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The Pen Thinker

Everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. ~Sylvia Plath

How to Make the Most of Guest Blogging (eBook)

Posted in The Blogger's Well, Writing Resources

This is a guest post by MyBlogGuest.com

Got your guest post published thinking your job is done? You are doing that wrong! Each guest post is your most valuable asset! Make the most of it!

Here are my two tricks:

Repackage Your Content For Fresh Views

Fresh View

Sometimes you just don’t have the inspiration. There is nothing wrong with that, we have all been there. Luckily, it doesn’t have to affect your ability to write effective and engaging guest posts. You just need to learn how to repackage content in a new and creative way.

This isn’t the same as rewriting. The actual facts of a topic rarely changes, at least more than would require an update. Providing that update is one way of repackaging content. So is creating a new form of media that is easily posted and shared via social media.

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6 Tips To Engage Your Blog Readership With A Clean Web Design

Posted in The Blogger's Well

La Gustadera, G0! 1986. Web Design ExampleLet me tell you a simple truth — running a niche blog can feel like a chore sometimes.

Not because of the writing, though. No, the reason lies in the website design.

My guest writer July Minor pointed that out in her contributions to Writer’s Mind — without a reader-friendly, nice looking design, your content is bound to make less of an impact on your readers.  Since you thrive on your blog readership, this is an aspect you can’t overlook.

Don’t fret, though — there’s no scary programming or technology you need to learn in order to make your blog presentable. Actually,  you don’t need to become a web designer to improve your blog! All you need is to follow these 6 easy tips and make sure you always put your readers (therefore, your content) first.

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4 Ways To Keep Your Blog Content Fresh

Posted in Guest Posts, The Blogger's Well

IMG_4267 Keeping a blog fresh is like keeping a plant fresh — you need to water it regularly or it dies. But what does keeping your blog fresh mean exactly?

Well, for one you need to analyze your blog so far – read some of your older articles, reflect on their meaning and importance and then make a strategic decision what went wrong and where and how can you fix the problem using the least bit of effort.

Here are some ways to boost your rankings, if not permanently at least for a while.

Change Your Design

The first thing readers see when they visit your blog is the graphic design, button interface, logo and theme. If you haven’t spent much time in the beginning to work out all the kinks of your design, maybe you can work on it now. First impressions matter and it is never too late to add a few more buttons. Something more about yourself. Maybe a nice picture of a beautiful sunset – anything that catches the eye and is pleasant to look at. Of course color coordination is very important as well as the overall theme of your interface set-up.

Experiment! You will be surprised of your own artistic abilities!

Hint: if you really can’t make your own designs, hire a good professional designer. Try LinkedIn groups and Coworks.com for affordable yet competent professionals.

Write More (Related, Interesting) Content

Usually when people start writing content in their first blogs, they have at least a basic idea of what they want to accomplish. But as time goes by people change; and so do their writing. In most cases the most successful blogs are specialized to deal with only one, two subjects at the most.

Are you going to be a social commentator? Comment about a small, but interesting (maybe even controversial) issues. If you give out technical information, be sure that all your facts and not double, not triple, but quadruple times checked before you post them to the internet. If you accept guest blogs on your site, be sure to thoroughly read each and every submission your receive, where quality control and proper formatting should be taken very seriously. Also, more pages automatically means better SEO, and that is what being popular on the internet is all about.

Develop an SEO Strategy

There are numerous ways to boost your SEO rankings. For example you can host guest posting from authors in exchange for providing them to link out to their websites. Basically the more (quality, related) links you have going in and out of your blog the better. You can even write guest posts yourself – this way bigger, more successful blogs will share some of their popularity with you.

Host a Discussion Forum

If you are working under one particular subject (like cleaning for example), you can host a forum and have people discuss your issues further boosting your traffic. Not to mention that if you are good/original enough, you can make serious traffic, with hundred of thousands of people visiting your blog every single day! You can sell ad-space to companies and sponsor your own You Tube channel. The possibilities are endless, but you do need to work on your blog and attract more and more visitors daily.

The most important thing in this line of work is consistency and giving it all you’ve got every time.

About the Author

July Minor loves to write about Internet and blogging. She currently works as a web designer for www.tidycleaning.co.uk/deep-cleaning-sw2-tulse-hill and she has a lot of experience to share.

Image credit: dopub

The 6 Secrets Behind My Blogging Success

Posted in Guest Posts, The Blogger's Well

Two Bloggers, after Norman RockwellBy July Minor.

For as long as I can remember, I have been engaging in the fine act of scribbling my thoughts on paper (and then showing that to other people for shock value).

But seriously, what makes an average blogger turn successful?

Is it hard work? Determination? Both?

Well, the answer sadly is— no. But don’t get discouraged, for I am about to reveal my own personally patented secret to success, although I am fairly sure it is not secret at all. The key is to follow a set of rules and guidelines that I guarantee you to work wonderfully in at least 60% of the time.

Why 60% you ask? Well, as you will find out; blog writing is a tricky and harsh endeavor, suited only for those with true mental and ethical fortitude.

So What Is It?

The answer to that question can be found in yet another question:

What makes a good entertainer great?

Just because you’re writing your entertainment on paper (figuratively speaking) you are not protruding more integrity into your undertaking. As a matter of fact you should feel flattered that you live in an age that allows basically every Tom, Dick and Harry to express their viewpoint, even if no one actually cares.

Here are my 6 secrets to make your blog stand out (and people care).

Quality Design

As superficial as that may appear to the less artistically driven bloggers, having a good quality design is what counts for the first impression. No one is going to stick around to hear your philosophy on contemporary hedonism if your blog looks like garbage. There are many fantastic tools that can help you turn your dud blog into a real winner.

While this paragraph is no place to go over each of them specifically, some well executed research and hardcore learning initiative on your behalf will help you see just how much better your blogs can look if only you take some time to learn the fundamentals of art designing your blog— or to find a good web designer to do it for you, that’s it.

Content That Connects

And I can’t stress that enough! People are not interested in you, your children or your dog Precious. If you expect to be recognized as a great blogger, you must discard any fantasies you may hold in regards to writing about yourself. People are just not interested in your personal life because it doesn’t bring them what they need.

Base your written content along the lines of ‘What is Hot right now and what is not”. For example, look as the situation in Syria escalates and write about what you believe people want to hear about that topic. You must, and I repeat MUST, give people what they want.

What are the ‘hottes’ topics right now on the ol’ Internet? Find out and write about that. If you have any scientific understanding of social manipulation and social control in general, then you would know that people tend to follow the herd. So try to avoid subjects that are too controversial or unpopular unless you have an objective in mind.

Style

Always strive to write interesting content, but don’t get discouraged if your posts turn out as a failure the first couple of times. Remember that every great author had to start from somewhere.

Actually, refining your style is both part writing and part reading. So if you want to be a successful blogger, you need to read lots and lots of blogs. Find the style that suits your style best and try to copy it. Most great writers are just copying what other great writers wrote before them. Of course plagiarism is a big no no, so alongside ‘stylish’ text I must insist that we put ‘unique’ there as well.

Advertisement

How do international companies make it big? They pour millions, upon billions in advertisement alone. If a financial newspaper wrote about the current tensions between North and South Korea and it was advertised on all the major talk shows, TV ads, the News etc., there would be lots of people who will have an interest in reading it.

As long as you can find a link between popular topics and your blog, there’s always room for advertisement.

Guest Posting

Promote your website by writing guest posts for other people. How does that work?

Well, a long time ago, some smart fellow came up with a simple, yet irrefutably genius idea; why not make a blog but have other people write the articles for him? And little by little that blog started to grow and generate untold amounts of traffic. Soon enough more and more people started showing up to take a part in this. After all, for each guest post you submit, the blog itself posts you personal info – like name, website, bio etc.

This way you are making yourself popular, even before you start writing for your own blog. And if you play your cards right, maybe some day people will guest post on your blog too.

Linking

Like I said earlier, there is not a single, all powerful truth behind being a successful blogger. For example, linking your blog to other ‘high traffic and high authority’ websites will boost your SEO rankings exponentially. It is an important part of blog management, and if you want your blog to be successful, it is just as important as writing good content for your readers.

About the Author

July Minor is passionate freelance blogger and writer. She loves to spare her time blogging. She currently works at Clean To Perfection and she loves that because she has enough free time.

Image credit:  Mike Licht

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Can I Really Make Money Blogging? – Jane Sheeba Tells You HOW In 5 Ways (In Her New E-Book!)

Posted in Marketing Toolbox, The Blogger's Well

Can I Really Make Money Blogging? - Stop Wondering! Here’s How You CanYou adore blogging. You enjoy getting your thoughts online and look at other people come and read and discuss your opinion.

Too bad making money from blogging is not as easy as keeping a personal journal. You need to develop a business mindset if you really want to earn an income from your blog:

I’ve learned these things after reading dozens of freelance writing blogs and (e-)books. I’m a still learning and still experimenting with new ways to earn more and with less stress, but that’s part of the fun of the freelancing profession, isn’t it? 🙂

Jane Sheeba’s new report Can I Really Make Money Blogging? Stop Wondering! Here’s How You Can definitely helped me see new horizons.

A Pro Blogger I Admire

I’ve been following Jane Sheeba‘s Pro Blogging Success for nearly eleven months before I made the decision to subscribe to her newsletter and free content writing e-course. I was never a regular blogger, as pushing myself to do something out of inspiration would only lead me to produce low quality content and get an anxiety attack— however, Jane’s advice helped me realize that I can make my own schedules without having to push myself too hard. All it really takes is a bit of time management and an effort to get most of the work done when the muse is favorable.

When Jane released Can I Really Make Money Blogging? and asked some of her subscribers for a honest review, I thought it was a chance to finally give back to a pro blogger I truly admire, as well as to learn how to write a good book review (because that’s a new ground for me to explore). Both these possibilities made me enthusiastic enough to start working early on a review of Jane’s report, by taking notes as I read the chapters and by outlining this post before I was even halfway my reading.

Yes, it was a slow labor of love, but I wrote a book review and that’s a big step forward in my career.

Jane’s Advice For Bloggers

1. Product Reviews— Jane’s report is filled with numerous, hands-on tips on how to write an honest review. This is particularly true of affiliate marketing: disappoint your readers once, disappoint them forever– they’ll fly away like birds, really, no second chances. Jane stresses the importance of staying on the realistic side and provide both the cons and the so-so aspects of the product along with the benefits. Readers appreciate that, whether they buy or not. If you write good tutorials, they will surely remember YOU.

2. Valuable Content— I agree with Jane that our content should provide value. Always. That’s the only way to fidelize your readership. And your loyal subscribers, who often convert into customers.

In fact you should save some exclusive golden nuggets just for your list subscribers. Why? Because they’re so special.”—- Jane Sheeba in Can I Really Make Money Blogging?

We all need to feel special. I’m in Jane’s mailing list because I do. 🙂

Also, Jane suggests you build a mailing list today, not to wait for your blog to develop– so I’m starting tonight!

3. Guest Blogging— Jane suggests to use it to increase subscriber count. She tells you how to do it with practical examples in her e-book, but I will add this:

Use guest blogging to prospect, too!

Getting yourself out there not only improves your visibility in front of potential new readers or subscribers, but also high paying clients. I got a SEO + article writing gig this way.

4. The 80/20 Rule— You have to balance your promotional content with the value you provide to your readers. An overly promotional blog can lead many to unsubscribe or to abandon your blog, causing a substantial drop in traffic and conversion. That’s why Jane suggest you use the Pareto principle for business, also known as the 80/20 rule: the amount of valuable content should always outnumber your promotional messages.

5. Income Reports— Publishing income reports along with an ‘how-to’ guide on how you earned that income will build readers’ trust. And I mean real trust. Because you could fake an income report, but not the exact steps you made to earn that money with your blog. If your readers know they can trust YOU, they won’t forget about you.

6 (Bonus!). A Blogger’s USP— Jane stresses the importance of defining your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). You’ll find more about it in her report, as she describes it thoroughly from planning stage to delivery, but I suggest you start learning about USP right now, to make the best out of Jane’s advice.

What I Don’t Agree With

The only personal ‘pet peeve’ about the e-book is Jane’s view of bloggers who ‘fake it till they make it’. While I definitely agree with her on the lack of credibility and trust such bloggers often carry to the blogosphere, I’m generally a supporter of blogging about subjects and areas we know nothing about.

First, because it’s a challenge: you can’t learn about a new topic until you actually need it.

Second, because it helps master research and interviewing skills.

I think that blogging about something we don’t know is NOT faking it when done properly: I may not know much about computer hardware and networks, but I can research documents, visit tech companies, ask the experts and then write what I learned, share expert quotes and advice.

I do that often and I come out with more knowledge than I would have ever learned on my own.

Have you read Jane Sheeba’s new e-book? What’s your take on freelance blogging?

5 Blogging Ideas From RSS Feeds

Posted in The Blogger's Well

LOGO2.0 part IWhen was the last time you glanced at your favorite blogs’ RSS feeds?

Perhaps you did this morning. But have you taken a closer look? Believe it or not, these lists are not mere updates. Not for productive bloggers, at least.

RSS feeds can turn out very useful to quickly come up with a blog post idea.

How?

I’ve collected 5 inspirational tips over the last few months, all in my to-do-list for my most popular blogs. But here, I want to share them with you. 🙂 Let me know how they do work for you!

1. RSS feeds let you explore topic frequency in a certain niche

The list of posts in the feed shows all topics recently touched by a blogger in a short time span. You can easily extract the statistics and compare them to another blogger’s. If you sampled a few blogs and did this work on all of them, you’ll have the material for an interesting case study post.

2. What’s missing in this feed?

Among all those headlines and abstracts, do you think the blogger should have added something? Use your blog to fill the gap– write a post! It’s a way to join in the conversation.

3. Timely posts on recent news

Did your favorite bloggers write about recent news in a timely way? If they weren’t, start from their most recent post and write a piece with a ‘response’ to it– e.g. “Recently I read on XYZ blog that A produced a new B and I was thrilled by news. You can imagine my surprise when, just this morning, I heard that B was featured by my local magazine!”. You create a connection with your favorite blog that will benefit both.

4. Use the feed to plan your week’s blog contents

By examining your favorite blogs’ RSS feeds, you may get new blog post ideas for the entire week. Take notes on the posts in the feed, write down keywords that describe the topics, then mix them up. Sometimes originality is akin to a tasty soup with unusual ingredients.

5. Observe the order of  posts

Does it tell you anything about the blogger’s unique views? How does that order meet the readers’ quest for curiosity and information? Does a certain order of posts increase user feedback? Play with the order of your posts until you notice significant improvements in your traffic.

What inspiration do you get from your daily RSS feeds? 🙂

Image credit: Ludwig Gatzke