Blogging for Beginners with 150+ New Blogging Hacks 2019
This blog explains 150+ best tips for blogging for beginners for higher ranking in Google and And also explains how to drive traffic to your blog with new blogging hacks in 2019.
Get writing! (Or podcasting, or posting photos, or whatever it is you’re doing on your blog.) Establish a regular schedule for maintaining your blog. A schedule really helps readers know what to expect and when.
A regular schedule can even build anticipation and excitement. Be open to ideas, provide a welcoming environment, and keep yourself on the topic so that interested, engaged readers get what they’re looking for when they visit.
Listen and Respond to Readers
One of the best things that you can do for the community is to make sure that everyone’s having the best time he or she can. How do you know whether your readers enjoy their time on your blog? Why not just ask?
Give people a way to let you know whether the community aspects of your site work for them by including a Contact Me page. But if you really want to hear about how things are going, try just posting a blog entry asking people for their thoughts and constructive criticism about what you’re doing.
You may not even need to open the lines of communication with your readers. In fact, they may already be reaching out to you! If someone asks you a question, either in the comments or through email, make sure to reply.
Acknowledge what the person says in your reply and take the time to answer properly, even if only to thank him or her for the comment. Thoughtful responses to questions and comments about your blog can do as much to build your community as original blog posts can.
Keep on top of what people are saying within your blog domain and don’t be a stranger to those who like what you do. Embrace their enthusiasm for your blog. Give them a reason to keep coming back. Interaction can make those who might shy away feeling that they’re really part of the community that you’re developing.
Visit and Participate
Join other communities. It’s that simple. If you want to build a community around your blog, you need to participate in others. Find blogs that are related to the topic areas of your blog. Jump into the conversation by offering a different perspective or some feedback to the blogger or to the folks who leave comments.
Mentioning your site on other blogs is fine; as long as you make sure that your comments relate to the subject at hand and add to the conversation.
Also, don’t just write and leave. Keep active in the communities in which you’re a member and use that time to connect with others. Take what you can from the community, but also give back what you think can benefit everyone as a whole.
Remember that participating in these communities might even give you ideas for your own blog, so you’re likely to benefit in several ways from the time you spend on these blogs.
You can also share links between your blog community and related blogs that you want to support. Offer to set up a type of network where you can share content between sites. Anything is possible; you only need to ask.
Guest Blog and Invite Guest Bloggers
If your blog readership is up and running and you’re attracting a significant number of daily readers, you can request that members of your community help you out by guest-blogging on your site. Depending on the software you’re using, you can either set up secondary blogs or allow guest bloggers to post to the main blog of your site.
Getting other perspectives and comments from your community “experts” is incredibly cool, and you might be able to build a series of posts from other bloggers into your site.
This kind of blogging trade-off can let you have multiple voices fill out the content on your site and provide a richer experience for your readers. These relationships are great to have when you get sick or want to take a vacation. Tap your guest-blogging community for help covering your blog when you aren’t around to do it.
It’s also a great idea to look for opportunities to write on other websites as well. See whether other blogs might need a little help with a few additional posts. Also, help keep the conversations going on other blogs that you enjoy.
Each time you comment on another blog, you get exposure to a few more potential readers for your own blog and build links back to your blog.
Be sure to have a guest blogging policy in place for your site, covering topics such as the length of the post, topics to be covered, and payment. Make sure that the site you’re guest blogging for has a policy as well, and that you understand the rules before committing to the post.
On Page SEO is the stuff that you do on your own website. It’s what you have the most control over, and compared to Off-Page SEO, I focus on this stuff way more. Why worry so much about things you can’t control?
Actually, my on-page SEO efforts are quite simple. Broken down into broad categories, here’s what I do.
Good user experience
Keyword optimization is probably the one most worth discussing. Again, it’s pretty simple. My most basic form of keyword optimization for any phrase is going to be:
Keyword in the title
Keyword in the first paragraph
Yup, that’s it. Sorry folks, no complicated strategy here. For longtail, low competition phrases, this is enough to rank on page 1. You won’t always get it, but a lot of times you will. I’m not saying I ban myself from using any other optimization on the page, but most of what else happens on the page does so naturally.
For example, if my keyword is ‘BPA free water bottles for mountain bikes’, I would definitely fit that into my title and first paragraph somewhere as explained in the “ranking for keywords” section of this blog.
The rest of the post? I just write a natural article. Words directly related to my keyword choice will occur naturally, and I may even actually use the exact keyword inadvertently! Things like ‘BPA free’, ‘mountain bikes’, ‘water bottle’ will occur in the context of other sentences as well.
I will also hit LSI keywords (those are the ones indirectly related to your phrase). Stuff like ‘chemical’, ‘hiking trail’, ‘adventure’, and ‘thirsty’ could possibly appear in the post, giving search engines more indication that my post is about riding bikes in the forest and drinking from chemically safe bottles.
Sometimes, when I feel like I want to do a bit of extra optimization to improve rank or give me an edge over the competition, I try to fit my keyword into a few most spots (naturally of course).
Please don’t take that phrase “give me an edge over the competition” as an indication that this will guarantee you outrank your competitors. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. You need to find a formula that works for you.
Anyway, here’s what I do sometimes:
Keyword in an image alt tag
Keyword as an image title
Internal link to the related post with LSI keyword as anchor text
An outbound link to relevant article or website
Keyword in h3 or h4 tag
Keyword in the last paragraph
Internal link FROM another post (on my website) using the keyword as anchor text
Bold/italics/underline relevant phrase
1.Anchor text: the phrase you use as your hyperlink
2.H3, h4 tags: text formatting use to make your text bigger (like paragraph titles)
3.Alt tag: a piece of code that tells Google what an image is
4.Image title: text displayed when you hover over an image
5.Internal link: A link from one page on your website to another page on your website
6.Outbound link: A link from your website to a different website
NOTE: I don’t do ALL of these on EVERY post. I use Some of them on SOME posts
Why do I keep mentioning this when it doesn’t seem to be such a big deal? It’s going to help your website in two ways.
For one, it’s going to create a positive user experience for people. They can find and view related information to what they were originally searching for without leaving your website and doing another search. They will be able to dig deeper and investigate if they want, or just keep reading the current article they’re on.
It keeps people on your site longer, improving on page metrics, and an overall rank of your website.
Secondly, it gives you some power to tell search engines exactly what this page is about. Your keywords already give a very strong hint, and that’s often enough to get ranked.
But as you create more links from other pages on your site TO this page, it tells the search engine bots even more loudly that your keyword is definitely the subject of the page. Link it three times from three different pages, and sooner or later they will take a hint.
Careful though, like any ranking metric, the more you do, the less power it has. You can do it once for a big hint. Twice for another well-sized hint. The third time Google is thinking, “OK, I get it, bro.”
And as you add more links to that page, you may see diminishing returns on your efforts. Also, using the exact same phrase every time probably isn’t a good idea. Mix it up with similar phrases of different lengths and related keywords too.
For example, with the BPA free bottle example above, here are some example anchor texts you might want to use. You can see that some are exact matches, some are broken down, and some just capture the concept of the article you are linking to.
BPA free water bottles for mountain bikes
BPA free water bottles
Water bottles for mountain bikes
Preparing water for your adventure
Good water bottle
Bring enough drinking water
About siloing: Some people flip their lids over siloing, but it’s really just a form of internal linking. A “silo” is just a way to organize your website structure. You have the main site title, then 3-5 main categories based on keyword research. If your site is about mountain biking, your 3 silos could be:
Mountain bike repair
Biking personal gear
Sound familiar? Yeah, we already did that when we chose made the core concept pages. You may also divide those into sub categories. For example, you can use the three phrases above as categories, then the four phrases below as tags in the trip planning category:
First aid preparation
Food and water preparation
Categories, menu items, tags, breadcrumbs…these are all internal links to other pages on your website. Because Google sees these as running themes, or often-talked-about topics on your blog, you become more optimized for those keywords (and other related ones).
I chose poor keywords in those examples, but you can dig up high traffic phrases for your own site if you want.
The interesting thing is that most people will create this structure naturally, either in the beginning through habit, or over time out of necessity.
A well-organized website won’t make or break your business, but it can help to create a good user experience, make your job as a writer easier, and maybe boost some keyword optimization for your website.
Creating a Good User Experience
This portion of building an online business is usually the last thing that folks figure out! I know, because I’ve been there. I made tons of terrible sites before I finally got a clue.
Making sure your visitor can read posts easily and doesn’t have to try too hard to find what they came to view are simple but important concepts. People that stay on your website longer and take actions like sharing on social media, viewing a video, leaving a comment, or returning later can definitely affect your rank in search engines.
Google’s job is to deliver relevant information. The more indications that what the person is reading is relevant to their search, the more traffic you can enjoy.
There is no formula for positive user experience, but having a fast website, that’s easy to navigate, easy to read, and delivers interesting, high-quality information are some broad ideas to keep in mind.
Unfortunately, this one is really hard to do for most people because it either involves spending money or learning complicated code. Two main things that are relatively easy for you to do that can improve the speed of your website are 1) Get good hosting, and 2) Get a good theme for your Wordpress website.
A good theme will ensure that your site is running as fast as possible for the hosting you have. The code will be clean, fast, secure, and pretty.
Hosting is another thing you have control of, but good hosting comes at a cost. You can pay $4/month at a minimum for shared hosting to over $100/month for a dedicated server.
Upgrading hosting for a newbie might not seem that important, but as your website starts making money, you will absolutely notice those 5 minutes where your website went down and wonder why it seems like your site has been running slow for two weeks.
I currently run the Genesis Framework with a Studiopress theme, and host with WebSynthesis and my website is oh-so-much-faster than any other previous year. There are different sites you can use to check your site speed, but be prepared, they will spit out a bunch of stuff that is hard to understand.
Common suggestions I see are
Optimizing images by reducing their size
Installing a caching plugin
None of these are necessary, and you’ll have to view the readout of your own site metrics before taking any kind of action. They are just things to keep in mind when trying to improve site speed.
When someone looks at your website using a mobile phone, does it look exactly the same as the desktop version? Sites like those can be a real pain to zoom in and out of and click tiny buttons.
Most modern Wordpress themes are mobile optimized, meaning that they change the user experience for people on phones, simplifying navigation and making the text more readable.
Not all of them do though! Double check you get one that is mobile friendly or “mobile responsive”.
Off Page SEO
I focus much less on off page SEO for my own websites, but I do see the potential in it. I have seen some people build successful businesses with absolutely zero off page SEO efforts, and seen some people make it their focus, and create decent income as a result of it.
You’ll need to decide how much time you want to spend on it, and find a balance somewhere with On Page + Off Page efforts.
One huge advantage of doing off page SEO (as I see it) is that you can write whatever you want without thinking about keywords, and still drive traffic to your site.
Keyword optimization can get a little bit tedious day after day, writing posts about keywords just because you might gain a little bit of traffic. Without concern for keywords, you are allowed a lot more freedom to get creative and write naturally.
NOTE: Some people would say that you need to match on page keywords with off page backlinks, but I don’t do that type of backlinking.
Creating off page links to yourself is a great way to get unnatural link penalties. When you use my tactics of getting other people to link to you, you essentially have little-to-no control over how they link to your pages.
The downside to off page efforts and driving traffic from sources other than search engines is that newbies will struggle a lot to get noticed. This will make more sense as you read below, but social efforts largely go unnoticed in the beginning.
Newbies, lacking tact and finesse, are quickly ‘outed’ as just another marketer looking for traffic to his site rather than a genuine person.
My Stance On Backlinks
In past years, building ‘backlinks’ was the core of any type of off page optimization. Backlinking is basically getting links to your website from other websites. One way that people would accomplish this was simply by creating their own websites and linking to themselves.
“Link wheels” were popular, where you would create five or so Web 2.0 properties (modular style mini-website builders like Squidoo, HubPages, Weebly, etc), then link them back to your main website.
People (including me) also joined “clubs” where they could submit their website along with some mini-articles. This service would then submit your articles to a network of websites they owned and link back to your main site.
It was like generating fake votes and social signals for yourself, telling Google that people like your content and thought it was worth linking to.
Unfortunately, that strategy came to grinding halt in 2012 when Google began cracking down on these practices and started handing out “unnatural link penalties”. One of my main sites got hit hard, but all websites lost traffic and sales during that time.
To be honest, I went through a period of depression thinking that my business had been killed, but luckily I was able to recover most of what I lost during the following year. That experience scarred me so badly that I personally do not do any backlinking to myself as a means to improve SEO at all now.
So far, I haven’t had any issue ranking or making money, so I recommend you do the same and avoid a headache.
Warning! People still promote unnatural linking methods, but just give it a different name. PBNs or Private Blog Networks are very popular in the “niche site builder” community.
They promoted these websites heavily until Google cracked down AGAIN in 2014 and many folks, including a few big names in the industry, lost huge traffic/income as a result. Yet, just a few months later, they still had ads for PBNs and taught courses on how to build your own PBN.
Am I crazy, or didn’t they just get a big fat warning to stop doing that? Whatever, it’s not my website. Just keep the history of link networks in mind whenever you see someone promoting ‘backlinks’ as a way to gain rank fast.
Do I do any linking at all? Yes, when appropriate. If I leave someone comment on a relevant blog, I will leave my website URL in the box that asks for it.
If I join a relevant forum, I will put my website link in my profile page and signature. If someone wants me to do a guest post on their website and I like their site, I’ll put an author bio in there.
I don’t consider this an SEO-driven activity, however. I’m doing it as a means to connect with the community relevant to my niche. That’s the line I draw in the sand. The optimization part is secondary to my real intention of engagement.
Backlinks aren’t bad! People will link to you naturally as you create link- worthy content. But thinking that a good backlink profile will help you make more money is not a path I would start walking down.
Reaching Out To Your Community
One excellent way to get noticed is to simply make the effort to reach out to communities and people relevant to your niche. Get involved! This borders on something I should post in the social media section, but I’ll count it as SEO since the underlying effort here is to gain relevant links to your site.
Expert Roundup or Best Of Posts
Probably the easiest way to start getting some attention, links, and shares is to create a list of “experts” in your niche, or on a specific topic. For my beer site,
I might create a post called “Top 10 Research center”. As far as content goes, I can then write a short bio of the people and what they do. Yes, this involves a lot of research, and you’d better be accurate since the people you write about will be reading it. But there’s no reason to be afraid of hard work!
You can then notify the people you mentioned. Some may re-share your content to their followers, and as it gets passed around, you might obtain a link from another person in a similar niche.
Either way, it ends up being an awesome resource you can use over and over, as well as add to as you discover new people and businesses in your industry.
The “best of” post doesn’t have to person-based either. You can make a “Top 5 Websites About —”, or “8 Best Articles About — “ The point is to get the attention of people with established networks and get your content passed around. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
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Same deal as above. Pick some experts or well-known individuals that you want to interview. It can be via email or just something that you piece together and post as a Q&A type post.
It can be a face to face interview that you transcribe to text. It can also be a video interview that you post to YouTube.
Again, the idea is to reach out to people with an established audience and get your name and brand in front of those viewers.
Hashtags + Comments
Commenting regularly on popular websites under the same name can draw attention to you. If you leave your website in the website box (not the comment section), you can get clicks, views, possible links from that. Don’t forget to leave insightful comments! “Nice post” won’t draw any attention to you at all.
Doing this type of commenting first may make interviews and other outreach tactics easier down the road when they recognize you as a regular contributor to their website.
Otherwise, they might not bite! Sometimes, popular people are just plain busy working and doing other things, and might not want to spend 2 hours with you bumbling through your first Skype interview for a blog that may not be around in 6 months.
Tweeting and sharing content with popular hashtags is another way to get attention to yourself. If there is a trending hashtag related to your niche and you post some original, funny, or interesting content using that hashtag, it’s going to absolutely get you some re-shares and grow your network as a result.
That’s just more eyeballs for next time you share content from your website, and at some point, down the road, you are going to get noticed by someone with a website who wants to link to you.
At the very least, it increases your social signals, helping you rank more, and you can then be discovered through search engines, increasing your link-worthiness!
Really, the only type of off page SEO that I support is social media related stuff. Grow your social network by being genuine, insightful, and helpful, and your brand will gain a good reputation because of it.
Communicate via Email and Newsletters
As spam-ridden as electronic mail can be, you can still use it to stay in contact with your community. Offering newsletter delivery through email of some or all of your blog content to your readers can attract users who aren’t comfortable with some of the fancier technologies, such as RSS. Try these three tactics:
Offer readers the chance to subscribe to bonus content that does not appear on your blog.
Allow your users to sign up for email notifications when you post something new to your blog.
Let your readers sign up for an email newsletter that recaps recent blog posts of interest.
Many blog software programs have built-in Tell a Friend or Email Friend functionality. If you turn this feature on, every blog post includes a small icon or link that, when clicked, lets your reader fill out the name and email address of a friend and send an email notification about your blog post to that friend. It’s like free marketing.
You can easily reach users who have mastered email but aren’t up on newsreaders and RSS by setting up your blog to allow users to sign up for email notifications when you post a new blog entry.
Allowing them to sign up and also remove themselves from your email system puts them in control of the situation, which means that you don’t contribute to the spam problem. The FeedBurner site lets you set up an email notification/subscription tool
Taking the time to create some kind of additional email newsletter can also get people interested in your website. You can take a little time at the end of each calendar month to pick out your best or most popular blog posts. You can include the links to your blog posting, or you can copy and paste the blog post into an email and send it off.
You may even want to highlight the top blog posts of some of your friends! 1. Google 2.Bing 3.Yelp 4.Better Business Bureau 5.Angie's List 6.Merchant Circle 7. LinkedIn 8. Yahoo! 9. Facebook 10. YP.com 11. Whitepages 12. Superpages.com 13. Yellowbot
You can create this kind of newsletter in several ways, but it’s most effective if you sign up for an email service provider such as Constant Contact, Topica or MailChimp, to name a few. These services can handle subscription requests; unsubscribe requests, and changes of email addresses, all without needing you to do anything.
In addition, most of them offer you the capability to track click-through on links in your newsletters and track whom you email and when. You can find a few free mailing-list options out there, but most of them involve a monthly fee. Shop around to find one that fits your price range.
One of the best ways to build your blog’s community is to plug into communities that already exist, including social media platforms. Social media sites like Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook are home to millions of potential blog readers who may want to make your site one of their favorite online destinations.
If you haven’t already created social media accounts related to your blog, it’s time to get started. Find the niche groups that apply to your own interests and begin connecting.
Look for Facebook groups that may be a fit, including local blogger groups or promotions groups in which members share each other’s blog content. Hoping to build your online community by leveraging the communities of others?
Be sure to promote and support others more than you ask for help yourself. You want to be a positive force online, not a negative one!
Involve Your Readers
What does your community like to read? Do the members like your posts about your personal life, or are they more interested in what you’re doing in your daily job?
Or do they want your opinion about some other topic that you’ve discussed? Watch to see what element of your content is most popular and what gets the most comments and responses.
Consider periodically polling your readership or using a survey creation tool such as Survey Monkey (www.surveymonkey.com) to find out what your readers would like to see on your blog.
You may also want to involve your readers by asking a leader in your online community to be in charge of responding to comments or leading forums. Guest posts are another great way to allow your readers to become more involved in your blog so that they begin to feel a connection to your online community.
It may sound counterintuitive to work on building an online community by connecting offline but making connections in real life rather than just on your computer screen can go a long way in building your online community.
Do you have a local readership that is growing in leaps and bounds? Consider holding a local meet-up, even reaching out to a local restaurant to suggest a sponsor partnership.
You may also want to find local blogger groups or social media clubs holding events and make plans to attend. The blogging community is notably supportive, and connecting with your fellow bloggers offline is likely to help you build your online networks as well.
Finally, look into blog conferences, typically held around the country throughout the year, and find an event that may be a fit for you. Not only will you learn tons of tips and tricks that will help your blog in general, but you’ll also make connections with bloggers who have their own well-established communities who may just want to get to know your blog next.
Many WordPress themes are mobile ready, but for those of you, whose platforms or themes are not mobile compatible, it’s important to take the steps necessary to make accessing your blog on a mobile device possible.
To find out whether your blog is mobile compatible, check out Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test (www.google. com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly), which allows you to test your blog for mobile compatibility.
Some bloggers choose to create a second version of their blog, created just for mobile. It probably makes more sense for you, however, to either select a mobile-optimized blog theme or install a plug-in to bring your site up to speed for mobile access.
Diversify your Blog
Unless you are writing a hyper-niche blog, it’s a good idea to mix things up every now and then to reach new audiences and build your community. Consider periodically creating new content themes in your editorial calendar from time to time to pull in readers looking to read about different topics.
For example, do you write mostly about crafts for kids? Consider branching out and occasionally posting recipes that are family friendly and get the kids involved in the kitchen.
Maybe you write mostly about travel. Have you thought about also starting a series for readers looking to get the most out of their local attractions? The bigger your potential audience, the bigger your audience’s potential!
Your blog is an extension of you, and discovering your blog voice is a bit like discovering yourself. Many bloggers struggle in the first weeks (or months or years!) to find their blogging voice. It’s also quite common for bloggers to travel far down their blogging path before deciding to change their writing style.
As you begin thinking about your blogging voice, ask yourself what you want your readers to know and feel about you. Do you want your blog to mimic an informational website, perhaps sharing product reviews or the latest news? Or would you like to treat your site as an online journal, sharing every bit of yourself?
It is not at all uncommon for bloggers to struggle as they find their blogging voice and gain the courage to write freely. However, after you’ve discovered your voice, blogging will become magically easier and suddenly more enjoyable.
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Stoke Your Muse
Were I to focus only on my blog and not remember to take time for my family and myself, my muses would be neglected and, consequently, my content would suffer. As you work hard to bring your blog to the place you want it to be, don’t forget to take time to stoke the muse that inspired you to write in the first place.
Survey Your Readers
it is worth revisiting the idea of surveying your readers from time to time. Unless you are blogging solely for you and care nothing about growing or fostering your readership — which is absolutely fine, by the way — you should take time periodically to connect with your readers to get their thoughts on your blog.
Some bloggers like to keep an open, ongoing survey that is always available, not unlike a feedback box in a place of business. A link to such a survey can be included at the end of posts, within your RSS feed or even as a widget in your sidebar. You may choose to check in with your bloggers once or twice a year instead, devoting an entire post to reader outreach.
Creating such a survey is a rather easy pursuit, with tons of free surveying tools available. One popular tool is Survey Monkey (www.surveymonkey.com), which allows users to create basic surveys at no cost.
For those of you with a Google account, you may want to consider creating a simple questions form on your Google Drive. Each new form allows you to embed a link for your readers to complete the form, and your Google Drive keeps track of your readers’ responses.
Find Your Tribe
You’ve likely caught on by now that the blogging world not only requires participants to learn a new technological skill set but also introduces them to a whole new language. One of these fun terms is a tribe, or simply put, the readers and fellow bloggers to whom you most relate.
I was very fortunate and found my personal tribe on Twitter very early in my blogging career. Although we’ve gone from using Twitter as our main form of communication to checking in with each other daily in our closed Facebook Group, we continue to be there for one another as a source of everything from helpful hints to a safe place to vent.
Finding your tribe can be a tough and lonely road, but after you’ve plugged into the online community that is right for you, it will take your blogging experience to a new, more enjoyable level. Take your time finding the community that is best for you, and be sure to look both inside and outside your content area while on your journey.
Whereas I consider myself a journaling blogger, some of my closest blogging friends are frugal-living bloggers. It may be that finding the bloggers who share similar thoughts about blogging, social media, or life, in general, leads you to your tribe.
Don’t count your readers out when searching for your tribe! What are some of the other blogs that your most frequent readers also enjoy? (This is where a reader survey comes in handy!) Do your readers participate in online forums? Do they also blog? Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when trying to join the right tribe for you.
Know Your Traffic Sources
If you’re interested in tracking your website statistics, you’ve likely spent some time reading. There are many reasons to know how many visitors your blog receives, from being able to report to advertisers to simply knowing that you’re not sending your content out into the abyss.
However, even if you truly don’t care about the number of readers your blog draws, you still may want to know your traffic sources.
I don’t spend much time monitoring how many page views I receive on my personal blog, but I do love to take a look periodically at my traffic sources. For starters, it’s nice to know whether that sidebar ad you’ve placed on a friend’s blog is actually driving new readers to your site, or whether that free guest posting you’ve been doing is truly building your audience.
It’s also useful to your future content creation to know whether some content is drawing more readers than other posts. For example, did you write a deeply personal post and later find that the post was included in an around-the-web post on another blog?
When you take a look at what terms are driving search engine– related traffic, are you surprised by what is bringing readers to your site?
This information may inspire future editorial calendar (where you schedule future blog posts) ideas! You may also want to go back to old posts that are still receiving search engine traffic and update these posts with links to more recent posts.
Using tracking programs to look thoughtfully at your traffic sources may give your blog — and you — a needed boost, even if traffic is the least of your blogging goals.
Speaking of blogging goals . . . have you set yours?
Joining the blogosphere can be an overwhelming experience. You have a laundry list of decisions to make, from your blog name to your site platform to your interest in making money from blogging.
The idea of sitting down and listing specific goals for a pursuit that is still relatively new may feel like the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.
When I first entered the world of blogging, I found myself looking at each new opportunity through the lens of what that opportunity would do to get me where I was going.
This helped me decide what guest blogging opportunities to take, for example, and focus my limited time. Blogging goals don’t have to be complicated, and they’re certainly open to revision as your blog grows and changes. Some simple goals may include:
Would you like someone other than your mother and spouse to read your blog? Set a specific goal such as 50 new readers in the first month. Follow a blogging schedule: How often do you hope to post? Once a week? Once a day? More? Less?
Utilize social media
Yes, social media use may fall under your goals for your blog!
Find a guest blogging opportunity: Do you have a favorite blog that also happens to allow guest posts? Becoming a guest blogger on that site is a worthy goal!
Monetize If you are simply blogging for yourself or as a hobby, making money from your blog may not even be on your radar. However, for many bloggers, it is the main goal for their blog to provide at least enough income to offset the costs of the hobby or part-time job of blogging.
Create a Monetization Plan . . . or Not
My initial monetization goal at the launch of my blog eight years ago was to eventually find freelance writing assignments to supplement my family’s primary income. I could never have imagined that my blog would lead to writing books such as this or working with global brands in social media.
With that said, it was still important for me to think critically about blog monetization before getting too far along my own blogging path. Despite the unexpected twists and turns — most of them positive — my blog’s monetization plan guided me through decisions at every step along this journey.
Some questions to consider when creating your own monetization plan may include:
Do you plan to seek ads for your blog? What type of ads will you allow?
Would you like to work with individuals and companies to place ads or do you prefer to apply to an ad network? For more information about advertising on blogs, How do you feel about accepting money to post content on your blog?
Do you hope to use your blog as a platform to seek other jobs such as paid writing or speaking opportunities?
Prepare to Grow
The first time someone asked me to write somewhere other than my own blog, I turned to my husband for help with making the decision. He asked, “What will that do to get you where you hope to go?” and the truth is, I had no idea at that point where I was hoping to go. As with many things in life, blogs often grow and change in spite of rather than because of the goals we set.
If massive growth falls under your definition of success, you should certainly decide now how you want that to occur. But even if you don’t anticipate blog growth, it is still a worthwhile use of your time to think about what you’d like a growing and expanding the blog to look like should that day come.
Know When You’re Done
I recently read a great blog post — naturally! — About life after blogging. Although blogging has been around in one form or another for quite some time now, in the expansive timeline of the world of communication, blogging is still a baby. It will be quite a while before there are as many former bloggers as there are active bloggers.
Even so, the day will likely come when the cons of blogging outweigh the pros. Perhaps your blog chronicles your battle against cancer and you’ve reached remission. It may be time to thank your readers for joining you on your journey and then no longer post.
Or maybe you’re a parenting blogger whose children no longer allow you to write about their lives. It may even be that you’ve made blogging a profession and the time to retire has arrived.
Whatever the reason, it’s important for bloggers to know when they’re done; even if that means that they’re just done with that particular blog. After all, blogging, at its core, is meant to be enjoyable, and when it isn’t anymore, you might need to reevaluate or move along to new pursuits.
Social Media Marketing and SEO
Social media marketing (SMM) is an integral part of SEO. In this era, social media is not just a basic factor you need to incorporate—it is a remarkable platform with a reach spanning more than 1 billion users.
Current statistics indicate that Facebook is the leading social media platform with more than 1.5 billion users. In addition, there are Twitter, LinkedIn, and Foursquare, to name a few.
Social media as a platform can no longer be neglected; it is a vital part of content marketing. For example, Facebook can be used as a means of understanding the behavior, preferences, and trends of young people who use it.
LinkedIn is used for professional purposes including searching for potential employees and sharing updates about the latest products.
But implementing SMM for SEO is not as straightforward as it may seem. You need to build an intuitive connection with your target audience to realize the potential of social media.
Following are some key aspects of how to use SEO-relevant social media to connect to a larger audience:
Create brand-awareness and educate the target audience about your company’s products and services. You can also nurture brand loyalty and develop trust and credibility with your consumer base by using social media advertising.
Interact with current customers: connect with them via conversation and understand their viewpoint. Ask for feedback, and learn about their likes and dislikes; this will help you gain insight into your product’s performance and shortcomings.
Use game-changing content to keep users engaged and lure potential customers to your products. You will notice an increase in web traffic if you direct more people to your website leading, to a higher ranking in the search engine results.
Prompt users to share your content, to maximize the reach and scope of your projects.
Use social media to introduce new products, promotions, and news. It helps if you have events coming up or if you want to share fresh information with your audience.
Improve your marketing intelligence and make strategic decisions by understanding not only your products but also your business rivals. You can use media formats such as images, videos, and content to establish a media presence. You can track the results using analytics and use historical data to plan for the future and increase sales and revenue.
Use localization techniques based on your business location, and target the audience in the vicinity. Learn about your consumer base and cultivate lead generation for people interested in your products and services.
Use social media to distribute content such as blogs, white papers, and case studies. They will reach the audience more quickly and at a fraction of the cost compared to traditional marketing channels. Promoting product reviews and your company culture is beneficial in the long run.
This is a good option for small- and medium-sized businesses in particular because they do not have the reach or advertising budget to target a huge customer base.
Popular Social Media Networks
There are many social media networks. This section gives you a brief overview of how to take advantage of the benefits offered by Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Yelp, Foursquare, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Facebook is the most popular social media platform and already has the largest consumer base; more than 1.5 billion people use Facebook in their day-to-day life. There are a number of ways to boost your online reputation using Facebook:
Create Facebook pages for individual profiles and business pages for your organization.
Use Facebook as a content distribution platform where you share updates and engage with your users. This leads to brand awareness and also helps customers be in sync with the latest news and promotions.
Plan events and campaigns to reach out to a large audience and make customers an integral part of your setup.
Spark lead generation and promote products to increase the span of business to potential customers.
Use it as a platform for customer feedback and input. This helps you gain insight into customer preferences and marketing trends.
Utilize community pages to involve users in corporate social responsibility and other tasks.
Use the Facebook Ads service to cater to a specific group of consumers.
Encourage users to like and share your product information. This can give a big boost to your online reputation in addition to lending credibility and trust to your products.
Use the Facebook Places feature to keep your business partners, potential customers, and users abreast of your location. It allows users to check in on Facebook and spreads awareness of your business.
Quality link building via blogs and web pages will lead to increased traffic and make your site more visible. This is an organic way of connecting with your target audience.
You can also keep users engaged by using quality content, which will increase your rankings—relevant content is a vital cog in the content-marketing wheel.
Link your Facebook pages with other social media platforms, and reach out to a wider audience.
Advertise your products and goods for a fraction of the cost compared to traditional marketing methods, and enhance the user experience with engaging content. The analytics for your page will provide insight into customer trends and preferences in addition to conversion optimization.
LinkedIn is one of the most sought-after professional social networking sites when it comes to business. It is an excellent platform for entrepreneurs and business owners to showcase their services.
Following are some ways you can get the most from LinkedIn:
Showcase your products and services by using the company page to cater to your target audience.
Interact with potential customers to accumulate a larger user base and generate leads for your projects.
Implementing quality link building to direct more users to your web page and increase traffic
Advertise your products and share regular updates with your connections and others in the industry.
Create groups and connect with relevant people in the industry via second- and third-degree connections, thereby expanding the scope of your business. Collaborate with industry experts, especially those in business-to-business (B2B), and keep them updated about your services by using feeds and updates.
Use relevant, quality content to keep your audience in sync with the latest developments.
Spot and hire talent using LinkedIn profiles, especially those with experience in your domain.
Use ad campaigns to promote your products and create brand awareness.
Get recommendations for your businesses from professionals and subject matter experts, thus creating trust and credibility.
Use commercial utilities such as LinkedIn Premium for detailed information about B2B, potential job seekers, and statistics to update your strategies.
Google+ is another social media platform that can help extend the scope of your business. You can use the various toolkits Google has in its arsenal to take your business to the next level. You can optimize your online reputation by using the following tactics on Google+:
Google My Business is a great utility that enables customers to reach out to your business whenever they search or use Google+ to locate you. Create a Google My Business account, and link Google Maps to it using the API.
You can start conversations with your consumer base and respond to customer feedback using this toolkit. Localization is an important SEO factor and helps small- and medium-size business enhance their scope in their vicinity.
You can use the built-in Embedded Posts feature and intuitive media such as images, videos, and text links to ensure visibility for your posts.
Google includes the Google Badge feature, which lets customers find and preview a community before eventually joining it. Such ventures are good for corporate social responsibility and campaigns.
Google’s AdWords and pay-per-click utilities can help you gain ground by directly placing your site at the top of search results. This will result in better online sales and ensure visibility on SERPs (although it is not an organic approach).
Google Hangouts enables instant messaging, video and voice chat, and VOIP features using your Google+ account. For example, you can simplify your video conferencing needs using Google Hangouts.
Create a Google+ community +to cater to a wide audience. You can also create social media contests and campaigns using the platform. Other utilities include Blogger to create blogs and Drive to store data and documents on a large scale.
Gain insight into your commercial projects by networking via the Google+ platform and using analytics tools to understand market trends and statistics. You can rework your marketing strategies in response to the reports and boost your project visibility in Google search results.
Twitter is a micro-blogging platform that currently has more than 300 million users. It allows you to post tweets—short messages, limited to 140 characters—making it compatible with SMS. Twitter can be used in various ways, including to promote products and share the news with a large audience.
Following are some ways you can enhance your business flow with Twitter:
Use Twitter as a content distribution platform by sharing links to your blog or other social networking platforms such as Reddit where you have posted relevant content.
Get feedback from customers by using Twitter as it is a channel for instant input. Revise your customer relationship strategies and rework your tactics in response to comments from users.
For example, if you post about a product, you may receive feedback about its strengths and weaknesses or services related to the product. This gives you an opportunity to make changes and improve your goods.
Increase awareness of your brand and get recommendations from a wide audience for recent launches. Even celebrities use Twitter to share their views with clients and fans. Engage your users with short messages and cater to various groups using direct messages in addition to public tweeting.
Spot and hire talented employees by reaching out to as many people as possible when you have a vacant position in your company. You can also use Twitter to send internal messages to your team even if they are geographically separated.
Twitter’s reach is significant, and it is an excellent means for promoting your services. Make it a referral engine by submitting and receiving recommendations about clients, groups, or the entire community.
Engaging users with visual media is the most important part of SEO in this era. For industries such as journalism and fashion, visual media is the norm.
You can use Pinterest in several ways to promote your product; studies related to digital marketing suggest an increase in popularity and sales in response to the use of interactive visual media such as images and infographics.
You can use Pinterest in your SEO and social media marketing projects using the following options:
Use infographics and relevant pictures as pins to engage with your customers and potential leads. Use Pinterest’s commercial features to promote your products, and use the analytics tool to gain insight into customer preferences, sales conversions, and bounce rates.
Link to other social media platforms such as Quora and Twitter to extend the scope of your business. Also, share your views and recommendations for other boards. At the same time, keep your board updated with multiple pins to create interest and build professional relationships with other users and potential clients.
Create boards for your employees and potential customers with photos of team meetings and business deals. Share graphics of customer experiences as pinned images to create a good rapport with your user base. Use relevant keywords in the titles and descriptions of your boards to make optimal use of your account.
You can pin videos from Vimeo and YouTube to promote products. Visually intuitive media is an integral part of SEO strategies because of search engines rate user interaction and engagement highly.
Make your pins user-friendly by using Place Pins that let you pin images with maps. This is extremely useful in the tourism industry because you can view pictures of shopping locations, hotels, and public places.
YouTube may not be your favorite social networking site, but it is an excellent platform for connecting with your audience. There are various ways you can use YouTube to promote products and services:
Create tutorials, lectures, and online training for your users.
Use promotional videos to reach out to customers. Include do-it-yourself projects to further educate your customers about how to work with products and services.
Use YouTube’s commercial advertising platform to create and publish ads.
Integrate with its parent Google+ account to cater to a wide audience.
Post quality links to your website or blogs, and keep user interest alive with regular updates and comments.
Yelp is a handy utility for small- and medium-size businesses that do not have the budget for traditional advertising and are looking to expand their local business in a particular location. You can use Yelp to boost your business by implementing the following steps:
Pay close attention to customer reviews. Understand the needs of the customer and also look for ways to expand your customer base by learning about the requirements of prospective customers.
Responding to customers’ needs demonstrates genuine empathy and concern. Customer feedback and reviews are important for local businesses to survive in a highly competitive market.
Analyze the business graph and check traffic from customers in your vicinity. Track your progress and optimize your strategy by using the built-in metrics. Include interactive media such as images and photos, and use specific keywords to describe your product.
Offer special promotions, deals, and offers to customers to increase online sales. For example, post a list of coupon codes that offer discounts on various products, especially during the Christmas season, to help develop a reliable customer base.
Foursquare is a technology social networking service catering to mobile users. It can help you discover and share information about the businesses and organizations around you.
You can check in whenever you visit a commercial establishment. Because Foursquare’s technology is used by other social media platforms such as Vine and Flickr, you can plan strategies to get the maximum benefit from this platform.
You can use Foursquare to improve your local business in the following ways:
Understand customers’ likes and dislikes by analyzing reviews and comments.
Develop a relationship with users by using trivia and contests.
Offers, deals, and badges can be used as promotional materials for your business. Offer discounts to customers who have gained perks and badges using Foursquare; this creates a positive customer experience and can increase your online reputation.
Post tips and use Foursquare’s ad services to extend your reach in the vicinity.
With mobile telephony gaining momentum and becoming the prime channel for e-commerce, the number of social media apps is increasing by the day—the list seems endless.
For example, in addition to the other sites discussed here, Instagram is an image-and video-based social media application that is hugely popular and trendy.
Social bookmarking sites are evolving and play a major role in SEO-related social media marketing. (Social bookmarking sites are centralized online services where users save links to web pages that they intend to share.) For example, Pinterest, Flickr, and Reddit are popular and widely-used social bookmarking sites catering to a large audience.
You can access the bookmarks through any computer that provides access to the internet. You can share links with your connections and also sneak a peek at links that other users tag on the platform. Using these sites, you can drive traffic and valuable backlinks to your site.
Social bookmarking is SEO-centric in that you can introduce a website or web page to the search engines before the crawlers locate the web page through inbound links. External metadata using relevant keywords, categorization, and hits improves the SEO profile for the site or web page.
Vlogging has grown from just an occasional enhancement to a blog post to become a type of blogging all its own. Vlogging, or video blogging, allows bloggers to communicate with readers beyond the written word.
Interested in monetizing your blog? Vlogging also provides you with new opportunities to turn your hobby into a money-making proposition.
Although is a vlogging strange word to type and an even stranger word to pronounce, when you understand its source, it makes sense. Just as blog grew out of the word weblog (pronounced web-log), vlogging is the shortened word for video blogging or video logging, and is pronounced just like blogging, but with a v.
With vlogging, rather than share your content with the world through words on a page, you share the same types of content through uploaded videos.
Understanding why you should vlog
Even with the presence of online communities, meet-ups, and blogging conferences, the fact is that blogging remains a medium that allows participants to hide behind the computer screen, sharing only what they’re willing to share in carefully chosen words. Some bloggers, in fact, enjoy blogging for that reasons alone — the ability to hide behind their blogging mask.
So why vlog and expose yourself by coming through the screen and into your readers’ homes and phones through the power of video? The answer lies not in the readers that you have but the viewers that you don’t.
Although fewer new readers are exploring blog content that was in the initial blogging boom, video continues to bring more viewers to their content. nearly 70 percent of all Internet traffic will be tied to online video viewing by 2019. The video is booming, and now may be the time for you to get a piece of the action.
Beyond following the turning tide of Internet use, you can realize other benefits of adding vlogs to your blogging repertoire. Unless you’re blogging professionally or hoping to do so, your blog is all about you.
This means that if vlogging sounds like an absolutely horrifying pursuit to you, it’s perfectly fine to ignore the research and never upload a moment of video ever!
Discovering available vlogging platforms
The great news is that blog platforms recognize the importance of video in today’s blogging landscape. Everything from a basic, free Blogger site to a self-hosted WordPress blog offers the ability to upload video.
However, you may find yourself highly restricted in terms of file size. For that reason as well as vlog promotion, which I discuss later in the chapter, it’s worth taking a look at some of the available blogging platforms.
By far and away, the most popular video platform is YouTube, In fact, YouTube claims to have 1 billion+ active users each month, with 300 hours of video uploaded every minute.
Creating your own YouTube vlogging channel — which is free and relatively simple — allows you to tap into an existing audience that is simply mind-blowing.
Unfortunately, with the vast amount of content uploaded every second of the day, it may be tough for your content to grab the attention of that audience.
Even if you don’t choose to create and promote a vlogging channel on YouTube, you may want to upload your content to that platform for a couple of reasons:
File size: Uploading your content to YouTube rather than to your blog directly helps you clear the file size hurdle on most blog platforms.
Ease: Most blog platforms provide you with an option to upload video content directly from YouTube.
Organization: Perhaps you’d like to just occasionally upload a vlog post to your current site. By uploading them to YouTube first, you’ve also created a place that holds all your video content in one easy-to-find location.
Another online video-creation platform worth a look is Maker.tv. This is an especially good option if you’re planning to create a series of webisodes or want to make your vlog into a regular content series.
Vimeo is another highly popular video platform that has less of the junk content than you’ll find on YouTube. Ideally, this means that your content has a higher probability of being viewed and a smaller chance of receiving the kind of inappropriate feedback that users sometimes experience on YouTube.
A great way to find a viewing audience is to create your content on one of the most popular online platforms — Facebook! Facebook videos autoplay in newsfeeds, grabbing the attention of viewers. Platform options include playlist creation, designation of featured videos, and the option to include a call-to-action at the end of the video.
Created in 2012, Vine has exploded in the social media world, with some Vine content creators achieving the kind of online celebrity previously reserved for YouTube stars.
Each Vine video, also called simply a vine for short, consists of 6-second-long looping video content. Vines are easily shared across other social media platforms including Twitter and Facebook.
Setting the Stage
One of the great things about vlog is how quickly you can hit the ground running. Most cameras include a video function, computers typically include a webcam that records video, and free vlog platforms provide anyone in the world with a location to upload content.
However, you shouldn’t necessarily just grab your old digital camera and begin recording and uploading content willy-nilly.
As with any other form of blogging, putting in a bit of time and care provides you with incredible benefits. Want to present a polished, finished product? You need to begin by setting your vlogging stage.
Choosing the right equipment
Any blogger will tell you that your final product is only as good as your video equipment. If your audience can’t see or hear you, it doesn’t make much difference what content you’re sharing.
The good news is that you may already have the equipment you need, and if not, it’s now less expensive than ever to obtain quality video equipment.
If you plan to film all your vlogging content within reach of your computer, you may want to get started by using your computer’s internal webcam. For better quality, consider investing in an external webcam that provides you with more flexibility.
You may want to film on the go, on-site at events, or in locations that prevent filming with a webcam from being a viable option. Investing in the following can take your video quality to the next level:
Does one room in your home have an incredible natural light? Consider making this your vlogging location. Natural light provides for high-quality videos. Indoor natural light cuts down on the background noises that you may encounter if you film outdoors.
Creating a vlogging space
Do you know those moments in reality television shows when the stars answer questions or provide additional commentary? The background is always the same: the furniture comfy but perfect; the decorations trendy yet not distracting.
The secret is that those areas aren’t just a quiet corner in the homes of the reality TV stars. They have actually staged sets created specifically for the purpose of shooting that footage.
Now, I’m not suggesting that you do away with your children’s playroom so that you have space to create a vlogging set, but I do suggest that it’s a good idea to designate one area of your home or office where you typically film your videos. Take the time to look at the following before you decide to film:
Lighting: Are you in good, natural light? If not, can you bring in additional light without too much hassle?
Sound: Life doesn’t stop while your vlog. Be sure not to choose a location too close to noisemakers such as the dishwasher or laundry room.
Decor: Before clicking Record, look behind you and to the sides to see what your viewers will also see. Although it’s nice to think that they’ll be looking only at you as they hang on your every word, the truth is that they may be zooming in to figure out where you are in that family vacation photo over your right shoulder.
Editing Your Vlog
By now you’ve thought about your video equipment, the vlog platform you’d like to use, and where you’re likely to film your vlogs. You’re ready to go! But wait. What about editing that raw footage before sharing it with the world?
Certainly, many vlogs are filmed on the go and posted to the Internet with no editing whatsoever — and that is absolutely okay! But should you wish to polish your content before putting it out there, tons of tools are available to you to do so?
Promoting Your Vlog
After you’ve created your video content, it is time to promote that content and, with luck, bring a new audience to your blog or vlog channel. If you’ve already begun blogging, the first place to start is your own blog.
Even if you choose to host your vlog on an additional platform such as YouTube, your blog still creates a prime opportunity to promote your new vlog content:
Use sidebar promotion
Let anyone stopping by your site know that additional video content is available by featuring that content in your sidebar. Post an image letting readers know about your vlog and asking them to click through to your blogging platform. Better yet, install a video viewer so that readers can view your vlogging content right there on your site.
Write an announcement post
Do you have an established readership who may have no idea that you’ve also begun vlogging? Let them know by writing a post announcing your new venture into the world of video. They’ll likely be excited to check out the new offerings from one of their favorite bloggers.
Write a round-up post
One of the best ways for bloggers to promote any additional content they’re posting elsewhere on the Internet is through a weekly, bi-weekly, or even monthly round-up post. Rather than let your readers know every time you post new video content, tell them periodically with short summaries and links to that content.
Social media is likely to become your best friend when it’s time to promote your video content. Most vlog platforms — and certainly all blogs — provide you with ways to directly and immediately share your new video content with the world through some of the most popular social media platforms.
Consider taking all the steps to promote your vlog that you would with a written blog, such as creating a unique Twitter account or Facebook page for your vlog channel or webisode series.
As with all content promotion, the community is key. Check out a bit more about building your own community with forums, RSS feeds, and social media in the upcoming chapters. One of the best ways to get your community to promote your content is to spend more time promoting theirs than promoting your own.
It may seem counterintuitive, but the truth is that if you’re a good steward of the relationships you’re building online rather than taking advantage of your connections, those community members will step up to promote you when the time comes — such as the launch of your fantastic new vlog!
What Is Keyword Research?
In a nutshell, “keyword research” is just trying to find out what people are searching for online. There are quite a few ways to do this. I’ll introduce a few basic ones and a few advanced ones in this blog, but just keep in mind that if you are writing stuff on your blog that you think people are looking for, then you are doing the right thing.
Even if you are very familiar with your niche, keyword research can give us more insight into what’s going on inside search engines every day. You might know that people are searching for ways to lose weight, but you might not have known that there’s a group of people looking to lose weight before a high school reunion.
It can also help you find out which phrases and niches have more/less traffic/competition.
First I’m going to talk about some basic concepts, then get into some tutorials on how to actually conduct the research part. Detailed keyword research tactics are beyond the scope of this blog, but I will link to some resources I’ve created so you can dig in once you get started with your own website.
Using keywords properly to get your website ranked in Google is one of the most important things about building a Wordpress site that makes money through blogging.
Also, keep in mind that if some of the number stuff we’re about to go over makes your head spin, just use them as a general guide for now. High traffic is good. Low competition is good. That’s pretty much all you need to know to get started.
How To Do Basic Keyword Research
When I start a brand new site, the keyword research I do is not very organized. I just find anything and everything that looks interesting and put what I find into a spreadsheet based on the metrics.
High Traffic, High Competition
High Traffic, Low Competition
Low Traffic, High Competition
Low Traffic, Low Competition
This gives me a long view of where my site is heading. What are things that people are searching for related to this niche? What are topics that I will probably be writing about in the future?
You can also use these keyword stats to pick a domain name if you want. I talked about this in a previous section, but if you do find a high traffic keyword with a .com available, that might be a smart choice to pick up the domain. At the very least you can sell the domain at a premium later, or flip a very basic site with lots of potentials.
But as I mentioned in the domain section, a good keyword will not make or break a website. The best niches will have a good mix of high traffic keywords and low competition keywords. If you find that all your keywords are high traffic high competition, you may be going too broad with your niche.
On the other side of the coin, lots of low competition low traffic keywords but nothing in the high traffic area could mean that while there’s an opportunity here, the potential for growth may lie in broadening your keyword pool at some point.
Any niche will have an unlimited set of keywords if you are really passionate about the topic, though sometimes they take a while to reveal themselves!
You can also use keywords to confirm or change the running themes for your website.
Maybe your niche is “backpacking”, and one of your running themes was “choosing the correct luggage”. But then you find out that it’s very high competition and actually not that many searches. You may want to tweak this core page on your site to be “choosing the correct rucksack”, which can actually be an in-depth topic if you talk to the experts!
Or the opposite can happen. You may find that there are not enough searches for something, and you weren’t too hot on the idea, to begin with. Research and open up some new ideas, and maybe make some changes based on what you find.
At the end of the day, it’s not like you are actually limited to just 3-5 topics per site. That’s just a guideline to get you started. You can always change links, update pages, add more pages, or alter the general direction of your site as you grow.
When comes to keyword tools, let me first say that I have my preferences and I will base the training in this blog based on that. Before we get started, let’s take a look at some popular keyword tools so you know what’s out there.
This is the tool that most people in the “niche site” community use. The creator of this tool is very involved in the niche site building community so it gets a lot of exposure there. Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income (a famous website and podcast) also uses this, so they have plenty of case studies, tutorials, and bloggers that also promote this tool.
It’s a good one. I don’t have extensive experience with it, but it does provide some useful insight into competition power and uses a lot of data from Moz, a reliable site for SEO analysis.
I personally found it slow at times and didn’t really care about all the data it was giving me. Also, it was using Google’s search numbers which aren’t really accurate as far as I understand.
Google Keyword Planner
This is a free tool that lots of people use. I do not use it, so cannot provide much insight into how it works, but at the very least it’ll help you think of some keyword ideas and give you a general idea of high vs low competition and traffic.
Search + Traffic Numbers
What are good traffic numbers to look for? Actually…Anything. Seriously. Why are you being so picky?
Sure, if you wanted to build up a quick niche site with impressive numbers so you could flip it to an investor, maybe you would want to look at creating some content with higher traffic stats, but since we are creating a long-term business for ourselves here, any traffic number will do.
If you write one hundred articles with one visit per day, that’s one hundred extremely targeted visitors to your website every single day that you can count on. My current website has almost 1,000 blog posts on it, which would mean I can pretty much count on one thousand visits per day (if I had a keyword for each post).
Actually, I have much more traffic than that, but that’s beside the point. If you could fast forward three years and have a thousand-post website with a thousand visits a day you could funnel to a list or to affiliate pages would you do it? Heck yeah! You can do it, but you have to build it one post at a time (which is a huge pitfall for many people by the way).
Talking about specific numbers though, anything with above 300 searches per month is doing quite well. Above 500 or 1000 is fantastic. Even 100 or 200 a month is doing alright, but under 100 is pretty low. Don’t count out those keywords, but do consider the amount of work you have to do for that traffic.
I always consider: Is the keyword attractive? I mean, does it makes sense, and what type of visitor do you think it will attract?
Time to use your brain! Let’s talk about some examples of good and not-so-good keywords we could potentially use on our website. Before you flip out, yes, coffee enemas are a real thing, and I actually have a website about it that does make money.
It’s a thing that’s gaining some traction in the alternative medicine community. You learn something new every day, right? Ha!
coffee enema blog – 32 searches 25 competition
The number of searches isn’t great, but QSR is low. I could probably rank for it, but why? Maybe I could write a post about the Top 10 Coffee Enema Blogs Online, and it could generate some traffic, but this is not an awesome keyword. People coming to my site probably want to leave right away!
coffee enema frequency – 56 searches 23 competition
Slightly more searches than above, but still pretty low. This might be more attractive as people landing on my site will see that I have some knowledge on the topic and are interested in doing their own coffee enemas probably. I could then direct them to products I recommend like organic coffee.
organic coffee enemas – 128 searches 190 competition
More searches, but also more competition. Competition is still within the range of what we consider to be “low”, but the keyword itself is quite broad, and may be harder to rank for.
Don’t count it out! It may be good for a core page on your website. You can also look for related keywords like “Where to buy organic coffee for enemas” or “Do organic coffee enemas work better than non-organic?”
are coffee enemas safe – 136 searches 44 competition
Grammatically correct, higher traffic (compared to other keywords in this niche), and very low competition. This would be a perfect blog post title. The other keywords shown above are OK, and I would target them eventually, but this one would be my #1 choice.
The examples above are all pretty mild as far as searches go because this is not a very popular topic. However, it’s a great niche because the audience is very passionate. It takes an issue (illness or discomfort) and solves it (waste evacuation, caffeine stimulation).
For popular niches or high traffic keywords, you can expect searches to go into hundreds or even thousands per month. However, the majority of keywords you find for any niche are not going to be that high, and are probably going to land somewhere between 0-500.
Let’s look a few more examples
carp fishing pole – 112 searches 120 competition
A decent amount of searches, but higher competition compared to the number of searches. Something I would consider going for, but I may find a lower competition keyword like a best carp fishing rods review.
It’s showing less than 10 searches per month, but I see that bass fishing rods reviews have 32 searches per month and only 9 competition. I’d rather try to rank for something easy I know I can get some traffic from than tougher keywords.
children fishing poles – 256 searches 121 competition
A lot more searches compared to the previous example, but the same number of competition. Kids stuff is always a winner, so I would write a big post comparing some of the top fishing poles for kids, and defining which ones are best for which ages.
hello kitty fishing pole – 120 searches 27 competition
A good number of searches and very low competition. Worth writing for, but because it’s a very specific product, I think I would have a hard time writing about it.
I would instead write a post called [brand] Hello Kitty Fishing Pole Review, and make it a product review post rather than try to write a general article about Hello Kitty fishing poles.
ice fishing pole – 306 searches 195 competition
Many more searches, but also higher in competition. I could probably do several posts on lower competition keywords like comparing different ice fishing pole brands or explaining how ice fishing poles are different from other types of poles. I’m not sure I would target this keyword as-is, but would definitely use it for a series of blog posts about ice fishing gear.
Portable ice fishing shelters – 348 searches 206 competition
Tons of searches for a potentially very expensive item. Competition is a bit higher, but I don’t care. This is something I would definitely try to rank for!
Crappie ice fishing techniques 79 searches 5 competition
A great example of a very specific keyword with the super low competition. Traffic is lower, but still OK and worth targeting. This is a great chance to write a tutorial, then link off to a crappie fishing pole review or #1 rated fishing pole!
Ice fishing shanty plans 160 searches 94 competition
Pretty good searches and pretty low competition. What’s most exciting about this keyword is that there is probably a digital info product you could promote related to this topic. Rank on page 1 for this term, and you might have hundreds of ice fishermen visiting your website every day buying shanty plans through your website!
Competition is a complicated subject because there are just so many metrics that go into ranking a page. Not only that but what those metrics are and how heavily each is taken into account is a complete mystery! Literally. Google doesn’t tell us how they rank pages, otherwise, it would be easy for people to get to the #1 position and stay there.
The #1 reason to never trust a product or service that guarantees page 1 rankings is that no one can actually guarantee this. If they can somehow boost you to page one with ‘black hat’ (bad) SEO tactics, it’s only a matter of time before you lose that spot, and maybe even get a site penalty that damages individual pages or even your entire website.
What is QSR?
QSR stands for “Quoted Search Results”. It’s a metric that is not measured by a lot of the so-called professionals, but it is a competition metric I watch closely, and pretty much the only hard number I pay attention to when assessing my competitors.
Other factors that come into play when assessing competition include the age of the website, frequency of posting, the size of their social media following, engagement in the comment section, use of keywords, and whether or not they are a marketer or just a blogger that stumbled upon a good ranking position.
The “quoted” part comes from the fact that we do a Google search for the phrase we want to target with quotes around the phrase. Instead of searching for how to make money online, we search for “how to make money online”.
The number of results that turn up is much smaller than if we did a broad search with no quotes. This shows us precisely how many websites indexed in Google have the exact phrase somewhere in their pages.
ATTN! The initial page will display something like 57 million results, but this is just an estimate. Scroll through the pages of search results as far back as you can go.
Very often, especially for particularly long phrases (long tail keywords), we only get to page two or three before we reach the end of the results. Then we are shown a very precise number of how many results are indexed with that exact phrase.
The lower the better. Ideally, we are searching for something with less than 300 pages. Anything under 100 is considered very low competition and is probably going to be easy to rank for.
Other Types of Competition
Look at the next section Ranking for Keywords to see a list of factors that can affect the rank of your page. Those are things that I generally look at when sussing up the competition.
In the beginning, you’ll probably look at everyone that’s ranking and think to yourself, “Wow, I’ll never be able to beat them!”. But anything is possible, and I’ve seen plenty of newbie bloggers outrank sites like Mashable, Amazon, or even Wikipedia. Don’t fear the competition, because, at this point in time, you might not be 100% sure who your real competition is!
Sites you might look at now as “ranking” might not even be ranking for keywords you discover later on down the road. It’s hard to imagine which direction your business will be heading in 6 months, so don’t stress too much about who your competition is right now.
For example, Wikipedia might rank for the term “History of Ford Mustang” and the MotorTrends website might rank for “Fastest Mustang in 2015”. But who cares?
There are hundreds of other better terms that you’ll be able to find that you can rank for that will probably be better for making money. Being a small website means you are more nimble and can cover more detailed topics.
For example, “ford mustang clothing accessories” currently only has 10 websites in the whole world with that phrase on them. Easy to rank for! “Car covers ford mustang” and “ford mustang ignition” are also very low competition phrases that you could do simple blog posts on and rank pretty easily.
Speaking about competitive phrases that you want to rank for, what do you do if there really are a bunch of great looking websites ranking for terms that you want to rank for?
Personally, I write an excellent post on the topic, link back to myself (discussed in the On-Page SEO section), and then forget about it. It’s really not worth stressing over the rank of a single page on your website when you could be working on new pages.
Yeah, I may re-visit it from time to time to try to improve the rank over a longer period of time, but it’s not something I would re-visit on a weekly basis. It’s very possible that your website is just too new, and doesn’t have the “authority” to compete with other, more established sites at this time.
Last thing about competition – how do you know if someone really is tough competition? I mainly look at how often they post, how good their website looks, and how much engagement they get in the comments. I also like to snoop their monetization strategies. Are they building a list? What products are they promoting? Do they have a sales funnel set up?
You should stop seeing them as competition and start seeing them as peers. They are worth much more to you as a potential buddy for future joint ventures than someone you just dislike because they rank better than you!
Ranking For Keywords
Possibly one of the most talked about topics in the world of making money from websites is how to rank for a phrase you want to rank for. There are thousands of guides out there that claim they have discovered the secret formula, and if you just follow their steps, you are guaranteed a #1 spot in the search results.
No matter who is saying it, or how they phrase it, if they tell you they have a guaranteed way to rank, they are yanking your chain. No one knows. Even with my own recommendations for how to use keywords in order to rank, I have surprised myself by not being able to rank for things I thought would be easy.
I have also surprised myself with an excellent rank on articles that I basically wrote willy-nilly. Sometimes, it’s kind of a guessing game.
That being said, I do have a set of rules I try to adhere to, to increase my chances or ranking highly in search engines (mostly Google). Let’s use the keyword phrase “best way to grow hydroponic tomatoes”. It has an average of 100 searches per month and a QSR of 10.
1. Use the keyword in the title. For example, the title of your post will be: “The Best Way To Grow Hydroponic Tomatoes In The Winter”. That’s pretty simple, right?
Oh, and your permalinks should be set to create matching links to your titles. Normally, you won’t have to change anything, but it’s worth mentioning. This means when you publish your post, the URL will be http://website.com/the-best-way-to-grow-hydroponic-tomatoes-in-the-winter.
Some people prefer to shorten it to something like http://website.com/best-way- grow-hydroponic-tomatoes-winter or even http://website.com/grow-hydroponic- tomatoes-winter. Both of those are fine too.
2. Use the keyword in the first paragraph. For example, Tomato lovers looking to grow their own vegetables with hydroponic systems start around springtime, looking forward to harvesting their food in summer.
But seasoned growers will want to keep a crop moving all year round. For you guys, I’ve come up with the best way to grow hydroponic tomatoes in the winter. This has worked for two winters for me already, and I’m happy to share my secrets with you.
That’s pretty much it! Shocking, I know. But I currently rank for thousands of keywords using this method. But before you close this blog and write me off as a hack, hear me out.
You are not ‘banned’ from using your phrase again later in the pages. These are just the minimum rules I set for myself for keyword targeted content.
If you write about anything naturally, the phrase will occur more than once over the course of a 1000 word article. Not only that, but you will be naturally using synonyms and related phrases without even thinking about it.
Rather than try to stuff your phrase in there to hit a 2% density which creates an unnatural feel to the article, just write from your head, and most of the time you will write something that is at least eligible for the first page…if you play our cards right.
Some other optional things you can do for on-page optimization for a phrase include:
1.Adding an image with an alt tag using your keyword
2. Use a heading with your keyword (h2, h3, h4, etc)
3. Use the keyword once more in the last paragraph
4. Use text formatting for an LSI keyword phrase
5.Create an external link to a relevant resource with a related phrase
6.Create an internal link to a relevant resource with a related phrase
I realize that there are some things in that list that you might not understand right now. Honestly, it’s not worth the discussion at this point, because I don’t recommend you start off your blogging journey worrying about minute details that may or may not even work.
You can come back to this portion at a later date and look each over the things you don’t understand, as they’ve been written about many times over on different websites, including my own.
For now, just keep in mind, “Keyword in the title, keyword in the first paragraph”. If you are aiming for appropriately low competition phrases, ranking for some, if not most of what you target, should be easy.
Other things That Affect Rank
Let’s talk about a few other things that I believe can affect the rank of a specific page on your website.
1.Blog Activity. The more active you are and the more fresh content you post to your website, the more Google will come to crawl your site. More content = more authority = more rank for your website as a whole, thus affecting individual pages
2.Content Volume. Related to #1, the length of your posts also matters. For competitive keywords, it’s rare to see a post that’s less than 500 words make it to the first page. Even for medium competition, longer, more details posts will (pretty much) always outrank ones with ‘thin’ content.
3. Social Signals. Facebook likes, Google +1, Tweets, and shares on other social media websites are well known to contribute to the authority of pages on your site.
4.User Engagement. The comment section of your posts can be very important! To Google it simply sees that each time it’s returning to your page, you’ve updated it with new, fresh content.
5.Keyword Density. Though I don’t shoot for any specific keyword density, I do believe it can affect your rank positively or negatively. Not enough density and your post aren’t focused enough. Too much density and it’s over-optimized.
6.Keyword Usage. Where and how is the keyword used? Is it bolded? Is it an h3 tag? Is it used as an alt tag or image title? Is it the exact phrase or a derivative? If you use a keyword 10 times in one paragraph that will have a different effect than using it 10 times evenly spaced out.
7.LSI Usage. LSI means Latent Semantic Indexing. It basically means “related words”. If my keyword is “how to make an authentic Italian pizza”, then dough, pepperoni, bake in the oven and make pizza sauce would all be part of the LSI list. It’s words you use when talking about your subject choice.
8. On-Site Anchor Text. This is when you link internally from pages on your site to other pages on your site. Using the keyword phrase as the text part of the link (called anchor text) can definitely boost your rank over time.
9.Off-Site Anchor Text. This is where other websites link back to you.
The phrase they choose to link to your page is also called anchor text. When other sites link to you, it’s also called getting a ‘backlink’, and is the subject of much discussion in the online business community.
Getting high-quality backlinks is great for ranking, but getting unnatural or low-quality backlinks can poison your site and destroy it (I know from personal experience).
We will talk more about keyword rank and search engine optimization in the next blog.
Research Without Tools
Getting down to the basics, we actually don’t need any keyword tools to figure out what people are searching for. Technically, if we were familiar enough with the topic we chose we could just write off the cuff and search engines would find our site. It’s not “required” to do research and target a phrase in order to rank. We just do it to increase our chances of ranking.
If you don’t want to invest the money into a keyword tool right now, here are a few ways to find out what people are searching for in your niche.
This is probably the most fun, and easy to decipher. Simply start out with any word or short phrase related to your niche. Type it into Google. Hit space, and then type a letter. Yup, any letter.
Google will automatically try to guess what you are searching for based on other people’s similar searches. You can also type the letter before the phrase or in the middle.
Using this tactic will give you some serious insight into what people are searching for because Google creates these predictions based on what real people are searching for.
It’s also much more up to date than any keyword tool because most tools use some kind of historical data. Not only that, but you will end up with a ton of long tail keywords, which tend to have very low competition.
*NOTE: “Long Tail Keyword” simply means a keyword with more words in it, usually 3-5+
Yahoo Answers is probably the most famous and well ranked, but Quora and a few others exist. Reddit would fall under this category as well. See where people are asking questions and discussing your topic. Notice which topics get the most comments, cause controversy or are asked several times.
You can not only get insight into what makes people in your niche tick, but you also get some real answers and start to gain more knowledge that you can use to create original articles for your own website.
Join a forum and see what new topics are getting posted. See who’s answering the questions, and how they are answering them. Notice what the brand new people are asking, and what’s frustrating or confusing them. What are they excited about?
People dedicate time out of their day to participate in discussions on these forums. They are not paid, and the vast majority of them have got no monetary value out of participating. It’s like spying in on your potential customers to find out what they are passionate about.
Browse some other blogs in your niche. See what their most popular posts are and which ones are getting the most comments. Take note of what new stuff they’re posting.
Get on their email list and check out what they are talking about. You can even investigate what stuff they are promoting on their website and get some ideas of what you can promote on your own.
I don’t advocate copying at all! But there’s nothing wrong with doing research and seeing what works for other people. Don’t just creep one person's blog and drool over their traffic stats.
Keep an eye on a few big players you see ranked a lot, borrow some ideas from each, and keep in mind that you want to work on developing your own brand over time.
I have seen a lot of people copy my websites in the past (or currently) and it’s annoying. Please just use this for learning, not leeching.
Making Up Keywords
The more familiar you are with your niche, the more you can just write anything you think of and have it stick. Seriously. Some of my most popular posts were done just by using my brain. Sometimes, this is the only choice!
When news comes out this week, you won’t find it in any keyword tool because they rely on historical data. For example, when I was living in China and promoting VPNs, Gmail got blocked one week. So I wrote a post, “How to unblock Gmail in China”.
The post was ranked within a week and doubled my traffic overnight.
I probably made a few thousand dollars just from that one post over the next month. Of course, I eventually got pushed out of the #1 spot by websites like Mashable and Lifehacker, capitalizing on the traffic and ad revenue, but it was nice to know that I truly was on the top of my game, and had real insight that only I and a select few could provide.
This tactic isn’t as available for newbies, and for people entering a niche, they aren’t very familiar with. But don’t worry – as you grow, you will eventually have more ideas than you could ever write about. I’m now approaching 1,000 posts on One More Cup of Coffee and still have tons of ideas I want to publish over the next couple of years.
Summary + Tasks
Keyword research is something that you will never stop doing. It’s important that you understand the basics because it will help you discover what your potential customers care about and are searching for.
You can use a tool or do it via basic research methods. When using a tool, keep in mind that high traffic, low competition should be your focus. When doing manual research, look for longtail keywords related to popular topics.
Tasks For This Blog
1. Find 3 high traffic keywords or popular topics related to your niche
2. Find 3 low competition keywords or longtail keywords related to your niche
3. Find 1 forum related to your niche you can join for research purposes
4. Find 2 blogs related to your niche you can subscribe to or read for research
Keywords + SEO
More people waste money on SEO products than I care to think about. The one thing I want you to understand about search engine optimization is that no one can guarantee rank for any keyword, and even if you slime your way to the #1 spot with loopholes, there’s a slim chance you’ll stay there.
What I want to provide for you in this SEO blog are two basic things.
General advice to keep in mind when optimizing your page
Specific steps that I use to increase my chance of ranking
However, there is no formula that will guarantee a #1 spot, no matter what the sales page of “Amazing SEO Secret Explosion” (or whatever the flavor of the week is) tells you.
For me? The #1 tool in my SEO toolkit is aiming for low competition keywords. Writing high-quality content for keywords that very few people are trying to rank for can get you ranked on page 1 within hours of publishing.
I do it on a weekly basis. Now, keep in mind that not all those posts drive huge amounts of traffic to my blog. They may only attract a few visitors per day, or maybe even a few visitors per week.
But once you get more posts under your belt, those few visitors that love your website will help boost rank for other pages on your website targeting more competitive terms. Think about this:
If you rank for a super low competition phrase and a visitor spends 5 minutes on the page reading, plus clicks around to other pages on your site, likes, comments, and comes back later, don’t you think that will send some positive signals to Google? Of course! Those positive signals will seep into other places onto your site, improving your overall rank.
Then, let’s say you creep up to page 2 for a competitive phrase. A person looking for a difficult answer is not satisfied with page 1 results, and does the unthinkable…he clicks to page 2 of search results. Wow, he lands on your page and stays for a couple minutes.
Then leaves a comment to thank you for such an awesome post. I’m confident that in the next few days you’ll see yourself cross the threshold into front page territory. As more visitors land on your site and enjoy what you write, you can work your way up to that #1 spot.
Of course, this is just a hypothetical example, and it doesn’t always work like this. I’m also guessing as to how the algorithm works, so don’t take it as gospel. But that’s the thinking behind why low competition keyword phrases are so important for not only ranking those individual pages but for improving your overall (brand new) website authority.
One more thing! Over-optimization is a real thing and can get you dinged. Too much of any one thing is bad for your site. Too many keywords, too much text formatting, too many backlinks from one place, too many outbound links; they can all hurt your SEO.
Keep everything in balance, and most importantly, keep your reader in mind. Google may be an imperfect machine, but they are always working to make it smarter, more intuitive, and better able to interpret your searches like a human.
Write with your readers in mind, and you are optimizing for the future of search.
Write for search engines, and you aren’t doing yourself any favors.
So let’s get into how I optimize my pages for search engines.
Online community needs leaders or facilitators to keep the discussions lively, upbeat, and on topic. Taking on the role of a community leader or even founder can be a tough job, and sometimes the rewards come slowly.
Don’t let these realities discourage you, though. Encouraging growth in any community requires a certain level of patience, persistence, and attention — but when it works, it really works.
If you’re lucky, in the process of getting people to read and comment on your posts and on each other’s comments, you even discover how to convert readers into community evangelists who can make the community larger, more fun, and more active.