Essentials for Successful Blogging

Are you looking to increase your followers and online engagement? Whether your new into blogging or are currently managing a well established blog – here you will find some helpful information on making sure you are running your blog to the best of your ability! 

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First you want to make sure your design elements are ON POINT. Your page is clean, clear and easy to read. You want to make sure the font is clear and at a readable size and that your page isn’t cluttered. People will judge your blog by it’s cover. Instead of spending time on making your blog crazy busy and colorful keep it clean, simple and slick…. It needs to look professional and easy to engage. 

2 – Email and social media links, you want people to engage and have easy access to ask or post comments and follow you on all mediums. You want to visibly have your other social media site links posted on your page where people can easily access them and become a follower. By asking them to sign up for updates via email, not only will you build relationships this way but they will get updates on new posts right away. 

3 – Formatting your posts is very important, believe it or not this can determine whether or not the viewer even stays on your blog. Good formatting helps your readers to follow your posts easily. Most people skim more than they read, you want to highlight and bold important points to make your average “skimmer’s” reading experience more enjoyable and successful. You want to use bullet points for any type of list, this makes readability easy. 

4 – HEADLINES OR TITLES ARE CRITICAL! This pretty much determines the posts success, often times this will determine whether or not the reader will continue to read on or click the small “X” at the top right of their screen. Brian Clark said in How to Write Magnetic Headlines“On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest.” Great headlines need to grab attention read the article to learn how to do so, there’s some great information that you can use on your next post! 

5 – Images will enhance your posts – but make sure to use copyright FREE images if they aren’t your own or get permission from the images owner. These images will grab the readers eye, set the tone of the post, break up a long post to give the eyes a break and some images may even give extra information such as graphs or screen shots. 

6 – Links for SEO – Along with keywords to reach more viewers links are a powerful tool for search engine optimization. The more links you have linking back to your site, the more of an advantage you have to pop up on google. Keep in mind that links from big well established sites count more than your friends blog page on yoga. 

7 – Be sure that your blog site is mobile and tablet friendly, a lot of people may come across your site while on their smartphones and you want to make sure it optimizes to whatever device they are using. 

8 – VALUE your readers… be sure to value your readers, run a survey or engage in conversation with them to build relationships and receive feedback on what readers want more of. 

Hopefully you guys find this information useful, if so please feel free share this post using a link! 

Happy blogging🙂

Xo, 

Carla

Image usage in blog posts

Hi everyone! after brainstorming on what todays topic should be about I wanted to keep it consistent and have it tie to my other posts. Most of my posts so far are to help guide people in the right direction in starting up their blogs. One topic I haven’t covered in any of my posts thus far is the use of pictures. Using images in your blog isn’t as straightforward as some may think, let’s just start with that… 

You want to make sure your using pictures legally. Most of us assume you see a picture on the internet and it’s copyright free… NOPE. This is not true, not even if you give them credit and link it back to the original source. All images are copyrighted so make sure you only use them if you have gotten permission. Sara Hawkins wrote a great post on Social Media Examiner about the use of images within a blog and how to avoid using photo’s illegally. Highly recommend this read, it’s to the point and a great reference for those of you who are new to blogging. 

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There is a good variety of websites you can look up photo’s and use them that are copyright free: 

FreeImages

Flickr

StockPhotosForFree

MorgueFile

Regardless of where you find your images it is important to always read and follow the terms of use. 

Helpful hint: Use short captions at the bottom of each picture. WHY? Because a lot of people don’t read the content but read the captions. 

You can always share your own pictures, which always makes a post even more original… EMBRACE THE PHOTOGRAPHER IN YOU, it can be fun! With all the smartphone technology these days pictures are in HD quality and there are hundreds of apps to enhance your pictures and find the perfect filter to set the tone of the picture.

 

Spread the word – this information is useful and could prevent someone from getting into legal issues!

Today’s Lesson learned: Protect yourself and respect the rights of others.

Happy blogging🙂

Xo, 

Carla

Your content vs. others content

So your stuck, staring into your computer screen trying to come up with an idea to write about and share on your blog and you start reading through your emails, google searching, and reading others blogs. You come across an interesting topic on someone else’s blog… SO – you decide to share this post with your own readers! You copy and paste it into your own blog and give the author a line of credit, then you click the “publish” button, close up your laptop, pat yourself on the back and move on with the rest of your day, right?

W.R.O.N.G

That is content theft, and I’ll explain to you why… 

Blogging is NOT easy, it’s time consuming and hiring a public relations agency is VERY expensive. If you have the cash – worth every penny, but expensive for those of us that don’t. This is also the authors expertise and ORIGINAL thoughts (in most cases) translated in their own words for other people who share the same interests. Just because what you read was online and not in a hard copy book at your local library doesn’t make the content any less the author’s property. Sure, there are times a major industry or blog syndicates a blog or idea but of course always with the author of the original contents permission. but the main goal of your posts and blog is for your OWN audience and WEBSITE. 

When copy and you post more than a couple lines, or quotes from someone else’s post, it is in fact considered STEALING. 

Google Authorship is one of the many ways you can monitor content theft. This genius piece of software links your google+ profile to any content you have created. Once you hook up this little gem you will receive alerts every time any of your content is syndicated, cool huh? 

What you can do if you are the victim? Don’t just brush it off like it’s not a big deal, IT IS. That is your hard work and someone else is attempting to take credit for it, NOT COOL. Pursue those who violet your property right with a simple request to either take the content down or modify it in their own words. This will happen, it’s inevitable… Usually with those who are new to the blog world and are just getting started. I find that most violators may have no idea that this isn’t an acceptable process, so try not to assume they did it deliberately. Who knows, if you take the time to educate them on why it isn’t acceptable and how they can fix it you might even win a new follower! It helps to always assume they didn’t know it was a violation… 

SEO as mentioned in my last post (search engine optimization) the process of affecting the visibility of a web page or site on a search engines natural, non-paid search results. For those of you using wordpress.com to create your blogs, you might be interested in taking a quick look at WordPress SEO for Everybody a very useful page on how to improve your blogs SEO. Helpful information on how to rank higher in search engines.

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Another topic some might struggle in is interlinking to other writers, while poking around in the WordPress SEO for Everybody’s page I noticed a link on how to interlink articles the correct way, another useful site for those of you new to WordPress. Interlinking to other writers is very important and goes a long way when establishing your blog and legitamizing your blog to search engines and potential followers. Now when I saw interlink I don’t mean just share a post or article theres another step to this activity, you have to be able to write about the material your interlinking to. You don’t have to write a 3 page blog on whatever your linking but engage in conversation and explain why you are posting something outside of your blog, you get the point…

Interested in learning more about writing a perfectly optimized blog post? CLICK HERE for 18 Surefire Tips To Write A Perfectly Optimized Blog Post, by Mahesh Mohan – wonderfully and clearly explained!

Happy blogging!

Xo, 

Carla

 

Create less, promote more!

“Content repurposing” doesn’t mean posting the same idea 8X a day on twitter, instead this is when you can promote the same or similar content on different media channels. According to Derek Halpern, the founder of Social Triggers “You don’t have to create content, day in, and day out. You just have to work on getting the content you already have… in the hands of more people.” This is what repurposing is all about! 

The idea is simple, people consume information in many different ways whether its a video, picture, or an easy read. There are many benefits to repurposing content. One fantastic benefit is repurposing content is great for the search engine optimization (SEO) process. The SEO is the process of getting traffic from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial” or “natural” listings on search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. By repurposing content you increase the chances of your information to pop up when people search the web. 

Benefit #2 – by repurposing you can reach customers using different mediums. By posting on different mediums you are advertising to different audiences and reaching more people who will have the option to become a follower, engage by sharing or commenting and with their participation possibly accumulating more followers from people they know. 

Benefit #3 – Increase in retention, and impact. This helps you get your point across and describe what exactly you are trying to do from different angles within the social media world. 

Now that you know the gist of what “repurposing” means, here are some easy steps to get you on the right path… 

1) Start with one core idea 

2) Select different topic ideas you can talk and write about 

3) Blog posts – plan and write different blog posts around your main idea. Use images and videos to spice things up! 

4)  Social Media – tie your blogs to your different social media mediums, promote your idea and get the audience engaged!

There are different marketing tools you can use to increase your reach such as Pinterest – this is a visual tool, so any message that can be conveyed through a picture is perfect for the use of Pinterest. Videos are also another good way to market your idea but it can be time consuming. Videos are a great way to grab the audiences attention and get your point across YouTube is a great platform to use when uploading videos and sharing them. 

Repurposing is somewhat time consuming and may feel redundant but when done the correct way the results are fantastic!

Just remember, create less, promote more!

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Happy blogging!

Xo, 

Carla

 

Copyright & Blogging info for dummies !

The crazy growth of blogs in todays world has thrown countless people into a place they probably never pictured themselves. Me being new to the blog-o-sphere, and having made mistakes of my own in the past wanted to share with everyone and anyone some important copyright laws not all area aware of. 

First I will introduce the Intellectual Property Law (IP law), which also includes trademarks and patents the copyright law is whats most important to even the small-scale bloggers who are just getting started.  Today I will go over some simple rules on how you can protect your work and avoid getting yourself sued later on – oh yes you heard me correctly, SUED. 

According to the United States Copyright Officecopyright “is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression.” 

A copyright owner’s rights include the following:

  • Making copies of their work;
  • Creating new work based on the original;
  • Distributing the work by sale, transfer of ownership, rental lease, or lending. 

Now… some of you are probably wondering how you can copyright your own work? It’s easy! When you start your blog page and write your first blog post, you INSTANTLY create copyrighted work. Referencing back to the United States Copyright Office, your original work receives copyright protection “the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.” What does that mean!? In simpler terms – you wrote it? YOU OWN IT! Thats it?? NO…. there is one important detail to this- if someday you find someone is taking your information and writing it as their own and you want to pursue legal actions, in order to sue someone and take them to federal court for copyright reasons your work must first be registered with the U.S. Copyright office, which can be pricey but worth it!  Click here to register your work now! 

So you think you’d like to start a blog? I think it’s a great idea, blogs are a great way to express yourself, connect with others who share the same interests, and share information that could be useful to others! 

If your looking for a good read to help jump start your blog in the right direction: Blogging For Dummies is an affordable, to the point book that provides solid information on blogging basics. 

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Happy blogging!

Xo,

Carla