Before you start creating a ton of content for your blog, just hoping for random people to start stumbling upon your site, it’s important to put the right tools in place to get it noticed. A big part of this is working to connect your blog to the major social networks, as well as a better way to connect with your readers through e-mail and RSS.
Don’t know how to do this? Don’t know the deal with RSS and why it matters? Don’t worry: we’re here to help you out with that too.
RSS and E-Mail Subscriptions
What is RSS and what is with all this talk of feed readers? RSS, most commonly understood as Really Simple Syndication, is a family of web formats that are used to publish frequently updated work, as would be the case with blog entries. By offering an RSS feed, readers are notified when there are new posts on your blog and they are able to read these new articles through services like Google Reader.
The good news is that WordPress will automatically generate an RSS feed for your blog and this can be accessed at http://yourblogdomain.com/feed. The bad news is that this feed can be somewhat limited in its functionality and that’s why we recommend that you sign up for a free account with Feedburner.
By allowing Feedburner to manage the RSS feed on your blog, you are able to know exactly how many people are subscribed to your feed, as well as other useful tidbits of information. You should promote your RSS feed on your blog as it helps to grow a loyal readership.
Even for people who don’t use feed readers (also known as aggregators) like Google Reader, RSS has immense value. That’s because Feedburner also allows you to offer e-mail subscriptions. When someone signs up for your e-mail updates, he or she will get an e-mail message when you have a new blog post. This encourages repeat readership and brand loyalty.
A Facebook Fan Page
Every blog should have a Facebook fan page. Note that this is distinctly different from your standard Facebook profile page, because a fan page is not associated with a person; it’s associated with a brand or product. In this case, that would be your blog.
While you are limited to the number of friends you can have on Facebook, you are not limited to the number of fans you can have on a Facebook page. It also helps to separate your personal life from material that is directly (and only) related to your blog.
You can even syndicate the RSS feed from your blog through your Facebook fan page. Check out Facebook applications like Social RSS and RSS Graffiti to do that.
A Blog’s Twitter Account
Twitter is a great way to stay connected and engaged with the readers on your blog. Every blog should have a Twitter account. This way, readers can interact with you in real-time, helping you “retweet” your blog posts, promote your contests, and all sorts of other wonderful things.
Just as you can syndicate your blog’s RSS feed through e-mail and Facebook, you can also do this with Twitter. There are many different ways to do this. There are WordPress plugins, like WordTwit, that offer this functionality, as well as online services like SocialOomph and Hootsuite.
Other Networks and Services
As much as we love our own blogs, not everyone has the time to visit each blog they enjoy every day to find the latest content. That’s why RSS, Facebook, and Twitter are such powerful channels for staying connected with your readership.
Depending on the nature of your blog, it may also be worthwhile to connect your blog with other social networks too. Flickr is great for images, YouTube for videos, and so on.
Be sure to do “cross promotion” with these accounts too. Actively promote your Facebook and Twitter profiles on your blog, and actively promote your blog on your Facebook pages and Twitter accounts too. This greatly helps to strengthen and reinforce your blog’s brand, lending itself to greater success.
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.
A Quick Guide to Blog Analytics
Your blog traffic is the key indicator of its overall performance.
And if you do not truly understand how blog traffic works, then you need to ask why you’re even blogging at all!
In fact, there’s more to blog traffic than the number of visitors your blog.
You must understand where the traffic is coming from, the quality of traffic your blog receives, and more!
Knowing all these things should steer you in the right direction as far of improving your blog’s process is concerned.
To help you make better blogging decisions, you must use one of the most powerful tools for analyzing traffic: Google Analytics.
If you’re not using it yet and want to learn more, then read on!
How Can I Check My Blog Traffic?
Your blog traffic is the metric to weigh your blog performance.
However, and as mentioned above, traffic is just an overall term to call all the users who visit your blog.
A user coming in from social media is not the same as the one coming in from a guest post.
For example, if you haven’t set up any social media presence yet, then you’ll question the traffic you are getting from social media.
It could be because people are starting to share your blogs now, which can give you a clue on what people like to read.
Here are some traffic metrics to track and analyze:
- Source – Describes where your traffic is coming from. Use this information to identify sources you need to focus or improve on
- Bounce rate – The percentage of a single session where your visitor has no interaction with your page. It tells you how frequently users leave your blog without visiting any other pages
- Average Time on page – The average length of stay of your visitors on your page. Aim to make your visitors stay longer by writing better content and optimizing your page speed
Knowing and understanding all of these using Google Analytics helps you fix any leaking holes that you didn’t know existed before.
Your content marketing strategies, better blog post, and the development and design of your blog are all going to benefit if you can analyze what you are currently doing.
How do I use Google Analytics for my blog?
Installing Google Analytics is easy and doesn’t require any plugins.
Here’s a quick guide on how to install it regardless of what CMS you use.
Create a Google account and make sure that you’re logged in to it before you head to go to the next step.
Go and sign up a Google Analytics account for free and fill out all the needed information such as your website URL and country.
From there, Google will automatically create a property for you. You will find a tracking code similar to this below:
This the Global Site Tag, a unique tracking code that you need to paste on the header or footer file of your website.
Once you have it all set up and installed properly, you can wait for a few days and review all the traffic your blog receives. Note that it will take approximately 24 hours for GA to start collecting data from your site.
Once GA has collected enough data for you to analyze, you can click on any metric buttons they have available.
Here’s a screenshot that shows the acquisition channels which includes source, number of users, bounce rate, and average time on site for seven days.
As you can see, the referral channel is lagging in all the above metrics compared to other channels.
When someone clicks on a link to your blog, GA marks it as referral traffic. In the data above, this traffic source shows a higher bounce rate and a much lower average session duration.
What this data tells is there could be better improvements on what kind of websites the link building strategy is doing or focused on.
Additionally, the average session duration on all channels can also be improved by working on the quality of the content and fixes for a few design properties.
But, you don’t always have to look at the negative side of things.
This GA screenshot shows that almost 90% of the users are from organic search, meaning, the SEO efforts are going quite well and just needs a few tweaks for improvements.
These are just some of the details GA will show you to help you understand what your blog’s traffic is about.
However, web analytics only uncovers your blog’s traffic information.
Most of the performance problems of a blog stem from having SEO problems. In this case, you can ask Pathtorch to identify the problems for you and help you understand what’s wrong.
Blogging is a great platform to share your ideas with an audience.
However, to truly be effective, you need to understand how your blog is performing under certain factors.
Understanding these allows you to create better content and promote it in the right places to generate even more traffic.
The post above should shed light on the value that Google Analytics brings to the table.
So if you are serious about your blog, Google Analytics tells you the next steps if you deeply analyze what your data tells you.
Newsletter vs Blog? You Need Both for Your Business
The goal of content marketing is to get your brand messaging in front of the right people. And not in hard-sell kind of way that we’re accustomed to. But in a way that tells people; “Hey, I exist to make your life easier for you.”
Even though there are plenty of ways to get your message across, bloggers and marketers alike still ask; which works better, email newsletters or blogs?
The short answer? The one that will help you connect with your audience and increase your conversion rate.
The long answer? Well, you’ll find out more as you read on.
Because we want nothing more than to help you connect with your target audience, we’ve come up with a quick guide to help you understand newsletters and blogs better. This way, you’ll know how to take advantage of both.
What is an email newsletter?
Email newsletters are company-centric publications that you send to a specific group of people. They contain company news, articles, and marketing content specially created for the recipients. Email newsletters are often used to target different segments of an email list, allowing brands to maintain their top-of-mind awareness with their target audience.
Creating a newsletter is pretty much the same as writing a blog. The only difference is, instead of formatting content for a website, you’re formatting content for an email inbox.
What is a blog?
Blogs, on the other hand, cover a wide range of topics and content, for all the world to see. They contain articles, images, videos, even music playlists that can be helpful to site visitors in some way.
Blogs are mainly used to educate and entertain visitors of a website, and so much as a promotional tool. They also make a website more dynamic, which encourages visitors to check back again and again.
Blogs can be a great jump-off point for discussions with an engaged audience.
Here’s a chart to make it easier for you to understand the differences between the two.
|Your Email Newsletter…||Your Blog…|
|Is only visible to your email mailing list.||Is visible to anyone who visits your website.|
|Allows you to customize messages for specific groups in your target audience.||Can help you build your credibility as an authority of a specific niche.|
|Can help you deepen the connection with your potential and existing customers. Keeps your subscribers in the loop.||Can educate your prospects about your brand, product, or service, and move them from the awareness stage to the buying stage.|
|Lasts until the message is received and read. The newsletter has already served its purpose once your recipient opens the email.||Lasts for a very long time. blog posts will stay on the web until you take them down or you stop paying your hosting provider.|
|Can be used to drive qualified leads to your website.||Can be used to improve your search ranking since search engines consider blog posts as web pages.|
|Can be forwarded to non-subscribers via email.||Can easily spread via social media. The more shares your blog gets, the wider your reach.|
What’s the best option for you?
Email newsletters and blogs are not that very different if you’re going to think about their purpose. Both tools give you avenues to reach out and communicate with people in your sales funnel. Whether you’re teaching a prospect about the benefits of your product or convincing a long-time customer to make a repeat sale, incorporate both newsletter and blog in your content marketing strategy will help you communicate better.
Is it possible to have the best of both worlds?
Of course! If you want to get your audience engaged, you need to weave both email newsletters and blogs into your campaign. When used together, both work much better. Let’s take a closer look at how you combine newsletter and blog in your content marketing strategy.
- Step 1: Publish a blog post. Don’t forget to check if on-site optimization is on point.
- Step 2: Promote your blog post to your subscribers using an email newsletter. Generate traffic to your post by giving your email list first dibs.
- Step 3: Wait for subscribers to open and read your email. You can easily track your email open rate via any email newsletter tool.
- Step 4: Send follow-up emails to subscribers who didn’t open your last email. Maybe they’ve missed it or maybe they’ve forgotten it. Either way, it doesn’t hurt to send a friendly reminder.
- Step 5: Track your progress. Not happy with your campaign’s email open rate? Check analytics and do A/B testing to get it right the next time.
In the battle of newsletter vs blog, it’s best to settle on a tie. With their own sets of advantages, both tools will make great additions to your content marketing arsenal. At the end of the day, it’s about creating a communication strategy that connects with your target audience.
5 Easy Money Hustles for Bloggers
Money – I’m sure many bloggers won’t say “no” to the chance to earn a little bit more of it.
Whether you’re trying to pay off debt or planning a tropical vacation, earning some extra cash outside your regular job can help you gain strides towards financial freedom.
One of the perks of being a blogger is that there are countless money-making opportunities out there.
In the current marketing landscape, you are only limited by your creativity.
You just need to find the best side hustle that will not only help you grow your portfolio but also your bank account.
What is a side hustle anyway?
A side hustle refers to any income-generating activity that you can do outside your regular job.
For many bloggers, especially those who are still building their brand, having a side hustle helps them pay the bills.
But if you know how to play your cards right, it can also help you live out your dreams.
Easy money hustles bloggers should try out
If blogging isn’t bringing home the bacon for you, then you need to consider getting into different side hustles.
Since your main skill is blogging, there’s a huge market for your skills. Getting a side gig shouldn’t be a big problem for you.
What matters, however, is how much you want to work these easy money hustles.
Here are some of the best side hustle ideas that can help you make more money, right in the comfort of your own home.
Since blogging involves writing compelling content for your own blog, one way you can make extra cash is to offer writing as a service. After all, the best way to earn money is from doing something that you love.
And assuming that you’re really good at it, you can easily make an extra $500 just by writing a few fresh articles for a couple of clients. Even if the industry is already pretty competitive, resist the urge to undercharge your services. Make sure to charge based on the value you will bring to your client.
One side hustle that currently has a high demand for it is virtual assisting.
Since most site owners are looking to monetize their blog, landing a client who has a need for your specific skill set should be easy.
There are plenty of things you can do as a virtual assistant, depending on what your client needs.
Some might need help with admin tasks like file organizing and bookkeeping, while others might need someone to take over their social media accounts.
Most VA job vacancies require good writing skills. As a blogger, you should have this skill down pat to gain an advantage over the competition.
But whatever you’re good at, you’re sure to find a client online looking for someone with your expertise.
Are you constantly getting queries regarding blogging?
Then another way to monetize your expertise is to turn into a service. Market yourself as a thought leader and offer premium advice at a price.
But before you can charge anyone for a call, you need to prove that you’re worth it of course.
You need to have a landing page at least, that presents your credentials with a specific niche.
Once you get your first clients, don’t forget to ask them for testimonials as you’ll need all the social proof you can get to build your consultancy business.
Join the gig economy
Another option to augment your monthly income is to join the gig economy.
Getting a gig is just how you picture it. You have the freedom to choose which projects to work on at a specific time.
You can be writing copies for a brand this week and putting together a content strategy for a completely different client next week.
Joining the gig economy lets you make the most out of your free time. Instead of being idle, you can work on different projects for extra cash. This set-up is perfect for you if you thrive in variety and like to switch things up or if you get bored with the same task list easily.
The most popular site where you can get side gigs is Fiverr.
Set up a page for your services and wait for clients to roll in and hire you for a job.
You need to market and promote it across different online channels. This way, more people can see and contact your page regarding your offer.
Again, you can control the pace of projects coming in and out from your page. You have the choice to accept or deny gigs that come your way.
However, getting a job these days isn’t easy. You’ll probably end up accepting the gigs anyway even if you’re not fully qualified for it.
Nonetheless, when all the chips fall to your favor, having side gig gives cushion to your finances and leaves you something to do during your downtime from blogging.
If you’re constantly on YouTube, here’s some terrific news for you!
You can now earn money by watching videos on the most popular video streaming website out there. It usually involves joining a program that rewards viewers with gift cards or hard cash by simply watching a video.
Most of the time, you’ll be asked to watch video content sponsored by big brands.
If you want to earn more, there are some programs that will pay you to take surveys or use a mobile app that’s related to the video you just watched.
While it might not earn you thousands of dollars, watching videos for a bit of cash is much better watching videos for nothing.
It’s easy to rest on your laurels as a blogger and call it a day.
However, if you wish to up the ante by earning more, then you should take up the challenge of getting a side hustle job!
As mentioned, the side gigs featured above are low hanging fruits. You already have experience in doing them, so why not try your hand at earning from them?
Who knows? Taking the risk with a side hustle might just lead you to start a new business or pursue a passion. Dare to live life on your own terms!
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