36 Blog Topics your Readers will Love

blog topics

We’ve all been there. You need to get the next blog post out, but you’re flat out of blog topic ideas and feel like you’ve already written about everything you know.

Not to worry.

Sometimes it just takes a new angle on an old story to get that spark you need to get new content flowing. And before you know it, you’ve got a unique post that readers love.

In this post we’ve compiled 36 blog post themes you can apply to just about any topic and have an original post people will want to share.

Here’s how it works.

Choose your blog topic.

Let’s say you write about leadership. Start with a leadership topic your followers frequently ask about.

Let’s pick delegation.

Choose your blog theme.

Next, scan the list of 36 themes below and choose a writing angle you haven’t used before.

Let’s pick:

1. Reasons that most _________ fail
8. The biggest misconception about _________
29. A quick checklist that will save you _________

Write a rough headline.

Once you have the theme for the post, create a rough headline to give the post some direction.

Let’s go with:

  • The reason most delegation fails (and how to avoid it).
  • The biggest misconception new managers have about delegation.
  • A quick checklist for your next delegation conversation.

Write your rough draft.

From here, have fun with this new angle to an old topic. You can start with a personal story or a story from a client of yours and then expand on the theme.

In short order, you’ll have a rough draft of a post with an interesting twist that will get your reader’s attention.

All of our most popular blog posts used these themes. Here are some examples:

Facebook Page vs Profile: Everything You Need To Know

What is the Ideal Blog Post Length?

4 Ways to Make Your Blog Images Pop

Now, it’s over to you.

Here’s the complete list of 36 blog post themes:


Opinion posts

  1. Reasons that most _________ fail
  2. Do’s and Don’t’s of _________
  3. One question that changed my _________
  4. My predictions for _________
  5. One purchase that chanced my life
  6. What most people don’t know about _________

Experience/Expertise

  1. ## steps to becoming _________
  2. The biggest misconception about _________
  3. Why I _________ and you should as well
  4. Why I will never _________
  5. One goal we all need to have
  6. How one conversation changed _________

Aspirational/Inspirational

  1. How thinking different can get you _________
  2. The books that impacted me the most
  3. How _________ changed my thinking forever
  4. What success really means
  5. ## great examples of _________
  6. One daily routine that _________

Learning

  1. How to discover _________
  2. Why a survey can _________
  3. ## ways to discover your _________
  4. How to buy your next _________
  5. ## TED talks that changed my life
  6. How to read better and faster

Mistakes to avoid

  1. ## mistakes you want to avoid when _________
  2. The biggest mistake that taught me _________
  3. How to avoid _________
  4. How to know if you are _________
  5. A quick checklist that will save you _________
  6. What I learned from _________

Getting better

  1. What I learned when I first _________
  2. My experience _________ and lessons learned
  3. What I discovered when I _________
  4. How to change from _________ to _________
  5. One habit that every one needs to _________
  6. Feeling stuck? ## ways to _________

How to hire an awesome writer for your blog

hire a writer

You’ve got a blog – so far, so good. And you’ve written six posts, but now the inevitable time crunch is happening.

A week goes by, and then another.

No blog post.

Two more weeks and despite your best intentions…still no blog post.

We see it all the time: orphaned blogs. They still command a place on your menu bar, but nobody’s home.

One solution is to hire a writer. Sounds simple, right?

You hire someone to write your posts for you. You sit back, the posts come in, you get more engagement and more business.

But, whoa there silver! There are a few things to consider before going down the freelancer highway and starting to read resumes. Let’s start with the most important question first.

Should you hire a writer?

As tempting as it might seem to hire a writer, you should first consider how important it is to use your own voice in your blog posts.

If you have a content blog sharing great advice, maybe it doesn’t matter so much who wrote it, as long as the content is unique and the writing is high quality. Two good examples of this are inkbotdesign.com or contentmarketinginstitute.com.

On the other hand, if you are the brand, then maybe having someone else write your blog is not the best idea. A freelance writer is unlikely to accurately mimic your style of writing or humour and certainly can’t match your knowledge.

It is possible to find a great match with freelancers, after all, ghostwriters have written many of the best-selling autobiographies. But it could mean higher costs and a longer search process.

The workaround is for your freelancer to write content pieces, not personality pieces. A good example of this is Jon Morrow, who writes brilliant posts about his take on blogging, life after his accident and “living in paradise.” Meanwhile, you’ll find many freelancers contributing great how-to content to Morrow’s SmartBlogger blog.

What to look for in a writer

Before you start posting your job or searching forums for writers, it’s important to know what you’re looking for.

Just like shopping for groceries, if you don’t start with a list it could be an expensive trip to the store.

Your list of requirements will be unique, based on the content expertise you are looking for, but here’s a good list to start with:

  • Writing skills. As basic as it sounds, there’s nothing more frustrating than bad grammar from a “professional writer.” If you really want to test if applicants are detail oriented insert this instruction “Please mention ‘Blue Moon’ in your application.”
  • Basic knowledge. As a minimum, your freelancer should have proven experience writing similar posts and a basic knowledge of the content area.
  • Confident writing voice. It’s great to be accurate, but a big challenge for any blog is to be interesting enough to stop readers from clicking away.
  • Commitment to quality. In your interview process, give some feedback. How your freelancer receives your advice is one of the best measures of how well they will work out.

How to get started

We published a detailed post about job posting boards, forums and even searching Twitter to find freelancers. If you’re ready to find that perfect writer, that’s a good place to start.

Adding to that post, there is, of course, the Mack truck of freelancing, Upwork. At BlogWorks, we use Upwork every month for market research, graphic design and other long-term and one-off jobs.

The tip we most often share is to use the applicant filters and to individually invite the freelancers you are most interested in working with (as opposed to letting Upwork send you applicants.)

Invite the right applicants to write

For example, if hiring a blog writer, I would follow this simple routine:

  1. Post the job. You can start with this being a one-off job and set the price level as “intermediate”

  1. When you move to “Invite freelancers”, immediately open “Filters” and start selecting the criteria you are looking for. You can even select your country of choice.

hire a writer through upwork

  1. Once you have selected your filter criteria, Upwork will start displaying the freelancers that fit your criteria. This is where you invite the best applicants to apply.

The most remarkable aspect of Upwork is the speed at which you can go from job posting to communicating with qualified applicants. And because you have posted a one time job (as opposed to an ongoing contract), your risk is pretty minimal.

Whether you hire a writer or commit to writing all of your posts, either way, committing to a consistent schedule of publishing is important. The worst option is to have an orphan blog on your site collecting dust.

Your readers want to learn from you and be inspired. Now, get publishing.

 

 

9 expert bloggers reveal their best strategies

pro blogger

There is no end of advice online about becoming a successful blogger – some of it brilliant, some not so much. Some tips for blogging success even conflict with other advice.

You should write short posts. You should write long posts.

Try using more pictures. Add infographics.

Short, punchy writing is the peach. Long-form writing attracts a more committed audience.

…you get the idea.

We know you don’t have the time to wade through a sea of conflicting advice to find the gems, so we went mining for you.

We reached out to people we respect as being expert bloggers and who we know have used their blog to help built large followings and a sustainable business.

This is hand-picked advice – just for you – of what pro bloggers want you to do with your blog in 2018.

Newsjacking

If you’ve ever wondered about how to connect your readers with breaking news – David Meerman Scott (best selling author of The New Rules of Marketing and PR) is the expert. In fact, he coined the term ‘Newsjacking’ – the art and science of injecting your ideas into a breaking news story to generate tons of media coverage, get sales leads, and grow business.

Newsjacking blogging success

Here’s how David explains it:

“As the story develops in real-time, buyers become interested in products and services based on what’s happening now. Newsjacking generates sales leads and adds new customers. For free! Newsjacking is a great way to grow your business. Faster than ever!”

Buyers are interested in products and services based on what’s happening now. @dmscott Click To Tweet

Further Reading

Are you making it easy for your readers to stay on your site longer?

Just like a store that displays other products you might want, we want to make it easy for readers to find posts that are related to the one they are currently reading, and hopefully stay on your site longer.

That’s what psychologist and author Liane Davey does with a simple list of “Further reading” at the bottom of every post.

“One of the things I’ve started doing is adding three older posts as ‘further reading’ at the bottom of each post.” Davey told us, “It’s exposing new readers to older content, giving them more to sink their teeth into and getting my number of clicks per visit up.”

blogging success: include further reading

Old is new again

This is an idea we have started using on this blog. It saves us time and is getting great results.

“Rather than constantly be creating something new,” founder of The Agents of Change conference and owner of Flyte New Media, Rich Brooks told us “find some older blog posts that can be easily updated.”

Rather than constantly be creating something new, find some older blog posts that can be easily updated. @therichbrooks Click To Tweet

The process is pretty simple and starts with just a bit of research:

“If you use Google Analytics you can find some blog posts that were page one success stories that may have fallen off the first page recently. Some additional images, an expert quote, an extra graph or two and you’ll be back on the first page with a lot less work than creating something from scratch.”

improve existing content: blogging success

Be authentic

After trying all the tips and tricks in an attempt to achieve blogging success; it’s good to know the basics haven’t changed. Like being real:

“Focus on offering valuable content that truly reaches your audience in an authentic way,” marketing strategist and best-selling author Susan Gilbert told us.

Focus on offering valuable content that truly reaches your audience in an authentic way. @susangilbert Click To Tweet

And more than just being honest and showing your personality, Gilbert encouraged us to stand out with unique solutions:

“Find a way to provide the answers they are looking for and not finding anywhere else.”

successful blogging strategies: be real

At BlogWorks we’re doing that with our blog topics.

Heading into the New Year, our editorial team is working on bringing you articles that we think reflect what our readers and customers are facing every day. Sure, tips on successful blogging are always valuable, but we believe our readers (like you) also want help with procrastination, getting organized, dealing with imposter syndrome and all the barriers that come up when you’re sharing your ideas and solutions publicly.

Keep ‘em clicking

A strategy we use on every blog post is to link to other, related posts. We start by identifying what we think are ‘anchor posts’ – these are posts that have attracted lots of readers AND are posts that help explain the value of working with us.

One way to think about anchor posts is this: if you were explaining your services/products to someone for the first time, these are the posts you’d recommend they start with.

Once you’ve identified your anchor posts, it’s time to find opportunities to link to them. For example, if I was writing about keywords I would link to one of our popular articles on keywords.

Don’t overdo it – we usually link to 3-4 posts within one post. And you can do this retroactively—edit your top five highest traffic posts by adding links to anchor posts.

Let your reader in

Ultimately, your readers want to learn from you and connect. They have lots of choices, but they have chosen you to guide them – whether it is business advice or life strategies.

Click To Tweet

“I have slowly come to understand the power of letting my audience in.” says BlogWorks founder Hugh Culver “As much as I write primarily to a business audience, my readers seem to be interested in me and what I am doing with my business – even what I’m doing in my life.”

“Four years ago, on a whim, I wrote a post about my goal of retiring in 1460 days. It would be the date I turn 60 and it really just wrote the post for myself. Since that post went live – 4 years ago – I have been asked hundreds of times about my retirement!

And here’s my point – very few people ask me about my other posts. Sure them might write a comment on the post or share it, but when I’m on the phone with my readers or meeting them at conferences they ask about my retirement.

I’m not sure what’s the right balance for you—between your professional blog and your personal life, but I suspect your readers would enjoy learning more about the person behind the blog.”

Repurpose your content

successful blogging strategies

A much talked about online promotion strategy is to repurpose your content. Some experts like Chalene Johnson start with a Facebook Live broadcast and turn that recording into a YouTube post, blog and podcast post – even a list of tweets to go out through the week.

Speaker, sales trainer and author, Frank Furness has a version of repurposing just for bloggers he calls COPE – Create Once Publish Everywhere.

“My first publishing of any article is with www.blogger.com” explains Furness “then I take the link and promote it with www.plus.google.com. Both these products belong to Google and this results in me getting onto the first page of Google for certain keywords for a day. I repeat this every week.”

Longer is better!

longer is better

“There is so much confusing information out there about blogging.” LinkedIn expert and author Melanie Dodaro told us.

“Perhaps you’ve heard people say…

  • People don’t want to read long articles, keep them short to under 500 words.
  • No one wants to read anymore, they’re only interested in videos.

Neither of those is true! People will read long blog posts as long as they are filled with quality, actionable tips and how to’s. And the bonus, Google loves longer articles. That’s why most of my blog posts range from 1500 – 2500+ words.  In fact, longer blog posts generate nine times as many leads as shorter posts.”

Click To Tweet

Deliver what your market cares about

“Learn what your market cares about,” coach and author Michael Zipursky told us. “Get detailed and provide content, ideas, and observations that add value.”

“Focus on answering questions that aren’t answered by (many) others—at least not others with more credibility than you” adds marketing expert Peter Sandeen. “When your target customers search for the answer, your answer will be at the top of search results. That gets you in front of new people through Google. But it also keeps you focused on creating content people see as useful and easy to consume, so your existing readers get a lot of value from you.”

Be consistent

Finally, we get to one of the secrets to successful blogging that many bloggers struggle with: consistency.

“Consistency is key,” says Zipursky.

“Create content on a regular basis and don’t stop just because you don’t see a result overnight. Blogging and content creation is a long-term strategy that pays dividends if you keep it up.”

Click To Tweet

And (self-promotion), this is where BlogWorks helps. We take all the promotion of your blog off your hands so you can focus on researching new topics, writing and welcoming new traffic to your business.

Pro tip: a simple solution to staying consistent with your publishing is to have one blog post ready to go. When you have a lighter week, find some time to write a timeless post that you can save for a ‘rainy day’ – it could mean you are more consistent with your publishing (a good thing) and reduce your stress.

3 Reasons to Measure Your Blog’s Success (And How)

Do you know why video games are so addicting?

Because they set clear goals, and always tell you whether you’re moving towards them or not. Goals and measurement are two crucial elements to success in games, business, and life in general.

Without measurement, you’ll never understand where you’re at or what needs to be done to move you forward. It’s like a game with no clear mission – not fun, and won’t keep you going for long.

Need a better understanding of why it’s important to measure the success of your blog? Here are 3 great reasons:

1. SEO drives thousands of free visitors… but it needs measuring

Keyword ranking is one way to bring more traffic to your blog, but what keywords should you be targetting?

One great way to identify keywords that will bring more traffic is to look at what keywords are currently bringing traffic to your site. Thanks to Google Analytics, you’re able to view your organic search traffic with the click of a button (or two).

You’re able to do this by going to your Channel Groupings report, which can be found by clicking Acquisition > All traffic > Channels.

organic_search_with_getsos

You’re then able to click on Organic Search which will give you an in-depth report on your organic traffic – and only your organic traffic.

organic_search_help_getsos

After viewing this data, you can determine the key factors that are contributing to your blog traffic, such as:

  • Your top landing pages for search traffic
  • Which keywords are driving the most traffic
  • Which search engines are sending the most traffic, and more.

As a good rule of thumb, you’ll want to check your organic search results once per week to see what’s increasing and what’s decreasing. This way, you’re not putting time and energy into things that aren’t working well anymore! You can then use this information to help drive traffic to your site, check if your blog posts are reaching your target audience and plan future topics that match what your clients are searching for.

Your analytics also help you determine whether your content is engaging your clients. Metrics like the time spent on your site, the number of page views, how many clicks and comments will give you a great indication of how engaged visitors to your site are, and what type of content they find particularly engaging.

Keep in mind that if your blog falls under the “Seasonal” category, you’re going to have much more traffic when that season rolls around. For example, if your blog focuses on something like “Best Winter Foods,” you’ll gain more traffic in the winter and less in the summer.

Pro Tip: If you want a more accurate measurement of your SEO, try a tool like Ahrefs.

2. Killer Opt-ins are great, but knowing which ones are killer is better

Creating an Opt-in for your blog is crucial. After all, email marketing is said to be the most effective form of marketing to-date.

So, how do you create the perfect Opt-in offer? That’s simple:

Focus on providing a solution that your readers may have a problem with. 

If you can make it quick and simple, even better!

Take, for example, this Opt-in offer by SmartBlogger:

optin_offer_getsos

They state the problem that their readers may be having: Making their blog posts go viral. They deliver a quick solution: A cheat sheet that’ll help you create killer headlines to get more eyeballs on your content.

With Google Analytics, you’re able to set up goal conversions to see which Opt-ins are performing the best, as well as which landing page your readers signed up for the Opt-in on.

For example, you may have an Opt-in waiting for readers on your “About Me” page. You may also have an Opt-in on a blog post you’ve recently written.

If your readers decided to Opt-in after reading your blog post, you’ll be able to see that through your goal conversions on Google Analytics. This will aid you in the future and will help you determine which blog posts bring more readers to your site.

3. How to measure your social shares and traffic

There are, of course, other ways to measure the effectiveness of your blog. One tool, in particular, is BuzzSumo.

BuzzSumo allows you to see which of your posts are getting the most shares, but will only show you five results (if you’re using a free version).

Take a look at the screenshot below to see some of the most shared pages on our CEOs personal site, Hughculver.com:

buzzsumo results

As you can see, his most successful post, The bizarre truth about willpower and keeping promises, has performed really well on Twitter and LinkedIn, while his second most successful post has been more successful on Facebook and LinkedIn. So, not only will you be able to see where your social shares are coming from, you’ll be able to determine which of your articles do best on which platforms.

This does not mean you shouldn’t share your blog posts to each social media website. As you can see from the image above, while traffic varies across platforms for each page, there is traffic from each site. But you can use this information to plan where you might spend additional time and money on further marketing of each article.

That’s all for now, folks! How have you been measuring your blog’s success? Drop us a comment to let us know!

9 Tools For Assessing A Website’s True Value

Having an online presence is a must in today’s digital culture.  Most successful businesses invest a great deal of time, money and effort in their website and their overall web presence.

Buying and selling websites and domain names can, unfortunately, be a shady industry. Most dishonesty comes from people trying to scam new buyers. Additionally, there are sellers trying to sell a website without providing the right information and statistics to buyers. Often, they don’t have this data as they didn’t realize (until they come to sell) that they were going to need it.

It goes without saying that buying and selling websites can be a risky endeavour.

Fortunately, there are various tools that you can use to help verify the true value of a website.

What Websites Can Help?

Take a look at these two different scenarios:

Scenario 1: An entrepreneur wants to sell an online business built around selling computer accessories to customers.  As part of the deal, he was forced to sign a 2-year non-compete agreement with his investors.  A year later, he was ready to sell an almost completely identical business that had a few years of history — which meant he had zero intentions of honouring his non-compete agreement.  Needless to say, it was nearly impossible to sell his business.

Scenario 2: You are thinking about purchasing a website that generates a substantial portion of its earnings through affiliate marketing.  How can you guarantee that all of the revenue is being generated by the website that you want to buy?  How do you know that the entrepreneur doesn’t also have other websites with the same affiliate tracking codes on them?

There are tools that you can use to help figure out if the person you’re buying the business from owns other, similar websites, or if there are any other sites where they are displaying the same affiliate codes and pumping up the revenue numbers on the site they’re trying to sell you.

Domain Tools:

DomainTools.com allows you to check both the ownership history of the website you’re buying, as well as other domains owned by the same person.

Who Rush:

Similar to DomainTools.com, WhoRush.com helps you discover other domains that could possibly be owned by the person you’re thinking about buying a business from, and lets you look up their affiliate tracking codes, AdSense IDs, Analytics IDs, and more information.

Reverse Internet:

ReverseInternet.com is a mishmash of different tools and combines both Who Rush and SEMRush into one useful service.

How To Verify The Traffic

Very few sellers are going to tell you that they’ve built their website on a sand foundation.

Some sellers know exactly what they need to do and say to get you to buy the website. They know exactly what it takes to build traffic and rankings but without proper investment, that tends to only last for a short period of time.

Other sellers may not necessarily know what they are doing and could have done things while building the business that spells potential doom for their website in the future.

Thankfully, there are a few different tools you can use to verify how a person has built their website and whether, or not the traffic is going to last after you buy it.

Google Analytics:

One of the first things you need to do when thinking about buying a website is to verify how well distributed the traffic is across different channels.  Are they getting a large amount of traffic from a few keywords? Are they tapping into a wide range of traffic sources like direct, referral, social, and organic search?  Strong referral traffic can be a great indicator of stronger keyword rankings.

Open Site Explorer:

Open Site Explorer is an excellent free tool. You can use it to figure out how a website is being linked to from other websites and whether it is going to be negatively impacted by algorithm updates.  The tool can help you identify a website’s authority and compare it to the competition.  It can also help you figure out if the owner has used any shady link building tactics.

SEMRush:

SEMRush, and tools like it, are incredibly valuable for figuring out how competitive a niche is and where easy pockets of growth are for the website.  SEMRush is also great for tracking down shady link building tactics. It’s important for you to validate the SEO strategies that were used by the previous owner.

How To Build On What You’ve Discovered

The tools above are going to help you significantly when it comes to identifying how the website you’re thinking about buying was built and whether or not the seller believes their website has been properly built. Unfortunately, the seller may be hiding the fact that they’ve used shady strategies.

Despite having those tools in your arsenal, you still need to make sure that the website you’re thinking about buying is both profitable and sustainable.

Here are a few tools to help you with that:

Built With:

BuiltWith.com is a free tool that will help you figure out everything you need to know about the technology that a website is built around.  It’s incredibly useful!

Banned Check:

If you’re thinking about buying AdSense websites, verify that the site or the site owner is not banned from AdSense.  This is great for checking content-only sites, too, that you believe may have been monetized with AdSense in the past.  If you’re planning on taking over a content site and plan on monetizing with AdSense, used BannedCheck.com to verify it’s safe.

Google Trends:

Google Trends is a great tool for identifying whether you are potentially buying into a dying industry.  A large number of websites are sold every day because the owner knows their niche is nearing the end of its life.  Google Trends can help you identify whether or not the business’ niche is on a downward trend.

The More You Know

Even though there is a lot of risk when it comes expanding your web presence, a smart buyer will be able to navigate through the risk to find those hidden gems.

Knowledge is power. Knowing is half the battle when it comes to protecting yourself from the unsavoury characters trying to pass sand foundations onto unsuspecting buyers.

Using the tools laid out here, you don’t necessarily have to rely on what the seller is telling you. You can verify for yourself exactly what they are doing and how they have built the website. You can then take it on and use it to enhance your business and your brand.

 

Blogs Work – 5 simple ways to bring in more business with your blog

Blogs work. Try these strategies.

Blogs work.  But many bloggers are frustrated, trying to get more traffic and better results, but not knowing what they need to change. Maybe that sounds like you?

These 5 simple strategies could change everything.

Bloggers have repeatedly used these 5 strategies to grow their traffic, opt-ins, online platform and sales.

Even if you already have a blog, you can improve your results by following these instructions.

1) Be clear about your goals
2) Write to one person
3) Commit to experimenting
4) Stand out from the crowd
5) Measure, adjust, repeat

Check out the brief presentation below for more detail!