15 Quick Fixes To Increase Your Blog Opt-in Rates Today

In blogging and Internet marketing in general, conversions are everything. Really.

Just think about it – getting 1,000 visitors a day is great. But if none of those visitors subscribe to your blog, i.e. converts, what’s the point? You might be getting hoards of traffic, but if none of those visitors actually hop onto your mailing list, chances are that you won’t be making any money.

E-mail marketing and focusing on getting people to opt in to your lists is something that will not only boost your credibility and popularity across the blogosphere, but will also bring you revenue. In fact, many Internet marketers (Michael Dunlop, for example) will tell you that 80% of their online income (or more) comes solely from their list.

Clearly, list-building and getting those opt-ins is very important. That said, here are 15 nifty tips to increase your blog opt-in rates from the pros.

1. You Are Giving Something Away, Right?

People are always looking out for themselves. Believe it or not, 99% of your visitors won’t subscribe to your mailing list just because you regularly post high quality content to your blog (even though high quality content is a must). Readers look out for benefits, and what they stand to gain from subscribing to your list.

They need an incentive. An eBook, access to an exclusive interview, or even a subscriber-only membership with subscriber-only content, like what CopyBlogger does.

Make sure that whatever you offer up as an incentive is actually of some sort of value. Don’t just rebrand and give away cheap PLR, or rehash/spin your blog posts and call the conglomeration an “eBook”. Take the time to craft a value-filled eBook or video that your subscribers will love and thank you for. 

Additionally, make sure it’s relevant to your niche. If you blog about weight loss, your readers probably don’t want a video tutorial on how to grow petunias.

2. Look Pretty Ugly

I bet you’ve always wanted those “cool” squeeze pages – the ones that look sleek, modern, and very high-tech. I sure know I did in my initial blogging days.

But the truth is, the plain ugly Janes actually convert much higher. “Sleek Sally” squeeze pages don’t even begin to compare to a plain, ugly headline and a plain, ugly background with a plain, ugly opt-in box.

The reason why they work much better is because, ugly as they are, they grab your attention and hold it. Those modern squeeze pages, on the other hand, usually have too much confusion going on and simply don’t engage viewers.

3. Don’t Ask For Information You Don’t Need

People are always hesitant to giving out their information, especially online. For all they know, you’re just another insurance salesman (and they certainly don’t want to give insurance salesmen their home address or cell phone number). And let’s face it – you don’t need either of those details to send someone an eBook. All you need is a verified e-mail address.

If you can go without their first name (and you usually can), then don’t ask for it. Keep in mind that all you need for a sales-generating autoresponder sequence is an e-mail address. Nothing more, nothing less.

4. Add In A Testimonial Or Two … Or Three

If you haven’t noticed, great sales letters often include a bunch of customer testimonials to add as proof the product is legitimate.

If it works for sales copy, then why shouldn’t it work for your squeeze page?

After having secured a few opt-ins, send out an e-mail broadcast as king subscribers to reply to your e-mail address and say whether or not they found the book helpful. Better yet, randomly pick a few e-mails off your list and send them a personal message. If you can get something along the lines of “I can’t believe Mr. X is giving this info away for free!!”, it will sure be a lot easier to get those opt-ins rolling in.

What’s even better is if you can get a testimonial from a widely respected and popular man in your industry (like Darren Rowse in blogging).

5. Channel Your Traffic Into Your Squeeze Page

As soon as any visitor hops onto your blog, you should have one purpose for them – to subscribe to your mailing list. Once they’re on your list, then you can worry about things like getting them to interact with your blog posts and share/link to your articles and perhaps even purchase your (affiliate) product.

With that goal in mind, set up your blog so that it’s just one big funnel channeling all traffic into your squeeze page.

6. Use A Pop-Up/Lightbox Plugin

There’s quite a bit of controversy and debate over whether or not you should add a pop-up/lightbox on your blog. You’ll find die-hard lightbox fans, and you’ll find webmasters out there who are on a quest to eliminate all pop-ups from the universe.

But seriously, there’s simply no denying the fact that pop-ups increase conversion rates. Leslie Samuels reported a 548% overnight increase in subscriptions after installing and activating a pop-up plugin. Syed Balkhi, founder of WPBeginner, increased their subscription rate more than six times over by using their premium plugin “OptinMonster”. Pop-ups are quite possibly the best way to ensure that all your viewers know that you’re giving away something of value in exchange for their e-mail address.

If you’re willing to suffer a bit in the bounce rate department while gaining an increased opt-in rate, then go for a pop-up.

7. Target Your Traffic

Even though most of us probably already realize that all traffic was not created equal, some need it to be reiterated one more time.

Different kinds of traffic from different sources of traffic will get you different conversion rates. If you don’t drive targeted traffic to your blog (in other words, visitors who are actually interested in what you blog about), then you won’t get conversions. It’s that simple.

On the other hand, if you zero in and narrow your focus market down so that every visitor who arrives at your blog is hungry for what you offer in your blog posts, you’ll boost your conversions by a whole lot overnight. Plus, your bounce rate is likely to plummet and your average visit duration and pageviews per visitor metrics are likely to skyrocket.

8. Insert Your Opt-in Form At The End Of Every Post

Right after someone gets through reading one of your awesome posts, they’re looking for what they should do next. Comment? Take a look at a related post? Hit the “exit tab” button?

Why not make them subscribe?

Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income increased his opt-in rate by 25% when he added an opt-in box at the end of every post as a fresh addition to his new blog design.

9. Be Upfront & Honest

If you’re going to send subscribers daily tips on how to grow their biceps, fine. Tell them that in the squeeze page.

If you’re going to send them affiliate promotions every-so-often for whey protein supplements they’re sure to love, fine. Tell them that in your squeeze page.

Always be upfront and honest in your squeeze page. While telling them they’ll get a few product promotions might not directly increase your conversion rate, it will pre-qualify your traffic. You’ll end up building a much more responsive list that will actually buy products (since they already know that they will get those affiliate promotions) and not just hunt around for freebies.

10. Their Private Details Are Safe With You

Don’t worry. Your details are 100% safe with me.

Going back to the “people don’t wanna give out their private details” theme, make sure that you’re telling your leads that your details are absolutely 100% safe with you. Locked in a vault with the key thrown away.

Also re-assure them by telling them that they won’t see a promotion in their inbox every 3 hours, unlike what they might be getting from most of the mailing lists to which they are subscribed.

11. Add Some Authority Into The Mix

The more weight your name carries, the better.

If you’ve seen The Hobbit (great film, by the way – definitely mark a date on your calendar to watch it soon), then you would have Authoritynoticed that whenever the name “Thorin Oakenshield” is mentioned, a certain awe and deep respect is evident in the faces of those in the vicinity. His name is great, his name carries weight, and his name has a stamp of authority across it.

The more authority you wield and the more respect you command in your niche, the more likely people are to subscribe to your blog.

12. Brag A Lot

Have you been featured in a national magazine related to your niche? Tell your visitors. That’s right, stick up a huge header telling everybody where your blog has been featured – the New York Times, MSN, ProBlogger (if you’re in the blogging niche), and in any other written publication that carries a lot of authority.

You’re building credibility for yourself and letting all your visitors know that you’re an expert.

13. Show People Your Face

How Faces Impact Conversions
Photo courtesy Epsos via Flickr.

Fact is, people are much more likely to subscribe to your list and buy from you when they see your face and realize that you are not just a faceless mask behind a computer screen. We all like to be reminded that those we buy from are humans, and not robots.

Keep your profile image professional and neat (NOT your Facebook cover depicting your family’s most recent snowboarding trip). Smile – look friendly and approachable.

In other words, ensure you’re not building a distance between you and your potential subscribers. Instead, you are making a connection with them.

14. Use The Right Color Combination

Color Conversions
Courtesy Doug88 via Flickr.

A recent infographic from KISSMetrics showed the effect color has on call-to-action, links, and “buy now” buttons. Different colors schemes fire different brain synapses and convey different feelings and emotions to viewers.

There’s no one-fits-all color for your links and buttons, but HubSpot showed that a red “subscribe” button increased page conversions by nearly 21% when compared to a green button. Think of it! 21%! If you average a fair 20 subscribers a day, that’s an extra 7000 subscribers per year – just by changing the button color!

15. Test, Test, And Re-test

If your squeeze page isn’t converting well, change it around and test the results of the new page versus the results of the old one. Pick the winner.

Then test again. And again…until you’ve got your squeeze page converting at a healthy 30+% percent at least.

Good old-fashioned split-testing can get you miles closer to where you want your blog to be.

Summing Up

Just to recap:

  • offer a free incentive, and make sure it’s displayed everywhere (especially at the ends of posts)
  • choose “plain Janes” over “Sleek Sallys”
  • don’t ask for information you don’t need, and keep their details private
  • use a pop-up if you’re willing to risk the bounce rate and overall user engagement
  • add in a testimonial … or two … or three
  • target your traffic
  • be upfront and honest
  • be authoritative
  • be human
  • think color psychology
  • and above all, split-test till the cows come come

With these fifteen tips, you’re well on your way to a high-converting blog that brings you subscribers, sales, and ultimately, revenue.

Psst! While you’re at it, why not take a look at our squeeze page and take a few leaves out of our book?

*Featured image courtesy Beantin via Flickr.

How to Start a Content Curation Blog

In a recent post, we took a look at what content curation can do for bloggers as well as the audience you’re intending to reach. In today’s post, we’ll give you a blow-by-blow on the basics of curation in order to teach you how to start a content curation blog.

To begin with, it’s important to note that curation is a time-intensive activity which should be done consistently for weeks at a time if you’re ever going to see any results. You should use it as an adjunct to your content creation efforts to ensure that you’re giving your readers a variety of media to maintain their interest in your blog.

There are 3 major steps to start a content curation blog:

  1. Seek
  2. Sense
  3. Create and Share

We’ll take a look at the three more extensively shortly; however, let’s first outline a few things every blog curator should have or know.

First of all, it’s important to know your audience. You could have a blog that’s visited by a specific group of people but not know the details behind these people. Things you need to find out include the following:

  • The median age of the people reading your blog.
  • The gender makeup (do more males than females read your blog?)
  • The peak times when it comes to blog traffic.
  • The socioeconomic makeup of your audience.

One of the ways you can find out this kind of information would be to use the Google Analytics tool found here. A good analytics tool will give you real-time information regarding your blog audience makeup which will in turn help you target them in such a way that they’ll feel as if you really know them as well as understand their needs. This is, in essence, content marketing at its best.

Here are a few other analytics tools you can use in conjunction with Google Analytics:

  1. Crazy Egg
  2. Performancing Metrics
  3. Enquisite

Once you have your data ready, you can start curating your content.

The next step is to identify sources for curated content. The internet is a living organism with thousands of pieces of content of varying types being produced every minute. Your responsibility is to identify valuable and relatable content pieces and place them in your content box so you can sift through them. This discovery process is known as seeking.

Here’s a screenshot illustrating how to discover more niche ideas as a pastry blogger:

curation 1

By searching for the term ‘pastry blog’ via www.google.com/blogsearch, she’s able to find out what the trending topics are as well as the industry leaders as far as pastry blogs are concerned. With this in mind, she can check out various blogs to see what kind of posts are eliciting major reactions and stimulating conversation. This blogger can then copy these post links and put them in a spreadsheet for future sifting.

At the same time, you can use Alltop to look for trending news items. What’s great about Alltop is the fact that you can personalize your content search feature by using my.alltop.com.

Here’s what the MyAlltop signup page looks like:

Alltop

All you have to do is sign up, agree to the terms and you’re all set.

Twitter is also a great way to find trending topics which can, in turn, help you curate timely content pieces. The almighty hashtag is a godsend for all content curators. However, you should use the hashtag in combination with tweets to find the meat and not just the bones. You can also use Twitter Search which is essentially Twitter’s Google.

When collecting your sources, you should always be careful to pick only high quality ones. Additionally, you should scan more than you capture, and you should make it a habit to define topics and organize sources as you go along. Seeking should generally be done for 15 minutes at least twice daily.

When used in a synergistic manner, you’ll be able to collate and collect content from all parts of the Internet in order to successfully move on to the next stage of the curation process: sense.

After collecting your articles and placing the links and relevant clips in a central place, you can begin to sift through them and find meaning and relevance in most of them and then discard any that might not be relevant for what you’re trying to communicate.

For example, if you have a blog which focuses on celebrity style and fashion, you could figure out how to tie that in with current trends and draw parallels in order to come up with an interesting pictorial conversation with personal commentary added in to give it a bit of your personality.

Making sense usually involves distilling and condensing information in order to streamline it into one theme.

Here are a couple of questions you should ask yourself to help make better sense of collected content:

  1. Will this content add value to my reader’s lives? Curated content has to appeal to your readers from an emotional standpoint. Whether your blog covers accounting or new developments in interior design, you need to make sure that each curated post is identifiable and if possible applicable to your audience’s daily life. This will help you create a bond with your audience on a long-term basis.
  2. Does the content I’m about to curate establish me as a thought leader in the blog circles? The last thing you want to do is copy what everyone else is doing. This will make people overlook you and you might get washed up in the sea of content because there are other bloggers out there who’ve perfected what you’re trying to do.

Here are some of the things associated with the sense stage of content curation:

  • Put your blog post together by merging links with your own commentary and maybe one or two photos or videos to give the post some pizzazz.
  • Annotate where necessary, archive articles and links, and apply changes within your blog if needed.
  • The sense stage of content curation should typically take you about half an hour to an hour every day. This might take longer if you decide to include different forms of content to your blog post because you have to find a way to make the curated content work for you and your audience without creating disconnection or confusion.

Creation and sharing is the last stage of the content curation process and perhaps the most delicate one. Presentation is everything, and you need to know what forms of sharing will resonate with your target audience.

There are various ways that you can use to create and present your content, with the first one being lists.  People love lists as it helps them get information in a compact manner, lessening the time in which they’ll have to go all over the internet looking for content.

A great tip here would be to look at the top 15 trends in your niche and come up with a great list linking out to the best posts on the web talking about these trends. Make sure to use appropriate attribution and keep the commentary short but meaningful. You can also ask your readers what kinds of lists they’d like to see in the coming days and weeks.

Another way in which to present your curated content would be through the use of infographics. These are usually data-based with a touch of visual esthetic thrown in. Infographics help you convey less than interesting information in a fresh an exciting way without taking away from the subject at hand.  Get into the habit of saving interesting and impactful data snippets as you go about reading and curating content around the web. Every once in a while, streamline these data bites and create a curated post based on them.

Yet another light and popular way you can use to create and present your curated content is through the use of humor. People like to laugh as it makes them feel good. At the same time, humor helps with information retention and is found all over the internet. For example, if you’re a food blogger, you could come up with a blog post where you feature a video snippet by a standup comedian lambasting the paleo diet. After the video, you can add your own commentary and then add a couple of memes to break the monotony of the post. Finish off with a snippet of an article extolling the virtues of the paleo diet and then invite your readers to leave you their opinions and thoughts in the comment section.

Here are a few closing tips on what to pay attention to when curating content for your blog:

  • Create a Tumblr page so you can have an account you can use to curate rich media such as videos, high resolution photos and sound clips.
  • You can curate social updates and comments to help stimulate or start a conversation regarding your blog. This can be a great way of getting to know your audience at a much deeper level. These can also be used to add depth and validity to your curated content.

At the end of the day, you need to consistently be on the lookout for new content as well as consistent with your efforts if you want to build a following, a unique voice and be considered as a go-to blogger for knowledge and information on a specific topic or genre.

Content Curation for Bloggers: A Short Review on How to Boost Your Blog Readership

Content Curation

Content curation is the new buzzword that’s got every blogger and Internet marketer talking and clapping their hands in glee. We all want to be thought leaders in particular subjects, or authorities that people trust to provide them with timely information as it breaks. Content creation is only the first step that your typical blogger should take in building his brand. Content is king; however, other aspects of content creation need to come together in order for successful blogging to take place.

What in The World is Content Curation?

Content curation can be defined as collecting various pieces of content and then sifting through them in order to find meaningfulness and usefulness. After providing commentary on these pieces of content, you can then go on and share this content on your blog. This may seem easy to do, but it takes commitment, discipline and persistence in order to become a star content curator in the eyes of your readers.

Limited Attention Spans

Most people who go online today have limited attention spans thanks to busy schedules as well as the wall of ever-changing content which fights for their attention at every click of the mouse. Because of this, people are looking for easy ways to get vital information in a fast and convenient manner. As a content curator, you’ll be able to give your readers this kind of service. With time, these web visitors will come to you in a habit-forming way, expecting more curated content which in the end builds reader loyalty and trust.

Curation vs. Aggregation

Before I go on, I need to point out the difference between content curation and aggregation. Getting news from feeds and automatically sharing it on social media via scheduled tweets and status updates cannot be considered as curation. This is because automation lacks that human touch as well as personalization. In order to build a certain level of engagement with your blog readership, people need to feel and see that you understand what they really want. By providing commentary along with your curated content as well as being meticulous in vetting the news stories and content pieces reaching your target audience, you’ll encourage a conversation and even get opinions of what your readers really want. Give them what they need, and you’ll earn their trust for a long time to come.

There are various tools which can help you curate content. Here’s a short but exhaustive list:

1.  Google News, Google Alerts or Google Plus search gives you access to trending content as well as breaking news.

2.  News aggregators such as Alltop, Techmeme and popurls.

3.  Curation tools such as Storify, Scoop.it and Flipboard.

4.  industry-specific newsletters which you receive via email.

5.  Press release websites such as PRWeb, Marketwire and PRNewswire.

6.   Links to content shared on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Reditt and StumbleUpon.

All these sources should form the preliminary stages of your content curation process. Poring over them and looking for themes that are in alignment with your blog’s theme will help you pick the best and most impactful pieces of content for curation.

Themes and Sub-Themes: Layer it On

After selecting your content, you’ll need to organize it in terms of relevance as it relates to the information you’re trying to convey. Additionally, having sub-themes where you curate content in terms of style will help bring harmony and uniformity to your efforts.

For instance, if you want to point out the commonness of a particular trait, you could decide to curate bars, charts and graphs for a single post. This will help put the message across in a more impactful way. Another sub-theme would be to curate slideshare presentations found all over the internet in order to convey a singular theme. Lastly, another way to curate of content would be to create lists or tips using certain keywords in order to drive traffic to your blog.

Content curation may look easier than content creation; however, the reality is that it may take up more of your time of effort given the various steps you have to go through. For example, content curation needs a certain amount of timeliness as well as the ability to know if a piece of content will still be fresh or relevant in a week or so.

There are three things that you need to keep in mind when curating content:

1. Your curated content needs to be insightful. This means that it should give your readers information that they may have never come across or repackaging old information in a whole new way. You should aim to motivate and teach your audience so they leave your blog better informed than when they came in. At the same time, your content needs to be injected with your voice in order to build a relationship with your readers.

2. Curated content also needs to be relevant to your blog’s theme. For example, if you have a beauty blog, it would beat logic to publish curated content touching on electronics or sports. This not only shows carelessness on your part but also destroys the trust between you and your readership. You should always aim to be an expert in your field at all times.

3. Curated content should be so good and interesting that it should inspire people to share. This will in turn help drive more traffic back to your site as well as give your blog the needed visibility in social media.

Curation as Part of Marketing

Marketing continues to supplant advertising; people are looking for information to help make their lives better in the here and now. This is especially true for bloggers who want to raise their profiles within a short amount of time. Curation is a form of marketing since it takes information from other sources and repackages it to convey a message that’s similar to the one found in the curator’s blog.

Pay Attention to the Law

Having said all of this, it’s important to pay attention to a couple of things when you’re looking to curate content. To begin with, you must apply relevant attribution and link back all your content to its originators. At the same time, copying large swathes of texts amounts to plagiarism and may land you in trouble for infringing on copyrighted material. When it comes to content curation, the mantra you need to follow is: ‘when it doubt, leave it out.’ Giving credit to the original creator will also help create a rapport with other bloggers and help in the exchange of ideas and resources you can use for future blog posts.

 Conclusion

Empathizing with your reader’s interests and curating high quality content will boost your readership with time and give you a unique selling point in the blogging world faster than content creation.

Lastly, don’t forget to create original content and mix it up with your curated pieces; at the end of the day, attacking something from numerous angles will help you get the best results compared to relying on only one strategy.

Rel=Author: Increase Click Through Rates and Social Rankings

 

Traffic. That’s the name of the game. If you have traffic, you’ll be able to turn that into a strong, loyal audience, and then finally, you’ll be able to make money off them.

Getting that traffic, though, is difficult. I’d be remiss to say that getting people to come to your blog, participate, and hopefully result in profit is an easy task. It’s anything but easy. Tiring, stressful, and often demoralizing.

Rel=Author

Now that I’ve gotten the gruesome out of the way, let me lay out a tactic that should help you to increase your rankings in Google, increase your click through rates (CTRs), and have the right people coming to your site that will increase your profitability. Is it the end all be all to getting audience? There isn’t one-way to do that. But if it can help increase your organic traffic by over 30%, perhaps it’s well worth your time.

The tactic that I am referring to is the implementation of the “Rel=author” tag on your site. For those that haven’t seen, this enables a small face of the author to appear to the left of the result. Since most of the results don’t have this, it draws the searcher’s eye to it. While it’s not the only variable that entices a click—your title tag and meta-description are definitely big parts here—it will help significantly.

what-is-rel-author

Just one last thing before I explain the details. There are actually two variables. The “rel=author” and the “rel=me” tags. The basic structure works as follows: you set up a Google+ account, add the site that you are a contributor to, and then link to your Google+ account on your site. That makes the connection. But you can also link to other pages with the “rel=me” tag that tells Google those other links are also part of your network.

In other words … you should link to your Twitter account using “rel=me.” That’ll tell Google which Twitter account is YOUR Twitter account.

So the question is: how do we set it up on our own sites? I’m glad you asked.

Step 1: Google+

Google PlusIf you thought you were going to get away from Google+, you were mistaken. Google’s social networking site is alive, kicking, and ready to try and dominate. Google will do whatever it can to make their social network work. So play along.

If you haven’t already created an account, create one. But assuming you have, head on over. When Google+ loads, it always displays your posts to constantly remind you that you should participate. Click “About” in the navigation. Scroll down until you get to “Links.” This includes links to anything of yours off site: your other social accounts, your blog, and any sites that you contribute to.

Punch in the URLs that you write for and voila, you are done with this step. This is Google’s way of having a control variable when setting up the authorship tag. It’s also how Google pulls data so that it will include your name, your picture, and the number of people in your circles.

Google Plus Profile

Screen Shot 2014-01-20 at 11.23.55 AM

Step 2: Your Site

Now you need to put the code on your site so Google knows to search for your Google+ account. That sentence is a bit tricky to understand, but it works like this. The Googlebot lands on your page and starts to read your site’s information. It stops at “rel=author” and sees either a link to your Google+ or the profile number. It holds this information and then continues reading the rest of the page. I would need 20,000 words (or more) to explain the details of everything that helps your site rank.

I digress …

You’ll need to put the following into the header:

Just copy/paste from your Google+ and subtract the /posts/ Google always adds.

But since most of you are likely building your blog on WordPress—I really hope all of you—then there is a far simpler way to do it.

Some WordPress frameworks, such as Genesis, come with the functionality for Authorship already built in. Therefore, all you need to do is go to your profile page in the backend of WP, locate the Google+ section, and paste the Google+ URL.

Then you’re done.

But if you’re not using a framework, all you’ll need is one of the two big SEO plugins available today: All in One SEO Pack or Yoast SEO. My favorite is Yoast, but either one will result in the same outcome.

Screen Shot 2014-01-20 at 11.28.22 AM

Just like with the framework, both of these plugins take the data from your WordPress profile. A new field will show up in your profile, paste your URL, and then it’s connected. To ensure this is happening, go to publish a new article and it’ll include a drop down of Author metadata.

Step 3: Test

Just because you’ve added the code doesn’t mean it’s going to work. Fortunately, Google has provided us with a simple tool called the “Structured Data Testing Tool” to guarantee that your implementation has worked. Copy and paste one of your articles into the tool and if it’s working, it’ll say: “Your authorship setup is finished. Congratulations! However, please note that Google will only show your author portrait in search results when we think it will be useful to the user.”

If it doesn’t confirm that it’s working, you’ll need to go back and make sure you added the correct URL to your profile or in the SEO plugins or you’ll need to confirm that you connected the correct site to your Google+ contributor section. If both are working, your test should come up positively.

Structured Data Testing Tool

But I’m Just a Writer

So let’s say you’re the minority visitor to this site and you’re not interested in running a blog, but rather, you just want to write on other blogs as a freelance writer. It’s a great career and you can make plenty of money.

There is a theory in the SEO community that Google will start to gauge your authority based on the types of articles you write, where you publish them, and other unknown variables. In other words, if you write about finance on a diverse number of sites, Google might see you as an authority in finance.

As a freelance writer, this is very valuable for you. You are, effectively, bringing your authority to other sites. Should you get a job writing an occasional column for another site, that site benefits from your authority as well; therefore, you are in a position to negotiate. If you run a site about SEO, would you pay more from a beginner or an expert? If you have a ton of authority in Google’s eyes, other sites are going to pay you more money. Period.

None of this has really been proven yet, but ask yourself: if you could prepare for the future of SEO before it happens, would you do it? If the answer is no, you’re likely in the wrong business. There is no harm preparing and even if it never comes to that, you’re still going to have the picture in the SERPs which will, inevitably, increase the CTR.

You should know that Google is constantly in change about what pages they show the data on. About a month ago, there was a report that the image snippet had stopped showing on real estate sites. Does this mean that Google is against commercial and they view real estate as commercial? Who knows? But what we do know is Google always changes.

Increase your click through rates, get more traffic, and plan for the future is what you’re doing when you implement the authorship tag.

If you have trouble setting up your Authorship, please post in the comments. I’ll try and help you out and help figure it out. But if you’re using WordPress, you’re likely going to have it done in about two minutes. It really is that simple.

New Blog? – Here’s How You Kickstart It To Guarantee Success

Action Plan

I recently did something over on my personal blog at MattWolfe.net

I attempted (and successfully completed) a 30 day blog challenge.

In this challenge, I wrote a new blog post every single day for 30 days, including the weekends.

After running this little experiment, I now recommend that everyone who starts a blog, kickstarts it by giving themselves their own 30 day challenge.

Reasons for a 30 day challenge:

1. It tests how passionate and excited you are about the topic. If you can’t blog about something for 30 days, you may be going down the wrong road. I’ll give you some tips on how to constantly have enough to talk about in a minute. However, if you struggle too much with your topic, you may have picked the wrong topic.

2. It quickly builds your blog’s archives. People have a hard time taking a blog seriously if there’s only 3 or 4 posts on the blog total. This causes a big problem for blogs just starting out. It’s difficult to gain traction or build momentum when there’s not much for new visitors to see.

3. The SEO benefits are awesome. Neil Patel from Quicksprout did some research on 20 of the most successful blogs. One thing he learned was that posting more frequently helps you get more traffic. The blogs that posted daily or even multiple times per day seemed to build traffic much quicker than blogs that only posted once per week or a few times per month.

4. It gets you in the habit of writing. Once you’ve written for 30 days straight, you’ve created a habit. They say it takes 21 days to create a habit… This has been scientifically disproven, however, 30 days straight definitely doesn’t hurt to get in to a groove with blogging.

5. You will improve your writing skills. Being a good writer is a learned skill. It’s a skill that gets better with practice.

6. You will learn how to dig deeper on your topic. Most people learn that after about 5 or 6 days, they struggle with what to talk about next on their topic. Forcing yourself to write on that topic daily, you’ll learn how to dig deeper, finding sub-topics of your main topic. You’ll learn how to research and find more things that would interest you’re potential audience.

I know that a 30 day challenge sounds a bit daunting… The truth is that it is going to be hard. That’s why it’s a challenge. However, with a little bit of game planning, and bit of a template, you should be just fine.

Start by listing out 30 topics that you can blog about in your first 30 days…

Here’s a list of post types to help you get your 30 posts:

1. Start with the posts you already know you’re going to write. There’s probably already 5 or 6 ideas that you have for posts. Write these down and make these your “Pillar Posts”. Pillar posts are the posts that you spend the most time on. These are the posts that you put a ton of research in to, that you know will get shared, and that you’re most excited about writing. Spread these throughout your 30 days. These are going to be some of the main magnets to your blog.

2. Think of 4 or 5 list posts that you can create. Top 10 experts in your industry, the 7 most influential blogs to your niche, etc… These lists posts are great because they tend to get shared a lot. Often times, you’ll see the people or the websites that you mention in the post sharing your post because they’re honored to be mentioned.

3. Think of who you can interview in your niche. Interview one or two people and either use the video, audio, or transcribe the text to a blog post.

4. Create a multi-part blog series. During my 30 day challenge, I used 4 of the days creating a multi-part training on how to effectively build a mailing list. Is there any long topics that you can break up over multiple days?

5. Are you getting some blog comments? Pick out some of the best comments or questions you’ve received on your blog and turn your response in to a full blog post.

6. Create case studies. Talk about something you’ve tried or seen someone else try in your niche. Turn it in to a case study on that topic.

7. Tap current events. Check out Google trends or Yahoo’s homepage to get insight in to some hot topics. Can any of those topics be related back to your blog’s niche? Leveraging current events is a great way to get your blog post shared.

8. Create a post with a list of your favorite blog posts from other bloggers. If you read a lot of blogs yourself, compile a list of your favorite posts from the week and share them with your readers.

9. Create a YouTube video and post it to your blog. With WordPress, you can just copy and paste the YouTube URL in to a post and the video will magically appear. Having videos of you teaching or explaining something is a great way to build credibility and a bit of celebrity in your niche.

10. Towards the end of the challenge, link back to your favorite posts of the month. It’s always a good idea to create internal links to your other posts anyway. Use the end of the challenge as an opportunity to show off all the posts you’ve written.

11. Create a Google Alert. With Google Alerts, you can tell Google to send you an email whenever a new website pops up in their database talking about your specific topic. Have them email you whenever your topic is mentioned. Check out the posts being mentioned and use those for inspiration for posts.

Everyone should do a 30 day challenge to kick start their blog.

Jump Start Action PlanJust to hammer this point home, when I did a 30 day challenge over on my blog, I grew from 0 visitors per day to averaging somewhere around 100 visitors per day. During that time period, my list grew by a couple hundred subscribers, and several of my posts where shared by other blogs. It was the kickstart that site needed.

I haven’t posted on that blog very recently and, to this day, it still receives somewhere around 50 visitors per day.

All I did was write consistently.

So if you’re wondering where to start, stop wondering! This is it. Even if your blog has already been going for a bit and you haven’t seen much interest from others, use this as your jumper cables to kick new life in to the blog.

I promise that you will be shocked by the results (pun intended).

Let me know your thoughts. What are some additional ideas for blog posts? Can you think of other reasons a 30 day challenge is helpful?

I’m looking forward to interacting in the comments!

By the way, there’s a ton more ideas for keeping up with content in the Insiders Member Area. Be sure to check it out if you haven’t already.

The SEO Strategy That Still Works For Me

In a previous blog post, I discussed a case study I did where I promoted an affiliate product that still makes sales for me today. I talked a little bit about my traffic strategy to generate perpetual traffic to the page but I didn’t feel like I went in-depth enough…

I busted out a little notepad and mapped out the traffic strategy that I used. After mapping it out, it still looked like a bit of a spagetti bowl. I decided to make this video to give a bit better of an explanation of my traffic strategy.

Enjoy the video:

Some of you may be skeptical about this strategy and some of you may actually try it. All I know is that this exact process worked amazingly for me and I’ve used it over and over again since with the same results and with very competitive keywords.

Give it a look and let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

If you’re looking for even more talk about traffic strategies, consider becoming an Insider today. We’ve got tons of additional training on how to generate traffic to any site you want.