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Blogging Guide

Have Your Blog Up and Running in Minutes

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Setting up a blog doesn’t need to be intimidating. Based on everything that we covered in the previous chapter, you should have now registered for an appropriate domain name and set up your web hosting plan with HostGator. Now, it’s time to walk through the process of going live with a new blog using the popular WordPress content management system.

Why WordPress?

Back in the ancient days of blogging, many website owners chose to code their own software and infrastructure. Needless to say, this left a very big barrier to entry for most bloggers. Thankfully, times have changed and just about anyone can have a blog up and running in a matter of minutes.

While there are some other options out there, like MovableType and Joomla, I highly recommend using WordPress as the software powering your blog. First of all, it’s completely free to download and to use. There are no restrictions and you can use it on as many sites as you’d like. It also has an increasingly large community of developers and other helpful people. This means that it is constantly evolving, being supported, and growing with such things as plugins and other tweaks.

No matter what you want out of your WordPress blog, chances are that there is someone out there who is willing to lend a helping hand. The platform is popular for good reason.

Fantastico One-Click Installation

Even though WordPress is much easier to use than coding your own website, it used to be that you had to install it manually. That’s no longer the case! There really is an installation method that requires very minimal effort on your part and it’s called Fantastico. It is quite literally a “one-click installation” of WordPress, giving you a full-fledged blog in a matter of moments.

HostGator has the latest versions of PHP, MySQL, and Apache with the mod_rewrite module. This means that it is perfectly equipped to handle WordPress and there are thousands of installations of WordPress running reliably on the stable network of HostGator servers.

To install WordPress, log into your HostGator cPanel (control panel). From there, scroll down to the lower portion of the page where software and services are located. Click on the Fantastico icon; it’s the one with the blue smiley face. On the Fantastico page, you’ll find an option to install WordPress. Click on the link for a new installation. This can be found in the left sidebar.

Choose your domain from the menu and define your login credentials and other pertinent information. For example, this is where you’ll put in the login name and password for your WordPress blog. Choose something that is secure, but something that you’ll remember. Click on “Install WordPress” and give the system a moment to complete the installation. Based on your Internet connection, it should only take a second. And that’s it; your WordPress blog is installed and ready to go.

If you need any help with installing WordPress, the HostGator support staff are there to help you. The forums and tutorials available on WordPress.org are very useful too.

Make Your Blog Your Own

Over the course of the rest of this chapter, we’ll go through the various options and features that are available in WordPress. It really is amazing what you can do with this software, because each WordPress blog can be incredibly unique and distinct. There are so many things that you can do to make your blog stand out from the crowd; on the flip side, the core functionality is already there after you’ve completed the Fantastico One-Click Installation.

As you make your way through this chapter, you’ll learn how you can create and edit new blog posts, how to publish new pages (and how they are different from posts), how you can add images and other multimedia, how you can define different categories and tags for your posts, and how you can customize the look and feel of your site. And yes, you can connect your blog to social media too.

Don’t be intimidated. It’s actually a lot easier than you think it is.

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.

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Zac Johnson is a online marketer with 15 years of experience and also a blogger at ZacJohnson.com, as well as the founder of BloggingTips.com. You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Blogging Guide

5 Things Squarespace Analytics Doesn’t Tell You and Why It Matters

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What Squarespace Analytics fails to tell you.

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.

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.

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Blogging Guide

5 Profitable Ideas to Make More Money from Your Blog

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make more money from your blog

Blogging is one of the best ways to make money online.

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.

web calculator example

Example of a web calculator.

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!

Conclusion

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!

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Blogging Guide

A Blogger’s Guide to Selling on eBay

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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.

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

eBay Blogger

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

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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