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Blogging Guide

Creating Your First Blog Posts and Pages

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Congratulations! You are well on your way to having your very own blog on the Internet. Youv’e already purchased your domain name, you’ve set up your web hosting account, and you’ve installed WordPress. Now, let’s start creating some terrific content for your blog. After all, what’s the point of having a blog if you don’t have any articles on there for people to read?

When you first log into your blog’s WordPress user dashboard — which you can access by adding “/wp-admin” to the end of your domain (i.e., http://www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin) — you will see that three default test areas are already created for your blog. These help to demonstrate the very basic functionality of WordPress as a content management system. The three test areas are a blog post (“Hello World”), a blog page (“About”), and a blog comment.

What do these terms mean and how are they different from one another?

What Is a Blog Post?

Blog posts are the main articles that serve as the main content of your blog. This is where you will update the blog with new content on a regular basis. Most of the articles that you see on other blogs, like BloggingTips.com, are considered blog posts. Each time that you create a new article for your website, it is a new blog post.

With most of the themes and layouts for blogs, the latest post is seen as the newest content on your site and it is usually shown at the top of your blog. This goes with the reverse chronological configuration that has become the primary standard for blogging. Some blogs use a “magazine style” layout that is a little different, but we’ll get into that a little later on.

Blog posts are also used to interact with your readers, providing a commenting system at the bottom of every article. It’s up to you how you want to moderate the comments and how you want the comments to be displayed, but it is generally with the blog posts that you will be sparking the conversation.

Your first blog post can typically be used to introduce your blog to your new readers, but it’s completely up to you how you want to “launch” the site to the awaiting Internet audience.

What Is a Blog Page?

While blog posts are largely viewed as the “dynamic” content of your blog that gets updated on a regular basis, a blog page is a static page for a blog. Common blog pages include About Me, Contact, and Advertising. Blog pages are usually used for information about the blog that is needed, but is not updated nearly as often.

For example, the test article set up with every new WordPress installation is an example of an “About” page. This is where you might give some brief background information on who you are as a blogger, what you’ll be blogging about on the site, and why you should be viewed as a respected authority in that field.

What Is a Blog Comment

You may have encountered other blog comments over the course of your Internet journeys. They’re in place on BloggingTips, for example.

Basically, it is a system built into WordPress that allows visitors to the site to comment on specific blog posts. They may offer feedback and insight into the topic or they might have a question related to the material being presented. The comments can also have multiple tiers, allowing visitors to post comments in a discussion-based format on top of other comments. Generally, comments are associated with posts, but you may use them with pages too.

Depending on the subject matter, you may opt to disable comments on certain posts or across your site as a whole. I recommend that you keep comments open, however, as it facilitates more communication with your visitors and they can feel like they are a part of your online community rather than simply an outsider passively reading your articles.

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.

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

How to Create a Landing Page that Converts with Spark CMS [Step-by-Step Guide + Tips]

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spark cms homepage

A landing page is one of the critical pages to have on your blog. It’s what helps you grow your email list and get your visitors to buy the products and services you’re promoting.

Yet, it may surprise you how many bloggers—and even professional marketers—don’t maximize landing pages. In fact, according to the 2nd edition of Marketing Sherpa’s Landing Page Handbook, 44% of B2B businesses direct their leads to their website’s homepage instead of a dedicated landing page. Another 62% of them have less than 6 landing pages on their website!

Why the disconnect?

As it turns out, the reason even though brands and bloggers don’t utilize landing pages despite recognizing its importance lies in the fact that they find the process of creating a landing page intimidating.

The good news is that those days are long gone. There are now lots of companies that’ll allow you to create a landing page in minutes without even knowing a single string of code. One such company is  Spark CMS.

What is Spark CMS?

Spark CMS was created to solve a fundamental problem that many bloggers face: having a blog that’ll wow their readers, give them all the features they need to make money from it, and not have to spend a fortune.

If you’re dead serious about making money from your blog, you got to invest money to make that happen., that amount can set you back as much as $245 in your first three months!

Spark CMS is a self-hosting content management system. That means it doesn’t just help you create landing pages. You can also have a self-hosted blog with a stunning theme and a custom domain and even integrate a host of other features.

Why should bloggers use Spark CMS for their landing pages?

Easy landing page customization

This video below shows you just how easy it is to create a landing page on Spark’s CMS.

Quick integration

Spark’s landing pages integrates with the most used blogging tools and apps like Google Analytics, Facebook, Drift, and other with just one click.

They are optimized for search engines

In addition to being mobile-friendly, Spark’s user-friendly interface helps you optimize your landing page so that the keywords you want to rank to appear in the right places. That way, your landing page will rank higher than those belonging to other bloggers.

Ultra-fast loading speeds

How fast your landing page loads can affect its ability to convert and your blog’s bounce rate.

You need to make sure that your landing page should load within 2.4 seconds. Otherwise, it’ll decrease its ability to convert your readers by as much as 68.42%!

Steps to create a landing page using Spark CMS

Step #1: Be clear about your goals

Before you create your landing page, you need to have a specific and concrete goal that you want to achieve. Without this, you have no way of knowing whether it’s giving you the results you expect.

Ask yourself why you are creating this landing page. Is it to grow your email list and send them a follow up email to get the balls rolling? Or perhaps you’re doing some affiliate marketing, and you’re looking for a way to make more money? Maybe you’re a freelancer, and you’re trying to get more clients?

Your answer will give you a clearer idea not only of how your landing page should look like but also the different elements you’ll include here.

Step #2: Choose a template

The next step is to choose the right landing page template to help you meet the goals you set.

Most landing page builders and CMS platforms list their templates based on their designs. Spark CMS categorizes its templates based on their functionality.

spark cms templates

By doing this, they not only make it easier for you to find a template design that you like, but you’re also sure that it’s got all the elements needed to make it effective.

Step #3: Tweak the template to match your branding

One of the most critical landing page creation best practices to remember is that it should give your visitors the same look and feel that they’d get if they visit any other page of your website.

If the landing page your create looks very different from the rest of your website, your visitors may feel lost and wonder if they perhaps went to a different site altogether.

You can make sure that doesn’t happen by tweaking the landing page template you’ve chosen to use the “Elements” feature in the Spark CMS dashboard.

polygon

Here, you can change the colors on the landing page template so it matches your brand colors. This is also where you can add your logo to your landing page and change the font to match the one on your website.

Step #4: Write an eye-catching headline

Your headline’s the most crucial part of your landing page. It’s so vital that legendary David Ogilvy once said that your headline’s worth 80 cents of every dollar you invest in your copy.

The reason’s simple: your headline’s the first thing that your visitors see when they search on Google.

google serps

No matter how amazing your landing page looks, if your headline doesn’t catch the attention of your target market as they scroll through the search results page, you won’t convert them into leads, much less into customers.

One practical tip to make your headlines more eye-catching is to use words that trigger your target market’s emotions, those that’ll touch their pain points.

There are two reasons that a person will take action: loss aversion and gaining pleasure. Of the two, the desire not to lose something is stronger. One study shows that feelings of loss are 2x stronger than feelings of happiness. As a result, when you give your target audience a solution for this, they’re more likely to click and visit your landing page.

Step #5: Focus your ad copy on your target readers

One of the biggest mistakes bloggers and marketers make when writing the copy of their landing page is that they focus too much on them and their offer.

The problem here is that’ll be visiting your landing page don’t care about any of that. They only care about answering one thing: “What’s in it for me?”

It’s true!

Visitors to your landing page are searching for a solution to their problem. So if you want to get them to convert, you got to answer this question right at the beginning of your landing page’s copy.  An effective copywriting technique to use is to follow the Inverted Pyramid model.

Initially used by journalists and reporters, the Inverted Pyramid model immediately lays out to your landing page’s visitor the answer to their question. This is then followed by details to support and justify your answer.

The reason this works is that the attention span of people is short when they’re online. By giving the essential information at the beginning, they’ll be compelled to either read the rest of your copy or make a beeline for your landing page’s call-to-action button.

Professional Wingman’s landing page is an excellent example.

professional wingman

Source

Notice how everything you need to know about the service and the CTA button is right in front of their visitors the moment the landing page loads. Even if they don’t read the whole thing, they’ve read enough to convince them to click the CTA button conveniently provided.

Step #6: Create your opt-in form

This is a relatively easy step to do because all of Spark’s landing page templates come with a pre-designed opt-in form that you can quickly customize.

polygon page builder

The challenge is knowing how much of your visitors’ personal information will you ask on the form.

On the one hand, your visitors should find the amount of information you’re asking is justified by what you’re offering. If you’re asking too much, they’ll not fill out the form altogether.

At the same time, you need to get the information you must help you convert them into paying customers.

To find that balance, you must understand what buyer’s journey stage your landing page belongs. As a rule of thumb, the further into your buyer’s journey, the more justifiable it is to ask for more information.

For example, if you’re creating a landing page that falls in the Awareness stage, a simple opt-in form asking for your visitor’s name and email address would be enough. There’s also this need to use an email verification tool for confirming the emails.

On the other hand, asking for your visitor’s phone number is understandable to them if your landing page offering is a scheduled demo or consultation, which usually happens in the Decision stage.

Step #6: Add a compelling CTA

Next to your headline, your call-to-action is the most vital element of your landing page. It’s that final step that’ll turn your visitors into either a lead or a customer.

Two critical elements go into a compelling CTA:

The first is the text. A compelling CTA should include action words so it prompts your visitors to take the right action. Your CTA’s text should tell your visitors what they’ll be getting when they click it.

The second is its location. Most bloggers and marketers would only add the CTA on the bottom of their landing page’s copy. While that will convert some visitors, not all of them will have the time nor the patience to read everything.

That’s why it’s essential to include a CTA on the upper third of your landing page. This is what they call “above the fold.” This is the first thing that loads on your visitor’s screen the moment they arrive on your landing page.

Combined with the right copy, your visitors won’t feel the need to scroll to the bottom to learn more or to sign up.

Step #7: Test your landing page before publishing

Although you may be excited about launching your landing page, there’s just one last step you must do, and that’s to test its effectiveness.

Most bloggers skip this part because they don’t know how to do it. Marketers do the same because it’s downright tedious.

Spark CMS’ dashboard has an A/B testing tool that’ll allow you to test each section of your landing page to get the most from it the moment it goes live.

Also, as you can see in the short clip below, it’s straightforward. Just click on the section you want to test, fill in the details, and Spark will do the rest for you.

spark cms 2

Spark CMS makes it easy to create a landing page that converts

Landing pages have now become an integral part of any blog or website. Spark CMS’ platform is a cost-effective and convenient way for professional bloggers and online business owners create a landing page that looks professional and reflects your brand.

However, it’s not enough to have a professional-looking landing page. You also must hone your copywriting skills so you can capture the attention of your target audience and get them to keep reading. Only then can you get them to take action and convert.

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Blogging Guide

How to Develop a Customer Experience Strategy with Your Blog

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Customer Experience Strategy

Customer experience or CX is about the interactions between your company and customers.

These interactions include the moment he navigates your website for the first time and when he buys your product.

If you think giving importance to customer experience won’t make a big difference in your business’ success, think again.

CX is vital to the growth of your business. Feedback from 10,000 consumers shows that customer loyalty levels change based on customer experience.

Therefore, you’ll learn how to develop a customer experience strategy with your blog in this post.

This way, you can turn fairweather site visitors into rabid and loyal customers.

Write a clear About Us page

A brilliant customer experience strategy should start with a clear customer-centric vision.

A part of this is about finding out what your customer wants. And the other part is about creating statements that will serve as guiding principles for him.

For this, turn to the About Us page on your blog.

There, introduce your company and share your vision. Remember to always be clear with your message to avoid misinterpretations.

By writing your core values on your About Us page, readers have tempered expectations on what you publish on your blog.

With every post, they start to understand and familiarize themselves with your company.

To get your creative juices flowing, check out these awesome About Us pages from different brands.

Determine a customer avatar for your blog

Creating a persona helps your customers identify with the person they’re dealing with.

It’s one of the best ways to connect and empathize with each of them.

With a carefully-chosen avatar, you have a clear idea of how to help your target audience from your blog.

You’re also doing something to overcome the different customer misconceptions.

To guide you in the process, here’s what you need to do:

  • Do your research – Find out what characteristics you want your customer avatar to have. Give it depth and purpose
  • Take note of negative personas – Determine the type of people that you don’t want to attract
  • Use a spreadsheet to track the results – List down the results of your research so you can narrow them down easily

Get readers to care about your content

Conducting keyword research or using the right search phrases into your content is the way to go.

By writing about topics that people search for in your niche, you fill in a gap that helps these people improve their lives.

Think about it:

Readers are already on the lookout for certain pieces of content. What the keyword research process will do is to help bring your content to them!

To achieve desirable results, you should use keyword research tools like Ahrefs.

You should also consider leaning towards the use of long-tail keywords because of less competition.

On top of that, remember these things as well:

  • Write unique and updated content – Compared to older content, the newer posts are much more useful for readers and are therefore prioritized by Google on search results
  • Consider questions – Think of how people would turn to Google to ask questions in a natural manner. For example, “how do I increase sales for my product” sounds like something a person would say than “sale increase guide.”
  • Variations matter – The search terms “music file” and “audio file,” for instance, may not be too different. But one receives more keyword hits than the other

Find ways to capture feedback

Interacting with your customers is simple.

It’s also a smart approach to know if you’re delivering customer satisfaction.

So if you head to your blog’s comments section, you can gain actionable insights from what they are saying.

Aside from referring to the comments section, a live chat system or chatbot will help you get useful customer feedback.

customer experience strategy - chatbot

It keeps people engaged and it helps them keep in touch with your brand from your blog.

Some of the tools that you can use are as follows.

Track and measure results

Find out if your customer experience strategy is working.

To get around to it, you should use NPS or Net Promoter Score.

net promoter score

It presents valuable information that can help you measure the effectiveness of your approaches.

It uses a very straightforward question about whether a customer recommends your company to a peer.

If he does and gives your company a high score, you’re in for some good news: your strategy is working!

Conclusion

A winning customer experience raises customer loyalty levels and lets you herd in loyal customers.

And it also gives your company a competitive advantage and significantly drives up revenue!

Therefore, don’t set aside the importance of a great strategy.

If you want to follow the lead of many successful marketers, you should also invest in customer experience.

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Blogging Guide

A Quick Guide to Blog Analytics

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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.

Why?

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:

google analytics global tag

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.

blog analytics using GA

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.

Conclusion

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.

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