The Internet is not a static space. It is a dynamic space filled with dynamic people who have dynamic viewpoints. It is constantly evolving and growing. As such, the old “broadcaster” model of business simply does not fit with today’s generation. And that is why blogging has become so important. People don’t want to passively absorb the content on the Internet; they want to interact with it. They want to engage with the blogger. They want a much richer experience.
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In the early days of blogging, the articles were very personal and very casual. Even so, it represented a huge revolution in the way that information was not only consumed, but how it was produced. The average Joe and Jane could stake their claim on the web and make their mark on the world. It paved the way for more mass communication and a true voice “from the streets” and from real people. Anyone can start a blog and the barriers to entry are lower than ever.
But what is a blog exactly? Short for web log, it is a shared online journal that is typically presented in reverse chronological order. That is to say that the newest blog entries are displayed at the top of the page and older ones follow beneath it. They started as online diaries with personal experiences and stories, but blogs have quickly evolved into much more than that.
Companies use them to better expand their brands. Indeed, blogs themselves have become a very viable business, powered and funded by major media conglomerates. Blogs can be more than text. They can include video, pictures, and more. The most important thing is that the blog is updated frequently and regularly.
From Blogspot to WordPress, blogging can truly be a free endeavor. Even those who want a more professional appearance need only a very small investment: the cost of a domain. Whereas these costs could be out of reach for the average citizen in days past, they are literally pennies on the day today. Anyone can start a blog. Anyone can have their voice heard on the Internet.
Companies are really starting to understand the value of blogging. The press release still has its place, but people want to know more about the companies, the people working there, and the products being sold. There’s so much more than simple feature comparison or price checks; from socially-conscious consumers to interested investors, people only want to do business with companies that they really know.
That’s why blogging is positively critical for branding. This is true not only of large corporations and their official blogs, like Disney and Google, but also small business owners and entrepreneurs. As a freelance writer myself, my blog plays a monumental role in how I choose to brand myself and my writing business. It offers potential and current clients a better viewpoint into who I am as a person and what I am able to bring to the table.
Companies like Disney still have their official websites. This is where they can place important official information, but the blogs offer customers a glimpse behind the scenes in a very human way. This allows the people at Disney to interact with its users, customers, and community. It is much less intimidating for web users to participate in a blog or forum than it is for them to approach a corporate contact form. They can feel like they are a part of the family, rather than an outsider intruding in unfamiliar territory.
With blogs, companies and individuals can remind the public that they aren’t just some corporate entity; they’re real people. And when it comes to brands, people want to deal with other people, not some nameless organization. Blogging helps to establish, maintain, and grow that very human relationship with the brand.
This blog post is part of the BloggingTips.com Complete Guide to Blogging. Be sure to visit our Blogging Guide for the full break down of all chapters and posts in this series.
5 Things Squarespace Analytics Doesn’t Tell You and Why It Matters
If you would like to improve the audience impact of your blog, you need to know analytics. Numbers in analytics are useful tools that will guide you in creating more powerful content to maintain the happiness of your visitors. Using and understanding analytics can connect you with your audience so that they will keep coming back to your website.
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Squarespace Analytics is easy to use and effortlessly gives you daily reports. You can see panels such as the Activity Log, Popular Content, Search Engine Queries, Site Search Queries, Traffic Overview, and even Traffic Sources. You don’t have to feel overwhelmed by these tools since these modules are there to make your life easier. You can get full-time analytics for the traffic to your website.
Google Analytics is another tool that you can use and include with your Squarespace Analytics, since not every report and feature is found in the latter. There are a lot of similarities and differences between the two analytics, but here are five things that Squarespace Analytics does not tell you.
1. Audience Demographics
Squarespace Analytics lacks the ability to report your audience’s demographics. It cannot show you the age and gender of those who visit your website, which you’ll need in order to target a particular group or niche when marketing a product or offering services.
2. Audience Interests
Squarespace Analytics cannot tell you what particular interests your audience has. This information is important so that you know what kind of content to focus on to attract clients with SEO and other marketing tactics. Understanding the interests of your audience helps you know what to offer based on their interests, wants, and likes.
3. Visitor Location
Squarespace Analytics does not tell you the location of your visitors. You will know how many visitors you have, but you will now know where in the world are they located. But this information proves useful, especially since visitors from other parts of the world may become your clients. It is great to know that you have an impact around the world, but unfortunately, you cannot get this report with Squarespace Analytics alone.
4. Behavior Flow
Squarespace Analytics does not generate behavior flow and user flow reports, which show you the particular movements of people who visit your website. These diagrams are meant to tell you what makes your visitors access a particular page on your website over the another page, or what makes them leave a particular page on your website.
5. Real-Time Analytics
Squarespace Analytics does not show real-time analytics. On the other hand, Google Analytics can tell you exactly the number of visitors you have at the exact moment that you view your website analytics. You won’t know the exact web page your visitors are currently viewing based only on Squarespace Analytics.
These are just some of the things that cannot be shown to you by Squarespace Analytics. It is better to combine the two, Google Analytics and Squarespace Analytics, in order to get comprehensive and thorough reporting. The latter gives an abstract report while the former gives a more expanded report of analytics for your website.
5 Profitable Ideas to Make More Money from Your Blog
Blogging is one of the best ways to make money online.
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However, if you’re relying on the most basic and commons tactics to earn money, then you’re putting all eggs in one basket.
For instance, if your blog’s source of income rests on display ads, then you should find another income source quick.
Spencer Haws documented how and why his Google Adsense got banned. He already has earned over $13,000 when the terrible news happened.
At this point, there really isn’t much you can do but start from the beginning and work your way back up again.
It sounds unfair, but it is what it is.
As mentioned, you need to find other ways you can make money from your blog. Doing so lets you increase your profits and sustain your earnings over time.
Below are profitable ideas that you can implement on your blog.
1. Optimize ad places
I won’t blame you if you insist on using Google Adsense and Media.net to make money from your blog.
While Spencer’s Adsense account got banned, he was able to create one eventually.
He tried out alternatives, but nothing came close to the payouts that Google was giving out.
Aside from observing the rules to prevent your account from getting banned, make sure that the ads are placed at optimum sections of your blog. Doing so will ensure click-through rates and payouts.
Below are ways that you can feature inline ads on your blog tastefully:
- Use your space wisely – Most ad networks offer different sizes for their ads. Use the ones that fit on the different sections of your blog to a tee. Don’t choose ad units that occupy more than the allotted width or height of the section.
- Don’t compromise your content for ads – Your content is what drew readers your site, not the ad. As tempting as peppering your blog with ads, this may backfire and cause readers to leave your blog. Therefore, find a way to feature your ad prominently without obstructing user experience.
- Split up your ads – Don’t lump together ads in the same section. Spread them out to increase the chances of visitors seeing and clicking on them.
2. Think outside Google Adsense
Why stick to one way of streaming the money-making ability of your blog?
There are much more reliable tactics to earn from your blog aside from display ads. Below are three of the most popular ones:
- Sponsored posts – It’s highly possible that your blog has generated influence in its industry over the years through the content you publish. Leverage your authority by offering sponsored posts. Brands can approach your blog to feature their business on one of your posts for a free. In return, you link to their site so you readers can visit it if they’re interested.
- Membership site – If you have fostered a community through your blog, then monetize it! Create a members only section on your blog where you publish exclusive and high-quality posts there. To become a member, visitors should pay and subscribe to get their hands on your valuable content.
- Affiliate marketing – Arguably the most popular way to earn money from your blog. This method requires you to sign up on programs where you can place links to products and services on your blog post. If your visitor makes a transaction from the link on your site, you get a commission.
3. Clear and concise pricing
Let’s say you’re offering your services on your blog. You need to show to customers how much they cost. This gives them a chance to make an informed decision whether or not your services are worth the price tag.
But to increase conversions, it’s better to develop web calculator on your sales page. This is perfect if your offer discounted prices on bulk orders of your product or service.
The tool will calculate the price for them so they can get their hands on how much they’ll have to pay on you.
4. Build a product
As a blogger, you must have built a readership by sharing your knowledge and expertise about a subject. Therefore, it’s time to make money as a subject matter expert (SME) by creating a product.
Since you already write, the easiest way to earn money is by creating ebooks.
E-book writing is like writing a blog post but not quite at the same time. You need to understand the nuance of writing for either because they are a lot more different than you think.
Below are ways on how to prepare yourself in writing an e-book:
- Write for a “need” – It’s easier to write about something that you want to talk about. However, writing for demand or need by an audience is another story. Since you want people to buy your book, you need to write it for the people who will most likely purchase it. By finding a solution that people desperately need for their problem, you’ll have a higher chance of selling your blog.
- Organize your writing – You can’t write only when you feel like it. E-books are longer than blog posts, which is why you need to approach your writing strategically to finish it. Dedicate a time of your day writing the e-book and set a deadline for it. Doing so allows you to become more accountable for your product and your success.
- Don’t be afraid to spend – You can’t do everything yourself. As good as your writing is, you need a professional editor to make sure that the e-book doesn’t contain grammar mistakes. You also need to get a designer to create a book cover and other graphics in your e-book. Hiring these people may cost you, but it will greatly benefit you in the long run once people see how much quality and care you’ve invested in your product.
5. Sell to your email list
As you pursue the different methods of making more money with your blog, you’ll encounter services and products that you believe in. This goes on top of the e-books you’ve probably written for sale.
To increase your profit, send a sales letter to your email list in the hopes of converting them into customers and not just your die-hard readers.
As a permission-based marketing tactic, people join your email list because they believe in what you say and do through your content.
Therefore, the trust is already there, making it easier for you to convert them into clients!
Blogging can be unpredictable at times. One day, you’re earnings thousands, and the next day, you’re earning peanuts.
Therefore, the best defense to the eccentric nature of blogging income is to diversify your income streams.
The ways mentioned above should give you an idea on how to approach making more money from your blog, if not get your started already!
A Blogger’s Guide to Selling on eBay
Blogging is fun, from starting one and driving lots of traffic to it before enjoying the results. However, you’ve probably outgrown being a blogger throughout all those years.
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If you’re looking to doing more than just write posts on your blog, then this post is perfect for you.
Offering products and services is nothing new to some popular bloggers. Sometimes, it makes sense to sell products based on what your niche is about. Problem is, most bloggers aren’t sure where to host their new ecommerce business.
It is not advisable to open a store section on their website. This is because your readers are usually on your blog to read and gain information, not buy.
Here’s where looking at a dedicated marketplace comes in.
You can just add a store section on your website and redirect or provide a link to a selling page like eBay.
Benefits of selling on eBay as a blogger
Selling on eBay is a good starting point for a blogger-turned-ecommerce owner. Here are the reasons why:
- eBay is a high traffic channel
- People go to eBay with the main purpose of buying
- Their website is secure, responsive, and reliable
- There are various payment options available
- You can build your blog’s audience through their market
Of course, what you sell should be highly relevant to your blog if you want to maintain your brand. For instance, if you blog about mountain climbing then selling mountain climbing gears makes sense.
How to start your eBay store
Here’s a checklist for you to tick before you launch your new venture:
Create your store name and URL
Shoppers remember your store name. Mirror what your blog name is to what your eBay store’s name and URL. Your store name also becomes your URL which matters for Google.
Optimize your product description
Product descriptions matter for Google, too.
You will about what the product’s attributes are like size, color, and weight, but you can also attach some keywords to it.
Since you’re a blogger, you probably know the importance of using keywords in all of your posts.
Identify delivery method
If you sell physical products, do not forget to add a shipping method to all your product listings. Not all of your items’ size and weight are the same, therefore, the costs for shipping them may vary.
Good thing in selling on eBay is you can ship your products from the comfort of your home. But you can always look for third-party fulfillment service partner that can do the work for you.
You can offer free postage as well which does attract more eyes to your listing.
Know the potential costs
eBay offers up to 50 free listings per month but if you’ve used up all of those listings, you’ll have to pay for the extra. If you only have a few products to sell then this choosing this option is your best bet.
Here are the four main fees that eBay has for their sellers:
- Insertion fees
- Final value fees
- Listing upgrades
- Fees in select categories
Be wary of scammers
eBay seems to be the playground of a lot of online scammers. Sometimes, buyers claim to overpay for their products accidentally and ask for it back. And when you wire the money back, you’ll find that the transfer was a fake and the scammer ran away with your money.
Learn how to spot scammers and remember these things at all times:
- When you are selling to someone you don’t know, it is better and safer to accept cash or credit card payments. Don’t just accept checks or money orders immediately.
- Never accept overpayments and people claiming to send what seems to be an invisible transfer to your account
- When meeting with a buyer through a local pick up, choose a place that is safe and accessible to the public. Never ever invite them to your home.
Focus on customer satisfaction
Your customers are the people you want to build trust and rapport with. Always keep your focus on satisfying your customers. For example, you can include handwritten messages or a small token on your product boxes.
There is one business called HEX that could build their customers’ loyalty through personalized thank you notes.
Respond to all feedbacks
How do you know if you have happy customers?
It usually shows in their comments and feedbacks.
You must address all feedbacks, good and bad, at all times. When people make the effort of leaving a review on your eBay store, never leave them hanging.
You should always thank people who gave you good reviews and recommended your products.
Reviews that criticizes your products can give you an insight on where to improve.
Mention your store on your blog posts
Even though you plan to sell on eBay, your blog’s audience is definitely your target buyers too. Don’t miss out on mentioning on some of your blogs you sell products they may be interested in.
Don’t go overboard and keep your sales talk on the side and not your main goal.
For example, you can have a few lines on your posts that talks about a specific gear you sell, you can just hyperlink your product’s URL and mention some of its features.
Remember that your readers are still on your blog to be informed and not to be sold to.
Selling on eBay as a blogger is tough but rewarding
Jason Acidre, owner of Avaris.io once said, “With eBay’s free listing option, it never hurts to open up a store even when you’re committed to a full-time blog.” For more information about selling on eBay here’s a guide for you to sell with confidence.
Just know and understand that the market is different and how you market your product is going to be different from how you market your blog.
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