Nothing strikes fear into the heart of a marketer quite like being asked to write a blog post. Some marketers would rather wrestle with pivot tables (or grizzly bears) for days on end than write a blog post – but why?Writing doesn’t have to be this painful.Writing is intimidating to a lot of people, particularly those who don’t write for a living or blog on a regular basis.
The good news is that writing doesn’t have to be agonizing, and almost anybody can hone their writing skills with a little discipline and a willingness to learn. In today’s post, I’m going to share 16 ways you can start improving your writing skills right now.1. Brush Up on the BasicsBefore you can start writing incredible content, you’ll need at least an intermediate understanding of the basic principles ... > Read more
It’s easy to let headlines take the back seat in your writing process. Headlines can wind up as a quick afterthought, but really should be treated with much more consideration. In fact, your headline is arguably more important than the article itself. After all, who cares how great your blog post is if no one even reads it?Headline writing rules have changed quite a bit since the great online migrationOut of all the folks who read your headline, only 20% will read the article copy.
Whether it’s for email subject lines, blog posts, ebooks, or webinars, you need a powerful, sexy headline to make readers swoon.Modern online article headlines are tricky – they need to be SEO keyword friendly, but also should be unique and creative. The end result needs to be super clickable, irresistible... > Read more
Is your business blog tanking? Have you wasted hours upon hours creating what you thought was out-of-this world content while attempting to attract visitors and maybe even grab conversions via your business blog? Lift your somber spirit out of the rain because you have come to the right place! Blogging is not rocket-science, but many of you are missing small but crucial things that will drastically improve the readership of your business blog.
Image via Evil ErinBack in college my roommates and I attempted to throw a party one Friday night. The turnout was simply pathetic, which we blamed on the competing parties occurring in the same townhouse block as ours. A month later we were determined to prove our past party performance wrong. We spent time creating a compelling Facebook invitation f... > Read more
My first SEO copywriting job (which is what most content marketing used to be called before “web content” was a thing) was working as a freelancer for a national British travel agency. Although the work itself amounted to little more than stuffing awkward long-tail keywords into flowery copy about tourist hotspots across the Mediterranean, it was an invaluable learning experience and set me on an exciting and rewarding career path.
Since that fateful freelance gig, I’ve written millions of words (literally) – most of them during the past three years. In that time, I’ve learned a lot about what separates the great content from the bad, how to hit deadlines on time every time, and why measuring your coffee intake in pots is a warning sign that you should probably take it easy.In tod... > Read more
Matt Cutts just declared guest blogging dead:Okay, I’m calling it: if you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop. Why? Because over time it’s become a more and more spammy practice, and if you’re doing a lot of guest blogging then you’re hanging out with really bad company.
Well, I’m convinced.Just kidding! Guest blogging may be on Google's radar, but I wouldn't close the coffin lid just yet. Here’s why.All SEO Gets Spammier. SEO Still Isn’t Dead.You could substitute almost any SEO technique into this sentence, and it would be true:Over time it’s become a more and more spammy practice, and if you’re doing a lot of keyword targeting then you’re hanging out with really bad company.Over time it’s become a more and more spammy pr... > Read more
Here’s your “duh” of the day: You don’t have to be an SEO to be a good blogger. I bet 90% of search marketers read a blog or five that has nothing to do with search marketing, whether it’s a cooking blog, nail art porn or Andrew Sullivan.Some of the best and most popular blogs in any given niche get high rankings and lots of links without thinking too hard about SEO.
Instead, they focus on:Great content: Popular blogs develop huge readerships primarily because the content is awesome; it’s that simple. (Here’s a reminder of the eight qualities that make great content great.)Great design: Almost as important as great content is great design – your business blog needs to be both attractive and usable. High-quality photographs or illustrations are a big plus.Community building:... > Read more
Information overload rules the Internet. Go do a Google search for any one of your favorite topics right now. How many results do you see?It’s easy to get obsessed with absorbing every piece of knowledge that we can. But that doesn't help us get anything done. The more you read, the more that gets lost in the bottomless repository that is your brain (or Pinterest board, Evernote account, etc).
It’s totally inefficient.Be honest, how many unsorted articles on blogging strategy do you have saved in Evernote or your bookmarking tool of choice? Instead of adding more and more links to the mountain, there's a better way to learn what you need to – with Just in Time information.What Does "Just in Time" Mean?The term Just in Time originated in business. According to Logistik, Taiichi Ohno, ... > Read more
There’s a brilliant Twitter feed called @AvoidComments whose sole purpose is to remind us not to read comments on the Internet:This is excellent advice when it comes to newsy sites like Salon, which seems to be where repressed rage goes to die seethe indefinitely. And even Justin Bieber knows not to read the comments on YouTube: “I don't read YouTube comments because those can get you sad.
”Seriously though. I have a love-hate relationship with comment streams. The quality can vary so widely and it usually depends on what kind of atmosphere and community the blog owners cultivate. I love sites with upvoting systems that allow the best comments to rise to the top and which encourage regular commenting and conversation – see SEOmoz, Reddit, and XOJane, where I’ve lost hours of my li... > Read more
Thousands of small business marketing blogs are launched every day. Big companies, small companies, even kitchen table companies use business blogs to get in front of new prospects and hold fast to sales-ready leads and existing customers. A small business blog can cast a wide net around target audiences afloat in various stages of buying readiness by fueling their interests, piquing their curiosity, and empowering them to make smarter decisions.
People (business buyers are still people) revisit good blogs. They also add them to their reader or subscribe to the email version of the posts. Bad blogs…well, those often fall off our radar after they fail to satisfy an information need, bomb on the entertainment factor, or skimp on quality.What makes a good blog a good blog? How can your small... > Read more
Have you ever used a picture from the web on your blog or website? Did you take the time to verify that you had the proper copyright to use that image?If not, you could soon be the unhappy recipient of a settlement demand letter (AKA "extortion letter") that asks for a large sum of money to pay for "damages.
"In recent years, companies like Getty Images, iStockphoto, Masterfile, Corbis, Jupiter Images, and others have become aggressive in pursuing people who infringe on an image's copyright. It doesn't matter whether you use an unlicensed image accidentally or intentionally – the consequences are the same.You can also run afoul of copyright if a web designer improperly uses an image on your site without your knowledge. You will still be held liable even if you didn't post the image.Most e... > Read more
If you’re involved with SEO, content marketing or any kind of web marketing, you’ve probably heard the phrase “evergreen content” and been told that your site needs to have it. So what is evergreen marketing, and why are evergreen articles good for SEO?Today we’ll be explaining the basics of evergreen articles, how to write an evergreen content piece, and why incorporating evergreen posts into your blog strategy is essential for killer content marketing.
Evergreen content definitionEvergreen content is SEO content that is continually relevant and stays “fresh” for readers.So Why is it Called “Evergreen”?The term “evergreen” sounds familiar even to the non-marketing ear because evergreen trees (usually the pine or fir variety) are often used to decorate homes at C... > Read more
Lots of small and medium-sized businesses have figured out that a corporate blog is good for business. The potential benefits of a well-run corporate blog include:Brand developmentSEO traffic and valuable linksOngoing inbound leadsBut buy-in is one thing. Actually creating and publishing new blog content on a regular basis is another.
Maintaining a regular publication schedule is a struggle for everyone, but it’s especially difficult for SMBs with their smaller budgets and smaller teams. You might not have a dedicated copywriter, and if you do, that writer is probably being pulled in multiple directions – writing copy for your email campaigns, landing pages and so on (oh, hi, to-do list!).A good way to make sure that you’re regularly publishing new content on your blog is to en... > Read more
Or, Why Does My Personal Blog Have the Same PageRank as a Search Marketing Site with a Huge SEO Budget?A couple of weeks ago, Google rolled out a new update to Toolbar PageRank. Victor Pan, our resident SEO “ninja,” dropped me and Larry a note, letting us know the WordStream site is holding steady at 5.
Out of curiosity, I checked the PageRank on my own blog. It was also a 5. Amused, I let them know, and Larry shot back, “You should be running our SEO meetings!”In case you don’t find this as surprising as we do, let me tell you a little more about these two sites:WordStream.com: We’re a venture-backed search marketing company that has been around for about five years. We primarily sell PPC management software, but we also offer both free and paid keyword research tools as well ... > Read more
SEO, when done right, never interferes with web design, but sometimes redesigning a site can unknowingly interfere with search engine optimization. This is why teamwork among SEOs, designers, marketers and developers is critical during a blog redesign process.Here are 5 common web design mistakes that kill search engine optimization:1.
High-traffic pages are removed or deletedThe blog redesign process often identifies site content that is no longer a priority, but pages should never be deleted. Older blog posts often bring in a high volume of traffic, and those aged URLs create domain authority and page authority for organic search traffic. Instead of removing pages, protect your SEO and visitor experience by using 301 permanent redirects to ensure visitors via organic search and referral ... > Read more
One of my favorite types of blog post is the marketing case study – a personalized story of success or failure (or otherwise interesting or unexpected results). As blog posts go, it’s not as easy to churn out as a “top 5” post (ahem), but you can learn so much more from them. It’s often easier to take something actionable away from specific examples and real stories than vague abstractions, so a well-written case study is a great way to get attention and links.
As an added benefit, a case study is always unique, whereas standard tip posts are often just reproducing information you can find elsewhere on the web.If you haven’t considered writing this type of content before, I encourage you to give it a shot! Think about a specific strategy you implemented recently that reall... > Read more
Content marketing, along with social media and SEO, is an incredibly important component of any inbound marketing campaign – efforts designed to bring your target audience to you, instead of you trying to force your brand on them.You’ve probably heard the phrase “Content is king” before, and that’s because it’s true! The search engines read your webpage content to determine if it matches a search query, your target audience reads content you produce (blogs, articles, whitepapers, etc.
) to learn more about your given industry, and producing great content is what earns your company a reputation as a valuable and trusted source of information. In short, a great content marketing campaign can accomplish a lot!But running a great content marketing campaign is more complicated than c... > Read more
Richard Kraneis, a longtime WordStream reader, recently left a comment on our blog questioning whether a certain post would "drive qualified traffic to our website." This brings up an interesting question: Why blog? What are the goals of blogging?Of course the answer is different depending on whether you're talking about a personal blog or a corporate blog, but this is a business blog, and we wouldn't devote resources to blogging if it didn't make good business sense.
Here are three reasons that might motivate you to write a blog post for a corporate blog. In my opinion, every blog post doesn't need to fulfill all three purposes, though it's great if they do. The important thing is that every post fulfills at least one of these purposes, and that you don't focus only on one of the thr... > Read more
Corporate blogging is a great Internet marketing technique for multiple reasons. Not only does a company blog give the search engines more content to index (growing your trust factor), a business blog can be instrumental in building your online brand. Blogs are inherently social in nature, which means they are also a great way to connect with current and potential customers.
In short, a well-written blog can help all aspects of your web marketing campaign, including SEO.Here are five simple ways to better optimize your business blog for SEO:Write naturallyIt may sound like a “duh!” thing to say, but you’d be amazed at how many blog posts out there are crammed with keywords and anchor text. It’s the number one rule of any content marketing campaign: you have to write for human reade... > Read more
Many people start a blog with one intention: making money. While this is not a good sole reason to start a blog, it is a nice added benefit that comes with building up your blog with quality content and maintaining a decent amount of traffic.It’s not a mystery that you can make money from your blog, but many users often struggle with it and end up giving up altogether.
You cannot expect to make a lot of money when first starting out. You have to create a name for yourself and prove that your blog can stand on its own. While these five methods to monetize your WordPress blog are sure to come in handy, you’ll also want to take note of the essential tips for building and maintaining a successful blog.Pay Per ClickThis is one of the most popular methods used to monetize a blog and one of t... > Read more
What’s the old saying? “One definition of crazy is doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results”? Are you “crazy” when it comes to online marketing or do you adapt and learn from your mistakes? After 12 months, I’m adapting. Around March 1 of last year I began my Online GED Site blog.
I never expected it would make tons of money. I hoped it would teach me about blogging, WordPress, Google Analytics, keyword research, and using some of WordStream’s free tools. Here’s a graph of my visitor traffic for one year. It took 8 months to attract my first 1000 visitors. Now, during this last month, I attracted 1000 visitors in 30 days alone. What were my mistakes? A failure to build backlinks, building an email opt-in too late, an unattractive website (... > Read more
Traditional advertising is so 2010. It shows too: People just aren’t trusting and are learning to tune out those banner and video ads that pop up. So why spend your money on something that may or may not get you results, especially when there are ample substitutes that likely cost less and absolutely get you better results.
Enter the blogger outreach campaign. A few weeks back, I showed the basics to building a blogger outreach campaign for your business. If this is your first visit, you’ll want to go back and read steps 1-4: You wouldn’t be seeking inbound links if you haven’t done your keyword research first. Here, we’ll run down what you do once you’ve selected and signed on your blogs, what to expect, and how to measure if it was successful. 5. Do What You Said You Would Wh... > Read more
If you write blog content with any consistency, you've stared at a blank page anxiously as time winds down on a deadline. But one of the great things about being a blogger is the wealth of keyword tools available online. Rather than being left to your own brainstorming devices, you can use any of a number of tools to come up with great blog ideas.
One such tool with a lot of great features for blog ideation is Google Insights for Search. Getting Started: Using Google Insights for Search Terms & Filters We'll start at the beginning and look at some different ways to seed our search for great blog ideas. We have some great options at our disposal for filtering the types of insights we get from the tool right out of the gate. If we're running a local blog we can use time range in the... > Read more
AP officially recognized blogs as credible news sources in September 2010, but people have trusted blogs a lot longer than that. In fact, due to an over-saturated, price-driven advertising market, blogs — and the recommendations and sharing of information through social media that come from them — are quickly becoming the most trustworthy form of “advertising” (and I use that term loosely because blogs are more editorial than anything).
Adding a blogger outreach element to your marketing campaign is the best way to harness the power of your industry’s influential blogs, build brand awareness among the people who matter, and get some quality content links back to your website to drive your SEO campaign. Best of all, you have a definable way to measure your ROI. Caesars Entertainme... > Read more
Corporate blogs have a reputation for being nothing more than another way of distributing press releases. This is because most companies just don't understand how blogging is supposed to work, and they view it as a way to talk to the public rather than with them.While corporate news, sale announcements and product launches are all important things to have in a corporate blog, they don't have to be the focus.
A good corporate blog offers readers a reason to subscribe and can keep customers connected and interested in a company, even when nothing in particular is happening.But while creating an engaging corporate blog is not complicated, very few companies seem to have mastered it. However, some have and here are just ten examples of companies with compelling blogs that do more than serve as... > Read more
I've been blogging now for a little over three years now, and one of the important lessons I've learned during that time is that, to have a successful blog, you need to build relationships with other bloggers. Now, smart link builders have long understood that "link building is relationship building," and you will get more links by forging friendships than you will cold emailing strangers and begging for links.
The same holds true for "blog building," and developing relationships with your contemporaries is something that should be part of every bloggers' strategy. Networking with other bloggers in your niche allows you to: Develop mutually beneficial connections Generate more awareness for your own blog Establish credibility and cache for you and your blog (via a recommendation from an ... > Read more
On-page SEO just isn't enough to secure great rankings. You also need incoming links, which signal to search engines that people value your content. You'll get the best results if these links are: From high-authority domains Relevant to your marketspace Deep, i.e., not just to your home page Optimized with targeted anchor text So how are you supposed to get these links? Write great content and hope for the best? Yes, to some extent, that's a strategy, but unless you're very patient, you'll probably want to be more proactive about getting good links.
One way to do this is by writing guest posts for prominent blogs in your space. The WordStream blog invites proposals for and submissions of guest posts that cover topics of interest to our audience (including SEO, PPC, keyword research ... > Read more
I heard about Problogger’s 7 link challenge via Lisa Barone of Outspoken Media. This challenge—to link to seven past blog posts that fit into seven categories—doesn’t set off my fear of heights or eating bugs, so I thought we should take a stab at it. As Lisa points out, this challenge can benefit “old and new readers” of our blog, by highlighting some of best posts from the archives that you may have missed.
Without further ado, here are the seven (give or take) links: Your first post: The first post on the WordStream blog, not counting the welcome announcement, was Larry’s “How to Achieve the Best Results for PPC & SEO,” a list of 10 best practices that formed the cornerstones (can you have 10 cornerstones?) of our product ... > Read more
Let’s face it. Sometimes you have to write a blog post on a topic you’re not all that interested in. Maybe your boss told you to write it, or you know the post will appeal to readers, or the work will earn you a decent amount of money. Whatever the reason, writing about topics you don’t love can be necessary and even worthwhile.
Because you’re not passionate about the topic, it’s important to make the writing process as painless as possible. Here are some tips for getting it done quickly and painlessly: Write on a full stomach. Well, your stomach doesn’t have to be completely full, but make sure you’ve had a substantial meal and perhaps a cup of coffee before starting the post. Food (especially healthy “brain” foods) and c... > Read more
One of the biggest pain points for bloggers is trying to come up with fresh blog topic ideas. It's not easy to generate new ideas for content on a regular basis, week in, week out. Some bloggers get their inspiration from trending topics, hot news stories or even seeing what people are blogging about.
While others tap into an internal, creative spark to discover topics. Whatever your method, the brainstorming process is a hard slog at times and many bloggers can hit a creative wall. This week, WordStream launched a new software suite "WordStream for SEO," which features a set of powerful keyword analysis and content authoring tools. One of the key benefits of WordStream for SEO is that it helps anyone who writes and publishes Web content on a regular basis avoid writers block by serving u... > Read more