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Create a Blog

Create a Blog – Building Your Niche Site

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Now that we have found our keyword and niche, it’s time to start focusing our efforts on actually getting the blog live and building the creative content and foundation of the site. In this part of the case study we are going to cover the basics of setting up a blog (domain and hosting), then move into the content creation and site setup.

The Basics of Setting Up Your First Blog

Domain Name

Your Blog Domain NameThe domain name of your site is going to be important for many reasons. Not only is it going to be what your site name will be and recognized as, but you will also have it for the life of your site and it can not be changed. Since there are billions of domain names that are already taken, you are going to have to get creative with your domain name.

I would try to get a “.com” domain name or a “.net” or “.org” at the very least. Don’t bother with any other extensions and stay away from using dashes and numbers in your domain name. Also don’t use “z” in the place of “s” or try to get too creative with your domain name. Think about how someone would remember your site name if you were simply telling it to them and not writing it down. In other words, keep it simple.

For this niche site blog project I decided to go with the domain name of TechSupportJobSource.com.

There are plenty of reasons why I went for this domain versus other names out there and the reasons were:

  • “tech support job” is in the domain, but not going for any exact match terms
  • the domain name is catchy and easy to remember
  • the name also allows for growth within the tech support job niche

Google is no longer a fan of “exact match domains”, meaning if your niche keyword was “big red widgets”, they wouldn’t rank you as well as they used to if you went and got “bigredwidgets.com“. It’s still possible to rank well if you create a great site, but this is one of the latest changes to their algorithms.

Long story short… come up with an effective domain name that works for your long term business and niche.

Hosting

Blog Web HostingEvery web site or blog needs to have a hosting company that physically stores all of the data on the internet. We don’t even need to get into the detailed specs as it’s so ridiculously easy and cheap to get setup with a web hosting and installing wordpress on your server.

I’ve personally been using HostGator for many years now and they are my host for all of my sites. Without trying to sell them, they are simply the best and have killer tech support (email, phone and chat!). You can get setup with a hosting package for as low as $3.

You also have the option to setup a blog for free through Blogger or WordPress, but I don’t recommend this as it’s unprofessional to host your site without your own domain name, and all of your content is stored on their servers which means you are held hostage to their rules / terms and conditions.

If you don’t already have your own domain and hosting, you can get setup with HostGator right now and be up and running in just a few minutes. Also, if you aren’t sure how to set it up, just shoot me an email and I can do this for you at no cost.

Getting Your Blog Live with Content and Life

The life of your blog is going to come from it’s content, backlinks and the community of readers you have going to the site. Since your blog is brand new, right now we can only focus on the content creation of the site. Here are some of the first pages you should think about creating.

Content

First Blog Post – Once you install wordpress on your server, it will automatically setup a first page for you called “Hello world!”, which is their example of a blog post page. You can edit this page or delete it from your site entirely. Whatever you do, just make sure you are focusing on creating quality content for the site there on.

Hello World Post

About Me Page – An about me page sounds exactly like what it sounds like… a page all about you or the blog. The secret to making a great about me page is to make it useful and provide the reader with quality substance and giving them a reason to visit your site. Stay away from being boring and bland, think about some of the greatest about me pages you’ve read in the past and try to create a great one for your site. After all, they are one of the most read and under monetized pages on a blog!

Contact Page – The contact page is where people are going to go when they want to send you an email or have a question. Most people like to put a simple contact form on this page, which can easily be setup through the use of a wordpress plugin (search “contact form”).

As your blog continues to grow in size there are plenty of other posts, pages and areas that you will be building out for the site. Everything from categories, tags, side bar menus, widgets, headers and much more.

Blog Theme

Executive WordPress ThemeUsing wordpress you have access to millions of free and premium themes that you can use for your site. Right now the important focus is on your content and link building, but if you have a nice wordpress theme in mind, feel free to upload it to your blog right away.

For this site I’m going to be using the Genesis Themework and their premium Executive Theme. I already have a membership to their site and spent some time looking around at different themes and this one worked out well for the concept and layout of the site.

As mentioned, the important focus right now is on your actual site content and NOT the theme of your site. As the site continues to grow, increase in traffic and search rankings I will then have a custom wordpress theme designed for the site.

Right now it’s all about the content and growing process.

The Live Result of Your Blog

In a short amount of time after setting up your domain and hosting account along with your first few pages of content, you should have a decent setup for your blog.

You can see a screenshot of the TechSupportJobSource.com in the pic below. As we continue to build out the content for the site it will look much better and become an official site with valuable content.

Tech Support Job Source Mock Design

However, this is still only the beginning for our site. Now we must not only think about content creation, but how we can continue to improve the look and use of our sites.

Site Improvements to Come!

Getting your blog live with content is one of the most exciting times for your blog, but there are still a lot of things we need to do before we can be considered a “real blog” and providing value and a name for ourselves.

The follow is a list of areas that you can implement into your blog now or further down the road. I recommend setting up your social networking pages and Google Analytics sooner than later, but we will be covering more of that in the next chapter.

Logo Design

Creating a Logo for Your BlogCreating a logo for your blog isn’t important in the beginning stages, but I like to have one created as soon as I can. When people see your blog and you are trying to become an “authority” within your niche, giving your audience a logo or brand that they will continually see will only continue to influence your brand over time.

I currently have a logo design in the works for TechSupportJobSource.com and will soon provide you with a walk through post on the creation process and who I use for nearly all of my logo design work.

Social Networks & RSS

Getting Your Blog Live on the Social NetworksYou have a social network for yourself, so you should also have one for your business and blogs. Take the time to create a free account on Twitter and Facebook for your blog. You will also want to setup an RSS feed through FeedBurner so people can subscribe to your blog and receive your latest posts. You may also want to sign up for an account through Aweber if you want to start building out your own mailing list.

Google Analytics

Using Google Analytics to Monitor Site TrafficAnother important thing to remember to set your new blog with is Google Analytics. This free tracking system will allow you to monitor the traffic coming to your site and how they are getting there. In addition to Google Analytics, you can also setup use Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools to track any reports and changes you might be seeing in their respective search engines.

Now that you have an idea of everything that is needed to go live with your first web site, be sure to create an account with HostGator if you don’t have one already. Use coupon code “BLOGGINGTIPS25” to save an instant 25% off.

*** Join in on the create a blog case study –> Click here to start your blog!

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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Create a Blog

Local Small Business Optimization Strategies

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Ever since Google made changes to their search algorithm, and introduced Google+, small business are benefitting more. The key change that Google made is their ability to provide search results based on location. This has improved the overall search experience for people because now when they search commands like – “Italian restaurant”, “banks”, and “flower shop”, you’ll find what’s close by. However, for small businesses to feel the positive effects of these changes, it’s important they optimize their websites correctly. It’s important they, add the right keywords and data so search engines pick-up on them when displaying search results.

I decided to do some research, and provide you with the best local optimization tips. This way if you’re a local business, you can start making changes right away. Let’s get started and your feedback will be greatly appreciated.

The Right Keywords

When someone is searching a towing company, and they’re located in Los Angeles, it’s important as a business owner you have those keywords placed within your pages. This will let Google know that you’re a business which offers this type of service, and have a business located within the region. First, how does Google track where the searcher is located?

First, they look specifically at the keywords typed into the search bar, and secondly, where they are typing from because the browser does have its own IP address delegated. Both will ensure the results obtained are as relevant as possible, however, the owner of the business must do their part too.

When optimizing your website, it’s important you have the address in place, and keywords like “Los Angeles” and “Towing” in the URL, on the page, and in the title of the page. The best practice is to choose keywords which relate to your business well so when Google indexes your page, you’ll be able to show up in the search results.

Here is a great resource on how to optimize your pages correctly as a local business.

Google Business Listing

As a small business, it’s very important to create a small business page on Google. Start by submitting your business to Google, and optimizing the description, name, and adding all the other relevant information. Why is this even more important now than before? Simple, it’s because now displays the local business high within the search results when searching. Just look at the example below when I did a search for “Italian restaurants” –

You can see how the nearest restaurants to me showed up first in the results. These are all connected to Google Business only because the owners added them by creating a page. Head over to Google Business, and create a page for free.

Citations

It’s important to add your business to local directories which are great for traffic, but also brand awareness. As Google starts to see your business more within directories, it starts to increase your value slowly increasing your rankings within the SERP’s. This doesn’t have to be hard because you can hire someone to go through adding your business to other directories. For example, head over to Fiverr.com and purchase a gig for $5.00 for 10-15 citations, and that’s all you really need to get started. However, focus on quality sites because these add most of the value quickly.

Select the Right Categories

Have you noticed when adding your business to directories, Google, and other business sites, you’ll always be asked what category your business belongs too? The reason is quite simple, it’s because doing this allows the search engine to understand more about your business. For example, when someone’s searching “Italian food”, they can be searching for food equipment, restaurants, chefs, etc. However, by simply stating what category your business belongs to, it’ll diffuse a lot of confusion…right?

The next time you are adding your site anywhere, it’s important to list the right category so things stay smooth, and clear always.

Final Thoughts

These are my top small business optimization strategies so start following them right away. They are very easy to follow, and the results can be amazing in a very short period. If you simply don’t have the time to do all this yourself, then hire someone who is experienced to get the job done for you. But, ask to see their work, and get a breakdown of their experience so you know the person you hired knows what they are doing.

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Create a Blog

When Your Small Business Should Start a Blog

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Blogging is one of the most reliable methods of making a name for yourself as a startup. It is a valuable tool that helps you connect with your target audience, amass followers through a lead capture strategy, and put the brand out there through content promotion; such as social media posts, newsletters, and guest blogging.

It’s not so much a question of ‘if’ your brand should be leveraging the power of content marketing, but more of a question of ‘how’. With so many different options to choose from, it’s not just about creating new content and placing it on your site — it’s also about making sure you are effectively promoting it in the process.

Keep in mind that it’s not really a question of whether you need a blog or not—it’s when you’re going to build a blog for your business’s website. Without a blog, you can’t really prove your expertise in your industry and win the trust of your target audience. According to statistics, 81% of online consumers trust blogs for advice. A blog may also drive purchase intent and helps you unlock a higher conversion rate for your website.

Aside from connecting with your target audience, a blog will also fuel your SEO efforts by giving web crawlers more content to index. The more blog posts you publish, the more exposure your site gets.

How Soon Should You Start a Blog?

Granted, you do need to prepare the foundations of a successful blog first before you begin to produce content. Fortunately, you don’t need to be a professional designer to set up a beautiful site. A CMS like WordPress can provide you with brilliant themes and useful plugins to put together a fully-functional site; all without writing a single line of code.

Once you have everything set up and customized, make sure to get on with blogging as soon as possible. This 2016, 76% of B2B marketers say they will increase their blog content production this year. However, successful blogging requires a ton of research and planning. On top of writing the actual blog posts, you will also spend a lot of time looking for topic ideas, getting-to-know your target audience, and devising a solid keyword strategy. Here are some of the best tips you need to remember when blogging:

Write for Your Audience

First and foremost, remember that you need to blog for people—not for machines. The reason behind this problem is because some marketers only choose to blog for SEO. However, remember that search engines now prioritize the reading experience of users when it comes to determining the SERP rankings of content. While they still take into account the overall quality of written content, they also consider other factors such as bounce rate, page loading speed, session duration, and other indicators of user engagement level.

A rule of thumb is to develop personas for your target audience. Identify the information they need, understand their problems, learn their content preferences, and provide the necessary courses of action to help them. A content research tool like BuzzSumo will help you learn more about the type of content that’s popular in a specific industry.

“Don’t focus on having a great blog. Focus on producing a blog that’s great for your readers,” says Brian Clark of Rainmaker Digital.

Invest in Custom Content

When learning the content preferences of your target audience, you are often required to explore other content formats such as infographics, eBooks, explainer videos, and slideshows. According to statistics, 90% of online consumers prefer custom content while 60% feel more “connected” with brands after discovering custom content from their website.

Keep in mind that your brand image is on the line with every custom content you publish. You need the help of professional producers and graphics designers to make killer content for your blog audience. While setting up a blog can be cheap, you might as well consider getting a business loan to fuel your custom content creation efforts.

Lastly, remember that you need to focus on the flow of your content and walk your readers through every step. Doing so will help build relationships with your readers and establish your brand as an authority. Also mention the key takeaways at the beginning or by the end of a blog post to improve retention.

“Content marketing and custom content are customer relationship processes that require unique and well-crafted content. Whichever approach you take, you need to invest either your time or money in content creation,” says Neil Patel of NeilPatel.com.

Be Consistent with an Editorial Statement

A lot of companies overlook the importance of having a clear editorial statement that keeps content development in sync with a brand voice. It helps make your content distinguishable amongst the internet’s vast sea of resources and keep your content team in the same page. This is something you should always keep in mind when creating content for your blog.

To identify your editorial statement, focus on supplementing the three key parts: the target audience, the deliverables, and the main goal. To help you understand this process, below is an example editorial statement for an SEO blog:

SEO blog provides online marketers (target audience) with up-to-date strategies (deliverable) to demystify the process of ranking for search engines (goal).

“Your editorial mission is something you—and everyone on your team—need to internalize. It is the measuring stick by which you evaluate everything you do,” says Michele Linn of Content Marketing Institute. Make sure to follow his advice!

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Changing Workplaces Use New Apps to Guide Productivity

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The last decade reveals a significant change in the workplace environment due to new technology and the ability to convince employers that talent can work remotely and that they can allow and even encourage flexibly in the work environment. Now that the new dynamic of work is becoming accepted across more industries and business segments, the work environment is continuing to evolve as more technology is developed to guide productivity and shape collaborative processes.

Working in these new ways has made it possible to get more done and has contributed to better work/life balance, but it has also created new challenges in terms of maintaining employee motivation and connection to the company. However, technology is now working to address those challenges that remote workers face and to help provide a tighter network and sense of belonging to a company, despite where the work is being conducted.

From apps to software platforms, the changing workplace now has more tools that encourage more companies to alter where they expect their talent to work. Here are a few examples:

Asana

Asana provides a way to create and delegate tasks. It provides a way to chat within each task so conversations can take place while working, and attachments can be added or taken from Dropbox, Box, and Google Drive. There are calendar features, dashboards, and to-do lists. Asana proves you don’t have to be in the office to take care of any daily tasks.

Confluence

This is another approach to working with anyone on a remote basis, especially in a team-oriented environment. All information is available to everyone on the team, including documents, notes, and plans in a format that can be easily searched. Gliffy integration is another feature that provides for a way to do wireframes quickly.

Taskworld 

Taskworld helps you to manage projects and stay on top of tasks and subtasks. Plus, it has an evaluation feature so you can measure and give feedback on job performance, which is still important regardless of the changing workplace structure.

Join.me

This tool provides an effective way to screen share meetings as well as conduct easy video conferencing. Join.me proves that there really isn’t a need to commute in to the office for a meeting anymore, saving considerable time that can be spent on something much more productive.

Flowdock

While Slack is getting a lot of attention for what it offers in terms of a collaborative tool for remote workers, Flowdock has similar features as well as integrates with a lot of other cool apps you might already be using in your new workplace, such as Jira, GitHub, Basecamp, Asana, Assembla, Trello and many more.

Insightly

In seeking an affordable, yet powerful CRM system that provides a way to organize and track all prospects and contacts as well as features that assist you with project management. It also offers a social CRM, which enables you to locate the social profiles of all your contacts in an efficient way without spending hours trying to sort through them.

Last Pass

Password management is critical for every company but especially those that employ remote workers. Passing around this sensitive information is necessary but can be handled much more effectively with a tool like Last Pass. Each employee has their own vault with the passwords they need to sign in remotely or access any type of cloud-based system the company uses.

Outro

Outro is a referral automation platform that speeds up how you find and identify new clients, employees, and investors. To further enhance your productivity, you can also export your other data and integrate it with all major CRM software.

PlutoTV

While it may not sound that productive to recommend an app that lets you stream live TV, you can take advantage of multitasking by staying updated on the business channels offered in PlutoTV’s line-up that cover markets, industries, regulatory environments and trends like MSNBC, CNN, Bloomberg and more.

SystemID

If your company keeps inventory or has a warehouse for its products, SystemID can add greater efficiency and coordination to what often remains focused on manual processes. Instead, the use of a barcode system with integrated inventory management control offers a way to reduce costs and speed all logistical tasks.

Workfrom

One of the biggest discoveries about the changing workplace was the idea that people tend to work better when they regularly change the environment around them. Therefore, working from home makes a person more productive than always being at the office. Now, those working at home are discovering that, over time, the home also gets stale. Workfrom provides a source to locate other places where work can be done in your local area, such as a coffee shop, co-working space, or other tech-friendly spot.

Due

In the push to automate many tasks within a business, Due takes on numerous jobs related to project and time management, invoicing and estimates, and payment processing. This reduces human involvement, driving higher accuracy, speed, and productivity throughout all these critical business processes tied to cash flow.

Multiple Benefits in New Apps

In working with these types of apps, remote workers and their employers will discover further benefits from this changing workplace environment, including additional productivity, enhanced motivation, lower costs and greater revenue. Many studies have been done and are being done at this time which show us that having opportunities and flexibility in ones working hours and place of work is giving an added boost to work productivity. Finding the right tools to make all this work coordinate together is guiding that productivity.

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