Saturday, August 15, 2015

How Often You Should Post to Your Blog

People will give you all sorts of numbers for how many posts you should make to your blog on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. I am going to tell you from my personal experience just how few or how many posts you should make to your blog if you want it to be passible or extraordinary.

Least Amount of Blog Posts


The absolute least amount of blog posts you should make is 4 posts a month. If you don't have the time to give your blog full time devotion, then plan to write 4 blog posts a month and schedule them to go live one day a week.

This method does not work well if your blog is brand new and you have less than 150 posts made to it. If, however, your blog is drawing in good hits and is filled to the brim with content, you can get away with this schedule without causing too much harm to your blog.

Adding fresh content on a weekly basis lets the search engines know that your blog is not abandoned. It gives the same impression to visitors to your blog. No one wants to really bother with a blog that hasn't been updated in years. Although my old, abandoned blogs on Blogger do still bring in some income, they are not high performing blogs because I do not bother updating them anymore.

Great Amount of Blog Posts


When your blog is new or if you are blogging to earn money, you should post to your blog 3 to 7 times a week. Daily blogs are great because you are showing search engines and readers that you are here, working away. Your blog is not dead or abandoned. Fresh content is always being added. Personally, I do my best to post a blog a day. If I have a day or two when I don't have time to write a blog post, I will, as soon as I am able, go back and post a blog article for the missing days. I like my blogs fleshed out. And, once you develop the habit of blogging every day, it almost becomes an obsession. You have to do it.

Awesome Amount of Blog Posts


If you want blogging to be your main source of income, then you need to treat it like a full time job. Dedicate the hours to it and create two or more blog posts a day for each of your blogs. This is the fastest and best way to build up blog readers. It also gives you fresh content to Tweet and Like each day. Constant fresh content keeps readers coming back each day. The search engines start to love you as you build up your authority on your subject or niche.

Friday, August 14, 2015

How to Get Traffic to a New Blog

The big question most new bloggers have is "How do I get traffic to my blog?" The search engines take their time at acknowledging your blog's existence, so where does the traffic come from? Social media.

Twitter


Twitter has been a blog saver for me. While Google and the other search engines were farting around, I was busy adding my links to my Twitter account.

It is not difficult to get followers on Twitter. The great big secret to getting followers is to follow other people. When I was first looking for followers on Twitter to share my links on writing and publishing, I went to a writing magazine's profile that had thousands of followers and began following those people. They were already interested in writing and publishing, and many of them followed me back. Do about 100 follows a day to increase your following. Those who don't follow you back, delete.

Facebook


They say that you're either a Twitter or a Facebook addict. Rarely can you be both. I'm a Facebook flunky, but there are many, many people who exceed at Facebooking. To bring in readers to your blog, create a Facebook Page and send a Like request to all your friends. Then, buy a Facebook Ad to really boost your numbers.

Google+


Google+ all your articles. I am not very active on Google+, but I do get a lot of hits from it. Getting followers is as easy as it is with Twitter.

Pinterest


I love Pinterest. It is an interesting concept and it gives me yet another excuse to use my own photos on my blogs.

Go Paper


I actually created and printed off a simple ad for my Kindle publishing site. It's posted on the bulletin of a local library I frequent. Book readers also tend to dream of writing books, so I took advantage of the free advertising. I will probably print off business cards next with my url, site name, and slogan and ask the librarian if I can set them on the counter for people to take. In fact, I think I will just order the business cards after I finish this post and save myself the trouble. I'll make a day of visiting local libraries and the two used book stores I visit frequently.

Other Ideas


There are a slew of other ways to drive traffic to your blog. For example, sign up with AllTop.com and add your blog information. There's also Delicious, Reddit, LinkedIn, Digg, and a slew of other places to add links to your latest articles. There is also guest blogging and writing for related ezines for a byline with a link back to your blog.

In other words, there are many, many ways to get that initial traffic. And, eventually, the search engines will hopefully begin to acknowledge your blog's existence.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

How to Improve Your Blog Writing Skills

A poorly written blog is a failed blog. If you can't write or struggle to articulate yourself, then you need to take action and begin the steps needed to improve your writing.

I have been earning a living from my writing since 1998. You would think that by now I would know everything there is to writing, but the simple truth is that a writer never stops learning. Here are the things that I do to increase my writing skills on an almost daily basis.

Read Books on Writing


It sounds too easy, but it is true: reading books about writing will help increase your writing skills. I have a library of books on writing. I also look for free Kindle books on writing on a daily basis. I can plow through a Kindle book about writing within an hour, typically. I also make weekly stops at the used book stores and buy up any writing and style guides I don't already own.

Take Online Courses


A quick search through Udemy.com will bring up a number of paid and free grammar and writing classes. I have taken a bunch of classes through Udemy, including 2 classes on writing. I highly recommend that you check them out and try out a free course or two before you commit to paying for a course.

Keep on Writing


Write as much as possible. Practice really does make one close to perfect. Try and find someone who will edit your work. You will more than likely have to pay for this, but just having someone correct your writing and studying where you made your errors will help you target your weak areas. You can use Fiverr.com for editing and proofreading services.

Read Your Writing Out Loud


A trick that many writers use is to read their material out loud. This not only helps you pick out errors, it will also help you find trouble spots that need correction.

Another trick that I use is to have my computer read my writing back to me. On my Mac, I write my blog posts in TextEdit. When I'm finished, I select Edit at the top of the screen and scroll down to Speech -- Start Speaking. I can pick out lots of errors just by listening to my blog being read back to me.

Don't Give Up


The worst thing you can do to yourself is give up. I am telling you right now that it possible to improve your writing skills. All you need to do is continue to learn, continue to write, and stay determined. Admitting that you need help with your writing is a great first step. Now, get to work and begin improving your skills and yourself.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

How to Write List Posts for Blogs

There are many different types of posts you can write for your blog, and the best blogs use them all. Creating different types of posts is fun for your readers and just as fun for you. It would get boring if you just used the same type of post on your blog each and every day. By learning about and trying out all the different types of blog posts you can write, you'll get to add great content to your blog and avoid a case of blogger's block.

Lists posts are just about the easiest type of post you can write and they can be about almost anything. Here are some examples:

Top 10 Places to Visit in Pennsylvania
5 Easiest Ways to Change a Lightbulb
200 Tips to Clean Your House
50 Easy Homemade Bread Recipes

How to Come Up With a List Idea


Begin with your niche. As an example, let us say that you have a blog about cat care. Cat care is your niche.

Next, look through the titles of the articles you have already written. Let's say you wrote an article about caring for a cat after surgery. You can expand upon that article idea and create a list of "10 Things You Should Do After Your Cat is Neutered." This, of course, can lead to even more list ideas: 20 Tips to Keep You Cat from Spraying, 5 Ways to Stop Your Cat from Scratching the Furniture, and more.

When you start to get ideas for lists, write them down as fast as you think them up. You will forget them if you don't, and you want to always keep a list of blog ideas handy for when you don't know what to write about.

Building Your Blog List


After you have come up with a list of ideas, choose one idea from that list. Begin brainstorming and researching. Create the list and number each item as you go. For example, I am working on a list of the types of blogs you can write. My list looks like this:

1. The Long Post
2. The List Post
3. The Review Post
4. The Definition Post

Try and get at least 5 items on your list. When you are finished with your list, move on to the next step.

Adding Text and Links to Your List Post


If I would publish the above list on the types of blog posts, it would look boring. It provides the reader with no real information. So, the next step is to give the reader a brief description of each item and then provide a link for more in-depth information. Example:

1. The Long Post - Search engines are beginning to favor longer blog posts and writers are now aiming to create content that is 1,000 words or longer. Learn how to write longer blog posts with these instructions and basic outline template.

You can make the descriptive text as short as a sentence or as long as two paragraphs. Do this with each item on your list and link each item to content that is already on your blog or on another blog.

A Side Benefit to Creating Lists


One of the best things I have learned while working at About.com is that creating list content helps you identify weak spots in your content. Write now I am working on a blog post on the 12 types of blog posts. I made my list of the 12 most common blog posts and realized that I still have to write individual posts on each of these types of post. As I write each new post, I go back to my original list and add a blurb about the type of post I just wrote about and add the link. My list post, as soon as it goes live, will be a hub where a reader can go and find a basic list post and dig deeper into this blog to find more valuable information about each type of blog post.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Increase Blog Traffic by Increasing Content

There are a number of ways to increase your blog traffic, and one of those ways is by increasing the amount of content you have on your blog.

For example, back in 2008 I was contracted by The New York Times to be an About.com guide for bread baking. It was a brand new section with no previous content. I don't remember how much content I had created when my section went live, but I am certain it was under 30 articles. My page views were extremely low for the first year. I think I was only getting 6,000 to 9,000 page views a month. On the one hand, I expected my page views to be higher because I was a part of the About.com website. On the other hand, though, not many people bake there own breads. By 2011, I was getting over 200,000 page views a month with around 300 recipes and articles in my section. Then it was over 500,000 a month. I could not have gotten that many page views if I wasn't constantly adding new recipes to my section.

Write Posts that Help Readers


My most popular article on bread baking was about how to bake a first loaf of bread. It was a super simple recipe, one that could be easily altered by even a beginner, and it got a ton of reviews. Why? Because it helped people who have never successfully baked a loaf of bread, finally achieve a perfect loaf.

Writing blog posts that help readers is the number one way to gain more traffic. Provide your readers with the information they need so that they can do it themselves.

Write Posts that Answer Questions


On my other blog, KindleMeThis.com (a niche blog for Kindle book writers), my most popular blog is on how to gain Twitter followers. It is a long post that shows book writers how to gain followers easily and without buying ads. The post effectively answers the writer's questions.

PDF Content


Back in 1997 or 1998 (I'll have to go back through the records to find the right year) I ran a homeschooling website. I created PDF worksheets and coloring books that can still be found online today. Those PDFs were downloaded hundreds of thousands of times during the life of the website.

A quick look at Google's Keyword Planner shows me there are about 10,000  searches a month for "PDF download". "Free PDF" gets over 5,000 searches a month. So far, I have only created one PDF worksheet for my Kindle blog (Easiest Way to Write Nonfiction Books with Outline Template), but I am certainly going to add a few more for my readers.

Offer Free Stuff


I have read conflicting opinions on offering free things on your blog posts. From my own experience, I began creating 1 or more posts a week linking to all the free Kindle books related to writing on my Kindle blog. By doing this, I saw an immediate jump in my page views and in my Amazon sales (thank-you).

Some bloggers recommend offering a free ebook in exchange for the reader's email address (list building). They say that this works great and brings in potential readers.

To Put It Simply


Overall, a tried and true method for getting more page views is to create more content. The more content (good content) you have, the more links you will gain from search engines. This increases your opportunity at getting found on the internet.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Testing Nonfiction Book Ideas on HubPages

When you have a list of nonfiction book ideas and you don't know which ideas will be the most successful, test them out on HubPages.

I have been posting articles to HubPages since 2011. Since I might only post 1 article every month or so, I really haven't been paying attention to my stats like I should. The other day, however, I decided to take one of my book ideas and turn it into an article just to see how well it would go. Then it hit me, I should be doing this with all my book ideas.

Publishing Articles Brings in a Small Income


Just by publishing articles on HubPages, you are creating another source of passive income. When you hit or exceed the $50 mark by the end of a month, you can expect a deposit the following month. It's a nice addition to whatever else you are earning, but you probably won't be able to retire on your HubPage earnings.

Testing Out Subject Ideas


Without consciously realizing it, I have already written two Kindle books based off of two articles I had written for HubPages. And now, when I look through the stats on my articles, I can see two other promising book ideas.

For example, my pattern instructions for knitting hats does very well. I love to knit and I can easily come up with more hat knitting patterns. Also, my brief article on pinafores has always had a good amount of traffic. I could spend a week designing pinafore patterns and write a book on it.

I can also see which subjects have flopped. This may be because, at least for one article, the market is already glutted with information on the subject. Another article is on an obscure subject.

Make a List and Test It Out


You should always keep a list of book ideas on hand. As you get each idea, test it out. If you don't already have a HubPage account (or another article site), get one set up. Create a brief article about each of your nonfiction book ideas, and see what the readers have to say. Keep track of your stats (something I will be doing from now on), and see which topics get the most hits.

This is just another way to test out ideas. While doing a keyword search on Google's Adsense will give you a few ideas, writing 1,000 word articles and publishing them will let you test out the market.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

How to Write the Best Type of Blog Post

The best type of blog post you can write is the "how to" blog post. "How to" is one of the most common phrases used in search engines. Examples include:


  • How to Make Tuna Casserole
  • How to Bake Bread
  • How to Build a Swing Set
  • How to Swim in the Ocean
  • How to Take a Test


You get the idea.

Deciding What to Write About


Before you get writing, you need to know the general subject you are writing about. For example, if you run a blog about buying used cars, your ultimate how to post will be How to Buy a Used Car, but there are hundreds of smaller how to articles you can write up. For example:

How to Identify Rust on a Used Car
How to Get the Best Price on a Used Car
How to Avoid Buying a Lemon

Every little bit of information that goes into buying a used car can be turned into a how to article.

Break It Up


People have short attention spans and if they are faced with a large block of reading, they will probably skip reading it. The best way to format your how to articles it to break it into bite size paragraphs. Give each paragraph a heading so that the reader knows what the paragraph is about.

Add Photos


Adding photos to your how to blog post will also help break up the text and it will increase the reader's enjoyment of the post. Use your own photographs, if at all possible, to avoid violating anyone's copyright.

Title Accurately


While you will probably write your blog title before you write your how to post, it is important that, after your how to article is written, the title reflects perfectly on the content of your blog. The title is how people will find your blog post. If the title doesn't reflect the content of the post, you will lose readers' trust.

Post and Share


After you have proofed and perfected your how to article, it is time to post it. Add a photo or more to the article. If you are able, create a how to video, post it on YouTube, and link to it in your article. After the post goes live on your blog, share the link through your social media accounts, such as Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.