Back in 2006 blogging was still in its infancy and I remember searching for a platform to launch my first blog. TypePad and Blogger were both big at that time, WordPress.com was around and growing, and Moveable Type, Joomla, Drupal, and WordPress.org were also good options. In fact there were so many good options that it was difficult to decide what foundation I would use for what I hoped to be my new job.
For my first few months of blogging I actually went with TypePad, but quickly found that it was very limited and wasn’t a good fit for my needs. I went back to the drawing board at that point and knew I needed something that was flexible and was also going to be around for the long haul. At that time open source was really starting to take off in the mainstream and WordPress.org was leading that charge in the blogging niche, so I decided to align myself with the WordPress community and re-launched my first blog. Between the WordPress plugins and both the free and premium WordPress themes available, I knew I had made the right choice and was able to quickly make a custom design with little work on my end. The flexibility and the excellent open source community was the key to creating a great experience for me, and many I talked to felt the same way.
Fast forward 7 years and WordPress continues to meet my needs and validate my early decision. One report I use to determine this is released annually by Royal Pingdom, which has done a study of the Top 100 blogs each year since 2009 and recently published their 2013 report. This report shows WordPress continues to grow as the top choice among the most prominent blogs. Initially back in 2009, WordPress was on 32% of the Top 100 blogs. Last year it was up to 48%. For 2013, WordPress is now on 52% of the Top 100 blogs, and I expect that percentage to continue to grow over the coming years thanks to its flexibility and the fact that it is very user friendly.
According to Wikipedia, WordPress is used by over 14.7% of the top 1 million websites and manages over 22% of all new websites created as of August 2011, boasting a total of over 60 million websites. Its hard to imagine what these numbers will look like next year or several years from now.
Google introduced its author information initative a while back. It’s a way for content writers to explicitly mark themselves as the author of a piece of work – it’s more than just putting “By Steve Claridge” next to your post, it’s about tagging your work with a machine-readable attribute that uniquely identifies you.
This is a very hot topic in SEO and Marketing circles at the moment but a lot of people are only looking at the short-term win of using this tag to increase click-throughs to your posts from search results. The author tag is going to be way more important than that.
What is it anyway?
rel=author is actually an HTML attribute that can be used on link tags to signify that the person referenced in the link is the author of the webpage. It’s not a Google invention, they are just using it in a very smart and useful way. This means that if, for example, you are blogging and you have “By Joe Snow” above all of your articles you can modify that line slightly to make the “Joe Snow” part a link to your Google+ page and Google will then know that everything on that blog with “By Joe Snow” and the link on it was written by you. Not just written by a person called Joe Snow, but specifically by you.
Why Google and why Google+?
Identifying authors has always been a problem and the web has made it a much bigger one. Do a search for your name and it’s likely you will come up with thousands of different people; many of those results will be articles about people and many will be articles written by those people but which of those articles are written by Bob Duncan from Michigan, which are by Bob from Oxford and which are yours? You might be able to
tell by looking but how’s a machine supposed to know? Wouldn’t it be nice if you read a great article by Bob from Oxford and you wanted to see what else he’d written on the entire Web? If everything he had written was marked with his unique rel=authorattribute then that would be easy.
Google are in a unique place to make this happen. They basically are the Web for many people, they are already indexing most of pages on it and they hold a power over most site owners: if they say “jump” then we say “how high?”. If anyone is going to pull off a global author identification scheme then it’s Google.
But why Google+ for the author information when we could just point all our articles to our own site’s About Me page? Well, obviously Google has a strong interest in making sure Google+ succeeds so locking us into that is a smart move for them.
It’s been nearly four years since I discovered WPHacks – or Hack WordPress as it was called back then – and it was here Kyle was kind enough to offer me the chance to have my very first blog post published. At the time I was using WordPress to power a small video games review site I ran with some friends, but when I found Hack WordPress and by extension the whole WordPress community, I was immediately hooked. This was where I wanted to be.
After a couple of posts here I decided to create my own “WordPress tutorials” site, which I called WPShout. Since founding the site in March 2009, I’ve nurtured the site into a 3000 strong community for WordPress enthusiasts. And in that time, whilst building that community, I’ve learned a thing or two about blogging. I’ve been on a journey, if you will, and that journey started right here.
So I thought it’d be fitting to come back here once more just to let you know that I’ve recently published a 45 page free eBook on WPShout and you should totally download it right now.
Those forty five pages of The WordPress Blogging Guide contain six thousand words of content, which are broken down into three sections:
- Blogging essentials
- Social & Analytics
The book’s release post tells you more, should you wish for a more detailed synopsis.
That’s all from me. I just want to thank Kyle again for starting me off on my blogging journey and graciously allowing me to return to publish this short piece. And of course don’t forget to download the eBook. It’s free!
WordPress has become a favorite platform for many ecommerce sites: it’s easy to set up a sale button for an ebook or any other file in a matter of minutes. But while WordPress can be a decent ecommerce platform out of the box, there are ways to transform it into a great platform with some relatively simple tweaks.
Update Your WordPress — And Keep It Updated
The downside to using a well-known content management system for your site is that more people will be looking for security flaws to exploit. On the other hand, there are also more people working to resolve any security issues. Provided you keep your WordPress installation current, adding each new update as soon as it rolls out, there’s significantly less risk of something happening to your site. Considering that it only takes one malware issue to destroy any trust you’ve built with potential buyers — no one wants to run the risk of putting their payment information into a compromised site — keeping your site up to date and preventing potential security issues has to be a priority.
You can also prevent security issues by carefully vetting any plugins or themes you add to your site. Even if you aren’t able to evaluate the code on a line-by-line basis, do some research into the problems others may have encountered with anything you’re considering adding to your site. Personally, I have a preference for using premium themes and plugins that are well-known for the simple reason that I’m more likely to have support available.
Set Up Clear Permalinks
Built into the core WordPress settings are options to manage your permalinks. Make sure that you’re using links that aren’t just a bunch of numbers or dates, especially if you’re going to be sharing direct links to your sales page online anywhere. Direct links look more trustworthy to buyers, and they also help eliminate problems when people retype a link into their browser. During a longer sales process, you may be surprised by how many times exactly that will happen. In fact, it can be a good idea to have an individual domain that goes directly to your sales page, particularly if you have a lot of other content on your site.
Make Your Shopping Cart, Payment Processor and Everything Else Match
Depending on the themes and plugins you might use to set up different ecommerce elements on your site, you can wind up with a site that sends people off to far-flung parts of the internet to complete the sale. Even if they stay on your site, pages can wind up looking very different.
With only a few exceptions, though, you can make sure that each step of the purchasing process looks identical. Most payment processors will, at least, allow you to add your own logo to the page, if not add CSS styles or other elements to make offsite pages look the same as those that are actually on your site. The more times you ask a buyer to trust an entirely different website (particularly in terms of visual cues) the more likely that buyer is to stop the purchase process and close the window. You need to prevent that as much as possible.
There’s nothing worse than spending a considerable amount of time creating a website or blog, only to realize that hardly any web users are visiting your creation. While good content can get you far online, it’s rare that your good content will be enough to get you discovered. The best and fastest way to increase your site’s online visibility is to employ SEO techniques. Without SEO, it’s very difficult to attract large numbers of people to a site or make money off of a site. If you want to get the most ROI from your WordPress efforts, consider checking out these SEO training classes:
1. Search Engine College
Search Engine College’s SEO courses will prepare you to aggressively market your WordPress site in Google’s SERPs. The SEO Starter Course offered by this online education program is an excellent resource for beginners, particularly those who want to learn everything there is to know about important things like keyword research. If you really want to become an SEO guru, however, you should check out the SEO Advanced Course, which will help you figure out how to get the most ROI from your SEO efforts. Each of these courses will cost you $395, and you have options to pay a bit more for SEO certification as well.
2. SEO Book
If you’re truly dedicated to monetizing your WordPress site, SEO Book is a solid option. For $300 a month, you get access to 100 training modules, numerous training videos, and personalized advice from SEO gurus. Since SEO Books is one of the priciest and most comprehensive options out there, it’s ideal for business owners who want to start making profits from their sites and blogs. Everyday WordPress users may not need all the frills that SEO Book has to offer or may benefit from using it for just a few months.
3. Yoast’s WordPress SEO
Yoast’s WordPress SEO tutorials are a free option you should consider if you just want to learn the basics of search engine marketing and optimization. Since Yoast’s educational materials are WordPress-specific, you may prefer this option, especially because it focuses on how you can use WordPress tools to increase your rankings. Yoast is fairly comprehensive, considering it’s free, and it’s definitely a great starting point.
4. SEO Gold Tutorials
This is another free educational resource. It only covers the essentials of what you need to know about keywords and link building. It will take you less than an hour to read everything SEO Gold has to offer. So, if you don’t have much time to learn about SEO before you dive right in, this may be one of your best options. On the other hand, if you want to truly learn all the tricks of the trade, you’ll most likely need to explore more thorough and detailed resources, such as the ones listed above.
Ultimately, your success online as a WordPress user depends on the quality of your content and whether or not you’re using effective SEO strategies. So, keep perfecting your content, and use the classes, trainings, and tutorials listed above to learn how to attract more search engine traffic.
Have you considered Managed WordPress hosting? Managed WordPress hosting is becoming an increasingly popular option among many professional WordPress bloggers and top webmasters these days as these services will often take care of all the technical aspects of WordPress for you, allowing you to focus on creating and sharing great content. As an added bonus, these companies will also typically answer your technical questions, make sure your WordPress content loads quickly, and install your WordPress theme and plugin updates. Examples of popular managed WordPress hosting companies include WPEngine, ZippyKid, Page.ly, and Synthesis. These top companies provide similar services and features but all offer a few extras to try to seperate them from the pack.
So, is a managed WordPress hosting service for you? Deciding whether or not to sign up for one of these services will likely come down to your personal needs. If your website/blog attracts a lot of traffic and you use WordPress frequently, managed hosting could be an attractive option. On the other hand, if you’re just a casual blogger who just wants the basics from WordPress, managed hosting might be an unnecessary expense. Before you start paying for this type of hosting, it’s good to keep in mind that companies like ZippyKid and Synthesis can make your life as a WordPress user easier, but they’re not perfect solutions for everyone.
Here are some of the pros and cons of managed WordPress Hosting:
- Your site and content will load faster. People are a lot more likely to leave your site or spend less time on it if it loads slowly.
- You’ll have someone to turn to when technical issues arise. Trying to call one of the big hosting giants like HostGator or GoDaddy when you’re having WordPress problems won’t get you anywhere. The tech support people at big hosting companies don’t know anything about WordPress. You’re paying managed WordPress hosting companies to know the ins and outs of the popular content management system. So, you get the kind of support you need from companies like WPEngine and ZippyKid.
- Your content and confidential information will be more secure. Managed WordPress hosting means you don’t have to worry as much about malware, vulnerabilities, and other security issues. It also means that your data is backed up regularly to ensure you don’t lose any of it, even if something crashes or a security issue arises.
- You don’t have to spend as much time learning about WordPress. Many WordPress users spend hundreds of hours every year researching WordPress how-to guides and taking free WordPress classes to become better at using the content management system. Since managed WordPress companies take care of all the technical stuff, you don’t have to waste any of your precious time learning how to install a new theme or get a new plugin to work.
- Managed WordPress hosting is costly. It generally ranges in price from about $30 a month to a few hundred dollars a month, depending on how many WordPress installs you need managed. If you’re a perpetually broke college student who blogs for fun, managed WordPress hosting probably isn’t for you.
- You have less control. If someone else is managing all the technical aspects of your WordPress accounts, you don’t decide what gets updated and changed to improve efficiency. Someone else does. If you like to be in control, managed WordPress hosting might not be the best fit.
- You have to pay extra when one of your posts goes viral. Most basic managed WordPress hosting packages, the ones that cost you around $30 a month, only allow a certain number of visitors to your site each month before they charge you extra. Usually the number of visitors allowed is around 25,000. If 1.3 million visitors check out your site one month, you have to fork over quite a bit of extra money to the hosting company. You could avoid this by paying for a more expensive package that allows more visitors per month, but that would just end up costing you more too.
Overall, if you can justify the price of managed WordPress hosting, there’s definitely good reason to look into it, especially if you want to make your life as a WordPress user simpler.
This article was contributed by Katheryn Rivas, who frequently researches and writes about a variety of topics, yet her main interests include education and the validation of accredited online universities.
For over half a decade now WordPress users have enjoyed the flexibility that open source has to offer to potential bloggers and website developers, but one thing I’ve picked up from running this website is that learning to code or even basic website building techniques isn’t necessarily for everyone. If you’re someone who has had trouble finding the right look and feel for your WordPress website and/or have settled for a boring template that many other websites use, now would be a good time to consider trying out a template builder such as Ultimatum.
Ultimatum is a drag-and-drop template builder used with WordPress to create unlimited layouts for your website, allowing you to skip the search through endless free and premium WordPress themes trying to find the right look for your website or blog. Instead easily create your own custom look and feel!
- True drag-and-drop layout builder
- Flexibility to assign any layout to any page (unlimited templates)
- Powerful Style Editor (create unlimited CSS options)
- Ultimate SEO (Become Google’s best friend)
- Unlimited Slideshows (These aren’t your grandfather’s slides)
- Support for FlexSlider (for responsive layouts), Supersized for full screen slideshows, zAccordion, Nivo, Anything Slider, S3 slider and Slide Deck
- Responsive layouts
- Unlimited Forms
- Creates native mobile web apps (Developer Edition only)
- BuddyPress Social Networking Intergration (Developer Edition only)
- Integrated WooCommerce e-commerce toolkit (Developer Edition only)
- The most powerful Shortcode Generator you’ll ever see
- Custom Post Types and Taxonomies
- Unlimited Fonts
- Multi-Language Support (Es bueno!)
- 12+ powerful widgets
- Automatic updates
- Explanatory video tutorials for all major functions
- Responsive support (that means someone actually listens!)
Still not sure how this Ultimatum thing works? The developer offers a demo site or you can check out this video:
And thanks to Mighty Deals, you can currently grab the full featured Ultimatum Developer’s Edition for just $57.00! That’s more than 50% off the standard price of $125.00 and will work on unlimited websites. If you’re instead just looking for a setup for a single website or blog, the single license may be your best option at just $35.00, instead of the normal $65.00. However this deal has an expiration date so click here to take advantage of this deal while it is still available.
Disclaimer: This review was sponsored by Mighty Deals
WordPress is installed on so many websites now, the global reach is comparable to a company like Microsoft. Hackers, scammers, and phisherman target Windows because it’s installed on millions of computers all over the world. If you’re going to break into computers with malicious intent, you want the biggest target.
You will find (at times) some proponents of other popular open source CMS software (Joomla, Drupal) may try to say “WordPress isn’t safe, look at all the hacked websites”. WordPress is actually very stable, mature, and secure. But by it’s very nature, being software, it must be maintained (or security holes appear over time). If everyone kept WordPress, plugins, and themes updated, and performed just the slightest bit of preventative maintenance and hardening, the amount of compromised WP websites would probably go down by 90%. In this article we’re going to go over the basic steps of how to protect your WordPress website from malware, virus infections, and malicious code and scripts.
First let’s talk about some basics you should know…
What is (website) malware?
You probably already know the word “malware” from PC’s and computers. Computer viruses have been around a long time, as well as virus scanning software. With the Internet age came “spyware” (programs that spy on what you do and send the details to a remove computer), as well as “anti-spyware” computer software. You might also have hard about trojans, and key-logging software as types of computer virii. The term “malware” in conjunction with a computer means something installed on your PC in order to deliver a payload. Like installing a browser toolbar, and having it (on the backend) install a script, program, or trojan without your knowledge as the payload.
Google started tracking malware in websites a few years back as part of Google webmaster tools. Malware (at that time) was known mostly as something installed in your website designed to deliver a payload unknowingly to the website visitor (also like a virus, trojan, program, script, etc.). Now, the term is used to cover nearly any compromised website wither it delivers an actual payload, redirects the user to a rogue website, or just plain contains simple SEO spam.
How do websites get infected with malware?
If you think about the amount of WordPress websites online (more than 73 million and counting), when reports come out that say “10,000 websites hacked from ABC vulnerability” it’s a small percentage in comparison to the whole. Then again, that’s 10,000 broken websites that are either down, redirected, or infested with spam.
Often people have a perception that there are actual people (or hackers) trying to break into websites. That’s not really the case, it’s an automated process. Hackers, spammers, and criminals write scripts to seek out and search for websites with specific vulnerabilities they can use to break in. They watch the latest security holes patched in WordPress itself, as well as themes and plugins. They also look for other software with holes, such as Joomla, Mambo, Drupal, phpBulletin, Simple Machines forum, phpBB, and anything else they can find. Often scripts are written to break in through one hole, and then just infect all PHP files, all sites in a hosting account, or just all WordPress installations at once.
So think about the home you live in and it’s security. You have locks on the doors and windows, and if someone were trying to get in – you’d know about it right away. The bulk of websites online are in shared hosting accounts. Unless you have some alerting or monitoring installed for your website (and even if you do), the only place break-in and hack attempts are stored is the server logs. You don’t know it but your website is being “attacked” night and day 24/7 hundreds (if not thousands) of times. You have no idea that something is constantly trying to break into your website. If you did – you’d actually beef up the security a bit.
Back to how the websites get infected. These automated scripts look for security holes in WordPress itself, themes, and plugins. If your website (or themes or plugins) are out of date – you might be open to one of these attacks looking for a way in. But this isn’t the only way.
Another way websites can be compromised (any website, not just WordPress) is by using an insecure connection to either login to FTP, your wp-admin dashboard, or your web hosting account. Remember when we talked about computer viruses and malware? If your PC is compromised and you connect to your WordPress website, your connection information could be sent to a remove PC by a keylogger or trojan. Even is your PC is clean, if you connect to any of these by an insecure connection such as Starbucks connection, public wifi in a hotel or airport, the same thing could happen (same if your home wireless router isn’t secured).
Yet another way your WP website can be infected is through your webhost itself. Maybe your account is managed with cpanel or Plesk control panel and your webhost hasn’t applied the latest patches for that software. Hackers can get in through those security holes. What if an exiting employee from a webhost steals the password files (which has actually happened) – you could be compromised. What if someone external breaks into your webhost and steals your login information (which has also happened at multiple webhosts multiple times), you can also be broken into.
More often than not what we do see, are large webhosts with shared webservers where hackers break into as many sites as they can on one box at once (bad neighborhood or guilt by association break-ins). Hosts that do stupid things like leave directory indexing on by default – don’t help matters much.
How to Protect WordPress from malware?
Now that you know what malware is, and how websites get infected, it’s time to find out how to protect your own website from malware (infections). While we can’t give you complete step by step instructions, we can give you some great points to follow which will make your website more secure and hardened than it ever has been.
- Reset your password(s): regularly reset your WordPress admin, FTP, and web hosting control panel passwords every 30-60 days. Be sure to use a 12+ character strong password from somewhere like strongpasswordgenerator.com. Never use the same password at multiple websites or for multiple accounts.
- Update everything: as previously mentioned, be sure to keep WordPress itself updated, and all plugins and your theme as well at all times. Check to see if your theme has an update available if you purchased it from a developer or a theme house. Have it reviewed by a competent WordPress developer once per year for vulnerabilities if it was custom coded.
- Remove unused and outdated items: The worst security holes are the ones that you forget about. Always remove all themes and plugins that are unused and inactive. In addition be sure to remove (or at least have an expert check out) any plugins that haven’t had an update in 12-18+ months or more.
- Get rid of common WordPress elements: Your WordPress installation shows what version you are running in the meta generator tag of every HTML page it displays sitewide. Use a security plugin like Secure WordPress or Better WP Security to suppress this from being displayed in your public pages. You can also remove, hide, or limit access files like readme.txt which also display WP version information.
- Limit Access: Limit and give admin access to only those with a “need to know” basis within your WordPress website. You should be able to count full site admins on one hand (preferable one or two fingers). Give the rest lesser user roles as needed.
- Setup alerting and monitoring: There are all kinds of free services (some by web hosting companies) that will alert or monitor you if your website is down (or if certain pages have changed in content)
- Register with Google Webmaster Tools: If you register with Google Webmaster Tools and they find malware in your website, they will notify you via email. Keep in mind (in our experience) by the time they notify you, your website could have been infected for days or weeks (or longer)
- Monitor changed files: There are many free plugins that will monitor your website for changed files, Better WP Security is one of them.
- Update wp-config security salts: Since before version 3.0 the wp-config.php file of every WP installation has contained “security salts” and a URL to get random ones to update the file with. Be sure to update your wp-config file.
- Install and configure a security plugin: Setup and configure an all-inclusive security plugin, something like Better WP Security or Secure WordPress
- Setup and test a backup solution: By all means, make sure that in the event something does happen you have a disaster recovery plan. You can use a free plugin, premium solution, or web based service to backup your website to an offsite location for recovery in case you are hacked, or something at your web host goes down. This is even protection against issues if you upgrade WordPress or plugins and a conflict takes your website down. At least with an option like this, if you are taking regular versioned backups, you can easily revert to the last known good version
With just these few bullet points, your website security can be improved by nearly 95% (or more). While much of this can be done by any website owner with a small amount of effort and little technical knowledge, if you need help quickly for a compromised website JTPratt Media does remove malware and secure WordPress websites.
One of the rules of SEO is that it requires hard work. Sometimes companies propose a black hat service that can create piles of backlinks and send your site sky-rocketing in Google’s results, but such services are not a sound long-term strategy. If you invest in SEO for your website, you will reap the benefits for years to come.
While long-lasting SEO is hard work, that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to make it easier. That’s where a CMS like WordPress can team up with a variety of tools and plugins that will both save you time and produce better results for SEO on your website and blog.
Use a SEO-Friendly Theme for WordPress
You can create great, relevant content on your company’s blog, but if a search engine can’t sort out the code on your website and find your blog, there’s no point in writing it. Opinions vary about the benefit of paying for an SEO-optimized WordPress theme, but the key is picking out a theme that has clean, search engine-friendly code. Paying $50-$100 for a solid, SEO-optimized theme won’t hurt, but picking out a sharp theme with cluttered code will.
There are a number of WordPress themes that boast the ability to boost your search engine ranking. Some free themes such as Vigilance provide a clean, SEO-friendly design that website developers can modify and optimize. However, if you want to increase your search engine ranking right from the start, consider a premium WordPress theme.
After switching to the Standard Theme, publishing and leadership blogger Michael Hyatt reported:
According to my Google Analytics account, my visitors have increased by 38.4% and my page views by 43.8% in the week following the installation compared to the week before… I really think Standard Theme’s native search engine optimization (SEO) accounts for most of the uptick.
The jury is still out regarding which theme is the best. For example, a recent review of Thesis and Genesis showed that they both offer many of the same features, and that the best theme may come down to personal preference and familiarity. You’ll find advocates of many premium themes, but for the purposes of SEO, each puts you on the right course.
Optimize WordPress with Plugins
There are many WordPress plugins that you can install in order to improve your website’s SEO, but there are only two main plugins that you need in order to immediately take your website’s SEO to the next level. For starters, you could carefully sort through your website and build a site map in order to make it friendly for search engines, or you could install and Google XML Sitemap plugin and get back to creating top notch content. It’s really that simple to create a sitemap with WordPress.
Another top plugin for WordPress is the All in One SEO plugin. This plugin enhances both your site’s overall SEO and the SEO of each individual blog post, helping to optimize your titles and meta-tags, while also providing customization options for more advanced users. The All in One SEO dashboards for the post editing screen and for the general site are easy to use and provide SEO benefits “right out of the box.”
Invite Search Engines with Scribe SEO
While Scribe SEO is still technically a WordPress plugin, it is a premium service that requires a monthly fee. Though Scribe SEO may not be ideal for the casual blogger, its SEO services are perfect for bloggers who want a sure-fire way to quickly optimize their blog posts for SEO.
After creating your blog post, Scribe SEO “shows you keyword phrases you might have missed… tells you how to gently tweak it to spoon feed search engines based on 15 SEO best practices… [and] tools help[s] you build back links from other sites, crosslink the content within your own site, and identify influential social media users who want to share your stuff.”
This SEO tool takes all of the guesswork out of the process and lets you know how effective your efforts are. When you consider what it may cost to pay for an SEO writing course and the uncertain benefits that may come from it, Scribe SEO is a tool that will be well worth the investment if used properly.
SEO requires effort, but it doesn’t have to be such a time-consuming investment. By using the right tools, you can make the most of your SEO efforts and see dramatic increases in traffic to your website.
Many business owners have launched blogs after attending a conference where an enthusiastic expert tells the dramatic story about how he made thousands of dollars and expanded the reach of his business by blogging. It sounds irresistible.
WordPress blogs are:
- Easy to set up
- Easy to share
The attendees rush home, set up a blog, and begin posting. A few weeks later they hit a wall. No one is reading their posts, let alone sharing them. Ideas for new posts have dried up. What went wrong?
Whether you’ve been blogging for a long time or you’re hoping to launch one soon, here are eight things you need to know about launching and maintaining a blog:
1. Understand Your Audience
People want stories or a high value offer that will help them. You need to communicate in terms that they can identify with or you need to offer them something valuable that they actually want.
Even if your blog is focusing on bare facts or industry trends, look for a narrative hook or brief anecdote that will draw readers into your post. Most blog readers scan posts for key content, but if you can’t figure out a way to draw them in, your hard work will go to waste.
2. Research Your Material
If you don’t have solid content and unique ideas that take stock of what’s been written before, chances are you won’t add anything valuable to what exists online. Why should readers visit your particular blog?
Read the blogs and magazines of your industry, and pay attention to any bestselling books. Look for fascinating angles on a story and explore counter intuitive or fresh ways to write about your topics. Spend some time learning how other professionals research so that you are never stuck with blank page syndrome.