 3 dots and click on “open in new window”
  • again, click on the 3 dots and this time click on “embed item…”
  • copy the embed code (it will start with “<iframe src=”https://drive.google.com/file…”)
  • head back to your new blog post and select “Text” view (instead of “Visual”) and paste the embed code where you want it.
  • finally, go back to “Visual” view to see your video and edit the settings.

gif showing how to insert video from google drive when adding youtube videos to your blog

Note: your video share settings must be set to be viewed by anyone who has the link. You can quickly change your share settings by opening the video, go to 3 dots, click on “Share”, click on sharing option drop down (you might have to then click on “more…”) and change settings. When you change settings here, it will change how your embedded video works on your site.

 

About privacy settings

Recent versions of YouTube have removed some of the earlier options to modify how your video played on your WordPress site (if you are using the embed code option.) You can still remove the player controls (start/stop etc.)

One option that has been added (and that you should use) is the “Enable privacy-enhanced mode.” Essentially when you select this YouTube will not collect information about your visitors unless they play the video.

Found this valuable? Here are more articles all about videos, images and more.

The ultimate guide: How to use images, videos and screenshots in blog posts
4 Ways to Make Your Blog Images Pop
Free Images for your Blog: 7 Awesome Sources

5 Quick Ways to Measure Your Blog’s Performance

5 Quick Ways to Measure Your Blog’s Performance

Let me ask you a question:

Would you drive a car without a dashboard or put your money in a bank if you couldn’t see your balance?

Not likely – right?

So why are you investing in a website, but not measuring results?

Of course, if you are measuring your results, please pat yourself on the back and go back to your spreadsheets.

If not…you really need to take 5 minutes and read this article.

Every day at BlogWorks we speak with wonderful, hard working business owners who have a website and a blog. Almost all fail to measure results.

No numbers, no comparison of this month to last month—no way of knowing what’s working.

Meanwhile 78% (I just made that up) want to invest more money into their website so it will “perform better”!!

What if you could get basic feedback on your blog’s performance – without having to hire a pimply 21 year old or having to learn SEO?

What if you could get basic feedback on your blog’s performance - without having to hire a pimply 21 year old or having to learn SEO? Click To Tweet

Great, right?

Well, it is possible to measure your blog’s performance and do it quickly and easily.

Here’s 5 ways to get you started…

1. Dollars in the Bank

The most basic question to ask yourself is: does your blog put money in the bank? After all, you should be getting a return on your the investment you put into your blog.

The most obvious return on that investment is enquiries from prospects who read your blog:

    • a prospect replies directly to the email you sent announcing your latest blog post.
    • prospects are responding to an offer in your blog announcement.

When you email your blog to your list do you get a spike in traffic to your site (see Google Analytics below)? That spike in traffic can drive more attention to your product and services pages. This article will show you 7 ways to include a Call-To-Action in your blog posts.

2. Comments and Shares

This isn’t the most scientific measure, but reader engagement is a sign of your blog’s performance. On the most simplest level, more comments and social shares equates to performance of that post.

Let’s face it, we all have blog posts that miss the mark and complete winners that haul in half your traffic. More comments on one post is a positive sign, just as posts that get shared more mean your readers found value in your content.

We wrote about social sharing plugins that are free and easy to use in this article.

3. Growing your list

Your mailing list is one of the most powerful ways to reach your audience. Even with the incredible power of social media, emails have more shelf life—an email might be opened, read and responded to days – even a week – after you send it.

So consider your list growing strategy. Do you have obvious opt-in invitations on your blog? Is the incentive to join your list working? Do you have a simple email sequence that is sent out automatically when someone joins your list? This article is all about adding call-to-actions to your blog.

As a speaker, I invite my audience to sign up for my blog. At a typical presentation 50-80% of the room complete a simple form to sign up. My blog becomes a way into those businesses. That’s a value I can measure.

4. Check your Numbers

analytics overview to measure your blog performance

The real data behind your blog performance comes from Google Analytics.

Once you know Google Analytics is installed, you can dive into the data as simply or as deeply as you are comfortable. Learn more about using the data in this article.

Once you log-in, set the date range for the last 30 days (top-right hand corner of display). The basic 3 numbers to pay attention to are:

  1. Users – this is the number of unique visitors (each person is counted once).
  2. Pages/Session – average number of pages per visit (session) indicates if readers are exploring your site.
  3. Avg. Session Duration – the higher this number, the better – you want readers to spend enough time to go from reading your blog to your “revenue pages.”

If you want  to go a bit deeper (and impress your friends), set your dates to the last 30 days and then click “compare.” Now you can see how your site performance compares to the past 30 days.

Google Analytics comparison to measure your blog's performance

Dashboard Delivery

It’s unlikely you’ll log into Analytics very often which is why we recommend it comes to you! In one minute you can set up Analytics to send you a simple dashboard report every month:

  1. Click “Share” (top right corner)
  2. In the pop-up window, enter your email address.
  3. Choose “Attachments” – PDF
  4. Choose “Frequency” – Monthly
  5. Click “I’m not a robot” > Send

gif showing how to use google analytics compare to measure your blog's success

5. Think long term

You have lots of marketing choices – always will. And one of the best marketing strategies is to  create relevant, valuable unique content to attract prospects. That takes time.

With a little planning, some consistent effort and by checking your results you can outdistance your competitors.

Blogging is not a bright-shiny-object you do for a week. It’s about thinking long-term and committing. The good news is, measuring your performance results not only will let you know what’s working and what needs attention, but you’ll also get to enjoy watching your investment payoff.

Enjoyed this article? Here are 3 more articles all about blog performance:

51 ways to get more business from your blog in the New Year
90 seconds to becoming a better writer
5 steps to writing an awesome blog post in less than 60 minutes

 

5 brilliant ways to start your blog post with a bang 

start your blog post with a bang

Most blogs suck. 

You might have the most brilliant advice, but nobody reads it. 

The solution starts withthe start. 

A recent survey found that only 30% of readers make it to the end of a post. Just like a YouTube video – if you dont grab your readers attention in 3 seconds its sayonara.  

Theyre gone. 

In this post you will learn a 5 step approach to quickly retro fit old posts gathering digital dust, or tweak new posts to start working miracles.  

Lets jump in with some mind work.

1. Enter the conversation

To capture your readers’ attention you have to first enter the conversation going on in their mind (Robert Collier). In other words, grab their attention with something theyre already thinking about. 

– If youre a financial planner, tell me how to avoid costly mistakes.
– If youre a realtor, tell me how to make more money when I sell my home.
– If youre an IT consultant, tell me how to choose the best IT consultant. 

Not sure where to start? Start with a list of the most common questions your prospects ask you.

2. Get my attention

water splashing in woman's face

This is keymake me stop and want to read more. Your reader found your latest post via your email or social media. But, theyre not committed yetwith the click of their mouse theyre gone – never to return to that post. 

So, hook them with bait that makes them hungry for more. 

Start with your first sentence. Its job is to get me to read your second sentence. And so on.  

In your #blog, the job of your first sentence is to get me to read your second sentence. And so on. Click To Tweet 

Dont force me to wade through a muddy dissertation. Instead, start with a bold statement, a bit of controversy or a question. 

For example, I could have started this post with something like: 

The problem with all too many blogs is that they fail to get the attention of readers and, as a result, dont drive traffic to your products or services. 

Ugh. 

Instead, I started with: 

Most blogs suck.

3. Tell me the Problem

person holding question mark to face

Heres a blogging secret. If the reader doesnt care about your topic, they wont care to read about it 

So, make it obvious. 

In the first 2 sentences you need to TELL ME THE PROBLEM you will solve. 

Here’s a blogging secret. If the reader doesn’t care about your topic, they won’t care to read about it. Click To Tweet 

Even better: choose only one problem to solve. 

Here are 3 examples from our blog:

1. In this post we tackled time management:
Lets get one thing straight. I waste time, you waste timeeveryone wastes time.

2. This post is all about getting more traffic:
And its time to get serious about your business and your blog. You want more trafficthe right traffic.

3. This post is about restarting your blog writing:
You havent published for at least a month – not so great.

4. Make a promise

Every salesperson worth his/her salt knows this. To keep your prospects attention you need to make a promise of what you have to offer. 

It could be as simple as Let me show you how we can fix that, or I think I have the perfect solution for you. 

Its no different in your blogonce you get my attention, tell me what comes next.  

For example, this post is about blog performance:
In this post were looking at super simple tune-ups to make your blog work better and, maybe, even a bit sexier. Sound good?

5. Please get to the point!

time on site screenshow showing how to start your blog post with a bang
The average time we see on our client’s blog posts is 2-3 times more than other pages.

Finally, a great blog gets to the point. 

You got my attention, you entered the conversation going on in my mind, you even described a problem you know I have – great! Now, get to the point and deliver the goods.  

The average visitor time on our clients websites is about one minute. The average time we see on their blog posts is more like 3 to 7 minutes. Wow! 

Your blog has the ability to stop readers from clicking away. Your blog can also drive traffic to your revenue pages.  

If you do it right. 

A few small changes to the start of your post can improve time on site, list growth – even conversion to sales.  

It all starts withthe start. 

Enjoyed this post? Here are 3 more all about blog writing: 

5 easy steps to publishing your next blog post (even if you dont have time)
90 seconds to becoming a better writer
How to never run out of blog ideas ever again

5 easy steps to publishing your next blog post (even if you don’t have time)

easy steps to publishing your next blog post

This post was originally published in April 2017 and was updated in 2019 just for you!

You’ve got a blog – great!

You haven’t published for at least a month – not so great.

The reality is, your blog can be a central point in your marketing strategy. In our research we see visitors to client’s sites spending 4-7 minutes on a blog post, but only 1-2 minutes on any other page. That’s a huge opportunity!

Think of your blog like this:

Imagine you rented a small meeting room in a hotel. You advertised, told all your clients, friends, neighbours and emailed like crazy to your mailing list. And let’s say 100 people showed up.

Great right?

And those 100 people listened to you talk for about 4-7 minutes. That’s an enormous opportunity to get, let’s say, 10 people to make a sale. That’s what your blog could be doing…day after day, 12 months a year.

Sure, it’s easy to forget this. After all, you’ve got existing clients, bills to pay, staff and freelancers to deal with…

That’s a mistake.

“If you want to continually grow your blog, you need to learn to blog on a consistent basis.”

Neil Patel

At BlogWorks, we want your blog to be humming along making sales. So, let’s deal with how to get new blog posts published.  

Through our work with hundreds of clients we’ve developed a 5 step process to consistent blogging. You can use this process to rescue a stale blog (haven’t published for a while) or improve the existing process you have.

Here goes…5 steps to consistent blogging:

#1. Create an SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) (20 minutes)  

If you don’t have a process, you’re wasting time inventing one every time you write a blog.  

Make a list (use Google Docs to easily share with the freelancer you will hire!) of all the steps you follow to write and publish your blog. We wrote an article on this here.  

#2. Make a list of 36 blog topics (30 minutes)  

person writing list of easy steps to publishing your next blog post

Pour yourself a nice Merlot, or crack a beer—you need to be in a creative mood for this part. Make a list of all the blog topics you can think of that will:  

  1. solve one (small) problem your ideal customer has and  
  2. fit tightly with your products and services.  

We wrote an article on this here.

#3. Block time (60 minutes)

“Our highest priority is to protect our ability to prioritize”

Greg McKeown, Essentialism

Face it – you will never have enough time to write a blog. So you have to make time by blocking it. Twice a month block 60 minutes on your calendar to write your, as the wonderful author Anne Lamott famously named it, shitty first draft.  

Face it - you will never have enough time to write a blog. So you have to make time by blocking it. Click To Tweet

Block another 30 minutes to clean up the draft, add images and publish. Those 4 hours a month will increase your traffic, build your list, attract prospects and grow your business. What else would you be doing with that time?

#4. Use a 3-step writing routine

One reason our clients don’t get their blog published is because they don’t have a writing routine. Just like your SOP (#1 above), a writing routine takes the mystery and stress out of writing a post (it’s how I’m writing this post!)

[BACKGROUND COLOUR FOR NEXT 3 POINTS]

1 – Collect (15 min). Pull together your notes, saved articles (Evernote is brilliant for saving articles off the web) and favourite quotes.

2 – Use a template to write your shitty first draft (45 min). Don’t edit, don’t worry about spelling, don’t even worry about making sense…you have one goal – get the draft done in 45 minutes, then take a break. Get your template here.

3 – Edit, add images, quotes, links and publish (30 min).

#5. Think money, not task (timeless)

person holding up money and thinking of easy steps to publishing your next blog post

As long as “write blog” competes with everything else crowding your To-Do list, it ain’t going to happen. You have to think money!

As long as “write blog” competes with everything else crowding your To-Do list it ain’t going to happen. You have to think money! Click To Tweet

Your blog is the magnet that will get readers to slow down and look at what you sell. Just like a magazine, T.V. show or half time concert at the Super Bowl – content (or entertainment) attracts buyers and gets them to look at your products and services.

Put another way, unless you’re Amazon or Alibaba, nobody will visit your website to look at what you’re advertising—you need your blog to bring them back.

WAIT! You weren’t about to click away were you?

Before you go – we can take this off your hands.  

Here’s how we can write your blog.

Here’s how we can promote your blog.

Thank you, you are free to go.

One more thing! If you liked this article, here are 3 more about writing blogs:

9 blog post ideas your audience will love

A proven 3 step method to finally overcome procrastination and get it all done

How to never run out of blog ideas ever again

9 blog post ideas your audience will love

blog post ideas

There you are…blank screen, fingers poised over the keyboard, coffee going cold. Ugh. You need to get your next blog post written. But where to start?

In this article I’ll walk you through 9 ways to slice and dice your way to a brilliant blog salad. Follow this recipe and you’ll never run out of blog post ideas again.

First, you need to think about your main theme (the big problem you solve) and sub themes (individual solutions).

Let’s imagine you’re a realtor. Your main theme is that you list and sell homes.

Sub themes could be:

  • How to sell your home
  • How to buy a home
  • Money and financing
  • How to choose a realtor

From those four sub themes you can come up with hundreds of topics, all pointing back to your main theme. The idea is that whatever article your reader discovers on, it will point them back to what you sell.

Now, this might seem pretty obvious – right? But, the reality is that far too many personal brand blogs read more like a rambling diary, instead of a helpful guide that solves their clients’ problems.

The reality is there are lots of personal brand blogs that read more like a rambling diary, instead of a helpful guide that solves their clients’ problems. Click To Tweet

This article will get you back on track and converting readers to followers and followers to customers.

Let’s get started with our list of 9 blog post ideas.

1. The Opinion Post

blog post ideas to get more business from your blog
The opinion post lets readers know what you stand for, and how you solve problems

The Opinion post might be the most popular blog theme for personal brand blogs (like authors, consultants, coaches, public speakers). You take a stand.

The opinion post lets readers know what you stand for, how you solve problems—it separates you from the competition. At BlogWorks our goal is to get our clients more business (like this article “51 ways to get more business from your blog”) A pretty blog is nice for compliments, but a blog that attracts more business is even better. So our blog posts have centered around the opinion that if your blog isn’t bringing you business, it’s broken. Of course, there are hobby bloggers who could care less about traffic and results, but that’s not our market.

A pretty blog is nice for compliments, but a blog that attracts more business is even better. Click To Tweet

2. The Mistakes to Avoid Post

This is an easy one—build a blog post around a common mistake your clients make. This is also a powerful way to get attention, because your prospects will recognize you as a problem solver. Our post about procrastination was designed to help our readers and clients overcome their own challenges with getting stuff done.

3. The Facts and Statistics Post

Your blog can set you apart as an authority. One way to do that is by bringing important facts or statistics to your audience. It could be trends in your market, statistics that support a solution you offer (like % of employees that leave a company because of their boss).

9 blog topic ideas your audience will love

 

4. The Research Based Post

how to fix broken windows in your life
Including research into your post makes you stand out as an authority

If you work in the areas of human development, personal success, fitness or mental health there are tons of articles documenting research that you can build a blog post around. You can also be a bit creative with the application of that research. For example, I once used the broken window phenomenon as a base for an article about productivity.

5. The Resources Post

What are tools, books, templates or software you rely on in your work or life that your readers would benefit from knowing about? As an authority, part of your brand could be as a problem solver and resource for clever solutions. At BlogWorks we like to share tips that are easy to implement and operate, like installing a Click to Tweet or Editorial Calendar plugin (watch the video).

6. The Question Post

blog post ideas if you're thinking of quitting blogging
We are suckers for questions

Want to grab your readers’ attention? Ask a question (oh! I just did).

We are suckers for questions—we want to answer them and immediately engage in that topic. Start your blog with a question (even put the question in the headline) and you can stop readers long enough to get them reading (like in this example).

7. The Contrarian Post

This is a fun one for blog post ideas! Think of a problem you know your ideal client has and recommend the opposite. Of course, this has to make sense, but if you can get your reader’s attention (like this post about killing your To-Do list) you can present the solution you know they really need.

8. The Controversial Post

Take a stand and be noticed! In a world of vanilla blog posts you can be the maraschino caramel that stands out when you take a stand and be a little controversial. Think about a bold statement that got your audience’s attention in a recent sales presentation or the middle of a speech – that could be the start of a great blog post.

In a world of vanilla blogs you can be the maraschino caramel by being a little controversial Click To Tweet

9. The Warning Post

blog post ideas to improve a boring blog
The goal is the get your readers to stop skimming and grab their attention

And finally, there is the warning post. Like the mistakes to avoid (#2) post, the warning post helps your prospects avoid a common problem, but with a little punch. The goal is the get your readers to stop skimming and grab their attention. We did that with our “Excuse me, but your blog is boring!” post.

There you have it – 9 ways to repackage your main product and service topic to keep your readers coming back. And if your readers are coming back, they’re becoming followers – and followers build business.

Time to start writing!

Enjoyed this article about blog post ideas? Here’s 3 more all about writing and getting more readers.

7 words that make your readers stop and take action
6 ways to get more blog traffic this year
10 surprisingly simple tune-ups to make your blog sexy (and get better results)