Your’re a blogger, maybe it’s time to get serious.
A blog is one of the best ways of driving regular, ongoing, free traffic to your website. To be successful you need a good strategy and to support this strategy you need good blogging tools.
In this article we discuss 6 powerful tools that help you become more efficient and effective as a blogger.
1. Identify Keywords you Can Get Traffic for Using SEMRush
SEMRush analyzes your competitor’s traffic and shows you the top keywords that are driving them traffic in search results.
Using the free version you can get a list of the top 10 keywords. It will show you information such as the keywords driving traffic to your competitor, average number of Google searches for these keywords, the post they are ranking for, and more.
Knowing the keywords that are already driving traffic to a competitors website is very useful as you can then write better content focused on these keywords (or similar keywords) to drive more traffic to your site.
2. Create an Editorial Calendar Using CoSchedule
You have to be organized with your blogging otherwise you waste a lot of time.
Create a plan for content and write content well in advance of when you want to publish it. One of the best ways of getting organized and delivering content on a consistent basis is using an editorial calendar.
With an editorial calendar you can plan out your content for weeks ahead and schedule content in your calendar when it’s ready.
A really good editorial calendar tool for WordPress is CoSchedule.
It is simple to set up and use and you’ll be more efficient by using it. Some of the functionality includes:
Create your calendar – You can plan out your content on a calendar and drag and drop articles to rearrange their planned publish dates
Task management – Assign tasks related to the content to your team, such as, adding a feature image to the blog post, or assigning it to your editor for a final review.
Content distribution – You can connect up your social profiles and then create and schedule posts and tweets that will promote you article at specified times to Twitter, Facebook, Google+ etc.
3. Create Imagery Using Canva
Every blog post needs at least one good image to capture attention and the simplest way of creating these images is using Canva.
Canva provides a wide range of templates you can use to start off the creation of your image or you can upload your own image.
You can then easily customize these images, changing colors, adding text, adding other images etc.
In the following you see some templates where you can drag and drop your own images and then customize the results.
4. Optimize Existing Content using Google Webmaster Tools
As Google crawls through your site it will report on any issues it finds. These are issues you need to correct!
It will also show you search phrases that people are using to find your content. It will show you the search phrase, the number of times your content appeared for this search phrase (impressions), how often this content is clicked and the average position in search results.
This is really useful because you can find content that may be appearing a lot in search results but is not getting enough clicks.
When Google sees that your click through rate is low then it’s likely this will start moving down in search results.
If your content is relevant to the keywords and the keywords are relevant to your business then you can go back to this content and optimize what people see in search results to make it more compelling.
For example, you can update the description so it’s more compelling with a clear call to action to encourage people to click on it.
5. Take Email Marketing to the Next Level with Ontraport
Building email subscribers is so important. When people read your great content give them an option to subscribe via email to receive your latest posts.
This will be a continuous driver of traffic to your new posts to an audience that has expressed an interest in your content.
There is a lot of great email marketing tools but typically they do not provide advanced automation.
Ontraport is a marketing automation tool with email at its core so now you can take email marketing to the next level.
An example is sending an email related to a blog post and if your subscribers click on this link you can then send them automated emails with details of other posts that are similar to the ones they have shown an interest in.
Email automation is an important part of blogging so sometimes you need to invest in the tools to help you achieve the level of automation you require.
6. Find Related Terms using Keywordtool.io
The days of just focusing entirely on one keyword phrase within your articles are gone. Google is getting a lot smarter and is analyzing all your content and wants to find lots of related terms.
Keywordtool.io is a free tool that shows you related terms (taken from Google Suggest) to the keywords you enter. This gives you lots of ideas for related terms/content you can include in your blog posts.
In the example below, we have displayed just a sample of the related keywords found for the search ‘Post workout supplements’.
Your blog can be hugely effective for driving relevant traffic to your business, which can ultimately lead to sales.
The tools above will certainly help with this but not replace your strategy.
Author: Ian Cleary is a social media tools and social media technology specialist. He is a recognized social media speaker and his blog was recently named as one of the top blogs in the annual Social Media Examiner blog awards. To learn more about social media tools and technology, follow Ian’s blog RazorSocial.
Content marketing is fun but it often feels overwhelming.
It’s about inspiration, perspiration (doing the work) and good luck. Making that content move on a social web is sometimes more about having your content in the right place at the right time!
But despite the frustrations the only way to succeed in content marketing is to continuously improve the strategies and approaches used in every content marketing campaign.
That’s the persistence part!
Bringing every phase of the campaign to the highest level allows content marketers to become more flexible, creative and effective in their daily work.
However, becoming an effective content marketer would require time and energy to devote into each specific task and to produce content assets that would appeal to a targeted audience. The more you practice content marketing, the better off you will be excellent in what you are doing.
In this post, I’d like to share with you tips on how you can become more effective in your field, produce better results, earn more traffic and leads through your content pieces and retain your happy customers.
Let’s get started.
1. Identify and understand your targeted audience
Answer the “who” question in content marketing. “Who is your audience?”.
By looking at your brand’s selling points, mission/vision, core values and business-related goals, you will have an idea of which group(s) of people your business is primarily targeting. Unless you identify your audience, you’ll be having a hard time seeing good results from your campaigns.
You should also brainstorm about the different persona groups that you know would benefit from your brand’s offerings (product, service, information, etc..).For instance, if you’re selling a cloud POS (point of sale) system, you could list down these persona groups: retailers, ecommerce webmasters and small business owners. They would normally comprise the whole audience that your content marketing campaigns should be able to target and engage with.
To understand the behavior of your targeted audience, you can place surveys or chat rooms on your website to get some feedback from your customers. This could help you improve the way you create your content assets as you will be able to identify the needs of your users and help them solve their problems.
2. Be eager to experiment and produce actual data
A regular audit of your content marketing campaigns allows you to evaluate which strategies/methods/approaches had managed to positively affect your current results. This would help you develop new strategies that will eventually be the core foundation of your campaign.
An audit normally comprises of the following tasks:
Identifying which content format (image, article, video, etc..) gets the most number of shares, comments and traffic.
Determine which piece brings the most number of leads (potential customers) to your company by looking at the site’s Google Analytics account (conversion goals).
Listing down content assets with the highest return on investment.
At the start of the campaign, you can already estimate the return of investment of each of your content asset. This presentation by Ross Hudgens is an awesome resource to help you calculate the ROI of your content.
3. Replicate content strategies from other niches
If you’re working for multiple clients but they are in the same industry, the tendency is to be less creative with crafting your content assets for all of those clients. The main reason is that you may be creating the same content format, use the same topic, and promote it with the same method which diminishes your ability to be creative with the process.
The key solution for this is to replicate content strategies from webmasters from other niches. To get started with it, you can look for types of content that are most commonly seen on many blogs in that other niche that you choose. Use Buzzsumo, Topsy and Cognitive SEO to find the content asset with the most number of shares and links. When you already have a list of the most shared pieces, you can select five or ten of them and adapt the techniques used by the content publisher in creating and promoting the piece. Observe and gather the results of that experiment for future references.
4. Understand other aspects of online marketing
Content marketing should also be tied with other aspects of online marketing including social media and conversion rate optimization (CRO).
Your knowledge about CRO could help you craft an asset that can generate sales and leads to your business. A good background on how to write call to actions alongside your content could entice customers to contact you for products/services. It could also give you an understanding on which color, font and design is the most attractive to your users.
Social media skills could help you promote your content to targeted group of audience even if your brand is still new in the industry. Those people who’ve shared your competitor’s assets are good targets for outreach and content promotion. Reach out to those people and just ask them if they could see your content (never tell them to share your piece, they know what to do).
Listening to your customers on social networks is a good way to get some topic ideas for your blog posts. By doing this, you get assured that your blog posts are the ones that your audience would love to see and read.
There are a lot of other online marketing aspects that you must be able to understand and at least know the basics so you can maximize all your efforts in planning and executing your content marketing campaign.
5. Learn from the best content marketing experts
Reading case studies, stories and actionable tips from the top content marketing experts could help you test new strategies for your campaigns whether it deals with content creation or content promotion.
Here is a list of the top influencers in content marketing:
We are spending 2 hours 51 minutes a day on our mobile devices. The only other media we spend more time on is TV at 4 hours and 21 minutes.
This amount of increasing attention for mobiles has some big implications for advertising and marketing budgets.
This mobile momentum is also partly driven by two technologies that have intersected that are both addictive and compulsive.
Social networks and mobile devices.
This is one of the reasons Facebook bought Instagram for future mobile advertising. Mark Zuckerberg has also stated that Facebook would continue to focus on growing its mobile advertising and with 62% of its revenue in Q2 of 2014 now coming from mobile ads, that goal is being fulfilled.
The emerging buzz about mobile marketing
Emarketer came out with a survey, not so long ago, based on the scheme of things in US market and the upcoming trends in advertising spending. What it revealed was that over the next few months we will see a massive jump in the ad spending, something the likes of which hasn’t been witnessed in over a decade. This 5% increase in ad spend hasn’t been seen since 2004.
The US market alone will witness an investment in excess of $180 billion in the ads in just one year.
It is also predicted that digital ad spend will almost match TV by 2017 and mobile will be a big chunk of that.
But as mind boggling as this figure is, what caught our interest was another piece of stat which suggests that the biggest chunk of this ad expenditure will come from mobile advertising. Here are some more facts on mobile marketing that may grab your attention.
When they compared the mobile advertising trends of 2013 with the expected trends (based on quantitive analysis), they found out that the marketeers will be spending more than 80 percent on mobile advertising as compared to the amount they was invested in 2013.
When we compare it with the traditional advertising mediums, 2015 will see mobiles accounting for 14% of the total ad spending in US, while newspapers will witness a decline to 8.6% and magazines to 7.9%. The radio ads won’t fare any better at 8.2%.
And then you have Business Insider that comes out with equally startling figures. As per their studies, between 2013 and 2018, we are going to witness a five-year compound annual growth rate of close to 50% in the mobile advertising revenue.
This massive leap in mobile advertisement spending hardly comes as a surprise to those not novices to the workings of the virtual world.
Advertisers can only be expected to broadcast their products and services in the places they find their targeted audience at. And the mobile phone realm is not just the place where they find their targeted audience, but they gain a hell of a lot of consumers who aren’t very fond of window-shopping.
The effect of radio and print advertisements on the end user is well documented, and so is the case with the TV advertisements. But the fact that they have been talked about enough doesn’t take anything away from their impact on the consumers, and their significance for advertising professionals. They have been reliably known to establish an instant connect with the end users and that’s precisely why they have remained the go-to mediums for companies looking to pitch its product to a massive customer base. And television commercials have been seized with a keen desire by the same brands, owing to their chief virtues that we are more than aware of.
Be it on the television at your home, the electronic hoardings out side, or the giant screens of movie halls, we are accustomed to our daily dose of TV ads. Thanks to improved quality and creativity standards, the TV ads work and work well.
Why mobile marketing?
The question is then, why suddenly this lean towards mobile marketing?
It rather is a result of the constant pursuit of better results and smaller budgets. The key here is not to overplot the ad content, but to pitch it on a medium that consumers carry with them all the time.
Sitting at a coffee joint
Watching a ridiculously insipid television soap
Killing time at office
On a bus ride
….. and so on
You can’t overstate the fact that the world is going more mobile by the hour and all marketeers are doing is keeping up. As for the mobile shopping, those tiny ads keep getting user’s attention. Unlike the brick and mortar stores, buying unneeded items is much too common on Smartphones, where all you need is a few taps on the screen.
Now, if that doesn’t make advertisers of the world smack their lips in temptation, nothing else will!
Guest Author:Lucie Kruger is an eminent Senior Content Editor and IT consultant for Mobiers Ltd, a leading mobile application development company. You can also contact her, if you are looking forward to hire mobile application developer.
It is hard to believe that 2015 is right around the corner.
As the weather starts to cool down, digital marketers’ brains just begin to warm up and think about the budget for the New Year. The million-dollar question is what are the best digital networks to invest into and what platforms should receive more exposure for 2015?
Malcolm X was quoted as saying; “The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.” If you are reading this article, you are likely a step ahead of the competition by staying sharp in news and trends in the online marketing field. By starting to think about the future of online marketing, you can plan out a successful 2015 year for your business while staying a step ahead of the competition.
The 15 step guideline for the perfect 2015 digital marketing strategy will provide you with a digital marketing blueprint for the upcoming year.
Once the ball drops on New Years at midnight, you won’t drop the ball when it comes to digital marketing strategy.
1. Get started on Instagram
If you haven’t started an Instagram account for your business, what are you waiting for? The younger generation has flocked to this social media platform with over 200 million monthly active users (according to Expanded Ramblings). Advertisers are getting more of an opportunity to share their content through filtered photos. Instagram is one of the most natural ways to share content for your brand. It is better to be a step ahead of the game than 2 steps behind it.
2. Yahoo! Bing network
The average cost per click on Yahoo! Bing was 10% to 24% lower than on Google AdWords. A lower cost per click can yield a lower cost per acquisition, which is the exact reason why you should start taking the search network seriously that receives 11.6% of the market share this upcoming year.
If you are in an expensive industry in the pay per click world like the legal profession, insurance industry or medical field, having a lower cost per click can help with a profitable PPC campaign.
3. Facebook lookalike audience
What exactly is a Facebook Lookalike Audience? According to Facebook, Lookalike audiences let you reach new people who are likely to be interested in your business because they’re similar to a customer list you care about. When you use Custom Audiences, you can choose to create a lookalike audience that targets people who are similar to your Custom Audience list.
Let’s say you have an email marketing database over 5,000 contacts and are in the heating and cooling industry. You can upload this onto Facebook’s advertising platform and target the EXACT demographic similar to your existing customers! This is a neat feature that advertisers should at least test during the upcoming year.
4. Paid promotion on Facebook
Adding just $5.00 in promotion to selected Facebook posts will drastically increase your interaction. You’ll start to notice a major spike in communication when you boost your post for a small budget. With Facebook’s Edgerank Algorithm, the likelihood for a business to appear high in the news feed is less likely. This is why for 2015, you should focus on posts that can yield the best results and boost them for a small budget.
5. Email marketing
If you are a business that only sends out one email blast per month, start doubling this number and send out at least two per month. Nordstrom sends out multiple email blasts EACH DAY! If you have compelling content that would be informative to the subscribers on your email list, tell them about it via email communications.
According to econsultancy.com, email marketing remains the best digital channel for ROI. Start strategizing heavily as to how you will make this for of online marketing work for you business in 2015!
6. Twitter outreach
There has been a lot of frustration amongst marketers over all of the advertising that various social media channels are forcing businesses to partake in. Luckily, Twitter is still a great platform where you can grow your following organically. Start searching for hashtags within your industry and reaching out to users in this fashion. Compliment someone on Twitter about a blog post that they wrote. Begin asking questions related to your hashtag. The result will be more interaction and core following of people who are interested in your content! There is a reason why Twitter has nearly 1 billion registered users! Start reaching your target audience via tweets through the perfect Twitter outreach strategy in 2015.
7. Facebook re-marketing
If you are a social media marketer and have not taken advantage of display advertising on Facebook, you are missing an outstanding opportunity. Not only will this yield one of the highest return on investments for your clients, it will help with brand exposure, lead to better conversion rates and provide a flexible budget which will lead to a more effective strategy.
An apartment community in Columbus implemented beautiful graphics with relevant messaging for one of its apartment communities for Facebook re-marketing. When someone would drop off of their website and visit Facebook, this messaging would follow them around. This resulted in a 33% uptick in conversion for their Polaris Apartments community!
Start seeing an uptick in conversion by implementing a Facebook re-marketing strategy for 2015.
8. Better blogging
We like to refer to blog content as the match that starts the fire. When you write a compelling blog, it has the potential to rank well organically in the search engines. 80% of daily blog visits are new so this is a great driver of new website traffic! Additionally, a blog can serve as content for a Facebook and Twitter post as well as a teaser for an email marketing campaign. By creating better blog content in 2015, your web traffic will increase and your content will become more compelling
9. Google+ game plan
Google+ might not gain you that much interaction on your social media posts. This social media platform plays a crucial role in search engine optimization on the localized level, which makes this a must for marketers in 2015.
The more reviews you get, the more content you post onto your page and the more followers your obtain, the higher the likelihood that you will start ranking well for localized search terms.
10. YouTube videos
Did you know that Google owns YouTube? By implementing videos into your online marketing mix, you can start to get search engine exposure for the videos that you upload onto YouTube! There are a lot of great tricks to obtain more video SEO Exposure. Choosing a proper title tag, uploading a transcript and embedding the YouTube video are just some of the tricks for optimal SEO exposure. Online video should definitely be included in your 2015 digital marketing strategy as this form of rich media can be a game changer in terms of publicity for your company. People will interpret your YouTube videos that you are taking your marketing initiatives very seriously!
11. Compelling graphics
The more compelling your graphics are on various social media channels, the more interaction you will receive. If you have a graphic designer, start sending him or her over your social media calendar so they can help create beautiful imagery. In 2015 you will want to increase engagement and great pictures certainly help. If you don’t have a graphic designer, don’t worry; there are affordable sites that offer stock photography like BigStock.
12. Search engine optimization
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) leads have an average close rate of 14.6%, while outbound leads (such as cold calls or print advertising) have an average close rate of 1.7%. Having your website optimized for SEO is a necessity heading into 2015. By having an SEO strategy in place, you can increase your leads and grow your business for next year.
13. Content contribution
If you want your content to be seen by more eyeballs and gain more exposure, start contributing content to other blogs in similar fields. If you own an apartment community in Nashville, start writing for a local Nashville website that talks about the best activities around town. You will be seen as an expert in your city and this can help drive more traffic to your website. While people might not be looking for an apartment immediately, they will remember that you have invested time and effort into content within the community!
14. Digital PR
You can build off of the content contribution by implementing a Digital PR strategy. If you reach out to various media related websites and send them over a solid pitch, they might just write an article on your company or feature your CEO in a blog post. The more people talking about your company, Tweeting about your business and mentioning your brand, the better exposure you will receive for the upcoming year.
15. Unique promotion:
Brainstorm a unique promotion that people will actually enjoy that can drive massive publicity for your company in 2015! Whether it is coming up with a user generated jingle contest or a photo upload promotion, entice your great fans on social media to interact with your brand in a clever way. If the promotion is a success, it will be one of the most talked about campaigns for your company in 2015.
We don’t expect digital marketers to hit on each and every one of the 15 guidelines referenced above. Within the list, some of the suggestions are relatively new while others have been around for the past decade. If you incorporate some of the 15 Steps from our Guideline, you might just have the perfect year in 2015 from an online marketing perspective!
A few days ago I started reading Dr. Robert Anthony’s “Magic Power of Super Persuasion” and surprisingly, I found out something really useful that can be applied online.
Let me explain.
People who listen to others and show an interest in their stories tend to attract more friends. These kind of people are also perceived as trustworthy. On the other hand, people who talk only about themselves, are perceived as weak, shifty or untrusty.
The same thing happens with websites.
Remember that the “www” is only a protocol, a communication bridge between the information provider and the consumers. If the website’s owner is shouting out loud how great his products or services are, he is often confronted with rejection. On websites and blogs this is called “bounce rate“. They come to your site read one page and bounce out without reading anything else or clicking on other pages.
This is one of the key performance indicators of a website or blog and it is a major issue. This is a big problem on many websites but their owners don’t know it.
Why measure the performance of your site?
Let me take a guess. It’s because you want more from your online business.
Your most precious tool is the website that helps you to achieve the business objectives. In order to get to the desired goals, you need to define metrics and set up a target value to see how are you doing against your objectives. I know that this may sound like a first year college marketing class, but it is essential to understand the importance of measuring the right metrics.
Why measure bounce rate?
A 70% Bounce Rate is telling you that more than half of the website’s visitors are going away without visiting more than one page. Ouch! This is terribly bad, especially if you don’t manage to do micro-conversions such as Facebook Likes, Newsletter subscriptions, etc. The fact is that you probably constantly lose prospects for your business without having a hook or idea about how to make them return to your website ever again.
This will cost you.
How to find your bounce rate?
Log in your web analytics software – I’ll use Google Analytics as an example. You can access the following reports by going to Behavior>>Site content>>All Pages.
Moving forward, you need to find out why are these things happening on your website. You have two simple and cheap ways to get this kind of information:
1. Web analytics
Figure out bounce rates for each important page of the website.
If it’s an ecommerce, include in the analysis the homepage, category page, product page. Don’t try to look at the cart page, because it has to deal with another metric – the cart abandonment rate.
On the other had, if you run a blog check the homepage and the pages with the highest traffic volume.
Pro tip: Only analyze the most popular pages. These pages need to be optimized either to increase the time on site or to optimize conversion rates. This is a matter of prioritization based on potential, importance and ease.
2. Customer’s feedback
Use surveys to find out directly from visitors what’s making them to run away from your website. A few examples of questions to discover abandoning reasons and get insights:
Question 1: What determined you not to subscribe to one of our plans?
It’s to expensive
I don’t need it now
I’m comparing prices
I don’t know
Question 2: Can you tell us what would you like to see on this page?
Open answer: [...]”
The most common causes for high bounce rates
There are a few key causes for high bounce rates.
1. Poor website design
You have only a few seconds to convince people that your site is credible. If its design isn’t appealing, you need to consider some fixes. I don’t recommend you to do a entire website redesign, because it may lead to a drop in conversion rates. The main reason for this drop is the sudden change that would confuse people who visit the website regularly and who is are already consuming your content or products. My advice is to use conversion optimization tactics to improve the design step by step without wondering how a change would affect the website’s key performance indicators.
2. There is no “Call to Action”
People arrive on the website and they don’t know what to do. If they’re not encouraged to do anything, they’ll consume the information they need and then go away.
Create a conversion funnel and make sure to track each goal. For example, in the first phase, your goal would be to transform visitors into subscribers. Here, you can apply some email collecting tactics that I’ve talked about in a previous post about growing an email list. But collecting emails is not enough. You need to move subscribers to the next funnel stage and transform them into leads. In case you have a complex product, you may want people to sign up for a free trial and try your product.
3. The website’s traffic is irrelevant
This may take you back to defining your business objectives. What’s the website’s role in the business? How does it support your business and how do you make money with it? If these questions don’t have clear answers, you wouldn’t know where to work on improvement. Another reason would be that your Adwords Campaigns are poorly managed.
4. The website is difficult to use
Have you tested the website at its launch? Are you sure that people don’t get stuck when they navigate on its pages? Consider a usability testing or a flow analysis in Analytics to spot the blockages on your website.
6 Simple Fixes to Reduce Bounce Rate
1. Focus on conversion rate optimization
Create a plan for conversion rate optimization and then start to improve the website step by step. I encourgae you to bookmark this link; it’a a complete guide to creating an effective A/B testing plan and it includes tips on how to integrate A/B testing in the conversion rate optimization strategy.
2. Optimize load time
Third party plugins have a negative effect on load time. Check out this infographic to learn more about what’s causing pages to load in time and how to fix speed page issues
3. Check for technical errors
Analyze bounce rates by device, resolution and other similar segmentation criteria. Go deeper with the analysis to figure out the anomalies and fix them.
4. Make links intuitive
Figure out how easy is to follow the links to the conversion page/thank you page and ensure that visitors can intuitively click through without thinking too hard.
5. Consider optimizing the Adwords campaigns
Remain committed to what you promised to the visitors in the ads. Also, keep the same tone of voice, fonts and colors on the landing page. Don’t drive visitors that clicked on one of your ads on irrelevant pages because it increases the chances to bounce.
6. Eliminate confusion
Have clear call to actions on each important page of your site.
Notice that these guidelines can help you in your attempt to reduce bounce rate, but remember that your website is unique and there is no “one size fits all” solution. You just have to start analyzing your website and see why are things happening like this and not in the way you want them to happen.
Author: Elena Dobre is learning about digital marketing, business and life at Marketizator.com, the complete conversion rate optimization tool. She plays the role of the content strategist, but she’s also experiencing with CRO and lead generation. She enjoys discovering new online tools, hacks, brilliant minds and beautiful souls. Follow her on Twitter @HDobre.