Category Archives: Featured
There’s been much talk regarding content in the internet marketing and blogging communities of late. Google’s Panda, Penguin and EMD updates have affected the way we build our websites, and has put a lot of the emphasis on larger, authority based sites.
If you look at the blogs of some of your industry competitors, you might see thousands of pages of content. A daunting prospect for anyone starting out or looking to expand a site, so how much content does your blog really need to be competitive, rank well on Google and make you some money?
Well, the first thing to be considered is your niche and audience. If you’re writing a blog or building out an ‘authority site’ about say a special type of plumbing equipment, you might really struggle to write a lot of new and exciting content. The pillar articles on your site may be really good quality and stand the test of time, but you simply may not be able to build out to thousands of pages. On the other hand, you may have a sports blog in an area where there are hundreds of newsworthy stories happening every day, as well as match reports and player profiles you can write. It is very possible that you could make a full time job out of writing this type of content, and constantly uploading it to your blog, but it would take a lot of upkeep and could be redundant pretty soon (nobody is looking for year old match reports).
So where can you find the ‘content sweet spot’? The magic amount of posts, or regularity of posts to keep your blog ticking along nicely and competing. As recent Google updates have suggested, the future of sites is probably in larger, more authority based sites. People have been making a lot of money out of Four and Five page websites in recent years by putting them on an exact match domain and working on the content and link profiles, but these kind of sites are seemingly being weeded out by the search engines.
In some cases, such as a non-competitive niche, small sites could still win the day, but in general, Google and the other search engines are looking for more. The chances are they are more likely to rank a post on a large site, rich in good quality information than a small site, obviously built to game its way to the top of the SERPs.
I know, I know, I still haven’t answered the question. Well, in my experience, I have always aimed for three posts a week. My search engine traffic off the back of this is okay. It means that there is a regularity that I’m sure is taken into account (Google love new content), and my site doesn’t sit there for months on end without being changed or updated. However, the niches I’m in are very competitive, and I believe I still have a long way to go in my blogs to get to the level of authority needed. If you’re making a site about Football, there are a lot of competitors, and if you’re not posting regularly, the search engines will probably trust another site over yours. A niche such as mine will take a long time, even at three posts a day, to become one of the main authority sites on the subject. Prepare to work hard.
Content or Posts?
I’ve focused a lot on the written aspect of a blog in all of the above, but that isn’t your only option, and I’ve seen bloggers have immense success with huge databases of video, photos and infographics, which can drive traffic from other sources such as Flickr and Youtube rather than just Google.
Based on the amazing Pat Flynn’s “Be Everywhere” advice, I recommend a good variation of all of the different types of content you can possibly create.
A Parting Note
It can be really tough to feel like you’re doing enough when you’re putting out say three posts a week and it isn’t hitting the dizzy heights you’re hoping for, but remember that when you start out in blogging, or even if you’ve been doing it for a while, it takes a long time to build up the content you need. For some subjects, 3 months might see you ranking, but for others you may have to work hard for years. Don’t be disheartened and keep working hard, as you learn and you implement more and more techniques, you’ll get there in time.
Regular readers will know that my site is all about a journey to make money online, and not just a few pounds (or dollars, sorry) here and there, but a good solid income, even better than I could make in an average job here in the UK. I know a lot of people share my dream of making a living on the internet, but a lot of us (I’m not excluding myself) can be really impatient, and if we’re going to be dedicating a lot of our time to online pursuits, we expect some sort of return relatively quickly. If I write 100 articles, I don’t want them to just make me a few pence each, I want to make enough money that I feel like it has been worth my time. Unfortunately, it’s not always that simple online.
The title of this article is actually a little misleading; It suggests I have an answer. I don’t have an exact answer for you, and the truth is that no such thing exists, it is different in almost every single instance, but I can share with you my experiences and the things I’ve learned about making money online.
If You’re Looking for Passive Income, Don’t Expect it Quickly
One of the great things about making your money on the internet is that it can be relatively passive. It’s a myth that you can work for 20 minutes a week and rake in a seven figure salary, but that said, your income can be more passive than most. An article you write today could be making you money five or six years in the future, whether you’re asleep or awake, sitting at your desk or laying on the beach, but you wont get there overnight. Websites that rank highly, eBooks and digital products that sell well, membership sites, eCommerce and almost every other method you can utilise to create your online income will take a long time to build.
When building out my sites, I try to become a real authority in the niche. I don’t simply want to rank for a couple of keywords for a few months and make me a little bit of cash, I want to build a really great site with a big following, a community and a lot of articles that can drive traffic, make me sales and sell products I have created. The sites I consider ‘competitors’ (or just those to model my own site on) have tens of thousands of backlinks, thousands of articles and a loyal following. Reaching this level can be hugely rewarding, not to mention profitable, but don’t expect to get there for a few years. Your income might start to kick in after 6 months, but don’t expect anything spectacular until you’ve created an amazing resource and promoted it like there’s no tomorrow.
There Are Faster Ways
You don’t have to be ‘black hat’ or use spammy techniques to make money quickly. I’ve written an article about many of the methods to make money online quickly and there are ways that you can simply trade your expertise and time for peoples money. Offering a service is the main way people utilise the internet to make money quickly, and with the correct service you can do this remotely too, creating a good home job, but it’s only ever going to be a lifestyle business, and you’re not really building something great for the future such as a huge authority website.
Business Models are There to Be Experimented With
I mention the Adsense Flippers a lot here, because they’re an amazing team doing brilliant things and sharing their techniques with the rest of us. These guys build out sites before selling them, a business model that has worked really well for them, and it speeds up the process somewhat. Once their site is ranking and making an income, they can sell it for a chunk of cash (say 15 times its monthly income) and move onto the next. It might not rank any quicker, but when it does they can make a nice big lump sum instead of maintaining their sites and just letting the income trickle in slowly. Be creative with your business model and you could see similar results.
In my opinion, a balance of these long term, passive projects and a few fast moneymakers is a winning combination. We all need to eat and pay the rent, so some money needs to be made while the empire is being built. The truth is that you can set up a service or simple website selling something, and if you get it right, you can start making money tomorrow, but it wont be spectacular, and all the top online earners have been at it for years.
One of the most amazing parts of being a blogger is the fact that it can be done from anywhere. My regular readers will know that Dollars Per Day documents my journey to make a living online, and one of the reasons I want to achieve this goal is that I want to be portable, so to speak. Earning my income regardless of where I am in the world is my ultimate dream; location independence. Luckily for me, and others looking to achieve the same thing, blogging on the go doesn’t have to be particularly difficult, and there are loads of ways you can make it easy for yourself, which I’ll be sharing with you in this post.
- If you can, take a Laptop. This is a huge part of blogging, and life will be tough without it. Whether your definition of ‘on the go’ is trecking through your local countryside or flying to the other side of the world, a laptop is going to be your best friend. Most built up areas will have coffee shops and restaurants with free wifi you can latch onto in order to publish and interact on your blog, but of course your writing can be done without being online, which means limited wifi doesn’t have to be a problem, as soon as you get online, you can publish your posts, or…
- Scheduling Posts. One of the challenges of being on the move is that you might have large chunks of time where you cant publish to your blog, and that’s where automation comes in. If you’re using WordPress (which I strongly recommend doing) this is remarkably easy to do in the ‘add new post’ section, where you can simply click ‘edit’ next to publish immediately and set a time and date.
- iPads and Tablets. They might not be the easiest way to blog yet, but they can be effective, and certainly help if you don’t want to lug around a laptop. Most blogging platforms have an app which will allow you to login and post directly, and a lot of tablets will let you take photos to upload directly too. A nifty piece of gear for using a tablet to blog is one of these bad boys, a wireless keyboard, which make your life so much easier! Nobody wants to write thousands of words on a tablet without a real keyboard.
- Internet Cafes. Internet cafes are in most touristy areas of the world, and quite a lot of non touristy areas! If you have a smartphone, you can use them to check where your nearest internet cafe is, and head over there for an hour or two of surfing. Again, this will be better if you’re able to make your content beforehand, and then you only pay for the time it takes you to publish, rather than create, your content.
Most of the world is online now. It isn’t too hard to find a wifi connection and even though lugging around expensive gear can be a risk, it’s nothing that online backups via the cloud and a good travel insurance policy wont deal with. You can cover against theft and blog away at ease. Isn’t it everyone’s dream to blog on the beach? Especially if you’re getting paid good money to do so.
Writing is a strange and wonderful thing, and everybody does it in a different way. It can be really difficult to know if you’re writing an article that is way too long or way too short. In this…well, article, we look at how long an article should be for many different purposes.
For Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Personally, I take SEO into consideration for a lot of my blog posts and other articles. It is important to me that at least a fair chunk of my posts find their way onto the upper reaches of google, and drive some traffic from search engines. I don’t write exclusively for these reasons, I write for people not for the robots who evaluate my site, but unfortunately the robots have to be considered if I want to even reach people in the first place.
As with most SEO techniques, there isn’t a definite science to it, and nowhere in Google’s guides does it give an ideal post length. I’ve seen 200 word articles outrank 900 word articles, and I’ve seen two articles the same length perform very differently. That said, the most success I’ve seen with my own articles on Google has come to articles between the 550 and 750 word mark. This has increased slightly, and I have seen a lot of my shorter articles drop off in recent times, as google seems to move towards favouring more thorough content. Its always changing, and if it is of paramount importance to your articles, you should definitely keep your finger on the pulse of all things SEO.
For Article Directories and Guest Posts
One of the most popular methods of driving traffic and building links to your website is to write articles for publishing elsewhere, such as other peoples’ blogs and article directories. So how many words should you aim for in these circumstances?
I try to write my articles for directories and other people’s blogs as I would write them for my own. I reserve some of the more ‘evergreen‘ topics for my own blog, as they are the mainstay of what I am trying to create, but once I have picked a subject for a guest article, I write it as I would for my own blog, aiming for between 400 and 800 words depending on the subject matter, and how much I have to say.
Blogs and directories will probably have their own rules or guidelines. I am yet to find an article directory that will accept articles under 300 words, which is fair enough. If you’re writing an article purely for a link back to your site, and aren’t bothered how it ranks in the search engines or how it engages people, then by all means stick to the lower end of those guidelines, but don’t expect the article to do wonders for your own site.
For Your Readers
The third on my list, and most important of things to consider when writing your articles, is the readers you are writing them for. Goes without saying really, doesn’t it? A good man once said “don’t say in 10 words what you can say in 5″ (or something like that), and it is true that waffling on for the sake of it wont do anybody any favours. People are busy, and they probably aren’t willing to sit around and wait while you get to the point, so make sure you provide value, and quickly.
I’m also a believer that the other points are kind of secondary. Writing is not something that should be formulaic or processed, it should be well thought out, but not manufactured, write in your own style, and with your readers in mind, and whatever the length ends up being, whether 60 words or 6,000, it will be correct for you.
For Print and Publications
I mustn’t forget that people still do write for print media, and in these cases (though you might have a rough criteria for word count), I believe the same as I’ve said above applies. Don’t waffle, and write however many words it takes to get your message across in the way you want.
Hopefully these points have been helpful. There is no simple answer to “how long should an article be?”, but these guidelines will serve you well on your journey to creating new pieces of writing.
I’ve been into the world of Internet Marketing and Blogging for quite a while now. My interest began years ago but I only really started putting a lot of effort into learning the art of blogging and running my own blogs in 2012. I don’t regret taking the plunge and spending the hundreds of hours building out my blogs at all, and I owe a lot to the following bloggers.
Some of the list below I’ve spoken to a lot, some I’ve spoken to a little, and some I’ve never had any contact with other than listening to their inspirational words via their sites or podcasts, but they all have a lot to offer the aspiring blogger. Some of those on the list are
Without further ado, my most influential bloggers are:
Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income.
Pat is one of the more famous bloggers on the list, and his experiences of running niche sites, his podcast, his blog and his digital product creation are amazing. He coined the ‘Be Everywhere’ phrase that has become the mantra of bloggers everywhere, and says that losing his job was one of the greatest things that happened to him in his career. One of the many reasons I love Pat is how open he is with his methods and how he is earning money online, as he posts his income reports every month (something that’s quite fashionable with bloggers). He does all of this with immense grace and modesty in spite of earnings of roughly $50,000 most months. Impressive.
SmartPassiveIncome.com - Pat’s site.
Mike from Maine.
Mike Thomas of Mike from Maine is a more recent discovery for me. I first heard about him through the Adsense Flippers (they’re coming up later on the list) and when I started following his blog I realised that this guy knew what he was talking about. He sells sites and dabbles in other online incomes, but what I love most about Mike’s site is the interviews he posts every weekday with influential bloggers, marketers, SEO pros and more internet professionals. I learn something every day from reading Mike’s site, and you should definitely subscribe to his video feed at the very least.
MikeFromMaine.com - Mike’s Site
I don’t even know how I found Adsense Flippers’ site, but I am extremely glad I did. Justin Cooke and Joe Magnotti work out of the Phillipines, they build and sell niche sites and are one of my key resources for info on SEO, selling sites and content creation. They also run TryBPO, a business process outsourcing company. For a good idea of the work these guys are doing, check out their amazing podcast! Perfect for long hours in the gym or drives to work.
Adsense Flippers - Justin and Joe’s site.
Darren Rowse – ProBlogger
Darren is perhaps the most famous blogger out there. His ProBlogger book is one for every blogger and internet marketer’s Kindle, and is immensely insightful for a whole range of subjects. Some of Darren’s best pearls of wisdom relate to building a community around his photography blog, making money from Amazon affiliate schemes and content creation.
ProBlogger - Darren’s Blog
The Lifestyle Business Podcast
Okay, it’s technically a podcast, but they do bust the occasional blog post too. Dan and Ian are entrepreneurial geniuses, and share an insight into their successful businesses in the podcast. From cat furniture to internet marketing, their views and opinions are inspiring and helpful in your entrepreneurial pursuits, as well as being really cool guys who will make you laugh along the way.
Seth is a marketer first and foremost. His books and entrepreneurial pursuits are remarkable, and have resonated through the world of marketing. His blog delivers amazing advice to help you out in your day to day tribulations on an almost daily basis. Seth is a really clever guy, and he isn’t trying to make any money out of his blog, just share his wisdom and enhance his reputation. He’s a real digital age trendsetter, and an intriguing person to follow and interact with.
My list is still evolving, and new bloggers influence me every day, whether they’re making money online or not, but these are the guys who stand out at this moment in time. Quite a few have only just missed out on the list (sorry) and I will no doubt be posting interviews and info about prolific bloggers as time goes by. For now, leave me a comment and let me know who I should be reading over winter 2o12 and beyond!
So another mass panic in the world of SEO, Niche Sites and making a living online was sparked by Google’s EMD update almost a week ago. Matt Cutts announced via his Twitter account that a small algorithm change would target low quality exact match sites, and in some cases (I’m sure) the update has done what it set out to. As with the recent Penguin update, the initial results were drastic, and people saw their sites, whether low quality and spammy or high quality and well constructed, fall drastically down the rankings. As the dust began to settle, people in the IM and niche site communities started blogging about the update and some of the effects they saw on their sites.
Some people out there saw some pretty nasty results, and those earning thousands of dollars every month in the niche site market saw their businesses hit. Badly. Some of the best blog posts on the subject are over on Niche Pursuits and Adsense Flippers. I’ve followed these guys for a long time, and I know for a fact that their sites are not low quality. In fact, these blog posts point out some brilliant examples of poorer sites seeing good results while their more well constructed sites saw bad results. This can be extremely frustrating for those of us who have worked hard on our sites for a long time, only to see them gone from the SERPS in one fell swoop. In fact, frustration is probably the main feeling post-EMD.
It can be tempting when you see these kind of mixed results to do one of two things; the first is to give up, throw in the towel and move on to something else. If that’s for you, then no problem, maybe you’ve made some cash in the online space and think it’s time to pivot. Alternatively, you can, as the Adsense Flippers say, roll with the punches. The truth is, google isn’t some all-seeing power that cynically gets rid of sites for no reason, it does have a long term vision, and it doesn’t make any secret of what the long term vision is. Their terms of service are clear, and their criteria for ranking, though slightly secretive, is pretty widely accepted. Changes such as the EMD update can know you for six sometimes, but whether with the sites that have been hit, or with new ones, you should persevere and move on with white hat methods.
As mentioned above, one feeling people experience in the aftermath of an update like this one is temptation. I’ve seen a few examples now of sites that really aren’t well built or particularly “google friendly” (or so we thought) that are actually performing pretty well. This can lead us into spammy techniques as we think “well what’s the point in staying white hat when the black hat guys have all the success”, but the truth is that the black hat success is never going to last. Google has to evolve, and we cant blame them for making updates such as this, and though they’re not always everybody’s best friend (don’t get me started on adsense accounts and the like) they do have a vision that they are happy for us all to be a part of, stay white hat, build sites for the long term that are full of quality content and backed up with high quality back links, and over time you will see the amazing results you’re hoping for. There is no quick fix, and attempts to game the system are always eventually knocked on the head (not that having exact match domains were ‘gaming’, just saying).
Good luck to you if you find yourself needing to rebuild and restructure your online business in light of the new updates. Drop me a comment and let me know how you’ve been affected and what your future plans are.
So you’ve started your blog, the content is there and you’re ready for people to read it. There are loads of ways to drive traffic to your website, some people try and get traffic from Facebook or Twitter, some try to get it from Google, some from Mailing Lists and all sorts of other means. What we bloggers are all looking for at the end of the day is the same thing; followers.
How am I defining Followers?
Lots of blogging platforms out there have a ‘follow’ system, which is fine, it’s a good way to keep a track of who is interested in what you’re doing online, but I’m not just talking about the little number that will come up on your feed, I’m talking about people that come back to your blog again and again. THAT is a follower, and that is what you should aim for. You can of course utilise methods to keep people tied in to your blog, and being on social networks or having a mailing list are ways that you can make it easier for people to follow you, but these numbers only matter if people are actually engaging.
So How to Get Blog Followers?
There isn’t an exact formula, I’m afraid, and there are loads of ways to get people to your blog, but there are certain tried and tested methods that will help you to get readers to keep coming back to your site. I’ve listed some below.
- GOOD, UNIQUE CONTENT – You’ve heard it before I’m sure, but good content on your blog is so important, I love Corbett Barr’s analogy on this subject where he says that trying to start driving traffic without good, unique content is like trying to start a fire with wet wood. It doesn’t matter how much you promote your site and how many people see it if there is nothing there for people to engage with. The foundations of online success are built entirely on content, make sure yours is not substandard and you’ll be off on the right footing.
- Make Your Blog a Thing of Beauty – Unfortunately, presentation is important, not as important of content, but still key to your success, especially when it comes to followers. People maybe shouldn’t be so shallow, but its natural to have less trust in a site that is relatively ugly, as opposed to one that looks modern and classy, you have to project the right image of your blog if you want people to take it seriously and put it on their favourites list or follow you on twitter. Looking beautiful can be an advantage over your competitors.
- Post Often and Regularly – This doesn’t mean just post things for the sake of it, if you’ve picked your niche correctly you shouldn’t have to force it anyway, have a list of your next 10-15 blog posts at any time and work through them on a (rough) schedule. Followers will expect regular content, not just one post every few weeks or even months.
- Become an Authority – There’s a reason a lot of blogs are also called “authority sites”. Ask yourself, are you an authority in your niche? What can you do to become THE resource people go to when they want information on the subject. You have to give people a reason to want to follow you, not just beg them to do so, if you can show people that you know more than them, and aren’t afraid to share it, you will be rewarded with an abundance of followers.
- Be Everywhere – I mention the brilliant Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income a lot on the blog, and you’ve probably heard his name elsewhere too. He’s an amazing talent and huge influence to many people trying to make blogging their living. Check out his amazing thoughts on tapping into resources where you can gain followers and traffic over at his site.
- Make it Easy to Follow – There are ways you can make it simpler for people to follow your blogging. My top tips are to have an RSS Feed for anybody using an RSS Reader. Head over to Mail Chimp and get yourself an account, you can start building a mailing list and easily integrate it to WordPress or other blogging platforms, and though I dont rely on them for a lot of traffic (yet), make sure you’re on as many social networks as time allows, and are regularly contributing VALUABLE content via your profile on these.
The truth is that content is the linchpin of all of the above, and without a load of quality articles on your site, traffic may be hard to come by, and followers even more so. Write from the heart and do the best you can and you’re taking the right steps.