It’s the beginning of a new year and that means plenty of people have new resolutions that they want to live by. One of the most sought after resolutions every year is to make more money and start your own business. One of the best ways to do this is by participating and learning from others as a community. There is nothing better than having a support group or follow along to guide you along the way.
One of my personal resolutions this year is to make sure that BloggingTips.com grows in size and comes a much better site and community. I already have a few improvements in the works for the site design, removing a bunch of advertising from the site, bringing in some new writers and now I’m even more excited than ever to grow the site by introducing my own “Create a Blog” follow along series.
Why a New Blog Series Now?
There are many reasons to create a full case study on the “start to success process” of creating a niche authority blog. In addition to being an excellent free resources for all of my blog reasons, it’s also important because Google has changed so much over the years. Google Penguin, Panda and the EMD bans… and there are plenty of new updates on the way.
It used to be easy to buy an exact match domain name, throw a bunch of keyword rich articles on the site, do some article back linking and create 2.0 link wheels then rank for the keyword of your choice. Those days are over and now it’s much harder to rank in the search results, and quality is key! Worst of all, there are still main scammy products out there try to sell people on these old tactics that no longer work.
Another reason I’d like to start a create a blog series is because of the success and response I’ve seen from Pat Flynn’s case study. No only has he had some amazing success with his actual niche site from the case study, but he has helped a tremendous amount of people along the way. If you love pod casts I definitely recommend you check out his stuff on iTunes!
From a personal aspect it’s also very important for me to create this series. Here are just a few of the reasons why.
- I want to introduce people to the world of blogging and making money online through a simple step by step process
- There is no better motivation to succeeding than by actually putting yourself out there
- I’ve already done well in the “blogging” and “make money online” niche, so now I’m going to attempt to create an authority site in a completely different niche market
Of the three points I listed, they all have great importance.
Every day thousands of people are registering their first domain name and setting up new hosting accounts for the first time. Unfortunately once they do this, many of the sites and the owners motivation dies off. I’m hoping I can motivate and inspire others to create a new blog, whether their first blog or a new one outside of their comfort zone and find success.
The second point is probably the scariest! There is nothing like putting yourself out the for other people to see. Not only will they watch your successes and failures, but in the world of internet marketing, people are always looking to make a quick buck and steal your ideas and success. By writing about the whole creation, building and monetization of my new blog through BloggingTips’ “Create a Blog” series, I will not only be helping all of my readers learn through the process, but also keep myself motivated and on my toes as well.
Lastly, I will be diving into a completely new niche market that I have never done any work in before. This will not only make it interesting, but also quite competitive. I’ll also be sure not to link to the new blog through any of my other blogs, as I don’t want to use success from my other sites to influence how well this one does.
The “Create a Blog” Series Broken Down
When starting any new business or blog online, you can usually break down the process before you even get started. From previous experience I have a pretty good idea of how the flow goes, which starts off with the research, building content, focusing on your backlinks, monetizing your site and continued growth.
It sounds a lot easier than it looks. Since there is a lot to cover in each of these broken down sections, I will be writing updates along the way.
Below you will see the five categories along with sub breakdowns of each.
- Finding a new niche
- Choosing the right domain name
- Using research tools and software
- Analyzing competition and potential success
- Initial setup of the domain, hosting and blog
- Logo creation and brand identity
- Selecting a quality wordpress theme
- Writing quality and useful content
- Setting up social profiles for the blog
- Writing relevant content on various sites
- Guest blogging in relevant niches
- Blog commenting and viral content
- Analyzing how other relevant sites monetize
- Testing different revenue methods
- Split testing ad placement locations
- Building a mailing list / product
- Monitor the traffic, rankings and backlinks
- Continue to write original content for the site
- Focus on quality backlinks and visitor retention
It’s one thing to say you are going to build a new site and say you need to focus on content and link building, then it’s another to actually write out the process and see how much there really is down the road.
It will be an exciting journey and there will be plenty of updates and reviews along the way, usually on a weekly to bi-weekly basis.
Please keep checking back in and I would love to see a lot of comments and questions along the way, and feel free to start up your own new blog and follow along in the process.
No matter what blog or niche we are in… it’s top priority to always keep your target in sight and keep working towards your goals!
*** Join in on the create a blog case study –> Click here to start your blog!
Local Small Business Optimization Strategies
Ever since Google made changes to their search algorithm, and introduced Google+, small business are benefitting more. The key change that Google made is their ability to provide search results based on location. This has improved the overall search experience for people because now when they search commands like – “Italian restaurant”, “banks”, and “flower shop”, you’ll find what’s close by. However, for small businesses to feel the positive effects of these changes, it’s important they optimize their websites correctly. It’s important they, add the right keywords and data so search engines pick-up on them when displaying search results.
I decided to do some research, and provide you with the best local optimization tips. This way if you’re a local business, you can start making changes right away. Let’s get started and your feedback will be greatly appreciated.
The Right Keywords
When someone is searching a towing company, and they’re located in Los Angeles, it’s important as a business owner you have those keywords placed within your pages. This will let Google know that you’re a business which offers this type of service, and have a business located within the region. First, how does Google track where the searcher is located?
First, they look specifically at the keywords typed into the search bar, and secondly, where they are typing from because the browser does have its own IP address delegated. Both will ensure the results obtained are as relevant as possible, however, the owner of the business must do their part too.
When optimizing your website, it’s important you have the address in place, and keywords like “Los Angeles” and “Towing” in the URL, on the page, and in the title of the page. The best practice is to choose keywords which relate to your business well so when Google indexes your page, you’ll be able to show up in the search results.
Here is a great resource on how to optimize your pages correctly as a local business.
Google Business Listing
As a small business, it’s very important to create a small business page on Google. Start by submitting your business to Google, and optimizing the description, name, and adding all the other relevant information. Why is this even more important now than before? Simple, it’s because now displays the local business high within the search results when searching. Just look at the example below when I did a search for “Italian restaurants” –
You can see how the nearest restaurants to me showed up first in the results. These are all connected to Google Business only because the owners added them by creating a page. Head over to Google Business, and create a page for free.
It’s important to add your business to local directories which are great for traffic, but also brand awareness. As Google starts to see your business more within directories, it starts to increase your value slowly increasing your rankings within the SERP’s. This doesn’t have to be hard because you can hire someone to go through adding your business to other directories. For example, head over to Fiverr.com and purchase a gig for $5.00 for 10-15 citations, and that’s all you really need to get started. However, focus on quality sites because these add most of the value quickly.
Select the Right Categories
Have you noticed when adding your business to directories, Google, and other business sites, you’ll always be asked what category your business belongs too? The reason is quite simple, it’s because doing this allows the search engine to understand more about your business. For example, when someone’s searching “Italian food”, they can be searching for food equipment, restaurants, chefs, etc. However, by simply stating what category your business belongs to, it’ll diffuse a lot of confusion…right?
The next time you are adding your site anywhere, it’s important to list the right category so things stay smooth, and clear always.
These are my top small business optimization strategies so start following them right away. They are very easy to follow, and the results can be amazing in a very short period. If you simply don’t have the time to do all this yourself, then hire someone who is experienced to get the job done for you. But, ask to see their work, and get a breakdown of their experience so you know the person you hired knows what they are doing.
When Your Small Business Should Start a Blog
Blogging is one of the most reliable methods of making a name for yourself as a startup. It is a valuable tool that helps you connect with your target audience, amass followers through a lead capture strategy, and put the brand out there through content promotion; such as social media posts, newsletters, and guest blogging.
It’s not so much a question of ‘if’ your brand should be leveraging the power of content marketing, but more of a question of ‘how’. With so many different options to choose from, it’s not just about creating new content and placing it on your site — it’s also about making sure you are effectively promoting it in the process.
Keep in mind that it’s not really a question of whether you need a blog or not—it’s when you’re going to build a blog for your business’s website. Without a blog, you can’t really prove your expertise in your industry and win the trust of your target audience. According to statistics, 81% of online consumers trust blogs for advice. A blog may also drive purchase intent and helps you unlock a higher conversion rate for your website.
Aside from connecting with your target audience, a blog will also fuel your SEO efforts by giving web crawlers more content to index. The more blog posts you publish, the more exposure your site gets.
How Soon Should You Start a Blog?
Granted, you do need to prepare the foundations of a successful blog first before you begin to produce content. Fortunately, you don’t need to be a professional designer to set up a beautiful site. A CMS like WordPress can provide you with brilliant themes and useful plugins to put together a fully-functional site; all without writing a single line of code.
Once you have everything set up and customized, make sure to get on with blogging as soon as possible. This 2016, 76% of B2B marketers say they will increase their blog content production this year. However, successful blogging requires a ton of research and planning. On top of writing the actual blog posts, you will also spend a lot of time looking for topic ideas, getting-to-know your target audience, and devising a solid keyword strategy. Here are some of the best tips you need to remember when blogging:
Write for Your Audience
First and foremost, remember that you need to blog for people—not for machines. The reason behind this problem is because some marketers only choose to blog for SEO. However, remember that search engines now prioritize the reading experience of users when it comes to determining the SERP rankings of content. While they still take into account the overall quality of written content, they also consider other factors such as bounce rate, page loading speed, session duration, and other indicators of user engagement level.
A rule of thumb is to develop personas for your target audience. Identify the information they need, understand their problems, learn their content preferences, and provide the necessary courses of action to help them. A content research tool like BuzzSumo will help you learn more about the type of content that’s popular in a specific industry.
“Don’t focus on having a great blog. Focus on producing a blog that’s great for your readers,” says Brian Clark of Rainmaker Digital.
Invest in Custom Content
When learning the content preferences of your target audience, you are often required to explore other content formats such as infographics, eBooks, explainer videos, and slideshows. According to statistics, 90% of online consumers prefer custom content while 60% feel more “connected” with brands after discovering custom content from their website.
Keep in mind that your brand image is on the line with every custom content you publish. You need the help of professional producers and graphics designers to make killer content for your blog audience. While setting up a blog can be cheap, you might as well consider getting a business loan to fuel your custom content creation efforts.
Lastly, remember that you need to focus on the flow of your content and walk your readers through every step. Doing so will help build relationships with your readers and establish your brand as an authority. Also mention the key takeaways at the beginning or by the end of a blog post to improve retention.
“Content marketing and custom content are customer relationship processes that require unique and well-crafted content. Whichever approach you take, you need to invest either your time or money in content creation,” says Neil Patel of NeilPatel.com.
Be Consistent with an Editorial Statement
A lot of companies overlook the importance of having a clear editorial statement that keeps content development in sync with a brand voice. It helps make your content distinguishable amongst the internet’s vast sea of resources and keep your content team in the same page. This is something you should always keep in mind when creating content for your blog.
To identify your editorial statement, focus on supplementing the three key parts: the target audience, the deliverables, and the main goal. To help you understand this process, below is an example editorial statement for an SEO blog:
SEO blog provides online marketers (target audience) with up-to-date strategies (deliverable) to demystify the process of ranking for search engines (goal).
“Your editorial mission is something you—and everyone on your team—need to internalize. It is the measuring stick by which you evaluate everything you do,” says Michele Linn of Content Marketing Institute. Make sure to follow his advice!
Changing Workplaces Use New Apps to Guide Productivity
The last decade reveals a significant change in the workplace environment due to new technology and the ability to convince employers that talent can work remotely and that they can allow and even encourage flexibly in the work environment. Now that the new dynamic of work is becoming accepted across more industries and business segments, the work environment is continuing to evolve as more technology is developed to guide productivity and shape collaborative processes.
Working in these new ways has made it possible to get more done and has contributed to better work/life balance, but it has also created new challenges in terms of maintaining employee motivation and connection to the company. However, technology is now working to address those challenges that remote workers face and to help provide a tighter network and sense of belonging to a company, despite where the work is being conducted.
From apps to software platforms, the changing workplace now has more tools that encourage more companies to alter where they expect their talent to work. Here are a few examples:
Asana provides a way to create and delegate tasks. It provides a way to chat within each task so conversations can take place while working, and attachments can be added or taken from Dropbox, Box, and Google Drive. There are calendar features, dashboards, and to-do lists. Asana proves you don’t have to be in the office to take care of any daily tasks.
This is another approach to working with anyone on a remote basis, especially in a team-oriented environment. All information is available to everyone on the team, including documents, notes, and plans in a format that can be easily searched. Gliffy integration is another feature that provides for a way to do wireframes quickly.
Taskworld helps you to manage projects and stay on top of tasks and subtasks. Plus, it has an evaluation feature so you can measure and give feedback on job performance, which is still important regardless of the changing workplace structure.
This tool provides an effective way to screen share meetings as well as conduct easy video conferencing. Join.me proves that there really isn’t a need to commute in to the office for a meeting anymore, saving considerable time that can be spent on something much more productive.
While Slack is getting a lot of attention for what it offers in terms of a collaborative tool for remote workers, Flowdock has similar features as well as integrates with a lot of other cool apps you might already be using in your new workplace, such as Jira, GitHub, Basecamp, Asana, Assembla, Trello and many more.
In seeking an affordable, yet powerful CRM system that provides a way to organize and track all prospects and contacts as well as features that assist you with project management. It also offers a social CRM, which enables you to locate the social profiles of all your contacts in an efficient way without spending hours trying to sort through them.
Password management is critical for every company but especially those that employ remote workers. Passing around this sensitive information is necessary but can be handled much more effectively with a tool like Last Pass. Each employee has their own vault with the passwords they need to sign in remotely or access any type of cloud-based system the company uses.
Outro is a referral automation platform that speeds up how you find and identify new clients, employees, and investors. To further enhance your productivity, you can also export your other data and integrate it with all major CRM software.
While it may not sound that productive to recommend an app that lets you stream live TV, you can take advantage of multitasking by staying updated on the business channels offered in PlutoTV’s line-up that cover markets, industries, regulatory environments and trends like MSNBC, CNN, Bloomberg and more.
If your company keeps inventory or has a warehouse for its products, SystemID can add greater efficiency and coordination to what often remains focused on manual processes. Instead, the use of a barcode system with integrated inventory management control offers a way to reduce costs and speed all logistical tasks.
One of the biggest discoveries about the changing workplace was the idea that people tend to work better when they regularly change the environment around them. Therefore, working from home makes a person more productive than always being at the office. Now, those working at home are discovering that, over time, the home also gets stale. Workfrom provides a source to locate other places where work can be done in your local area, such as a coffee shop, co-working space, or other tech-friendly spot.
In the push to automate many tasks within a business, Due takes on numerous jobs related to project and time management, invoicing and estimates, and payment processing. This reduces human involvement, driving higher accuracy, speed, and productivity throughout all these critical business processes tied to cash flow.
Multiple Benefits in New Apps
In working with these types of apps, remote workers and their employers will discover further benefits from this changing workplace environment, including additional productivity, enhanced motivation, lower costs and greater revenue. Many studies have been done and are being done at this time which show us that having opportunities and flexibility in ones working hours and place of work is giving an added boost to work productivity. Finding the right tools to make all this work coordinate together is guiding that productivity.
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