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10 Best Online Resources to Learn WordPress in 2021

10 Best Online Resources to Learn WordPress in 2021

Wordpress is one of the biggest platforms that help in the management of your content. It serves as a content manager for years and is still one of the smartest tools for this purpose. It can be used by anyone who is starting a new blog, by a novice business who is busy making a portfolio for his website. It is not a new tool or has been introduced recently. It is being used for this purpose for years and is an essential part of website makers.

WordPress helps you in building any website. It could be an eCommerce site, an online portfolio, a news portal, a blog page, or stuff like that. There are different resources from which you can learn wordpress and the most common among them are

WordPress.org Codex:

It is a free source of learning, and the person who has any experience of learning wordpress from it has the right words to say about it. It is one of the most trustworthy sources, and it gives all the information in detail. WordPress codex is looked like an online manual book because when the reader starts learning it, they experience it as a manual book present in the online form.

Also, as it is a free learning resource, so nobody has to pay for it and is comfortable in access. Everybody can benefit from it only when they need to learn WordPress in detail. But if someone is looking for a surface study of WordPress, then codex is not the right choice. Because it gives you a complete explanation, and you have to go through it thoroughly.

One of the most exciting and appreciable thing about wordpres.org codex is that it is a wiki. And you can only learn wordpress from it and take part in other tasks like editing, contributing, translating, and discussing different pieces of information. It is a complete source of information, and one gets fully benefited from it regarding the learning of WordPress.

WordPress TV:

It is one of the coolest tools of learning WordPress is one of the most effective ways because you can get written information from it and the video and audio. As the name suggests, the learner can get the data from the television screen, so everything is displayed in video tutorials.

It is also free in use, and there is no issue of signing up or wasting time on such things. It is for free, and the person using it can directly get into the video they want to watch or to the information they are looking. Beginners quickly digest the videos that come because they are simple, and one can easily understand them.

Another exciting option is that the user can also make videos and join the community of WordPress by it. But it is only possible if the user follows all the rules and guidelines while making the videos. If they are according to the criteria mentioned by them, they can become members of the WordPress community.

WordPress is a simple but smartest tool, and all kinds of content and information can be searched on it quickly. Also, the content available on it is understandable, and this also allows you to learn the other language.

Official WordPress Lessons:

The official WordPress lessons are one of the friendliest tools for learning WordPress and is also named to LEARN. It has been introduced after WordPress TV and is also for free. All the information is available on its website, and on clicking on it, you get the book of WordPress opened in front of you.

It consists of a step by step guideline for making a website, and therefore, for beginners, it is the best learning source. This website’s theme is not so colorful or creative, but it gives you all the required information to make a website. There are no images or videos like stuff on it, but the steps are easy to follow.

If an intermediate level person is planning to learn WordPress from it, it is not recommended for them because they would not understand as it a basic level learning resource. It gives you all the necessary configurations, knowledge of preparing a stage, personalization of website, and publishing pages and posts.

Lynda.com:

Lynda is not a free online learning source. But if someone is learning from it, they would never regret paying Lynda. It is the biggest online learning platform that gives you knowledge of different fields and professions and WordPress, which you help in building a professional and creative website.

Lynda offers courses that you can pursue online, and they are not related to a basic level of knowledge or information. The courses arranged by Lynda are of a broad topic, and those topics include software development. Business both small and big, designing courses and photography courses. So if someone is paying for these courses, they would not regret the penny they spent on it.

In learning WordPress from Lynda, there are different options you can look at. During the first month, the trial of learning is for free, and one does not have to pay for it. After one month, around 29.99 dollars are spent, and if someone goes for an annual package, they can get a discount over it is approximately 33 percent.

Lynda gives you all the information and knowledge in video form. Also, there is an option to practice the things you have learned from it by attempting quizzes. You can watch the videos repeatedly until and unless you completely understand them. You also earn a learning certificate once you are done with it. And the certificate is beneficial for you at the end of the day.

Lynda’s course is divided based on skill level, subjects, study, authors of the course, and learning types. By keeping all these things in mind, the course Lynda is divided into different topics.

Smashing Magazine:

It is an online portal for learning different topics of WordPress, including coding, development of mobile, graphic designing, and web designing. It is an online magazine in which all the information is displayed in the form of blogs. Readers can read them, and then they can also ask something if they want to in the comment section. The comment section is made to listen from people about what they have to say about WordPress and what they wish to write in their blogs.

There is a limited time when you have to read the posted blog and later upload a new blog by removing the previous one. You have to read those blog online to get all the knowledge of WordPress. The blogs cover almost all the topics and help the reader get as much information as possible. It is an extended category, and readers can digest the blogs easily. Also, it offers other services like SEO and SEO services in Wah Cantt are given according to the knowledge of blogs uploaded by smashing magazine. 

But when it comes to the blogs’ content, it is not friendly for the beginners because they need necessary information, and it consists of details. But it is a free learning portal.

WP101:

It is a paid platform where everything is explained through tutorials. It is suitable for beginners because it gives all the necessary knowledge to them within one hour. There are detailed videos in which all the information of WordPress is explained in a brief form.

It is one of the most effective educational platforms because the students looking for online WordPress course will benefit from it. They also have an opportunity of resolving their queries through question-answer sessions. After learning through video tutorials, the students can again ask questions, and they would be given answers to them.

You can learn from it and can also get its services from a free video course. You can watch the video for free initially, but you have to pay for the videos. The further sessions of video tutorials can only be unlocked by Access pass. To get the access pass, you have to pay a certain amount of money, and then you can watch the other video tutorials, which are full of information related to WordPress. For some of the access passes, you can pay weekly basis, and for some, you can spend yearly.

WP sessions:

WP sessions are the paid learning sessions. But you will never feel bad or would regret spending some dollars on it. You can pay for one week at a beginner level, and in one week, all the necessary knowledge would be given, and then you can move forward to the intermediate level because this course is for all the groups of learners. If you like the session and want to pursue it further, you can buy yearly WP sessions. Buying it will give you free five-month learning.

It is a paid version, but if someone is willing to take it for a year, then they could get a session of five months with a discount. Talking about the course, it is not complicated, and the beginners can quickly get all the detailed information of WordPress in one week. The primary purpose of the WP session is to help you in building a business of your own.

The videos they make help you make your website, but they also help you make your website grow to set up a profitable business from them. It aims to help you in launching a business of your own in the best possible way.

You can also take bonus courses from WP session or personal guidance learning sessions and download them for further training.

WP Apprentice:

It is a learning resource for both beginners and people of higher levels. At the start, it gives you all the ground knowledge of WordPress, basically what a beginner needs to hear. In one month it gives you all the early training, and at that time it is free.

Later, if you are looking for a WordPress introductory course, you can get it on WP apprentice, but you have to pay for it.  It is a bite-size training, and 15 dollars are required to get this training. There are different access-pass for other months, and there is an access-pass for yearly courses. There are additional charges for other passes. You can access a particular monthly or weekly learning session on WP apprentice by paying for those passes.

The learning sessions are in the form of video tutorials, and in those tutorials, almost everything is covered. The content they create is not informative but is engaging as well. The videos help you learn how to make creative content, content in your article that you will upload on your website, and all the knowledge of creating a website. They also explain the ranking system, the business features, and everything else in their video tutorials.

WP Kube:

It is a free learning source, and one quickly learns the new things they upload by just signing in. The user can connect their email with it, and in this way, they would stay updated regarding the new blogs they post. They teach WordPress through their blog post because they do not make video tutorials. Instead, they cover all the information in their blogs.

Connecting your email with it will help you know about the new blog they are going to post, and when they would post, you can go, sign in, and read their blog. It is an easy learning source because you do not have to pay for it. You have to sign and read all the written material present on the page.

Ithemes training:

I themes is one of the biggest platforms, but it has all the knowledge of WordPress. It uploads the video tutorials in which all the information from singing to adding links is explained in detail. You can sign up for a three-month free tutorial, and then you have to pay for it.

It gives you information related to WordPress and about the branch of wordpress like plugins and SEO. 

The post 10 Best Online Resources to Learn WordPress in 2021 appeared first on WP Fix It.

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How C-suite derives business value from social media: Q&A with Hootsuite’s VP of Corporate Marketing, Henk Campher

How C-suite derives business value from social media: Q&A with Hootsuite’s VP of Corporate Marketing, Henk Campher

30-second summary:

The pandemic drove people inside their homes and onto social media like never before.
Hootsuite has closely been monitoring the changing behaviors of consumers online since the beginning of 2020.
We caught up with Henk Campher, VP of Corporate Marketing and Head of Social Impact at Hootsuite, to help you derive a cream level perspective for your digital strategies.
Know how CMOs can find value in SMM efforts, conduct market analysis, and run social media campaigns that actually succeed in the eyes of top management.

From learning banana bread recipes to connecting with loved ones, hunting jobs, and now shopping holiday gifts, the pandemic drove people inside their homes and onto social media like never before. 2020 has shown us how people have resorted to Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and LinkedIn. While Hootsuite has closely been monitoring the changing behaviors of consumers online, we caught up with Henk Campher, VP of Corporate Marketing and Head of Social Impact at Hootsuite, to help you derive a cream level perspective for your digital strategies.

Q. Paid ads have their own cons like reduced page reach, how do you maintain an upward graph for organic page reach and boost relationships, engagement, and direct sales?

Henk Campher: Never take a one-size-fits-all approach to social media marketing, especially with organic content. To reach a large audience, organic posts need to be optimized. To do this, you need to understand the platform and audience you are optimizing for. Start by focusing on the platforms that make the most sense for your business. For example, if you’re a B2B company, you may find the most value on LinkedIn or Twitter whereas a B2C company may gravitate towards Snapchat, Instagram, or TikTok to reach a younger crowd. 

If you want organic content to perform well on social media, create engaging and personalized content that is fitting for the platform you are using. Give people a reason to follow and engage with your social posts. To better understand what content resonates with your audience, start by using social listening tools—at Hootsuite, we integrate directly with Brandwatch so our customers can navigate social intelligence capabilities directly from their dashboard.

Case study:

Securian Financial, a Hootsuite financial services customer, was able to leverage social listening to determine that their key demographics shifted away from complaining about quarantine to sharing positive content around being connected. What arose was Life Balance Remix, a UGC campaign encouraging people to share content that highlighted their “new normal” and garnered thousands of participants with over 2.5 million campaign impressions across Twitter and Instagram. 

Beyond creating the right content for the right platform, it’s essential to connect with people. Show your audience the human side of your brand. You can do this by lifting up your employees on social media and sharing their stories or connecting with the wider community through an employee advocacy tool, like Hootsuite’s Amplify tool. If you want to boost engagement on posts, ask your audience relevant and interesting questions. This is also a great opportunity to learn about what interests them. If you focus on value and creating the right content, you’ll be able to successfully develop relationships with your audience, boost engagement, and drive sales.

Q. What are the top social media metrics that can help CMOs see direct value in marketers’ social media marketing efforts?

Henk Campher: For both B2C and B2B brands, the key to successful social measurement is to keep your metrics simple. Trust classic cross-platform metrics like return-on-ad spend and lifetime value, as these measures also tie directly to your organization’s business goals. Once you choose the content you think will resonate with your audience, test your ideas to identify which posts generate the most engagement, shares, and impressions, and do this for each social platform. Continue to test, learn, and optimize. But when it comes to measuring your efforts on social, it is important to keep your business objectives in mind and develop KPIs that match the overall goals and expectations of your organization. Metrics such as impressions and reach should be analyzed consciously.

If your goal is to build brand awareness, focus on overall engagement and how long visitors are staying on your website. This will help evaluate if your content isn’t just “content-for-content-sake” but is actually resonating with your audience and driving conversions. 

Q. What are the typical touchpoints/aspects marketers must include in their social media campaigns to reflect value for the brand and meet CMO expectations?

Henk Campher: One of the most important aspects of a social media campaign is social listening. A robust social listening tool allows you access to real-time insights into consumer sentiment, shifting trends, and competitive intelligence. These insights are key to helping a brand better understand how consumers feel about a campaign and what they want from your brand.  

The best social media campaigns also have specific goals in mind and are purpose-driven. You must understand the customer segment you’re trying to reach through a specific campaign. To achieve this, create profiles or personas for your core constituencies that integrate data and insights from marketing channels (including social) and CRM. Understanding how, where, and when to engage with your constituents requires a clear picture of their motivations and their needs.

Another important aspect is social data integration. Our ‘Social Transformation Report‘ uncovered that only 10% of marketers feel they have mature practices around integrating social data into enterprise systems like Adobe, Microsoft, Marketo, or Salesforce. However, according to our ‘2021 Social Trends Report‘, 85% of organizations that integrate social data into their other systems have the confidence to accurately quantify the ROI of social media. While data integration is a complex process, a much more accessible entry point that can help marketers better connect social engagement to customer identity and measurable ROI is integrating paid and organic social media activity.  We found that mature organizations with completely integrated paid and organic social strategies are 32% more confident in quantifying the ROI of social media. 

Q. How important is it for any brand to have involvement in social matters and social investments?

Henk Campher: The most successful brands this year didn’t put themselves front and center of the conversation—they decided to listen instead. After taking the time to listen, brands must find creative and empathetic ways of adding value to the conversation instead of trying to lead it. Brands should stay true to their identities and their audience by asking:

“What is my role?”
“What conversations make sense for me to weigh in on and why?”
“How can social media contribute to my business objectives?”

Having a voice in important conversations is powerful for a brand. However, if a brand is posting about topics that don’t align with the brand’s personality and identity, customers will notice. As a wealth of different conversations are taking place across social media at all times, it’s important to create a blueprint for how to comment on a conversation, if at all. 

Q. What methods can CMOs implement to use social media like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for effective market analysis?

Henk Campher: There are various tried-and-true methods CMOs can implement when using social media platforms for market analysis. Before you begin your analysis, always have a clear goal in mind. It’s important to look at what exactly you want to analyze whether it’s your brand, product, or competitors. Doing a quantitative content analysis by assessing the engagement rate of your social posts can give companies an idea of if a message or product is resonating with your followers. Social listening is another incredibly powerful tool for analysis. Through social listening, you can zero in on how people are talking about your brand.  It’s also important to not be shy. Be empowered as a brand to implement tactics like polls and surveys on social to get in touch with customers and glean informative insights into how your audience is thinking about your brand. 

Q. How would you push an online event that involves employee referral on social media for a maximum turnaround?

Henk Campher: Develop an effective social media strategy in advance and provide your employees with the right resources and tools to promote the event. You can do this by crafting the content and social platform guidelines in advance so it is easy for employees to spread the word on social media. At Hootsuite our Amplify tool allows brands to extend their social reach and increase employee engagement. Using platforms that are suited for employee advocacy will garner the most successful results. 

Q. What are your expert tips on the most effective ways to run a social media campaign, especially during the holiday season 2020?

Henk Campher: The holidays are a great opportunity for brands to increase engagement and drive sales on social media. Here are my four tips to create an effective social media campaign and stand out from the competition: 

Tweak your social media posting schedule to accommodate changing workdays or times. B2B businesses often have higher engagement rates during the day, as employees are leaving early and working less in the evening. B2C companies generally have a better reach when it’s not during typical work hours. 
Continue to curate content over the holidays, even if there might be a downturn of activity on social channels across the board. If you go quiet on social, your customers will notice. 
Maintain community engagement as relationships, connections and engagement are key to any successful social media campaign. Always respond to customer issues or comments promptly.
The holidays are a great time to showcase the ‘human’ side of your business. Take advantage of platforms like Instagram to showcase the company, employees, and interact with the community at large. 

Q. What are the most common mistakes you see brands making in their social media pushes?

Henk Campher: The most common mistake brands make is thinking of social media merely as a broadcast medium. With nearly three billion people on Facebook every month, more than one million on Instagram, and hundreds of millions more on Twitter, Pinterest, TikTok, and Snapchat, it’s tempting to think that way. While social media started with organic posts and later turned to paid social advertising, brands should never lose sight of social media’s core value: establishing and maintaining relationships. Take the time to invest in relationship building, as this helps brands build strong bonds with their audiences and boost customer loyalty, which ultimately benefits their business. Rather than pump out promotional content, take the time to establish your brand’s personality, and connect with customers by taking on an empathetic “human-first” approach.

How is your brand making the most of social media marketing this holiday season? Are there challenges you’re facing with regards to creating value from a board room perspective? Feel free to share your thoughts on our interview, drop a comment!

The post How C-suite derives business value from social media: Q&A with Hootsuite’s VP of Corporate Marketing, Henk Campher appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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13 Things We Learned from 10 Years of Writing SEO Friendly Blog Posts

13 Things We Learned from 10 Years of Writing SEO Friendly Blog Posts

We have written and optimized – for our own blog or other pages – thousands of articles and SEO friendly blog posts in the last 10 years. What better way to learn from past successes and mistakes? We’d like to share them with you, not just as a holiday gift, but mostly because sharing our insights with others is what makes us and the people around us stronger and more resilient.

 

Google’s rules and updates changed way too many times to be worth counting and the content writers on this blog have changed a lot as well, trying to uncover Google’s mystery box.  We’ve lost weight, hair, nerves, and money in the process but believe us, we have learned a lot and most of the times the hard way.

 

So, we’re going to expose ourselves in a vulnerable matter; yet, if this article saves you from repeating some mistakes we did, we declare ourselves happy. 🙂 

 

 

The end of the year is usually a time to reminisce and reflect on the time that has passed and hopefully extract some amount of wisdom – no matter how small – to take into the new year. For many of us, 2021 will be different, since we’ve likely had to go through this exercise a lot earlier than the end of the year.

 

So, we decided to look even further back, in hopes that the lessons we find will speak to something greater than the general terribleness of this year.

 

We’ve run an SEO blog for ten years now. And we’ve learned one or two things along the way. Here are 13 of them (yes 13, in 2020):

 

Optimize Everything from URLs to Conclusions
Don’t Assume Anything! Check Grammar, Facts, Quotes
Being Consistent Is Difficult. It’s Also the Key to Success
Originality Is Good, but so Is Content Update
Google Algorithms Come and Go, Quality Content Stays
Creativity Is A Lot of Hard Work
Questions Are More Useful than Answers
Forget Academic Writing
Solve Your Readers’ Problems, not Your Dilemmas
The Title of the Article Will Influence Its Performance
Write Less but Write Better
Write Less, Promote More
Stick to Your Principles

 
Optimize Everything from URLs to Conclusions

 

I know, you already got this: you know that you need to have well optimized content, meaning that you need to use your targeted keyword within the title once and the body content at least ten times and Google will have no other choice than rank your content. And if it doesn’t, well, we all know that Google sucks so, it’s their fault.

 

Of course, this is an exaggeration. But it has a grain of truth in it.

 

As search marketing changed, we have evolved as well as learned what both our readers and Google expect from us. 

 

We all know that optimized content is the key to success. But optimization shouldn’t stop at the body of the content. You should also optimize:

 

The Title
The URL
The Meta Description
The Slug
The Images 
The Internal Links
The Outbound Links
The Text Length
The Article Main Image

 

We used to overlook some of these items. Or, at least we did not give them the right importance. This is how we ended up with URLs like this: https://cognitiveseo.com/blog/26/the-best-link-building-blogs-experts-and-their-tutorials-from-2011/ or with three articles published one after another having the titles: How to Get Links, How to Earn Links and How to Acquire Links. 

 

You’ll find plenty of material on this blog on how to optimize all of those reminded above, so we won’t insist too much here. But here are some resources you might find useful:

 

SEO Writing for Copywriters

Internal Linking Strategy 

Title & URL Influence on Rankings Research

Link Building Campaigns

How to Write SEO Friendly Titles

 
Don’t Assume Anything! Check Grammar, Facts, Quotes

 

Do you know what Euripides and my manager have in common? They are both stuck in my head repeating this sentence: Question everything! 

 

While this might be an obvious one, take a sincerity test: when was the last time you double or triple checked a well-known fact? Even the basic ones like: cracking your knuckles will give you arthritis or Eskimos have dozens of words for snow.  You know this, so you use them in your content without checking them again. 

 

Whether it’s a well-known SEO fact, a very famous quote or an obvious grammar rule, double check it. 

 

Some time ago we published an article that talked about Wikipedia and whether advertising can be made on the big encyclopedia’s site. And as an example, we offered Gibraltar. 

We were super excited about the article and we thought it would stir a lot of controversies. And it did. Yet, the apple of discord wasn’t whether you can inject advertising, but whether Gibraltar is a country or not. It is a territory disputed between UK and Spain, we knew that, but we assumed that if it has its own capital and currency, it must be a country. Well, it’s not and we had to stop and moderate the comments section due to this issue. We changed the screenshot and transformed “country” into “territory” but, too little too late. 

 

 

We also had our share of “grammar shaming” from our users. Some more years ago, we published a few pieces (that we assumed were written correctly from a grammar point of view) and we got some emails from our readers that weren’t so flattering.

We had spent so much time in doing research, documenting and reading a lot, and what people noticed first were the grammar mistakes.

Of course, we were proud enough to assume that we knew grammar, and that it wasn’t what should have mattered first. But a few emails from our users later, we decided to collaborate with an English teacher. And that was one of the best decisions we took.  

 

When it comes to grammar, things are a bit tricky, we know. If your first language is not English, chances are you’ll need someone to look over your content. At least in the beginning, to give you some guidance. Even if you’re one of those who goes overboard when correcting grammar mistakes, a fresh eye is always a good idea.

Because you want your articles, your research, your blog to become an authority in your market, and this would be almost impossible with typos or style errors in your masterpiece. 

If someone else is checking your work, that doesn’t make you less of a content writer or copywriter. It will make you a better one. 

 
Being Consistent Is Difficult. It’s Also the Key to Success

 

Ever wondered why so many TV shows which go on forever sooner or later have a significant drop in quality?

 

Coming up with a good idea can happen to any of us. Coming up with a good idea every week for years and years? That takes more than creativity.

 

It takes hard work and discipline and accepting the fact that some weeks it’s going to be a lot harder than others. But the important thing is to keep going and keep wanting to put out good work. Things aren’t always going to be in a straight line. Difficult times are followed by better ones. And sometimes the best rewards come after a period of struggling and pushing through.

 

Do you see the screenshot below? It’s a pretty nice growth, isn’t it?  It’s a screenshot of cognitiveSEO’s visibility taken from our Site Explorer

The chart below looks this good because what we did two things:

 

We published constantly (we published at least once a week)
We optimized everything mentioned in the previous chapter, from URLs to conclusions. 

 

(I admit that I gaze at this chart from time to time when my motivation is gone, or I procrastinate too much.)

 

Yes, we also used our Content Optimizer a lot and it worked great for us. But we were consistent most of all.

We published frequently and we optimized everything for each and every article, be it an in-depth research or a short case study.

And it did pay off. 

 
Originality Is Good, but so Is Content Update

 

Coming up with original ideas is no doubt key to progress. But so is updating existing ones, despite being less glamorous.

 

Gaining knowledge tends to happen in small and uncertain steps, rather than in leaps and bounds. Part of the process is refining and testing existing knowledge. Which is why we’ve often opted to update articles and research rather than start from scratch.

 

And it turned out to be a very good decision. We even made an article on how content optimization increased our SEO visibility big time.

The results are summed up in the chart below. 

 

 

You surely have articles that are not relevant anymore. Or research you’ve worked so hard on, but now it is not bringing anything in terms of traffic.

 

Instead of letting them rot, try to resuscitate them, if it makes sense. You’ll win more traffic and improve your overall blog quality.

Worst case scenario, this strategy won’t bring you much more traffic but at least you’ll have your blog articles up to date. 

 
Google Algorithms Come and Go, Quality Content Stays

 

This is similar to the one hit wonder music bands.

We all remember the musical hit, we sing it at birthday parties for a period of time, yet we probably won’t buy the album just for that tune.

Same thing may happen to your content. If you want your readers to look at your blog/brand/name with respect and put you in the trustworthy content category, make a habit out of delivering quality.

 

As the saying goes, we are what we repeatedly do.

Excellence is not an act, but a habit.

You’ve written a blog post and you have thousands of shares and appreciations? That’s a great. Yet, that one-time performance won’t keep you on the top for long. On the contrary, once you’ve set the bar high, you need to keep up with it to have killer content. 

 

And yes, Google Updates are a harsh reality. Yet, we have thousands of readers, clients, users, and it rarely happened for very good quality content to be penalized.

We’re not saying that it didn’t happen. Unfortunately, we’ve seen good quality being penalized. Yet, take this as a prevention measure. 

 

If a policeman stopped you in traffic, would you be super confident that you did nothing wrong, or would you feel a bit panicked as you know you probably broke a few rules here and there?

 

Same with content and updates. I know, it’s waaaaaaay easier said than done, but try to write content in such manner, that if a quality update pops out, you won’t feel that scared.

 

But don’t take our word for granted. Here’s what Google says about what you should do when they update their algorithm. 

 

 
Creativity Is A Lot of Hard Work

 

The famous American television and radio host Larry King used to say to his audience a very witty story about his father.

He says that his father, of Ukrainian origins, came to the US thinking that America was the greatest land of all, where even the streets were paved with gold. However, shortly after arriving, his father realized three things:

The streets weren’t paved with gold.
The streets weren’t paved at all.
He was the one to pave the streets.

 

There’s a dangerous cliche about creativity being the sort of lightning in a bottle phenomenon, young hip creatives staying late at night and coming up with wild ideas out of thin air. And that’s… definitely a more exciting version than reality.

 

But the truth is that so many times creativity is time and patience and incremental progress.

And it’s a collaborative effort more than it is an individual one. Ultimately, you discover there is truth in the adage that spontaneous things take a lot of preparation.

 

Don’t pressure yourself in being creative 100% of the time. You might be creative most of the time, without even noticing. 

And we know it’s easier said than done but even if you don’t feel like, start writing. Just start, and the rest will follow. 

 

Larry’s King father was a great man, we’re sure of it. Yet, as inspirational as these success stories are, this is what they tend to remain: stories.

Of course, not all of them. Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.

 
Questions Are More Useful than Answers

 

We’ve asked a lot of questions along the years and we haven’t always been able to answer all of them.

Understanding the right question to ask is, more often than not, the more challenging task.

 

Getting access to large amounts of data is no longer a serious problem. What to do with the data will largely remain one for years to come.

 

So, whenever you want to perform research, or elaborate on some stats, please remember: it’s not just that statistical interpretation and analysis requires a certain skillset. There are also strategic and sometimes even ethical choices to be made about how to frame the results or even what to look at in the first place.

 

Over the years, we have performed research on billions of data points. And no, there is no exaggeration here. Literally billions of data points. 

Each and every time we started having a question in mind we wanted to get an answer for; yet, almost each and every time we realized along the way that we had asked the wrong question. 

Of course, this is the beauty of research. But don’t be too proud when performing research. Even if your computer blocks after tens of Excel documents open, even if your stats software crashes, never ignore the other questions that will pop up from the research. 

 

Take from instance this research on the infuence of Title and URLs on rankings. The initial plan was to analyze a few hundred article titles and see if and how a title can influence rankings. 

We ended up analyzing 35k keywords in both Titles and URLs because we realized that what we should actually look for is the importance of a keyword’s occurrence in a title, URL, domain, subdomain and URI. 

 

And as you can see in the chart below, in some cases, that huge amount of analyzed data told us…well…nothing relevant. Yet, it was still worth discovering it. 

 

 
Forget Academic Writing

 

We’re going to keep this short. When we talk about academic writing, we don’t necessarily mean scientific articles.

But there’s a certain rigor to that writing which might not appeal to the general audience. This is not to say you should dumb things down.

 

There’s a simple, two-step approach for making this happen:

Read what you’ve written out loud. If some parts don’t sound like something you’d say to a friend in real life, then change it.

 
Solve Your Readers’ Problems, not Your Dilemmas

 

A lot of content comes from wanting to share experience. You know something most other people – even those in your field – might not know. You are excited about that and want to make them aware of your newly gained wisdom. The important thing to remember is that the focus should stay on sharing and not on you as the source of wisdom. That’s not to say your opinions have no place in your writing, on the contrary.

 

But always ask yourself these 3 questions:

 

Will this info help my readers better understand the subject?
Will this info help my readers better apply this knowledge for doing something practical?
Will this info help me look cool but not add anything valuable to this piece?

 

If the answer to the first two questions is a resounding “Yes”, then you should definitely include that piece of information in your copy. If the answer to these questions is “No” and the only “Yes” comes from the third question, well… you’ve got yourself a pretty good conversation opener for the next party.

 
The Title of the Article Will Influence Its Performance

 

We’re not talking here only about the fact that keywords used in the titles of your copy have a high ranking importance. We’ve conducted a study where it seems that keyword appearance in the title makes a clear difference between ranking 1st or 2nd. But also about the “catchiness” factor.  And no, I am not talking about click bite titles, but about titles that are relevant in your industry.

 

We’ve published so much, and some content registered success while some didn’t, but one thing is sure: if it has anything related to Google in the title, it’s going to perform pretty well. 

When comparing any study, research, opinion article that we’ve published to one that has “Google” in the title, chances are that the latter will get the most traffic, shares, links, etc. 

 

 

So, you might be thinking: why don’t you add “Google” in all titles? And now we come back to the previous points mentioned here: we don’t want to do click bait only; we want to be relevant, to offer quality and respect for our readers. 

 

When creating the title of your content, you should really think things through, as the title must not be only relevant and attractive but also SERP friendly.

 
Write Less but Write Better

 

I am sure you’ve noticed this as well for years: fluff content in most of the industries (especially digital marketing).

There seems to be very little focus on SEO, audiences, conversions, and how articles/content will be helpful for the readers. All of these things should be figured out BEFORE you write anything. It is obvious when something was written strictly for an SEO goal;

 

Without value, fluff content isn’t going to help you even if you rank well for it.

 

There is no reason to create content so that you have it. You have to plan each piece of content based on which audience(s) you want to reach, what goals you have for each piece of content, how you will use it in social media to further your goals, and how you are hoping to rank.

This takes a lot of time and effort, but it is better than wasting time and resources on content that brings nothing to your company. Without showing the ROI for your work, your job becomes expendable.

 
Write Less, Promote More

 

Don’t neglect content promotion. You might be overly focused on content marketing processes. And that’s definitely a good investment!

However, a lot of content marketers tend to skip the steps related to content promotion. We know, we did. 

 

Without promotion,  the majority of your work never reaches your targeted audience.

 

We recommend writing less and devoting more time to content promotion. Start your content plan by writing a list of channels and influencers that can help you reach more relevant users and will allow you to start getting traffic and leads from each published post. 

 

source: multichannelmerchant.com

 
Stick to Your Principles

 

There will be many cases when you might be tempted to write click-bait articles or write just for the sake of writing, without offering real value.

 

Because you’ll be looking at your competitors, and you’ll see that they might get results even with not-so-qualitative content. You’ll invest time, money, and nerves in well-documented researches that will not always perform the way you want. You will get angry, and you will swear you won’t spend another night trying to bring quality to the Internet world.

 

I am sure this happens to any content writer at least once. Yet, if you do stick to your principles, if you do invest time and quality in each and every article you write, it does pay off. These are not just empty words. Long time effort in content writing does pay off.

Don’t write anything you wouldn’t read. 

There are no easy gains, indeed. Yet, what matters at the end of the day is to have good long-term performances. 

 

You might have read this article thoroughly, or you’ve just browsed the main titles, saying to yourself: I knew that. Knowledge is power. But what matters at the end of the day is what you do with that knowledge. All the actions you perform daily define who you are as a person, a marketer, or a business owner. So make sure your actions have an impact on something, no matter how big or small. 

 

The Canadian writer Margaret Atwood once said that the internet is 95 percent porn and spam. So, let’s make that 5% be damn good. 

The post 13 Things We Learned from 10 Years of Writing SEO Friendly Blog Posts appeared first on SEO Blog | cognitiveSEO Blog on SEO Tactics & Strategies.

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How to Increase Blog Traffic for Free

How to Increase Blog Traffic for Free

Is there a magic way to increase blog traffic? Everybody wants to get more and more traffic to their website or blog because this is the reason why these web properties exist, but how do you go from 0 to 1,000 visits per day and then from 1,000 to 10,000?

What I will explain below are some of the SEO strategies I have used to grow traffic to my websites (including the blog you are reading now) that are proven to work.

How to Get Free Blog Traffic

These are the best techniques you can follow and increase your blog traffic for free and without spending any money.

Patience is the key
Optimize your blog for SEO
Publish Quality Content
Publish Frequently
Promote your Content in the Social World
Do your Keyword Research
Craft Titles That Can Get You Rankings And Traffic
Do Some Guest Posting
Create An Email List And Send Out a Newsletter
Rinse and Repeat!

1. Patience is the key

While all the steps that you will read below are proven to work and if you follow them correctly you will be able to increase your blog traffic, it won’t happen overnight.

It may not even happen in 5 or 6 months. How long it will take depends on a number of factors and what is important is to have patience so that you don’t give up too soon.

Instead of anxiously waiting to see your blog posts on the first page of Google, you can concentrate on monitoring your progress (for the keywords you are targeting) and watch the improvement from month to month.

Progress is much more important than anything else and while waiting, you can spend your energy in creating and publishing high-quality content on a regular basis.

Patience, regular monitoring, and high-quality content are the top ingredients for search engine success.
2. Optimize your blog for SEO

SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the key to your blog’s success.  Why?

For starters, SEO will get you more traffic from Google and other search engines.
It will get you more conversions (whether this is email signup or the sale of a product) because search engine traffic is converting.
SEO will get you more links since people tend to link to pages found in the first positions of Google
SEO will get you more social shares for the same reason as above i.e. if you are on the first positions of Google then it means that your website is good so people are more than willing to share it on their social media

Now that you are convinced that SEO is a must, how do you optimize your blog for SEO?

Well, there is no one magic solution or technique you can follow but understanding the basics of an SEO-friendly website and going through our SEO checklist will certainly put you in the right direction.

If you want more traffic for your website or blog then SEO should be your starting point.
3. Publish Quality Content

For most people, there is nothing new here but for beginners, it should be made clear that publishing content online is not enough.

What you need is high-quality content that search engines will love and users will find interesting so that they share, comment, continue to the next step (make a purchase, sign up to an email, etc), and come back to your blog for more.

What is high-quality content?

In the past this was like a ‘million-dollar question’ but over the years search engines have become more advanced and they are now able to spot high-quality content and differentiate pages that have high-quality content from the rest of the web.

In summary, high-quality content is:

Original and Unique – the exact same content is not published on any other website

Descriptive – It gives a complete detailed view of a situation, covering all sides of a story (i.e. it’s not biased)

Has an author – Users can see who wrote the content, it is not written by admin or unknown.

Sharable – People like the content and they show this by interacting with the content (reading it, commenting, sharing).

If you cannot produce high-quality content your chances of succeeding online are minimum so either find a way to improve the quality of your content (by outsourcing for example) or stop wasting your time because this is not going to happen.
4. Publish Frequently

Once you figure out how to make good content, the next step is to be able to produce (publish) good content on a regular basis.

 Consistency is the most difficult but yet important part of being successful in blogging.

Why is consistency important?

When you have a well-defined publishing schedule (for example Mon, Wed, Fri), this gives another incentive for users to re-visit your page and also for search engines to come back and get the new content and learn more about your website.

Don’t forget that search engines want to keep their users happy by showing up-to-date and accurate information in their search results so when you update your website regularly they will pick your content even faster.

Create a realistic publishing schedule you can follow in the long term rather than a schedule that is too optimistic and you fail in following.

To increase your chances of following a blogging schedule prepare blog posts for 2 weeks in advance and then start publishing. This will give you enough time to prepare new blog posts.
5. Promote your Content in the Social World

Don’t just publish content but promote it as well. Your ‘job’ is not finished when you hit the publish button. Creating and publishing blogs is the first part of the blogging equation, the second part is to promote your content so that it gets the attention it deserves.

What do we mean by promoting your content?

Part of your ‘job responsibilities’ either as a digital marketing manager or solo blogger is to connect with other bloggers in your niche and the best way to do that is through the various social media channels.

If you have done this task correctly, then most probably you will have at least a few thousand followers on Twitter, Facebook, etc.

These are the people that are most likely to find your content interesting (provided that you connected with the ‘right people’) so you need to let them know that you have new content on your website or blog by informing them through your business and personal social media accounts.

What is the benefit of promoting your content socially?

Simply put, the more people see your post the greater are the chances of visiting your website, sharing it, and linking to it. (See also Social Media VS SEO)

Promoting your content on social media has many direct and indirect benefits and it is the best way to quickly spread the word about your new content.
6. Do your Keyword Research

Doing keyword research before creating content is a must for a number of reasons.

For starters, it will help you understand your niche better by learning what keywords and phrases are the most popular.

Second, it will help you get a higher return from your blogging efforts since a blog post that is the result of keyword research has more chances of getting more organic and social traffic.

Keyword research doesn’t have to be a painful or time-consuming process. If you are a beginner, here are some tips to make your life easier:

#1 – Start with the Google keyword tool – This tool will give you an estimate of how many people per month search google for a particular keyword. I will explain in a different post how to use this tool but this is your starting point.

#2 – Use BuzzSumo – Buzzsumo is like a search engine but the results are based on social media popularity. In other words, when you search for a term, buzzsumo will tell you which articles that have this term performed better in social media.

#3 – Use Google – Start typing in google search and look carefully at the suggestions given to you by Google. Change the letters as you type to get more suggestions. After you hit search, scroll down to the bottom of the page and see which are the “related searches”

Find new ideas using Google Related Searches

#4 – Watch what your competitors are doing – monitor your competitor(s) website(s) closely and take note of what kind of posts they are publishing. Your goal is not to ‘copy’ them but get some ideas on where to concentrate your efforts.

Keyword research is an important tool for all your digital marketing efforts and it is the starting point of SEO, PPC marketing but also social media marketing.
7. Craft Titles That Can Get You Rankings And Traffic

This is related to the previous point and what you need to understand in addition to keyword research is the importance of choosing page titles that both search engines and people can understand.

A title that is super human friendly is not necessarily an SEO friendly title and for maximum exposure, you need to learn how to keep a balance between the two.

The title of a page is also very important for SEO so you need to make sure that the title includes your keywords otherwise search engines will have a hard time understanding what your page is about.

Good post titles will not only increase your organic traffic but also the email open rate (if you send a newsletter) and social media sharing.
8. Do Some Guest Posting

Guest posting is considered by many as a “safe” way to do link building but the real benefits of guest posting are far more than getting a link pointing to your website.

Guest posting is a great way to promote your brand (either personal or business) and get traffic to your web site.

To take advantage of these benefits you need to get your posts published on high-quality websites with lots of traffic and this is not always easy.

First, you need to identify the websites that are good candidates to accept your posts and then create a plan on how to get published. The idea of just sending an email with your post will not work so you need to work harder and be more creative.

When approaching big websites that accept articles from contributors (like Forbes, Inc, etc) you need to show them examples of your previous work so before attempting to contact them make sure that you have some nice examples of published work in your portfolio.

When the Editor will review your application for becoming a contributor they will also view your social media profiles to ensure that you have a really strong profile in at least one of the networks.

Guest posting for traffic is hard work but it is definitely something that will set your website (or blog) apart from the rest and this is very good for SEO purposes as well.
9. Create An Email List And Send Out a Newsletter

I cannot think of a niche that an email list is not useful. Many people believe that social media killed email lists but this is nowhere close to the truth.

People still use email and they actually check email several times per day. In most cases, they also get a notification when a new email arrives on their mobiles, smartwatches, or tablets.

Some consider email lists and newsletters as a kind of spam but this is not true. When people enter their email address to subscribe to your newsletter they do it because they like what they read and they need more.

So whatever your niche is, start collecting emails from your visitors and send out emails to inform them about new posts, new offers, new products, and anything else that may interest them without spamming and without overdoing it.

Before sending out a newsletter think for a moment if it is useful for the recipients and if it something you would like to see in your inbox.

For blogs and websites that are not selling any products or services but are using AdSense or other ways to monetize their content, an email list registration can be considered as a conversion metric.

It is proven by various studies that traffic from a highly targeted email list converts better than any other source including search and PPC.
10. Rinse and Repeat!

If you are long enough in this business you should know by now that getting traffic to a website is not a once-off process but it is something that needs a lot of patience and hard work.

On the other hand, a website (or blog) with a lot of traffic can make you money and create a number of business opportunities for meeting your goals (and dreams).

To finish this post with a positive message, when you do everything correctly you will be able to grow your blog’s traffic naturally. Just be patient and keep working until you reach your desired traffic levels.

The post How to Increase Blog Traffic for Free appeared first on reliablesoft.net.

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SEO Competitive Analysis for B2B — Whiteboard Friday

SEO Competitive Analysis for B2B — Whiteboard Friday

Posted by Joyce.Collarde

In the B2B space, it’s important to be realistic about who your competitors are. 

Keeping that rule in mind, in our last Whiteboard Friday episode before 2021, guest presenter Joyce Collardé of Obility walks you through how to conduct a competitive SEO audit, helping you address your improvement areas and surpass your competition in the SERPs. 



Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Hi, Moz fans. Thank you for joining me today as we talk about SEO competitive analysis for B2B businesses. My name is Joyce Collardé. I am the SEO Supervisor at Obility. Obility is a digital marketing agency based out of Portland, Oregon, with offices in Austin and Boston and that specializes in B2B businesses. 

So I wanted to talk about SEO competitive analysis because it is a really crucial part of your SEO strategy and of your SEO success. As you know, SEO doesn’t work in a vacuum. So if you want to be able to improve your SEO traffic, your click-through rate, your keyword position, and eventually your conversions, you have to be able to take the space of some existing competitors. 

Today I’m going to walk you through the five phases of the competitive analysis. We’ll start with how to select your competitors. Then we’ll discuss the keyword distribution and what is important to understand the keyword distribution. Then we’ll discuss keywords and content gaps and opportunities. Then we’ll move on to technical health of your website and your competitors’ websites.

And we’ll finish with backlink analysis. 

Selecting competitors

So selecting competitors is the step that is really important, especially in the B2B space, because the B2B space is very competitive, and in this space we have a few marketing giants like Oracle, AWS, Marketo, Google, that can be considered the de facto competitors for everyone. 

Unfortunately, with that line of thinking, you are really missing out on a lot of interesting insights because those websites are so huge that they might rank for hundreds of thousands of keywords. Sometimes we see millions of links and have a Domain Authority of 98. So when you compare yourself to them, then it will be really difficult to actually find good nuggets of information about your website.

You will always be at the bottom, and it’s also really discouraging. 

So I really would recommend that you are realistic about who your real competitors are. And nothing prevents you from refreshing your competitors in six months or a year from now if you feel like you’ve outgrown the competitors you selected in the first place. 

One thing I want to highlight as well is that you should have different sets of competitors for each funnel stage. For example, let’s say your target keyword list includes definitional keywords like “what is cloud computing.” So your competitors for “what is cloud computing” might be ZDNet or TechTarget, for example. 

But let’s say you want to target “cloud computing solution,” then your competitors could be IBM. But the intent of the user who is looking for “what is cloud computing” versus “cloud computing solution” or “cloud computing software” is very different, so you cannot target the same competitors for each level of the stage funnel.

You will miss out on a lot of good insights, too. 

I also do want to point out that your competitors will be very different in different areas of digital marketing or even offline marketing. Your PPC, your paid search keywords, or your paid social keywords will not be the same as your SEO keywords.

Really the best way for you to identify good competitors is just to Google your target keywords. It’s really as simple as that. And then see who comes up and see what their strategies are. 

Keyword distribution

So let’s take a look now at keyword distribution. One thing that I want to point out is that sometimes we audit competitors that seem like they’re ranking for thousands of keywords, and it’s a little intimidating.

But really ranking for thousands of keywords isn’t the end-all be-all. You should really pay attention to their keyword distribution. Out of those thousands of keywords, how many are branded, how many are not branded? 

Of course, you won’t be able to rank for your competitors’ branded name. So you really have to focus on the non-branded keywords.

Also, those keywords, do they have a lot of volume? Are they really difficult to rank for? Are they ranking for hundreds of keywords with zero searches or 10 searches per month, for example? Are those the keywords that you really want to target? And if you do manage to take their place on the first page, is it really going to help your overall SEO strategy? 

Another good thing to look at is diversification. Are your competitors only ranking for one keyword category, or are they targeting different categories? A competitor that, let’s say, ranks for only branded keywords or keywords that have very little search volume or that is targeting only one specific category wouldn’t be very dangerous keywords.

And as we talked about earlier, you should not have the same competitors for every set of target keywords that you are working with. So make sure that you repeat this step for each set of competitors. 

Keyword gaps and opportunities

Next comes the content and keyword gaps and opportunities. So in this stage, you should really think about the keyword gaps — the content gaps between you and your competitors.

It’s not just how often do they post or what do they target. It’s also which topics do they publish on the most, or which topics do they focus on the most on their product or their solution pages. What kind of content type do they prefer? Are they publishing only blog posts?

Are they publishing mostly videos, glossary pages, e-books, white papers, webinars? You really have to pay attention to that, because if all of your competitors are using blog posts and then you come in with your webinar that people need to sign up for and give you their information, then you are not going to be able to beat them at their own game.

You have to kind of align to what is available in the competitive space. 

Frequency is important, too. If your competitors publish twice a week on their blog or have a live demo every week, or release a new e-book every month that they will email to their customer base, you also have to align on that frequency.

I would say out of the competitive analysis, this is one of the most important stages because you really have to be aware of the type of opportunities that you are going for. 

And it really comes back to what we were talking about earlier with the competitor selection. You have to be realistic.

It is very important to know what you’re going against. Otherwise, you can keep publishing blog post after blog post after blog post, but if you have not identified the proper competitors or have not identified the proper type of content that you need to create, all of those blog posts will not amount to improved performance on your site. 

Technical health

The fourth stage of the competitive analysis is technical health.

So I think we can all relate to how annoying it is when you get to a website and it’s full of 404 errors and the links are broken and it’s too slow. It’s just a really bad user experience. And Google is very smart, and they know that we don’t like a bad user experience, and that if the user experience is bad, then they are going to put other websites above you. 

So I did mention page speed, so don’t be scared. I know it’s always a huge ask to fix your page speed. But I would recommend that you use the Google PageSpeed Insights and take a look at those easier things to fix. One thing that comes up all the time is images being too big or too heavy, taking too long to load.

So if that’s the case, take a look at your main images and see if you can reduce the size of them. Usually, the images that are the heaviest are the ones that will be on your homepage slider or in the background on your product or solution pages. So just by fixing a few pages on your website, you could improve your page speed by several seconds, and we know it means a lot when you’re a user.

Definitely do those two steps with your competitors, too. 

For example (you can do it with Moz or you can do an on-site crawl for any website), let’s say that all your competitors are missing H1s or are missing meta descriptions or have a lot of 404 errors, then you know those are the top priorities that you need to fix.

Again, think about your competitive advantage. If all your competitors’ websites are really slow, then fix your page speed first. If it’s a horrible user experience because you keep hitting 404 errors, fix your 404 errors first. 

Backlink opportunities

The last part of the competitive audit should be the backlinks opportunities.

So you can use the Moz link discovery tool to find out about everyone’s lost and discovered new links. This makes link building a little more approachable than just saying, “Oh, I will target The New York Times,” because by looking at people’s competitors and lost and discovered websites, you can identify websites that probably know you, or know your competitor, or at least know your industry, and so may be more willing to link to you. Especially if they used to link to your competitor or are currently linking to your competitors. 

Definitely do this for your own website as well, to identify the links that you have recently lost and that you can try to reacquire. I would recommend that you repeat this step on a monthly basis because you have better chances of reacquiring links that you recently lost rather than if you contact someone saying, “Oh, two years ago you used to link to me. Can you please link to me again?”

You’re out of that person’s thoughts. So try to stay on top of it. And you might have a lot of links at the beginning, but if you do it regularly, then it’s much more manageable. 

Also, when we’re talking about backlinks, I would advise you to look at your competitors’ Spam Score and link diversity. For example, I did a competitive analysis recently and I saw that one of the competitor’s Spam Score was 23%, which I had never seen before.

It was so high. It was ridiculously high. So it made me happy in a way, because it seemed unachievable at first to get to the number of external links that they had, but then it turns out that the majority of their links were spammy. And with a Spam Score of 23%, I don’t think they’ll be able to carry on much longer. 

Link diversity is also really important because you don’t want all links coming from blog posts or all links coming from one type of publication. So when you think about new links that you can acquire, definitely make sure that you have different types of websites linking back to you, that they’re using varied anchor text, that sort of thing, so that you don’t look spammy and you don’t end up with a Spam Score of 23%. 

Time management


So I wanted to also talk a little bit about this pie chart over there. It was how much time you’re supposed to spend on each of these steps. So the biggest one, as I mentioned earlier, was the gaps and opportunities audit. That is really where you should spend the majority of your time.

Something that is also really important is the competitor selection as I talked about earlier. If you don’t have the proper competitors to audit, then you won’t get the helpful type of insight that you are looking for. Technical health would be the third most time-consuming, important step of this competitive analysis.

As we talked about, good user experience is very important. And the last two that should take you a little less time are keyword distribution and backlinks. So if you’re really, really pressed for time, you can forgo the backlinks for now and do it later and focus on that part of the on-site SEO.

Conclusion

So to recap, the five stages of the competitive analysis that you should include in your own competitive analysis are selecting the right competitors, auditing the keyword distribution, looking for content and keyword gaps and analysis, performing a technical check on your website and your competitors’ websites, and auditing your backlinks and the competitors’ backlinks.

If I can leave you with one more thing is really to be realistic. That goes back to the competitor selection and even when we’re talking about distribution. Be realistic in your target keywords. Don’t go for keywords that are extremely difficult if you are a website with a lower Domain Authority or you’re just starting with SEO.

And don’t go after those B2B giants if you’re a mid-market B2B company. Know that you can refresh this at any time if you feel like you’ve outgrown your competitors. So thank you again for spending time to talk about competitive analysis with me. Now go and audit those competitors.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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17 Ways to Speed Up The Time It Takes To Make Your First Online Sale

17 Ways to Speed Up The Time It Takes To Make Your First Online Sale

Starting an eCommerce store can be an exciting experience. But, once the launch is over you’re probably wondering how long does it take for an online business to take off?

There are a variety of factors that’ll determine how long it’ll take to make that first online sale, as you’ll learn below.

Luckily, you can speed up how long it’ll take for you to make your very first eCommerce sale by implementing some of the tips in this post.

How Long Before Making Your First Online Sale?

There isn’t a set amount of time it’ll take to make your first online sale. There are a variety of factors that’ll influence the time it takes.

For some store owners, the sale could come the same day you launch your store, while for others it could take weeks.

There are several factors that’ll influence how long before the first online sale like, the price of your products, the types of products you’re selling, how much traffic you’re getting to your store, and the type of traffic that’s visiting your store.

Below you’ll learn about the biggest factors that’ll influence how long the first sale takes.

Factors Affecting How Long Does it Take to Get Sales

Every website is different. For example, if you already have an engaged audience and you’ve been building hype about your product, then you can expect to make a ton of sales the first day.

However, if you’re starting completely from scratch with no existing traffic, then it’ll take some time to generate buzz and sales.

Here are some of the most common reasons you’re not making sales yet:

Product price. Are you priced too high, or even too low? Your price should be in alignment with the current market.
Type of traffic. Are you reaching the right audience that’ll actually buy your products?
Checkout process. Is your checkout process fast and easy? Does it work on mobile devices?
Payment options. Do you offer enough payment options? At the very least you should accept multiple credit cards and PayPal.
Website trust. Do visitors trust you enough to buy from you? At the minimum, you’ll need an SSL certificate and solid customer reviews.
Product descriptions. Are your descriptions confusing? Or, do they accurately describe your products?
Slow website. Does your site load fast? A slow-loading website can kill sales, 79% of shoppers who are dissatisfied with site performance are unlikely to shop from that site again.

17 Ways to Make Your First eCommerce Sale Fast

Identify your target market
Design a sales funnel
Run targeted paid campaigns on Facebook and Instagram
Run keyword-based ads on Google
Start blogging
Boost your blog posts on Facebook
Use internal banners to drive traffic to your sales pages
Optimize your checkout process
Hire social media influencers
Start an email list
Add product discounts and limited-time offers
Create a customer testimonials page on your website
Give incentives to customers to leave product reviews
Setup Facebook Product Ads
Create a Google Shopping Feed
Answer questions on product-related forums
Listen to your customers

1. Identify your target market

If you don’t know who you’re selling to, you’re going to have a difficult time converting traffic into buyers. Instead, you’ll be forever asking the question, how do I make my first sale online?

The most valuable audience often doesn’t mean the biggest, but instead, one that’s composed of people who will buy what you’re selling.

Getting 500 relevant and targeted visitors is better than 100,00 visitors who will never buy from you.

Let’s look at an example. If you sell children’s toys your target market won’t be kids, but instead the parents of kids. You could narrow this down further to parents of kids of a certain age, and even certain countries.

Overall, your target market is the general audience who’s likely to respond to your marketing message.

You should start with the most narrow audience possible, and slowly expand out into different market segments in time.

2. Design a sales funnel

By creating a sales funnel you’ll have a clear path that you want your customers to take the moment they land on your site.

Digital Marketing Funnel

Here’s a standard sales funnel process:

Awareness. Visitors are aware of their problem and became aware that your store could provide a solution.
Consideration. Now visitors are considering your products, researching, reading your content, and maybe have joined your email list.
Decision. At this point visitors are ready to buy, they’ve added the item to their carts and close to purchasing.
Loyalty. During and after purchase you can ensure customers stay with you over the long-run.

For an eCommerce store the process could look like the following:

Your visitor comes to your site via a targeted Facebook ad
They browse around your site, read a blog post, and join your email list
They receive a 10% coupon that encourages them to purchase a product
Your follow-up email sequence keeps your store at the top of their mind

3. Run targeted paid campaigns on Facebook and Instagram

Facebook has over 2.7 billion monthly active users, which means your target audience is probably using the platform.

Since Facebook owns Instagram you can run ads on both Facebook and Instagram at the same time.

The advanced targeting features let you narrow in on your exact target audience that’ll purchase your products.

Find your target market with Facebook Audience Insights

Here are some of the targeting options available:

Reach customers in specific countries, cities, and communities.
Filter your audiences based on age, gender, education, job, and more.
Target ads based on past behaviors and device usage.
Filter based on hobbies, interests, movie preferences, and more.
Include people who follow your Facebook Page, or exclude them for entirely new audiences.

You can also run Facebook retargeting ads which will show product ads to people who’ve visited certain pages on your site. This can help you pick up customers who visited your store, but didn’t purchase anything.

4. Run keyword-based ads on Google

Keyword-based ads are shown above the Google search results when people search for keywords related to your product.

These ads are highly targeted since people are already looking for products that are related to what you sell.

Here are some tips for improving your ad copy:

Focus on your customer’s needs. Describe how your business and products benefit your customers.
Use keywords. Include our target keywords in your headline and body copy.
Include a CTA. If possible add a time-sensitive CTA that encourages people to take action and click your ad now.

Another great feature of running Google Ads is that you can set up dynamic campaigns. These ads differ from traditional keyword campaigns in that instead of using actual keywords, the campaigns are based on your website or product feed.

Google will automatically match user input keywords with the type of products you sell. The result is hard to distinguish from standard ads, but easier to set up and can bring a great result, since they’re more product-focused.

5. Start blogging

Content marketing is the process of creating articles that provide value and information to your visitors. Usually, this is more top-of-the-funnel content, since you’ll be addressing user problems and more-so speaking to lifestyle issues.

For example, if you’re selling workout supplements the majority of your blog content will focus on workouts, healthy eating habits, tips and tricks, supplement breakdowns, and more.

Another purpose of your blog is to provide educational content surrounding your product. You can publish case studies, answer common questions, demonstrate the features of your product, and show how your product can help accomplish certain tasks.

Creating a successful blog strategy begins with keyword research. Finding the right keywords will help to guide what blog posts you create and which keywords are bringing your competitors the most traffic.

6. Boost your blog posts on Facebook

If you’re looking to attract more top-of-the-funnel visitors to your site, then consider promoting blog posts on Facebook. This lets you show your blog posts to new and current readers.

If these readers enjoy your articles and are a fit for your products, there’s a good chance they’ll become customers.

Boosting your blog posts has other advantages as well:

Exposing your blog post to more readers means more social shares and a chance for backlinks, which improves your overall authority
Allows you to get your content in front of new targeted visitors in your market
Build greater brand awareness. You can retarget people who visited your site via the blog post and your ads will “follow them” around the web
Share in-depth case studies to show that your products work, and elevate user trust in the process

7. Use internal banners to drive traffic to your sales pages

Every page of your site should be pushing visitors to your sales pages. No matter if it’s a blog post, about page, or even your contact page you should be pushing visitors into your funnel or product pages.

For example, throughout your blog posts, and on your sidebar, you could have internal banners that direct people to your sales pages.

Ideally, you’ll want to view your entire website as playing a role in your funnel. Whenever someone visits your website your ultimate goal should be for them to become a customer.

Here are some common ways of getting visitors to become customers no matter what page they’re on:

Use exit-intent pop-ups to get subscribers as they’re leaving your site
Include forms and internal banners within blog posts and pages
Keep your navigation simple and only include valuable pages

8. Optimize your checkout process

Purchasing items in your store needs to be a seamless experience. If you have any points of friction during the checkout process this can lead to cart abandonment.

Think about how ordering items from Amazon is so seamless, you want buying products from your store to be this easy.

If you have an existing cart sequence you can use a free tool like Microsoft Clarity which will record your existing user sessions, so you can see where your users are abandoning the checkout process.

Here are a few quick tips for optimizing your checkout page:

1. Don’t ask for too many details

Ideally, you’ll want to ask your customers for the minimum amount of information. All you need to effectively process payments are name, email, address, and payment information. If you want to collect additional customer information you can do so on the backend.

2. Allow for guest checkout

Don’t require your users to create an account before they make a purchase. A user account will save their login and purchase information for future purchases, but some users might not want to fill out all that information from the start.

3. One-page checkout experience

Your checkout page should never go on to multiple pages. All of your purchase form fields need to be entered on a single page. This setup also performs better on mobile devices.

4. Multiple payment options

If your visitors preferred payment option isn’t listed, they won’t complete their purchase. You should offer multiple credit card options, along with PayPal, which most people have.

9. Hire social media influencers

A lot of massive eCommerce brands got their companies off the ground by using influencer marketing. For example, the watch brand Daniel Wellington utilized micro-influencers on Instagram to grow its brand to a powerhouse that’s worth over 200 million today.

You don’t need to pay massive fees for social media celebrities either. No matter your budget you’ll be able to find a handful of influencers who are willing to promote your products in exchange for a sample or free product.

Working with smaller influencers can be more advantageous since their followers are likely to be much more engaged and convert into customers.

If you do decide to go the social media influencer route make sure that you create unique tracking codes for every influencer you work with. That way you can track the influencers who have been the most effective, and improve your conversions with new influencer campaigns in the future.

10. Start an email list

One of the best ways to create a relationship with your customers is through email. Again and again, email is proven to have a very high ROI.

To get people onto your list you could offer an incentive like a free coupon. Even a simple 10% coupon for first-time buyers will convert a lot of visitors.

Here are some tips for improving your email marketing:

Create great subject lines that entice your reader to open the email. This also includes your preview text that’s shown to the right of your email headline.
Personalize your emails with user information. This includes using your subscriber’s name where possible, tagging users based on actions they’ve taken, and more.
Create abandoned cart sequences. These run when users fail to complete a purchase and you gently remind them they have items remaining in the cart.
Use coupons. Reward your most valuable subscribers with coupons and deals that are only for them.

Finally, make sure that you test your emails. By split testing, you can test different subject lines, links, CTAs, and more so you can learn what converts best for your audience.

11. Add product discounts and limited-time offers

Creating urgency around your products is a great way to generate sales fast. There’s a reason that Black Friday sales generated around $9 billion in revenue this year. People can’t resist a good deal, especially when there’s a deadline attached to it.

One great option for eCommerce is to implement scarcity. This can either be a limited number of products or a time-based deal.

For this to work you’ll need to accomplish the following:

Use the fear of missing out trigger (FOMO)
Add an active action-based CTA
Use time or product-based scarcity

For example, you could create stock-based scarcity by showing the stock levels on your products. Or, you could create a time-sensitive 24-hour coupon or even a 3-day sale where products are discounted 50%.

12. Create a customer testimonials page on your website

Create a dedicated page on your site to host reviews, this will show up on google when people search for your company name + reviews or testimonials

Social proof can be an incredible way to sell more products. Some of the most popular search terms include “product name + review”. Third-party reviews are well trusted by consumers.

There’s a reason that some of the best-selling products on Amazon also tend to have the highest number of reviews.

You can take advantage of this for your site by creating a dedicated page for reviews and testimonials. Having a dedicated page can increase the chances of this showing up in Google, so you could pick up some additional traffic.

Plus, this will help visitors convert into customers as nearly 92% of online shoppers look at reviews before making a purchase.

13. Give incentives to customers to leave product reviews

Product reviews can make or break your business. Negative reviews allow you to improve as a business, while positive reviews can help improve your sales process.

Getting customers to leave reviews about your business can be tough. Most satisfied customers won’t say anything, but unhappy customers can be very vocal.

Here are some tips to encourage positive product reviews:

A simple ask. Often, all you have to do is ask and make it easy for your customers to leave a review. Something as simple as an automated email with a link to a review platform will suffice.
Follow-up for reviews. Part of your monthly workflow should be sending a quick email asking customers for reviews. You can tag customers in your email marketing provider
Give coupons for reviews. One of the quickest ways to get more customer reviews is to offer coupons to people who leave reviews on past products.

Here are some third-party platforms you’ll want to encourage customer reviews on:

Trustpilot. This is a community-driven review platform that helps companies collect user reviews. All the reviews are verified and can go a long way towards boosting consumer trust.
Amazon. If you’re selling products on your site and Amazon, you need to encourage Amazon reviews. The number and rating of your reviews will set your product apart.
Choice. If you have customers in Australia, then you can encourage users on this platform to leave reviews about your products. Members can test a product, create comparisons, and buyer guides.
TestFreaks. This platform helps companies collect reviews. It also includes a question and answers section where customers can post questions, and your support team can answer.

14. Setup Facebook Product Ads

Facebook allows you to integrate your eCommerce products into ads.

This can be advantageous for customers since they can learn more about your entire range of products. These ads are more geared towards the top of the funnel prospects since you can show a wide range of product offerings. This also allows you to be a bit broader with your targeting as well.

After you’ve uploaded your products you can let the Facebook algorithms choose which products to display based on the consumer and their past behavior.

15. Create a Google Shopping Feed

Google Shopping feeds, also called Product Listing Ads, appear above the organic search results and include a product image, title, and price.

When a user searches for a term that’s related to your product, there’s a good chance one of your products could be listed.

Google Product Ads

Benefits of Google Shopping Ads:

Build brand awareness. Having your product or products listed when people search on Google makes your brand stand out.
Get more quality leads. People searching for specific types of products on Google are already past the awareness stage and looking to buy or compare prices on products.
Easy to implement. Google product ads are easy to manage on the backend. Once you upload and optimize your products, Google will automatically show products based on the user’s search. No need to set keywords, or create specific product ads.

Creating a Google Shopping feed can also be useful with retargeting. Once a user visits your product page and doesn’t make a purchase, your product ads will automatically show up in the search results for products and related terms.

16. Answer questions on product-related forums

Chances are there are dozens of different platforms where you can answer questions related to your products and provide value. If you’re growing in popularity, then there’s a good chance that people are talking about your business online.

This could be in forums, Facebook groups, Reddit, and even question and answer sites like Quora.

You can set up Google Alerts to notify you every time your brand or product is mentioned online, so you can respond.

Or, you can take the alternative approach of joining relevant groups and answering questions.

For example, you could spend time answering questions related to your niche and providing value. You don’t have to link out to your products specifically, but have links to your store in your author bio and profile. As you become a known resource people will follow your link and you’ll have highly qualified visitors coming to check out your store.

17. Listen to your customers

One of the keys to improving your sales process is to listen to what your customers want. Maybe it’s a new product feature, something you could fix, or even comments that you can add to your product copy to make it convert better.

There is a myriad of ways you can gather customer feedback, but one of the simplest is to create an email survey and send it out to your list.

You can use your existing email marketing provider and link out to a Google Form, or even create a series of questions you send out via email if you only want 1-2 questions answered.

You can also incentivize your customers to participate in the survey, by adding their name to a giveaway if they send you their survey answers.

Key Learnings

By now you should have a better understanding of how to make your first online sale.

Things like your existing audience size, traffic levels and targeting, product pricing, site speed, and more will all influence how long your first sale takes.

However, there are a handful of strategies you can implement to sell your first product and scale your store.

The process begins with knowing your target audience and creating a sales funnel that guides them from first-time visitors to customers and satisfied buyers.

You can then start testing out different strategies to see what works best for your store including:

Create targeted ad campaigns on Facebook and Instagram
Promote our products with micro-influencers on social media
Create an email sequence that entices customers to leave reviews
Optimize your checkout process to reduce buyer friction
Start blogging to rank in the search engines and get more targeted traffic

Getting your first sale might take some time, but once you find that first ideal buyer, you can scale your store infinitely using the strategies above.

The post 17 Ways to Speed Up The Time It Takes To Make Your First Online Sale appeared first on reliablesoft.net.

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