This is a guest post from Jaren Nichols, Chief Operating Officer at ZipBooks, online accounting software for small businesses. Jaren was previously a Product Manager at Google and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Growth and marketing work together, but are not the same. Especially with the popularity of “growth hacking,” there has been some confusion about how marketing and growth strategies work. The truth is, growth and marketing are different, but they are working towards the same goal.
Moving through the Funnel
Consider the marketing funnel.
In order for someone to discover your product, you need to create awareness. No one will be able to make a purchase from you, if they do not know you exist.
Your initial marketing techniques make it easier for a prospect to find you and start their journey through the funnel. However, the very shape of the funnel implies that not everyone who takes the bait will make it all the way down to the narrow stem.
We all know that not everyone who hears about you will become a customer. But, if they have heard of you, then inbound marketing has done its job.
Of course, the work of marketing is not finished yet.
Aside from inbound marketing, there are important tools like content marketing and product demos that help persuade your potential customer to purchase. But here in the middle of the funnel, growth serves a better purpose.
Narrowing your Vision
Marketers and growth marketers have a different focus. Growth “hackers” don’t replace marketers, they just play separate roles at separate points in the purchasing process.
As explained, the job of the marketer is to bring awareness to as many people as possible. This is how you get the word out—marketing sees everyone.
Growth, on the other hand, doesn’t see everyone. Growth only cares about the people who are already in the funnel moving towards a purchase.
This is one of the key differences between marketing and growth. Marketing has broader vision, while growth is more narrow.
Monitoring growth—and using these tests and feedback to inform product improvement—is how you improve marketing strategies and help your potential customer move further into consideration and closer to loyalty.
Growth is all about tracking tiny differences in customer engagement and product satisfaction—and then doing something about it.
In the growth stage of marketing, A/B testing and technical experimentation are key. Compare web page formats, test ad copy, vary your welcome email and then track consumer response. A 1-2% difference in customer engagement should matter to you. Take advantage of any positive increase and implement those changes immediately.
Growth transforms your business using unconventional marketing strategies and out-of-the-box marketing experiments. Most of the time, you are inventing these strategies for yourself. While you can google “growth hacking strategies,” you are more likely to find the returns you’re looking for when you take a risk. Know that sometimes this risk-taking will fail or will only work for a short amount of time.
This kind of risk-taking & adjustment-making is what distinguishes growth from marketing. Both marketing and growth care about conversion, but growth is willing to do a lot of trial-and-error to make those conversions happen.
Specifically when looking at inbound marketing and growth hacking (the two variants of each category that tend to be the most confused and interchanged), we see differences in time frame.
Inbound marketing strategies take time to establish and see returns in the long-term. Growth hacking, on the other hand, implements quick, short-term strategies that will bring returns in the immediate future.
The trial-and-error strategies you’ve employed should be tracked and changed quickly. Try a new, improved, innovative strategy each time—keeping what works and quickly ditching what doesn’t.
Growth keeps moving forward at lightning speed, evaluating errors and moving to alternate ideas. Marketing is slow-and-steady, but still does it’s job.
Growth is a sprint, while marketing is a marathon.
Growth Aids Startups
Another difference between growth and marketing is that they don’t always apply to the same businesses. For example, early in the life of a startup, the broad focus of a traditional marketer may not be useful. Since the thing startups care most about is growth, a marketer may not be necessary.
As a startup, our company depends on growth strategies, more than we depend on marketing. We do still have marketing strategies in place.
Most recently, we sent out a survey on recent tax cuts and used the results to create a blog post that increased general awareness for our brand. While this kind of marketing still works, we have employed more hyper-focused strategies in order to improve growth.
One example of a growth strategy we’ve employed is an A/B test at the bottom of the funnel — the step just before conversion to a paid plan for our software. The test we ran helped us determine whether it was more effective to ask a user for their credit card before or after they a 30-day free trial.
As a quick aside — there’s lots of free advice out there on this exact question, but remember that your product, like ours, is unique. Even if you find statistics that point you one way or the other, that type of science has its limitations — as useful as averages are, they don’t represent your unique product and circumstance.
We divided up traffic randomly, requiring some people to add their credit card before the free trial and some people to add it afterwards.
We ran the experiment for about two months, making sure that we saw the entire journey a couple times through, and using statistical analysis software (MixPanel and Google Optimize, in this case) to help us determine at what point our results were statistically significant.
Remember to expect and build in the cost of some technical challenges when you run your own experiments — for example, to truly divide traffic we had to present a different experience across both our marketing website and inside our app (each of which run on different tech stacks on different servers), and that experience had to be consistent based on if the user saw the A or B version.
That took some fairly sophisticated technical setup, but was worth it to know that we were gathering truly valuable data.
It turned out, that for us, getting the credit card information after the trial actually had higher conversion overall.
Again, remember, that was the result for us! In order to know what works for your product, in your market, you’ll need to run your own experiments.
Better Product = Better Growth
One thing that marketing and growth have in common is that they both depend on a quality product to succeed. There is no way to hack growth for a bad product.
To improve quickly, you should invite feedback from the minute you start production and then, implement those changes right away. Create something unique, intelligent and powerful—growth will happen and marketing will succeed.
Remember, marketing and growth should be working hand-in-hand to your benefit. They are different, but when used well, they build on each other. Marketing is the foundation, and growth allows you to get the most out of it.
If you’re part of the world of SEO marketing, you probably know about anchor text. Anchor text is crucial for effective SEO and content marketing.
But recent changes have made the anchor text game more complicated than it once was. Over the past several years, Google updates have changed the best ways to use anchor text.
Using a good anchor text strategy is critical to getting the most out of your website and having an effective online presence.
Let’s talk about what you need to know to take advantage of modern anchor text.
What is Anchor Text?
Anchor text is the text in a link that you can see and click on.
So for example, this is the anchor text for the url https://www.gingermarketinghq.com/. When you highlight a word or phrase and click “add hyperlink” in a word processor, the word or phrase that you’ve highlighted is the anchor text.
Pretty simple, right? But why does it matter?
Simply put, anchor text still plays an important role in SEO and has an effect on where your website will show up in search rankings.
Most people will click on one of the first few Google results, so of course you want your website to appear near the top whenever possible.
Since part of Google’s algorithm involves backlinks, using anchor text effectively will help with that goal.
How has Anchor Text changed?
Once upon a time, building anchor text was easy. All you had to do was pick a keyword and make sure that your anchor text linked to your website. Even if you used exact match for all your anchor links, you would still show up high in search results.
Simple and effective.
However, that all changed with the 2012 Penguin update. Google caught on to people over-using anchor links and artificially link building.
In this case, over-doing optimization actually backfired in some cases. If all of your anchor links used the same word or phrase, you could now be penalized.
There was a period of time when SEO's became overly cautious, worried about using any anchor text at all for fear of a penalty.
But, many now agree that it is still an important part of SEO and can't be ignored. The only thing that has changed is that we have to be a bit more varied with the anchor text we use.
So, what to do?
Using anchor text effectively in 2018 & 19 means avoiding the use of keywords exclusively. Nowadays, you will need a mixture of different anchor texts types to avoid being penalized.
One of the safest and most effective types of anchor text currently is branded anchor text. This is especially popular with big companies, and will be discussed below along with the other types of anchor text.
Categories of Anchor Text
There are many different types of anchor text. Incorporating anchor text from these different categories will allow you to avoid being penalized in the search results. These are the categories you need to know.
There are a few key categories in this graphic - then read on to discover them all!
The 12 Categories Of Anchor Text
1. Keyword – This anchor text is an exact match for one of your keywords or phrases. This was the sort of anchor text that worked so perfectly before the 2012 Penguin update. For example, if you wanted to show up when people searched for “guest posting” you would use that phrase as your anchor text.
2. Page Title – This anchor text is usually a blog post title. It might also be the actual SEO title. You can link to another page on your site this way.
3. Keyword Plus – This anchor includes one of your main key phrases plus other non-keyword phrases with it. For example, ie “this guest posting article here” where “guest posting” is the main key phrase you’re incorporating.
4. Brand Plus Keyword – This anchor is similar to keyword plus, but includes your brand name in addition to the keyword rather than simply a random non-keyword phrase. So it could be “ginger marketing link building service” where Ginger Marketing is the brand.
5. Partial Keyword – This anchor contains just a part of your key phrase. If your key phrase is “link building”, a partial keyword anchor could be “if you’re building”.
6. Brand – This is just your brand name as the anchor text. This one is quite important and popular with big brands. If your brand goes by a few different names, like “Ginger Marketing” and “GM”, both of those phrases would count as brand anchor words.
7. Natural – This anchor has no reference to any keywords or brand. These are often calling for readers to click that link for a particular reason. This is commonly something like “click here” or “this post”.
8. Full URL – This anchor is the full URL of the page being linked to as the anchor. For example, “https://www.gingermarketinghq.com/”.
9. WebsiteName.com – This anchor is similar to the full URL without the “http://www.”. It is your URL written in this format: “gingermarketinghq.com”.
10. Home URL – This anchor occurs on inner pages. For these, even though the link points to an inner page the home URL is the anchor text. So the actual text the reader sees is the URL for the homepage of the website, but when they click on it they are directed to an inner page, like a blog post.
11. No Text – This anchor is commonly associated with image links that have no alt text. Lots of big brand are using this method. Instead of having a keyword or phrase, the link is through an image.
12. URL with www’s – This anchor is the URL written without http://. It would look like “www.gingermarketinghq.com”. This is the version of the URL that most people naturally type in to their web browser.
Optimum Anchor Ratios
Effective use of anchor text for SEO does not stop with knowledge of the different categories. You’ll need to decide what percentage of the different types you’re going to use.
Just like modern anchor text won’t be effective if it’s all keywords, it’s best not to make all of your anchor text any one category. Rather, you can use a range of categories, with emphasis on Brand, Natural, and URL Anchor.
Here is an example of what the anchor text profile for a homepage should look like.
● 80%-95% of your links should fall in the Brand, Natural and URL Anchor category. If that seems like a lot, it’s because those are the categories that are most important for high search engine ranking.
● Up to 10% of your links should fall in the Key Phrases Mixed Into Anchor category. While they’re no longer the end all be all, key phrases can still be helpful.
● Up to 5% of your links should fall in the Exact Match Anchor category.
Following this breakdown will get you effective SEO for your homepage.
This profile is not the same across the board, however. The strategy for an inner page should be different.
Here’s the breakdown for an inner page.
● 35%-45% of your links should fall in the Brand, Natural and URL Anchor category. Notice that that’s significantly different from what you want a homepage to look like.
● 40%-50% of your links should fall in the Key Phrases Mixed Into Anchor category.
● Up to 20% of your links should fall in the Exact Match Anchor category.
To help you further with your anchor text, try using this anchor text suggestion tool by Linkio for anchor text tailored to your brand and the type of page you are building.
5 Step Anchor Text Audit And Actions
Keeping up with anchor text is an important step for SEO. As search engine algorithms continue to advance-- and with them, best practices for anchor text-- it may be time for a self audit to make sure that your website is using anchor text to its best effect.
Good use of anchor text can make or break search engine rankings and, with them, the success of a website. Read below for 5 steps to identify the split of anchor text categories for both a homepage and an inner page, plus how to easily improve your anchor text profile.
1. Brush up on the anchor text categories
Anchor text is the clickable text that links to another webpage. To use anchor text effectively, it’s important to be familiar with the different categories of anchor text.
Although there are many categories, the big ones we’ll be discussing are:
Brand- the anchor text is the name of your brand or company
Natural- the anchor text is incorporate into the normal flow of the article, usually included in a call to action like “click here”
URL- the actual URL is written into the article, so the reader clicks on the exact URL they’ll be directed to
Exact Match- the anchor text is the exact keyword or key phrase that you want to incorporate, for example “anchor text audit”
Key Phrases Mixed into Anchor- the anchor text uses key words or phrases like the previous category, but incorporates them into longer phrases, for example “an anchor text audit is important”
2. Take stock of the anchor text on the current page
Once you know what you’re looking for, you’ll want to take stock of what anchor text you’re using now, and what categories it falls into. You can do this by simply reading through the page you’re wanting to audit, or by using an SEO tool like Moz or Cognitive SEO.
3. Know the most effective split
Now you know what your page looks like currently, but how should it look ideally?
For a homepage, you want 80-95% of your links to be Brand, Natural, and/or URL. Then up to 10% should be Key Phrases Mixed into Anchor and finally up to 5% should be Exact Match.
For an inner page, you’ll want 35-45% Brand, Natural, and/or URL with 40-50% being Key Phrases Mixed into Anchor. Then you can have up to 20% be Exact Match.
4. Use a Generator
Onwards and upwards! Now it’s time to think about how you can put your newfound knowledge to use in order to optimize your anchor text.
For inspiration that’s specific to your brand and the type of page you’re working on, consider using an anchor text suggestion tool like this one from Linkio.
Although of course not all of your anchor text should involve a key phrase, for the percentage of it that does it’s still important to use the best keywords for your website.
5. Make a Change
You’ve got the knowledge, the know-how, and even some fresh keywords and phrases to work with. Put all that to use as you make a change to your existing anchor text.
If you’re focusing on editing an existing website, resist the temptation to edit the exact match keywords first. While important, your first priority should be on branding.
Focus on getting your brand anchor text incorporated first, along with the natural and URL anchor text. Then follow up with some edits to the keywords. This will help prevent overemphasis on keywords, which can negatively affect search engine rankings.
Good luck! And let me know how you get on in the comments below.
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.
Not sure you have time to market your posts? Get creative, bloggers come up with all kinds of ingenious ways to get the word out there. Check out this hack for getting Haro Traffic for example, it resulted in 238 + free subscribers.
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.
Written by Cheryl A Clarke Chief Happiness Officer & Director Of Ginger Marketing (unless stated otherwise)