Today, you will see that a lot of people write blogs and own a blogging website. Some write blogs that concentrates on their personal life and experiences, others write blogs to market a product or service, while there are also people who write them original fictional short stories. Whatever it is, you will see that blogging brings fame. That is, if you do it right.
So, how can you write good blogs that will make you an internet sensation? Whatever you write about, it will have some potential in becoming famous. All you need to do is right it good. So, here are some tips that can help you write better blogs and one that people will surely want to read and recommend to other people.
First, you must remember that catching the attention of your readers is very important. What this means is that the title and the first two or three sentences of your blog should be enough to catch your readers attention and encourage them to read the rest of the blogs.
Most of the blogs that has great potential and great content fails because of this. The writer didn’t give it a good title and a good introduction, which made the reader closes the blog and look for other blogs that is good to read.
Although you won’t be able to please all the people reading your blogs, you must consider the fact that you must at least catch the attention that has something in common with you.
So, writing good introductions and giving your blog a good title is crucial for your blogs to become a success and be considered a good read. Aside from the title and the introduction, the body is also, very important. What you write in your title
should correspond or relate to the introduction and title you give your blog. Stay on the subject. Also, it is very important that everything should be easy to read and understand.
After you finished writing a blog, reread it and imagine that you are the reader. Also, check for grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. It is also a good idea to get your friends to read it before you post the blog in your blogging website. This will give you an unbiased judge on what your blog is like.
As a reader, if you didn’t like the blog that you wrote and that you found that it is quite complicated to understand redo, it or just edit it so that it will be a bit better. This is the art of making blogs. It may sound simple, but it really isn’t. You need to work hard in your writing skills and you also must take a lot of criticism about how you write.
Remember these tips and you can be sure that you will be able to write a good blog. If the first blog, you wrote didn’t become an internet sensation, then just leave it be and write another blog about anything that your heart desires. Improve on your writing and you can be sure that you will get better and better at writing blogs.
Remember these tips and you will one day become famous as a blog writer. Always remember that blogging brigs fame. All you need to do is make a good blog that people will want to read and one that people will want to make their friends read.
Everyone needs some extra cash. People often say that blogging is an easy way of making money. But how do you do this? Once you have set up the blog, what next? Your blog is not a get-rich-quick scheme. But it is a good way of making money. Read on to find out how. Monetize with CPM or CPC Ads
Placing ads on a website is the most common mode of making money for bloggers. Most ads fall into one of two popular categories: CPC/PPC ads: pay per click or cost per click ads are in the form of banners placed on your sidebar or in your content. You get paid every time a visitor clicks on the ad. CPM ads: these are “cost per 1000 impressions” ads.
You are paid a fixed amount depending on the number of people that view the ad. Google AdSense is the most well-known program for these kinds of ads. Others include Media.net, Infolinks, and Chitika.
When it comes to placing ads, you don’t have to work with advertising programs. If your blog receives a lot of traffic, advertisers will start reaching out to you asking you to sell ads. You can also find the advertisers yourself. This is better than using networks because you get to cut out the middleman.
Affiliate Links in Content
This is how affiliate marketing works:
A seller or advertiser wants to sell a product.
The two of you agree that if you help them sell it, you will get a commission.
You are given a unique link (it will be used to track your affiliate code).
You then place the link on your site.
If someone clicks through and buys the product, you get a percentage of the full price.
Amazon Associates is a good place to start.
Sell Digital Products
Selling your own digital products is also another great idea. The products can include:
Before you get into this, make sure your readers need the product. Don’t just assume. It is wise to know and understand your visitors first, then make a product that solves their problem. You can make money by selling physical products as well. This involves using your blog for content marketing and driving readers to your actual business website.
Sell anything from manufactured products to handmade goods. Another way of making money is by selling memberships to special areas of your website. If you have a career blog, for instance, you could charge a monthly fee for readers to access your job board.
The exclusive membership must be something valuable. Don’t sell a service that they can get for free elsewhere. If your blog is popular and the content is great, people will recognize you as a guru in the niche (whatever you are blogging on). People may then start approaching you for opportunities in the industry.
Before you start your new blog, you need to find a niche. Going Too Broad one of the most common mistakes that beginners make—going for a broad niche. Many times, people fear to go too narrow when starting out. They believe that if their focus is broad, they will attract more visitors.
However, that is not true. If your niche is too broad, you will have a hard time pulling search engine traffic. Here is what may make a beginner give up: They choose a broad topic. It fails to gain traction with search engines. The beginner is discouraged and gives up.
If you choose a narrow topic, you will soon become an expert. Google uses the Hummingbird algorithm which gives an advantage to websites that cover a topic well. A smaller field has less topics to cover and less competition. Humans, just like search engines, love narrow niches. If they find specifically what they are looking for, they will establish a strong bond with your site. What Exactly Is a Blogging Niche?
It is a niche that attracts a subset of a larger market. Check out these examples: Travel > Frugal Travel, Gardening > Cold Climate Gardening, Fitness > Fitness for Nerds. An online research tool is useful when it comes to getting niche ideas. An example is the Keyword Niche Finder by Wordstream. You get the first 30 searches free.
Key in your head or main keyword and explore the longtail variations. See if there is a niche you like. Finding a Blogging Niche – Passion. Experts recommend getting a niche that is at the intersection of revenue potential and your passion. Others say that if you want to earn a living with blogging, you should focus more on profits. Nonetheless, finding a topic you love is important because it will show in your writing and you will stay motivated. Finding a Niche – Profitability.
A keyword research will help you determine the profitability of your niche. Find a paid keyword research tool that has cost per clicks (CPC) among its metrics. Enter about 10 keywords in your niche. If the keywords’ CPC is a few dollars, it is a profitable niche. In case you cannot get a keyword research tool: Browse a newsagent’s magazine stand. If you see a magazine for your niche, then it is profitable.
Publishing is expensive. Enter your keyword in the Google search box. If you see paid ads, the niche has money. Type a few keywords on Amazon. For each review, there are 1000 customers. Find the best blogs and affiliate programs in your niche using Google. For keyword research, you need to assess: Overall trends – use Google Trends (it is free), Keyword competition, Search volume. For the last two, you will need a paid tool such as KWFinder, Keyword Tool Pro, Spyfu, SEMrush, Ahrefs etc. For competition and volume, you can also use: Rand Fishkin’s Method and Brian Clark’s Method.
The word “copywriting” gets thrown around so much that it is slowly losing its meaning. Many people have no idea what it is anymore. So, here is a deeper look at the term. There are tons of jobs that fall under the category of copywriting. It is no wonder that even copywriters find it hard to explain their own job. Ask one and note how they dance around the definition. This is the same case with Dictionary.com. They barely define the word. “A writer of a copy” is not much of a definition.
Towards the end, the explanation tries to be a little more specific with “especially for advertisements or publicity releases”. The best explanation you will find is a comparison between content writing and copywriting. The latter is said to inform readers while the former calls them to action. This is a good place to start. Creation of valuable and relevant content is required for both content writing and copywriting.
The difference, therefore, must be in the engagement potential. Going by this, copywriting can be defined as a way of writing that is engaging, strategic and actionable. What is the relationship between copywriting and advertising? How does it fit into marketing? Traditional advertising is barely surviving. It is not dead, yet, but it is not doing well either. Audiences do not care about paid commercials anymore.
They respond better to organic marketing (both outbound and inbound). Every marketing campaign starts with copywriting. Internet users get information for what they want to buy from search engines. Copywriters encourage these shopping instincts using engaging wording and alluring themes. It is a win-win situation. Brands rank better in search engines and readers benefit from relevant, entertaining information. Copywriters must know how to play with words, obviously. But there is more.
Beyond writing: other than basic writing skills, a copywriter should have immaculate grammar, a broad vocabulary and unique writing style. Resourcefulness: most copywriters, especially beginners, must write about a lot of topics. This means being able to find trustworthy and relevant resources. Creativity: even with technical topics, a copywriter should find a way to make the content engaging.
Reader-centricity: SEO is not really a copywriter’s job, but they must be knowledgeable about it. Regardless of what a copywriter is writing about, they first must think about how to entice a reader in every step. Niche and Market Research involves familiarizing yourself with the needs and expectations of the reader. Knowing what motivates their purchase decision helps you create content that resonates with them. A reader should clearly see the benefits they will get in your content.
There are three equally valid principles that contribute to valuable content. AIDA: A – attention I – interest D – desire – action. You vs. We: focus on the reader’s needs. When you have done your research properly, content creation will be a walk in the park. Pen down all the information you have gathered to make a raw copy. Read and re-read the copy. Polish the grammar, tone, and any other issue to come up with the perfect copy, ready for publishing. Having a full-time professional blog costs more than just your time.
Here is how much you may have to pay (these are the minimum costs). Laptop: a desktop computer is good, but a laptop is better because you can work from anywhere. Other than a HD screen and a long battery life, the minimum requirements are an i5 processor and 8GB RAM. Cost: $2399 for Apple and $679 for PC. Microphone and webcam: at some point, people will want to see the face behind the content. A good webcam and microphone will help you make quality vlogs. Cost: $170. DSLR and lenses: amazing photos will capture the attention of your audience.
Cost: $450. When it comes to hosting companies, you have a lot of options to choose from. Make sure you choose a reliable company. Otherwise, you will have to deal with poor customer support, unending downtimes, and a lot of other inconveniences. Cost: $2 to $20/month. Both your blog name and domain name are part of your brand identity. Your blog will appear more professional and boost credibility. You can buy the domain name either from a hosting company or a registrar.
Cost: $14/year. Depending on how much money you have, you can choose to: Have professionals create a custom design for you, tailored to meet the unique needs of your blog. Buy a common WordPress theme. Use the services of a freelancer or company. The WordPress theme is the cheapest option ($30 – $60). Highly customized professional blogs can cost up to $2500 or even more. Growing your blog organically will take time. You can start by posting high-quality articles every week. If you do not have the time, find a freelance copywriter to do the work for you. they charge from $15 to about $50 an hour.
This is a good idea for pure blog sites. However, for business sites with a blog section, it is better to pay for content instead of having a full-time copywriter. As your website grows, you will start getting offers from writers wanting to contribute. Before you accept the offers, check the links and content to ensure that everything is in line with your brand. Beginner bloggers can opt for free advertising methods which will only cost their time. Professionals, on the other hand, should consider paying for promotion and advertising. Google has a service, Google AdWords, that you can use to promote on Google Search.
They do not charge to display your link. You only pay when someone clicks on the link ($1 to $50). They allow you to pause, stop and start the campaign whenever you like. Other forms of advertising include LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook ads. Facebook advertising is great because you get to reach your target audience. Most of the software tools you will need are free such as Google Docs. You may need the services of a speech recognition tool sometime in the future. There are also writing and management tools. To fine-tune content, you may need a software to check grammar mistakes and/or plagiarism.
Blogs began as online journals where people shared their lives. But today, the goals are more professional. Most people now blog to promote their business or brand.
This post highlights common reasons for blogging and the benefits.
Why People Blog
People love to share what they are passionate about. If you love fishing, you will want to tell the whole world about it. This goes for other things such as marketing, photography, etc.
Blogging about what you love helps you connect with others who share your passion, all around the globe.
A blog gives you a platform to teach others. As you do so, you will also be learning more about the subject.
Educating through a blog can open a stream of income for you.
Blogs for business owners increase exposure. Regular blog content earns you visibility in Google search results. And if you create content for other websites, you will expose your business to a new audience.
Sharing what you know via a blog makes people views you as an authority. If you choose a specific niche, you may start getting invited to speak at events, podcasts and interviews. The more you attend, the more people know you. Eventually, you may get a book publishing contract.
Search Engine Ranks
As highlighted above, regular blog content will make you rank in search engines. With target commercial keywords, you can attract customers.
Social media audiences seem to prefer blog posts over sales pages or ads. Share your articles on social networks and allow your readers to do the same.
Benefits of Blogging
Manage online identity: Someone can know what your business is all about when they search for it online. A blog helps you control how your business is defined.
Learn new things: blogging allows you to impart knowledge. But more importantly, it helps you learn. You have to research in order to teach others. You will also gain valuable online marketing knowledge.
Improve writing skills: maintaining a blog involves creating a lot of written content. Even video bloggers and podcasters have to write descriptions and engage with subscribers in the comment section.
Proficiency in a new language: most people don’t get to blog in their mother tongue. Writing in another language makes you more proficient.
Technical Knowledge: you may not become a web design expert but you will acquire a little tech knowledge along the way.
Connect with new friends: you will develop a fanbase and probably build long-lasting relationships.
Become an expert: as you continue to gain recognition in your niche, people will consider you an expert.
Get invited: experts are always getting asked to speak at events.
Become an author: if people like what you write, getting someone to publish your books will be easy.
Job offers: other businesses will want you to create compelling content for them.
A new business: your blog can become a real business if you take it seriously.
Sell more products: target your ideal customer with your content and you will boost sales.
Immediate feedback: readers post what they think in the comment section.
More blogs: when the first blog starts paying off, you can build another one.
Freedom: bloggers can work from anywhere and whenever they want.
Blogging is a concept that started in late 90s. It used to be a way to comment an existing webpage, an opportunity for visitors and readers to react or voice out one’s opinion on the said page. What started as a single-sentence commentary has evolved into pages of personal take on just about anything and everything under the sun. As it continues to move forward, online advertising has tapped into the blogs potential. Here are 5 reasons why you should use blogging as an Internet marketing tool.
1.Blogging is simple. The simplest way to get your piece on the net is through blogging. No skills are necessary an average adult can read and type, or at least click a mouse. It’s like having a virtual piece of paper and you just write your ideas, experiences, new products, and hope that the truth behind your articles comes out and entice your reader to also try your product. If you have a PC and an Internet connection (who doesn’t?) then you can blog and advertise.
2. Blogging is authentic. Currently where advertising saturate our lives, we question the credibility of promoter’s claims. However, in blogs, real people share their real-life experiences, unscathed by paid advertising. Reading blogs about first-hand product use is like talking to people about their first-hand experience. You want to buy a tried and tested product.
3. Blogging is free. Because blogging is yet to be proven as a mainstream online advertising media, most sites see it as something to augment current marketing tools and thus offer it for free. Any opportunity for free web time is a bonus especially to businesses that are starting up. Paid blog pages can generate more income for your seriously growing business.
4. Blogging builds credibility. As you get more and more into writing your experiences on a product or industry, your readers come to realize that they can depend on your posts for their own information needs. As such, you become an expert on it; therefore, more readers visit your site and more bloggers link to your blogs. As companies and professional organizations notice the growth of your readership base, they may soon get in touch with you for advertising on your blog page, or make you an affiliate, which pays for every referral generated from your blog site.
5. Blogging builds your market. Unless you are a Hollywood star, chances are, only your Mom reads your posts. Mom has a lot of friends, so she lets her friends know how interesting your blog site is. But you need not depend on Mom to increase your readership base. Look into the following ways to build your market through blogging:
-By using your e-mail. Today, blogging is overcoming the e-mails popularity in quickly and effectively reaching and expanding a market. In this age of speed and quick access, logging in and downloading e-mail is simply taking longer than clicking into a blog site. Let them explore your site by using a short e-mail message as teaser to your blog site. If your e-mail is on an entirely different subject, use your e-mail signature to give a link to the site.
-By using subscription. An easy way to get your readers e-mail is to give them an opportunity to subscribe to your blog-site. Keep some exclusive information for your subscribers to entice readers to subscribe and give their e-mail address. Just be responsible in using their e-mail address, as the last thing you want is a comment on your blog that you are a spammer.
-By understanding your readers. Conduct a simple survey for your readers to understand their profile and advertising preferences. Ask consumers to give you feedback on a post, an ad link, or a trial that you shared. In this way, it is like interviewing your readers without the commitment and intrusion of a face-to-face interview.
-By joining a blog network – A network of blogs maybe a collection of blog sites that share the same industry, interest, readership base, payment mode, etc. Consumers find credibility and convenience in clicking one link to several real bloggers about a single subject. Clearly, more bloggers are better than one.
-By using RSS. RSS is the fastest growing technology on the Internet today. As such, having RSS feeds to your blog is another means of generating awareness for your readership base. Having a variety of feeds can add interest to your blog site.
Give your business a boost by effectively using blogging as an Internet marketing tool.
And the first place I wanted to start is with how to figure out exactly what the value is of one of your blog posts. And it’s not just knowing what you can charge, but knowing why you can charge it. Because once you know the actual value of your product (which is what your Sponsored posts are), then it makes it so much easier to sell when a brand comes knocking as well.
Now there are three factors that need to be considered when pricing anything you do.
1 – How much time and skill is creating this going to take (that is, how many hours do you need to actually create the post)?
2 – How much coverage and value is the brand going to receive from having this on your blog (this is all down to your number of visitors, how much interaction you get etc).
3 – What is the market willing to pay? Sadly, advertising is still a free market, and so you do still have to take what buyers expect to pay into consideration as well (but just because a brand only wants to pay you $100 doesn’t mean you should take it!).
How you actually calculate your Sponsored post rate should be roughly as follow:
Number of hours spent creating/writing the post x Your post creation hourly rate (aka $50) + Number of specialist hours spent aka styling and photography x Your specialist hourly rate (aka $100)
= This equals the bare minimum you should be charging.
ie: 2 x $50 + 1 x $100 = $200 (minimum Sponsored post cost)
As a minimum I would say you should charge at least $50 per hour for post creation, $100 per hour for photography, and $150+ per hour if you are a real expert in your field.
Next we figure out how much your sponsored posts are actually worth as far as the coverage they provide to the brands you work with.
And you calculate that as follows;
Minimum Sponsored post cost (as above) + (Average number of comments per post x $5) + (Average number of views per post x $1.50) + (Average number of Social Media shares per post x $5)
= Total value of your sponsored posts.
ie $200 + (20 x $5) + (500 x $1.50) + (10 x $5) = $1100 per Sponsored post
So below, I’m going to outline exactly what you need to do to get started and set up your own personal blog. Before we dive in though, I really want to talk about WHY you should build a blog.
Note: If you already have a solid idea of the whys, then skip this and go right ahead with the guide.
Blogging has quickly become one of the most popular ways of communicating and spreading information and news. There are literally millions of blogs online (don’t worry, you can make yours stand out and get noticed!).
It’s a great way to express yourself and also a fantastic way to share information with others.
You become a better person and a better writer.
The best reason? You can make money doing it!
I bet you already knew all of that, but it’s nice to be reminded.
One very last thing before we get started:
The Steps Covered In This Blogging Guide
It’s nowhere near as difficult as setting up a website from scratch (there’s very little technical ability needed here). In fact, there’s no coding required by you. Good news, huh?
How to Start a Blog in 5 Steps:
There’s five main steps you need to do in order to start a blog. If you follow this guide exactly, you’ll have your own blog set up in 30 minutes or less.
Choose your preferred blog platform
Choose web hosting for your blog
Setting up a blog on your own domain
Design your blog
Useful resources for blogging
So, we made it. Phew. Better late than never! So, without further ado, let’s jump into step 1.
Step 1 – Choose your preferred blogging platform
Choosing where you want to build blog is pretty much the first thing you have to do. I’m going to take a leap and assume you’ve heard of WordPress, and this is the platform I advocate. It’s massive.
It’s by far one of the biggest blogging platforms in the world, with countless plugins and add-ons and almost infinite ways to design and layout your blog.
There are more than 82 million active users of WordPress = a lot, basically.
There are other alternatives however, and they are listed below:
Blogger – Definitely the next best thing to WordPress.
Tumblr – Half social network, half blog. Interesting, and very simple to use.
Even though WordPress is bigger (and probably better) than those two, here are my reasons why you should still go with WordPress:
Super easy set-up and is free to use
Tons of free themes and layouts (I’m not kidding, there’s gazillions).
There’s a massive support forum in case you get stuck (you won’t, but it’s nice to have it there if you need it).
Your blog will be insanely fast and it’ll also look Functionality and form – perfect!
People can interact with you easily. Your content can be shared, commented on, and so on.
Here’s an article about different blogging platforms (including WordPress), give it a read:
How to Choose a Blogging Platform – (updated for 2017)
Now, Step 2 (see, we’re moving fast now!)
Step 2 – Self-hosting or a free alternative?
Whoa, slow down there! This is the biggest decision you’ll have to make before we go any further. You need to decide whether to pay for your blog or grab a free one.
WordPress, Tumblr and Blogger all offer free blogs for anyone. Awesome, right? It’s perfect for those of us who aren’t super serious about blogging. But it does have downsides:
1) You won’t be able to get your OWN domain name
On a free blog, your blog’s web address (your URL) will be butt-ugly. Like, really ugly. In short, create a free blog with any other the above free blog services and it’ll look like this:
I know, ugly right?
2) Limits and more limits
There are some limits to free blogs. You can’t fully monetize it, and you don’t have the possibility to upload all those videos and images you want to show everyone – it’s all limited. Worse still, you won’t even have access to the free themes offered by WordPress.
3) You DON’T OWN your blog
It might sound silly at first, but you don’t actually own your blog. It’s hosted on someone else’s web property and they can delete it if they want so. They have done so in the past, and keep doing it in the future. Which means all your hard work on your blog, all those countless hours of writing blog posts might be vanished within seconds. Sad…
On the other hand, with a self-hosted blog on your own domain name – you are the REAL owner of your blog. You’ll be able to name your blog whatever you want, for example “YourName.com” or “YourAwesomeBlog.com. You can end it with .com, .co.uk, .net, .org, or virtually any other web suffix. Add to that unlimited bandwidth for videos, images and content plus the free themes and you have a winning combo.
So how much is hosting and a domain name? Not as much as you’re thinking, fortunately. It usually works out to about $5 to $10 per month, depending on your hosting provider which is less than a couple of coffees.
If you still have questions, here’s some further information for you to look at:
Should I Choose a Hosted or Non-hosted Blogging Platform?
Step 3 – Start a blog on your own domain (if you chose self-hosting and a custom domain)
I’m going to push ahead based on the premise you’ve chosen WordPress, and if you haven’t, you should. Seriously, it’s the best.
If you’re still a little confused by what a self-hosted blog is, allow me to explain and how you can go about setting one up for yourself.
You’ll need to come up with a domain name you like and also choose a hosting company that can host your blog.
Domain: The domain is basically the URL of your website. Examples: google.com (Google.com is the domain), Facebook.com (Facebook.com is the domain). See? Simple!
Hosting: Hosting is basically the company that puts your website up on the internet so everyone else can see it. Everything will be saved on there. Think of it as a computer hard-drive on the internet where your blog will be saved.
Personally, I use iPage (for my blog domain and hosting), and I’ve got nothing but good things to say about it. It’s probably one of the cheapest (less than $2.50 per month) hosting providers out there. A domain name will cost around $10-15 a year, but with iPage they throw that in for free :). Big smiles for that! They’re the providers I use for all of my blogs, including the one you’re reading right now.
If for any reason you don’t want to go with iPage, feel free to choose your own hosting company. Most, if not all of them, should have a “one-click” WordPress install solution on their admin panel.
That button will automatically install WordPress on your blog. Did I say it was simple or what?
All you need to do is sign up with iPage (or your chosen provider), choose your hosting plan and a domain name and look for the one-click WordPress install button on the admin panel.
WordPress essentials aren’t often needed, but I’d recommend whois privacy (that will keep all your personal details private) and definitely automated backups (this’ll save your website just in case anything fails or disappears, so you won’t lose any or very little of your blog).
At the start, the layout looks confusing, but it gets very understandable quickly. Don’t worry!
Step 4 – Designing your WordPress blog
Now, the fun bit.
Let’s make your blog look exactly how you want it to. To choose a new theme, you can either head to Appearance > Themes and install a free WordPress theme or you can head to a premium theme website like ThemeForest.net and buy a theme for around $40.
I usually choose something that looks professional and pretty easy to customise. WordPress also has this awesome feature that allows you to change themes with just a few clicks. So if you start getting tired of your current blog template, you can just switch to another one without losing any precious content or images.
Step 5 – Useful Resources For Beginner Bloggers
Bloggers come to blogging arena with varying degrees of online and social media experience, but we’ve all made more than a few newbie mistakes – there’s always room for more learning and improvement, whether you’re a beginner or you’ve been blogging for years.
These articles may help you avoid some of the growing pains when it comes to your first blog – enjoy!:
If you’re considering blogging but don’t want to deal with hosting, design issues and building a new audience, Medium is here to help with your content marketing efforts. Medium is a sleek, beautiful social blog-publishing platform that allows users to start blogging right after registering. A lot of companies that were slow to add a blog to their websites found Medium an easy way to begin.
Medium was launched in August 2012 by Twitter co-founders Evan Williams (who also co-founded Blogger) and Biz Stone. The interface boasts a full WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) in all its glory. After posting an entry, the service encourages sharing content to Twitter and Facebook.
Since you can only sign up for Medium using Facebook or Twitter credentials, your followers on those platforms are automatically notified of your Medium. Every new blog on Medium comes with a nice “built-in” audience of your own.
Medium also borrows some great features from Reddit and Tumblr in that posts can be “upvoted” by “recommendations” (similar to Facebook’s likes) and tagged to show under specific categories. When a reader highlights a portion of the article, they can leave a comment right next to it (it won’t interfere with your writing but will help to have truly relevant conversations) or tweet that text snippet out (kind of like “Click to Tweet” button).
Medium’s minimal design and capabilities force writers to focus on quality content without hiding behind calls to actions, fancy videos and color choices. Readers appreciate that the experience is easy on their eyes.
Medium is a good and growing platform. The audience is more focused and appreciative, kind of like Reddit of the past when the Reddit community was not keen of self-promotional posts. You can have occasional promotional posts. Medium allows you to import stories from other places on the Web (but please share your own content), so it might help you to give your main blog’s content a boost. Yet, if this is all you’re publishing, don’t waste your time on Medium.
She’s targeting beauty bloggers specifically, according to Lifetime’s casting site: “Four lucky bloggers will go head-to-head on each week’s episode of Glam Masters. Only a few will make it to semi-finals and eventually finals, where one will become the Glam Master. The next big name in the beauty world could be YOU.” It sounds a bit like Chopped, which means we’re into it, obviously.
The application asks questions about the applicant’s makeup history (“have you done makeup for events?” etc.), makeup philosophy, social media following, and personality (“how do you respond to competition?” is one of the questions because what’s a show without drama?). The prize seems to be a position as beauty director for the Kardashians’ apps, according to the physical application. Apply here if you want in.
It teased: “Executive producer Kim Kardashian West, the most influential style icon on the planet, is searching for America’s next superstar beauty blogger!”
The advert said the “cutting edge” competition would be produced by the team behind The Real Housewives of New York and the program was looking for beauty bloggers with thousands of fans who would go head to head for the dream job.
Glam Masters will pit four beauty bloggers against one another each week, gradually eliminating contestants until there is only one Glam Master who wins the show.
Search engine optimization can be overwhelming to many small businesses and startups. This aspect of online marketing can be even more intimidating if you have a small marketing budget and can’t throw money at your marketing strategy like your largest competitors can.
Fear not! I am here today to let you know that you can build a robust SEO strategy even if you work on a shoestring budget.
However, while you can grow your business on a budget SEO plan, I don’t want to give you the illusion that you can compete with the mega-corporations in your market right away. This is because many corporate competitors have spent millions of dollars and have decades of content on their side.
Those companies have a substantial head start that will dilute your SEO strategy if not done the right way. However, there are proven methods that your business can use to build a powerful online presence without needing to break the bank!
Small Budget SEO for Big ROI
Since you want to create an SEO strategy on a shoestring budget, you will need to use your time and resources efficiently. Instead of relying on a monthly budget of thousands of dollars, you will need to use your creativity and hyper-focus your efforts on an SEO strategy that will yield the greatest results.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the details and complexities of a large SEO strategy. Blogging, branding, backlinking, local SEO, etc. are all important aspects of a business plan, but they also take a lot of knowledge and experience to run efficiently.
Instead of getting lost in the forest of information, let’s focus on specific actions you can take to grow your online presence with a small SEO budget.
These tips will work for any business in any industry.
However, they will look different depending on your audience, goals, and the resources at your disposal. With that said, let’s take a look at how you can build a robust SEO strategy without investing a lot of money!
1. Focus on Long-tail Keywords
Your customers want answers to their questions, and they want to find the best deal without wasting time. This is why your business needs to focus on user intent when building your SEO strategy.
One aspect of this type of strategy for a business with a limited SEO budget is to use long-tail keywords instead of general keywords.
Long-tail keywords are key phrases that are very specific to the needs of your customers. These types of phrases are longer and more accurate than their more commonly searched variations.
Unlike standard keywords, long-tail keywords offer your SEO strategy several benefits, including:
Particular user-intent focus, content production, and publication.
Lower competition compared to general keyword variations.
Due to their specificity, long-tail keywords are highly focused and relevant to online searches.
Long-tail keywords drive higher conversions because they deliver highly qualified traffic and leads through online searches.
It is far easier (and cheaper) to rank for specific keywords that are highly relevant to your audience than to rank for general terms that your large corporate competition is bidding on.
The reason that long-tail keywords work so well for budget-conscious businesses is that Google continues to advance their algorithm to favor content that is relevant to specific search queries.
Gone are the days of sprinkling generic keywords in your content and achieving great online rankings. Google’s business model depends on high-quality third-party data and relevant information for their users.
The first step of a great budget-conscious SEO strategy is to focus on the needs of your customers and produce content with long-tail keywords.
2. Publish Quality Guest Blog Posts
Guest blogging is a powerful way to strengthen your SEO strategy because it allows you to share your knowledge with a new audience and helps you generate backlinks.
There has been a lot of debate on whether guest blogging is still valuable. As long as you don’t spam garbage content on sites with low authority, then there is no reason to think that guest blogging is not a valuable SEO strategy for a business with a limited budget.
Guest blogging is an inexpensive method to build backlinks, establish great relationships, and share your knowledge with a new audience. While guest blogging is a proven strategy to build your online ranking on a budget, it will require a significant amount of time to perform necessary tasks, including:
Research your industry to find relevant sites that accept guest blog posts.
Produce amazing content tailored to the readers of that website.
Reach out to blog editors to build rapport and publish your excellent content.
Follow up and continue your relationship — most websites don’t let you do one-off blog posts.
You should approach guest blogging with the objective to provide value to your readers. When done correctly, your online ranking will increase because search engines will show that your business is an authority in your industry.
3. Local Optimization
So you want to rank nationally on the cheap, huh? Well, let me be the first to tell you that it takes a lot of time, money, and energy to rank nationally for competitive keywords.
Companies have been working for years and spent millions of dollars to achieve a high ranking for keywords. You won’t be able to reach high rankings for general, highly competitive keywords if you don’t have a lot of money to invest.
Instead of looking for widespread attention, you would be better off to focus your limited budget in your local or regional market. Dominating your domestic market will provide the highest ROI and quickest growth opportunity compared to spreading your attention across a larger geographic area.
Local SEO is the answer for your business if you are trying to build a strong online presence on a relatively small SEO budget. Here are three local SEO strategies you can use to dominate your local market and skyrocket your online rankings.
Set up Google My Business and Local SEO Accounts
If you don’t have a Google My Business account yet, stop what you are doing (after you read this article) and go set one up. Google My Business is the directory that Google uses to show local businesses based on the search done by an online user. Along with getting in front of your audience, Google My Business will also boost your local SEO efforts by:
Displaying your business on Google search results, Google Maps, and Google Plus.
Setting up multiple locations. If your business has different locations in a region then you can differentiate between the locations.
Upload videos and pictures. These are crucial if you want to overcome early objections and have a high-quality first impression.
Highlight reviews from past customers. This is a great way to drive sales with social proof.
Google My Business can help you build a loyal fan base and provides quick info about your business like directions, phone number, and hours of operation.
Those are just a few of the benefits your business will see with Google My Business. If nothing else, your business will drive conversions with a local SEO strategy with this great (and free) optimization tool.
Once you set up and optimize your Google My Business account, you will have premium exposure in Google search results, and this exposure provides your audience direct access to your business.
Even if your business does not have a brick-and-mortar store, you should still set up this service to gain all the benefits and qualified traffic.
To take your local SEO strategy one step further, you should also consider creating a business account with various local business directories. Some of the local directories I have seen great results from include:
Google My Business will position your company high in search results and local directories usually provide a no-follow backlink that can help your online ranking.
Generate Local Reviews
Customer reviews are the backbone of your local SEO strategy. Not only are these reviews essential for a low-budget SEO strategy, but they are also an easy way to improve your online presence.
Local reviews serve as a form of social proof, and they are quickly becoming the digital version of word-of-mouth marketing. Testimonials also help remove the nervousness of your potential customers from purchasing from you, especially if you offer a relatively unknown product or service because they:
Show that your business is trustworthy and community members use and love your services.
Help you build a positive reputation. This will help you build authority, especially if you are new to the market.
Increase exposure in online searches. Google Local uses reviews to understand your business and displays the reviews in local search results.
If you are operating on a limited SEO budget, then you should focus your marketing efforts and resources on your local community. You can run a simple campaign by asking your customers to provide a review on the spot, include an invitation on your receipts, and run marketing campaigns to get people to give testimonials on your website or online listings.
Get Involved With Local Networking & Meetups
Since a local SEO strategy is the best use of funds for a budget-conscious business (see above points), you should continue to build your authority in your local market by networking. If you are a new business, then you need to increase brand awareness, and you can accomplish this with local networking and building connections.
While this strategy takes a significant amount of time, you can also host a meetup or present at local events to reach new customers or build new partnerships in the community. Forming partnerships with other local businesses can help you generate great content and build a great backlink profile.
These elements will help your SEO strategy for almost no monetary investment. For example, if you are a wedding photographer, you can partner with a local wedding decor store to create a content series to talk about wedding-related issues.
This partnership means that your business gains access to the audience of other companies and this helps generate valuable content for your audience. You can also use these connections to form partnerships to improve your content marketing strategy, and help you build online connections to improve your backlink profile (see previous points).
Ballin’ on a Budget-friendly SEO Strategy
The great thing about SEO is that the best practices are constantly changing. This means you can build a robust SEO strategy even if you lack the big marketing budget of your competition. The only caveat is that you will need to invest time and creativity to improve how you rank online.
Just remember to focus your limited time, money, and resources on highly-focused content through long-tail keywords, optimize your business for local SEO, and publish excellent content through guest blogging to hit your business!
Thursday night, members of Amazon’s associates program got some urgent and unexpected news. Rumors had been swirling for weeks, but a late-afternoon email made it official: on March 1st, the affiliate rates would be changing, shaking up one of the web’s longest-running ways to make a quick buck.
“These changes simplify the fee structure,” the message read, explaining the new rate structure. “We want to reward associates that can refer sales across those categories.”
For Tracy E. Robey, who runs the beauty blog Fanserviced-b, the impact was more stark: a pay cut. With the affiliate cut for a typical purchase dropping from 8 to 6 percent, she anticipates that her checks from Amazon will go down by as much as 20 percent. For Robey, her blog is still more of a sideline than a job, but as she looks to expand her growing business, she says that drop could have real consequences.
“[Amazon‘s affiliate program] has been a really good thing for a long time for lots of people,” Robey says. “I don’t think it’s really hit yet what this means.”
Small-scale bloggers like Robey won’t be the only ones hit by the rate changes. Publications like The Wirecutter have built thriving businesses entirely on affiliate payments, which are made by vendors like Amazon whenever a referred customer buys a product. Though a number of companies offer similar programs, Amazon’s affiliate system is the most lucrative, and auto-tagged product links have become a significant part of many online businesses’ revenue. (That includes The Verge, which auto-generates affiliate links in some cases.) Though the relationship can be lucrative, it’s also entirely subject to Amazon’s discretion — and as Robey and others are learning, it can often change with little to no warning.
It’s hard to predict exactly what Amazon’s new rates will mean for those participating in the program, but there’s plenty of reason to be nervous. The most immediate change will be the end of Amazon’s “variable standard program fee” rates, which gave sites a higher cut as they drove more business to Amazon. The scale ranged from 4 to 8.5 percent, depending on how many products visitors bought in a given month. Robey says she never had trouble selling enough products to earn an 8 percent rate.
As of March 1st, that standard will be replaced with a new category-by-category system. That means affiliates selling products in certain favored categories will get higher rates, including “digital video games” and “luxury beauty,” while most products see a steep drop-off. Amazon says the changes were made to simplify the system and that most associates will come out ahead, although it’s unclear how to square those predictions with the falling rates.
Amazon has already made similar adjustments in many overseas markets. In 2015, the company moved its European affiliate program to a category-based structure, and according to the affiliate management firm GeniusLink, the result was more of a subtle chill than a freeze-out. “There’s definitely some pain as a result of it,” says GeniusLink CEO Jesse Lakes, “but we haven’t had a single client who stopped doing business because of the new payout structure.”
Amazon has long offered short-term bounties and bonuses around specific products, but the new system gives the company more power than ever to promote certain brands and categories. Affiliates hawking Amazon’s own products, like Prime Video, Prime Music, and Kindle Unlimited, will receive significantly higher rates than physical versions of the same media from traditional publishers.
Robey is particularly rankled by the distinction between “beauty” and “luxury beauty” — a difference between a 6 and 10 percent commission under the new system. Almost none of the products she covers are grouped in Amazon’s luxury beauty category, although she considers many of them luxury goods. The result is a major incentive to write about brands in the favored category, although Robey says she won’t change the products she writes about.
Still, as Amazon shifts its attention to new ventures in streaming and personal assistant hardware, many see it as an ominous sign for the affiliate program. “Amazon has done such a great job taking all their profit and dumping it back in to their business. And investors are now asking Amazon to show a profit,” says Lakes. “I’m not surprised that they’re whittling a few percent here and there.”
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process by which Google or any other search engine ranks your website or webpage for more visibility to the user. An effective SEO strategy essentially means that when a user “searches” for things related to your business, your webpage or product offering springs up on the first one or two pages of search engine ranks. A science and an art, digital marketers believe SEO to be the success mantra especially for online businesses such as e-commerce. However, few seem to get it right, especially so since the algorithms by which your webpage is ranked are dynamic and ever changing.
Here are some of the common SEO misconceptions that digital companies fall for, and end up ruling out SEO as an effective element of marketing strategy.
One can get by with mediocre content: This is one of the most popular beliefs—that the quality of content does not matter as much as the clicks. Many believe that website content should be built to attract customers/clicks alone. But this belies the importance of building SEO-friendly content, or content that adds value beyond just a click-through. As a result, they may shy away from availing professional SEO services and end up ignoring the building of SEO skills and creating quality content that invites repeat visitors and results in conversions.
Black SEO tactics are okay: Many businesses turn to unscrupulous means to get their links to be noticed in search engines. Measures such as link networks to undesirable sites, or paid links are easy tactics that may even throw up better SEO results in the short term. However, Google comes with its own ‘intelligence’, and has its means to block such unscrupulous content. Turning to spam to make SEO work is definitely ineffective in the long run.
You need to be a 100% white-SEO geek: Most white-hat SEO people stick to a rigid view that white hatting (following the search engine’s policies) is the best and only way to get SEO scores. Most of these view questionable inter-linkages (keyword stuffing, page swapping and more) as a big no-no and steer clear of any such clever tactics. Yet, they must understand that certain content sectors have found success thanks to a fair degree of grey SEO instrumentation (methods such as click bait that work in areas ill-defined by policy). The idea is to understand the element of “greyness” and balance out the risk, so as to make the most of grey and white SEO strategy.
Ignoring brand building: SEO in itself may not leave as strong an impact, as when created with a solid brand-building strategy. At the end of the day, it is direct searches that increase the probability of a customer purchase. Searching for “online fashion” is quite ineffective, as compared to searches for “Amazon”. Many deem this not to be a true SEO strategy, and rightly so. But SEO and brand building go very much hand-in-hand as both are directed towards the same outcome—customer leads.
These are some of the core misconceptions that prevent brands from embracing SEO to increase sales leads. In fact, companies must look at SEO as fruitful opportunity, banking upon its wonderful ability to create a “pull” for the target audience. SEO actions such as adequate keyword usage, linkage to high-authority sites, reacting to sentiment analytics etc., go a long way in creating a visible and engaging online presence for your business.
Imagine lying on a beach, sunlight hitting your face and sand between your toes. You grab your phone and check your bank balance to find that it’s increased $500 since sunrise. This may seem like a fantasy, but for some savvy entrepreneurs, it’s the reality of their passive income streams.
To be sure, it’s not all sunbathing and dollar signs. “Passive income” simply refers to money that you earn on a regular basis with minimum effort to keep it trickling in, a state of affairs that isn’t always easy to bring about. Plus, the extra money you earn passively is usually supplemental—it’s rarely enough to live on full-time. But it can still prove a crucial tipping point. For hobbyists looking to take their passions to the next level, it can generate enough capital to launch a new business, laying the foundation for eventually ditching a day job.
1. MAKE SOME MERCH
There are a number of third-party services to help entrepreneurs and hobbyists alike sell physical products, while outsourcing the logistics of fulfillment and shipping to a platform, which then takes a cut.
Daniel Caudill, founder of Merch Strategies, jumped head-first into the world of merchandising after taking a health-related leave of absence from his job. He says he now generates around $14,000 in passive income per month.
“How I’ve been able to do this is through e-commerce sales with Merch by Amazon and RedBubble, which are third-party suppliers that handle fulfillment,” says Caudill. “One fantastic thing about building passive income is that every action you take in the process can result in massively inflated returns over an extended period of time.”
You just need some patience, he suggests, but you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. The fulfillment sites Caudill has relied on make it easy to get started. You just set up an account, upload your designs, and can create your own digital storefront in less than a few hours.
Over the years, I’d toyed with this idea but couldn’t justify buying large batches of products, storing them, and then shipping them. After weeks of research, I came across a site called Printful that not only prints high-quality designs but also automates the fulfillment process through an API integration. By using an automated distributor, I can sit back, relax, and let them handle the fulfillment logistics.
2. SELL SOMETHING DIGITAL
You don’t need to make physical goods, though. Sharon Tseung, founder of Digital Nomad Quest, started built a passive income stream to support her travels. “I love doing graphic design work on the side. After discovering that Etsy allows you to list digital products, I created editable Photoshop templates, such as media kits, greeting cards, and resumes, and published them on the platform.”
The design work took some time at the beginning, but now Tseung can more or less sit back. “Other than some maintenance and customer support, this income stream has been quite passive and can be managed anywhere with Wi-Fi,” she says. That means she can maintain her digital Etsy shop while she’s on the road.
“When it comes to passive income,” Tseung adds, “my advice is to always remind yourself of the long-term benefits. There may be substantial upfront work, but the time and freedom you can obtain makes it all worth it.”
If web development is your forte (as it is for many digital nomads like Tseung), you can consider building a software product that brings you a recurring monthly revenue. Dustin Nay, a website consultant, did just that and now generates thousands each month wit his automated web management and support tools.
Building a software product may sound like a daunting feat that only full-time startup founders would want to tackle. But Nay points out that those with day jobs can chip away at even the biggest projects incrementally—the key is just to keep the momentum going. “Start taking action right now, and don’t stop. You’d be surprised how much money you can earn without having all of your proverbial ducks in a row.”
3. GET WRITING
If you’re willing to dedicate time to daily writing, setting up a niche blog or website can be a great place to start earning passive funds with minimal overhead costs. If you can establish an audience for your content, you can begin selling products, finding affiliates, and hosting ads on your site, all of which can bring in some steady passive revenue.
Monetizing a content site isn’t easy even if you have a sizable reader base, but Travis Ketchum, founder of Contest Domination, recommends starting an email list so you can provide value and build relationships with cold prospects automatically. He suggests linking to helpful tools and services that pay a commission related to your niche.
Jared Romey, writer and founder of Speaking Latino, estimates that he now pulls in around $3,000 to $5,000 monthly through his series of ebooks. “I’ve been selling 12 books that I’ve written and published, as well as a website selling materials and resources to Spanish teachers,” says Romey. “The royalties were great, and eventually the books became my start to blogging online, which helped expand my online revenue stream even more.”
There are a number of platforms for self-publishing ebooks, from Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing and CreateSpace to independent options like Lulu and Smashwords. As Romey puts it, “Just get started, make mistakes, adjust, make more mistakes and keep moving forward.”
4. GRAB A MIC AND START PODCASTING
Some entrepreneurs are finding success producing podcasts and leveraging advertisements from sponsors. Bilal Zaidi, founder and host of Creator Lab, produces weekly podcasts where he interviews entrepreneurs, designers, educators, and artists.
Like Romey and Nay, he also emphasizes the importance of just diving in and learning to swim once you’re already in the water. “Get your idea out of your head, and start to commit to your revenue stream by forcing yourself to tell others about what you’re doing,” Zaidi says. “You don’t have to know every detail before starting.” Podcasting is about conversations, and conversations evolve as they unfold—you’ll get the hang of it once you get started, he suggests.