How to Leverage Video Content on Your Blog for SEO

Picture of webcam used for video content

Unless you’ve spent the past few years under a rock, you’ve come across advice to integrate video content into your blogging efforts.

Heck, Hugh and the Blogworks crew even gave you a very thorough guide on how to get video into your blog — more on that later.

But if you’ve been avoiding that advice, I don’t blame you.

Blog husbandry is hard enough. Creating an entirely new content stream in a new medium might seem like more work than you want to take on.

At the start of 2018, I decided to test using video content to drive traffic to my blog and grow my audience.

The test project was straightforward enough — I would interview experts about different communication issues, load the video up on YouTube, and embed it in my blog.

As simple as the project was, it would still take time – time normally given over to blogging. And search engines can’t crawl video, so I couldn’t not be creating written content.

What’s an overworked content creator to do?

A content lightbulb moment

The lightbulb moment came courtesy of a fellow speaker. I was chatting with her about my project, both bubbling with excitement and moaning about the difficulty of generating the videos while trying to keep up with my blog writing.

The genius of her recommendation was belied by her off-handed manner:

Make sure you get a transcript of the interview, then post both the video and the transcript to your blog. Google can search that text and it’ll give you a big SEO boost.

I could leverage video to create written blog content at the same time AND it was good for SEO?! Let there be light!

Dipping my toes into video content via interviews

It’s easy to go off the deep end when getting into video, and I wanted my foray to involve minimal headaches. That was why I started with an interview strategy.

Interviews are probably the easiest content to create and have several advantages:

  • Having a conversation with someone is a lot easier than staring into a camera and babbling to yourself
  • You just need to plan the questions and the overall flow instead of taking time to write out a full script
  • Interview videos are forgiving – you don’t need to use lots of fancy cuts and audiences don’t expect you to edit out every stammer or awkward statement
  • A 20-minute interview can net you thousands of words of text for some serious Google and SEO juice.

One of my earliest interviews was with Hugh himself. Check it out here, and you’ll see what I mean about the ease and enjoyability of conversation (and how you don’t need to worry about editing out the occasional stammer or non-sequitur).

Getting going with video doesn’t need to cost a lot

You don’t need to break the bank to try the video + transcript combo on your blog.

Here’s what I use:

  • Video conferencing software: I use Zoom for video conferencing and recording.
  • An HD webcam: Don’t get sucked into the pro vlogger DSLR camera vortex. Get thee a good HD webcam and call it a day. I use a Logitech C920. It cost about $100
  • An external microphone: Don’t rely on the webcam microphone or your computer’s integrated microphone, but don’t go crazy here, either – a cheap lav mic ($10 – $25) or even the headset that came with your latest smartphone will probably do. If you’re feeling more gung ho, or already know you want to do a lot of these, you can spend more. I use an ATR 2100 USB mic ($120)
  • Lighting: If you have access to a room with bright, natural lighting, great – you might be able to skip this part. But my office is a dungeon. I solved the lighting headache with a $125 Neewar ring light I bought from Amazon. You could also cobble together your own lighting from what you have on hand, as long as you can get it good and bright.
  • Video editing software: I do very little editing in my interview videos. I splice in a pre-recorded guest intro and some branded intro/outro clips, and chop out the first few minutes of chit-chat that always happens. You can likely do most of this with freebie video editing software, but I prefer Camtasia. You can also go totally hands-off and outsource the editing.
  • A transcription service: Transcribing the interviews is the one thing I always outsource. Rev.com gives high-quality transcription with quick turnaround at $1 USD/minute of audio.

A simple process for distributing video content across multiple platforms

Uploading videos on YouTube is easy – there are a million video tutorials out there, and BlogsWorks has a great guide on how to put your video into your blog.

I’ve discovered doing everything in a certain order makes it all much easier.

Here’s my posting process (after I’ve recorded and edited the video):

  1. Do the video stuff: Upload the video to YouTube. Enter the title, description, and put in a whole bunch of relevant keyword tags. Publish the video.
  2. Then do the blog stuff: Start a new blog post. Re-use EVERYTHING from YouTube in your blog – the title, the description, the tags. Except for minor tweaks, don’t re-invent the wheel, just copy/paste it all into your blog. Embed the video, then copy and paste the transcript right under the embedded video. Hit ‘publish.’
  3. Last, the newsletter stuff: Copy and paste the title, description, and a link to the blog post containing the video and transcript into Mailchimp (or whatever newsletter system you use). Hit send.

Boom. Done. I’ve got the whole process down to less than 45 minutes.

While we’re on the subject, here are some other tips for writing blog posts better and faster.

Audiences and search engines love the video-text combo

Once I started posting the interviews (and later expanded to Q&A videos) along with the transcripts to my blog, 4 things happened:

  1. My website’s organic traffic started to go up
  2. My click-through rate on my newsletters went up
  3. My social media engagement went up, especially on Twitter and YouTube. Granted, YouTube is where I host the videos, but the video posts generate more likes, shares, and comments across all my platforms than my text-only blog posts do.
  4. My newsletter subscribers told me that they liked the videos and really appreciated being able to skim the video transcript on the blog. They were getting the best of both worlds.

Yes, creating the interview videos take a little more time and resources than writing text-only blogs, but I find the process feels easier and more satisfying. Especially when I record the interviews in batches and create several months of content in a few days.

Videos + text + blog can create some real magic. Don’t worry about being perfect, just give it a try and see where it takes you.

Lauren Sergy (@lsergy) is a self-described public speaking and communication wonk. She’s professionally obsessed with helping people level up their speaking and communication skills. Click here for more communication-related insights.

 

Liked this post? Got another 5 minutes? Here are 3 more of our most popular posts all about video content for your blog:

The ultimate guide to adding YouTube videos to your blog
How to increase blog traffic by almost 30% in only 90 days — a case study
How to drive traffic to older blog posts

 

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

 

 

5 questions to ask before building your first mailing list

Notebook with notes about building a mailing list

“Focus on growing your list all of the time as newer subscribers are more engaged adding to healthier open rates and ROI.”  Karl Murray, Founder of Send.ie

There’s one marketing strategy that will never get old.  Grow your mailing list.

Of course, today we would rarely call it a ‘mailing list’ – it’s your list of followers, enquiries and clients.

Sure, you want Instagram followers, more retweets, YouTube subscribers and more site traffic. But none of those can compare to…

an email from you being opened and read by a loyal follower.

More on that in just a minute…

In this post we will share why a list is so important and how to build a list with your blog.

Why a mailing list is so important

Something magical happens when someone joins your list (read this post to learn the 5 ways to make money with your blog).

When a reader of your blog accepts an invitation to join your list, the relationship with you and your company changes.

They are now one step further down your sales funnel. You can email them directly to their InBox. They recognize your emails and are more likely to read them.

They see your sales offerings and consider them (not sure how to make this happen? Book a call for a free consultation).

To use the old marketing line – they know, like and trust you. And you now have a follower.

And here’s the most important benefit…

when it comes time to buy your product or service, you are now a preferred supplier.

A real life example

In 2013 James Clear, a part-time photographer, weight lifter and neophyte writer started publishing two blog posts a week. To nobody.

Cover of James Clear book Atomic Habits

No list, no reputation, no marketing…nothing…just a desire to learn how to blog and to see if there was a possible business opportunity.

Fast forward to early 2019 and Clear is a New York Times best seller (his book Atomic Habits takes a fresh look at the now-classic 3-part habit building model popularized by Charled Duhigg in The Power of Habit.)

How did he do it?

He built a list. From the very start, Clear invited readers to join his list. At the time, the offer was simple: join my list and I will email my blog directly to your In-Box as soon as I publish the next article. That’s it!

To give you a more concrete idea of the bizarrely viral growth of his following, in 2018 alone he added over a quarter million readers to his list!

To put this in perspective, it is extremely unlikely any of this would have happened without a list.

What about you? Are you growing your list?

How to grow your mailing list

To get serious about growing your list, there are 5 considerations:

1. Where to keep my list?

This question deserves an entire post, but the basic questions you need to ask are:

  • What is a simple, inexpensive way to get started? Mail Chimp is the gorilla (sorry) of inexpensive mailing list tools. Constant Contact and ConvertKit are great alternatives to get started.
  • What tool offers room to grow, but is also simple to use? Resist the temptation to dive into the deep end with a subscription to a full-blown CRM (Keap, ActiveCampaign, HubSpot, etc.) until you are ready. You can lose hundreds of hours learning how to use a system you aren’t ready for.
  • How can I quickly get started? Ask anyone who has subscribed to a mailing list tool and they’ll admit that all their learning came from just getting started. If you are new to the game, simply sign up for Mail Chimp, get started and consider moving your list to a more robust system once you have experience growing the list.

2. What’s the offer?

Surprisingly, you don’t need a fancy, complicated offer to attract followers. To get started, you can simply offer to send your articles to their InBox.

mailing list opt in form

Once you have some experience, you can add a “Lead Magnet”, like a free self-assessment tool, or self-help How-To article (see our Lead Magnet on our site).

3. What opt-in to use?

The two ways to position an opt-in on your site are a static “box” or responsive pop-up. If you know how to log-in to your site, you should be able to add (or update) a static box opt-in in a few minutes.

There are lots of excellent tools (plug-ins) to add a pop-up on your site, like Optin Monster, Thrive Leads and Convert Pro.

example of a site pop-up

At BlogWorks we use both a static opt-in (at the bottom of our site pages) as well as a pop-up. Despite the possible annoyance for some readers, when used well, a pop-up will consistently get you better results.

4. How to promote the offer?

Having a static invitation to grow your list is a good first start. Even better is promoting the offer.

Remember, getting an additional 1,000 interested followers on your list could turn into more subscribers to your membership program, sales of your online course, or sales of your product line. Every year.

Some of the easiest ways to promote your optin offer are:

  • Invitation in your blog post.
  • Experiment with settings on your pop-up optin.
  • Change the invitation message on your optin.
  • Signature on your emails.
  • Monitor and adjust your current campaign with new Lead Magnets.

5. How to use my mailing list?

The most obvious way to your list is to announce every new blog post. Even with a 15-3-% open/click through rate, this will give you a nice boost in blog traffic.

More sophisticated campaigns use lists to promote book launches, product sales and new products, surveys, conferences and anything that your followers might want.

The bottom line

Here’s the bottom line…

You can spin your wheels chasing YouTube subscribers or fixing your hair for the next Facebook Live, or you can build followers on your land.

You own your list (you don’t own followers on any other platform) and you can use it any way you want. Over time, that list will turn into loyal followers who will read what you write and buy what you offer.

It’s time to get started.

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
5 brilliant ways to start your blog post with a bang
9 blog topic ideas your audience will love

 

How to increase blog traffic by almost 30% in only 90 days – a case study

Busy street symbolizing an increase in blog traffic

At BlogWorks we love to see results.

Especially when the results are fast.

And we really, really love seeing client results when we’re using one of our favourite techniques.

What we call re-loving old posts.

The idea is simple…

If you have been blogging for a while, your inventory of posts will have been indexed by the search engines. In other words, Google will have decided how to “rank” your blog posts against all the other posts about similar topics.

This is why some of your posts show up on the first page of search results and some on the 13th page.

Updating old content can fix that.

Let’s start with why updating old posts works.

Why you need to update your old content to increase blog traffic

The strategy of updating old content to increase blog traffic works best if you’ve already published at least two dozen blog posts. This post explains in detail how to use this strategy.

Here are the most important reasons why we love this strategy. Book a call today to learn if this can work for your business.

1. Better click-through. When you update that old content you improve your click-through rate – the volume of people who choose to click on your article – simply because the date is more current.

2. Google likes fresh content. One of the many factors Google looks for in posts is how fresh is your content. When you update your old posts you also will update the publish date. More recent equals more results.

current dates in search engine results page
In this example, 6 of 7 search results were posted in the last 12 months

3. Improve your title. Your post title tells readers what the article is about but also should attract and intrigue the reader enough to want to jump in. Now is the time to turn that boring headline into a killer question, or use any of the 5 techniques described in this article.

According to Convince and Convert, a great title is clear (what will I get if I read this?) but intrigues the reader to dive in. Remember, you are competing with everything else on their phone or laptop – you need to get and keep their attention!

blog post title matters
The best headlines are about 8 words and 70 characters

4. Fix grammar and spelling. Updating your old posts gives you a chance to catch those spelling mistakes or tighten up the grammar. A quick improvement is to remove the word “that” – it will make your sentence read better and improve the flow of your post.

5. Link to “revenue” pages. Here’s a quick test: in the first third of your article does you post link to at least one “revenue” page, like a product or service page? When you update the old post, also update internal links to your site.

image of internal links in a blog post

6. One less article to post. Updating an old post takes a fraction of the time it takes to write a new one. Many of our clients combine one new article (we do that as well!) with one updated article each month.

Now that we’ve looked at the reasons, let’s look at an example of how one BlogWorks client used this strategy.

The Speaker Exchange

Like many small business owners, Brittanny and Julie at The Speaker Exchange were aware of the value of content marketing, but needed an outsourced solution. They had been using newsletters to stay in touch with their audience.

They reached out to BlogWorks for a solution.

Home page of The Speaker Exchange

The goal was to create consistent inbound traffic using original blog posts targeted to the event planner audience. At BlogWorks we have a team of local writers, each with specialties.

We write blog posts for a wide variety of wonderful clients ranging from leadership authors and public speakers to cyber security experts. And in this case, we have writers who know the speaking industry.

The BlogWorks solution

The BlogWorks solution was to write one original post and to update one older post every month, plus promote the blog through social media. In the first 90 days, site traffic was up almost 30%! Even better, Sessions and Pageviews were both up over 20%.

Image of analytics showing increased blog traffic

A part of the solution was more consistent blog publishing, but the biggest results was from updating old content with better keywords, headlines, and content.

The client example we shared in this post could be yours(!) Contact us today to learn how to increase your blog traffic by updating old posts.

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

 

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

 

21 incorrectly used words that can make you look dumb

A typewriter with a page that reads "Words Have Power";

Many of the words you use in your blog could be, well…

wrong.

Should you use advice or advise?

How about affect or effect?

Then there’s everyday and every day.

Aaaaaagh!?!?

Dear reader, instead of running off to Google every time you’re unsure we have scoured the lexicon library to help clarify, demystify, enlighten and sort through 21 words that often get misused and abused.

Here we go with our list of incorrectly used words…

1. Advise and advice

First, advise is a verb – the act of giving, while advice is a noun – what you give. A quickest test is to say your sentence out loud, like: “I went to the coach to get advise.”

2. Affect and effect

Not only do these two sound similar they are very often confused (fortunately most people don’t know the difference.) A simple distinction is to use effect if you are making the change happen and affect if you are helping make the change happen. For example: “The CEO’s decision effected a major change in direction.” And “What she said affected my decision to go ahead.”

3. Everyday and every day

This is an easy one to mix up. Doing something every day means you do it every single day, like drinking coffee in the morning.

Meanwhile, everyday means commonplace or normal, like hearing sirens is an everyday event.

4. Along and long

This is an easy one to clarify. Along means moving in a constant direction, like “I was moving along the highway.” While long means a great distance or duration, like “The highway was long and boring.”

5. A while and awhile

This is a tricky one. First, the difference between while and awhile is easy to spot. While refers to a period of time “We talked for a while.”

The word awhile means for a period of time “He waited awhile for his appointment.” Whereas a while can only be used to replace while – a longer period of time.

6. Any way and anyway

Anyway means “nonetheless” or “regardless” as in: “I knew I had to get work done, but checked Facebook anyway.” You can also use anyway to connect a story that’s continuing: “Anyway, I was describing how to write a better blog post…”

Any way means a variety of ways of doing something, or in any manner. “I had so much to get done I tackled my list any way possible.”  

Anyway, let’s get onto #7.

7. Fewer and less

Here’s a trick for this one: use fewer when referring to items you can count, like “fewer homes” or “fewer car sales.”

Use less when referring to items you can’t count, like “time”, or “income.” There are some conventions with fewer and less: we tend to use less with time, money and weight.

8. Insure and ensure

This is an easy one to remember: insure refers only to insurance. Ensure means to make sure. So you might want to ensure you are insured.

9. Irregardless and regardless

This is an easy fix: don’t use irregardless. You might find irregardless in text (and certainly hear some well-meaning folks use the word), but it’s not commonly accepted and just sounds wrong.

10. Principle and principal

My trick to remembering the difference between these is that my Principal at school should be my “pal” or friend, as in principal. Whereas principle is a guideline or rule: “…basic scientific principles.”

Principal can also refer to the amount borrowed on a load, the most important item in a particular set “The principal account makes up 65 percent of our revenues.”

11. Stationary and stationery

This is an easy one: you write on stationery. When something doesn’t move it is stationary.

12. It’s and its

It’s is a contraction of it is or it has. Use it’s to move a sentence along and to give a more casual feeling to your writing.

Its is about possession “The store increased its prices.” An easy test is to try removing the apostrophe and see how it sounds: “It’s raining” becomes “It is raining.” (which sounds better).

By the way, there is no use for its’.

13. They’re and their

This is similar to #12 and many other incorrectly used words, they’re is a contraction of they are, whereas their is all about ownership.

14. Who’s and whose

Who’s is a contraction that means either who is or who has. “Do you know someone who’s living in California?” 

Whose is possessive. “You and whose army?”

15. You’re and your

Here’s another contraction and one you probably get right: you’re and your.

You’re means you are and your is about ownership “Your car.” “Your home.” So, “If you’re going to your home to get your car you’re doing the right thing!”

16. Accept and except

Here’s an easy one…

These two words sound the same but are quite different: accept is to receive, except signifies and exclusion. So “I accept the offer, except I won’t want it for another month.”

17. In regard to

The only distinction to note here is that the expression In regard to is singular. To write “In regards to” is incorrect.

18. Ironic vs. Coincidental

Here’s an interesting distinction: if something happens at the same time “I was about to go see her when she showed up at my house.” that’s a coincidence. But, when there’s a reversal involved, like “When we returned from our trip to Mexico we learned the weather was actually better at home.” That’s ironic.

Comedian Ed Byrne writing about Alanis Morisette’s song, Ironic: “The only ironic thing about that song is it’s called ‘Ironic’ and it’s written by a woman who doesn’t know what irony is. That’s quite ironic.”

19. Imply vs. Infer

“The implier is the pitcher; the inferrer is the catcher.” Theodore Bernstein, The Careful Writer

To imply is to say something indirectly, like: “The host implied it was time to leave by saying she was tired.” To infer is to gather, deduce, or figure out. “We inferred it was time to leave by the host’s actions.”

The way to remember this one is: a speaker/writer implies, while the listener/reader infers.

20. Adverse and Averse

To be adverse is rarely used to describe people, but more commonly to describe events, effects, trends in the economy, changes in weather, etc: “The new medication has no adverse impacts on health.”

Averse describes people and means to feel opposed or disinclined. “We are not averse to holding another meeting.”

21. Irrespective and respective

Irrespective is not just the opposite of respective. Their meanings are completely different.

Irrespective of means regardless of as in “he continued to blog irrespective of how many readers he had.”

Whereas, respective means relating to two more more things individually”, as in “We all met for lunch and then returned to our respective offices.”

Enjoyed this article about incorrectly used words? Here’s three more of our most popular posts:

How to start a blog post – 5 examples that really work!
90 seconds to becoming a better writer
5 steps to writing an awesome blog post in less than 60 minutes

43 random blogging terms you really don’t need to know

43 random blogging terms you really don’t need to know

Personally, I despise people who obfuscate and inveigle with obscure language and acronyms.

You too?

In this article I will attempt to decode and demystify the crazy language surrounding blogging (somebody has to.)

After all, isn’t blogging just about writing great, helpful content that readers love to share?

I think so.

Let’s get into the list of blogging terms (feel free to skip the boring ones)…

A is for Apple

1. Absent – yup, that’s the business owner who’s ambitions exceed their abilities and haven’t learned to outsource. If that’s you, please read this article.

2. Alt tag – Ever wondered why an image shows up in a search? Good chance that’s because some smart cookie added Alt Tags to the image. In WordPress this is super easy (open Media, select the image and add).

I despise people who obfuscate and inveigle with obscure language and acronyms. Click To Tweet

3. Anchor post – this the dandy you wrote one late night, half way through a mellow bottle of Merlot, that – for some miraculous reason – attracted loads of attention (from other Merlot lovers maybe?). Tip: make sure you link to your anchor posts in future articles.

4. Anchor text – these are the neat blue links inside one blog post that link to another page. According to SEO gurus at ahrefs “Google uses external anchor text to help understand what your page is about and also, for which keywords it should rank.” So they are 1) important to create 2) super important to get your post found.

5. Article – Easy one – this is task you wrote on your To-Do list last Thursday. And again Friday. Oh, yeah, and on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. Oh, damn it! Get writing!

6. Author – Duh.

7. Avatar – This is the person you should have created a perfect description of because you went to that very expensive conference, got SO inspired by the speaker and on the flight home thought “I really need an Avatar!” It’s not complicated: Who is your ideal customer? That’s your avatar.

B is for Boy (okay, okay, it’s also for Blog…and Blogging Terms)

8. Backlink – a link that points to one page, from another page. For example, you can link from your “About” page to a “revenue” page.

9. Blog – A Blog is a gift for the world and for you. Your blog gives you license to write massively irreverent (and occasionally super, super looooong posts) like Tim Urban about whatever got your interest the last time you headed to your local coffee shop. Or to go deep into research, like Maria Popova (7 million readers, thank you very much), or launch an empire like Tim Ferriss (who never returns emails, just saying.)

10. Blogger or Blogging – a person who thinks blogging is a business, when really blogging is a way to make business!

Your blog gives you license to write massively irreverent (and occasionally super, super looooong posts) like Tim Urban about whatever got your interest the last time you headed to your local coffee shop. Click To Tweet

11. Blogosphere – This is the place all good bloggers go to die. Nope, that’s not right. It’s a place where…actually I have no idea, because nobody actually talks that way.

12. Blogroll – This is the list of all your published blog posts. This actually super important, especially if you track traffic, like we do. The good news is you can download this list by simply adding /sitemap_index.xml to the end of your URL (now you have to see ‘U’) and then clicking on (usually) the first link. Cool, huh?

13. Bummer – that’s what happens when you publish your amazing article and…nothing happens. That’s a bummer.

C is for Cataclysmic (and Cat)

14. Calendar – this is what you should be using to plan your next blog post – capiche? Tip: one of our favourite (free) plugins is Editorial Calendar.

15. Category – According to WPBeginner “Categories are meant for broad grouping of your posts. And Tags are meant to describe specific details of your posts.” You must categorize your post, tagging is optional.

16. CMS or Platform – CMS stands for content management system. WordPress is a CMS, so are all the alternatives. Bottom line – you will never use CMS in a sentence.

17. Comments – oh, for goodness sake…I’m not going to insult you with this one. We all know comments are the rare gems we all hope to get!

18. CSS or Stylesheet – has something to do with style sheets and if you have to ask you need to go to ‘O’ and think about outsourcing.

D is for derogatory, aspersing, calumnious, defamatory, insulting, libelous, maligning, slandering, slanderous, vilifying (and, of course, dog)

19. Directory – These are strange and mysterious sites that list your blog as authority site worth a visit. According to theblogpressccom, “These are websites which categorize blogs under many different categories.” Good luck with that!

F – it’s too tempting, so we’ll skip this one

H is for being Human with a touch of Humour (while being honest)

image describing how to view source code

20. Header – this is the top image for each post. Your header image should “pulled” with your link and show up in your social media posts.

21. Hyperlink – is the clickable content within a web page (typically colored blue) that takes the user to another page, website, or within part of the same page.

22. HTML – this is short for Hypertext Markup Language – the language used to write web pages. In WordPress, if you select “Text” you can view the html code and make simple changes, like highlighting text with a background color. This is what that would look like (Here are the colour choices)

<div style=”padding: 12px; background-color: #ff9999; line-height: 1.4;”>TEXT HERE</div>

TEXT HERE

I is for turning “I” into “you” (or “your”)

23. Index(ed) – indexing is the mysterious process of search engines organizing and prioritizing your blog and the pages on your website. SEO is the art of getting your blog and site pages to “rank” higher (show up on pages 1,2,3, etc).

K is for a Killer post that goes viral (Yes!)

24. Keyword(s) or Keyphrase(s) – is what someone types into a search engine – a single word or phrase. By including those keywords in your blog post you make it easier for search engines to rank your post for that topic.

M is for making money (the thing we don’t talk about, but secretly all want)

image showing meta description in search results

25. Meta Description – this is the short block of text readers see when they get their search results. Tip: keep your phrase to 150 characters and include the keywords readers will be searching for.

26. Meta Tags – refers to all the Tags hidden in your html code that tell the search engines what you page is all about and how to categorize that page.

27. Meta Title or Page Title – is the name of the page and is the bold text that shows up on a search results page when you rank in a search engine.

N – sorry Nothing here worth Noting

O – is for Outsourcing – the one thing that will mostly quickly earn you more money(!)

P – is for Procrastination and Perfection—two things that will keep you from Publishing!

28. Permalink – this is the funky URL that shows up in search engines, like this https://yourblogworks.com/start-a-blog-post/ Tip: if you are updating, or republishing a blog post, don’t change the permalink—you will lose any ranking you might have in search engines.

P - is for Procrastination and Perfection—two things that will keep you from Publishing! Click To Tweet

29. Plugin – Just like an app on your phone, a plugin is a piece of software that adds a operation to your website. For example, you can add Yoast to change the SEO settings, Pretty Link to create unique, memorable URL’s, or Editorial Calendar to get a calendar view of all your blog posts.

30. Post – this is just another name for your blog article. You can also call it “great”, “amazing”, “outstanding”, and “awesome” (knock yourself out.)

R – is for Really, Really, Really helpful blog posts (and getting and ROI)

31. Redirect – this is when one link takes you to another link (huh?) For example, if you click on www.yourblogworks.com/call you will be taken to https://go.oncehub.com/hughculver to book a call with us. That redirect uses a nifty WordPress plugin called Pretty Link.

32. Robots – we all know about WALL-E and R2D2, but there are online robots as well, like the ones that categorize web pages (like your blog post) for search engines.

33. RSS – stands for Really Simple Syndication (now you’ll sound smart at any party) and is the way updated information is fed to sites like Feedly, so your favourite blogs are waitinf for you.

S is for getting social shares of your post (yummy)

34. Sitemap – this is a page on your site that organizes all the pages on your site into a simple list. Search engines use your sitemap in their indexing process. Tip: you can see you sitemap by adding “sitemap_index.xml” to the end of your URL, like this https://yourblogworks.com/sitemap_index.xml (If you don’t have a sitemap consider using Yoast…see #43 below)

35. Social Media Sharing – this is what our team at BlogWorks can do for you! Get the word out and let your social followers enjoy your latest blog post.

36. Subscribe – when a reader joins your mailing list they are subscribing to receive your emails.

T is for Terrific content that Turns heads and Translates into new Transactions!

37. Tag or Tagging – is a bit of information, hidden in your html code, that tells search engines what your page is about. Tags include: Title Tag (for the whole site), Alt Tag (for images), Robots Meta Tag (tells search engine robots if it should index this page), and Header Tags.

38. Tip – if you want to get more business from your blog include 3-4 links in every post to your “revenue” pages.

39. Title or Subject – The title, or headline, of your blog is one of the most important ways to attract more attention and readers.

U – is for those Unicorn posts that get Unbelievable results

40. URL -Smarty pants know that URL is short for Uniform Resource Locator, but we all know the URL is the unique address for every page of your web site. Tip: want to create an easy to remember shortened URL? Check out the free WordPress plug-in called Pretty Link in this article.

W – is for putting your Blog to Work

41. Widget or Module – the little boxes of content (like an offer for a free book) are called widgets (now you know.)

42. WooHoo! – the sound you will make when you see your blog post getting shared across the social channels. You have made it happen!

Y is for…. yellow?

43. Yoast – sounds like toast but is not something you eat. Yoast is a popular SEO plugin that allows you to edit and optimize the SEO of the post and the way the post appears (Meta tag) in search engines.

Not bored yet? Well, we’ve got loads more of great articles for you…

How to (finally) make money with your blog
90 seconds to becoming a better writer
5 steps to writing an awesome blog post in less than 60 minutes.

 

 

 

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