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Why Every Blogger Needs to Use Heatmaps

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Most bloggers are obsessed with Google Analytics and tracking their visitors when they first get started. After that, it’s all about the revenue and seeing how much money your blog can make per month.

While bloggers are anxiously eating up as many stats as they can, they might be missing the most important stat of all — which is knowing what users are actually doing while they are on your site. Sure, you can see how many people came to your site and what posts are getting the most comments and social shares… but being able to see how they are reading your content, what distracts them and how to improvement engagement… now that’s killer analytical data.

Heatmaps are Pretty Cool!

The best way to monitor your traffic and seeing what they are doing while they are on your site, is through the use of heatmaps and video recordings. I personally use Hotjar on all of my sites and it provides me with some pretty amazing details.

As many of you already know, I recently switched up the design on BloggingTips.com with a nice new clean design. Once I went live with the new theme, I made sure to setup a new Hotjar heatmap to see how traffic was using the site.

Right away you can see where most people are clicking… which is the main navigation area on top, the logo area and the title link of the first blog post.

Hotjar_BloggingTips_HeatMap

I had a newsletter popup loaded on the site, which is why the screen is so dark… otherwise it would look clear like the one I did for ZacJohnson.com.

Zac-Johnson-Mouse-Scroll-Heatmap-1024x491 (1)

Now that I’ve grabbed your attention with some fancy heatmaps and what you can do with your own site, I want to first let you know how easy it is to setup. All you need to do is create an account with Hotjar.com, add your site URL and add a line of code to your site. It’s that easy.

To view reports, you log right into the dashboard and can view your site and it’s heatmaps based on the device it’s being viewed through (such as desktop, mobile, tablet).

Hotjar_Heatmaps_Area

Notice the section above the heatmap area? This is where you can sort heatmaps based on their viewing device. This is also great for seeing what your site looks like on different platforms.

Hotjar_Viewing_Devices

View Recordings of Visitors While on Your Site

While heatmaps are pretty, what really blows me away is the visitor recording feature that allows you to actually see what people (their mouse) do while they are on your site.

Here’s an example of what you’d see in the video recordings area.

Hotjar Video Recordings

In addition to seeing actual recordings of what people are doing on your site, you can also see detailed reports on each of them before needing to see the video.

For example, in the screenshot below you will see I highlighted the area where it shows visitor length. In most cases, a longer recording will provide you with more detail and engagement. You can also view the device, browser and operating system being used… along with their country as well.

HotJar Video Recordings Stats

Now that you’ve seen some examples of how heatmaps and visitor recordings work, now let’s talk about why they are so important.

How Heatmaps Make You a Better Blogger

At the end of the day, as bloggers we all want to make more money, get more traffic and keep people on our site. By being able to actually see where you visitors are clicking, you can see where they are existing from your site, what areas are just distractions and how they are using your site.

This is particularly effective when viewing visitor recordings, as you can actually watch the process of someone being on your site and navigating through it with their mouse cursor. This will allow you to see any confusion they might have while navigating through your site, while also seeing what they are ready, for how long and at what point they actually leave your site.

For more on how heatmaps and visitor recordings can help with your site, be sure to check out this 9 point optimization plan.

Hotjar is More than Just Heatmaps and Recordings

While the heatmaps and video recordings are my two favorite features of Hotjar, they actually have a lot more to offer — such as user polls, funnels, forms, surveys and more. In short, you are getting access to a bunch of high level services for one low monthly price and all within one platform.

Hotjar_–_Heatmaps__Visitor_Recordings__Conversion_Funnels__Form_Analytics__Feedback_Polls_and_Proactive_Chat_in_One_Platform

Whether you are a blogger, site designer, marketing expert, affiliate marketer or anything in between — knowing your audience and being able to monitor and track what they are doing while on your site, is one of the best ways to increase conversions and traffic across the board.

I use Hotjar to monitor traffic across my sites, and you should try them too.

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

Why Do You Resist Writing eBooks?

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Writing and self-publishing eBooks scares bloggers.

I piddled in my eBook writing pants until 2012. People told me I should write ’em. I looked for every reason in the eBook NOT to write eBooks. Nobody would listen. Nobody would buy. Nobody would care.

Turns out, people listen, buy and care enough to publish 5 star reviews for my eBooks. Look at the featured image for this blog post describing this eBook:

7 Tips for Writing Successful eBooks Quickly

I locked down five, 5 star reviews because I taught my readers how to write successful eBooks fast. But years prior, fear clouded my mind concerning writing eBooks to the point of me refusing to write one. You may be in the same cyber boat; but you better not miss the eBook writing boat. Lucrative profits serve as one part of the picture. Digging deeper, writing eBooks brands you, distancing you from the herd. Plus you feel good writing short reads and gain trust and extra credibility in the eyes of readers.

Why Do You Resist Writing eBooks?

Fear is the core reason. Fear of failure, criticism or wasting time sit near the top of eBook-related fears. I did not know how to sit down and write the darn things. Fear arose in my mind; how would I do it? Who would teach me? Could I find the process? Would I need special editors? How could I learn the technical steps for conceiving an idea to shipping the eBook on Amazon? Tech stuff really scared me; I had no idea how to save Word files with different, web-based extensions, let alone creating covers with proper dimensions via Canva to meet Amazon’s diligent standards.

From my trip to Oman.

Rather than learn how to do these things I allowed fear to get the better of me, refusing to write eBooks. But during a trip to India I met a reader and friend who begged me to write eBooks for a while. He had been on me for a minute. Meeting in person, he finally convinced me to write and self-publish an eBook on a lesser known digital platform. Later, I went with Amazon, and never looked back.

I had to dive into and nudge through deep fears related to failing and being criticized because I believed nobody would buy what I offered in eBook form. As my friend convinced me, I waded through ideas like wasting my time, getting terrible reviews and promoting my eBook to the tune of zero sales. Did it feel good to embrace these fears? Heck no. But the benefits of self-publishing far outweighed a few unpleasant emotions experienced during these fear-feeling sessions.

Nothing to Lose Everything to Gain

Gain by writing eBooks; if you take experience with you, loss is impossible. Even if you sold not a copy you take valuable writing, marketing and selling experience with you any time you write and launch an eBook. But if you generously help people and make friends, you will sell eBooks and help more people, reflecting gain back to you in physical form.

Digging even deeper, facing and releasing fears associated with criticism and failure benefit you across the board with your blogging campaign. Apply that same fearless nature to other aspects of your blog to boost your blog traffic and profits.

Write and ship.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

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1 Tip for Being an Intelligent and Prospering Blogger

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My eBook: 10 Tips to Be a Smarter and Richer Blogger

possesses an interesting cover for anyone not familiar with my eBooks.

For anyone familiar with my 100 plus eBooks, my cover is par for the course. Every single one of my eBook covers has been personally snapped by me. Images of paradise preserved by yours truly fit my brand, blog and eBook covers perfectly. Blogging From Paradise means retiring to a life of island hopping through smart blogging. Sometimes I visit islands. Sometimes I visit mainland spots. In all cases, my eBooks and courses – as well as my blog – bleed travel images because this approach fits my brand and is unheard of in the blogging tips niche.

I totally respect any blogging tips blogger who posts featured images for their blogs and eBook covers consistent with content titles. Imagine a light bulb and dollar sign for the above eBook cover, for starters. But I went with a photo I snapped in gorgeous Rawai Bay in Phuket, Thailand for my cover image. Why? Nobody else on earth uses their travel photos as eBook covers and featured post images in the blogging tips niche. If nobody else does it and the move completely aligns with my brand message, this is the starting point for being an intelligent and prospering blogger.

Smart and Prospering Means Different

Every successful blogger I follow sticks to basic fundamentals but deviates from the norm in some regards. Different means bigger bucks and smarter prospering because readers notice that different flavor stepping away from normal. Folks enjoy my covers and blog post images, even though the content and eBook title technically have nothing to do with travel images. Guess what? Adding my brand logo aligns the eBook cover with my blog and brand. People clearly see I am about blogging from paradise. Why not add travel images to each eBook cover?

From my trip to Oman.

I follow a high number of basic blogging rules; create value, build connections, be generous and have fun. But if you do EVERYTHING just like most bloggers, you get lost in the herd. Nothing makes you stand out if you do not choose to stand out with at least one element of your blogging campaign. I stood out with eye-popping eBook images I snapped myself, in a blogging tips niche. How do you stand out? Ask yourself the question. Be straight with yourself to answer.

Bigger Profits from a Smarter Energy by Being Different

Cindy Crawford kept her mole. Muscle Man Arnold kept his accent. Steve Jobs made computers and peripherals outrageously expensive and designed quite weirdly compared to other computers and peripherals. Guess what? Crawford, Arnold and Jobs are legends who we won’t forget for a long time. Different makes you a serious fortune because people notice folks who stand out in some way, shape or form. This different approach bleeds intelligence; why work your butt off if you look just like the next guy and offer a mimicking service?

But Make Sure You Follow Some Fundamentals

Steve Jobs did not attempt to make computers out of cardboard. Arnold did not try to speak German in Hollywood movies. Cindy Crawford did not try to rewrite the foundations of modeling by wearing a fake beard of photo shoots. All icons followed basic rules for their industries because being too far out in left field usually makes you forgettable, or, impossible to spot. Follow blogging fundamentals to stay in the game but find that one thing that distances you from the herd.

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Blogging

Why Should You Help Other Bloggers Succeed?

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If you build it AND if you help other bloggers build it, then they will come.

We have all seen the famous line from Field of Dreams rehashed many times, regarding blogging. Building a blog solo ain’t good enough. Platitudes of content being king and networking queen get bandied about, and I do not disagree.

But I wanted to put a spin on the line; if you build your blog and help other bloggers build their blogs, THEN people will visit your blog, hire you, buy your stuff and endorse you.

A few moments ago, my friend and power house blogger Julie Syl Kalungi tagged me on Facebook with kind words.  She mentioned a common mistake we both see often; bloggers pitch us content with nothing else to show for the pitch, other than mediocre or OK content from an unknown blogger. If it were that easy to get featured on Blogging From Paradise or on Julie’s blog, we would both place 5 to 10 to 20 guest posts daily, or a helluva lot more.

Of course, landing features on established blogs is not easy at all. But struggling, failing bloggers mistakenly believe it *is* as easy as tempting pros with a helpful post, or some other lukewarm incentive, and wonder why they never get featured on top blogs. Plus bloggers do the silly thing of offering a $1 or $3 bulk discount for 25 posts. Having a poverty consciousness makes you do silly things.

Anyway, these strategies NEVER work because the pitching bloggers are trying to build it – aka their blogs – before building other blogger’s blogs. Build your blog and other blogger’s blogs. Grow your friend network. Be genuine. Be generous. Help. Expect nothing. Ask for nothing. As you help other bloggers succeed and improve your writing skills, something neat happens; you befriend a bunch of skilled bloggers who boost your traffic and profits through endorsements, promotions, by buying your stuff and by hiring you.

From my trip to Oman.

This is why you should help other bloggers succeed. Make friends. Profit. 100 is better than 1.

100 Is Better than 1

I learned years ago the efforts of 100 blogging buddies beats my individual efforts. I am not super connected to 100 plus blogging buddies, but at least that many folks promote me or endorse me routinely across a wide range of channels. Imagine how much 100 bloggers can expand your reach, compared to your individual, singular efforts?

Why do 100 plus bloggers help me out? I have helped thousands of bloggers grow their traffic and profits over a decade online by commenting genuinely on their blogs, by promoting them on social media, by endorsing them, by promoting them on my blog, by inviting them to guest post on my blog and by guest posting for them.

I benefit too, of course. This marks my 6th guest post of the day. As I promote my 71% blogging course discount (use the discount code in the first paragraph) across a slew of these guest posts I gain profit potential and boost my blog traffic too. But I also drive free, passive traffic through each guest post. My 3 blogging buddies living in India who I guest post for wake up to free, passive traffic. I help them succeed. My blogging buddies help me succeed by giving me platforms for reaching their readers.

Do you see why building it and helping other bloggers build it makes you incredibly successful over the long term?

Julie became a wildly successful blogger by generously helping other top bloggers succeed. Now, her blogger friend network expands her reach far and wide.

Give What You Want

Do you want money? Help other bloggers make money. Promote them on your blog. Link to them. Buy and review their eBooks. The number of friends you make by being generous will astound you. As this loyal tribe grows in size and scope, and helps you make more and more money, you will be even more astounded.

Blogger Outreach Resource

Are you looking for bloggers to help? Buy my eBook:

27 Influential Bloggers to Follow

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