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How to Grow Your Blog Into a Business

How to Grow Your Blog Into a Business

Most of the time, businesses start blogging as a way to build an audience. However, the reverse seems to be happening. More and more people with blogs are starting to monetize their traffic. It makes sense because one of the hardest things to do as a business owner is grow your traffic. If you grow your blog first, you already have a solid following to support your business idea.

Starting a blog is easy, but if you want to make money later, you need to think about your strategy and set yourself up for success. It’s important to know what you need to grow your blog and grow your traffic.

What is a Blog?

A blog is a weblog of content updated regularly. It’s an online publication written in a personal tone, meant to share opinions, teach others, develop a personal brand, or sell products or services. Blogging is fulfilling, but it also requires commitment.

It’s important to be consistent, no matter how often you publish. Your audience grows to expect your posts, so keep at it, and don’t disappoint them.

How to Start a Blog

Finding the time to flush out your ideas and do it consistently is the hardest part of blogging. Once you find the time, starting a blog is straightforward. Consider your opportunities to monetize your blog, determine your audience, and plan a publishing strategy.

You need to think like an entrepreneur to make this venture profitable in the future, so map out the groundwork for your distribution and monetization now.

Ways to Make Money

Most people think of running ads on their blogs as a way to make money, but there are other ways. Building a loyal audience is more important than building a big one, and you won’t earn the trust of your followers by spamming them with ads all the time.

Instead, think of ways you can sell physical or digital products that align with your audience. Sell your services as a writer or designer. Publish a book. Create subscription-based packages with platforms like Patreon. Do paid reviews or become an affiliate for other brands.

You have to enjoy blogging for it to succeed. Dedicate yourself to serving your audience as best you can.

Pick a Niche

With all of the information on the internet, it’s hard to stand out. Try to choose a topic that’s hard to find elsewhere. It’s also critical to choose a niche audience. There are so many internet users that it’s impossible to appeal to all of them.

You can focus on a specific location, present your content in a different style, or focus on a smaller segment of a bigger market. For instance, writing about steakhouses in Kansas City that serve steaks larger than forty-two ounces allows you to focus more deeply on your topic that choosing to write about steakhouses in general.

Choosing a Platform

When it comes to hosting your blog, you have two choices. You can host it yourself or host it on a paid platform. If you host it yourself, you have more customization options. You still have to pay a fee, but it’s less than a paid platform, and you have more flexibility in design.

Using a service to host your blog is the best option for those who don’t know a lot about design or HTML. Some options include Blogger and WordPress. Think about how you want to monetize your blog because not every platform gives you what you need.

You can also use free platforms like Medium or Tumblr. They have built-in audiences, making it easier for you to get started, but they provide less customization, and your blog design ends up looking like everyone else’s on the platform.

Picking a Name

This is a great time to think about what you want to name your blog. Unless you plan to build a personal brand or portfolio, don’t use your name. Think of something catchy, fun, and descriptive of your brand. This name should reflect your blog’s identity, add personality, and be easy to remember and type.

Groundwork for Growth

Thinking about how to grow your blog and having a solid plan in place helps you to build momentum quickly once you get started. If you don’t have a plan, you may end up struggling with distribution because you don’t have a strategy. Publishing is nerve-wracking, but having a plan can alleviate some of that.

Planning for growth involves collecting emails as soon as possible. Use a service like MailChimp to store your subscriber list and make distribution easy. It’s free for up to two thousand subscribers. You can also use MailChimp for signup forms, which is a critical piece of capturing this information.

Embed your signup forms directly into your content with a call to action to subscribe, so the experience is seamless for your audience and easy to manage for you.

Blogging can be stressful, but it’s also a blast. Use these tips to think about how you can grow your blog to make money later. The great thing about starting a blog is that you don’t have to quit your day job until you start making money. If done right, once you start making money, you’ll grow quickly.

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Content Marketing for Long Term Success

Content Marketing for Long Term Success

Content marketing is one of the fastest-growing forms of advertising online, and for several good reasons. More and more people are learning the power of strong content that potential customers are looking for, so it’s important to know how to make content marketing work for your long-term success online.

Content Marketing is Cheap

Yes, it is cheap, at least when you compare it to other forms of marketing that are out there for online marketers such as pay-per-click, media buys, video ads, and much more.

Content is not just limited to articles, as it can encompass all types of media, such as infographics (which are extremely popular now), videos, images, how-to reports, and slideshows.

In fact, it is best to diversify your content so that people do not get bored with the same content type all over your site.

Finally, it is best to get to know what type of media works best in your industry. Some industries, such as an auto repair business, would do best with how-to videos so people can see exactly how to fix a certain vehicle. Other industries, such as a logistics company, may do better with the use of the visually appealing infographic.

Test to see what works best for your industry, and you will see how cheap content marketing is when compared to the leads and sales that it generates.

Content Lasts Forever

Well, it may not last forever, but once you publish your content online, that piece will be available for as long as you allow it—meaning that people will benefit for a long time.

Unlike a TV ad that will be gone after the marketing campaign is completed, a content marketing campaign will create content that will last for years.

In essence, you are creating an asset that customers can reference for years to come. And, with the cost of content marketing being lower than other forms of advertising, your return on investment is often high.

Also, the longer that your content is online, the better chance it has of being linked to from other authority sites in the industry. The more links, likes, shares, and tweets that you get will just help solidify the investment that you initially made.

Become an Industry Expert

One more thing…The content that is created during a content marketing campaign will also help establish you as a known expert and authority in the industry that you are in, provided that you are supplying new and fresh thoughts. This will increase the likelihood that any leads you receive will be pre-sold and more likely to purchase what you have.

Becoming an industry expert is not only desirable among your peers, it’s also extremely valuable in the eyes of the search engines—specifically Google. The more content that you produce on a subject, the more you will start to organically move up in the search engines, thus increasing your traffic.

Getting Started

Content marketing will only grow in importance and effectiveness from here on. Since customers are already looking for and expecting specific industry information, it’s up to your company to get on board with this trend or risk losing a large portion of online visitors to someone else

Customers want to learn and trust the company they are doing business with, and content marketing will get you started in the right direction. It does not work overnight…but it does work!

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Get To Know The Four Ps of Marketing

Get To Know The Four Ps of Marketing

Marketing isn’t easy, and without a proper marketing plan in place, your company may suffer. The main ingredients for a successful marketing campaign are the four Ps. These essential marketing items are product, price, placement, and promotion. To provide a positive experience for your customers, it is in your best interest to ensure that each P works with all the others.

It takes a lot of work and effort to determine what customers want and need, as well as identifying their shopping habits. Once these steps are taken, you will then need to produce your product, find the right price point, and promote it. All of these actions must be taken together to avoid problems. Let’s explore the four Ps of marketing, determine what they are, and how they work together.

Product

Your product is the heart of your business. It is near and dear to your heart, and if you’ve done your homework, it’s something that is unique to the market, allowing it to stand out from the rest of the competition. The challenge with any product, however, is remaining distinct and unique. From a product perspective, it is best if you have a solid understanding of what customers are looking for in regards to benefits and features.

It’s also imperative that you learn how they will use your product, that way you can make sure the product you’re offering fits their wants and needs. If the product doesn’t fulfill a need, it won’t be likely that customers will purchase it. Perform market research to have a good idea of ways your product will be used.

Price

Of course, your product is only going to sell if you set the appropriate price point. Your business will want to use production costs, projected fulfillment, and other key metrics to determine the proper price for your product. Make sure you are conveying the quality of your product to customers when considering the initial amount of your product. At the same time, do what you can to keep in mind how the price you select, along with costs of manufacturing and production, will have an impact on your product in the long-term.

Placement

In today’s market, placement is no longer simply about identifying the appropriate retailers or best locations. There are now many other channels and outlets to give consideration when thinking about your product placement. Where is the area with the highest foot traffic? Which retailer is showing growth and expansion? What businesses does it make the most sense to establish a partnership with?

These are all questions you will want to consider when it comes to product placement, but you’ll all need to think about the digital aspect of marketing. Will you want to have a social media campaign? Ensuring your product is in a spot which will gain traction and attention in the market is the key to successful product placement.

Promotion

With the continued growth and immersion of our lives into social media, it only makes sense to promote and market your product online. This means that your product marketing needs to be multi-pronged, something that did not require as much attention in the past.

Nowadays, customers want to see the product first-hand. They want to interact with it, ask questions about it, get answers about it and learn more about the brand, all from the comfort of their home. Provide high-quality videos and content to your potential customers, and they will reward you with their loyalty.

Take time to understand each of the four Ps and how they can make or break your marketing campaign. Have a strategy for each ingredient, and focus on trouble spots that may disrupt a successful product. Pay close attention to the four Ps of marketing, but also consider other marketing resources which can accentuate and highlight your product.

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How to Use Bing to Advertise

How to Use Bing to Advertise

Bing Ads is an advertising platform used to display ads on the Bing network including bing.com, yahoo.com, and aol.com. Smaller affiliates like duckduckgo.com and slickdeals.net also fall under this umbrella.

Ads show up on Bing when a visitor searches just as they would on any other search engine. The top and sides of the page are premium real estate, and you want to be sure people notice you first by making your ads relevant.

How Bing Advertising Works

Bing shows ads relevant to a visitor’s search based on the terms used. Searching for “hardware store Kansas City” will return ads for hardware stores in Kansas City. Yes, that’s quite obvious. However, you may not know that whenever someone conducts a search, Bing gives ad placement to the highest bidder. Just because you have an ad on Bing, doesn’t mean people will see it.

Bing makes money off of the ads businesses place, so if you outbid your competition, your ad is more likely to appear. However, Bing only gets paid when someone clicks an ad. That’s because you only pay Bing when someone clicks on your ad.

This is why relevancy matters. If you operate a hardware store in Chicago, your ad will never appear using the search terms above no matter how much you bid, because no one would ever click on it. They need hardware stores in Kansas City, not Chicago. Showing irrelevant ads profits no one.

On your end of the ad, make sure when a visitor clicks your ad, it sends them where they expect to go. If your ad promotes drills, send the clicker to the drill page of your hardware store website, not the page with pipe fittings.

Advantages of Bing

Bing has a host of advantages that are similar to other search engines. Using proper keywords, you get your business in front of people when they need it, increasing your conversion rate. You only pay if your ad works, so you don’t spend money on useless advertising, and you’re less likely to exceed your budget by placing bids for the maximum you’re willing to pay.

You can also track your engagements on a dashboard, showing you how many people saw your ad, how many times they clicked, and how much you paid for each click, giving you the ability to segment your future ads based on what worked and what didn’t.

While Bing doesn’t have the same volume as Google, this proves to be beneficial. Fewer businesses advertise on Bing, meaning less competition for you, better ad positioning, lower cost per click, and higher quality conversions.

Cost of Bing

A pay per click model determines how much advertisers pay for ads. You only pay when someone clicks your ad, but how much you pay depends on how much you bid. You pay different amounts based on keywords. Niche keywords in small communities can cost less than .20 while popular keywords in big markets cost more than $20.

Bing’s keyword planner suggests bids for your ads, so you have an idea of how much you need to bid for your ad to appear in someone’s search terms. You choose how much you are willing to pay based on how much you stand to profit from acquiring conversions. $20 is worthwhile if a new customer means $500 or more to your business.

Factors to Consider

Switching to Bing from Google doesn’t mean you’ll lose your previous campaigns. When you sign up for a Bing account, you have the option to import these from Google AdWords. You can then use them to run similar campaigns and benchmark which service is better for your business.

Diligent keyword research tells you which terms have high volumes and low competition. Bid on keywords with purchasing intent. If someone searches for “best toilets to buy,” it’s likely they plan to buy one soon. If they search for “best art gallery near me,” you don’t want your hardware store ad to appear. That is unless you also offer hardware services.

After selecting targeted keywords based on your product, service, or location, you can also choose your match type. This allows you to select how closely you want your keyword to match the user’s search when your ad appears. Broad matches will look for searches containing synonyms of your keyword, whereas exact matches will only show up when someone searches for that exact keyword or phrase. Broad matches have the potential to appear on searches that aren’t relevant to your business, so you may have to narrow your match type over time after some careful study.

After several months, you should review and optimize your ad to improve future results. You have visibility to keyword impressions so you can refine and change as needed. Remember to remove negative keywords from your campaign.

Bing has a variety of targeting options you can use after you evaluate your initial campaign. You can run A/B tests, increase your visibility on weekends where you see more traffic, and bid higher on demographics like age or gender.

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Strategies for Blog Traffic

Strategies for Blog Traffic

Blogging can be a great way to share your thoughts and opinions with the rest of the world. It can also be a wonderful way to attract droves of new visitors to your website. Millions of people check thousands of blogs every single day and posting high quality content will let you tap into that.

It is important, however, to remember that not all blog posts are created equal. Some will simply attract far more attention than others, often for years into the future.

You may also find that in your efforts to create quality content, it can be frustrating and challenging to come up with content ideas that won’t take forever to produce!

Here are a few suggestions to help you get the most out of your blog:

Reviews

Reviews are one of the most searched-for types of content on the web. People want to find reviews of products, movies, books, and even services.

Online reviews have become so popular, in fact, that many people won’t head out to a restaurant without first reading a review.

Finding things to review is easy. Simply look for some products or services that are relevant to your niche. Books are great because they don’t take long to read and are one of the most searched for types of reviews. Including the name of the book in the title of the post will also help with search engine optimization.

Tutorials

Instructional information is another popular variety of web content. Thousands of people search for tutorials on a vast range of topics every day. If you know how to do something particularly well, this could be a great option.

Tutorials can either be video or text based, although the text based tutorials generally have a healthy amount of example pictures. The best way to come up with a good tutorial is to think of things which people often ask about. They can be simple or truly complex topics. Best of all, tutorials are incredibly easy to share throughout the web.

Lists

Lists are another popular option. They’re easy to read, they deliver information in a concise manner, and they can be used to promote a variety of products or services. Most lists will follow a basic “Top 10 Best” or “Top 5 Worst” format.”

The best part about a list is that they don’t require much writing talent. You can easily compile a list of the 10 best marketing books or the 5 best affiliate programs in only a few minutes. Promotion can be done by including an affiliate or referral link for the last product on the list.

Why they work

All three of these can drive a significant amount of traffic to your site. They do this because they’re exceedingly useful pieces of content. Reviews, tutorials, and lists of suggestions actually offer something of real value to your readers.

If your visitors find the information to be helpful and informative, they will likely share it with other people they know. When your blog posts are shared on other websites, you’re essentially getting free promotion.