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7 Ways to Drive More Traffic to Your Next Blog Post


blogTrafficTips 7 Ways to Drive More Traffic to Your Next Blog Post
PinExt 7 Ways to Drive More Traffic to Your Next Blog Post


1) Turn Shareworthy Quotes Into Images

This is a way to capitalize on the fact that people love to share quotes.

Every now and then I check what images people are sharing from my sites.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, you simply log in to Pinterest and go to…

yourdomain.com/source/yoursite.com

Anyway, I just noticed the post I did over the summer called 21 Truths About Earning Online People Ignore got a lot more shares and traffic from Pinterest than most posts do here.

So what did I do differently?

Glad you asked! icon smile 7 Ways to Drive More Traffic to Your Next Blog Post

I used the image quote articles about strategy here”>strategy.  This is where you take a key point or quote in your post and turn it into an image.   Here’s a screenshot of all the quotes that were shared on Pinterest…


quotes 7 Ways to Drive More Traffic to Your Next Blog Post
PinExt 7 Ways to Drive More Traffic to Your Next Blog Post


You can use sites like ShareAsImage, Quozio or ReciteThis.

To be honest, I didn’t really have Pinterest traffic in mind when I was articles about creating here”>creating the images. (Even though I should have!)

I was just trying to break up an insanely long post by using more visuals!

In this particular example, many of the quotes weren’t directly related to my business.  Some were just inspirational.  So to make this even more effective, you would tie the quotes to your site’s topic.

Maybe you have a post that discusses 15 ways to incorporate more veggies into your diet. Each item would have a small image with a tip or quote that summed up the tip.

2) Use ClicktoTweet

ClickToTweet lets you set up a “tweet-able” text link with ease.

I used this tool when I gave away an ebook and it worked really well — even better than the regular Twitter button on the page!

I like the way Nathalie used it in her email strategies post titled Writing Emails That Get Results. She took a key quote from her post and used that for her clicktotweet link…

click2tweet 7 Ways to Drive More Traffic to Your Next Blog Post

One reason I believe this works well is there’s a call-to-action that reminds people to share. The other key is to make sure the text is something that is shareworthy.

3) Display Data in Interesting Ways

Darren, one of my loyal forum members, shared this link not too long ago.  And thanks to him, I wound up spending waaaaay too much time digging up some of my favorite show episodes, both old and new.  (Thanks, Darren!) icon biggrin 7 Ways to Drive More Traffic to Your Next Blog Post

The site lets you look up ANY TV show listed in IMDB to view how popular the episodes are in relation to one another.  And you can hover over the dots to see what episode is represented. The seasons are color-coded so you can easily tell them apart.

As you can see below, the Cosby show really fell off the radar in the 8th season.  Little Rudy was no longer little and I guess people didn’t find Cousin Pam as interesting.  icon smile 7 Ways to Drive More Traffic to Your Next Blog Post

cosbyshow 7 Ways to Drive More Traffic to Your Next Blog Post

Anyway, my point is I love how the site found a way to display data in a more interesting way.

Obviously this is an advanced example that requires some database work, but you can do this on a much smaller scale too.

Here’s another example of a blog that lists 74 clever titles that get attention.  The visual representation of the headline ideas is much more appealing than a text post with 74 titles written down the page.  I guarantee more people shared that post because of the image.

4) Write More Odd-Numbered List Posts!

It never fails.  Every time I write a list post that starts with a number, the open and click-thrus are always higher than average.

And if you follow me on social media, you may remember my “odd tip” from a few months ago.  Studies show that when you create a list post, use an odd number instead of a round number like 10 or 20.

This article explains that odd numbers suggest the items in the list have been carefully selected by value instead of just adding trivial items to round the article out to 10 or 20 items.

We’ve all been there where we’re trying to add one or two more items on a list just to make it to 10 or 20, right?  Well forget it.  Just play the odds. icon smile 7 Ways to Drive More Traffic to Your Next Blog Post

5) Weigh In on a Hot or Controversial Topic

Did a major player in your niche just make a big move?  Is there controversy brewing over something going on?

Write a blog post with your response.  People love to weigh in on big news items, especially if there is controversy or shock involved.

A recent example would be Copyblogger’s decision to completely DELETE their Facebook page.  So many bloggers decided to weigh in with their own opinions and they really did get people talking in the blogosphere!

Here are a couple of my favorite articles…

Copyblogger Deletes Its Facebook Page, Darren Rowse Creates a Second (What Does This Mean For You?)
What Copyblogger Could Have Done With Its Facebook Page 

6) Use a Proven Headline Strategy

I really love studying the psychology of marketing.  I find it fascinating.

Courtney Sieter shares 8 headline strategies and explains why they work. I’ve used most of them and agree with her points.

She also mentions another reason why the number strategy works well.  It has to do with setting expectations, and I’d never heard that explanation before.  Makes sense though!

Click here to be enlightened by her article.

7) Mention & Tag

This is a popular strategy utilized throughout social media, especially in the blogging space.  It’s where you  mention certain people in a blog post and then tag them when you share the content on social media so they are notified.

Often times those you mention will share the post with their followers too.

This is a good strategy, but make sure your post is actually shareworthy — especially if you’re mentioning people with large followings. Someone like Chris Brogan is not just going to share every post he gets mentioned in.

But if you put some thought into what write and come up with a good headline or response to something they’ve written, you never know what could happen.  Also, having a genuine relationship with that person helps too.

It’s always obvious when someone is trying to capitalize on your following, but if you genuinely connect with people regularly, they’re more likely to pay attention to your mentions.

Relationships are the backlinks of today!

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How to Design an eBook Layout That Will Blow Your Audience Away!


ebookDesignTips How to Design an eBook Layout That Will Blow Your Audience Away!
PinExt How to Design an eBook Layout That Will Blow Your Audience Away!


This post will articles about make here”>make you think twice about your next ebook design.  Or at least I hope it will.

Don’t we all love documents that are easy to scan, have large fonts and high-quality images?  They’re like music to our overworked brains and eyes.

So if we’re using these strategies on our sites, why aren’t we applying these same design principles to our ebooks?

[shrugs]

To be honest, upgrading my ebook designs has not been on top of my to-do articles about list here”>list UNTIL I saw Derek Halpern’s recent post on how to make your content go viral.

I don’t know what program he used to create the layout, but it looked like PowerPoint to me, so I fired up the program and started playing around.

I’m not much of a PowerPoint user (I forgot I even had the software!), but it’s so intuitive that it didn’t take me long before I had something cooking on my desktop…


ebookSample How to Design an eBook Layout That Will Blow Your Audience Away!
PinExt How to Design an eBook Layout That Will Blow Your Audience Away!


It was actually kind of fun, and I have so many ebook design ideas now.

So I put together this video that shows you how to take your ebook designs to the next level using PowerPoint.

Don’t have PowerPoint?  You can use any presentation software that allows you to save the file as a PDF.  Keynote for Mac is another option.

Enjoy!

WARNING:  It’s soooooooo easy you might become addicted to creating different designs. icon smile How to Design an eBook Layout That Will Blow Your Audience Away!

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Can You Give Away Too Much Free Content? Chime In!


free1 Can You Give Away Too Much Free Content?  Chime In!
PinExt Can You Give Away Too Much Free Content?  Chime In!


This podcast (here’s the transcript) was inspired by a subscriber who was pretty devastated by the number of unsubscribes she received when she announced her first product to her email articles about list here”>list.

After providing so much free articles about content here”>content over the years, she simply wasn’t expecting that.

Well, I can’t say I’m surprised that happened.  I don’t know anything about her product, content or her list, but I do know that some people just don’t like selling.

And when you’ve constantly provided free content for a long time, promotion of any kind can be seen as a turn-off to some.

So in this podcast, I’m sharing my two cents on the free strategy and what I’ve observed over the years.

(If you’re reading this from my old Feedburner email list, click here to listen.)

In This Episode…

  • Why I will always provide free content BUT what I will change (New site owners take notes!!)
  • A better way to implement the free-book-in-exchange-for-email-address strategy to maximize results
  • The story of a popular blogger who thought he would get a big monetary payback from his audience because he had given away so much
  • Why some believe you should limit what you provide for free

Show Notes & Resources

I’d love to know what you all think about the free strategy.  Has it worked well for you?  What have you observed?

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Earning With Udemy and Your Free Course on Creating Animated Video Presentations!


udemy Earning With Udemy and Your Free Course on Creating Animated Video Presentations!
PinExt Earning With Udemy and Your Free Course on Creating Animated Video Presentations!


I am articles about super here”>super excited to finally begin selling articles about online here”>online video courses.

Last week I published my first Udemy course on creating animated video presentations with Powtoon (affiliate link).  Not only do I teach you how to use the program, but you’ll also learn how to create a voiceover for your videos using Audacity.

Make sure you sign up for the course and leave a review!

Yes! You can use a free Powtoon account if you want.  No premium membership needed. You just have to display their watermark on your videos.

Why You Should Create Animated Presentations

I learned from my YouTube Analytics Reports that the Powtoon videos get the best retention rate (that’s the percentage of people who watch the entire video).

The average retention rate for YouTube as a whole is between 30 and 50% (my videos tend to fall in the 50 percentile range), but my Powtoon videos like this always reach the 70+ percentile range.

pinterest Earning With Udemy and Your Free Course on Creating Animated Video Presentations!

And as you may know, retention plays a role in how well your video ranks for your targeted keywords. It can also impact your Partner earnings (more and longer ad displays).

My Goal With Udemy

For months now, I’ve been toying with the idea of selling on Udemy.

Rob Cubbon was a big inspiration.  He currently earns four figures per month selling courses and gave me a lot of pointers along the way.

Thanks, Rob for being there to answer my gazillion questions and for sharing your experiences! icon smile Earning With Udemy and Your Free Course on Creating Animated Video Presentations!

He told me that it’s a good idea to build up a following by publishing some free courses, so when I launch my paid courses, I’ll have an audience and credibility on the platform. Makes perfect sense to me.

Having said that, I may not sell my Photoshop Course on Udemy.  I’ll explain why below.

What I Like About UdemythumbsUp Earning With Udemy and Your Free Course on Creating Animated Video Presentations!

Like anything, there are pros and cons with the marketplace.  I’ll start off with what I like…

1) They promote your courses HARD!

Within the first two days of getting my course published, I had a couple hundred students enroll with ZERO promotion on my end. I just announced the course to my followers today (six days after it was published on Udemy.)

Granted, it’s a free course so that is probably why the students signed up at such a high rate. I wouldn’t have expected that many had the course cost money — especially since this is my first one and I had no audience on the platform.

So I can already see that it’s not hard to get exposure for the free courses.

And once you join Udemy they DO send a lot of promotional emails out (actually too many for my taste), but it must work very well for them.

2) The course creation process encourages you to get organized.

Because Udemy provides numerous course guidelines and require you to have a certain amount of sections and lectures for your course, it does help you organize your material for a better learning experience.

Plus, it’s much more effective to create a course with several shorter videos than one super long video (which is what I often do on YouTube).

3) It’s great for site owners with small audiences.

If you have not yet built a sizable email list or large following, you can still make money on Udemy if you are good at creating video courses.

They currently have over 3 million students enrolled, which means they have 3 million people to market your course to.  The better your enrollment and course ratings, the more organic exposure you’ll receive.

4) Affiliates can easily promote your course.

Because Udemy has an affiliate program, you can encourage your followers to promote your course without the hassle of setting up your own or using an affiliate network.

What I Don’t Like About Udemy

Now let’s get to some things I don’t care for…

1) Their commission structure is confusing.

I had to edit this section because Rob informed me that the commission structure I originally posted was wrong.

Last year Udemy made quite a few changes to their commissions, and it caused some high-earning instructors to jump ship.  Basically if the person you refer to your course was already a Udemy member you only earned 50% instead of 97%.  Yikes!

But they have reverted back to their old structure and now you earn 97% (100% minus 3% in processing fees) on all sales you refer.  So that’s a good sign.thumbsDown Earning With Udemy and Your Free Course on Creating Animated Video Presentations!

Nevertheless, their commission structure is a bit confusing so you need to read their terms carefully — that is, if you can find them!  Here are some of them at the bottom of this page.

Apparently they change their commissions quite a bit, so I guess that’s why they don’t document them in many places.

However, that page doesn’t mention that you receive 25% from affiliate sales and Udemy ads.  Thanks for clarifying this, Rob because I could never find that anywhere on their site!

2) The video quality is good but not great.

Because Udemy is hosting the videos on their site, no doubt they have to keep tabs on bandwidth.

So even though you may publish your videos in HD and they look great on your computer, you will notice the quality is not as great on Udemy’s site.

It’s not bad at all, but certainly not as crystal clear as it was on my computer before I uploaded to their site.

3) The final reviews took too long.

When I first published my course, The Udemy Support Team reviewed it within one business day.  I thought, Cool!  That was fast!

But after I made the recommended changes (very minor), I waited another four days and ultimately had to email their support to ask for another review request.  This happened twice.

I don’t know if that’s rare, but that didn’t sit well with me.

I May Make Different Plans For My Photoshop Course

comingSoon Earning With Udemy and Your Free Course on Creating Animated Video Presentations!As you may remember, I’m getting ready to launch a Photoshop video course.

I am very excited about this one because I think it’s going to be incredibly helpful for people who want to create eye-catching images for blog posts, social media and tip-o-graphics/infographics I create for Pinterest.

It really will make Photoshop seem easy and less intimidating for the average blogger/website owner who wants the flexibility of creating their own images without design, template and font limitations of the free image creation sites.

I was not going to use Udemy when I was under the impression that I might only earn 50% of the sale if people are already Udemy members. But now that Rob has informed me that you earn 97% on all sales you refer then I may go ahead and use Udemy for this course after all.

I’m also looking into Gumroad because of the free bandwidth and people can download the videos.  There are over 20 1280×720 resolution HD videos (2+ hours) in this course, so free bandwidth for downloads is a huge selling point for me!

Not to mention these additional perks…

  • Their setup process is incredibly simple
  • You can offer coupons (HINT: I will be offering a launch coupon to those on my list)
  • You can email your customers

I haven’t made up my mind completely, but Gumroad is winning the race so far.

Should You Use Udemy?

It depends on the situation.

I think Udemy can be a great platform for getting exposure and making money with video courses.  Just make sure you understand how their commission structure works.  Also, be prepared to test other options.

Obviously you’ll earn the most selling courses directly from your OWN site, but there are downsides to that as well.  Udemy definitely makes it easy, and it’s a good option if you’re new to selling video and/or you have a small following.

I don’t think there is one definitive answer here.  Even though Udemy takes a hefty commission in certain instances, is it worth it because of the additional sales they drive on their own?

You really have to experiment, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do!  I’ll certainly keep you posted. No doubt I’ll be doing a podcast on this at some point.  icon smile Earning With Udemy and Your Free Course on Creating Animated Video Presentations!

What about you?  Have you ever sold video courses?  Are you thinking about it?  Let’s chat!

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A Critical Lesson on Topic Direction and How to Prevent Feeling Overwhelmed


hairSite A Critical Lesson on Topic Direction and How to Prevent Feeling Overwhelmed
PinExt A Critical Lesson on Topic Direction and How to Prevent Feeling Overwhelmed


Sometimes I feel my blog doesn’t offer enough help to people who are just starting or struggling to find their grooves.  Well, if you fit one of those categories, this one’s for you!

You’ve probably heard the expression, “For everything you lose, you gain something else.”  (Sometimes it’s used in reverse as well.)

Well, when it comes to my hair, that’s the perfect quote. icon smile A Critical Lesson on Topic Direction and How to Prevent Feeling Overwhelmed

In this podcast, I articles about start here”>start with a very articles about personal here”>personal story and explain how hair loss and damage led me to the right topic.  It also taught me a lot about what to focus on during the early days of your website.

I will also offer help to those who are feeling overwhelmed with how to start, what you should ignore, etc.  And if you haven’t had success with your site, I believe parts of this podcast will resonate with you.

You may discover where you went wrong and get ideas for what you can do differently going forward.

The great thing about the Web is that there really are no rules.  You can have success with a variety of different approaches.

BUT I still believe that much of success begins with HOW you start.  And I want to make sure you are off on the right foot.

I hope you enjoy it!  (Here’s the transcript.)

Show Notes

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Psst. Is Your Email Strategy Missing? Unsure of What to Send?


emailMissing Psst. Is Your Email Strategy Missing? Unsure of What to Send?
PinExt Psst. Is Your Email Strategy Missing? Unsure of What to Send?


Every now and then I’ll come across someone who doesn’t have an email articles about list here”>list.

The top two reasons are typically…

1) I don’t know what to send 

2) I don’t want to spam people

I can sort of relate to that.  When I first started this site I didn’t have a articles about list here”>list for a long time.  My site links were converting fine on their own so I thought, Why do I need to bother people with emails?

At the time, I still had a 9 to 5 job, and I was not treating this “website stuff” as a real business.

Occasionally people would ask, How can I sign up for your list?  So I reluctantly started one, and it sat out in cyberspace collecting e-dust because I had no idea what to send.

At the time I didn’t have a product, and like a lot of people, I looked at email marketing as spammy.  Of course, I know now that isn’t necessarily true.

And when I finally did send out something, hardly anyone opened the message. The people who did, flagged it as spam. (Most mailing services alert you if your complaint level goes above .1%, and let’s just say I was alerted!)

To add to that, it was costing me more money as the list grew. So I gave up on email and I did something that was probably very stupid.

I deleted my entire list.

Yep!

Thousands of emails down the Internet drain.

Granted, since I wasn’t using my list, many of the subscribers were probably uninterested and had forgotten about me anyway (Lisa who?), icon smile Psst. Is Your Email Strategy Missing? Unsure of What to Send? but it was a lot of people nonetheless.

A couple of years later I started collecting them again.  I did some list segmenting (where you send out emails to targeted groups), and that was actually more successful, but I still never established a mailing rhythm.

Another Experiment

So in April of last year I made a difficult decision.

Instead of just using my list for special broadcasts / one-off mailings (which I rarely did anyway), I decided to use AWeber’s blog broadcast feature (affiliate link).  That means an email goes out every time I write a new post.

Knowing what a sensitive medium email is, I was a bit nervous about this. So I drafted an email to let my subscribers know what was coming and hit the SEND button with much hesitation.

As I suspected, a lot of people unsubscribed.  Just to put this into perspective, right now my unsubscribe rate per email opened is under 1%, but this email caused 7.6% of the people who opened to unsubscribe.

Uh oh.  Was this a mistake?

I remember thinking that going forward I needed to be much more selective about my blog topics since every post will generate an email.  Looking back on things, I should have been selective ANYWAY but hey…. I was learning. icon smile Psst. Is Your Email Strategy Missing? Unsure of What to Send?

YIKES! Speaking of being selective, I went back to some older blog posts and some of them were just ridiculously trivial.  I would never publish anything like this today… blog broadcast or not.  Look at this piece of work  from 2006!  Yeah, real captivating huh?  So basically I just created a blog post with 100 words to point to another page on my site!  Yikes.  Can you imagine what my unsubscribe rate would be for the blog broadcast if I published posts like that?  Wow!

Anyway, the next email went out and the unsubscribe rate dropped down to under 1%.  Whew! I felt a little better.

I knew I had to stop focusing on what I lost, and work to keep the people I still have on my list.

So I began to be even more selective about what I sent out.  Since I started using the blog broadcast feature last year, my open rates have improved by an average of 60% compared to when I sent emails before the change.

Part of that is about being selective but a bigger part of that is sending emails more consistently AND setting expectations as soon as people subscribe.

Looking back on those 7.6% that unsubscribed, I realized it wasn’t really a loss because I had probably already lost most of them by now.

I wasn’t using the list anyway, and if they really wanted to keep up with me, they could follow my updates other ways online.

Expectations Are Everything!


email2 Psst. Is Your Email Strategy Missing? Unsure of What to Send?
PinExt Psst. Is Your Email Strategy Missing? Unsure of What to Send?


Even if you’re only going to send out one email per month, tell your subscribers that on the follow-up or confirmation message.

You could say something like, Thanks for signing up. I’ll be sending you my month-end wrap up so stay tuned!)   Or, I’ll be emailing you when I have important posts or news to share.

As far as the blog broadcast feature goes, I would tread carefully with this feature if you post multiple times per week.  I use it because I blog less than most active bloggers (usually 2-3 times per month now), and I don’t send out a lot of emails in addition to that.

But if you do blog a lot and want to use it, you can always send a weekly or monthly summary.  You don’t have to send a mailing with each new post.

Whatever you do, set the expectation so people know how often to expect your emails.

The other advantage of doing this is if your email gets caught in the junk or spam folder when a subscriber first signs up, they may realize they aren’t receiving them and investigate. New subscribers are more likely to be on the lookout for your emails.

Summing It Up!

I’m not saying that what I am doing now is the absolute best strategy, but it’s certainly better than what I was doing… which was almost nothing. icon smile Psst. Is Your Email Strategy Missing? Unsure of What to Send?

Plus, it was encouraging when I discovered the sizable open rate increase.

I disagree with people who say email is dead.  Sure, it’s been impacted by social media, and if you have a younger audience, it may not be as popular with them.  However, I’m still convinced most sites still need a list.

I know I’m truly grateful for mine now, especially with some launches coming.

I’m half way done with my Photoshop video course (which, by the way, is going to teach you how to make eye-catching images for your site and social media with incredible ease!) and I’m working on a course related to video as well.  </end shameless plug>

So I will be offering nice discounts to my list when they launch.  In the meantime, I’ll try to refrain from thinking about how large my list COULD have been.

Oh well.  You live and learn, right?

What can you share about your email strategy?  Has your journey been like riding a roller coaster too?

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7 Notable Website Tips and Strategies Worth Your Attention


7 website tips 7 Notable Website Tips and Strategies Worth Your Attention
PinExt 7 Notable Website Tips and Strategies Worth Your Attention


This hodgepodge post of website articles about tips here”>tips and strategies has a little something for everyone.  It covers…

  • How to get a free and extremely thorough search engine ranking articles about guide here”>guide
  • A tip for improving your affiliate conversions
  • Why image ALT tags still have value
  • The downside to WordPress redirect plugins
  • And more!

1) Don’t Sleep On Your Image ALT Tags

In my last podcast about Pinterest, I left out one very important tip.

Whether you use Pinterest or not, always make sure you assign descriptive ALT tags to all your images.

Why?

Because this is the default description that appears with your image if your visitors decide to pin your content.

A lot of people do not edit the text when they pin something so it can benefit you to add a benefit-rich statement in the ALT tags instead of just adding keywords.


altTags 7 Notable Website Tips and Strategies Worth Your Attention
PinExt 7 Notable Website Tips and Strategies Worth Your Attention


By the way, you can see what images are being pinned from your site by going to…

pinterest.com/source/yoursite.com

You must be logged in to view the results.

When you do so, you will notice that most people are simply using whatever you had in your ALT tag for the description of the pin.

For example, if you look at the images that have been pinned from this blog you will notice that the descriptions are mostly the same.

That’s because most people are using my default ALT text.

Alt tags may have lost their SEO influence, but they still play a VERY important role with Pinterest.  That description could be the deciding factor for whether or not someone clicks the image and visits your site.

Heads Up! Even if you don’t use or like Pinterest, I encourage you to sign up just to see how many people are pinning images from your site. When you go to pinterest.com/source/yoursite.com  you may be surprised.  It also highlights the importance of the images you use on your posts and pages.  Because I am not active on Pinterest for this site, I don’t get nearly as much pin activity on this blog compared to my hair site.  But the pinning picked up here when I added Chris Guthrie’s plugin (affiliate link), which adds the Pin It button on top of my images.

2) Seven Is The Magic Number

Did you know that it takes an average of 7 exposures to a product before someone buys?

Obviously there are exceptions.  If your audience is extremely niche, the price is right and you have good credibility, it may take less.

But in a nutshell, you can’t expect most people to buy something you recommend on the first exposure.

I do very well with the Studiopress affiliate program on this site, but that’s largely because I promote it everywhere.  I have content and videos all over the place.

And this snapshot from my current commission report shows that consistency pays off…


studiopressEarnings 7 Notable Website Tips and Strategies Worth Your Attention
PinExt 7 Notable Website Tips and Strategies Worth Your Attention


Consistent exposure combined with demos, tutorials and proof that you actually use a product will dramatically increase your conversions.

I also want to point out that most of these mentions are casual mentions.  They aren’t promotional in any way.

For example, one of my biggest converting articles of all time is a post I wrote almost two years ago where I talked about why I no longer use the Thesis theme.   This article still converts sales today.

Another post that converts well is one where I talk about the importance of using responsive WordPress themes.

Neither of these posts are blatantly advertising the themes.  In fact, StudioPress isn’t even the primary focus of the articles.

Converting isn’t always about direct advertising. Subtle mentions in relevant content works very well too! The key is to use this strategy throughout multiple articles so you increase exposure of the product.

If you do this effectively, you will find that these pages can bring in passive income over time.

3) The Ugly Side of WordPress Redirect Plugins

I know a lot of you love using plugins to redirect your affiliate links.  There are even some that will automatically turn specified keywords on your pages into the appropriate redirect link you setup in advance.

I used to love these kinds of plugins as well until I had to uninstall one, which meant manually updating all my affiliate links.

UGH!  It was not pretty. icon sad 7 Notable Website Tips and Strategies Worth Your Attention

While plugins are super convenient for redirects, if they are ever exploited by hackers (which is happening more and more these days) and you need to uninstall it, you’ll have to manually insert the affiliate links into all your pages the plugin affected.

I now do my redirects on the hosting side.  It’s very easy.  Just login to your hosting control panel and look for the “Redirect” option (it’s “URL Redirect” if you host at my site.)


urlRedirects 7 Notable Website Tips and Strategies Worth Your Attention
PinExt 7 Notable Website Tips and Strategies Worth Your Attention


So if you want to setup a short redirect for your StudioPress affiliate link, you’d enter…

http://www.yourdomain.com/studiopress, for example, and then paste your StudioPress affiliate link into the provided field for the redirect and save.

These redirects get backed up when you backup your hosting account.

The downside is you will lose reporting that you get with a lot of affiliate redirect plugins, but if you have to go through what I went through, that is a small loss.

Plus, many affiliate programs track where the sale came from anyway.

4) Duplicator – An Awesome Way to Create a Live WordPress Testing Environment

I get a lot of questions about creating a live testing environment for WordPress.

For years I’ve been using Instant WordPress.  You can install a fully functional version of WordPress on your Windows computer so you can test themes and plugins.

I absolutely LOVE this software, but there is one big drawback.

Because you are testing locally on your computer, you never really mimic a true live hosting environment. I’ve noticed that some StudioPress themes don’t display properly on Instant WordPress.

However if you use Duplicator you can create a live testing environment by copying/cloning your current site. Then you would upload your current WordPress site to a test folder on your hosting account and test away!

If you have other WordPress testing methods you use, feel free to share in the comments!


mozBook 7 Notable Website Tips and Strategies Worth Your Attention
PinExt 7 Notable Website Tips and Strategies Worth Your Attention


5) A Must-Read Guide for Ranking Your Site on Google

By now you probably know my feelings about manual link building. It’s much better to EARN links than to hunt them down.

But hey, some of you may prefer the chase. icon smile 7 Notable Website Tips and Strategies Worth Your Attention

Nevertheless, Moz recently published a PDF about link building that is pretty detailed.

It helps you understand what kinds of links Google values, and there are some more manual methods that are not black hat you might find helpful.

So if you are into link building to improve your rank, or you just want to learn more about how Google values links, check it out.

It’s a very easy read and a GREAT resource.  I also appreciate how they highlighted the downsides and inappropriate methods of link building too.

I think a lot of information on ranking a website today is just flat out BAD and MISLEADING. But I generally trust content that Moz puts out.

6) Gmail’s Promotional Tab Could Be Killing Your Email List!

In 2013, Gmail added a “Promotions” tab to their interface and it automatically filters emails they believe may be of the promotional nature.


gmail1 7 Notable Website Tips and Strategies Worth Your Attention
PinExt 7 Notable Website Tips and Strategies Worth Your Attention


The problem is, they may be filtering emails you’d rather appear in your Inbox.  And if you don’t regularly check this tab, you might be missing emails you want to see.

If you use Gmail, check your Promotions tab now. I guarantee you’ll find messages from sites you’d prefer to land in your Inbox.

Luke Guy wrote a great post on Pat Flynn’s blog earlier this year that offers tips to keep your emails from being filtered there.  Copyblogger has some good advice too.

7) Google Will Give Ranking Boosts to Sites That Use HTTPS://

Google claims they want websites to get serious about security so earlier this month they announced they will start giving a small ranking boost to sites that use https:// instead of just http://.

A lot of people are scurrying to buy SSL certificates from their hosts.  But before you panic or get overwhelmed with all this techy stuff, it’s important to note that Google said it’s ONLY going to affect 1% of searches and the ranking benefit will be minor.

Plus, they will be rolling out more documentation in the near future.  So don’t go investing in SSL certificates just yet.  Save your money and wait until further info is released.

By the time this becomes more mainstream, hosting companies will begin the price wars, and there will be ample documentation to help you set it all up.

But my hunch is that the ranking benefit the average site will receive is probably not worth the hassle.  I personally believe people are making this a bigger deal than necessary.  Let’s stay tuned!

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How to Build Passive Traffic With Pinterest


pinterest traffic tips How to Build Passive Traffic With Pinterest
PinExt How to Build Passive Traffic With Pinterest


How many social media networks do you use where the original post sends you traffic months or even a year later?

Pinterest is the only social site that produces results like that for me on an ongoing basis.

And if you’re strategic about what you pin/post, you don’t have to spend a lot of time on the site to get a good return on your time investment.

If you have no idea what Pinterest is or how to use it, this podcast (here’s the transcript) will break it down and fill you with articles about ideas here”>ideas you can try on your own.

Even if you don’t use the network, you need to articles about make here”>make sure your site is Pinterest-ready.  Many of your readers may be using it and you want to make it easy for them to share your content.

You can also apply many of these strategies to other sites like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and more!

Topics Covered

  • An introduction to Pinterest
  • Various image creation strategies you can implement
  • How I got my homepage pinned over 16,000 times in less than 18 months
  • Tips for outsourcing images
  • My take on Pinterest backlinks and if they affect your search engine rankings
  • Legalities of Pinterest

Show Notes

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The Aftermath of Google Removing Authorship Photos – Weigh In!

Update: As of August 2014, Google has discontinued Authorship.  So that means your face or name will no longer appear next to the results.  BUT you can still build your Author Rank through earning quality links to your site.


authorship The Aftermath of Google Removing Authorship Photos – Weigh In!
PinExt The Aftermath of Google Removing Authorship Photos – Weigh In!


Google taught me a lesson a long time ago…

Never get too attached to their tools and services because they may not stick around long. icon smile The Aftermath of Google Removing Authorship Photos – Weigh In!

The sudden removal of Authorship photos in the search results at the end of June AND the recent removal of the Author Stats report in Google Webmaster Tools caused some major confusion, along with disappointment.

After the updates, some are claiming Authorship is pointless and they’ve removed the markup from their sites.

Wait, Don’t Bury Authorship… Yet!

Even though the Author Stats and photos in the results are now gone, there is no evidence or official word from Google about Authorship or Author Rank being dead.

But Why Did Google Do This?

Of course, I always have my “it’s-all-about-articles about money here”>money” theories when Google makes big moves.  icon smile The Aftermath of Google Removing Authorship Photos – Weigh In!

When I first heard about The Big G removing photos from the results, I immediately wondered if they were taking away from AdWords click-thrus on Google.com.

After all, the photos did draw your eye to the images, and could potentially distract people from clicking the ads above the organic results.

But articles about google here”>google-plus/” title=”View all articles about Google Plus here”>Google Plus enthusiast, Mark Traphagen, believes it has more to do with Google trying to streamline and declutter the results for mobile users.  You can read his analysis of the whole situation here.

He’s much more objective about the whole situation than I am.  I’m sticking to my AdWords theory. icon smile The Aftermath of Google Removing Authorship Photos – Weigh In!

Bye, Bye Author Stats!

I was really looking forward to checking out the Author Stats report after the photo removals to see if there was any impact on clicks.

Well so much for that because at the beginning of this month, Google completely removed the Author Stats report too. icon sad The Aftermath of Google Removing Authorship Photos – Weigh In!

authorStats The Aftermath of Google Removing Authorship Photos – Weigh In!

Remember, your name still appears in the results (see screenshot below), just not your photo.  So technically you would have been able to compare your Authorship click-thru rates before and after.

clickbank The Aftermath of Google Removing Authorship Photos – Weigh In!
Some believe they got rid of the stats because they will reveal the decrease in click-thru rates now that the photos are gone.

Well interestingly enough, my organic traffic actually spiked after my photo was removed. And I’ll refrain from making any jokes about the negative impact my face may have had on click-thrus. icon smile The Aftermath of Google Removing Authorship Photos – Weigh In!

But I have no idea if this has anything to do with losing the photo, or if it’s just an algorithm update that coincided with the photo removal.

Anyone else see any traffic swings either way since the photo removal? How do you feel about all this?

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How to Build Traffic and Engage With Influencers Using Expert Interviews

groupInterviewTips How to Build Traffic and Engage With Influencers Using Expert Interviews

Ann Smarty always BRINGS IT when it comes to offering helpful traffic-building techniques. She is very creative with using articles about online here”>online services and social media to gain more exposure for her articles about personal here”>personal brand and site.

I’m honored to have her write yet another guest post for my blog because I know you will discover new tips you can try yourself.  So take it awaaaaaaaaaaaay, Ann!

There is only so much content you can write before you start to feel stuck. Things start to feel a bit the same, and there is a lack of spark in what you are producing.

If you have been feeling this way, or you just want to vary your posts a bit, it might be time to start incorporating interviews into your editorial calendar.

(Group) interviews are a unique way of presenting information.

Not only do they provide another person’s expertise, but there is the added benefit of attracting their fans to your blog.

When someone is interviewed for a blog, the published piece is often shared on their social networks. That is a quick way to inject some traffic to your monthly stats, and to potentially hook long-term readers from a new audience.

To begin adding interviews into your schedule, you need some tips to help you get started.

Select the Topic

One of the best ways to leverage group interviews is to ask questions about the latest hottest news. That accomplishes several things at a time:

  • Interviewees will be more eager to contribute
  • You may end up getting ranked in Google News (and thus get a spike in referrals from Google Universal search)
  • Your call for opinions will spread faster and easier (people love sharing big news!)
  • The final interview will be shared a lot as well because people are happy to share trends around.

Example: That’s what I did with my Google Authorship group interview at SEOchat.com. It got a wealth of feedback, opinions and shares!

Find People to Interview

This is the very basic and first step to having the interview happen. I am often using the good mix of the below methods to get experts contribute their answers:

  • Good old email to experts you know. If you are in the niche for at least a year, you know them by now: They keep popping up here and there in your social media feeds, interviews and articles you come across.  Don’t be shy: Send an email or a quick request via your common social media network. Most of the experts will still be honored to contribute their answer even to a not-so-huge blog. And their participation will surely increase the interview reach and trustworthiness.
  • People you interact with. Tweetdeck and Commun.it are the two tools I am using to track people that retweet, reply, re-share, like, etc my updates. Interviews are a great way to develop that relationship and become closer friends.
  • HARO is a great way to get related quotes on any topic. I’ve been using it for a few years! The only slight annoyance I noticed is that it’s better for shorter quotes: Contributors there tend to be very brief.
  • MyBlogU.com is the newer platform that lets you generate responses fairly quickly. You can set the minimum number of words for each answer to make sure each point is discussed indepth [Disclaimer: I am the co-founder].

Develop Relationships with Your Interviewees

While you should be able to hook an interview with a stranger, that’s less effective in the long run.

What you want is to become a well known face in their online social profiles. Start following and commenting on their Twitter, google-plus/” title=”View all articles about Google Plus here”>Google Plus or Facebook accounts. Share out their content. Subscribe to their blog or mailing list.

Once you do this, they will begin to recognize you as you interact. It also allows you to research their work and get a feel for their personality. Any interaction can be more targeted, and help to establish a certain back and forth that will help you stick out in their mind.

Remember, this is not a one-day process. It takes time and effort to cultivate a relationship and get things going.

Craft Creative Questions

OK, so you’ve gotten some people to say yes to interviews. Now you need to know what you are going to ask them. This takes both a certain amount of research so you end up with the original piece at the end.

*** My own trick is to find news coverage on huge blogs and go through the comments. More often than not comments bring up some great points that can be discussed further.

Example: Going back to my SEOchat.com interview, notice the fun format of the questions…

When announcing the change, Google representative @JohnMu said they removed author pictures to optimize for mobile and they didn’t expect a huge impact on click-through. Both of the points were hard to believe in and resulted in overall “No way” reaction in the community, hence my somewhat sarcastic questions:

  • Do you believe Google has done that to optimize for mobile devices? Why not? icon smile How to Build Traffic and Engage With Influencers Using Expert Interviews
  • Do you believe @JohnMu that will not affect click-through? Why not? icon smile How to Build Traffic and Engage With Influencers Using Expert Interviews

*** Mind that even though you are not the one contributing the answers, you can still influence the tone and focus of the final interview.

Create a Proper Introduction

Don’t forget that your readers might not know who your interviewee is.

It is your job to give a good introduction, whether they do or not. This is another step that requires some research. Go through their social media, official website and bio pages. Ask them for some information they might like included before the interview.

From there, just write a short paragraph talking about who they are, what they do, and the background that makes them experts.

Example: This group interview is encouraging readers to follow experts on Twitter before reading their opinions. I am sure all the experts were eager to help the host promote such an article!

group interview 01 How to Build Traffic and Engage With Influencers Using Expert Interviews

Notice the “Tweet the quote” option below some of the answers: If you try it, the Tweet will automatically tag the interviewee (who, more often than not, will be happy to re-share the update tagging him.)

This is the EGO-Bait in all its harmless but efficient glory!)

group interview 02 How to Build Traffic and Engage With Influencers Using Expert Interviews

Repackage!

Remember our guide into content re-packaging for niche domination? Group interviews are awesome for re-packaging and re-purposing!

Google HOA

If you really want to do something interesting, invite your interview participants to discuss the same topic in the video format too!

Google Hangouts On Air allow you to broadcast sessions, and you can even record and offer it on a site like YouTube, Vimeo, or through your site via direct download. This style of interview, whether video or just a transcript, are becoming very popular.

Podcast

A lot of people are more likely to take part in an interview if you offer it to them in the form of a recorded podcast. Thanks to the wide appeal of the format, people are eager to take part.

Even if you are only offering a very short interview, consider creating a podcast and offering it on your site, or through an iTunes account. With all of the tools out there, you can generally do this with nothing more than an app and a mic. FreelanceDen is an excellent example of interviews in the podcast format.

Twitter chats

Twitter interviews work great for increasing your reach. It may be a good idea to invite your group interview participants to a public Twitter chat to discuss the same topic. Twitter chats are fun and drive awesome results (in terms of following and awareness building)

group interview 03 How to Build Traffic and Engage With Influencers Using Expert Interviews

Visuals

Another great idea is to pick best paragraphs contributed by your interviewees and turn them into fun visual quotes. These work great for visual tweets and can even become a separate viral blog post. Canva is an awesome Freemium tool to try here.

Examples!

Make the most of the format.

Just collecting answers and publishing them is getting old. Go the extra mile to create something really epic: Add your thoughts, toolbox, visuals, etc.

Make sure you are featuring your interviewees with all due exposure telling readers where they can find more information or work, with a link to their official site and one or two social media profiles where they are most active.

Here’s a perfect example of the mind-blowing group interview format:

group interview 04 How to Build Traffic and Engage With Influencers Using Expert Interviews

Refer to your previous guests to get more big names on board

One of the classic Ego-bait tactics: Mention familiar names to get more influences participate. Here’s a story from one of my friends Christy Kunjumon who has used interviews successfully to grow his blog to a whole new level:

My first interview was with Rand Fiskin and I still consider the interview as the best in my career.  I published a blog in Medium.com about my first interview experience: Relationship Building – An Interview with Rand Fishkin.

After this I did a few more interviews with some awesome personalities such as Ann Smarty, Yehoshua Coren, Neil Patel, Tad Chef, Larry Kim, Dharmesh Shah and Michael King.

Believe me after I have all these awesome people in my list, I just showcase my previous interview to my new target and the person will surely give me time. Thus I would say these interviews helped me to become a authority person in industry.

What I learned?

Relationship building is not just a single day program where you contact an authority person in industry and expect reply for your questions.  It takes days, months and sometime even years to build a reliable contact with the person you target.

The best tools which I use are Inbound.org, Twitter and Google+ and Gmail with Rapportive plugin installed.

Group Interviews Can Really Make a Difference…

If you are tired of blogging to yourself, try (group) interviews because you’ll suddenly see people out there: clicks, comments and shares. It’s really motivating as well if you feel like you are ready to quit blogging because you are seeing no results.

Here’s a quick screenshot from hirebloggers.com (notice the blog was very quiet before the interview had gone live):

group interview traffic How to Build Traffic and Engage With Influencers Using Expert Interviews

Conclusion

Adding interviews into your blog editorial calendar is a great way to expand your readership and freshen up your content to provide something a little different. The tips above should help you get there.

Do you have any ideas for conducting an expert interview, or finding people to have them with? Let us know in the comments.

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