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The Ultimate Blogger Guide

Blogger Guide

A desk with writing instruments.

Do you want to become a blogger? Blogging presents a unique opportunity to build a network for your existing customers while also acquiring new business. A blog is the ideal platform on which to showcase your expertise in the industry.

This list of resources is designed to walk you through the blogging process and answer any questions you might have along the way.

Why Start a Blog?

What Is Content Marketing?

How to Create a Content Strategy

How to Write Content

Image source: Alejandro Escamilla/Unsplash.com

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Inklyo’s Top 10 Blog Posts of 2016

A bottle of champagne.

A bottle of champagne.

The year 2017 is almost upon us! As 2016 comes to end, we thought we would take a look at everything that happened this year: Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize in Literature, a crazy U.S. election, and a great year of blog content for Inklyo.

In fact, it was hard to narrow our content down to just our top 10 posts. Thankfully, we had your help here. Based on how much our social media followers engaged with our content throughout the year, we’ve compiled a list of our top articles. Did your favorite make the list?

10. The Ultimate Proofreading Checklist

Our student followers found this post particularly helpful during essay season, which is probably why it takes tenth spot on the list. Although it can be tempting to skip the proofreading step after writing an essay, don’t do it! This checklist makes your final proofread quick and thorough.

9. How to Master the Cornell Note-Taking System

We are very excited to see this article in ninth spot. Not only does this system make note-taking more efficient, but it will help you study more effectively at exam time.

8. 6 Things I Learned my First Year as a Professional Editor

This post gives aspiring editors a glance into their future career. There is a learning curve with any new job, but we hope these six tips make it a little easier. Experience is the best teacher, but you can take advantage of the experiences of others to get the same knowledge.

7. 14 Ways to Make a Bad Impression on Your First Day of Work

This blog post is the ultimate what-not-to-do guide for your first day of work. First impressions are important, especially in a new position, so we weren’t surprised to see this post rank on our top blog-post list. We’re hopeful that everyone who read this post is enjoying and thriving in their new position!

6. The Order of Adjectives

Many English speakers don’t realize that there is an official order to use when using multiple adjectives to describe something—they just know what “sounds right.” To English as a second language (ESL) speakers, getting this order down is tricky. Our ESL followers enjoyed this post not only because it is highly informative but also because we used adorable puppies to illustrate the subject.

5. How to Identify Independent and Dependent Clauses

This post proved to be valuable to our followers, taking fifth place on the list. This guide helps you to identify independent and dependent clauses while relating everything back to your favorite drink: coffee.

4. Understanding Verb Moods with 15 Hilarious Tweets

Learning about verb moods can be boring, but these 15 hilarious tweets spiced the subject up! This was a fun post to write, and it’s made even better by the knowledge that our followers liked it enough to push it into fourth position on our list.

3. The Language Sandwich: An Overview of the 9 Parts of Speech

After reading this post, you will feel both informed and hungry. No wonder this article–infographic combo was the third most popular Inklyo blog post! It educates you on a key aspect of grammar—the parts of speech—using a mouth-watering illustration.

2. Becoming an Editor or Proofreader: A Comprehensive Guide

Aspiring editors and proofreaders flocked to this post, which organizes all our editing and proofreading advice in one easy-to-navigate place. It walks you through the steps of becoming an editor or proofreader from training to paycheck, making it no surprise that it was such a hit with our followers and ranked in second place.

1. 20 English Idioms with Surprising Origins

Our official most-popular post of 2016 is both entertaining and informative, explaining some of the most common English idioms. From “riding shotgun” to “biting the bullet” to “hands down,” mysteries that puzzle native English and ESL speakers alike are explained in this post.

We want to thank you all so much for reading and responding to our posts. As much as we enjoyed 2016, we are excited to see what awaits this blog in the New Year. Check out our Facebook and Twitter pages to see more great content in 2017!

Image source: jeanborges/Pixabay.com

GrammarCamp

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Why Start A Blog? 4 Great Reasons

Why Start a Blog? 4 Great Reasons

Sure, you’ve heard of blogging.Why Start a Blog? 4 Great Reasons

Maybe you’ve even tried it once or twice.

With everything else you have on your plate, however, you’re probably thinking it’s a waste of time.

The truth is, starting a blog is one of the best marketing tactics for your business. Blogging has tons of great benefits, from increasing your conversion rate to connecting with clients on a more personal level.

Why start a blog indeed. Still not convinced? Let’s look at some of these advantages in detail.

Advantage #1: A blog helps you find clients.

Have you ever needed something and didn’t know where to look?

Chances are, there are hundreds of customers looking for a company just like yours. By starting a blog, you’ll be creating a new way for these clients to find you.

The key to making this process work is search engine optimization. If you place keywords strategically throughout your blog posts, search engines will be more likely to send ideal clients to your website.

Sharing your blog posts on social media is another good way to generate leads. According to Neil Patel of KISSmetrics, a blog can increase inbound links to your website by over 90%. With blogging, you can tailor content to your clientele, making it more likely that they’ll purchase a product or service.

Advantage #2: A blog leads to more sales.

Static content, such as a contact page on a company website, tells your readers important information.

More often than not, however, webpages don’t ask the reader to do anything.

That’s why the call-to-action page is so important. Without it, potential customers won’t take that next important step—finding out what your company can do for them.

By starting a blog, you’ll be able to issue calls-to-action on a regular basis. This can be as simple as inviting your readers to leave a comment. You can also take it a step further and ask them to join your email list.

Without a call-to-action, your readers will have little incentive to check out the rest of your products and services. According to Mashable, the average bounce rate for websites hovers around 50%.

With a blog, you have a cost-effective way to increase client retention and ensure your audience is always engaged.

Advantage #3: A blog lets you show your expertise.

When your car breaks down, you visit the mechanic. If you get the flu, you make an appointment with the doctor.

Why do we rely on certain people to solve certain problems?

The answer is simple: we see them as experts.

To launch a successful business, you must be able to prove that you’re an expert in your niche. Blogging is an excellent place to start because it reaches such a wide audience. For example, the total monthly readership for blogs on WordPress.com is over 400 million people.

Even if you’ve never written a blog before, it’s easy to get started. What you write should clearly reflect your strengths as a business. For example, a content writing service could blog on time-saving techniques for writers. A graphic design company could produce infographics to enhance its blog posts.

You should also consider guest blogging on another website in your industry. When readers see that other experts have given you their seal of approval, they’ll be more likely to see you as an authority.

Advantage #4: A blog lets you put your business into your own words.

How often do you get a chance to tell people what your company is really about?

If you’re like most businesses, it’s probably not often. Outbound marketing techniques, such as sales calls, are often brief and impersonal. You don’t always have time to convey your services in the way you want.

What if there was an easy way to put it all out there?

Blogging could be the answer you’re looking for. With a blog, you’ll have the freedom to put your company into your own words. Whether your business is brand new or something you’ve been working on for years, blogging allows you to put a personal touch on your public brand.

Experts agree that highlighting your company’s personality increases customer loyalty. For example, Forbes writes that business storytelling helps create a meaningful connection with clients.

The next time a customer asks about what you do, point them to your blog. They’ll appreciate having such an approachable, informal window into your company.

Start Small, Dream Big.

You’ve learned about the advantages of blogging. Now, it’s time to get writing.

As in any new business venture, it’s OK to start small. Try setting up a publishing schedule—like one post a week—and sticking to it.

Over time, you’ll reap the benefits of more sales for your business and higher customer satisfaction.

Good luck with your blogging journey, and remember to have fun!

Image source: docstockmedia/Shutterstock

Inklyo's free ebook about business blogging.

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Article Writing: 4 Article Ideas for Your Website

Article Writing - 4 Article Ideas for Your Website

Article Writing - 4 Article Ideas for Your Website Content—the word is thrown around a lot, but what does it really mean? Content can refer to anything from sales pitches, to product information, to policies.

From a content marketing standpoint, articles are a great type of content that businesses can use to build a following for their website. By creating articles that customers can connect with, businesses can relate to their customers on a personal level and provide them with interesting information. Businesses will often employ a writer to specialize in creating this type of content. But what should you write?

Editorials

Editorials, or opinion pieces, are a great way for writers to connect with your audience. Writing opinion pieces about various issues can help you communicate your company’s values to your prospects. Indeed, if you have firm and clear views, this can create very strong feelings of connection and loyalty to your company. Just be sure that you’re prepared for a backlash should your opinions prove unpopular. Some ill-considered remarks by Guido Barilla to a radio interviewer resulted in a firestorm of bad publicity and calls by gay rights groups to boycott their pasta.

How-To

The great thing about the Internet is that it can teach you how to do anything. Why not incorporate this into your business? Articles that describe how to use your product, how to use products that relate to your business, and articles that help your customers achieve their business, work, or personal goals are always going to be popular.

Feature Articles

Feature articles are creative pieces that can focus on any aspect of your business. These long form pieces could focus on your company’s home city, or highlight the accomplishments of your top five customers. You could do a feature on a cause that your company supports or even discuss a fun aspect of your company’s culture. Feature articles are all about connecting on a human level with your customers.

Reviews

Another great way to gain a following is to post your thoughts about products, services, books, movies, or music as well as reviews on your own products and services. Reviews are a great way to connect to your audience and to show them that your business is open to comments and suggestions. Reviews are also a slightly safer alternative to editorials in that they’re a good way to generate a conversation, but less likely to incite a boycott. Again, though, make sure you know and understand your customers. It’s not a very good idea to post a bad review of the latest Justin Bieber single if your customers are all huge fans.

The article is a valuable tool that can help promote your business online. The more content you post to your business’s website, the more visible your site will be to potential customers. Since this is such an essential part of marketing online, it is important that content be posted regularly and to the highest standards.

Image source: Gts/Shutterstock.com

Inklyo.com's free ebook about business blogging.

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Benefits of Blogging for Your Business

Inklyo.com explains the benefits of blogging.

Inklyo.com explains the benefits of blogging.With the expansion of online businesses, you may be researching how an online presence can benefit your company or how you can make money blogging. In fact, there are numerous benefits of blogging that you may never have considered.

Increase your client base

One of the major benefits of blogging for your business is that you can attract a whole range of customers who may not have heard of you otherwise. Blogs are one of the top ways to advertise to the online community. This is particularly true if your target audience is young adults or those in their twenties and thirties. Fewer people are listening to the radio and looking at print newspapers, so only using such media will limit your audience.

Gain feedback

One of the greatest benefits of blogging is that it creates a community around a shared interest. This not only offers great ways to network within your field, but it also helps you connect with your clients. Comments and feedback sections will let your customers tell you what they like and what needs work. Nothing is perfect, and if you want to appeal to a larger customer base, you’ll want to take in feedback to improve your product.

Network with like-minded professionals

You never know when your blog will attract the right person with the right connections. Networking is a top way to bring in more clients, and it also helps you to obtain larger contracts and better connections in your field. A reader may have some helpful advice that could be just what you’ve been seeking. These networks may also provide you with the newest information to keep updated with progress and innovation in your field. You can then expand on this knowledge in your own blog writing.

Show your expertise

Writing blogs is a great way to broadcast to clients, and potential clients, what you know about your profession. This is also one of blogging’s biggest benefits. If clients can research your business and scope out your services before committing to any purchase, they’re more likely to contact you than other businesses without an online presence.

The more you blog and the more readers you get, the better your company appears to an outsider. The knowledge and prowess that you’ve acquired in your field will be demonstrated to anyone who encounters your blog. This can lead to growth beyond a wide client base, such as awards in your field or consulting positions.

Personalize and humanize

One of the more personal benefits of blogging is that adding a blog to your social media offers more of a human aspect than a 140-character Twitter post. One of the big benefits of blogging is that it gives your business a voice, style, tone, and personality that will make it easier for customers to connect with your business. When you create this voice, make sure it’s genuine and honest. If your customers think you’re putting on a mask to sell a few products, they may feel turned off.

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Inklyo's free ebook about business blogging.

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Five Tips for Writing Blogs

The word "Blog," with a globe in place of the "o," highlights the global benefit of writing blogs.

Writing BlogsWriting a blog that attracts every reader is a difficult, often elusive, task. However, there are many benefits of blogging, and your blogs can appeal to the majority of your audience. Read on to learn five tips to keep in mind the next time you are writing a blog for your website.

Be consistent

Choose your topic, and write on that topic only. Many bloggers try to include too much information in too small a space. Remember, though, that all your ideas are worthwhile, and you should write them down to use another time.

Consistency allows your readers to stay focused on the post. As well, saving your extra ideas ensures that you have a treasury of topics for future blog writing, giving you the ability to plan. For example, which blog topics are best for the season? Which topics are similar and, therefore, should you post separately?

Avoid monotony

Experiment with new fonts, graphics, and clips. Change the overall aesthetic of your blog from time to time, such as every season, to avoid boring your readers.

When it comes to the content of your blog writing, it is true that some similarities are inevitable, but you should avoid too much overlap. Your audience might think that you do not take the time to write about new ideas if you simply add slight twists to the same blog. Furthermore, you do not want to appear as if you have little to say; this is a good (and bad!) way to lose readership.

Leverage past work

Post links to the work you have already done. You have probably written about the foundations of your field in past blogs, so take advantage of your website’s flexibility and your previous work. When you write about something that you have already discussed in a previous blog, include a link to that post. You can also place links and tabs in the page margins to connect your readers to relevant and related posts that you have written in the past.

Not only will posting links to previous blogs prevent repetition, but it also expands your readers’ knowledge of you and your business. Posting links shows your readers that they can relate the information to other blogs on your website, and it encourages them to read those blogs as well.

Take advantage of social media

Be sure to utilize every social media outlet available. When you are writing a blog, your primary concern is to ensure continuous readership. Share your blogs on Facebook and Twitter, as well as any other form of social media that your business uses.

Use social media to get old blogs out there, too. You can use websites and applications that will post on your behalf to each social media outlet connected to your business. Use these tools to schedule daily blog posts, whether they are current or seasonable “oldies but goodies.”

Start writing blogs with pizzazz

Titles are the first thing a reader sees, but they could be the last if they do not grab your reader’s attention. The first step to attracting readers may be obvious, but it is definitely worth pointing out: you need a catchy title.

Create quick, engaging titles that get the point across in as few words as possible, and do not forget that questions interest readers. Whether they read your entire blog or not, readers are likely to be curious about the question you have posed in the title.

Curious about why you would continue to blog for your business, given that it takes a lot of effort to get it right? Check out our free ebook below.

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Inklyo's free ebook about business blogging.

 

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The Ultimate Blog Writing and SEO Checklist

The Ultimate Blog and SEO Checklist

The Ultimate Blog and SEO ChecklistWriting a blog post should be entirely about helping your readers. Even though you are ultimately promoting yourself, your business, or your brand, self-promotion should take place behind the scenes.

That’s what search engine optimization (SEO) is all about. Underutilizing the tools at your disposal is dangerous, and it will drown your valuable content under the torrential downpour of posts and articles.

Here, we have not only provided the ultimate list of tips and tricks for writing an effective and engaging blog post, but we have also provided a comprehensive SEO checklist to help you optimize your blog for a wider readership.

Checklist for Writing a Blog Post

  1. Know your audience. You should only begin blogging once you understand your target audience (often called a buyer persona or ideal customer). If you know your audience—prospective clients, primarily—you can cater posts to their needs. Such knowledge will also help you to decide on topics and content to create, and you will be able to establish a tone that best suits your audience. Everything about your post should revolve around your readers, so figuring out who they are is a key step.
  2. Be smart about your title. There are so many different ways to go with your title, so it’s important to pick the option that’s most likely to garner the all-important click. You can be super-direct and get straight to the point, which is great for informational pieces. Clever headlines can generate curiosity, but being too vague can also cause those who are not actually interested in your content to stumble upon the post. Ultimately, your title should promise to answer a question or provide a solution to a problem to get the best results.
  3. Make headings stand out. Not only should titles define your text, but headings and subheadings should also separate key ideas, especially if you are writing an article or a longer piece. It should be easy to tell where and why information is separated.
  4. Separate key phrases for scanning. Many readers simply scan through posts and articles to get to the good stuff. If you are providing an answer to a question, that question should be readily available through a quick scan. Even though you want your readers to stick around and read the whole post, the reality is that readers will find another post if they can’t easily find the information they’re looking for in yours.
  5. Keep sentences short and sweet. Long sentences drag on and make it difficult for readers to focus. While capturing reader attention is difficult, it’s only half the battle. Try to keep reader attention by using short sentences that increase readability. If a reader is only scanning your article, short sentences will still allow you to get your point across.
  6. Show your personalityUse a conversational tone, and share your personality. It’s better to speak with your readers than to speak at them. Even in professional articles, it’s possible to use everyday words to communicate your point. At the very least, be consistent with your tone from post to post, so your readers will become familiar with your blog personality. On the same note, try to tell a story, and write what only you can write. Adding a personal touch to posts will help you to build a relationship with your readers.
  7. Provide a service. Going along with knowing the needs of your audience, it’s important that you’re meeting those needs. Not only should everything in the post cater to your audience, but you should also be providing your readers with a service to meet those needs. For example, the aim of this article is to help readers write the best blog posts possible by providing helpful tips and tricks. Whether you are answering a question for your readers or providing a solution to their problem, it’s very important that your content is useful to your readers in some way.
  8. Try to be original. Of course, that’s always the goal, right? But try to do the opposite of what everybody else is doing. If everyone else is turning left, turn right. Even if what you want to say has already been said, though, try to say it in a different way. If that still fails, at least try to be interesting in the way you put everything together.
  9. Enhance accessibility. It’s essential that your post is user-friendly. Users with disabilities should have the same access to information as those who do not. That means no crazy fonts or patterned backgrounds. There should also be no walls of text; everything should be spaced well. Use your white space effectively to create breaks for readers.
  10. Have your post professionally edited and proofread. Nothing’s worse than reading a post that was hastily thrown together and slapped up on the web. If you don’t have someone else look over your post, it can mean the difference between a regular visitor and somebody who leaves your blog, never to return again. Hitting that first typo is even off-putting for an established audience. Look over your post, and make sure it meets quality standards. Better yet, get a professional to do it for you.
  11. Create a call to action (CTA). Ending your post with a CTA is vital. What is it that you are trying to accomplish? Or what is it that you are inciting your readers to do? Make the next steps easy by adding in-text or button CTAs that direct visitors toward the desired action. Do you have an ebook that relates to the content of the post? Include a download button. Do you have a product that would solve the problem discussed in the post? Include a demo button. Decide what you want readers to do next, and make it easy for them to do it.
  12.  Schedule posts regularlySchedule posts regularly. Sharing posts consistently is important for establishing an audience. Along with knowing what to expect from your blog, an audience should know when to expect your posts. Many popular platforms, such as WordPress, allow you to schedule posts automatically. Once you have a schedule, though, remember to stick to it. Don’t let your readers down if they’re expecting a post on a certain day or at a particular time.
  13. Answer comments and questions. Engaging with your audience is important for building rapport. If you are an authority in your field (as you should be), then show them! Answer all of their comments and questions, both on your blog and on social media. This is especially important if you don’t yet have a wide readership. Having a conversation with your readers will help you forge a relationship with them.
  14. Engage in social media. Even post-creation, your work is not yet finished. Now it’s time to share, share, share. Social media is your best friend here. Get a Twitter account; get a Facebook page; find out where your audience is, and make sure you’re there, too. You need to share your post with the world, and you want your readers to share your article with others.
  15. Promote in relevant and welcoming places. Don’t be shy about promoting your work outside of your own social media platforms. Distribute your content where you think readers might actually be interested in checking out your blog. Once you find welcoming spaces, this sharing process can become routine.

Creating great content is the main goal, but optimizing your post for visibility in search engines will help your great content get onto the screens of those who need it.

SEO Checklist

  1. Research optimal keywords. Before writing, find tools to help you decide which keywords are best for you to use in your post. Using resources such as the Google AdWords Keyword Planner, you can look up relevant terms to determine how well they are performing. This will help you to identify what your audience is searching for so you can write your article accordingly.
  2. Apply keywords in prime and controlled locations. Try to use your primary keyword in the title of your post. Keywords should also appear in your introduction and your conclusion, as well as your URL.
  3. Introduce keywords naturally. Don’t force it, though. Readers will not be pleased if they are bombarded with keywords. Keywords should flow seamlessly with the rest of your sentence.
  4. Use long-tail key phrases instead of small terms. If local audience members research “all-day breakfast” in their town, the keyword shouldn’t be “all-day breakfast”; it should be “all day breakfast in (town name),” as that is likely the phrase they will input into their search engine. Doing this will make your post a focal point even in a huge sea of articles on the subject.
  5. Don’t forget to optimize your images, too. When uploading your photos, use the keyword in the image name and in the alt image tags. Providing as much information as possible to search engine sites will only help to rank your blog’s relevancy.
  6. Be smart in your meta description. Your blog post’s meta description should be short and to the point. Aim for around 150 characters at most. Writing an engaging meta description, which appears below the page’s title on Google, is a simple and effective way to ensure that your readers click through and read your post.
  7. Use descriptive anchor text on links. Anchor text is the clickable text of your hyperlink. Showing your audience other relevant posts (and making sure they know where a link will take them) is an important part of SEO. It also helps the audience to feel engaged with the text and play a role in their reading.
  8. Reference current and relevant links. Use other websites as references when possible. If you’re proving a point or referring to another article, linking to that article is not only courteous, it’s also good for your blog. Make sure what you’re linking to is current, though, and make sure it actually has something to do with your post.
  9. Link internally. Not only should you link to other sites’ posts, you should also link to your own. Relevant content you’ve published in the past should be linked to your new post. This allows for an endless cycle of promotion that can be used to your advantage.
  10. Ensure your site is compatible for all formatsEnsure that your site is compatible in all formats. Your readers should be able to access your blog post on their computer, laptop, smartphone, or tablet. The format should therefore be easily readable across all platforms. It’s also important that your mobile site loads quickly, as readers may exit your site if they have to wait too long.
  11. Improve loading time. You can improve loading time by tweaking the images on your site. Eliminate unnecessary images, and reduce the file size of necessary photos. You should also use very small images in your thumbnails so the whole picture is visible and your readers can click through to see the image at a higher resolution if they so desire.
  12. Provide subscription tools. Giving your readers a way to subscribe to your content is extremely beneficial for building and maintaining a readership. If you’ve already convinced a reader to subscribe, then you’ve given yourself a chance to have the same reader for a future post.
  13. Actively use social media. Setting up social media accounts will help you to engage with readers. Actually maintaining those social media accounts can help with SEO and will allow loyal readers to easily find and follow your blog. It will also help you to broaden your audience, as you may reach a readership you might not have been able to reach before. Be sure to include social share buttons directly on your blog posts, too, to make it easier for readers to engage.

Effective blogging and SEO go hand in hand. Being able to find your post will not matter if readers do not enjoy the content, and readers will not be able to enjoy your content if they cannot find your post. That’s why it’s so important to be able to do both. Using both the blog checklist and the SEO checklist will aid you in attaining the perfect balance. Get to it, bloggers!

 

Image source: stockpic.com/Pexels.com, Zak Suhar/Stocksnap.io, SplitShire.com, Wilfred Iven/Stocksnap.io

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Easy Tips to Make Money Blogging

The word "blog" sits on top of a stack of money.

The word "blog" sits on top of a stack of money.Creating and managing your own website has never been easier since the explosion of blog websites on the Internet. “Blogs,” short for weblogs, are websites that produce new content on a regular basis. Blog popularity is based on the amount of Internet traffic directed to the website. Since blogs consistently update their content, blog writers develop an audience that follows the posts. Upon discovering this, companies have jumped at the opportunity to reach new demographics for products and services by writing blogs. As a result, it is possible for individuals, companies, organizations, and many more groups to make money blogging.

Money can be made through a blog in a few different ways:

Advertising: Particularly for personal blogs, advertisers have access to an untapped marketing opportunity. Based on the topic of the blog—for example, fashion—companies that offer products and services related to the topic can advertise on the site. The blog reaches a predetermined demographic for the company. The readers already have an interest in the topic of the blog. Advertisers can then point toward specific products and services related to the topic, which will ensure successful sales. You can make money blogging by advertising space on your site, much like advertising space in a newspaper.

Affiliate Programs: Another one of the benefits of blogging is that bloggers can earn money from affiliate programs. Affiliate programs are companies that will link up with a blog to increase Internet traffic toward a particular product or service. Like advertising, bloggers apply for the programs that complement the topic about which they write. However, this differs from advertising because, instead of selling advertising space on the website, the company pays for the blogger to promote the product or service in the content of the blog. Bloggers will post links on their page that direct the audience toward the company’s website. Bloggers are then paid commissions based on how much traffic the website receives.

Selling Products: Individuals and companies can sell their products and services on a blog as a way of directly engaging with the audience. They can promote their products and connect with the audience on a more personal level. Customers can also ask questions and leave comments.

As you can see, while blogs are often considered a site for self-expression, they can also be used for business purposes. You might be thinking, “Well, if everyone has a blog these days, sign me up.”

You can make money blogging, but it’s not always simple. There are a few things to consider before starting your very own blog:

What is my topic going to be? Maybe you write movie reviews, maybe you invent your own recipes, or maybe you want to document the adventures of your cats. Whatever the topic is, there must be a market for a particular product, or there is no business model. Make sure your topic is specific enough that it can attract a common audience, but original and interesting enough that readers will want to continue to follow you.

Can I keep my blog up to date? The whole appeal of advertising through a blog is the promise that readers will return to read more. This means that the author needs to be writing compelling posts on a regular basis that will engage the readers. Once there is a steady flow of traffic, advertising opportunities can emerge.

Even though writing a blog might take time and energy, it can be incredibly rewarding to earn money by discussing interesting topics on the Internet.

Image source: rukanoga/BigStockPhoto.com

Inklyo's free ebook about business blogging.

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How to Increase Organic Traffic: 6 Handy Blogging Tips

How to Increase Organic Traffic - 6 Handy Blogging TipsNowadays, companies, brands, and even individuals are expected to have an optimized Internet presence. Whether a business creates a blog as part of a marketing initiative or an individual uses blogging to promote a personal brand, having a blog that draws organic traffic has become an important aspect of creating a successful online presence.

Though it can be tempting to pay for ad space, organic traffic is more important. Organic traffic consists of individuals searching specifically for you or your niche service or product, which means these are the individuals who are most likely to convert into customers or clients. Besides basic SEO practices, such as including proper keywords in your content and metadata, we offer several additional blogging tips here that can help you make the most of organic searches.

Know your niche, and find content opportunities.

In the fast-paced, instant-gratification world of the Internet, one of the biggest mistakes a blogger can make is trying to be all things to all readers. Instead of focusing your content on trends to gain more readers, figure out what is most important to you, and write about that.

Maybe you’re the new owner of a new dog grooming company, a marketer at a large corporation, an experienced writer, or a stay-at-home mom with a passion for DIY projects. Through the Internet, you can reach huge audiences hungry for good content about any one of these topics. Become an expert in your niche, and provide quality content that appeals to your specific readership.

Once you have determined your niche, research others who provide the same type of content. What posts are most popular? This is your passion; think about what information you would search for, and come up with a list of topics to write about. From there, see what content gaps exist in your niche, and then fill them with the best possible content.

For example, the owner of that small dog grooming business might find 2,341,748 articles describing the best shampoos for dogs but little information on the best options for dogs that have been sprayed by a skunk. A detailed article reviewing the most common shampoos in this category might draw more readers and rank higher for this more specific search topic than yet another generalized top 10 list.

Determine who the influencers are within your niche, and then network and promote your content.

Make a list of the top influential bloggers in your niche by finding the blogs with the highest readerships. Tools such as Buzzstream can help you determine who these influencers are, depending on specific keyword searches, and provide contact information for them. What kind of content are they creating? Take the great content you have created already and ask one of these top bloggers to provide a point of view.

You can also think on a bigger scale and create a post that includes advice from several influencers. Once your post goes live, make sure you contact these bloggers to let them know and share it on their social media accounts, which can be a great way to increase your own readership. The goal here is to get a link back from one or more of these influencers, who likely have high Google authority rankings in your niche. When one of these sites links back to yours, it will increase your search ranking and organic traffic.

Take advantage of content distribution and social networks to reach a wider audience.

Sharing content over social media networks is the first step in content distribution. Sharing strategically and often gives you the advantage of putting your content in front of the right audience, which will transfer into link clicking and organic traffic. The key is, once again, to know your audience and at what times they are most likely to see your post. Utilize account management applications to schedule content and share that content multiple times over different networks to gain the most exposure. Social referrals are an important factor in subsequent organic traffic.

Understand the importance of different types of link building.

BacklinkingBroken link building: Broken link building can be time-consuming when you don’t use tools. This method of link building involves finding broken links on other sites that are relevant to your content or have high authority value and then asking the site administrator to switch out the broken link for yours. Consistently following through with this practice can help you gain organic traffic by building site authority and search rankings.

Implied links: Implied linking is a new process Google has implemented that takes into account brand mentions without a direct link. This means search rankings benefit from your brand or website name being mentioned on other websites without them actually having to link back to you. The more you are mentioned, the higher your search ranking (and organic traffic) will be, because Google realizes your content has authority within your niche. To benefit from this type of link building, it is important to grow your reputation and network and to market your brand to get others to mention your name.

Backlinking using images: Consider all the photo- and image-sharing social networks available. Some high-authority content sharing sites are also relevant to growing your number of backlinks by sharing quality images. This type of link building works well for designers, photographers, or other image-heavy sites that can share their images on stock image directories, Flickr, or design directories with a link back to the original content. The more backlinks a website has, the higher it will rank in a search, resulting in more organic traffic.

Focus on long-tail key phrases rather than generalized keywords to tap into your niche audience.

Instead of focusing on general keywords that return millions of search results, consider your niche audience and what they are searching for specifically in relation to your content, product, or service. If you were to search for a local dog groomer, you probably wouldn’t simply search for “dog groomer” but rather “dog groomers in Chatham–Kent” or “the best dog groomer in Chatham–Kent” to make sure you received the most relevant results. This is how most users search for information, making long-tail key phrases more rewarding for niche content, which ranks higher when fewer, more specific search results are returned.

Google also looks at whether content is able to answer a long-tail keyword phrase in the form of a question and ranks quality how-to content higher in such search queries. Keep in mind what exactly your audience may be searching for, and include these key phrases in your content to increase your organic traffic.

Use schema markup in your SEO practices to boost organic traffic.

Schema markup is a more advanced SEO option that helps search engines return more information from your site in search results. The difference between schema markup and basic SEO is that schema tells the search engine what different aspects of your content mean by going beyond indexing for keywords. Schema explains that, for example, one keyword is the author of the content, another keyword is the product or service a business offers, and a third keyword tells the search engine what type of content is being displayed. Websites that incorporate schema markup into SEO rank higher in search engine results, because the search engine actually understands these relevant results. For more information, visit Schema.org or the Google Structured Data Markup Helper.

Image source: goranmx/Pixabay.com, Tante Tati/Pixabay.com

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Writing Cats and Dogs: Which Blog Style Should You Adopt?

Which Blog Style Should You Adopt? I couldn’t possibly begin to tell you why a raven is like a writing desk, but I can tell you how a pet is like a blog post. As you’re probably aware, there are different types of blog posts, just as there are different types of pets. One easy way to break down blog styles, particularly if you’re as great a fan of four-legged companions as I am, is to think of the different types of blog posts in terms of two groups: the Dog and the Cat.

No, I’m not saying that some blog posts rule while others drool. And no, your blog posts aren’t going to drink from your toilet or shred your curtains. The analogy is a bit subtler than that, though I think we can agree that blog posts would be much more exciting—although also more destructive—if they did get into such shenanigans, no?

The “Dog” Post

The first type of blog post is the Dog. Much like my favorite type of furry friend, this blog style tends to have a short attention span. Most dogs are content to chase a ball, but only until they spot a squirrel. Likewise, a Dog-type blog post only addresses one topic, and it only does so long enough to cover the basic information about that topic. Just as your dog must investigate every smell in the backyard, the readers of your Dog-type blog post have other posts to . . . smell. Don’t try to limit their noses to just your post. Instead of sticking around, they’ll probably just get distracted and—SQUIRREL!

Dog PostShort-form content is best for Dog posts. This blog style also lends itself to fun topics, like this one. Dogs enjoy playing and generally having a good time; similarly, you should use Dog posts to focus more on enjoyment than on information. Just as certain dog breeds are more suited to some people than to others, different types of Dog posts will be enjoyed and shared more by some readers than by others. This means you need to create lots of different types of blog posts to appeal to different kinds of readers. Think of each type of Dog post as a different breed of dog, if you will.

One of the great benefits of the Dog post is that this blog style encourages social sharing. Dogs make great companions to almost all people, and Dog-type posts tend to get along with a wide variety of people as well. In summary, Dog posts are fun, easy to read, and highly shareable.

The “Cat” Post

My dog has one solution to most of life’s mysteries: sniff it, lick it, and hope for the best. My cat, on the other hand, is a much more pensive creature. While my dog is happy to abandon any problem that cannot be solved with his mouth, my cat investigates each new scenario she encounters until she comes up with what she deems a reasonable solution (or until she gets scared and runs away—whichever happens first, really).

Cat PostIn terms of types of blog posts, the Cat-style post tends to be longer, more focused, and more targeted (here’s an example). This blog style lends itself to long-form content, allowing the reader to learn lots of specific information about a given topic. Each Cat-style post should be targeted to one specific group of readers. While dogs get the happy title of “man’s best friend,” cats aren’t always so universally loved. However, those who do have cats love them a lot. So each Cat-style post should be tailored to the type of person who needs the information that post has to offer rather than be written for everyone.

Ever asked someone to watch your cat while you were away? If your cat is anything like mine, it probably hid every time that person entered the room. It may have even refused to eat until it felt safe enough to come out of hiding. Like real cats, Cat-style blog posts are not always shareable. Sure, your cat may accept an elite group of people into its life, but for the most part, that feline is not willing to spend time with strangers. While Cat-style blog posts aren’t necessarily as shareable as their Dog-style counterparts, they provide great benefits for the people who do choose to read them. After all, cats make great pets, too!

Which Type of Blog Style Should You Use?

I know there’s an epic battle between “dog people” and “cat people.” Some may argue that you can only have one or the other, but when it comes to types of blog posts, you definitely need to take advantage of the benefits of both Dog posts and Cat posts. One works to attract and entertain people, while the other works to target more specific groups with the information they need to make educated business and consumer decisions. And, as with real dogs and cats, why would you choose only one when you can have the best of both worlds?

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