100+ Blogging Tips for New Bloggers

100+ Blogging Tips for New Bloggers

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Written by Casey Botticello

March 21, 2021

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. For more information, read our full affiliate disclosure statement here.

Starting and building a successful blog can be a rewarding experience. And to some extent, every bloggers journey is unique, making it hard to give one-size-fits-all blogging tips for new bloggers.

However, there are some fundamental blogging tips that are useful to the vast majority of bloggers. These tips are really a set of principles and strategies that allow bloggers to accelerate the early stages of their blog growth.

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This article contains 100+ blogging tips for new bloggers. These tips were derived from my 10+ years experience as a blogger, content creator, and digital marketer. These tips and tricks are also based on my research covering other top bloggers.

1. Write Consistently

There is no substitute for hard work and consistency. No hacks. No shortcuts. If you want to grow your blog, you need to write and publish on a regular basis.

While some authors do succeed with less frequent posting, these writers almost always have large audiences from outside of their blog, typically on social media.

You don’t have to post every day. But you have to be consistent in your schedule. Some popular blogs publish several new posts each day.

Choose how frequently you will publish and then stick to that frequency. If you are just starting out, then you can start with 3 posts per week and then gradually increase your pace.

If you’re not disciplined, then it’s easy to slip and this is how most blogs die. You need to keep yourself motivated and don’t get distracted from your goals.

2. Build Your Email List

There are a variety of ways to do this, but the most effective I have found is to ask your readers to sign-up for your mailing list from the very start of your blog. Having an email subscriber list is, without a doubt, the fastest way to grow your readership and your bottom line.

Email represents one of the easiest and most direct ways of reaching the people who are most interested in your content. After all, if they visit your blog and opt-in to receive emails from you then you can be sure that they are interested in hearing more from you!

The primary reason that email is so powerful comes down to how personal it is. Your readers will receive each email as a direct note from you, which truly helps to build a relationship between your blog and your readers.

Even better, it also allows you an incredibly high conversion way of driving traffic to your blog, by tapping into a self-selected audience of your most interested readers.

Whether you are trying to drive traffic to a new article or promote a your own product or service, email allows you to make a direct appeal to your audience. You spend a lot of time creating high quality blog content, so you want to make sure that your most interested readers are seeing that content.

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3. Don’t Strive for Perfection

When writing a blog, I recommend not obsessing over perfection. It’s completely OK to make mistakes as long as you fix them.

Some readers might get upset over grammar or spelling mistake, but you can fix it and move on. Remember, it’s human to make mistakes.

You can use tools like Grammarly to help catch some errors.

My advice for new bloggers is just write and develop your own voice / style. Often blogs with more personalized writing do better than those that are written like research papers.

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4. Establish a Social Media Presence

As a blogger, your social media presence is non-negotiable.

On a personal level, you might find Facebook futile or Instagram infuriating. But professionally, if you want your business – and especially your online business – to succeed, an active presence on those platforms is crucial.

Your potential customers are active on social media and it’s essential to keep yourself at the forefront of their minds; to increase sales, you meet your prospects where they are at.

Establishing a social media presence will also help you build relationships with your existing clients, strengthen their loyalty, increase your web traffic, and offer a point of difference to your competition.

Your attendance on social media is compulsory, but if you’ve been delaying the inevitable, do not be afraid: it’s never too late.

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5. Leverage Social Proof

The best way to motivate your prospects to do something is to claim what other customers in similar situations have done. In other words, try to draw similarities among your prospective clients and existing customers with the help of social proof elements.

How can you leverage social proof to boost your blog?

  • Use Testimonials as social proof on social media
  • Embed social media testimonials to your website
  • Show follower counts from social media on your website
  • Show the number of social media shares on your website
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6. Write for Scanners

73% of visitors skim rather than read the blog post thoroughly. So, it’s important that you make your blog posts scannable.

This means using bold headings and subheadings, numbered lists, and bullet lists. You should also keep your sentences and paragraphs short so that it’s easy to read. You can even use 1-sentence paragraphs to grab readers’ attention. 

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7. Invest in Good Web Design

One of the most important blogging tips and tricks for beginners, is to spend time on the user experience for your readers.

Not all blogs need to look the same, or make use of the same features.

You may have to hire a professional web designer to help you with this.

Or if you are not able to hire someone to help design your website, consider a high-quality WordPress theme from Elegant Themes, such as Divi (the theme used on this blog). They have many different designs to choose from, all of which come with a great blog design.

Do what’s right for your particular niche.

Pay attention to these areas:

  • Text size should be readable on all devices (a responsive web design will help with this).
  • Design elements should be consistent with your brand identity.
  • Your content needs to be the focus. Avoid clutter on the page.
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8. Monitor Post Length

You’ve probably heard people saying things like “attention spans are shorter than ever” and that “people only want bite-sized information”. But this doesn’t mean your blog posts should be short. 

Longer is often better when it comes to blog posts. 

While attention spans may be going down, the average word count of blog posts is on the rise. According to IsItWP, the average post length has increased around 42% between 2014 and 2018, from 800 words to 1,151 words.

And although long-form blog posts take more time to write than shorter ones, there are big benefits to creating longer content.

Longer blog posts also help you demonstrate authority in your niche. With long-form content like the blog post above, our readers can trust that we know our stuff when it comes to blogging.

In general, I would suggest that you make sure that most of your blog posts are at least 700 words. If you are trying to establish authority or rank for highly competitive search keywords, you should aim for at least 2,000 words.

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9. Create Evergreen Content

Evergreen content is content that is perpetually relevant to readers. Due to its timeless subject matter and its appeal to a large and recurring audience, evergreen content has no real expiration date and retains its value long-term.

Lead Generation — Since these posts will be ranking highly and receiving a large amount of traffic you should properly optimize these posts to collect leads. These posts can bring you a steady stream of leads for a long time without you having to do any additional work beyond the initial publishing and promotion.

Traffic — Since evergreen content tends to rank higher in the search engines, this means these posts can be responsible for a lot of website traffic. Once these posts rank highly they tend to stay, since they are often the definitive pieces of content on the topic. This means this kind of post will send your site a high volume of traffic even a long while after you published the post.

Scale/Efficiency — Evergreen content will work for your you or your business a long time after it’s originally published.

 

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10. Use Infographics

A blog is an essential tool for any brand. It’s the place you build your thought leadership, offer value to customers and potential customers, and cultivate your audience’s trust in your brand.

But many blog posts fall short when it comes to truly engaging your audience — and that’s where visual content such as infographics can come to the rescue. You don’t need to be an infographic specialist or a design agency to know just how much visual content can improve engagement.

The Nielsen Norman Group reports that audiences will only read 20% of a text with 600+ words. You just can’t hold your audiences’ attention with large blocks of text. But interjecting visual content at regular intervals can make all the difference. It brings the story you’re telling to life, and gives them different ways to engage with that story.

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11. Use Custom Blog Images

I see a lot of writers using the same top images from Unsplash for their articles. This is OK — but regular readers notice this. Try to find less commonly used images. This can be hard when you write a lot, but in my experience it is worth the time. Google’s search engine also rewards you for this if the images are completely original.

If you are willing to look beyond free images, and you are writing a lot of articles, it may be worth looking into buying a cost effective package of high quality stock images. I have tried this with great success.

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12. Automate Your Marketing

Marketing automation is a powerful solution that allows growing businesses to scale by streamlining, automating, and monitoring your marketing tasks. What used to be an elite platform is becoming more commonplace, which means marketers need to make sure they’re moving from automation to engagement marketing to stay competitive.

One of the best methods for promoting blog posts automatically, that I have used, is PenSignal. PenSignal is a tool that auto-tweets links to blog post articles. PenSignal offers both free and paid plans.

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13. Establish a Niche

Statista estimates that the number of bloggers in the U.S will reach 31.7 million by 2020. And that’s only the U.S!

Which means: if you’re starting a blog today, there’s a lot of competition.

Luckily, there is a way to stand out and attract readers to your blog: go niche.

What does that mean?

It means focusing on a hyper-specific topic and becoming the go-to expert on that topic.

For example, if you’re starting a travel blog, you might focus on only US travel. If you’re starting a business blog, maybe starting a successful home-based business for time-strapped parents is the way to go.

Later, once your blog has gained some traction, you can branch out and cover broader topics.

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14. Be Mindful of Search Intent

Google aims to provide its users with the most relevant results for their queries. That means: if you want to rank high in Google and get passive, organic traffic, you need to be the most relevant result for the query. 

This means you need to create content that aligns with search intent.

How do you figure out search intent?

Thankfully, since Google works to show the most relevant results, you can use this to your advantage. Just take a look at the top 10 results for your chosen topic, and see what types of pages are currently ranking.

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15. Create Content Worth Referencing

Telling you to create great content isn’t actionable. But making sure your content is—in Seth Godin’s words—worth remarking about is a more straightforward concept to work with.

It’s also much easier to tell if you genuinely have something wonderful on your hands.

  • Is your article unique?
  • Did you present ideas, opinions, or point-of-views that nobody else has talked about?
  • Will people cite, quote, or link to your article?
  • Will people share and talk about it?

If the answer is a resounding yes, then great! If not, get back to the lab and rework it. You can always add a unique perspective by including data, running surveys, or acquiring experience.

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16. Optimize On-Page SEO

On-page SEO is only a single component of SEO, but don’t let that notion devalue it. Unlike off-site SEO, you have complete control of on-page ranking factors. When all the pieces fit together, you should see positive results across the board.

E.A.T. stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness, and it’s the foundation for how Google rates websites. The highest-ranking pages on the internet have premium content that applies to your industry, informative, and well-written. All on-page SEO strategies need to consider these qualities when implementing the remaining factors to secure high-ranking webpages.

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17. Write Guest Blog Posts

Guest blogging is one of the fastest ways to gain a following.

Make sure you post only to high-quality, relevant sites. One outstanding post on a super-relevant site will do more for your blogging career than 100 low-quality posts on irrelevant sites. Use your effort, time, and creativity wisely.

Before reaching out you want to make sure you read the site’s guest blogging guidelines. If the site accepts guest posts the host blogger will usually post these guidelines quite clearly and succinctly. You don’t want to make a fool of yourself. If a site owner sees that you didn’t even take time to read the guidelines, then you’ve already lost.

It’s important to get creative when reaching out so that you stand out from the crowd. Many popular sites get hundreds or even thousands of guest post requests every week. This also means you’ll probably need to send a couple emails.

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18. Update Older Content

This is something that I do on regular basis: go through your older posts, add relevant links (linking to newer content), update your photos, add an email subscription form, Pinterest-friendly image containing text, add keywords, check for mistakes, add content upgrades. Updating some of that older content can be a nice way to drive some traffic to your blog.

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19. Write Custom Meta Descriptions for Posts

A meta description (sometimes called a meta description attribute or tag) is an HTML element that describes and summarizes the contents of your page for the benefit of users and search engines. While meta data isn’t as important for SEO rankings as it used to be, the meta description still plays a significant role in on-page SEO.

Google uses click-through-rate (CTR) as a way of working out whether you’re a good result. If more people click on your result, Google considers you to be a good result and will – based on your position – move you up the rankings. This is why optimizing your meta description is so important, as is optimizing your titles.

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20. Spend Time Researching Post

Before you start writing, make sure to do research for your post. This is especially important if you’re not super familiar with the topic you’re writing about.

To do research, you can search Google and read other articles on the subject you’re writing about. Be on the lookout for statistics you can add to your blog post to back up your opinions as well, just make sure they’re from a trusted site.

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21. When in Doubt, Press Publish

It is very difficult to determine which blog post will succeed all expectations, and which post will just perform only “very well.” When in doubt, press publish. Even if your content is not perfect, this opens it up to feedback. You always can edit the story or delete it and rewrite it at some point in the future. Most importantly, several stories, I have considered not publishing ended up doing quite well.

 

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22. Install Google Analytics & Track Traffic

Once you start a blog, you’ll want to get more traffic and email subscribers. And to help you achieve that, you need to know what’s working and what isn’t. 

Google Analytics allows you to get detailed information about your visitors, such as how many have visited your site, how long they stayed, and what pages they viewed, so that you can make smarter decisions. 

Google Analytics is my go-to web analytics tool. I use it, and have used it, on all of my blogs. It gives you insight into the traffic on your site including your audience, how people get to your site and how people interact with your site such as what pages are the most popular landing pages and what pages are the most popular exit pages. With this information you can make meaningful and informed decisions about your target audience, what channels to spend the most time on, and even what pages are your trouble pages and need to be fixed.

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23. Create an Editorial Content Calendar

An editorial calendar, also called a publishing schedule, helps in the planning and publication of different types of content. As it relates to blogging, an editorial calendar makes it possible to co-ordinate the entire content creation and publishing process over a period of time. It can be used for some or all of the following:

  • Formulating blog post ideas
  • Creating a posting schedule
  • Ensuring consistency
  • Organizing content creators
  • Setting goals and objectives
  • Planning your SEO strategy
  • Reviewing results
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24. Manage Your Sales Funnel

A sales funnel consists of different stages that measure how close a lead is to buying something. 

The most common sales funnel model has four stages:

Stages of the Sales Funnel

Awareness — This is when a prospective lead first learns about your brand. They may have seen a post on social media, an ad, a mention in another blog, and so on. 

Interest — The interest stage is when a lead starts to do research and consider if you’re worth their time. They’re not ready for your sales pitch yet, but they sure will find educational content incredibly helpful. 

Decision — By the decision stage, leads are just about ready to make a purchase. They’ll be looking at your product pages, looking for alternatives, and search for free trials they can use — if any. 

Action — From a marketing perspective, the action stage in a sales funnel is the finish line. This is where the lead finally turns into a paying customer, making them ripe for remarketing opportunities in the future. 

Once you understand how the sales funnel works, it should be easier to segment your email marketing leads and determine what type of blog content you need to produce more of.

Example:

John started his marketing funnel by building a series of attention-grabbing content marketing pieces that are tied to landing pages on his website. Potential customers can engage with his content (blog posts, infographics, videos) and learn about his company and its services without a cold call from a salesperson.

When these would-be buyers become interested enough in his products, they request an online demonstration by filling out the form on his landing pages. These requests are routed directly to his salespeople, who, because they’re dealing with warm leads, close a very high amount of these leads.

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25. Outbound Links

If internal links redirect to other pages within your site, outbound links point users and crawlers to entirely different sites. 

An outbound link is a type of “external link,” which exists between two different domains. 

And yes — outbound links do have an impact on SEO in more ways than one:

  • They Improve the User Experience — Outbound links prevent readers from hitting a dead end when conducting online research. This makes your content more enriching and valuable to them — exactly the type of content that search engines want.
  • Establish Your Content’s Topical Relevance — Links in general, whether internal or external, are recognized as important for establishing “topical relevance.” This helps search engine crawlers determine what your content is all about.
  • Network with Authoritative Brands — Linking to an authoritative site, especially from a top-notch piece of content, is a great way to get their attention. If they like the way you describe their brand, it might compel them to share your content with their followers.
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26. Write Compelling Headlines

Your headline or title of your blog post is often the first thing readers notice. So, it has to be good enough to grab their attention and make them want to read the article.

Check out our step-by-step guide on how to write effective blog post titles. 

You can also use a free tool like IsItWP’s Headline Analyzer Tool to help you create clickable blog post titles.

This tool will score your title and give you tips on how to improve it.

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27. Add Social Sharing Buttons to Posts

Adding social sharing buttons to your blog and blog posts is a great way to drive traffic to your blog.

The key is having a killer content that provides high value.

After that, you have to make sure that sharing the content with your social media buttons is easy and frictionless in the first place.

Place the sharing buttons prominently on the page (desktop and mobile) that’s visible to all. Sticky buttons are great.

As for positioning/placement, some people believe placing these buttons on the left side (where your sentences start) generate more shares because they win more attention of the readers.

To find your ideal positioning and the number of social media sharing buttons you should have, do A/B testing.

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28. Conversational Writing Tone

Writing for online readers means delivering value in an easy-to-absorb format.

Write in a conversational tone, like you’re talking to a friend. Avoid being formal. Contractions are welcome here.

Make your post easy to read. That means:

  • Use subheads to help scanners. People will skim your post to see if it’s worth reading before committing their time and energy.
  • Avoid walls of text. Write in short, punchy paragraphs.
  • Avoid rambling. Stick to one central idea and make your post only as long as it needs to be to get that idea across.
  • Add in screenshots and other images where appropriate to give your reader a break from text.
  • Using data and references to back up your claims wherever possible adds value, making your arguments more concrete.

Providing examples is another way to bring life to your writing, offering real-world scenarios for otherwise vague concepts. They make concepts easier to understand and can even show readers what is possible in their lives.

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29. Learn How to Use Canva

Canva is one of the single most useful tools for bloggers, digital marketers, and content creators. In addition to making stunning graphic designs simple enough for anyone to create, Canva’s free tier makes it a no-brainer to try out.

Of all the digital tools and software that I personally use, Canva is by far the product that I use the most. It is also my go to recommendation for any content creator who is tired of paying freelancers exorbitant fees for blog banners, infographics, charts, social media content, or webpage designs.

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30. Curate Your Content for Your Audience

Not everything you send to your users should be about you.

Don’t forget that most email subscribers signed up because they were promised valuable information. Whether or not that information came from your website isn’t their concern. 

That’s why, if you’re out of ideas for your email, you should try curating content from other sources. 

For example, if you’re a technology blogger, you can send your subscribers updates about the latest tech trends or newly released gadgets. Naturally, you should also share your opinions and insights to prove that you know your stuff. 

There’s no secret formula when creating emails that contain curated content. Just write a simple email in plain text with links to the content you want to share. 

In exchange for the free, useful information you provide, your audience will reward you with their trust and loyalty. They should also be more eager to check your next email if they know they’re getting valuable knowledge.

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31. Add a Clear Call-To-Action (CTA)

A call-to-action (CTA) tells the reader what they should do next after reading your post.

Here are some of the most common CTAs:

  • Read a related blog post
  • Leave a comment with their thoughts
  • Sign up for your email newsletter
  • …or any other action you want them to take!

Choose 1 or 2 CTAs to add to the end of your post. If you add too many, it can be confusing and overwhelming for readers.

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32. Keep a List of Blog Post Ideas

I have a file with at least 100 ideas for blog posts in it. And it’s because I make a point of writing down any ideas that I have, even if they are just a very rough outline.

You never know when you’ll be hit by a brilliant idea for a post, so keep a file — and trust me, you’ll never run out of blog post ideas again.

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33. Utilize a Backlink Checker

Finding websites that accept guest contributions for link building isn’t exactly difficult. 

At most, you’re looking at an hour or two done on research — plus two minutes crafting an outreach email. 

But what if I tell you that you can turn two hours of research into a couple of minutes with a backlink checker? 

SEMrush, for instance, can provide quick insights on any website’s backlink profile. Simply load up their “Backlink Analytics” tool and enter your competitor’s domain or page URL and click ‘Check it.’

After entering their domain and loading the results, switch to the “Referring Domains” tab. That’s where you can view the list of domains that link to your competitor’s sites. 

Just remember to use the “Authority Score” filter to see the most relevant referring domains first. 

With a list of potential backlink sources in hand, you’re now ready to launch your email outreach campaign.

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34. Join Relevant Social Media Groups in Your Niche

Promoting content on social media is guaranteed to give your blog some exposure. 

What it doesn’t guarantee, however, is exposure to users who are actually interested in what your brand has to offer. 

With that in mind, joining groups in your blog’s niche should be part of your social media goals. This will ensure that your brand will reach the right crowd. 

The only obstacle here is finding groups that allow members to post self-promotional content.

Some groups that allow them may have a list of conditions you should abide by to maintain your membership. Your best bet is to check the group’s description as soon as you gain entry. 

Other than sharing your content, do your part and be an active member of the community. This means answering questions, reacting to other people’s posts, and giving praise or criticism where it’s due.

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35. Compress Your Images

You work hard at creating stellar content and you spend countless hours promoting your blog and networking with other bloggers, so the last thing you want is for potential visitors to abandon your website before it even loads!

Studies show that up to 40% of visitors click the back button if a site takes longer than three seconds to load.

I know, three seconds really isn’t that long, but when you’re on a mobile connection and you’re waiting for a site to load, a second can seem like forever.

And since a lot of your visitors may be on slower mobile connections, it becomes clear – you need to get your page size down. And we already know what the largest offender of page size bloat is – it’s your images.

Unnecessarily large images also take up space on your hosting account. While some of you may have hosting with “unlimited” storage space, many premium hosting providers limit you to around 10GB of storage on lower-tier plans. This can fill up quickly, especially if you’re hosting multiple, image-heavy sites on the same account.

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36. Use WordPress Plugins

There are tens of thousands of plugins available to WordPress users. So many, in fact, that it’s difficult to know which ones really make a difference and which are overhyped. Plenty offer useful niche solutions, but few are truly must-have WordPress plugins for all sites.

  • Yoast SEO is by far the most popular SEO tool in the WordPress landscape, and it’s easy to see why it’s one of our must-have WordPress plugins. Not only can it help you improve your SEO, it can even analyze your content’s readability. About 79% of users only scan through your posts and pages, so the more accessible your copy is, the greater your chance of retaining their attention.
  • An average of 30,000 websites get hacked every day. When you consider the fact that WordPress powers nearly 30% of sites on the web, you can see why it’s a frequent target. Moreover, parts of your WordPress website can sometimes stop working due to simple errors. UpdraftPlus integrates with multiple cloud storage options to safeguard your backups. And you can even automate your backups with a recurring schedule.
  • Social media is the source of over 30% of referral traffic to most websites. That means you’re losing out on a massive amount of potential traffic if you don’t remain active on social media. Another one of the must-have WordPress plugins on our list is Revive Old Post. It’s designed to help drive more traffic to your website via social media. To accomplish this, the plugin takes your site’s new and old publications and automatically shares them to Twitter and Facebook.
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37. Use Plain, Natural Sounding Emails When Doing Outreach

Finding potential influencers and referring domains is meaningless if you don’t have an outreach plan. 

For sites that accept guest posts, sometimes you only need to fill up a form and wait for their response. But for most prospective influencers and referring domains, you’ll need to contact them via email. 

If you recently got your hands on an email marketing platform with well-designed templates, do yourself a favor — ignore them. 

Instead, craft personalized, plain text emails. 

It may seem counterintuitive, especially if you want to make your brand look more legit. However, there are several reasons — and evidence — as to why plain text emails are better:

  • HTML emails reduce open rates — Split tests conducted by HubSpot show that emails with fancy HTML elements have lower open rates than plain text emails. The more HTML elements are present, the lower the open rate gets. 
  • HTML emails get lower click-throughs — Let’s face it, HTML emails often look more salesy and promotional than plain text emails. If you want subscribers to believe your message and take action, your email must feel genuine and personal. 
  • Plain text emails are more suited for mobile — Statistics show that 66 percent of emails are now being opened on mobile devices. Since most email templates are designed with computers in mind, they could inadvertently worsen the reading experience of mobile users.
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38. Multiple Websites

It’s true that blogs require your utmost dedication and focus in order to prosper. 

But once your main money blog becomes self-sustaining, you should be open to the idea of diversifying your investments. 

Believe it or not, a lot of successful bloggers who made millions have more than one website generating passive income. Their most profitable blog also isn’t always their first.

The only issue here is the workload of having to manage two or more blogs at the same time. When this proves a little too much for you, think about outsourcing repetitive tasks like editing and social media management.

You can get the help you need from freelancing marketplaces like Fiverr.

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39. Remove All Distractions

Put your phone on vibrate and in the next room, close all applications that you don’t need and put your word processor in full screen. Set a timer for 35 — 40 minutes and start writing. Once the time is done, take a break, drink some water, set the timer again and get cracking.

When you are doing a task for the first time, every little distraction can stop you dead in your tracks. Minimize distractions, increase focus and you’ll get that post done in no time

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40. Focus on Quality Over Quantity

This one will be hard to do. It’s easy to fall for the quick wins. But blogging is an investment, not a get rich quick scheme. So you need to focus on quality, not quantity.

That’s the winning recipe today with all of the crap content and noise online. It’s much better to publish less content (i.e. once a week) and spend more time creating it and making something that people will actually want to read than it is to simply start cranking out blog posts.

Typically, at least 80% of traffic will come from just 20% of posts on your blog. Focus on those 20% of your posts that are driving most of the traffic, and take the time to create other high value posts with similar structure, topics, and elements.

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41. Use Number Psychology in Headlines

Number psychology isn’t an exact science, and neither is great headline writing. But, strategically implementing what you’ve just learned will make your headlines more compelling.

An example of Number Psychology applied to blogging headlines:

1. Use extremely small or large numbers as exaggerators-You can write compelling headlines that strengthen the appeal of a benefit by implying additional benefits through the use of numbers.

Sample Article:

Today’s Healthy Recipe: 3 Ingredient Berry Smoothie

The explicit benefit expressed here is a new healthy snack idea.

There is also the implied benefit that this smoothie is easy to make.

That small number of ingredients impacts your impression of the benefit. Instantly, you anticipate a new, healthy, and simple smoothie recipe.

Why does this work?

Numbers are adjectives. But instead of the actual value they represent, we tend to interpret numbers in headlines to suggest the relative nature or size of the noun it describes.

This headline’s implied benefit doesn’t change much if the number of ingredients changes to either 3 or 5. The relatively low value emphasizes that the recipe is easy. But, raise the number to 7 and the implied simplicity of the recipe slips away.

We are especially likely to over-infer quantity when asked to make a difficult, concurrent, or snap judgment, like when we’re scanning different headlines.

Now compare this first headline to the following:

I lost $25 million and couldn’t be prouder. Here’s what it taught me about following my values.

The author emphasizes the sizeable dollar amount, enticing readers who want to avoid losing money themselves or are curious about how someone loses such a large amount of money to begin with.

Use extremely small or large numbers as exaggerators.

Small numbers can suggest relative simplicity or insignificance. Conversely, large numbers can suggest complexity.

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42. Be Specific

Focus on providing relevant information to the readers in a simple way. If you are specific with your post in giving readers what they want to read, it’ll keep them interested in reading it.

Learning your audience’s interest is important because if it’s not according to their interest, they’ll get bored.

So, make sure that you’re giving the readers only the information on a specific topic which won’t take much time to read and understand. This would create your content, quality content.

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43. Build an Online Community

As I’ve experimented with building my own online community, PeerBoard emerged as the obvious tool to build my own community with.

Building and maintaining an online community is challenging. You’ll need to identify your target audience, create a space where they feel comfortable interacting, moderate that space, and constantly promote your community to drive new members in.

You don’t have to be on your own out here as a writer. We have an article on the secret and power of online communities that just a year ago we put out.

However, successful online communities are one of the most sought after digital commodities for a reason — online communities provide tremendous value to community members, while also offering the hosts the opportunity to play a major role in industry specific discussions and become a subject matter expert.

In an ever-crowded internet, private online communities are increasingly the best way to access the people, information, and content that you are searching for.

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44. Incorporate Story Telling in Your Posts

GrooveHQ ran a test. The goal was to determine if blog posts with stories were more successful than those without. They found that blog posts with a story intro had almost 300% more people read the entire article. Average time on the page also increased five times the usual number.

A good opening story carries your reader through the entire blog post. They are eager to read your piece when they realize the hero in your story is just like them. Begin with a gripping but short first line to set the scene. In the second line, describe the solution the reader wants and the disillusionment when they don’t get answers. End with a question directed at the reader and transition to the main body to discuss the solution.

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45. Set Realistic Blogging Goals

A lot of people start blogging for fun, so they don’t need to set goals. But, if you want to make money from your blog or turn it into a full-time business, you should set goals.

Setting goals will help keep you on track and make it easier for you to monitor your progress. Start off small with your goals and as you meet them, you can set bigger goals.

You can set goals for how many pageviews you want to get, how many subscribers you want, or how much money you want to earn. 

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46. Start Blogging Now

I started writing on Medium in 2018. When I saw all the well written and established content from 2013, I remember thinking that it seemed impossible that I would develop any sort of following or gain the exposure necessary to have an impact on someone’s life.

Fast forward a year later, after a slow ramping up, I now write regularly and couldn’t be happier. You will always find excuses not to start writing consistently. I blamed the Medium platform. I told myself that I just “got into things to late.” But we can’t all perfectly anticipate the creation of a new platform. That’s why I would encourage anyone on the fence to take a leap of faith and commit to consistently writing on Medium.

The best time to start writing is yesterday!

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47. Connect with Other Bloggers

By becoming friends with other bloggers, you can learn from them and improve your own blog.

Plus, most bloggers love helping other bloggers out, so they might share your latest post with their followers or become loyal readers themselves.

Reach out to other bloggers on social media and start up a conversation!

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48. Outsource Aspects of Blogging That You Hate

Outsourcing allows you to put those smaller things in someone else’s hands, so they are off your plate.

Outsourcing blog tasks, specifically, can help any business. Growing your blog is a surefire way to bring traffic to your website and in turn to your products and services. When you invest in your blog, you invest in the overall strategy of where you want your business to go.

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49. Understand Your Readers’ Wants & Needs

One major factor that separates advanced bloggers from others is their ability to understand their readers. Instead of choosing what they want to write about, advanced bloggers cater to the information needs and wants of their readers. After all, these are the people their blog was created for, right?

If you’ve never done a reader survey, now’s the time. With easy-to-use tools such as SurveyMonkey, you can create a survey, share the link, collect up to 100 results, and review the results for free. Paid options are also available with more features.

Take the time to ask multiple-choice questions about:

  • Their occupation
  • Struggles they have that you can help solve
  • The biggest issue facing them in the next 6 months
  • Issues they have not found good solutions for
  • Their level of expertise (beginner, intermediate, advanced)
  • Their interest level when it comes to the products / services you offer
  • And other pertinent information

Then use the answers you receive to craft your content marketing plan.

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50. Optimize Blog for Mobile Devices

Mobile isn’t just the way of the future. It’s the way of the now.

Google is working on splitting desktop and mobile into separate indexes. And mobile will be primary.

SEOs like myself have been pushing mobile for the better part of five years now.

It’s no longer a new idea.

Research shows mobile users outpaced desktop as of 2014. That was a long time ago.

How can you optimize your blog for mobile devices?

  • Streamline your site-Unlike on desktops, the majority of on-screen navigation on smartphones and tablets happens via scrolling. That makes a one-page website ideal for the mobile platform, as users can simply scroll down to find what they need. However, having other pages isn’t out of the question, just as long as they’re easy to find and click in a prominent menu. What you want to avoid is an overly categorized site that feels like a maze. And no pop up windows! (They’re obnoxious on a desktop, rage-inducing on mobile).
  • Make it responsive-If you haven’t heard of responsive design, you’ve definitely interacted with responsive websites. A responsive website is one that — you got it — responds differently based on the kind of device used to access the site. On a smartphone? The site automatically shrinks down to fit a smartphone screen, so you won’t have to scroll horizontally as well as up and down. On a tablet? A laptop? Same thing. Responsive design means automatic customization to suit each user, which is pretty nifty.
  • Test it again, and again-Responsive design isn’t perfect, and it’s not 100% guaranteed it will resize to just the right size for every kind device and screen (hey, give the code a break, the mobile ecosystem is pretty diverse). Does it look nice? Is all of the text readable? Do pictures and videos load across devices? Do the social buttons work?
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51. Invest in the Right Blogging Tools

Blogging Guide offers free custom tools and provides recommendations of useful premium tools to improve your writing, automate your blog, and increase your earnings.

Investing in the right tools when initially starting your blog can pay tremendous dividends. For example, Canva allows you to create pretty much any graphic design you need, in house for less than $15 per month. Custom WYSIWYG website builder themes such as Divi allow anyone to create a modern and professional website for ~$200. Autotweeting tools like PenSignal allow bloggers to automate their promotion of their articles on Twitter for $6 per month.

These three tools (by themselves) can save you hundreds of hours, allowing you to focus more time on developing content for your blog.

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52. Optimize Your Homepage’s Above the Fold Section

The homepage would be the most visited page on your blog. It’s the most important one.

While you should be careful of how the entire homepage looks, you should be more perceptive of its above the fold portion.

Above the fold is the content/portion that first appears on the browser when you land on a page.

Since it is the first thing that’s visible to the visitors, it can play a difference-maker in grabbing their attention and creating a perception about your blog.

So, ensure your above the fold is meaningful and attractive enough to catch visitors’ attention and provide them (and to you) a relevant value.

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53. Spread Your Blog Content Through Q&A Websites

For the non-SEO-savvy, the “dofollow” attribute tells search engines like Google that a backlink should pass on “link juice.” This is a term used to describe the SEO value of backlinks passed from site to site. 

“Nofollow” links, on the other hand, basically tells search engines that the specific link shouldn’t pass link juice. 

In other words, only a dofollow link can directly affect the rankings and perceived authority of the link’s receiving end. 

So, does that mean that all “nofollow” links are useless? 

Nope — especially if they can get quality traffic to your site. 

Popular Q&A websites like Quora, for example, can flood your blog with targeted traffic if you play your cards right. 

The links you can build may have the “nofollow” attribute. However, your brand will still be exposed to Quora’s massive user base, nonetheless.

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54. Build a “Content Web”

One of the biggest challenges in trying to create an online brand is connecting your content from disparate platforms and source.

The rise of third party digital publishing platforms, increase in social media platforms, and expansion of e-commerce sites have created an unprecedented opportunity for non-coders to create online products and communities.

However, most writers (myself included) didn’t start out with a detailed roadmap outlining the optimal structure for success and plan for the expansion of their brand should their content be successful.

Most writers likely started off with a free blogging platform. They focused on creating useful or entertaining content. They weren’t intentionally building, what I refer to as a content web.

A content web is a series of interconnected platforms or websites, promoting not only an author’s specific articles, but their custom products and services, as well as building a content creator’s personal brand.

This is similar to a content funnel which is a system that introduces new leads to your business through different types of content. These leads are then converted into possible customers by progressively “funneling” them through more types of content.

The key difference is that a content web aims to draw in people who are interested in supporting your creative endeavors, not because you convince them that they need or want your service or product (as is the purpose of a content funnel). The leads from a content web are people who support the community you are creating. They choose to support you because they want other community members to benefit from all the “free content” you produce, or sponsor the production of further “free content” to the vast majority of users.

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55. Create Skyscraper Articles

Google’s algorithm places a lot of value on high-quality backlinks because they show that your work is valuable to others and deserves to live higher on the search results. However, getting good backlinks can be very difficult because they have to be earned. Your work needs to be noticed, first of all, and then needs to be so good that it is cited by others in their pieces.

The Skyscraper Technique is a way to accomplish this. It goes like this:

1. Source wildly popular content that is already performing well and has been linked to from other sites.

2. Craft your own content piece on that topic that is better than what’s available and publish that yourself.

3. Promote your piece to the people in the space that matter, in order to earn those elusive backlinks.

It’s a simple process, but difficult to pull off successfully. But if you do, you’re off to the races.

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56. Build Backlinks

Link building is the practice of having links – or backlinks – from third-party websites and resources pointing back to yours as a way to improve your ranking in search results. As the dominant search engine, Google’s algorithm pays attention to websites that have links connected to other web resources, and not just their own links. Moreover, one commonly referenced study done by Backlinko found that the highest ranking pages generally had more links than content with lower search engine results pages (SERPs) rankings.

With that said, getting results from link building takes careful planning. It is not just about placing links all over the web. In fact, doing so might cause Google to penalize your blog. Increasing traffic to your articles and improving your rankings require a deliberate and targeted approach to link building. Below are five tips you can try out for successful link building campaigns for your blog.

1. Guest posting-Writing guest posts for other blogs is one of the most popular link building strategies for any online marketer looking to boost their web presence.

2. Create shareable content-To boost the chances of that happening, you need to create articles that are data-rich and factual.

3. Share your opinion-Another strategic way to draw attention to your content and get continuous clicks is by writing personal pieces that express your opinion.

4. Write about popular topics and/or trends-People like finding content that keeps them informed about happenings and new trends. Politics, celebrities, fashion, and news relating to pop culture are all good topics to write on, as long as the content can be tied back to what your blog is about.

5. Feature experts and influential people-Interviewing experts and influencers in your field and publishing the interaction on your website is another useful link building strategy. You can ask the interviewee to share the interaction on their websites and social pages as well, so that their audience will be introduced to your brand.

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57. Comment on Other Blogs

Writing responses to other blogs can be a great way to boost your followers. And this makes a lot of sense. If someone actually takes the time to read your article thoroughly (not skimming) and actually writes a response, they are taking time out of their day (time they could potentially be writing themselves) to help start a conversation around your article.

Most writers take note of people who write insightful responses to stories. And while this method can be time intensive, it is one of the most certain ways of increasing your blog following.

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58. Monitor Your Webpage Loading Speed

Nobody likes slow websites. Search engines like Google give an SEO advantage to faster websites. As a blogger, you need to optimize your website for speed and faster page loads.

The key to faster websites is choosing the right WordPress hosting. A bad host can slow down your website and no matter what you do on your end, you will never be able to improve performance.

Next, you need to start using a WordPress caching plugin. There are excellent free plugins like WP Super Cache which help you serve cached version of your website with just a few clicks.

You can also combine that with DNS based firewalls like Sucuri or Cloudflare. These firewalls block bad traffic which reduces your server load. They also serve static content through their CDN servers which gives you a significant speed boost.

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59. Explore Different Methods for Monetizing Your Blog

The easiest way for new blogs to start making money is by displaying ads using Google AdSense. While Google AdSense is great, you need to diversify your income stream. We have seen bloggers losing all their income when AdSense blocked their accounts for a policy violation.

There are plenty of ways to make money online from your blog. You can supplement your blogging income with affiliate marketing, selling online courses, offering membership plans, and more.

Another way to boost your ad revenues is to monitor who’s advertising on your site. You can then go to them directly to eliminate the middle-man.

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60. Understand Your Audience

The success of your content depends on how well you understand your audience.

When you understand your audience, you can create a strong connection with them. Use the language they use, showing that you’re an insider and that you get them.

Quality content that resonates with your audience keeps them on your site.

After all, if you don’t understand readers’ wants and needs, your piece of content may not be useful or relevant to them. They’ll bounce to the next blog.

First, determine who your target readers are. Then research them. What blogs do they read? What podcasts do they listen to? Get to know their challenges or their goals and how your content can help solve their problems.

61. Remove All Distractions

Distractions can turn even the best bloggers into the laziest writers. 

The worst part is, distractions are everywhere. 

They can come from your smartphone, your surroundings, and even your work computer. 

The good news is, blocking out distractions at home doesn’t need to involve complicated steps. 

Designating an official, private work area in your home is a step in the right direction. If you’re bombarded by noise that breaks your flow of thought, use headphones and fire up noise generators like Noisli.

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62. Choose an Email Marketing System

The first step to building an email list is to choose an email marketing service.

To start for free, I would recommend using an email marketing service like Mailchimp.

Mailchimp is an all-in-one marketing platform that helps you manage and talk to your clients, customers, and other interested parties.

 

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63. Add Alt Text to Images

Also called “alt tags” and “alt descriptions,” alt text is the written copy that appears in place of an image on a webpage if the image fails to load on a user’s screen. This text helps screen-reading tools describe images to visually impaired readers and allows search engines to better crawl and rank your website. One of the most important things image alt text can do for you is turn your images into hyperlinked search results — giving your website yet another way to receive organic visitors.

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64. Repurpose Content

You can also repurpose older content as a time-saving way to get new visitors to your blog. For example, you can create an infographic based on one of your most popular posts. Share the new infographic online and you can bring in new traffic.

Repurposing content is a great way to stretch your existing content further. 

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65. Pick The Best Blog Hosting Service

WordPress.org is free to use to build your blog. But, to make your blog live on the internet, you need a blog hosting service. 

We recommend using Bluehost. It’s the most user-friendly and reliable web hosting service on the market. It’s also officially recommended by WordPress and comes with 1-click WordPress installation, so you can set up your WordPress blog super quickly.

Plus, Blogging Guide readers get a special Bluehost deal of 60% off of web hosting. This deal also comes with a free domain name. That means you can start your blog for only $2.75 per month!

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66. Make Sure Your Name is Clearly Visible

When visiting a new blog, one of the first things people want to know, is who is the person behind it. I love addressing readers and other bloggers by their first name when commenting on other blogs or answering comments, so make sure that your name is clearly visible somewhere on your homepage.

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67. Create a Lead Magnet

Most websites offer no incentive to encourage people to join their email list.

You’ll see something like “Subscribe to our free newsletter.”

Unless your site is a top-tier publication in your industry, you’ll likely see conversions below 1%.

But, when you use a lead magnet you could see conversions jump to anywhere from 2-7%. If your offer is especially good, you could see even bigger conversion increases.

Lead magnets work well because people love to get free stuff – especially exclusive stuff that fulfills a need.

It could be a free guide, a checklist, discount code or something else.

The type of lead magnet you choose and how you position it will have a significant impact on your conversions.

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68. Decide on Your Brand

Before you start designing your blog, decide what you want your brand to be.

To decide on your brand, think about what impression you want to give readers and what you want them to feel when they see your blog. For example, do you want your blog to give off a playful and creative vibe? Or do you want it to be more serious?

Deciding on your brand will help you choose the right blog design, colors, font, images, and more.

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69. Focus on Operating One Site at a Time

A lot of bloggers have more than one site. Heck, I do! At one time, I had probably 5 or 6 that I was trying to update regularly.

If you have help, it’s one thing to try and juggle multiple sites. But if it’s just you, as this freelancer’s questions underscore, trying to grow site traffic for one site is a full-time job.

So my advice is — spend all of your time and energy building traffic to one site — one that’s owned by you hosted on your own domain (no free sites and/or sites on other platforms (eg, Teachable)), even if they are your own courses.

You always want to control your own site, and you want to get that site performing the way you want it to before you invest energy in any other web presence(s). Otherwise, you risk spreading yourself too thin. I’ve been there — and let me tell you, you’ll earn a lot more a lot faster if you focus on ONE site and one site only.

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70. Incorporate Statistics

Have you tried creating data-driven posts yet?

It doesn’t matter if you did your own study or compiled facts from other sources. If your blog post contains statistics, you have a good chance of being linked to by content writers. 

Remember, citing statistics from valid sources maximizes the impact of your content’s message. It informs readers that you know your stuff — worthy of their time and trust.

This is something that I do whenever the opportunity presents itself. 

To look for statistics you can use in your content, use Google and add the word “statistics” with quotation marks. 

Also, set Google’s search filter to grab results no older than a year. This makes sure you won’t be supplied with outdated information when writing content.

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71. Encourage Conversation

There are two ways you can encourage comments on your blog. The first is through writing posts which invite readers to have a conversation with you. You can add questions like:

“Have you ever experienced this?”

“What do you think about this?”

“How did this work out for you?”

You can also write posts that are a little bit controversial. If there are arguments within your niche about how best to accomplish certain goals, for example, then go right ahead and make a stand. Do it in a respectful, professional way, of course — try not to resort to using profanity, and don’t insult people who don’t agree with you.

Instead, back up each and every one of your points with evidence or arguments to support why you think the way you do. People will want to jump in, either in support or in opposition. Welcome the opposition — it will create a lively, valuable conversation.

The other way is to install a good blog commenting system. A good system:

  • Does not require users to register yet another account. Users have hundreds of accounts, and most of them are tired of registering for things.
  • Makes it easy to comment, and to get notifications when new comments have been posted.
  • Allows for comment moderation. You always want the power to remove a user who is getting abusive, or out of control.
  • Social media integration doesn’t hurt, since it helps to increase the amount of traffic flowing to your blog.
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72. Create More Longform Content

When I first started blogging in 2005, short articles of 300 to 500 words where the norm. These, for long-term traffic generation, don’t cut it so much anymore. Google looks for — and rewards, long-form content. So create more of that.

A rule of thumb I use when creating content is that if it doesn’t solve a problem and/or give significant insight into an issue for potential readers, then I don’t write the post. It’s time wasted.

I like for readers to take action when the read a post on this blog. Or, at the very least, feel much more informed than when they landed on this site to read about a particular topic. Posts like the following do just that (from the feedback I get).

Make sure you post only to high-quality, relevant sites. One outstanding post on a super-relevant site will do more for your blogging career than 100 low-quality posts on irrelevant sites. Use your effort, time, and creativity wisely.

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73. Be Personal

Remember, information is not the same thing is insight. The web is full of information. Your readers can get information anywhere. What they can’t get is all of the insight your experience brings to the table. They haven’t been where you’ve been, walked where you’ve walked, seen what you’ve seen, or done what you’ve done. In order to have a successful blog you must trust in your own voice, as well as the experiences you’ve gathered as you’ve immersed yourself in a topic.

This is not to say it all has to be about you. Many great bloggers interview other people to put together great articles, again, just as a magazine would. In such a case, you’re giving the readers the benefit of the subject’s unique insights.

Some bloggers hire ghostwriters when they get swamped. There’s nothing wrong with this, but make sure that the ghostwriter is either a fellow expert or spend some time on the phone with the ghostwriter to discuss some of the issues and topics he or she will be blogging about.

Otherwise, the writer will end up generating flat content. It may be useful, it may be technically unique, but the spark — your spark — will be missing. Readers will notice, even if they don’t consciously recognize why something seems off.

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74. Add Visuals

Finding relevant images and adding them to your post make your blog looks attractive and eye-catchy.

When it comes to adding photos and images, make sure that you only pick them from the quality stock websites that allows you to use the images without any copyright issue.

Alternatively, the best thing that you can do is to create your images with the help of a professional graphics designer. The content having visual add-ons appears to be speeding up these days.

This is because social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest favors images than the content.

The reader can easily get an idea about your content by just seeing the pictures. So, if you weren’t following it yet, it’s time to start.

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75. Choose a Blog Post Format Before Writing

Instead of relying on a cut-and-paste blog post template that might come off as cookie-cutter to readers, we recommend simply picking a blog post format before you start writing a post.

Doing so will make it much easier to organize your ideas and actually start writing.

Below are three types of blog posts that typically get shared around. Although these certainly aren’t the only types of blog posts, they’re can be adapted to just about any topic with ease.

How-to’s, which live up to their namesake by explaining how to tackle a certain task or problem (ex: “How to Get a Customer to Edit Their Negative Review“)

Listicles, which is simply a blog post formatted as a list (ex: “The Business of DIY: 10 Things to Make and Sell Online“)

Question-based posts, which respond to or pose a question with Who, What, When, or Where? (ex: “Why Netflix Cancelled Your Favorite Show”)

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76. Optimize for Search Engines

There’s more to SEO for blogs than brainstorming a phrase or two that you think might possibly be a keyword. The effort you put into learning and implementing SEO goes a long way toward bringing a steady flow of traffic to your site. In fact, according to a survey by GrowthBadger:

Bloggers who earn over $50,000 per year tend to put a lot of emphasis on SEO. Their #1 traffic source is typically Google organic search, and compared to lower-income bloggers, they are 4.3 times as likely to conduct keyword research.

SEO is the #3 most important item for success ranking above social media, the number of email subscribers, and frequency of publication.

While a full study of SEO techniques for blogs would take an entire course rather than a blog post, here are several of the must-do activities I do with every post I write.

Choose a Primary Keyphrase — Typically 1,000 estimated search volume per month or higher.

Choose One or Two Secondary Keyphrases — Depending on the length of my article and the scope, these keyphrases will be longer-tail terms with estimated monthly search volume between 400 and 900.

Keyphrases should be highly relevant to the topic of the post. If I’m writing about housebreaking a puppy, I wouldn’t choose a primary keyphrase of new puppy tips because it’s too broad.

Those keyphrases would then be entered in the:

  • Blog post title (primary phrase)
  • Subheads (secondary phrases)
  • Meta description / excerpt (primary keyphrase)
  • Link slug (the portion of the link after the /)
  • First paragraph (primary phrase)
  • Image attribute tags (any of the phrases)

It doesn’t take a lot of work to optimize a blog post. If you spend 30 minutes on keyword research and optimization, you can begin to see your posts steadily rise in the rankings.

Putting these advanced tips into action will give you a whole new way to engage your audience, grow your list, earn more passive income, generate leads for your services, and more.

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77. Write What You Would Like to Read

One of the simplest, yet most effective methods of creating high value content, is to focus on writing the type of content that you would like to read.

For example, if you are searching for the answer to a question in Google, and you can’t easily find the answer, this is precisely the type of content you should create yourself.

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78. Maintain Honesty with Your Audience

Let me tell you something a lot of bloggers overlook.

As soon as they start generating traffic, they become too focused on monetization that they become reckless with their credibility. 

This becomes a problem if they begin to engage in practices that can damage their reputation in the long run. A classic example is a blogger who blatantly writes biased, positive reviews of affiliate products for the sake of sales. 

If you do it on a small scale, you can probably get away with it. But as readers begin to notice your tactics, their trust and your whole brand’s reputation will collapse. 

With these things in mind, I earnestly want you to remember the following tips:

  • When writing product reviews, use the product yourself. That’s the only way to provide authentic and believable opinions that will lead to sales.
  • Don’t make up a fake backstory for your brand. You, as a blogger, will be more relatable to your audience if you share real scenarios and experiences. 
  • Don’t be afraid to write negative reviews. If a potential affiliate product didn’t click, find a similar product from another partner and offer it as an alternative. 

Whenever I write reviews, I make sure to be truthful and include a few cons. I do it even if I’m completely happy with the product after using it myself.

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79. Share on Multiple Platforms

Don’t stick to only 1 social media platform—be active on multiple platforms.

There’s many to choose from: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and more.

Being active on multiple different platforms will help you reach a wider audience.

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80. Don’t Overthink Your Article Introduction

The introduction is one of the most important parts of an article. Its job is to capture attention, set their expectations straight, and compel your audience to read from start to finish. 

Sadly, some bloggers tend to overthink their introduction and put their productivity to a grinding halt. I remember being a victim of this as well — wasting several minutes typing, revising, and deleting the introduction. 

When in doubt, just skip writing the introduction and jump straight into the main body. Trust me, you’ll have an easier time writing it if you have a concrete idea of what your content’s about.

If you still don’t know what to write, maybe these tips can help get the ball rolling:

  • Tell a simple story — Try to recall your thought process when you first came up with the content’s topic. You could be experiencing a problem, reading another blog, walking in the park, and so on. 
  • Ask a question — Starting off with a question is a great way to have readers put on their thinking caps. It can be aligned with the problems they’re having or the goal they want to achieve. 
  • Just get to the point — After asking a question or telling a story, my preferred strategy is to dive right in with the right phrases. Some examples are “without further ado,” “let’s get started,” and “let’s jump into it.”
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81. Promote Your Blog on Your Own Website

There are four main places you should focus your efforts for internal promotion:

  1. The homepage
  2. Related product pages
  3. Subscriber page
  4. Content downloads

On your homepage, you can feature a relevant blog post with a call to action, but at the very least, you should be linking people to your blog from the top navigation menu.

On your product pages, you might assume that people are already well educated about your products and don’t need to go back to the blog to learn more. They’re far enough along in the funnel by the time they reach your product pages. However, the buying process isn’t always linear; just because they’re on your product pages, it doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in any more content at all. You may see natural opportunities to link back to specific blog posts, or sections of your blog, from specific product pages.

Make a landing page just for your blog subscribers. This is a great place to link to any marketing promotions you have going on and to link back to specific blog content. These landing pages also rank in Google, so be sure to have unique, original content here.

Finally, use blog content at the end of the content download process. Your reader fills out a form and downloads the content (an ebook, a report, etc.). Use the download page to encourage social sharing, but also to promote other relevant content they might find relevant.

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82. Read Content Aloud While Proofreading

Even if a sentence is grammatically correct, it may still sound a little off when read by native English speakers. 

Relying on automated grammar checkers won’t help you avoid this — unless it has a “read aloud” feature.

Reading your draft aloud is one of the most important lessons I learned in my 10 years of blogging. It helps me ensure that the words smoothly flow out of the reader’s mouth and mind. 

If reading English words isn’t your strongest suit, you can count on text-to-speech tools like NaturalReader. This will also enable you to spot grammar and spelling errors without gluing your eyes to your computer’s screen.

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83. Add a Clickable Table of Contents

With a clickable table of contents, readers can conveniently skip ahead to whatever section captures their interest. They no longer need to scan paragraphs upon paragraphs of text to find what they’re looking for. 

To create a table of contents for your blog post, you can use a WordPress plugin called Table of Contents Plus. It automatically scoops up elements on your content with the “heading” attribute and generates a list with clickable links.

To decide on your brand, think about what impression you want to give readers and what you want them to feel when they see your blog. For example, do you want your blog to give off a playful and creative vibe? Or do you want it to be more serious?

Deciding on your brand will help you choose the right blog design, colors, font, images, and more.

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84. Pay Attention to Internal Linking

Internal linking matters. Try to interlink all the pages on your website through a “related articles” section at the bottom of your post.

Silo your content so that different topics on your site are split into different “groups.” Grouping your articles is one of the proven methods of effectively passing link juice throughout a website.

These tips will help you get legitimately ranked in Google, which will help you rank in all the other search engines as well. Lay the groundwork and don’t take shortcuts with SEO. It’ll take a little while for your site to really get traction, but when it does, it’ll be unstoppable.

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85. Engage with People on Social Media

Being interactive on social media helps you become more approachable and reliable for customers. They will be more happy with your services and more keen on giving you a chance. 

Further, this will help in reaching out to more people because people tend to generally share such experiences with their friends on social media. You can give witty replies to some comments or be active on social media stories such as Instagram where people can see what goes on in the office and how it works so it will be a small insight glimpse and hence more engaging.

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86. Offer Actionable Tips

A competitor’s post can always be upgraded by adding more step-by-step information. 

In most niches, the majority of blog posts contain general guidelines and tips that lack actionable steps. 

This is more prominent with run-of-the-mill listicles that plenty of bloggers publish often. 

By providing more fleshed-out, easy-to-follow instructions, your content will be substantially more valuable than your competitor’s. It doesn’t even matter if the original idea was theirs.

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87. Repurpose Content into YouTube Videos

If you’re a new blogger, it may be hard to imagine yourself speaking in front of a camera on YouTube.

Still, having a thriving YouTube channel is an excellent goal to aim for.

In the blogging world, an established YouTube channel can help  establish an authoritative and trustworthy brand. As such, the biggest names in plenty of niches have YouTube channels with thousands of subscribers.

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88. Connect with Influencers

There’s one more way to use a social media listening tool to build your blogging brand.

You can also use it to discover and connect with influencers who may be interested in your brand. 

Keep in mind that a far-reaching social media presence requires a lot of time, money, and effort. But with the help of influencers, you can bypass all those requirements and instantly boost your content’s reach. 

There are a lot of ways to discover relevant influencers that can promote a blog in your niche. The most reliable approach, however, is to use social media listening to your advantage. 

Another tool you may be interested in would be BuzzSumo — a content research tool. It includes influencer marketing features that help you find, connect, and build valuable relationships with influencers in your niche.

Also, its core content research feature is pretty great for finding potential topic ideas for your blog. 

BuzzSumo makes it easy to find content ideas that are highly shareable and engaging. Important metrics such as Twitter shares, backlink count, and Facebook engagement are immediately displayed on the results page.

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89. Add a “Pin It” Button to Your Blog Images

Another advantage of a robust social media plugin like Social Snap is the support for a wide range of networks. 

Social Snap, for example, supports over 30 social media networks and online apps. This includes Pinterest, which is an image-based social media network.

With Social Snap’s “Pin It” button, readers can conveniently share your image on Pinterest without leaving your site. It can be an infographic, food close-up shots, or any high-quality image worth spreading. 

If you’re not ready to pay for Social Snap, you can settle for a free WordPress plugin instead. My recommendation would be a highly-rated plugin like jQuery Pin It Button for Images.

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90. Share Old Posts

Your blog posts are displayed in a reverse chronological order (newer posts appear first). This means your older posts are buried down and are not easily discoverable.

One way to fix this is by sharing your older articles on social media. Often beginners think that it’s not ok to recycle old content. It’s completely fine and expert bloggers do it all the time.

To do this, you need to use the Revive Old Posts plugin, which allows you to automatically share old posts on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. For instructions, see our guide on how to automatically share your old WordPress posts.

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91. Create Branded Email Addresses

If you’re serious about your blog, then it’s important to have a professional branded email address. This goes a long way in negotiating deals with an advertiser because they think you’re a legit operation.

Here is how to easily get a professional branded email address for free.

Plus it also helps with email deliverability when sending email newsletters. 

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92. Backup Your Site

Often users don’t think about backups until it’s too late. In the early days, I chose a cheap web hosting provider that wasn’t very well-known, and they had hardware failure. I lost my entire website because I didn’t have a backup.

Many hosting companies offer limited backups. However, these backups are not guaranteed, and a hardware failure can cause you to lose data as well as the backup.

Backups are your first line of defense against brute force attacks, hacking, and data theft. They are the first step to improve your WordPress security and keeping your website safe.

There are plenty of reliable WordPress backup plugins that allow you to schedule automatic backups and store them in remote locations like Google Drive, Dropbox, Amazon S3, and more.

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93. Add Opt-In Forms to Blog Posts

Strategically placing your signup form on the landing page can maximize the conversion.

Now, which is the perfect place to position your opt-in form? Depending on various factors, it would vary.

  • The foremost thing to consider is the design of your blog.
  • Second, how that form would affect UX.
  • And third, is it visible enough to catch attention?

A hello bar at the top is a popular option. Signup form in the sidebar is another option bloggers go for.

From my personal experience, and per many others’ opinions, a subscription box at the bottom of your blog posts is a great choice.

Visitors have just completed consuming your content. If they really liked and enjoyed it, they are more likely to give you their email address.

You can have multiple opt-in forms on the landing page.

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94. Ensure Your Content Is Engaging

Just like this article that you’re reading right now.

It sounds engaging, does it not?

Imagine if I wrote this in a very formal tone – just preaching without that approach of two-way communication – would you have found it interesting enough to read this full?

Blogging is about having a one-on-one conversation with your readers.

They must feel like you’re talking to them. They must feel “this content is written just for me”.

If your audience is engaged, they will listen to what you’re saying, trust you and act accordingly.

This would help your SEO (increase session duration, decrease bounce rate). And, most importantly, it would help your branding.

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95. Traffic vs. Audience

To succeed as a blogger, you should know the difference between building traffic and building an audience. 

The difference is simple, but it definitely changes everything. 

You see, traffic comes and goes. Your audience, on the other hand, will come, respond, and come back to see more of your content. 

To build an audience, a dependable strategy is to provide members a sense of exclusivity. 

Offering gated content, which I already discussed earlier, is one way to accomplish this. An easier approach, however, is to create a private Facebook group.

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96. Key Word Research

Keyword research is the process of understanding the language your target customers use when searching for your products, services, and content. It then involves analyzing, comparing, and prioritizing the best keyword opportunities for your website.

Keyword research is the only way to figure out what people are typing into search engines. You need to know this to avoid creating content about things that nobody is searching for. Many website owners make that mistake, and it’s likely a big part of the reason why 90.63% of pages get no traffic from Google, according to our study.

Keyword research also helps you to answer questions like:

  • How hard will it be to rank for this keyword?
  • How much traffic am I likely to get if I rank for this keyword?
  • What kind of content should I create to rank for this keyword?
  • Are people searching for this keyword likely to become my customers?

Finding the right answers to these questions will help you pick your battles wisely.

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97. Identify Your Competitors

Your competitors are your biggest source of learning.

So, first, find who your close and successful competitors are. And then run down some analysis on their URL.

Spyfu is one of the best competitive analysis tools out there.

Enter your URL and it will spit a list of all your competitors.

Go through those URLs – at least the top ones – personally. Check their blog design, kind of content they have produced, their social media presence and more.

Next, use SEMrush and Ubersuggest to get more insights about your competitors, like the keywords they rank for, their most popular posts and more.

Once you know about your competitors and what they are up to, do the same thing they are doing – only do it better!

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98. Separate Research and Writing Phase

Another useful tip for bloggers is to divide your research phase from your writing phase.

When conducting research for your blog posts, it’s completely fine to utilize the internet and social media.

However, once you have all the materials you need to write your blog post, stop using the internet and social media, or do whatever you need to do from being distracted.

Then focus on writing.

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99. Don’t Wait to Learn Everything

Because you will never get there where you will know everything about running a blog successfully. This is called analysis paralysis.

When you analyze a thing so much just to reach that “perfect” benchmark you have set, it becomes a cause of your paralysis, preventing you from taking action.

Blogging is a long-term endeavor. It’s an ongoing process.

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100. Never Give Up / Keep Shipping!

The late Steve Jobs once said, “Great artists ship.”

When he said “ship” — he meant publish. Great artists publish their work, and don’t get too caught up in perfection. Because most of the time, seeking perfection is a waste of time. The difference between 80% “good enough” and 99% “perfect” is often not very different.

For example, getting a blog post “80% good enough” might take you an hour or two. But trying to get it 99% “perfect” might take you another 10 hours. I think those extra 10 hours are not worth it. Spend those extra 10 hours going out and taking photos, or writing other blog post ideas.

Also treat the same 80% philosophy to your photos. If your photos are 80% up to your own personal standard of “good enough” — just publish them on your blog. Your photos will never be 100% perfect. There is no such thing as perfection. Just look at nature. There is no stream which is 100% straight. There is no such thing as a “perfect” tree, rock, or blade of grass.

Practice publishing more often, and never give up on your blog.

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Conclusion

Building a following on your blog takes time, persistence, and long-term strategy. While these 100+ techniques described above worked for me, blogging continues to evolve as an industry, which is why you should always stay up-to-date on the latest in digital publishing.

Ultimately, while I think this list of blogging tips would be highly useful to any new blogger, it is important to realize that the experience of each blogger will be unique. Blogging is a challenging, yet immensely rewarding experience for someone passionate about writing, researching new trends, and sharing bits and pieces of their life.

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Medium Alternatives

Medium Alternatives

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Written by Casey Botticello

March 8, 2021

Medium is without question a leader in the digital publishing and blogging space. Perhaps most notable is Medium’s Partner Program which allows writers to monetize their writing with just a few clicks.

Although Medium is arguably the leader of these “pre-monetized” blogging platforms, there are several Medium alternatives that writers should consider. These alternative platforms can be used to replace Medium or to compliment Medium. Most allow the reposting of content, meaning that these platforms can at least function as content syndication platforms.

When I talk about Medium alternatives, I am really referring to two distinct types of alternatives: direct Medium alternatives and indirect Medium alternatives.

Direct Medium alternatives refers to the platforms that have a similar “pre-monetized” payment system to Medium’s Partner Program. For direct Medium alternatives, you write, publish, and can automatically enable monetization through the platform. Although the payment programs very for each of these platforms, they all are similar since they attempt to drive traffic to your articles, and reward the most successful articles with higher payments.

Indirect Medium alternatives refers to the digital publishing platforms which many Medium writers choose to use in addition to Medium, or in place of Medium. These platforms are similar to Medium in that they allow writers to publish and monetize digital content. However, these platforms differ from Medium and its direct alternatives, because they do not contain a premonetized payment structure. The onus is on the writer to market their content, drive traffic themselves, and monetize their work using third party systems.

Below is a list of the best Medium alternatives.

Direct Medium Alternatives

1. HubPages

HubPages is a user generated content, revenue-sharing website founded in 2006. The company moved from a single-site to a multi-site business model in 2016. The platform that lets you publish articles and you can earn money from those articles, depending on how many views they receive.

HubPages is much less popular than Medium, and writers do not typically earn as much as their Medium counterparts, but it does contain a built in monetization system.

The HubPages writer payment system is based on a formula that primarily measures page views and your article’s contribution to display advertisement success.

 

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2. Vocal

Vocal is a platform for supporting, discovering, and rewarding creators. Vocal provides the storytelling tools and engaged communities for writers, musicians, filmmakers, artists, and all types of creatives to get discovered, and fund their creativity. Vocal was designed to expand the audience for content distribution and advance writers’ efforts on monetizing their content through various features.

Vocal helps writers earn in a few different ways.

First, Vocal pays creators based on the amount of “reads” their stories receive.

  • Vocal creators are paid $3.80 per 1000 reads.
  • Vocal+ creators are paid $6.00 / 1000 reads.

Second, Vocal also facilitates tips from your fans. Tipping allows your readers to pay you directly for your stories, with micropayments that go straight into your Stripe account.

 

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3. News Break

News Break is a local news aggregation and digital publishing platform. The content from this platform is largely featured on the News Break functions mobile app. News Break now boasts 23 million monthly users with a growing network of more than 10,000 content providers. Sensor Tower estimated the app has more than 50 million installs globally across iOS and Android devices, among which more than 99% are from the U.S.

News Break originally launched with a $1,000 per month “guarantee” for writers who were accepted into their creator program and met certain publishing requirements.

News Break has since shifted to a model that pays a minimum per article based on a CV score of 1-10 assigned to each article published. There is also a payment rate based on page views and referrals.

 

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4. Steemit

Steemit is a blogging platform with a social network and cryptocurrency component. It borrows some of the features of Reddit in that it allows users to upvote and downvote content, as well as follow topics, have discussions, and submit content of your own. However, users also have the ability to earn a share of revenues in the form of Steem cryptocurrency. Content creators, people who curate content, and commenters all have the opportunity to get paid.

 

Indirect Medium Alternatives

5. WattPad

Wattpad brings authors and readers together online through its website and mobile app. The platform is free for all users and promotes a social community experience based on the original stories that are shared. Both amateur and established writers publish stories on Wattpad from a wide variety of genres, including Young Adult fiction, romance, fantasy, and techno-thrillers. Wattpad has steadily grown in popularity, reaching 80 million readers and writers, due to its ease of use and simple business model.

 

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6. Substack

Substack makes it simple for a writer to start an email newsletter that makes money from subscriptions. Substack provides web and newsletter publishing tools that are purpose-built for paid subscriptions. Substack is popular with many writers because it’s an all-in-one solution for writers looking to monetize their online content. Substack also allows audio creators the ability to charge and distribute their podcasts through Substack’s newsletter delivery system.

 

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7. Patreon

Patreon is a membership based website providing a range of business tools to help creators monetize their products via subscriptions. Through Patreon, creators allow fans to access exclusive content, additional viewership, and other perks in exchange for a monthly fee. According to the Patreon website, this business model allows its members – which includes video creators, writers, musicians, game creators, podcasters and more – to maintain creative freedom while getting paid what they are worth.

 

8. Ghost

Ghost is an open source blogging platform for writers and journalists. It boasts a minimalist and straightforward user interface that simplifies blogging for its users. Ghost offers SEO tools and plugins that are built into the software, making it easy for users to optimize their content. The Ghost platform is utilized by amateur writers, as well as experienced editors based at large media organizations.

 

9. Amazon KDP

Amazon KDP is a self publishing platform used by authors and publishers, to independently publish their books. Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) has also added a paperback option, which uses print-on-demand technology to allow both digital and print capabilities to self-published authors through its platform. Amazon’s main pitch to authors has been the platform’s capability of publishing both e-books and paperbacks through the same platform, without charging any upfront fees and reaching the large audience who frequent Amazon.

 

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10. Revue

Revue is an email marketing company designed for writers and publishers. The business model is strictly about content curation by users who share interesting articles with their mailing lists. Revue makes it easy for anyone to quickly create aesthetically appealing newsletters. Clients from all walks of life and from many countries around the world use Revue to reach a wide audience. The site is unique in that it is possible for users to earn in a variety of ways, including subscription models, advertising, sponsorships, and other digital avenues.

 

11. WordPress

WordPress is one of the world’s most popular open-source platforms. More than one-third of all websites currently run on WordPress. It is commonly used as a content management system (CMS) for websites, as well as for blogging. The appeal of WordPress is that no technical knowledge or experience is required to use it. WordPress is utilized by bloggers, small business owners, and even Fortune 500 companies. In addition, because it is open source software, the source code can be modified to create additional apps and plugins for WordPress sites.

 

12. Blogger

Blogger is among the easiest tools for starting a blog. It is free to use and enables writers to quickly share their thoughts with minimal effort. Blog entries are published with a time stamp and users can add images, videos, and other content. It is owned by Google, allowing anyone with a Gmail account to quickly get started on Blogger for free. Users can design their blogs with a variety of templates or create their own design from scratch. There is also a possibility for users to monetize their blogs using AdSense.

13. Gumroad

Gumroad is an e-commerce platform that helps creators get their products sold. Artists and creators, including musicians, filmmakers, comedians, writers, software developers, and educators sell directly to consumers using Gumroad. Gumroad make the process of selling online as easy as social sharing, bypassing all the hassle of finding interested buyers online.

Conclusion

Medium is an amazing blogging platform, but as seen from the list above, there are several alternatives. Many of these alternatives have unique features that help distinguish them from Medium. However, if you are looking for an easy-to-use blogging platform, that allows you to focus on writing (and not marketing your content, collecting payments, building a website), Medium may be a great option to consider. If you are interested in becoming a successful Medium writer, consider taking our Medium Writing Course. You can also sign up for our newsletter, Blogging Guide, which contains digital publishing insights on all the platforms mentioned above, and more!

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What Are the Best Anonymous Blogging Platforms?

What Are the Best Anonymous Blogging Platforms?

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Written by Casey Botticello

February 22, 2021

For many writers, the primary purpose of blogging is to build a personal brand. You may focus on ways to maintain some degree of privacy as a blogger, but you are still linking your identity to content that you post online.

However, in an increasingly polarized political environment, and among the outright assault on privacy by social media companies, many writers are looking for anonymous blogging platforms. And while taking measures to maintain your privacy as a blogger are sufficient for some, others are looking for the best blogging platforms, which are designed to keep your identity a secret.

Below is a list of the best anonymous blogging platforms.

1. Telegra.ph

Telegram has a blogging platform to go along with its popular messaging app, called Telegraph. Telegraph offers fast publishing and anonymous posting — users are not required to register an account or sign in through social media.

The app’s user interface looks very similar to Medium and allows for easy embeds. In fact the post editor built-in toolbar looks nearly identical.

You can embed multiple images, Videos from YouTube or Vimeo, and social media snippets from platforms like Twitter.

Publication is instantaneous upon hitting “publish.” Posts are shareable on social media platforms but are designed to work best on Telegram’s new Instant View layout, which works similarly to Facebook’s Instant Articles feature.

The simplicity and speed of Telegraph are not without its downsides. The lack of user history means that if you accidentally delete the link to your published post, it would be very difficult to track down.

2. Write.as

Write.as is a no-frills, distraction free platform for writers who want to write and publish their content without any hassle. It offers uncomplicated features and tools geared towards encouraging the basic act of writing. Users can write anonymously or set up a profile to create a variety of content, including short blog post or detailed reports. The author can choose to keep their work from the world on Write.as, share the direct link with friends, or publish it on other platforms.

The company’s philosophy stems from making digital expression accessible to everyone and providing better online privacy to encourage and protect creativity and collaboration. The business also has strong ethical commitments. Indeed, the founder believes that everyone should be able to access a safe and efficient writing platform to share their content with avid and passionate readers without having to pay an exorbitant price for it. This digital tool was, therefore, created to encourage writing ecosystems to freely grow and thrive.

No sign-ups

One of the best things about Write.as is that you don’t need to sign up and therefore enter your personal information to use it. Thanks to this unique tool, you can now publish and share notes or blogs without having to provide your email address or name. The platform doesn’t log your IP address either so it’s truly anonymous.

Private blogs

On the platform, blogs are not indexed automatically and are private by default. You can, of course, choose to share your blogs and have your blogs indexed but if privacy is a concern you don’t have to. The fact that you can control the level of privacy regarding your data is a unique feature Write.as has nailed. This creative digital tool is genuinely a safe, privacy-centric writing platform. Moreover, you can export all of your content at any time so Write.as doesn’t hold it unless you want them too.

Ad-free

Nothing is more annoying to a reader or writer than a clunky blog post or article cluttered with ads. Write.as is a minimalist interface strictly ad and content marketing free so that you don’t get distracted while you’re creating and neither do your readers. The distraction-free feature makes it an incredibly immersive publishing platform.

 

3. TXT.FYI

Write something, hit publish, and it’s live. That’s the promise of TXT.FYI.

There’s no tracking, ad-tech, webfonts, analytics, javascript, cookies, databases, user accounts, comments, friending, likes, follower counts or other quantifiers of social capital. The only practical way for anyone to find out about a posting is if the author links to it elsewhere.

But it is legible, no-nonsense static hypertext, good for short stories, not-short-enough tweets and adventures and all your numbers station or internet dead drop needs. Here you can scream into the void and know the form of your voice is out there forever.

4. Notepin.co

Notepin offers anonymous blogging. If you want to have a unique address where all your posts will be available, that too is possible without signing up.

You can also have a custom domain with it and create a proper blog with Google Analytics integration, and choose from a limited number of themes. These last features, however, are only offered with its premium plan. The premium plans also comes with some other features:

  • Email Subscriptions-Allows readers to subscribe to your blog and receive email updates each time you post.
  • Custom domain with SSL-Connect your own custom domain to your site with SSL support.
  • SEO customization-Edit the SEO of a blog post to control how it appears in search engines.
  • Password protection-Restrict access to individual posts or even your whole blog.
  • Google Analytics-Integrate with Google Analytics and monitor your blog’s traffic.

5. WordPress

While the options we talked about here deliver varying levels of privacy and blogger-friendly features, there’s really just no competition for what you can accomplish with a good WordPress blog. All the previous options don’t show your blog posts on Google search results, so if you want audience coming from a search engine, WordPress is a go to platform. And the sheer number of useful plugins, including for SEO, just make it a better blogging platform all in all.

What if you could have all the advantages of a proper WordPress blog while still maintaining anonymity? You’ll have to jump through some hoops, but it’s possible.

WordPress requires you to register with a valid email ID. And if you want to use premium functions, you’ll need to set up a payment method, which effectively compromises your anonymity. Thankfully, my tests indicate that WordPress does not blacklist disposable email sites such as temp-mail. It’s a bit technical to set one up though.

All you have to do to use WordPress anonymously is register an account with a temp-mail ID as the username or use service like protonmail, avoid Gmail ID. Next, you need to purchase a domain (like example.com) and a host. Make sure you use a proxy name and most importantly, pay anonymously using bitcoins or cryptocurrency.  This is because anyone on the internet can run a search on a who.is database and find out who’s paying for it and get the person name address.

This limits your audience to people who’ve found your URL through other means (such as you link to it). WordPress blogs, on the other hand, are Google indexed. This means that your anonymous WordPress blog will get much more traffic.

Conclusion

While it is difficult to maintain true anonymity as a blogger, the five platforms in this article all allow bloggers to safely blog with a very high degree of anonymity.

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Medium Blogging Tips: 10 Lessons From Reaching 10,000 Followers

Medium Blogging Tips: 10 Lessons Learned Reaching 10,000+ Followers

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Written by Casey Botticello

February 8, 2021

I’m generally not the type of blogger that gets hung up on arbitrary milestones. So while I enjoy seeing my number of followers on Medium grow, it’s something I really only make note of for my own records, at the end of the month.

However, there is one milestone that I remember standing out to me when I first started blogging on Medium:

Medium accounts that had 10,000+ followers.

Medium Followers

As Medium has grown as a platform, this milestone has become much more common then it was three years ago. Still, when I glanced at my Medium profile today and saw that I had indeed reached the 10,000 follower threshold, I was thrilled!

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I remember how precious each follower was when I started writing on Medium. I even remember having so few followers and paying such close attention, that I would actually notice when my follower count dropped by a single follower!

While it isn’t feasible to track my followers to that degree of specificity now, I’ve tried to largely utilize the same strategies that got me my first 1,000 followers.

Here are 10 Medium blogs tips for increasing the number of followers you have.

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Medium Blogging Tips (to Grow Your Following)

1. Write Consistently

There is no substitute for hard work and consistency. No hacks. No shortcuts. If you want to grow your Medium following, you need to write and publish on a daily basis.

This is underscored in an article I wrote, which examined the posting habits of top earning Medium writers.

While some authors do succeed with less frequent posting, these writers almost always have large audiences from outside of Medium, a lot of Medium followers, or are social media influences.

Because Medium functions as a hybrid social meda-blogging platform, there is a desire among users to stay up-to-date on the topics being discussed. Even if you don’t particularly like someone’s writing, most people follow a fairly diverse group of writers. By publishing consistently, you are adding yourself to the list of “people I should follow” in a reader’s mind. You are also taking advantage of Medium’s large built in audience and algorithm. Medium’s algorithm is constantly showing readers new writers. If you post more frequently, you tend to get exposed to a much larger group of writers.

Obviously, if you are not posting decent quality content, posting frequently may work against you. But if you are offering value in each post, then generally speaking, a writer posting consistently everyday will expand their audience faster than someone posting erratically a few times per month.

2. Responses

Writing responses are a great way to boost your followers. And this makes a lot of sense. If someone actually takes the time to read your article thoroughly (not skimming) and actually writes a response, they are taking time out of their day (time they could potentially be writing themselves) to help start a conversation around your article.

Most writers take note of people who write insightful responses to stories. And while this method can be time intensive, it is one of the most certain ways of increasing your following on Medium.

This is even true among Medium users who only read articles (they never publish any of their own). However, because they take the time to write thoughtful comments, they can accumulate thousands of followers (demonstrating people will follow you on Medium from comments alone, not just out of the principle of reciprocity or because they want claps).

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3. Complete Profile

It’s not that hard for someone to initially follow you on Medium. However, readers likely follow many people and change who they follow to adjust their content.

This is why it is essential to make sure you completely fill out your Medium profile with unique and up-to-date information so that readers can quickly identify you and remember why they followed you.

Although everyone likes to style their profile and bio differently, my general advice (unless you already have a huge and established following) is to clearly state some of the topics you write about and to mention any relevant job roles. If you are new to Medium, simply list some of the topics you are passionate about or plan to write about.

4. Personal Branding

When you are writing on Medium, whether you aim to or not, you are building a personal brand. Readers often need to read multiple pieces of content from the same author before they click the follow button.

However, there are so many competing voices screaming for a reader’s attention on Medium. How can you get someone to remember your profile? Consistent and creative branding.

Using consistent Medium formatting, image style, colors, or even graphics can create a sense of familiarity with readers and encourage them to read your content more thoroughly.

Some ideas for writer looking to stand out:

 

5. Establish a Niche

Medium writer success does not happen overnight. But it also doesn’t happen to writers who erratically jump from topic to topic.

To succeed on Medium, you need to establish a voice that readers become familiar with. This allows you to build a following on the platform that is actively engaged.

Focusing on a few key topics allows you some freedom, but also allows you to build your credentials as a top writer in one or more Medium topics (which are eligible for top writer status).

6. Top Writer Status

Achieving top writer status does not usually translate into clear gains on Medium. It certainly does not increase your earnings. But the one thing it does for many people is it increases their following.

That is why I always suggest that new Medium writers take the time to understand how top writer status is determined. Many users discuss it as if it were some unknowable and mysterious selection process. The truth is, it is actually pretty straightforward and well documented.

It is hard to quantify the precise impact of top writer badges on Medium because they change daily, and writers only have access to limited data analytics tools from Medium. However, in an experiment with one of my many Medium “test” profiles, I seemed to be averaging 30% more new followers per day when I had at least one top writer tag on my profile.

 

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7. Reciprocity

While I don’t advocate randomly following people on Medium as a strategy to grow followers, following a targeted group of writers can definitely help you increase your own Medium following.

A basic tenet of the psychology of relationships is called the Principle of Reciprocity. This principle defines the human need and tendency to want to give something back when something is received. This need is strongest when the gift is given without expectation of return.

But even at the lowly (but important) level of simple social graces, a “thank you” (in response to an act of kindness or compliment) is still followed by another reciprocal gesture of accommodation “you’re welcome.” Not only are we compelled to give something back when a gift is received we are also compelled not to feel indebted to others.

Some groups of people that may be worth following:

  • Writers whose work your genuinely enjoy — This strategy is a must. If you really enjoyed an article someone wrote, follow them. If that post ends up being an aberration and you don’t like any of their subsequent posts, you can always unfollow them. But this gesture goes a long way toward building relationships with other writers.
  • Writers with a smaller following, who, like you, are clearly trying to succeed on Medium — This strategy probably takes the most effort but is definitely the most effective. By following other small but emerging authors, you will definitely increase your followers. You should still focus on writers whose work you actually read and enjoy but these writers are far more likely to follow you back, because they understand the struggle to be heard and are more likely to empathize with you.
  • Writers who have a massive following/are considered thought leaders — Many people mindlessly follow writers who already have tons of followers, even if they don’t enjoy their writing. They do this for 2 reasons:

First, they want to seem like they are “in the know” and they have carefully selected only “the best” writers to follow. The flaw with this line of thinking is that very few people, if anybody care who you specifically follow. This is purely your ego.

Second, they are hoping that by following top writers, they will get more followers because other readers/writers will employ the same logic, and will blindly follow some percentage of the superstar writer’s followers. This method technically does work but it has an extremely low ROI. Since superstar writers have massive followings, you do get exposure by appearing on their list of followers. However, Medium limits the number of profiles you can follow per day, making this option far less scaleable.

8. Get Curated

While there is a constant debate among Medium writers about the exact extent to which curation matters, there is no question that curation does matter for most writers.

Curation on Medium means that your story has been distributed through one or more topics on the platform.

Curators have a lot of say in selecting “the best writing” on Medium. Curators are the gate keepers of Medium’s coveted homepage, topic pages/top writer lists, the Daily Digest newsletter, and other emails that millions receive.

Curated content also appears to fair better over longer periods of time as readers are sent old (but good) curated articles periodically.

Only select topics are eligible for Medium curation.

Medium also have a number of rules and guidelines which establish what content is eligible for curation.

While this may seem daunting at first, most curation guidelines are pretty easy to remember. And even if you do have trouble with one required element of curation, chances are there is already an article covering that.

For example, Medium cares about how you format your article titles. Standard headline styling, preferred by Medium, is title case for the headline and sentence case for the subtitle. This isn’t a firm requirement, but it can be a deciding factor for editors looking for articles to curate.

I wrote an article expanding on this point, and I even created a free tool that will format your titles automatically:

Medium Title Capitalization Tool

Bottom line — learn what is expected of writers, format your articles appropriately, get curated, and you will see an increase in followers, since curated articles tend to be disseminated far wider than a non-curated article.

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9. Create Publications That Cater to Your Content

For writers that want to control the circulation of their own content, creating a Medium publication can be a great option. I’m a big believer in the idea that you should never let others stop you from pursuing your goals. So I started several Medium publications to better showcase my articles.

While this doesn’t magically grant you followers, it does allow you to pick and choose which stories you would like to feature in your publication. Even if your article is selected for a major publication, it will most likely be pushed off the publications “featured article” section, fairly quickly.

Publications definitely lend a sense of legitimacy to writers. At a minimum, it shows that you are committed to writing on Medium for an extended period of time, which can be the incentive that readers need to follow your profile.

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10. Limit Extraneous CTAs

In general, when you blog on a third party digital publishing platform (like Medium), you have to make various tradeoffs as a writer. For example, you need to limit lengthy CTAs (Call to Actions) at the end of your article to get curated. I typically don’t follow this advice, and make a point of always including a CTA that links to my other products, sites, articles, etc. This is my advice in almost all situations, with one notable exception–if you are purely trying to grow your Medium followers.

The reason is twofold. First, as noted above, extraneous CTAs lower the odds of curation and being featured across the Medium platform. Lower platform exposure means less new followers. The second reason is because CTAs drive traffic away from your Medium profile (which is why Medium doesn’t like them). But if someone is interested in following you, and they click on your CTA, you risk that they will only follow you on external sites or profiles.

For someone who is looking to scale up their Medium followers as fast as possible, keep things simple. Don’t suggest that people follow you on other social media platforms or sign up for your email list.

When someone is reading your articles, the only platform you can be sure they use or have an account with, is Medium. So promoting your twitter account, your newsletter, or even your personal site, serves as a distraction. Even if people do click on your CTA, they may not realize that they are not following you on Medium.

Again, this goes against my general strategy of blogging which emphasizes audience ownership and email list portability, but if you wanted to increase your Medium following in particular, limiting extraneous CTAs would be worth considering, at least for some period of time.

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Conclusion

Building a following on Medium takes time, persistence, and long-term strategy. While these 10 techniques described above worked for me, Medium continues to evolve as a platform, and some of these will probably be less relevant over time. Still, these 10 principles have guided me in reaching 10,000 followers over the past three years.

I think there are some hacks like clapping for random articles, targeted commenting, and private clap groups that probably work in terms of driving up what is technically your follower account. But the strategies above have built an audience that is far more engaged than most writers at the same level. I suspect this is partly because most writers with large followings (1) use spammy techniques which attract bots and non-member accounts and (2) writers with 10,000+ followers may have generated a disproportionate amount of those followers from a few viral articles that were promoted by Medium. As a result, many of those follower accounts may be legitimate, but a large percent are probably inactive users (Medium presumably has a decent churn rate given its size and shifting business model).

So while it is exciting to hit certain follower milestones, don’t get too caught up in watching your stats. I know that’s easier said than done, but focusising on producing high value content (to readers, not necessarily what you would find high value) is a strategy thaat increases both the total number of followers, as well as the value of each follower.

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The Best Blogs About Blogging

The Best Blogs About Blogging

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Written by Casey Botticello

January 18, 2021

Blogging has become the essential pillar of content marketing. And while there are blogs covering virtually every imaginable niche, when I ran a recent Google search for the “best blogs about blogging” I was shocked to find the top results were riddled with defunct sites.

Since Blogging Guide has become a major resource for bloggers and digital marketers, I decided to develop a current list of the best blogging websites in 2021.

These are all resources that I recommend to Blogging Guide subscribers, and that I personally follow to stay up-to-date on digital publishing, marketing, blogging, and eCommerce trends.

All of the blogs on this list contain a blog that is directly about blogging or focuses on a relevant blogging related topic (digital marketing, freelance writing, website design, digital publishing, etc.). Some of these blogs are large content marketing blogs attached to a SaaS product (HubSpot), whereas others are small blogs operated by a single writer offering blogging tips (Bloggingwithmo).

    1. Buffer

    Buffer is a software application for the web and mobile, designed to manage accounts in social networks, by providing the means for a user to schedule posts to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Instagram Stories, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, as well as analyze their results and engage with their community.

    Buffer is one of the few tech companies built around the concept of radical transparency. As part of this, they operate both a company blog and a marketing blog. Both are full of amazing content and are essential reading for anyone trying to make it as a blogger or establish an online presence.

    An example of the high quality posts produced by Buffer:

    Why social commerce will rule social media in 2020

    2. Copyblogger

    Since 2006, Copyblogger has been teaching people how to create killer online content. Copyblogger started as a simple one-man blog. It evolved into a highly profitable company with 8 figures in annual revenue thanks to useful content, smart copywriting, and exceptional products and services. They also have an incredibly useful blog, which covers a wide range of writing and marketing topics. True to its name, Copyblogger is rich with well-written content, and a clean minimalist website design.

    An example of the high quality posts produced by Copyblogger:

     Why You Think Content Marketing Doesn’t Work

    3. Content Marketing Institute

    Content Marketing Institute desribes itself as “the leading global content marketing education and training organization, teaching enterprise brands how to attract and retain customers through compelling, multichannel storytelling.”

    An example of the high quality posts produced by Content Marketing Institute:

    100+ Content Marketing Predictions for 2021

    4. HubSpot

    HubSpot’s CRM platform has all the tools and integrations you need for marketing, sales, content management, and customer service. HubSpot also contains one of the most comprehensive collections of blog posts explaining the ins-and-outs of marketing and sales.

    An example of the high quality posts produced by HubSpot:

    How to Get on Board With the Digital Transformation [+ Examples]

    5. Marketing Insider Group

    Marketing Insider Group provides content marketing strategy and content development services that helps you build the business case, defines what you need to do, and delivers digital platforms that produce a measurable return on your marketing investment. They also have their own amazing content marketing blog, filled with tons of insightful articles.

    An example of the high quality posts produced by Marketing Insider Group:

    11 Digital Marketing Trends for Growing Your Business in 2021

    6. Blogging Guide

    Blogging Guide is an online community of writers. Our content is crafted to help new bloggers monetize their online writing. We also provide in-depth coverage of all digital publishing platforms, to help writers and marketers stay ahead of the curve.

    An example of the high quality posts produced by Blogging Guide:

     Substack Newsletter Review and Platform Tips (1 Year In)

    7. CoSchedule

    CoSchedule is a company offering a family of agile marketing tools that will help you stay focused, deliver projects on time, and make your team happy. You most likely know them from their famous free headline analyzer. CoSchedule also has an amazing marketing blog, full of high quality and in-depth posts.

    An example of the high quality posts produced by CoSchedule:

    Marketing Research Strategies: Ideas and Approaches to Conducting Research for Marketing Purposes

    8. Upland Software

    Upland Software is a leader in cloud-based tools for digital transformation. The Upland Cloud enables thousands of organizations to engage with customers on key digital channels, optimize sales team performance, manage projects and IT costs, and automate critical document workflows. They also have a great blog full of articles, whitepapers, and reports.

    An example of the high quality posts produced by Upland Software:

    Are B2B and B2C Going to Converge into One?

    9. Oberlo

    Oberlo is a platform that makes it easy to find awesome products to sell online. With Oberlo, you can access a huge variety of different products with just a few clicks. Whether it’s apparel, electronics, toys, beauty, or the next trending product, Oberlo makes it easy for you to find products from suppliers all over the world and instantly add them to your online store. They also have a really useful blog full of detailed case studies and articles.

    An example of the high quality posts produced by Oberlo:

    How I Built a Dropshipping Store That Made $6,667 in Under 8 Weeks

    10. Contently

    Great content marketing requires three key ingredients: a content strategy that delights your audience, a content marketing platform that streamlines campaigns, and great storytellers that make people care. Contently provides all three to help brands create high-performing content that builds awareness and generates leads. They also have several blogs focusing on strategy, digital transformation, storytelling, and freelancing.

    An example of the high quality posts produced by Contently:

     How to Map Content Marketing to Revenue, in 3 Steps

    11. Moz

    Moz was founded by Rand Fishkin and Gillian Muessig in 2004. It was called SEOmoz, and started as a blog and an online community where some of the world’s first SEO experts shared their research and ideas. They launched the Beginner’s Guide to SEO and their first Search Ranking Factors study, and have launched some of the first SEO tools. Basically, there are few that know more about SEO than Moz. Not surprisingly, Moz has an excellent blog covering SEO and online marketing, from a wide range of industry experts.

    An example of the high quality posts produced by Moz:

    How to Detect and Improve Underperforming Content: A Guide to Optimization

    12. Heidi Cohen

    Heidi Cohen’s Actionable Marketing Guide provides you with marketing insights on social media, content marketing and mobile – including the ever expanding world of connected devices and the Internet of Things. Every Actionable Marketing Guide article includes valuable insights along with practical tips and tactics you can easily apply to your current marketing and business plans.

    An example of the high quality posts produced by Heidi Cohen:

    Blogging: What I Wish I Knew When I Started

    13. InspireFirst

    Founded by Chris Craft in 2018, InspireFirst was launched to teach you the art and science of good writing. It is our goal to help you become a more productive and profitable writer. InspireFirst has an amazing blog covering writing and blogging tips, content marketing tips, productivity, keyword research, Email marketing, and much more!

    An example of the high quality posts produced by InspireFirst:

    3×3 Writing Process: 9 Key Steps for Writing More Amazing Blog Posts

    inspirefirst

    14. AND.CO

    AND.CO is a business management software designed to help freelancers, solopreneurs, and entrepreneurs save time on running their business. They also have an amazing blog geared toward freelancers and digital nomads.

    An example of the high quality posts produced by AND.CO:

    Why Freelancers Should Become Influencers to Increase Their Earnings

    15. Snappa

    Snappa was founded in 2015 when the founders noticed that a lot of small businesses struggled to create quality online graphics. Today, Snappa is used by thousands of marketers, entrepreneurs, and non-designers to create a wide range of graphics for social media, display ads, blog posts, and more.

    An example of the high quality posts produced by Snappa:

    7 Things You Need to Know About the New Facebook Page Layout [2021]

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    The Digital Publishing Landscape Powered by the Passion Economy

    The Digital Publishing Landscape

    blogging guide digital publishing landscape, blogging platforms, blogging guide, medium blogging guide, substack blogging guide, free blogging platforms, passion economy, creator economy, digital publishing landscape, digital publishing platforms, creator platforms

    Written by Casey Botticello

    January 13, 2021

    Digital publishing includes the digital publication of e-books, digital magazines, and the development of digital libraries and catalogues. It also includes an editorial aspect, that consists of editing books, journals or magazines that are mostly destined to be read on a screen (computer, e-reader, tablet, smartphone).

    However, in the context of digital content creation as part of the growing passion economy, digital publishing specifically refers to a subset of platforms that help content creators:

    digital publishing features in the passion economy

    These platforms all help content creators connect with and monetize an audience. Some of the popular tools offered by these platforms to entice content creators are hosted blogging platforms, newsletter creation platforms, e-commerce tools, membership subscription services, and premium gated content.

    What is The Passion Economy?

    Over the past four decades, most workers have been losing out in terms of negotiating power and wages. Globalization, the decline of unions and automation have made it significantly harder for the middle class to thrive.

    For workers, this economy meant that it was best to conform, to follow the rules and show employers that they could accommodate their needs. Not following the rules meant taking risks that could jeopardize your livelihood. But becoming a mere cog in the well-oiled machine of the mass economy came with its trade-off: job stability and a decent pay.

    However, this trade-off has lead to many workers having to work long hours in jobs that they hate, merely to survive. Many of those who have opted out of the “traditional” workforce are part of the gig economy.

    This “gig economy” was marketed as the path to increased personal freedom and the chance to “be your own boss.”

    In the gig economy, workers could easily monetize their time in specific, narrow services like food delivery, parking, or transportation. The platforms were convenient for both the user and the provider: since they took care of traditional business hurdles like customer acquisition and pricing, they allowed the worker to focus solely on the service rendered.

    While these gig platforms offered workers some increased control of their time, the work was still largely unsatisfying to many.

    This lead to the rise of the “passion economy,” which is based on individual knowledge-intensive skills, as opposed to commoditization task fulfillment.

    Some examples of workers monetizing their individuality through platforms that power the passion economy:

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    The passion economy is partly driven by a desire from workers to highlight their individuality. But it is also driven by the rise of many digital platforms that have enabled creators to monetize their content, knowledge, or skills. Below are some of the top platforms within the digital publishing sector that are competing for creators (organized by platform vertical).

    Digital Publishing Platforms by Vertical

    1. Pre-Monetized Blogging Platforms (Medium, HubPages, Steemit, Vocal, etc.)

    Medium is one of the best examples of the digital publishing platforms that have enabled content creators to monetize their writing. Readers are charged a subscription fee to access stories across the entire Medium platform. Medium features stories from both amateur writers and major media publications. Writers on Medium are compensated through the Medium Partner Program. The amount of money a writer makes is proportionate to the amount of time readers spend engaging with their stories. 

    In this arrangement, Medium functions as a marketplace for writers looking to monetize their work. Medium’s marketplace is entirely plug and play, meaning writers can sign up and start earning revenue with minimal set-up. 

    Medium benefited from an early mover advantage as well as a financial advantage. Medium has received over 150 million in private funding and its founder, Ev Williams (co-founder of Twitter) has substantial personal wealth.

    However, despite these advantages, Medium has struggled to define its business model. Although Medium has labeled itself a platform, it has at times tried to be a publisher as well.

    A publisher is in the business of creating content and growing readership. Medium saw an opportunity to create a new kind of publisher. Unlike traditional publications, Medium incentivizes an army of independent journalists and writers to produce a constant stream of good quality content. The advantage of Medium’s approach under the “publisher” model is that it doesn’t have to employ a large number of writers or any at all. It needs to grow its readership (in particular readers who are willing to pay for content) and figure out the best way to distribute revenue from subscriptions to the writers.

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    Medium-as-a-publisher provided readers with much broader and diverse content created by the army of independent writers and journalists. It’s worth the $5 per month subscription because you can’t get content from such diverse topics from many other publications. Subscriptions to a combination The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Financial Times, The Atlantic, and other major publications, would cost users $250+ year.

    A platform, on the other hand, provides tools for publishers to create and publish content, as well as engage and grow readerships and subscriptions. The responsibility for growing audiences lies in the hands of publishers, not the platform. The value of the platform comes from making it easy for publishers to create publications and engage readers.

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    Medium-as-a-platform interested many publications because it promised to solve their tech, infrastructure, and SEO problems. Publishers want to create content, not deal with the headache of constantly maintaining their own platform. Not only is it challenging to replicate the site aesthetics of platform like Medium, but is is also expensive, requiring a staff of several people.

    Both models are valid when viewed by themselves are viable. But they are fundamentally incompatible when used together. If you are a publisher, you have to focus on content discovery and readership growth. If you are a platform, you need to focus on infrastructure and readership engagement tools while accommodating the needs of publishers, or independent writers, to manage their publications.

    The result of these two conflicting business models?

    Medium is fighting off several other platforms who are offering writers clear (and potentially more lucrative) business models and platforms. A prime example of this is Substack, which is discussed in the following section.

    Medium Alternatives

    Although Medium is probably the largest player in the pre-monetized blogging space, there are several other competitors, including HubPages, Steemit, News Break, and Vocal.

    HubPages is the longest running of these competitors, but due to mismanagement, battles with Google leading to SEO demotion, and a limited audience, the company is not a serious threat to Medium.

    Steemit provides an interesting alternative to Medium since writers get paid in cryptocurrency called STEEM. However, Steemit doesn’t have the mass appeal or traction to challenge Medium.

    Vocal is a great alternative to Medium, and the transparency of their payment model is appealing to many writers. However, Vocal does not have an auidence near the size of MEdium’s.

    News Break is the newest of these pre-monetized digital publishing platforms. Its founders have sunk a lot of money into driving the creation of local news and content. News Break’s Creator Program is only a few months old (still to early to assess) and I doubt it will destroy Medium, but the guarenteed monthly payouts or payouts per article are appealing to many passion economy writers.

    2. Newsletter Publishing Platforms

    Substack is another popular digital publishing platform powering the passion economy, and perhaps the most popular of the newsletter-specific publishing platforms. However, unlike Medium, Substack’s business model involves hosting subscription newsletter creation tools for writers.

    Substack requires creators to work independently to acquire customers (Medium provides a built in audience, with its Partner Program). Substack helps with distribution—providing tools for newsletter marketing, analytics, built in payment processing for multi-tiered subscriptions limited CRM functionality, and an easy to use email marketing system—but writers are largely responsible for growing their own newsletters.

    Substack poses a threat to Medium because, as a SaaS tool (as opposed to a marketplace tool), Substack offers more financial upside for creators who already have a large customer base. There are several ways in which newsletter creation platforms (such as Substack) threaten marketplace tools, such as Medium:

    • Substack will poach top writer talent from Medium. Medium has attempted to slow this “platform brain drain” by keeping in place various systems that are frustrating to Medium writers, but are effective in discouraging these writers from starting on a new platform. The most obvious example of this is Medium’s low level of email list portability and the difficulty of communication with followers. As explained in the previous section, Medium has attempted to act as both a publisher and platform. This moat is largely superficial, though, as platforms like Substack prove. Since Medium requires no exclusivity from its writers, most writers eventually will make the determination that “owning their own email list” and being able to communicate with their followers, independent of Medium as an intermediary, is worth leaving the platform over.
    • Substack’s current business model is much more scalable than Medium’s business model. Medium is a marketplace where writers can easily monetize their writing. Substack is a SaaS tool which simply provides the technical infrastructure allowing writers to create their own newsletters. In the Substack model, newsletter writers are responsible for all writing, editorial planning, marketing, and ultimately building an audience. Substack makes money by charging a processing fee which is a percentage of a newsletters revenue. Medium’s model relies upon content curation, (some) editorial direction, and it needs to manually moderate content. All of this is time intensive and expensive, making it hard to scale.
    • Medium’s model was successful in driving growth over the past 8 years, but it also was effectively subsidized heavily by large venture capital investments. It is tricky to say since Medium is a privately held company, but there is no evidence that Medium is actually profitable. Substack, by its very design is much more likely to achieve profitability, first or faster. The team required to run Substack is very lean, and the marginal cost of adding a new newsletter to their network is extremely small.
    • Substack’s business model aligns the financial interests of writers and Substack better than the financial interests of Medium writers and Medium as a company. If I publish my writing on Substack, Substack only makes money if I succeed in selling subscriptions to my newsletter. Medium, by contrast, benefits from the content provided freely by writers. Medium writers, however, have little ability to control their earnings. They are dependent upon earnings that Medium allocates (Medium currently uses Member Reading Time to proportionately allocate earnings). Let’s say I write an article on Medium that goes viral through organic search traffic. This article could earn a very small amount of money (or none at all) because writers are only paid for reading time from paid medium subscribers. In the most extreme case, is is possible that I could write a viral article with millions of views, receiving little or no compensation for my effort, and Medium would reap the full upside of the article’s success as this helps boost paid platform reader subscriptions.

    While Substack does have some advantages over Medium, I am not saying that Medium will collapse. I am also not ruling out the possibility that Substack itself will fail. Why?

     

    •  Substack is not competing for passion economy creators in a vacuum. Substack faces direct competition from platforms such as Revue or Buttondown. Further, the service offered by Substack is not proprietary, meaning additional competitors could enter the field at any given time.
    • Substack is vulnerable to “platform brain drain” much like Medium. In the case of Substack, top earning publications can and sometimes already have left Substack, in order to avoid paying Substack their fee or because they want to build a custom publishing platform, designed to meet their followers needs better.
    • Substack newsletters face less direct, but strong competition from private membership communities. These online community building platforms contain a wide range of features (with a newsletter being among the simpler platform features.

    3. Video Publishing / Streaming Platforms

    Twitch is a leading live video streaming platform, which caters to the viewers with videos of different genres, ranging from music, cooking, Q&A, and instructional sessions, to video games and everything in between. It is just like YouTube, but with live videos. Launched in 2011 by Justin Kan, Twitch made its initial impact catering to a niche of online gamers and was acquired by Amazon in 2014.

    In 2019, Twitch streamed 2.72 billion hours, far surpassing YouTube with just 736 million hours of video streaming.

    When your audience grows, so does your potential to earn money. But there are a few ways you can cash in as you’re still growing your following:

    Donations

    Twitch users like to support their own. One of the main ways they do this is by donating money to their favorite streamers. Add a “donate” button to your channel — via PayPal or a third-party app, such as Streamlabs — and let viewers show you the money.

    Brand Partnerships

    Companies use Twitch streamers to get their products in front of people, and the streamers get a kickback in return. This is typically referred to as a partner or affiliate relationship (not to be confused with Twitch’s partner and affiliate programs, more on that later).
    Affiliate opportunities for Twitch streamers can come from companies that sell hardware and software, energy drinks and accessories, such as headsets and chairs. Commissions vary, but for example, Razer — the hardware and software company — offers affiliates up to 20% commission on the sale of its products.
    Brands don’t typically come to you unless you’re a big-time gamer. Talk with other streamers to suss out affiliate opportunities.

    Merchandise

    If you have a dedicated audience, consider selling your own merchandise — think t-shirts, stickers, coffee mugs and laptop cases — via a third-party site such as TeePublic or Spreadshop. Just create a storefront, stock it with items — bearing your own design or curated from other sources — and promote it on your Twitch channel.

     While Twitch has been featured due to its high level of recent growth, it is far from the only video platform serving the passion economy.

    YouTube is still the dominant player in the field, and mobile apps like TikTok are experiencing just as much growth, if not more. All of these companies offer creators the chance to monetize their video content.

    4. Audio Publishing & Podcast Platforms

    Listening to podcasts has become mainstream. Today, more than half the US population has listened to roughly a million shows. We’ve seen the rise of podcast creators, largely due to innovations in podcasting tools and hardware. Tools like Anchor have enabled any creator to host and distribute their audio content.

    An app like Clubhouse provides an experience that is somewhere between a conference call, a podcast, and a live talk show. The content is ephemeral, like a traditional phone call, however it’s also a horizontal and public platform, which is more like live podcasting.

    Donations to podcasters primarily happen off-platform today, via third-party tools such as Patreon, PayPal, and Venmo. The top podcaster on Patreon, Chapo Trap House, a political humor podcast, earns over $131K per month from almost 30K patrons. And some other listening apps also have introduced one-off tipping capability or patronage features.

    Another monetization mechanism that companies are experimenting with is branded content. As opposed to advertising — which first start with the content and then sell ads to monetize — branded shows create a podcast in collaboration with a company, for a fee.

    There’s also a lot of activity happening right now in the subscription and membership space. Recently-launched podcasting app Luminary Media charges $8 a month for access to a slate of more than 40 exclusive podcasts, and the app also has a free listening experience.

    While audio and podcasting paltfroms still have a ways to go in terms of monetizing content, they are definitely a major source of passion economy creator earnings.

    5. Course & Webinar Creation Platforms

    The online course market hit $187.5 billion in 2018, and its value seems certain to increase in the coming years. Studies predict that the e-learning industry will reach $325 billion. This projected increase is likely due to a shift in workplace training needs, hiring trends, and industry developments like LinkedIn’s acquisition of Lynda. Professional success these days depends on continuous learning and development.

    An industry survey of more than 1,000 entrepreneurs conducted by Global Industry Analysts found that 20 percent of respondents were in the process of creating an online course.

    According to Statista, in 2017, the self-paced e-learning product market amounted to 46.67 billion U.S. dollars. Individuals and businesses continue to be interested in e-learning, and you don’t need any specific qualifications to get started. While academic subjects are popular, you can also teach practical skills or virtually any other topic. 

    One example is Justin Jackson who has turned his blogging into a digital membership business, using one of the most populat online course creation tools.

    Podia is a popular online course platform that can be used to build your entire storefront. It allows you to create all the educational content you could possibly need. You can build multiple online courses, create digital downloads, set up separate membership sites, and host them all in one place.

    Another similar type of platform is Thinkific. Thinkific is a powerful all-in-one course software solution that makes it easy to create and sell courses on your own course website. It’s a robust platform that scales well as you grow and is capable of supporting millions of students.

     Course and webinar creation platforms have been lucrative since thier inception, so the success of this latest group of passion economy platforms is not a suprise. Education had been trending toward digital sources for years, with many colleges and universities integrating online course platforms. What has been a surprise though are the rise of e-learning courses and webinars led by individuals, as opposed to large incumbent educational institutions. Much of this tranformation started before the pandemic, but have been implemented at a staggering rate after the pandemic.

    As noted in a report from MIT Technology Review Insights:

    The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated digital transformation strategies.

    While most of the U.S. (and much of the world) is struggling to cope with the burden of COVID19, digital publishing platforms and passion economy platforms are growing at an unprecedented rate. Courses, webinars, and other e-learning products are quickly developing into the most lucrative passion economy vertical.

    6. Online Community Engagement Platforms

    The primary goals of building an online community include increasing user engagement, providing better support at reduced costs, building customer loyalty, and converting customers into advocates. However, there are people and organizations who have started to make a fortune out of their online communities by monetizing them.

    Whether it is through direct or indirect monetization of an online community, the demand for online communities has led to a number of popular online community building platforms. Many of these are designed for users who have no experience coding or managing complex technical infrastructure.

    PeerBoard is an example of the online community building tools that have been created. PeerBoard is software that allows you to build a branded, feature-rich community forum on your website, without requiring coding. PeerBoard is one of the leaders of the group of sites that are indirectly monetizing an online community. By that, I mean that PeerBoard is not currently charging member for access to the forums they host. Rather, community organizers are building communities in parallel to existing passion economy products (i.e. a Substack newsletter, an online course, or Podcast discussion group being built to enhance the community experience of an already monetized audience).

    Another popular platform designed for monetizing online communities is Memberful. Memberful runs independently in the background helping online community managers sell memberships and manage the day to day work involved with running a subscription business. This is an example of an online community engagement platform that is allowing creators to directly monetize their audience.

    7. Project-Based Funding Platforms

    The idea of crowdfunding (project funding) is fairly old. Going back even to the 19th century, book printing was financed by donations from those interested in a specific book. Even the Statue of Liberty in New York was co-financed by donation campaigns, which raised a total of $160,000 to complete the base construction.

    However, crowdfunding in the modern sense only became an easily accessible financing model based on the social and globally networked structure of Web 2.0 with the launch of the crowdfunding sites Indiegogo (2008) and Kickstarter (2009).

    Indiegogo and Kickstarter are donation platforms that allow fans to donate to their favorite creators and the projects that these creators need help financing.

    Creators use these platforms to raise money to publish their one-off books, comics, documentaries, short films, albums, etc. These project based funding platforms typically charge a 5% commission on any money raised.

    These sites have led to the realization of the dreams of many indie creators, but many of these supporters prefer to more directly support content creators, and receive premium access or merchandise, as seen in the next section.

    8. Tips, Patronage, and Fan-Based Funding Platforms

    Patreon is the most prominent of the “patronage” type of passion economy companies. In a nutshell, Patreon allows creators—from musicians over artists to trainers, teachers and local venues— to offer paid subscriptions to their content. 

    For creators, Patreon handles the audience management backend, the payment processing, and a moderate level of curation. For these services, Patreons keeps a stake between the 5% and the 12% of creators’ earnings, depending on the service level Creators select from Patreon.

    More than 150,000 artists use Patreon to generate income by offering exclusive content and communities to more than 4 million patrons in over 180 countries (and they’ve earned well over $1B in the process). More than 30,000 creators launched in the first 3 weeks of March 2020 alone, and these new creators are acquiring patrons faster than usual.

    The other popular example of this category are the series of “tip jar” platforms which have emerged. Instead of setting up a recurring donation to your favorite creator, you can also make one-time donations, which is much lower friction for fans to get involved.

    Platforms like Ko-fi and Buy Me a Coffee gives creators the platform to ask fans for $5 here and there. These platforms can let creators reach their maximum audience by not requiring upfront payment, while still offering a way for fans to voluntarily support a creator financially. Some larger social networks also offer ways to tip creators, especially during livestreams, in exchange for shout-outs from their favorite streamers or special badges and added visibility to other fans.

     

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