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13

How to Find Profitable Blog Niches That Are Insanely Popular

You want to start a blog (or have started one) but you’re not sure what topics to write about.Finding profitable blog niches that make money. Includes list of popular blogging niches that you can start your blog in, attract massive traffic and make good money. #blognicheideas #findingblogniche #blogniche #profitableblogniche

You are not alone. This is a hurdle nearly every new bloggers face.

If you want to make money blogging, finding the right blog niche shouldn’t be taken lightly. In fact, it is one the most important steps of starting a new blog.

Get it wrong, it might come back to bite you later.

So in today’s post, I’m going to show you how to find profitable blog niches and be confident whatever niche you choose will get you traffic and make you good money.

I will also share a blog niches list and tools to get your inspiration going.

In any case, if you wonder how bloggers make money from their blog and want to start your own, check out my how to start a blog guide.

Ready? Let’s get started on finding that perfect blog niche!

 

What Is a Blog Niche?

Before we talk about profitable blog niches any further, allow me to explain what a blog niche is.

A blog niche is a general topic area that you want your blog to focus on.

For example, if you want to write about health and fitness, you need to narrow down your focus to target one specific sub-topic such as:

  • Weight loss/dieting
  • Healthy living
  • Muscle building/workout
  • Running
  • and so on.

Why?

Because it will be easier for you to stand out and attract the right kind of audience to your blog.

If you focus on one topic area, there’s a good chance your readers will also be interested in your other blog posts since they all are related to one another.

Trying to appeal to everyone will only confuse your visitors.

For example, do you think you can be a fan of a radio station that plays music from all different genres when you’re only interested in K-pop music?

That said, avoid niching down too much.

If your topic area is too narrow, you’re going to run out of high demand topics to write about. And you’ll struggle to get enough traffic.

 

How to Choose a Blog Niche That Drive Traffic and Make Money

Some people say just follow your passion and the money will follow.

However, being passionate about a topic is not enough. You must also find out if there’s an existing audience that’s large enough in that niche that you can make money from.

People go online to find a solution to a problem, learn something new or be entertained. If you can offer any of these, you will make money no matter what niche you choose.

People go online to find solutions to problems, learn something new or be entertained. If you can offer any of these, you will make money no matter what niche you choose.Click To Tweet

But the question is not if you can make money but how much can you make from that niche.

To answer this question you need to look into three factors which are passion, demand and profitability.

The trick is to find the right balance between them to arrive at the best blog niche for yourself.

#1. Passion – How passionate and knowledgeable are you about the topic

Growing a blog takes time and a lot of hard work. In fact, most bloggers only start seeing the fruits of their labour six months even a year later down the road – if they don’t quit.

When the going gets tough, the passion will carry you through they said. So how passionate are you about the blog topic?

The second question you need to ask yourself is how knowledgeable are you about the topic?

It’s easier to create great content, attract an audience and stand out if you have existing knowledge within your niche.

However, you definitely do not need to be an expert to start blogging in a niche. Documenting your unique journey can be as exciting and insightful as that by an expert.

That being said, having a passion and deep knowledge about a blog niche before you start is actually optional.

What? Wait, that’s the exact opposite to what I’ve just said earlier you ask?

What I mean is that you can go to sites like Fiverr, iWriter or TextBroker and hire a writer to write articles for you. No passion or expertise is necessary!

Although your ability to suggest the right topics and evaluate the quality of the article is another matter altogether.

So you can’t just jump blindly into any niche expecting other people to write for you because it will show in the writing.

Paying others to write is actually more common than you might think. In fact, some of the most successful niche blogs are doing this all the while.

One good example is Health Ambition, a blog in the health niche by the guys behind AuthorityHacker.com.

The blogger behind Health Ambition blogger is actually just a pen name because there’s no single writer who wrote all the content.

According to SimilarWeb, the site is currently getting roughly 600,000+ visitors per month.

That said, if you are new to blogging, you should try writing at least the first 10 posts yourself. This allows you to gain experience and understand what it takes to create a good blog post.

As your blog begins to grow and start generating good income, you’ll have the budget to hire a writer or two and scale your content creation.

At this stage, you can focus more on things that you really need to be doing like promotion.

#2. Demand – Is there a large enough audience in the niche?

You can slave away at blogging telling yourself of some future success which may or may never come because your audience is just too small and nobody searches for your topics.

Sorry but that’s why it’s important to make sure the niche you want in has an existing audience that’s large enough.

The best way to judge the demand is by looking at the competition. More competition could mean there are many other bloggers who are earning money in that niche.

For example, personal finance is a highly popular niche and some may say oversaturated. Nonetheless, there’s still a lot of demand and search volume to go around.

Since this is a big niche, you can focus on a wide variety of financial and money-related topics. There will always be a gap that no one else is covering.

Before long after doing your keyword research, you’ll discover that you’re probably not competing directly with other bloggers but your ability to produce the most helpful and relevant content.

Take DollarSprout as an example. It’s a relatively new blog launched just over a year ago in October 2017. In October 2018, the site broke $61,000 in monthly income.

That’s insanity, I know!

Like Health Ambition, the majority of their content was written by guest writers.

Secondly, you can perform keyword research to gauge the popularity of the keywords and their competition in your niche using tools like KeySearch.

Also, make use of Google Trends to see what everyone is searching and to discover trending topics you can focus on.

For example, if you are in the online marketing niche and want to know which e-commerce software is more popular between Shopify and WooCommerce, Google Trends has the answer below.

Find popular blog niches

Google Trends is also great in identifying seasonal topics. At this time of the year, people have started creating tons of holiday-related topic.

#3. Profitability – Can you make good money from this niche?

It’s entirely fine to blog about your hobby or things that interest you. If you don’t care about turning your blog a profit then this factor is irrelevant to you.

However, this post is about finding profitable blog niches and niche ideas that you can monetize from the get-go. You know you aren’t wasting time because you knew it’s a profitable blog niche.

Even if you are not really passionate about the topic, once you start making money from your blog, it’ll be much easier to develop your passion for the topic.

How much money you can make blogging depends largely on the niche you are blogging about and how you’re providing solutions to problems people are searching for.

For example, if you blog about used books, you probably won’t make much money from it unless you also sell rare and expensive books that are in demand.

Blogging about your attempt to learn a new language can be a good read for your audience but probably won’t be profitable for you.

On the other hand, teaching other people how to learn a new language in a unique way would probably be very profitable.

Just take a look at Idahosa of the Mimic Method who generates $300k to $400k in annual revenue four years after it began.

He developed a method to help himself learn multiple languages – and sound like a native speaker in all of them!

Idahosa eventually turned his unique approach to learning languages into an educational business and now provides courses in 10 different languages including.

To gauge the profitability of a niche, check out how other blogs in the same niche are monetizing their content.

  • Are they using affiliate programs to make money?
  • What type of topics do they write about?
  • Do they write mostly promotional or informational blog posts?
  • Do they have a newsletter where people can sign up to?
  • Are they using any ad network to monetize their traffic?
  • Do they sell their own products and services?

Answering these questions should give you some ideas about the niche’s money-making potential.

To summarize, your best blog niche is at the intersection of passion, demand and profitability.

How to choose perfect blogging niche

 

How to Find Popular Blog Topics in a Niche

To help you evaluate the potential traffic of a blog niche, I highly recommend giving KeySearch keyword tool a try.

KeySearch offers a no credit card required free trial that allows 3 daily searches and analysis as well as YouTube research.

One of my favourite features is the Competitive Analysis which lets you analyse your competitors and discover all the keywords they are already ranking for.

Then you could easily target similar keywords and select those which you’ll have a better chance of ranking for.

Find popular blog topics

Why second-guess the popular blog topics in your niche when you can find out what already working for other bloggers with KeySearch?

After all, a blogging niche consists of multiple blog posts.

If you use KSDISC code, it’ll only cost $13.6 per month until you cancel.

Once you’ve zeroed in your keyword, you’ll need to dig further to make sure it won’t be difficult to rank on Google for your website.

 

How to Find the Best Keywords to Target

Just because your competitors are already ranking for the keyword doesn’t mean you will too.

Let me give you an example. Can you guess what my target keyword is for this blog post?

If you guessed “profitable blog niche ideas” or “blog niches” you are right. You can see them in the post title!

Here’s how I found it.

Using KeySearch as my go-to tool for keyword research, I went to the Competitive Analysis tab and entered a domain that belongs to a particular niche, in this case, it’s TwinsMommy.com.

Then KeySearch spits out all the keywords that TwinsMommy.com are ranking for.

Best blog niches

Looks like quite a few long tail keywords related to the blogging niche I could target myself.

Next, I wanted to know how difficult it is to rank for the head keyword “blog niches” and see how much traffic it could bring so I dug further using KeySearch.

As it turns out, it’s not that difficult at all. With a difficulty score of 30, this keyword is easy-to-moderate to rank for.

Profitable blog niches

The cost-per-click (CPC) is decent ($1.44), and the monthly search volume is reasonable (560) for this niche.

Since my goal was to find keywords that won’t be difficult to rank on Google I think I’ve found my keyword!

The CPC indicates how much advertisers are willing to pay to get their ad shown on Google Ads for this keyword.

A high CPC (over $1) means more advertisers are bidding for this search term which shows there’s money to be made here.

By comparing the Domain Authority (DA) between our sites, I should be able to predict if I could beat TwinsMommy.com for this particular keyword.

Since Sabahan.com has a higher DA than that of TwinsMommy.com, i.e. 42 vs 36, this tells me I should be able to rank for “blog niches” easily.

What is Domain Authority?

Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz. It predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages.

A Domain Authority score ranges from one to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater ability to rank.

You can check your blog DA and that of your competitors using Moz Link Explorer.

Different keyword research tools may use different metrics but DA should give you some idea of your ranking capability.

In general, you would want to compete with websites that have similar DA or lower than yours.

If there are websites with lower or similar DA to yours in the top 10, then you should have a good chance of ranking for that target keyword.

Again, this is very easy to check using KeySearch as you can see below.

Here’s what it looks like for the keyword “blog niches”.

Niches ranking domain authority

As you can see above, you don’t always have to have the highest DA to rank on the first page of Google.

While there’s no guarantee that you will rank for the chosen keyword, a proper keyword research will definitely improve your chance of ranking.

Related: 9 Quick SEO Tips and Tricks For Blogs

Keyword research is an ongoing process requiring continuous blog posts optimization and backlinks acquisitions.

Having a good keyword research tool like KeySearch will definitely help. Learn more about KeySearch here or sign up for the free trial.

 

Why Choosing a Profitable Blog Niche is Important

In some niches like blogging, if you want to write about a popular subject to bring in traffic, everything has probably been done to death by many other bloggers.

The competition can be fierce.

You can target long tail keywords instead with easy to moderate ranking difficulty.

Long-tail keywords are simply longer and less competitive keywords containing 3 or more words.

For example, instead of targeting “wood flooring”, go for “which wood flooring is most durable”.

To rank on the first page of Google result, writing a long blog post (>1800 words) is often a prerequisite (but it’s not always the case).

According to a study quoted by Search Engine Watch, the number 1 position in Google gets 33% of the search traffic.

Suppose I manage to secure the number 1 spot for the keyword ‘blog niches’ that gets around 590 searches per month.

That’s 590 x 33% = 194.7 visitors/month or just 6.49 visitors per day.

All this hard work to write a useful and meaty long-form content, just to attract a measly 6 visitors per day to this article 6 months to 1 year down the road.

That’s not very exciting, is it?

Sure some people say the small wins do add up. If you write 10 of such posts, you could end up with 60 visitors per day.

But what if I tell you, it’s easier to find long tail keywords with easy-to-medium difficulty in niches other than blogging and with 10 times the search volume.

Just one article from that niche alone could bring in 60 visitors per day to your blog.

That’s 9 fewer posts you have to write and still get the same result as that in a blogging niche.

 

Combining Topically Related Blog Niches that Make Money

I should mention that one could actually get more visitors from a long-form content because it could rank for multiple keywords, sometimes hundreds of keywords for one article.

This article, for instance, could end up ranking for “blog niches”, “profitable blog niches”,  “best blog niche ideas”, “how to find profitable blog niches ideas” – you get the idea.

So what’s my point?

Some niches are easier to drive traffic to than others (and make money from).

I’m not saying you shouldn’t blog about blogging. I am saying, for some less popular or highly competitive niches, you should try combining multiple topics as long as they make sense.

For example, “travel and budgeting” or “mommy blog and make money blogging”.

If you want a concrete example, look no further than the personal finance blog The Penny Hoarder.

While they write about all the different ways people can make money from home and manage their finance, they also have posts to help people save money, live frugally and get deals in categories like

  • Food -  “These Grocery Stores Will Give You a Free Thanksgiving Turkey”
  • Parenting – “Keep The Holidays Happy and Affordable With These 16 Kids’ Toys Under $30”
  • College – “Enter the Google Science Fair for a Chance at a $50K Scholarship”
  • Travel – “Plan Ahead to Snag the Best Travel Deals on Cyber Monday With These Steps”
  • And so on…

Also, be ready to capture the visitors’ email by placing the opt-in forms on your blog.

That way you can drive these targeted visitors further into your marketing funnel and maximize your money making potential.

If done right, you can make tons of money from the blogging niche (or any other niche) from the backend even with a smaller search volume.

Related: How to Start an Email List for Free Right Now

 

Profitable Blog Niches List

Below are some of the unique blog ideas you can consider.

 

  1. App Development
  2. Arts and Craft
  3. Astronomy
  4. Beauty and Fashion
  5. Beer and Wine
  6. Biking
  7. Blogging
  8. Camping
  9. Car and Automotive
  10. Career Tips
  11. Cats
  12. Celebrity
  13. Coding
  14. Comedy
  15. Computer Hardware
  16. Conspiracy Theory
  17. Cooking Tips
  18. Couponing
  19. Cryptocurrency
  20. Culture
  21. Dating and Relationship
  22. Diet
  23. Digital Marketing
  24. Digital Nomad
  25. DIY Craft
  26. Dog Training
  27. Dogs
  28. Education
  29. Entertainment
  30. Entrepreneurship
  31. Environmentalism
  32. eSports
  33. Fashion
  34. Fine Dining
  35. Fishing
  36. Food
  37. Food Photography
  38. Forex Trading
  39. Freelancing
  40. Frugal Living
  41. Gadgets
  42. Gardening
  43. Geography
  44. Graphic Design
  45. Hacking
  46. Health and Fitness
  47. Hiking
  48. Home Decor
  49. Home Improvements
  50. Home Organization
  51. Homeschooling
  52. Interior Design
  53. Investing

  1. Language Lessons
  2. Life Hacks
  3. Lifestyle
  4. Living Abroad
  5. Makeup
  6. Massage Therapy
  7. Meditation
  8. Mental Health
  9. Minimalism
  10. Mountaineering
  11. Music
  12. Natural Medicine
  13. Parenting
  14. PC Games & Consoles
  15. Personal Development
  16. Personal Finance
  17. Pets
  18. Photography
  19. Poker
  20. Politics
  21. Pregnancy
  22. Productivity
  23. Real Estate
  24. Relationship Advice
  25. Religion
  26. Restaurant Reviews
  27. Robotics
  28. Running and Marathons
  29. RVing
  30. Science
  31. Self-improvement
  32. SEO
  33. Sewing and Knitting
  34. Shopify
  35. Side Hustles
  36. Skincare
  37. Small Business
  38. Smartphones
  39. Social Media Marketing
  40. Software Development
  41. Sports
  42. Street Food
  43. Survivalism
  44. Technology News
  45. Travel
  46. TV Shows
  47. Videography
  48. Website Design
  49. Woodwork
  50. WordPress
  51. Work At Home
  52. Writing
  53. Yoga

 

Once you found a niche, you can use the Keyword Niche Finder tool from WordStream to find unique, potentially undiscovered long-tail keywords in your niche.

You get 10 free searches up-front, and one free search per day going forward.

When I typed “blogging” the tool return the following long tail variations to consider.

how to find a blogging niche

With some keyword research, you should be able to quickly uncover many more popular and high demand blog topics to write about in your niche.

 

Additional Resources to Help You Get Started

 

Conclusion

Finding a profitable blog niche involves a balancing act between these three factors:

  • Passion
  • Demand
  • Profitability

Without passion, it’d be easier to quit writing when no one is reading your blog.

Even if you are passionate about it, you’ll struggle to get traffic if no one is searching for your topics.

Finally, to find out if the niche is profitable, you need to make sure there are existing blogs which are already making money in that niche.

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. You just have to create a better blog or approach that niche in a way that no one has taken before.

Now it’s your turn.

Have you started your own blog yet? If you have, I love to hear in the comments why and how did you select your blog niche.

 

 

 

8

15 Things to Do Immediately to Improve Your New Blog

Learn how to immediately improve your new blog with these 15 tactics. #bloggingtips #bloggingforbeginners #improveyourblogSo you started a new blog, now what?

You googled for some ideas only to be overwhelmed with a million things to learn, it’s hard to know where to begin.

Either that or…

You probably have little to no idea as to what the necessary next steps to take or how to get things done when you have no technical know-how or previous blogging experience.

What you need is a good plan to help you start building your blog on a solid foundation.

It may take some trials and errors but that’s fine because the improvements will happen over time. That’s part of the learning process.

What’s more important is to just start doing something right away.

So, in today’s post, I’ll discuss the exact steps you’ll need to take to help incorporate the elements of a successful blog and immediately improve your new blog.

You’ll learn how to integrate the social media channels, create a logo, add important pages, install must-have WordPress plugins, analytics and more.

Even if your blog isn’t new,  you can use the suggestions below to see if there’s anything you might have missed since you launched your blog.

Ready? Let’s dive right in!

Related: How to Start Your Own Blog (Beginners Guide)

 

#1: Improve Your New Blog Using the Perfect Theme

Selecting your blog theme is one of the most rewarding parts of starting a blog.

When you change the theme, you’ll be able to see the result immediately. A theme dictates the look and feel of your blog and how your users interact with your content.

Changing your theme is the fastest way to improve your new blog.

There are thousands of free and paid WordPress themes you can install.

I’ve personally purchased many paid themes from Theme Forest due to the broad selection of themes, quality design and niche specific theme offerings.

For example, I wanted a theme to showcase my mobile apps and found one specifically designed for that purpose.

At the time of this writing, I’m using the FocusBlog Theme by Thrive Themes.

To change your WordPress blog theme just follow these steps:

  1. Login to www.yourblog.com/wp-admin
  2. In your WordPress dashboard, click on the Appearance > Themes

    You’ll see several pre-installed themes. If you don’t like those, click the “Add New” button at the top:
    updating wordpress themeOn the next screen, you’ll be able to search the free WordPress theme repository. You can sort by popularity, latest or filter by feature, industry and layout.
    sort and select themesOnce you have found a theme that you like, click the “Install” button (which appears on mouse over). WordPress will download the theme files to your server.
    install preview wordpress
    You can also see how it would look like without installing by clicking the Preview button. Then, just click “Activate ” on the next screen:
    activate themeYou can further customize the theme by clicking on the Customize menu under Appearance.

You can always switch theme if your current theme doesn’t do what you want.

Although, as your blog gets more popular, try to avoid changing themes often because it will only confuse your regular readers.

 

#2: Write Your Site Title and Tagline

The title is typically the name of your site, while the tagline is a short description or phrase which describes what your blog is about.

WordPress uses the site title to identify your site in syndication feeds. It’s visible in the title bar of a web browser and in a few other places.

Since they are one of the first things your visitors will see, it’s important to optimize and create a strong title and tagline which communicate what your blog has to offer.

It’s also a good idea to include important keywords in them for search engine optimization (SEO) purpose.

To update your site title and tagline, go to Settings > General and update the text box. Click Save Changes when done.

Site title and tagline settings

 

#3: Claim Your Social Media Accounts

I suggest creating dedicated social media profiles just for your blog.

To get started, decide a handle to represent your blog. At the bare minimum, you would want to create profiles for Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Ideally, you would want to use the same handle for all the social media platforms for branding and consistency. This makes it easier for people to find and follow you on each platform.

In addition, try to make your social media descriptions consistent across all platforms.

If the handle you want to use isn’t available, you’ll need to get a little creative and come up with a handle which you can use everywhere (but don’t make it too complicated).

You should consider creating a Facebook group as groups often have a better reach and engagement due to how Facebook algorithm treating them more favourably.

Related: 9 Ways to Promote Your Blog Posts When You Have No Followers

 

#4: Install Social Media Sharing Buttons

Placing the social media sharing buttons next to your posts make them more shareable which could potentially drive more traffic to your blog.

In fact, a study found that using social media sharing buttons on blog posts leads to 7 times more mentions.

The share count provides a social proof. The higher it is, the more likely other people will share your content.

To encourage sharing, place the buttons at two locations, one at the top and another at the bottom of your content.

I like to have mine floats on the left so that people can share the content anytime while they read.

Social media sharing buttons

Although you don’t want to include too many buttons because more choices don’t mean more shares. Only display buttons for sites that you think your audience use.

There are countless free and paid social sharing plugins to choose from. Unfortunately, some of them can actually slow down your site.

I am using the Social Warfare plugin because it’s fast and I like the clean design. It costs just $29.95 a year which I think is worth paying for.

Besides the standard sharing buttons, it has additional features to let you:

  • Show the Pin button on image hover for Pinterest
  • Customize your Pinterest image, description, title
  • Recover your lost share counts when you change your permalink structure
  • Perform automatic link shortening
  • Create Click to Tweet box easily within your content as you can see below.
Including social media sharing buttons in your posts makes them more shareable which could potentially drive more traffic to your blogClick To Tweet

 

#5: Create Favicon

A favicon is the little site icon you see on your browser tab or on your browser bookmark.

Favicons were originally created for a fast visual search among thousands of bookmarks on the Internet.

Create favicon

 

While this change may seem trivial, it is important because it improves user experience by making your blog more identifiable.

If you care about branding, it is a must-have element to help your blog stand out and look more professional.

To create one, you can use tools like the Favicon Generator. You can also use Canva to design the image or logo from scratch.

If you have a logo for your blog already, you’ll only need to upload it to the generator above and download the generated icon file.

Alternatively, it may also be possible to create one right from your theme settings.

If this function is supported, you can usually find the setting under Appearance > Customize

site icon

 

#6: Create a Professional Looking Logo

In addition to your content, your logo is another way for your readers to connect and identify with your brand.

So it’s important to have a professional looking logo which represents your identity the way you want it.

To create your logo, you can use tools like Canva or PicMonkey.

Alternatively, you can hire a designer or head over to one of the freelancing sites like Fiverr to get this done cheaply for as low as $5.

Once you have a logo ready, you can upload it to your blog by going to Appearance > Customize > Site Identity

Although depending on the theme you are using, this setting may be located elsewhere.

For instance, for the Thrive Theme that I am currently using, I can change my blog logo via Thrive Dashboard > Theme Options > General Settings

Update wordpress logo

 

#7: Add About, Contact Other Important Pages

To create a new page in WordPress, go to Dashboard > Pages > Add New.

add new pages

About Page

The About page is one of the most important pages to have in any blog.

Contrary to what some people may think, the About page is not just about you. It’s about how you can help your visitors to get what they want.

It’s a chance for you to connect with your readers and to establish trust. Use this page to convert casual browsers into avid readers or visitors into subscribers/customers.

Remember that you don’t have to come up with the perfect About page in one sitting as you can always edit and improve it later.

Read: How to Design & Write The Best About Page For Your Blog

Contact Page

Next, you need to create a Contact page so that people can get in touch with you.

As you’re just starting out, including a simple contact form should be enough.

Currently, I am using the Contact Form 7 plugin. I like it because it’s free, light-weight and supports Google reCAPTCHA to filter spam.

In addition to the form, you may also want to include your email address just in case the form stopped working.

However, you risk having your email address harvested by spammers if it’s visible in plain sight.

To make it a little bit harder for email scrappers, you can try any of the followings:

  • Do not make your email address clickable using the mailto prefix.
  • Spell out the email address: nancy [at] lovelywebsite [dot] com. Not a great solution though as users may mistype the address themselves.
  • Convert your email address into an image. This is the solution I am currently using.
  • Install Email Address Encoder

Privacy Policy & Disclaimer Page

What is a privacy policy exactly you might ask.

Well, a privacy policy informs your visitors what type of data you’re collecting, how you’re collecting them and what you’re doing with that data.

You need to create these pages as they are mandatory by law in some countries.

Having a Privacy Policy/Disclaimer will improve user trust.

They are also required if you:

  • Are doing business in the European Union, you need a policy which is fully compliant with the GDPR requirements.
  • Want to apply for Google AdSense to display ads or if you plan to use other third party services like Google Analytics.
  • Are doing affiliate marketing. Some companies might require you to add a paragraph on each page which includes one of their links. In other cases, disclosing this in your Terms of Service or Disclaimer page should be enough.

So how do you create these pages?

  • You may refer to Website Policies which is an automated generator for Privacy Policy, Terms and conditions and other legal documents tailored to your blog or business.
  • SerpRank privacy policy generator page is another service you can consider.
  • You can see a sample Privacy Policy from the Better Business Bureau.

The information provided above is for reference only. It’s not a recommendation or an endorsement, or a legal advice. If in doubt, please consult a lawyer.

 

#8: Set Your Permalink Structure

A permalink is the web address used to link to your posts or pages.

It’s called permalink because the URL to each post/page should be permanent and never change.

As you start a new blog, you need to make sure to use the most friendly URLs for both humans and the search engines.

To set your permalink, go to Settings > Permalinks

I recommend using Post name because it’s clean, short and it’s easy to include your main keywords in them.

optimize url permalink

By default, WordPress uses the Day and name option.

https://www.website.com/2018/08/22/sample-post/

You can change this to the Post name option then click Save Changes.

https://www.website.com/sample-post/

If you already have many posts when you make this change, your existing links will break.

To fix this issue, you’ll need to create redirects to instruct WordPress to automatically redirects the visitors coming from your old URL to the new URL.

The one plugin that works for me is WP 404 Auto Redirect to Similar Post.

 

#9: Install Google Analytics to Track Your Traffic

Google Analytics is a free web analytics tool offered by Google to help you track and analyze your website traffic.

You can use it to monitor your progress, see where people are coming from, the number of visitors you get and so on.

Even if you are not ready to use it, you should just install and start collecting data now.

Sometime in the future, you may need to present this info if you are marketing a media kit or trying to attract advertisers.

To get started with Google Analytics go here and sign up.

Next, you’d want to insert the tracking code into your blog.

Most themes should have an option where you can just paste your code in.

Or you can install Google Analytics Dashboard for WP (GADWP) to add Google Analytics to your blog quickly.

For starter, some of the most important metrics to track are:

  • Users
  • Sessions
  • Average session duration
  • Bounce rate

Click here to learn more about each of those metrics and why you should track them.

To ensure you get more accurate data, you may want to prevent Google Analytics from tracking your own visits.

To do that using GADWP, go to Google Analytics > Tracking Code then select the Exclude Tracking tab.

Select the user you want to exclude tracking from then click Save Changes.

Exclude myself from Google Analytics tracking

 

#10: Register Your Site With Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a free service offered by Google that helps you monitor and keep your site’s presence in Google search results.

Among the metrics you can track from the Google Search Console are

  • How many times your page appears in Google search results (impressions)
  • How many clicks you get
  • Your click-through rate or CTR
  • Your page position

This information comes straight from the horse’s mouth so don’t ignore it. Instead, use it to improve your new blog.

If done right, the adjustments you make will improve your Google rankings and drive more traffic to your blog.

Here’s how to do it.

 

#11: Install the Necessary WordPress Plugins

While WordPress itself is an awesome platform for creating websites, the default installation is rather limited in features and functionality.

This is where the WordPress plugins come in.

You can pick and choose which plugins to install to add certain capabilities and features into your blog. It’s the fastest way to improve your new blog.

For a start, I recommend installing:

  • Yoast SEO for search engine optimisation
  • Antispam Bee for anti-spam
  • W3 Total Cache for caching and speeding up your blog
  • BackWPup for backups
  • Wordfence Security for security.

Find out more about them in my article about the must-have plugins for blogs.

 

#12: Add Optin Forms to Collect Email Leads

While this step may be the last one on this list, it’s by far one of the most important things you can do to improve your new blog.

I can’t stress this enough.

If you want to make money from blogging, the money is in the list.

So much so, an email list is probably the most important asset you’ll ever have as a blogger.

Also, it makes you less dependent on traffic coming from Google and the social media platforms.

You can’t control those traffic sources and you don’t own your followers – Google, Facebook, Pinterest and other social media networks do!

If they decide to shut you down, your followers will be gone in the blink of an eye.

On the other hand, your email list is yours to keep. You can bring your audience anywhere with you no matter what happens to your blog.

Find out how to start an email list for free.

 

Conclusion

Creating the perfect blog won’t happen overnight so don’t get discouraged if yours doesn’t look like what you have in mind.

The most important thing is to just get started right away.

To improve your new blog, pick one thing (or two) to implement today and then come back later to this article and implement another.

Have I missed anything? Which ones are you looking forward to implementing in your new blog?

Please share your story in the comments below!

22

21 Terrific Blogging Tips and Tricks That Will Make Your Blog Successful

Blogging tips and tricks that will make your blog more successful. #bloggingtips #bloggingtricks #bloggingforbeginners #bloggingtipsandtricksWhat are the blogging tips and tricks every beginner blogger should know about?

It’s a valid question but not an easy one to answer in a few sentences.

As you start a blog, things can get complicated rather quickly.

As if writing good blog content is not hard enough, you have to know about blogger web design, search engine optimization, starting your email list, marketing via social media and sometimes some basic coding.

It’s overwhelming, to say the least. I know because I’ve been there.

The good news?

If you are reading this post, you are already a step in the right direction.

Below, I break down some of my favourite blogging tips and tricks to help you save time, blog better, grow traffic and increase your social media followers faster.

Instead of listing each tip on its own, I’ve put them into three main categories:

  • Blog writing tips
  • Blog promotion tips
  • Blog design tips

Ready?

Related: 9 Successful Blogging Strategies to Get More Visitors in 2019

 

#1: Blogging tips and tricks – Writing tips

Write catchy headlines

Writing great headlines will help you

  • Attract more readers
  • Grow traffic faster
  • Improve your search engine rankings
  • Get more shares on the social network
  • Get more paying customers

If you get the headline wrong, all your effort will be a total waste.

As a matter of fact, according to David Ogilvy, on average, 5x as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you’ve written your headline, you’ve spent eighty cents out of your dollar.

Think about it.

Writing great headlines is the best ways to get more shares, get more readers, improve your search rankings and grow your traffic.Click To Tweet

Okay but how?

There are two things you can do:

  1. Run an A/B headline test using tools like Thrive Headline Optimizer
  2. Follow the proven formula to arrive at the best headlines.

Method 2 is quicker so we are going to do that first.

Head over to CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer and plug in your headline to see if it’s a keeper.

Below were my attempts trying to come up with the best headlines for this blog post (it may change slightly as you read this).

create catchy headline

Of course, you can always run an A/B test for your headlines later.

 

Blogging checklist

Get Instant Access  Blogging Tips & Tricks Checklist

Download the accompanying step-by-step check list that will help you create a better blog quicker.

 

Write long blog posts

I’ve been repeating this point like a broken record in several of my posts.

Research shows that the average length of articles that rank on page one of Google search results or get the most social shares has a minimum of 1500 words.

I’m a  non-native English speaker and my grammar isn’t the best in the world but I think everyone can do it.

How to create a long-form content then?

Check out this post from Neil Patel to help you out.

Use conversational tone

You can avoid making your posts read like a textbook by using “you” and “I”.

This makes them more conversational.

This helps you connect more with your readers and create a more engaged audience.

Make your blog content actionable

A good blog post should be educational, practical and actionable.

Instead of just listing stuff in your post, show them exactly how to do it. Include relevant screenshots in each step.

Next time they want to learn something, they’ll come back to your blog to find the step-by-step instructions you have laid out earlier.

How do I know?

Because I track my traffic using Google Analytics. And once in a while, I see returning visitors who spent up to 45 minutes reading a post.

Use images/video to create appealing posts

Have you ever came across blog posts which feel like a chore to read?

I have.

It’s a shame because the blogger was definitely knowledgeable and worked hard to create good content.

Unfortunately, as he described all the technical stuff in the post, I was left to my own devices trying to picture what he meant.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

use picture images

Use the free stock photo websites to find unique images for your blog. Here are a few:

Use screenshots and graphics to explain the message you’re trying to convey. People are more likely to read and stick around if you do.

Use Canva or PicMonkey to design your graphic and for image editing.

You can also use the Windows snipping tool to capture screenshots.

windows snipping tool

But don’t stop there.

Add videos and infographics to keep people engaged. If you don’t have your own videos, you can always find relevant ones on YouTube and embed them into your content.

When you find a relevant YouTube video, click on the SHARE link.

how to share youtube video

Then click on the “Embed” tab. You need to copy and paste the HTML code in your blog post.

how to embed youtube video

Here’s an example of embedded YouTube video. Go ahead, press the play button. It’s relevant to this blog writing tips.

Adding images/videos into your blog posts will do a few things:

  • Your bounce rate will drop
  • Your search engine rankings will rise
  • You’ll get more shares on the social media

Neil Patel analyzed close to 6 billion pages recently and they found that people tend to share articles more on the social media if they contain more images.

Use short paragraphs

Your paragraph should not be more than 5 or 6 lines.

If you notice, I tend to use short paragraphs at Sabahan.com too, usually no longer than 3 lines.

Longer paragraphs can be overwhelming and people usually skip them.

Also, more and more people are browsing the web from their mobile phones, so do these people a favour by using short paragraphs.

 

Blogging checklist

Get Instant Access  Blogging Tips & Tricks Checklist

Download the accompanying step-by-step check list that will help you create a better blog quicker.

 

Use subheadings

Subheadings break down your blog posts into sections. This makes it easier for the readers to scan.

use subheadings to break up your text

Without subheadings, people won’t be able to get to the gist of your content without reading the whole article. As a result, you’ll get fewer readers.

Notice the difference below?

no subheaders

Subheadings allow people to scan your post and get to the section that interests them and keep them scrolling through for the next section.

Use descriptive but concise subheadings. Make them interesting to pique the reader’s interest.

To add a subheading, just select the heading you want from the drop-down menu when composing your blog post.

optimizing headers tag

Include a conclusion

To keep it simple, label your conclusion, “conclusion“.

People often scroll down to the bottom of the post to see what the post is all about (or to estimate its length).

So make your conclusion interesting to entice them to read the rest of your post.

The conclusion section is also a good place to include your call-to-action.  A call-to-action is an action you are requesting your readers to perform.

Don’t assume that they automatically know what is expected of them.

You can ask them to leave a comment, share the post, sign up for your email newsletter and so on.

Use Grammarly to check for grammar and spelling mistakes.

Before you hit the publish button, make sure to double check your grammar and spellings for any mistakes.

I recommend using Grammarly to proofread your content.

While it won’t fix everything (as you may noticed from my own post!), using Grammarly is definitely better than proofreading by yourself.

You can find other blog writing tools here.

Link to other sites

Don’t be afraid to link to other relevant sites.

In fact, it has been shown that linking to other authoritative and relevant pages will improve your SEO rankings.

It also makes your content more valuable since you are pointing your users to relevant information which are not available on your site.

When you link out to other people, you will get on their radar. You build incentives for other people to engage with your site.

Reply to comments

I often see bloggers ignoring readers who left comments on their blog. Questions went unanswered and the reader’s appreciation wasn’t acknowledged.

Don’t be like those bloggers!

Replying to comments will help you to:

  • Create a more engaged audience
  • Increases the post word count which is good for SEO
  • Add more value by including points that aren’t mentioned in the post

Now don’t just reply with short answers and be done with it.

When answering, try to include your target keywords if possible and address your readers by their name.

For more blog writing tips, check out this expert bloggers roundup post at WordsByJustin. (I was also being featured in the list).

Write for SEO

What does it mean to write for SEO in 2018?

Here’s a hint: By providing a solution to the searcher’s queries.

Watch the video from MOZ below to find out more.

 

Blogging checklist

Get Instant Access  Blogging Tips & Tricks Checklist

Download the accompanying step-by-step check list that will help you create a better blog quicker.

 

#2: Blog promotion tips

Include social media sharing buttons

The social media sharing buttons have always provided a way for blogs to bring their content to a wider audience.

The share count provides a social proof which indirectly attests to the quality of your content. People are more likely to share your content if they see other people are actively sharing it.

Don’t include too many otherwise it can look cluttered.

I decided to go with Social Warfare because it offers a few features that aren’t available in other competing plugins.

social media sharing

Social Warfare comes with a free and paid version.

I’m currently using the paid pro version (it costs $29 per year) because it offers useful features for any serious bloggers in one package such as:

  • Show the Pin button on image hover for Pinterest
  • Customize your Pinterest image, description, title
  • Recover your lost share counts when you change your permalink structure
  • Automatic link shortening
  • Create Click to Tweet box easily within your content as shown below (alternatively you can use this)

 

The share count provides a social proof which indirectly attests to the quality of your content. People are more likely to share your content if they see a higher share count.Click To Tweet

 

Build your email list

Why do you need to build your email list?

Because you do not want to only rely on Google, Facebook or other third parties to send you traffic. They could shut down your traffic source anytime leaving you high and dry.

Also, if you want to make serious money from your blog, having an engaged and eager email list is the best way to go about it.

If you want to make money online blogging and via affiliate marketing, email marketing should one of your main priorities.

Even if you are not selling anything at the moment, having an email list is for you to provide value and connect with your readers more.

Related: How to Start an Email List for Free Right Now

Promote your posts on Facebook groups

Getting organic traffic takes time.

So before your organic traffic takes off, you can join blogger-focused Facebook groups and promote your posts to drive traffic and engagement.

I personally get the most engagement, shares and comments from Facebook traffic.

You can learn my tips and tricks on using Facebook groups to drive traffic to your blog here.

Tweet, tweet and tweet again

If there’s a social media channel that let you promote the same link repeatedly without being spammy, it would be Twitter.

In fact, that’s how you should use Twitter for content promotion.

You can automate this repetitive task by using the IFTTT  tool and other automation tools

IFTTT

IFTTT stands for If This Then That.

It’s a free web-based service that helps you connect all your different apps and devices.

There are over 600 apps that you can instruct to do specific things they couldn’t do otherwise.

Now, here how you use it to automatically tweet your latest post.

After you register with IFTTT, enable the following applet to automatically tweet your new blog post

Automatically tweet your new blog posts.

Just follow the instruction to get it going.

ifttt wordpress

RecurPost

Use Recurpost to schedule your tweets.

Dedicate some time (a few minutes to an hour on the weekend) to write short updates for all your important posts.

Then use Recurpost to slowly publish them on Twitter several times a day in a span of several weeks.

The free plan allows 3 social media accounts and 100 scheduled content. So you can see how much time you can save if you pre-schedule 100 tweets in one month.

You can also try Buffer or Hootsuite.

Learn SEO to drive traffic from Google

If you don’t know this already, SEO stands for search engine optimisation.

It’s the thing you do to improve your blog position in the search engines result pages.

I’ve dedicated an entire blog post to help you learn some SEO tips and tricks. Check it out.

 

Blogging checklist

Get Instant Access  Blogging Tips & Tricks Checklist

Download the accompanying step-by-step check list that will help you create a better blog quicker.

 

#3: Blog design and improvement tips

While some of the tips in this section assume you are running the self-hosted WordPress, they are applicable to other blogging platforms too.

Declutter your sidebar

When I started blogging in 2006, everyone was trying to fill their sidebars with widgets and links so that the users can interact with their blogs in multiple ways.

More choice means better user experience right?

Nope.

In fact, there was a study conducted involving jam in a supermarket. One day they display 24 varieties of jam that people were allowed to sample. Then on another day, only six varieties of jam were on displayed.

While the larger display attracted more attention, when it came to purchasing, people who saw the larger display were one-tenth less likely to buy than people who saw the small display.

Fortunately today, it isn’t as bad as it used to be.

When it comes to your blog design, you want people to focus on your main content.

It’s where you’ll make more money from (and from your email list if you have one).

People will return for your content and not the sidebar.

Take a look at your blog’s design and work out what you can live without.

Remove extra widgets, links or tools on the sidebar that don’t move you closer towards your blogging goal.

Remember, when it comes to your sidebar, less is more.

Add widgets that will help you get more email subscribers, show important blog posts, or get more social media followers etc.

Create a static homepage

The default homepage for blogs typically displays a list of their latest posts.

For the longest time, that was my default homepage too. Only in June 2018, I changed my homepage to a static one.

creating static homepage

The information on static homepages stays the same. It’s up to you if you want to display snippets of your latest blog posts or other dynamic content.

The main reason why you would want to create a static homepage is to present your most important information front and center.

It makes it obvious for your first-time visitors to know who you are and what immediate benefits they’ll gain from you.

You control how your visitors start their journey. If you want them to sign-up for your newsletter, this is the place to nudge them closer to that goal.

So how do you create a static homepage?

First, you need to create a new page for your homepage. It’s the same process you took when creating your About, Privacy, Disclaimer pages.

Once that’s done, go to Settings > Reading.

For the “your homepage display” option, choose “A static page” and select the page for your Homepage.

Create static homepage

At Sabahan.com, I’m currently using ThriveThemes.

You can watch the following video to learn how to design a professional looking static homepage.

Or check out this article.

Speed up your blog

Having a speedy blog will not only improve the user experience, but Google considers your page load time an important ranking factor.

I know I’ve been repeating this point in several of my articles already because it is THAT important to get it right.

The faster your pages loading time, the higher you’ll rank (provided that you’ve implemented the good SEO practices).

So how do you shorten your page load time? You can start by installing the following WordPress plugins.

  • Install W3 Total Cache
    This is a caching plugin. It improves the SEO and user experience of your site. You can skip this if you have installed other caching plugin.
  • Smush Image Compression and Optimization
    A WordPress plugin which resizes and compresses all of you images. Using smaller images ensure your pages load faster.

Here’s a before and after experiment you can do.

Go to pingdom.com and enter your URL. Alternatively, you can also use Google PageSpeed Insights. Note your page load time.

Then, install the caching plugin above and then run the test again. I’m pretty sure you’ll notice an immediate improvement in your blog load time.

Install Google Analytics

Installing an analytic tool is a must for any blog. Otherwise, how would you track your progress?

Even if you are not ready to use it, you should just install and start collecting data now.

To get started with Google Analytics go here and sign up.

Next, you’d want to insert the tracking code into your blog.

Most themes should have an option where you can just paste your code in.

Or you can install Google Analytics Dashboard for WP (GADWP) to add Google Analytics to your blog quickly.

So now what?

You need to track how well your content is performing. This information provides important indicators of the results of your efforts in creating and promoting your blog.

For starter, some of the most important metrics to track are:

  • Users
  • Sessions
  • Average session duration
  • Bounce rate

Metric #1: Users

Users are the unique visitors.

They are distinct individuals visiting your blog during a given period, regardless of how often they visit.

For example, people who visit my blog every day would only be counted once for the month, because they are distinct individuals.

This is one of my favourite metrics because it shows how I’m making the world a better place, one person at a time lol.

Pay attention to how your users count increases over time. Don’t worry too much about the daily or monthly fluctuations.

To view your users metric, go to AUDIENCE > Overview and select Users from the drop-down menu.

users metric

Metric #2: Sessions

A session is the number of times a user has visited your blog within a given time frame.

The defaults time frame is 30 minutes.

To view your users metric, go to AUDIENCE > Overview and select Sessions from the drop-down menu.

sessions metric

The session count is incremented each time the user visits. For example, if a visitor read my blog once a week, that would add up to 4 sessions per month.

Why is it important?

If you know what your visitors are doing on your website, you can influence their behaviour so that they perform the actions that get you closer to your end goal.

The higher the sessions count, the more likely they’ll sign up for your newsletter, make purchases or engage with your content and so on.

Some advertisers like Mediavine are using the session count as a benchmark before accepting bloggers into their program.

Metric #3: Average Session Duration

The Average Session Duration is the average length of a session within a given time frame.

It’s an indication of the quality and relevance of your content because it measures how long people actually stay on your blog.

Longer session duration is generally better. But it also depends on your end goal too.

For example, a longer session duration on your check out page could mean people are having a hard time making a decision or the page confuses them.

For Sabahan.com, I found that visitors from the social media are spending more time on my blog recently followed by the organic search.

To view which traffic sources are sending more engaged visitors, go to ACQUISITION > Overview

Average session duration

While this information can fluctuations a lot, in the long term, a pattern could emerge.

You can use this information to ramp up your promotional effort to attract more of such visitors.

Metric #4: Bounce Rate

The bounce rate is the percentage of sessions where people only see only one page before leaving your site.

To view your bounce rate, go to AUDIENCE > Overview

how to check your bounce rate

A high bounce rate can be good or it can be bad.

Why?

Well when a visitor arrives from Google for example, and they spend a few minutes reading your article, then they leave. That visit counts as a bounce.

But that doesn’t mean that your page doesn’t deliver. Perhaps, the visitor has found what he was looking for.

In general though, you would want to have lower bounce rates as it could mean people are viewing more of your pages and are engaging more with your content.

To learn how to improve your bounce rate, watch Neil Patel’s video below:

Top 10 most popular pages

These are your most visited pages or posts. To find your post popular pages go to BEHAVIOUR > Site Content > All Pages

They are important because you can optimize these pages further to attract more organic traffic, improve your bounce rates or time spent on page.

They can also be the perfect places to promote your lead magnet/freebies to get people to sign up for your email newsletter.

 

Have a targeted About page

The About page is often one of the most popular pages on any websites.

Why?

Because your visitors want to connect with you, not your blog.

Your blog can be about anything but only the person behind it makes it more relatable to them.

You should utilize your About page as a digital marketing tool to engage with your target audience to bring you closer to your end goal.

That’s what I mean by having a targeted About page.

I’ve dedicated an entire post talking about how you can create the killer About page for your blog. Check it out!

 

Conclusion

Back in 2006 when I started blogging, what everyone considered blogging tips and tricks for beginners were a little different (like writing a 300 words article was enough already!).

There was less noise and the social media as we know it today didn’t even exist.

But today, it’s different.

There are more competitions, the Internet is noisier and there are endless things you can add to your to-do list (isn’t that has always been the case? lol).

My advice?

Don’t try to do everything at once. You’ll end up spreading yourself too thin and suffer burnout.

Find out the most important thing you need to do now. Then concentrate all your effort on it. When you are done, you can move on to the next task.  Having focus is especially important for every new blogger.

Lastly, don’t give up if you don’t see the immediate results. Blogging is a marathon, not a sprint.

Successful blogging tips involved putting the time to acquire skills and put your knowledge into practice.

Now it’s your turn.

Have you tried any of these blogging tips and tricks? What are your best words of wisdom that helped you get closer to your goal?

Feel free to share in the comments below.

32

9 Successful Blogging Strategies to Get More Visitors in 2019

How to start a successful blog?Successful blogging strategies to double your traffic. Discover the best blog plan, marketing and content strategy for long-term growth. #blogging #contentstrategy #blogplan #blogstrategy

By implementing a few successful blogging strategies!

If I had a blog content and blogging strategy for marketing my blog from early on when I started blogging in 2006, my story would be different today.

At that time, my other online businesses were doing quite well so I decided to switch my focus. I abandoned Sabahan.com in 2012.

In June 2018 I decided to revive this blog.

Now, I don’t want other bloggers to make the same mistakes as I did.

So in this post, I shared what I’ve learned and distill them into actionable blogging strategies which you can implement yourself.

I hope these successful blogging strategies will help you grow your blog faster, get more visitors and make more money blogging.

This is a monster post containing over 6000+ words. Don’t let the word count discourage you though as I truly believe you’ll learn a lot of blogging tips and tricks from this post.

Related: 9 Quick SEO Tips and Tricks For Blogs (Updated for 2019)

 

Why Successful Blogging Strategies?

When it comes to blog content strategy, there has been an increasing focus towards creating more quality content rather than quantity.

As the Internet is getting more saturated with content, to stand out you’ll need to create the best content possible, not as much content as possible.

But a blog content strategy is just part of the equation. You need to have blogging strategies for marketing and a blog plan template that you can execute to move your blog forward.

Let’s get started with blogging strategy number #1.

 

Checklist blogging strategies

Bonus: Quick Checklist

Download the step-by-step blogging strategies checklist that will help you improve your blog FAST.

You're also subscribing to the Sabahan.com email list. Unsubscribe any time.

 

Step #1: Start With Keyword Research

When it comes to writing blog posts, throwing spaghetti on the wall and hope it sticks can be one’s blogging strategy (albeit not a good one)  when the Internet was a smaller place.

Today, before you even sit down and start writing, it’s important to understand beforehand if there’s an actual demand for the topic.

While you can wait and hope that Google will crawl your content and rank them on the first search results pages, there’s no guarantee it will happen.

To get traffic from the Google, your content has to contain certain search terms that real people are searching for.

So this begs the question, “What exactly are real people searching for?”

The answer boils down to doing keyword research.

A keyword research involves finding a series of keywords that people are actually searching for based around your blog niche.

It helps you research your target market and matches it with what you have to offer.

Without conducting any keyword research, you risk using keywords or write about topics that may be interesting to you but have little to zero interest to users.

So it doesn’t matter how epic and valuable your blog post is, or how hard you work for it, if there’s no one searching for it, you’ll still get zero traffic from Google.

It doesn't matter how epic and valuable your blog post is, or how hard you work for it, if there's no one searching for it, you'll still get zero traffic from Google.Click To Tweet

Secondly, while writing about popular topics is good, if the topic is highly competitive, you may still end up with little to no traffic from Google.

The top 10 search results are likely to be dominated by highly authoritative domains leaving little space for a newcomer.

Now, a good starting off point to finding great keywords is to look for these three main ingredients:

  1. Good search volume – potentially more traffic for you
  2. Low competition – so that you have a good chance for ranking
  3. Have commercial intent – is the keyword profitable?

By finding keywords that have all three of these main ingredients you will not only be able to get more visitors, but you will also have keywords that can sell and attract advertisers which means more money for you.

If you are just getting started in keyword research, try to focus on more long-tail keywords.

Long-tail keywords are simply longer keywords containing 3 or more words. They are often more targeted and less competitive.

For example, instead of targeting “wood flooring“, go for “which wood flooring is most durable“.

There are many free and paid keyword research tools to help you with this first successful blogging strategy. Here are a few:

Google Keyword Planner

This is a great starting point for doing keyword research. It’s a free keyword research tool from Google which allows you to see the keyword popularity and gauge the competition.

It also gives you the bid price for the keyword. The higher the price, the more profitable the keyword can be.

google keyword planner

Answer The Public

Answer The Public is another free tool you can add to your keyword research arsenal and blogging strategies for marketing your blog.

The idea is to visualize and map keyword suggestions/prediction that you see when you perform a google search. These are the questions people search most on the Internet.

For example, if you entered “wood flooring”, the keyword is expanded and returned related results for:

  • Questions (127) – can wood flooring go over tile?
  • Prepositions (140) – wood flooring suppliers near me
  • Comparisons (90) – wood flooring and carpet
  • Alphabeticals (508) – wood flooring adhesive, wood flooring Belfast, wood flooring cost etc.

Here’s how the keyword mapping looks visually.

answer the public

Paired these keywords with a keyword research tool (such as the KeySearch tool below) to see how competitive and profitable they are.

KeySearch

KeySearch is a paid tool and one of the cheaper option at that. While other tools can cost up to $70 monthly for their cheapest option, KeySearch cheapest plan only cost $17 per month.

keysearch keyword research tool

I am personally using this tool to perform my own in-depth keyword research. With a quick search, I could find

  • The keyword search volume – how many searches it gets each month
  • How competitive it is to rank on the first page of Google for the keyword
  • The profitability of the keyword. This is actually the CPC (cost per click) which shows how much advertisers are bidding to get their ad shown on Google. You can use this data to target keywords which pay more per click in AdSense or target profitable products if you are doing affiliate marketing.

For me, using KeySearch has been an eye-opener. I can ‘spy’ how some blogs are driving easy traffic from Google by targeting less competitive keywords which I could easily target myself.

It’s a quick way to find a target market for my content.

As if that’s not enough, KeySearch also gives you access to a free SEO Crash Course where it teaches SEO from the ground up, step-by-step.

They did a good job including loads of SEO tips, tricks and techniques that can help get your site moving faster up the rankings. This course is suitable for any SEO skill and knowledge level.

If you decide to buy KeySearch, use the coupon code below to get a 20% discount. Instead of paying $17 monthly, you’ll only pay $13.60 monthly until you cancel or upgrade your plan.

I doubt you could find a cheaper keyword research tool  offering similar features anywhere.

I’m not sure how long this coupon code will last though so be quick if you want to use it.

KSDISC

Use KeySearch to find easy-to-rank, long tail keywords without too much work.

 

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Step #2: Optimize Your Blog Post for SEO

If you don’t know this already, SEO is short for search engine optimisation.

It’s the things you can do to improve your search engine rankings.

It’s often about making small adjustments to parts of your website. These changes may be small if viewed individually, but when combined with other optimizations, they could  improve the user experience and increase your rankings in organic search results.

To rank on the first page search results, your content has to be considered relevant and authoritative to the user’s query.

There are a few blog optimisation strategies you can do to improve your rankings. In this section, I’ll teach you how to properly include your keywords in your blog posts.

You may also want to read my SEO tips for beginners and Quick SEO tips and tricks where I share the tools and strategies you can implement to improve your blog SEO.

SEO should be a major part of your content marketing strategy right from the start.

Include Your Keywords In the Right Places

Now that you found your target keywords, it’s important to sprinkle them throughout your post nicely.

optimize title meta description

Here are some places to include your keywords:

  • Post/page title – this is, in fact, the most important place to put your keywords in. Google will show this in the search results pages so it’s important to optimize this for search and relevance to improve click-through rate.
  • Meta description – this provides a summary of what your post is about. You can include your main keywords here too.
  • Headlines – this is often the headline that appears at the top of your blog post. Use your keywords here but also optimize it for the human readers.
  • Subheadings – structure your post by dividing it into several sections. Include your primary and secondary keywords in the <h2> and <h3> tags.
  • URL – use short URL eg: https://www.website.com/my-target-keyword
  • Alt tags – this is the text used to provide a description for your images. Instead of leaving it empty, try to include relevant keywords here for all your images. Just don’t overdo it.
  • Body – sprinkle your keywords throughout the blog post.

If this sounds like too much work, don’t worry because you can install the Yoast SEO plugin to help you implement these on-page SEO best practice quickly.

yoast seo plugin

Don’t worry about trying to get a perfect score though.

Certain suggestions like always place your target keywords at the beginning of your title or in the first paragraph of the copy are unnecessary and impractical.

important places seo keyword optimization

Do everything in moderation and avoid stuffing keywords unnecessarily or Google will penalize you. It’s also important to ensure your sentences flow naturally and not sound robotic.

 

Step #3: Write an Awesome Blog Post

Here are a few successful blogging strategies you can use to create an awesome blog post.

Create a Long-Form Post

Research shows that the average length of articles that rank on page one of Google search results or get the most social shares has a minimum of 1500 words.

Creating long-form content should be part of your blog content strategy.

Here are some benefits of writing long-form content and why you need to write long blog posts to stand out from the crowd.

However, there’s no point in writing long blog posts only to fill them with fluff. Also, not all topics warrant a long post. Think celebrity gossip or news event.

Your goal should be to write the best content than the next guy for your target keywords.

Having long posts means you’ll experience some readers drop off. Not everyone will read your entire long blog post from start to finish. Some people like to skip to the sections that they are interested in.

For that purpose, I’d recommend installing two plugins to help your readers navigate your content and to reduce drop off.

Easy Table of Contents

This plugin allows you to automatically generate a table of contents for your posts and pages. The TOC provides a sequential list of your post organizational structure.

In addition, adding a TOC allows you to have your target keywords appear multiple times in your copy. Once in the TOC itself and another one in the section header.

To Top

To Top plugin adds a floating scroll up box at the bottom right side (by default) of the page when scrolled down and, when clicked, rolls smoothly to the top. You can see it in action on this post.

This is convenient when you have a long page, and you want to give your visitors an easy way to get back to the top.

Combine this plugin with the Easy Table of Contents to make it easier for your visitors to navigate your content.

If you can’t come up with a long blog post, the next best thing you can do is encourage comments on the post.

Imagine having 10 people leaving 50 words comments, that’s an extra 500 words of free user-generated content on your page. Your own replies will also increase your total word count, so try to respond to all user comments.

Include Lots of White Space

You can format your blog post so that it is easier to read by including lots of white space.

A quick way to create more white space is to use shorter paragraphs. I personally write 2-3 sentence paragraphs.

I even create a one-sentence paragraph like this.

Remember that more and more people are accessing the Internet using their mobile phones. So your readers will thank you for breaking your text into smaller chunks.

Some other writing strategies you can implement to create more white space are:

  • Use bulleted and numbered lists like this
  • Use subheadings – make use of the H2, H3 subheadings
  • Bold important key phrases or sentences

Hook Your Readers With a Compelling Introduction

To encourage the readers to read your post you need a hook. Each sentence in your post should entice the person to want to keep reading.

Some hooks that you can use to start your blog post:

  • Tell a story – using personal story can pique the reader’s interest immediately. If you don’t have a personal story to share, a fictional one can also help lead into your post.
  • Ask a question to arouse curiosity – your first sentence could be a question about the problem your post is addressing. If they want to find out the answer, they’ll need to stick around.
  • Present fact and statistic – include charts, infographics or reference to interesting facts. The information should make people want to know more what you are writing about.

Use Images to Make Your Post More Appealing

This is particularly useful if you create long-form posts.

Research shows that people often scan and not read a web page. Images can interrupt the scanning process and draw them into the content.

If you are reviewing a tool or resource, capture a screenshot using the Windows Snipping Tool and include them in your post.

You can also find related images from the free stock websites like Pixabay, Pexel, Unsplash and PhotoPin. Click here to get free stock photos you can use for your blog.

I personally use the Windows Snipping tool for screen captures (or the keyboard Print Screen key), then I export them to Photoshop, add arrows, text and drop down shadow to make them stand out more and be more helpful.

End Your Post With a Call-to-Action

A call-to-action is an action you are requesting your readers to perform. Typically, they are placed at the end (sometimes throughout) of your blog post.

Having calls to action are essential in guiding your readers to the next step they need to do for successful blogging strategies.

Don’t assume that your readers automatically know what is expected of them.

You can ask your readers to do one or more of the following actions:

  • Sign up for your email list
  • Leave a comment
  • Share your blog post
  • Follow you on the social media channels
  • Recommend related posts for further reading
  • Try or buy a product or service
  • Whatever action of the sales funnel

Here’s an example of a call to action within a blog post!

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You can scroll down to my Conclusion below to see my call-to-action in action. Even this line is a call-to-action  🙂

 

Step #4: Capture Your Visitor’s Emails

Why do you need to collect your visitors’ email address you may ask?

Because you don’t want to rely on Google or the social media platforms for traffic.

If Facebook were to close your account for whatever reason, or Google changed their ranking algorithm (which happens quite often), your blog traffic could disappear overnight.

The visitors from the search engines and social media are transient. When they discovered your blog, they may read a post or two.

Some may bookmark your blog and come back later to check what’s new. Unfortunately, a large majority won’t return because they’ll forget about you.

With their email addresses safely in your hands, you can remind them to come back anytime you publish a new post.

Related: How to Start an Email List for Free Right Now

 

Step #5: Create a Landing Page for Your Lead Capture Form

To improve your email signup conversation rates, consider creating a landing page specifically for your lead capture form.

Landing pages are the most efficient way to get your visitors to sign up for your email list.

Why?

Because a landing page focuses on achieving a single goal. It’s free of distraction and encourages your visitors to take action.

Fortunately, you don’t have to be an expert to create high-converting landing pages.

If you are using WordPress (which I presume you are), you can use tools like Thrive Architect.

It comes with dozens of ready-made, highly optimized landing page templates that you can use to present your offers and grow your mailing list quickly.

It’s the tool that I’m using at Sabahan.com to create my own landing pages.

 

Step #6: Promote Your Post Like Crazy

Creating an amazing blog post is great, but all your effort will go to waste if no one is reading your post.

A top blogging strategy should involve spending more time on promotion than on creating content.

Sadly, the build it and they will come mentality won’t work today. There are millions of other articles competing for the same eyeballs and if you don’t pro-actively promote your content, you’ll never get discovered.

Ideally, you should be spending 80% of your time on promotion and 20% of your time on the actual writing.

Personally, for me I try spending 30% of my time on writing and the rest on promotion. As my goal is to create good quality long-form content, spending any less on writing could compromise the quality and length of my posts.

Here some blogging strategies for marketing your blog as soon as you hit the publish button.

Send an Email to Your Mailing List

Since the people in your email list has explicitly opted to receive emails from you, they are more loyal to you than the visitors from the search engines or social media platforms.

Send a broadcast to your email list to let them know about your latest post. Since these are people who already love you and your content, they’ll more likely to click the links and response to your offer.

Having an email list means your control your own traffic. You’ll have the ability at your disposal to drive traffic to any of your posts instantly. What could be better than that?

Promote Your Post on Facebook Groups and Page

I personally find promoting my posts on Facebook groups very effective. It gives the much needed initial boost in traffic the day after I hit the publish button.

Unfortunately, the engagement on Facebook page isn’t as good. But that shouldn’t stop you from announcing your new posts. You may have some loyal followers waiting for your latest and greatest content there.

If you think the post has a potential to go viral or you just want to get more exposure, consider spending some money to boost your post.

Later I’ll teach you how to reduce your advertising cost and improve your conversion rates by using Facebook pixel to target people who have already shown interest in your content using Facebook ads.

Facebook groups, on the other hand, are where the cool kids hang out. Since Facebook groups are not subjected to the same treatment as Facebook pages, your post will get more views and engagements.

Instead of dropping your links and run away, I’ve found that by including a highly relevant link when answering a question, you’ll get better engagement and click-through.

Bear in mind that Facebook spam detection won’t allow you to post links too often too quickly. So space out your link posting several hours apart if it triggers their spam prevention system.

Also, participating in blog commenting threads can give your blog some social proof. As new visitors check out your blog post and they see it has comments, likes and shares, they are more likely to do the same.

I’ve dedicated an entire post to teach people how to use Facebook groups to increase traffic and drive engagement to their blog. Check it out.

Share Your post on Twitter

If you don’t have large Twitter followers to begin with (like yours truly), Twitter will bring you little to no traffic. But hear me out, you need to get on Twitter.

For most bloggers, they only tweet their latest post once and then forget about it. Then, they wonder why their posts never gained traction on Twitter.

To be honest, I was guilty of doing the same thing!

Then recently it occurred to me I was doing it all wrong. I was expecting Twitter to work like Google where people would come back to search for information and will discover my old tweets.

While that may be technically true, it’s not how people use Twitter.

What most people do is get on Twitter at certain times and scroll through their timeline, scanning and reading only the tweets that catch their attention.

As to how many tweets they see depends on many factors. Suffice to say only a small fraction of people will notice each time you tweet.

You see, each tweet comes and goes very quickly. On average, a single tweet has an average half-life of just 24 minutes. If you are not on Twitter when a tweet is published, you may probably never see it. This is especially true if you are following many people.

So what should you do to get your tweets seen by more people?

To get your tweets seen by more people, just tweet more and at targeted times when your audience is likely on Twitter.

To get your tweets seen by more people, just tweet more and at targeted times when your audience is likely on Twitter.Click To Tweet

Once you published a post, tweet it immediately. Then write several more tweets about your new post and schedule them to be published sequentially in the future. It’s a strategy I just started using recently.

Dedicate some time to write updates for all your important posts. Then use a social media automation tool to help you publish them at specific times in the future.

I am using Recurpost to help me with the scheduling. The free plan allows 3 social media accounts and 100 scheduled content.

Recurpost might be your best option if:

  • You want to test recycling social media posts
  • You don’t have a lot of content you want to automate
  • You don’t want to spend money yet on social media automation tool

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll soon notice that for each post from my blog, I use a slightly varied description so that I can promote the same post over and over again at different times without sounding too repetitive.

In fact, due to Twitter’s policy changes, you cannot post the same Tweet more than once on Twitter.

recurpost twitter social media automation

You can register with Recurpost here.

In addition to Recurpost, I also use Buffer and Hootsuite to schedule my tweets and Facebook page/group posts. So far the free plans have worked well for my needs.

Here’s another trick you can use. Turn on Twitter Analytics. It’s an incredibly useful tool to track your tweets impressions and engagements.

twitter analytics

You can find your top tweets and discover the best time to tweet, the tweets that got the most attention, hashtag and so on.

Using these social media automation tools will save you time and is the best blogging strategies for marketing your blog effectively.

Get on the Pinterest Action

I dabbled in Pinterest marketing in early July. From what I read, I knew it can bring tons of traffic much quicker to a blog compare to other sources like Google (and for free too).

In fact, some say Pinterest is the secret weapon for some of the most successful bloggers. Well, I’m letting the cat out of the bag as I’m coming to see what the fuss is all about.

So I’ve decided to make it one of my main focus in driving traffic to my blog before the organic traffic from Google starts to kick in.

If you don’t know this already, Pinterest is actually a search engine and not a social media platform like many may have thought.

Like Facebook and Twitter, you can follow people but people go to Pinterest mainly to search for information and not to connect with other users.

While Google will index your new post automatically, Pinterest will not unless you pin (submit) your post to them.

Notice the vertical image near the top of this article? That’s a pin which anyone with a Pinterest account can pin on their Pinterest boards.

So far traffic from Pinterest has been very promising for me. I started pinning actively on 1st August 2018. In less than two weeks my pinned has reached 10833 viewers.

pinterest traffic views analytics

But here’s the thing, that’s not the most important metric for me. What I really wanted to know is the number of Pinterest users who actually clicked on my pins and landed on my blog.

While the number of viewers can be large, it does not equate to the actual visits I’ve received.

Most new bloggers may hide this fact for concern that the achievement may sound less impressive. Spoiler alert, I am here to be real, not to impress 🙂

From 1st August till 14th August 2018, Pinterest has sent me a total of 147 visitors (sessions).

pinterest marketing

Here’s how the daily visits from Pinterest look like:

pinterest daily visitors

While that traffic may not be huge,  I still think this is a very promising development because:

  • At the time of this writing, I had only 11 articles to promote on Pinterest.
  • Google has yet to sent me that much daily traffic (if you read my previous post, I set all my old posts to no-follow literally removing them from the Google index).
  • The average Pinterest visitor stays much longer (10 minutes on average) on my site compare to the visitors from other social networks.
  • The average Pinterest visitor views more pages on my blog.
  • I’m only getting started!

Update

It has been 30 days since I started to actively test Pinterest (3 weeks after I published the stats above). My pins are now getting 40,000 views.

Pinterest views growth

 

When it comes to getting organic traffic to your blog, it’s unrealistic to expect thousands of visitors to suddenly turn up on my doorstep overnight. Things take time to build up.

The best part was I only spent an hour or two on the weekends to schedule my pins and let them run automatically for the whole week pulling traffic from Pinterest.

Here’s what I did to get started with Pinterest:

  • Optimising my profile, boards for my chosen keywords i.e. “blogging tips, “increase blog traffic”, “grow email subscribers” etc
  • Joining group boards – these are collaborative boards where multiple users can pin their stuff for free. Visit pingroupie.com, type in your keyword to find relevant groups for your niche.
  • I checked which other group boards the influencers and popular bloggers have joined. Then I email the board owners if I can collaborate.

How do you find the board owner?

The owner is usually the first person that appears on the member list next to the board title.

how to join pinterest boards

Here’s an email template I use when asking to participate in a group board.

Pinterest board request email template

Hi [Board Owner’s First Name],

My name is [Your Name] of [Your Blog] where I share [What You Offer].

I would absolutely love to join your [Board Name].

I’m following you and your board!

My Pinterest profile: [Your Pinterest URL]

My Pinterest email: [make sure to use the email registered with Pinterest here]

Thanks,

[Your Name]

Now to automate my Pinterest pinning process, I use Tailwind.

Tailwind scheduled pins

Get your feet wet by signing up with the free plan. It lets you schedule and publishes up to 100 Pinterest pins per month, as long as you want.

You’ll soon find out how it will save you time, grow your traffic and help you make more money from your blog!

I’ve only scratched the surface with Pinterest here. I could talk about:

  • Optimizing your Pinterest profile and boards
  • How to design pins that get clicks
  • How to schedule your pins using Tailwind the right way
  • And more…

But I’ll leave those topics in my future posts, otherwise, this section will become too long.

I’ll continue to experiment to discover what works and what doesn’t. If you like to see how I am progressing, be sure to subscribe to my email newsletter.

Email Everyone Mentioned in Your Post

You may have linked to or mentioned someone in your blog post if so, try to shoot them an email or tweet that person to let him/her know.

I did this when I wrote the Facebook groups post and that person was happy enough she tweeted the post to her followers driving some traffic and followers on my way.

It’s a win-win arrangement, free publicity for both parties. Just keep in mind that not everyone you mentioned will be flattered by your move so don’t take it personally if you don’t get the response you wanted.

 

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Step #7: Get Backlinks to Your Post

One of the major ranking factors of Google is how many links a page has from other authoritative sites.

How do you get people linking to your post or blog?

Guest Blogging Strategies

Guest blogging is when you write an article for another blog and linking back to your blog. It’s one of the top blogging strategies you can utilise to get instant exposure to your blog.

Guest posting strategies are effective to:

  • Get backlinks to your site
  • Get in front of a new target audience
  • Show your expertise in a topic
  • Generate traffic to your site

When you guest blog, you may be allowed to link back to your blog from within the article itself but that’s not always the case. Typically, you are allowed an author bio. It’s where you can link back to your blog.

author bio

You can link to your blog homepage, to any free offer, social media profile or blog posts that you want more exposure to. This is how you get your backlinks.

However, some say the links from this guest blogging strategies may not have as much link juice than if it was unsolicited backlink from a third party. Since Google knows that you ‘created’ that backlink yourself.

Nonetheless, using this guest blogging strategy is still a powerful way to generate more backlinks to your blog. So it’s still very valuable for your SEO ranking.

That said, if you guest blog on a small website, you may see little to no traffic. Still, you are in this for the long-term, aren’t you?

As the blog you’re guest blogging at improves its domain authority, so does the importance of that backlink to your blog.

Contributing to other highly authoritative blogs gives you a chance to prove your credibility as a trustworthy and credible source of information. This makes it easier to convert your target audience into loyal subscribers or paying customers.

Let me give you an example…

The other day I was looking to learn about Pinterest marketing. After all, some say it’s the secret weapon for many bloggers. So I scoured the Internet looking for resources to help me get started quickly.

I came across many ebooks and online courses claiming to provide the answer to the secrets of Pinterest traffic. In the end, I decided to go for one particular course.

Why?

Because the author had several guest posts published in high authority blogs that I followed which include Huffington Post, OptinMonster, Blogging Wizard and a few others. This provided the social proof for me in that she knows what she’s talking about and the information she provided is credible.

She is now making around $6000 a month, grew her list to 7000 subscribers from a blog started barely a year ago. The convincing sales page coupled with her guest blog strategy nudged me in her direction and she got my money.

Linking Internally

If getting links using the guest blogging strategies are too much work, the easier way is by linking internally on your own blog.

Most people tend to link to their older posts from the new post. You can do the other way around too.

How?

Go back to your older blog posts and place a link from them to your current blog post. Since older blog posts should have higher page authority, passing the SEO juice to your new posts can help then to rank quicker.

 

Step #8 Retargeting With Facebook Ads/Google Ads

Have you ever noticed how some ads on Facebook appear to be related to the websites you have just visited?

For example, if you’ve just visited a product page on Amazon, all of a sudden an ad showing the same product appears in your Facebook feed.

How did Facebook know you visited that product page earlier?

It’s not coincident. In digital marketing, the practice is called retargeting or remarketing. The cool thing is you can do the same thing for your blog too.

The idea is to show ads on Facebook or Google only to people who have visited your blog.

how does retargeting work

Image credit

Retargeting is often the most efficient way to do Facebook ad campaigns. Retargeting warm prospects improve your ads click-through rates and lower the cost per click.

Only 2% of visitors take action on their first visit to a website. Retargeting allows you to reach the other 98% who left your website without taking action.

As I mentioned before, most of your visitors from the social media or Google search will never return. However, these people already visited your website which means they have shown some initial interest in your content.

Rather than trying to entice first-time visitors, who may less likely to convert, retargeting aims to get repeat visitors who are more likely to convert.

Your conversion goal may be to generate more sales, increase brand awareness quicker but for our purpose, it is to get people to sign up for our newsletter.

How to Install Facebook Pixel on WordPress for Retargeting

There are several ad networks like Google, Bing, AdRoll that allow retargeted ads. I want to start with Facebook Pixel because it’s one of the more popular options among bloggers.

Even if you do not have any plan to run a retargeting campaign now, you should install Facebook Pixel now to start collecting data immediately.

Once installed, leave the tracking pixel on your blog for a few months to start building your pool of retargetable users. When you decide to actually start your retargeting campaign, you’ll have a larger pool to target.

Here’s how to install Facebook pixel for WordPress:

  1. Go to Facebook Event Manager > Partner Integration or click here.
    installing facebook pixel wordpress
  2. Just follow the online instructions and download the plugin for Facebook pixel in the next page.
    facebook pixel installation instruction
  3. Once installed, the Facebook pixel WordPress plugin settings look like the following:That’s it. You are done! You are now collecting user data automatically for your future retargeting campaigns.
    facebook pixel wordpress plugin

How to Check If Facebook Pixel Is Actually Working?

During the setup process, you can send test traffic to your pixel to check whether it is working or not.

remarketing retargeting ads

You can also install the Facebook Pixel Helper Chrome extension.

Once you have the Chrome extension activated, visit your blog to verify your pixel is working properly. If it does, you should see something like the following:

check facebook pixel working

If you opt-out of interest-based advertising, the related events won’t be processed. Don’t worry about it. If there’s no other warnings or errors, your pixel should work properly.

 

Step #9 Update Your Best Performing Posts

The date when your blog post is published gives an indication as to the freshness and relevance of your content.

Top blogging strategies include writing an evergreen content but you know that’s not always possible because things move so fast online and your post can become outdated quickly.

One easy way to make a blog post seems relevant again is by displaying newer comments at the top of each page.

Here’s how you do it…

Show Recent Comments at the Top

When people see recent comments appear at the top, that tells them the post is still thriving and relevant since people are still engaging with it.

So they are more like to leave a comment or share the post too.

To show recent comment at the top, go to your WordPress dashboard then Settings > Discussion.

Under the Other comment settings, make sure to set Comments should be displayed with the newer comments at the top of each page.

blogging strategies for marketing blog

Optimize Your Old Posts

You can look at your top 10 popular posts every now and then and see what you can do to make them better.

Log in to your Google Analytics account and go to BEHAVIOUR > Site Content > All Pages

how to optimize old blog post

Find a post you want to improve and do any of the followings:

  • Add new content by writing a paragraph or two. Expand an existing section or add another picture, video or other media. If it’s a list post, add another item or two into the list.
  • Check if you can create additional internal links to other relevant posts especially the new ones that are relevant to the post. This serves two purposes – it passes some SEO juice to the new posts helping them to rank while making the old post more relevant.
  • Reply to comments or edit existing ones to expand your point. This will increase the word count of your article which helps in ranking.
  • See if you can do some off-page backlinks as well. Email other bloggers and tell them about your awesome blog post.
  • If it’s an affiliate post, make sure that the affiliate links are optimized.
  • Create linkable assets. Create or hire someone to create an infographic from your post. Then do some blogger outreach and send emails to influencers in your niche so that they’ll link to and share your content.

Use Google Search Console to Improve Your Content

You’d want to make your post as thorough as possible based on what other people are already searching for.

To do this, log in to Google Search Console

Take all the keywords that you are getting impressions for but haven’t been ranked properly and start adding them to your copy.

google search console

However, you don’t want to just shove them in and have your content be keyword-rich.

As people landed on your pages and read your keyword rich page, they will bounce off immediately if your article does not flow naturally. So your writing has to flow naturally and add more value.

Click here to learn how to use Google Search Console.

 

Conclusion

I know this is a lot of information to absorb in one sitting.

You may want to bookmark this page, return later and implement one or two at a time into your own blog plan template or content strategy.

Are you using these successful blogging strategies to get more visitors to your blog? Let me know in the comments!

17

27 Best Blogging Tools to Help You Grow Your Blog in 2019

Best blogging tools to grow your blog, tools and resources to increase productivity. #blogtools #bloggingtools #Bloggingtips #blogmarketingLooking for the best blogging tools to add to your list of blogging tools?

Great!

As you know creating, organizing, and promoting your content can take a lot of time.

As a blogger you need to be online most of the time, it’s so easy to become distracted and procrastinate. We often end up doing tasks that we think are important but aren’t urgent.

For example, even though reading the how to select a gorgeous WordPress theme guide is important for your blog, it’s really not as urgent as promoting that awesome blog post you’ve just published.

The best blogging tools increase your productivity, help you write better posts, help you prioritize tasks, and grow your blog traffic faster.

These blogging tools come in the form of WordPress plugins, software/apps, services and websites which help you to stay focused while writing, organize your time better or automate tedious tasks.

Some of these blogging tools are my favourites too as I’ve been using them daily to save time and money.

While most are free some offer paid options which come with extra features.

This post separates the wheat from the chaff to help you find the best blogging tools for your own needs.

Disclosure: At Sabahan.com I believe in transparency. The list includes a few affiliate links. If you sign up using my referral link, I’ll earn a commission at no extra cost to you. This helps me keep Sabahan.com up and running.

 

Best Blogging Tools For Beginners

WordPress

If you are already using the self-hosted WordPress for your blog you can ignore this. Otherwise, it’s something every beginner need when they start a blog.

Fiverr

You can either try to do everything yourself or head over to Fiverr and pay others to do the job for you for as low as $5.

You can get help with a logo design, blog illustration, theme installation and customization, WordPress issues, plugins installation, proofreading, writing blog posts, you name it.

Although, I wouldn’t recommend Fiverr for blog promotion and marketing, links building and SEO. The methods they use to drive short-term traffic, get followers on the social media and backlinks can often do your blog more harm than good.

On a related note, feel free to check my post to help you grow your blog traffic.

Thrive University

I wish resources like the Thrive University existed when I started my blog in 2006. It could have answered most of my newbie questions and accelerated my learning process.

Thrive University is an entire library of in-depth training material, focused on creating and optimizing your blog or site conversion. It can be getting more email subscribers, more sales, designing beautiful blog, creating engaging content and more.

Registration is free and you can access many beginners-focused as well as advanced level courses for the veteran bloggers.

Here’s a screenshot from the main page:

free blogging training material

While anyone can access the content for free, it’s geared towards those who use their tools and plugins. Personally for me, joining their Thrive Membership ($19 monthly)  has been the best investment I made for Sabahan.com so far.

 

Blog Writing Tools

Google Doc

While the built-in editor for WordPress is fine for most bloggers, I personally prefer composing my posts using Google Doc.

Here’s why:

  • It’s free – if you have a Google account, you already have access to it.
  • The document is accessible from everywhere
  • The autosave feature is less confusing than that of the WordPress one.
  • It allows blogger collaboration – your partner can edit, view or comment on your article with varying degree of privacy.

The only problem I encounter is when exporting my post to the WordPress editor. Copying and pasting the content results in all sorts of formatting issues.

I ended up spending extra time removing extra line breaks, unnecessary HTML code and uploading the images manually.

If you post often, you may want to consider using tools like Wordable to help you export Google docs to WordPress.

I’ve tried Wordable before and it worked pretty well for long-form content. You can try the free option (with conditions) or pay $19.99 monthly for unlimited exports.

Since I don’t post that often, I’ve been moving my posts from Google Docs to WordPress manually.

Hemingway Editor

The Hemingway App is a free online tool (there’s also a desktop version for PC and Mac) that helps you to improve your writing and make it easier to understand.

Unfortunately for me, it introduces an extra step since I am already using Google Docs. If that doesn’t bother you, you can actually save time editing and improve the readability of your text.

Grammarly

I use Grammarly to help me fix my spelling and grammatical errors.

While it won’t fix every issue, it can be extremely helpful for any blogger to help them communicate their ideas in a better and more concise way.

For those whose English is not their first language like myself, Grammarly is an invaluable tool to have in my blogging toolbox.

If you have been using the built-in Microsoft Word spelling and grammar checker, give Grammarly a try as it works better.

I’ve tried both the paid and find the free version is good enough for my needs. You can add the Chrome plugin or Microsoft Word plugin (this is what I’m using)  to automatically check as you type.

 

Free Stock Photos

Adding images to your post can make them more appealing.

It’s a way to grab the visitor’s attention and draw them into reading your article. On the other hand, having a blog post full of text can turn some visitors off.

Having images also make a post more shareable. Those using Pinterest understand how important it is to have an eye-catching graphic to increase their views count.

Here are some websites where you can download free images and use them without attribution.

Pixabay

One of the most popular free stock photo sites to download free images from. You don’t even have to give credits for using the image. No strings attached.

Pexel

Another website offering free photos for personal and commercial use.

Unsplash

Unsplash is a good place to find free high-resolution photos.

PhotoPin

PhotoPin lets you search millions of Creative Commons photos from websites like Flickr. Since it’s not a curated list, the quality varies from one photo to the next.

 

Graphic Design Tools

Canva

One of the most popular graphic design tools online.

The template-based, drag-and-drop design tool makes it very easy for non-designers to create a professional looking image that pops.

Canva is great for creating social media graphics, ebook covers, Pinterest images and business stationery and many more.

While there is a paid option, the free option is good enough to get you started.

PicMonkey

Another very popular online photo editing tool.

Unlike Canva, it comes with a lot of photo filters and effects. I would say it’s more of an image editing tool than a graphic design tool.

PicMonkey also comes with beautifully designed and fully customizable Pinterest templates to help you create eye-popping pins that get attention.

 

Premium Themes

Theme Forest

A good place to find premium themes that match your blog niche. I’ve personally purchased several themes from them including article directory themes and mobile app showcase themes.

Most themes are very affordable. You don’t have to spend much to find some gorgeous looking themes with great features and a mobile responsive design.

Due to a large number of themes available, finding the best one for your needs can be challenging. Just be sure to check the reviews. Stick with the highly-rated and well-established themes developers.

Thrive Themes

While Thrive Themes may not have the largest collection of themes, they are better known for their suite of conversion optimized design and WordPress plugin.

They’re also cheaper as you can get a theme for a one time fee of $49.

If you are after the user conversions like me, you can’t go wrong with Thrive Themes.

 

Blogging  Tools For WordPress

Google Analytics

With Google Analytics, you can track how and when users visit your blog. These information are important indicators of the results of your effort in creating and promoting your blog.

You can install WordPress plugins such as Google Analytics Dashboard for WP (GADWP) to quickly integrate Google  Analytics with your blog.

Best WordPress Plugins

Instead of repeating the best WordPress plugins you can install on your blog, click the link above to check out my related post.

 

Blogging Tools For Marketers

You can’t depend on Google or other social media for traffic forever.

By having an email list, you have a growing audience that you can continue to market and announce your new content over time.

Related: How to Start an Email List for Free Right Now

As a blogger, you are also a marketer and these are the tools you need to market your stuff.

MailerLite

MailerLite is an email marketing platform that helps you collect your visitors’ email addresses.

MailerLite is totally free to use if you have fewer than 1000 subscribers.

An email list is probably the most important asset an online business owner could have.

Sumo

Sumo is a suit of free marketing tool (a collection of WordPress plugins) that helps you:

  • Design opt-in forms on your site and connect to email marketing services like MailerLite.
  • View Google Analytics traffic directly within WordPress
  • Increase traffic by content sharing for all Sumo users.
  • Chat live with your customers and visitors
  • Get in touch via contact form
  • And many more…

Sumo is mainly used for creating email capture forms and adding social sharing buttons.

The free plan limits you to 200 email subscribers, attached Sumo branding and with no support. That being said, it’s worth trying considering the immediate benefits your blog will enjoy.

Thrive Leads

At the moment I am using Thrive Leads to design my opt-in form.

Unlike other paid list-building plugins, there’s no upsells or extra features to unlock. Everything is accessible for a one-off fee of $67 (it comes with free updates for life including one year of support if you stop paying).

 

Tools For SEO & Getting More Traffic

Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools is a free service by Google for webmasters.

It allows you to check indexing status and optimize visibility of your blog or websites and improve your rankings on Google search result.

You can learn more how to use it to improve your ranking here.

Bing Webmaster Tool

Similar to Google Webmaster Tools, Bing helps you rank properly on Bing search results.

Yoast SEO

A must-have WordPress plugin to help you improve your search engine rankings. You can learn how to use it here.

WP Smush

WP Smush helps you to automatically compress and resize images without losing quality so that they load faster.

 

Task Management & Productivity Tools

Trello

Trello is a project management tool that lets you create boards for each of your projects and visually view them in one place for easy management.

It’s a great tool for individual bloggers or a team to manage workflow, collaborate on a project and be productive.

Trello uses a Kanban board style method to manage tasks. This task management style lets you organize your tasks in vertical columns. The first Kanban system was developed for use by Toyota automotive in Japan.

kanban task management

Usually, these columns are titled Pending, In Progress and Done or something like that. So you could work on the tasks in the “In Progress” column and when complete you would move the tasks across to the Complete column.

Trello task management

I started using the free Trello a month ago. Since then I’ve found myself stop posting virtual sticky notes or to-do list in multiple places and become more organized.

Here’s a template you can use as a guide to help you create a blogging editorial calendar in Trello.

Here’s another guide to using the Kanban method with Trello.

Toggl

Toggl helps you track your time better.

Why is it important?

When you start tracking your time on a task, you stay accountable for the time you’re spending on that task. It is useful for bloggers who want to focus on the time they spend writing, researching and editing.

If you are curious how much time you’re taking on a project you can time yourself with Toggl and find out. As you can imagine, this can be useful to freelancers who are billing by the hour.

When it comes to executing my to-do list, I break up my time into a series of 30 minutes blocks. I don’t have to complete a task in 30 minutes. It’s there to help me stay focus on one, and only one task for at least 30 minutes.

It’s a method I stumbled upon a while back. It has helped me to be more productive, stay more focus and get more things done.

I’ve used Toggl daily since forever. I’ve used both the paid and free option and found the free one is good enough for a solopreneur like myself. It works best with a task manager like Trello.

I must admit I am not a productivity nor a time-management expert who could organize and schedule my time perfectly. But I keep learning, trying to get better at it each day. I just made sure urgent and important things get done.

Roboform

Roboform is a password management tool which supports multiple devices from desktop, tablets to mobile and has multiple browser support as well.

There’s a free option available but I needed to sync across devices, cloud backup, Two Factor Authentication and web access, therefore, the paid option is what I am using right now.

When you have a lot of accounts on different websites, having a password management tool is a must.

 

Conclusion

Whether you are a new or a veteran blogger, having access to the best blogging tools and resources could save you time, work faster write better and gain more readers.

I’ll be updating this post and will add more tools to the list from time to time.

Now it’s your turn.

Do you have a favourite blogging tool that’s not included in the list? Leave a comment, share any tips or tell us which tool you are using.

11

9 Best WordPress Plugins For Blogs In 2019

The best WordPress plugins can extend the functionality of your blog and help you achieve your blogging goal. #pluginsforwordpress #wordpressplugins #recommendedwordpressplugins #bestwordpresspluginsThe best WordPress plugins can extend the functionality of your blog and help you achieve your blogging goal.

Whether you are a WordPress beginner or a veteran blogger, selecting the best WordPress plugins for your blog can be tricky.

The most popular WordPress plugin may not necessarily be the best plugin for your blog.

Worse still, some of the so-called must-have plugins could slow down or introduce holes that could compromise the security of your blog.

Finding useful plugins don’t have to be a daunting process though.

And this article will help you do exactly that.

Starting with the bare essentials such as contact form, SEO, social, analytics and caching plugin to speed up your blog, I’ll explore other popular WordPress plugins that will take your blog to the next level.

Finally, I’ll look into ways how you could declutter and reduce the number of installed plugins yet still have important features for your blog.

You can skip the first two sections if you are already familiar with the basic of WordPress plugins and know how to install them.

 

What Is A WordPress Plugin?

A WordPress plugin is a small piece of code that you can install with just a few clicks to add a new functionality or enhance an existing functionality of your WordPress blog.

To see your list of installed plugin, log into your WordPress admin dashboard, then click Plugins > Installed Plugins.

best WordPress plugins

Your first WordPress installation comes with two few default plugins. They are:

  • Akismet – checks your comments for spam. It’s very useful for personal blogs. However,  if you make money from your blog in any way, you’ll need to pay for the service (I’d delete Akismet). Later I’ll show you a free alternative to Akismet which allows both personal and commercial use.
  • Hello Dolly –  the world’s first official WordPress plugin. It doesn’t do anything useful except demonstrates how a plugin works so I’d also uninstall this.

 

How to Install a WordPress Plugin

If you’re new to WordPress then you might not know how to add new plugins to your blog. To do so, click the “Add New” link under Plugins menu or the button at the top.

add new plugin

The next screen will show the official WordPress plugin directory.

If you can think of any feature you want to add to your blog, there’s probably a plugin for that.

With tons of free plugins to choose (55,469 and counting!), it’s easy to see how some WordPress users end up installing anything that takes their fancy.

My advice?

Have some self-restraint because installing too many plugins will do your blog more harm than good 🙂

When you find a plugin you like, click the “Install Now” button. When WordPress finishes downloading the plugin, just click the Activate button to activate it.

wordpress plugin directory

 

Free vs. Premium WordPress Plugins

With so many free plugins available, why would you want to pay for a  premium or paid plugin?

Well, there are several reasons:

  • Frequent updates – premium plugins will be updated more often. So they usually work better and are compatible with the latest version of WordPress and other plugins and themes.
  • Better support – developer helps you troubleshoot issues if something goes wrong.
  • Better security – probably more reliable and secure than a free plugin that could just be a side project for the developer.
  • Extra features – some plugins come with a premium version which offers extra features that’s not available in the free version. It’s sometimes called a freemium plugin which you can upgrade to the premium version for more advanced features.

 

Best WordPress Plugins For Blogs

When you Google “best WordPress plugins” or “must have plugins for blog” you’ll come across with many different suggestions and opinions.

Instead of creating a longer list of plugins than the next blog, I’ll start with the bare-essentials, i.e. plugins which are useful for a new blog.

These plugins address a universal concern or needs every blog owner cannot afford to ignore.

With so many plugins to choose from, it is inevitable that some features overlap may occur. The duplicate in functionalities can cause conflict so you’d want to minimize the number of installed plugins in your blog.

Instead of listing the features of every plugin, I’ll explain what each plugin does and its advantages and disadvantages to help you decide if the plugin is right for you.

In any case, these list includes some of the most popular plugins for their respective speciality. They are the same plugins installed at Sabahan.com too so you can be confident they work as advertised.

 

Contact Form 7

contact form 7

With over 5 million active installations, it’s one of the most popular contact form plugins for WordPress. All blogs should have a contact page to allow visitors get in touch with the owner easily.

With Contact Form 7, you can make some fields compulsory or create forms for a different purpose other than a normal contact form.

The form can be placed into a post or page of your choosing by using shortcodes.

Pros

  • Free
  • Support Google reCAPTCHA
  • Light-weight
  • Uses simple markup to alter form content
  • Supports third-party extensions for additional functionalities

Cons

  • Installation can be a little tricky for beginners

If you need help with the installation, you can find step-by-step instructions on how to set up Contact Form 7 here.

 

Antispam Bee (Akismet free alternative)

antispam bee

This plugins automatically blocks spam comments and trackbacks without captchas and without sending personal information to third-party services.

I had used Akismet for all my blogs before they required a subscription for commercial blogs. Today Antispam Bee is my go-to anti-spam comment plugin.

Pros

  • Free
  • No ads
  • Easy to configure – no license, no registration required
  • Supports both personal and commercial blogs
  • Developed in Germany so it’s GDPR compliant

Cons

  • None that I am aware of

For further reading, check out this article about using Antispam Bee to block spam comments.

 

Yoast SEO

yoast seo

Yoast SEO seems to be on everyone’s top 10 or must-have plugins lists these days.

While a lot of things has changed as far as optimizing your blog for the search engines, there are things that stayed constant such as having keywords in your title and descriptions, keywords in alt text for images, and headers text, good keywords density and so on.

Creating content that is properly optimized for Google and other search engines can be daunting.

And this is where the Yoast SEO plugin comes in.

It walks you through optimizing your blog posts for the search engines without having to be an expert in blog SEO.

Pros

  • The free version should be good enough for most bloggers.
  • Easily optimize your post/page/category title and meta description – this is the feature I use most.
  • The Analysis feature offers good optimization suggestion – but there’s no need to fret about the imperfect score. Just use it as a guideline.
  • Quickly set any page/post/category to no-index

Cons

  • At $89 per year, Yoast SEO Premium is expensive but could be worth it.
  • The sitemap function can’t exclude posts from certain categories
  • Bloated code since you can’t remove features you don’t use.
  • Ads on the free version

For me, the ease of internal linking could be a reason for an upgrade.

The premium version also allows you to optimize your title/meta description and content for up to 5 keywords.

However, trying to optimize for 5 keywords at once seems overzealous and the paid tool doesn’t make it any easier.

Besides Yoast SEO uses exact match for the secondary keywords. So you can end up stuffing keywords into your title and description instead of making them flow naturally.

If the multiple keywords feature is the reason you want to upgrade, read this helpful review to help you decide.

I’d just focus on writing great content and naturally sprinkle any secondary keywords in the article body and subtitles.

In case you’re still wondering if you need Yoast SEO Premium, check out this review too.

 

W3 Total Cache

w3 total cache

In my post SEO Tips for beginners, I stressed that having a fast loading blog is crucial to your search engine rankings.

A slow loading website usually ranks lower on Google search results and will hurt your business.

The good news is, you can easily improve your blog performance by installing a WordPress caching plugin. Caching plugins work by storing your blog data temporarily in the cache so that it loads faster the next time the user opens the same page.

For that purpose, I am using W3 Total Cache for Sabahan.com and it works wonder for me.

The default options should work fine for most bloggers. Just make sure to enable Page cache and HTTP (gzip) compression.

If you have a busy blog, you may want to use the CDN feature.

CDN, short for content delivery network allows you to serve your static content such as images, video, CSS, Javascript using servers from across the world.

It minimizes your server load because CDN distributes the load on multiple servers across the world (they are located closer to your visitor’s location).

Most CDN  services will cost you a monthly fee. However, there’s a free CDN  service you can try by Cloudfare CDN.

All you have to do to get it up and running  is change your nameservers on your domain registrar website. Your host should be able to help you set it up.

That said, the free Cloudfare CDN won’t give you significant improvement in performance. I tested Sabahan.com with Pingdom.com  and selected Melbourne, Australia as a test origin. Since my server is located in the US, the loading time is still not that great.

free cloudfare cdn improvement

Here’s the pros and cons of W3 Total Cache plugin:

Pros

  • The free version should work for most people.
  • A multitude of caching functions
  • Helpful documentation within the plugin.
  • Use by many popular blogs like Mashable, Matt Cutt and WpBeginner.

Cons

  • Pricey premium version at $99 per year.
  • Advanced features can be complicated.

In any case, caching plugins are known to conflict with other plugins or themes. Ideally, you should only install one such plugin on your blog.

 

Google Analytics Dashboard for WP (GADWP)

google analytics dashboard for wp

Tracking how and when users visit your blog is crucial. The number of visits and page views your blog have are an important indicator of the success of your blog.

First, you’ll need to sign up with Google Analytics to help you do just that.

To integrate it with your blog, you may want to install a Google Analytics plugin. This is not actually necessary but these plugins simplify the process as you don’t have to manually paste the tracking code into your blog’s header.

Some of the Google Analytics plugins also give you access to your Google Analytics data without the need to leave the friendly confines of your WordPress dashboard.

Currently, I am using Google Analytics Dashboard for WP (GADWP) by ExactMetrics.

With GADWP, you can view the number of visits to your site, bounce rates, organic searches, pages per visit, and more directly on your WordPress dashboard.

In addition to the general reports, the in-depth Page reports and in-depth Post reports allow further segmentation of your analytics data, providing performance details for each post or page from your website.

post analytic report

Pros

  • 100% free (no paid version)
  • Easily adds your analytics tracking code
  • View reports right inside your WordPress dashboard homepage
  • Reports are easy to understand

Cons

  • Maybe overkill if you don’t care about in-dashboard reporting
  • Serious marketers or developers who need to dig deeper may need to look elsewhere

I have used Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsight but found the free version too limiting. The whole plugin feels like an advertisement for the pro version.

 

BackWPup

backupwp

Backing up your blog regularly should be part of your standard WordPress security practice.

Backups could save you from a lot of future troubles and give you peace of mind. If you run a business blog, I can’t stress enough how much backups are crucial for your long term survival.

When an update or changes you made go haywire, or your blog just got hacked, you can quickly restore your blog from a backup and start afresh.

BackWPup allows you to create a complete backup for free and store on the cloud i.e. Dropbox, Amazon S3, Rackspace or FTP, email, local server.

BackWPup can backup your database, WordPress theme, plugin files and uploads folders. You can even exclude folders from the backup.

Pros

  • It’s free  – a paid Pro with extra bells and whistles is also available.
  • Easy to set up
  • Can store backups to cloud storage – Dropbox, S3, Rackspace etc.
  • Can schedule automatic backups
  • Can create multiple backup jobs – each job creates smaller backup file thus more memory efficient for your server to handle.

Cons

  • Storing backups to Google Drive requires the Pro version.
  • No quick restore option for the free version
  • No incremental backups (it backups everything not only new/updated files so can be resource intensive). If you have a very large blog, you may want to look elsewhere.
  • Pro version is pricey.

Ideally, you should not store your WordPress backups on the same server.

Storing your backup files into a folder on the same server can be a good temporary solution but not recommended for the long term.

If your server failed or are hacked and your backup files are compromised, it defeats the purpose of setting the backup in the first place.

The good new is you can get started with Amazon S3 for free. Upon sign-up, new AWS customers receive 5GB of storage and 15 GB of data transfer each month for one year.

 

Google XML Sitemaps

google xml sitemap

A sitemap is a file on your server where you list the pages of your website to tell Google and other search engines about the organization of your site content.

In the old days, you’d have to create the sitemap file manually. Today you can use plugins like Google XML Sitemaps to help generate an XML sitemap for your site.

This sitemap file helps search engines like Google and Bing to easily understand the structure of your site and include them into their database.

Everytime you publish or update posts or pages, Google XML Sitemaps will automatically update your sitemap file and notifies all major search engines about the new content.

Pros

  • Free
  • Plug and play
  • The default configurations are good enough
  • SEO experts can tweak many settings
  • Set priorities for posts

Cons

  • None that I can think of – good enough for the average user.

After creating your sitemap, you’ll need to submit it to the search engine webmaster tools:

Sitemaps do not necessarily boost your SEO rankings, the main purpose is to help search engines crawl your website better.

Since new blogs usually don’t get many backlinks to their posts or pages, it is harder for the search engines to discover them.

Having a sitemap for your new website or blog is advantageous because it improves the discovery and visibility of your new blog quicker.

 

Wordfence Security

wordfence security

The default installation of WordPress is pretty secure. You just have to make sure to use a strong password and constantly update your WordPress version and plugins.

Having said that, it does not stop malicious people from attempting to break into your blog.

This is where Wordfence Security comes in as it keeps your blog more secure.

Pros

  • The free version offers loads of features
  • Learn where threats to your blog originate
  • Plenty of options to tweak to suit your needs.
  • Set it and forget it (but you have to know what you’re doing)

Cons

  • A little complicated for new users
  • Turning Live Traffic monitoring could severely slow down your blog or conflict with other plugins
  • Can be quite resource-hungry causing poor performance
  • Firewall rules only get updated in 30 days after the premium version
  • Premium version is pricey

 

Useful WordPress Plugin For Blogs

While WordPress itself is an awesome platform for creating websites, the default installation is rather limited in features and functionality save for the content management system it’s originally intended for.

That in itself is actually good because you can pick and choose which capability you need by installing the exact WordPress plugins and avoid the bloated code problem.

Ultimately, your blog goal determines which plugins are necessary. For example, what’s essential for a blog that sells things online may not be useful for a personal blog.

I don’t want to review some random plugins that only look good on digital paper but may not work as advertised. So this list only includes plugins that I’ve personally used in my blogs.

This list will be updated from time to time to include additional plugins deserving the spotlight.

 

Child Theme Configurator

create child theme plugin

This plugin is intended for those who want to modify their current WordPress theme beyond the basic configuration allowed in the theme settings.

To use this plugin, some technical knowledge about WordPress is necessary though.

Child themes are the best way to customize your WordPress theme.

A child theme is a theme that inherits (or copies if you prefer) the looks and functionality of another theme, i.e. the original theme (parent).

The idea is that you can modify and add new functionality to the parent theme without modifying it directly as you are working with the child theme.

However, child themes aren’t easy to create. This is where the Child Theme Configurator comes in.

It generates any number of child themes from your parent theme giving you unlimited control over the look and feel while leaving your parent theme untouched.

 

Easy Table of Content

easy table of content

Adding a table of content (TOC) at the beginning of your posts (or sidebar) can be a good way to make them more readable and manageable for your readers.

The readers can skip through the information that doesn’t necessarily apply to them and go directly to the parts they actually want to read. This could reduce the page bounce rates, and in turn, will improve your search engine rankings.

Besides highlighting the important sections of your posts,  adding Table of Contents to your blog also helps Google to show rich snippet in the search results.

Easy Table of Content helps you achieve those goals by easily creating a clean table of content.

The table of contents is generated automatically. No shortcode is necessary, just point and click to implement.

You can see the actual implementation of Easy Table of Content on this post.

 

Post Views Counter

post view counter

Have you ever wondered if anyone actually read your newly published blog post? Sure you can install an analytic plugin to track your page views but that’s not the simplest way of doing it.

For new bloggers especially, knowing that some people are actually interested in what you have to say can be fun and flattering. At least you know your blog is no ghost town 🙂

You can easily see how many times a post or page had been viewed by installing Post Views Counter. It’s simple and convenient to use as the view  count appears right at the bottom of your post/page.

It also provides social proof to your visitors in that other people are interested in your content too.

Unlike some other post views counter plugins, you can exclude counts from bots, logged in users or by IPs. Post views count is also not auto increment for every page refresh.

I also like the fact that I can easily import data from WP-PostViews which I had used previously (but is no longer updated by the developer).

 

Q2W3 Fixed Widget

floating sidebar widget

Have you ever wanted to put a spotlight on an element that deserve a spot front-and-center without disrupting the content flow?

Maybe it’s your newsletter opt-in form, a table of content, product promotions, Follow Us widget or photos that “sticks” to their screen.

Well, you can do so with Q2W3 Fixed Widget.

When installed, it adds the “Fixed widget” option in your widget settings (as you can see from the image above).

If the box is checked, the particular widget will always be visible when the page is scrolled down or up. It basically creates a sticky floating sidebar widget for your WordPress blog.

You can see a working demo of Q2W3 Fixed Widget on this page for my own newsletter opt-in form (if I haven’t disabled this feature already).

 

Thrive Leads

list building plugin

Having your own mailing list is crucial to the success of your blog. Email remains the best way to market your offers and build a sustainable business.

Most of the traffic coming from Google or social media are temporary. Some visitors may never return after they read your content.

One way to ensure they will return is by capturing their email addresses. You can send them an email whenever you publish a new blog post.

At Sabahan.com, I am using Thrive Leads to design my opt-in form and connect to the MailerLite email marketing platform. MailerLite is totally free to use if you have fewer than 1000 subscribers.

While Thrive Leads is not free, it’s one of the best list-building plugins for WordPress.

Unlike other paid list-building plugins, there’s no upsells or extra features to unlock. Everything is accessible with a one-off fee of $67 (it comes with free updates for life including one year of support if you stop paying).

You can design a great looking and professional quality optin form with a few clicks. There are a variety of optin form types: Lightbox, ribbon, widget, slide-in, screen filler overlay, you name it.

 

To Top

scroll to top plugin

To Top allows the visitors to easily scroll back to the top of the page. It’s useful if you publish long posts often.

When installed, it adds a floating scroll up icon at the bottom right side of the page. When clicked, the page rolls smoothly to the top.

There are various options available to help you customize the button to match your needs. You can see a live demo of this plugin on this post.

 

How to Reduce the Number of Installed Plugins in Your Blog

With more than 55,000 free plugins to choose from in the WordPress plugin directory alone, it’s easy to feel like a kid in a candy store.

How many WordPress plugins are too many?

While there are no hard and fast rules, most experience WordPress users would agree that less is best.

Dan Norris, co-founder of WordPress website support service WP Curve prefers to keep sites to under 20 plugins.

Installing too many plugins could potentially cause:

  • Site performance issues and slow page loading. Front-end plugins especially add extra JavaScript or CSS files to your site increasing the number of HTTP requests. In addition, some plugins may increase the number of database queries which may increase your server load.
  • Website crash due to poorly coded plugins.
  • Security breaches and hacks – you can’t be 100% certain that all plugins are safe and secure. Some plugins are poorly coded or haven’t been updated for a while exposing your site to security risks.
  • Reliability issues due to poor coding, slow updates, poor support and plugins being discontinued.

 

How to Avoid Problems With Plugins

Here are some tips to avoid any of the problems above:

  • Avoid installing plugins offering similar functionality.
  • Uninstall plugins that you don’t need.
  • Replace plugins that are no longer updated
  • Only install plugins that come from trustworthy and reputable sources.
  • Check when the plugin was last updated. Try to avoid those that haven’t been updated for more than a year.
  • If possible look for plugins with over 100,000 downloads and 4+ star rating.
  • Check the support threads to see how the developer is responding (or not).

One of the best WordPress plugins you definitely need to install is a caching plugin. I’ve written a post to help you how to quickly and easily increase your blog loading speed.

 

Install Plugin Detective

When your site is experiencing an issue, you basically had to manually deactivate/reactivate individual plugins to find the exact plugin that’s causing that issue.

A new plugin solves this pain by taking this manual process and automates it for you. You are basically doing the same thing just with a fewer clicks of a button.

You can check out Plugin Detective’s WordPress.org page here.

 

Install a WordPress Theme That Comes With Useful Built-In Features

In addition to the suggestion above, installing a WordPress theme that comes with useful built-in functionality can also help reduce the number of plugins you need to install.

The problem with this is that choosing the right theme can be tricky as you could end up installing a theme that comes with tons of features that you don’t actually need.

This is called the “theme creep” which is when your WordPress theme tries to do too much by itself.

WordPress themes should only handle your site’s design and layout. All the functionality is supposed to be in plugins.

Some themes may look awesome today but:

  • Will it still be around a few years from now?
  • Will it continue to be supported and get updates?
  • What if you want to switch theme in the future?

My questions were answered while I was looking for ways to design a conversion optimized landing page for an ebook about cryptocurrency that I wanted to sell.

I came across Thrive Themes.

Thrive Themes offers a variety of themes and plugins. But the one theme that I am using is the FocusBlog Theme.

Update: Unfortunately this theme is sold out! All their themes will be replaced with the brand new, visual theme builder.

The best thing about this theme (besides being conversion optimized) is that it comes with many built-in features that the average WordPress user would actually need.

Any one of these can be the best WordPress plugins for your blog too.

Right off the bat, I no longer have the need to install plugins like:

  • Author Bio Box – this displays a box with the author’s biography and also social icons at the bottom of a post.
    author bio box
  • Related Post Plugin – this plugin shows related content after reading your post. It’s an effective way to increase pageviews and reduce bounce rates.
    related post plugin
  • WP Smush – or any other image compression plugin for that matter. Thrive Themes uses Kraken in the background to optimize your images so your pages load as quickly as possible.
    image optimization plugin
  • Comment Lazy Loading – useful if your posts get lots of comment so your pages load faster. The plugin prevents the comments from loading automatically when page/post is loaded. Instead, this plugin only loads (lazy load) the comments when the user scrolls down to the comments section. The default Thrive Theme installation doesn’t have this feature built-in though as it needs to be installed via a separate plugin. I like it so much I have to mention give their Thrive Comments plugin a mention here.
    comment lazy loading
  • Floating Social Media Button – must have for every blog to maximize your social media visibility. Some of these plugins can slow down your blog because they have to load additional stylesheets and scripts. Fortunately, this is not a problem with Thrive Theme.
    floating social media button
  • Social Media Follow Us Badges/Widget – these social media buttons are usually placed on the blog sidebar. It’s the best way to build your followers on social media.
    social media follow us button
  • Breadcrumb plugins – A breadcrumb helps your visitors keep track of their location on your website. It displays the breadcrumb navigation, usually at the top of your posts that tell users where they are relative to the homepage.
    breadcrumb navigation

Installing Thrive Themes is just one of the ways to help you keep the number of installed plugins down.

Should you decide to switch theme in the future, you’ll not lose important data but may lose some of the formatting.

Thrive Theme still allows you to seamlessly switch between themes without any issues. You just need to install the relevant plugins to regain the missing functionality back.

Granted, these built-in features may not be as fancy or as versatile as those offered by separate plugins. Still the functionality they provide should be good enough for most people.

Another plus for using Thrive Themes is that all their themes and plugins are optimized for mobile so the functionalities work seamlessly on mobile devices.

While it’s possible to purchase each theme and plugins separately, you can save much more if you join the Thrive Membership for as low as $19 per month.

As a member, you’ll have access to all of their plugins and themes and you can use them on 25 of your own websites.

Disclosure: At Sabahan.com I believe in transparency. I’m a member of Thrive Membership and use their products on this blog. If you sign up with Thrive Membership using my referral link, I’ll earn a commission at no extra cost to you. This helps me keep Sabahan.com up and running.

Free Thrive University

If you are not ready to join yet or want to learn how to create websites, landing pages, opt-in forms and maximize your website conversions, check out their Free Thrive University. Thrive University gives you access to all of their guides, courses and webinars for free.

 

Conclusion

Each blog has different goals and needs and there’s no one single plugin that’s one size fits all.

The best WordPress plugins are those that extend your blog functionality and help you achieve your blogging goal.

However, installing too many plugins can distract you from doing things that really matter for your blog, such as writing great content.

Now it’s your turn.

Do you agree/disagree with any of my points? Have you encountered any issue with any of the plugins mentioned above? Please let me know in the comments.

If you find this post useful, feel free to share it.

4

How to Start Your Own Blog (2019 Beginners Guide)

How to start a blog using WordPress. Beginners guide. #startablog #startingablog #wordpress #howtostartablog #howtoblogformoney #blogSo you want to start a blog?

You are in luck because in 2019, creating a blog is easier than ever.

This guide will teach blogging for beginners.

You will learn how to select your own domain name, choose the right blogging platform, select a reliable web hosting, and publish your first post quickly.

The whole process should take you no longer than 20 or 30 minutes to create your blog.

Although it could take a little bit longer if you haven’t come up with a name for your blog already or you don’t know which theme (blog design) you want to use.

Let’s dive right in!

How to Start a Blog For Free

You can create a blog for free if you want to.

However, a blog with its own domain name, i.e. yourblogname.com, will cost around USD10 per year (later in this article I’ll teach you how to get a free domain name).

The blog web hosting (think of it like a computer on the Internet where your blog is saved on) will cost around USD4 (or more)  per month. That’s pretty cheap if you ask me.

If you want to start a blog and make money from it, you’ll need to spend a few dollars on those things.

Later I will explain why you shouldn’t start a free blog if you are serious about blogging.

 

Selecting Your Blog Niche – What Should You Blog About?

A blog niche is a small topic area that you want your blog to focus on.

For example, if you want to write about health and fitness, you need to narrow down your focus to target one specific sub-topic such as weight loss/dieting, healthy living, muscle buildings/workout and so on.

Why?

Because by becoming a voice in a specific small segment of the industry, it would be easier for you to stand out and attract the right kind of audience that will relate more with your content.

It’s also important to select a niche that you can establish yourself as an authority. But that doesn’t mean you must already be an expert in the topic.

Sharing your own personal experience which helps others can be as good and informative as those coming from the experts.

While having a passion helps, it’s also important that you blog about topics that help people solve a particular problem.

 

How to Choose Your Blogging Platform

You can start your blog on many different blogging platforms such as WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger and more.

What is the best free blogging platform? You can’t go wrong if you follow the crowd.

WordPress powers more than half of the top 100 blogs. Even more impressive, it runs nearly 30% of the entire internet.

When it comes to blogging, it’s the most popular content management system (CMS) by far.

There are two versions of WordPress, WordPress.com and WordPress.org.

Sabahan.com is using the self-hosted WordPress.org blogging platform.

Self-hosted means you download the WordPress software and run it on your own server.

Everyone who are serious about blogging should go for this option.

Here’s why:

    • It’s FREE – All you need is a web host and domain name. There’s no catch. The software is free because you have to setup and host it yourself (use this article as your guide)
    • Its design is highly customizable – There are tens of thousands of free and paid themes to help you create the exact look you want.
    • It’s powerful – There are more than 42,000 free plugins in the official WordPress directory alone. Plugins add more functionality to your blog, from contact form to plugins that improve blog performance.
    • It’ secure – The team behind WordPress is always updating their software and keeping everything safe from bugs and hacking attacks.
    • It allows you to make money – You can place ads on your blog and experiment with any blog monetization strategy.
    • It helps you rank higher on Google – Getting traffic is the lifeblood of your blog and WordPress.org will make it easier for you to get better rankings.

 

Why You Shouldn’t Create a Blog On a Free Blogging Platform

On the other hand, the other free blogging platforms like WordPress.com, Blogger.com, Tumblr, Medium or Wix limit your freedom and customization options that a self hosted WordPress blog offers.

Here are some flaws you need to know:

  • You don’t own your blog content –  Since your blog is being hosted on another website, any violation of their terms of service (even accidentally)  can result in the shutting down of your blog.
  • Your blog address looks unprofessional – it can also be hard to remember, i.e. Sabahan.blogspot.com vs sabahan.com.
  • You are not allowed to advertise – your monetization options are limited.
  • You can’t fully customize the look of blog -  you’ll have a limited selection of themes available to really make your blog stand out. You can’t even use the free WordPress plugins to add new functionalities
  • Limited web space – you can only have so much space for your posts, images and videos as most free blogging platforms drastically limit the amount of web space you can use.

That being said, it’s completely fine to blog just for fun or as a hobby. You can start with the free blogging option and later migrate to WordPress.org.

Unfortunately migrating your blog can be very time-consuming and tricky. So, I’d recommend starting a self-hosted WordPress blog from the get-go if you are serious about blogging.

Setting up a blog like Sabahan.com is actually pretty easy and cost less than you think.

I’m going to teach you the exact steps on how to start a WordPress blog.

 

Sign Up With a Web Hosting and Install WordPress

WordPress officially recommends Bluehost. Established in 1996, it’s one of the oldest web hosting companies around (even before Google).

They are reliable and secure. With the once-click-install feature for WordPress, you’ll get up and running in no time. Their web hosting offer comes with a free domain name too.

Disclosure: At Sabahan.com I believe in transparency. If you sign up with Bluehost using my referral link, I’ll earn a commission at no extra cost to you (in fact, you will save money and get a free domain). This helps me keep Sabahan.com up and running.

I’ll guide you step-by-step in creating a blog on Bluehost.

  1. Sign-up with Bluehost web hosting.
  2. Choose your hosting plan (the cheapest one should suffice).
  3. Pick a domain name for your blog
  4. Complete hosting registration
  5. Install WordPress with one-click installation
  6. Log-in and write your first post.

These steps shouldn’t take you longer than 10 minutes (provided that you already know what domain name you want to use).

Now let’s go into each step in more detail.

 

1. Sign up With Bluehost Web Hosting

Open up Bluehost in a new window and following along these steps.

Click on the “get started now” button to get started.

how to start a blog

2. Choose Your Hosting Plan

On the next screen, there are three options you can choose from Basic, Plus and Prime.

Blogging beginners can start with the Basic plan. It is also the cheapest plan. You can always upgrade later if you need more features.

web hosting plans

3. Pick A Domain Name

On the next screen, you’ll need to choose a domain name (Bluehost will give the domain name to you for free).

Owning a domain name also allows you to can create a personalized email addresses like [email protected] or [email protected]

If your first choice .com domain isn’t available, you can use other domain name ending (like .net, .org).

If you already have a domain name bought from somewhere else, use the second form on the right “I have a domain name”.

choosing domain name

The minute you launch a blog with your own domain, the minute you launch a brand.

Your brand is what makes your blog recognizable to people.

You should put some thought into selecting your domain name (but not so much).

Here are some tips when choosing a domain name for your blog:

  • Use your personal name – if the blog is about you or you want to build a brand using your own name.
  • Use brandable name – if you want to build a brand apart from yourself, you can use a brandable name such as FrugalPurse.com instead of Best-How-To-Save-Money-Tips.com 🙂
  • Keep it short – a shorter name means less hassle for the user to type and less risk of mistyping.
  • Make it easy to remember – avoid confusion with complicated or creative misspellings.
  • Avoid numbers and hyphens – this makes it hard to remember and explain the domain to others.
  • Select a “.com”, “.org” or “.net” – those are the most popular. People usually associate a website with “.com”. Avoid extensions like “.biz”, “.club” and other less common ones. They are harder to remember.

 

4. Complete Your Registration

In the next screen, you’ll find three sections on this page.

  • Account Information – just enter your contact information as you would normally.
  • Package Information – you’ll need to choose the account plan here. For the Basic plan, I’d start off with 12 months. To save more, you can select the longer options.package informationThe reasons why you would want to purchase at least the 12-month hosting plan are:
    • You’ll get a free domain name.
    • You save money from the monthly pricing.
    • You save time and hassle from having to renew monthly.
    • You avoid the risk of losing visitors when your site is down.There are optional extras that you can purchase but they really aren’t necessary to start a new blog. That said, you might want to consider the Domain Privacy Protection.When you register a domain name, your contact information is made public. If you don’t want that, you can tick this option. Bluehost will hide your registrant information and replace it with theirs. In any case, you can always add those add-ons later on if you decide that you need them.
  • Payment Information – The last section is the payment information. If you want to pay with PayPal, click on the “More payment options”.payment informationOnce you have entered your payment information, click the Submit button. You’ll be asked to create your password to login into your Bluehost account.bluehost password

 

5. Install WordPress

  1. Use the password created previously to login into your account.
    success-password-creation
  2. Once you’re inside your Bluehost account, you’ll be able to pick one of the themes provided by Bluehost. Keep in mind that you can always pick another theme later from the WordPress.org repository.
    wordpress theme
  3. After picking a theme, you are now ready to log into your WordPress dashboard and start building your blog. Click the “Start Building” button.
    building wordpress blog
  4. On the WordPress welcome page, you’ll be asked whether you want to create a business or personal blog. It’s up to you. Or you can click the “I don’t need help” to do it on your own.
    wordpress welcome bluehost
  5. If you click on the Bluehost menu on the top left-hand corner, you will see the main Dashboard with various sections designed to help you create your new blog.If you go to your blog address, i.e. www.yourblog.com, you will see a “Coming Soon” page.It’s OK to start launching your blog right away by clicking on the Launch button. This allows you to easily preview how your blog will look like to your visitors.Don’t worry, since no one knows about your blog yet (unless you tell them), you can freely experiment with the blog design.
    bluehost dashboard
  6. After clicking the “Launch” button, you’ll be asked to enter the title and description of your blog. These let your visitors know what your blog is all about. Remember that you can always update this info later.
    launch my blog
  7. Congratulations! You have just launched your new blog!

 

6. Log-In to WordPress Dashboard and Add/Write Your First Post

You can log in to your blog admin dashboard by visiting www.yourblog.com/wp-admin. Just replace yourblog.com with your own domain name.
wordpress dashboard login

Once you’re logged in, you will see the WordPress dashboard screen below. Your dashboard may look slightly different.
dashboard

Now’s the fun part – it’s time to share your blog post ideas with the world!

  1. Adding a New Post
    To start writing your first post, on the left-hand side menu, click Posts > Add New.

    The Add New Post screen looks something like this (your screen may look slightly different from mine):
    add new postYou can start entering the title of your blog post and the content in the big text box below the title.If you don’t have to finish your blog post in one sitting,  the “Save Draft” button on the right of the page will save your draft.If you want your post to be published later, you can schedule the post too.Adjust the Visibility setting to make your post private or password protected so only certain people can see it.To publish your post, just click on the “Publish” button on the right of the screen. Congratulations you have just created your first blog post!You can always edit or delete your published posts. Go to the “All Posts” section of the Posts menu to find the particular post you want to change.

Once you have some excellent blog posts written, you can start promoting them on the social media.

In fact, some say you should dedicate 20% to 30% of your time on blog content creation and the bulk of your time should be spent on blog promotion.

Start creating dedicated social media profiles, they should include a Facebook page, Twitter and Pinterest profile just for your blog.

 

What Is The Difference Between Blog Posts vs Pages

Blogging beginners are often confused by the difference between a blog post and a page.

Both posts and pages help you organise your content. In most blogs, posts and pages look almost identical.

Pages are accessible from menus while posts are often placed inside categories. The collection of your latest post snippets is  visible from the blog index.
blog index

Here are some of the key differences between Posts vs. Pages:

  • Posts are timely – when you publish a new blog entry, you’d publish a post.
  • Posts are social – you’d want as many people to read and share your blog entry.
  • Posts encourage engagement – your readers can comment on your blog post. This helps establish trust and build loyal followers to your blog.
  • Posts belong in a category (or several categories)
  • Pages are evergreen – content such as about page, privacy policy, contact us aren’t supposed to be outdated. You may need to update them once in a while.
  • Pages are not meant to be social – it’s often unnecessary to include the social sharing buttons on pages.
  • Pages can’t be commented – you don’t usually allow comments on pages.

These are the norm but there are no hard and fast rules. For example, some blogs may include important posts in the menu (like what I did for this post), or allow commenting on their about page.

 

How to Change Your WordPress Blog Design

You can change the appearance of your blog by changing the blog theme with just a few clicks.

Changing the theme will have an immediate effect on the look and feel of your blog. It’s one of the most exciting parts of starting a blog as you and your visitors will be able to enjoy the result right away.

There are thousands of premade WordPress themes that you can install. Some are free while others are paid.

I’ve personally purchased many paid themes including those from Theme Forest due to their broad selection, quality design and niche specific theme offerings.

For example I wanted a theme to showcase my mobile apps and wasn’t disappointed to find a theme specifically for that purpose.

I’m currently using FocusBlog Theme by Thrive Themes for Sabahan.com.

They offer more than WordPress theme though. Their products are designed from the ground up to help you convert your visitors into buyers, subscribers or whatever business goal you may have.

To change your WordPress blog theme just follow these steps:

  1. Start by login to www.yourblog.com/wp-admin
  2. In your WordPress dashboard, click on the Appearance > Themes

    You’ll see several pre-installed themes. If you don’t like those, click the “Add New” button at the top
    updating wordpress theme

    On the next screen, you’ll be able to search the free WordPress theme repository. You can sort by popularity, latest or filter by feature, industry and layout.
    sort and select themesOnce you have found a theme that you like, click the “Install” button (which appears on mouse over). WordPress will download the theme files to your server.
    install preview wordpress
    You can also see how it would look like without installing by clicking the Preview button.Once the theme has been installed, just click “Activate ” on the next screen:
    activate theme
    You can further customize the theme by clicking on the Customize menu under Appearance.

 

How to Select the Perfect Theme For Your Blog

Here are a few tips to help you find the perfect theme for your blog:

  • Look for clean and uncluttered design  – it will provide good user experience to your visitors.
  • Check for responsiveness – A responsive design ensures your theme works properly on any screen from desktop browsers to mobile devices (important for good search engines rankings)

Finding the perfect theme for your blog can be time-consuming though.

The good news is, you can always switch theme if your current theme doesn’t do what you want. As your blog gets more popular, try to avoid changing themes often because it will confuse your regular readers.

While using the free themes are enough for most bloggers, at some points, you would probably want a professionally designed theme created specifically for your particular industry or niche.

Paid themes have the following advantages over the free themes:

  • More features and customization options – developers need to offer better products due to competition. Extra features like shortcodes, drag and drop builder and other built-in functionalities could reduce the number of plugins you need to install.
  • Support and updates – paid themes are supported by the developer and comes with regular updates.
  • Unique and professional design – unlike free themes, paid themes are installed less frequently because people actually need to pay to use it. A  unique and professional looking theme helps your blog stand out more.

That said, paid themes are not perfect. Some themes may look pretty but are poorly coded which make them incompatible with some plugins.

In an attempt to attract buyers, some developers include too many features which you probably don’t need anyway. This could make your website slow.

Too much dependency on certain functionality that comes with a specific theme can break your blog if you decide to switch theme later.

 

How to Start a Blog and Make Money

This article teaches blogging for beginners and how to start one quickly.

If you already have a blog and want to make money from it, hop over to my make money blogging article.

You’ll find various ways to monetize your new blog and make money while you sleep 🙂

 

Conclusion

Congratulations on reaching this far!

Now you know how to start a blog, you’re already ahead of other wannabe bloggers.

Creating a successful blog requires passion and hard work, there’s no shortcut to it.

The good news is as long as you are willing to learn, the journey itself can be fun and very rewarding.

Bookmark this post as I’ll be updating it from time to time to include the latest information to help you create a successful blog.

Next, you may want to read the following blogging-related posts:

Please share this post if you find it helpful. I’d also love to know your thoughts or any question you have in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

7

How to Design & Write The Best About Page For Your Blog

How to design and writhe the best about page for your blog. #aboutpage #createaboutpage #aboutpageexamples #aboutmetemplate #howtowriteaboutpageDo you want to know how to write an awesome About Us Page for your blog or website? Are you looking for About page templates or examples you can emulate?

Who needs an About page generator if you can get creative and design a great about me page yourself?

Please read on…

When someone lands on your blog or website and they don’t know about you or your business, the first page they’ll look for is your About us page.

So start by making your About page  easily accessible from your homepage (or any other web pages for that matter).

An About Page is a page on a site where your visitors or readers can learn more about you and your business and what you have to offer.

Often, this web page tells  the story of the site creator’s journey  from the beginning to finally achieving success (or vice versa).

While it’s okay to talk about your story, for a lot of bloggers, they got carried away and they think their About page is just about them.

 

Why Is It Important to Have a Good About Us Page?

Your About page is going to be one of the most visited pages on your blog or site. It can determine whether the visitor is going to stick around and come back or leave your blog.

It’s a chance for you to build a rapport that will hopefully turn your casual visitors into avid followers or customers. It’s a point of contact for starting a relationship with your future followers and prospective customers.

If you are a blogger and have been putting off making your own About page, you are not alone. The good news is you don’t have to make it more complicated than it is.

Your About page can be simple, straightforward and conveys just a few key things. Best of all you can do it in under 500 words.

However, there’s need to be a balance in selling yourself and driving your visitors away with a self-focused approach.

Also, it’s not meant to sell your products or services. In fact, using the hard sell could actually drive them away.

Download the printable graphic  below that will show you how to create a powerful About page for your blog.

Elements of a powerful about page #aboutpagetemplate #aboutpage

Download Your Printable Graphic

 

How to Write A Good About Page

For a start, call the page “About”,  “About Me” or “About Us” and not “Get to Know Us Better” or “Start Here”.

People don’t want to think when they are looking for something. They don’t want to look at your “Our History” link and wonder if that’s where they find out about who you are, what you do, and why they should read your blog.

Near the end of this article, you can also find a few About page examples that you can emulate. Use them as templates in coming up with your own perfect About page.

So how do you actually start writing an about page that showcases  the best of you and what you have to offer?

 

Introduce Yourself and Your Blog

Start by introducing yourself with your name to give immediate sense of trust and familiarity to help the reader know you.

How you create the introduction is up to you. What’s important is you let your readers know how you can help them.

 

Doing Storytelling to Connect With Your Visitors

Good relationships are an important part of any person’s life. Imagine you just met someone, you may only want to get to know the person better if you feel a connection with them.

This can be achieved by establishing interest and opening up to the person by telling a story in your About page.

So the first thing you need to do is connect with your readers or visitors by creating a story. The story can be about you or about your business.

It’s important to understand who you are talking to. So your story should begin by understanding the audience it’s intended for. If you don’t know who you’re talking to how can you tell them what they want and need to hear?

Explain how you got to where you are today. Make people see how you know what you know.

If you can create amazing stories and connect with the readers, then they’ll be engaged and will most likely come back and be your loyal readers/customers.

Loyal visitors can help promote your business via  word-of-mouth. For example, if you have had a good experience with a particular shopping website, you’ll more likely recommend them to your friends and family.

 

Talk About How You’re Going to Help Your Visitors

The next thing you need to do is not just write about you and your business, but you need to you need to talk about how you’re going to help the visitor who’s coming to your blog.

If there’s nothing for them, there’s no reason for them to stick around. You need visitors to your blog to be successful, so ultimately the blog is not about you but about your visitors

Unless you are creating a personal blog and has no plan to make money from it, always put other people before yourself.

Be specific, add links to products and service that can benefit them.

 

Be Impactful By Using Adjectives and Words That Convey Emotions

To better connect with your audience, you need to be impactful. You can do so by using:

  • Adjectives – beautiful, best, big, important, free, success, valuable, useful etc.
  • Emotional words – amazing, faith, happy, hero, surprising, miracle, courage etc.

When you do this, you’re more likely to connect with people versus just using text that’s boring.

Add some humour and personal flair but try to maintain some level of professionalism. Your visitors want to connect with real people.

Also, write like you speak. Use “you” and “I” in your copy to make it more personal.

Should you write your About page in the first or third person? I think it’s a matter of preference. Personally, I think writing in the first person sounds like I’m speaking directly to you.

 

Use Headlines and Subheadings to Break Up Your Text

No one wants to visit your About page only to be confronted with a large block of uninterrupted text.

Use headlines to make it easier for readers to scan and quickly find what they’re looking for.

When readers scan your page, they will often read each headline to get an idea about what you have to offer.

So use clear and attention-grabbing headlines. Even if they don’t read everything, at least they check the sections that interest them.

 

Include Your Most Popular or Income Generating Posts

If you are brand new to blogging, try to create a few guides or posts that you think are useful for your readers and include them in your About page.

It’s also okay not to do this until you have enough content to share.

As you start creating more posts, you can include the popular posts or any affiliate-type posts that you want to drive traffic to.

These posts should showcase your expertise or be the most helpful for your visitors. It’s also your chance to drive traffic to your income-generating posts.

income generating post

Click the button below to get the recipe for a perfect About page.

Download Your Printable Graphic

 

How Long Your About Us Page Should Be

As I mentioned earlier, you should use storytelling to pull readers in and engage them in your journey.

But if you are going to tell a story just don’t just go on an on without knowing who your readers are. Stories are awesome but long boring stories which the readers can’t relate to aren’t.

So how long your About page should be?

Some people would recommend to keep it as long as it needs to be. But the problem with this is, the longer your About page is, you’re going to get a big drop-off.

Keep it short and concise. Ideally, it should be between 500 to 800 words.

 

Should You Include Your Contact Information?

Some people suggest that you should include some contact information on your About page.

However, unless your About page also acts as your Contact page,  you should create a separate Contact page.

In your contact page, you can provide company information, phone numbers, email address, or online Contact Us form, mailing address, location map or anything necessary.

 

Include a Photo of Yourself or Your Team

Including images on your About page is a way to build trust.

Visitors often felt cold and distant about the business or website if there’s no photo of people on the About page (stock photos do not count).

So putting the face behind the name should help boost your credibility.

 

Add A Call To Action

After the visitors read your About us page, you need to send people or ask them to do something. Don’t leave it to chance, guide them with a call-to-action.

As one of the most visited pages on your blog/website, your About page should have some kind of call to action (CTA).

Whether you want them to subscribe to your newsletter, direct them to your popular posts, follow you on the social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest etc.) or learn about (not buy) your products, decide what action you want your readers to take and ask them to take that action.

Ideally, you should focus on one call to action as too many options will decrease your conversion rate.

Often your CTA converts better once your visitors get to know you better.

 

About Page Examples for Inspiration

Whether you want to write an about page for your blog or your small business,  here’s a few great samples of the best about us pages on the Internet that you can “copy”.

Use them as a template to help you come up with your own awesome About page layout and content.

They are listed in no particular order:

 

Blog Tyrant

The first sentence is “Artificial intelligence and automation have changed the economy forever.” It just piques your curiosity, what’s that all about? Then you continue reading…

Even before he started talking about himself, he offers quick links to his most useful posts. He hand picked those that make good impression on a new reader and offer valuable in-depth valuable guide with conversion content.

The “About You” section further down draws readers attention back in where he explains why helping others is the only way to live his life meaningfully.

Finally, the call-to-action is placed at the end, to get readers on the mailing list.
blog tyrant about

 

TwinsMommy

There’re many stay-at-home or work-at-home mom who are also successful bloggers like Elna from TwinsMommy.com.

Elna starts by introducing herself and includes a nice picture of her. By opening up her About page with her name and picture, it gives immediate sense of trust and familiarity to help her readers know and want to follow her.

Right off the bat, she tells the reader how she could help other moms make money blogging and turn their blog into a thriving business.

She also mentioned she writes for a living. It’s a subtle way to let the reader know how she can help them in blogging.

The rest of her story is to connect with the intended audience and gain their trust.
work at home mom sahm

CopyBlogger

CopyBlogger starts out by talking about others. Their About us page stresses the benefits readers can get from their blog.

The page is clean, simple yet very engaging.Even when talking about their history, they explain how they came to know the importance of content marketing years before it’s called content marketing.

At the end of the page, they offer free to Copyblogger membership as their CTA offer.

copyblogger about me example

Problogger

I’ve visited Problogger since its early day. Darren managed to attract loyal followers to the Problogger brand with his dedication to providing excellent content and guidance to the bloggers community.

You would think that as someone who has accomplished many things, his About page could be very long but it’s only 675 words!

The trick is he includes a 49 minutes long video if you want to learn more about him and Problogger.
about problogger

JohnChow.com

John Chow knows how to use adjectives and emotional words to get attention.

His About page is written in the third person.Instead of explaining what the readers will get from his blog, he let others do the talking via video testimonials.

It’s funny because I used to pay John $400 to review Sabahan.com in his blog in July 2007 so I came to know his blog a long time ago.
john chow small business

Twitter

Twitter About us page is simple but impactful as they are using their own social media platform to showcase what they are all about.

The page displays changing images of trending events as well as tweets from high-profile users.

As Twitter wrote, “Twitter is what’s happening in the world and what people are talking about right now.”

At the bottom of the page, for their call-to-action, they offer the reader to see what’s happening himself.
twitter about example

Tim Ferriss

You may have heard of Tim Ferriss from his successful 4 Hour Week book like I have.

Tim Ferriss includes both a short and a long-winded version of his About page.

It is also written in the third person to great effect as he was able to list all his accomplishments without sounding like his bragging.He focuses on establishing authority and credibility via social proof.

When you browse his about page, you see testimonials from industry experts, popular news publications and magazines around the world.
tim website about page

MailChimp

The colourful staff photo mixes the warmth with some actual business.Their About page is simple, fun and effective.
mailchimp business about template

National Geographic

The first sentence summarizes what National Geographic is all about.

“At National Geographic, we believe in the power of science, exploration and to change the world.”

Their story is about their unique ways of storytelling to get you closer to the stories that matter!

They’re also using video effectively. The About us page website design is simple. At the bottom is their CTA which directs visitors into the categories that NatGeo is known to endorse.natgeo best about page

Conclusion

If you are serious about blogging, having a good About us page is important.

In addition to telling your visitors about the people behind the blog, you should also share your mission statement, values and what your visitors can expect to get from you.

Create a story about you or your business. People like to read stories as it establishes a connection.

Be creative and think about what you want to achieve. Then put these tips into practice and see how it helps you write the “perfect” About page for your blog.

Please share this article if you find it helpful. I’d also love to know your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

2

Things I Should Have Done For Sabahan.com But Didn’t

I’ve made it my goal to restore Sabahan.com to its former glory and even more (if there’s such a thing lol). What I have to start with now is a pretty good and relatable domain name. At least from where I come from it’s a familiar one.

If you don’t know what it means, a Sabahan is anyone who is from Sabah. Sabah is one of the states in Malaysia, located in the island of Borneo. Adjectively, it means anything pertaining to Sabah or its people; i.e. the “Sabahan tribesmen”.

I realised there are non-Malaysian who are reading my blog hence the explanation :). OK enough with the word definition lesson already.

Another big advantage that I have is I do not have to start from scratch! Many of the time-consuming groundwork has already been put in place. Sabahan.com is already online, happily running WordPress. Just some redesign and the addition of new features to keep abreast of the current blogging trend are in order.

What Made Sabahan.com Different From Other Money Making Blogs

Sabahan.com had a pretty interesting previous life. With a decent amount of traffic and quite a number of loyal followers, it was perhaps one of the best personal blogs about Internet Marketing and how to make money online in Malaysia (well, I could be bias because it’s my blog lol).

Anyway, what made Sabahan.com different from the other blogs in the same niche was the content was based on my own experience. Not that other bloggers didn’t share their experience. I just tend to share things that other Malaysian bloggers weren’t writing.

For instance, how I paid another blogger USD400 to get Sabahan.com reviewed and then I shared my findings… among many other interesting blog posts.

My posts were not just a collection of how to make money articles that you can find anywhere on the Internet. Unfortunately, as you may know, I stopped updating Sabahan.com for quite some time.

This post is like a post-mortem of what went wrong and what could be done better. This post will reveal the pertinent issues I need to tackle with and what my plans are for the near future.

Complete Blog Redesign With a Static Homepage

I am not talking about using a new theme but a complete overhaul of the site structure. At the time of this writing, Sabahan.com appears to look like any other blogs. The home page simply features a list of my latest blog posts.

That is an outdated way of presenting my content. Increasingly, the common trend is to have a portal-like static-homepage which communicates what your site is about and who it is for. It has to emphasis the benefits to your new visitors. The homepage may also include your recent posts among other offerings.

Take ProBlogger.com as an example to see what I have in mind. But I won’t go as far as displaying my picture upfront. I haven’t really reached such level of authority to use my face to market my brand.

static homepage

So in a couple of days, you’ll see Sabahan.com morph into something similar. The homepage is a great place to convert visitors to whatever goals that I set for Sabahan.com.

Creating Social Media Accounts

For any serious bloggers in 2018, there’s no excuse for not creating social media profiles. Your Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages are important for SEO as well as traffic building purposes.

Your social media profiles can add value to your brand by adding content that won’t appear on your blog itself. Having an actual Twitter for your blog also allows you to get to know the big players in your niche and build a rapport with them.

Google may look to social media as a signal of an article’s authority and relevance (this is not new but, but there’s no excuse for any serious bloggers not to start now).

The best way to get shares is by writing the best quality content you can come up with and create a loyal following. If they like your content, they will promote you for free.

Admittedly, I haven’t completely created my social media accounts yet but they will be done once I get this post published!

Posting Consistently

At first glance, only a handful of Malaysian blogs that existed before 2010 are still here today in 2018. To be fair, it takes an incredible amount of motivation for someone to continue writing for that long.

Most of the new blogs that are started in 2018 are destined to fail and die a slow, boring death. So why do people lose interest in blogging? Some of the reasons are:

  • Writing has become a chore
  • Blogging on a topic one is not passionate about
  • Not enough time due to other commitments
  • Failure to generate decent income to make the effort worthwhile

Personally for me, it was the Return On Investment (ROI). My original intention for Sabahan.com was rather a noble one (if you can say that lol). Unfortunately, later I found out one need more than that.

I wanted to share all my online money making adventures for free and hope they could benefit others. While that had been successful in getting comments, engagements and subscribers, it didn’t translate into financial returns.

I run many other online businesses and if one venture is taking too much of my time but generate little income, it won’t be sustainable for long. Being a self-employed, I need money to pay the bills too!

So moving forward, I’ll start working on longer content that solves problems and provides value to people. In return, I hope to get more engagement and subscribers, which hopefully will translate into more income for Sabahan.com.

That does not mean I will fill this blog with more affiliate links, advertising or sponsored posts. Instead, I will still focus on writing useful content that make Sabahan.com stand out and be memorable.

Blog Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) In 2018

Having to stay on top of the changing SEO trends that happens every year takes some effort. To tell you the truth, I have not done many research into this (yet) but I’m convince, getting organic traffic in 2018 is not as easy as it used to be.

That said, I believe many of the SEO optimisation techniques to help one stay on top of the search results still apply today.

Some of them are:

  • Freshness of content (Google emphasis on the importance of recentness of content especially in areas where user is expected to know what the most current information). Sabahan.com organic traffic died out slowly as I stopped publishing new posts.
  • Fast loading site to ensure good user experience.
  • Good quality backlinks matters (this requires a blog post on its own).
  • Bounce rate (the statistic that shows how many people leave your blog without visiting any other pages. You can get this info by installing Google Analytics).
  • Mobile friendliness (Sabahan.com new design is highly responsive and mobile friendly).
  • Setup your site on Google Webmaster Tools. One of the easiest things you can do is adding your blog to Google Search Console. This service allows you to see how your blog looks like from Google’s point of view. You can find out how it appears in the search result, what’s your positions are, how many people click you link and whether Google crawler encounter any problem accessing your site. With this info, you can optimise your site’s performance in search results.

I’ve actually added Sabahan.com before into the console but it appears that Google have stopped indexing it, likely due to the lack of new content.

Now, instead of focusing on all the nifty-gritty details of SEO, concentrate on creating useful and original content that solves people’s problems. When people search for a solution to their problem and found your blog, then it is likely that you are going to get shared on social media and ranked in Google.

SEO is important but good rankings will come naturally by providing useful and quality content. There’s no need to check all the SEO boxes in one go. Do one at a time while you continue writing useful content for your blog.

Growing a Mailing List

Remember in the early days (like before 2010), the trend was to ask your visitors to subscribe to your feed. Some bloggers proudly displayed their FeedBurner readers count on their sidebars.

feedburner

Moving forward, bloggers started to display the opt-in form asking for readers’ email address so that they could get the latest updates. As time went by, bloggers realised that they can convert more readers into subscribers by offering something valuable for free.

Email is still one of main medium of communication online. So it does not matter if you stop blogging, you can still communicate with your subscribers via email. So for a blog to last for the long term, starting a mailing list is a must.

So for that purpose, in a couple of days you’ll see I will start offering a valuable free resource (also known as lead magnet) that my visitors get when they subscribe to my newsletter. Email provides a direct line to my readers. I can use it to build traffic to new blog posts and offer content that may be different from what one can find in the blog.

Most importantly, with an email list, bloggers like me no longer have to depend on Google or the social networking sites for traffic.

What I find interesting is that, this technique is not yet fully embraced by many Malaysian bloggers (correct me if I am wrong). From what I read, Malaysian tend to engage more on WhatsApp, a trend unique to Malaysian (especially when it comes to selling online).

Regardless, let’s just wait and see how my mailing list building effort take shape as I’ll share my findings in my blog.

Creating My Own Products

There had been many occasions where my readers and friends asked about my own money making methods. This is something that people really interested to learn. So why not fulfill the demand by sharing my methods in an ebook of in other forms?

I’ve personally developed my own software products, mobile apps, ebooks in other niches but why not in Internet marketing?

I had this light-bulb moment a couple of days ago. Duh! what took me so long lol. Anyway, one of the reasons for not creating my own products for Sabahan.com was because I spent most of my time working in other niches.

I didn’t want to create a half-baked products just to make money from it. I want it to be genuinely helpful for people. And that is not something easy to do.

Obviously, it has potential for me to make more money since I am not splitting the revenue with an ad network or affiliate company whose product I am promoting. More money means more motivation to keep Sabahan.com running by providing more great and unique content. That’s a win-win situation.

To AdSense or Not to AdSense

At the same time, I don’t want Sabahan.com to be a place where I just slap several ads and hope things will work out in the money making department. Tried that and it didn’t work (I did make some money but nothing to shout about). Besides having ads in the blog is actually bad for user’s experience.

That said, I still plan to experiment with AdSense Auto ads which was introduced in 20th February 2018. Auto ads analyse your pages and find new places to show ads that optimize for revenue and user experience. AdSence will decide where, how many and which ad sizes to place automatically.

So I hope to discover whether this feature is a benefit for publishers. Perhaps it is something you can try on your own blog and see if it will provide a better fit to your money making style. May be you have tried already and I am just late to the party lol.

I Will Spend Some Money On Advertising

It’s 2018, gone are the days where one could start a blog and start attracting organic traffic from Google immediately. The competition is getting fierce and trying to stand out from the crowd is no small feat.

I actually have used Google Adwords to advertise Sabahan.com so I will continue to do so as necessary.

Another thing that we have today that did not exist before 2010 (well at least not as prolific) is adverting on social networks like Facebook.

So I plan to set aside some money to advertise on Facebook and try to learn what my potential audience likes, what gets shared, where they are located etc. I hope this data can help me decide what to write next.

As usual, I will share the findings in my future blog posts. So make sure you like our Facebook page and subscribe to our newsletter to get updates!

Writing The Perfect Post

You may find spelling and grammatically errors in this post. I hope it didn’t deter you from reading further :).

My goal is not to write the perfect post (I know my English is also not the best in the world lol) but I just wanted to share useful content and get it out there more often.

Phew..! With close to 2300 words, this is one of the longest posts I’ve written in Sabahan.com! It took me around six hours to write it. I hope you find it useful.

Please leave a comment and share it on your social media page. That will definitely keep me motivated to write more posts like this one.

Thank you for reading!

>

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