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Increase your blog readership by offering free ebooks

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ebookThe single most successful technique I have used to increase my blog’s readership is the creation and free distribution of relevant ebooks.

By writing and offering ebooks for free distribution, you offer potential visitors a great incentive to visit (or subscribe to) your blog. What’s more, ebooks have the potential to become viral marketing tools, enhancing visibility of your site and your status as an “expert” in your field.

In this post, I hope to explain why you should consider writing an ebook to offer for free to your readers, along with details of how to create this publication with little (or no) expense.

Why offer an ebook for free?

Let’s be honest here: in the current financial climate, most people would prefer something for free, than something for which they have to pay.

While you could easily write an ebook for readers to purchase (to potentially increase your earnings in the short term), this may not actually increase the number of people who visit your site (which potentially creates increased earnings over the longer term).

By offering your ebook for free (while licensing appropriately), you offer the means for readers to recommend your ebook (and your site) to others. Ebooks can become viral: they can be forwarded by email, recommended as downloads from other sites and also by word of mouth. Provided you include a link to your website in the ebook and the suggestion that firther information on this subject may be found in your blog posts, you can ensure that your free ebooks become effective marketing tools which attract new readers, subscribers and possibly referrals for any paid services you offer.

How ebooks can increase readership

There are two principal ways in which free ebooks can be used to increase readership of your blog:

  1. To raise awareness of your blog
  2. To encourage people to subscribe to your blog

If you offer a free ebook through your site which anyone can download (and distribute) you create a means for your ebook to raise awareness of your blog and subject matter. Those who enjoy your ebook may write about this on their own sites (with a link to your blog);  recommend it to friends; forward to colleagues by email… By increasing the chances of people reading your publication, you increase the chances of these people discovering your site.

Offering a free ebook for subscribers can increase the number of people who sign up for updates of your posts. If your ebook proves valuable, other bloggers may write about your ebook while subscribers can recommend their subscription (and free gift) to their friends.

What to write about?

An ebook used to promote your blog should be relevant to your blog’s target audience. Focus on a subject specific to your blog’s niche to provide value for your ebook’s potential readers, while enticing them to visit your blog in the future for more information.

For example, if your blog offers advice on parenting why not write a short ebook describing ten useful parenting skills, or ideas for entertaining the kids in the holidays? Foodies could offer an ebook of selected recipes, while web designers could offer a breakdown of the skills used in creating a live site.

An ebook (especially a free publication) need not be exhaustive or take months to write. Here are some examples of ideas you could use to create an ebook this weekend:

  • Collect your 10 most popular posts and repackage with a little extra commentary
  • Expand on the concept of your most popular blog post
  • Create a directory of resources which are useful for your target audience
  • Write an FAQ to answer popular questions from readers of your site

How to create your ebook

The most popular format to distribute ebooks is PDF (portable document format). PDF files can be opened using Adobe Acrobat (or any other PDF reader), and are easily distributed online.

You could initially write your ebook using your favorite word processing program (such as MS Word), then convert this to PDF format.

However, most free PDF converters are limited. You may be restricted by file size, or any links included in your PDF may remain inactive. While Adobe Acrobat is an excellent program for creating PDF files, it is incredibly expensive to buy (particularly if you don’t plan to use this often).

My personal recommendation is to download Open Office: a free, open source office suite. Contained in this suite is Open Office Writer: a fully comprehensive word processor which includes the option to convert your document to PDF at the click of a button. When converting to PDF, there are a multitude of options available; all links remain intact, and you can create a table of contents for your document to ensure a professional appearance.

If you would sincerely prefer to convert your rich text documents rather than use Open Office, you may like to try Adobe’s Create PDF service (for up to 5 small documents) or Primo PDF, which is a down-loadable program to convert documents offline.

Include links to your blog!

In order to use your ebook as a means of promoting your blog, you need to reference your blog and encourage readers of the ebook to visit your site too!

The ideal means of promoting your blog through your ebook is to include a link to your blog on every page, such as the header or footer.

It is also advisable to include an “about” section, either before the main content of your ebook or right at the end. Your “about” section should include some information about you as the author, as well as information about your blog and a link to yoru home page/relevant further reading.

Without links to your blog, your ebook will not become a useful promotional tool for your site!

License your ebook

When offering free ebooks for readers to download, it is advisable to license your ebook to prevent others claiming this as their own work, or distributing in a manner with which you are not comfortable.

The best means of licensing free content is to use a Creative Commons license. The most basic Creative Commons license ensures attribution of the original author. You can also specify whether your documents can be used commercially, have derivative works created from them and the jurisdiction to which the license pertains.

Distributing your ebook

Once you have written your ebook, you need to think about how this should be distributed.

The first step is to upload your ebook to a web hosting service. If you already pay for web hosting, you can simply upload this along with your regular files. Alternatively, try Scribd (which has proved among the most popular hosting sites for ebooks and other publications) or Cnet’s Download.com.

Next, work out how you would like your ebook to be distributed.

If you want your ebook to become a viral marketing tool then offer the ebook for anyone to download. Create a landing page/announcement post on your blog with specifics about your ebook and of course the download link. Ask readers to download and offer their opinions on your ebook; to distribute or recommend it to their peers. Include a link to the download/landing page in your email signature, forum signatures and anywhere else online where your ebook could be publicized.

If you want to increase subscribers as a result of distributing your ebook,  offer the download link through the footer of your RSS feed. Both WordPress and Blogger offer the means to add content to the footer of your blog feed. Alternatively, create a Feedflare to use with Feedburner which includes the link to your free ebook.

Be sure to publicise your ebooks!

Once you have written your ebook, uploaded to your host and enabled a means for download, be sure to let everyone know about it! Tell your readers, email other bloggers who may be interested to learn of your ebook and add a banner to your blog’s sidebar which links to the download location or landing page.

Final thoughts

Offering ebooks for free to existing or potential readers offers extra value: a means of discovering information relevant to your niche offline, which can be distributed or referred to with ease. In distributing your own ebooks, you are providing a gift to your readers and an expression of expertise in the subject you write about. While the benefits may not be instantaneous, the long term effects of increased readership are more likely to outlive any short-term earnings for having offered the same ebook for a price!

I hope this post has offered useful information for the creation and distribution of your own ebooks to increase readership for your blogs. Please feel free to offer your own thoughts and opinions by leaving your comments below.

Image credit: lin_til, via Flickr Creative Commons
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Amanda is a freelance blogger and web/blog designer. She writes about Blogger at www.BloggerBuster.com and maintains several other blogs on various subjects.

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4 Effective Tips for Boosting Reader Engagement on Your Blog

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If you want your blog to be successful and bring good profits, you need to ensure that your posts not only attract traffic but engage the readers. To do this you’ll need to experiment with content formats, open dialog with the audience, involve influencers, and above all, understand your audience’s exact wishes.

From online videos to content creation and social media, there seems to be an endless supply of new traffic out there and different ways to pull users back to your site. With all of this in focus and on the minds of bloggers everywhere, we wanted to highlight some of the best ways to boost content engagement, using many of the preferred mentions we’ve already highlighted.

4 Ways to Boost Your Blog Content Engagement Rate Fast

Post videos

Even if you don’t run a vlog, you need to post an occasional video because that’s the ‘hottest’ type of content today. Check out an aggregation of video marketing statistics offered by Forbes to see why exactly your blog needs more video content. Note that social videos generate more shares.

Live video streaming is also greatly popular today, so be sure to launch an occasional Facebook Live session to share something interesting with your followers. Then post a recording of the stream on your blog so those who missed the airing will be able to enjoy it anyway.

Research your audience in great detail

To boost reader engagement on your blog you need to understand what motivates your targeted audience to actually get into your content. You’ll need to not only consider the analytics data that will show you which of your posts are most popular. You also need to search for information on your targeted audience, such as what kind of posts are generally more popular with them.

The more precise you are in developing targeted content, the higher the reader engagement rate will be. This means that if you seek to create a diverse readership base, you might need to consider launching several websites. In that case, you’ll need to use specialized software and a hosting service that allows you to run multiple blogs. This will make managing them easier, so you’ll be able to focus on creating several posts. Bear in mind that you might be able to apply the same basic content strategy to all your blogs, even if they differ in subjects.

The differences in those strategies and individual posts will be dictated by the data you get from a detailed study of targeted audiences.

Get more influential persons involved

Influencers of any kind can help you boost reader engagement on your blog because if they promote your content, their loyal readers will want to read it themselves. You can also generate more traffic and engagement by mentioning various celebrities and popular bloggers.

A perfect example of this can be seen in one of our expert roundup posts, where 73 different online marketers and bloggers took the time to share their expertise on social media.  The benefit here wasn’t also just for our site. Each of the experts got a lot of exposure out of this, and the audience loved the content as well.

However, you’ll need to be careful if you choose to use mentions. For celebrities, you should research laws and regulations surrounding the issue. You need to be 100% sure that you won’t be sued for mentioning someone’s name or other information in your post. When you mention bloggers, you’ll need to consider those rules too as well as give them a heads up about doing this.

Having various opinion influencers popular with your target audience is a great boost to your blog and personal brand. This will also increase your reach as you’ll get an indirect contact with the influencer’s audience.

However, attracting influencers is a big challenge, especially for a blogger. You can use the tips from Neil Patel, a true marketing guru. Think carefully about how to adapt them to your situation.

Post engaging graphics

Much like with videos, you should post relevant graphics to boost reader engagement because this type of content is popular and shareable. Infographics are particularly effective for this, so be sure to create some. It will be best if your infographics have some original data on relevant topics. But, even simple step-by-step instructions can generate decent shares and likes.

Your every post should contain several images by default as they promote reader engagement and memorization. Be sure to add .GIFs as well, because these graphics are in trend now.

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Best Search Engine Marketing and SEO Practices to Follow in 2018

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Marketing often requires four basic factors: first, there should be people with unsatisfied needs; second, these people should have the desire to be satisfied; third, there should be opportunities for communication; and fourth, there should be an exchange of goods or services. A businessman with keen acumen for business opportunities would readily recognize these unsatisfied needs, build opportunities for communication with these people, and relay the service or product that could satisfy their needs. The important thing is that the prospective businessman is able to reach his target audience via good marketing strategies and tactics.

Understanding Search Engine Marketing

Marketing strategies have greatly changed since the introduction of the World Wide Web. As the Internet expands, it also provides good avenues for new marketing strategies and tactics. It also engenders new buying behavior among consumers, as contemporary consumers first search online for a product or service that they need before purchasing it. On the other hand, business owners are now required to create their own websites to be relevant online.

As highlighted in this article, writing for humans is always going to be the example to follow. It also means keeping the following SEO guidelines in mind when creating content:

  • Keep it unique. Avoid duplicating content that’s already out there. Ask yourself: what can I add to this ongoing conversation?
  • Do more research than competitor sites have done.
  • Consider all options: infographics, videos, podcasts, an interview, a step-by-step guide or even a new tool or template. 
  • Remember that longer content gets more links. If your page is supported by high-quality links, it will move up in the ranks. Although Google has stated that even a few sentences can rank, in general, you’re better off creating content that is at least 300 words or more.

One form of effective online marketing is search engine marketing. It involves website promotion aimed at increasing the visibility of your business site online. It is also designed to make your site rank higher on the search engine page results (SERP). However, this marketing form is wrought primarily through paid advertisement.

In 2007, for example, advertisers in the U.S. had spent 24.6 billion dollars on this type of marketing. Google, on the other hand, leads the pack of search engines that profited from search engine marketing. Furthermore, in the second quarter of 2015, Google got a sizeable 73.7% share of profits from search engine marketing as compared to 26.3% of Yahoo/Bing. Based on these data, search engine marketing appears to be a very profitable business that rakes billions of dollars of profit for search engines.

Social Media Marketing

Your online marketing strategies and tactics would never be complete without tapping into social media. Services like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Baidu Tieba, and LinkedIn have also been used for marketing. LinkedIn, for example, as an employment-oriented service can be used to promote your services and get more mileage for your online marketing efforts, but keep in mind that it is primarily used to establish professional networks.

Just take a look at the screenshot below and how LinkedIn can provide such great information for anyone looking for earnings and jobs reports within any specific niche market. Not only will these same results rank and appear within the search results, they are also heavily shared through social media as well.

Search Engine Optimization

Aside from search engine marketing which makes use of paid advertising, you can also make use of search engine optimization (SEO). Search engine optimization is another way of expanding the online visibility of your site without necessarily paying for online advertisements. Search engines have organic or natural page results, known as SERP, and you can influence these organic results through SEO.

Not many, however, are experts in SEO. Hence, if you are a businessman who doesn’t have the know-how on SEO, you should visit BestSEOCompanies.com and search for the expert that fits your needs. If you want a reliable and trustworthy SEO specialist, this website can really help you with its list of the top 50 SEO services that you can immediately hire.

Business websites that are ranking high in the SERP usually gets two-pronged benefits. First, if your site ranks high in the SERP, chances are casual searchers will click on your website, and you can turn them immediately into actual clients. Additionally, if you get more clicks and visits from casual searchers, the search engine will further rank your website higher.

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What Is the Chief Benefit of Going the Extra Blogging Mile?

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10:15 PM on a Sunday night.

After waking at 7 AM I did an hour of yoga.

I followed up with 4 hours of blogging work.

Toss in another 4 hours of blogging work plus a 1 hour walk and some R and R, and where I am late on a Sunday night. Going the extra blogging mile.

I love blogging. Working late on a Sunday does not feel like going the extra mile because blogging feels fun to me. But putting in a bit more effort when I feel tired helps me to help more people. Going the extra blogging mile also makes me memorable in the eyes of readers.

I know other bloggers who go the extra mile.

My friend Ronald at Web SEO Marketers runs a first rate blog.

Beyond his super content though, he goes the extra blogging mile in the relationship-building department.

A few moments ago I saw this update in my stream when I logged in to Facebook:

Buying the paperback version of my blogging eBook would have been awesome in and of itself. But Ronald snapped a selfie holding the paperback, noted how he just received my book in the email and tagged me to let me know he bought my book and he’d see me in paradise.

Brilliant!

He perfectly embodies how you go the extra mile relationship building wise. Compassionate, heart-centered bloggers think of how they can help folks out. Generous folks always stick out in your mind because we resonate with people who are kind, helpful and genuine in all they do.

Being Memorable Helps Expand Your Presence

I noted Ronald’s rocking blog in this post because he is a skilled blogger, because he shouted out buying my book on Facebook and because both factors make him memorable. I could not fall asleep until I wrote this post and shouted him out because it feels fun to spread the love and to help you guys understand the chief benefit of going the extra blogging mile; people will remember you.

If people remember you they will feature you, interview you, invite you to guest post on their blog, or they will hire you or buy your stuff. As your features, interviews and guest posts increase you will appear to be all over the place in your niche, growing your business slowly and steadily until your generosity and willingness to go above and beyond results in exponential growth of your online presence.

Alonzo Pichardo embodies this type of massive growth over the long haul by going the extra mile.

Check out his Instagram account.

His follower growth and overall engagement levels are staggering, with 55,000 followers receiving Alonzo’s update on the platform.

Alonzo continues to get so many followers because he gave so much of his time, skills and expertise over the past decade. He did not attract 55,000 followers after a week of going the extra blogging mile. He generously served folks for a decade and continues to help folks even if doing so takes him late into the night, becoming more memorable to more folks around the world.

Be Patient

Be patient and persistent in creating value and building bonds. Good things take time.

You may not make a penny through your blog for 6 months after doing the right things with the right energy but you will succeed over the long haul. Every kind act is rewarded over time.

Keep helping people. Focus on the process, not on outcomes. Stay up late to write the guest post, linking in to your blogging buddies to increase their exposure. After you purchase a book, take a selfie and tag the author on social media. Think of how you can impact humanity in a generous, significant way, one friendship and one generous act at a time.

Go the extra blogging mile.

Accelerate your blogging success over the long haul.

 

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