There are millions of websites. This is both an opportunity and a challenge. If you’re a website owner, you want to stand out from the crowd. When you achieve website prominence the competition no longer matters. Here’s how to stand out from the crowd: #1 Easy navigation
It sounds so simple, yet many websites are a navigational disaster. When a visitor cannot find what they need quickly and easily, they leave. Ideally your website will be designed to facilitate a visitor’s experience. Not only should they be able to quickly and easily find what they’re looking for, you also want to guide them to achieve your goals.
For example, if you’re an affiliate marketer you want to guide your prospects to the second and third tier pages where your affiliate links and ads are placed. #2 Keyword research
Keyword research supports easy navigation. Your visitors and prospects find your site with keywords. That means those same keywords need to be present on your site and easy to find. They not only need to be part of the content, they should also be part of the navigation. Research your keywords to support your customers and prospects. Include them in the navigation flow.
Additionally, keyword research helps you provide the most valuable and beneficial content possible. When you know what your customers and prospects are looking for, you can provide it. Providing top quality content will set you apart from the majority of your competition. #3 Analytics
Analytics provide valuable inside information. They help you track where your customers go on your website. They also tell you:
* How long people stay on a single web page
* How long they stay on your site
* How they found your website
* What keywords they use to find your website
* How many visitors return to your website
This information is invaluable. Create a practice where you analyze your website analytics regularly. Create content and navigation systems that support your findings. And take the initiative to test and track your results. For example, if you add a new feature on your website like a survey, test and track where on your site it receives the most attention.
Standing out from the crowd isn’t difficult. However, it does require a solid plan. Know your audience. Research your keywords. Create a navigation structure that supports your customers and your business goals. And pay attention to the data. Your website analytics are the key to helping you achieve website prominence. Julianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. She is the Director of Communications for Our Milk Money, the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of Buy By Mom and Buy By Mom Blog. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.
Have you ever wondered how other bloggers are making so much money? What is their secret? How can you make money with your blog?
Here are three ways you can make money with your blog.
Affiliate commissions. Many bloggers use their blogs to promote the products and services of others. They are affiliate marketers. You can create quite a successful business by choosing a blog topic that interests you. The more specific the topic, the better. For example, if you love reading mystery novels, you can create a blog that reveiws mystery novels. Each review could include an affiliate link so your readers can buy the book. You might also include ads in your sidebar that advertise ‘how to write mystery novels’, and writing programs. The foundation of a successful affiliate business is content and there is not better content tool than a blog.
Advertising Revenue. Many profitable blogs earn all of their income from advertising revenue. There are two ways you can earn money from advertising. You can participate in programs like Google’s AdSense. You simply sign up and paste the code on your blog. Google inserts the ads. You can choose the ad category so they match your visitor’s interests. Each time someone clicks on an ad, you earn money. You can also sell space on your blog. The more readers and subscribers you have, the more you can charge for ad space on your site. In the meantime, consider placing affiliate banner ads in the sidebar. This will get your readers accustomed to ads on your blog. It might earn you some additional income in the meantime. It may also help your readers visualize their ads on your site. You should also place an ‘advertise with us’ or ‘your ad here’ link somewhere on your blog so anyone who wants to advertise on your blog can contact you easily.
Your own products or services. You can use your blog to sell your own products or services. If we continue with the mystery novel example, you might decide to write a ‘how to write a mystery novel’ downloadable course. You can use your blog to promote your product and earn a nice profit. You could also offer manuscript critique services. You could help aspiring mystery writers get published while earning an income. Again, you can use your blog to promote your services.
Once you have established your blog and you are meeting your initial goals, it’s time to look toward the future. How do you want to grow your blog? What are the possibilities for doing so? You can add monetization methods. You can offer more value. Of course, you can also grow your subscriber base.
Here are five tips and strategies to help you grow your blog.
Get involved. Hopefully, in addition to posting on your own blog, you have been participating on other blogs in an effort to promote your own blog. If you haven’t, then you should definitely integrate this tactic into your blog marketing strategy. If you are already commenting on other blogs relevant to your industry then look for ways to become even more active. You can become a guest blogger. You could be adding a few more relevant comments to other blogs each day. By getting involved in your own community, you are more likely increase the traffic to your own blog.
Offer new value. Is there a way you can add more value to your blog – over and above what you already offer? For example, you might consider offering a free report, ebook or online course. You might find a few guest bloggers to help you round out the content on your blog and help provide more information for your readers. You can also mix it up and offer different types of posts like videos, downloadable checklists and worksheets.
Hold a contest. Contests are a great way to help drive traffic to your blog. Make sure, though, that the giveaway you offer is related to the topic of your blog. For example, if you blog about sugar gliders, give away a gift certificate to a pet supply store. When holding a contest be sure to spread the word. Tweet about it. Post it on Facebook. Ask others to help spread the word too. You might offer them extra entries for every person they refer that enters the contest. You’ll recieve more traffic because a lot of people will want to enter your contest. You’ll also gain new subscribers.
Network. The right connections can help change the success of your blog rapidly. Can you imagine if a prominent person mentioned your blog on their blog or show? For example, imagine what would happen if you have a blog about crafting and Martha Stewart mentioned it on her show. Networking can make a huge difference for your blog so get out there and meet people. Offer value and connect.
Add a method to monetize your blog. If you have already done so, super! What else can you do to make money on your blog? You can place a few affiliate ads in the sidebar or footer. You could join Google’s AdSense program. A little extra income can make a big difference.
The foundation of any blog is, of course, content. You can create any type of content that fits your needs and the needs of your audience. You can create video, print or audio content.
When it comes to print content there are many options including:
how to posts
pros and cons
You can also create checklists, blueprints, worksheets and may other useful items.
Audio and Video Content
If writing doesn’t fit the purpose of your blog consider creating audio or video content. Interviews are great in both audio and video format. You can also create how to video posts. If you are comfortable in front of a camera, video is actually a great way to create quick and relevant content. Make sure you have good lighting and sound when you record your video.
How do you come up with content ideas?
Creating posts that are consistently valuable and interesting can be a challenge. In fact, many consider it to be the biggest challenge of owning a blog. Here are several creative ways to find inspiration to create content.
Read. Read magazines, blogs and industry newsletters. Sometimes, just a headline can inspire a few ideas.
Social networking. Participating in social networking is a great way to promote your blog. Also pay attention to what others are saying. What information are they looking for? What problems do they have that you can discuss or even solve on your blog? Great topics abound on social networking sites…all you have to do is visit them and pay attention to the conversations.
FAQs. What questions do people commonly ask you? These can make for some great blog posts.
If you don’t know, then ask. Ask your readers what they want you to write about.
Organizing your content.
There are many approaches to organizing the content on your blog. You can wing it if you want to. You could plan ahead. Planning ahead can save you a lot of headaches. Consider sitting down monthly and planning out the content for the next month. Think of it as a brainstorming session. A good idea is to always carry a notebook with you. Ideas can come to you at any time and you need a place to write them down so you don’t forget them. If you can capture ideas as they come to you, it will save you time and energy later. Content is the most important part of your blog. You should spend some time deciding what kind of content you want to create. Develop a system that works for you to plan your content in advance. This will make it easier for you to sit down and write several blog posts at one time. You can schedule them to post and then spend your time on other tasks. Julianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. She is the Director of Communications for Our Milk Money, the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of Buy By Mom and Buy By Mom Blog. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.
Blogging is fun and also pretty easy. It can be equally easy to make mistakes. No worries, though. Here is a list of common blogging mistakes so you can easily avoid them.
Not being original. Many bloggers are hesitant to be themselves online. However, your personality is what will attract readers and attention. Don’t hesitate to be yourself…whether it’s funky, serious, controversial, etc.
Not giving credit where credit is due. If you borrow ideas from another blogger, writer or anyone else, make sure you give them the credit. It will not weaken your own credibility. On the contrary…your credibility will be enhanced. If you do not give the proper credit, you can also get in trouble legally.
Not responding to comments. If you set up your blog so your readers can leave comments, you should be social and respond to them. It helps to create a sense of community on your blog and your readers get to interact with you. Not only is it the right and friendly thing to do, it motivates more comments.
Giving up too early. Blogs do not achieve success overnight. By blogging about a subject you are passionate about, you will stay motivated to write and post and stick with it. Blogs require a commitment if they are to be successful. With consistent care and attention to your blog, your readers will grow.
Not posting enough. Many bloggers think you have to post daily. In the very early stages of building your blog this is a good idea. Once you have established a consistent readership, you can post less often. At least weekly, or two to three times per week, is a good idea. If you do not post for a week or two, you are very likely to lose readers.
Not having a well defined topic. Make sure your topic is obvious. The more specific your niche, the easier it will be to attract a following. For example, instead of blogging about exotic pets, narrow it to blogging about sugar gliders.
Not choosing a topic you can sustain. By choosing a topic you are passionate about, you can write consistently and maintain your motivation. If you choose a topic that you are not very interested in, you will be fortunate if you can come up with a post per month.
Having too many ads. Make sure your blog is content heavy. If your blog is more focused on ads than content, you will not be able to attract a loyal following.
Forgetting value. Make sure your posts offer something of value to your readers. Readers are looking to be entertained, gain information or be educated. Your posts should accomplish that. If they do, you will attract readers.
Not promoting your blog. You must promote your blog! How else are readers going to find you? Comment on other blogs and leave the url to your blog when you do. Participate in social networking. Become a guest blogger. When you write as a guest blogger, be sure to include your bio along with links to your blog, facebook page and twitter.