When it comes to your home computer, you may have taken the time to choose a new wallpaper, install your favorite applications, and do other customizations so that it works just the way you want it to work. Your blog should be no different. In fact, it’s even more important that you take the time to customize your blog, because you’re sharing it with everyone on the Internet!
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Thankfully, customizing the various options and features in WordPress is a very straightforward and easy-to-understand process. You could stick with the default settings, if you’d like, but you can do so much more by adjusting a few options here and there.
New Layouts, Themes, and Templates
Under the “Appearance” section in the WordPress administration panel, you’ll find the ability to customize the layout and general “look” of your blog. This starts by choosing a theme.
We’ll be going into further detail in future chapters, but the gist of it is that you can download and install different themes for your blog. This defines the layout, color scheme of links, and other features that are pertinent to the look and feel of your blog. There are many free themes available on the Internet, as well as premium paid themes and the ability to get custom themes too.
Most contemporary WordPress themes, which are sometimes called templates, provide what is known as widget support. This means that you can customize the content located in the sidebar of your blog without having to go into the actual “code” of your blog. Widgets can easily be moved, rearranged, and changed. Common widgets include category listings, search bars, and recent comments.
Installing WordPress Plugins
Another great way to customize your WordPress blog is through what are known as plugins. Just like the themes described above, there are both free and paid plugins available on the Internet.
Plugins serve a variety of different functions, limited only by imagination of the plugin developers. The idea is that they can add to or alter the functionality of WordPress to best suit the needs of each particular blogger.
There are plugins that aid in reducing spam, improving search engine optimization, creating useful contact forms, showing related posts, automatically backing up the WordPress database, and more. Some are more useful than others and, thanks to the newer WordPress versions, installing and activating plugins is easier than ever.
We’ll be describing some of the best plugins (and how to use them) a little later on.
User Profile Options
Whether you are the only writer on your site or if you manage a staff of several writers, each contributor is given his or her own user profile. There are options for turning the visual editor on and off, for instance.
Perhaps more importantly, you should take the time to fill out your user profile with your name, your preferred display name, your e-mail address, website, and biography. Depending on your chosen theme and layout, these may or may not be displayed.
You’ll notice at the end of each post on Blogging Tips, for example, the author is given a brief “author box” that includes his or her name and a link to his or her website. This adds to the connectivity and community that your blog can offer. It provides context.
WordPress Settings and Options
As you install more plugins on your WordPress blog, you may encounter more settings and options pages. Even at its default “bare” installation, though, WordPress has many key settings and options that you should know about.
Among the “General” settings, for example, are fields to define the site title, tagline, timezone, date format, and time format. Under the “Writing” settings section, you’ll see the size of the post box, whether emoticons should be automatically converted to graphics, and whether you allow for posting via e-mail.
Take some time to go through the various settings pages — like Reading, Discussion, Media, and Permalinks — and see what other changes you would like to make. All of these can have a rather important impact on how your blog is read, displayed, and enjoyed by your site visitors.
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 Blogging Laws You Need to Know to Avoid Legal Troubles
Creating a blog is one thing. Managing it is another. It’s easier to develop a blog from scratch than maintaining one. You need to consider many things to ensure your blog’s survival. One of which is its legal side.
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Unfortunately, many neglect its importance because it’s hard to understand. Trust us — reading long texts of laws and regulations is no fun.
This guide, however, solves just that. We’ll help you comply with the law so you’ll stay out of legal trouble.
Getting copyright protection is necessary to keep your content from being plagiarized. The copyright law does just that. It protects an author’s original creation, such as articles, photos, videos, and music.
This is very important especially that these works are usually seen in blogs. You can also profit from the law as you gain control on how you want it to be reused by other people. You can even sue anyone who misuses your copyrighted material. You can then ask for compensation for the losses.
Never copy or re-use anyone’s work without giving proper credit or seeking permission from the author.
Terms and Conditions
Nobody wants to get lawsuits. But if you do get one for your blog, then your best protection would come from your terms and conditions. They are your website rules which discuss which are allowed and aren’t allowed on your blog.
You need to have one to protect yourself and your online business. Terms and conditions explain refund processes and policies of your content.
It also explains the process of resolving legal disputes, as well as prevents anyone from using your blog without permission. Having thorough terms and conditions prevents copyright infringement.
The last thing you want is for your enemies to find loopholes on your blog. Avoid this from happening by having terms and conditions. It’s a great way to prepare for worst-case scenarios.
You can also translate these legal documents on your blog to the language of your readers. This way, they’ll understand how your blog works.
Disclaimers protect you from legal liability as it clears things out. They make it clear to readers that your content is personal opinions, not facts. You need disclaimers for protection against defamation lawsuits.
This is important for blogs as you usually express your own ideas based on your reaction to facts. Blogs don’t necessarily convey factual data as it functions as an outlet for writers’ opinions.
However, it doesn’t mean that you won’t get sued if you have one. Instead, there’s a good chance you can defend your blog because you have a disclaimer. You also don’t want to be responsible for content websites publish based on your blog.
This is especially important if you’re sharing affiliate links. In an interconnected world, it’s vital to have protection for your individual rights.
Taxes for self-employment
Blogs aren’t just a hobby. For many, it’s also a source of income. If this is the case, then it’s a legitimate business and you need to comply with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). You might be your own boss, but even that comes with added responsibility.
Pay healthcare and social security taxes from the profits you earn from your blog. These are called self-employment or SE taxes. Blogs earning $400 or more annually are required to pay these taxes.
Thus, it’s important to have general knowledge in keeping track of your finances. Learn basic accounting and financial management to not have any legal problem. It might be boring and tedious at first, but it’s very useful in the long run.
Also, pay taxes on time so you won’t get penalized, or worse, have your blog shut down!
Dealing with legal troubles is a big hassle. Not only does this waste your time and energy, but this can also lower your blog conversions. However, you can avoid this from happening by knowing the laws regarding blogging.
Ignorance of the law excuses no one, including bloggers. Thus, it’s best to spend time understanding all these rules even if they seem boring. Doing so will safeguard your blog’s interest, and could make your blog more credible.
While using them is ideal because they generate the documents in seconds, there’s no replacement to actual legal advice and counsel in creating these pages on your blog.
Therefore, if you want to be safe and keep your blog from getting into legal troubles, you need to consult professional advice and counsel regarding these blogging laws.
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!
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