Back to Top

11 Deadly SEO mistakes to avoid in 2020

SEO is extremely important for growing your brand in 2020. This is especially after social media’s importance in driving traffic reduced and Google became the major source of referral traffic in 2017 by driving 35% of site visits

By using SEO, you can improve your website’s ranking in Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and reach the top rankings. You must do this because the first search result gets more clicks than other results.

While doing SEO of your website, there are a few things to be kept in mind and these are the SEO mistakes. If you commit any of these errors, you might end up harming your reputation. Here are some of the most deadly SEO mistakes that you must avoid in 2020. 

1. Unsatisfied search intent

While you may write helpful content, if it isn’t well-targeted, the people finding your website may not find it useful after all. You may have figured out your target audience as well but if you don’t take search intent into account, all your efforts may go into vain. 

Search intent is essentially the intent behind the search. Your website and content need to satisfy this intent by providing a solution. This is why it’s crucial to understand what the searcher is thinking when they search for something. Your website needs to provide the answer to this thought. 

For example, if a user searches “SEO” on Google, it means that the user wants to know what is SEO? But, if a user searches “SEO services” then that person is looking to hire an SEO expert or company. Both keywords (SEO & SEO Services) have a different intent. So, if you’re targeting the keyword “SEO Services” but asking “what is SEO?” you can’t succeed with that content because you are unable to satisfy the intent behind that search phrase. 

2. Traditional SEO techniques

Just the way the internet is changing, SEO is developing and changing too. To stay at the very top of the search results, you need to keep up with these changes and apply modern SEO techniques. 

If you keep applying the traditional SEO techniques, then you may end up getting penalized. Those days are gone when you can rank by using keyword stuffing, PBNs, and other traditional methods. 

Today, Google is smarter than before. Now, it can rank for those keywords that you have not mentioned in your content too. Recently, Google made an algorithmic update called Google BERT that helps Google to better understand the content and user-queries.

If you want to succeed with SEO, then you should adopt modern SEO techniques. Traditional SEO techniques can penalize your site but can’t outrank your competitors.

3. Not updating yourself

As mentioned above, SEO is a dynamically changing field and you need to keep yourself up-to-date with all the latest happenings. This is necessary because Google keeps bringing out new updates every now and then. If you miss out on a major update, your website might get affected and you may lose out on valuable traffic.  

You should keep yourself updated with the latest SEO changes and updates. Google released various updates this year including broad core updates like 3rd June Core Update, Google BERT, and many others. You must keep yourself updated about them. 

4. Ignoring structured data and search features

Structured data is essential to stand apart from the crowd, especially when you reach the first page of the search results. Through structured data, your search result may end up featuring even above the first search result. Additionally, the result would look bigger than all the other listings and may become the go-to choice for your searchers.

 

Similarly, you must concentrate on improving your website’s internal search functions as well. People who come to your website must find it easy to look for relevant information and the search feature can help with this. Try to incorporate search into your website and also try to optimize your listings such that your searchers find exactly what they were looking for. 

There are different types of structured data for different types of content that you can use on your site. Like as,

  • Product Review (for product review)
  • How to (for “how-to” content)
  • FAQ (for FAQ content)
  • Address (for company address)
  • Books (for books)
  • Events (for events)

5. Ignoring conversion optimization

The end goal of all businesses is to get customers and for that, you need to first generate leads and then convert them. However, many businesses end up ignoring conversion optimization and only concentrate on the top of the funnel. 

Instead, it’s necessary to provide everything that your leads need to become paying customers. Load them up with reviews, case studies, and show them why they must purchase from you. Make it easy for them to make the purchase as well. By ignoring conversion optimization, you may end up losing loads of customers and hence, revenue. 

It is the most important and no-cost strategy to increase your revenue that you shouldn’t ignore in 2020.

6. Not focusing on branded anchor text

Anchor texts are important for your SEO and make up a huge part of your link building strategy. While you may get loads of backlinks from reputed sources, the anchor texts of these links are extremely important.

You might use anchor texts that relate to your pages or blogs. However, by ignoring the branded anchor texts, you might not be able to improve your brand’s authority. Branded anchor texts can help in improving your brand recognition and through that, your brand may start ranking higher on search results too. 

Also, branded anchors look more natural than keyword-optimized anchor texts. I found that most of the sites that saw a boost in their rankings during the Google 3 June update had more branded anchor texts than others. That’s why you should focus on branded anchor texts. 

7. Only text is the content to focus

Probably you have heard that videos are the future.

It is true! Because videos are the easiest way to learn and people prefer to watch videos over any other content format. This is the biggest reason for the popularity of YouTube. 

But you must have noticed that videos appear on Google’s SERPs too. Google knows that videos are the future and people like to watch videos. That’s why Google shows them on the SERPs.

Videos also take less time to rank on Google than text content and are more engaging content format. 

Google has also started adding podcasts on Google SERPs. These two content formats are still growing and less competitive than text content. That’s why you should also focus on these rather than only writing blog posts.

8. Not focusing on branding and brand searches

“Brands are the solutions” and Google loves brands.

SEO is becoming more brand-centric day by day. Now, SEO is not just about getting traffic. You need to do it to build a brand too. If you want to win the SEO game and make your business a trustable and profitable brand then you need to focus on branding. 

You should increase brand searches for your business. When more people start searching for your business on Google, then it will automatically start to rank you on top. This is an evergreen strategy to grow your business and establish yourself as an authority.

9. Not ready for mobile

Nearly 50% of all traffic comes from mobiles. If your website isn’t ready for mobiles, Google will automatically consider it unfriendly for its searchers. Ensure that your website is responsive and build it for mobiles in the first place. By tapping into the mobile traffic, you’ll also be able to increase your website’s visibility. 

Mobile-friendliness and page speed are considered as ranking factors of Google search. So if you want to grow your business and get SEO success then you shouldn’t ignore the mobile.

10. Unclear SEO goals

It’s essential to have clear SEO goals before you set out doing SEO for your website. If you don’t know what you wish to achieve from doing your website’s SEO, you’ll probably never be able to grow it. The key is to identify what you want from your website and SEO and then plan out your SEO strategy. A haphazard strategy will get you nowhere. 

11. Prefer people over search engines

Last but not least, write your content and plan your SEO strategy for the real user not for the search engines. Because ultimately, you need real customers to generate sales and revenue to run your business. Search engines are nothing. Your business depends on customers and not on the search engines. 

Search engines like Google are just a medium to get new customers. No one knows when Google will penalize a site and drop its rankings. But if you prefer your customers more, then there are enough chances that your customers will promote you as well as Google will also love you and rank you higher. That’s why you need to keep your customers satisfied with your services and products. 

Conclusion

Now that you know all the deadly SEO mistakes, try to put conscious effort into avoiding them in 2020. If you don’t design your website for mobiles, have clear goals, focus on different forms of content, you may end up suffering. Try using modern SEO techniques and keep yourself updated with the latest ones to stay ahead of the competition

What are the other deadly SEO mistakes that you must avoid in 2020? Let us know in the comments.

Harpreet Munjal is an entrepreneur who is helping businesses to outrank their toughest competitors and grow their revenue online. He can be reached out on Twitter @munjalharpreet.

The post 11 Deadly SEO mistakes to avoid in 2020 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Reblogged 3 minutes ago from www.searchenginewatch.com

Robots.txt: The Deceptively Important Part of Your SEO Strategy

When I first heard the term robots.txt, I’ll admit, I didn’t know what it meant. Instinctively, I imagined R2D2 from “Star Wars” and thought, “What do robots have to do with SEO?”

If you’re anything like me, technical SEO isn’t always easy to understand.

However, in a study with seoClarity and BuzzStream, out of 240 SEO specialists, 59% of all respondents reported that the most effective SEO strategy used was technical onsite optimization.

So, whether we understand it or not, technical SEO will continue to play a large role in our marketing strategies.

Below, we’ll review what a robots.txt file is and how to use it in your strategy. Plus, we’ll cover how to create, add, and edit a robots.txt file on your site.

What is a robots.txt file?

A robots.txt file tells search engines how to crawl and index the pages on your site. It’s important because it helps as search engines crawl your site and index content to serve users looking for that information. You can allow or disallow search engines from indexing a page. Search engines will look for a robots.txt file before crawling your site to see if there are any instructions.

Like any technical aspect of SEO, a robots.txt file has its own language. Here are some of the main terms you’ll see and what they mean:

  • User-agent: The search engine.
  • Disallow: Tells a search engine not to crawl a certain URL.
  • Allow: Tells a search engine it can access a web page.

You might be wondering, why would I want certain pages on my site hidden or to tell a search engine not to crawl my site?

Ultimately, it’s because you want to direct the search engines to crawl the most important pages on your site and not get bogged down with unimportant, private, or similar pages.

Let’s review the best ways to use a robots.txt file:

1. Keep pages on your site private.

Does your site have any internal pages? For instance, perhaps users log on to your site and see gated information. Or, maybe, you have employees log in to your site to see HR information. Either way, you’ll want those pages on your site to be private, meaning you don’t want them to show up in search engines. That’s why you can disallow search engines from crawling those pages in a robots.txt file.

Additionally, if you’re creating a test site for a client, you don’t necessarily want that site to be crawled or indexed by search engines. In fact, you really only want the client to see that site. To do this, you’ll want to disallow search engines from indexing these pages.

2. Prevent search engines from indexing files.

Sometimes you might add PDFs or other files to your site for users to download. This could even be duplicate content on your site that you’re repurposing for marketing purposes. However, you most likely don’t want these files to be indexed by search engines. You can disallow these pages from being crawled by adding them to your robots.txt file.

3. Allow search engines to crawl any page on your site.

Although having a robots.txt file isn’t necessary, if you want search engines to crawl every page, providing instructions can speed up the process. You can easily create a robots.txt file that instructs search engines to crawl every page on your site.

4. Disallow search engines to crawl certain pages or your whole site.

Sometimes, you might not want a search engine to crawl any page on your site. For example, during HubSpot employee training, new hires are expected to create a website using the HubSpot product. However, these sites are just for the project and employees typically don’t want these to be indexed by search engines. That’s why they create a robots.txt file that says to disallow crawling any page on the site.

Additionally, you can block specific search engines from specific pages on your site. For instance, you can label the user-agent as “Google,” and disallow private content.

Although you’ll want to disallow search engines from crawling and indexing certain pages, a robots.txt file can instruct search engines, but not enforce it. That means that even though your robots.txt file might instruct a search engine not to crawl a page, it can’t actually prevent it from being indexed. To do that, you’ll want to use noindex and nofollow directives.

So, you might be wondering why you need to use a robots.txt file, if it can’t prevent a page from being indexed. The answer is that the robots.txt file is there to help search engines crawl your site faster and prioritize the pages it crawls. It won’t technically block any page from the search engines.

How to Create & Add a Robots.txt File to Your Website

Creating a robots.txt file is actually a simple process.

All you need to do is open a plain text editor, like TextEdit or Notepad. Then, you can copy the language and syntax from Google.

For example, your robots.txt file will look something like this:

User-agent: *

Allow: /

You can define the user-agent — an asterisk means all search engines. Then, you can write “allow” or “disallow” and specify the pages.

Before you add this file to your site, you can test it using Google’s testing tool.

Once you’ve written your file, you’ll want to upload it to your site’s top-level directory. This means you’ll go into the Cpanel and click “Add File.”

Keep in mind that robots.txt files may not be supported by all search engines.

Robots.txt files are publicly available, meaning you can add /robots.txt to any site and see their site’s file, if they have one. Additionally, most robots.txt files contain the location of any sitemaps associated with the domain.

Again, editing your robots.txt file isn’t difficult. Just follow these steps:

1. Find your robots.txt file in your CMS.

This process looks slightly different depending on your content management system (CMS). For example, finding it in WordPress and HubSpot are two different processes. Typically, if you go to the editor for your website and click “Settings,” you should find an SEO tab. Here’s where your robots.txt file should live.

If you aren’t using a CMS that makes this process easy, you can also login to your hosting account website, go to “File Management” and look for your robots.txt file. Then, you should be able to open it for editing.

2. Delete the text.

Once you’ve got the file open, delete all the text that’s in there. Yes, that’s all you need to do in this step.

3. Add in text from your plain text editor.

Lastly, copy and paste the text that you wrote in your plain text editor. Then, click “Save.” You’re all done.

Technical SEO and robots.txt files sound more complicated than they actually are. By helping search engines crawl your website quickly, your rankings could vastly improve.

Reblogged 4 hours ago from blog.hubspot.com

WSJ report about Google search manipulation gets a lot wrong

The media narrative has turned against big tech, and this is an example.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 22 hours ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

Be the first to see the new SMX West agenda

3 lanes, no limits. Check out the sessions coming to SMX West 2020!

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 1 day ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

How to Get a Google Ads Certification

In 2019, Google Ads is one of the most effective advertising tools to get more traffic to your website, and generate more leads. In fact, most businesses see an average of 200% ROI on their Google Ad spend.

To create better, more powerful ads on Google, it can be helpful to receive a Google Ads certificate. Additionally, it’s a great resume booster.

If you’re looking to get a Google Ads certificate, you’ve come to the right place. Here, we’ve created a guide that will explain why a Google Ads certification is helpful, and how you can prepare and get certified.

Why get a Google Ads certification?

Years ago when I was applying for work, I interviewed a couple dozen people who worked in the digital marketing industry to learn about their jobs and the application process. Many emphasized the importance of getting a Google Ads certification.

The truth is that many employers search for people with this certification on LinkedIn to find employees for their marketing team. LinkedIn generally offers a talent pool of higher-quality than standard job boards like Indeed. Plus, the demand for marketers skilled in Google Ads is high, while the supply of qualifying candidates is relatively low.

Thanks to the internet, it’s easier than ever before to apply for a job with little effort, so employers are swimming in low-quality choices.

To find qualified employees, then, many hiring managers use LinkedIn’s search engine to find anyone with a Google Ads certification because it’s one of the few defining qualifications that can show proven knowledge and skill. The certification shows the hiring manager that you’re somewhat savvy about the industry.

The good news is that a lot of fresh talent don’t have a certification on their LinkedIn profile or resume since they don’t know the value of it. In other words, you can easily stand out if you get certified.

Even if you don’t want a role in PPC, the certification is still helpful for any marketer. PPC advertising, especially through Google Ads, makes up the bulk of online advertising. If you understand the principles of Google Ads, you can translate those principles to other marketing efforts.

Additionally, having an understanding of neighboring areas of marketing helps with your communication among team members, and empathy. Ultimately, having that certification under your tool belt will only make you look better to employers.

How Applicable is the Certification in the Marketing Industry?

To be fair and objective, let’s acknowledge the case against getting certified.

First, in terms of actual skill and practice, a certification isn’t entirely applicable in a real marketing role. It’s possible to score well or even perfectly on this exam without having actual experience with the platform, especially when there are exam answers online.

The exam can, at times, teach you the best answer in theory, which isn’t close to the best answer
in practice.

Having been in the Google Ads platform myself, I know that a few questions are unnecessarily complicated, not applicable, or biased toward a response focused on spending as much money as possible on Google’s platform. Google makes money when you spend money on ads, regardless of whether the ad leads to a sale, so their intentions make sense.

With all that said, most of the questions are still valuable because they help you learn how to navigate the platform and make accurate calculations. You can grow a lot through preparing for this exam even if you initially have little to no knowledge of Google Ads.

You should take the test without cheating, learn from your incorrect answers, and retake it to improve. Otherwise, you may have a tough time with the platform later on, which can seem detailed and intimidating to beginners.

Here’s another huge reason why you should get certified and make sure you learn a lot during the preparation process, rather than speed through it — any decent marketing agency or department that you’d like to work for is going to test you on your understanding of terminology and pay-per-click reasoning during the application process. They’re going to find out whether you really know what you’re talking about.

Therefore, the knowledge that the exams offer does have some real-world value. That doesn’t mean you have to be a total whiz. But you should understand most of the concepts tested.

Treat the Google Ads exam as an opportunity to learn rather than a task to check-off a list. Your mindset shift will make all the difference because you’ll be learning from every question asked, while others rush through the exam just to finish it.

Topics and Exam Duration of the Google Ads Certifications

There are Google Ads certifications for different topics, including video, mobile, display, and shopping advertising. The most important version is the search advertising exam since that’s the area marketers use most often on the platform. The second most applicable Google Ads test for marketers is likely Google Ads display certification.

Each exam has a different time limit, but it’s usually between 60 minutes and two hours. I’ve got a good sense for how long it actually takes since I’ve sat in a classroom with a dozen people taking the exam and have seen how quickly people finish. It usually takes 50–75% of the allotted time. A small percentage of people will use up to all the time if they’re new or focused on learning from each question.

Once you’ve passed the exam, you get a certification badge that you can show off on your LinkedIn profile. Adding this badge to your profile adds credibility and makes your profile more search-engine friendly. As mentioned, recruiters look for this certification and care about it, so you’ll be showing up more often when they search.

Google Ads Certification Training

The training resources that Google offers are a handy starting point. You can learn a lot about the testing format, style of questions, and concepts that’ll show up on the exam.

Additionally, one of the best ways to prepare for the exams is through YouTube tutorials, demonstrations, and tutorial articles. Most people are visual learners, and they will learn better when they see the platform itself with a video, rather than reading about it. That said, some blog posts have great screenshots throughout to help you better understand their tutorial.

It’s important to note — many of the resources online are overkill. It’s easy for beginners to feel overwhelmed by the details. However, try to focus on learning the fundamental principles — like what to tweak to make a big impact on performance.

If a tutorial article is 5,000 words long, then it’s covering every detail of the platform, which is too much for the certification exam.

Additionally, the exams themselves can be training tools. If you don’t pass the first time, you can learn from your incorrect answers and retake it. You can use your first attempt to get familiar with the format and duration. Reflect on why you got a question wrong so that you can remember the right answer for next time.

Some of the questions asked are recycled and randomized with different numbers. You can gain a lot of applicable math skills by learning the principles behind calculations. Unfortunately, many marketers skip learning from the exam itself and miss out on the bulk of where they can grow.

Take the exam with an attitude of learning, rather than completing.

Tips for When You’re Taking the Exam

Have printed notes on hand that you can consult quickly whenever you forget minor details here and there (don’t expect to rely on these for the entire exam, though). These notes are useful in case Google decides to implement restrictive browsing limits for exam takers in the future.

Make sure your computer is plugged in so it doesn’t run out of battery life while you’re taking the exam. This tip may seem obvious, but you don’t want to find yourself in that painful situation.

Take your time with each question. Most people end up with extra time. Remember — it’s a marathon, not a sprint. You’ll be answering multiple-choice questions for at least an hour.

Hydrate. Get enough sleep. Some people overlook simple things, like making sure you have enough water and food before the exam, which can affect brain performance. Foods high in omega-3 are great for brain power.

Ultimately, getting a Google Ads certification is a worthwhile investment for your career growth. Digital marketing employers look for any valid evidence that you’re above entry-level applicants.

While it’s possible to pass the exam without understanding many of the principles, you’ll be doing yourself a disservice in the long run. Treat the exam as a learning process and an opportunity to shore up your knowledge and application of PPC terms and methodology because it’ll help you during the job interview, and in your career.

You don’t have to know everything about Google Ads since real-world experience can help you learn. But the knowledge you gain in preparing for this exam will give you a head start.

Reblogged 1 day ago from blog.hubspot.com

Is Coding the Next Must-Have Skill of the Modern Marketer?

Marketing has evolved over time from,“You can have any color you want as long as it’s black” to just-in-time marketing messages that might lead to your brand posting on Reddit.

We’re embracing digital channels and understanding the need to create marketing people love more and more … but do we actually grasp what’s running behind the scenes of all these digital campaigns?Code is what lies behind so many of our great marketing campaigns. Our websites, our emails, our apps and tools that are made to give your customers a better experience — these all run because there are smart coders making them work.

So my question today is this: Since code is the basis for most of our marketing today, should marketers be learning to code?

I’d like to argue yes, we should. Here’s why.

1. Coding saves time and inspires.

Getting to grips with code and understanding the structures that bring your sites, apps, and tools to life will give you a better understanding of what is possible in the first place.

And, here, knowledge is really inspiration. Imagine seeing beyond just what others have done and having the ability to use code to create new and innovative tools that truly delight your customers.

It is key here not just to understand code, but to understand what tools your designer is using (and what other tools are out there). There is an array of helpful apps that let you quickly do anything — from building forms, to creating buttons, to building sites, and other functionality.

You need to know whether the tool offered to you is right, up to date, and will do what you want it to. This will fuel your inspiration, and save costs and time.

2. Coding informs marketers of the process.

My marketing mentor taught me that if you don’t know what’s involved in a process, you’re not getting the most out of your budget. I’m far from saying that all suppliers will try and add a few hours to projects, but wouldn’t it be great to have the confidence to know when something is quoted right?

We all need to know what is involved in building a website or a form, and what it takes to make a change to an app or your site navigation. Only then can we actually have an informed discussion about cost and timeframes with the people who will implement our ideas.

Some coding knowledge will enable you to brief a web designer or developer much clearer on your idea, and you’ll understand when a “no” is a negotiation tactic rather than an actual expression of the impossible.

Having this knowledge about coding also helps you choose the right company or designer to partner with in the first place, as it helps you determine whether they can do what you’re asking at the right price and within the right timeframe.

3. You can make quick fixes with coding knowledge.

I don’t know about you, but if a paragraph is just not doing in your CMS what you’re asking it to do, when an image is not resizing correctly, or the YouTube video you’re embedding is just huge for some reason, you want it fixed … now.

That’s the reason I learned about code. I didn’t want to be in a situation where I would have to call my web designer for every small change. So I went into the HTML view of my CMS, Googled code, and learned how to make small changes on my own.

It has saved hours of my time and budget, and my patience is still intact. At meetings with my designer, I would also ask him to explain small things about code and I started to lose my fear of brackets, slashes, and ampersands. I can’t recommend this highly enough.

4. You can make an impact with even basic skills.

There is no reason why you shouldn’t learn about code. But I don’t think a marketer should necessarily learn to code with the aim of becoming on-par with professional coders. In my humble opinion, you should leave specialized tasks to those who know how to do them right.

Web developers and designers have a very different skillset than marketers. As marketers, we decide on strategic direction and look for return on marketing campaigns. And while we might have a good eye for design and user experience, the actual implementation skills lie with others.

Often, we’re also too close to our brands — whereas a good designer will always bring in the expertise gained from different projects and current trends.

But don’t let this stop you from learning more about how code works.

Where Marketers Can Learn to Code

I started learning how to code by Googling pieces of HTML code. It’s a quick and easy way to find what a piece of code does and how to manipulate it. But this method won’t give you the real hows and whys behind it. Also, it gives you very little idea of how different pieces fit together — like HTML and CSS, for example.

For this level of information, you need to get down and dirty with code and start building from scratch. If you have a developer in your organization who can teach, why not offer a free lunch to him or her while you learn from them?

For something more methodical, I’d also recommend you check out one of the many online courses available. Here are some of the big ones:

1. Code Academy

As they say themselves, this is all about learning how to code interactively and for free. Reviews are great and I know quite a few HubSpotters who used this tool.

2. W3 Schools

W3 schools have a variety of classes for different tools and levels. There is also the option to get certified in your news skill (there is a charge here) so you can show off to your peers!

3. Code Schools

This is another tool that lets you learn from home — from the basics in HTML and CSS, to Javascript and other languages. Courses are paid but affordable, and you’ll get access to a variety of courses for your fee.

4. Make It With Code

They are very active in the debate on whether marketers should code and believe that yes, we all need a good understanding on what’s possible to create. This is a paid course and you’ll have access to support via IM.

Next, let’s look at some alternate routes you can take to coding, such as programs that don’t require manual coding at all.

Coding Alternatives

If you don’t have the time to take up coding immediately, that’s totally cool. That’s also why there are coding programs online to do the coding for you — let’s get into a few.

1. Embed.ly

Price: Free to embed single links, then $9-99/per month

Emded.ly is super quick and clean to use for getting embed codes for a domain. All you have to do is copy and paste a domain in the box and click “embed.” Then, you’ll see this screen, where you can customize a couple of details about the embed.

Some of the details you customize include adding social media buttons to the embed, including dark theme within and making it optimized. When you check or uncheck these boxes, the embed code will automatically update for you to copy below, I checked all three.

2. iFramely

Price: Free for single links, then $29-$399 for paid plans

If you’re a color code person, iFramely will be an absolute vision to you. Copy and pasting your domain into iFramely will generate a color-coded embed for you right underneath it.

Embed example from iFramelyThe title of your embed is above the code, with the account name and publish date beneath it. Checking the box underneath “Copy code” notates whether the video will autoplay or not, and you can also choose the start and endpoint of the video, if you only need a section.

3. Siteimprove

Price: Contact Siteimprove to request a quote

CMS Plugins streamline the performance of your website. Siteimprove is an example of a plugin that does just that. It integrates key analytics into the optimization of your domain, fixes errors in the code automatically, and allows you to add custom tags.

Embed example from SiteimproveImage Source

4. RedmineUP

Price: $29-$499/per month

With RedmineUP’s CMS plugin, you can build simple pages and leave with code that’s SEO friendly. These pages are fully customizable and come with templates.

Embed example from RedmineUPImage Source

On the website developer page, you can change information at the top to add and change the code in the bottom. With this process, you don’t have to add in any brackets, quotes, or operational systems, just the content you want to see added.

Code is part of our Marketing DNA, and even if we don’t need to be able to build sites from scratch, as marketers today, we need to understand how it works to make informed decisions.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published prior in April 2014 but was updated in November 2019 for comprehensiveness.

Reblogged 1 day ago from blog.hubspot.com

Finding Ideas for a Video Series or Podcast – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by PhilNottingham

Video and podcasts are only growing in popularity, proving to be an engaging way to reach your audience and find ways to talk about your industry or product. But it’s a crowded market out there, and finding a good idea is only half the battle. Join video marketing extraordinaire Phil Nottingham from Wistia as he explores how we can both uncover great ideas for a podcast or video series and follow through on them in this week’s episode of Whiteboard Friday.



Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans. My name is Phil Nottingham, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Today we’re going to talk about how to come up with a great idea for your video series or podcast. I think a lot of businesses out there understand that there’s just this great opportunity now to do a longer form series, a show in podcast or video form, but really struggle with that moment of finding what kind of idea could take them to the next level and help them stand out.

1. Audience

I think the most common error that businesses make is to start with the worst idea in the world, which is interviewing our customers about how they use our product. I’m sure many of you have accidentally fallen down this trap, where you’ve thought, “Ah, maybe that will be a good idea.” But the thing is even if you’re Ferrari or Christian Louboutin or the most desirable product in the world, it’s never going to be interesting for someone to sit there and just listen to your customers talking about your product.

The problem is that your customers are not a unique group of people, aside from the fact that they use your product. Usually there isn’t anything else that brings them together. For this kind of content, for a video series and podcast to really stand out and to grow in terms of their audience, we need to harness word of mouth. Word of mouth doesn’t grow through the way we often think about audience growth in marketing.

Many of us, particularly in the performance marketing space, are used to thinking about funnels. So we get more and more traffic into the funnel, get more people in there, and ultimately some of them convert. But the way word of mouth works is that a small group of people start communicating to another group of people who start communicating to another group of people. You have these ever-expanding circles of communication that ultimately allow you to grow your audience.

How to find a niche audience

But that means you need to start with a group of people who are talking to one another. Invariably, your customers are not talking to each other as a kind of rule of thumb. So what you need to do is find a group of people, an audience who are talking to each other, and that really means a subculture, a community, or maybe an interest group. So find your group of customers and work out what is a subset of customers, what kind of community, wider culture they’re part of, a group of people who you could actually speak to.

The way you might find this is using things like Reddit. If there’s a subculture, there’s going to be a subreddit. A tool like SparkToro will allow you to discover other topics that your customer base might be interested in. Slack communities can be a great source of this. Blogs, there’s often any sort of topic or a niche audience have a blog. Hashtags as well on social media and perhaps meetup groups as well.

So spend some time finding who this audience is for your show, a real group of people who are communicating with one another and who ultimately are someone who you could speak to in a meaningful way. 

2. Insight

Once you’ve got your audience, you then need to think about the insight. What the insight is, is this gap between desire and outcome. So what you normally find is that when you’re speaking to groups of people, they will have something they want to achieve, but there is a barrier in the way of them doing it.

This might be something to do with tools or hardware/software. It could be just to do with professional experience. It could be to do with emotional problems. It could be anything really. So you need to kind of discover what that might be. The essential way to do that is just through good, old-fashioned talking to people. 

  • Focus groups, 
  • Surveys, 
  • Social media interactions, 
  • Conversations, 
  • Data that you have from search, like using Google Search Console, 
  • Internal site search, 
  • Search volume 

That kind of thing might tell you exactly what sort of topics, what problems people are having that they really try to solve in this interest group.

Solve for the barrier

So what we need to do is find this particular little nugget of wisdom, this gold that’s going to give us the insight that allows us to come up with a really good idea to try and solve this barrier, whatever that might be, that makes a difference between desire and outcome for this audience. Once we’ve got that, you might see a show idea starting to emerge. So let’s take a couple of examples.

A few examples

Let’s assume that we are working for like a DIY supplies company. Maybe we’re doing just sort of piping. We will discover that a subset of our customers are plumbers, and there’s a community there of plumbing professionals. Now what might we find about plumbers? Well, maybe it’s true that all plumbers are kind of really into cars, and one of the challenges they have is making sure that their car or their van is up to the job for their work.

Okay, so we now have an interesting insight there, that there’s something to do with improving cars that we could hook up for plumbers. Or let’s say we are doing a furniture company and we’re creating furniture for people. We might discover that a subset of our audience are actually amateur carpenters who really love wooden furniture. Their desire is to become professional.

But maybe the barrier is they don’t have the skills or the experience or the belief that they could actually do that with their lives and their career. So we see these sort of very personal problems that we can start to emerge an idea for a show that we might have. 

3. Format

So once we’ve got that, we can then take inspiration from existing TV and media. I think the mistake that a lot of us make is thinking about the format that we might be doing with a show in a very broad sense.

Don’t think about the format in a broad sense — get specific

So like we’re doing an interview show. We’re doing a talk show. We’re doing a documentary. We’re doing a talent show. Whatever it might be. But actually, if we think about the great history of TV and radio the last hundred years or so, all these really smart formats have emerged. So within talk show, there’s “Inside the Actors Studio,” a very sort of serious, long, in-depth interview with one person about their practice.

There’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” which has got lots of kind of set pieces and sketches and things that intermingle with the interview. There’s “Ellen,” where multiple people are interviewed in one show. If we think about documentaries, there’s like fly-on-the-wall stuff, just run and gun with a camera, like “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” Carrying on the food thing, there’s “Chef’s Table,” where it’s very planned and meticulously shot and is an exposé of one particular chef.

Or something like “Ugly Delicious,” which is a bit more like a kind of exploratory piece of documentary, where there’s kind of one protagonist going around the world and they piece it together at the end. So you can think about all these different formats and try to find an idea that maybe has been done before in TV in some format and find your way through that. 

A few more examples

So let’s think about our plumber example. Plumbers who love cars, well, we could do “Pimp My Ride for Tradesmen.”

That’s an interesting idea for a talk. Or let’s say we’re going after like amateur carpenters who would love to be professional. We could easily do “American Idol for Lumberjacks or Carpenters.” So we can start to see this idea emerge. Or let’s take a kind of B2B example. Maybe we are a marketing agency, as I’m sure many of you are. If you’re a marketing agency, maybe you know that some of your customers are in startups, and there’s this startup community.

One of the real problems that startups have is getting their product ready for market. So you could kind of think, well, the barrier is getting the product ready for market. We could then do “Queer Eye for Product Teams and Startups,”and we’ll bring in five specialists in different areas to kind of get their product ready and sort of iron out the details and make sure they’re ready to go to market and support marketing.

So you can start to see by having a clear niche audience and an insight into the problems that they’re having, then pulling together a whole list of different show ideas how you can bring together an idea for a potential, interesting TV show, video series, or podcast that could really make your business stand out. But remember that great ideas are kind of 10 a penny, and the really hard thing is finding the right one and making sure that it works for you.

So spend a lot of time coming up with lots and lots of different executions, trying them out, doing kind of little pilots before you work out and commit to the idea that works for you. The most important thing is to keep going and keep trying and teasing out those ideas rather than just settling on the first thing that comes to mind, because usually it’s not going to be the right answer. So I hope that was very useful, and we will see you again on another episode of Whiteboard Friday.

Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

Reblogged 1 day ago from feedproxy.google.com

The Content Distribution Playbook – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by rosssimmonds

If you’re one of the many marketers that shares your content on Facebook, Twitter, and Linked before calling it good and moving on, this Whiteboard Friday is for you. In a super actionable follow-up to his MozCon 2019 presentation, Ross Simmonds reveals how to go beyond the mediocre when it comes to your content distribution plan, reaching new audiences in just the right place at the right time.

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

What’s going on, Whiteboard Friday fans? My name is Ross Simmonds from Foundation Marketing, and today we’re going to be talking about how to develop a content distribution playbook that will drive meaningful and measurable results for your business. 

What is content distribution and why does it matter?

First and foremost, content distribution is the thing that you need to be thinking about if you want to combat the fact that it is becoming harder and harder than ever before to stand out as a content marketer, as a storyteller, and as a content creator in today’s landscape. It’s getting more and more difficult to rank for content. It’s getting more and more difficult to get organic reach through our social media channels, and that is why content distribution is so important.

You are facing a time when organic reach on social continues to drop more and more, where the ability to rank is becoming even more difficult because you’re competing against more ad space. You’re competing against more featured snippets. You’re competing against more companies. Because content marketers have screamed at the top of their lungs that content is king and the world has listened, it is becoming more and more difficult to stand out amongst the noise.

Most marketers have embraced this idea because for years we screamed, “Content is king, create more content,”and that is what the world has done. Most marketers start by just creating content, hoping that traffic will come, hoping that reach will come, and hoping that as a result of them creating content that profits will follow. In reality, the profits never come because they miss a significant piece of the puzzle, which is content distribution.

In today’s video, we’re going to be talking about how you can distribute your content more effectively across a few different channels, a few different strategies, and how you can take your content to the next level. 

There are two things that you can spend when it comes to content distribution: 

  1. You can spend time, 
  2. or you can spend money. 

In today’s video, we’re going to talk about exactly how you can distribute your content so when you write that blog post, you write that landing page, when you create that e-book, you create that infographic, whatever resource you’ve developed, you can ensure that that content is reaching the right people on the right channel at the right time.

◷: Owned channels

So how can you do it? We all have heard of owned channels. Owned channels are things that you own as a business, as a brand, as an organization. These are things that you can do without question probably today. 

Email marketing

For example, email marketing, it’s very likely that you have an email list of some sort. You can distribute your content to those people. 

In-app notifications

Let’s say you have a website that offers people a solution or a service directly inside of the site. Say it’s software as a service or something of that nature. If people are logging in on a regular basis to access your product, you can use in-app notifications to let those people know that you’ve launched a blog post. Or better yet, if you have a mobile app of any sort, you can do the same thing. You can use your app to let people know that you just launched a new piece of content.

Social channels

You have social media channels. Let’s say you have Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook. Share that content to your heart’s desire on those channels as well. 

On-site banner

If you have a website, you can update an on-site banner, at the top or in the bottom right, that is letting people know who visit your site that you have a new piece of content. Let them know. They want to know that you’re creating new content. So why not advise them that you have done such?

Sales outreach

If you have a sales team of any sort, let’s say you’re in B2B and you have a sales team, one of the most effective ways is to empower your sales team, to communicate to your sales team that you have developed a new piece of content so they can follow up with leads, they can nurture those existing relationships and even existing customers to let them know that a new piece of content has gone live. That one-to-one connection can be huge. 

◷: Social media / other channels

So when you’ve done all of that, what else can you do? You can go into social media. You can go into other channels. Again, you can spend time distributing your content into these places where your audience is spending time as well. 

Social channels and groups

So if you have a Twitter account, you can send out tweets. If you have a Facebook page, of course you can put up status updates.

If you have a LinkedIn page, you can put up a status update as well. These three things are typically what most organizations do in that Phase 2, but that’s not where it ends. You can go deeper. You can do more. You can go into Facebook groups, whether as a page or as a human, and share your content into these communities as well. You can let them know that you’ve published a new piece of research and you would love for them to check it out.

Or you’re in these groups and you’re looking and waiting and looking for somebody to ask a question that your blog post, your research has answered, and then you respond to that question with the content that you’ve developed. Or you do the same exact thing in a LinkedIn group. LinkedIn groups are an awesome opportunity for you to go in and start seeding your content as well.

Medium

Or you go to Medium.com. You repurpose the content that you’ve developed. You launch it on Medium.com as well. There’s an import function on Medium where you can import your content, get a canonical link directly to your site, and you can share that on Medium as well. Medium.com is a great distribution channel, because you can seed that content to publications as well.

When your content is going to these publications, they already have existing subscribers, and those subscribers get notified that there’s a new piece being submitted by you. When they see it, that’s a new audience that you wouldn’t have reached before using any of those owned channels, because these are people who you wouldn’t have had access to before. So you want to take advantage of that as well.

Keep in mind you don’t always have to upload even the full article. You can upload a snippet and then have a CTA at the bottom, a call to action driving people to the article on your website. 

LinkedIn video

You can use LinkedIn video to do the same thing. Very similar concept. Imagine you have a LinkedIn video. You look into the camera and you say to your connections, “Hey, everyone, we just launched a new research piece that is breaking down X, Y, and Z, ABC. I would love for you to check it out. Check the link below.”

If you created that video and you shared it on your LinkedIn, your connections are going to see this video, and it’s going to break their pattern of what they typically see on LinkedIn. So when they see it, they’re going to engage, they’re going to watch that video, they’re going to click the link, and you’re going to get more reach for the content that you developed in the past. 

Slack communities

Slack communities are another great place to distribute your content. Slack isn’t just a great channel to build internal culture and communicate as an internal team.

There are actual communities, people who are passionate about photography, people who are passionate about e-commerce, people who are passionate about SEO. There are Slack communities today where these people are gathering to talk about their passions and their interests, and you can do the same thing that you would do in Facebook groups or LinkedIn groups in these various Slack communities. 

Instagram / Facebook stories

Instagram stories and Facebook stories, awesome, great channel for you to also distribute your content. You can add a link to these stories that you’re uploading, and you can simply say, “Swipe up if you want to get access to our latest research.” Or you can design a graphic that will say, “Swipe up to get our latest post.” People who are following you on these channels will swipe up. They’ll land on your article, they’ll land on your research, and they’ll consume that content as well. 

LinkedIn Pulse

LinkedIn Pulse, you have the opportunity now to upload an article directly to LinkedIn, press Publish, and again let it soar. You can use the same strategies that I talked about around Medium.com on LinkedIn, and you can drive results. 

Quora

Quora, it’s like a question-and-answer site, like Yahoo Answers back in the day, except with a way better design. You can go into Quora, and you can share just a native link and tag it with relevant content, relevant topics, and things of that nature. Or you can find a few questions that are related to the topic that you’ve covered in your post, in your research, whatever asset you developed, and you can add value to that person who asked that question, and within that value you make a reference to the link and the article that you developed in the past as well.

SlideShare

SlideShare, one of OGs of B2B marketing. You can go to SlideShare, upload a presentation version of the content that you’ve already developed. Let’s say you’ve written a long blog post. Why not take the assets within that blog post, turn them into a PDF, a SlideShare presentation, upload them there, and then distribute it through that network as well? Once you have those SlideShare presentations put together, what’s great about it is you can take those graphics and you can share them on Twitter, you can share them on Facebook, LinkedIn, you can put them into Medium.com, and distribute them further there as well.

Forums

You can go into forums. Let’s think about it. If your audience is spending time in a forum communicating about something, why not go into these communities and into these forums and connect with them on a one-to-one basis as well? There’s a huge opportunity in forums and communities that exist online, where you can build trust and you can seed your content into these communities where your audience is spending time.

A lot of people think forums are dead. They could never be more alive. If you type in your audience, your industry forums, I promise you you’ll probably come across something that will surprise you as an opportunity to seed your content. 

Reddit communities

Reddit communities, a lot of marketers get the heebie-jeebies when I talk about Reddit. They’re all like, “Marketers on Reddit? That doesn’t work. Reddit hates marketing.” I get it.

I understand what you’re thinking. But what they actually hate is the fact that marketers don’t get Reddit. Marketers don’t get the fact that Redditors just want value. If you can deliver value to people using Reddit, whether it’s through a post or in the comments, they will meet you with happiness and joy. They will be grateful of the fact that you’ve added value to their communities, to their subreddits, and they will reward you with upvotes, with traffic and clicks, and maybe even a few leads or a customer or two in the process.

Do not ignore Reddit as being the site that you can’t embrace. Whether you’re B2B or B2C, Redditors can like your content. Redditors will like your content if you go in with value first. 

Imgur

Sites like Imgur, another great distribution channel. Take some of those slides that you developed in the past, upload them to Imgur, and let them sing there as well.

There are way more distribution channels and distribution techniques that you can use that go beyond even what I’ve described here. But these just a few examples that show you that the power of distribution doesn’t exist just in a couple posts. It exists in actually spending the time, taking the time to distribute your stories and distribute your content across a wide variety of different channels.

$: Paid marketing

That’s spending time. You can also spend money through paid marketing. Paid marketing is also an opportunity for any brand to distribute their stories. 

Remarketing

First and foremost, you can use remarketing. Let’s talk about that email list that you’ve already developed. If you take that email list and you run remarketing ads to those people on Facebook, on Twitter, on LinkedIn, you can reach those people and get them engaged with new content that you’ve developed.

Let’s say somebody is already visiting your page. People are visiting your website. They’re visiting your content. Why not run remarketing ads to those people who already demonstrate some type of interest to get them back on your site, back engaged with your content, and tell your story to them as well? Another great opportunity is if you’ve leveraged video in any way, you can do remarketing ads on Facebook to people who have watched 10 seconds, 30 seconds, 20 seconds, whatever it may be to your content as well.

Quora ads

Then one of the opportunities that is definitely underrated is the fact that Quora now offers advertising as well. You can run ads on Quora to people who are asking or looking at questions related to your industry, related to the content that you’ve developed, and get your content in front of them as well. 

Influencer marketing

Then influencers, you can do sponsored content. You can reach out to these influencers and have them talk about your stories, talk about your content, and have them share it as well on behalf of the fact that you’ve developed something new and something that is interesting.

Think differently & rise above mediocrity

When I talk about influencer marketing, I talk about Reddit, I talk about SlideShare, I talk about LinkedIn video, I talk about Slack communities, a lot of marketers will quickly say, “I don’t think this is for me. I think this is too much. I think that this is too much manual work. I think this is too many niche communities. I think this is a little bit too much for my brand.

I get that. I understand your mindset, but this is what you need to recognize. Most marketers are going through this process. If you think that by distributing your content into the communities that your audience is spending time is just a little bit off brand or it doesn’t really suit you, that’s what most marketers already think. Most marketers already think that Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn is all they need to do to share their stories, get their content out there, and call it a day.

If you want to be like most marketers, you’re going to get what most marketers receive as a result, which is mediocre results. So I push you to think differently. I push you to push yourself to not be like most marketers, not to go down the path of mediocrity, and instead start looking for ways that you can either invest time or money into channels, into opportunities, and into communities where you can spread your content with value first and ultimately generate results for your business at the end of all of it.

So I hope that you can use this to uncover for yourself a content distribution playbook that works for your brand. Whether you’re in B2C or you’re in B2B, it doesn’t matter. You have to understand where your audience is spending time, understand how you can seed your content into these different spaces and unlock the power of content distribution. My name is Ross Simmonds.

I really hope you enjoyed this video. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out on Twitter, at TheCoolestCool, or hit me up any other way. I’m on every other channel. Of course I am. I love social. I love digital. I’m everywhere that you could find me, so feel free to reach out.

I hope you enjoyed this video and you can use it to give your content more reach and ultimately drive meaningful and measurable results for your business. Thank you so much.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com


If Ross’s Whiteboard Friday left you feeling energized and inspired to try new things with your content marketing, you’ll love his full MozCon 2019 talk — Keywords Aren’t Enough: How to Uncover Content Ideas Worth Chasing — available in our recently released video bundle. Learn how to use many of these same distribution channels as idea factories for your content, plus access 26 additional future-focused SEO topics from our top-notch speakers:

Grab the sessions now!

And don’t be shy — share the learnings with your whole team, preferably with snacks. It’s what video was made for!

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

Reblogged 1 day ago from feedproxy.google.com

How I Lived Off ProBlogger for 2 Years and Made $50,000+ in 3 Months

The post How I Lived Off ProBlogger for 2 Years and Made $50,000+ in 3 Months appeared first on ProBlogger.

How I lived off ProBloggerThe last three years have been full of memorable events, both personal and professional.

While I’ve been in the content creation field for a while, I’ve only been doing it full-time since 2016.

That was the year I started taking on jobs from the ProBlogger job board. And since then I’ve been using it for landing gigs almost exclusively.

Between 2016 and 2019 I earned six figures from jobs I landed on ProBlogger alone. And during a three-month period in 2018 I made $58,000 from just one client.

This is how I did it, and how you can replicate my success.

Getting Lost and Gaining My Freedom

I started working in my late teens, managing a small hospitality outfit my late parents had established. Later I worked in customer service in a large telecom company in West Africa. And then I moved to Nairobi, Kenya and became a charity volunteer.

So I’m used to holding a regular job.

But I was about to become completely lost.

Lost in New York

No, I’m not talking about the movie (although I was home alone).

I managed to secure a fairly lucrative job as a due diligence researcher in New York City, working on projects for the likes of IBM, Microsoft, Shell, Deloitte, AT&T and others.

Life was good.

Then I received a letter stating I’d unintentionally violated some company policy and had to leave.

But I had nowhere to go.

A couple of years earlier a friend of mine had suggested starting a side hustle and writing for websites. Before the NYC job I’d conducted interviews and written content for Blueprint Entrepreneur Mag, a magazine based in Australia.

At the time I thought, “Why create stress for myself?”, and ignored his advice.

But as I stood on that New York City street feeling cold and broken, his words came flooding back.

It was time to take that advice.

Finding My Freedom

Luckily, I joined a mastermind my friend started a few months before I lost my job. So I quickly brushed up on creating content, pitching clients and landing gigs.

I set up my website, email address and PayPal account, and then published a few articles on my blog.

Next, I started pitching to media platforms that accepted contributions. I wanted to write for free to get my name out there.

I was lucky. Arianna Huffington had just left The Huffington Post and was launching her new venture, Thrive Global. So I got her email address and pitched to her directly.

And she replied.

After writing my first article for Thrive Global I got an author login, which meant I could contribute to the platform at any time.

Things were beginning to add up.

But there was still one place things weren’t adding up – my wallet.

Break the Rules Intelligently and Succeed Eventually

Needing to earn money fast, I set myself a goal to replace my income in a month.

I had to break a few rules to do it. But I also made three critical decisions:

  1. Pro-level from day one: I made sure I delivered pro-level work (and charged pro-level rates) from the word go.
  2. Not niching so fast: I broadened my scope, and wrote for three to five niches I knew well. And then I chose the niche that brought me the most clients – and the most pay.
  3. Pitching daily: I pitched to potential clients every day – even when I had enough clients to earn a steady income.

As for proof of my writing ability, I used the work I’d done for Blueprint Entrepreneur and TopTenz.net. These were a bit dated, but they got the ball rolling. And then I created new articles for my site and published them on Thrive Global.

I was good to fly. And fly I did.

My Mistakes and Fixing Them

But it wasn’t all butterflies and rainbows. I made my fair share of mistakes, such as…

Payment Punishment

I once lost a client because he felt misled on who was getting paid for the work.

Without asking for permission or giving prior warning, I switched my known PayPal email address to a friend’s PayPal account. I was away for the summer, and wanted my friend to receive payments on my behalf so I could get the money quickly.

So the client paid to my usual PayPal email address. But the confirmation email included some Chinese characters because my friend lived in China.

The client didn’t find it funny.

I tried to explain what had happened to my client. But he wouldn’t have any of it and stopped working with me, saying it would affect his tax reporting.

And my $800 a week income stream became a dried-up creek bed.

Lesson: Tell your clients about any changes that might affect them (directly or indirectly) before it happens.

The Video Interview Gaffe

Confidence is good. But overconfidence can kill.

And I once died from it.

A potential client was thrilled with my work, and set up a video appointment with me. He also emailed some documents in preparation for the video session.

But when they arrived I just skimmed through them without paying much attention to the details.

We started talking, and he began making references to the documents he’d sent me. Or at least I think he was, because it soon became clear I wasn’t following.

I realised I was far from ready for our online meeting. And I’m sure the client realised it too, because he never got back to me.

When I emailed him about the work a few weeks later, he replied with, “We’ve filled the role, thanks”.

Ouch!

Lesson: Be ready, and pay attention to everything. It will work either for or against you.

Don’t Just Beat Deadlines

It was the first article I wrote for my new client. Unfortunately, it was also the last.

I pitched the topic, and he liked it. I gave him an outline, and he liked that too.

So as far as I was concerned it was a done deal. I just had to write the piece so I could get paid and move onto my next assignment.

But everything ended at “write the piece”.

In a rush to beat the deadline I’d set with the client, I submitted the article without checking it for errors. That’s right. No grammar checks. No Flesch readability checks. Just the intuitive belief that everything would be okay as long as I beat the deadline.

But I woke up the next day to find this heartbreaker in my inbox: “I’m sorry, but this isn’t what we’re looking for”.

I never got paid, and never got another assignment from him.

Lesson: Delivering error-free posts is just as important as beating deadlines.

Other Mistakes That Hurt Writers

Despite all my mistakes, I count myself lucky. I learned from them quickly, didn’t make too many of them, and seldom repeated my mistakes.

But many writers have killed their careers on an altar of errors such as:

  • missing deadlines
  • not learning about AP Style early enough
  • over-promising and under-delivering
  • being a writer and nothing else.

Let’s talk a little about the last point.

Writing isn’t the only thing clients pay for when they hire you. They’re paying for your knowledge, your skills, your experiences, and whatever else you can bring to the table.

So go out and do things you haven’t done much. Learn about:

  • SEO
  • pay-per-click campaigns
  • social media marketing
  • infographics
  • photography
  • accounting
  • WordPress
  • Joomla
  • WooCommerce
  • HTML
  • anything else you can use to increase the value you bring.

And if you established a professional career path before becoming a writer, that’s another value-add you can offer.

Making $58,000 in Three Months

July 28, 2018. A Saturday, and a day I won’t forget in a hurry.

Without much to do on the weekend, I searched for open jobs on the ProBlogger job board. In no time, I found a posting that matched my abilities and experience.

And I applied.

Little did I know that I’d just signed up to receive tens of thousands of dollars over the next three months.

How I Lived Off ProBlogger for 2 Years and Made $50,000+ in 3 Months

Fast forward to November 26, 2018. I’d completed the project, and earned $58,000.

Here’s how it happened.

The Job Posting

The job had been up less than 24 hours when I turned in my application. So I knew my timing was relatively good on this one.

How I Lived Off ProBlogger for 2 Years and Made $50,000+ in 3 Months

Job advertisers are usually pretty specific about what they expect from your application. So I read the job description carefully.

How I Lived Off ProBlogger for 2 Years and Made $50,000+ in 3 Months

And then I crafted my pitch to address the criteria on the job post.

My Pitch

The request was almost unbelievable. I assumed the client was going to pay pennies for the work, so I was slightly hesitant to apply.

But I had a simple rule for job applications. “Don’t make unfounded assumptions. Apply anyway.”

So I did.

In my application, I wanted to show this client that I knew my stuff. So I provided eight examples of my published work.

How I Lived Off ProBlogger for 2 Years and Made $50,000+ in 3 Months

Some advertisers specify how many examples they want to see. But this one didn’t ask for a specific number.

So I provided as many examples as possible. I wanted this advertiser to say, “Yes, this candidate knows what I want”.

Next, I introduced myself and showed in my cover letter that I had all the qualities this client wanted. I also pointed out my other desirable qualities that he might appreciate.

How I Lived Off ProBlogger for 2 Years and Made $50,000+ in 3 Months

My cover letter showed that I had:

  • had two years of writing experience
  • extensive WordPress experience
  • demonstrated knowledge of SaaS products
  • experience and competency in SEO techniques.

I used a premium grammar checker to proofread my application to keep it error-free, and closed the pitch with my desired rate per word.

And I also demonstrated that I’d beat their deadlines, and responded to their follow-up enquiries and emails as soon as they hit my inbox.

The Deal

A couple of days later, I got the first follow-up email. I replied. We exchanged a couple more messages and then finally reached the contract stage.

At this point, their choice of payment channel was almost a deal-breaker. They wanted to pay me via cryptocurrencies. (I’d only used PayPal and direct bank deposits up to this point.)

I felt that cryptocurrencies were too volatile, and that it was too early for me to consider being paid that way.

(I’m not sure why I thought it was too early, or even what I thought “too early” meant. I guess it was just fear.)

I’d typed out an email to call off the job, and was ready to send it when I had second thoughts and deleted it instead.

I took the job, then opened a Blockchain.com account and created a bitcoin wallet to receive the payments.

The Result

By the time the contract was over I’d earned $58,000 from writing 290 articles at $200 each.

 

How I Lived Off ProBlogger for 2 Years and Made $50,000+ in 3 Months

My payments came in bitcoin. But as you know, bitcoin fluctuates. At the time, a bitcoin was worth about $6,000 to $7,000 apiece.

How I Lived Off ProBlogger for 2 Years and Made $50,000+ in 3 Months

And at the end of the project, the client said he’d keep my WordPress account open on his website for other projects to come later in 2019.

My Biggest Takeaways

It’s been a pleasant journey for me, albeit one fraught with challenges. And I’ve learned some valuable lessons that I’d now like to share them with you.

Pitch daily

That’s right. Every day. Even when you have clients beating paths to your door.

Okay, maybe not every day. But don’t miss it two days in a row.

Pitch relevant targets

Pitch only to relevant prospects. Shooting everyone an email won’t get you clients, and may even discourage you.

Don ‘t have enough relevant experience or published work? Write more on the topics you’ve noticed are in high demand, and post them on your blog.

Clients come and go

Do your best work, and do your best to keep your clients happy. But don’t expect the romance to last forever.

Everything that has a beginning has an end. And things don’t always end well.

Learn from unpleasant experiences, and appreciate and enjoy the pleasant ones. They’re all part of the journey.

Observe and take notes

Make notes from the ProBlogger job board and use them to raise the amount of value you can offer clients.

Job posts can show you new ways to improve your value offering. For example, a job posting that asks for published work with significant social shares should inspire you to promote some of your posts and get them shared on social media.

A lot of social shares can be a massive plus to your work. They add to your credibility, and tell potential clients that your work resonates with readers.

Develop a pitch template

Your pitch template is like your resumé. By using one you’ll always show the value you can provide potential employers.

Having a pitching template means:

  • you’ll never forget an element of your pitch
  • your pitching time will fall
  • the number of pitches you send will rise
  • you’ll never have to worry about what you’re going to say
  • your pitches will have a clean structure.

Keep tweaking your pitch template

As your experience and value offering grows, update your pitching template to reflect this growth.

Write for free

Writing for free can be worth it, providing it has value. Appearing on high-traffic websites can give you and your work credibility and exposure.

Find websites in your niche, or with significant media authority, and write for them. Fast Company and other media outlets have guest contributor guidelines if you’d like to write for them.

Writing for small blogs can also be an excellent addition if you’re just starting out.

Pitch to websites with a domain authority of 20 or less and write for them so your work appears on other platforms as well as your blog.

Write a resumé

Some clients ask for it. So have one ready.

Rewrite your resumé often

As you gain more experience and your portfolio of work grows, make sure you update your resumé accordingly.

Let your author bio sell you

When someone has enjoyed reading your work, where will they go next?

Chances are they’ll want to know who wrote the piece they just read. So use the author bio to tell them about yourself and what you can offer.

Now, what will you do differently today?

My advice is to start pitching every day. It’s the first and possibly most crucial step to take. Everything else stems from there.

The post How I Lived Off ProBlogger for 2 Years and Made $50,000+ in 3 Months appeared first on ProBlogger.

      

Reblogged 1 day ago from feedproxy.google.com

A framework for SEO success with structured data

Aleyda Solis and Chris Long share their approaches to using Schema to increase organic search visibility.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 1 day ago from feeds.searchengineland.com