Last Updated 03/08/2018
Today I have a a technical post for you.
Not technical in the sense that you need any technical skills though - queue sighs of relief.
I’m going to break down how to fix your broken links & 404 errors without needing any technical skills at all.
Before I begin, this post applies to Weebly Users.
My website is hosted & built through Weebly so I will base the post off this platform.
Having said that, the first half of this post will be relevant if you use Wordpress, Squarespace, Wix or any other platform so if you are not sure what a 404 error is it is still worth reading through.
This post covers:
What Are Broken Links & 404 Errors?
Why Are Broken Links & 404 Errors Important To Fix
How To Identify Broken Links & 404 Errors On My Site?
How To Fix Broken Links & 404 Errors In Weebly
How To Set Up A Custom Weebly 404 Page
What Are Broken Links & 404 Errors?
Very simply this is any link that a user might follow on your website which takes them to a 404 error page instead of the page they were looking for.
This will happen anytime you update or optimise a url.
For example, say this post about getting a hobby was live on your website:
OLD URL: http://tinybuddha.com/blog/hobby-can-boost-motivation-change-life/
It’s doing really well and you are getting traffic and shares. But, you do some keyword research and notice that the URL could be optimized to improve its ranking position.
So, you update the url to:
NEW URL: http://tinybuddha.com/blog/boost-motivation-with-hobby/
What you’ve done is created a new url, and the old url now goes to a 404 page (unless you have an automatic redirect set up, some wordpress sites do).
Anywhere on your website where you have linked to the old url, and anyone else who linked to your old url, all of those links now go to a 404 error page.
(This is the 404 page which you would get on a weebly website if you follow a broken link.)
To check your 404 error page type your url into your browser and add some random letters at the end of it.
For example: http://tinybuddha.com/kkkddd
Top Tip: You can also optimise your 404’s like Tiny Buddha have done here. By simply placing links through to important or popular content you will decrease the number of users who leave your website from a 404 page.
There are tons of ways you can optimize the page and I have included some at the bottom of this post where we cover: How To Set Up A Custom Weebly 404 Error Page
The Reason Broken Links & 404 Errors Are Important To Fix
There are a few reasons why fixing your broken links is important.
Firstly user experience.
It is very annoying, especially if your visitor is on a mobile to click through to content & find a 404 page.
Short attention spans mean you don’t have a margin for error with your visitors.
Most will just leave your site and may never come back. That’s a lot of wasted energy which has gone into getting that visitor to your site only to have them leave again.
Another reason is for SEO purposes.
Say your post had been referenced by several other websites, perhaps it has been shared hundreds, maybe even thousands of times (we can dream).
If you don’t fix your broken links then all of this link equity stays with the old url and you’ve lost valuable positive signals pointing to your website.
Redirecting your old URL to your new URL means that most of this link juice will flow through to your new page.
How To Identify Broken Links & 404 Errors On My Site?
Identifying broken links is SUPER EASY thanks to Google and their tool Google Webmaster Tools. If you haven’t signed up already then get your profile. It’s very easy to install and there is a tutorial here for you to follow.
It might take Google a week or so to crawl your website and populate the data. But once it is populated navigate to the section; Crawl Errors
This will let you know where your broken links are! Perfect.
How To Fix Broken Links & 404 Errors In Weebly
Once you have identified your broken links, navigate to your Weebly Website Dashboard.
Select “Edit Site”.
And now hit “Settings” In The Top Navigation
Click The SEO Tab and scroll down to the redirect section.
Here you can enter your old url and select the new page you want visitors to go to.
Top Tip: For deleted pages if there is a closely related page send users there. If there is no closely related page send users to your homepage, or consider re-writing the page!
I hope this post has inspired you to fix your broken links.
It might not be the sexiest thing in the world, but improving your visitors experience is.
So, check in every few months and make sure you aren’t frustrating your readers and losing valuable SEO juice in the process.
If you want to go one step further and create a customer weebly 404 page, then check below.
How To Set Up A Custom Weebly 404 Page
Weebly's 404 error page is very basic, it has to apply to lots of different websites across a huge range of industries and brands so that makes sense.
It does include a link through to your homepage to encourage visitors to click through and see if they can find what they are looking for, but it can be improved.
A custom 404 page is also one of the indicators for Google that tells them your site is high quality. I'm not saying that by adding a custom 404 page suddenly your site will be prioritized and you'll see your ranks increase.
However, putting that little bit of extra effort into your content is a good habit to get in to! It only takes a few minutes and you can have a custom 404 page which elevates the perception of your blog, website and / or business.
To create a custom weebly 404 page
Go to: Edit Site
Click: New Page
Name this page: 404
Tick: Hide In Navigation
Now you can create whatever you like!
And you can get really creative. Here are some of my favorite examples of 404 error pages for inspiration (note, these were not all created on Weebly).
Ebay 404 Error Page - good for function!
As you can see there are lots of ways you can go with this page. The perfect page is one that stays on brand but still helps the user gets to where they want to go. So make sure you have a link through to your homepage, or even better your site categories to help your visitor easily find what they are looking for.
That's it for this post! I hope this is a great reference for you. Good luck on your blogging journey and feel free to comment below or contact me and say hi.
Working with bloggers on collaborations is a great way to drive traffic back to your company or service. No matter what you sell, it is very likely that there are a group of bloggers out there who can help you reach your audience.
Here are 7 primary benefits of working with bloggers to promote your business.
1. Use The Power Of Leverage For Fast Results
The reason it is so powerful collaborating with other bloggers is because you have access to their audience of followers. It is very important that the audience listens & trusts the blogger you are working with. The volume of followers doesn’t matter as much as the quality of engagement that happens on the blog.
Whenever you work with a blogger with an engaged following who recommended your company you are reaching a wider audience of people who are then introduced to your product or service.
2. Cost Effective Marketing Tactic
Working with bloggers is a fairly low cost marketing activity. If you are doing it yourself the only cost will be providing whatever it is you want to provide to the blogger. And if you are DIYing it I suggest you sign up to our Guest Bloggers Wanted tool and connect with bloggers for free! It is a really easy way to collaborate with bloggers in multiple different niches at a very low cost.
If you want someone to run your blogger outreach for you then you will need to pay for this service, and the more you can afford to pay for a high quality guest posting service the better your results will be long into the future.
3. Open To Every Business
No matter what your business is blogger outreach is a useful tactic. You might adjust it differently depending on the type of business you are… for example a mostly offline business might choose to only appear in well trusted and high authority online magazines and newspapers in order to build their brand trust.
Whereas a mostly online business might decide to heavily focus on working with bloggers to drive online traffic to their site and make more online sales through increased search engine traffic.
4. More Search Engine Traffic
Collaborating with bloggers can help drive more search engine traffic back to your site. This is of course assuming you have the correct strategy in place first. Make sure you know what keywords you are targeting and what you want to be ranking for! Assuming you have this keyword plan in place the additional links that you pick up from collaborations will help your blog content & product pages to rank.
5. Grow Your Brand Trust
Research by BlogHer found that 81% of respondents to their 2012 survey said that they trust the information and advice that blogs give them and that 61% have made a purchase based on a recommendation from a blogger. Working with bloggers grows trust.
6. Grow Your Network
Everytime you collaborate with a blogger you have also introduced your company to them as well. Don’t always just think about the audience you are reaching but the person you are in direct contact with! Guest blogging and collaborations is a great way to grow your network and will start to snowball once you hit a certain number of them.
7. The Process Is Fun
Working with bloggers is fun! You are speaking with a person who has spent a lot of time and effort on their blog, growing & nurturing their audience. It is a pretty special thing when they are accepting to work with you and help promote your product or service to their audience. Enjoy the process of creating content, promoting it and seeing the results!
If you want to work with bloggers check out Guest Bloggers Wanted, our new outreach tool which helps you connect with the bloggers & influencers SUPER easily. You don't need to build long outreach lists & get lost in email. Just post your guest post title in the tool and you'll find bloggers who want to collaborate with you!
Did you have a hamster as a kid? I did. We had Teaky, and Hammy From Hell (that one used to escape all of the time), Ham - Burger came a little later (But we used to call him Ham) & Snowy.. Decided to go conventional with her.
Jubious hamster names aside the strongest memory that has stuck with me from owning those hamsters was listening to the squeak of the hamster wheel turning round, and round and round at night.
Poor little hamster.
Stuck in a cage with only a squeaky wheel as entertainment. (p.s. I am dramatizing this a little for effect... our hamsters were very much loved!).
The image of my hamster running round and round on his squeaky wheel has stuck with me.
It’s the same feeling I get when I’m on the running machines at the gym (which is the reason I do yoga instead).
And it’s the same feeling I get when I am scheduled down to a rigorous content generating schedule.
In this post I’d like to share some top tips to help you drive traffic to your blog WITHOUT needing to feel like a hamster caught on a wheel.
Because no-one wants to feel like that.
We didn’t quit our 9-5, start blogging or start a business to feel trapped in a cage of our own making.
It’s true that studies show that through creating more content your traffic will go up. Makes logical sense right? BUT, producing more is not the only way to generate more traffic to your blog.
1. Add Storytelling To Your Writing
See what I did at the top there? I told you a little story about my hamster. If you are reading this sentence it means I got you this far down the page which means you are far more likely to make it down to the end of this post.
The longer I can get you to stay with me, the less lonely I feel (jokes!), the more value I can offer which means you might take action - leave a comment, share this post or even join me on my email.
Woohoo! That would be grand!
Adding storytelling makes your writing more engaging.
Without Storytelling; Cheryl is a copywriter who has several clients she needs to write content for today. She loves writing.
With Storytelling; Cheryl gets up with a million ideas buzzing in her head. She can’t wait to get to her laptop & immediately pours a coffee, sits down at her desk and switches it on. It’s going to be a busy day writing content for her clients with the sun streaming through the window.
This is just a short example but you can see that with just a few extra lines you can really paint the picture for your readers.
Show don't tell.
Take your audience on a journey and allow them to feel the mood of your writing rather than just telling them blandly.
Instead of writing “Cheryl loves writing”, in the second example I am showing the reader through the excited way Cheryl starts her day writing.
P.s. plug time. If you need content, find hundreds of amazing bloggers who can work on your project on Guest Bloggers Wanted.
2. Publish > Shout > Market
I mentioned this concept in an article I wrote for for Rising Tide, I’ll mention it again. It’s important.
Very rarely does content magically start getting hundreds of thousands of views and shares.
I’ve seen people in tons of Facebook groups complaining that they’ve been blogging now for 4 whole months and they aren’t getting the results they expected.
Um. Sorry, let me get my violin out.
Do you know how long and hard top bloggers have worked to get to where they are? They spend hours and hours (if not days) crafting content, and then they spent 10 X the effort promoting it.
And that doesn’t mean tweeting it out a couple of times & sharing it on a few Facebook group threads.
These bloggers write hundreds of Guest Posts, they actively reach out to other bloggers to promote their content.
They engage, network and work their freaking asses off. It’s great that you want to help millions of people with your wisdom, but the honor of doing so comes after learning not just how to write, but how to market. Sorry.
I’ve written more about Guest Blogging here and here. And will be publishing a post soon about different ways you build links to your blog without Guest Blogging.
Or, check out our guest blogging service and have us spark conversation around your product or service.
3. Reference & Link To Influencers In Your Post
Adding examples and references in your blog post boosts its credibility. Why would anyone believe a word you have to say? Back it up with proof from other well known sources.
There are a couple of rules to follow here:
Once you’ve written and published your post, reach out to those that you have included and let them know.
The chances are, if it’s any good they will share it.
Neil Patel links to around 100 - 150 different sources PER POST. By the way if you haven’t checked him out, he offers a fantastic resource for learning about Content Marketing.
4. Start With Keyword Research
Use keyword research not just to for the SEO, but to improve your writing and relevancy. Google is the number one research method aside from word of mouth. You have access to all of that beautiful lovely data (slightly less accurate data now but we will get to that).
Why wouldn’t you want to see what your audience is searching for and make sure your content is exactly what they need?
Not only will your content do better in search (eventually when you’ve built a ton of links and social equity), but it will do better in social media as well.
I’ve written in more depth about how to use Keyword Planner here.
5. Use Quality Images
This applies to within your post and the images you use to promote it. The web is a visual place and with the rise of easy design software like Logojoy and Canva the competition is fierce.
Your audience is far less forgiving now, they expect perfection.
Once your business gets to a certain level and you can afford to outsource images, design is one area to do that.
Quality images really do make a difference. They increase your click through from your social media channels, and they encourage users to come back to your website & sign up.
T Harv Ecker, one of my favorite coaches likes to quote; How You Do One Thing Is How You Do Everything.
We all subconsciously know this. So, don't skimp on your photos!
Having a professionally designed logo also makes a huge difference. It is much easier to align the imagery on your website when you can tie them back to a central point - your logo.
We always place our logo on our Pinterest graphics so that we have visual branding on our social media channels.
Logo Joy is a great tool to use for creating your logo. It is intuitive and easy to use, the AI technology is like having a designer in your back pocket.
6. Join Popular Facebook Groups
There are tons of great Facebook groups for you to join.
For more groups you can join check out Hit The Gems post The Best Facebook Groups To Hang Out In If You’re An Entrepreneur
And white corner creatives; 8 Facebook Groups Every Blogger Should Be A Member Of
Each of these groups has special days when you can promote your content or sell your services.
Make sure that you check out the other content on the thread and retweet / pin / comment on posts which you enjoy.
I have gotten a lot of cross promotion from doing that, and it’s quite fun reading new posts.
7. Share Your Post On Pinterest
If you aren’t on Pinterest yet then get on it now. I don’t buy into the idea that we need to be on all the social networks doing all the things. But don’t miss out on Pinterest. Disclaimer here, I haven’t had a chance to analyse the quality of traffic coming from there yet… so I can’t comment on that.
But I can comment on volumes of traffic which bloggers are getting from Pinterest. And I can contest to that because I set up Pinterest two months ago and it has already sent me the same amount of traffic Instagram has in 6 months. So um, I’m going to run with Pinterest as a core channel to focus on for traffic generation.
That being said, Facebook blows every channel out of the water and most of that traffic is coming from these group threads - so Facebook group threads is an important channel to focus on! P.s. if you are not following us on Pinterest come join. We also operate a group board called Viral Guest Posts, if you send me a message I can add you.
8. Map The Outline Before You Write Your Post (With research)
If you want to increase visits to your blog then you need to be producing epic content. And that starts with mapping out your content before you start. You wouldn’t write a novel without having an idea of where it is going right?
Well, it’s the same for your blog posts.
Readers need to go on a journey with you through the post, it needs to feel cohesive and that only happens when there is some structure.
It is also highly important to research before you write. Sometimes I think we can get in the habit of creating content in a vacuum.
I know I have been guilty of that.
I used to think my content needs to be original, innovative, 100% unique.
But the reality is that innovation comes from smashing together different ideas, not from sitting in a dark room.
So, before you begin your content do some searching on Google. Find out who has written about this topic and take notes! Buzzsumo is a great tool for finding out what is popular in your niche.
Read more: 21 Types Of Content That Audiences Like To Share
9. Use Your Email Signature
I learnt this tip from one of my previous clients the lovely Nadia Finer and I think it’s fab!
Nadia’s email signature always contain loads of really useful information including her latest podcast. I’m pretty sure she used a plugin to generate this dynamically. I haven’t actually implemented this one yet but it is possible!
If dynamically adding in your latest content is too technical for you then just review your static signature.
Chances are you could improve it just by adjusting your call to actions. Make sure you link to your website & your core social media channels at a minimum.
10. Write Evergreen Content
Evergreen means that it is useful for your audience throughout the year. This could be How To Guides for example. Any content which provides practical advice about a topic which isn’t time sensitive.
Anything related to seasonality or specific events are topical posts which have a season to them and a specific time period where they will be read and shared. It’s up to you how you want to weight your Evergreen & Topical content.
What I’ve seen larger brands do is create their Evergreen content first, with just a few topical posts thrown in to mix it up.
Then once they have a strong base they start to add in more topical posts over time. At HostelBookers, by the 2nd year we were focusing heavily on events in different destinations and building out the editorial calendar around what was going on around the world.
But that was because we already had a base of good evergreen content.
I am using the same strategy for Ginger Marketing. So right now I am focusing on evergreen content and in the future, when we have more recourse we can start to mix up the editorial calendar.
I would love to know in the comments below which tactic drives the most amount of traffic to your blog!
3 Small Design Tweaks Which Will Have A Big Impact On Your Blog
How To Choose A Blog Name You Won't Hate In 2 Years
The Difference Between A Content Writer And A Copywriter
Isn’t it amazing that small business owners have access to such a huge range of software products that can literally help us with every aspect of running our business?!
If it weren’t for all of this software I very much doubt there would be as many small business owners as there are today. It makes it a lot more accessible to access the knowledge we need through software than paying someone to do it.
I’m very grateful for the software that helps me run my white label guest posting business and I’d like to share 3 tools I’d struggle to run my business without.
One: Google Drive
I remember the days when it was all about microsoft office. Some people still use it, but I find Google Drive is just so much easier. When working with a remote team it is fundamental to keep everything running smoothly.
We’ve used Google Forms to share new guest post opportunities and connect with new bloggers. We use Google Spreadsheets to track our client orders & our budgets. We use Google Drive to organise everything. And of course Google Docs for creating content. I’ve even hosted meetings before where multiple people in 2 different countries could edit and comment on one doc at the same time.
And it’s free - thanks Google!
For short calls, 30 - 45 minutes I tend to us Zoom. It is super easy to connect with people via a video or call only - there is also the option of sharing the screen as well. It tends to be a little bit more reliable than Skype and the host can invite attendees by sharing a link via email.
Again, this is super useful for remote working!
Plus, it is free for up to 45 minutes calls.
I’ll be honest that I actually only got this a few months ago, but it has hit my top 3 already. Quickbooks is accounting software for small businesses, and is so easy to use. I particularly love the tax estimation feature. It gives you a rundown of the expected tax payment you will need to make for the previous tax year (which by the way you can get now as it’s a new tax year).
You can import your accounts going back as far as you like, and can connect it straight to your bank too. So, every time you have a transaction it gets tracked.
Create profit and loss reports, track your income & keep on top of tax from $5 per month.
I’d love to know, which tools you would struggle to run your business without. Let me know in the comments!
Or, giving up in order to try something new is an area where I should (up to this point) have some kind of medal for.
I’m well versed in the art of saying “who gives a f*ck” or “this will never work”, or “I suddenly realised that it’s not what I actually want”, or “maybe it’s not meant to be” or, “the universe doesn’t want me to do it”.
And about 10 million other excuses that I’ve given myself over the years.
And, I’ve also managed to not give up on quite a few things in my life over the last few years (despite feeling sometimes and often that I should be doing something else).
If you are thinking about giving up.
Whether it’s on your blog, or on your career, or in your relationship, or on your fitness plan or any other area of your life. I’d like to offer my thoughts & learnings so far on what I’ve found about giving up.
And I hope that you can also share your thoughts too!
The story actually starts in the outback of Australia. My brother and I were fruit picking grapes at a farm in the scorching heat, trying to earn some money as skint backpackers aged about 22.
The working conditions were terrible. If you think your office is tough, try picking grapes in 40-degree heat with no access to water and hundreds of flies buzzing around your head. It was really, really terrible.
When we asked for water, the farmer looked at us as if we were insane. We literally couldn’t believe no-one else had asked for water before. It was crazy and we had another 6 weeks of it.
6 hours in we had managed to pick a couple of buckets of grapes each (and probably ate quite a few too) I was settling into the rhythm doing my survival thing, pacing myself for the next 6 weeks.
My brother was already making an escape plan.
Lets quit he said.
QUIT?! We’ve only just started, I replied, amazed at the suggestion. Quitting just wasn’t in my vocabulary at that time. No, we can’t do that I continued.
Well, why not? He replied.
This one phrase shook me. Actually yeah, "why the hell not" my mind was saying. But I’d beat it back with thoughts of resilience, commitment, finishing what you started.
However, after several more hours of exhausting work and still an afternoon to go, it didn’t take much convincing to tip me over the edge.
So, we quit.
We basically just left our secateurs and our buckets and ran away from the farm.
Finding a tap on the way out to hydrate and filling up an empty bottle of water we found for the journey back.
There was no transport so we had to walk.
To be honest, I don’t remember the walk aside from it being 40 degrees and endless road, I’m pretty sure it took us several hours to get home.
I got heat stroke and took several days to recover so my brother has a better memory of the actual escape than me.
But, we escaped. We complained to the people who assigned us to the job and demanded better working conditions. And so, we got placed in an air-conditioned peach packing farm.
Ah, the luxury!
Water, several breaks throughout the day, lunch & air conditioning! We were made up.
Our life had been drastically improved thanks to the act of GIVING UP.
I swear this occasion then set a precedent for me and my life for the following years to come. In my head from then on it was like, but if I give up then things will get so much easier and better and my life will be improved.
So, that, I think is where my ability to give up came from.
And it’s filtered into lots of areas of my life, especially career.
I’ve tried so many businesses over the years! So many different paths! Even when I eventually found one I really loved; Teaching Mindfulness & Meditation, I still gave it up thinking that working on Ginger Marketing would be easier.
Yes, Ginger Marketing and growing this business has been easier to monetize and earn a living from, but I could have found a way to continue my meditation & Ginger Marketing at the same time.
The grass is greener affects us all.
Social media has a big part to play in it right.
We see other people traveling the world, showing us their shopping haul or sharing their business revenue. We see blog income reports and hear about others success and it’s really easy to think;
It must be the thing I picked.
It must be that this topic isn’t very popular to write about.
Or, my business model isn’t working.
Or, this industry is losing traction.
When it comes to relationships we might think that if only we had someone who was more like us, who listened more, who paid attention, who was more present to what we want, who booked more surprises and was more romantic (I’m speaking for the straight girls here as I don’t have experience of another type of relationship!).
What I’ve come to realize is. Very often, whenever I have these thoughts about giving up, moving on and doing something else the best thing I can do is to stand still.
Whenever I feel like running away and throwing caution to the wind for a better, easier, more fulfilling life I’ve realized that if I can’t appreciate the amazing life I already have, there must be something going a little bit cray cray.
Standing still when we feel like giving up means that we can start to listen to what is really going on.
The issue could be as straightforward as too much time on social media and comparisonitis is setting in.
It could be that I’ve forgotten to appreciate the little things in life that I love.
Or, it could be that it is time for a change.
Change is okay, change is great. But, that change can be something you add, not always something you take away.
As an example. Lately, I’ve realized how much I love getting on the phone and connecting with people. It’s something I did a lot of with City Calm, my meditation business. And I miss that.
Instead of thinking, well I don’t get to do that with Ginger Marketing, therefore, I can’t continue on with this business (*places hand to head in a dramatic way).
I’m thinking how that can be incorporated into my business.
How can that small change be made so that I improve on what I have already?
Often, when we want to shake things up there is a lesson to be learned.
But that lesson can be applied to our current situation without needing to completely overhaul everything and start from scratch.
Something which has really helped me with this is yoga & meditation. Without these practices, I’d find it very hard to stand still when I feel emotional, sad, confused and a whole host of other stuff.
It gives a certain resilience that despite feeling all these things you can just keep on going on!
Every time I decide to stand still, life gets better & better.
Very often a breakthrough is on the other side of that still space right at the moment when everything feels like it just doesn’t fit.
Instead of JUST DO IT (thanks Nike)
My new phrase is
JUST STAND STILL
And I hope I've encouraged you to try it out for size and see if it works for you. Your break through is just around the corner I can feel it.
Well, that’s about it, this is less of a tips post and more of a share.
I felt like sharing on the topic of giving up, its something I think we can all relate to. And, I’d love to hear about your experiences too in the comments!
Although I’m not a web designer, over the years I have looked at thousands and thousands and thousands OF BLOGS.
I’ve added them up and I’ve come to the figure of 10,000. Yep, during my SEO & Content Marketing career so far I’ve looked at 10,000 blogs - or more.
In that time, I have come to notice a thing or two about what works and what doesn’t. Of course, to a certain extent, blog design is about personal taste. And, design trends change quickly.
That is why this post focuses on 3 really small changes which can have a big impact on your blog.
And by big I mean, they can literally transform & elevate the entire perception of your blog for your audience (especially point number one). Cool huh!
Let’s get started then.
Design Tweak 1: Make Sure You Have A Branded Favicon
Navigate to your site right now. Look in the top left-hand corner of your browser, if you have lots of tabs open it will be the top right. Do you see a symbol there? What is this symbol?
The favicon for Ginger Marketing is our logo. What is yours?
Adding a personal favicon makes a big difference to the perception of your blog.
If your favicon is a picture of an alligator, the blogger logo, the WordPress logo or any other generic logo - please, please, please spend 10 minutes & get this changed !! I cannot even begin to explain the difference it makes when navigating to a blog and seeing a branded vs a generic favicon.
As a Marketing Manager, my immediate thought is, this blogger doesn’t really have their brand together.
If they don’t have their brand together, then why would I place my client’s brand next to theirs.
I’m not saying that it’s a complete deal breaker. However, it is the first thing I notice when visiting a blog and gives me an immediate impression about how it is run.
Ana from Faded Spring does this really well. Her favicon is a tiny little pink sparrow which fits with the spring theme from her brand name.
Check yours now and ask this question.
What kind of impression would you like to give to prospective clients?
Design Tweak 2: Increase The White Space
The second thing I notice about your blog is how I feel navigating it. Does it make me want to stay and read your content, or am I feeling overwhelmed with too much going on?
The difference between feeling space, or feeling overwhelmed is in large part down to the amount of white space you have.
What is white space?
White space is intentionally blank areas on your blog with nothing going on.
Leonardo Di Vinci once said, “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”. Whether you believe this from a design principle or not, when it comes to your blog simplicity is important.
Increasing your white space forces you to make decisions about what is important for your audience.
Don’t make your audience decide.
You need to do that for them. It may seem counterintuitive, but readers just want to enjoy the experience & do a minimal amount of thinking & decision making - because that is what they have been doing all day.
Increasing white space is particularly relevant to blog posts. Gina Caro from Gypsy Soul does this really well. Check out my zero waste beauty routine & see what I mean.
Gina uses spacing on her blog posts really well. The posts are broken up with big, bold subtitles, large full-width images, and regular paragraph breaks.
If you look at the white space, it’s pretty consistent all the way down the post & in the sidebar.
This gives a fantastic feeling of space and encourages the reader to scroll and read all the way to the end of the post.
Design Tweak 3: Use The Credit Space Under Your Images
This is a tip I am super excited to share. Because it comes from one of the oldest and greatest copywriters of all time, David Ogilvy. It’s a very simple, piece of advice. But, when you really sit back & think about it, can literally transform your site (and if you play it well, your conversions)
I’ve started implementing this on our blog and will be rolling it out to our guest posting clients soon.
The space underneath your images is usually used for what? It’s probably
b) Credit for the image
c) Explaining the image
Did you know that this space is one of the most viewed areas of your entire blog post!
Naturally, your audiences eye is drawn to the images on your post and then to the space underneath it.
Why not use this space to get your point across?
We all know that readers like to skim read.
That is the reason we use subtitles and bullet points to break up the text. Use your images in the same way. Save the space underneath to get a point across which you want your reader to have a few split seconds to think about before they move on.
You might be thinking, but where does the image credit go? Well, why not credit on top of the image instead? Who said the credit needs to go underneath.
By placing a credit underneath your image, you are effectively giving another website free advertising and the most viewed space in your blog post.
So, there are my top 3 small design tweaks for a big impact.
If you have some further tips, or some comments on any of these please let us know about it in the comments below!
Something we aim to do with every guest post we publish is to spark conversation. By conversation, we mean comments & social media shares.
The more engagement a blog post gets, the more reach it gets and exposure for our clients.
So, examining why people share.
And why people leave comments & how we can spark more of them is important.
In this post, we are going to examine the types of people who leave comments & their motivation for leaving comments too.
Different Types Of Commentators
Type 1: The link spam
As in everything in life, all commentators were not created equal. Every week I delete spam comments from this blog, the type of comments that say nothing but have “Dental Clinic London” written into the comment name.
Obviously, these are the types of comments that do not add value to your blog and are only written for SEO purposes. I’d suggest you delete these ASAP and don’t encourage comment spam practices.
Type 2: The legit
The golden grail of commenter, this person is either someone in your community who regular leaves comments and comes back and reads your content.
Or, it’s someone who is new to your community who is interested in the article content and has some value to add to the discussion.
This study of over 8500 commentators shows the number 1 reason people leave comments is when they know something about the subject of the article that wasn’t in the article.
Why not ask readers if they have a valuable tip to share at the end of your post? Encourage that kind of engagement & start to see your interaction grow.
Type 3: The partner
There are lots of blogging communities you can join in order to post your latest content in order to receive promotion and comments from other bloggers.
This can be a beneficial tactic to kick-start the virality of your post. Once you have a couple of comments, when you promote the post to a wider net of people, they will be more likely to add their opinion as well.
Everyone knows that the more engagement you get on a post, the more you are likely to receive.
The motivation for this person is that they will also receive comments and promotion from the community on their articles. So, whilst beneficial to kick start a post, it is also important to ensure you get organic comments from an audience interested in what you have to say as well.
Type 4: The Troll
We all know this person. For some reason, they have decided that stirring things up online is important to them.
Credit for image American Scientist
This is the kind of person who cares more about how many reply comments they trigger, then learning more on the topic or engaging in a conversation.
Really, they just want to start an online fight. This post highlights a couple of motivations for trolling, one of them being, the bad mood the person is in. The internet provides a safe haven for many to take out their aggression and anger online.
The best way to deal with these types of comments is to delete, and if you can block them from your community or blog.
That's a wrap for this post!
We’d love to know, can you identify another type of commentator? Is there a type we have missed?
If you have been blogging for 12 months or more, the chances are that your blog is at a point where it can start making money from sponsored posts.
These are posts which you put up for a company in order to advertise their service or product, usually in a non-promotional way.
It is important to disclose these posts as either a collaborative, guest or sponsored post. It is also up to you whether you follow or no follow the links inside the post.
You may have already been approached by companies wanting to guest post and contribute to your blog. Or, perhaps they want you to write an article and link to them. Or, include a link to an existing post.
Sponsored posts are an additional revenue stream for many bloggers. And for companies a great way to advertise their product or service.
In this post, I’m going to give some tips on how you can make more money from sponsored posts. I’m going to focus specifically on the types of things Marketing Managers are looking for from the bloggers they work with.
To make more money now and into the future, it is important to make sure your blog is exactly what the budget holders are looking for. After all, they are the ones making a decision about whether to work with you and how much they can pay.
Foster An Engaged Audience
Marketing Managers are tasked with working with bloggers who are at different stages of their blog. That means they are not just looking for blogs with big audiences.
However, there is one thing that every Marketing Manager wants to see, whether the blogger has 100,000 per month traffic or just 1k traffic per month.
That is engagement.
Your blog should have comments and social media shares which show that your audience is interested in what you have to say on your topic of choice.
It’s advisable to spend a good percentage of your time interacting with your audience and replying to comments on your blog and different social media channels. Interaction leads to a more engaged audience likely to comment again.
Make sure you have visible social sharing buttons, make it really easy for your readers to share your content. Another tip is to sign up for Tailwind. On this platform, you are able to join Tribes relevant to your niche.
These are groups of bloggers who are interested in pinning and engaging with each other's content. This is a great way to boost your shares.
Keep your blog focused on one or several key topics
Marketing Managers are looking for experts, not generalists. You might think that by having a section on business, beauty, lifestyle, fashion, travel, food & yoga, you are broadening your chance to get sponsored posts.
This might work in the short term, but you will likely end up working with lower quality clients and get yourself into a sponsored post rut.
The higher paying clients are going to be more picky about who they work with - and they are looking for topic experts. Stick to your area of expertise and your earnings in the long term will increase.
Strike a balance between original & sponsored content
A ratio of 70:30 is ideal. 70% original content, 30% sponsored content. So, if you were to publish 10 posts in a month, 3 of them would be sponsored.
If your ratio is a much higher % of sponsored content beware, you may be putting the long-term success of your blog at risk.
Higher paying clients care about original vs sponsored content ALOT. You are also at risk of triggering a spam score from Open Site Explorer.
Open Site Explorer is a tool you can use to see the backlinks coming into and out of your blog. If you have too many outgoing links and not enough coming in, this can be seen as a sign that your blog is spamming or selling links.
It is very important that you keep your internal and external link ratio in check.
CHECK YOUR SPAM SCORE HERE
Provide extra value
Always think about the long term relationship you are fostering. There may be more campaigns for this client, or the Marketing Manager may move on to a different client.
If you are front of mind as a blogger who delivers extra value, you will be front of mind for the next campaign.
Extra value includes; a quick response, quick turn-around time, friendly manner & social media sharing.
Provide a high quality sponsored post
Whether you are writing the post or the client is submitting it, the amount of time you spend on the final post matters.
Make sure the post is spell checked, formatted correctly and includes high-quality images. Adding tweet this buttons to encourage social sharing would really stand out!
Content quality has become absolutely paramount, so make sure you are the type of blogger who always does their best and puts their audience first.
We hope this list has helped you! Have we forgotten anything? Let us know your own tips in the comments below.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed as a content creator. Unless we stay away from our computers & phone then every day we are inundated with content from all sides.
Logically we assume, if there is so much content out there, then how is my content going to get seen.
By applying a little bit of pre-planning, you will greatly increase your odds.
The benefit of having so much content produced is that we also have a lot of data available about what works and what doesn’t.
Content creators which use case study’s, research & data tools to their advantage will win in today’s content marketing world.
Check through this list and see how many of these content types you create on your blog.
1. Quiz Results
Sharing a result like “I am 65% left brain and 35% right brain”, is a piece of information you will be proud about and which connects you with your friends & family. It opens up a conversation & will very likely get them to try the quiz too. There are tons of quiz building tools out there.
www.tryinteract.com/ is a tool I tried for several months, they have tons of templates and it's very easy to use.
2. Secret information
Placing “Don’t share this” at the beginning of your content usually has the opposite effect. This is why secret bars & restaurants become so popular so fast.
Credit thrillist.com for image
And the reason many platforms start on an invite-only basis.
The idea that you have information or access that someone else doesn't, is powerful and it is very difficult not to share that.
3. Book Reviews & Summaries
I’d like us to start creating content on this. Not only will it encourage me to read more, but it is very useful for our audience to access summaries of books they don’t have time to read.
It’s a win, win, you get more knowledge, your audience gets content they love to share. Tai Lopez built a lot of his audience on this premise, as have many other successful entrepreneurs.
4. Research & Original Data
Carrying out small surveys and sharing the data makes high-value content. Neville from Kopy Course does this really well. He creates mini-experiments on a topic and then shares the results. Check out his latest: Do Tattoos Affect How People View You In The Workplace.
5. How to’s
As human beings, we are obsessed with learning about the quickest way to get the result we want.
Searching “How to XXXX” is a route many of us take before carrying out any task. How to lists make great evergreen content which can be updated over time.
Just make sure that you don’t change the URL when you update the post and insert a small piece of text at the top saying “post updated XXX” to alert Google to the freshness of your content.
No doubt you are probably rolling your eyes at this one. Sure, they have been around for a long, long time. I've included infographics because well thought out and high-quality infographics still work.
Infographics are really easy to consumer & share. Just make sure that your infographic focuses on data visualization or telling a story in a unique way (like above). It is more than grouping a bunch of icons in one space.
7. Big Lists
Lists, like this make fantastic pillar posts - posts which over time can gather many social shares and links. If put together well, with solid advice, pictures and resource links then you’ll find them to be a very popular type of content to create.
Research your topic and find out the size of list your competitors have created - then double it. You can even reach out to the people who have linked to those previous links with your updated & improved version to see if they will link to yours instead.
8. Life Updates
Everyone has a different stance on how much of their personal life they like to share. But one thing is clear, audiences like life updates.
Announcing your wedding, a new baby, a move to a new country etc is a way to connect with your audience on a human level.
Most people have experienced these types of life events and so you have the opportunity to engage & connect with a huge chunk of your audience.
9. Long Form Content
In my opinion, this type of content is getting kind of ridiculous now. It started off that 1,500 - 2000 words were long form. Several years later with so many people competing, some blogs are writing posts the size of mini e-books.
My advice with this form of content is don’t go overboard. Cover your topic comprehensively, but be careful about going over 5000 words. You are still writing for your audience so make sure you are delivering the information in the best way.
People like to share statistics that back up their own beliefs. If there is new research released in your industry, create a visual post highlighting the statistics from the study in image format.
Share this post on social media with the images embedded and watch your share count rise.
Everyone enjoys reading an inspirational quote. Well, we think so, which is why we have our quote of the month featured on the footer of Ginger Marketing website & email signature.
We also share a lot of quotes on our Instagram too. Grouping together some inspirational quotes on a given topic can make a great post.
This post, for example, takes the topic of stoicism (which I’m also a big fan of) and applies it to sales using a quote format.
12. Trending Content
A great way to get shares is to capitalize on already trending topics. Check twitter for trending hashtags, or check Facebook trends for what’s hot at the moment.
Find a way to add value to the conversation and QUICKLY create a post on it.
Speed is the key here! You need to get your post up & published stat to enjoy the rewards of this type of content. Check here for more info on how to find trending topics on social media.
13. Image Quotes
Posts grouping quotes as images do really well and are easily share through social media channels. Make sure they are on brand and sized correctly for Instagram & share them there too.
You could post one image per day with a call to action to click on the link in the bio to see the rest of the quotes.
14. Lifestyle Photos & Videos
If you are a digital nomad working from exotic locations take advantage of that. Producing original content about the life you have created for yourself inspires others to do the same & is very shareable. Videos like this can pick up millions of views and thousands of shares.
(note, make sure sharing content like this aligns with your own values first & is a true representation - in my opinion some of these videos about traveling & growing a business can be overly optimistic & make other people feel as if they have not “made it” or are not successful.
This is from personal experience being a digital nomad & growing a remote business. So, be careful on this one that you are sharing with integrity. If you have created your dream life, you owe it to other people to explain exactly how you got there because they will likely tred a similar path)
15. Coupons & Money Off Deals
Everyone likes to save money and many people like to pass on those savings. You will find that coupons and money off deals get shared if you put a simple call to action & make it easy for your audience to do so.
16. Content which makes them go AWWW
It’s pretty much impossible not to share videos of cute fluffy cats, especially if your friend loves cute fluffy cats.
The idea that you have information or access that someone else doesnt is powerful and it is very difficult not to share that.
17. Content which makes them go WTF
On the flip side, people like to share content which shocks them or is totally unbelievable. When sharing this type of content the person sharing has the upper hand.
They have seen something really amazing that the other person hasn’t seen. When you have a dynamic of power like this, sharing is on the cards.
18. Emotionally Charged Images
This is a sensitive form of content creation and so should only be used for certain types of institutions. I.e. charities of government bodies who need to deliver a serious message. Images like these (careful, these are upsetting) can travel around the entire world and cause real positive change.
They cut straight through to us and cause severe emotional reactions which put us into action. We are likely to share these images with those closest to us because we want someone else to speak to about what has happened.
19. Content with more Images
The more images you place in your content, the more likely it will be shared (in general). Ideally, place an image every 250 - 300 words.
A helpful tip, the space underneath the image is prime estate, something I learned from Ogilvy - one of the largest advertising agencies in the world.
Readers naturally look below the image, use this space to write a caption or to pass over some important information about the topic (don't use the space underneath to give credit).
20. Content with a tweet this button embedded
Making it easier to share your content means that people inevitably will. Tweet this buttons are super easy to embed now, make use of them & watch your share count increase. Free traffic - yay!
21. Content shared via an influencer
Influencers have an engaged audience who like to consume the content they share. If you have friends in the blogging space, make sure you share your content with them! A tweet, email or Facebook share from them could create a huge boost in free traffic.
We hope this list has been helpful and sparked some ideas! Have some more content types to add? Let us know in the comments below.
This post is brought to you by Paul Ajao a digital marketer who helps businesses get better results online. IT Support company First Line IT kindly helped in the research of this article.
Stop the madness! Too many small business entrepreneurs are hustling to build their business, but failing to achieve the goals they’ve set.
Instead they just end up burnt out and disappointed. And there is a reason for this: trying to do every job in the business with no help.
The fact is you can’t be good at social media, bookkeeping, office cleaning as well as building the long term strategic plan. Even if you think you can do all these tasks, you don’t have the time to do them all effectively.
Credit to The Gazette
Business gurus like Tim Ferris and Michael Gerber have been telling us for years that there’s a better way to run your business…and it doesn’t involve you doing everything.
But how do you get started down this road with outsourcing without spending too much or losing control?
Here are seven ideas to get you started. They will help free up your time from mundane tasks so you can concentrate on higher level executive tasks.
Many business people will be surprised at how little it costs to outsource the headache of dealing with receipts, cashflow, profit and loss etc.
You just need to invest in an online accountancy system such as Xero or Quickbooks and then contact a bookkeeper that is familiar with using them.
One of the benefits of using an online system is the bookkeeper doesn’t need to live near you. You can even photograph receipts with your mobile phone and save them, so you’re not carrying around scraps of paper.
The best bit is you’ll know exactly how your business is doing month to month. No nasty shocks at year end!
2. IT Support
I’m sure you’ve experienced it at some time or other; email is not working, printer suddenly decides to stop talking to your PC or the dreaded ‘blue screen of death’.
It always seems to happen at the worst possible time, just as you want to finish a report or prepare a meeting presentation.
Once you’ve tried the classic ‘turn it off and turn it on again’, what should you do? You’re a business building entrepreneur so spending hours trying to diagnose the problem is not a good use of your time. This is where you need an IT Support team.
Whether you have one computer or dozens, you can find local companies that will provide you with an IT support contract.
Any problems and you just give them a call to fix it. Many of these companies have special software so that they can log in to your computer remotely and diagnose the problem. This is quick, safe and cost effective.
3. Social Media
Do you use Facebook, Twitter or Instagram? They can all help in getting the word out about your business. But you’ll also know that they can be an enormous time suck.
This can be an ideal task to outsource because it is clearly defined and there are lots of people with the required skills – people that may be even more talented than you at getting the most from social media.
A great place to start looking to outsource is on one of the freelancer websites such as Upwork.com or PeoplePerHour.com.
The freelancer doesn’t need to live in your country; the main thing is that they have the required skills and experience to work on your project.
It is important that you set out some guidelines for this type of role. You may want to write these down for your new team member.
These can include: how many times to post per day, what tone of voice to use, when to escalate negative comments to you, how to maintain security and avoid potential legal risks.
4. Website Content
I’ve seen many business owners be excited by the prospect of a new website. But their enthusiasm turns to dismay when they realise how much new content needs to be written.
This is another task that is ideal to outsource. If facing a blank piece of paper is your idea of torture, you’ll be glad to know there are people out there that love to write. A good place to start searching for them is at a content writing marketplace like Textbroker.
With this service you can chose the quality of writer that you want and pay a fixed fee for the writing assignment to be completed. It’s a great service for getting blog articles written and can also be used for in-depth professional research reports.
This service works best where you can provide clear instructions on the style of writing that you require. Do you want a casual or authoritative tone of voice? If there are examples of writing that you like, that is an even better way to communicate with your outsourced writer.
5. Graphic Design
Getting your graphics right is much harder than it looks. There is a reason that graphic designers spend 3 years at colleague perfecting their skills.
If you’re still struggling with Photoshop trying to get your branding right, why not outsource to a professional?
There are numerous options depending on your budget. At the top of the market is working one-on-one with a professional designer.
But over the last few years there has been an increase in the popularity of contest driven graphic design. The most popular contest site is 99designs.com but there are also other smaller sites such as DesignContest.com
With these contest designs sites, you detail the work you want completing such as a logo design or website design. Numerous graphic designers then starting working on designs and you get to choose your favourite.
This gives you the advantage of getting creative ideas from a number of different designers and you know that you are working to a fixed price.
6. General Admin
Inbox overflowing, appointments double-booked, projects behind schedule…sound familiar? A little known area that can be outsourced are these general administration tasks.
It’s not just executives at Fortune 500 companies that have Personal Assistants, it's now affordable for everyone.
With the growing popularity of Virtual Assistants, it’s now possible to have somebody manage tasks for you remotely. They may even be on the other side of the world but with digital tasks such as email management, this does not matter.
A popular and well established agency for finding qualified staff based in the Philippines is Virtual Staff Finder. Prices vary, but you could expect to pay $500-800 a month for a full-time VA through this service.
Alternatively you could Google for somebody closer to home. It’s sometimes surprising the number of highly qualified people that now prefer to work from home due to having children or wanting a less stressful life.
7. Online Marketing
If there’s one industry where change is guaranteed, it has to online marketing. What worked last month, is ineffective today.
If you don’t want to waste hours keeping up with the latest developments, you’re best off outsourcing the task to somebody that does this full-time.
Your alternatives include working with a local digital marketing agency or finding a freelancer on UpWork or PeoplePerHour.
Rather than expecting your partner to instantly take over all of your online marketing, a better approach would be to give them a discrete tasks. You can then see how they perform and give them more work if everything is to your satisfaction. Examples of discrete tasks could be:
Having read this article, do you feel that you’re spinning your wheels because you’re trying to do too much? Now maybe the time to seriously consider outsourcing some tasks that will give you the time to make more profits.
Let us know what you think in the comments below? Do you currently outsource? Is there an area you'd consider outsourcing?
Written by Cheryl A Clarke Chief Happiness Officer & Director Of Ginger Marketing (unless stated otherwise)