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 never run out of blog ideas ever again

Never run out of blog ideas ever again

This post was originally published in July, 2016 and has been updated and re-loved for you. Enjoy.

The biggest mistake bloggers make is, well, they don’t blog.

Those gaping holes between posts make everything on your site look a little suspect – like going into a grocery store and seeing food past its due date. How long before you question everything in the store?

The bottom line is you can’t attract new prospects and build loyalty if you don’t consistently work to attract them. That’s why content marketing (sharing valuable, problem-solving resources) is still the best way to grow your business. And this is true whether you’re a food blogger or a baker, a keynote speaker or you teach online – it’s all about sharing your best content AND proving you are the best choice.

To avoid running out of ideas for your blog you have to have lots of ideas for your blog.

In this post, I’ll walk you through 5 ways to keep great blog ideas rolling in. Let’s jump in with reading…

1. Read blogs

Nothing beats reading other people’s blogs to stimulate ideas for your own future posts. I use feedly to pull my favourite blogs into one location where I can read them while I’m eating lunch. I also make it a habit to write comments on blogs I’ve read (hint, hint) to show my appreciation.

But, reading blogs is only the start—you need to think about your market. What problems need solving? What questions are they asking you? What has worked in the past?

Feedly is a super easy tool to quickly organize all your favourite blogs into one place.

For example, I got the idea to write posts about Google Analytics because I was searching for answers for my clients. I found a lot of articles answering my questions, but they were either too long or too technical. So I wrote this one and this one.

Now that you’re reading great content, you need to organize the best blog ideas…

2. Build an Inventory

In the old days (like 10 years ago) you might have saved magazines or used sticky notes to mark ideas in a book you’re reading. Those systems can’t keep up with our online world where a great idea might be in a blog post you read, an online magazine, a Tweet – even an Instagram post.

You need one place to collect, organize and retrieve your best blog ideas.

Evernote is a brilliant (free) online tool that allows you to easily grab articles off the web, store images, record audio or even accept pictures of hand-scribbled notes from your phone. It syncs in seconds on all your devices and, with the paid account, you can even search off-line as you head to the grocery store to collect ingredients for your favourite Thai salad with peanut sauce recipe.

To fully unleash the power of Evernote, install the Webclipper (I remember it as the Elephant head) extension on your favourite browser. That will allow you to quickly grab the article you found, strip it of advertising, tag it and store it for future reference.

find blog ideas

And here’s my favourite trick with Evernote (h/t to Michael Hyatt):

Instead of creating lots of Notebooks in Evernote, which can get messy and confusing, I have all my notes in one Notebook and use tags to search for what I want. And I tag all future blog ideas (including articles I saved using the Evernote extension) with the tag “unused blog post”. The tag allows me to easily pull up all my unused ideas and choose the one I want to work on. As soon as I use that note I delete it.

evernote
I use the tag “unused blog topics” to easily organize all my future blog ideas into one search.

Okay, you’ve collected lots of blog ideas, now it’s time to organize them on a calendar…

3. Build your Editorial Calendar

A simple way to organized future blog ideas is using a spreadsheet, like Excel or Google Sheets. Or you could use planning tools like Asana or Trello. That’s great, but I’m a visual person and prefer seeing future projects in a calendar format.

If you have a WordPress site, you can organize all your blog ideas with a clever (and free) plugin called Editorial Calendar (watch our quick video to learn how this works).

Editorial calendar
The Editorial calendar plugin makes it easy to schedule posts and to see your draft posts in one place.

When you start putting dates to topics, think about seasons and buyer behaviour. What seasons do your customers respond to (like winter, summer, Christmas, etc.)? When are your customers more likely to buy? When does your customer have certain problems (like Spring cleaning, budgeting, staff hiring, etc.)?

Your Editorial Calendar doesn’t have to be perfect. The idea is to promote the writing and publishing by planning ahead and avoiding writer’s block.

Now you have lots of blog ideas collected in Evernote and you’ve started to plan future posts in your Editorial Calendar. Great! This next strategy is a way to boost traffic without writing a new post…

4. Repurpose old content

This strategy will save you time and could get you a big traffic boost. Here’s how it works…

Start by making a list of posts that are pulling in strong traffic but are over a year old. These are gems that could be working harder if they were “re-loved” and republished.

To get to your analytics, first, log in, then navigate to Behaviour > Overview.

best blog ideas
To get to your analytics, first, log in, then navigate to Behaviour > Overview

This part is a little technical, but hang in there – you only need to do this research a few times a year to get the full benefit.

There are at least 3 metrics you can use to choose the blog article to republish:

  1. old posts – if your post is older than one year there’s a good chance you need to update the images, and facts in the article and maybe add more detail to the content.
  2. low Bounce rate – “Bounce rate” is the per cent of people who left your site after one page (they didn’t explore the rest of your site). A lower bounce rate (like 60-70%) can be a good sign. Think of it this way: out of all your published blog posts, there are some that keep readers on your site longer. Those posts could be worth updating and republishing.
  3. high time on page – “Time on site” is the minutes a reader spent on that page. The higher the time, the more likely the reader is to share the article and spend more time on your site.

You can combine the metrics. In other words, look for blog posts older than a year, with low bounce rate and high time on site. Find 3-5 of those posts and start with them.

Here’s another example:

We republished our post “Facebook Page vs Profile: Everything You Need To Know” and within 10 days our traffic increased by 229%!

blog ideas
In just 10 days traffic to this post increased by over 200%!

The blog post you’re reading is another good example. It was originally published in July 2016 and I added more content and images and republished it in February 2019. It only took about an hour’s worth of chopping, adding, and changes to turn it into the post you’re reading – much easier than starting from scratch!

Whew! You’ve collected amazing ideas into Evernote, organized them with Editorial Calendar, planned a post you will refresh and republish. Now it’s time for a bit of psychology…

5. Give ‘em more of what they love

It might be tempting to pour a cup of coffee and just start writing your next blog post. But what about what your market wants?

Every day your readers are leaving bread crumbs – clues – about what they want. It could be a comment on a post, social shares or an email that asks a question about a recent post. You need to watch for these clues.

A simple first step is to check what posts are most popular (see #4 above). You can also think about the psychology of your reader. What keeps a person on your blog for more than a quick glance?

It’s about solving a problem.

Readers, don’t announce this – but they are looking for a solution to something. It could be a great travel destination or how to save for their retirement.

If you provide that solution that gets them from where they are now to where they want to be, faster or cheaper, they will come back for more. But, there’s more…

If you provide that solution that gets them from where they are now to where they want to be, faster or cheaper, they will come back for more. Click To Tweet

The trick is to always give’em more of what they love. Blogs that wander off down rabbit holes about unrelated topics might work if you are already a celebrity off-line, but don’t work if you are trying to build a business online.

Stick to what your readers want and you will build valuable traffic that will come back for more.

 

6 Ways to Get More Blog Traffic

6 Ways to Get More Blog Traffic This Year

I can read your mind. Let me peer into my crystal ball…It’s telling me you want to get more blog traffic.

Don’t worry – I can help you with that! In this post, I’ll be explaining six ways to get more traffic to your blog. 

Let’s dive in.

#1:  Write Shareable Content

This sounds like a no-brainer. Of course your content needs to be shareable!

However, it’s not quite as simple as it sounds. What is “shareable”? How do you create it?

While there is no magic bullet to create shareable content, there are a few best practices you can follow that will help you get more shares (and more traffic) on your posts. They are:

  1. Come up with better topic ideas
  2. Adhere to great blog post formatting
  3. Add shareable elements like click to tweet boxes
  4. Use amazing images
  5. Add more social sharing buttons

Pro Tip: We use Sumo for social sharing – it’s free and effective!

#2: Create Roundup Posts

Get more blog traffic with roundup posts

You’ve probably seen these before. They’re posts with a “roundup” of quotes or input from experts in a field.

For example, if your blog is about social media marketing, a roundup post might be “27 Social Media Marketing Experts Give Their Best Tips”.

You can either reach out to the experts directly to ask for their input in the article, or you can simply grab a quote from something they’ve already written and include it in your post. Be sure to link to their site as well, as this will increase the chances they’ll share. The better you make them look, the more likely they are to share. Bonus points if you add their image!

Once you’ve written the post, send them an email or @ mention them on Twitter to let them know about it. Chances are, they’ll share it for you.

#3: Go Deeper on a Topic That’s Already Hot

This is a sure-fire way to get some extra traffic. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Find out what’s hot by using a tool like BuzzSumo and searching for your topic idea
  2. Write a post on that topic, but go more in-depth
  3. If you’re really fancy, reach out to the people who shared and linked to that post you made better and see if they’ll share/link to your new post

It’s really that simple – it just takes a lot of work!

#4: Take a Stand

No one wants to hear the same thing everyone else is saying. Instead, be bold! Stand for something. Have an opinion.

One of the best ways to get more blog traffic is by talking about controversial topics. For example, Mark Schaefer wrote this post on something he called “Content Shock”, claiming that blogging is a dead marketing tactic when everyone else was saying it was great.

Blogging certainly isn’t dead, but his controversial stance on such a popular topic managed to get thousands of shares!

#5: Reveal Yourself

No, no, keep your pants on! I’m not talking about taking your clothes off…

I’m talking about being more personal in your posts. Revealing the real you to your audience. How do you do this?

  • Try to write something without limiting yourself. Even if you’re not sure a certain word or phrase is appropriate, leave it in anyway. Go back and edit it before you publish, but the post will have more of your true voice.
  • Tell personal stories, especially if they’re funny or if you’ve struggled. People connect with stories.
  • Use “I, we, us” in your writing. Talk like you’re there with your readers. Be conversational.

Once you’ve done all these things, there’s only one more tip I can give you (and it might be the most important on this list)…

#6: Write Better Headlines

David Ogilvy, a famous advertising revolutionary, once had this to say about titles/headlines:

“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”

Headlines account for 80% of your work! His claim isn’t unproven, either – According to some sources, on average, eight out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only two out of 10 will read the rest.

Want to get better at writing headlines? You’re in luck – we wrote a full blog post to help you out.

Conclusion

How to get more blog traffic is always on every blogger’s mind. It’s part of being a blogger. Traffic is our lifeblood – it’s why we do what we do.

If you follow the six steps outlined above, you should start to see more blog traffic on your posts this year! If you want more tips, check out this guide to promoting your blog posts.

Read Next: How to Drive Traffic to Your Old Blog Posts

Why Adding a Call to Action is a MUST

Why adding a call to action is a must

Where do you lead people when they read your blog posts?

Are you even leading them anywhere?

A call to action (CTA) is exactly as it sounds – you’re calling your readers out to take an action on your site, such as sharing your post, subscribing to your newsletter, or downloading your content offer.

Without a CTA, your blog won’t actually help you achieve anything.

They are a necessary way to get people to do something on your blog. Without them, something terrible happens – nothing! They will leave and probably never return.

This post will show you a few examples of CTAs and explain how you can set up your own right now.

Let’s get started!

Examples of Calls to Action

So, what does a CTA look like? It could come in the form of:

  • A link to another page on your blog.
  • An image or graphic that links to a landing page or opens a subscription popup.
  • A button.
  • Getting people to contact you.

And more.

Basically, anything that gets your users to do something to keep them interacting with your company or moving down the sales funnel is a CTA.

Here are a few direct examples:

The “Read More”/Related Posts CTA

Related Posts example

I’m sure you’ve read a blog post, and when you got to the end, related posts popped up, right? This is a perfectly fine call to action. It keeps people reading.

Ideally, however, you also want to include calls to action to your landing pages and opt-in offers. Reading your stuff is great, but you want subscribers!

(Having trouble getting people to read your blog posts? Try this.)

Button Call to Action

Button call to action

Everyone loves buttons, right? They’re a great way to get people to take action. When designing a button, be sure to keep color contrast in mind! You want it to stick out.

Also, a small change in the copy – or text – of a button can make a drastic difference. “Subscribe” and “sign up” usually don’t work well, while “download” and “get” usually do better. That said, test different text for yourself – you might find the opposite is true.

Shareable Infographic CTA

Share this infographic

You can create an infographic using a tool like Venngage or Canva. Then, once you’ve uploaded it to your site, you can let people steal it – yes, steal it!

Basically, you let them embed the infographic on their own site with attribution to you. This gives you backlinks for better SEO, traffic from their site, and authority as it spreads across the web.

To let them embed it, use Siege Media’s embed code generator to add the embed code to your site. Easy peasy!

The Graphic or Image Call to Action

GetSOS Call to Action example

This call to action first appeared on our post about how to write killer blog posts. It works well to help us capture leads because it’s useful, visual, and includes a button – “get it”.

How to Set Up Your Own CTAs

So, you’re probably wondering, “What should I have my readers do?”

That’s an excellent question! And the answer depends on your goal.

  • If you want more reach, emphasize social sharing.
  • If you want engagement and feedback, emphasize asking people to comment.
  • If you want subscribers, send people to an opt-in offer.
  • If you want people to stay on your site, add more “related reading” CTAs.

There are a lot of ways you can get people to take action. The most important part is figuring out which actions are important and which you don’t care about.

Also, be sure to test different kinds of wording. Try to use power words to entice people to click!

Off to you – what are your favorite calls to action on a website or blog? Have any ideas we forgot to mention? Leave us a comment to let us know!

How to promote your blog and get more traffic

more blog traffic

Behind the scenes at BlogWorks (and a surprise)

I have a confession to make.

We’ve been quiet about BlogWorks. Too quiet.

You see, two years ago I had this idea I could take what I’d learned about blog promotion and getting more blog traffic and give it to other bloggers.

That was the birth of SOS – as BlogWorks was first known – a social media promotion service for bloggers.

And here’s the neat thing. It worked.

I mean, it worked immediately.

One by one bloggers started to sign up and use BlogWorks to promote their blog. And the results started to pour in.

In this post, I want to reveal (behind the curtain) how BlogWorks works and what we learned doesn’t work.

ARE YOU MAKING THIS MISTAKE?

Look, there are lots of mistakes bloggers make. I’ve likely made them all, like:

But, the biggest mistake is thinking you have the next field of dreams—if you write it, they will come.

The biggest mistake bloggers make is thinking they’re the next field of dreams. Click To Tweet

Every day, there are over 2 million (that’s million!) blogs posted on the web. And, sure, you’ll always get some organic traffic (people find you by searching in their web browser). But that’s a catch 22 – you need traffic to rank in search engines to be found.

Bottom line – you need to promote your blog. Every post.

You also have to avoid trying to do too much.

TRYING TO DO TOO MUCH

My experience is bloggers have one of two reactions to promoting their blog.

  • they don’t like marketing, so they hope the stars align and people find them
  • they try to do too much and quit

It’s easy to over commit to marketing your blog. Start posting daily on Facebook and LinkedIn, spend some money on Facebook ads, reach out to write guest posts on other people’s blogs and before you know it, you have a part-time job just doing promotion.

That won’t work either. The trick is to be consistent.

CONSISTENCY TRUMPS SPLASHY

When it comes to getting more blog traffic you need a consistent system of promotion you can sustain. Sure, once in a while you run a campaign, like a roundup opinion post, or a seasonal topic, but unless you have a consistent system you’ll exhaust yourself trying to do everything and be everywhere.

Let’s look at the nuts and bolts of the BlogWorks system.

NUTS AND BOLTS

When I designed BlogWorks I knew it had to be effective, inexpensive and consistent. I also wanted to replicate what most bloggers would be doing, if they had the time and knowledge.

So we use people, not software to make it all happen.

Every BlogWorks client has a dedicated Editor. That Editor (all of us live in Canada) gets to know you, your target market, your writing preferences and writing history.

Once a week they read your latest blog posts and create your social media updates. This is where it gets a bit complicated, because we are writing a big volume of original updates for you.

What you see is an update on Facebook every day. And one on Google +. And one on LinkedIn. And four more on Twitter. Suddenly, you are everywhere.

But, it’s more than that. I knew we couldn’t just pump out self-promoting tweets and expect people to respond. So we also research and write updates from your unique list of sites to curate content from (like: Forbes, Inc, Huffington Post, WSJ, Brené Brown, Mind Body Green, Zenhabits, etc.).

Curated content can help build blog traffic
BlogWorks pulls from your favourite sites

Not only that, but every update is double checked for grammar and to make sure the image was correctly pulled.

It’s like having a well-trained assistant working overtime.

But, BlogWorks doesn’t stop there.

We also update your hashtags and posting schedule (best time of day to reach the most people) and pull from past blog posts to get you more traffic.

Amazing. Right?

And now for the confession.

A CONFESSION

Actually, two confessions.

First, BlogWorks is not for everyone. The reality is, you need to publish a blog post at least twice a month to attract new readers. You also need followers on social media for our updates to get an audience. In other words, it’s great we’re sending updates 4 times a day to Twitter but if you don’t have followers to read them…

The other confession is we have been down playing the results of BlogWorks (hey, we’re Canadian).

We’ve been promoting the time savings, turn-key, zero hassle solution. But, the reality is BlogWorks gets you traffic!

In our most recent analysis across 50% of our  clients we measured an average 15.2% month over month increase in blog traffic. That’s huge!

Best of all, all those bloggers had to do was keep publishing great blogs and keep nurturing their social media followers.

increase your blog traffic with blogworks

Okay, now that I’ve shown you what we do and that BlogWorks gets great results, isn’t it time you let the team at BlogWorks get you more blog traffic, plus save you hours and hours of time every week?

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Five quick and dirty steps to writing a top headline

Write a top headline: 5 quick and dirty steps

I am going to do something not possible: write a blog about writing the perfect headline in less than 1,000 words.

You see, like writing a book, painting a picture and redecorating your bathroom – there is no one way of doing it. And hundreds of blog posts have already covered this topic – all in much greater details.

So, this will be the quick and dirty version (maybe I’ll revisit it later with a looooonger post).

In the meantime, let’s jump in.

1. Keywords

A “keyword” in your headline needs to be a match to what someone types in their search bar. When you get a match (3 lemons) – that’s “organic search”. Less frequently searched, but still valuable, keywords are known as “long-tail” keywords.

The best keyword research is using Mrs. Google keyword planner. In 5 minutes you can find keywords that have the highest click-rate and lowest competition. You’ll also get some great suggestions you might not have thought about.

For this post I searched with “great headlines” and came up with “top headlines” and “how to write blogs”. Both had reasonable average monthly searches and low competition. After seeing this, I changed from “killer headlines” to “top headlines” as a long-tail keyword option.

Keyword planner tool

2. Killer words

Certain words will stop a reader – clicking-finger in the air – and then there are boring words.

Certain words will stop a reader - clicking-finger in the air - and then there are boring words. Click To Tweet

I still refer to this great post on Noah Kagen’s OkDork site with the results of a study of nearly 1M (that’s million!) headlines looking for posts with at least 100 social shares (in other words, someone clicked on that little Twitter or Facebook icon and shared the blog).

From that huge data bank, these are the top words to include in your headline.

bbb

3. Try many

The more headlines you write the better the final result – so experiment with many.

The more headlines you write the better the final result - so experiment with many. Click To Tweet

Once you have your keywords, build 5-10 versions around it. So, for this post I came up with:

  • How to write a top headline fast.
  • How to write a killer headline explained in less than 500 words.
  • The quick and dirty on how to write a killer headline.
  • Why you need to write a killer headline.
  • 5 ways to write a top headline fast.
  • How to write a killer headline in 5 easy steps.
  • How to write a top headline the quick and dirty way.
  • Five quick and dirty steps to writing a top headline.

I often use www.buzzsumo.com to get ideas for headlines. You simply type in the keywords (in this case, I only entered “writing a killer headline”) and you’ll get the most shared (on social media) headlines.

BuzzSumo

According to research compiled by Buffer’s Kevan Lee, the optimal length for a blog headline is 6 words. He goes further by suggesting that our eyes tend to pick up the first 3 words of a headline and the last 3 words.

2016-09-10_06-19-07

4. Quick check

Once you have a good handful of headlines it’s time to check them out. The easiest check is Mr. Google. Slap your headline in your favourite search engine and see what search phrases are suggested (the phrases that pop up when you type/paste in your headline). Tip: To narrow your search to only other bloggers, include “blog:” before your search phrase.

This isn’t definitive, but will give you an idea of who is using that same headline or maybe better versions you can use. When I did it with “The quick and dirty 5 steps to writing a killer headline” I don’t see an exact match with other bloggers.

Search engine results

5. Clever tricks

Okay smarty – you’ve checked keywords, written multiple versions, even made sure to insert “you” and a number. Now it’s time for big boy tricks.

The objective is to get the scanner to become a reader – that means we have to get them to click on our headline. The following hacks are guaranteed to work…some of the time 🙂

bracketsYou ARE an expert (now act like one)

ask a questionShould you share your best stuff on the Internet?

prove authorityHow I got rich (and 6 ways you can as well)

be a contrarianDo nothing – five fast ways to turn work off so you can have a life

be boldStop! You’ve Been Primed – why doing dumb stuff might not actually be your fault.

Writing great headlines is an imperfect science. It seems every week I read more advice, often contradicting other advice I’ve read.

Regardless, here’s one think that’s always been true: without a great headline your readers will pass you by.

As the great ad man, David Ogilvy once explained, “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”

The dirty little secret about social shares for your blog

Getting social shares for your blog

When I created BlogWorks it was designed around one simple principle – the more my blog gets shared the more my traffic grows.

Sure, I can email my list, but they already know about me—it’s the followers who tell their followers that create the magic.

This is really the secret sauce, or as I like to call it, the dirty little secret behind growing your blog.

It can be a lot of work – that’s why I created BlogWorks – we do the heavy lifting for you. Everyday we’re posting attention-grabbing content on your social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn), keeping followers engaged, getting your content seen, and getting you more blog traffic.

Before you sign up for BlogWorks (which would be the smart thing to do), here’s a few tips to get your social sharing rolling, starting with don’t do so much(!)

1. Don’t do it all

It doesn’t take long to get overwhelmed in the social media maelstrom of latest-greatest.

If you’ve started on Snapchat and LinkedIn you’d better get on Blab.

Done that? Okay run over and start an account on Pinterest so you can compete with 3 million mommy bloggers salivating over dried flower arrangements.

Done all that? Goodie, now waste your evenings on Medium, Instagram, Facebook Live and SociallySexy (I’ll save you the search – I made that one up).

What’s more important than doing it all is to do it well in a few places. As Darren Rouse of ProBlogger says, “Don’t always be looking toward the ‘new’ and ‘emerging’ trends at the expense of the old things that actually work.”

If you aren’t able invest at least 15 minutes a day on anyone of these channels, drop it.

What’s more important in #SocialMedia than doing it all is to do it well in a few places. Click To Tweet

2. Be social

Sure you want traffic to your site, but that’s not what people are on Facebook or Twitter for – first you need to be social. And that means sharing your great content, jumping on a conversation, sharing other people’s content…generally being generous.

At BlogWorks we blend about 75% of content that points back to the client’s site with curated content from other sites. In your onboarding process, you supply us with a list of popular, non-competing sites and we pick relevant articles and turn them into interesting social posts.

If your content isn’t getting the results you want, it could be you’re too self-promotional – nothing wrong with a little promotion of what you have, as long as you have lots of non-promotional content to balance it off.

Ask yourself: what would you talk about at a party of strangers? That’s often a good place to start.

If your #content isn’t getting the results you want, it could be you’re just being too self-promotional. Click To Tweet

Next, you need to see results.

3. Get results

Even though having a podcast is still considered smart marketing, I pulled the plug on mine because I wasn’t seeing the results I needed. I may fire up a new one, but, in the meantime, the old one wasn’t delivering. I knew this because I was watching the numbers.

We get asked a lot about metrics, measurables, what to measure. The good news is there’s lots of options…the bad news is there’s lots of options.

The good news about measuring online results is there’s lots of options. That's also the bad news. Click To Tweet

The obvious numbers to watch are likes, retweets, follows, shares and comments. According to the 2016 B2B Content Marketing report, the top three B2B goals of content marketing are: Lead Generation (85%); Sales (84%); Lead Nurturing (78%).

The question you should be asking is:

“What really counts towards my business success?”

One of my main goals is building my list—that’s measurable. I can measure how many people opted in and opted out in my CRM (Customer Relations Management) system (Constant Contact, Aweber, Mail Chimp, Infusionsoft, etc.). every week. What about you?

I also want to know how many people shared my posts. I can get that from www.buzzsumo.com.

And I want to track the most popular blogs I write, so I can create more along the same topics. I get those results from Google Analytics every week.

4. A profitable balance

Being social is a powerful way to get more people seeing and responding to your content. It’s also a place to be social.

Unless you spend your days in a la-z-boy chair watching Friends reruns – time is precious. Your job is to find a sustainable, profitable balance between being social and getting results.

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 better blog traffic numbers.

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 you need blog traffic.

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?

  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, text copy and headline in the text. Stuffing keywords 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.

  1. 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 difference to your blog traffic.

While a headline like, “10 ways to deliver better customer service” may be accurate, it’s as boring as ordering a cup of coffee at Starbucks. A better headline might be “10 ways to knock the socks off even the most reluctant customer”.

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

  1. 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.

  1. Cross link

A simple strategy to encourage blog traffic and keep readers on your site longer (which is measured as lower Bounce rate in Google Analytics) is to cross link from one blog post to another. The ideas is to invite the reader to learn more about your topic by reading a related post.

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 and then link to them whenever it seems like a natural opportunity.

  1. 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 that 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

  1. 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
  • 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.
  • 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 that 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
  1. 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 can lead to more blog traffic.

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 are 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 that is labeled Featured Image. Click there, select the image you want from your media file and you’re set.

  1. Social share buttons

When a reader shares your post on Twitter, Facebook, or any social media, they are exposing your content to their followers. That’s a good thing.

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

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.

  1. 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. 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 discover what blog posts are most popular.
  1. 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.

A better version, cleverly called Better Click To Tweet, makes it easier for you to create the tweet as you load your new post into the WordPress editor.

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.

As you can likely see, there is a blog post in each one of these strategies. Maybe in the future we’ll do that.

In the meantime, you know what you need to do.

Free Images for your Blog: 7 Awesome Sources

Find free images for your blog

It’s no secret – images make the world brighter and get you more attention. In fact, 65% of senior marketing executives (after all, who would you trust?) believe photos, video, illustrations and infographics are core to how their brand story is communicated. [This post was originally posted at http://hughculver.com/find-awesome-free-images-blog/]

Not only that, content with images gets 94% more views (like your blog) than content without.

The question is where are the best sources for free images for your blog, ebook, SlideShare, promotion, or whatever?

In this post I’ve listed the best sites for finding free images you can use without license. Some require attribution to the artist, but none of them cost anything to use.  Content with images gets 94% more views - there’s no excuse to publish naked. Click To Tweet

First let’s look at the rules.

HOW CREATIVE COMMONS WORKS

For the curious, here’s a quick run-through of the three main copyright categories:

Public Domain – either the copyrights have expired or the creator has relinquished all rights to the works. You are free to use these for private and commercial use. The exception to this “free for all use” policy can be images of recognizable people (if you want to use pics of the Kardashians that another issue.)

Royalty Free – when you find sites offering “royalty free” images – these are “free” to use once you pay a licensing fee. You don’t have to give credit to the artist, but you will be paying a small fee (often the higher resolution means higher fee.) Before you toss this option with a “Pfft!”, consider the time and grief you could avoid by only searching one location and all the images are high quality. I’ve been paying for two years and it’s been a huge time saver. Popular sites for royalty free images are istock, shutterstock, and gettyimages.

Creative Commons – is a universal system for categorizing shared photography and other images by six types of allowed usage. Creative Commons Zero (CC0) being completely open to use, sharing, changing and without any attribution necessary to the artist, whereas the most restrictive Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND) allows sharing works, but without any changes and with attribution to the artist.

Creative commons images

All of sites recommended in this post offer Public Domain or Creative Commons Zero (CC0) licensed images. This means no attribution (neither the name or link to the artist) is required. Regardless, you should do your due diligence and ensure any image you download and plan to use or manipulate is free of restrictions.

BEST SITES FOR FREE IMAGES

There’s lots of advice on finding the best sites for free images, but I find often the results are mixed.

I’ve tested all of the sites listed below and most I use frequently for my blog and SlideShare decks. At the time of writing they all have big libraries, are free of licenses, and have good search tools to help you find that perfect image. In some cases you will have to give attribution to the artist.

  1. Pixabay — reliable, simple to use, and quality images with a very good search tool that lets you narrow your free image search by image orientation (vertical or horizontal). I often check Pixabay first, before trying other sites. You’ll see for-fee Shutterstock images at the top of every search.
    Pixabay
  2. Unsplash — brilliant landscape, people and nature pics, with 10 new high-quality photos released every 10 days. If you need a quick meditative moment, just head over and scroll through Unsplash (it’s cheaper than red wine).
    Unsplash
  3. red — pretty simple site, maintained in Switzerland, basic search tool, multiple sizes to choose from. Not a huge library, but I’ve found some funky free images in a pinch. Free images - Red
  4. Refe — created in Lithuania (go figure), Refe has stunning images with a twist towards “imagery of people interacting with technology.”
    Refe free images
  5. Compfight — a search tool for Flickr that allows you to quickly navigate through world’s largest photo site (Flickr). I certainly wouldn’t call Compfight user friendly – you’ll have to sort through amateur contributions and you might get pics that require attribution – but you definitely won’t get tacky stock photos.
    Compfight
  6. Magdeleine — similar to Unsplash, Madeleine offers stunning free images in limited volumes. You can sort by either public domain (CC0) or requiring attribution. Magdeleine
  7. io — loads of gorgeous pics sorted by popularity. Very easy, but limited, search tool – great for landscapes and “mood” images.

Anytime you list sites like these someone will have two more (go for it, list them in the comments), but these will give you a good start.

Now, let’s look at how to best use them.

MAKING AN OKAY IMAGE GREAT

Searching for the perfect image can burn up hours of time – at some point, who cares?

Instead, look for an okay image that you can make great. Here’s a couple of tricks that will save you time and might even get you better results.

Resize and crop

Sometimes an image has the right element but there’re distractions you don’t want. Rather that spending more time hunting for a better image, resize what you have and crop the unwanted parts.

In this example I liked the image, but I wanted to remove the man in the hoodie (far left) to allow more blurred space to layer text over.

before after resizing and cropping

Fade into background

An easy solution to fix a so-so image is to simply fade it into the background. The image can give texture and feel to the message, but the text you layer on top will become the main focal point.

fade background

Screen under text

A third option is to layer a screen over your image to highlight your text. I use this effect often when building a SlideShare deck when I want to viewer to focus on what I’m saying but also have the image pull their attention.

screen under text

MISTAKES TO AVOID

As a final thought (or two), some mistakes to avoid are:

  • using stock photography. I’m sure you can picture a group of perfectly groomed, multi-cultural, smiling folks, all with their hands in centre of a circle to represent team work. Using stock photos in your blog is more than passé – it’s boring.

True confession: I’m guilty of using cheesy, stock photography (sorry). Now, I’d much rather manipulate (see list above) a so-so image and put the focus on my text, or even use something I shot on vacation or walking my dog. If I want people to be interested in what I’m sharing I have to use images that are interesting.

  • using large files. I’m no expert on resolution, but I know large images (like over 140kb) will slow your site load time. In our instant gratification world you can’t afford people clicking off your site because of slow load time.

There’s a number of free services for reducing image size, like Pic Resize, and Tiny PNG. Or you can use free design sites like Canva or PicMonkey to get the right size and resolution for any social media site or for your web site.

  • not giving attribution. If you’ve ever received a “cease and desist” letter for copyright infringement you’ll know to never grab an image off Google, or not follow Creative Commons requirements (I’m just saying.)

Your blog, slide show, or promotional piece will always get more attention and shares if you use an image. Full Stop.

Learning how to find great ones or do some simple manipulation shouldn’t be a barrier. Heck, if I can do it…