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Blogging Guide

Connecting Your Blog With RSS, Social Media and Email

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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.

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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 Easy Money Hustles for Bloggers

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easy money hustles

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.

Freelance writing

freelance writing

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.

Virtual assistant

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.

Consultant

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.

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.

Watch videos

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.

Conclusion

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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Blogging Guide

A Quick Guide to Keyword Optimization for Bloggers

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keyword optimization

The blogosphere is becoming more saturated.

According to statistics, the number of bloggers in the U.S. rose from 27 million in 2014 to 31 million in 2019. That’s a four million increase in just four years!

That means more choices for readers. Too much, in fact, that we’ve already reached a breaking point that Mark Schaefer refers to as content shock.

Still, there’s no other way for bloggers to success as they need to improve and outcompete each other. The blogging industry is already very competitive that you need to do something to not be left behind.

One good way is through keyword optimization.

What is keyword optimization?

It is the act of searching, analyzing, and choosing the best keywords to increase your site’s traffic. Keyword optimization is necessary for starting your search engine marketing.

Start it right and your site will be full of potential. However, start on the wrong foot and your subsequent efforts are doomed.

However, optimizing keywords doesn’t only happen at the beginning of your campaign. You need to have ongoing keyword optimization to expand your market and discover new opportunities.

Regularly performing keyword analysis and keyword database expansion increases your traffic, leads, and eventually, sales.

Benefits of keyword optimization

Drives traffic to your site

Optimizing your site’s keywords makes your site rank higher. This makes it more searchable and gets higher traffic.

Measures traffic potential

Analyzing keywords to be used helps gauge your potential market. This help you plan campaigns and pitch topics that attract to a specific market(s).

Write better

Using optimized keywords on your blog post makes it more relatable to readers. It also addresses their needs because readers see something they’re searching for. It’s also a great way to avoid keyword stuffing.

Understand market behavior

Analyzing top-ranking keywords lets you know what your readers want to read about. This helps you pitch topics that’ll interest them.

Get profit

Keyword optimization makes your site more searchable and gets higher traffic. This also means more money!

Things to consider in keyword optimization

Keyword popularity

Popular keywords mean that many people search for it. So, the more popular a keyword is, the more searches it gets. Use popular long tail keywords to drive more traffic to your sites.

However, this doesn’t apply all the time because some popular keywords are very competitive. The higher the competition, the more difficult it is to rank. Thus, you also need to target less competitive keywords.

Keyword Relevance

Choose keywords that are relevant to your blog. Irrelevant keywords make it harder to get visitors because people won’t know what your site is about. You want to let people know that your blog talks about a certain topic or niche. Using relevant keywords helps you get “visitors that convert” and not just “visitors that visit.”

Keyword intent

Know the intentions of your target audience. Are they shopping or just browsing? Or maybe they’re just looking for information? Answer these questions to come up with the right keywords.

Blogpatcher – Your top keyword optimization tool

Similar to blogging in general, the SEO tool space is saturated with tools that drain thousands of dollars annually from consumers.

There are reasons why premium SEO tools cost a lot and deservedly so – no doubt about it.

However, people who simply want to increase their site’s search rankings by finding the best keywords for their content but can’t afford the burgeoning costs of these tools are left with nothing.

This main reason is why Blogpatcher was created.

The main purpose of the tool is to help bloggers and site owners analyze their site pages’ SEO performance and identify areas of improvement at an affordable price.

On top of keyword frequency and use of LSI keywords, the page analysis report includes the following:

  • Rich media
  • Structured content
  • Readability
  • Social media

After creating an account, enter the URL of the page you want to analyze. You can also assign the target keyword of the page for the tool to produce a more precise SEO score.

blogpatcher analyse a page

Click on the factor that you want to look deeper into to show you issues that you must resolve soon.

blogpatcher page analysis

On each section are subfactors that you need to work on to improve your SEO score. Each subfactor shows you how to fix each. This way, you don’t have to blindly resolve the problems of the pages.

In relation to keyword optimization, Blogpatcher shows the keyword frequency and the LSI keywords.

The former shows you the different page elements where you should enter your keyword and whether you’re “stuffing” the page with too many keywords.

The latter provides LSI keyword suggestions that you need to include in the page to increase its search ranking for your target keyword.

bogpatcher lsi keywords

The results draw from the top 10 pages from organic search for your keyword. BlogPatcher then analyzes the most common keywords used in all 10 pages and suggests that you use them as well.

After applying the changes to all factors, you need to run another page analysis to see if your SEO score improves.

The higher the score, the better your chances of ranking high on Google search for your keyword!

Ultimately, Blogpatcher removes the guesswork from on-page SEO by simply clicking on the “How to fix” link on each subfactor.

blogpatcher related search phrases

The tool gives smart solutions on how to solve SEO errors and practical advice to new topics, keywords, and content.

Most importantly, Blogpatcher is not heavy on the budget. You can sign up for a free account and limited features and credits to test the tool out for size.

You can move onto the paid option of $39.95/month or $33.95/month for 12-month payment. This option provides more features and credits to help you ramp up your keyword optimization campaign for all your pages.

Conclusion

Keyword optimization is necessary for bloggers because it makes your site rank higher, gets more visitors, and better conversions. You’ll also outcompete your competitors more easily because you’re using keywords that attract readers who need and want your content.

You can bring your blog to greater heights by knowing what keyword optimization is, and following SEO’s best practices.

At best, you can simply sign up for a Blogpatcher account and simply take heed of the advice for each SEO factor.

Either way, you need to work on this now to gain an advantage over your competitors and rake in the most traffic from search engines!

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Blogging Guide

5 Blogging Laws You Need to Know to Avoid Legal Troubles

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blogging laws

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.

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.

Privacy Policy

The law requires all websites, including blogs, to have a privacy policy. Everyone has a right to privacy. However, most blogs tend to go overboard. They usually get information from other people.

This even happens without you knowing it. A privacy policy tells visitors what information you’re collecting from them. It also shows the reason for collection. It also informs others how the information will be used. This is important, especially that your site automatically uses cookies.

Copyright Law

copyright law - blogging laws

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

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

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!

Conclusion

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.

Also, in your research, you may stumble upon tools that allow you to generate Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions pages for your blog.

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.

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