For the entire month, 23 brilliant bloggers shared their secrets on brand consistency, work/life balance, investing in yourself, creativity, standing by your rates, authenticity and SO much more! THEN Stephanie and Ashley compiled all of these posts into an awesome, interactive 56-page ebook full of these big-time secrets!
Want a copy of Inside Secrets For New Coaches + Creatives? I’ll be sending it out in my next newsletter, so if you are not already subscribed, sign up before it goes out on Monday!
If you want to take your blog to the next level, build better habits, learn a few design tricks, or hear behind-the-scenes stories of how these ladies started their businesses, you’re going to want to check this out. Once you read through the ebook, comment here telling me what you discovered!
With the new year comes a new set of goals you promise yourself you’re going to reach this year – you’re going to simplify, organize your life, grow your business and make time for what matters most.
But when you’re trying to expand your small business, you can get stuck in the everyday muck of catching up on emails, putting together proposals, planning your blogging calendar and putting the finishing touches on that blog post you wanted to have up yesterday. It’s hard to keep up with the everyday stuff and make time for the big things you want to accomplish too.
While blogging is an important aspect of growing your small business, blogging without passion just to have a post up on your site is the wrong way to go about growing. Lucky for us, there’s a trending idea in the blogging world: blogging with intention.
It’s writing posts that contain all original content, it’s researching the topic and coming to your own conclusion and it’s blogging only when you devote the time and passion it takes to write a great post, even if it’s only once a week or once a month.
Here are some ways to craft a quality, well thought out, intentional blog post:
1. Do Your Research
When planning out your posts, draw up an outline and schedule in time to do some research behind the topic you’re writing about. The more you can share with your readers, the more they’ll feel like they got something out of your post.
For example, if you’re featuring a certain artist on your blog, do some research on their story – share how they got started, the idea behind their brand and what their design process is. If they use a particular technique with their work, research the technique and share that with your readers as well. Reach out to them to get the answers to those questions, or do your own research to find those answers.
Anyone can share an image of the artist’s work, but if you can get the story behind that particular piece, you’ll add more value to your post. Make sure you cite where you found your information and give credit wherever you can.
When you add research to your process, the quality of your posts will increase and you’ll be providing your readers with real information they’ll want to bookmark and share.
2. Only Write About Topics That Inspire You
If you’re not inspired by the posts you’re writing, it’s time to take a look at the type of content you’re blogging about. One way to fix this is to go back to the beginning of your business and ask yourself some questions. Why did you want to get started? What inspired you back then? Has that inspiration grown or changed at all?
If you go back to the root of why you started and what inspired you most back then, you might be able to come up with some great blog post ideas that won’t leave you procrastinating to get the post written. Focus on just writing about topics you like to talk about or are interested in exploring more, and go from there.
3. Use Your Own Photos
One way to really slow down and take your time with blogging is to create an entirely original post – sharing both your own ideas and your own photographs. While throwing together recap posts or inspiration boards with other people’s images or post content (while properly crediting them, of course) is still very popular, when you create an original post you’re putting something out on the web that hasn’t been seen before.
I’ve noticed that the posts I’ve provided original content for have been pinned and re-pinned more times than any of my themed inspiration boards or style posts – pinned DIY projects and design projects I’m working on bring more people to my website than just about any other source.
Coming up with all original content for your posts definitely takes more time, but your readers will be able to tell that you spent more time on the post and it will hopefully bring some additional traffic back to your website after it gets shared around the web.
When you’re blogging with purpose about topics you really want to talk about, you’ll add value to your brand, contribute some amazing new things to the internet and save yourself the stress from trying to throw together 5 posts a week.
The first few months of the new year are a great time for starting new habits, slowing down and focusing on what you really want to accomplish this year. If you’re blogging with intention you’ll have better chance of accomplishing your goals, and you’ll enjoy blogging even more.
What are your blogging goals for this year? How will you slow down and blog with more passion and intention? Share your ideas in the comments!
I’ve been asked a few times what WordPress plugins I use to do certain things on this site, so rather than respond to individual emails, I thought I’d share with all of you guys!
First, a few notes on plugins in general: they are super easy to install and great for adding features to your blog even if you don’t know how to code BUT they can slow down your site. To prevent this, only add the ones that are necessary and delete plugins if you decide not to use them. Sometimes a plugin can cause conflicts within your site so always install one at a time and backup your site regularly.
I try to reply to every comment left on my blog to keep the conversation going so using Comment Reply Notification is a great way to make sure that the commenter sees my reply. It automatically sends an email to anyone who has received a reply to their comment.
Pin It Button
You’ve probably seen this in action a lot by now, a pin it button that hovers over images making it convenient for readers to pin images. I use jQuery Pin It Button For Images for my pin it hover image. The reason I chose this plugin is because of the customization options and that you can use a custom image to match your branding.
You may have noticed that at the bottom of each of my blog posts, I have the same call to action that points my readers to Facebook, Bloglovin etc. Instead of pasting this content separately into every post I write, I use WP Post Footer which allows you to create a library of code snippets and easily include them at the bottom of posts.
I am a visual person so this plugin is one of my favorites to keep my posts organized. The WordPress Editorial Calendar makes it possible to see all your posts on a calendar and drag and drop them to manage your posting schedule.
This one is huge because you MUST backup your site! For backup, I use the WP Backup to Dropbox plugin, because it drops my files from scheduled backups right into a folder in Dropbox!
I’m pretty lazy when it comes to my SEO but the All in One SEO Pack makes it a little easier on me. It has fields at the end of each post for you to fill in to help optimizeyour WordPress site for Search Engine Optimization.
These are just suggestions and what works best for me. There are usually several plugins that do the same thing, so do your research and some testing to see which works bests for your needs!
I hope this was helpful! Do you have any favorites that weren’t mentioned here? Please share!
We’re all looking for better ways to connect with our readers in hopes that they come back and read your blog on a regular basis or buy something from you at some point, right? Lucky for us, there’s a trick to giving them exactly what they’re looking for. Here’s the two-step process:
1. What Problems Do Your Readers Have?
Knowing what your readers are struggling with is the key in figuring out exactly what they want. You have to figure out the types of problems they are having in your field of expertise so you can help solve those problems.
If you’re a web designer and blog about your work and inspiration, it’s possible that your readers are other designers or business owners who are starting their own website or are inspired by your work. They may be dealing with a variety of problems – from where their email sign-up forms should be on their website to what fonts are easiest to read on the web. Some may not know the questions to ask web designers when they start working with one, and others may not know all of the important information they’ll need to give their designer to get started. These are all things you can help them with (and problems you can solve) on your blog.
On the worksheet provided, make a list of all the different problems your readers might have that you could solve with your knowledge in your field. Think back to the basics – maybe some of the topics in classes you learned back in school or some lessons you’ve learned in the past. Remember – no problem is too big or small to write down.
2. How Can You Solve Their Problems?
Now comes the getting more followers/better customers part! Once you know the problems your readers have, you can instantly turn those problems around into solutions.
Starting on page 2 of the worksheet, write down each problem, and underneath it list out all the different ways you could solve this problem for your reader. You may be able to think of multiple ways to fix each problem – write every idea you have down.
Some of the problems you’ve written down may be perfect for new blog posts or series, and some of them would be great new offerings you can add to your list of services. Next to each solution, check mark which you think it’d be better for and start brainstorming ways to put each into action!
When you’re able to solve a problem for someone, they feel like you’ve given them insider tips & tricks and in turn form a stronger bond with you and your brand which makes them more likely to come back for more and buy from you.
What could be better than having a list of email addresses for people who love your blog or readers that could be potential customers – a list of people who actually want to hear from you? Not much, right?
That’s why you should be gathering emails from people who visit your website.
Why It Works
Building your email list is important for your business because the more people who are truly interested in your services that you can reach with just one email, the more site visits, downloads and money you can potentially make.
Collecting email addresses and sending out an email newsletter has some wonderful benefits. For instance, each time you send an email to your list that contains links to your website, you’re boosting the potential for more site visits. If something in your newsletter looks interesting to the reader, they’ll click over to your site and there’s a good chance they’ll click through to other posts or pages, which boosts the chances that they’ll buy from you.
Email lists and newsletters also help your business because if you’re consistently showing up in someone’s inbox (in a good way, not a spammy way), you’ll stay top of mind to them. Then when they need a service or product you provide, they’ll instantly remember your helpful or fun emails.
How to Do It
Growing your list organically can take time but there are so many ways to gather email address from your readers. The most important thing to remember is to make is as easy as possible for them to sign up.
A few common places to add an email sign up form is in the sidebar or footer on every page of your site or directly underneath your header. These places work because they’re out of the way enough to not be irritating, but they’re prominent enough that people will notice them.
The best way to get people to sign up for your list is to offer an incentive, or opt-in offer, for sharing their email. Things like mini ebooks, discounts on services or access to an exclusive list work really well because the person signing up is getting something in return. Plus, people love free stuff!
Giveaways are also a great way to capture email addresses. Hosting a simple contest on your blog where all the reader has to do is enter their email address is a great way to grow your list quickly. Or if you’re hosting a live event, you can capture email addresses from attendees by having them sign up to win a prize.
Want some ideas on creating an opt in offer that people want? Here are three simple tactics:
Mini Ebook: Offer a downloadable ebook that will help your readers solve a problem. Give them design tips, create some fun worksheets or compile interviews you have done into a book.
Discount on Services: Offer a certain percentage off your services or products, throw in a service for free or offer free shipping from your shop. People love discounts.
Access to a ‘Faves’ List: Do you have a group of people you love to work with? Or a list of your favorite service providers? Take those lists and create a document with the names and contact information for each. This helps both you and the people on your favorites list and your readers will love to get an inside look at who you love to work with.
Do you collect emails for your website? Do you have a fun opt in offer? Share in the comments section!
You started a blog and have great content, but no one knows that it exists! How are you making sure your content is found by potential readers? The answer: social media.
Why Social Media
Bloggers are discovering that investing time for online networking can be very beneficial for brand awareness and increasing traffic to their blog. As a blogger, it’s very important to stay connected, since readers want to feel like they know you. Social media is a great opportunity to let readers into your life in a more casual environment than on your blog. It’s also great for engaging your readers in real-time conversations. Your blog will always be a home base, but building up social media channels helps drive people back to your blog.
Give Potential Readers Options
There are many social networks out there, but you don’t need to join them all. You should, however, figure out which ones work best for you and have options available for your readers; not everyone follows blogs the same way. Facebook may not be your favorite social network, but it might be a favorite of a potential reader. Another reader may only follow blogs on Twitter. You want people to be able to follow you where they are comfortable.
Be Creative & Conversational
Being a little creative, when it comes to sharing your blog socially, can go a long way. Tailoring your introductions for each social network really makes a difference. While Twitter is used mostly for posting links, Pinterest is a very visual site, and Facebook works well for both text and images. It’s important not to forget the “social” in social media! Social media is so powerful because it allows you to interact – take advantage of that! In addition to posting your own content, share other relevant issues and ideas as well.
I recently put together a series on the Alt Summit blog all about growing your blog through social media. So if you’ve ever wanted to know how to use Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest to grow your readership, make sure you check them out. And leave a comment either here or on the actual posts themselves if you have any specific questions you want answered!
Starting a Facebook page for your blog opens you up to one of the largest audiences on the internet. Sharing content on Facebook is so easy and convenient, especially since your readers most likely already use Facebook. Read the full post on the Alt blog.
Twitter is a great way to promote your content, share your expertise, and connect with like-minded people. It is a fast and easy way to give quick updates to followers. Read the full post on the Alt blog.
Social media is getting more and more visual, and Pinterest is a great example of this. If you take a little time to make your blog Pinterest friendly, it can end up being your number one traffic source. Read the full post on the Alt blog.