Connect with us

Blogging Guide

Premium WordPress Themes vs. Free Themes

Published

on

So, you’ve decided that you want to start blogging. You’ve registered a domain name, signed up for hosting, and picked out your niche. You may have also narrowed down the kind of blog theme that you would like to use, thanks to the previous article. Now, you are faced with another decision point.

When it comes to WordPress themes, they come in one of three types: free, premium, and custom themes. Which type of blog theme you ultimately use for your site will largely be dependent on your goals and on your budget. How much money are you willing to invest in your blog in its early days? Your ultimate goal should be to use a custom blog theme, but this may not be financially viable for many people who are new to blogging.

Starting Out with Free Themes

The appeal of free themes is obvious enough: they’re free. Any designer can submit their creations to the official Free Themes Directory on WordPress.org. There are over 1,000 different themes that are freely available for download through that official resource and they’re organized by a number of different criteria. You can search based on colors used, number of columns, included features, and other tags.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that many free WordPress themes do not offer any real support and their features may be lacking when compared to their paid counterparts. Because they are offered for free, it is also very possible that they could be buggy or otherwise result in errors. The coding may not be as “clean” and efficient as the paid professional themes. Further still, many free themes require you to include an attribution link to the theme’s creator, which can sometimes detract from the professional image you may be trying to build for your blog.

Free themes are a good place to start, but unless you have the time and knowledge to customize these themes on your own, you will usually find that they don’t completely fulfill your needs.

Moving Up to Premium WordPress Themes

A step up from free WordPress themes are the paid premium themes. A number of professional designers and coders create these premium themes and sell them either through online marketplaces or through their own websites.

One of the major advantages that you get from buying a good premium theme is that you are more likely to get a theme that has been coded properly and efficiently. Further still, it is generally easier to get in contact with the original developer if you have any suggestions or require any support.

These specialized premium themes oftentimes include more advanced design styles and more robust feature sets than their free counterparts. They may include a number of custom fonts, images, widgets, and other additional content that free themes typically do not include. Thesis Theme is a popular premium theme. It costs $87 for a personal license or $164 for a developer’s license.

Designing Original Custom Blog Themes

The absolute best option you can get is to hire a professional web designer to create a completely original and custom blog theme. This comes with several very important advantages. For starters, because it is a custom theme, your blog will look completely different from all the other blogs on the Internet. This is fantastic for branding and for getting more attention. You don’t want to be blend into the crowd.

Instead of shopping around for themes that can satisfy everything on your desired list of features, you can tell your hired designer everything that you need and he or she can custom code the WordPress theme to your exact specifications. It’s important to hire a good designer and coder that you can trust, of course, but this increased personalization and versatility can be greatly advantageous.

The price of a custom theme will vary considerably. Remember that when you are looking for a designer than you need to look past the price and consider the true value and quality that you are receiving. If you can afford it, a custom theme is definitely the ideal path to take.

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

Continue Reading

Blogging Guide

Newsletter vs Blog? You Need Both for Your Business

Published

on

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.

Conclusion

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.

Continue Reading

Blogging Guide

5 Easy Money Hustles for Bloggers

Published

on

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!

Continue Reading

Blogging Guide

A Quick Guide to Keyword Optimization for Bloggers

Published

on

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!

Continue Reading










Trending