Why You Should Consider Guest Posting In Your Blogging Plan

Collect guest posts

Collect guest posts

Overview

One of the challenges faced by bloggers is updating their blog frequently. Most people do not have time for this, but it is what readers want. Visitors love a website that always has new information for them. One of the best ways to keep a consistent posting pace is by allowing guest posts.

Introduction

Not only are there benefits by allowing guest posts on your site (you have more content as mentioned above) but guest posting can also be very rewarding when you’re guest posting on other people’s websites as well. Not only is it useful when building links to your site, it also helps bring in traffic to your site by exposing your information and brand to others that may not
be familiar with it.

As a guest on another site, you have to ensure that your article is interesting, relevant and captivating to the blog’s audience. Ideally, as the users read your article, they will want to read more and check out your own content using the links you have provided that lead to your page.

There are several advantages that may convince you to consider guest posting as a marketing strategy for your site:

Search engine ranking

Guest posting is a great way to get links, and is consequently a great way to improve your search ranking. As much of SEO is about building backlinks, by getting more links to your site you’re increasing the likelihood that your site ranks for a wide variety of terms that are related to your site.

Increased revenue

Since guest blogging increases your inbound traffic, you are able to charge advertisers more for ads.  A site that gets 10,000 visits per day will make more money through ads than a site that gets 100 visits per day. Guest posting on other people’s sites increases your reach and if you can convince those visitors to visit your site it could also make you more money as well.

Quality of content

Writing guest posts requires you to bring your ‘A’ game. It’s exciting to be able to reach out to a new audience and potentially get some new readers. The same applies when you allow guests to post on your site. They bring in different styles of writing with varied high quality content. This is in turn brings in more traffic as readers will want to read and discuss all the interesting content on your site.

Future marketing opportunity.

Searching for and allowing guest posts on your site forces you to network with other bloggers.

This can only lead to good things. As your network grows so does your reach, which can open you up to all sorts of opportunities which can positively impact your blog.

About The Author:  Samson Mausz is a blogger for an SEO agency, but when he’s not blogging for them, he can be found hiking the hiking trails of the great southwest!

Tutorial: The Seven Steps of Setting Up a Personal Blog

rider

Step 1: Free Blog or Your Own Domain

Your first decision as a blogger is to decide whether you are going to use a free blogging service or set up and manage your own domain.

Free services

The advantages of the free services are: no cost, very quick to start, very little technical knowledge needed and you can try out blogging with very little risk.

The disadvantages are your blog’s name will be linked to the free blogging service, which will put off some potential visitors; there are more restrictions on a free blog; you are at the mercy of changes in ownership, changes in rules of the service.  You could also have your blog blocked or removed  if you somehow or other upset the company.

Your own domain

Your own domain gives you much more control over your blog.   You will have your own domain name, which allows you to brand your content, and even yourself.  There are no real restrictions on plugins and themes that you use.  In addition you can use a developer/programmer to customize the site even further.

You will need to learn some basic technology, but you do not need to go into too much technical detail.  You will need to buy and manage the domain and the hosting.

Recommendations

If you just want to try your hand at blogging, you can start with one of the free blogging services, like WordPress. If you decide that you want to transfer your content later on to your own domain then it is relatively easy to do so.

However, if you want to start a serious blog or monetize your blog you should get your own domain.  This is usually relatively inexpensive. The cost should be less than a $10 per year. You can purchase a domain name at HostGator or BlueHost.

Step 2: Choose Your Domain’s Name

Your domain’s name is important.  It can give your potential visitors an idea of your blog’s content or it can help you brand the blog.

Personal blog titles usually have one of a number of formats:

  • The blogger’s name – Jim’s Blog
  • What the blog is about – Reluctant Gardener
  • Obscure, (for branding) – Orange Banana
Quite often humor is used.

Step 3:  Choose Your Blogging Software

This one is easy.  If you are going to have your own domain, then I suggest using WordPress as your content management system. It’s free. It has thousands of themes, and potential layouts. The software can be easily upgraded to incorporate additional functionality using a plugin system. Also, there are thousands of developers and forums prepared to support you. Here more information on why you should choose WordPress.

Step 4:  Choosing Your Hosting Company

Sorry to be technical but at the early stage of your blogging career you should use a reasonably cheap, shared hosting service (HostGator or BlueHost).  That is your blog and others will be stored on a large hard drive of the hosting company.

It should be a cpanel hosting, as this hosting works best with WordPress.

As a large number of hosting companies offer cpanel you can easily move your site to another supplier if you are not satisfied.

The hosting must have Fantastico, as this will install WordPress, and a large number of other software packages, for you – saving you the hassle of learning a number of technical techniques. Again this is free.

Step 5:  Setting Up Your Blog

Using Fantastico the installation of WordPress is automated see: Installing WordPress and then logging onto WordPress. BlueHost and HostGator have very intuitive install processes for using WordPress. It’s also important to note that both have customer support lines that are willing to help you with the install.

Step 6: Choosing your Theme or Layout

There are thousands of themes available for your use with WordPress.

Some of favorites are StudioPress (Genesis Framework), Thesis and WooThemes.

Step 7:  Get Writing

Writing a blog post is different than writing an article for a magazine.  You will need to develop your own style and write great content. You should spend the majority of your time creating valuable content for your readers.

Step 8: Moving on to a Standard Blog

As part of my blogging framework, ‘The Seven Stages of Blogging’, I identify the first three stages as being:

  • ‘The Start Up Blog’, where the owner learns how to set up a blog and write a few posts.
  • ‘The Standard Blog’, where the owner develops their Start Up Blog into an established blog that has a reasonable number of posts.
  • ‘The Launch Pad Blog’, is where the owner prepares the blog to be promoted.  The design of the blog has improved, the navigation is better,  posts are being scheduled and there are features, such as a contact page and an email list.

The vast majority of personal blogs remain at the level of a standard blog, with possibly some of the elements of the launch pad blog.  It is worthwhile considering these techniques as they will help you build up traffic and help you network with like minded people.

So what do you think?

Tutorial: Developing a Blog Strategy: Your Target Audience

Celebrating the start of your new blog

Celebrating the start of your new blog

Overview: There are three essential questions you should ask before starting a blog. Four if you want to earn a living from your blog.

  • What am I going to blog about?
  • Who do I want to read my blog?
  • Why will they read my blog?

 

The fourth question is for those wanting to make money from the blog

  •  How to I make money from my visitors or my visitors actions.

 

What am I going to write about?

In brief you are going to blog:

  • to promote a product or yourself
  • whatever comes into your head, a personal blog
  •  build your blog in a particular subject area, niche

There will be articles about each approach in linked posts that will be written this week.

 

Who do I want to read my blog?

This is an important consideration as you will have to make the decision between building up a large number of visitors or targeting a clearly defined group of people.

A business using a blog to help sell a specific, expensive, technical product would want their blog to be seen by people in their industry. The blog would be a mixture of brochure, public publicity, basic support centre and news about the product, other products the business makes and news of interest to the industry. Attracting thousands of general interest visitors would not be one of their goals.

On the other hand a blog making money through adverts and affiliate schemes would want to attract as many people interested in their particular niche as possible. Every visitor would be a potential business opportunity, as they may click on an advertiser’s link, or buy a product from an affiliate.

The personal blogger may want to build a large audience, or to seek a few individuals who are interested in similar subjects, or even to find a small group of people to discuss or even argue about their interest.

Note: It is very important that you have a good idea who you are writing for before you start blogging as it affects your style of writing in your content.

 

Woman eating chocolate instead of blogging

OK chocolate will keep them coming back

 

 

Why will they read my blog?

So you know what you are going to write about and you know who your target audience.

But…

… you need to think why they come to your blog and why they will keep coming back to your blog.

Your blog will be competing with billions of other websites and blogs. Even in your niche or business area you will find hundreds, and in most cases thousands, of potential rivals. Some of the sites will be strong competitors and hopefully others will become part of your network.

But, and I repeat but, you will have to offer something that is interesting, important, newsworthy or entertaining. People are busy and most are easily distracted. It is therefore up to you to make your visitor welcome and wanting to read your material. More importantly you want your visitor to interact by leaving a comment, by buying a product, signing up to a newsletter, clicking on a link or bookmarking your site with the intention of coming back.

Note: Thinking how your visitors will react to your site is important. It will put you in front of many other bloggers. Your visitor’s reactions to your blog will affect your style of writing, your content, your navigation and how you blog in a very productive manner.

 

How to I make money from my visitors or my visitors actions

As they say — this is the “$64 million question”. It is useful for you to have a reasonable idea where your money is going to be earned. Is it going to come from adverts, affiliate links, products, subscriptions or are you going to offer training, consultancy or other service.

If you are planning to make your income from say advertisements then building up a lot of traffic is important. On the other hand if you’re going to be rich running a paid for training membership site the focus will be on finding potential trainees. The blog’s objective will be to be one of the dominant blogs in that particular training niche, it will try and try and pre-sell the training and will try to counter any objections a particular buyer may have as well, of course, guiding the visitor to the buying page.

 

Over to you

So are you clear:

  • on what are you going to write about in your blog?
  • who do you want as visitors to your blog?
  • why are your visitors going to come to your blog?
  • If relevant, I want them to make money from your visitors?

 

What do you think?

Tutorial: What is a favicon and why you should have one?

favicons attract the user

favicons attract the user

What is a favicon?

Favicon is a shortened form of ‘favourites icon’. It can also be known as a page icon or an urlicon.  Favicons are very small images which are linked to a particular website or webpage.

Favicons are usually placed in the root folder of a website and generally have the file name favicon.ico.  However, developers and theme designers more sophisticated ways of using favicons.

A sample of some of the more famous favicons are shown below.

Examples of favicons

 

How are they used

These images of either 16 x 16 or 32 x 32 pixels in size are used to identify a website in:

1 – They are great when you are using tabs

favicons used in  browser tabs to identify blog

The favicon makes it easy for the user to switch between open web pages.

This is particularly useful:

  • when the text is not clear at the top of the screen
  • when someone is researching a topic and needs to refer back
A person is more likely to return to your webpage if there is a clear favicon on the tab.

2 – Bookmark or favourites list

using a favicon to search a bookmark list

 

This helps the user identify the a specific site.  A well designed favicon attracts the eye and makes it more likely the user will click the link, rather than the more bland non-favicon link, such as the third item in the list.

Why should I use favicons?

Though not essential favicons improve the general appearance of your website in the following ways:

  • A favicon improves the brand or look of your website.  It makes you appear to be professional
  • It will marginally improve the numbers of visitors to your site
  • As part of the complete package it will more make your website a little more valuable if you plan to sell it.

 Links

Smashing Magazine:  A list of 50 simple, well designed favicons