You can continue to do your ‘market research’ or read more about ‘building a better blog’ and even finding more tips and advice on how to earn money online, but NONE of that will matter unless you TAKE ACTION.
If you already have your blog built, then you are way ahead of the game, stop spending time on things that don’t work and put your laser focus on the item’s that do.
I have created a two part blog post on how to build a better blog today, each will have 10 easy steps you can take. This will make it super easy for you to tackle in as little as 10 to 15 minutes, some steps might take a little bit longer.
Set a goal to finish all the steps. The more you do, the better off your blog will be.
Most likely you have completed some of these by now, but if you haven’t, wrap it up! If you have more tips, please share them with the rest of us at the bottom of this post by clicking on add a comment.
#1: Build an Email List (20 minute set up)
This is one of the most important steps you can make when looking to earn money online. Everyone I know that has been making money online have always stated they wish they started collecting emails years before they actually figured out how to use them. Most of those same people are making the most income off of their mailing list. So don’t hesitate, get one started today. If you don’t start using it tomorrow, I guarantee you will be soon enough. Put it in place today.
Start building an email list in only 20 minutes or less:
- Sign up for an email marketing account at Aweber.
- Create your Sign-Up form. Use these You can get instructions and tips HERE.
- Add the sign-up form to your blog. Most people put it over to the right on their side-bar, but I like to put one on the side bar and at the bottom of every page. Don’t forget your about page as well.
- Add a FREE Give Away. A great way to build your list is by offering a free give away to people subscribing to your list. I tend to offer information products and videos that people would normally pay for. Just make sure to offer something, you will see far better results.
Whatever you do, do not hesitate starting an email list. Not only can you use the list to market to the people on your list, you can use it to inform your readers of special posts and videos that are added to your blog. Some people never sell to their list, they just use it as another tool to get repeat visits from their readers.
There are many different ways to use your list:
- New blog post notification (or you can send out the last 3, etc…)
- Special announcements and offers
- Scheduled sequence of emails (30 day programs, etc…)
Make sure to checkout Aweber and set up your account and list today.
#2: Keep a List of Potential Posts / Ideas (10 Minutes +/-)
I use Evernote to organize my future blog post ideas. This will keep you from getting writers block and is not hard to get started. Evernote is easy to set up and is available on every mobile device and can easily synch to any computer.
You can really use anything including a simple notepad, email or Google doc, but the key here is to get started recording these thoughts. You can’t remember everything!
You will be VERY happy you have this list when you are under a squeeze to get a post out.
#3: Add a Facebook “Like” Button to your Posts (15 Minutes +/-)
People love to share good posts, and passing up on the opportunity of getting your article shared with potentially thousands of others with a click of a button is totally insane!!!
The only way you are going to get them to share your content is by making it SUPER EASY for them to do so.
- Visit Facebooks How-To on Adding a Like Button
- Pick the style for the Like Button – there are a few settings to choose from.
- Get the Code and Copy it into your page anywhere you want it.
- Plug-Ins are available to automatically add all the social share and like buttons to your new posts, but make sure they are well trusted, have great reviews and you might consider a premium one to avoid possible security leaks.
#4: Add a Twitter Retweet Button (15 Minutes +/-)
Now that you have set up the Facebook Like button you don’t want to miss out on the potential traffic you can get from twitter. It is just as easy to set up and won’t take long to add the retweet button to your posts.
Twitter is another huge potential source of traffic for your blog. This site receives hundreds of visitors every month from Twitter, and it takes very little time to gain those benefits. First go and visit the Twitter Retweet Button configuration page and copy the code provided for your retweet button and paste it into your posts. You can also edit your theme to add it to each post or use a plug-in to do this. Just remember to keep those plug-ins updated!
#5: Compile a List of Every Blogger In Your Niche (30 minutes +/-)
One of the best ways to gain authority is to become friends with as many fellow bloggers in your Niche.
You might think you are siding with the competition or possibly lose some of your viewers to others within your niche, but the fastest way to become an authority and gain additional viewers is to become friends with those within your niche. Most bloggers these days like to help each other out with content creation and comments which will open doors to future opportunities and partnerships.
Again, I like to use Evernote to keep track of this information in a very easy to find format, but you can keep this information in a simple text file or google document. Don’t just list the a-listers, but all those that show up on the first couple pages of google results when searching for your primary keywords. Add the term blog to your search terms and you might find more. Put the most important and accessible bloggers first and the ones you can relate with the most.
Depending on the size of your Niche, you might end up with a very focused list of similar bloggers, but on others you might need to focus more on marketing bloggers or those loosely related to your niche.
Your goal is to start contacting these people through their blogs, Facebook or Twitter and strike up conversations with them. Do not look for reciprocal relationships to begin with, just let them know you are a follower and a fan and make relevant comments related to their message. In time you hope to form a friendly relationship and ideas will flow from there. If you write great epic content, you might have the possibility of doing a guest post on their blog or sponsor an email message that is sent out to their email list. The possibilities are endless once you form a strong relationship with them.
#6: Add Some Social Proof to Your Blog (15 minutes +/-)
One of the top indicators for an Authority Website is by showing Social proof. Everyone loves to hop on the gravy train and when people see that others are doing something positive, they are more likely to do the same thing themselves. If people see that thousands of people are subscribing to your newsletter or podcast, they will most likely do the same thing themselves.
In the beginning it might be difficult to show social proof as you do not have a large group of followers. Showing your visitors that you have 20 people signed up to your newsletter can send a negative message to potential viewers. In this example you might want to show the number of twitter followers you have or how many Facebook fan page subscribers if you have impressive numbers there. Sometimes you just have to wait to show Social Proof.
It is easy to set up your social proof display on your blog.
- First decide what you want to display. Avoid numbers less than 500 unless you have a very micro niche.
- Add an RSS subscriber display through Feedburner if you are using this service. Look for the FeedCount link under the ‘publicize’ tab.
- Add a Twitter, Facebook or Aweber subscriber count. You can get plug-ins to display this information and also get the links directly from Twitter, Facebook and Aweber and add as a widget. http://twittercounter.com/pages/twitter-widget is easy to set up and is free.
- Once you get your Twitter or RSS widget configured, placing the code within a sidebar text widget is the easiest way to get it on your website.
#7: Create your USP – Unique Selling Proposition (30 minutes +/-)
You only have a few seconds to capture a viewers or readers attention. You have to anser their question “why should I read your blog instead of the hundreds (or thousands) of other choices out there?” and you only have seconds to do this.
To provide a great answer, think of why they are visiting your website, what they are looking for and how you are providing this information differently from the thousands of similar blogs out there.
Corbett Barr over at Think Traffic creeated a very unique guide to help you find your unique selling proposition, you should start by reading his post: The Ultimate Guide to Finding Your Unique Selling Proposition.
Once you have created your USP, you need to let your visitors know it in a very prominent spot on your website. You can place it in your tagline, in the sidebar of your blog and/or within each blog post as a signature and on your about page. You will also want to remind your visitors regularly of your USP through your blog posts, podcast or vidcast.
I quote it in many different ways throughout my website, but my USP for How To Earn Money .TV is:
With over 20 years of making money online, I will teach you how to Earn Money Online through step-by-step video tutorials and interviews with industry experts.
#8: Learn the Basic Search Engine Optimization Techniques (SEO Basics) (60 minutes +/-)
Is SEO dead? I hear this question all the time. It is a really good one, but I don’t see anything telling me that it has died, even with the most recent algorithm updates made by Google. The key here is to stick with ‘natural’ SEO and not try to game the system or results. The idea here is to make it easier for the Search Engines to identify your content and make it easier to find by people looking for that content.
Just by learning the basics, you will properly set up your website to be both identified by it’s primary keywords and long-tail keywords.
The guys over at SEOMoz created a 10 chapter beginners guide to SEO. You should definitely check that out before you begin. You can find it here: The Beginners Guide To SEO. Another great resource is from Think Traffic : The Simple SEO Strategy You Can Build an Empire Around (Complete With Beginner’s Intro to SEO)
Just remember, although you might focus 100% on getting more Google traffic, by optimizing your website, not only will your Google traffic increase, so will the traffic you get from the hundreds to thousands of other search engines, directories and websites that find you because of your optimized content.
A couple notes to remember, the quickest way of losing the Google love is by over optimizing a website or building a website primarily to get better ‘Google Rankings’ and/or using black hat methods. The best way to get more traffic and Google love is to provide high value content for your potential readers/followers/fans on a consistent basis.
#9: Provide a Call to Action (5 minutes +/-)
One of the best ways to get visitors, sales or a larger email list is by creating a call to action. You just ask them exactly what you want or need.
Looking for more email subscribers? Ask them to subscribe.
Want more retweets? Ask them to retweet your post.
Want to make more sales? Ask them to buy it and tell them why they should.
You don’t want to go crazy always asking your readers to do something, but it doesn’t hurt to have one call to action each post. At the end of each of my videos I go a little crazy by asking them to subscribe to my newsletter and let them know they can rate me in iTunes and YouTube if they are looking to participate and help out the show so I can continually produce more content for them to enjoy.
Try this in your next blog post. If you are providing valuable content and you ask politely using a call to action, most likely your visitors will be happy to reciprocate.
#10: Show Your Best Side / Stuff (15 minutes)
When people visit your website, they are looking not only for the specific information they came for, but they are also looking for more information to help them to determine why they should frequent your blog vs. the hundreds or thousands of similar blogs on the internet.
You want to show them your best stuff right from the very beginning. The most common place that other websites display this information is in the side bar. You can easily display your most viewed or commented upon content on your website with available plug-ins or you can use a text widget and provide links and descriptions to the content you would like first time visitors to see.
If you really want them to stand out, put them in the header, if you are only getting started and do not have a ton of content, you might just start off with links to your most recent posts.
Thank you! You are a very valued reader!
I hope you enjoyed this post on Building a Better Blog, I will be posting 10 more ideas tomorrow and will most likely add this information to my newsletter over the next couple weeks. So make sure to sign up to the newsletter to get additional tips and advice for making money online and to be notified when a new video tutorial or interview is posted to How To Earn Money .TV.
Thanks again to Corbett Barr from Think Traffic for providing the inspiration to write this blog post as I have been a follow of his for years.
Remember, the key is to get started today!!! So don’t hesitate. If you have not started your blog yet, head right over to BlueHost, get one of their specials, do the 1 click wordpress install and JUST DO IT! If you already have a blog, implement these changes today and I will have 10 more for you tomorrow!
Take care everyone!
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