SEO for WordPress bloggers

Photo by Stephen Phillips – Hostreviews.co.uk on Unsplash

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.

SEO TIPS

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.

TO CONCLUDE

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.

Let’s talk about Sales

Disclaimer: If you disagree with anything I’ve written in this post, please feel free to share your opinions with me in the comments section. My only ask is that you would be kind about it. Sales is a subject matter that is not one-size-fits-all, so if you read this and think something is a good idea, please make sure you adapt it to properly fit your good or service being offered. If anything doesn’t make sense, or you have questions, ask me in the comments below and I’ll try to clarify.

The past few months I’ve noticed a lot more people using their platforms (blog, social media, podcasts, etc…) to make sales. Whether it books, clothing, consulting services… whatever it is, there’s been a huge influx in people selling.

While I deeply admire those who are exhibiting the entrepreneurial spirit in the best way possible, showcasing their goods and creativity, I have noticed a lot of people could be being smarter about the way they’re selling.

Now, that’s not to say that anyone is doing it wrong. If you’re doing it, that’s one hell of a great first step. But, I think it’s important to keep in mind that, very much like life, you should always be looking to improve.

How many sales have you made this week? This month? This year? Are you satisfied with the sales you’ve made? Are you looking to make more? How do you make more sales?

WHO IS YOUR AUDIENCE?

Are you selling your products to a business? Are you selling your products to individuals? Are you selling to men, women or both? Perhaps you’re selling to Gen Z, or even Gen X. Whoever you’re trying to sell your products or services to matters greatly with respect to how you sell. Knowing your audience is so important.

WHAT IS THE STATE OF THE MARKET?

You know, I don’t want to be a debby downer here, but COVID has brought a lot of the world to a screeching hault. There are two things people don’t want right now… ‘nice to haves’ and commitments.

Unless you’re selling an essential good or service, you’re likely going to see some suffering in your ability to make sales. If people don’t need what you’re selling then a lot are likely going to skip purchasing it. This nothing against your product or service, this is a reflection of uncertain times and a desire to keep the money they do have for the things they need, or ‘just in case’ scenarios that could come up.

To speak about commitments… from a psychological perspective, very few people are signing up for something that requires a commitment because of the fact that no one knows where we’re going to be or what the situation will be in a week, two weeks, five weeks or more. If they can’t see that far ahead, the don’t want to sign themselves up for something that commits them to that far into the future.

WHAT IS YOUR VALUE VERSUS MARKET VALUE?

This is a controversial topic because a lot of people believe that if they lower the price of their goods or service they’re lowering the value they provide. When, in reality, it’s likely that your product is only valued at that lower cost anyway.

Take a house, for example. Your house might be appraised at $500,000 (hypothetical numbers). The housing market, while it hasn’t drowned in a COVID world, has taken a bit of a hit. The market value of the home might only be $400,000 right now. That’s not a reflection of the home itself, that’s a reflection of the market. The house is still the same. It’s not as though there’s less of it, or it’s damaged. It’s just a reflection of the market.

Pre-pandemic, people might have spent $50 for what you’re selling because they had the $50 to spend. During pandemic pricing can’t be a reflection of pre-pandemic life. People don’t have that extra $50 to spend right now. They might only have $10. You, selling your product or service at $10 does not devalue the product itself, it shows that you understand market fluctuations. Just let people who purchase know that you reserve the right to raise the price again in the future when the world becomes more stable.

Besides, selling 5 at $10 is better than selling 0 at $50. Maybe, for those 5 people who you’re selling at $10, work out a deal that they also provide you with an online review. Reviews are HUGE for making sales.

Selling a house for $450,000 is a lot better than not selling at all because you’re so damn stubborn. Sure, the housing market could bounce back… eventually. How long are you able to hang onto the house for before you go bankrupt? Sometimes you just have to accept the time the world is in.

ARE YOU PROVIDING CONSUMERS ENOUGH TIME?

This one is very important. In my corporate job, one of the things I’ve been teaching my team is that it takes time for a company to decide upon purchasing our product. It’s an investment. They need to think about it, discuss it, work it into their budget. This isn’t just the case with companies purchasing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of software, this is the case across all industries, platforms and audiences. See, unless your clientele is strictly people with the wealth of Bill Gates, they need to think about the purchases before they make them.

If you’re saying ‘Buy this, it’s such a great deal and it’s only on sale until Monday’… well, whether it’s Tuesday and people have six days or Sunday and people have one day, that’s not enough time.

If someone is very interested in your product or service, at the very least, they need time to budget for it.

When is a typical pay day? Are you factoring in that as a consideration? The first of the month is when rent is due and typically around the time a lot of mortgage payments are due. (Not everyone, just a lot) Often times the start of the month people have less money to play with in their budget then in the middle of the month. If you’re offering a ‘steal of a deal’ that’s only good until the 5th of the month, are you doing yourself any favours? Are you doing your potential customers/clients any favours? No, not really.

Whether your product or service is $10 or $10,000 dollars, you need to provide people adequate time to determine whether or not they can, want to, or should purchase.

DON’T OFFER PAYMENT PLANS

This is an entirely personal opinion, but just don’t do it. Not unless you’re selling a car or house. You’re not a debt collector and you don’t want to be seen as such.

Payment plans are in place for people who require a good or service now, but cannot afford the full price at this moment in time. Thigns like ‘Quad-Pay’ drive me crazy. Payment plans are meant for essential goods, not a purse or a lego set. If someone can get by without what you’re offering, then you’re doing them a disservice by putting them on a payment plan and adding another bill to their long list of bills each month.

If you’re not offering an essential good or service, but you’re offering a payment plan, you’re taking advantage of people by selling them something they cannot afford.

WHAT ADDED VALUE ARE YOU PROVIDING?

This is something we talk a lot about with my day-to-day job. People aren’t purchasing your product to purchase your product, they’re purchasing your product to purchase you. I truly mean that.

How’s your small talk?

How’s your real talk?

Do you care about the people you’re speaking with?

My work sells software. Everyone on earth sells software. If you’re reading this post, you’ve bought software and are using it right this very instant. What makes people buy from us? Not the software, that’s for certain. People purchase from us because of the customer service we provide. People buy from us because of the team of extremely intelligent people with masters and doctorates who line our support staff and are at their beck and call whenever needed. People choose our software because they know they’re not getting software, they’re getting the company too.

How does that relate to individuals, you ask? Well the same concept applies. If you’re an indie author, very few people in this world are just going to purchase your book solely for the reason that it exists. Very few people are going to purchase your book for the reason that it belongs to a genre they enjoy. People are going to purchase your book because of the connection it has to you, and because of the connection that you have to them.

LASTLY, IF YOU CAN, JUST GIVE IT AWAY

You can trial software for several weeks before determining whether or not you wish to purchase it. You can drive cars before determining whether or not you wish to purchase it. There are umpteen thousand things on earth that offer you the opportunity to try, test, read or view said good/service before purchasing.

Why? Because if your product/service is so superior, then providing a free sample of the product/service is going to hook people.

It’s not manipulative, it’s smart.

If you’re a graphic designer just starting out, offer the first design free to show someone what you can do. After that, charge them per design. Until you’re well established, this is going to be a good means for you to drum up business and increase awareness of your capabilities.

If you’re an author and you’re legally allowed, post the first chapter, or even just the first few pages, of your book. Get people excited about the content they wouldn’t otherwise be able to see.

If you’re a social media phenom, teach someone the strategy to one platform and they’ll come to you seeking the strategy to others.

I am in no, way, shape or form saying that you should give away everything that you do. I’m saying that you should give away a teaser. Give away a piece… something to excite people… something to get them talking. It incentivizes people.

TO CONCLUDE

Whatever you’re selling, however you’re selling it, just remember to put yourself in the mind of your ideal consumer. Think like they think. Do what they do. If you can truly understand the people you’re trying to make sales to, you’ll have a far easier time making connections and eventual sales.

Remember that sales is not a one-size-fits-all business plan. It differs from person-to-person, industry-to-industry. Do your research. Be flexible. Be confident. Lastly, but certainly not least, be proud. be proud of what you’re providing.

“Selling” your blog.

Do you want to use your blog to sell products or services? Perhaps you already do? Have you had much success with the products or services that you’re selling? Perhaps it could be better?

If there’s a saying that’s applicable to sales… pretty much across the board, it’s that ‘things can always be better’. There can always be more sales. There can always be more customers. There can always be more value.

Value.

Hold onto that word.

The primary error that most people make when it comes to sales is that they believe they’re selling a product or service. They’re not.

Sales is about fixing problems. Sales is about providing value. Sales is about creating a need for something that people didn’t even realize existed. Sales is not about shoving a deal down people’s throats.

Listen… when people buy cars, they’re not buying a car to have a car. They’re buying a car for transportation. They’re buying a car to save time. They’re buying a car that has room to carry all of their kids, soccer equipment, furniture and tools in one trip. They’re not buying a car because someone told them to. They’re buying a car because they need a car. They’ve determined that the car provides them value.

Does everyone need a car? No. Does everyone need what you’re selling on your blog? No. To those that do need what is being sold on your blog, what have you done to show them value? I ask not to offend, but out of genuine curiosity. Are you just leaving a link there and hoping for clicks? Are you trying to guilt people into purchasing? Are you showing them the value provided through purchasing your product and the problems that it will solve when they do?

Think of it this way: you could sell consulting services or you could provide prosperous futures. You could sell your book or you could provide a page turning cure for quarantine boredom. You could sell t-shirts or you could start new fashion trends.

Successful sales provide value beyond the good or service. This is because those selling are aware that people aren’t buying an item, they’re buying their own personal solutions. You can throw all of the discounts and special deals to the universe as possible, but if the value isn’t communicated, the message won’t register.

I love seeing bloggers succeed. I love seeing bloggers find their passions, build visions for their platforms and accomplish their desires. I love seeing bloggers selling their personal goods and services because I believe in the power of the entrepreneurial spirit. That being said, nothing pisses me off more than seeing “50% off! Today only!” on someone’s platform. 50% off of something that I don’t need is still something that I don’t need.

Instead of focusing on the deals, discounts, flashy pitches and shiny packages, ask yourself how many people need what you’re selling. Ask yourself if they know they need what you’re selling. I want you to make sales, so I want you to remember that 50% off of something they don’t need is still something they don’t need.

Can your poetry help anxiety sufferers? Can your graphic design help with Pinterest metrics? Can your book instill a sense of wonder and adventure within readers? Can your consulting help someone find their passions, financial freedom and hope for the future?

If you’re selling on your blog already, I strongly encourage you to reassess your sales tactics. Even if you’ve made sales, there’s always room for improvement. And, if you’re not selling yet but you’re considering it, I strongly encourage you to asses what values you can provide with the products or services you’re looking to sell. Quite often people aren’t even aware of the problems they have. They aren’t aware of the solutions that could be available to them because they’re so used to living with what is instead of what could be.

Show your audience what could be. Make those sales matter. It’s more than just money. It’s people. It’s passion. It’s relationships. It’s entrepreneurial spirit that knows your value and provides it through your offerings. Discounts don’t matter. Solutions do.

Ebbs and flows

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.

Okay, that is all for now.

Referral Links: What’s the point?

Referral links is a common business practice when a company provides you a link that you can use to share with your friends, family, social media followers, YouTube channel or blog. If your friends, family, social media followers, YouTube subscribers or blog followers use the referral link to make a purchase, they get a discount off of their purchase and you get a credit towards your next purchase with that company.

This is different from affiliate marketing because, with affiliate marketing you make a small commission from someone purchasing a product that you’re advertising. This commission varies depending on the type of product, the following you might have and the amount of people who purchase. It can be as low as a few cents that you get per purchase that someone makes on a product that can cost fifty or sixty dollars. If you save that money up over time, it could turn into a pay cheque of sorts, but unless you have a vast reach across the web, it’s likely only ever going to equal pocket change.

With referral links, the company guarantees that if you sign up one of your friends or family members, one of your blog followers or YouTube subscribers, or someone from social media, the money is given to you in the form of a credit off of your next purchase. The value does not change, and the referral link is only for a certain period of time.

So, Company X will say ‘If you share this link with your friend and they make a purchase, they will get $20 off their purchase and you will get $20 off of your next purchase as a thank you for referring your friend to our company’.

Why referral links are so beneficial? If you’re smart about it, you can share with your blog, social media accounts, friends and family a referral link to a company that you already make purchases from. So, if one of them does make a purchase, then you’re essentially lessening the amount that you’re required to pay the next time that you order that thing or use that service.

Take for instance the company that I purchase my contact lenses from. I’m blind as a bat without some form of glasses or contact lenses so, over the years I have become frequent purchaser of contact lenses from an online distributor. This distributor offers their lenses at anywhere between $20-$50 less a box than if you were to purchase them from your local eye doctor. So you’re already getting a great deal. My contact lenses cost $140 every three months. Now, due to my frequent purchases from said company, the company has recently provided me with a referral code. This referral code is for $20. If someone uses my referral code to purchase contact lenses or glasses for themselves, they will get $20 off of their purchase and I will get a $20 credit for my next purchase. If three people use this referral code, each of them will get $20 off of their purchase and I will get $60 off of my next purchase, making the cost of my next order of contact lenses $80 rather than $140.

It’s a way that companies use their own customers to market their products to new customers. In the case of the company that I purchase contact lenses from, if I were to share my link and have just seven people make a purchase using my link, the next time I went to purchase contact lenses, they would be free.

Sweet deal, right?

There’s inherently more value to someone for choosing to use a referral code rather than trying to use affiliate marketing for their blog. Whilst referral codes might not put money directly in your pocket, they do make the items you use cheaper, thus leaving the money in your bank account that you would otherwise need to spend.

Keep in mind, if I referred even one person to purchase their contact lenses from the same company that I do, that’s $20 that stays in my pocket because I have a credit from the company. A program like Amazon affiliates, depending on the size of your following and how hard/fast you pump out the affiliate links, may take you several months to reach a $20 sum that you can cash out for money in your pocket. So, if you’re already using said service or program anyways, its a worthwhile consideration to see if there’s a referral code available.

Some examples of companies that offer referral codes (in no particular order):

  • Uber
  • HelloFresh
  • Clearly Contacts
  • AirBnB
  • RobinHood Commission Free Investing
  • Rakuten
  • Daily Harvest Meal Prep
  • Grove Collaborative

Some companies, such as Uber, offer a referral code to every single customer who has an account. All you have to do is share this code with your friends to start earning credits towards the next time you need to take an Uber.

Other companies will send out referral codes to customers who are frequent purchasers from their company.

And some companies you can receive a referral code for sharing by contacting their customer service department.

Please note that the value of each referral link will be different as they are all set by each individual company. So, one referral code for a company might have a value of $20 whilst a referral code for another company might only be worth $5. I would highly recommend that if this something you’d like to consider doing, when doing your research on referral codes that you would like to share and use, make sure you don’t just share every referral code you can get your hands on, but that you choose to share the codes that will bring you the most benefit. If you don’t order meal prep then don’t share a referral code for Hello Fresh. If you do take Uber rides frequently, then share that code as far as your reach can reach.

I would also like to add and important point here in that Referral Codes are different from Discount Codes. Discount codes are those which a company creates to give to an influencer to determine their reach. The company keeps track of how many people use that influencer’s code to determine the value of working with that influencer for future projects. And, in turn, the influencer gets a small commission off someone using that code (usually a percentage of what overall purchases were made with said code). So, providing discount codes is essentially another form of affiliate marketing.

Referral codes are for anyone who uses that business or service. Whether you’re an influencer or not, whether you have ten followers on social medial or a million, you can have a referral code. Because the company banks off the fact that you’ll promote to more people than they’ll have to give company credits for, it’s largely free promotion for them. Also, a lot of people never take advantage of the credits earned. Which in turn makes the referral program even more valuable for a company.

If you use it properly though, stick to the referral links that are most valuable to you, you can purchase items that you need for free.

Considering referral codes? Do your research. Find out of there are companies that you shop with online, or through apps like Uber, that you can get referral codes from to start saving you money off future purchases. Stick to only companies that you use and make an effort to share that code as far and as wide as possible.

Personally, I haven’t seen too many bloggers use Referral Codes as a means of monetizing their blogs. But if done properly, it is a smart way to monetize your blog. If you have any questions about referral codes, leave them in the comments section below.


Lastly, for self promotional purposes, if you purchase your glasses or contact lenses online and live within Canada, The USA, Australia or New Zealand, you can use my referral code. In the case of “Clearly” (also known as “Clearly Contacts and Glasses”, it’s a referral link.

CLICK HERE TO USE MY REFERRAL LINK >

If you use my referral link to purchase your next pair of glasses or order of contact lenses, you will get $20 off your purchase and I will get a $20 credit that will go towards my next order of contact lenses.

If you’ve never heard of this company before but order your glasses or contact lenses online, have a poke around their website and see their prices. You might be surprised. They’re very competitively priced and base shipping largely takes only 2-3 days… even with the ongoing pandemic. Their website can be found here >

Who knows, you might like them and want to start ordering from them and ask the company for a referral code of your own if you’re blind as a bat like I am.

If you purchase glasses or contact lenses online and haven’t been getting much out of it CLICK HERE TO USE MY REFERRAL LINK > or seek out to get your own referral link from this company.

The basics: Instagram 101

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

What causes blogging burnout?

Photo from Neurotracker.net

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.

Sending successful thoughts your direction!

I LOVE ANALYTICS.

What can your analytics teach you? What should your analytics teach you? If you have a blog, or any form of social media, you have access to analytics. Do you use them?

346 people have visited my blog today from 53 countries and territories around the world. How cool is that? People from all over the world have found my blog, my words, my little corner of the internet.

3,321 people have viewed my published tweets.

1,106 people have viewed my Instagram page.

18 people found my blog through search engine results.

6 people found my blog from Facebook. And I don’t even have a Facebook account.

I don’t say this to brag, I say this because analytics fascinate me. I love tracking visitors, hits, interactions, popularity (or lack thereof depending on the post) and reach.

I use my analytics to determine what the best time of day is to post something, as well, what the best day of the week is to post something. I also use my analytics to determine what topics will garner more hits, and what topics won’t really resonate with my community. Also, on that note, I use my analytics to understand my community.

Why?

An estimated 40% of the people who read #MillennialLifeCrisis are Gen X-ers. That’s right, the largest group of people who read this blog are not even Millennials. That tells me that these things that I’ve felt alienated me for so long now are in fact, not generational, but more so just the overall human condition.

Quite often I’m asked different variations of ‘what’s your secret? How’d you get so many followers?’ What’s my secret? I don’t keep secrets. I use analytics. I’ve been using them since I worked in corporate settings and I can say without a doubt, that if you’re looking to grow an audience for your personal blog, analytics are going to play a major factor in your success, or lack thereof.

How many people viewed your blog today? What countries did they come from? What did you do as a measure to help convince them to return to your blog? How can you use your analytics to your favour?

Here, I’ll give you an example:

Let’s pretend that you live in London, England. Now, upon reading the base analytics that WordPress provides to EVERY user (regardless of if your account is free or paid), you notice that far and above anywhere else, the majority of your audience is from the United States. If you want the most people possible to see your post, I do not recommend hitting publish at 9:00 AM Greenwhich Mean Time. Why? Because for the majority of your audience, that’s the middle of the night and they’re asleep. Instead, I recommend you schedule your post to be published at 9:00 AM Eastern Standard Time. Your post will be top of feed for all of your American audience to see, and you stand a much higher chance of having farther reach.

If you’e blogging for a hobby and you don’t care how many hits/visitors your blog gets, analytics probably won’t matter to you. But, if you want to build a community, your analytics can be one of your best assets. They will tell you what you’re doing wrong, what you’re doing right and how to improve upon all of it.

I still post what I want when I want. But, I also know that if I do something like… posting this after 7:00 PM Pacific Standard Time, it’s going to get far less hits than had I gotten by butt in gear and posted this 10 hours ago.

That is how I use, or don’t use, analytics in my favour. Whether I post it at the optimal time or not, I’m still going to track visitors, hits, interaction. Why? Because I’m a nerd who loves data. Because I believe in the value of analytics. Because this blog is my pride and joy and I really appreciate knowing all that I can about it.

So what do your analytics teach you? How can you use that information to your favour?


If you liked this post and would like to read more of my blogging tips, click here. All blogging tips/tricks/advice/suggestions are all categorized under ‘Marketing’ on my blog’s main menu.

If you would like to support myself and the content created on #MillennialLifeCrisis, I have an official Patreon account with patron options starting as low as $1 per month. Click here >

Blogging, Marketing, Promotion, Communications Questions Answered

In honour of reaching 5,000 WordPress followers in 11 months, and because I need a distraction, if you have any questions related to blogging, marketing, promotion and communications, ask away.

I will answer questions that are blogging specific, or can draw from my industry experience if that better helps what you’re looking to learn.

Do you want to know the best free tools to use? Do you want to know why analytics are integral to growth? Do you want to know how many hits I get in a day? Do you want to know the best website to use for newsletters? Do you waant to know industry standards for communication distribution? Do you want to schedule a time for me to look through your blog and ‘Audit’ it, so to speak, to help make it user friendly? Whatever you want to know, ask away.

– Crickets –

Blogging 106: Writer’s block? Here are some simple subjects to write blog posts about.

With the exception of a very select few, every writer/blogger has been there before – when you want to write but you don’t know what to write. It’s one of the most frustrating feelings you can go through, writer’s block. And when you’re there, you’ll give anything to get out of your rut. How do you? You write. Write about anything. Write about everything. Write about the things that you may think are stupid and do all that you can to ensure those words hit the page. Write everything down. Even if it’s never going to leave your drafts folder, put those words on the page.

Here are some subjects that you can write about, things that you can share your opinions on, things that people enjoy reading about;

Write about how you wound up in the career you’re in now. Whether you have a common job – such as a nurse or a teach, or an uncommon job – such as a cardiothoracic surgeon, someone somewhere in this world is wondering what it takes to become a professional in your field. Sharing the story of how you got there could help a lot of up-and-coming professionals.

Write about the most incredible trip you’ve ever taken. Whether you’re a world traveller, or a one-and-done type of person, travel is a subject with one of the broadest audiences on earth. Even if someone is not going to the location you’re speaking of, they still will want to, and enjoy, reading about tales from your adventures.

Write about your hometown. Where are the best places to eat? Where are the best places visit? What are the funnest activities to do while there? Whether you live in the largest city on earth or a small town in the middle of nowhere, people will travel through your hometown each year. Why not give them a guide of things to do and places to see while there? Categorize it as ‘Travel’, because, while yo might not be travelling there, those that are travelling there will be the ones reading it.

Write about mental health, self-care, recovery and coping. This is one of the most broadly discussed topics on WordPress. If you have experience with mental health issues, either with yourself or a loved one, share your perspectives. Not only does it lessen the stigma, but it helps other’s feel less alone in their present situations. This might sound like a sad statement to say, but it’s nice to have a community, or friends, who understand what you’re going through.

Share your talents. Can you play the piano? Can you play the guitar? Can you kick a field goal as easy some people get up in the morning? Share that with the world. And, if it’s a talent you have that is teachable… something that others can learn, share. Pass on that wisdom. Millions upon millions of people take to the internet to learn new skills… even things as simple as the different ways to tie a tie. From second languages to second natures, if you’ve got the skills and wisdom to do it and patience to teach it, use your blog as a platform to teach it.

Talk about celebrities. People love to read other’s perspectives of celebrities. It’s quite literally why the Kardashian’s are famous. Share your opinions on celebrities. If someone agrees with you, they’re going to love your take and if someone disagrees with you, they’re likely going to want to talk about it. And, since this is the perfect opportunity, use your blog as a platform to remind people that two people can disagree with one another and still treat each other with respect.

Talk about true crime and mysteries. Does true crime fascinate you?Whether people admit to it or not, true crime fascinates a lot of the world. People disappearing, seemingly off the face of the earth fascinates people. There’s a natural wonder and curiosity within many people that wants to know what goes through someone’s mind when they commit murder. There are Youtube Channels of people just giving their take on different murders from around the world and these channels have hundreds of thousands of subscribers. On Sept 30 a woman in Anchorage, Alaska found an SD card on the ground that was labeled ‘Homicide at Midtown Marriott’. The SD card was filled with photos and videos of a man named Brian Smith sexually assaulting, murdering and then disposing of a woman’s body. I read a blog post a few weeks back about this story in which the author merely shared their opinion of what they think on the subject matter and the post had 3,200 likes on it. The post had more likes than the blog had subscribers. Why? People love crime.

Write about another blogger. Someone that you appreciate, or admire. Someone’s content you read on the regular. Spread the love. That blogger is going to appreciate the shout-out, and your community could possibly find themselves another blogger to love as well!

Make lists! People love lists because they’re short, easy to read and to the point. What are the ten best things about being female? What are the ten best things about being a male? What are your favourite songs of all times? What are your top travel destinations for 2020 and why? Make a list. They’re quick to read, allow you to share your opinions and are posts that people frequently like to comment on.

Whatever you’re writing about, write with your heart, passion and soul behind it. Authenticity is important in blogging. People will see if you’re passionate about what you’re sharing or if you’re just blogging to get attention. They can judge your character, even if they’re a stranger. So always make sure that you’re blogging about things that you love.

Write it.

Write it all down. Put it in your drafts folder. Some of it might be stupid, sure. Hell, I’ve got a lot of stupid posts in my drafts folder. I can promise you that after it’s written, you might realize that some of it’s pretty freaking awesome.