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Why You Shouldn’t Start a Podcast or YouTube Channel (Seriously)

You’ve seen it for yourself. These days, there are a gazillion different ways to broadcast your thoughts online.

Blogging, podcasting, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat — the options are overwhelming. Are you supposed to do all of them? If not, which ones are most important? What if you are talented in one medium and terrible in another?

ARGH! It’s so confusing.

Well, here’s the good news:

In this post, I’ll do my best to answer those questions. Even better, I’ll give you answers that include taking things off your plate, not putting more things on.

In other words, everything is about to get a whole lot simpler. Let’s jump in.

Why Trying to Do Everything at Once Is a Mistake


Some influencers are doing it all. They have a blog, podcast, YouTube channel, a bunch of social media accounts with tons of followers — everything.

From the outside, it’s impressive. You might even think that’s what you have to do if you want to make money online.

But here’s a little secret:

Behind the scenes, most of those influencers are paying entire teams of helpers. In the rare case where they are doing everything themselves, it also leaves them without any time to monetize all that content, so many “social media influencers” are actually broke.

The reason why?

No one gets more than 24 hours in a day. It doesn’t matter how smart, fast, or multi-talented you are — you’ll never be able to do everything well.

No one gets more than 24 hours/day.

You have to choose. The question is… how?

How to Figure out What to Focus on


Thankfully, this one is simple. Just answer one question:

In what medium can you develop a top 1% skillset?

At first glance, this might seem like a strange question, but let’s break it down.

There are three types of media: the written word, audio, and video. Chances are, you’ll be better at one than the others.

For example, writing has always come naturally to me. Even when I was in school, I could write essays 10X better than everyone else and barely exert myself at all.

For you, maybe it’s something different.

Maybe engaging people with your voice and having interesting conversations comes naturally to you. In that case, you should start a podcast.

Or maybe you’re captivating on video. Ever since you were a kid, you’ve been a natural entertainer.

Wherever you shine, that’s the medium you should focus on.

But here’s the caveat:

Don’t just jump in and expect to be successful. Success with any kind of content marketing isn’t about being good. It’s about being among the best.

Success with any kind of content marketing is about being among the best.

Here’s what I mean:

The Staggering Difference between Being Good and Being Great


Once upon a time, I was an NFL (American football) junkie, and I was always intrigued by the pay difference between players.

The star of your team might make $20 million a year. The backup to your star, however, might make $2 million or even less.

Was this because the star was 10X better?

Not even close. In a professional sport, even the backup players are among the best in the world. At best, a star might be 50% better than his replacement.

So why do they pay him 10X more?

Because games are a matter of matchups. One player being just a little bit better than his opponent can mean the difference between winning and losing. If you have an entire team of players who are just a tiny bit better, you win the Super Bowl.

You see the same thing in the Olympics. The silver medal runner might be just a fraction of a second behind the gold medal winner.

And content marketing works the same way.

The rewards go to the best of the best. You can be a good writer or podcaster or YouTuber and have mediocre or even terrible results.

In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and say something controversial:

If you’re not prepared to be among the best in your niche, content marketing isn’t going to do anything for you at all. You might as well quit.

Before you get too discouraged though, here’s the other side of the coin:

If you diligently upgrade your skills over time in a medium where you have some natural talent, you can almost always be among the best.

Let me explain…

How I Became One of the Most Popular Writers on the Web


Over the last decade, my work has touched over 200 million people — about 1 out of 8 people in the English-speaking world.

Crazy, right? Obviously, I must have some secret.

But I don’t. I followed the exact method I’m teaching you here.

I recognized I was a naturally talented writer, so then I spent years improving my writing skills to the point of being among the best in the world. It took me about three years to begin to get noticed and another two years after that for people to start thinking of me as “the blogging guy.”

During those years of practice, I wrote 1,000 words every single day. In the first year, I also wrote 100 headlines per day. Added to that, I spent one or two hours per day reading the work of other top bloggers, dissecting why they were popular, and deliberately practicing incorporating their techniques into my own work.

It’s the same process an athlete uses to become an elite player in their sport. Identify natural talent, practice like hell, and then do your best to be in the right place at the right time.

Content marketing is no different. It’s a sport, and there are winners and losers.

The medium doesn’t matter. Blogging, podcasting, YouTube — the vast majority of the rewards go to the people at the top.

The question is, are you willing to put in the work to get there?

It doesn’t always have to take three years as it did for me. I spent a lot of time running in circles because I didn’t have anyone to guide me. With the right coach, you can progress much, much faster.

And that brings me to my most important point.

The Formula for Being an Insanely Successful Person


It’s all about stacking top 1% skills.

Let’s say you have some natural talent as a writer. You invest in some good training, work like hell, and gradually become a top 1% writer.

But that’s not the end of the story.

Now you’re getting lots of traffic, but you’re not making much money, and you realize it’s because your marketing sucks. So again, you invest in some good training, work like hell, and gradually become a top 1% marketer.

Again though, it’s not the end of the story.

Because now, you’re making some pretty good money, but you’re working night and day, and you want to hire someone to help you. Problem is, you’re a terrible manager and leader, but again, you decide to suck it up, invest in some good training, work like hell, and gradually become a top 1% CEO.

The above story isn’t a fairytale, by the way. It’s the story of the last 10 years of my life.

And it’s actually a pretty common story. Regardless of profession, the most successful people in any field get there by stacking 1% skills on top of each other.

So, let’s bring this full circle:

When to Branch out into Podcasting or YouTube


Assuming you’re a blogger, you should wait until you’ve mastered blogging.

Let’s take me as an example.

I’ve spent the last couple of years improving my skills as a CEO. It’s been a painful, gradual process, but I think I’m starting to “get it,” and that’s one of the reasons why the company is now growing faster than it has in years.

Am I among the top 1%? Not quite, but according to these stats, I’m getting pretty close. I think it’s just a matter of time.

So, what’s next?

I’ll pick another media and become the top 1% there. I have some natural talent with podcasting as well, so that’s probably the next skill to stack on top. On the other hand, I don’t think I have much natural talent with video, so the chances of me starting a YouTube channel where I’m the star are pretty slim.

And that’s fine. We don’t have to be great at everything.

The key is to be great at one thing… and then another thing… and then another thing.

If your first “thing” is writing, I’m your man. We have some of the best training there is for writers, and we’re expanding it all the time.

But do me a favor…

Don’t start a podcast or YouTube channel while you’re trying to learn how to write. That’s the equivalent of someone training for an Olympic marathon deciding to become an Olympic swimmer and skier all at the same time.

That’s never going to happen. Not unless you’re inhuman, anyway.

So, pick just one medium. Focus on it. Get really, really, really great at it.

And then enjoy the rewards of being at the top.

About the Author: Jon Morrow is the CEO of Smart Blogger. Check out his new blog Unstoppable and read the launch post that went viral: 7 Life Lessons from a Guy Who Can’t Move Anything but His Face.

The post Why You Shouldn’t Start a Podcast or YouTube Channel (Seriously) appeared first on Smart Blogger.

Source: https://smartblogger.com/start-a-podcast/

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How to Make Money Blogging: The $5.3 Million Case Study

There are lots of guides out there about how to make money blogging, but here’s what makes this one different:

I’ve taken three different blogs to over $1 million per year. In fact, the blog you’re reading right now has made a total of $5.3 million.

And in this post, I’m going to give you a step-by-step case study showing you exactly how I did it, starting from nothing.

Let’s jump in.

How to Make Money Blogging, Even If You’re a Beginner


If you’re starting from scratch with no traffic or influential friends, it’s easy to wonder…

Is it reasonable for you to believe you can make money blogging?

For that matter, how do blogs even make money? Ads? Or something else?

Well, let’s take a look at exactly how I did it at Smart Blogger. Here’s my complete step-by-step process for how to make money blogging:

#1. Choose a Profitable Niche

Choose a Profitable Niche

Let’s start with a little brutal truth, shall we?

  • Passion does not equal profit.
  • Neither does expertise.
  • Hard work doesn’t guarantee anything either.

For example:

You can be the world’s foremost expert on square-shaped tomatoes, wake up every morning with a burning passion to educate the public on their vast superiority to normal-shaped tomatoes, and work until your fingers bleed and your eyes fall out of your head, following all the right tactics for growing a popular blog, and…

You’ll never have a chance in hell at making any money.

Here’s why:

  1. Nobody but you gives a damn about square tomatoes
  2. Even if they did care, they wouldn’t spend any money

In other words, you need a large audience who buys things. Without that, nothing else matters. It’s a prerequisite for everything else.

In the case of Smart Blogger, I noticed early on that bloggers buy lots of different things:

what bloggers buy

In fact, there are companies with $10 million+ per year of revenue in most of those categories. It’s also a growing space with millions of people:

Blogger Statistics - 2014-2020

The only problem?

Loads of competition. Whether it be my previous employers Brian Clark or Neil Patel, my good friends over at Problogger, or the gazillion other “blogging about blogging” peeps infesting the social media space, everyone was intent on snagging a piece of the pie. They also had a several year head start on me.

So, how did I compete? The honest answer:

#2. Level up Your  Content Skills

How to Make Money Blogging: The $5.3 Million Case Study

 
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How to Make Money Blogging: The $5.3 Million Case Study
How to Make Money Blogging: The $5.3 Million Case Study from SmartBlogger.com

 

You’ve probably heard that “Content is king,” and it’s true… to an extent. A more accurate statement would be…

The Best Content Is King

If that’s hard to understand, think about it this way:

Lots of bloggers sit down and think, “What will I write today?” They jot down some thoughts, doing their best to be helpful, original, and entertaining. If they’re disciplined, they might even stick with it for a few months.

But it almost never works. Here are a few reasons why:

  • What you want to say isn’t what other people want to read
  • You weren’t using a proven content framework
  • It’s not the best post ever published on the topic

Granted, it’s not your fault. Until today, chances are no one ever told you about any of those requirements. You thought you just had to write interesting stuff and publish it.

No, grasshopper. No.

The truth is, you have to create the best content ever published on topics lots of people are interested in learning more about. And that brings us to the three levels of content creation:

  1. You know what content is popular in your niche, and you write exclusively about those topics
  2. You’ve mastered frameworks proven to make your content more popular (list post, how to post, etc.)
  3. Your content delivers more value to the reader than any other post published on that topic

You’re probably thinking, “Geez. That sounds hard.” And you’re right, it is.

I personally spent about three years honing my skills by writing for other sites before I started my own blog. It doesn’t have to take that long — I’m just a perfectionist, so I wanted to learn from the best people in my space.

How to Quit Your Job - Problogger

It worked, though. Nowadays, my posts get millions and millions of visitors, not because I know some special “secret,” but because I’m really good at what I do. In fact, I’ll go ahead and say it…

 
Blogging is really no different than anything else. The more of a bad ass you are, the easier it is for you to make money.

So you want to know how to make some money blogging?

Become a badass writer.

Then the next step is to…

#3. Figure out Which Traffic Sport to Play

Figure out Which Traffic Sport to Play

When you’re a beginner, getting traffic is confusing.

Should you focus on optimizing your keywords? Growing your Facebook page? Leaving comments on blogs? Answering questions on Quora? Creating videos for YouTube?

And so on.

There are a gazillion traffic tactics out there. Everybody says theirs is the best.

But here’s the data:

referral traffic sources by topic

Source: Facebook and Google dominate web traffic, but not the same kind

Pretty much all the traffic for written content comes from either Google or Facebook. The rest of traffic sources combined don’t even come close to competing with those two Goliaths.

So, how do you get them to send you a bunch of traffic?

One option is you can pay for it. They like that.

But chances are, you’re reading about how to make money blogging because you don’t want to pay for traffic. You want it for free, right?

Well, imagine this:

There’s an arena where all the bloggers in your space go to compete for traffic. The number of other challengers you defeat determines the amount of traffic you receive.

In other words, getting traffic is a sport.

  • There are winners, and there are losers
  • To be good, you have to train
  • You need to study your opponents

There are actually two sports, and I’d bet you’ve heard of both of them: search engine optimization (SEO) and going viral on Facebook. Both take years (yes, I said years) of study to master, but you can start getting pretty decent traffic after just a few months of study and practice.

Which one should you focus on?

Well, here are two questions to guide you:

  • Is your topic something your friends and family regularly talk about on Facebook? Examples: pets, parenting, self-improvement, and health. If so, focus on playing the viral traffic sport.
  • Is your topic something people actively search for information about on Google? Examples: product reviews, specific questions they would ask an expert, how-to information. If so, focus on SEO.

For most topics, you can do both, but one or the other will be dominant. In that case, focus on whichever one is dominant.

In the blogging space, for example, stuff about writing and grammar occasionally goes viral on Facebook, because we love criticizing our relatives about their terrible English. On the other hand, you rarely talk with your family about blogging platforms, WordPress plugins, affiliate marketing, or any other blogging topics.

You will, however, search for them on Google. Just as you would guess then, the blogging niche is heavily dominated by search. Here’s a breakdown of Smart Blogger’s traffic by source:

Smart Blogger's Traffic Breakdown by Source

The truth is, we pretty much ignore Facebook. The volume of traffic available there comes nowhere close to the volume of traffic available from Google. So, we focus on Google.

I also spend WAY more time keeping up to date on SEO stuff than I do on social stuff. I’m a geek about it. Throw me in a room full of Google engineers, and I’d probably know more than half of them.

Not to imply I’m the best, though. I’m also competing against people like Darren Rowse, Amy Lynn Andrews, and Neil Patel. They’re pretty freaking good too.

In time, I think I can be better, but who knows? That’s why sports are fun. You never know who is going to win.

If you’re good though, you’ll always be in the “playoffs,” for your space, and you’ll get lots of traffic. Maybe not the most, but still plenty.

And then you can focus on how to…

#4. Grow Your Email List with Pop Ups

Grow Your Email List with Pop-Ups

Chances are, you see pop ups as an annoyance.

They get in the way when you’re trying to read. They ask you to hand over sensitive information like your name, email address, and phone number. Sometimes you have to deal with multiple pop ups on the same site, and it makes you feel hassled and uncared for.

And all that sucks. In my opinion, you have every right to be annoyed.

But here’s the thing…

That’s where the money comes from. The best predictor of the revenue for a blog is the size of their email list. Here’s a breakdown of our revenue at Smart Blogger comparing revenue device from email to other sources.

The rule of thumb is you can expect to make $1 per subscriber per month. So, if you have 10,000 email subscribers, you should be able to make about $10,000 per month.

So obviously, growing your email list is a top priority. You might, however, feel conflicted about using pop ups. What are you supposed to do?

Here’s a different way of looking at it:

If a visitor comes to your site and doesn’t give you their email address, the chances of them returning are nearly zero. You’ll never have another opportunity to help them.

If you believe your content is the best, and you believe you can help them over time, I believe you owe it to them to be as pushy as possible about staying in contact. In other words, not using a pop up is unethical. A little annoyance is a small price to pay for change.

And remember, that doesn’t mean you have to be extremely pushy or spammy. You can absolutely use pop ups in authentic ways.

But you absolutely must use them. Assuming you want to make money, anyway.

#5. Begin Monetizing with Affiliate Offers

Begin Monetizing with Affiliate Offers

So, you’re operating in a profitable niche, and you have traffic and an email list. What next?

Lots of bloggers jump into creating a course or book or community of some sort, but that’s a mistake, in my opinion. Before you start selling things, you need concrete evidence those things are what people want to buy. Otherwise, you’re risking wasting months or even years of your life trying to push a product no one wants.

The simplest way to obtain that evidence:

Affiliate offers.

By seeing what your audience buys from other people, you can get a much better sense of what they might want to buy from you. If you promote a product and it converts well, you should think about creating a similar product. If it doesn’t convert well, you should probably move on.

In other words, affiliate offers are a form of market research. As a bonus, you just so happen to get paid commissions on the products your customers buy in the process. So not only are you learning what your audience wants to buy, but you’re making money from your blog at the same time. Pretty sweet deal.

At Smart Blogger, I’ve tried lots of different offers. WordPress hosting, landing page tools, email marketing software, WordPress themes, and half a dozen different types of courses. Since we sell courses, I pay the most attention to the results from those programs, and here are a couple of lessons:

  • End to end solutions sell best. Courses promising to take someone from knowing nothing to making money far outperformed the others. For instance, here’s a screenshot showing us as the #1 affiliate for Danny Iny’s Course Builder’s Laboratory:
     
    #1 affiliate Leaderboard
  • Tools with a clear connection to making money also sell better than the others. For instance, landing page builders. As proof, here’s a screenshot of our earnings from promoting LeadPages:
     
    LeadPages - Affiliate Commissions

By themselves, neither of those promotions really moved the needle on our revenue, but they did teach us useful lessons that went into creating Freedom Machine, which brings us to…

#6. Develop a Unique Mechanism

Develop a Unique Mechanism

Before you think about launching your own products or services, there’s one essential point about human nature you need to understand:

Whenever anyone purchases anything, they expect to transition from where they are now (Point A) to where they want to be (Point B). For example…

  • When you buy pizza, you want to transition from being hungry and craving pizza (Point A) to tasting delicious pizza and feeling full (Point B).
  • When you hire a plumber, you want to transition from having a clogged, overflowing toilet (Point A) to having a normally functioning toilet (Point B).
  • When you buy a course on SEO, you want to transition from feeling bewildered and getting ignored by Google (Point A) to ranking for competitive terms and getting traffic.

The success of a product ultimately depends on helping customers make those transitions. If the customer doesn’t get to Point B, they typically view the experience as a failure.

So, here’s the magic question:

What makes you better equipped to deliver that transition than your competitors?

The answer to that question is what marketing expert Todd Brown calls your “unique mechanism.” It’s a little different from a “unique selling proposition,” because it’s not just something about you that’s different. It’s something about you or your method that makes you better able to help customers than anyone else.

For Freedom Machine, we have multiple unique mechanisms:

  1. Get published on Medium — a platform with more than 60 million active readers looking for content
  2. You don’t have to struggle with setting up your blog. We do it for you.
  3. A research concierge who will do your research for you instead of having to pay for expensive tools
  4. Content frameworks developed behind the scenes at Smart Blogger to produce popular content
  5. A monetization methodology proven by our success with Smart Blogger
  6. Advice on how to automate everything, so you eventually get more freedom
  7. Weekly calls with me where I will help you set up your Freedom Machine

Combined, those unique mechanisms are EXTREMELY convincing at setting us up as the superior solution. Therefore, the product sells like hot cakes.

To be clear… it’s not necessary to have 7 different unique mechanisms. Sometimes just one is all you need (i.e. fresh, hot pizza in 30 minutes or less). The core idea though is to make sure you are obviously far more capable than your competitors at delivering results.

Then all you have to do is…

#7. Launch the Minimum Viable Funnel

Launch the Minimum Viable Funnel

Look around at successful entrepreneurs of any type, and you’ll find a surprising trend:

They tend to sell their products before the product is created.

To most people, this sounds like insanity at best or a disturbing lack of ethics at worst. How could you possibly ask people to buy something that doesn’t exist?

The answer:

It’s the same principle as Kickstarter.

Kickstarter campaign

You create a fancy minimal sales funnel of some sort (in this case, just a simple sales page), tell people the product is coming soon, and then wait to see if enough people sign up to justify making the product. If they don’t, you refund everyone’s money and start over.

In other words, it’s the final step in validating you have a viable product. The steps go like this:

  1. Identify demand by promoting affiliate products
  2. Find a unique mechanism that makes you clearly superior
  3. Test the demand for that unique mechanism with a quick and dirty launch before you create the product

In my case, the minimum viable funnel was a 90 minute webinar (you can register for the current version here.) The first time I did it, there was no product, no follow-up sequence, nothing. It was just a bare-bones test.

And it resulted in $126,000 in sales live on the webinar.

Seeing that $30,000 sales was my minimum for success, we went ahead and created the first version of the product live with students. About a year later, it’s now approaching $1 million in sales.

That’s also just one product. We have others, and we have still more in the research pipeline.

And guess what I would do if I had to start over again?

The exact same thing. It’s not easy, it’s not fast, it’s not even that sexy, but it works.

Let’s close with some questions and answers, shall we?

FAQ about How to Make Money Blogging


So, we’ve covered the basic process. Now let’s step back for a moment and answer some of the questions I hear the most often:

Do bloggers make money?

I certainly do, but I don’t think that’s what you’re asking. I think you’re asking…

“Is it reasonable for me to learn how to make money blogging?”

The no BS answer:

It depends on how patient and persistent you are.

Starting a blog from scratch is just as difficult as starting any business. For example, it requires the same time and effort as starting your own restaurant, software company, or accounting service. Yes, those businesses are wildly different, but the first few years are usually the same story: low income, lots of stress, big learning curve.

If you want a more concrete answer than that, we’ve found it takes even our smartest, most dedicated students 3-6 years to make enough money from blogging to quit their jobs. And that sounds like a long time, but so what? 3-6 years to be able to work from anywhere in the world, take a vacation whenever you want, and probably have passive income until the day you die?

Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

How much money can you make from blogging?

The fact is, most bloggers make as much money as any other type of entrepreneur:

Nothing.

And it’s not because there’s no money in it. This blog makes more than $1 million per year, for God sakes, and it’s nowhere close to the most profitable blog out there. Blogs like The Penny Hoarder, Moz, and Lifehacker power businesses worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Penny Hoarder - Affiliate Marketing

So why aren’t more bloggers rich?

The truth is, most people quit. They start a blog, realize it’s hard work, and walk away.

But if you’re patient and persistent?

You can make millions. I have. So have lots of other smart, dedicated entrepreneurs.

You just have to do the work. Consistently. For years.

Can you do that?

Then yeah, I think you can make six figures at least. Maybe more.

How do you start your own blog for free?

Lots of people say you can’t. They tell you to buy a domain name and a hosting account and a premium WordPress theme.

But I think that’s nonsense.

You can get started for free within five minutes on Medium. They also have over 60 million monthly readers, so you can get a lot of exposure there if you get featured.

Free Blogging on Medium

This article walks you through that strategy, step-by-step.

Alternatively, you can write on WordPress.com, Linkedin, or any of the other platforms out there. It doesn’t really matter. The point is, start writing and learning as soon as possible.

Once people start sharing your articles, and you begin to understand how everything works, then you can go through the trouble of setting up your own site, installing WordPress, and all that jazz. Until then though, it’s just a headache you don’t need.

What are the most popular blogging platforms?

WordPress is by far the most popular. No one else is even close.

But that doesn’t mean it’s the best for everyone.

As I mentioned earlier, I think Medium is a good place to start. You can also create your own blog with tools like Blogger, Squarespace, Wix, Joomla, and countless others.

What are the top blogs about how to make money blogging?

I’d like to think Smart Blogger is the best (and most comprehensive) site on the topic, but it’s by no means the only one. Not all of these talk about how to make money blogging, but together, they give you a solid foundation:

  • Backlinko — Brian Dean doesn’t talk much about how to make money blogging, but he’s one of the top experts and educators in the world on SEO. What I love about his content is how easy to understand it is, despite covering some incredibly complex topics. If you’re a beginner, prepare for a treat.
  • Digital Marketer: — In my opinion, my friends over at Digital Marketer are the best in the world at monetizing traffic. If you’d like to learn about marketing, list building, customer research, automation, or funnels, there’s no better source.
  • Smart Passive Income — If you’re interested in using your blog to build passive income, Pat Flynn is a master at showing you how to build a tiny little business that can support you and the lifestyle you want. Both his blog and podcast are excellent.

The Bottom Line about How to Make Money Blogging


Is it possible?

Absolutely, but only if you treat it as a business.

Yes, you can start your blog as a side project. Yes, you can slowly grow it in the background. Yes, you can turn your blog into a source of passive income that eventually lets you quit your job, travel, spend more time with your family, whatever you want to do.

But like anything worthwhile, it’s hard work getting there.

You have to study. Practice. Master your craft.

If you love writing, I can’t imagine a better business, though. Not only is blogging a great way to get your writing noticed, but it’s a great way to connect with people around the world who need you, teach them what you know, and get paid pretty damn well in exchange.

There’s never a day I regret dedicating myself to blogging. Never.

It’s not just because of the money, either. It’s because I also get to do what I love and help people at the same time.

What could be better than that?

About the Author: Jon Morrow is the CEO of Smart Blogger. Check out his new blog Unstoppable and read the launch post that went viral: 7 Life Lessons from a Guy Who Can’t Move Anything but His Face.

The post How to Make Money Blogging: The $5.3 Million Case Study appeared first on Smart Blogger.

Source: https://smartblogger.com/make-money-blogging/

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How to Write Blog Comments That Stand Out (Plus Examples!)

You’ve heard the advice a million times.

Write great comments on popular blogs, and your blog will grow. Why, it’s so easy even a caveman can do it!

And it’s true — comments can be powerful. A great comment can land you on the radar of a popular blogger — the kind of super-connected influencer who can accelerate your success.

It sounds so simple.

The only problem?

Nobody tells you how to comment on blogs. You aren’t sure what a great comment looks like.

Is it a comment that shovels heaps of praise onto the author? Or one that argues a persuasive alternative view? Or one that simply thanks the blogger for their insights?

Because while many experts preach the virtues of strategic commenting, almost nobody tells you how to do it.

As a result, many well-intentioned bloggers are spending their precious time writing comments they think are great.

In reality?

Their comments usually suck.

Why Clumsy Commenters Make Terrible First Dates


If you think about it, blog commenting is a lot like dating.

You’re trying to woo another person, right?

With dating, you’re trying to woo someone into becoming Mr. or Mrs. Whatever Your Name Is.

With blog commenting, you’re trying to woo the owner of a blog.

You want them to notice you. You want them to reply to your comment. Secretly, you want them to visit and comment on your blog, follow you on social media, and ultimately become your best friend forever.

But is that possible if your comments are lame?

Sure, it’s possible

It’s also possible to stumble into marriage, kids, and a house with a white picket fence even if you turn up to your first date with a mustard stain on your shirt and used the pickup line, “Did you hear about Pluto?”

But just because it’s possible doesn’t mean it’s likely.

That’s why it’s time to improve your commenting game.

To help you do that, let’s look in detail at the anatomy of a great blog comment.

But first, let’s look at the rookie mistakes that make most blog comments totally suck.

The Common Mistakes That Make Comments Suck


Mistake #1: Using a Novelty (or Non-Existent) Gravatar Image

You wouldn’t show up to a first date wearing a disguise, would you? Or wearing a plain paper bag over your head?

So why would you choose an image of Grumpy Cat or Ron Burgundy to represent you in blog comments? Or settle for the faceless silhouette that screams generic nobody?

Instead, let people see the real you.

They will be far more likely to feel a connection with you if they can see your face.

Besides, you know you’re sexy. Show us that smile!

Mistake #2: Using a False Name (or “Fun” Nickname)

Among your friends and family, you can go by Lil’ Bit, DJ Roomba, Superfly, House of Shane, or any other nickname you choose.

But unless you’re a spy, or in witness protection, using your real name on a first date is just the right thing to do. (Unless, of course, it’s a blind date and Gary Busey sits down at your table.)

The same is true in blog commenting. Bloggers, just like dates, want to know who’s trying to woo them. And someone who hides behind a pseudonym likely isn’t a long-term prospect.

Mistake #3: Dumping Links in Your Comments

Imagine you’re on a date and, halfway through, your date suddenly asks if you have life insurance.

You try to wave it off, but they begin discussing rates and policies with you.

“Oh no,” you think to yourself. “This isn’t a date … this is a sale’s pitch!”

If you embed links in your comments, bloggers are likely to react similarly. It comes across as a cheap attempt to peddle your lemonade on their lawn.

And usually it won’t matter how insightful your words are or how relevant your link may be; the blogger will feel an irresistible urge to kick you off their property.

Mistake #4: Failing to Read the Post Before Commenting

Ever been on a date with someone from Match or eHarmony who didn’t bother to read your profile?

“Do you have any hobbies?” they’ll ask despite your profile’s thousand-word tribute to paper mache. “Fancy a juicy steak?” they’ll suggest despite your publicly stated veganism.

It’s the same with blog commenting. Yes, you’re busy. Yes, reading a post thoroughly before commenting takes time.

Know what else takes time? Getting your foot out of your mouth.

When you comment on a post after skimming it or — worse — not reading it at all, you greatly increase the chances you’ll say something silly.

Mistake #5: Droning On and On (and On)

A long-winded blog comment, by its very length, defends itself against the risk of being read.Kevin Duncan

Some people like the sound of their own voices. Ask them what music they like, and they’ll take you on a 12-minute journey into the minutia of John Mayer’s latest album.

One-sided conversations on a date are not much fun and neither are blog comments that last forever and a day.

Many great comments are on the longer side, but be careful not to confuse quantity with quality.

A 500-word comment isn’t better than a 100-word comment. It’s usually just five times longer.

(And probably five times more boring.)

Mistake #6: Repeating What the Post Just Said

Ever had a date where the other person repeated everything you said?

You love Kevin Costner movies? So do they.

You adore Mexican food? Yep, them too.

You hate Mondays? They hate Mondays.

In the blogging world, this kind of parroting is a (re)Pete Comment.

(re)Pete comment

It doesn’t add to the conversation. It doesn’t ask questions. It doesn’t challenge an idea.

It simply repeats what was said in the post.

It’s okay to summarize, but your comment needs to be more than the CliffsNotes version of the post you just read.

Otherwise, what’s the point?

How to Write a Good Blog Comment (Plus: Lots of Examples)


Now that we’ve inoculated you against writing comments that truly suck, let’s look at the structure of a comment that stands out for all the right reasons.

How does a great comment begin? How does it end? What’s the stuff that goes in the middle?

Here are the essential parts, from top to bottom.

Part #1: The Friendly Greeting

The first thing I look for is personalization. This is so easy, all it takes is to just include the name of the author.Blogging Wizard

Let’s go back to our dating analogy…

You meet your handsome guy or beautiful gal at a restaurant for your first date. Could they be the one? They don’t look crazy or anything.

Hopeful, you take a deep breath, smile, and say hi.

But instead of greeting you or even acknowledging you, your date just starts talking.

No preamble — they launch right into talking about their day.

Did you know they have a co-worker named Mr. Buttons? Did you know they have a peanut allergy?

You do now.

Memorable date? I suppose.

A date you would like to get to know better? Definitely not.

And yet, every day, thousands of comments are written that do not bother to acknowledge the post’s author in any way, shape, or form.

Do they think robots wrote the post instead of a human being? Do they believe greetings are an outdated ritual from a bygone era? Or are they simply too lazy to scroll back to the top to find the author’s name?

If you’re hoping to catch the attention of bloggers and strike up a relationship, a healthy dose of proper etiquette can go a long way.

So say hello to them.

Greet them.

Refer to them by name.

How To Do It

This one’s so simple, it shouldn’t need explanation. But here’s how to do it anyway.

Scroll back to the top of the post and find the author’s name. If you are prone to misspellings, here’s a comment editing tip — copy the name so you can paste it into your comment.

Then say hello. Or hi. Or howdy, if you’re feeling folksy.

commenting with blogger's name

You’ll only spend a few seconds to get your comment started on the right foot.

It’s time well spent.

Part #2: The Sincere Compliment

It’s a nice confirmation when an author’s work is validated, and they can see the fruit of their labor.Carol Amato

You meet your date for the first time.

“Wow! I love your outfit,” you might say.

Or, “I really like your car.”

Or even, “Your SpongeBob tattoo is awesome!”

The details are different each time, but the act is the same. When you’re on a date, you pay the other person a compliment. It’s what you do in civilized societies.

Once again, blog commenting isn’t any different.

Remember, you’ve chosen to be on this person’s blog, not someone else’s. You’ve chosen to read their post instead of another. You must have a reason to want to connect with them over any of the other million bloggers you could be trying to connect with at that moment.

Chances are, you like them. You value them. You respect them.

So pay them a compliment…

compliment comment

Tell them how much you enjoyed their post…

enjoyed post comment

Make their day…

make-their-day comment

Tell them you dig their groovy tunes…

dig their groove comment

In short, pay them a compliment. Any compliment. Just make sure it’s a sincere compliment.

How To Do It

You can focus on the blogger, the post itself, or a combination of the two.

Are you a fan of the blogger’s body of work? Tell them so. Say how much you enjoy their writing. Even better? Tell them about a specific example where their writing has helped you.

If you choose to focus on the post itself, talk about a particular point within the post that truly hit home for you. Did it change your outlook on a topic? Did it motivate you to go out and take action? Did it rock your world? Tell them so.

Note: In order to sound sincere, refrain from heaping too much praise onto the bloggers themselves. A little praise can go a long way. For this reason, it’s often best to focus on the post rather than the blogger.

(Plus, you don’t want to come across as a creepy stalker.)

Part #3: The Added Value

My favorite comments add extra value to a post. Perhaps they add a personal experience, a different perspective or a new question.Henneke Duistermaat

Now we’re into the meat of what makes a great comment great.

Greeting the author and paying a compliment are nice, but no one cares how good the appetizers are if the main course is a garbage sandwich with no mayo.

Your goal in every comment should be to add value. If your comment doesn’t add value, it’s wasting everyone’s time.

Of course adding value has become one of those overused and meaningless phrases in the blogging world. Like Sriracha sauce, people tend to throw it around and use it for everything.

What does it actually mean?

In this context, it means doing something that makes you appear valuable — useful, insightful, entertaining, or interesting — to the blogger you’re aiming to woo. In other words, anything that establishes you as a person worth knowing and helps develop a personal relationship.

You do that by making a positive impression and then building upon it.

But how?

Let’s review some tactics that work every time.

Value Tactic #1: Share Personal Insights or Anecdotes

Did a particular point in the post hit home for you? Did you find something particularly relatable? Did the post bring up an area in which you’re struggling?

When you share a personal insight, bloggers can more easily relate to you. You’re no longer just an unfamiliar name making a comment that could have been left by anyone…

You’re a blogger with a story!

How To Do It

Don’t worry about channeling Herman Melville; remember, comments don’t have to be long to be effective.

Amanda Formaro demonstrates this perfectly in her succinct comment about email subscribers.

effective succinct comments

In the same discussion, Jenn establishes a connection by sharing her struggles.

sharing struggles comment

Don Purdum, meanwhile, enhances the post by sharing details of a conversation he’d had just days earlier.

sharing details comment

The number of ways you can share insights and examples are myriad. But the more personal your insight, the more unique it will be. And the more unique your insight, the more memorable your comment will be and the more you’ll stand out.

Value Tactic #2: Ask Thoughtful Questions

Was an idea presented in the post that you didn’t fully understand? Did you want the author to expand on a certain point? Did the post spark an inquiry?

Asking thoughtful questions is an excellent way to build relationships because it starts a one-on-one conversation with the blogger.

You ask them a question; they answer. It’s pure, simple, poetry in motion. And it’s a great way to introduce yourself to bloggers you enjoy.

How To Do It

Andrew Warner went the inquiry route after reading Andrianes Pinantoan’s blog traffic case study:

question comment

Pooja, an excellent writer in her own right, did the same after reading Glen Long’s post on crystal clear writing:

question comment 2

And Gertrude Nonterah, after reading the blogger’s bucket list, took the opportunity to ask a question that had been weighing on her:

question comment 3

Sometimes for brevity’s sake, an author won’t fully flesh out a detail in his or her blog post. So if the article contained a detail you want expanded upon, don’t be afraid to comment and ask.

Value Tactic #3: Contribute To The Discussion

If you want the attention of influencers and blog owners, your comment should add to the conversation.Sue Anne Dunlevie

Were 10 ideas presented in the post, but you know an 11th? Want to flesh out a point discussed in the post? How about a detail that wasn’t covered at all?

If your comments enhance the overall value of the post, few bloggers will fail to see the benefit of your contribution. Sometimes they’ll even update their post in light of your comment — which is a major validation of your ideas.

And bloggers love when the comment count for their posts get higher and higher. It’s validation that their work is reaching people.

When you write a great comment that adds to the discussion, it often has a domino effect. Others will respond to your comment, which will fuel even more comments.

The result is more people reading and discussing the blogger’s work, which means a higher comment count.

Bloggers love that — and they love the commenters who help make that happen.

How To Do It

A great example of this is the following comment Anne R. Allen left Brian Dean in his blogger outreach post here at Smart Blogger.

add value comment

Another is the comment Harleena Singh left Will Blunt in his guide on Google+.

add value comment 2

And one of the best examples you’ll ever see is the comment Matthew Harding left on Smart Blogger’s post on blogging milestones. Here is a snippet:

add value comment 3

When you add value via a great comment, you’re investing in the blog post.

Blog owners love that. They appreciate it.…

blogger reply comment

They learn from it.…

blogger reply comment 2

They remember it.

bloggers remember good comments

Part #4: The Parting Promise

I love it when commenters tell me they’ve shared or will share my work. The ideal comment would come from someone who both tells me they’re going to share, and then remembers to tag me when they do.Brittany Bullen

After a successful first date, each person is usually looking for a clue that that the other enjoyed themselves and that a second date might be in the cards.

That clue could be a lingering smile. It could be a casual remark about not having any plans the following Saturday. It could be the other person actually saying, “I enjoyed myself and would like to see you again.”

Whatever form it takes, it sends the message that this date was not just a one-off.

And when wooing a popular blogger, you’d be smart to let them know you’re interested in a longer-term relationship too.

That’s why great blog comments make a promise at the end. They tell bloggers, “Hey… I enjoyed this so much I want to keep the party going!”

How To Do It

One great way to make a promise is to tell the author you’re going to share the post on your favorite social media platform…

social media share comment

Tell them their post is so good you have no choice BUT to share it…

social media share comment 2

Or channel your inner Arnold Schwarzenegger and tell them, “I’ll be back” (to read more of your content)…

"I'll be back" comment

But whatever promise you make, be sure to keep it.

Tweet the post like you said you would. Read the blogger’s other posts, and leave more comments. In other words, do exactly what you said you would do.

And when you share the post on your favorite social media platform, be sure to tag the blogger — let them know you followed through…

social media tag

And if the bloggers are anything like Will Hoekenga, they’ll notice and express their gratitude…

thanks for the tweet

Examples of Blog Comments that Kicked Butt (and The Extra Ingredient They All Share)


So what does a comment that has each of these elements look like?

It looks a lot like this comment from Adrienne Smith:

kick ass blog comment

And it looks a lot like this comment from Carol Amato:

kick ass blog comment 2

Adrienne’s and Carol’s comments start with greetings, go straight to compliments, add value to make connections, and end on promises.

But beyond that, they add an additional element present in every great comment…

Personality.

Any robot can start a comment with a greeting and end it with a promise.

But for a comment to take that next step, for a comment to get you noticed by the blog’s owner, you have to let “you” shine through.

As Jaime Buckley once wrote: “Unless you’re engaging, my eyes will glaze over. We all have a personality, but do you use it? Does it come out in your comments?”

Jaime should know. He’s an expert at letting his personality shine through in his comments. The comment he left for “The Blogger’s Bucket List: 20 Must-Reach Milestones on the Path to World Domination” is a perfect example.

Here is a snippet:

personality comment

Jaime writes his comments the way he might write an email to a friend.

It’s refreshing and it’s an excellent way to get noticed.

For a handy visual reminder of the four-part formula, check out the image below (click to see a larger view):

How to Write Blog Comments That Stand Out to Influencers (Plus Examples!)

Embed This Infographic On Your Site

<!—– Copy and Paste This Code Into Your Post —-><a href=”https://smartblogger.com/blog-comments/”><img src=”https://smartblogger.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/blog-comments-infographic.png&#8221; alt=”How to Write Blog Comments That Stand Out to Influencers (Plus Examples!) from SmartBlogger.com” width=”700 px” class=”noa3lazy”/></a><br /><a href=”https://smartblogger.com/gdpr”>How to Write Blog Comments That Stand Out to Influencers (Plus Examples!) from SmartBlogger.com</a>

 

The Rich Rewards That Flow from Carefully Crafted Comments


You may be wondering at this point…

Is it worth it? Is it worth putting all that time and thought into a single blog comment?

Well, that depends on what you’d like to achieve from your blogging efforts.

Would you like influential bloggers to notice you and follow you on Twitter?

get noticed by influential bloggers

Do you want to expand your reach on other platforms like Google+?

expand your reach

Would you like Darren Rowse, Pamela Wilson, and other blogging icons to share your posts with their followers?

get shared by influencers
get shared by influencers 2

Would you like to be invited to participate in expert roundups, conferences, and other great opportunities?

gain authority

Would you like to receive emails out-of-the-blue from super-cool and talented people asking you to write for them?

invitations to guest blog

Would you like to have your work published on one of the biggest, baddest blogs in the world?

published guest blogs

Because this is what can happen when bloggers notice you.

It isn’t easy, and it doesn’t happen overnight. And, clearly, great comments alone won’t catapult you to world domination.

But they’re a critical, often-overlooked component. And most people who try it write comments that suck.

In a sea of sameness, great comments with great personalities stand out like Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels at a charity gala for the preservation of the endangered Icelandic snow owl.

They’re capable of getting other bloggers to sit up, take notice, and ask themselves: “Who is that?”

So tell me, now do you think it’s worth it?

Let’s Find Out Where Comments Could Catapult Your Blog


Comments are perhaps the most misused — and least understood — weapons in the ambitious blogger’s arsenal.

That’s why most blog comments suck.

You now understand the anatomy of the perfect blog comment, so you can start crafting your comments with purpose.

Comments that get you noticed.

Comments that woo popular bloggers.

Comments that cause opportunities to drop into your lap.

The days of frowning cat gravatars are over. Repetitive comments are yesterday’s news. Empty contributions have gone the way of the dodo.

So, are you ready for a new era of smarter commenting?

Are you ready to discover where it could take you?

Then let’s do this thing.

About the Author: Kevin Duncan runs Be A Better Blogger, where he uses his very particular set of skills to help people become the best bloggers they can be. To further your quest to woo bloggers, he’s written a special post just for Smart Blogger readers: How I Went From Unknown to Boost Blog Traffic Writer in Six Months (and How You Can, Too).

The post How to Write Blog Comments That Stand Out (Plus Examples!) appeared first on Smart Blogger.

Source: https://smartblogger.com/blog-comments/

Uncategorized

339 I’m Back and Reevaluating Everything

Today’s episode is a little different. In it, I explain why I haven’t released a podcast episode in over a month. I also share why I’m reevaluating everything I do in my blogging business.

Go ahead and click play below to listen.

The post 339 I’m Back and Reevaluating Everything appeared first on Become A Blogger by Leslie Samuel.

Source: https://www.becomeablogger.com/26250/im-back-reevaluating-everything/

Uncategorized

WordPress Hosting: A Brutally Honest Guide That’ll Save You Money

This is painful to say, but…

Most of what’s published out there about WordPress hosting is total BS.

Not just incomplete information. Not just half-truths.

I’m talking outright lies and boldfaced scams.

You can’t even get straightforward answers to basic questions like…

  • Should you go to the trouble of setting up a WordPress site or just start a blog for free on Medium?
  • Which company is good? Who can you trust?
  • What’s the difference between all the different options?

It’s infuriating, but listen…

I’ve helped build and run some of the most popular blogs in the world, scaling them from nothing to millions of visitors per month. During that process, I learned a lot of valuable lessons — often the hard way — about what makes a good WordPress host.

And today, I’m publishing the guide I wish somebody had given me.

It’s brutally honest. It’s full of technical details (that I do my best to explain). It’ll also save you tons of time and money.

The Different Levels of WordPress Hosting

To start, here’s an infographic explaining the typical path most bloggers take:

What hosting works best?

They start with a shared host, and then they grow to a Virtual Private Server, and then they grow to a Dedicated Server.

Wondering how that applies to you?

Here’s the short answer:

TLDR: The Best WordPress Hosting Right Now (In My Opinion)

If you’re under 100,000 visitors per month, don’t torture yourself by getting a VPS or dedicated server. Just grab a cheap, no-frills shared hosting account.

Is it the best hosting in the world?

No, but it’s way better value than the alternatives. Here’s a pricing comparison:

Web Hosting Pricing Comparison

The more expensive things get, the more complicated and frustrating it gets too. You’ve never experienced misery until you try to optimize a dedicated server for the first time.

My advice?

Keep it simple and cheap. Use a shared host.

Now, that begs the question…

What’s the Most Cost-Effective Hosting for WordPress?

 
SiteGround

Personally, I use SiteGround (affiliate link) for all my new sites. Here’s why:

  • It’s the best balance I’ve found of quality and price. You can find cheaper hosts, but you can’t find anyone cheap that’s as good as them.
  • They are optimized for WordPress. Your site will run faster there than on many hosts.
  • I use them personally to host most of our sites, and both their servers and support have always been excellent.

That being said, I’ll be straight with you…

SiteGround isn’t the only great host in the world. They’re just the one I personally use and recommend to our 2.6 million readers. I wouldn’t endorse them publicly without having a lot of confidence in them.

But there other good companies with a different approach.

Who Is the Best WordPress Host, Regardless of Price?

 
WP Engine

WP Engine (affiliate) has an impeccable reputation for flawless hosting and support. In my opinion, there’s no question they are better than SiteGround, but they are also 10X more expensive.

Is it worth it?

If you want a host that can take unlimited traffic and has WordPress experts standing by to help you with pretty much anything you need, plus you’re hosting a business website with a significant budget, maybe it’s worth the extra cost. Quite a few big blogs host with them, and they believe it’s worth every penny.

WP Engine in Austin, TX

I’ve also been to their offices in downtown Austin and met with the executive team. It’s a solid company that’ll be around for years to come.

The bottom line:

If you want to skip the rest of this post and just choose a host, go with SiteGround (affiliate link) if you have a small budget and WP Engine (affiliate) if you have a large one. You won’t regret going with other company.

Before you choose any WordPress host though, here’s an important point you should understand:

Most Reviews Are Bought and Paid for

SiteGround affiliate link

Pretty much every blogger making a hosting recommendation is getting compensated by the host. And yes, that includes me.

The difference?

I’m not hiding anything. I’m proud of the partnerships I have with SiteGround (affiliate link) and WP Engine (affiliate), because I have personal experience with both companies, many of my students are customers, and they treat everyone extremely well. I would happily recommend them even if they weren’t paying me a penny.

And that’s NOT true for other bloggers.

Most don’t even use the host they are recommending. In my opinion, that’s just unethical.

Especially when it comes to one particular company…

Many Hosts are Owned by the Same Terrible Company

2slick.com FreeYellow PowWeb
AccountSupport Glob@t PureHost
A Small Orange Homestead ReadyHosting
ApolloHosting HostCentric ResellerClub
AptHost HostClear SEOGears
Arvixe Host Excellence SEO Hosting
Berry Information Systems HostGator Site5
BigRock HostMonster SiteBuilder.com
BizLand HostNine Sitelio
BlueDomino HostYourSite.com Sitey
BlueFur HostV Southeast Web
BlueHost HyperMart Spry
BuyDomains IdeaHost StartLogic
Cirtex Hosting IMOutdoors SuperGreen Hosting
Cloud by IX Impress.ly TypePad
Constant Contact Intuit Websites USANetHosting
Directi iPage vDeck
Dollar2Host IPOWER/iPowerWeb Verio
Domain.com IX Web Hosting VirtualAvenue
DomainHost JustCloud VPSLink
Dot5Hosting JustHost WebHost4Life
Dotster LogicBoxes WebHosting.info
easyCGI MojoMarketplace WebsiteBuilder.com
eHost MyDomain Webstrike Solutions
EntryHost MyResellerHome Webzai
Escalate Internet NetFirms World Wide Web Hosting
FastDomain Networks Web Hosting Xeran
FatCow Nexx YourWebHosting

Ever heard of Bluehost?

Or maybe Hostgator?

Both hosts are owned by a conglomerate called Endurance International Group (EIG). In fact, EIG runs most of the big hosting companies, and it continues to buy new ones all the time.

So what makes them so awful?

After they purchase a host, they lay off support staff, stop investing in new technology, and funnel the money into increased advertising and payouts to shareholders. In every case, the reputation of the host plummets.

Of course, you might be wondering how you find out if they own your host. Or for that matter, how do you know if your host is a good one if nearly every review is bought and paid for?

The answer:

The Best Way to Get Unbiased Reviews

 

Web Hosting Talk is the biggest forum on the web about hosting, and it has literally millions of reviews. They don’t allow affiliate links either, so you can count on the reviews to be unbiased.

Granted, every host gets a bad review now and again, but you can comb through dozens of reports to get a much better feel for the reputation of the host, as well as their strengths and weaknesses.

SiteGround 6-month Review

Also, here’s a little hack to save you some time…

Instead of using the search tool built into their forum, which can be a little clunky, grab the URL of the forum you want to search, and then put the following in Google:

site:URL “host name”

For example, if you wanted to verify the reputation of SiteGround (affiliate link), you can go to their list of forums, right click on the one that seems most appropriate, and copy the link:

From there, use the search parameter above in Google. In this case, it would be:

And voilà, you have a listing of reviews you can easily look through for reliable information.

In particular, here’s the biggest factor that should influence your decision:

How to Evaluate Customer Support

SiteGround Live Chat

Customer support. When you’re a beginner, it’s more important than anything.

No surprise there, right?

But here’s the big lesson…

It’s not just about wait times or the intelligence of the technicians. It’s also about the method of support, what the host supports, and the helpdesk schedule.

For instance:

  • Do you have to submit tickets through their helpdesk and wait for a response, or can you do a live chat or phone call with a technician and actually have a conversation?
  • Do they offer support for WordPress and the most popular themes and plug-ins? It’s shocking, but unless they specifically mention it, many don’t.
  • Do they offer support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or is it only during normal business hours?

Personally, I want a host with technicians I can interact with in real time (either through phone or chat), have a thorough knowledge of WordPress, and are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And that’s actually relatively difficult to find at an affordable price.

That’s why I think SiteGround (affiliate link) is the best host for most beginners. They give you all those things for an entire year for less than the cost of a dinner at a nice restaurant.

SiteGround Sales Page

And here’s what’s even cooler…

Their servers are also configured especially for WordPress. Let’s talk about that next.

The Configuration Matters More Than Tech

Chances are, you’ve seen a page on a hosting website that looks something like this:

SiteGround Business Web Hosting

Almost like a foreign language, right? Disk space, RAM, page views, uniques, SSDs — what’s it all mean? And for that matter, how are you supposed to know which plan is right for you?

Actually… you don’t have to. If you’re running a relatively simple WordPress site, none of those technical details matter much. You can ignore them.

Here’s proof:

In 2012, a fellow named Ewen Leith managed to get a $15 server to run a WordPress site receiving 10 million hits a day. Granted, it was an extremely simple site using a set up that would be tough for a novice to manage, but it’s still proof the configuration of your web host matters much more than having high-end hardware.

That’s another reason why I recommend SiteGround (affiliate link) – their servers are configured specifically for WordPress. Your site will be able to handle far more traffic with far fewer resources. Over the long term, it translates into significant savings, because you have to upgrade less often.

Granted, SiteGround isn’t the only host who does this. If you decide to search for someone else, here’s what to look for:

  • Litespeed or Apache NGINX
  • Database caching through Memcached
  • Support for PHP 7 and HTTP/2

RAM, SSD space, bandwidth — for a normal WordPress site, none of those specs really matter much. Ignore them and focus on the three above details.

Installing Too Many Plugins Can Mess up Any WordPress Host

SmartBlogger plugins

So, you found a host that’s perfectly optimized for WordPress. Your site should be nice and zippy, right?

Actually… not necessarily.

If you install too many WordPress plugins (or even just one really bad one), you can slow down your site or even cause your host to cancel your account. It’s the most common source of problems.

So,how do you know which plugins to install and which ones to avoid?

The short answer: install as few as possible, and if you ever have problems with your site, the first thing you should always do is try deactivating plugins. For a detailed answer, take a look at our post on essential WordPress plug-ins.

Make Sure You Get a Free SSL Certificate

Ever since Google announced that having an SSL certificate is now a ranking factor, it’s become essential for you to have one.

What’s an SSL certificate?

It’s an extra layer of security and reporting around the safety of your website. Any site using SSL will have the prefix “https” in the URL.

browser address bar with https

In the past, you had to pay a yearly fee to register your SSL certificate, but most of the top web posts are now offering one for free. You should take advantage of that savings and have your site on https from day one.

The 7 Things That Really Matter When Choosing the Best WordPress Host

By this point, I wouldn’t blame you if your head is spinning.

We’ve covered a lot of technical details in this post, so I thought I would conclude with a quick checklist to help you choose the best WordPress host for you. Here are the seven most important things to remember:

  1. Unless your site is massive, you don’t need a VPS or dedicated server. Stick with a shared host.
  2. For the love of God, avoid any hosting company owned by EIG.
  3. When evaluating customer support, look for 24/7 live chat and/or phone support.
  4. The configuration of your web host matters more than the technical specs
  5. Go easy on the WordPress plugins. They can slow down your site.
  6. You should expect to get a free SSL certificate. Use it.
  7. If you’re tired of thinking about all this stuff, go with either SiteGround (affiliate link) (cheap but good) or WP Engine (affiliate) (premium).

Follow those recommendations, and you’ll save yourself tons of time, money, and headaches. I speak from experience.

Ultimately though, the decision is yours. Choose wisely, my friend.

About the Author: Jon Morrow has asked repeatedly to be called “His Royal Awesomeness” but no one listens to him. So, he settles for CEO of Smart Blogger. Poor man. 🙂

The post WordPress Hosting: A Brutally Honest Guide That’ll Save You Money appeared first on Smart Blogger.

Source: https://smartblogger.com/wordpress-hosting/

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Writer’s Block: 27 Techniques to Overcome It Forever

Let me guess…

You’re staring at the blank screen. Your brain is fried. You can feel a headache coming on.

You know you should be writing, but…

You can’t do this anymore. Your muse is gone. Your well of inspiration is empty. Finished.  Stone-dry.

You’re not just bored or tired. No, no. This is far worse:

Writer’s block.

You try to stop your mind wandering off. You try to stop being distracted by your long to-do-list. You try to write, but you feel like everything you do manage to jot down is… well… terrible.

You know you have to keep going, but how? How do you overcome writer’s block and get back into your writing groove?

The truth:

You need to have some fun.

Not take a break, not go for walk, not get some sleep. All of that is fine and good for a simple case of boredom, but the real cause of writer’s block is you’re holding on too tight.

You need to loosen up. You need to go a little crazy. You need to let the goofy side of you out for a little while and get your creative juices flowing again.

Here are 27 refreshingly original ways to get over writer’s block:

How to Overcome Writer’s Block

Technique #1. Talk to An Imaginary Friend


Whether you’ve 10 readers or 10,000, thinking about them makes writing a post daunting.

So, forget about your readers. Instead, create an imaginary friend.

Your friend is a real fan. He (or she) loves everything you write. He supports everything you do.

Give your imaginary friend a name. Create a little drawing or find a picture of a lookalike. Pin this picture on the wall above your desk.

Instead of writing a blog post, start a conversation with your friend. Or write him a letter. Discuss his dreams and challenges. Help him with whatever he is struggling with.

Be a good friend.

Technique #2. Curse Like a Sailor


Feeling a little frustrated?

Well, let it out.

Before you start writing, curse like a sailor. Get angry. Be emotional.

Write something you’re passionate about. Have a good rant. Don’t worry about going too far.

Good writing isn’t about picking the right words. You need to make your audience feel something. Inspire them.

Writing is emotion.

overcome writer's block

Sure, you’ll have to edit your first draft. You might even decide to toss it.

It doesn’t matter, though, because the point is to overcome writer’s block, not write the perfect post.

Just remember: you can correct mistakes in a passionate piece of writing, but you can’t add emotions to a flat post. So, let it rip.

Technique #3. Use a Different Writing Tool


Stuck in a creative rut?

Try using a different writing tool.

Switch from Microsoft Word to Google Docs. Or type your post directly into WordPress.

Switch from a serif to a non-serif font. Or try a script font and change your font color to blue. Or my favorite option: Increase your font size.

It seems silly, but it’s amazing how those small changes can cure writer’s block and make writing interesting again.

Technique #4. Take a Short Trip to Overcome Writer’s Block


Missing your family? Got a friend you haven’t seen in a while?

Well, let’s go see them.

The key:

Don’t drive.

Instead, hop on a bus, a train, or a plane that takes you there. Then challenge yourself to write a short post before you arrive.

My advice: leave your iPad or laptop at home. Just bring your mobile phone or a pad of paper.

And don’t stop writing until you arrive.

Technique #5. Chug Some Caffeine


 
Okay. Okay. I know caffeine isn’t good for you. But sometimes you need something to keep going. Don’t waste your fantastic ideas just because you can’t keep awake.

Try this schedule: Set a kitchen timer for 25 minutes – or use the focus booster. After 25 minutes of concentrated writing, take a break. Stop even if you feel like finishing a paragraph.

Make yourself a cup of tea or coffee. Start your next 25 minutes and drink your cup of coffee.

Green tea fuels my blog posts. What fuels yours?

Technique #6. Stop Writing for Your Readers


To get over writer’s block, sometimes you just have to write something you want to write. It doesn’t matter whether it suits your blog or not.

Just get on with it. Get it off your chest. Why not?

Technique #7. Stop Planning Your Posts


Writing a post outline can speed up your writing. It’s a proven technique.

But it can also suck the joy out of writing.

When you find yourself bored with a particular piece, stop planning. Write whatever comes into your mind. It may all be gibberish, but somewhere you’ll find a precious idea. A thought you can use to create a full post.

Technique #8. Surprise Yourself with This Writer’s Block Technique


 
Give your mind time to wander. Get distracted. Embrace serendipity.

Don’t read only blogs about your topic. Don’t just follow industry peers on Twitter. Don’t just read the latest books of thought leaders in your niche.

Go to a random movie. Watch a random channel on TV. Go to a museum. Surprise yourself. Find unexpected metaphors.

The creative process is unpredictable, mysterious, and serendipitous (Malcolm Gladwell). Fuel your creativity by reading outside your niche.

Technique #9. Write at a Different Time


We’re always told about the importance of forming habits and having a fixed writing schedule. Stephen King has a fixed schedule. So does Haruki Murakami. And John Grisham.

cure writer's block

Routine habits can be good for creativity and reducing writer’s block. But what if your writing practice gets associated with lack of inspiration, procrastination, and despair?

Break your habit.

Try writing at a different time. Experiment.

Technique #10. Write at a Different Place


Leaving your desk is a proven cure for creative blocks. If you can, take a break and go travelling. If you can’t travel, just drag yourself away from your desk.

Go to a park. Try your local Starbucks or go to the library. Go somewhere that’s not associated with work.

Take your iPad and write wherever your feet take you.

Technique #11. Go to a Bookstore


If you’re lucky, your bookstore sells coffee and tea. So, make yourself comfortable, find the shelf with books about your niche, and open up your notepad. (Thank you to Sean d’Souza for this idea.)

Look through the table of contents of each book to find blog post ideas. Write them down in your notepad.

Don’t leave the bookstore until you’ve written down 10 ideas for new blog posts. And if you’re enjoying yourself, outline one or two posts in your notepad while finishing your cup of coffee.

Don’t read any further than the table of contents. You should write the content of your blog post yourself (of course).

Technique #12. Wash the Dishes to Get over Writer’s Block


 
Do you get your best ideas in the shower?

Your brain needs to relax before coming up with an insight. Staring at your computer screen might work counterproductive.  Trying to force an insight might actually prevent the insight from appearing.

If you don’t want to waste water by showering three times a day, try other routine tasks: Hoover your room. Fold the laundry. Or wash the dishes. Above all: Relax.

Technique #13. Create Your Own Merry-Go-Round


Done all your household chores? Or just don’t feel like cleaning again?

Try this alternative routine: walk around in circles. Or just pace up and down your room.

Seems silly, I know, but sometimes just the simple act of movement can help you overcome writer’s block. Give it shot.

#14. Shut Down Your Computer


In his book Steal Like an Artist, Austin Kleon describes his digital and his analogue desk. The analogue desk is where his work is born. The digital desk is for editing and publishing.

Come on. Shut down your computer. Get a pen and paper. Or pencils, markers, and index cards. Get the feeling that you’re making something. It will inspire you.

Technique #15. Browse Your Photo Albums


Sharing tidbits about yourself is a good way to build up a relationship with your readers.

Browse your photo album to find anecdotes to share; and link these stories to your topic. That’s how I came up with the idea of comparing cycling trips with surviving a content marketing journey.

Remind yourself of who you are. Think about the lessons you’ve learnt. Who has inspired your career? How have your travels influenced your thinking?

Technique #16. Stop Worrying About Grammar to Deal with Writer’s Block


 
Trying to write the perfect post can discourage you from writing.

Stop trying to be perfect.

Accept your first draft may be crappy. Just write as fast as you can. Editing can come later.

Technique #17. Goof Around on Facebook, Linkedin or Instagram


Social media can be a huge time suck. We all know that.

But if you’re stuck and don’t know what to write about, then social media is a rich mine full of precious ideas.

Give yourself half an hour. Interact and ask some questions. Enjoy yourself.  Above all, absorb what others are talking about. You’re bound to find a good idea.

Just be sure to set a timer. You don’t want to get lost out there while trying to get rid of writer’s block.

Technique #18. Start in the Middle


You know you need to draw a reader into your post with a fantastic introduction. That’s true. But trying to write the perfect opening can obstruct your writing process.

Leave your introduction for later. Just get going with your post.

Technique #19. Reread Your Glory Posts


 
Feeling down?

You’ve lost your mojo and doubting your writing skills. It happens to all bloggers at some stage.

Remember that post you’ve written a while back? Your best ever post?

Go back and read the post. Word by word. You see how good you are?

That talent didn’t go anywhere. It’s still inside you.

Sometimes we just need a little reminder.

Technique #20. Take a Cigarette Break to Get past Writer’s Block


Whoa. A smoke?

Well, you don’t have to light up. But a cigarette break takes about five minutes. And that’s the perfect time to recharge yourself.

The secret to creative productivity is to take breaks while you’re still in a flow. It helps you to get started again after your break.

If you don’t crave a cigarette every so often, good for you! Just set a timer to take a break.

Don’t spend your break tweeting, liking, and plussing. That’s not truly relaxing.

Spend five minutes staring out of the window. Stand outside on your porch or balcony and listen to the traffic. Or watch the clouds float by. As if you’re a lonely smoker.

Technique #21. Listen to the Rain


What’s the most relaxing sound?

When you take your “cigarette” break to stare out of the window, switch on the sound of rain.

Technique #22. Be a Misfit


Being a blogger isn’t about conforming to the norms.

Don’t feel the pressure to be like your hero bloggers. You have to stand out on the web. You have to be YOU.

Accept you’re a misfit. Just like me. Just like Jon. Just like all other bloggers.

Be yourself. Enjoy yourself. Because your enthusiasm is contagious.

Technique #23. Steal Ideas


 
Is your wish to be original causing your writer’s block?

Learn how to steal ideas and make them your own. Snatch post ideas from different writers, but don’t copy outright.

Read widely. Mix ideas from scientists and artists. Plunder quote books.

As Austin Kleon says: “All creative work builds on what came before.”

beat writer's block

Technique #24. Read Health Magazines to Cure Writer’s Block


I won’t lecture you about keeping fit. You know that.

But health magazines are one of the best sources for headline and blog post inspiration.

For instance, the idea to write 36 Quick Fixes to Jumpstart Lifeless Business Blogs came from the headline Food Fixes for Insomnia.

You don’t have to go out and spend money to buy a few magazines. Read covers of Men’s Health Magazine or Women’s Health Magazine online. Or check out the health section on Amazon.

Technique #25. Reread Your First Ever Blog Post


If you’ve been blogging for six months or more, you’ve written a lot. And you’ve learnt a lot.

Go back to your first few blog posts.

Find one you can rewrite. Add power words, glean new insights, develop new arguments, and new examples.

Voila. You got a new post.

Technique #26. Create Weird Challenges


Is writing becoming a chore? Fed up with writing how-to posts?

Create new challenges to have some fun. For instance:

  • Introduce a new metaphor in your next post. Or set the bar higher by stipulating your metaphor has to some from sports, or movies, or cooking.
  • Estimate your average post length and challenge yourself to write a blog post in 20% fewer words.
  • Try alliteration. Or rhyming. Or onomatopoeias.
  • Use the power of three. How often can you introduce three of something?

Tickle your brain to make writing fun.

Technique #27. Get Your Inner Critic on Your Side


The difference between good and great bloggers is your inner critic. As Mike Monday says:

“A good producer and a great producer have the same number of ideas – some good, some great. But a great producer will know the difference.”

Your inner critic can help you become a better blogger. So how do you get him on your side?

Start writing a few practice paragraphs. You’re just warming up. Listen to your inner critic to see how you can improve. Write and edit as you go.

Your inner critic doesn’t need to be your enemy. He could be your cure for writer’s block. Make him your friend.

writer's block cure

The Truth About Writer’s Block

Writing is hard work. There’s no doubt about that.

But you can make it even harder by accepting writer’s block.

Don’t become a tortured genius.

Choose to get on with writing.

Experiment. Find out what works for you. Write where and when you like. Be as crazy as you like to be.

Come on. Have fun. Let’s try something wacky.

About the Author: Henneke Duistermaat is an irreverent copywriter and business writing coach. She’s on a mission to stamp out gobbledygook and to make boring business blogs sparkle. Get her free 16-Part Snackable Writing Course for Busy People and learn how to enchant your readers and win more business.

The post Writer’s Block: 27 Techniques to Overcome It Forever appeared first on Smart Blogger.

Source: https://smartblogger.com/writers-block/

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This Is How 10 Bloggers in Different Niches Make $1 Million+ per Year

Do you ever have doubts?

You’re building your blog, hoping to one day turn it into a full-time income, but you have no guarantees it will ever pay off.

What if this blog you created is doomed to fail? What if you’re wasting your time? What if you’re fooling yourself thinking this will ever lead anywhere?

Building a profitable blog is hard work, and it usually takes time to see the rewards. Not everyone has the wherewithal to see it through.

But those who do can find amazing opportunities.

Today, we’re showcasing a few of the biggest blogging success stories. These 10 bloggers built their blogs and today make $1 million per year or more.

We’ll tell you how they got started, how they built their blogs, and how they generate revenue.

These stories will show you that you can take many paths to blogging success, and hopefully they’ll inspire you to see it through.

#1. Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner - Making Sense of Cents
Site: Making Sense of Cents
Niche: Personal Finance
Income: $1,536,732 in 2017 (source)

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner didn’t intend for her blog to become the income machine it is today. She started it more as a hobby, not even thinking she would ever make money from it.

Once she made her first $100 from her blog, though, that changed. She saw the potential and got more interested in turning her hobby into a business.

Her blog kept doing better and better, and eventually she was able to quit her job as a financial analyst and work on her blog full-time.

She’s currently traveling full-time, touring North America in an RV and loving her life with her husband.

How she makes money from her blog:

Her blogging income picked up some serious steam in 2016, when she further diversified her income.

Her main source of income up to that point was affiliate marketing, with some money coming in through sponsorships and advertisements. In 2016, though, she created her course Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.

Her income doubled the month she launched her course, and in 2017 she had her first million-dollar year.

#2. Steve Pavlina

Steve Pavlina - StevePavlina.com
Site: Steve Pavlina
Niche: Personal Development
Income: ~$12 million/year (source)

Steve Pavlina is an author, a motivational speaker, and one of the most prolific self-development bloggers online. He grew his blog to more than two million monthly visitors without spending a dime on marketing or promotion.

Steve’s passion for personal development began when he was sitting in jail, having been arrested for felony grand theft. At that moment, he decided to work on improving himself and turn his life around.

And it paid off. He accomplished many amazing things. He earned two college degrees in the span of three semesters. He founded a software company that developed computer games. He ran the Los Angeles Marathon and trained in martial arts.

How he makes money from his blog:

Steve has experimented with many income streams to see which he likes best.

He mostly makes his money from affiliate marketing/joint ventures and hosting live workshops.

When hosting one of his workshops, he asks people who register about their personal struggles and uses this feedback to custom-tailor each workshop, which means he never does the same workshop twice.

Steve has also written a book called Personal Development for Smart People, the purpose of which was to create a single framework for growth that people could apply to all areas of their lives.

#3. Pat Flynn

Pat Flynn - Smart Passive Income
Site: Smart Passive Income
Niche: Business & Marketing
Income: $2,171,652 in 2017 (source)

Pat Flynn was thriving in his career as an architect and had no plans to leave — until an economic downturn hit his industry hard and he was laid off from his job.

Before all this happened, Pat had created a little website to help him study for an architectural exam. It got thousands of visitors, and he realized he could leverage this traffic for income.

After studying up on doing business online, he created an ebook which he sold for $19.99 and made over $7,000 in his first month.

This got him so excited that he started Smart Passive Income, a blog on which he would share his strategies that helped him grow his online business. Today, this blog generates over $100K each month, with some months doubling or even tripling that figure.

But it’s not the money or material wealth that motivates him. Pat has remained a down-to-earth guy whose primary motivation is his family. He loves the freedom to plan his day around his family instead of his business, which allows him to spend the day with them and save work for after his kids go to sleep.

How he makes money from his blog:

Pat has done a great job of diversifying his income over the years.

The bulk of his income comes from affiliate marketing and course sales, but he also sells books, software, and apps,  and he makes money from podcast sponsorships.

#4. Chiara Ferragni

Chiara Ferragni - The Blonde Salad
Site: The Blonde Salad
Niche: Fashion & Lifestyle
Income: $2.5 million from her blog in 2015 (source); $20 million from her shoe line in 2016 (source)

Chiara Ferragni’s track record is impressive, to say the least.

She got her feet off the ground posting her daily outfits to Flickr, an image-sharing website, where she amassed a significant following. She then started her personal style blog in 2009 — when personal style blogs weren’t really a thing yet — and within two months she got tens of thousands of visitors per day.

She quickly began receiving sponsorship offers from fashion brands such as Dior and Louis Vuitton.

And three exams away from finishing her law degree, she decided to make The Blonde Salad her main focus.

Since then, Chiara has amassed over ten million followers on Instagram, Forbes named her one of the most influential people under 30, and she was the first fashion blogger to score a cover on Vogue.

How she makes money from her blog:

The Blonde Salad transitioned from an outfit-of-the-day blog to a full-on lifestyle platform with its own e-commerce clothing store.

And Chiara Ferragni has become a brand in her own right and makes thousands of dollars through sponsorships, modeling, and appearance fees.

On top of that, Chiara leveraged her platform to launch her own shoe line, the Chiara Ferragni Collection, aside from her blog. This line has reportedly made made eight figures in 2016.

#5. Vitaly Friedman

Vitaly Friedman - Smashing Magazines
Site: Smashing Magazine
Niche: Web Design & Development
Income: ~$2,5 million in 2017 (source)

Vitaly Friedman was a freelance web designer before he started blogging. He had never taken a single design class at the time, but learned his skills from reading articles online.

He always had an interest in writing and editing as well, though, and he wanted to give back to the design community, so he started blogging.

Through one of his projects he was introduced to Sven Lennartz, who asked him to write for his German magazine Dr. Web. One year later, they started Smashing Magazine. They had no idea it would become one of the most influential resources for web designers and developers.

It grew from two people’s hobby to a business with a dozen employees and hundreds of contributors, and today gets over three million page views per month.

(Sven Lennartz is no longer actively involved with the site.)

How he makes money from his blog:

For most of its existence, Smashing Magazine made money primarily from ad revenues. But seeing those revenues decline a few years ago, they focused more on selling their books and diversifying their income.

They now have a library of 60+ e-books for sale (which they also sell in packages). They run high-ticket conferences and workshops. They added a job board where companies can purchase job postings and find skilled employees. And they offer membership packages which are reportedly their biggest source of income today.

#6. Brian Clark

Brian Clark - Copyblogger
Site: CopyBlogger
Niche: Content Marketing  
Income: $12 million per year (source)

Brian Clark started writing about content marketing before people started calling it content marketing. He had been using content to market products and services for several years when he started CopyBlogger in 2006.

At the time, he wasn’t focused on selling because he didn’t know what he would sell. He focused on building an audience and had faith that he would identify their pain points.

And his faith was justified. As his audience grew, Brian was able to identify the problems content creators were having online, and he partnered with other entrepreneurs to create and sell solutions.

How he makes money from his blog:

Brian has offered a number of training programs, plugins, products, and services through his blog over the years. Many of them have since been taken off the market, and today his main income sources include:

  • Rainmaker Digital — a hybrid service and technology agency that builds sophisticated websites for its clients and offers services to create and implement successful digital marketing strategies.
  • StudioPress — a marketplace that sells premium WordPress themes and hosting.
  • Authority — a membership-based training program and community for content marketers, which also offers exclusive access to an additional course that you can take to become a CopyBlogger Certified Content Marketer.

#7. Timothy Sykes

Timothy Sykes - TimothySykes
Site: Timothy Sykes
Niche: Stock trading
Income: ~$15–$20 million in 2014 (source)

Timothy Sykes took $12,000 of his Bar Mitzvah money and turned it into $2 million by trading penny stocks. This feat got him on Trader Monthly’s “Top 30 under 30” list and on a TV show called Wall Street Warriors.

He then got hundreds of emails per day from people asking questions, which led him to write his book An American Hedge Fund. He initially launched his blog to help promote his book.

Around that time though, his hedge fund lost 30%, which lost him a lot of credibility.  To get it back, he decided to start from scratch and repeat his earlier feat of turning a few thousand into a few million, resolving to track each step of the way.

Now he makes more money from teaching others how to trade than from trading himself.

How he makes money from his blog:

Timothy sells DVDs, offers coaching, and offers a subscription program called Tim Alerts, which lets his subscribers follow his trades in real time.

#8. Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman

Elsie Larson & Emma Chapman - A Beautiful Mess
Site: A Beautiful Mess
Niche: Food, DIY Crafts, Décor, Beauty & Style
Income: $1.5 million/year (Source)

Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman are a sister team who have turned their food and DIY crafts blog into a raging success.

Elsie started A Beautiful Mess in 2007 and Emma started a food blog a couple of years later. They then decided to combine forces, and that’s when things took off for them.

At the time Elsie was running a retail shop, and she used the blog to move products, but the sisters soon realized that they enjoyed the blog more and that it was more profitable. They decided to close the shop and make the blog their main focus.

How they make money from their blog:

They once got business advice from a friend who said they should diversify their income, and boy, have they taken it to heart. They have built up several healthy and reliable income streams over the years and they try to add a new one every year.

They sell banner ads through AdThrive, promote products through affiliate marketing, and offer sponsored content.

They sell fashion, beauty, and wellness products in their online store as well as subscriptions to monthly beauty boxes and monthly stationery packages.

On top of that, they’ve written three books, created several courses, and launched three bestselling photo-editing apps.

#9. Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse - Problogger
Sites: Digital Photography School & ProBlogger
Niche: Photography & Blogging
Income: Seven figures per year (no exact numbers known) (source)

When Darren Rowse started blogging, he was only looking for a new hobby. He blogged about living in Australia, religion, politics, and other topics he found interesting. He didn’t even know you could make money blogging at the time.

A year later, he started another blog on digital photography and discovered he could make money through ads and affiliate marketing.

He only made a few dollars per week at first, but it was enough for him to see the potential. After consulting his fianceé, he decided to treat blogging as a part-time job and devote two days per week to it. He saw his income grow from a part-time into a full-time income, and eventually into an income most only dream about.

Darren has started and been involved with numerous blogs over the years, but learned after a few years that his blogs perform better when he focuses on a few. So today he only focuses on ProBlogger and Digital Photography School.

How he makes money from his blogs:

While affiliate marketing is still his biggest income source today, Darren has since been experimenting with different income streams over the years.

His second-biggest income source is product sales. Between his two blogs, he sells dozens of e-books and several courses. On Digital Photography School, he also sells Lightroom presets.

On ProBlogger he makes additional money through a job board, and also through hosting an annual event in Australia.

In 2016, his earnings were split as follows:

#10. Heather Delaney Reese (and Her Family)

Heather Delaney-Reese - It's a Lovely Life
Site: It’s a Lovely Life
Niche: Family, Lifestyle and Travel
Income: $1,696,672 over the last 12 months (source)

After two of her daughters were born, Heather Delaney Reese looked for ways she could use the journalism skills she acquired in college and still remain a full-time stay-at-home mom.

You guessed it. She started a blog.

At first she wrote about budgeting and saving money, but over time she transitioned to writing about her family’s lifestyle and travel.

Her husband Pete eventually quit his job to also work on the blog, and their three daughters now contribute as well.

Over time, she has turned what started as a hobby into a full-time career for their entire family.

How they make money from their blog:

Until March 2017, the Reese’s blogging income came solely from sponsored content. Every year their income increased as their audience grew and they were able to increase their rates.

From March 2017, they also started promoting products and services through affiliate marketing.

But their income truly boomed over the past seven months when they launched their premium courses, Blogging Blastoff and the Travel Blogging Fast Track, which they launched only months apart.

The launch of these two courses doubled their income and propelled them into their first seven-figure year.

Now Find Your Own Path to Blogging Success

If you ever have doubts whether you’re chasing a pipe dream with your blog, keep these stories in mind.

They all took different paths to success.

Not everyone struck gold with their first blog, and you may not either. Not everyone got rich on their first attempt, and you may not either.

That’s okay. Every step is a learning moment.

If you keep going and keep trying new things, you’ll reach your goals eventually.

It may be faster than you think, or it might take longer than you hope. But. You. Will. Get. There.

Keep that in mind the next time you’re plagued with doubts.

About the Author: Robert van Tongeren is the Associate Editor of Smart Blogger, who helps our writers get their posts in tip-top shape. He also runs his own blog that helps guys dress a little sharper at Restart Your Style. You can find him on Twitter here.

The post This Is How 10 Bloggers in Different Niches Make $1 Million+ per Year appeared first on Smart Blogger.

Source: https://smartblogger.com/million-dollar-bloggers/

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595 Power Words That’ll Instantly Make You a Better Writer

Looking for a quick way to give your writing more punch?

Maybe a little personality or pizzazz – that extra little “oomph” that makes the reader pay attention?

Well, good news:

“Power words” are the answer, and you can wake up put them in place in a matter of minutes. This post gives you areference lists of power words, examples of power words being used — everything you need to hit the ground running.

Let’s jump in.

What Is a “Power Word,” Exactly?


Rather than describe what I mean, let’s deconstruct an example from the great Winston Churchill:

We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.

Inspiring, right?

Well, there was a lot on the line. Under attack from Germany, Britain was fighting for its survival, and somehow, someway, Churchill had to find a way to inspire his countrymen to greatness.

He chose words. Or, to be more accurate, power words.

Let’s take a look at the passage again, this time with all the power words underlined:

We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.

Each underlined word makes the audience feel something. In this case, Churchill intermixes words that cause fear, such as “struggle,” “tyranny,” and “terror,” with words that cause hope, such as “strength,” “God,” and “victory.” The last, in particular, is repeated over and over, practically drilling the emotion into the minds of the audience.

It’s no accident. Smart speakers, as well as their speechwriters, sprinkle their speeches with carefully-chosen power words, drawing the audience from one emotion to another as skillfully as any novelist or screenwriter.

Granted, that’s not all they do. The best writers use an entire tool chest of techniques to create emotion, and power words are only one such tool.

But there’s good news.

For beginning writers, power words are one of the easiest tools to master. Unlike many storytelling strategies which can take years of practice to master, you can start sprinkling power words into your writing, and you’ll notice an immediate lift in the quality of your prose.

All you lack is a list of power words to use, but of course, I have you covered there too. 🙂

 

595 Power Words and Phrases to Start Using Immediately


For years now, every time I mentioned power words to my students, someone always asked:

“Where can I get a list? Is there a book I can buy?”

Sadly, not that I’m aware of.  That’s why I created this list.

Slowly, over a period of several weeks, I catalogued all the power words that jumped out to me, organizing them into categories based on the emotion you want to create, so you can easily find the right word. In the future, I’ll also update the list, adding new words on a regular basis to make it the most comprehensive list of power words available anywhere.

It costs nothing. All I ask in return is you share it with your friends and readers when appropriate, helping it reach the people who need it most.

Enjoy.

Our Giant Curated List of Power Words


 

FEAR ENCOURAGEMENT LUST ANGER
Agony Amazing Allure Abhorrent
Apocalypse Ascend Arouse Abuse
Armageddon Astonishing Bare Annoying
Assault Astounding Begging Arrogant
Backlash Audacious Beguiling Ass kicking
Beating Awe-inspiring Brazen Backstabbing
Beware Awesome Captivating Barbaric
Blinded Backbone Charm Bash
Blood Badass Cheeky Beat down
Bloodbath Beat Climax Big mouth
Bloodcurdling Belief Crave Blatant
Bloody Blissful Delight Brutal
Blunder Bravery Delirious Bullshit
Bomb Breathtaking Depraved Bully
Buffoon Brilliant Desire Cheat
Bumbling Celebrate Dirty Clobber
Cadaver Cheer Divine Clown
Catastrophe Colossal Ecstacy Cocky
Caution Command Embrace Corrupt
Collapse Conquer Enchant Coward
Corpse Courage Enthralling Crooked
Crazy Daring Entice Crush
Cripple Defeat Entrance Curse
Crisis Defiance Excite Debase
Danger Delight Explicit Defile
Deadly Devoted Exposed Delinquent
Death Dignity Fascinate Demolish
Deceiving Dominate Forbidden Desecrate
Destroy Effortless Frisky Disgusting
Devastating Empower Goosebumps Dishonest
Disastrous Epic Hanker Distorted
Doom Excellent Heavenly Evil
Drowning Excited Hottest Exploit
Dumb Extraordinary Hypnotic Force-fed
Embarrass Eye-opening Impure Foul
Fail Fabulous Indecent Freaking out
Feeble Faith Intense Full of shit
Fired Fantastic Intoxicating Greedy
Fool Fearless Itching Gross
Fooled Ferocious Juicy Harass
Frantic Fierce Kinky Hate
Frightening Force Kiss High and mighty
Gambling Fulfill Lascivious Horrid
Gullible Glorious Lewd Infuriating
Hack Glory Lick Jackass
Hazardous Graceful Lonely Kick
Hoax Grateful Longing Kill
Holocaust Grit Love Knock
Horrific Guts Lure Knock Out
Hurricane Happy Luscious Know it all
Injure Heart Lush Lies
Insidious Hero Lust Livid
Invasion Honor Mischievous Loathsome
IRS Hope Mouth-watering Loser
Jail Incredible Naked Lying
Jeopardy Jaw-dropping Naughty Maul
Lawsuit Jubilant Nude Misleading
Looming Legend Obscene Money-grubbing
Lunatic Life-changing Orgasmic Nasty
Lurking Magic Passionate Nazi
Massacre Marvelous Pining No Good
Meltdown Master Pleasure Obnoxious
Menacing Mind-blowing Provocative Oppressive
Mired Miracle Racy Pain in the ass
Mistake Miraculous Raunchy Payback
Murder Noble Risque Perverse
Nightmare Perfect Rowdy Pesky
Painful Persuade Salacious Pest
Pale Phenomenal Satisfy Phony
Panic Pluck Saucy Pissed off
Peril Power-Up Scandalous Pollute
Piranha Praise Seduce Pompous
Pitfall Prevail Seductive Pound
Plague Remarkable Sensual Preposterous
Played Revel Sex Pretentious
Plummet Rule Shameless Punch
Plunge Score Sinful Punish
Poison Seize Sleazy Rampant
Poor Sensational Sleeping Ravage
Prison Spectacular Spank Repelling
Pummel Spine Spellbinding Repugnant
Pus Spirit Spicy Revile
Reckoning Splendid Steamy Revolting
Refugee Spunk Stimulating Rotten
Revenge Staggering Strip Rude
Risky Strengthen Sweaty Ruined
Scary Striking Tantalizing Ruthless
Scream Strong Taste Savage
Searing Stunning Tawdry Scam
Shatter Stunt Tease Scold
Shellacking Supreme Tempting Sick and tired
Silly Surprising Thrilling Sink
Slaughter Terrific Tickle Slam
Slave Thrive Tight Slander
Strangle Thwart Tingle Slap
Stupid Titan Turn on Slay
Tailspin Tough Unabashed Smash
Tank Tremendous Uncensored Smear
Targeted Triumph Untamed Smug
Teetering Unbeatable Untouched Sniveling
Terror Unbelievable Urge Snob
Terrorist Unforgettable Voluptuous Snooty
Torture Unique Vulgar Snotty
Toxic Unleash Wanton Spoil
Tragedy Uplifting Wet Stuck up
Trap Valiant Whip Suck
Vaporize Valor Wild Terrorize
Victim Vanquish X-rated Trash
Volatile Victory Yearning Trounce
Vulnerable Win Yummy Tyranny
Warning Wonderful Underhanded
Worry Wondrous Up to here
Wounded Violate
       
       
GREED SAFETY FORBIDDEN  
Bank Above and beyond Ancient  
Bargain Anonymous Backdoor  
Best Authentic Banned  
Billion Automatic Behind the scenes  
Bonanza Backed Black Market  
Booked solid Bankable Blacklisted  
Cash Best-selling Bootleg  
Cheap Cancel anytime Censored  
Costly Certified Classified  
Discount Clockwork Cloak and dagger  
Dollar Endorsed Concealed  
Double Foolproof Confessions  
Explode Guaranteed Confidential  
Extra Ironclad Controversial  
Feast Lifetime Covert  
Fortune Money-back Cover-up  
Free No Obligation Exotic  
Freebie No Questions Asked Forbidden  
Frenzy No risk Forgotten  
Frugal No strings attached From the vault  
Gift No-fail Hidden  
Golden Official Hush-hush  
Greatest Permanent Illegal  
High-paying Privacy Insider  
Inexpensive Professional Little-known  
Jackpot Protected Lost  
Lowest price Proven Never seen before  
Luxurious Recession-proof Off the record  
Marked down Refund Off-limits  
Massive Reliable Outlawed  
Money Research Private  
Money-draining Results Restricted  
Money-saving Risk-free Sealed  
Nest egg Rock-solid Secret  
Pay zero Science-backed Smuggled  
Prize Scientific Strange  
Profit Secure Tried to hide  
Quadruple Sure-fire Unauthorized  
Reduced Survive Uncensored  
Rich Tested Under wraps  
Savings That never fails Undercover  
Six-figure Thorough Underground  
Skyrocket Trustworthy Under-the-table  
Soaring Try before you buy Undisclosed  
Surge Unconditional Unexpected  
Treasure Verify Unlock  
Triple World-class Unreachable  
Waste   Unspoken  
Wealth   Unveiled  
Whopping   Withheld  

 

The 7 Different Types of Power Words


As you can see in our giant list above, we’ve organized our power words into seven different types:

  1. Fear
  2. Encouragement
  3. Lust
  4. Anger
  5. Greed
  6. Safety
  7. Forbidden

These different types of power words all accomplish the same goal: They inspire emotion in your reader.

Let’s go over each type and see why they work.

Fear Power Words: Calling All Fearmongers

Fear Power Words

Let’s do a little experiment.

Just for a moment, stop reading this post, turn on the television, and go to a major news channel. Watch it for five minutes, listening for the words below.

Chances are, you’ll hear dozens of them. Here’s why:

Fear is without a doubt the most powerful emotion for grabbing and keeping an audience’s attention. To make sure you don’t change the channel, news networks load up with fear words, making you worry you might miss something important.

It’s effective. Granted, you can overdo it, but in my opinion, most writers don’t use these types of words nearly enough. They really do connect with people.

Here’s a bunch to get you started:
 
→ Click here to unfold the list of Fear Power Words.

Agony Fool Plunge
Apocalypse Fooled Poison
Armageddon Frantic Poor
Assault Frightening Prison
Backlash Gambling Pummel
Beating Gullible Pus
Beware Hack Reckoning
Blinded Hazardous Refugee
Blood Hoax Revenge
Bloodbath Holocaust Risky
Bloodcurdling Horrific Scary
Bloody Hurricane Scream
Blunder Injure Searing
Bomb Insidious Shatter
Buffoon Invasion Shellacking
Bumbling IRS Silly
Cadaver Jail Slaughter
Catastrophe Jeopardy Slave
Caution Lawsuit Strangle
Collapse Looming Stupid
Corpse Lunatic Tailspin
Crazy Lurking Tank
Cripple Massacre Targeted
Crisis Meltdown Teetering
Danger Menacing Terror
Deadly Mired Terrorist
Death Mistake Torture
Deceiving Murder Toxic
Destroy Nightmare Tragedy
Devastating Painful Trap
Disastrous Pale Vaporize
Doom Panic Victim
Drowning Peril Volatile
Dumb Piranha Vulnerable
Embarrass Pitfall Plague
Fail Plague Worry
Feeble Played Wounded
Fired Plummet

 

Encouragement Power Words: Give Your Readers a Pep Talk

Encouragement Power Words

Let’s face it.

When they’re reading, most people aren’t exactly bouncing off the walls with energy and enthusiasm. They’re probably bored, maybe a little depressed, and almost definitely tired. And they’re looking for something, anything, that’ll wake them up and make them feel better.

The good news?

Your writing can do that for them. Use these power words to give them a pep talk and get them charged up again:
 
→ Click here to unfold the list of Encouragement Power Words.

Amazing Fearless Score
Ascend Ferocious Seize
Astonishing Fierce Sensational
Astounding Force Spectacular
Audacious Fulfill Spine
Awe-inspiring Glorious Spirit
Awesome Glory Splendid
Backbone Graceful Spunk
Badass Grateful Staggering
Beat Grit Strengthen
Belief Guts Striking
Blissful Happy Strong
Bravery Heart Stunning
Breathtaking Hero Stunt
Brilliant Honor Supreme
Celebrate Hope Surprising
Cheer Incredible Terrific
Colossal Jaw-dropping Thrive
Command Jubilant Thwart
Conquer Legend Titan
Courage Life-changing Tough
Daring Magic Triumph
Defeat Marvelous Tremendous
Defiance Master Unbeatable
Delight Mind-blowing Unbelievable
Devoted Miracle Unforgettable
Dignity Miraculous Unique
Dominate Noble Unleash
Effortless Perfect Uplifting
Empower Persuade Valiant
Epic Phenomenal Valor
Excellent Pluck Vanquish
Excited Power-up Victory
Extraordinary Praise Win
Eye-opening Prevail Wonderful
Fabulous Remarkable Wondrous
Faith Revel
Fantastic Rule

 

Lust Power Words: Take a Page from Cosmopolitan (or Playboy)

Lust Power Words

Like it or not, lust is one of the core human emotions.

Just look at the men’s and women’s magazines in the checkout aisle, and you’ll see what I mean. Nearly every headline on the cover is either blatantly or indirectly about sex.

And it works, not just for men’s and women’s magazines, but for anything. As a writer, you can use words that inspire lust to make almost anything intriguing.

Here’s a lascivious list to get you started:
 
→ Click here to unfold the list of Lust Power Words.

Allure Itching Sinful
Arouse Juicy Sleazy
Bare Kinky Sleeping
Begging Kiss Spank
Beguiling Lascivious Spellbinding
Brazen Lewd Spicy
Captivating Lick Steamy
Charm Lonely Stimulating
Cheeky Longing Strip
Climax Love Sweaty
Crave Lure Tantalizing
Delight Luscious Taste
Delirious Lush Tawdry
Depraved Lust Tease
Desire Mischievous Tempting
Dirty Mouth-watering Thrilling
Divine Naked Tickle
Ecstasy Naughty Tight
Embrace Nude Tingle
Enchant Obscene Turn on
Enthralling Orgasmic Unabashed
Entice Passionate Uncensored
Entrance Pining Untamed
Excite Pleasure Untouched
Explicit Provocative Urge
Exposed Racy Voluptuous
Fascinate Raunchy Vulgar
Forbidden Risque Wanton
Frisky Rowdy Wet
Goosebumps Salacious Whip
Hanker Satisfy Wild
Heavenly Saucy X-rated
Hottest Scandalous Yearning
Hypnotic Seduce Yummy
Impure Seductive
Indecent Sensual
Intense Sex
Intoxicating Shameless

 

Anger Power Words: Start a Riot

Anger Power Words

As writers, sometimes our job is to anger people.

Not for the fun of it, mind you, but because someone is doing something wrong, and the community needs to take action to correct it. The problem is, with wrongdoing, most people are pretty apathetic — they’ll wait until the situation becomes entirely intolerable to do anything, and by then, it’s often too late.

So, we have to fan the flames. By using the below power words, you can connect with people’s anger, and slowly but surely, you can work them into a frenzy. Just be careful who you target. Lawyers can eat you alive if you pick on the wrong person. 🙂
 
→ Click here to unfold the list of Anger Power Words.

Abhorrent Gross Punish
Abuse Harass Rampant
Annoying Hate Ravage
Arrogant High and mighty Repelling
Ass kicking Horrid Repugnant
Backstabbing Infuriating Revile
Barbaric Jackass Revolting
Bash Kick Rotten
Beat down Kill Rude
Big mouth Knock Ruined
Blatant Knock out Ruthless
Brutal Know it all Savage
Bullshit Lies Scam
Bully Livid Scold
Cheat Loathsome Sick and tired
Clobber Loser Sink
Clown Lying Slam
Cocky Maul Slander
Corrupt Misleading Slap
Coward Money-grubbing TSlay
Crooked Nasty Smash
Crush Nazi Smear
Curse No good Smug
Debase Obnoxious Sniveling
Defile Oppressive Snob
Delinquent Pain in the ass Snooty
Demolish Payback Snotty
Desecrate Perverse Spoil
Disgusting Pesky Stuck up
Dishonest Pest Suck
Distorted Phony Terrorize
Evil Pissed off Trash
Exploit Pollute Trounce
Force-fed Pompous Tyranny
Foul Pound Underhanded
Freaking out Preposterous Up to here
Full of shit Pretentious Violate
Greedy Punch

 

Greed Power Words: Stomp on Their Greed Glands

Greed Power Words

The legendary copywriter Gary Halbert once said, “If you want people to buy something, stomp on their greed glands until they bleed.” Graphic, yes, but also true.

Skim through good sales copy, and you’ll find a lot of these power words. Many of them are so overused they’ve become cliché, but that doesn’t stop them from working.

The truth is, nearly every human being on the planet is interested in either making or saving money. Use these words to tap into those desires:
 
→ Click here to unfold the list of Greed Power Words.

Bank Freebie Pay zero
Bargain Frenzy Prize
Best Frugal Profit
Billion Gift Quadruple
Bonanza Golden Reduced
Booked solid Greatest Rich
Cash High-paying Savings
Cheap Inexpensive Six-figure
Costly Jackpot Skyrocket
Discount Lowest price Soaring
Dollar Luxurious Surge
Double Marked down Treasure
Explode Massive Triple
Extra Money Waste
Feast Money-draining Wealth
Fortune Money-saving Whopping
Free Nest egg

 

Safety Power Words: Make Them Feel Safe

Greed isn’t the only emotion you want buyers to feel. You also want to make them feel safe.

They need to trust both you and your product or service. They need to have confidence you’ll deliver. They need to believe they’ll get results.

Of course, building that kind of trust starts with having a quality brand and reputation, but the words you use to describe yourself and your product or service also matter. To help your customers feel safe, try to use as many of these power words as possible:
 
→ Click here to unfold the list of Safety Power Words.

Above and beyond No obligation Risk-free
Anonymous No questions asked Rock-solid
Authentic No risk Science-backed
Automatic No strings attached Scientific
Backed No-fail Secure
Bankable Official Sure-fire
Best-selling Permanent Survive
Cancel anytime Privacy Tested
Certified Professional That never fails
Clockwork Protected Thorough
Endorsed Proven Trustworthy
Foolproof Recession-proof Try before you buy
Guaranteed Refund Unconditional
Ironclad Reliable Verify
Lifetime Research World-class
Money-back Results

 

Forbidden Power Words: Offer Them a Forbidden Fruit

Forbidden Power Words

Remember when you were a kid, and someone told you NOT to do something? From that point on, you could think about little else, right?

The truth is, we’re all fascinated by the mysterious and forbidden. It’s like it’s programmed into our very nature.

So why not tap into that programming?

Whenever you need to create curiosity, sprinkle these power words throughout your writing, and readers won’t be able to help being intrigued:
 
→ Click here to unfold the list of Forbidden Power Words.

Ancient Forbidden Smuggled
Backdoor Forgotten Strange
Banned From the vault Tried to hide
Behind the scenes Hidden Unauthorized
Black Market Hush-hush Uncensored
Blacklisted Illegal Under wraps
Bootleg Insider Undercover
Censored Little-known Underground
Classified Lost Under-the-table
Cloak and dagger Never seen before Undisclosed
Concealed Off the record Unexpected
Confessions Off-limits Unlock
Confidential Outlawed Unreachable
Controversial Private Unspoken
Covert Restricted Unveiled
Cover-up Sealed Withheld
Exotic Secret

 

Power Words in Action: 14 Places Where You Strong Words Can Help You


So, now that you have a big list of options to choose from, where are the primary places you should put power words to get the biggest “bang for your buck?”

Below you’ll find examples of power words being used in:

  1. Headlines
  2. Subheads
  3. Email Subject Lines
  4. Opt-in Boxes
  5. Home Page
  6. Sales Pages
  7. Testimonials
  8. Bullet Lists
  9. Business Names / Domain Names
  10. Product Names
  11. Buttons
  12. Author Bios
  13. Youtube Videos
  14. Book titles
  15. Ready to dive in?

#1. Using Power Words in Headlines

Any bloggers who’s been in the game for a while knows that the headline is the most important part of your article.

Its purpose, after all, is to entice the reader to read the rest of the article. If it fails to get attention, potential readers will ignore it when it shows up in their social media feed.

And just one or two power words in your headline is usually enough to make it stand out.

Just look at this headline from BuzzFeed:

Put Power Words in Your Headline

The word “Unveiled” makes it feel like a secret is being exposed, and the word “Breathtaking” makes you curious to see what the photo looks like.

Here’s another example from BoredPanda:

Put Power Words in Your Headline - BoredPanda

People generally love anything adorable, so this headline will easily catch attention. (The fact that it refers to snakes will only make people more curious.) The headline then drives it home by using the powerful verb “Conquer”.

Here’s one more from BrightSide:

Power Words in Your Headlines - BrightSide

While one or two power words are often enough, this headline proves you can use more when it fits. This headline has four powerful words, but they feel natural in the headline, which keeps it from feeling like over-the-top clickbait.

#2. Using Power Words in Subheads

Once people click on your headline, most will scan the post first to see if it looks worthy of their attention. Adding some power words to your subheads is a good way to make your post look like an interesting read.

For example, here are three subheads from our post on Ebook mistakes:

Use Power Words in Subheads

See how the power words in these subheads catch attention and make you want to read the text that follows?

#3. Using Power Words in Email Subject Lines

Having an email list is of little use if only few on your list open your emails.

And these days, most people’s inboxes are flooded, so they’re selective in which emails they open.

You can stand out in their inbox and raise your open rates by including power words in your subject lines.

Just look at this one from Ramit Sethi:

Use Power Words in Email Subject Lines - Ramit Sethi

If this subject line would’ve read “The rules of learning”, do you think it would be as appealing? The word “unspoken” is what makes it interesting.

Here’s another one from Cal Fussman:

Use Power Words in Email Subject Lines - Cal Fussman

Both “Triumph” and “Tragedy” are powerful words full of emotion.

And finally, here’s a good example from AppSumo:

Use Power Words in Email Subject Lines - Appsumo

The phrase “Unleash the power” makes you feel this email is hiding something incredibly powerful inside.

See how that works?

When you send out emails to your list, try and add a power word to your subject line to make it stand out in people’s inbox.

#4. Using Power Words in Opt-In Boxes

As a blogger, one of your main goals is to grow a large and engaged readership, and the best way to do so is through converting readers into subscribers.

That means you should have opt-in forms scattered across your website. You can place them on your homepage, at the end of your posts, in your sidebar, in a popup, or anywhere else.

But no matter where you place them, your opt-in boxes must catch people’s eye and make them want to share their email address with you. Because they won’t just give it away to everyone. (Remember, their inboxes are already flooded, so they’re not necessarily eager to get even more emails.)

Fortunately, you can use power words to make your offer more enticing.

Here’s an old popup from Cosmopolitan which is an excellent example:

Use Power Words in Opt-In Boxes - Cosmopolitan

This popup had power words everywhere, but it avoids feeling like overkill. I bet it converted like crazy.

Here’s a slightly more subtle example from Betty Means Business:

Use Power Words in Opt-In Boxes - Betty Means Business

It’s more subtle, but still quite effective.

Again, you don’t have to overdo it with the power words on these. A little can go a long way.

Here’s one final example from Renegade Planner:

Use Power Words in Pop-Up - Renegade Planner

Are you using power words in your opt-in boxes yet? If not, you should add some right away.

#5. Using Power Words on Your Home Page

Your home page is the face of your website and it’s usually one of the most visited pages. Many people who enter your website, will see this page first, and you want it to make a good first impression.

Some people use their home page to promote their email list, others use it to promote one of their products, and others use it as red carpet, welcoming new visitors and explaining what their site is all about.

In any case, your home page is a good spot to add a few power words, as it can determine whether people stay (and take the action you want them to take) or leave.

Look at this value proposition on the home page for Nerd Fitness:

Use Power Words on Your Home Page - Nerd Fitness

“Nerds”, “Misfits” and “Mutants” are unusual power words that work well for the audience Nerd Fitness is targeting. These words immediately separate his blog from all the other fitness blogs out there.

But they push it even further with “Strong”, “Healthy” and “Permanently”.

Here’s another value proposition from MainStreetHost’s home page:

Use Power Words on Your Home Page - MainStreetHost

It’s quite minimal, isn’t it? They just wrote down three power words and follow it up with a service they provide.

Of course, you don’t have to limit your use of power words to the top of your homepage. You can use it in other parts of the home page too, as Ramit Sethi does here in his list of what you’ll get when you sign up for his email list.

Use Power Words on Your Home Page - Ramit Sethi

Go look at your homepage now and see if you can find any areas you can spruce up with some power words.

#6. Using Power Words in Business Names/Blog Names

Your blog or business name should have an impact on people. Having a forgettable domain name is poison to your blog growth. You want a name that people can easily recall when they want to visit your site.

If you haven’t chosen your blog name yet (or if you’re thinking about rebranding),  you might use a power word to give it some punch. It’ll make you stand out from all the boring, forgettable brands.

Just take a look at the collection of blog names below and see how well they’ve incorporated power words:

Use Power Words in Business and Blog Names

#7. Using Power Words in Product Names

Just like you can use power words to spruce up your blog name, you can also use them to make your product names pack more of a punch.

It can make the difference between your potential customers thinking, “Ooh, this product sounds cool!” and them thinking, “Meh.”

Just check out this subscription product from Nerd Fitness:

Use Power Words in Product Names - Nerd Fitness

It has such a powerful name that you’d almost want to sign up without learning anything else. Who wouldn’t want to be part of a community of rising heroes?

Here’s another good example from Pat Flynn:

Use Power Words in Product Names - Pat Flynn Podcast

It’s a powerful name for his podcasting course that instantly informs you of the benefit.

So if you’re about to launch a product (or if you’ve launched a product with a tepid name), consider giving it a power word to make it pack a punch.

#8. Using Power Word on Sales Pages

You can also use power words to spruce up your sales pages and make them more effective at selling your products or services.

They will grab people’s attention when they arrive on the page, they will keep their attention as they scroll down, and they’ll help seduce readers before they reach your “buy” button.

Just look at this headline on Ramit Sethi’s sales page for his product 50 Proven Email Scripts (which also has a power word in its name):

Use Power Word on Sales Pages - Ramit Sethi

And as you scroll down, you see he keeps using power words throughout his sales page.

His headline is follow by subheads such as these:

Use Power Word on Sales Page Subheads - Ramit Sethi

And he even uses power words his guarantee:

Use Power Word on Sales Page Guarantees - Ramit Sethi

#9. Using Power Word in Testimonials

Power words are also tremendously effective in testimonials.

Of course, I’m not suggesting you change people’s testimonials to include power words. But you can certainly select  the ones that already use them to great effect.

Just look at this example from Betty Means Business:

Use Power Word in Testimonials - Betty Means Business

Or look at this one from Farideh’s blog:

Use Power Word in Testimonials - Farideh

And here’s another example from Renegade Planner:

Use Power Word in Testimonials - Renegade Planner

All these testimonials will lend extra credibility and excitement due to their power words and phrases.

#10. Using Power Words in Bullet Lists

Many sales pages include a list of benefits of the product that they’re selling. Many opt-in forms include a list of reasons you should sign up to their email list.

You can use power words in these lists to inspire more excitement in your reader as they read through it.

Here’s one example from Ramit Sethi’s sales page for his How to Talk to Anyone course:

Use Power Words in Bullet Lists - Ramit Sethi

And here’s another example from an opt-in form on Restart Your Style:

Use Power Words in Bullet Lists - Restart Your Style

Without these power words, these list wouldn’t convince nearly as many readers to buy or subscribe.

#11. Using Power Words in Button Copy

Yep, you can use power words in your button copy too, even if you only have a few words you can fit in there.

One of the most common power words used in buttons is “Free”, as in the example below:

But you can be more creative with buttons than you might think.

Takes this button from the sales page for the book The Renegade Diet:

Use Power Words in Button Copy

“Immediate”, “Money Back” and “Guarantee” are all incredibly powerful words, and the author manages to squeeze them all into one button.

Use Power Words in Button Copy - The Renegade Diet

And take this example from Tim Ferris’ popup:

Use Power Words in Button Copy - Tim Ferris

He could’ve used “Send Me the List” as most people would do, but “Unlock” makes it sound a lot more intriguing, like you’re getting access to something that’s been kept hidden away.

Now take a look at the buttons on your site. Do you see any opportunities to spruce them up with a power word?

#12. Using Power Words in Author Bios

Your author bio is another extremely important part of your marketing.

When you guest post for another blog, your author bio has the difficult job of making readers want to know more about you so they click through to your site.

That means your author bio needs to spark attention and interest. And you usually only get three sentences, so you need to carefully consider the words you use.

See this author bio from Henneke Duistermaat:

Using Power Words in Author Bios - Henneke Duistermaat

Henneke’s author bio is full of power words. It shows her uniqueness and makes her stand out from other copywriters.

You can tell she has carefully picked each word for maximum impact.

Here’s another examples from Sarah Peterson:

Using Power Words in Author Bios - Sarah Peterson

She opens strong immediately by mentioning her guides are insanely useful. And just the name of her report alone is full of power words: “Free”, “Reveal” and “Begging”.

Makes you want to get your hands on that report, doesn’t it?

#13. Using Power Words on Youtube Videos

If you’re publishing videos on youtube and you want to get more views, you should use power words in your titles as well.

All the biggest youtube channels do this. They understand that most of their views will come from their subscribers finding them in their feed, and from people finding them in the sidebar of other videos.

In both cases though, you’re competing with many other videos for their attention.

See how Philip DeFranco does it below:

Use Power Words on Youtube Videos - Philip DeFranco

“Disgusting”, “Punishment” and “Controversy” are all attention-grabbing words (and that’s besides the attention-grabbing names of Brock Turner, Star Wars and Kim Kardashian).

Note also how he has capitalized “Disgusting”. It’s another smart trick many youtube channels use to stand out more in youtube’s lists of video suggestions.

Style vlogger Aaron Marino often does it as well:

Use Power Words on Youtube Videos - Aaron Marino

By capitalizing the power words “Don’ts” and “Stupid”, his title catches a lot more attention (as you can see for yourself by the millions of views).

#14. Using Power Words in Book Titles

If you’re interested in writing your own book, adding power words to your titles will help it sell better. With all the competition in the book market these days, you need a title that grabs people’s attention and makes them want to peek inside.

Here are a few quick grabs from Amazon’s list of bestsellers in the self-help niche:

Use Power Words in Book Titles - Stephen Covey

I’m sure you’ve seen this title before. You might say Stephen Covey’s use of power words in his title has been highly effective. (See what I did there?)

Use Power Words in Book Titles - Mark Manson

Mark Manson’s bestselling title is packed with power. The power word “Subtle” juxtaposes well with the F-bomb in the title, and his use of “Counterintuitive” will spark some interest as well.

Use Power Words in Book Titles - Jen Sincero

Lastly, Jen Sincero’s encouraging book title makes you want to flip it open right away and read it in one go. The use of “Badass” alone will make it stand out in the self-development section, but her use of “Greatness” and “Awesome” in the subtitle truly seals the deal.
 

Go Ahead and Tell Me. What Words Did I Miss?


Yes, this is an enormous list, but so many power words are available, nobody can possibly catch them all on the first pass. What are some other words that seem to have that extra little spark of emotion inside them?

Leave your answer in the comments, and as time goes by, I’ll come back periodically and update the list. Eventually, I hope to have over 1,000 words here, separated and organized by category, making this the definitive resource for power words on the web.

Thanks in advance for commenting and sharing the post with your friends!

About the Author: Jon Morrow has asked repeatedly to be called “His Royal Awesomeness” but no one listens to him. So, he settles for CEO of Smart Blogger. Poor man. 🙂

The post 595 Power Words That’ll Instantly Make You a Better Writer appeared first on Smart Blogger.

Source: https://smartblogger.com/power-words/

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Kindle Publishing for Beginners: How to Make Your First $1,000 on Amazon

What if I said you could have your book up on Amazon and making money within 72 hours?

(Assuming you’ve already written the book, of course.)

Sounds a whole lot better than waiting months or even years to find an agent, get a book deal, and go to all the rigmarole of working with a publisher, right?

Amazon also lets you keep more of the money. A lot more.

The only problem?

It’s hard to figure out how to get started. That’s why I created this comprehensive, step-by-step guide to Kindle publishing, jam-packed with little nuggets of wisdom I’ve picked up along the way.

Let’s jump in…

You Don’t Need a Platform to Publish Your Book on Kindle

I only had 250 subscribers when I launched my first book. And even though I took a relatively passive role in promoting the book — I did a few promotions during launch to give me an early bump and then mostly counted on Amazon’s algorithm to drive sales — it earned its first $1,000 within five months.

That’s not a result worth bragging about, but it was enough to inspire me to write a second book and do much better. That meant I had to take a more active approach.

So I was much more strategic, grew my audience larger, and promoted the book a lot more. And this time around, I got to $1,000 within the first month.

Even better: The book went on to make over $10K in its first year, which was a big improvement from the first book, which made $2K in that same time span.

The lesson?

You can make money writing even if you have a tiny list, and even if you take a somewhat passive role in promotion. But the more active you are, the more money you’ll make.

So in this post, I’ll share the step-by-step strategy I used to publish and promote my second book. You’ll have to decide for yourself how much of it you’ll follow and how active a role you want to take.

Ready to dig in?

Note: This post won’t cover how to write a book. Instead, it focuses on the marketing strategies that will help you sell you book. If you want to know more about the step-by-step book-writing process, check out these resources.

Before You Write Your Book — Validate Your Profitable Book Idea

Some book ideas are destined to fail before a single word is penned or typed, which is why you should validate your book idea first.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run across authors who write books about obscure topics for tiny audiences and are genuinely surprised when their sales are low.

Don’t be like those authors.

With the right research techniques, you can find a book idea that readers love and that you enjoy writing about.

Here’s how you do it.

Step #1: Take an Inventory of Your Interests


Personally, I already knew the book I wanted to write would be about self-reinvention. It was the idea that had been nagging at me for a while. So all I needed to do was validate whether it had selling potential.

But if you don’t have a concrete idea in mind yet, you can use the follow exercise to generate ideas. (If you do have an idea already, you can skip to Step 2.)

Grab a pen and paper and answer the following questions:

  • What do you find easy that others find difficult?
  • If you could only choose one section in a bookstore to read, which section would you choose?
  • What seems obvious to you that isn’t apparent to others?
  • What topic gets you talking to the point you won’t shut up about it?
  • What do friends and family tell you you’re good at?
  • What compliments have you received from strangers?
  • What types of articles do you read online?

Once you complete your inventory, review it to look for patterns. Maybe you’re a great communicator, have excellent financial habits, or have a knack for motivating others. The traits, knowledge, and skills you possess can translate into topics for books.

Review the list and use your answers to come up with a few book ideas. You’ll use these for the next step.

Step #2: Spy on Your Competition


Like I said, I already had an idea for my book in mind, but I still needed to know whether it had selling potential. I didn’t want to spend a lot of time writing a book that nobody (besides my most devoted subscribers) would buy.

So, before I started writing, I validated my idea by researching the competition.

You can do that yourself by going to Amazon and answering these questions:

  • Are there similar books? If you can’t find a book similar to yours in the marketplace it means you don’t have a good idea, because no one is that original.
  • Can you compete? Checking the competitive landscape gives you an idea of how well your book can sell.
  • Are there enough buyers? You want to make sure enough people want the type of book you plan on writing to make it worth your time.

You can find the answers to these questions in three steps:

A: Find Your Category on Amazon

First, you’ll need to find a suitable category for your book on Amazon.

Here’s how:

#1. Go to amazon.com and navigate to Departments > Kindle E-Readers & Books > Kindle Books.

Find a suitable category for your ebook

#2. Click Best Sellers & More in the left-hand menu:

Select from best selling eBooks

#3. Scroll down until you see the menu below and click Kindle Best Sellers.

Kindle Best Selling eBooks

#4. Select Kindle eBooks from the left-hand menu.

Kindle eBooks

#5. Pick a category and subcategory that fit closest to your book idea(s).

For my book on self-reinvention, I chose the category Self-Help and subcategory Personal Transformation.  

Click eBook category or subcategory

Once you’ve picked a subcategory, you can check to see whether you can spot books in the top 20 with similar topics.

B: Check Your Category’s Top 20 Books for Similar Topics

The premise for my book was self-reinvention. I didn’t need to find a book with the exact word “reinvention,” but I looked for books with similar themes like behavior change, personality change, and life change.

I found some books that were similar to mine (#3 and #5 below explicitly state they’re about change, while #4 is a book about improving your life in general).

Find best selling eBooks that match your idea

At the end of this step, you’ve answered the first question. You’ll know whether there are similar books to your idea.

If there are, that’s good news! You can proceed to the next step which will answer the other two questions — can you compete, and are there enough buyers?

C: Check the Best Seller Rank of the Top Books in Your Category

If you want to know whether you can compete in a category and whether there are enough buyers, you need to know how well the books in your category sell.

You won’t find any actual sales numbers on Amazon, but through their Best Seller rank, you can get a decent estimate.

You can find a book’s Best Seller rank by scrolling down its product page. The rank will be listed under Product Details.

Find eBook Amazon best seller rank

The higher the rank (with #1 being the highest), the more copies it sells — but also, the harder it will be to beat. You have to look for categories where the average bestseller rank is neither too low nor too high.

Here’s how it generally breaks down:

  • Rankings above 1,000 will have great sales numbers but are very competitive.
  • Rankings from 1,000 to 30,000 are less competitive, but will still have decent sales numbers.
  • Rankings of 30,000 and lower are the least competitive, but will also have lower sales numbers.

As you can see, the sweet spot is in the middle. You don’t want a category that’s too competitive, nor do you want a category with low sales numbers.

Aim for categories where you think you can crack the top three books. If you follow the strategies laid out in this post, you should be able to reach the top three in categories with medium competition.  

If you can get your book featured in the top three when you launch, you skyrocket the chance of your book being featured highly in the Hot New Releases list.

And if you appear high enough in that list, your book will get a lot of exposure. Amazon will feature your book in a highlighted section above other books that are similar to yours, like this:

Amazon new releases feature spot

Also, people browse for books by categories, but they tend to skim through the category pages. The higher you are in a category, the higher the chance that someone will click through to buy your book.

So picking the right category is crucial. If you don’t think you can crack the top three books in your initial category, you might see if you could feature your book in an alternative category where the competition is less heavy.

Note: You never want to skip this step, even if you do have a book idea in mind that’s been nagging at you to write. If my self-reinvention idea had failed this test, I wouldn’t have written it. Instead, I would’ve gone back to Step 1 to come up with new ideas.

Step# 3: Brainstorm a Whole Bunch of Titles


Now you’ve ensured your book idea has selling potential, so you’re about ready to start writing. But before you do, you should give your book a title.

What you have to know about book titles before you write yours is that they have two components: The main title and the subtitle.

When you’re brainstorming your main title, here’s what you want to keep in mind:

  1. It should be punchy and memorable.
  2. It should hint at the book’s topic.
  3. It should resonate with your audience.

When brainstorming your subtitle, you want it to clarify how your book helps your readers. Ask yourself:

  1. Which of my reader’s pain points will my book solve?
  2. What positive outcomes will the book provide?
  3. What kind of person will the reader be after reading your book? How will their life change?

For my book, I brainstormed 50 different main titles and 25 subtitles. They weren’t all fantastic, but that’s the point. When brainstorming titles, you just write down whatever comes to mind. Then you cross out the options that you don’t like, or that you like less, until you only have your favorites left.

To give you a glimpse of some ideas I had, here were some contenders for my main title:

  • You 2.0
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Starting Over
  • The Power of Reinvention

And these were some favorites for my subtitle:

  • Unlock the Secrets that Keep You Stuck and Reprogram Your Mind for Success
  • Stop Feeling Stuck, Reinvent Yourself, and Become a Brand New You
  • Redesign Your Life, Find Your Mental Blind Spots, and Master the Art of Personal Transformation

The final title became: You 2.0: Stop Feeling Stuck, Reinvent Yourself, and Become a Brand New You — Master the Art of Personal Transformation.

What’s your title going to be?

Once you decide, you know exactly what book you’re going to write. And having taken all the right steps, you can feel confident it will sell when you’re done.

Note: If you already have an email list, I suggest you poll your readers on which are their favorite titles and subtitles. If you don’t have an email list, you can still use a polling site like Pickfu.

While Writing Your Book — Gather a Mob of Potential Book Buyers

If you’re self-publishing books, you need an audience of potential book buyers. This will give you two critical advantages:

  1. You get an early boost in sales, and having a positive sales record encourages Amazon’s algorithm to promote your book for you.
  2. You can leverage your audience for reviews, which Amazon also uses as a ranking factor, and they’ll also help other people make the decision to buy.

If you don’t have anybody buying your book or leaving reviews as soon as you publish, the chances of it taking off are slim to none.

Now, as I mentioned earlier, that doesn’t mean you need 10,000 subscribers. But the more you have, the better.

My second book made more money than my first in large part because I took the time to gather new subscribers as I was writing it.

Here’s what I did to grow my audience larger for my second book:

Note: If you already have an established audience of at least 1,000 subscribers, or if you feel you already know enough about how to build your email list, you might consider skipping to the next section. If you’re interested in my exact strategies, though, keep reading.

Step #1: Create an Alluring Incentive For People to Join Your List


People rarely part with their email addresses for nothing in return, so you need to offer them an incentive to join your email list.

To be honest, I cheated a bit here, because I offered something that I already had available. I offered my first book The Destiny Formula.

Ideally, you want to offer an incentive that’s a perfect complement to the book you’re writing.

For example, if you were writing a book about the Paleo diet, you might offer one of these incentives:

  • 5 Delicious Paleo Recipes You Can Make in 15 Minutes or Less
  • 7-Day Paleo Quick-Start Email Course
  • The Ultimate Paleo Snack List (Includes 250 Different Snacks)

Doing this ensures you build an audience that’s interested in your book’s topic.

My first book did have some audience overlap with my second, though, so it worked out in the end. And I did change my incentive when we got closer to my book launch. (We’ll get to that later.)

But if I had to start the launch over today, I’d have created something more relevant to self-reinvention from the start. It might’ve boosted sales even more.

Step #2: Set Up a Landing Page for Collecting Email Addresses


If you want to build your email list, you need two things: an email marketing platform to store your list and a landing page where people can sign up to your list.

Now, you have a number of choices when it comes to email marketing platforms, but these are three popular ones:

Personally, I opted for ConvertKit because they built it specifically for professional bloggers. It comes with easy segmentation features that let you promote your book in a more targeted way. I highly recommend it, but any of these platforms will work.

Once you’ve set up your email marketing platform, you can create a landing page to capture people’s email addresses.

I used Leadpages to do so, which makes it simple to create landing pages. It comes with ready-made templates that you can modify with its drag-and-drop builder.

Leadpages ready-made templates

You can choose one of their templates and customize it to your wishes.

Here’s a screenshot of the landing page I created:

Leadpages landing page example

Once you have everything in place, all you need to do is send traffic to your landing page.

Step #3: Drive Traffic to Your Landing Page


My personal goal was to hit 3,000 subscribers before I published my book. My main strategy for reaching that number was publishing articles on Medium, each with a link back to my landing page.

Pro tip: You can repurpose some of your book chapters as posts. Just be careful not to give your entire book away, or future buyers will feel cheated. You’ll want at least 50% of your book to be exclusive.)

Every article I published on Medium would include this offer at the end:

Use Medium to drive traffic to your landing page

But I didn’t stop there. I also guest posted on Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Addicted2Success, Thought Catalog, The Pursuit and more.

While I got most of my traffic from Medium, publishing on these sites still grew my subscriber base by a significant chunk.

Between publishing on Medium and guest posting on these sites, I reached my goal of 3,000 subscribers within six months.

You don’t need to hit that same number of subscribers, but I do recommend you build your list to at least 1,000 before launching your book.

Publish new articles on a steady schedule and keep your new subscribers engaged while you finish writing your book. Once you do, you’re ready to jump into the next stage.

After Writing Your Book — Package Your Book Like a Best Seller

You can write the most amazing book on earth, but if you don’t package it in an appealing way, few people will read it.

After all, the prestigious title is best-selling author, not best-writing author.

In this section, we’ll cover three important steps to packaging your book:

  • The cover design
  • The formatting
  • The book description

Ready to go?

Step #1: Get a Cover That Grabs Attention


I cannot stress the importance of this step enough. You need a good cover for your book, or it won’t sell.

The cover gives potential buyers their first impression of your book. If it looks cheap and sloppy, they’ll assume it’s not worth their money.

A good book cover has, at the very least, the following characteristics:

  1. A clear, legible title. Most of your potential buyers will see your cover as a thumbnail first, so your title should be easy to read when shrunken to that size. Avoid small, hard-to-read letters and scribbly fonts.
  2. A design that stands out. Whether it stands out through a bold color or an interesting graphic, you want your cover to catch the eye.

Now, if you’re tempted to design your own cover, I have one word of advice: Don’t.

Unless you’re a professional cover designer, you’re better off handing this responsibility over to someone else. This is not something you want to pinch pennies on.

Personally, I hired Happy Self Publishing to create my cover. They kept coming up in communities of writers over time, so I gave them a try. I was not disappointed. They struck a good balance of professionalism, quality, and price.

Note: If you’re on a super-tight budget, you might also try Fiverr. In that case, you have to know what you’re looking for. You have to check the designers’ samples and make sure their covers look professional. You’ll likely get better quality covers elsewhere, though.

When I hired Happy Self-Publishing, they asked if I had ideas for my cover and sent me a questionnaire to gather my book information (title, subtitle, description, etc.) and my preferences for the cover design (preferred colors, fonts, etc.).

They gave me questions like this:

Hire a professional eBook cover designer

I filled out the questionnaire, gave the designer my directions, and also sent samples of covers I liked to give him an even better picture of my tastes.

Within days, he came back with several mock-ups.

We went through several rounds where I told him what I liked and disliked, and he’d send me new mock-ups based on my (and my audience’s) feedback, until we finally settled on my final cover.

Here’s how my cover evolved over time:

Professional eBook cover designer mockup examples

Step #2: Make Your Book Look Pretty Inside


In addition to your cover, you also need to make the inside of your book look good. If all the text is mushed together, it’s full of syntax errors, or it’s written in a terrible font, people won’t want to read your book.

To prevent this, you need to format your book — specifically, you need to format and save your book in a Kindle-friendly file-type like .mobi or .epub.

Now, you can do this yourself, or you can hire a professional to do it for you.

I formatted my book myself using an easy-to-use piece of software called Vellum, which uses a simple WYSIWYG editor (“What You See Is What You Get” — the same editor in Microsoft Word and WordPress). You can just copy and paste your chapters into it, change the formatting however you like, and export.

The only problem? Vellum is only available on Mac.

If you’re on a PC, you have alternative options like Reedsy and Book Design Templates.

A do-it-yourself approach will save you some money, but if you feel you’re not very tech-savvy and want to make sure the book is formatted properly, hire someone. Happy Self-Publishing, the company I used for my cover, also provides an affordable formatting service, or you can find hundreds of freelancers on Upwork who can do it for you.

When the formatting is done, though, don’t forget to proofread the book with a Kindle or the Kindle app. Make sure there are no formatting bugs that need to be fixed.

After that, you’re done with this step.

Step #3: Write a Description That Sells Your Book for You


When your cover lures people to your Amazon sales page, the next thing they’ll do is read your book description. They’ll want to know exactly what your book is about and how it’ll benefit them.

If your description has weak writing, it won’t be compelling enough for them to click the buy button, so they’ll click the back button instead.

Now, the key thing to understand when writing your book description is that you should not treat it as a summary of your book. Rather, you should treat it as a sales letter. It shouldn’t just inform potential buyers of the contents of your book, it should persuade them to buy.

Here’s mine, for example:

How to write an eBook description

See how I focus the description on benefits to the reader? See how I use the bullet points to foster curiosity rather than give away the main points of the book? These are basic sales letter techniques you should use in your description.

Imagine if the second bullet had read, “Goal setting doesn’t work because [reason].”

Giving the reason away would defeat the need for the reader to purchase the book. Instead, I trigger curiosity by leaving it open.

If you want to learn more about writing persuasive descriptions, the following resources helped me a lot while writing mine:

Before Launching Your Book — Create a Rock-Solid Launch Plan

Your launch makes or breaks the success of your book.

You shouldn’t wait until the week of your launch before you start planning it. Instead, you want to have a plan in place and have your marketing materials prepared well before you hit publish.

Here are a few things you should do to prepare for the launch of my book.

Step #1: Create Your “Street Team”


Before your launch, you should assemble a so-called “street team” to help write reviews for your book and help promote it during launch week.

I reached out to people in my network — fellow authors and bloggers I’d met over the years — and asked them to join.

If you don’t have a well-established network, you can leverage your email list, like Kevin Kruse (a New York Times bestselling author) explains in this video:

When you reach out to people in your network, explain what’s expected of them as your street team members:

  • Explain they are to read an advanced reader copy of the book and prepare a review to post at the beginning of the launch.
  • Encourage them to share the book on social media or with their email lists. Explain this is optional, but you’d be very grateful.

For the number of reviews you want, double that number of people on your street team, because chances are only half of them will actually review your book. At minimum, aim for 25 reviews, so 50 people for your launch team.

Step #2: Start Teasing Your Book to Your List


Once you’ve written your book and you can see your launch on the horizon, you want to gently tease your subscribers so they know it’s coming. You need to build anticipation.

Up to this point, I had been keeping my list engaged by sending Monday Motivation emails every week, as well as an update every time I published a new blog post.

As I was preparing for launch, I added teasers at the end of my emails, like this:

Example:

P.S. I’m finished with my new book, You 2.0.: Stop Feeling Stuck, Reinvent Yourself, and Become a Brand New You.

It details everything I’ve learned in the process of transforming my life from broke, addicted, and depressed to finding my passion, tripling my income, and succeeding. I’m really excited about it. Stay tuned.

You don’t have to sell it hard at this point. Just make them aware the book is coming.

Step #3: Map Out Your Launch Plan and Prepare Promotional Materials


You should never be winging it when you launch a book. If you’re smart, you’ll plan every single step you’ll take leading up to the launch, as well as afterwards.

You need to create a schedule so you know exactly which promotion happens when, and what actions you should take each day. (I’ll share my own promotion timeline in the next section, which you can emulate.)

Once you have planned everything, the next step is to prepare everything.

In the weeks leading up to my launch, I prepared:

  • The email sequence promoting the book to my subscribers
  • The emails I’d send to my street team
  • 30 days’ worth of promotional articles that I’d publish on Medium
  • Social media posts to promote the book

For the promotional articles, I also prepared a few new incentives more geared toward promoting the book than my original one:

Prepare promotional eBook incentives

When you don’t prepare for your launch beforehand, you will feel frazzled and frustrated throughout the launch. You’ll be scrambling to promote the book instead of having a strategy that makes you feel confident the book will sell.

Plan ahead, and you’ll launch with a bang.

Launching Your Book — Follow This Timeline for an Early Boost in Sales

You may think your book launch happens when you publish your book on Amazon and put it up for sale.

And you’re not wrong. Technically, that is when you officially launch your book. But the launch process is a bit more involved than just clicking a publish button, and it starts much earlier than your official launch.

It starts from your first big promotion, as that’s when you start selling your book.

Below, you’ll find the timeline I used when launching my book. Feel free to emulate it.

Step #1: Send “Free Sample” Emails (Launch Minus 4 Weeks)


Four weeks ahead of your official launch, you want to send your subscribers free samples. Send them one free sample each week.

This will give them a taste of what’s inside.

I sent my own subscribers the introduction to my book, Chapter One and Chapter Two.

Of course, you don’t have to use your first chapters. You can choose to share any chapter you wish. Share the ones you think will make your readers hungry for more.

Here’s an example of one of my “Free Sample” emails:

Hey friend,

The launch date for my new book, You 2.0: Stop Feeling Stuck, Reinvent Yourself, and Become a Brand New You, is just around the corner.

I put my heart and soul into writing this book and I wanted to share some of it with you today because I’m confident reading some of it will inspire you to want to read the whole thing to transform your life.

As follows is the introduction to the book:

[Book Intro Goes Here]

In the next week or so, I’ll share even more sections of the book. Why? Because my primary goal is to get you to read the book and use it to change your life. That matters to me more than money.

Keep an eye on your inbox 😉

Step #2: Publish Your Book on Amazon (Launch Minus 1 Week)


You should never wait until your official launch date to publish your book on Amazon. You should publish it one week in advance.

This way, you can ask your street team for early reviews.

These early reviews are important, as you’ll need to have at least 10 reviews if you want to use book promotion sites during launch week. (And you do, as they can give you a huge surge in early sales. We’ll get to them later.)

To publish your book on Amazon, you need to create an account on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing.

Then follow these steps to publish your book:

#1. Go to “Create a New Title” and click “+ Kindle eBook”.

Publish your Kindle eBook on Amazon

#2. Enter all necessary book information (language, title, subtitle, etc.).

Kindle eBook details for publication

#3. Enter your book description. (You can use HTML tags to change the way the content appears on your book page.)

Kindle eBook description for Amazon detail page

#4. Choose keywords.

Enter Kindle eBook keyword phrases

Amazon allows you to use up to seven keywords to help readers find your books. You want to match your keywords with the terms readers will type into the search box.

To find good keywords, you can:

Here are the keyword I chose for my book:

Select Kindle eBook categories to publish your book

#5. Choose your categories.

Initially, you’re only allowed to choose two category/subcategory combinations from the list Amazon provides, but strangely, their list doesn’t include all their categories. You’ll find a lot of the more niche categories are missing. (You’ll have a hard time trying to crack the top three in most of the broader categories.)

For now though, just pick two categories/subcategories that your book fits into:

Choose up to two Kindle eBook categories to publish your book
Choose up to two Kindle eBook categories to publish your book

After you publish your book, browse books that are similar to yours and see which categories they are in. Then contact Amazon and request to have your book added to them.

In fact, if you’re smart, you can follow this process to be added to TEN categories, rather than just two.

Here’s a video from Kindlepreneur’s Dave Chesson that explains how to approach this:

#6. Upload your cover and manuscript files.

Upload Kindle eBook cover files
Upload Kindle eBook manuscript files

#7. Enter pricing information.

Enter Kindle eBook pricing

How should you price your book?

Before we get into that, you need to understand Amazon’s pricing and royalty model:

  • For Kindle books priced from $0.99 to $2.98, you receive a 35% royalty on each sale.
  • For Kindle books priced from $2.99 to $9.99, you receive a 70% royalty on each sale.
  • For Kindle books priced above $9.99, you receive a 35% royalty on each sale.

Now, you might think that pricing your book somewhere between $2.99 and $9.99 is the obvious way to go, as that will get you the most royalties.

But for starters, I priced my book at $0.99 and I suggest you do the same.

That would earn you $0.35 per sale, which doesn’t seem like a lot … because it isn’t. The point of this isn’t to make a lot of money early, but to get a lot of sales early.

Amazon doesn’t look at the price of your book to determine how well it’s selling. It looks at the number of copies sold. If you can sell a ton of 99-cent copies in the beginning, you’ll benefit from some algorithmic momentum even after you raise the price.

When you price the book at $0.99, you can use promotional sites to get your book in front of massive audiences during launch, and you give your subscribers an incentive to purchase early (before you raise the price).

#8. Scroll down and click Publish Your Kindle eBook.

Publish your Kindle eBook on Amazon

Once you’ve clicked to publish your book, it will appear on Amazon in 24 to 48 hours.

Step #3: Ask Your Street Team for Reviews (Launch Minus 6 Days)


The moment your book goes live, you should send an email to your street team asking them to leave their reviews.

And this is important: You should ask them to download the book from Amazon first, and then write their reviews. If they don’t do it in this order, their reviews won’t be verified. They will still show up, but Amazon won’t give them as much weight.

If you’d rather not ask them to pay $0.99 in order to leave a review, you can enroll in KDP Select and  run a free promotion for 72 hours. That way, they can “purchase” the book for free, and Amazon should still mark their reviews as verified.

Step #4: Schedule Promotions (Launch Minus 5 Days)


I mentioned book promotion sites earlier. So what are they, exactly?

Basically, they’re sites that promote books while they’re free or priced at $0.99. These sites have massive lists of subscribers who love reading books, and they’ll all receive an email that links to your book.

These readers can give you a gigantic boost in early sales.

Here are the sites I used myself, along with the cost to use each:

  • Buck Books — $29
  • Books Butterfly — $40
  • Robin Reads — $55
  • James Mayfield — $10
  • Fussy Librarian — $30

I found these sites from a list compiled by Dave Chesson at Kindlepreneur.

Now, considering you’ll only make $0.35 per sale, you won’t make much profit from the use of these promotional sites. You might even lose some money. So why use them at all?

Because you want to create a track record of sales success.

Amazon will promote your book for you if it sees you have sales of your own. When authors make money, Amazon makes money, but like any good business, it won’t recommend products without profit potential.

You don’t have to use five services, like I did. But use at least three.

Step #5: Launch Your Book With a Bang


Alright, this is the moment you’ve been waiting for. It’s time to officially launch your book to the public.

During launch week, you should promote your book hard. Hopefully, you’ve done the work to prepare yourself so you’re not overwhelmed.

You should promote your book by:

  1. Sending a sales sequence to your email list. (Examples of each email will be given below.)
  2. Asking your street team to help promote the book on social media and/or to their email lists.
  3. Running book promotions you’ve set up. (You should have already scheduled these, as instructed in the previous step.)
  4. Promoting the book on social media. (I recommend using Buffer to schedule multiple social media posts per day.)
  5. Publishing content from your content marketing campaign.

Here’s how I scheduled these activities during launch week:

Day 1:

  • Send an announcement email (See example #1 below).
  • Ask your street team to promote your book on social media (or their email lists).
  • Publish promotional content on Medium.

Day 2:

  • Send a soft-sell email. (See example #2 below.)
  • Run 10 social media posts.

Day 3:

  • Run your first book marketing promotion (Buck Books).
  • Run 10 social media posts.
  • Publish promotional content on Medium.

Day 4:

  • Send another soft-sell email to your list.
  • Send a reminder email to your street team for social media/email list promotion.
  • Publish promotional content on Medium.

Day 5:

  • Run your second book marketing promotion (James Mayfield & Books Butterfly).
  • Run 10 social media posts.
  • Publish promotional content on Medium.

Day 6:

  • Send a hard-sell email to your list. (See example #3 below.)
  • Run 10 social media posts.
  • Publish promotional content on Medium.

Day 7:

  • Run your third book marketing promotion (Fussy Librarian & Robin Reads).
  • Send price change email. (See example #4 below.)
  • Publish promotional content on Medium.
  • Run 10 social media posts.

Here are some examples of each email in my sales sequence:

Example #1 — Announcement Email:

Do you wish life came with a “do over” button?

We all make mistakes. Time can pass quickly and we can come to a point where we ask ourselves, “How the hell did I end up here?”

If you’ve ever felt this way, my new book, You 2.0 — Stop Feeling Stuck, Reinvent Yourself, and Become a Brand New You, might provide the answers you’ve been looking for.

And it’s only 99 cents, a special price I’m revealing to subscribers only for the next 5 days.

I’m setting the price so low because I want you to read the book. At this point, I care about getting the book in as many hands as possible over making money.

Click here to learn more about the book.

Talk soon,

Ayodeji

Example #2 — Soft-Sell Email:

Hey friend,

For the past few weeks, I’ve told you about my new book,You 2.0 — Stop Feeling Stuck, Reinvent Yourself, and Become a Brand New You, which is available for 99 cents for the next few days.

(To those who have bought already, thank you SO MUCH — the book is now #1 in its category!)

The book tells the story of how I transformed my life and how you can too. It doesn’t tell theories, it shows what I’ve actually done.

See, before I reached my dream of becoming an author, my life was headed in the wrong direction. I was addicted to drugs and alcohol, working a dead-end job, and had no hope in sight.

Then, I decided I didn’t want to live my life that way and went through a ton of trial and error to become who I am today. I’ve more than doubled my income, gotten rid of bad habits, and have done many of the things I used to only dream of doing.

In the book, you’ll learn:

  • How to discover your passions (even if you have no clue what to do with your life)
  • How to get over your past and change your self-image (even if you think it’s set in stone)
  • How to find the motivation to change your circumstances (even if you’ve tried and failed before)

I try my best to share the message without the typical theme of most self-help books that are often judgmental and critical.

See, I don’t think you’re “too lazy to succeed” or “mediocre.” Life sucks sometimes, and we’re all doing what we can to cope with it. I wrote this book to share ideas to inspire you to change, not to shove inspiration down your throat.

So, I’m inviting you to check out the book at the price of 99 cents because I care about the message and want to spread it far and wide.

Click here to learn more about the book.

Talk soon,

Ayodeji

Example #3 — Hard-Sell Email:

Hey friend,

For the past few days I’ve been telling you about my new book, You 2.0 — Stop Feeling Stuck, Reinvent Yourself, and Become a Brand New You.

Today, I wanted to share a few reasons why I’m promoting the book and why I think you should invest in yourself by purchasing it.

I think you should invest in the book because:

  • At a minimum, you’re throwing 99 cents into the “fountain of karma.” I didn’t find prosperity in my life until I supported other artists and entrepreneurs.
  • Books are a great investment in yourself. Take the years of my trial and error and use it to your advantage.
  • You’re smart. Smart enough to know if I can help and smart enough to know if I’m genuinely interested in improving your life.

Click here to learn more about the book.

That’s it!

Talk soon,

Ayodeji

Example #4 — Price Change Email:

Hey friend,

Today’s the last day you can get my new book, You 2.0, for the low price of 99 cents. After that, the price goes up to $2.99 and it’ll only go higher from there.

Why the low price and continued promotion?

To get the message out there. I’m guessing you’re a part of this community because you’re looking for a change in your life and if I’m able to help you do that, it’s worth all the effort I put into writing the book.

Click here to learn more about the book.

Until next time,

Ayodeji

After Launching Your Book — Keep the Sales Going and Keep the Royalties Coming In

To make money writing, your book can’t be a flash in the pan, which means you have to continue promoting the book to keep the sales rolling in.

Like I mentioned earlier, you want to give the book a good start with a boost of early sales to benefit from Amazon’s algorithms. But you should keep your momentum going longer than the first week. You want to keep sales coming in with some consistency after that.

During the weeks following the launch, you should continue engaging your list and keep spreading the message about your book to new readers.

Here are a few things you should do:

Step #1: Raise Your Price Once Per Week (and Let Your Subscribers Know)


As mentioned earlier, I set the price for my book at $0.99 for the first week. If I kept sales going at this price, my royalties would continue to stay low. So after the first week, I raised the price to $2.99, then to $3.99, and finally to $4.99.

Every time I was about to raise the price, I sent my subscribers a price change email. This not only reminded casual readers to buy the book, but gave them an incentive to do so. If they didn’t get in on the low price that day, they’d miss out forever, and nobody likes missing out on a good deal.

Step #2: Keep Publishing Posts to Get People on Your List


After publishing your book, you should continue publishing articles with links back to your sign-up form. Every new subscriber is a new potential buyer.

Set up a welcoming autoresponder sequence that gives subscribers your incentive and then proceeds to sell your book. You can use the same (or a similar) sales sequence that you used for your launch.

I wrote a total of 30 posts for 30 days on Medium to promote the book, and this added 150 more sales during the first month of my launch.

Tip: You can use Amazon affiliate links to track how many readers from your list actually bought your book from the link you gave them.

Step #3: Create An Amazon Ad Campaign for Sales on AutoPilot


Amazon Marketing Services provides a “pay per click” advertising program for authors. I highly recommend you use it.

My ad campaigns made a significant difference because I could pay for views and I made a profit from buying readers’ attention.

Here’s how you can create your own ads:

#1. Sign up for AMS through your Kindle dashboard by clicking Ad Campaigns in the top menu.

Sign up for Amazon Marketing Services

#2. Click new campaign.

Create Kindle eBook Amazon Marketing Campaign

#3. Choose Sponsored Product Ads.

Choose sponsored product ads for your Kindle eBook

#4. Select the book you wish to advertise.

Select the Kindle eBook you want to advertise

#5. Set your campaign name, budget, and select Manual Targeting.

To start with, $3–$5 per day is good because you can get useful data without breaking the bank. Less than $3 won’t give you enough data, and more than $5 can cause you to lose money if you’re not careful.

Set Kindle eBook campaign budget duration

#6. Scroll down to the Add Keywords section and click Add Your Own Keywords.

Add keyword bids for eBook search campaign

#7. Find relevant keywords.

You’ll need a lot more keywords for your ad campaign than you did earlier when you published your book.

But you can use similar techniques to find them:

  • Type relevant words and phrases into Amazon’s search bar and see which keywords Amazon suggests (as pictured below).
  • Browse best seller categories and use popular book titles/author names as keywords.
  • Use the “customers also bought” section of books from best seller categories to find related book titles/ authors to use as keywords.
  • Download software. Kindle Spy and KDP Rocket are two tools that instantly provide relevant keywords for your book.
How to find keywords for Kindle eBook ad campaign

#8. Set the bid price for your keywords.

how to set bids for eBook ad search campaign

A bid price is the largest amount you’re willing to spend if someone clicks on your ad.

I added 1,000 keywords — the maximum amount allowed per ad — and set the bid at 10 cents. I didn’t want to spend too much money until I knew the type of results I’d get. If the ads worked well, I planned on increasing both my daily budget and keyword bids.

#9. Enter your ad’s marketing message.

Enter eBook ad marketing message

#10. Preview your ad and, if you like what you see, click Submit Campaign for Review.

How to preview Amazon Kindle eBook ads

After 24–48 hours, your ad will be live (if it is approved, of course).

Step #4: Boost Your Winning Ads and Drop Your Losers


After publishing your ad, let it run for two week and analyze the data.

Here’s a screenshot of my ad dashboard:

Amazon Marketplace eBook ad dashboard

The key metrics you want to look at are:

  • Impressions: The number of times people saw your ad.
  • Clicks: The number of people who clicked on your ad.
  • aCPC: The average cost per click on your ad.
  • Spend: Total amount spent.
  • ACOS: Average cost of each sale. If your ACOS is 25%, you spend 25 cents of every dollar you make. If it’s 75%, you spend 75 cents of every dollar you make. If it’s 125%, you spend $1.25, for every dollar you make, which means your ad costs more than it makes.
Important note: You must keep your royalty rate in mind when factoring ACOS and ad spend. For Kindle books, you pay 30% in royalties, which means only 70% of every dollar you make lands in your pocket. That means if your ACOS is 70%, your ad is breaking even.

You can click into the campaign itself to see these same metrics for individual keywords. You can use those metrics to adjust your campaign.

For instance, when you see a specific keyword is costing you more than it earns, you can pause that keyword, and your ad won’t show up again.

How to pause specific keyword eBook ad campaign

Once you see how your keywords are performing, you can expand your campaign reach in the following ways:

  • Increase your bids. Once I saw my campaigns doing well, I increased the bids of keywords to 20 cents, then 30 cents, and eventually went as high as 50 cents per keyword.
  • Add more keywords. The more keywords you have, the more opportunity for new sales. I started an additional campaign with 1,000 more keywords.
  • Increase total spend. If you find your daily budget is being spent quickly, raise it. I raised my spend from $5 to $10 to $15, and then to $20. As long as my ads turn a profit, I will keep investing in them.

The End Result?

So how exactly did my second book do? What are the numbers?

The final tallies for the end of the first month were:

  • 877 ebook copies sold
  • 37 print copies sold
  • $1,237 in sales

The book has been out since April 2017 and has now sold approximately $10,000 in all formats combined (I added a paperback and an audio version, which I highly recommend you do as well).

After the initial launch month, I continued to promote the book through content marketing.

Anyone who subscribes to my email list goes through an email series that includes a few educational emails and a hard-sell email to buy the book. I publish one blog post per week to send new traffic to my email list and promote the book.

I’m continuing to run and scale my ad campaigns. I’ve spent more than $1,500 on ads so far and earned $4,955.50 to date from those ads.

That’s a solid return on my investment, if you ask me.

The first 90 days after launch accounted for a large portion of book sales. After that, sales remained consistent at around $500–$700 per month.

Play the Long Game and Build Your Self-Publishing Enterprise

I’m working on my next book right now.

With an even larger audience than I had when I launched my last book, my goal is to sell at least 10,000 copies of my third book within the first year.

What’s next? I’ll write another book, and another, and another. I’m building a body of work, and with each new book, I’ll continue to build my audience and my income.

When you build a body of work, you reap the benefits of having multiple assets. When a new reader discovers one of your books and likes it, odds are they’ll want to read your other books.

When you have multiple books for sale you can market them in unique ways like creating book bundles and offering deals on each book at different times.

Over time, you’ll improve your writing skills, you’ll grow a fan base which loves your work, and (if you do it right) you’ll make more money with each book you publish.

I love writing. I’d do it (and have done it) for free. But I want to make an impact and an income. Self-publishing provided a route for me to do both.

It can do so for you, too.

About the Author: Ayodeji is an author and writing coach who helps aspiring writers develop the confidence and habits they need to make an impact and and income. Visit his page to get three free writing guides, plus a copy of his bestselling Amazon book.

The post Kindle Publishing for Beginners: How to Make Your First $1,000 on Amazon appeared first on Smart Blogger.

Source: https://smartblogger.com/kindle-publishing/

Uncategorized

337 How to Leverage Your Blog for Speaking Opportunities

Do you want to be a paid speaker?

Wondering how you can leverage your blog for speaking opportunities?

In this post, I will give you steps you can take to get paid to talk about what you love.

Listen to the episode

My first “speaking” gig

I remember it like it was yesterday. I had done an interview with Cliff Ravenscraft about how my job landed me my dream job.

First interview with Cliff Ravenscraft

My first interview experience with Cliff Ravenscraft

He was so impressed with my story that he invited me to speak at Blog World.

He was in charge of the podcasting track and wanted me to be a part of a panel discussion.

The topic – How to leverage your podcast to land your dream job.

I was excited – my first speaking opportunity in this industry. And while it wasn’t a solo session, it was a big step.

It sparked a flame inside of me and have lead to ripple effects related to my speaking.

Since then, I’ve had the privilege of speaking to audiences across the U.S. Caribbean and Australia.

Why you should consider public speaking

I know, I know – public speaking can be scary. In fact, according to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, 74% of people suffer from speech anxiety.

public speaking

Face the world of speaking.

Ouch! That’s a whole lot. But here’s why you should consider facing your fear and stepping out into the world of speaking:

  • You can have an impact. If you’re a regular reader of my blog, it’s not all about the money for you. You are blogging because you want to have an impact. This is a great way to get deeper with a smaller audience and have that impact.
  • Increases your credibility. If you’re growing a blog, credibility is a big deal. Speaking helps to increase your credibility.
  • Gets you in front of a very targeted audience. If you do it the right way, you will be speaking at events with your ideal target audience. This has the potential to open up all kinds of opportunities. I’ve landed coaching clients, consulting gigs and even more speaking opportunities by speaking.
  • It expands your network. Speaking at industry events is a great way to connect with people in your industry.
  • Added revenue stream. Yes, you can get paid to speak. It’s a beautiful thing.

How to prepare to be a professional speaker

Ok, so let’s assume that you’re sold on the concept of becoming a professional speaker. How do you get the best bang for your buck?

Let’s talk about what you should do/consider BEFORE diving in.

What do you want to speak on (be known for)?

Know your expertise

What do you want to talk about?

This is an important question to consider. Knowing this will determine everything else you do in your pursuit of a speaking career.

What is your expertise? How do you want to apply that to your industry? Get clear on these things.

How often do you want to speak?

This is something a lot of new speakers never think about. This is a BIG mistake – especially if you have a family.

Traveling takes a toll on you, your business and your family. How much can you sustain? How much is too much?

Make a decision and stick to it. If you’re married, talk this through with your spouse.

Don’t just let things happen. Come up with a goal and a plan. Then work that plan to get to your goal.

Do your research

Research

Do your research.

Who are the speakers in your industry? Do some Google searches to find out.

Where are they speaking? What are they doing online? What are they doing well? What could you do differently?

These are the kinds of questions that will help you figure out how to position yourself.

Create content

Did I really need to mention that? I mean, you’re a blogger. You already know this.

Create content

Create content for your blog and social media

But it’s so important that I have to mention it. Create the kind of content you want to be known for. And do it consistently.

Create that content for your blog and for social media.

I highly recommend that you use video and/or audio. These types of media give you the ability to practice your speaking. Doing this helps you hone your craft.

And of course, if you need help getting going with your blog, check out my Coaching Club.

Start speaking (for free)

Your next goal is to get practice. Start by preparing your talks. You can even start with one talk that focuses on what you want to be known for.

Start speaking for free at local events, classes, wherever you can. Apply to speak at relevant conferences.

You want to focus on improving your speaking skills through practice.

There’s a great course I recommend call Heroic Public Speaking. It will help you improve your speaking skills.

Heroic Public Speaking

Heroic Public Speaking

Join a local Toastmasters. Take a video of yourself speaking and watch it after the fact. Analyse what you do and figure out how you can get better.

Gather your assets

As you start speaking, make sure to gather assets to use in your marketing. Videos, pictures, and testimonials can go a long way in helping you land great speaking gigs.

How to create the perfect speaking page

Ok, you have some speaking gigs under your belt. Now it’s time to create the perfect speaking page. This is what you will use to promote your speaking, so let’s talk about how to do it well.

Understand who you’re targeting

Make sure to connect with the right persons

Make sure to connect with the right persons

In most cases, your goal is to connect with the people who are putting on the events. These may be event organizers, school administrators, church leaders, etc.

You are NOT targeting the people who will be in the audience. That’s important to realize.

Make sure your speaking page appeals to the right person. What pain points do they experience?

Here are some of the things you want to include on the page:

Why should they hire you?

hire you?

Why should they hire you?

What value do you provide? What is your experience? What makes you unique?

Most importantly – How will you make their job EASY?

When they go to your speaking page, the answers to these questions should be OBVIOUS.

Use video

Use video

Use video

Video is an important element on your sales page. This is why you were collecting them in the earlier phase. Having a speaking reel is a great way to demonstrate your expertise.

Include parts of your talks that emphasize key points that align with your message.

Include what others say about your speaking. Include some of the answers about why they should hire you.

Your key topics

Include a brief summary of your talks (titles and descriptions). In your summaries, focus on the benefits for the audience.

Give a clear picture of what you will be delivering in your talks so they can know whether it’s right for their event.

Testimonials

Your speaking schedule

Your speaking schedule

Include testimonials from your past speaking events. Testimonials from event organizers go a long way. But make sure to also include some from attendees.

Your speaking schedule

Do you already have events lined up to speak at? If so, add your speaking schedule to your page.

This will provide some social proof end encourage others to reach out to you.

Inquiry form

Collect information form

Add a simple form to collect their information.

This is where you give them the ability to find out more information about you and your speaking. Add a simple form to collect their information. It should include things like:

  • Who they are
  • What role they have in the business/ organization/event
  • Details about the event
  • Optional: Budget info. This is one you can try out and see how it works. Personally, I prefer having a rate sheet that I send to them.

Should I include pricing info?

I recommend not including pricing information on your speaking page. People will often decide when they see a price. You want them to be fully equipped to make the best decision.

pricing info

Should I include pricing info?

Let’s say you charge $1,000 for a speaking event. There are a lot of event organizers who would say no immediately after seeing that.

But if you wow them first and THEN they hear the price, they will be much more likely to say yes.

If your communication is great and you show your value, not saying yes will seem like they are missing out.

Create a speaking kit with more details about the value you offer. In that speaking kit, include a pricing sheet.

Two examples

Here are two example of speaking pages you can check out:

Don’t copy those pages. Use them as inspiration. Remember, you have to customize your page to the person you’re targeting.

Start reaching out

reach out

Reach out to the key people

Now that you have everything set up, it’s time to start reaching out. Here’s what I recommend:

  • Create a list of ideal events. These are the events you’d love to speak at. You may already know what those events are. You may have to do some Google searches to find some. Do whatever’s necessary.
  • Find key contacts. Who’s the person that makes the decisions about who will speak at the event? Try to find that person. LinkedIn can be a great place to find this info.
  • Send your pitch email/message. Reach out to the key people with a relatively short message. Tell them who you are and what you do. Explain to them the value you’d like to provide the event. Link to your speaking page for them to find out more.

Show up and give your all

show up

Show up and give your all

You’ve done all the prep work and have booked some gigs. Now it’s time to show up and give your all. Deliver your best performance. You’ve had lots of practice now. Your goal is to WOW the audience.

While you’re at the event, make yourself fully available to the attendees. Stick around to answer questions.

You never know what can happen as a result of those conversations. At my last speaking engagement, one of those discussions lead to me setting up a speaking tour in Asia next year.

Be pleasant and a joy to work with. Let all your conversations be positive and uplifting. Help as many people as you can.

The follow-up

The event is over, you showed up and put your best foot forward. It’s not over yet.

free gift follow up

It may be for most speakers, but not you. Here are a few things you can do to help you stand out after the event:

  • Follow up via email and thank them for having you.
  • Ask them for any feedback related to having you at the event. You never know – this can lead to a great testimonial.
  • Let them know that you’d love to work with them in the future.
  • Ask if they had any referrals or recommendations for other events you should work with.
  • Send them a gift. Yes – an actual gift in the mail.

Update your speaking page

We’re at the last step in the process. You now have another great speaking engagement under your belt.

It’s time to update your speaking page. Add this event to your experience. Include relevant testimonials.

Of course, you may have to pick and choose what you add to the page, but keeping it up to date is important.

Over to you

I would love to hear from you. Have you started speaking at events yet? Is this something you plan on doing? Go ahead and share in the comments below.

Resources Mentioned

Infographic

Blogger Speaking Opportunities

Infographic: How to Leverage Your Blog for Speaking Opportunities

The post 337 How to Leverage Your Blog for Speaking Opportunities appeared first on Become A Blogger by Leslie Samuel.

Source: https://www.becomeablogger.com/26075/leverage-your-blog-speaking-opportunities/