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7 Reasons Why Every Brand Needs to Blog in 2016

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As someone who has been blogging for over seven years now and having written thousands of articles, I can confidently say that blogging has completely changed the way content is created on the internet. Whether you are an individual, brand, business or just someone who is trying to figure it out all, starting a blog is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

Recently I was approached by Act-On, an account based marketing solution for businesses and entrepreneurs to provide them with a few tips on how businesses and brands can using blogging to improve their productivity and profits across the board. An ebook will be released in the next week with my recommended tips, but I also wanted to break down seven reasons why blogging is a great investment for every brand and business out there. Since it can take some time to see the actual effects and ROI from blogging, there is simply no better time to get started, than today.

Business_Tips_Blogs

1 – Own Your Content and Your Brand

On the internet, nothing is more important than content and one of the best ways to create it is through a website or blog of your own. Since most brands already have a website, adding a WordPress blog is no problem at all. With a few simple clicks of a button (depending on your web host), you can go live with a blog of your own in minutes.

When creating content for your site, not only are just adding a new article to your blog, you are actually growing your site as a whole, it’s outreach, impact and much more — all of which will be covered in the following data points.

Best of all, it’s something that you will be building over time and will have complete ownership over.

2 – Easily Create and Share Content Online

Blogging and WordPress not only changed the way content is created online, it also changed how content is shared. Through the use of WordPress plugins, it’s now easier than ever to add social sharing buttons to your site, which allows your audience to share your content with a click of a button.

It’s this kind of “free” social sharing and promotion that leads back to more business and awareness for your brand.

3 – Start a Two-Way Conversation

In the early days of the internet, content creation was a completely one-sided event. People would visit your site, read the content and then leave. Now’s it’s all about engagement!

In addition to social sharing, site visitors can now come to your blog and leave comments of their own. One of the most impactful ways to have a successful blog, is to respond to all comments and keeping the conversation going.

4 – Track Links, Mentions, and Content Shares

WordPress is more than a platform for creating content, it’s actually a full Content Management Solution. With so many tools and Plugins in place, you can track all aspects of your site and how it’s being used.

One such area that is heavily focused on is the outreach, linking and social shares going to and from your site. This is something most traditional HTML-based websites never had the capabilities for. Instead, site owners would need to use an outside solution.

In short, WordPress makes blogging easy for businesses and brands of all sizes because they don’t need to learn how to do something new or ever touch a line of code.

5 – Increase Search Results and Rankings

As important as content is, without the right backlinks and visitors coming to your site, you are then just left with content that no one reads. This is another area where WordPress-powered blogs can greatly help brands increase their exposure.

Through plugins like Yoast SEO, site owners can create better content titles and descriptions for the search results while also using keywords in their permalinks. Throw in the ability to easily share blog content and this is all creating the perfect storm for higher rankings in the search results. The better (and longer) the content you create, not only can your site start ranking higher, it can also start ranking for more long tail keywords as well.

6 – Become the Authority within Your Niche

The goal for most professionals, brands and businesses is to be their authority in their niche — basically the most trusted source for information or offering the best product/service in their market.

Blogging is a great way to accomplish this, as you can continually come out with new content that covers all angles of your business. Not only will this help your site rank more often in the search results, it can also help you find new audiences that you can provide value to as well. A good example of this would be if you created the perfect wood cutting board. Write about everything you could possibly think of that your audience might ask when looking to buy a new cutting board. The end result would be people finding your content online, then likely buying through your site since you provided them with the best information.

There are plenty of ways to build up your authority through blogging, but the value of your content is usually the most important.

7 – Build a Brand that Your Audience Trusts

At the end of the day, blogging is all about creating content for your audience and providing value. People are using the internet for three things; to buy something, be entertained or to find answers. If you cater your content to any of these three needs, you will find success with a blog of your own.

Your Competitors are Blogging. Why aren’t You?

With over a billion active sites on the internet and a good portion of them being WordPress blogs, that means your competition is blogging! There is simply no reason for your brand or business to not be benefiting from a blog of your own. It’s simply one of the most effective ways to create content, reach new audiences and improve brand awareness without needing a big budget.

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

Successful Blogging: EXPERIENCE and Learn

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Do you know how people tell you to live and learn? Not the best advice. EXPERIENCE life and observe your lessons. THEN learn. Successful blogging is observing, learning then moving forward with those lessons firmly impressed on your mind. All that sweet blogging money only appears if you experience blogging by diving in, and blogging every single day for hours daily. After, you need to observe your experience. What did you learn? Take those lessons with you to succeed online. Living is useless unless you learn from experiences. EXPERIENCING blogging and learning from experiences separates successful bloggers from everybody else.

Let me explain…..

Me and my wife house sit in Brooklyn for 3 weeks now. The homeowners have a car. I need to move the car to find a new parking spot once weekly as alternate side of the street parking rules are in effect due to weekly street cleaning. The owners simply told me it’d be easy to find a spot early in the afternoon. Cool. But their advice did nothing to prepare me for the EXPERIENCE of actually trying to start the car, and find a new parking spot. I never used a key-less car before. I had no idea you need to press on the brake while pushing the start button because I had no experience doing so, and the owners did not give me instructions to do this. I know you place a key into ignition and turn it because that is my experience for 30 years as a driver. Anyway, 45 minutes later, I figured how to start the car. But wait! I had a new experience to…..experience. I had lessons to learn. Because after exiting the parking spot, I drove side streets for another 50 minutes before finding a spot. Frustrated and agitated, I learned a valuable lesson *from* my experience; change parking spots from one street side to another immediately after the street sweeper comes through. Cool.

But I had another lesson to learn. Traffic cops give tickets if you park on the alternate side before 1 PM; even if the street cleaner plowed through. Being burned by yesterday, I drove around for 90 minutes today to ensure I’d have an entire city block of open parking to choose from. OK; I also illegally parked on that open block for about 45 of those minutes. Why? Yesterday’s agitating experience told me it’s wiser and less time consuming to circle for 90 minutes to guarantee I get easy parking. Wait! I learned another lesson based on today’s experience. Never leave your parking spot at 11:30 AM when street cleaners move thru because you’ve 90 minutes to kill before legally parking on the alternate side. I asked a traffic cop. He offered the answer. More experience. Next week, I hop in the car only if the alternate side seems to fill up fast but based on prior experience, this only happens at about 12:50 PM, 10 minutes before the expiry time.

Blessed experience wins again. Life-wise. Blogging-wise. Seize it. Capitalize on it. Succeed. Blogging is no spectator sport.

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8 Tips to Gain the Trust of Your Blogging Audience

 

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Blogging

1 Blogging Lesson I Learned from Parking a Car in NYC

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Alternate side of the street parking day here in NYC. This means you need to move your car to the other side of the street for street cleaning. Cool. I heard it on the radio many times. First time I had to experience it in person, though. We house sit for a couple in Brooklyn. This couple owns a car. Cool. But the car did not start for a good hour because I did not know one steps on brakes while pressing key-less start buttons. Oh well. But after that, I drove around for 45 minutes looking for a new spot on the other side of the road because you get a nice ticket otherwise. No spots availed themselves for 45 minutes. I spoke to my wife. She told me cars need be parked 15 feet from fire hydrants. I was 5 feet away. Shoot. On returning to the car, a bus moved in front of me. I slid in to a parking spot. Phew. Relief.

What lesson did I learn? No matter how calm you THINK you are, agitation arises in you. Unless you’re enlightened. Alas I am not. I am a regular guy. Calm? Yep. But I routinely find events feeling uncomfortable to navigate. Sometimes, aka rarely, I experience events triggering deeper fears. Today was one such event. I did not flip out, scream, panic or throw a tantrum. I did however feel super agitated about needing to spend almost 2 hours driving around NYC and trying to start a key-less car because 2 hours are precious to me. I hate wasting time. Inefficient actions disgust me. BUT perfect place, perfect time. I needed this experience to trigger fears for feeling, hugging and clearing, to make me even more calm. No matter how much growth and success you experience, leveling up introduces you to new fears. Deeper fears. More unpleasant fears.

With deeper fears comes greater responsibility and even more success. I suspect if I do become a billionaire blogger how I’ll keep nudging into unpleasant-feeling fears along the way. But inspiring millions and making billions? Worth it. I am humble enough to know my calm demeanor a good 95% of the time may-does evolve into agitation some 5% of the time. Maybe less. Progress has been attained. Because I have not genuinely screamed at someone in about 1 year and I have been agitated like today about 5 times over the past year. I am calm most of the time. Agitation arises rarely because I am human and apt to be afraid of stuff. Sue me, LOL.

Be with fears as you grow. Energies arise. Anger. Terror. Horror at the future. Blanket disgust. Never resist these energies. I stumble across non-enlightened folks who hold self to enlightened standards. No way guys. Never be surprised at your getting angry or upset because only enlightened souls and repressed people never anger or feel agitated. Burying fear stifles your growth. Hugging fear accelerates your growth. You know I hug my fears. NYC parking agitation still subsiding now.

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Creating the Mindset of a Successful Blogger

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Blogging

5 Greatest Landing Page Optimization Tools For Your Blog

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landing page optimization tools

Landing pages can steal people’s attention. And if you play your cards right, these pages hold the ticket to attracting more customers.

However, let’s be clear:

Landing pages are double-edged swords. While they can help you, they can also harm you — unless you’ve optimized them accordingly.

So if you know your landing page needs work, why not get around it?

Well, there are plenty reasons for this, and there are also many landing page plugins that can help to further critique your LPs as well.

As you go through this article, you’ll find five landing page optimization tools for your blog. With them, you can revamp your landing page then have it increase conversions and your blog’s income.

Unbounce

Unbounce - landing page optimization tools

Optimizing landing pages is not possible if you haven’t built them yet. So to construct great landing pages, the tool for you is Unbounce.

And Effin Amazing, a Florida-based agency that specializes in analytics and growth, will tell you all about the tool’s power.

When one of its clients, Chupa Mobile, asked for help generating new leads, Effin Amazing used Unbounce. The team’s idea for its client involved a lead nurturing strategy and a content calendar. That and Effin Amazing wanted to get it done as quickly as possible.

True, it was a rather ambitious plan. However, it was realistic. And get this:

The marketing agency reached its goal. Chupa Mobile was satisfied with its landing page. It also began generating dozens of new leads. Plus, it also walked away with a 44% increase in conversions.

Crazy Egg

Electronic Arts is a successful media company that knows that Crazy Egg lets you set up an A/B test in minutes. It also knows that the tool features Visitor Insights and Heatmaps. Both of which provide information about user behavior on landing pages. So before launching SimCity 5 in 2013, it set up an A/B testing process to maximize revenue.

Crazy Egg

For the control version of its landing page, it merely focuses on promoting the simulation game. While on the other version, the company offers a 20% discount.

Here’s the control version of its landing page:

Crazy Egg - SimCity5Control

Here’s the variation:

Crazy Egg - SimCity5Variation

After a while, the media company discovered that its landing page’s variation was a hit. Compared to the version that brings an incentive into the table, the landing page design without a 20% discount performed 43.4% better.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics

If you combine Google Analytics and Google Adwords, a powerful tool is in your hands. You can use it to track landing page performance to haul in leads even after they exit your site.

To demonstrate the power of Analytics, let’s explore Marketo’s conversion increase that happened after using the tool.

So here’s the story:

As a go-to company for many B2B and B2C folks when it comes to marketing and automation, Marketo’s goal is to help its clients improve conversions. And to reach that goal, the plan was to use Analytics and real-time personalization.

So it took its clients’ website data such as industry vertical and top products. Then it merged all of it with the user behavior data it got from Google Analytics.

Because of what the analytics tool reveals, Marketo provided audiences with relevant data. From what it gathered, it also created topnotch remarketing campaigns. The fruits of the marketing company’s labor? A 10x conversion rate improvement for its clients!

Thrive Architect

Thrive Architect

Thrive Architect is a WordPress page builder. And if you’re searching for a tool that can help you create visually impressive, high-converting landing pages, it’s the tool you need.

Take it from Louise Hendon. She is a solopreneur who uses Thrive Architect to whip up topnotch landing pages for Nourishing Brands. That’s why, over the years, she succeeded in building a sizeable six-figure business.

An upside is this:

Thrive Architect features a drag-and-drop interface that lets you build your page quickly. If you want detailed instructions on how to use the page builder, this article from ProfitBlitz will come to your rescue.

Pingdom

Pingdom

Did you know that Refinery29, a globally recognized brand for smart, creative women, uses Pingdom? And because the tool provides insights about how to increase page loading speed, the brand welcomes 36 million monthly visits.

So if your landing page loads slowly, Pingdom can help you. The tool works by taking your site out for a spin and pointing you to the root of the problem.

The excellent news is Pingdom is free and easy-to-use. All you must do is paste your site’s URL where the tool specifies, and you’re good to go.

To see it work in action, let’s check the page loading speed of a random site. For this, let’s go with Goliath National Bank’s website. So let’s paste its URL on the appropriate field and click START TEST.

Pingdom - Example

After the tool is done with the analysis, scroll down the same page to see the results.

Pingdom - Results

And if you scroll down some more, you’ll find suggestions on how to improve page performance. If you want a detailed explanation on how to improve page performance, expand the suggestion.

Pingdom - How to Improve Page Performance

Final Thoughts

Put yourself in a potential customer’s shoes and think of a landing page as a gateway to something unknown. Now, if someone herded you toward this gateway, would you want to see what’s on the other side of the fence if the entry point is dreary?

Chances are, you won’t. By the looks of it, choosing to pursue the dark path won’t lead to anywhere promising.

Remember, creating landing pages and creating landing pages that convert are two different things. So as you build your landing pages, make sure to implement nothing but the best landing page optimization practices.

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