It’s been a while since I’ve provided any tips/tricks or advice related to blogging, so I figured tonight’s a perfect time.
If you’re looking to expand your blog to a wider audience, to get more hits, and to have even more regular readers who continue coming back, try these two things:
The first piece of advice is topost content regularly. The easiest, most effective way to gain regular readers is to post content regularly. If someone reads your blog and is interested enough to come back, make sure there’s new content for them to see when they come back to your blog.
This doesn’t mean that you need to post daily. This means that you need to post regularly. If you want people to return to your blog, you need to be posting on a schedule. Whether you determine that’s every day, twice a week, twice a month – whatever you have time to commit to – let your audience know. If you want to post once a week, tell your audience they can come back for new posts on Mondays. If you want to post twice a month, tell your audience to come back on the first and the fifteenth. The simple act of having the schedule will create a psychological call to action for them to come back and read what you have to share.
POST REGULARLY. Whatever you’re able to commit to, do it. If you don’t, it’ll be a lot harder for you to garner the audience you so desire with your blog.
The second piece of advice that I have is torelate pop-culture and news stories to your blog content. If something happens in the news, share your take on it!
Now hear me out – a lot of people think that the best way to attract the web to their blog is through click-bait. Twitter, Instagram, Reddit and YouTube are filled with clickbait. People are trying to get attention through dishonest tactics. For some it might work in the short term. Long term, though, there’s no sustainability in trying to lie to your audience repeatedly and hoping they care for you.
How do you get people to care? Relate your content to something they care about.
For example, let’s say that you write a blog about travel. People love travel. The odds are, if you’re sharing content regularly, a certain amount of people can, and will, find your content. You’ll get decent feedback and your blog will be ‘cruisin’. But if you’re looking to expand, perhaps you share your story about a certain country. Now, let’s say that you notice the news is talking this week (right now on September 14, 2021) that the Arc De Triomph in Paris has been wrapped up. People all over the world are googling why the Arc De Triomph was wrapped up. Now would be the perfect time to share your stories and photos from the last time you visited the Arc De Triomph. Mention in your post you saw the news story about why it’s been wrapped (more for search engine crawlers then anything) and then share your content.
Your story and photos about the Arc De Triomph could/would get double, triple or five times the views if you decided to write about it/post about it this week, versus had you done it a month ago. Take advantage of what’s in the news – what people will inevitably be using Google to search for right now, in the present.
When someone gets to your blog to read about the Arc De Triomph, perhaps then and there is when they see “suggested posts” and read other posts, and you convert them to a reader. They stumbled upon you accidentally, when googling why the Arc De Triomph is wrapped, and now you get to keep them as a reader.
Both of these suggestions obviously take some time, effort and a little bit of planning. But, if properly executed, it’s an easy, free and honest way to increase traffic to your blog. You don’t need to post clickbait. You don’t need to beg for traffic on Twitter. You just need to be strategic about when you’re posting and when. Strategy is E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is such a loaded subject. If you’re new to SEO it can be extremely overwhelming to subject to try and comprehend. Heck, even if you’re a seasoned vet with SEO it can be an extremely overwhelming subject to try and comprehend.
I’m no expert when it comes to SEO. But, I have learned a thing or two over the past decade. So, included in this post are some of my basic, easiest to understand suggestions to help you improve SEO for your blog. Whether you use the free WordPress plan or the Business WordPress Plan take some small steps and watch how your stats change.
If you have the WordPress business plan, use the Yoast plugin. This won’t be applicable unless you have the business plan. But, if you have the business plan, Yoast gives you what is essentially a step-by-step guide of how to take a post from a basic post to an SEO superstar.
Pick a valuable keyword for your content. Keywords are are words or phrases that describe the content on your page or post the best. Essentially, a keyword is what you think people will search on Google to find the post that you’re writing. It’s important to pick a keyword that speaks to what you’re sharing, and that it also be something people will search. Keep in mind that if you pick too generic, you might not get indexed. And, if you pick too specific and people might not actually search it often… if at all.
Utilize keywords throughout your content. It’s important to ensure that selected keywords (subject matter) for your posts are woven throughout your content. This means trying to include your keyword within the title, any headings and subheadings used, DEFINITELY within your introductory sentence, and the concluding paragraph. Do not put your keyword in places where it is not applicable.
Optimize any images shared. If you’re uploading a photo to your blog, include keywords in the file name. If you have a business account, use a keyword rich description in the ATF. If you do not have a business account, use a keyword applicable caption.
Reference both internal and external links within your posts. With respect to your content, you should think of your blog as a sort of… digital spider web.
An internal link is one that links from your post to another page or post on your site. This is really quite simple, actually. If you make a post, link other similar posts. If you frequently talking about anxiety, link other posts you’ve made about anxiety. If you talk about parenting frequently, link some similar posts where you speak about parenting. Doing this creates a digital spiderweb within your own site, which tells search engines you’ve been around for a while.
An external link is one that goes elsewhere on the web. You can link to posts made by other bloggers. You can link to the site that possibly motivated you to write your post. When you are linking externally, make sure the site you’re sharing a link to is one relevant to your article. Don’t just link to link. Quality links are a valuable piece to any site looking to rank higher on search engine pages and the digital spider web you’re trying to weave should speak to your blog and it’s content/value
Use social media to broaden your reach and share your blog posts. Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are all great resources for sharing your posts and garnering more views. You can make new friends and acquaintances on these sites, grow your audience and your blog’s reach. And, in sharing links to your posts on social media, you’re both adding to the digital spider-web of your blog, and creating valuable back-links to your website.
Have a user friendly website. If your website is difficult to navigate, search engines are not going to rank it highly in indexes. If your menu is difficult to find, search engines are not going to rank it highly in indexes. If your text is a neon green colour that can be difficult to read, search engines are not going to rank it highly in indexes. The sites which rank the highest within search engines are the ones that are most user-friendly to the masses. It makes sense if you think about it – why would google recommend a website to you that’s going to give you a headache trying to navigate? If your website is confusing, maybe it’s time to make some upgrades.
Fix broken links. Broken links can do a lot of harm to you when you’re trying to get your site indexed for search engines. If you do everything you can to have your content indexed but you do have broken links within your site, those broken links are going to ‘delegitimize’ your site/blog to search engine crawlers responsible for indexing. Think of broken links like people who try to clean by shoving everything in the closet and shutting the door. The mess is still there, you’ve just hidden it. Even if you’re taking every other step possible to be indexed, if you’ve got broken links within your site, your mess is still there, it’s just hidden.
Fix your blank pages. If you have a menu item on your site that goes nowhere at all, that’s going to harm your ability to be indexed. Even if it has nothing to do with your post content. If there’s a blank page somewhere on your site, search engine crawlers could possibly believe your site is incomplete and deem it not worthy of being indexed.
Make your posts content easy to read and understand. Use short sentences. Use headings. Use subheadings. Use bolded sentences when you’re trying to accentuate a point. Break up the content into small chunks so that, even if someone is an idiot, or if they have a short attention span, they can make it through your post. When you’re sharing your content you should be dumbing it down so that the stupidest person on earth could read it and understand it. The reason for this is, search engines want to rank pages highest that are easiest for everyone to read. One long run-on paragraph is going to be harder for people to get through. Content that is rich in technical language is going to be harder for people to get through. If something is difficult for people to consume, search engines are not going to rank it as reader friendly.
As with every suggestion, tip or trick I offer on this blog, please take all information provided with a grain of salt. Use what works for you and leave what you don’t want
SEO is such a convoluted subject that there’s a lot of advice floating around the interwebs. Quite honestly, you could probably take any number of the first two hundred suggestions that come up from a quick google search and see some improvements in your site rankings. To be successful with SEO, it’s all about doing including the small details and taking those extra little steps to make you content user/reader friendly.
If you have made it through all of this and have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. Leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to answer whatever I can.
Between Pinterest, YouTube, Medium, Twitter, Instagram and WordPress, there are infinite sources on the internet that will convince you large investments need to be made into your blog in order for it to be successful.
This is simply not the case.
If you want to spend money on your blog, and have the money to spend money on your blog, have at’er. But, if money is tight, if you have to watch your expenses, if you’re not independently wealthy, you do not need to spend large sums of money to run a successful blog.
From a personal standpoint, in the past year and a half that I have been running this blog, I have spent $120. That $120 spent is solely on the fee for having a Personal WordPress account. I consider that a worthwhile investment because I wanted the millenniallifecrisis.org URL. For what I desired from this blog when I started it, I would consider it to be successful. I’ve met tons of incredible people, I’ve shared stories, had stories shared with me. It’s been a very valuable resources for me. All that being said, some people want more from their platform. I completely understand that.
If you’re someone who wants more from your platform, if you’re someone who wants to start a business with your blog or wants to start earning income from your blog, I would strongly encourage you to do your research. I’d also encourage you to proceed with caution and understand that you need to walk before you can run. And, depending on how fresh and new your blog might be, you need to learn to crawl before you can walk.
In the past year and a half I’ve seen some really incredible writers invest hundreds, if not thousands of dollars into their blogs only to quit when they didn’t get the response they wanted. Not only is their potential wasted when they quit but that money they’ve invested into having a business WordPress account is wasted. The hundreds of dollars spent on Pinterest ads, the hundreds of dollars spent on Instagram ads, all for nothing.
The biggest mistake that I see people making is that they want to direct as many people as possible to their blog without having a plan in place to keep people interested, to keep people reading and to keep people coming back. They sign up for a blogging network to grow their blog and they don’t know what they want to grow their blog into.
You have to have a plan. A vision of where you want to take your blog and an establish process of how you intend to accomplish that vision. Don’t just throw money at people or platforms and expect your follower count to grow. I can tell you with 100% certainty that if you start throwing your money around, people will always take it. If you don’t have a plan, however, throwing that money around won’t do you any good.
I guess, what I’m really trying to say is, whether you’re rich or not, be smart about investing your money. Money is still money, no matter how much of it is in your bank account. You work hard for that money, so spend it wisely. Blindly charging Instagram ads to your credit card is not only poor marketing for your blog, but thoughtless promotion as well. Throwing money at a network without fully understanding what it can or cannot do for your will only leave you frustrated and feeling helpless.
I don’t want to see you quit.
I don’t want to see anyone quit.
Blogging brings a certain catharsis that everyone deserves. If you’re struggling to find your way in the blogging world and seeking more from your platform, I would strongly encourage you to
Build a vision for your blog
Then, and only then, do a lot of research about different options for promotion, marketing and growth investments.
Get a second and third opinion from someone you trust, or from an unbiased source. If you ever need or want advice from me, I’d be more than happy to make suggestions and provide any help that I can. I’m not an expert, but I am an unbiased opinion.
Then, and only then, make a worthwhile investment that you feel will benefit your platform.
You work hard for your money. Use it wisely. I don’t want to see you quit because you’re not getting the outcome you hoped for. I don’t want to see anyone quit.
I haven’t shared any tips about blogging for a long time. It’s not for lack of wanting to, it’s largely been due to lack of time. Since I’ve started work, since I’ve moved, since I’ve basically uprooted my entire life for something new, the days seem to go by faster and disappear a lot more quickly. It sometimes feels like I wake up on Monday morning and fall asleep on Friday night, my weeks have been going that quickly.
All that being said, it’s been two months since I’ve shared daily posts on this blog. It’s been two months since I’ve even remotely had somewhat of a schedule for this blog. These days I don’t know if I’ll get enough time to update this blog once a week or four times a week. It all depends on what’s happening. It’s also been two months now that all of my analytics have taken a nose dive.
When I say nose-dive, I’m talking tens of thousands of less views, thousands of less likes, hundreds of less comments, a stark difference in read rates. Everything is 35-50% less, analytically speaking, then the averages I was accruing prior to starting this job.
I say this not to whine. I say this because I think that an important mindset to remember when blogging is that there’s ebbs and flows. Everything goes up and everything comes back down (unless we’re talking about Corona, apparently… but that’s a story for another day). At the end of the day, you have to be contributing to your blog for your own enjoyment. You have to be writing for you, sharing photos for you, interacting for you. If you don’t, you’re never going to be happy with the product you’re creating. If you don’t, it doesn’t matter if those views are tens of thousands higher… you’re never going to be happy with the statistics you’re looking at.
If you’re seeking attention with blogging, the attention you do get will never fulfill you. If you’re seeking an outlet, a place to share, a place to create, a place to vent or a place to learn and grow… you won’t care if there’s 100,000 people viewing your page or 100.
Virtually all of my analytics have taken a nose dive lately. And that’s okay. Honestly, this blog is still one of the things in my life that I’m most proud of. It’s a reflection of me. It’s a reflection of how I think, feel, act… what I know, what I seek to know, what I love. It’s my outlet. Was it really cool when my analytics were as high as they were in the earlier months of this year? Absolutely. But you know what? The people who I’ve made the deepest connections with on this platform, the people who’ve always been there, they’re still here. They still make fun of me for my stubbornness and call me out on my crap, celebrate my victories with me and share with me their own stories. They’re who keep me motivated to keep posting on this blog. Well that and the fact that a lot of crazy, weird shit goes on in my life and I need to talk about it somewhere!
To wrap this up, I say that if you’re solely blogging to garner attention, you’ll likely be forever unsatisfied with any amount of attention you do manage to find. My advice is to create your posts for enjoyment and catharsis.
Oh and weave a little SEO into your posts if you know enough about it to do so. Because there’s a lot of people in this world who haven’t taken the plunge to create their own blog/outlet yet, but they’re still taking to search engines to find someone they can relate to. Some of my posts from over a year ago are still being found on a regular basis through Google and Baidu searches.
Imagine that you’re a realtor and you’re trying to sell a house with neon green walls. Sure, the odd house hunter who comes through might really like the colour, but for the majority of customers, seeing neon green all over the walls is going to be something they cannot look past. It can, in a lot of cases, be the deal breaker.
Sure, they might stay. They might finish looking at the house. But they also might just look at the walls and walk out. Neon green walls take work. Not only are you spending a profound amount of money on a home, but you’ll have to put considerable effort and money into repainting the entire home when you move in.
This is why when people are getting ready to sell their homes, most people will paint any bright walls a neutral colour. Neutral colours are easy on the eye. Neutral colours go with all sorts of different furniture. Neutral colours allow a house to feel as though it can be made into a home.
Now, imagine this same notion applies to blogging. If you’re blogging as a hobby and don’t care who, if anyone, ever sees your blog, it’s perfectly awesome to have ‘neon green walls’. But if you’re blogging in hopes of garnering an audience, to gain followers and reach new people, those neon green walls are going to be a deal breaker.
In laymans terms – if you want people to love your blog as much as you do, your layout needs to be neutral. Your layout needs to be one that appeals to the mass population. If people stumble upon a blog that is difficult to navigate, has broken links or empty pages, crazy colours and designs that make scrolling difficult and reading tedious, they’re not going to fall in love with your blog, regardless of how good your content is.
Your blog layout matters.
If you’re seeking blog growth, pretend you’re a realtor. Pretend you’re enticing potential buyers into paying attention to your content. If you want people to notice your blog then you need to give them reason to get beyond the layout to see the content that you share. That is considerably harder if you have the equivalent of neon walls.
Disclaimer: As with all advice that I provide on this blog, please take what you like and leave what you don’t. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to running a great blog, so if you don’t like the advice shared, don’t use it! You know what is best for your blog, these types of posts are merely to lend a helpful suggestion.
As with any marketing tips/tricks/advice provided on this blog, please take all information with a grain of salt. This information is not provided as the ‘be all to end all’ word. So, take what works for you and leave what doesn’t.
Not everyone is interested in Instagram growth. So, if you’re one of those people who doesn’t care one way or another, this advice likely isn’t for you. Which is totally fine. This information is being shared for those who might find it helpful!
Without further adieu:
Hashtags are a tool that allows Instagram users to find other Instagram users who post similar images, share similar interests or are like-minded individuals. When you post an image to Instagram, if you would like the opportunity for others on the platform to find said image, it’s imperative that you use proper and relevant hashtags that depict what’s in your image.
Put the hashtags within your caption, do not put them as the first comment. When you do not put the hashtags within the caption of the photo itself, you’re losing valuable time and real estate within the Instagram algorithm for people who could potentially be viewing your image.
You can post up to 30 hashtags per image. If you are a blogger, or running a business account, it’s recommended that you try to keep hashtag use to 9-11 hashtags per image. There are several reasons for this, most important of which being, if you limit the hashtags you’re using to 9-11 hashtags at most, you’re focusing on only the most relevant hashtags pertaining to the image. When people start reaching hashtag 15 and 16, they start just using random hashtags that don’t really pertain to the image and it can become very spam-like, overcrowding different categories on the platform. This is why you can search ‘#TheGreatOutdoors’ and see pictures of hamburgers and french fries.
When selecting hashtags, select categories that you would search for. Why? Because not all hashtags are as valuable as others. If you’re searching for something on Instagram, there’s better odds that someone else is too. More people are going to be searching ‘#TheGreatOutdoors’ than ‘#Tree’. As you type in the hashtags to Instagram, the app will actually tell you how many people have used said hashtag and similar hashtags. Example:
Include a selection of both popular and less popular hashtags within the 9-11 hashtags used per image. Using the screenshot as an exampe, #LakeLouise will have the potential for more people to find your image, and in turn, your page. But, with more people searching this item, your image will more quickly slide down the Instagram algorithm than if you use #LakeLouiseLove. For this reason, it’s recommended that you use a mixture of both popular and less popular (STILL RELEVANT) hashtags when sharing your image.
If you want to connect with others, ALWAYS use a caption. There’s nothing worse than finding an image that you truly love on Instagram and realizing the person who shared it couldn’t care less about people finding their image and connecting with their content. Use a caption – share the store of the image, or share a story that has nothing to do with the image but speaks to you and your character. If you want to connect with people, a picture won’t speak for you… no matter how pretty it might be.
If you’re specifically looking for growth, there are hashtags that are for bloggers to connect with other bloggers to help support one another. Using #BloggersUnder500 or #BloggersUnder1k, etc… are like flashing the bat symbol for bloggers to find other bloggers and help one another grow their platforms. If you’re looking for growth, use these hashtags to connect with other bloggers and help them find and connect with you.
Promote your Instagram account on other platforms. I follow at least a dozen bloggers on WordPress of which I had no idea that they had Instagram accounts until they followed me. There is no mention of their Instagram accounts ANYWHERE on their blog. Why not? If you have a blog, let people know that you have an Instagram too. It can’t hurt.
Location searches on Instagram can help you to connect with people in your area that you might not even know exist yet. This one might be especially beneficial in this time of social distancing. Want to connect with people in your area without connecting with people in your area? Search your local, nearest airport code or city abbreviation in Instagram. Make new friends. Reach out to people that way. This is actually a great way for small/local businesses to reach out and let public in their city/surrounding area know they’re there and open for business.
You DO NOT have to post every day, but much like with blogging, it helps with the growth of your page if you post somewhat regularly. People like to come to instagram to see new content. If you post once and then don’t come back for a month, then post three times in a week then disappear for two months, you’re going to have a very difficult time convincing people they should connect with you and and your content. If they can’t rely on you to connect with, why should they follow you?
Share other’s images to your Instagram Story. This one doesn’t help you at all. It’s not for growth. It’s not for any other reason than you might like an image. If you like an image that someone you follow has posted, share it to your Instagram story. It furthers their reach, gives them a form of cross promotion they haven’t yet had. Also, it allows you to share images of places you might not yet have been, or might not have seen. This is also extremely beneficial for any small businesses that you might follow. Especially if they’re still operating during COVID. A little share here and there might help their business immensely during these stressful times. So… sprinkle a little kindness in whatever you do!
Don’t just post things because you think they’re trendy. People aren’t so dense that they cannot figure out who’s being a try-hard on social media. While you might like the instant gratification of sharing something that’s been going viral day after day after week after week, the tired, tried and done a thousand times means being a trendy Instagram user gets old real quick. You won’t build connections, you won’t have the interaction you’re searching for and, you’ll lack authenticity. It’s 2020, people. Real is the new real.
Be nice. Hopefully this one doesn’t require an explanation.
You have to have 10,000 followers in order to post links. Unlike Twitter where you link every tweet, you have to reach a threshold of engagement to earn that ability with Instagram. So, if you’re looking to use Instagram to promote your blog, you’re going to have to get creative.
Don’t spam people. I don’t even want to tell you how many unread messages I have in my inbox of people trying to sell me MLM products or sign me up to work under their MLM business. If you spam people, it will annoy them. And if you are looking to grow your Instagram profile, I would recommend you not annoy people in the process.
If, and only if, you’re not worried about privacy, make sure this option is checked off under your settings tab:
If you’re worried about your privacy, or family or friends finding your page, and in turn, blog, then make sure this box isn’t selected in your settings. This could recommend your page to people in your area or people who you share mutual friends with. So, if someone you know follows your page, but not everyone you know is aware of your blog, be careful with this function.
If you are running a small business, or any business for that matter, stick to business and keep your personal opinions out of it. I recently witnessed a cafe in Vancouver lose 10,000 followers in less than 24 hours after the owner got on his Instagram Story to proclaim that the government was ruining everyone’s futures so that fewer people would die and that we should risk the deaths of those that could catch it anyway to ensure that business can keep going as normal. This cafe is one that’s been on several TV shows (Diners Drive Ins and Dives, You gotta eat here and a couple of others) and had grown a rather large following online because of that. And he threw it all away when he started sharing his personal opinions. Whether someone agrees, or vehemently disagrees with your opinions, they don’t want these opinions from a business. No one followed his cafe on Instagram to get advice on economics, government or politics. They followed his business account to find out what soup of the day he was serving for take out. What baked treats he could deliver that day. A move like that could quite literally kill a business reputation.
Lastly, for lack of better conclusion, if you made it this far, follow me on Instagram! @MillennialMe88
Over the past fifteen months I’ve seen a lot of really good bloggers up and quit. They stop coming online, or they delete their pages all together. People come and people go, that’s a fact of life. But burnout, is that avoidable? What causes burnout? What causes people to go so quickly? Even the promising bloggers, they say hasta-la-vista faster than anyone could say ‘please don’t give up’. Why?
People think blogging is easy. Too many people believe that maintaining a successful blog is simple. Too many people believe that all they have to do is hit publish and people will like/love/leave comments and subscribe. Over the night thousands of people will magically find their blog and they’ll be such a hit that people will hang off every word they say.
People take personal offense when expectation doesn’t meet reality. Far too many people will bitch and moan if they don’t get the number of comments on their post that they think they deserve. Instead of taking the opportunity to share, and be grateful for the opportunity to share, people will get angry if their post doesn’t get enough attention. This can lead to blogging burnout quite quickly. Anyone looking for, hoping for or seeking attention and gratification from others in what they post will likely always be disappointed with the results, no matter if it was five people who viewed or 5,000.
People lack the work-ethic needed to run a successful blog. In a world more connected than ever before, people seek content from online sources 24 hours a day, seven days per week. Anyone who runs a successful blog knows that they need to put time and effort into the posts they’re making and the content they’re sharing. Showing up every now and again to share something and expect a reaction is naive. A dedicated reader wants to come back to a blog and find something new to discover. If any potential reader has to come back again and again and again in hopes of finding something new, they’re going to give up quickly. If they give up quickly, the blogger tends to give up shortly thereafter.
People try too hard to be ‘trendy’. Just because something is being talked about on the internet does not mean that it’s going to bring any more traffic to a blog by speaking about it. A blog should be a reflection of the person composing it, not a reflection of trending topics from week to week to week.
People put too much money into their blog, assuming that monetary investment will equal success. Between premium/buisness accounts, custom layouts, custom logos, social media advertisements, google advertisements, taking blogging courses and son on and so forth, there are plenty of ways to spend plenty of money on a blog. That being said, spending money on a blog does not mean that blog is going to be successful. Spending money on a blog is a lot like spending money on a gym membership. No one would purchase a gym membership and assume that the simple act of having that membership means they will get six-pack abs, yet people will purchase all the bells and whistles for their account and assume that means their blog will make the money immediately. Unfortunately, life isn’t full of quick fixes.
What are some tips, tricks and tools that you use to avoid blogging burnout? Have you ever suffered blogging burnout? What brought you back? Also, do you have any blogs that you absolutely loved reading which the blog owner quit blogging? What do you think stopped them from returning to their blog?
From analytics to photo editing, writers block to blogging basics, all of the tips, tricks and suggestions that I provide with respect to growing your blog and social media presence online can be found by clicking here >
Please take any and all tips, tricks and suggestions that you read on this blog, and beyond, with a grain of salt. Blogging is not a one size fits all journey, so take what works for you and leave what doesn’t.
The following is a guest post written by Debby from the blog DebbySEO. *Please note that certain plugins may not be available to all WordPress accounts due to them only being available for certain plans.
Often I am asked what the best SEO tools and plugins are that I recommend. This comes as no surprise as search engines are a major source of traffic for most sites, and every blogger wants to increase website ranking in an effort to get more sales. Sometimes we just don’t know what to do or where to start in order to make SEO work for us.
In this article I will share the best WordPress SEO plugins and tools for you to use. I have noticed that many WordPress sites on are offering great content, but simply lack the SEO plugins required to perform well. In this article I will explain how to install the Yoast WP plugin for SEO, and lightly touch topics such as keyword analysis, off-site link building and more.
Note that when reading SEO tips found in top 10 results, or when searching for phrases like “best free WordPress SEO plugins” you will find many results and recommendations. The truth is that the top recommendations are not always the best ones. After all, everyone in the Google top 10 listings seems to be out to sell something. I have been providing affordable SEO services for years and will provide you with reliable information so you can kick-start your business and blog using whitehat SEO techniques without paying a penny.
Obsessive Compulsive Keyword Disorder
Do you suffer from obsessive compulsive keyword disorder? Yes Ma’am! Keywords are extremely important for SEO as they draw the right visitors to your website. They can make or break a website. Having a better understanding of the specific keywords your visitors are searching for allows you to offer better services and products on your blog.
On the other hand, you should be careful not to use SEO tools to over-optimize. If you use keywords too frequently the website will look spammy and you may even be penalized. The Yoast plugin is designed to help you optimize SEO by spreading out keywords in a responsible manner, taking into consideration the proper density and placement based on a real-time comparison with top ranking websites.
I think of Google Analytics & Google Webmaster as a friend
Proper use of keywords has the biggest impact on your SEO campaign, make sure to use Google to better target them. If you have not already done so, I recommend that you first sign up for a free Google Analytics and Google Webmaster account. This will enable you to measure the difference in traffic before and after installation of SEO plugins such as Yoast.
There is nothing more important than SEO titles and descriptions
And Yoast is all you need to successfully complete this task. You can quickly add SEO titles and descriptions to all blog posts and pages on your website, and you can even include open graph metadata and social media images to your postings. The best way to decide what title is appropriate, is to look in Google analytics to see what your audience is searching for, and then decide on which keywords you wish to target. The descriptions should always take some special consideration as this will be listed in search engines and as such determines your click-through rate.
And at the end of the night, they realized how important those little XML Sitemaps were, which they ignored while adoring the beauty of their sites
Yoast SEO will generate your XML sitemap with images in no-time! All you have to do is press the button and it will create a highly optimized cached page that will quickly load and be automatically updated every time you make a post. You can also easily import SEO data if you have been using another plugin. Yoast is the all-round solution for both rookies and veterans.
Let me quickly line out the features here. Yoast offers to change post’s SEO titles and meta descriptions on a per post basis, it supports meta descriptions for taxonomies (for example category and tags), it will focus on your keyword testing, configure your robot.txt file in order to add noindex, nofollow pages etc. You will additionally be able to configure an RSS footer/header, get Google search result snippet previews, clean up permalinks while still allowing for Google custom search, import data from other SEO plugins such as Platinum SEO pack and All in One SEO pack and more. Did I just dazzle you?
This might indeed all sound a bit overwhelming but it is in fact really easy and it just requires you to play around until you become comfortable with the full functionality. So far I have discussed only the free version of the plugin but there is paid version too which offers a redirect manager, focus on multiple keywords, ability to export focus keywords, internal linking suggestions, video tutorials to help you better understand how everything works and premium support to get the most out of your site’s SEO. The paid version can be obtained for less than $90, but in my opinion the free version offers plenty of functionality.
It does not do to dwell on Yoast SEO and forget to build offsite links
Yoast has been around since I just started my first SEO Company, and their plugin has worked miracles for the websites I have worked on. All the websites I have worked on increased their traffic by focusing on important keywords for their niche market, but still, if you don’t spend time on off-site link building your SEO campaign will not be very successful. Google must see links pointed to your site in order to determine that your content is relevant.
A good way to get some link juice flowing is to install a plugin that allows you to setup a resource directory where you can exchange links with content related websites. If done right, this will also add value to your blog. Another SEO technique that is often employed is to write guest postings and to obtain offsite links in topic related directories. The more links pointing to your website, the higher the relevancy. Obviously keywords used for the anchor text and surrounding content is very important for relevancy. SEO always has a high payoff in the long run, it may take time but it is definitely worth it.
Yoast drowns out all but the brightest SEO plugins
I will now mention some other SEO plugins for you to enjoy. SEMrush is said to be the most effective SEO tool but it does come at a cost. You can use it to find organic keywords and search terms that you can easily rank for. Such keywords are known as niche market keywords which are in high demand as they have little competing websites. Next up is Ahrefs, you have probably heard of the name, it is an all-in-one SEO tool for bloggers, marketers and businesses. It is an alternative to SEMRush and offers similar features and tools.
More free SEO tools are offered by AllinOneSeoPack, a popular WordPress SEO plugin offering a comprehensive set of tools to improve your ranking. You can use it to optimize SEO titles and metatags, image sitemaps, open graph meta tags and more. I have used All in One SEO Pack in the past and would rate it just below Yoast. Both offer their plugins for free so don’t wait and start optimizing. SEOPress is another free Yoast alternative that offers a premium version at lower cost. It comes with easier setup for beginners and advanced controls for more experienced users so it may be something you may wish to consider.
Remember, install only one SEO plugin at a time and frequently check for broken links on your site as these are harmful to your listings. I hope you enjoyed this article, make sure to check out the Yoast SEO installation video at: https://youtu.be/4KOc-oM7Yr8
Thank you to Debby from the blog DebbySEO for contributing the following post to #MillennialLifeCrisis.
One of the most exciting things you can receive as a blogger is emails about business opportunities/partnerships. Sadly, a lot of these emails often end up being scams. But, in receiving one, you can sometimes get so excited that you’ve been sent this email you forget to look for the small details.
It’s important to be able to tell if an email is a legitimate business opportunity for your blog, or a phishing scam. Lately I’ve both received, and heard of, a lot of different scam emails being sent to bloggers. If you have a ‘Contact Me’ page on your blog, or offer your email address on your blog, you may have even gotten some of these yourself. Here are some things to look for that can help determine whether or not the request you’ve gotten is legitimate.
The email should be addressed to you, not to the name of your blog, or a generic phrase such as ‘dear customer’. If you do not provide a first name on your blog, a legitimate business request will include them introducing themselves and asking for your first name
The email should have proper spelling and grammar. (This email I’ve included as example is a hot mess) Scams will often exchange ‘o’ for ‘0’ to bypass spam filters that services like hotmail, gmail and yahoo mail have in place.
The email should include a company name, at bare minimum, in the signature. If they’re smart, they’ll include it elsewhere in the email as well. If they are self employed, they will acknowledge that.
The email should NEVER ask you to do something in direct violation of law. IE Post a paid for advertisement to your blog whilst not disclosing that it was paid for.
The email should never request for personal information such as a phone number, access to your blog, pay-pal account info, and so on and so forth. If no business relationship has been established (yet) why would they need this information immediately?
A legitimate business opportunity for your blog will never come from someone who ‘expects’ anything from you. Initial emails should be a request and nothing more.
Take a close look at the email address, not just the sender name. Often times the domain can be a dead giveaway that an email isn’t legitimate. And, while it is true that some self-employed/small business owners do use services such as GMAIL for business, they will always have their name, or their company name used in the email. In the case of the email example I have attached, the name in the email address of who the email was from did not match the name on the bottom of the email.
Do not open poorly labeled or unlabeled attachments. And, if attachments are labeled, be careful to make sure that it’s not a scam before you open.
Last, but certainly not least, does the email make your ‘spidey sense’ flare up?
This list may sound obvious when you’re reading it, but there are a lot of people in this world who fall for email scams. People get so caught up in the excitement of them that there are a lot of Nigerian Princes with a lot of money right now. And, a lot of Lawyers in Monaco that won’t be wiring that 4.2 million they promised from your dearly departed relative that you’ve never met that they set up the will for.
I would strongly encourage that, if you feel an email could be a scam, you do not respond. Even a simple ‘No thank you’ can send them after you for months on end, request after request, annoying the crap out of you in an effort to wear you down.
If you think it could be a scam just hit delete.
Have you ever received a business request/opportunity for your blog that you felt could be a scam? What did it say? How could you tell that it just wasn’t quite right?
Burning the midnight oil (quite literally) right now.
Working from home, from your computer, gets increasingly more difficult if your internet is painstakingly slow. #FirstWorldProblems
I’ve been working on some design work tonight. Here’s a tidbit… if you’ve got access to Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign, and aren’t a graphic designer, the website freepik.com can be one of your most valuable resources.
The entire premise of the website is designers helping designers/future designers… which is a movement that I wholeheartedly stand behind. If you have a creative talent and can provide that to others, for free, that’s some good stuff right there. And if you need some creative motivation, now you know of a free resource that can help you in your design journey.
Oh, if you use anything, always provide credit. Don’t be ‘that person’ that doesn’t provide credit.