Website auditing isn’t sexy or fun but it is enlightening and can help you bring in more revenue by streamlining where you can, automating when you can’t, and pivoting to what is working while cutting out what isn’t.
Whether you’re a lawyer or a massage therapist keeping your message positive and on track is imperative.
Whether you’re a writer or a baker your website provides you with the insight and clues you need to reach more customers, therefore, making more money.
Before you even begin though you need to identify your goals.
I don’t mean like “I want to make more money or I want more followers.” That just doesn’t get it.
You need to create concrete goals that can be measured. For example, I have a goal to reach 10K followers on Twitter.
Two months I was at 4600 when I started. By putting in some effort I’ve already grown to 7600. That’s easily measured and concrete.
I also want more pageviews on TDAC & TT. That requires creating more content, staying on a consistent schedule (which is where I struggle), and promoting that content.
If you’re a writer, looking at what you’re audience is drawn to and what they aren’t can mean the difference between a successful book launch and a flop.
By looking at the past stats you can make a plan for the future. Which topics do better? What which ones could use some help?
In the last post, I talked about writing down your top 10 blog posts and 10 of the most unpopular posts.
- Do they have a theme?
- A category?
- Can you identify what worked and what is ignored?
- Is there a problem you can solve?
- This helps me create more content that people really want to read.
Maybe 6 of your top posts were about baking and the other four were candy it would stand to reason that people really like your desserts and maybe you should concentrate more in that direction.
In the same token, if 6 of your least ranking posts were about grilling and the other four are about tailgating recipes you might want to change the way you create new content by pivoting to more outside cooking and less on indoor dining and luscious desserts!
If you really want to address this, find a way to update and refresh these least favorite posts you could pivot this to holiday parties, family reunion recipes, etc.
You just have to be flexible and ready to pivot towards what you’re audience is really wanting. It’s okay to decide some content no longer follows along those lines.
It’s most important to stay on your brand’s main message.
Think about this…
Most of you know I have another blog The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver and this site.
I started posting stuff about caregivers on TT nobody would be interested because that’s not our message.
In the same token, if I started giving tech tips on TDAC it probably wouldn’t get a lot of traction.
As writers, we’re often tempted to write what WE want, but you have to remember you’re providing a service even if it’s only a blog post.
To be successful you need to write what THEY want. This is why we have sayings like this; “Give them what they want”.
Maya Angelou said, “People won’t remember what you say and do. They remember how you make them feel.”
If you solve a problem for someone you’re probably going to make them FEEL good.
They will more than likely come back again and again and eventually become customers, readers or clients.
It’s all about building that relationship with your readers.
Even if that problem is just needing a place to escape for a moment into your blog post, video, webinar, podcasts.
Whatever you’re creating.
Places To Explore
- Top Posts
- Least favorite posts
- Contact form submissions
- Analytics (Demographics and even your bounce rate).
- Create a survey.
- Your email service provider (which emails pique people’s interests and which ones are getting clicks or ignored altogether).
- A/B Testing
As you can see this can be a very important step in your business’ growth and therefore attaining those goals that you identified in the beginning.
It will be like following a road map once you get the available information all in one place!
As a website owner, it is imperative that we keep our websites running safely and efficiently as well as provide a good user experience. This is no easy task, but today I’m going to walk you through the steps to make sure that you’re doing what you need to do without making you crazy!
MAKE A BACKUP BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING
Before making any changes you should always make a backup of your site. While you’re at it this is a great time to check how things are set up and that they are running correctly. Answer questions about where your backups are delivered to.
I use Dropbox for this, but you can have them sent to any number of places. Google Drive, One Drive, AWS, Delivered to your email, etc.
Also, you want to see how many copies are being stored. If you don’t have a limit set you could be filling up your storage which in the end costs more money. I keep two copies at all times and then set it to delete any others.
THEN FOLLOW THESE DIRECTIONS TO CLEAN UP YOUR SITE
- UPDATE ALL PLUGINS & THEMES
- DELETE ANY INACTIVE OR UNNEEDED PLUGINS
- DELETE YOUR CACHE OR OPTIMIZE YOUR DATABASE. I use OPTIMIZE DATABASE BY DELETING REVISION PLUGIN or a caching plugin that is compatible with your theme.
- RUN A TEST FOR GT METRIX. This will give you a report of how your site is running. Check the speed and the overall grade.
THIS IS A GREAT TIME TO FRESHEN YOUR SITE UP & TAKE AN AUDIT
- DO YOUR OPT-IN BUTTONS WORK?
- DO YOUR SOCIAL FOLLOW BUTTONS WORK?
- ARE THERE ANY WIDGET AREAS THAT NEED TO BE REFRESHED?
- DO YOU WANT TO MAKE CHANGES TO YOUR WEBSITE?
NOW IT’S TIME TO AUDIT YOUR CONTENT
Go to your stats. Whether you use JetPacks or Google analytics either one will work.
- Find the top 10 posts of 2021 and make a list.
- Find the least read posts of 2021 and make a list.
- Go through these posts and refresh what you can. Add new images, change some wording.
- Find ways to improve your SEO. I’ve got a great SEO planner and it’s totally FREE!
- Go over your most popular posts and come up with content for 2022. How can you turn last year’s content into this year’s greatest blog posts?
IF YOU WANT TO DELETE BLOG POSTS IN BULK FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS
On WordPress, you can delete any old posts simultaneously.
- Go to WordPress and log in to your account.
- Click “Posts,” then click “Edit.”
- Click the category containing the posts you want to delete, then check the posts you want to delete.
- Click the “Bulk Actions” drop-down menu and click “Delete.”
Are you ready for big things in 2022? If you’ve been wanting to up your email marketing game with MailChimp you’re in luck!
Stay tuned for next week’s big announcement and an opportunity to build your email marketing strategy from beginning to end together!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Here’s something many business owners are not aware of: their website is more than just their online identity. While also considered by many as a virtual representation of their physical store or office, it is so much more. Apart from being your online business card, your website is also a powerful selling tool.
Here’s another fact many might find surprising: your website’s design has a massive impact on your online sales. For starters, your website’s architecture can impact consumer trust and the length of time they remain on your site. Both factors can translate to revenue (or loss) depending on how they are handled.
While it’s important to know the right website trends to incorporate in your design, knowing how your web design affects your online sales is just as crucial.
Let’s start by looking at some interesting facts that highlight the impact of web design on your online sales:
● A staggering 75% of visitors will base the credibility of your website on your design. When visitors don’t find your site trustworthy, they will stay away from your site and look for information elsewhere. Understandably, this can result in a loss of sales for your business.
● An enhanced design can improve your site’s credibility. A polished, clean, and modern website can make it very convenient for your visitors to browse or shop on your site. When it’s easy to transact on your site, they are more likely to patronize what you have to offer.
● A great web design can increase customer loyalty. A whopping 89% of people turn to a competitor after a bad customer experience. If you want to generate more sales and improve customer loyalty, your web design is one of the things you should look into.
Web Design Elements That Can Help Boost Your Online Sales
Now that you know how your web design affects your online sales, here are some web design elements that can help you generate more revenue:
Integrate responsive design.
Once you know the impact of web design on your online sales, it’s easier for you to understand the impact of having a functional site. One of the first things you need to integrate to increase sales is a responsive design. A responsive design can help ensure your website can be accessed by anyone regardless of the device they use.
Make your call to action (CTA) page stand out.
Creating a superb CTA page is another effective way you can boost your online sales. When visitors want to purchase the products or services you offer, they look to your CTA for guidance. If your CTA page won’t be able to successfully guide your visitors on how to proceed, you can lose substantial revenue in the process.
Use high-quality visuals.
To help increase sales, use only high-quality visuals on your site. Avoid using graphics or stock photos as they can seem impersonal. It is also likely that your visitors will see them on other sites. Also, adding top-quality visuals can make your site stand out and make your products and services more enticing to your target audience.
Ensure you have organized navigation.
Another important web design aspect you should look into is your navigation. Ideally, you need to have organized and easy-to-use navigation. It is easier for you to sell your products and services to your visitors with organized navigation. You need to also ensure your site has all the relevant information your prospects will look for.
Use white space accordingly.
Many brands make the mistake of filling every inch of their website with visuals or information. However, overloading your website can be counterproductive as it can overwhelm and distract your visitors. This might not be common knowledge, but white space is key to good design so use it to your advantage.
Speed up your site.
If your site does not load fast, your visitors can leave without even checking the products or services you are offering. To determine your site’s current load time, you can use Google
PageSpeed Insights. If you don’t have the time to implement changes that can improve your page speed, investing in the help of experts would be a good idea.
Various factors can impact your online sales, and web design is one of them. If you are not where you want to be in terms of online sales, it is recommended that you carry out a website audit. If you need any help improving any aspects of your website, don’t hesitate to invest in the help of experts. If anything, it is an investment that will yield lucrative returns in the long run.
About The Author, Shawn Byrne is the founder and CEO of My Biz Niche, Arizona-based digital marketing, and web design company that has achieved superior results for its clients. Before My Biz Niche, Shawn worked for Venture Capitalists where he built a private portfolio of e-commerce and informational websites that generate revenue through various digital marketing strategies.
Website Security Is Fluid
It’s definitely not just installing a plugin and then forgetting about it. It’s a constant battle to outwit those who would like to gain access to vulnerable information. There are different areas of your site that can be vulnerable if not secured.
Today, we’re going talk about those different areas and why and how you need to keep them locked uptight.
Insecure Webhosting –
WordPress sites are hosted on a web server. Some hosts do no properly secure their hosting platforms. This makes all websites hosted on their server vulnerable to hacking attempts.
Using those bargain web hosting companies who don’t have the assets to protect your property can really hurt you in the long run!
Using Weak Passwords
You have different passwords for different parts of your site and all of them need to be kept secure. Below is a list of passwords that need to be checked and possibly changed.
- Your WordPress Admin
- Web Hosting Control Panel
- FTP Accounts
- MySQL Database used for your site.
- Email Accounts are used for WordPress admin or hosting accounts.
Unprotected Access To WordPress Admin (WP-ADMIN DIRECTORY)
This gives a user access to perform different actions on your site. It is the most commonly attached area of a WP site.
Incorrect File Permissions
Are a set of rules used by your web server. These rules s help your server control access to files on your site. Incorrect rules can give a hacker access to write and change those rules. Here’s a great article on WP BEGINNER on how to change these!
Not Updating WordPress
Each new version fixes bugs and security vulnerabilities. If you don’t update you leave those vulnerabilities.
Not Updating Plugins & Themes
Same as updating WordPress. Not updating plugins and themes is dangerous can leave your site weak.
Using Plain FTP Instead Of SFTP/SSH
You should always choose SFTP access instead of FTP it is much more secure.
The key difference between FTP vs SFTP is that SFTP uses a secure channel to transfer files while FTP doesn’t. With SFTP, your connection is always secured and the data that moves between your FTP client and your web server is encrypted.
Using “Admin” As A WordPress Username
Never use “ADMIN” you should always use something unique. Enough said!
Nulled Themes & Plugins
Never use plugins and themes from unreliable sources. Malicious code can be put into either that can give a hacker access.
- You Don’t Know What Else Is in the Code
- Developers Need Money To Continue Improving Their Products
- You Won’t Get Any Support From The Developer
- You Won’t Get Any Automatic Updates
Not Securing WordPress Configuration WP_Config .PHP File
Wp_config contains your database login credentials. To keep that from happening add this piece of code.
The WordPress wp-config. php file contains very sensitive information about your WordPress installation, such as the WordPress security keys and the WordPress database connection details. You certainly do not want the content of this file to fall in the wrong hands, so WordPress wp-config. Here is a great article on how to secure these important files.
Not Changing WP Table Prefix
Change the wp_ prefix. Here’s a link that will take you to a blog post that will explain how to do this if interested.
The most important part of my job is to make sure your website stays safe, secure and user friendly and I take that very personally. If you’d like to have one person to go to with all of your website issues then let’s talk! Schedule a free consultation today!
“We’ve all heard the old saying,
“Time is money“,
well, it’s true and if you have “bargain” web hosting it could be costing you a fortune!
I’m sure you’ve seen those ads on Facebook, while you’re shopping, even when you’re trying to relax with a mindless game. $2.95 hosting! Save money!
Yes, it’s true you can get hosting from some companies for “VERY LOW PRICES“, but there’s another saying that I’m reminded of.
“You get what you pay for”. Cheap isn’t always good especially when it comes to running your business or blog.
First, it’s NEVER just $2.95 a month.
Here is what you’re paying for an SSL Certificate if you have GoDaddy!
Can you say, “Ouch!”
An SSL is a necessary investment and if you can get it for free? Hello?!?
You’re Probably Asking, “Who Cares!”
This is one of the most important decisions that you will make for your business. Web Hosting is the necessary foundation and just like with everything else some foundations are stronger than others.
A 1-second delay in page load time can lead to:
- a 7% loss in conversions
- 11% fewer pageviews
- 16% decrease in customer satisfaction.
When deciding on web hosting you need to take 3 main factors into account.
As I said above even a fraction of a second adds up to $$ and as a small business owner, we need to get as much bang for our bucks as possible.
Like my husband always says, “the proof is in the pudding”.
Below are 6 of my web hosting clients who have agreed to let me share these stats with you.
As you can also see, every single one of them passed the tests with flying colors and it’s because of the foundation that the sites are hosted on.
HOW DO THEY DO THAT?
- PROVIDING A CDN
- UTILIZES FLYCACHE
- INSTANT REFRESH
EVERY PLAN COMES WITH A FREE SSL CERTIFICATE
Every plan comes with a FREE SSL which was mentioned above (definitely worth mentioning again).
EACH PLAN COMES WITH MALWARE PROTECTION & MALWARE REMOVAL IF NEEDED!
Last but certainly not last in this list of pros!
TRUE LIVE 24/7 SUPPORT
THEY DON’T “WALK YOU THROUGH” DIFFICULT SITUATIONS.
YOU ASK, THEY PERFORM…
THAT’S REALLY IT!
ONE BUTTON RESTORE
We offer three plan sizes
We Have Just What You Need...
Website Maintenance is like an insurance policy for your business. Keeping your site maintained is an important responsibility. We take care of it so you don't have to.
What it includes:
- Website backups w/ offsite storage
- WordPress Update 2 x
- Theme updates 2 x
- Plugin updates 2 x
- Database Optimization 2x
- Malware Scan 2 x
- Speed test 1 x
- Site Performance Report 1x
- "Eyes On" site checks
- Discounted hourly rate
- MailChimp support
- Google Analytics support
- 25% Discount on any services.
With Premium Website Management you get the best of both worlds plus even more. This is for the girl who has everything and no time for anything.
What it includes:
- Premium hosting
- Server-side daily backups
- Offsite backups 2x monthly
- WordPress core updates
- Free SSL certificates
- Uptime monitoring
- One-button emergency restore
- Malware protection
- Staging site for development
- Theme & plugin updates 2 x
- Spam removal 2 x
- Database optimization 2 x
- "Eyes-On" site check 2 x
- Speed check 1 x
- Access to Genesis Framework
- Access to StudioPress themes
- Website performance Report 1 x
- Integration Monitoring (MailChimp, Paypal, or Google Analytics.
- Unlimited Tech Support
By partnering with Flywheel we offer a feature-rich plan that will keep your website secure & running its best. Unlike other hosts, you don't pay extra for the necessities needed to run an online business.
What it includes:
- Onsite daily backups
- Free SSL Certificate
- Uptime Monitoring
- One Button emergency restore
- Malware Protection/removal
- Staging Site For Development
“Why Should I Care About Website Maintenance?”
First, let’s look at the numbers:
- 60 Million websites are created with WordPress.
- 39% of the top 10 million websites use WordPress.
- 500 + WordPress sites every single day are created.
Website maintenance addresses every single part of your website. and each part is just as important as the next. For the purposes of this post, I’m going to break it down into three sections.
- HOW TO PROPERLY MAINTAIN YOUR SITE, PLUS A LITTLE EXTRA
- 49% of hacked WordPress sites are caused by vulnerabilities on your hosting platform.
- 52% of WordPress vulnerabilities come from plugins.
- 44% of hacking was caused by outdated WordPress sites.
In 2011, 18 million users were compromised due to a hack!
I. MAINTENANCE: HOSTING:
Let’s cover those:
- Shared Hosting (GoDaddy, Bluehost, etc.) This is where your website shares a server with a bunch of other websites.
- Service overload is the #1 reason your site is slow, your getting site suspensions or 500 errors. Your website is sitting there with 200+ other websites. These packages run anywhere from $3-$5, but like with anything else you get what you pay for.
- Pay for extra features like necessary SSL certificates.
- DIY VPS
- More for developers & bootstrap startups. Can cause lots of problems if a mistake is made.
- Great if you’re smart, savvy, and need to save money.
- Managed WordPress Hosting (Flywheel, WP Engine)
- Hosts handle all of the backend-related tasks plus offer support when you need it.
- Saves you time and hassle.
- $25 – $150 monthly for these plans (but they cover things like SSL’s that most shared hosting charges extra for.
II. MAINTENANCE: PHP ISSUES
PHP – PHP is an open-source server-side scripting & programming language that’s primarily used for web development.
- The build of the core WordPress is written in PHP along with your themes & plugins.
- Should be 7.0 or higher.
- Faster speeds improved security.
BEWARE OF HOSTS OFFERING HHVM AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO PHP. HHVM IS NO LONGER A SUITABLE SOLUTION.
III. MAINTENANCE: THEMES
It’s very important to choose the right theme from the very beginning.
Every element in a theme has some impact on your overall speed!
THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A THEME:
- Start with a fast, lightweight theme that is built with only the features that you need. OR
- A more feature-rich theme but you can disable features that aren’t in use:
- Google fonts.
- Font Awesome
- Parallax Scripts
BEWARE OF PAGE BUILDERS AS THEY CAN INCREASE LOAD TIMES. YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO TURN OFF.
IV. MAINTENANCE: PLUGINS
THINGS TO CONSIDER:
- Too many can slow down your site.
- Quality is as important as quantity.
- SEO By Yoast
- Contact Form 7.
V. OTHER THINGS TO THINK ABOUT
Here is a list of settings and other tweaks you should or can make to your websites.
- Change your WordPress login. By this, I’m not talking about changing your username and password. In this instance, I’m talking about changing the /wp-admin/ to something else. Think about it almost every website uses this same login extension. By changing this you make it nearly impossible to sign in to your website because only you would know the new extension. You can use anything you want. This can be accomplished with a plugin.
- Disable, remove or tweak your plugins. A simple setting can mean the difference between a slow website and fast website.
- Disable Pingbacks from other sites, (Disable all both from you and from other sites).
- Limit the number of posts in your feed. No more than 10 is best.
- Caching is the most important and easiest way to speed up your website. BENEFITS: Your server uses fewer resources. Can easily reduce your page speed by over 33%!
- Important to also consider when thinking about the images on your site is the format type of file. Compression can reduce your image size by as much as 5 times!
- PNG – Higher quality images – larger file size
- JPEG – Good quality and size.
- Compression types for JPEG | LOSSY COMPRESSION MEANS: Eliminating some of the data (may come out pixelated). LOSSLESS COMPRESSION: Doesn’t decrease quality by removing unnecessary metadata. ** Choose one that compresses and optimizes images externally.
- GIFS – Kill your website performance.
- Delete the number of revisions in both drafts and updated versions. To limit the number of revisions you can use a plugin like Optimize Database & Delete Revisions plugin or you can add this code to your .php function files. define (‘WP_POST_REVISIONS, 10’); YOU CAN CHANGE THE NUMBER TO ANY AMOUNT YOU WANT. You can also disable revisions altogether.
- Clean up your WP_OPTIONS TABLE & Autoloaded data.
- Here you will find things like; Site URL, Home URL, admin email, default categories, posts per page, time format, etc.
- Settings for plugins, themes, widgets (remove old deactivated).
- Temporarily cached data.
- 4 – Field columns:
- option_autoload These you can change, but be careful.
MY MAINTENANCE ROUTINE:
- Create a clean backup of your site before making any changes whether it’s updating a theme or changing a plugin. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. The sites I manage are backed up every single day.
- Check sites for updates starting with WordPress, moving on to themes, and then plugins. Twice every month.
- Optimize databases (I use the Optimize Database While Deleting Revisions or the WP-Optimize plugins to accomplish this. Most of the above settings above can be done here). Twice every month.
- Scan for malware using Wordfence or another Security plugin of your choice. TIP: Make sure your hosting isn’t doing this already! Twice every month.
- Check your site speed with GT Metrix. (free) I do this once a month.
- Do a font-end visual check. Sometimes updates can make small changes to your site. It’s good to take a good look at this time. Check that email opt-in to make sure it’s working, social media buttons, or other important parts of your site. Twice monthly or after any changes.
IF YOU THINKING
“THERE’S NO WAY I HAVE TIME FOR ALL OF THIS”
I GET IT. LIFE IS CRAZY, BUSY THESE DAYS.
MONEY IS TIGHT
YOUR PLATE IS JUST TOO FULL
THEN I HAVE THE ANSWER FOR YOU!
Not sure what kind of help you need?
I offer a FREE 30 MINUTE DISCOVERY CALL!
I’ve worked with Rena on all kinds of techy type projects and I can say with full confidence that she is responsible, timely, affordable, knowledgeable willing to take initiative, able to learn on the fly, and has a knack for all those server maintenances and WordPress issues that flouncy designers don’t want to deal with. I would recommend her highly!
GO CALL HER RIGHT NOW! SHE IS AWESOME!
She answers emails in a very TIMELY manner. She is quick and gets the job done even if she’s never done it before.
I find her a joy. There is always an email shot back to me to say job completed. Stop dragging your feet and sign up for her services. Money well spent!
Effective Design Tips to Improve Your Sales in 2020
Running a business can be challenging, and 2020, the year of the COVID-19, has been especially trying. You find that you are struggling to make sales, and you’re starting to worry that you may have to shut down. With the right design tips, you can boost your sales and keep your doors open, even in these challenging times.
2020 has proved to be a very challenging year for everyone. The Covid-19 pandemic has hit the business landscape leading to the closure of many companies. Those that have managed to survive have had to implement cutbacks and other cost-saving measures.
In the same breath, they are looking for ways to increase their sales to remain afloat. Platforms such as Mr.Bet have excellent tools for those operating online casinos and are looking for tips to design a game. But what tips can help boost sales for other businesses?
We will show you the top design tips to boost your sales in 2020 below.
1. Have a professional website built
What are web design tips? Simply put, it is any techniques you will apply to increase traffic to your website. One of the best design tips for websites is not to have sliders on your homepage. They can confuse people whatever you want to tell your audiences.
Other things you need to incorporate in your web design include:
- A strong call-to-action
- Visible contact information that works
- Aligning your website to any advertisements
- Developing design tips by understanding exactly who you are talking to and their point of need
- Having trust icons such as social proof, security measures, and safe shopping guarantees, among others
- Creating a sense of urgency around your promotions or products
- Making the checkout process easy
- Simplifying the checkout process and removing the navigation bar from the page. You do not want to present customers with the option of abandoning their carts.
- Incorporating customers voice in your copy
2. Put the Customer First
With the pandemic being such a painful reality in 2020, business owners must put the health and safety of customers first. If you’re operating a brick-and-mortar store, ensure you have proper sanitization and social distancing rules.
Communicate with the customers via your website, email, social media, or even mobile apps. Information around the pandemic and staying safe is especially welcome at this time.
One of the best design tips in marketing you will get is to go over and beyond customer expectations. When customers see that you care for them, they will remain loyal and even send some referrals your way.
Invest in training staff members to build passion around the brand and give customers the same experience.
3. Design and Optimize Your Gaming Website
Online gaming is on the rise. If you are a new developer, here is what you need to know.
- When designing, think of the end-user by having an easy-to-use interface
- Hook your players with your characters
- Provide quality sound to enhance the mood
- Provide consistency and balance in gameplay
- Unique designs will ensure you stand out
Optimizing your website is so much more than having the right keywords to attract visitors. The use of graphics and video will help reduce bounce rates. There are some fantastic design tips graphics you will find online to help with the process.
Design tips in Photoshop will help you customize photos or even create virtual tours for your visitors.
Customize your website to make it accessible on smart devices such as tablets or mobiles. A large percentage of visitors will browse it via such devices.
4. Offer Money-Back Guarantee
Have you ever wondered why companies offer money-back guarantees? Not only is it a very effective marketing tactic, but it shows that you have faith in your product.
When customers know they can return a purchase they are not happy with, it’s likely they’ll trust you with their money. Just be sure to offer a guarantee that you can live up to it.
5. Don’t Forget Your Existing Customers
If you have existing customers, repurposing your marketing content to mitigate them is a good move. By developing messaging that directly talks to them, you increase the likelihood of return purchases.
Think about promotions that target them directly. It could be a way of saying thank you to them for their loyalty. In return, they will stick by you and continue to be faithful customers.
We have shared what we consider top design tips to boost sales in 2020. Everything you do should be about the customer. Safety and information during this pandemic period are critical.
Pay attention to your website design and take advantage of smart devices so that you can reach those who shop via their smart devices. Most importantly, pay attention to your existing customers through promotions and exclusive offers, where possible.
What other tips would you have for a business that wants to stay afloat in 2020? Head over to the comment section to share your feedback.
Alex has many irons in many fires, including starting an eCommerce store and his own marketing company. He is very busy, but the work is rewarding, and freedom has allowed him to fish, see friends more regularly.
Every writer has a story to share about the blogging mistakes they made at the beginning of their careers. Seasoned bloggers say there’s no such thing as a mistake, only lessons learned. Let’s put the words of wisdom aside for a second and help you to avoid some of the early day blunders if you can.
Alex Lysak shares some of the best tips to keep in mind as you grow your blog. He’s a trusted SEO specialist and a regular guest writer on various blogs. You can learn a lifetime worth of wisdom from him and the Scanteam bloggers.
Let’s take a page from the experts on blogging for beginners and avoid the common pitfalls.
1. Choosing the Wrong Platform
It’s understandable; free blogging platforms have fantastic marketing campaigns that make it very enticing and convincing to fall for. Most of it also offers free plans that most new bloggers need when they’re starting.
Providers like Weebly, Wix, and Squarespace do sound easy to set up and offer loads of free templates. It’s not a wrong place to start from, but in the long run, you’ll end up wishing you invested a bit more for the usability offered by WordPress.
The essential cost of setting up on a WordPress platform is currently at about $65 per year, and worth planning for if you’re serious about your blogging career. When you pay for hosting platforms, you’ll end up with a more professional looking blog and have plenty of tools to help grow your blog. Free hosting sites will fill up your space with ads and popups, trying to cover its expenses of offering you open space.
2. Choosing a Difficult Name
Your domain name should be easy to remember. If a potential follower searches for your domain and gets it wrong the third time, they’ll get frustrated and search for something else.
Keep it relevant and catchy without using unusual grammatical or spelling methods. Less is more when it comes to selecting a domain name.
3. Broad-Spectrum Topics
We get it; as a new blogger, you want to share as much as you can, trying to capture your audience with informative content. What the old-timers will tell you, however, is that readers enjoy bite-size chunks of information more. Your content should pack a punch of knowledge with as little words as possible.
- Choose a precise and well-defined topic
- Be concise and don’t play around with words to fill a page.
- Give your readers value for their time and high-value links to your affiliates.
Some excellent tools can help you nail your blog topics, such as automated topic generators. Don’t be shy to use whatever is available to help you streamline your blog.
4. Trying to Write for Everybody
You’re not chocolate; you can’t please everybody. One of the most common mistakes new bloggers make is writing about everything. The best advice we can give you is to find your niche. When you write about what you know and have a passion for, it will never seem dull.
If your interest and knowledge are about plumbing and sanitation, don’t waste time writing about kitchen equipment. Focus your time and your energy on your area of expertise. In that way, readers will know where to go when they’re looking for advice on how to fit their new taps.
5. Making the Blog Too Personal
Your blog’s personality should have a life of its own and not be a copy of yours. Yes, it’s heartwarming to share some personal tidbits now and again, but write a novel if you want to publish a diary.
Readers should get to know you through your writing style, not by personal accounts of your day-to-day life. If you’re blogging to build a career from it, you’ll focus on your niche markets and consumers. People read blogs to learn impressive new facts about a specific brand or product. Teach them well with valuable information, and they’ll keep on returning to your page.
6. Writing for SEO Points and Not for People
You’re writing for people, not algorithms. It’s essential to stick to the blogging tips shared by expert SEO guru’s, but keep it real. Readers will know if you’re writing for them or only to maximize your affiliate links.
When you write, imagine that a good friend is sitting across the table from you and using words that are part of your everyday vocabulary. Don’t try to sound like somebody you’re not. You won’t be able to keep it up, and your audience will see right through it.
7. Not Being Consistent
You must write and upload content consistently. If needed, set up a calendar to remind yourself when your audience expects to hear from you again. Planning is a part of your blogging career. Long before you post your first article, you should have a few week’s worth of content ready to upload.
With this said, don’t spam your subscribers daily. Publish good quality content at regular intervals. You want your readers to get excited when they receive a notification from your blog, not annoyed.
8. Publish Without Editing
Blogging is a very personal way to communicate with an online audience. The quality of what you publish is a direct reflection of how much you value your audience. If a reader has to find mistakes continually, it’ll make them feel unvalued.
There’s no reason to publish content with unnecessary mistakes. Online tools such as Grammarly and Hemingway are but two of many products that’ll help you edit and perfect your writing.
9. Not Proving Your Point
If you’re writing about a specific topic that you had to research, link your research to your article or cite your sources for your audience. Without it, your readers will lose trust in what you’re stating.
When you link your researched sources, it increases your website authority with your readers, and ultimately with Google. It’ll increase your online visibility in the long run, so this point should become a habit when writing blog posts.
10. Writing Each Blog in a Different Style
Although there are various types of blog posts, your template should remain recognizable. You can create a set of templates for a variety of topics you write about. You can create a template for reviews, one for a “how to …” blog, and so forth.
Once you’ve created templates and section headers, it’ll become increasingly easier to find the content of value. Your template outline also helps you focus on the core ideas or information you want to share and narrow down your research.
Each blogger will make mistakes in the process of becoming a great writer. Some of these tips might help you get there a bit quicker. Your blog is your business and should represent your brand well. The sooner you can work out the little kinks, the sooner you can start connecting with your audience in a valuable way and increase your following.
Your ultimate goal is to build lasting relationships with your subscribers for affiliates to want to be associated with you. Blogging is an excellent way of sharing your passions with the world out there and making a living from it. Persevere, learn, adapt, and change until you find your perfect style and audience.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Alex Lysak – CEO of ScanTeam / Digital Marketer. Alex is working in online marketing since 2011, his main areas of expertise are marketing research, social media marketing, and SEO. During 9 years of experience, he has helped many products and startups to develop marketing strategies and to implement them further.
*The tools and products below are used by me on a daily basis. However, I AM NOT AN AFFILIATE and I am not paid by these companies.
One question that I get asked quite often is, “What tools do you regularly use to do what you do”. I spend 90% of my time online and finding tools that are easy to use, easy to set up, and affordable could be a whole career in itself. If you’re not familiar with me I run three websites, three FB groups, spending time on social media platforms, plus I manage over 58 websites (not including my own).
If you missed part 1 you can find it HERE. Today we’re going to talk about a few more of the important tools that I use to run my business. There are so many tools out there and I have to admit I’ve been guilty of shiny object syndrome and I’ve gone down enough rabbit holes in my time, but I have found that less really is better when it comes to running your business.
There are things you need to do:
- Email service provider (newsletter vs rss feed)
- Keeping track of your statistics
- Creating content
These are just a few, but they are the ones we’re going to cover today.
Email Service Providers
I’ve worked with a lot of email service providers and I’ve even recommended a few, BUT I always come back to MailChimp. I hands down recommend this to everyone whether they are a blogger or have an eCommerce site. You cannot find better value then the paid version of MC and if you have under 2,000 you can use totally FREE!
Below are a comparison of the top three email service providers CONSTANT CONTACT, CONVERTKIT & MAILCHIMP:
You can see here that for $9.99 you can have up to 50,000 contacts with a MailChimp Essentials account. Under 2,000 is completely free.
ConvertKit charges $29 for 1,000 subscribers.
As you can see Constant Contact wants a whopping $45 a month!
I use MailChimp, I recommend MailChimp and if you look right over there →→→ ( in the sidebar) you will see the MailChimp logo. I’ve recently partnered with MailChimp and after weeks of testing, I am now an official MailChimp expert. I AM NOT AN AFFILIATE I DO NOT MAKE MONEY FROM YOU SIGNING UP. I just really love the service.
Have questions about what MailChimp can do for you? Just email me at Rena (at) theblogging911.com.
Tracking Your Statistics
You know I love me some statistics! So much so that I became a Certified Google Analyst. Also over there →→→ BUT that doesn’t mean that it’s the only tool I use. Sometimes you need comparing views especially when you’re trying to see if what you’re doing is working.
So of course, I turn to Google because let’s face it, they are the internet Gods. But I also like using JetPack’s statistics. You can get a lot of information by comparing the two. Jetpack has a free and a paid version and it does offer a lot of features but you can get the same information for free.
Google Analytics is free and very easy to set up these days and if you use the MonsterInsights plugin it gets even easier. I totally recommend all three of these products.
IMPORTANT TIP: Make sure to filter out your own IP so that you aren’t counted in those statistics. I made a video showing exactly how to do that in this blog post.
Creating content is nonstop so anything you can find that will help you accomplish creating compelling content that people are actually wanting to read can be difficult some days. I usually write all of my content right in the WordPress post editor but when I’m working on ideas I like to open up a Google Doc. They are easy to use and easy to share. I do have Microsoft Word, but Google Docs is just easier sometimes and this especially true if you’re using Gmail.
I like to get inspiration from several places. It may be a newsletter I’ve read, a webinar I’ve watched or a podcast I’ve listened to. My favorite place to go for a little inspiration is Pinterest first. I am a visual learner and Pinterest is the eye candy of visual learners. I love to learn and I try to learn something new every single day even if it’s just about myself.
I also get a lot of inspiration from your questions, but lately, my most favorite way to create content is in my newsletter. I share a blog post every week, but I also like to have conversations with all of you. I love hearing your replies so please keep them coming! Also, if you have something that you’d like me to cover let me know.
I have to be totally for real here. I struggle with organization every single day of my life. I am not an organized person and I work hard, but don’t always accomplish my goals. My mind doesn’t work the way it used to and some of my struggles are memory issues, spatial judgment, and organization. That being said as a business owner I require a certain amount and the way I’ve found to deal with this is to try not to overcomplicate it. I have bought courses on time-blocking, organizational concepts, and automation and on and on. All a waste of money in hindsight.
No one thing works for me so I use a multitude of services to achieve the mediocre amount of organization I can actually stick with and here it goes.
I save all of my clients’ assets to a shared folder in Dropbox. This is also where I store all website backup copies. I also store most of my assets there as well, but historically I have used Google Drive for client files and One drive for mine, but recently decided to keep it all in one place. I spent a REALLY LONG weekend setting it all up, but I love it now.
I am very new to the Trello game and I cannot believe what I have been missing! I am still working out my system there because I did what I always did and ran around like a sugar addict in a candy store creating more and more boards, but I have created ONE BOARD that contains EVERYTHING I need in my daily business. Client info, passwords, subscriptions, and even a list of the many, many courses I’ve bought over the years.
Is also a great place to store graphics and pdfs etc. You can create folders to keep it all in order. This way when I’m making a graphic I have what I need to create it in the client folder. I love Canva so much (I have the business account) that I totally did away with Photoshop & Illustrator. I can do everything I need to do with Canva and $12.95 is a lot better than $53 monthly!
Is another place to store things. I create a secret board with every new design to pin inspiration, ideas, and branding pieces. I always have a few secret boards going for research purposes.
What tools do you depend on to do what you do?
SEO is the ban of a blogger’s or small business owner’s existence, but it doesn’t have to be as hard as some make it out to be. Search Engine Optimization is the science behind making search engines like Google or Bing find your article relevant enough to push it to the top of search requests.
Think of it as a dating service. The reader puts in keywords looking for information on a certain topic and Google or other search engine matches it with a list of pieces of content that come closest in keywords matches. Then from that Google compares how many of those links are current and how many of those links are used throughout your site. It’s comparing your expertise within your niche to give their reader the best content.
Is it’s considered “Cornerstone Content”? Cornerstone Content is described in the great blog post by SEO by Yoast.:
Cornerstone content is the core of your website. It consists of the best, most important articles on your site; the pages or posts you want to rank highest in the search engines. Cornerstone articles are usually relatively long, informative articles, combining insights from different blog posts and covering everything that’s important about a certain topic.
There is no one answer, but I’ve created a system that works for me and today I’m going to share it with you. There are a few steps to make this work properly, but just like any recipe the proof ingredients.
When you create a blog post SEO should be involved in every single aspect.
- image titles
- image descriptions
- Cornerstone Content
- social media posts
For example, we’re going to write a piece of content for our food blog:
You’re creating a post all about potato salad. (I love me some good potato salad!) So we’ll use the list above and start with the title. I like to use CoSchedule’s free headline analyzer when I’m creating my titles, but let me tell sometimes I think that we “overthink” it. I like to come up with 3 different headlines and see which one scores the most, maybe tweak it a little bit. So a potato salad title:
- This Is The World’s Best Potato Salad & You Won’t Believe What’s In It!
- The Potato Salad Everyone Will Be Begging You To Make Over & Over.
- Summer Isn’t Summer Without This Potato Salad Recipe.
Below are each of the headlines analyzed:
Keywords are important not only in search engines but also in social media platforms use it as well. I like to keep my post keywords to between 3-5.
- Potato salad
- summer salads
Those keywords should be in your title, description, excerpt, social media posts, categories, tags, and even in the title and description of the images. Now you can’t just go in there packing in keywords like you’re trying to shove a weeks’ worth of clothes in a carryon bag. It needs to be natural. Think of ways that you can use longtail keywords within the post such as:
- This potato salad was my mother’s and it is always at the top of my summer salad recipes.
- I make potato salad every year and we always use mustard in our recipe.
- Potato salad recipes are everywhere and each one has it’s own variations.
Then we come to images. This is where for most people SEO goes right out the window. I see it all of the time. Naked images. There are a few places that keywords can be used.
- The image itself should be relevant to the post. Don’t put a picture of an elephant in the potato salad post.
- When you upload your image into WordPress there is a box for the description. Now, this is a description of the post, not the image itself. Something like: “This is my favorite potato salad recipe. and I’m showing you step-by-step how you make it”.
- The “alt text”. GOOGLE WILL PENALIZE YOU FOR NOT FILLING THIS OUT. This section is imperative so that visually disabled people can still enjoy the internet. If you’re using relevant images this is another place where you can build SEO. Is the image of your recipe? So for the alt text, you could use, “an image of my summer potato salad”. Which is “exactly” what it is and also included a few keywords.
- The link to your current post, of course.
Each little piece of this puzzle makes up the whole. A complete strategy also uses “categories” and “tags”. Using these two things consistently does a lot for your SEO. Don’t give them cute names use keywords:
- Summer Salads – category – Potato Salad recipes – tag
- Salad Recipes – category – Potato salad, Summer salads – tags
Social media is also a great place to use keywords. Pinterest especially because it is a visual search engine, not a social media, but I’m grouping it with them because people share their content with the platform. When people go to Pinterest they’re looking for something. So they search…just like Google. This again is where that image SEO kicks in.
So in conclusion, no one thing will work to help you build your SEO successfully. Each little piece goes together much like the ingredients of the potato salad. You can’t just throw a couple of potatoes in a bowl and call it potato salad. It’s the combination of all of those things that will make you consistently ranking.
Of course, you know that I’ve done it for you.
Get Your Own Blog Post SEO Checklist
Fill one out for each blog post and remember SEO is created by:
- Great content.
- Good structure.
- relevant images
P.S. Bonus points if you use keywords
in your free incentive pieces!
People love stories. That’s a fact. There is something about that compelling narrative that makes us want to know more. So, if your blog embodies personal storytelling you are on the right path to win over an audience. However, besides the powerful form of storytelling, you need great content writing to keep the audience engaged.
Your blog can exude with impressive stories but without a good content writing strategy, it won’t reach its full potential. Are you ready to boost your personal blog storytelling? If the answer is yes, then keep on reading and employ the following content writing tips.
Express Your Voice
Authenticity is what the audience seek for. Give your blog authentic form by finding and expressing your voice. People will memorize your stories and link them back to you if they recognize a specific type of writing each time.
You can notice this in different types of content writing. Successful brands have a unique voice that makes them recognizable. That’s what gives a more personal tone to the content.
Your voice should present your personality. Everyone is unique in its own way so the easiest way to find your voice is to simply let your personality shine in your stories. The consistency of using the same voice will make your blog wholesome.
Grab Attention with the First Sentence
The first sentence is the crossing point. A good one will lead the reader further into the story and the bad one will make them give up on the post instantly. There is no SEO strategy that can help you acquire more readers if you ruin the first impression.
There are several ways of creating a good start for your story:
- Quote – A relevant quote will tickle the readers’ imagination and give them a sense of what your story will be about.
- Anecdote – Anecdotes can make the readers’ laugh or educate them. Either way, they are always interesting to read.
- Question – Questions have the power to get people to keep reading as they subconsciously need to get an answer.
- Statistic – Statistics give credibility to your story.
Have a Key Message
Ask yourself: What’s the moral of this story? This question should resurface in every new blog post. If you don’t know why you are telling that story neither will the audience. That’s why defining the message is a good start.
Use your stories to convey the message that carries some sort of solution or revelation. Each story you include in your personal blog should have a purpose. This is what all content writers do. Whether they are writing a brand copy or video script, they form a message that will be conveyed.
The message of the story can be in the opening or closing part of the post. If you include it in the beginning, it will give the readers a reason to read it. On the other hand, if you form it as a conclusion it will sum up for the audience what they can learn from that story.
Incorporate Elements of a Good Story
Storytelling is a method that is popularly used for different purposes. From website content to promotional material, it can be found everywhere. What we can learn from various uses of storytelling are the elements of a good story.
A good story is:
“By analyzing numerous storytelling content, our team has come to the conclusion that you can spot the same elements is all of them. It’s important to mention that we only considered successful storytelling campaigns and content forms. Using elements such as good structure, authenticity, everyday language, and relatable stories, you will increase the effectiveness of your blog,” says Cara Gordon, a senior writer, and editor at writing service TrustMyPaper with years of blogging experience.
Easily relatable stories such as a different crisis that most people go through will not only make boost your blog but they can truly help people. Be honest, speak from experience, and focus on delivering a story that speaks to people.
As visual beings, we tend to navigate towards content that is enhanced with images. Complete your stories with appropriate imagery and you can bring them to life. When readers get the help of images to visualize what you are writing about, the story will be more memorable.
Try to avoid stock photos in your personal storytelling. Instead, include the photos you took or images of quotes. You don’t have to add images that portray you, just take original photos that will complement the story. If you’ve been using stock images it’s time to re-evaluate your visuals.
If you want to build your social media presence through the blog, adding your Instagram feed to the website is a good option. It can give users a glimpse into your world and add some color to the website.
When you combine strategic content writing with an amazing story you’ll have all you need to build an army of followers. Apply what you have learned from this content writing tips to your blog and you’ll be able to boost the effectiveness of storytelling. Remember that success demands strategy just as much as it demands talent and authenticity.
Dorian Martin is a professional content creator who writes the best essays for expert academic services. In his free time, Dorian runs his own blog and reads publications from fellow writers.
I read A LOT of blog posts and like most people, I use a variety of devices to do it. At this time I have, a laptop (2), an iPad, and my iPhone, and what I find most often really surprises me.
80% of the blog posts I read are not totally mobile responsive AND you are being penalized by
- a lower ranking,
- a lower domain authority, and whether not your website is showing up in Google searches.
- no matter how good of an SEO strategy you have if your site isn’t mobile responsive it’s all for naught.
To see this many websites who just aren’t getting it really concerns me. This can mean lower readership, lower sales, and a user experience that leaves a lot to be desired.
Answer this honestly: When was the last time you looked at your website on your mobile device? That doesn’t mean getting on and taking care of something like approving a comment, but really looking at what your readers and clients see when they visit your website on mobile view.
- Read a blog post & attempted to comment?
- Tried to opt-in on your phone?
- Tried to fill out your contact form?
- Clicked on your social media buttons?
- Tried to share a blog post on social media?
These are all tests that you should use to check your website for mobile responsiveness. I say at least every 6 months or anytime you make changes to your website.
As I was reading just this morning alone I saw:
- images that wouldn’t load or were not the right size
- no sharing buttons anywhere. I saw several foods and/or tech blogs that didn’t have Pinterest buttons or Pinterest-sized images on your site. Did you know that most community boards won’t allow you to pin unless your image size is 1000 x 1500?
- no commenting section
& that was only after an hour of testing out different sites!
I know this isn’t something new, I mean Google started putting the word out in 2015 so why aren’t people listening? I’m not sure but I’m going to hope that you just don’t know what you don’t know. When I was researching this issue I found lots of articles on “mobile-friendliness”. Here’s a great one I found on Search Engine Journal or this one on Business News Daily.
Here are a few facts:
- More than half of all web traffic comes from mobile devices.
- Google prioritizes mobile pages load speed as a key metric.
- They offer all sorts of free tools to help you achieve complete mobile responsiveness.
Are you tired of trying to find these answers by yourself or you just need a little help knowing what to do and how to do it?
Check out my maintenance plans that cover just that!