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The 9 Best Affiliate Networks for Earning Passive Income in 2019

Let’s cut right to the chase…

If you want to find the best affiliate networks in 2019 so you can start earning some sweet passive income, you’ve come to the right place.

There’s no fluff here.

No overwhelming list of 100+ affiliate networks that all sound the same.

No superficial content that doesn’t help you answer the only question that matters: what’s the best affiliate network for me?

Here’s what we’re going to do:

I’m going to briefly answer some common questions, show you the top affiliate networks we recommend for 2019, and quickly break down each of them for you.

You will then take the information, choose an affiliate network to join, and start padding your wallet with twenties.

Sound good?

Then let’s get started.

Affiliate Networks: Q&A


Up first are the questions and answers.

Already an affiliate marketing aficionado? Awesome. Click here to jump ahead.

What is an Affiliate Network?

Affiliate networks are middlemen connecting bloggers and entrepreneurs (“publishers”) with companies (“merchants”) offering affiliate program opportunities for their products or services.

Through a single portal, affiliate networks give publishers access to numerous affiliate programs.

If that sounds like a bunch of gobbledygook, don’t worry. Here’s the important part:

You monetize your blog with these affiliate programs by using a process called affiliate marketing.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a new twist on an old idea: getting a finder’s fee when you refer a customer.

You introduce your audience to a product or service and, if they buy using your unique affiliate link, you earn a commission.

In short: find a product or service you like, promote it to your blog’s readers, and earn part of the profit on each sale.

Can You Really Make Money with Affiliate Marketing?

Absolutely.

Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income earned over $2 million through affiliate marketing in 2017. John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneurs on Fire earned $37,974 — in November 2018 alone.

Slightly (ahem) on the other end of the spectrum, one of my affiliate programs has earned $3,450 over a span of 3 years.

That’s not “quit my job” money. It’s not even “hire Nicolas Cage to attend my birthday party” money.

However, as passive income resulting from a single blog post I wrote years ago, it’s not too shabby.

Your mileage can and will vary, of course.

But it’s definitely possible to make real, tangible, passive income through affiliate marketing.

Smart, attractive people just like you do it every day.

So, that begs the question…

What is the Best Affiliate Network?

That’s what I’m going to help you figure out.

I’ll give you the breakdown (in no particular order) — you choose the network that best fits your needs.

Let’s get to it.

#9. ShareASale


The Scoop on ShareASale

  • Long track record. Founded in 2000, ShareASale has been around the block a time or two.
  • Numerous affiliate opportunities. ShareASale offers over 3,900 affiliate programs in 40 different categories.
  • Safe and secure. With zero customer complaints on file, the Better Business Bureau gives ShareASale an A+ rating.
  • Consistent payment schedule. On the 20th of each month, so long as you have a balance of at least $50, ShareASale sends you money.
  • Different payment options. You can have ShareASale pay you via checks in the mail, wire transfer, or direct deposit. International men and women of mystery can use the transfer service Payoneer. No PayPal, though.

What Makes ShareASale Different?

Thanks in part to its solid reputation, ShareASale is trusted by quite a few big-name companies.

In fact…

Over 1,000 merchants, such as WP Engine and OptinMonster, are exclusive to the network.

If you want to advertise their products, you can only do so through ShareASale.

Who Should Join ShareASale?

Anyone who’s looking for a reliable affiliate network that offers a wide variety of affiliating marketing options (thus eliminating the need to join multiple networks) should give ShareASale a try.

Whether you want to offer services, physical goods, or digital downloads to your audience, ShareASale has you covered.

#8. Clickbank


Clickbank

The Skinny on Clickbank

  • Track record of 20+ years. Founded in 1998, Clickbank has been around longer than M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense. (Spoiler alert: Bruce Willis was wearing a toupee the whole time.)
  • Millions of options. Clickbank offers more than 6 million unique affiliate products.
  • Quick to respond. With zero unresolved complaints as of this writing, Clickbank sports an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
  • Flexible payment schedule. Clickbank lets you choose how often you want to get paid. Want monthly payments? You got it. Weekly? Done.
  • Variety of payment options. Check, wire transfer, and direct deposit are available. International users can get paid through Payoneer. Alas, no PayPal here either.

What Makes Clickbank Different?

By focusing on digital products created by entrepreneurs from all over the globe, Clickbank offers affiliate opportunities you can’t find anywhere else.

But be careful…

While Clickbank itself, the network, has a solid reputation, some of the products offered by its merchants can be questionable.

You have to do your homework. If you do, you’ll be fine.

If you don’t, and you end up promoting some subpar products, your audience won’t be happy.

(For the record: this advice is applicable to every affiliate network.)

Who Should Join Clickbank?

If you’re looking to exclusively promote digital products, and you want (literally) millions of options, Clickbank is a good bet.

#7. CJ Affiliate (formerly Commission Junction)


The Lowdown on CJ Affiliate

  • Two decades of experience. Founded in 1998, CJ Affiliate was around during Y2K and lived to tell the tale.
  • Lots of brands. CJ Affiliate gives you access to more than 3,000 merchants.
  • Too big to fail. CJ Affiliate is part of Alliance Data Systems, which is a Fortune 500 company. It also has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
  • Get paid monthly. CJ Affiliate combines all your commissions into one monthly payment.
  • Two payment options. Get paid by direct deposit or checks in the mail. PayPal is a no.

What Makes CJ Affiliate Different?

It offers lots of bells and whistles, such as real-time reporting.

That means you can monitor activity on your account as it happens.

(No more having to refresh your browser every five seconds like a caveman.)

Who Should Join CJ Affiliate?

Anyone with an established audience who wants a feature-rich affiliate network will find a lot to like with CJ Affiliate.

However, it may not be a good choice for beginners.

Because accounts are deactivated if you go six months without earning a commission, and because their merchants have a reputation for being picky on who they accept as publishers, CJ Affiliate is best for those who get steady traffic to their websites.

However, if you already have an audience of modest size and engagement, you’ll appreciate what CJ Affiliate has to offer.

#6. Amazon Associates


Amazon Associates

The Rundown on Amazon Associates

  • One of the first online marketing networks. Started in 1996, Amazon Associates is old enough to legally drink alcohol.
  • Huge selection. Publishers can promote Amazon’s massive catalog of physical and digital products.
  • Backed by Amazon. Valued at over $1 trillion, and with over 90 million paying Prime subscribers in the United States, Amazon isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The Better Business Bureau gives the company a B+ rating.
  • Not the best payment schedule. Amazon Associates pays you approximately 60 days after the end of the month in which you earned your commission.
  • Several payment options. You can get paid by direct deposit, Amazon gift certificates, or checks in the mail. (Tip: Avoid checks in the mail since there’s a $15 processing fee.) International users can get paid by gift certificates or checks (with the $15 fee waived).

What Makes Amazon Associates Different?

By offering the entire Amazon catalog, no affiliate network can match the sheer volume of physical and digital products offered by Amazon Associates.

Heads up, though:

Including affiliate links in emails is against Amazon’s company policy, so keep this in mind if email marketing is your primary method for promoting affiliate products.

Who Should Join Amazon Associates?

Affiliate marketers who are familiar with the Amazon ecosystem will feel right at home with Amazon Associates.

Those looking to promote services should look elsewhere, but anyone who wants to focus on physical and digital products will find millions of different opportunities in hundreds of different categories with Amazon Associates.

#5. eBay Partner Network (EPN)


eBay Partner Network

The 411 on eBay Partner Network

  • Founded in 2008. Though the eBay Partner Network is a relative newcomer on the affiliate network scene, its parent company (eBay) has been around since 1995.
  • Billions of opportunities. eBay has 1.1 billion listings. You’ll never run out of physical products to promote to your audience.
  • Backed by eBay. With 175 million buyers purchasing over $23 billion of merchandise each year, EPN’s parent company (eBay) is built to last. The Better Business Bureau gives the company an A+ rating.
  • Reliable payment schedule. So long as you’ve earned the minimum of $10 needed for payment, EPN pays you monthly.
  • PayPal! For those who prefer to use the service, EPN allows you to be paid via PayPal. (Direct Deposit is also available.)

What Makes eBay Partner Network Different?

One thing that sets EPN apart from other affiliate networks is the way it lets you promote… unique offerings.

The great Weird Al Yankovich once sang about buying William Shatner’s toupee on eBay.

With the eBay Partner Network, if such a transaction ever takes place, you could earn a commission on it.

Who Should Join eBay Partner Network?

If your focus is on physical products and you want the peace of mind that comes with doing business with a large company you’re already familiar with, eBay Partner Network is a great option.

#4. FlexOffers


FlexOffers

The Skinny on FlexOffers

  • New (ish) kid on the block. Founded in 2008, FlexOffers doesn’t have as long of a track record as most of its competitors.
  • Growing list of affiliate opportunities. FlexOffers has 12,000+ merchants in 25+ categories across 27 (and counting) countries. And they say hundreds of new merchants are added each week.
  • No rating with BBB. Partly due to its relative youth, FlexOffers doesn’t have a rating with the Better Business Bureau. On the upside, BBB shows zero complaints with the company.
  • Quick payments. One of the areas where FlexOffers shines is with payments. When you refer a sale, your commission is paid within 30 days (so long as you meet the minimum balance of $50). And if you’re a top performer, it’s possible to be paid within 7 days.
  • Standard payment options. U.S. residents can be paid by check or direct deposit. PayPal is available for those outside the USA.

What Makes FlexOffers Different?

When you sign up with FlexOffers, you’re assigned a dedicated account manager to help you navigate the affiliate marketing waters.

This makes it a good fit for both beginners and veterans of affiliate marketing.

Who Should Join Flexoffers?

Don’t let its youth fool you.

If you want lots of affiliate options, great support, and quick turnaround on payments, FlexOffers is a solid contender.

#3. Pepperjam


Pepperjam

The Scoop on Pepperjam

  • New to the affiliate network game. Though it’s been in the digital marketing business since the 90s, Pepperjam started its own affiliate network in 2015.
  • Quality over quantity. With only 1,500 merchants, Pepperjam has fewer options than its competitors. Why? Well, according to Pepperjam, it’s because they only work with brands they love.
  • An open book. The Better Business Bureau gives Pepperjam a B+ rating. With its focus on transparency and communication (more on that below), Pepperjam goes out of its way to show it has nothing to hide.
  • Payments twice a month. So long as you meet the minimum $25 balance, Pepperjam pays you twice a month. Payment cycles are around the 1st and 15th of each month.
  • Lots of payment options. Pepperjam lets you get paid via PayPal (which is the default payment method), check, or direct deposit.

What Makes Pepperjam Different?

Publishers and merchants can communicate with one another inside the Pepperjam system.

That’s very unique.

Want to ask a merchant who caught your eye a question? Have at it. Flirt away.

Pepperjam actually encourages communication so strong relationships can be built.

Who Should Join Pepperjam?

If you value transparency and customer support, you’ll be hard pressed to do better than Pepperjam as an affiliate network.

#2. Rakuten Marketing (formerly LinkShare)


Rakuten Marketing

The Lowdown on Rakuten Marketing

  • One of the oldest affiliate networks. Founded in 1996, Rakuten Marketing (formerly LinkShare) has been hooking up merchants and publishers for over two decades.
  • Only 1,000 merchants. Though it’s been in the affiliate networking game longer than most, Rakuten’s list of brands is shorter than most. However, this somewhat short list is made up of many household names.
  • Loved by BBB and guys on social media. Rakuten has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. It’s also been called “cool” by someone named Kenny on Twitter.
  • Sporadic payments. Rakuten only pays you after the merchants have paid them. So, if you earned a commission in January, it would be invoiced in early February, the merchant would have a due date to pay Rakuten by February 28, and Rakuten would pay you in March.
  • Solid payment options. Direct deposit, check, and PayPal (in certain markets) are all offered by Rakuten.

What Makes Rakuten Marketing Different?

It’s been ranked the #1 affiliate network for 7 straight years by an industry publication that presumably knows about such things.

Who Should Join Rakuten Marketing?

If you want an affiliate network with an intuitive user interface, a great reporting system, and the kind of solid reputation you can only earn by being in the business for two decades, Rakuten Marketing is a great selection.

#1. PeerFly


Peerfly

The Rundown on PeerFly

  • A decade of experience. Launched in January 2009, PeerFly came into existence when Taylor Swift was still a country music singer.
  • Numerous selections. PeerFly has over 2,000 clients and over 8,000 affiliate opportunities.
  • Small team that plays big. Comprised of only 15 individuals, PeerFly is a small company that goes toe to toe with its bigger competitors. The hard work pays off with an A+ Better Business Bureau rating and zero complaints on file.
  • Net30 Payment Schedule. PeerFly offers fast payment. So long as you’ve met their $50 minimum, you’ll be paid the following month after earning your commission.
  • All the payment options. If you’re in the U.S., PeerFly lets you choose between PayPal, Bitcoin, Amazon gift cards, checks, and direct deposit. International users have PayPal, Bitcoin, and Payoneer.

What Makes PeerFly Different?

PeerFly is known as a CPA (cost per action) affiliate network rather than the typical CPS (cost per sale). The “action” could be a sale, but it doesn’t have to be. It could be whatever action (downloading an eBook, filling out a survey, etc.) the merchant desires.

Though individual commissions typically aren’t as high for CPAs, the number of commissions is usually higher.

Who Should Join PeerFly?

If you’re a beginner or have a small audience, PeerFly’s CPA model is a good option. Actions are easier to obtain than sales, so your chances of success will be higher.

And if you’re an old pro at affiliate marketing, the large selection and flexible payment options offered by PeerFly should serve you well too.

It’s Time to Choose an Affiliate Network


Let’s cut to the chase one more time…

Which affiliate network are you joining today?

Which one is going to launch you on the path towards Pat Flynn and John Lee Dumas levels of ginormous passive income in 2019?

You now know the track records and distinguishing details of 9 great affiliate networks.

So now it’s time to choose.

Passive income isn’t a myth.

It’s real. It’s out there. And it’s yours if you want it.

Are you ready?

Then let’s do this thing.

About the Author: When he’s not busy telling waitresses, baristas, and anyone else who crosses his path that Jon Morrow said he was in the top 1% of bloggers, Kevin J. Duncan uses his very particular set of skills to help bloggers improve their craft.

The post The 9 Best Affiliate Networks for Earning Passive Income in 2019 appeared first on Smart Blogger.

Source: https://smartblogger.com/affiliate-networks/

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How to Start a Blog (and Make Money) in 2019: 20X Faster Method

What if I told you there’s a new strategy for how to start a blog and make money, that’s 20X faster, requires no software or technical expertise, and costs absolutely nothing up front?

You’d think there must be some hidden catch, right?

But there’s not. It’s totally real.

In this post, I’m going to walk you through the newest method for how to start a blog, step-by-step, with screenshots and links to all the resources you need. Let’s jump in…

Should You Even Start a Blog in 2019?


Currency of Blogging - Jason Calacanis

With the dominance of video content on platforms like YouTube and Facebook, you might think the whole idea of blogging is a little… out of date. Research tells a different story, though:

And it’s not just companies who are getting great results from blogging. It also works well for…

  • Nonfiction authors: Before giving you a book deal, publishers want to know you have a “platform” — an audience who will be happy to buy and promote your book. Blogging is one of the best ways to build that platform, and so it’s no coincidence many popular bloggers also become bestselling authors.A blog is also helpful when you’re self-publishing. By leveraging your existing audience, you can drive your book up the Amazon bestseller list, giving you the chance to grab the attention of readers who would’ve never heard of you otherwise.
  • Lifestyle entrepreneurs: If you enjoy writing, and you’re willing to be patient, you can use your blogging platform to produce a passive income that gives you the lifestyle many people only dream of having. Top bloggers often travel the world, buy dream homes in the mountains or next to the ocean, and have nearly unlimited free time to spend with their family or doing whatever they choose.Where does the money come from? You can read this comprehensive post for a step-by-step walk-through of the process, but here’s the short version:

    Blogging freedom - Zainab - SlimExpectations.com

    In the past, bloggers were limited to selling advertisements and sponsorships, but today you can make even more money from affiliate marketing, creating your own course, or charging ultra-high rates for coaching/consulting. For example, I once charged $1000 per hour for advice over the phone, only worked five hours a week, and had a six-month waiting list.That being said, it’s hard to do. You need the skill, persistence, and talent to attract hundreds of thousands or even millions of readers. If you can pull it off though, you may never have to worry about money again.

  • Mature businesses with millions of potential customers: This might be surprising, but not all businesses should start a blog. If you’re running a tech startup, small retail store, or manufacturing plant, for example, it’s probably not the best use of your time. On the other hand, it’s a great fit for mature businesses in markets with millions of potential customers.By “mature,” I’m referring to companies with a refined and effective product or service, existing revenue (at least six figures), and a deep understanding of their marketing metrics. In other words, you’re not really guessing about whether your company will succeed. You’re just looking for a way to grow.And ideally, you’re in a market with millions of potential customers. This one can be tricky because it’s not the size of the market that matters. Space rocket manufacturing is a multibillion-dollar industry, but I would guess there are a few hundred customers out there buying rockets. On the other hand, there are millions of small businesses, clothes shoppers, productivity geeks, and so on. For a blog to be effective, that’s the kind of market you want.

    Information has changed since the advent of the web - Ryan Holiday

So, let’s say you fall into one of these categories. Should you just install WordPress and get cracking?

Actually— no.

The Old Way to Create a Blog (And Why It Doesn’t Work)


Do Fewer Things - Ev Williams

A few years ago, I would’ve said WordPress was the only game in town. It’s faster, more powerful, and more customizable than anything out there. That’s why they power 27% of the sites in the world.

The problem?

WordPress is also extremely complicated. Here’s a typical list of tasks for setting up a new site:

  1. Purchase web hosting
  2. Set up a new site through cPanel
  3. Create a new WordPress installation through Fantastico or one of their competitors
  4. Pick out and install your WordPress theme
  5. Customize your theme until it looks the way you want
  6. Install and configure caching plugins
  7. Install and configure backup plugins
  8. Add any extra functionality you need, such as social sharing, e-commerce, etc., by installing additional plug-ins

If you’re a techie, and you’ve done it all before, it’s not a big deal. You can do it all in a few hours.

But if you’re a beginner learning how to start a blog for the first time?

It’s overwhelming, and once you see how much there is to learn, you’ll probably feel like quitting. If you do push forward, you can spend months or even years stuck in a technical quagmire, just learning how to do everything the right way.

Of course, you can always outsource it, but you don’t really know what you are doing, your chances of picking the wrong service provider is pretty high. You might get scammed, hacked, or overcharged.

And here’s the really disturbing question:

Even if you get your WordPress site set up the right way, what if you discover you chose the wrong market or nobody likes the content you are publishing?

It happens all the time. When I was a beginner, I went through three failed blogs before I created one that succeeded. Each time, I spent dozens of hours setting up WordPress, only to discover the blog was never going to work, and I had to start over. If you push forward and set up WordPress without testing your idea first, I pretty much guarantee the same thing will happen to you too.

The bottom line:

Putting it all together, I think setting up a WordPress site is the worst possible approach for a beginner. You’re just setting yourself up for failure.

Fortunately, after working with thousands of students, I’ve discovered a new method that is much, much easier, not to mention faster, and I’m going to outline the entire process for you here.

How to Start a Blog and Make Money (the New Method)


The driving principle behind this new method for how to start a blog is simple:

Waste as little effort as possible.

If you’re familiar with the thinking behind The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, everything outlined here will intuitively make sense to you. If not, here’s the idea:

Innovation is messy. Anytime you create something new — regardless of whether it’s an app or book or blog — there’s a huge chance of getting it wrong and having to start over.

Start small. Scale Fast. - Eric Ries

The problem with blogging?

Most people don’t know there’s a huge chance of failure, so they spend months or even years creating a blog that has zero chance of succeeding. Eventually, they realize where they went wrong, and they start over, but again, they invest months or even years into creating a second (or third or fourth) blog that doesn’t work.

And here’s the part that’s tough to swallow:

This kind of failure is inevitable. Whenever you’re doing anything new, you will make mistakes and have to start over. It doesn’t matter if you are smart, rich, or successful at many other things. The first time you launch a blog, you will fail. It’s pretty much guaranteed to happen.

The good news is, you can dramatically speed up the process. Instead of wasting months or years chasing a bad idea, you can find out if it’s going to work in weeks or even days. In fact, the process I’m outlining here often destroys a bad idea within minutes.

The result?

You waste WAY less time. Instead of banging your head against the wall for months or even years before you finally figure everything out, you can adapt quickly and get to the right idea within a matter of weeks or months. It’s at least 20X faster. Probably more like 100X.

So, let’s dive in:

#1. Make Sure Your Blog Is Actually Viable (Not All Are)

Important: The ideas in this section are subtle and hard to grasp. Reread it several times, and think about it carefully. We have tested it on thousands of students starting their blogs, and there’s no question it’s correct, but it’s easy to misinterpret these rules. When in doubt, consult an expert (like us).

It’s not fun to think about, but if there’s no chance in hell of your blog succeeding, wouldn’t you rather find out right now?

Well, sometimes you can.

One of the most damaging myths about blogging is the belief that you can start a successful blog targeting anyone, almost as if it’s a one-size-fits-all technology for getting “free traffic.” But it’s not true. The fact is, blogs are good at getting traffic when targeting specific kinds of audiences, and they are absolutely terrible when targeting others.

It’s also shockingly common to target the wrong audience. Of the thousands of students who come into our courses, more than 95% begin by targeting a poor or nonexistent audience that will never be able to support a successful blog, no matter how much time they put into it, and we have to use this checklist to push them in the right direction.

Surprising, right? You probably had no idea there was such a thing as a “bad audience,” but it’s true.

Here are some examples:

  • Men suffering from erectile dysfunction
  • Business executives
  • Parents
  • People struggling with depression
  • Women who are planning their wedding
  • Guys struggling to understand masculinity
  • Freelancers
  • Breeders of Dobermans

To be clear, I’m not saying you can’t target these audiences. I’m saying blogging is an inefficient way of attracting them. You’re better off using advertising, public relations, attending conferences, etc.

Of course, the obvious question is, “Why?” Why is it that some audiences are well-suited to blogs and others aren’t?

Let’s step through the criteria, and I believe it will become more clear. A good audience…

  • Self-identifies (“That’s me!”). Recent scientific research suggests that some boys who are raised by single mothers struggle to understand their own masculinity. The problem is, they don’t think of themselves that way. If you were to ask a group of men, “How many of you have trouble understanding your masculinity?” no one would raise their hands.The solution: target the symptom. Ask, “How many of you get friend-zoned by girls, and you can’t figure out why?” A bunch of hands would go up on that one. In other words, you must describe your audience using the words they use to describe themselves. In almost all cases, you’ll describe the symptoms, not the actual cause.
  • Is happy to be grouped together. You would think freelancers would be a viable audience, right? After all, there are so many successful sites that seem to target them! Again though, it’s misleading, because there are many types of freelancers: photographers, copywriters, designers, and so on. They all share similar perspectives (getting and managing clients, etc.), but if you put them in a room together, they would naturally sort themselves by field. For this reason, blogs about a particular type of freelancing are always more successful than blogs targeting freelancers in general.
  • Includes a wide continuum of experience. In every market, the most successful blogs are the ones with a lot of beginners and relatively few experts. For example, there are millions of people thinking about starting a software company, but there are relatively few billionaire founders. However, if you target an audience like “business executives,” you are narrowing the continuum of experience to new executives and experienced ones, or perhaps middle managers and CEOs. In either case, it’s fatal to the blog, because the most rabid audience for blog content is always the beginner (in this case, someone who wants to become an executive someday).
  • Shares the same perspective. For example, both mothers and fathers fall under the category of “parents,” but they generally have different perspectives on what being a parent means. For that matter, a parent of a toddler and the parent of a teenager will also have different perspectives. Therefore, the audience of “parents” should be subdivided before it can become viable. For instance, “middle-class mothers of toddlers” might be a good audience to target, because their perspectives are relatively similar.
  • Talks with each other on social media. Erectile dysfunction is a multibillion-dollar market with millions of men who are desperate for help, and yet you’ll never see a popular blog about it. Why? Because men don’t talk with other men on social media about erectile dysfunction. If you started a blog on the topic, you wouldn’t get any traffic from Facebook, for example, and that would make it very difficult for it to survive.
  • Wants to learn. With millions of people suffering from depression, you would think a blog about it would be wildly popular, but there’s not one, and here’s why: for the most part, people with depression have no desire to read about depression on a regular basis, probably because it makes them depressed! On the other hand, a blog for families of people suffering from depression would probably be quite popular, because they have a deep and ongoing desire to help their family member.
  • Has an ongoing interest. At any given time, there are millions of women who recently got engaged and are planning their wedding, and yet there are no big blogs for them. Why? Because they are only interested in planning their wedding until they actually have the wedding! As a result, this particular market has a lot of “churn” — people going out and new people coming in — and the limited window of opportunity makes it unsuitable for blogging.
  • Consists of millions of people. Occasionally, you’ll find an audience that passes all the other tests, but it’s so small in number it can’t support a blog. A good example is breeders of Dobermans. You could easily start a blog for them, and you would probably have a small following of loyal readers, but it’s unlikely the audience would ever grow large enough to make running the blog worthwhile. For a truly effective blog, you need a potential audience consisting of millions of people. Otherwise, it’s not worth the effort.

Interesting, right? And perhaps a bit unsettling?

The good news is, a rule disqualifying a bad audience usually suggests the adjustment you need to make. For example, the audience of “parents” was disqualified by the rule that a good audience must “share the same perspective,” but by subdividing the audience down to “middle-class mothers of toddlers,” we were able to find a viable audience.

Sometimes though, you can’t make a topic workable, no matter what you do. In those cases, look at the bright side: you just saved a lot of effort by finding out now rather than after years of trying.

But what if your idea for a blog is indeed viable? Well then, it’s time to do a little good old-fashioned espionage!

#2. Spy on Popular Blogs to See What’s Working

Thankfully, this next step is a lot less painful than the first one. It’s also much easier to explain.

Once you’ve verified your blog has potential, you need to study the blogs your audience already reads.

For instance, let’s say you want to start a blog for new homeowners. You’ll teach them how to make simple repairs themselves, maximize the value of their home, save money on their mortgage, and so on.

After going through the checklist above, you discover it meets all the criteria, and — alakazam, alakazoo — you have a workable blog topic. What’s next?

Well, the average new homeowner is in their 30s. Many are also parents. Chances are, a lot of them also have at least a passing interest in personal finance. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be able to afford a home.

So, here’s what you do: study the top personal finance and parenting blogs. In particular, you need to uncover their most popular content and learn from the patterns you see.

Here’s how:

  1. Use Alltop to identify the most popular blogs in your space. I recommend sorting through several of the subcategories, collecting a list of 20-50 popular blogs you think your audience might be reading. Here’s what I mean…
    Use Alltop to identify popular blogs in your space
  2. Plug the domain names for those blogs into Buzzsumo to find their most shared content. In particular, pay attention to Facebook shares, because it’s driving the most traffic in almost every space right now.
    Buzzsumo - What's Most Popular
  3. Look for patterns that might give you a clue into what kind of content your audience might like. Focus on the headlines, but also click through on any posts that grab your attention and read the whole post. You might even want to read the comments because they can give you insights as well.
    Buzzsumo - FB Engagement
  4. Use a tool like Evernote or Google Drive to keep a list of headline ideas. Write down any headlines that occur to you while doing your research.

When you finish, you’ll have a list of ideas for blog posts backed by evidence of popularity. While nothing is guaranteed in life, the success of these posts will be far better than anything you might dream up in the shower and decide to write about. As a result, you should have a much easier time outpacing your competitors.

But it’s still worth testing a few of them, just to make sure…

Test Your Ideas for Free on Medium (Not WordPress!)

At this point, you might be tempted to grab a hosting account, install WordPress, and start blogging your heart out, but don’t.

Yes, you’ve done some cool research. Yes, your ideas for blog posts are far more likely to succeed. Yes, you’re way ahead of most beginning bloggers.

But I hate to break it to ya…

There’s an excellent chance you analyzed all those popular posts from other blogs your audience reads and came to all the wrong conclusions. Before going through all the effort of creating a new blog, I recommend testing your ideas on perhaps the coolest blogging platform out there right now:

Medium.

If you’ve never heard of it, Medium is the brainchild of Ev Williams, the geeky and brilliant co-founder of Twitter. He created it to become the largest, easiest to use blogging platform in the world, and he’s managed to attract over 30 million monthly readers, as well as celebrity writers like Matthew McConnaughhay and James Altucher.

And here’s the really cool part: you can write on Medium and get the chance to have your writing exposed to its 30 million readers, free of charge. Here’s how:

  1. Register for a free account. When you visit the site, you might notice banners inviting you to become a premium member. There’s no doubt it gives you access to some excellent content as a reader, but as a writer, it’s by no means necessary to test your ideas. The free account gives you access to all the writing tools, so register for that.
    Join Medium
  2. Write a post based on one of the headlines gleaned from your research. Using Medium’s excellent editor, you can have a stylish post put together within a few hours.
    Medium Post Editor
  3. Make sure you choose the appropriate interests. Anyone who subscribes to that interest will have a much higher chance of noticing the post.
    Medium - Select Interests
  4. Conduct a miniature outreach campaign to the blogs you studied in the previous step. By emailing them and asking them to share your post, not only do you have a chance to start building your audience, but it’s an excellent way to validate your approach. If influencers are willing to share your content, there’s a good chance you’re on the right track. I’d recommend emailing 10-20 of them.Click here to read our extensive post on outreach.

Now, here’s the big question:

How do you know you’re ready to switch over to WordPress?

Should you target a certain number of claps? Shares? Comments?

Actually, none of the above. In my opinion, none of those really mean much.

You’re much better off paying attention to your outreach success rate. You see, influencers are an excellent judge of content. If you can convince 20% of the blogs you email to share your post, and you can hit at least 20% on three different posts, I believe you’re ready to start your own blog.

If your outreach success rate hits 20%, there’s also an excellent chance at least one of your posts will end up featured on Medium, either on one of the interests or maybe even the front page, driving thousands upon thousands of new readers to your post. Again, not only will that help you build your audience, but it’s an excellent indication you’re on the right track, and it’s time to branch off on your own.

Note: If you’re familiar with the Lean Startup, the approach we’re following here is similar to the idea of an MVP (Minimum Viable Product). Instead of creating a product though, you are creating the minimum amount of content necessary to test your post ideas.

Get a Clear (Not Clever!) Domain Name

So, lots of influencers are sharing your post on Medium, and you’re itching to crank up your own site and snag some of that traffic?

Cool. Let’s just take it one step at a time, and the first step is getting a clear domain name.

Put yourselves in the shoes of the visitor. You’re browsing the web, and you see a headline for a blog post that catches your attention. Maybe a friend on Facebook shared it with you, maybe it came up on a Google search, or maybe it’s just a link in another article you’re reading. Regardless, you click the link, and consciously or not, you’re asking yourself a single question as you browse through it…

“Is this for me?“

Within a few seconds, you have to decide whether to keep reading the post or move on to something else, and the only way you’ll stay is if it’s relevant to you. Not just the post, either. When you’re deciding, you’ll take in the design of the page, other post headlines, and, yes, the domain name.

For example, consider Entrepreneur.com. Is there any doubt who the site is for? Entrepreneurs, of course!

How about MakeaLivingWriting.com? Obviously, it’s for people who want to make a living as a writer.

Neither names are clever, but they help you decide to stay or go by clearly articulating who they are helping. That’s what a good domain name does.

Of course, all the great domain names are taken, right?

Not necessarily. Here are three different methods for finding the perfect domain name for your site:

  • Name the audience. The simplest way to get a clear domain name is to call out the audience in the domain itself. Examples: SmartBlogger.com, CouchPotato.com, AFineParent.com
  • Name the topic. If your blog focuses on a specific topic, try finding a domain name that describes it in clear, concise language. Examples: The ArtofManliness.com, BudgetsAreSexy.com, PaleoHacks.com
  • Name the benefit. Why should people stick around? If you have a good answer, sometimes you can turn it into a domain name that really stands out. Examples: MakeALivingWriting.com, BiggerPockets.com, BeABetterBlogger.com

My suggestion:

Use these three strategies to make a list of 10-20 domain names you’d be happy having. You can write them out in a word processor, or if you want to get fancy, you can use a tool like NameStation to generate a lot of ideas at once.

Namestation

Once you’re finished brainstorming, head over to a site like NameCheap to see if they are available. Click “Bulk Search” in the search box and paste in your domain names to check them all at once.

Namecheap Bulk Check

Sometimes you get lucky, and one of your favorites is available. If not, you either have to head back to the drawing board for another brainstorming session, or you can go to a premium domain name marketplace like Sedo.

Either way, one word of advice:

Don’t get hung up on your domain name. While it’s certainly helpful to have a good one, there are thousands of hugely popular sites with terrible domain names no one understands.

In other words, it’s not really a “make or break” factor for your site. Give yourself a few days or maybe a week to brainstorm ideas, and then make a decision, because once you have your domain name, you are ready to…

Switch Over to WordPress

You knew we had to run into some technical stuff sooner or later, right?

Well, here it is. There’s no code, complicated software to install or anything like that, but there are a lot of little steps you need to follow in exactly the right order.

It’s not too bad, though, I promise. You can do everything here in about an hour, and I have step-by-step guides to walk you through every little detail.

Let’s get started…

  1. Choose a web host. If you’re not familiar with the term, a “web host” is kind of like a warehouse for websites on the Internet. You pay one a small fee to keep your website on the Internet, handle all your visitors, back up your website, and so on. There are a gazillion different hosts out there, but the one we recommend and use ourselves is SiteGround. Click here to get a 60% off discount (affiliate link).
    Siteground WordPress Hosting
  2. Install WordPress. Once you have your account set up, you can use their built-in tools to install WordPress for you. It’s super easy. Here’s a video that walks you through all the steps:

  3. Migrate your posts from Medium to WordPress. Thankfully, Medium makes it relatively easy to export your posts, but you do have to jump through a few hoops importing them into WordPress. Click here to learn how.When you finish, all the content will have switched over, and you’ll see all the posts on your own site, but that doesn’t mean you’ve finished. While WordPress works exceptionally well out-of-the-box, it still needs a little tweaking. Let’s talk about how to do that next.

Set Up WordPress the Right Way

The great thing about having a self-hosted WordPress site is you’re in total control. You can change how it looks, what functionality it has, improve its performance, and almost anything else you can imagine.

The problem?

Complete control also comes at a cost: complexity. There are thousands upon thousands of themes and hundreds of thousands of plug-ins to choose from, and you can easily lose weeks or even months of your life wading through them all and trying to figure out what’s best for you.

So, I’m going to take a minimalist approach here. Rather than giving you a huge list of things to do, I’m reducing it down to the absolute minimum, and I’ll even recommend some specific themes and plug-ins. Before we begin though, let me be clear about one thing:

Your content matters more than anything else.

You can have a site that’s ugly, clunky, and slow, but if you have great content, you’ll still get a lot of traffic. Not the opposite, though. You can have the most beautiful, user-friendly website online, but if the content sucks, nobody will give a damn about you.

So, don’t allow yourself to get lost in these details. Focus on making your website functional, and then you can always come back and make it unique or beautiful later.

That said, here are some different options to consider:

The Simplest Option: Elegant Themes

Cost: $89 per Year

You might wince a little at the annual price, but the advantage of Elegant Themes is they give you everything you need in one package:

  • Divi, the most popular WordPress theme on the market
  • A built-in page builder that can design anything you can imagine
  • Monarch, a social sharing plug-in that’s customizable and looks great
  • Bloom, a simple but functional app for building your email list
  • Regular updates and support, making it easy to stay current

Now, is every piece of it the best?

No. In fact, I don’t think they are the best in any single category.

But the combination of everything put together makes it far easier to get started. The design is also top-notch. That’s why they’ve become the most popular theme company on the market with over 400,000 paying customers.

The bottom line:

If you’re looking for a simple, stable solution that will last you for years and doesn’t require a “tech guy” to get up and running, Elegant Themes is the way to go.

The Free Option: A Hodgepodge of Stuff

Cost: Zero

So… what if you can’t really afford to spend any money on your blog? What should you do then?

The answer:

Cobble together a hodgepodge of free stuff into a workable site.

Here’s what I would do:

  • For your WordPress theme, install the free version of Astra
  • For your page builder, check out the free version of Elementor
  • For social sharing, go with the free version of Sumo
  • For building your email list, also go with the free version of Sumo

The downside?

Sumo will only last until you hit 500 subscribers, and then you have to either switch to something else or start paying a rather high monthly fee to stay with them. You also have to update everything separately, and you’ll have far less support if anything breaks.

To me, those are some pretty big downsides, and I really wouldn’t recommend it, but sometimes you don’t have any other choice. If that’s the case, give it a try.

A Quick Word about Caching

Regardless of which option you choose, you’ll want to install a caching plug-in before you start getting too much traffic (100+ visitors per day). The two most popular options are plug-ins called WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache.

If you’re looking for simplicity, I recommend WP Super Cache. You can install it, and you’re done. Here’s a video where a guy gets everything set up in three minutes:

Later, when you’re getting 10,000+ visitors per month, you might think about getting a tech guy who really knows the ins and outs of either plug-in to configure it for you. It really helps, but it’s not worth the trouble or expense for a new blog.

Important: If you end up going with Siteground (affiliate link), as I recommended above, they have their own caching plug-in, and it only takes about a minute to set up. Here’s a tutorial that walks you through it.

Grow to $1,000 per Month (And Beyond)

In the immortal words of Harry Connick Junior…

Up to this point, you’ve published posts on Medium until it’s clear people love what you write, you switched over to your self-hosted WordPress site, and now you are up and ready for the world. So, here’s the big question:

When does the money start rolling in? After all, that’s the point of all this, right?

Well… good news and bad news.

The good news is you’ve done the hard part. By far, the hardest part of building a popular blog is writing posts other people enjoy reading. Nothing else even comes close.

The bad news?

That’s just the beginning.

Now that your blog is up and running, you have to learn the ins and outs of getting traffic, building your email list, and monetizing your site. Even if you have top-notch writing skills, it’ll still take you at least 3-6 months to figure all that out.

But think about it this way…

Nothing worth doing is quick or easy.

Personally, I was a slow learner, and it took me three years to reach $1,000 a month. That’s a long time, right? Well, two years after that, we crossed $100,000 per month, and we’ve never looked back.

So yeah, it’s hard work, but I’d say it’s worth it.

Let’s go through some other common questions—

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I start a blog for free?

WordPress.com and Medium.com both have free options. Of the two, we recommend Medium, because they feature the best content from writers, and if you get featured, it can send you a ton of traffic.

But the truth?

Starting a blog is never free. Even if you don’t spend any money, you’ll be investing lots and lots of your time, and that’s worth something. Don’t forget about that.

How do you start a blog to make money?

Your best bet is to blog in a niche where lots of other bloggers are already making money. For example, the marketing, personal finance, and self-improvement niches can all be very profitable. If your goal is to start a blog to make money, those are the least risky options.

But what if you don’t want to blog about those topics?

You don’t have to. You can theoretically make money blogging about anything, assuming the audience a) trusts you and 2) frequently spends money on products and services related to your blog topic. You can either make money blogging as an affiliate or selling your own products and services.

What should I make a blog about?

It depends on your motivations.

If you want to make money, you should probably start blogging in a well-known space with lots of traffic and buyers, and then stand out by offering exceptionally good content for free.

For more on what it takes to choose a popular blog topic, read this post on what to blog about.

How do I get my blog noticed?

Getting noticed is about three things:

  1. Choosing a topic lots of other people care about
  2. Creating better content than your competitors
  3. Getting influential people to link to that content

Lots of people obsess over getting the links from influential people, but the truth is, that’s relatively easy if your content is really the best. Focus on that, and then tactics like these will help it rise to the top.

How much does a beginning blogger make?

If you’re working for another company, you can make as much as $50,000 per year. Professional content marketers get paid very well.

On the other hand, most beginning bloggers are hobbyists. They tinker around in their spare time and seldom make much.

If you do commit to blogging over the long-term, and you start a truly popular blog, you can make millions. It’s a long road, and most people fail, but it’s worked out well for me.

The Bottom Line on How to Start a Blog

Just getting your blog off the ground is the hardest part.

It might take you a few months or even a few years to build up momentum. And you might feel a little dumb for investing so much time to it, but then that momentum builds and builds and builds, and you wake up one morning to the stupefying yet delicious realization that you’ll never have to worry about money again.

That’s what happened to me. Might happen to you too, now that you’ve learned how to start a blog.

At the end of the day though, there’s only one way to find out:

Get started and see what happens.

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 Start a Blog (and Make Money) in 2019: 20X Faster Method appeared first on Smart Blogger.

Source: https://smartblogger.com/how-to-start-a-blog/

Uncategorized

7 Membership Sites that Make $100K+ Per Year (Real Examples)

Chances are, you’ve heard about people starting membership sites and making buckets of money.

Maybe you’re a little skeptical, and rightfully so. We all know better than to believe everything we read on the Internet.

But here’s the real question:

Should YOU start a membership site? Could YOU realistically expect to make any money?

And that’s a tough one to answer.

If you Google it, you’ll find lots of how to’s for getting a membership site up and running, but nothing about how to figure out if a membership site will work for you.

What if your niche is the exception, and you pour days and dollars into setting one up and it bellyflops. And what’s more — and this is kinda embarrassing —  you’re not even sure exactly what a membership site is.

I get it. In fact, I felt like a fool a while back when I was curious about the same thing. I’ll bet we’re not the only ones too. So, I’m going to clear it all up for you.

Let’s start at the beginning…

What is a Membership Site?


For the sake of this post, we’ll define a membership site as any part of your online business that contains gated content (information behind a log in). A gate is simply a barrier to limit access to your content to those who pay or you decide to let in. And once inside, they get access to exclusive content and membership privileges.

Think of it like a gym membership.

Before you’re allowed to pass the turnstiles, you’ve got to sign up as a paid member or for a free-trial. Once you’re inside, you have access to everything, usually on an unlimited basis.

Sometimes you can also have different membership levels. One level might have access to all the fitness machines, while another level up gives you access to a sauna and heated pool.

Simple enough, right?

Well, membership sites work the same way. Before you can get access to their content, you have to become a member, and you can also offer different levels of membership with varying benefits.

It’s the same idea as a gym membership, except on the Internet. That’s pretty much the only difference.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s look at why a membership site is a smart idea.

3 Reasons You Should Build a Membership Site


Put simply, membership sites are a blazing-great way to monetize your blog.

How exactly? Well, the money flows because of three key reasons:

Reason #1. Leverage

Membership sites allow you to leverage your time and content in two ways:

  1. Your content is a reusable asset. You can create it once and sell it to hundreds or even thousands of students for years to come.
  2. Membership sites can be totally automated. How dreamy is the idea of having a hands-off campaign that invites people to buy into your membership program while you’re sipping margaritas on the beach somewhere?

Reason #2. Value

Weirdly, people value things they pay for more than they value a freebie.

So in their eyes, your paid membership site content is more valuable than free information.

What’s more, once cash is exchanged, they’re more likely to take action and achieve results that get you rave reviews (which equals more sales).

Ramit Sethi quote

There’s also an interesting money-credibility thing going on in cyberspace.

I’m sure you’ve noticed how easy it is for any old Joe to jump on Facebook live and create online content nowadays. It’s led to a rather strange online phenomenon, I call the ‘credibility gap’. Meaning, even though content volume is going up, trust in most free online content is going down.

So, why not play this to your advantage?

How?

I’ll explain. People attribute a higher level of credibility and trust to paid content, right?

Which means they’ll attribute higher value to any content locked behind the gates of your membership site. What’s more, existing members are more likely to upsell from within your membership site. Once they trust you, they’ll trust all your content.

And finally, let’s flip to your prospect’s perspective.

By packaging everything they need and presenting it with a bow and a roadmap, you’re making it easy for them. You’re also saving them tons of time.

No longer do they need to cartwheel about the internet piecing things together. You’ve given them one simple place to access everything they need and they’ll pay you for that simplicity.

Reason #3. Tribe

People love being surrounded by a tribe of people just like them, united by common interest, with similar problems and worries to chat about.

Seth Godin - Tribe Quote

And membership sites build tribes. They provide people with a place to hang out, belong to and feel part of something bigger than themselves. It’s the vibe of your tribe that will make people stay, pay and play.

Let’s not forget that every tribe has a leader too. One with unique character.  

On the surface it may seem as if people are just buying your content, but it’s really your character and personality they’re buying.

They want to be like you on some level. They’ll  connect with your character through the tone of your writing or the personality you show in videos. And it’s this that they’ll return for over and over again with credit card in hand.

You’re convinced now, right?

Hmmm, I have an inkling you’re still wondering.

You know it’s a good idea. But… what if your niche is the exception? What if you are the exception?

Let’s take look at a few successful membership sites that all make over 100K so you’ve got some proof.

Successful Membership Site Examples


Site #1. Orchids Made Easy

Growing orchids is a popular and ongoing hobby with hungry orchid enthusiasts worldwide. Ryan ‘the orchid guy’ has created a fantastic character story and feeds his members with continuous drip fed content via a monthly membership subscription to his Green Thumb Club. Members can join at a low starting price for a month so they can test the waters.

Orchids Made Easy

Site #2. The Game Changers

A specialist in the business coaching niche, Barry Magliarditi guides his members on an ongoing development journey that dives into the structures, systems and mindset that fuel business growth. He offers a fixed fee membership to his Opulence Program which has three tiers of access. In other words, the more you pay, the more access you get to one-to-one advice.

The Gamer Changers - Opulence University

Site #3. Smart Blogger

Of course you know this one, but it’s totally worthy of a mention. As a leader in the blogging niche, Smart Blogger offers high-quality online courses to paying members. Programs such as Serious Bloggers Only and Freedom Machine are a phenomenal guide for members to navigate how to start a blog and monetize it.

Serious Bloggers Only

Site # 4. Lady Boss Weightloss

Losing weight is a never ending plight for millions of people. Kaelin Tuell Poulin has created a paid 28-day challenge membership site filled with stacks of advice that gets real results. People start by joining for a 7-day free trial. Her style is authoritative and her character has a popular zero to hero story. She offers lifetime access to her content, plus a strong community for support and accountability.

Lady Boss Weightloss

Site #5. Magnetic Memory Method

Anthony Metivier’s membership offers free content, products and a fantastic blog on the surface.

Yet, the success of his behind the scenes membership program demonstrates the power of a narrow and focussed niche with a strong sales funnel.

He leads people gently, builds trust and engages them as he moves them into his fixed-term online program. He also offers a continuity program for those who want to stay — and many do!

Magnetic Memory Method

Site #6. Succulents and Sunshine

Cassidy Tuttle’s online business is a thriving success that uses a hybrid of affiliate commissions, display ads, ebook sales and a gated online course as income. She offers  “easy access to all the resources and information you need to successfully grow succulents… all in one convenient place”, and has rave reviews as social proof on her site.

Her site boasts lots of free content. But the premium content and one-to-one access to her advice is behind the paid gates of her online course. Smart!

Succulents and Sunshine

Site #7. Jan Spiller Astrology

In full disclosure, I couldn’t get confirmation that this site made over $100K, but it’s pretty safe to say it’s doing well given the length of time it’s been around.

Long-term survival in the online world is dependent upon income and a hungry market.

The unique traits of this membership site are the ongoing and endless drip feed of readings and charts offered through a tiered membership model. Natal charts and astrological weather seem to be high value in this magical niche.

Jan Spiller Astrology

There’s no denying success can be had in a huge variety of niches. Let’s wrap it all the learnings in in a few lesson’s to give you crystal ball clarity.

Lessons Learned from $100K Membership Sites


It’s apparent that success is possible for membership sites in a wide variety of niches. And you’ve no doubt noticed that there are different models for membership sites.

The trouble is, they all overlap in a blur of confused boundaries that leave you wondering exactly what would work for you.

To help, there are two distinct levels of difference you need to be aware of… the membership models and the variables.

Let’s dive in…

The Three Core Membership Models

The Fix Model

Fix model membership sites are focussed on one thing — they solve a distinct problem. The problem can be a specific fix, such as how to grow a healthy succulent or how to write a novel. Or, they can fix a longer term problem such as how to scale a business — often solved through three, six or twelve month program.

The Motivate Model

When people are faced with a goal that they’re likely to struggle with alone, such as weight loss, fitness goals or a new diet, having an external source of motivation is often the difference that makes the difference.

Paid access to challenges that have motivational communities to share struggles in are perfect for this membership model.

The Hangout Model

Otherwise known as the community model, this type of membership site offers people a place to connect and belong. Members are often united towards a common cause or passion such as gardening, cooking or writing.

On the surface they’ll appear to join because they want to solve a problem, yet they’re more hobbyists at heart and their love for their ‘thing’ drives them to be around others who speak their secret language.

Once you know which model suits you best you can customise your membership site by deciding from the following variables.

The Five Core Membership Site Variables

Fixed Fee or Monthly Payments

If you choose the Fix model then a fixed fee works well. Prices can vary from a $27 online course to a $3,000 plus online program. It’s all about how much value you offer. The hangout model is perfect for a monthly payment structure as people will pay to stay as long as you continue to provide regular high-value new content.

Content Type

When it comes to content, you’ve got an enormous range of choice.

Depending on your model, you can use video (live or you talking to slides), worksheets, workbooks, photos and mock-up illustrations, photography, quizzes, charts, graphs, interactive spreadsheets, Facebook live videos, webinars and so on.

As long as it’s online and accessible within a gated forum or platform, you’re good to go.

See, even mind-maps work as membership site content.

IQ Matrix

Drip or Immersion Access

Deciding when your members will get access to all of their content immediately or not is personal preference. You can choose to drip feed content to members daily, weekly or monthly to protect your content.

Drip fed content is perfect if you offer a free trial or want to build excitement and suspension.

Or, you can throw members into the deep end with full immersion access on day one and let them work as fast, or as slow as they choose.

Lifetime or Fixed-Term

There are no hard and fast rules here. Lifetime access provides paying members to ongoing ‘forever’ access to the course or content they’ve paid for. This works well for bigger, more detailed courses that take a long time to complete.

Fixed-term access is perfect to create a sense of urgency to encourage members to complete the course. It also opens the door to offer a continuity program for those who haven’t finished within the fixed term and want to retain access.

Tiered or Single-Level

Single-level access means a fixed program structure. You may have one or more programs that solve a specific problem, which is best suited to a dedicated, single-level or set structure.

Or, you may offer a program, in which three tiers works best. You can offer online access as a base level and leverage one-to-one access to you at your top level.

Three-Tier Program

 
It’s pretty clear that membership sites can work in a huge range of niches. And they’re a great way to leverage your time to create the income you know could change your life and give you the freedom you crave.

But that’s not the real issue here is it? Could it be that a sneaky fear of not being up to the task is lurking behind the clumsy charade of ‘will it work for me’?

You’d be inhuman if it wasn’t.

Regardless, now is the time to step up and decide. Because you’re only ever one decision away from changing your life. Could this be one of those decisions?

I’m guessing though, because you’re a passionate blogger with your heart set on spreading your message, that you’re keen to discover a bit more about how to build a membership site.

How to Build Your Membership Site


If you’re up for playing a bigger game, rather than giving in to those progress-halting worries of yesterday, you’re ready to create a membership site to leverage your time and make money faster. Fantastic!

But, just as you’re enjoying your moment of excited inspiration, you wonder what is the best platform to build your membership site with?

Well, your options fit into two broad categories — a WordPress Plugin or a non-Wordpress All-in-One platform.

Let’s take a look.

WordPress Plugins

If you’ve already got an existing WordPress website oozing with content and attracting traffic, then a plugin may be the best option.

Using a plugin gives your readers a sense of familiarity as you can maintain brand consistency and probably reuse your existing website theme.

Plugins makes marketing simple as you can install a ‘log in’ button on your existing home page and avoid having to create a new domain name as well. Plugins these days are remarkably easy to get up and running too — even for non-techies.

Here are a few options for you:

  • Memberpress — MemberPress will help you build astounding WordPress membership sites, accept credit cards securely, control who sees your content and sell digital downloads … all without the difficult setup.
  • Learndash — a powerful WordPress plug in with course builder, quizzes, cart, group management and is compatible with any theme.
  • Restrict Content Pro — a seriously top-level and increasingly popular membership plugin that offers all the features you could want.
  • Memberium — Built exclusively for WordPress and Infusionsoft™, Memberium is the perfect tool for creating scalable membership sites.

Non-Wordpress All-in-Ones

Perfect for bloggers or online newbies who don’t yet have a fully fledged website or tech stack in place, an all-in-one platform makes things ridiculously easy. Just pay a subscription and have fun with the drag and drop builders to customise and upload your content.

You’ll also benefit from a host of extras such as payment systems and course builders plus marketing and email automation options as well. Job done.

Here are a few of the players worth considering in this space:

  • Kajabi — the all-in-one tool for those who want it all and want it simple. Websites, membership sites, landing pages, quizzes, online courses, webinars and payments.
  • Teachable — With just a few clicks, you’ll get a fully functioning school with learning management, payment gateways, and sales and marketing tools.
  • Thinkific — drag and drop design, customised pricing and cart for those who want to educate with confidence.
  • Kartra — this relative newbie packs a punch as it does every-single-online-thing you’ll ever need. Pre-written funnels, email marketing, membership sites, analytics and everything else.  
  • Simplero — Action packed ALL in one for your website, membership site, email and business management, CRM, hosting, payments, marketing — everything you’ll need to be online in one place.
  • AccessAlly — if you’re ready for upselling and sophisticated marketing as well as a solid course builder with gamification and more, AccessAlly is a great option.

Is a Membership Site for You?


Starting a membership site isn’t for everyone. It takes a certain kind of person to jump into content and community management like this.

Yet, for a blogger who is serious about monetizing, it’s a road worth considering. Seriously.  

Because it’s a way to build a following and an income — fast.

A membership site means you’ll build your name with credibility, trust and value. It’ll make you stand out from the crowd as an online entrepreneur with a character people love.

Because you’ll be someone who offers a solution to fix problems, motivates people beyond that which they can achieve alone and you’ll give them a place they want to hang out.

But only you know if you’re up to the task.

Only you know if you’re disciplined enough to map out a vision, a structure and create the content you need.

Only you know if you’re up to taking the leap and taking charge of your future.

So what do you say?

Are you up for it? Or not?

About the Author: Miranda Hill is a qualified coach, behavioral profiler and writer who helps people to master their  performance in business and life. As a published blogger and ghostwriter, she helps entrepreneurs to trade confusion for clarity. Trained in many coaching models, she’s developed her guide 10 Mindset Secrets That Set Truly Successful Writers Apart so you can boost your writing results.

The post 7 Membership Sites that Make $100K+ Per Year (Real Examples) appeared first on Smart Blogger.

Source: https://smartblogger.com/membership-sites/

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How to Become a Freelance Writer and Get Paid $200 – $1K per Post

Imagine you’re sitting in a lounge chair on the beach, staring out over the glittering sea, the ocean breeze ruffling your hair, listening to the slow, steady rhythm of the waves.

It’s peaceful. Perfect for thinking.

And so you do, scribbling down your thoughts with one hand and drinking a martini with the other.

You’re a freelance writer. You get paid to write for websites, magazines, corporate clients — all different types of gigs.

And it’s work you can do from anywhere.

One week, you’re on the beach. The next, perhaps you’re in the mountains. The week after that, you’re visiting family.

Sounds like a dream, right? Like it can’t possibly be real?

But it is.

In this post, I’m going to teach you how to become a freelance writer. I’m also going to talk about what’s changed with freelance writing and what it really takes to build a career in today’s world, both as a full-time writer or just doing it on the side.

Because the career is real. The freedom is real. In fact, you might even say it’s easier than ever before. Here’s why:

The $412.88 Billion Opportunity for Writers

That’s not a typo. 🙂

Have you noticed how just about every business has a website, blog, and Facebook page?

Maybe you’ve also noticed how the stuff most of them publish kinda sucks? Boring content, unprofessional spelling and grammatical mistakes, etc.

Well, that’s why successful businesses are hiring freelance writers in droves. In 2016, companies spent 195.58 billion on content marketing, and the research firm Technavio predicts spending will more than double to 412.88 billion by 2021.

It’s the new normal, but here’s what’s crazy:

While businesses are well-aware of the importance of content marketing, writers are still stuck in the Stone Age of wanting to get published in magazines and newspapers. Yes, you can still make a living that way, but with an increasing number of publishers not paying writers at all, the competition for paying gigs is getting stiffer and stiffer.

With content marketing, on the other hand, there’s actually a shortage of writers. You can make a lot more money with way fewer headaches.

Here’s how to get started:

How to Become a Freelance Writer

#1. Develop Your Content Creation Skills


Your skill at creating exceptional content will have more of an impact on how much money you make than anything else. Here’s why:

The companies paying the highest rates are the ones who understand the importance of quality content. They are happy to pay the best writers, because they believe (correctly) that it will help them dominate their competitors.

For a handy visual reminder of the ROI of content marketing, check out the image below (click to see a larger view):

The ROI of Content Marketing

 
Embed This Infographic On Your Site

The ROI of Content Marketing
How to Become a Freelance Writer and Get Paid $200 – $1K per Post from SmartBlogger.com

 

So how do you level up your skill at creating exceptional content?

The good news is, we have dozens of posts about that very topic here at Smart Blogger. Start with this one about how to write a good blog post and work your way through.

In particular, here are some of the most important content skills for you to develop:

  • Mastering content frameworks. The web is overflowing with list posts (i.e., 7 Ways to X) for a reason: they work. It’s not the only content framework, though. There are actually about a dozen proven frameworks, and the best freelance writers master as many as possible.
  • Writing headlines. The headlines of your posts have a bigger impact on their traffic and overall success than any other factor. Get in the habit of brainstorming 5-10 per day. Like anything else, writing the perfect headline is mostly about practice.
  • Thinking for yourself. Ever notice how most writers are just regurgitating the advice of other writers? Don’t be one of those. I’m not saying you have to be entirely original, but at least layer your own thoughts on top of the standard advice. It’ll give your writing a much greater sense of authority.
  • Supporting points with examples. Instead of making a point and leaving it hanging there unsupported, get into the habit of backing up every point you make with an example. There are exceptions to this rule, but you’re far better off having too many examples than too few.
  • Keeping the reader emotionally engaged. To get work as a freelance writer, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that your posts need to make logical sense, but you might not realize they also need to resonate with the emotions of the reader. The better you get at keeping readers emotionally engaged, the more shares you will get on your content, and you’ll be able to charge more.

And while those are a good start, there’s one particular skill that’s so important it deserves its own point:

#2. Up Your SEO Game


Companies and agencies are more than happy to pay a little extra for someone who understands the basics of SEO.

The more intimate your understanding of keywords, user intent, and competitive analysis, the more likely your post is to rank well in the search engines. Therefore, your writing becomes more valuable.

Because put yourself in their shoes: wouldn’t you rather pay more for someone with a proven ability to rank? I certainly would, and so it makes sense to become that person.

Tip: here’s an extremely thorough SEO guide and resource list from my buddy Brian Dean.

The strongest portfolio you can have is a collection of posts ranking on page 1 of Google. Sarah Peterson, for example, now makes over $1,000 per post, because she has a proven track record of ranking well.

Up Your SEO Game

Granted, it takes time to build that kind of portfolio. Let’s walk through the process, starting with what you do when you’re a total beginner.

#3. Build a Portfolio of Sample Posts


You’d think it would be really hard to become a freelance writer without an extensive portfolio, right? After all, it’s proof for clients that you know what you’re doing.

But here’s the thing:

There are different levels of proof, starting with…

Level 1: A Portfolio That Proves You Know How to Write a Decent Post

You’d be surprised how many so-called “freelance writers” don’t understand how to write a proper blog post. I’d say it’s more than 80%, which sounds horrible, but it’s also a huge advantage if you do know how to write a good post.

Let’s say you’ve been working on your content skills (the first step above *cough*), and you’re getting comfortable writing different types of blog posts. Well, write a few sample posts to show off your skills.

If you have your own website, put them there. If not, it’s quick and easy to publish them on other blogging platforms like Medium.

Publish on Medium

The best part is, you can do this in a matter of a week or two. Two or three posts is enough, and you don’t need anyone’s approval to publish them. If you don’t have a portfolio yet, it’s absolutely where you should start.

Level 2: A Portfolio That Proves You Know What You’re Talking about

Next, you want to build your credibility as a subject matter expert.

And I’m not just talking about demonstrating your expertise. This phase is also about showing you can get published on top publications.

Think about it… if you see someone writing on one of the top sites in your space, don’t you immediately assume they are an expert?

Well, that’s the kind of credibility you need. It’s also far easier to do than you might assume.

Because most big sites have stopped paying for content, they’re always looking for good writers. In our guest blogging program, we’ve helped hundreds of new writers get published on sites like Forbes, Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Lifehack, and dozens of others. I won’t say it’s easy, because it’s not, but it’s far easier than most people think. Here’s a guest post by Laura Tong published at Huffington Post:

Build a portfolio by guest blogging.

I’m generalizing here, but for the most part, it’s about the pitch. If the editor likes your idea, and you follow up with a well-written piece, you can get published almost anywhere.

And that immediately helps make you a hot commodity as a freelance writer.

Level 3: A Portfolio Showing Documented Results for Clients

Finally, you want to prove you can get results for clients.

One way is to track shares and search engine rankings for the posts you write, like we discussed above for Sarah Peterson, but an even better way is to create case studies. Here’s an example from Ross Hudgens of Siege Media:

Create case studies

He shows screenshots of increasing client traffic by 250,000 visits per month for three different clients. Nothing is more compelling than that. Granted, it’s super hard to do, but that’s what makes it so valuable.

Your long-term goal should be to develop that kind of proof for yourself. It might take you years, and that’s fine, because when you get there, it can literally make you one of the highest paid writers and consultants in the world.

#4. Get Your First Paying Client


So, we’ve talked a lot about the skill and credibility aspects of becoming a freelance writer. What about getting clients? That’s the hard part, right?

In the beginning, yes. Eventually, top freelance writers end up getting more work than they can handle, mostly by referral, but getting those first few paying clients can be a real slog.

Here are some insider tips for getting started:

  1. Keep an eye on agency job postings. One of the best potential clients is agencies, because they usually have an ongoing need for writers. Instead of only getting paid once, you can develop a relationship with a few and get new gigs for months or even years into the future. Here’s a big list of content marketing agencies.
     

    Agency job postings

     
    There are two main ways of getting work from them. You can reach out to them and ask if they have any freelance work — a gutsy but effective approach — or you can keep an eye on their “careers” page.

  2. Pitch software company blogs. This might seem odd, but stick with me here for a moment. You want to work with businesses who have money to spend on marketing. Chances are, those companies are subscribed to various apps for email marketing, analytics, and so on. Most software companies in the marketing space (like Hubspot, Sumo, Ahrefs, etc.) also publish a great deal of content.
     
    So, who better to write for? You’re instantly getting in front of thousands of the right clients. Many of these blogs will also pay you to write for them, so in many cases you can get your first client while also prospecting for clients. What could be better than that?
     

    Pitch software company jobs

     

  3. Link to your services in your byline. Let’s say you’re in “Phase 2” of the portfolio building process we walked through above, and you are writing some guest posts for top blogs in your space. You can mention it in your byline to attract clients. Here’s an example from Sophia Dagnon over at Copyhackers:
     

    Link to services in your byline

     

Before we move on, there’s one thing you SHOULDN’T do…

Compete against bottom dollar freelancers on sites like Upwork.

Yes, there’s always work available on sites like those, but generally speaking, it’s clueless, frustrating clients who will nickel and dime you over everything and never refer you other work. It’s better than nothing, I suppose, but I believe you’re far better off pursuing some of the options I mentioned above. Not only will you get paid more, but you’ll be treated better too, and it will be much easier to grow your client base.

#5. Scale until You No Longer Want to


In the beginning, you’ll probably be thrilled just to get a client paying you to write a few articles on the side, but I think it’s useful to step back and think about how freelance writing fits into an overall career.

Here’s the career path for most freelance writers:

Phase 1: A Nice Side Income

Most people start writing just a few articles on the side, and I think that’s smart. You can learn the craft, build your connections, and make a few bucks on the side. Most likely, about $20-$25 per hour.

Is it going to make you rich? No, but it’s certainly not a bad side gig. A lot of part-timers clear $500-$1,000 per month from their writing.

Eventually, if you’re good, you’ll also start getting more work than you can handle in your spare time, and that’s when you can ponder moving on to the next phase.

Phase 2: A Full-Time Job or Business

When should you consider quitting your day job?

The easiest answer: whenever you feel confident your freelance writing could replace your salary. You can either…

  1. Go to work as a full-time content marketer. The number of job openings for full-time content marketers is exploding. Here’s a graph of the job growth just from 2017 to 2018:
     

    Content marketing job growth

     

  2. Start your own content marketing agency. Once you’ve picked up a few clients, you can begin hiring people to work under you and grow your own miniature agency.

Both options have big upsides. You can have a long, solid career as a content marketer working companies who truly appreciate it, and building an agency could potentially make you a millionaire.

At some point though, I’ve found that even the most successful writers usually end up moving on to…

Phase 3: Starting Your Own Site

In the past, you’ve probably thought of starting your own site as the first step, not the last, and it’s true — there’s nothing stopping you from starting your site right now.

But think about it for a moment…

Would you rather start your own site right now, spend a couple of years learning everything from scratch, and then slowly but surely begin to make money from it, or could it actually be a better option to go to work for someone else for a while, get paid while you learn, and then start your own site with several years of experience under your belt?

Over the years, I’ve noticed an increasing percentage of our students choosing the second option, and I think it makes sense. Yes, you can absolutely start your own site right now, and yes, you can be successful — we are the market leaders in helping people do exactly that — but it’s a tough road. You have to persistently put in the effort for years before it begins to pay off.

If you become a freelance writer and start working for other businesses, on the other hand, the payoff is fast. Probably a month or two to learn the basics and then another month or two to get your first client. While it might take you longer overall to build your own publishing powerhouse, it’s easier to stay persistent when money is coming in each and every time you publish an article.

The bottom line:

You Can Make Good Money As a Writer

It’s tragic how many writers think go into another career because they believe no one can make a living from it. It’s just not true.

Yes, it’s tough to make a living as an author. Yes, it’s difficult to scrape by writing for magazines and newspapers. Yes, there are plenty of would-be poets and novelists living under bridges.

But those are only a few types of writing.

If you want to make money as a writer, go where the money is. That’s what I did. I started out writing for other sites, took a full-time job at Copyblogger, and then branched off on my own — exactly the career path I described above.

The results?

About $5.3 million so far. In this case study, I described exactly how I did it.

Oh, and did I mention I did it all from a wheelchair without being able to move from the neck down?

Yeah…

So please, don’t tell me you can’t make money as a freelance writer. You absolutely can.

You just have to be smart about it.

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 Become a Freelance Writer and Get Paid $200 – $1K per Post appeared first on Smart Blogger.

Source: https://smartblogger.com/how-to-become-a-freelance-writer/

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7 Editing Tips That’ll Make You a Better Writer (with Examples!)

There are some bloggers who seem to have a natural gift when it comes to writing. Some bloggers seem to be naturally gifted writers.

They manage to get their ideas across clearly and economically, which means that readers can easily follow what they write. Readers devour their clear, economical prose.

Not only is there a lot of respect for what they have to say, but also the way that they say it. People respect what they say — and love how they say it.

Whenever they publish a new post on their blog, it always gets dozens of comments and hundreds of shares. Every new blog post attracts dozens of comments and hundreds of shares.

It would be great to be as successful as they are, but you don’t know what you need to do to make your writing better. You’d love to emulate their success, but you don’t know how.

The good news is that there are some editing tips that can easily learn which will improve everything you write from now on. Fortunately for you, a few simple editing tips can transform your writing forever.

Download a free PDF cheat sheet with seven questions that make it easy to edit your writing like a pro. Click herehttps://blogtraffic.lpages.co/leadbox-1498077769.js.

The Unfair Advantage Popular Writers Try to Hide

You know your writing heroes? Would you be shocked to learn that their writing is no better than yours?

Sure, the end product is better, but the first draft is just as clumsy, flabby, and downright difficult to read as any of your own writing efforts.

What popular bloggers know that many people don’t know (or don’t want to believe) is that a post isn’t finished simply because they’ve said everything they want to say. In many ways that’s just the beginning.

Think of your draft as a rough diamond. Value is hidden inside it and you need an expert gem cutter to reveal its beauty and clarity.

Which is why many top bloggers hire a professional editor to transform their rough diamonds into gleaming jewels. That’s right — someone else is helping them.

Somewhat unfair, right?

No wonder their writing seems so much better than yours. And even those bloggers who don’t use an editor have simply learned how to edit their own posts like a pro.

Fortunately, editing isn’t rocket science. If you have someone to show you how.

So let’s break down the rules that’ll help you transform your unremarkable draft into a perfectly polished post.

7 Editing Tips That Will Totally Transform Your Next Post

Tip #1. Don’t Pad Your Prose with Empty Filler Words

(Or: Avoid Using Grammar Expletives)

Grammar expletives are literary constructions that begin with the words it, here, or there followed by a form of the verb to be.

(Expletive comes from the Latin explere, meaning to fill. Think smelly literary landfill).

Common constructions include it is, it was, it won’t, it takes, here is, there is, there will be.

The problem? When it, here, and there refer to nouns later in the sentence or — worse — to something unnamed, they weaken your writing by shifting emphasis away from the true drivers of your sentences. And they usually require other support words such as who, that, and when, which further dilute your writing.

Let’s look at an example:

There are some bloggers who seem to have…

The there are expletive places the sentence’s focus on some nebulous thing called there instead of the true focus of the sentence — some bloggers. And the writer must then use another unnecessary word — who — that’s three unnecessary words in one unfocused sentence.

Train yourself to spot instances of there, here, and it followed by a to be verb (such as is, are, was, and were) and adjust your sentences to lead with the meat and potatoes of those sentences instead.

(Tip: Use your word processor’s find functionality and search for there, here, and it and determine if you’ve used an expletive).

Other before-and-after examples:

  • It’s fun to edit — Editing is fun
  • It takes time to writeWriting takes time
  • There are many people who write — Many people write
  • There’s nothing better than blogging — Nothing’s better than blogging
  • Here are some things to consider: — Some things to consider are:

Caveat: If you previously described an object using there, here, and it, you’re not guilty of an expletive infraction. For example:

  • I love editing. It’s fun. (This is not an expletive construction since I previously described what it refers to.)

Tip #2. Don’t Weaken the Action with Wimpy Words

(Or: Avoid Weak Verbs; Use Visceral and Action Verbs Instead)

Not only does to be conspire with it, there, and here to create nasty grammar expletives, but it’s also responsible for its own class of sentence impairing constructions.

Certain uses of to be in its various forms weaken the words that follow. The solution is to replace these lightweights with more powerful alternatives.

Let’s see some before-and-after examples:

  • She is blogging — She blogs
  • People are in love with him — People love him
  • He is aware that people love him — He knows people love him

Other verbs besides to be verbs can lack strength as well. Use visceral verbs or verbs that express some action. Let’s edit:

  • Give outOffer
  • Find outDiscover
  • Make it clearer — Clarify
  • I can’t make it to the party — I can’t attend the party
  • He went to Mexico — He traveled to Mexico
  • Think of a blogging strategy — Devise a blogging strategy

Tip #3. Don’t Cripple Your Descriptions with Feeble Phrases

(Or: Avoid Weak Adjectives)

Weak adjectives sap the strength from your writing just as nefariously as weak verbs. Use the best adjectives possible when describing nouns and pronouns. And be mindful that certain words, like really and very, usually precede weak adjectives. Take a look:

  • Really badTerrible
  • Really goodGreat
  • Very bigHuge
  • Very beautifulGorgeous

Even if you don’t have a telltale really or very preceding an adjective, you can often give your writing more impact by using stronger alternatives:

  • DirtyFilthy
  • TiredExhausted
  • ScaredTerrified
  • HappyThrilled

Even worse than using weak adjectives is using weak adjectives to tell your readers what something isn’t as opposed to telling them what something is:

  • It’s not that good — It’s terrible
  • He’s not a bore — He’s hilarious
  • He’s not very smart — He’s ignorant
Weak adjectives sap the strength from your writing.

Tip #4. Trim Flabby Words and Phrases

(Or: Avoid Verbose Colloquialisms)

Today’s readers have limited time and patience for flabby writing. Their cursors hover over the back button, so say what you mean as concisely as possible before your readers vanish:

  • But the fact of the matter isBut (Avoid flabby colloquial expressions when possible)
  • Editing is absolutely essential — Editing is essential (Absolutely is redundant)
  • You’re going to have to edit your work — You’ll have to edit your work or You must edit your work (Going to and going to have to are flabby expressions)
  • Due to the fact that editing takes time, some people avoid it — Because editing takes time, some people avoid it
  • Every single person should love editing — Every person should love editing (Single is redundant; and shouldn’t married people love editing too? 😉 )

Tip #5. Don’t Pussyfoot Around Your Verbs and Adjectives

(Or: Avoid Nominalization)

Nominalization occurs when a writer uses a weak noun equivalent when a stronger verb or adjective replacement is available. Like expletives, nominals usually introduce other unnecessary words when used.

Count the number of words in the before-and-after examples below, and you will witness how badly nominals weaken your writing:

  • Give your post a proofreadProofread your post (verb form)
  • Alcohol is the cause of hangovers — Alcohol causes hangovers (verb form)
  • The plane’s approach was met with the scramble of emergency crews — The plane approached and emergency crews scrambled. (verb form)
  • He shows signs of carelessness — He is careless (adjective form)
  • She has a high level of intensity — She is intense (adjective form)

Tip #6. Throw Out the Rulebook on Punctuation

(Or: Use the Occasional Comma for Clarity)

The rules around punctuation can be complicated, even for the humble comma.

But do you truly need to know the difference between a serial comma, an Oxford comma, and a Harvard comma to write a great blog post? Of course not. (And it’s a trick question — they’re all the same.)

So my philosophy on commas is simple:

Use commas sparingly if you prefer, but if excluding a comma MAKES YOUR READER STOP READING, add another bleepin’ comma — regardless of what any comma police may say.

Let’s look at an example:

You can ignore editing and people reading your post may not notice but your ideas will get lost.

By not including a comma between editing and and, I read this sentence and asked myself, “I can ignore editing and people reading my post? Really?” Of course, readers work out the intended meaning a moment later, but by that time, they’ve already stalled.

So, regardless of what comma rule I may break by adding a comma to this sentence, as long as my readers don’t get confused and stop reading, I don’t care — and neither should you.

Let’s look at another example that needs a comma for clarity:

One day, when you find success you can pull out your golden pen and write me a thank-you letter.

By not including a comma between success and you, I read this sentence and asked myself, “Is success something you can pull out of a golden pen?”

Regardless of your stance on commas, you ultimately want your readers to keep reading. You want them to continue down your slippery slope of powerful content and transitional phrases all the way to your call to action — without getting jarred from their trance to contemplate commas with their inner editors or a Google search.

Editing tips for commas

Tip #7. Be As Manipulative As Possible

(Or: Use Noun Modifiers Whenever You Can)

You won’t use this technique often, but at least be mindful of it.

When we use two nouns together with the first noun modifying the second, we are using noun modifiers. I like them because they hack the flab from our writing by shortening our sentences. Let’s review some examples:

  • Tips on editing — Editing tips
  • Great advice on how to boost traffic — Great traffic-boosting advice (Traffic-boosting is a compound noun here)
  • Information regarding registration — Registration information

These sentences have prepositions between the noun sets. Whenever you spot this construction, try to implement this noun-modifying technique.

Download a free PDF cheat sheet with seven questions that make it easy to edit your writing like a pro. Click herehttps://blogtraffic.lpages.co/leadbox-1498077769.js.

What’s Your Excuse Now?

These editing tips are not magical, mystical, or complicated. In fact, you could consider them downright boring, plain, and inconsequential.

But applying smart editing rules is what separates your heroes from the masses, catapults them to success, and makes readers say, “I don’t know what it is about their writing, but it’s absolutely fantastic.”

Look at it this way: You’ve expended a ton of effort on SEO, content marketing, networking, and social media promotion, all in the hopes that more people will notice your blog. So when they arrive, shouldn’t your next post blow their socks off too?

And how about your last post and the one before that? (Yes, you can apply these rules to your old posts too!)

Or are you one of those writers who think they write well enough already? Well, you might be surprised by just how many of these crimes against clarity you’re committing.

Open one of your posts right now and see how many of these editing tips you can apply.

Read each word of your post. Is the word an expletive? Is it a weak verb? A weak adjective? Does it represent nominalization or flab or break any of the other rules mentioned in this post?

Run each word of your post through this a checklist of editing tips. You will find something to improve. And your writing will be 100% more powerful as a result.

Because the search for perfection never ends.

And your writing is never too good.

Sure, proofreading and editing take time.

And yes, you’re already busy enough.

But your writing heroes edit, and they land the guest posts, book deals, and exposure you only wish you could.

So, take a break from #amwriting and start #amediting right now.

Your success will thank you.

And so will I.

About the Author: Shane Arthur is a former copyeditor for Jon Morrow’s kick-butt Guest Blogging Certification Program (affiliate link) that teaches writers just like you how to get their work featured on the world’s biggest blogs and online magazines.

The post 7 Editing Tips That’ll Make You a Better Writer (with Examples!) appeared first on Smart Blogger.

Source: https://smartblogger.com/editing-tips/

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Designrr Review + Lifetime Discount – Sexy Ebook Design Made Easy?

Making ebooks sucks! Personally, I hate it! No matter what I’ve done in the past, they always seem to look crap and if you want to make it look amazing you have to find, hire and hope that the $100’s you spend actually give you something that looks half decent. And that’s per ebook! Which […]
from First Stop IM – Lewis Turner – Journey To Millions http://firststopim.com/review-discount-bonus/designrr-review-lifetime-discount-sexy-ebook-design-made-easy/

Source: https://firststopim.tumblr.com/post/179962359418

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The 5 Best Free Blogging Platforms in 2019 (100% Unbiased)

So, you’d like to take blogging for a test drive, eh?

See if you like it or not before ponying up the bucks for a complete self-hosted WordPress setup?

You’ve probably heard you can start a blog for free, and indeed you can. The big question is:

What’s the best free blogging platform right now?

And the answer is… it depends on what you’re trying to accomplish.

In this post, we’ll go over all the different free blogging platforms and give you the pros and cons of each, but first, let’s stop to ponder a more fundamental question:

Do You Even Need a Free Blogging Platform?


The truth:

Blogging can be expensive.

If you’re a seasoned blogger who’s been around the block a time or two, who’s already figured out which ideas work and which don’t, it’s easy to chalk up these costs as the price of doing business. Spend money, make money. Wash, rinse, and repeat.

But what if you’re a beginner learning how to start a blog for the first time? What if you’re someone who hasn’t yet figured what works and what doesn’t?

I’ll let you in on a secret…

You can experiment just as well on a free blogging platform as you can on a self-hosted WordPress setup with all the bells and whistles.

Actually, you can experiment better on a free blogging platform since the learning curve isn’t as steep.

Do you really want to experience the inevitable growing pains of blogging while forking over large piles of cash each month?

Free blogging platforms allow you to confirm your blog topic has potential, spy on the competitors in your niche, and test your ideas without spending any of your hard-earned dough.

So which one is best?

Well, that’s the thing:

No Blogging Platform Is Right for Everyone


Different bloggers have different needs, and different blogging platforms are good for different things. Ultimately, “best” will depend on you and your situation.

That said, each of the platforms we’ll discuss do have common traits (besides being free). Let’s briefly look at them before we dive in:

  • There’s zero maintenance hassle. The burden of maintenance doesn’t fall on you when you use a free blogging platform. No worries about software updates, data backups, or gremlins hacking your server — they’re all handled by someone else.
  • They’re easy to use. To varying degrees, each platform is friendly to beginners. With limited tech savviness, you could get started today.
  • Customization is limited. If you’re a micromanager, take a deep breath: you will not have full control or unlimited options when you use a free blogging platform.

That last one can be both a blessing and a curse.

Once you get serious about blogging, the limited customization options of free platforms will likely hold you back. When you’re just starting though, the limitations will help you focus on what’s important: the aforementioned testing of your ideas.

Alright, enough prologue.

Ready to find out which platform is best for you? Let’s go.

#1. Medium: Best Platform for Simplicity


First up is Medium.

Founded by Evan Williams, one of the founders of Twitter, Medium launched in August 2012 to much fanfare, and it’s grown into a behemoth. According to the New York Times, as of May 2017, Medium was up to 60 million unique visitors each month.

That’s considerably less than WordPress, but Google Trends indicates the tide could be turning:

Worldwide searches for WordPress

The red line in the graphic above represents the number of worldwide searches for “wordpress” during the past five years. The blue line represents the number of searches for “medium.”

Granted, some of those “Medium” searches could be for the TV show of the same name that starred Patricia Arquette from 2005 through 2011.

Nonetheless, it’s growth is impressive.

How Do You Get Started?

Medium offers multiple ways to register.

Don’t want to remember yet another password for yet another account? No problem. Sign up using one of your social media accounts.

Go to Medium.com and click the “Get Started” button:

Join Medium

Choose Google or Facebook. You’ll then be asked to log into your (Google or Facebook) account. Once you authorize Medium to access your account, it will redirect you back to Medium.

That’s it.

To get to your Medium account in the future, all you have to do is click “Sign In” on the homepage and choose the “Sign in with Google” or “Sign in with Facebook” option.

Or if you already have a Twitter account, it’s even easier. Choose the “Sign In” link instead of the “Get Started” button, and you’ll see the following:

Welcome Back to Medium

Click the “Sign in with Twitter” button (even though you haven’t yet signed up).

If you haven’t already logged into Twitter, you’ll be asked to log in and then authorize Medium to access your Twitter account.

Click “Ok,” and you’ll be off to the races.

What Do You Get For $0?

A simple, beautiful WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) blogging platform that embraces minimalism.

After you join, click your avatar (the floating head) in the top-right corner of the page and then, select “New story.”

New Story on Medium

You’ll land on a clean, easy-to-use editor.

Where to insert the title for your post is clearly defined. So, too, is where to begin typing your first sentence.

Title on Medium

Every change you make gets automatically saved in the background. And as you type, you begin to see exactly how your finished post will appear to your readers.

Medium's WYSIWYG editor

That’s the beauty of a WYSIWYG editor.

There’s no guessing, no wondering, and no trial and error. If your post looks good in the editor, it’s going to look good when your post goes live after you click the “Ready to publish?” button.

And speaking of what happens after publishing, there’s something else Medium offers you for the whopping price of zero dollars and zero cents:

The chance to be featured in front of their 60+ million readers.

Write something that wows people and, if it receives enough love from readers (they click a “clap” button to show their approval), it could get featured as one of Medium’s top stories on their app and website…

Medium's Daily Digest

Or in their “Daily Digest” email…

Medium's Daily Digest

Such a spotlight would mean lots of new eyeballs on your content.

Who Should Use Medium?

Anyone. Everyone.

Seriously, though it isn’t perfect, you’ll be hard pressed to find a blogging topic or niche that Medium can’t service.

This is especially true if your niche will be self-improvement or entrepreneurship. Medium puts your content, your message, front and center to your readers.

Why Use Medium?

As Evan Williams once put it: “Medium is not about who you are or whom you know, but about what you have to say.”

Best-selling authors. Entrepreneurs. Writers who stepped away for a season, but are making a comeback. Ministers who have a good sense of humor. Yours truly.

All have things to say, and all have found homes on Medium.

Who Should NOT Use Medium?

Microbloggers (you’d be better off using Instagram — more on that later).

Those who don’t plan on using their blog for writing (photographers, podcasters, etc.).

Anyone who likes to color outside the lines.

Medium is all about the written word. Sure, graphics embedded into Medium posts look great, but in the end, it all comes back to the words.

Medium is best for those who love words. It excels at typography. It uses an abundance of white space so that its text has a perfect canvas. It embraces a minimalistic design so that nothing distracts your readers from your precious — yes, I’m going to repeat it — words.

Look at this example screenshot from a post written by Jeff Goins:

Why You Should NOT Use Medium?

Black text on a white background. A simple, easy-to-read font. It’s a perfect arrangement for Jeff’s strong, unique voice.

Medium offers no glitz, glam, or sparkles. And, unlike WordPress.com (which provides a few basic design themes and customization options), Medium is one size fits all.

What you see is what you get.

If you like what you see, great. If you don’t, there’s not a lot you can do about it.

Final Word on Medium

What are the Pros?

  • Built-in audience of over 60 million readers!
  • Good for all blog types
  • Excellent typography — your blog will look professional
  • More business friendly than WordPress.com

What are the Cons?

  • Little, if any, customization — your blog will look like every other Medium blog
Conclusion: If the written word is your preferred medium, you’ll do very well with Medium. It’s an easy-to-use platform that puts your words front and center, and it’s the platform we most often recommend to beginner bloggers.

But is it the right choice for everyone?

Let’s look at the other options…

#2. WordPress.com: Best Sandbox Platform


Wordpress.com - Best Sandbox Platform

Source: Lorelle on WordPress

Launched in 2005, WordPress.com is a turnkey blogging platform built on the open-source WordPress.org software.

In any given month, over 409 million people will view more than 21 billion pages on WordPress.com’s network of blogs. In September 2018, more than 70 million posts were published and over 52 million blog comments were written.

WordPress.com is quite popular.

In short, WordPress is quite popular.

How Do You Get Started?

Signing up for a free account takes only a few minutes.

Go to WordPress.com and click the “Get Started” button to get to Step 1:

Getting Started with WordPress.com

You’ll need to enter your email address, a username, and a strong password.

Next, enter a few details about your blog for Step 2:

Getting Started with WordPress.com

For Step 3, enter an address for your site:

WordPress.com - Give your site an address

Once you’ve typed something, you’ll get a list of options. Be sure to select the “Free” one.

Finally, in Step 4 you pick a plan. Again, choose the “Free” option.

What Do You Get For $0?

WordPress.com’s “free for life” plan gives you numerous features, including:

  • A free WordPress.com subdomain
  • “Jetpack” essential features
  • Community support
  • Dozens of free themes
WordPress.com - Choose your flavor

Let’s look at those features in more detail:

Free Subdomain

A couple of definitions are probably in order…

First, what’s a domain? See the address bar at the top of your browser? What comes after the “https://” is the domain.

In the case of this site, the domain is smartblogger.com. For my site, it’s beabetterblogger.com.

And in the case of WordPress, the domain is wordpress.com.

So what’s a subdomain? If the domain is the parent, the subdomain is the child. Anything between the “https://” and the domain is a subdomain.

Some examples:

  • alumni.harvard.edu
  • braves.mlb.com
  • finance.yahoo.com

That’s what WordPress is offering with its free subdomain.

So, if I wanted to start “Kevin’s Awesome Blog” on WordPress.com, my subdomain might be something like kevinsawesomeblog. Readers would type kevinsawesomeblog.wordpress.com in their browser to view my site.

It’s not a good look if you’re a business (more on that later), but for a sandbox blog where you’re testing your ideas, it’ll do the trick.

Jetpack Essential Features

WordPress.com doesn’t allow third-party plugins (unless you upgrade to their “business” plan). So, if your buddy tells you about this “amazing” WordPress plugin “you’ve got to try,” you’re out of luck until you upgrade to a self-hosted WordPress site.

However, WordPress.com’s free plan does come with many built-in plugins that offer everything from spam protection to contact forms.

For a complete list of the built-in functionality that WordPress.com offers, check out their plugins page.

Community Support

Possibly WordPress.com’s best feature (beyond the price) is its extensive support system and knowledgebase.

You can find virtually anything you need to know about using their free platform in WordPress.com’s Support section. To call their collection of how-to articles merely “extensive” would be an understatement.

WordPress.com - Select your theme

And if you have a specific question you need an answer for, they have you covered there too.

Visit the WordPress.com forum, search to see if anyone has had your same question, and browse the answers. Can’t find the solution you need? Post the question yourself.

Free Themes

Whereas Medium prevents you from customizing the look of your blog, WordPress.com gives you options.

With “dozens” (93 at the time of this writing) of free themes from which to choose, WordPress.com offers design flexibility that isn’t available with Medium and the other free platforms.

WordPress.com - Select your theme

What we’re saying is…

You get a lot for “free.”

Who Should Use WordPress.com?

WordPress.com is a solid platform for almost every type of blogger.

Do you want to be a self-help blogger? Good news — WordPress.com will meet your needs.

Want to blog on food, pets, or politics? You’re in luck.

Just want to write about life? That’s WordPress.com’s jam, my friend.

Why you should use WordPress.com

Source: The Next Adventure

But WordPress.com is good for more than just blogging. You can also use it for projects and e-commerce stores, which isn’t something the other free platforms can claim.

That gives it an edge over the other options. If you want to blog and do something else with your site, WordPress.com offers flexibility the others do not.

However, it’s not a good fit for everyone…

Who Should NOT Use WordPress.com?

If you want to blog for a business, you should skip WordPress.com and look into Medium or LinkedIn (which we’ll discuss in a moment).

Why?

Because it makes you look like a cheapskate.

Free is wonderful, but using WordPress.com when you’re a business is the equivalent of handing out business cards with the printer’s logo on the back of them.

Doesn’t exactly scream “I’m a professional,” does it?

Also:

If you’re hoping to join a blogging community where your posts have a chance to be discovered by new audiences, you should look elsewhere.

Medium shines a spotlight on the best their members have to offer. If you write something great, it has a chance to be featured and seen by millions.

WordPress.com? Not so much.

Here’s a screenshot of the most-recent “Editors’ Picks” on the official WordPress.com blog:

Why you should NOT use WordPress.com

There might as well be tumbleweeds blowing across the screen.

Final Word on WordPress.com

What are the Pros?

  • Suitable for a variety of blog types
  • Solid support articles and forum
  • More design options than other free platforms
  • Shorter learning curve if you choose to transition to self-hosted WordPress later
  • Good for more than just blogs

What are the Cons?

  • Not ideal for businesses
  • You can’t install third-party themes and plugins
  • Lack of community makes it difficult to build an audience from scratch
  • WordPress advertising and banners may appear next to your content
Conclusion: If you’re a non-business blogger who wants an easy to use platform that gives you some control over customization, WordPress.com is a solid option — especially if you plan to transition to self-hosted WordPress someday.

#3. LinkedIn: Best Platform for Professionals


LinkedIn - Best Platform for Professionals

Source: Darren Rowse

Next up is LinkedIn.

Primarily used for professional networking, LinkedIn also offers a publishing platform. This allows any of its 560 million users (as of September 2018) to write posts that could (potentially) be read by any of the 260 million members who are active in a given month.

(Again, potentially.)

How Do You Get Started?

Go to LinkedIn.com, and you’ll see this window encouraging you to join:

Getting started with LinkedIn

Enter your name, your email, and a strong password. Then click the “Join now” button.

You’ll then be asked to answer a few simple questions:

  • Your country and zip code
  • Whether or not you’re a student (if no, you’ll enter your job title and the name of your employer; if yes, you’ll enter the name of your school and other relevant info)
  • Your reason for joining LinkedIn

It sounds like a lot, but it’s fairly harmless.

Still, if you feel the urge to throw your computer into the dumpster, we won’t blame you.

LinkedIn hurdles

What Do You Get For $0?

A free-to-use publishing platform that’s focused on professionals and business contacts.

If you’re already a LinkedIn member, publishing your content will be easier than WordPress.com, Medium, or any other blogging platform.

Why?

Because it’s built right into your LinkedIn profile. Click the “Write an article” button and start writing.

LinkedIn - Profile

Who Should Use LinkedIn?

Anyone who wants to reach professionals and businesses.

After all, that’s what LinkedIn is all about, right? Nurturing business relationships.

Why you should use LinkedIn

Source: Syed Balkhi

Blogging on LinkedIn helps to cultivate those relationships.

When you write an article, LinkedIn will notify your existing connections. If your article is great (and why wouldn’t it be?), they’ll take notice. Write more and more great articles, and they’ll start to see you as an authority.

And, like with Medium, great content on LinkedIn has a chance to get noticed by those outside your list of connections.

If one of LinkedIn’s editors sees your masterpiece and decides to feature it on one of LinkedIn’s numerous channels, your work gets exposed to a giant audience of interested, like-minded professionals.

Tip: Want to increase the chances a LinkedIn editor will see your article? Share it on Twitter and include “tip @LinkedInEditors” in your tweet.
Sharing LinkedIn posts on Twitter

Who Should NOT Use LinkedIn?

This one is pretty straightforward…

If you aren’t a working professional, or you’re not looking to reach working professionals, you’ll be better off choosing one of the other free platforms.

Final Word on LinkedIn

What are the Pros?

  • Good for professionals and businesses
  • Clean, simple design
  • Easy to use — publishing platform is built right into your LinkedIn profile
  • Built-in audience of like-minded professionals

What are the Cons?

  • Only good for professionals and businesses
  • Very few customization options
  • You can’t schedule posts for future publishing
Conclusion: If you’re looking to write posts that will reach professionals and businesses, LinkedIn is the best free blogging platform available.

#4. Instagram: Best Platform for Visuals


Instagram - Best platform for visuals

A photo and video-sharing platform that’s owned by Facebook, Instagram is one of the largest social media sites in the world.

As of June 2018, Instagram has 1 billion users worldwide. The previous September, they had 800 million users — a growth of 200 million in only nine months.

Even if you subtract everyone who follows a Kardashian or has posted a photo of themselves impersonating a duck, Instagram offers an audience of well over 75 people.

(Kidding. Mostly.)

How Do You Get Started?

On a personal computer, go to Instagram.com, and you’ll see the following:

Getting started with Instagram

Enter your phone number or email address, your name, your desired username, and a strong password. Then click the “Sign up” button.

Or, skip all that and click the “Log in with Facebook” button (assuming you have a Facebook account). If you aren’t already logged in, it will ask you to log into your Facebook account.

You could also do the above using the Instagram app on your mobile device.

What Do You Get For $0?

You get an extremely popular social media platform that’s perfect for microblogging.

What’s microblogging, you ask? Here’s how it works:

You get a great image. Maybe it’s a photo you took on your camera, or perhaps it’s a Creative Commons image that perfectly fits your current shade of melancholy.

You upload the image to Instagram.

And for the caption? You write a short blog post.

Here are a couple examples:

What do you get with Instagram?

In the above screenshot, Sarah Von Bargen cleverly plugs a course she offers in the midst of a tiny, bite-sized post (accompanied by a photo of assorted beverages).

And in the below screenshot, my friend Jaime Buckley (in true Jaime Buckley style), uses Instagram to publish an eye-catching graphic alongside 107 inspirational words on parenting.

That’s microblogging — and it can be done very, very well using Instagram.

Who Should Use Instagram?

Anyone who focuses on highly-visual topics.

Models…

Photographers…

Yoga instructors…

Professional chefs…

Make-up artists, hair stylists, clothing stores…

The list goes on and on.

If you’re someone who can combine great visuals with short posts that pack a punch, you can have great success using Instagram as a microblogging platform.

Who Should NOT Use Instagram?

If your idea of a great image involves pulling out the iPhone 3G you’ve had since 2008 and snapping a photo, Instagram may not be the platform for you.

If you tend to draft novels when you write, Instagram’s 2,200 character limit when writing captions could prove problematic.

Also, if your target audience tends to shy away from mobile devices for any reason, Instagram might not be the best platform to test your ideas. Instagram started life as a mobile app. Mobile is where it shines, and it’s where most of its users call home.

(So, if you’re planning to start a Wilford Brimley fan club, it’s probably best to skip Instagram.)

Final Word on Instagram

What are the Pros?

  • Great for visual topics
  • Ideal platform for microblogging (short posts)
  • Great if your target audience primarily uses mobile devices

What are the Cons?

  • Limited to 2,200 characters
  • Limited to one hyperlink (in your bio)
  • If your target audience isn’t on mobile, it’s less than ideal
Conclusion: Instagram offers a great microblogging platform geared toward visual topics. However, it is not kind to fans of the great Wilford Brimley.

#5. Guest Blogging: Best Platform for Building Your Authority


Sometimes, the best platform for your work is someone else’s popular blog.

Why? Because it can mean instant credibility.

Once your post publishes on a site like Smart Blogger, Forbes, Lifehacker, or Business Insider; people look at you differently.

Yesterday, you were just you — a talented, attractive writer living in obscurity. But then, after having your work published on a well-known website, you’re now seen as a subject matter expert in your field.

What happened? Guest blogging happened.

How Do You Get Started?

There are two approaches to finding sites where you can contribute guest posts.

The first is easy…

Check to see if the blogs you already like to read (that are relevant to your niche, of course) accept guest post submissions.

Browse their “About” or “Start” pages. Try their “Contact” page. Sometimes, they’ll make it easy and have a “Contribute” or “Write for Us” link in their navigation menu or footer.

Guest Blogging - Best platform for building authority

The second approach involves utilizing Google’s and Twitter’s search capability.

Here’s how it works:

Use Google to find the best places to guest blog.

As you can in the screenshot above, you can query a topic (in this example: “blogging”) along with a search phrase (“write for us”).

Google returned a list of results that contained both of those search terms/phrases.

Click on the results that look promising, browse the sites, and see if they’re a good fit. Not all sites will be worth your time. Skip the ones that aren’t. Bookmark the matches.

Then try some other, similar queries:

  • “Blogging” + “guest post”
  • “Blogging” + “contribute”
  • “Blog tips” + “write for us”

And so on.

Replace “blogging” and “blogging tips” with whatever topics you would like to write about.

Searching for guest blogging opportunities on Twitter follows a similar routine:

Search guest blogging opportunities on Twitter.

Type “guest post”, “guest blog post”, “guest article”, etc. in the search box. Twitter will give you a list of tweets where people used those exact phrases.

Every time someone proudly tweets that a guest post they’ve written has been published on someone’s site, as Meera Kothand does in the above screenshot, it’s saved by Twitter for posterity. And it allows you to go on an archeological hunt find it.

Scroll through the results.

Based on the title of the guest post and the site that published it, you will have a good idea whether or not it’s a match for you. Keep scrolling until you find some possibilities. Click the link in the tweet, browse the site, and bookmark it for later if you think it’s a contender.

What Do You Get For $0?

You get the chance to put your words in front of already-existing, relevant audiences.

Jon wasn’t an unknown when he wrote How to Quit Your Job, Move to Paradise and Get Paid to Change the World as a guest post for Darren Rowse’s ProBlogger in 2011, but he was an unknown to me until I discovered the post a few years later.

Gain credibility through guest blogging.

Then everything changed.

It didn’t matter that Jon was already well known by most thanks to his former role at Copyblogger; for me, his ProBlogger post was a gateway drug.

Jon went from being an unknown — a riddle, wrapped in an enigma, smothered in secret sauce — to an authority on blogging I had to read.

That’s the power of guest blogging. Every time you put your words in front of newly targeted audiences; you have the chance to gain fans for life.

Who Should Guest Blog?

Anyone who wants to build their credibility and boost their authority.

How can guest blogging do that, you ask? Let’s use me as an example.

Before I wrote my first guest post for Smart Blogger, the only people who viewed me as an authority on blogging were my wife and maybe one of our cats.

My site, Be A Better Blogger, was less than a year old. After reading a post about quitting your job and moving to paradise written by some guy named Jon, launching my own “blog about blogging” sounded like a great idea.

So that’s what I did. I was on unemployment at the time, and I had a lot of free time on my hands.

And I was doing a great job in such a short period.

The only problem?

I had little credibility. Few saw me as an authority on the topics I was writing.

Then I received an email…

Gain credibility through guest blogging.

Jon’s editor, the talented Glen Long, invited me to write a guest post for Smart Blogger (formerly known as Boost Blog Traffic).

That guest post…

Gain opportunities from guest blogging.

Led to a second opportunity

Gain opportunities from guest blogging.

Which led to a third

Gain opportunities from guest blogging.

Which led to the post you’re reading right now.

It led to opportunities like writing for Syed Balkhi over at OptinMonster.

It led to being asked to provide quotes for dozens of blog posts and articles.

It led to flattering, tongue-placed-firmly-in-cheek emails like this one from James Chartrand:

Guest Blogging legitimizes you as a blogger.

It may not have led to tons of traffic for my website or large crowds chanting my name in the streets, but guest blogging did something that would have taken me considerable time to do on my own:

It legitimized me.

Hey, and speaking of website traffic…

Who Should NOT Guest Blog?

Anyone who wants to build up their own blog.

The reason? It isn’t very efficient.

Brace yourself…

You would better off publishing your masterpiece on your website, even if it isn’t yet popular, rather than on someone else’s — even if their website is very popular.

Please don’t misunderstand: Guest blogging is a great way to gain credibility; however, it isn’t a great way to get traffic to your blog. Not anymore.

Guest blogging may have been a nice traffic source in the past, but those days are long gone.

In his eye-opening article on the topic, Tim Soulo determined guest blogging was a poor return on investment if your goal was to generate traffic to your website.

According to Tim’s survey of over 500 bloggers (which included yours truly):

  • Guest posts from those in the marketing niche earned their authors an average of only 56 website clicks
  • 85% of the authors received fewer than 100 referrals to their sites

That doesn’t mean you should never guest blog. It just means you need to be clear about your reasons for doing so.

Guest blog for credibility, for boosting your authority, and for building your brand.

Don’t guest blog if you’re hoping for traffic. More often than not, you’ll be disappointed.

Oh, and there’s one more group who shouldn’t guest blog:

Those who want to take shortcuts.

There’s both good and bad when you’re putting your words in front of a large audience. If your post teaches them something new, inspires them, or gives them something juicy to chew on; they’ll remember you for it.

And if it sucks? Yeah, they’ll remember you for that too.

Guest blogging is a great way to build your authority, but it’s also a great way to destroy it.

If you’re not willing to put in the time and do the work, guest blogging isn’t for you.

Final Word on Guest Blogging

What are the Pros?

  • Write for interested, targeted audiences
  • Fastest way to build your authority and reputation

What are the Cons?

  • Fastest way to destroy your authority and reputation
  • Not an efficient method for getting traffic to your own website
  • Getting published on quality sites is hard work
  • Time-consuming — may be hard to fit into busy schedules
Conclusion: Guest blogging is a great way to build your authority and get your content in front of new readers. It’s hard work, but it’s worth it. However, it’s unlikely to generate tangible traffic to your blog.

Making the Switch to Self-Hosted WordPress


Technically, there’s one more free option out there…

The WordPress.org software — the same software used by WordPress.com — is free too. It’s free for any and all to use.

However, just like there’s no such thing as a free puppy (once you factor in food, veterinarian bills, and replacing all your shoes after they’ve become chew toys), WordPress.org’s software isn’t actually free once you add up the other expenses.

See, to use the software, you have to install it on your own web host. That costs money.

Is this something you will want to do eventually? Absolutely. Just not right now. Not when you’re getting started.

So how will you know when you’re ready?

Jon recommends making the switch once you reach a 20% outreach success rate.

What does that mean? Let’s break it down:

Step #1: Register for a Free Blog

Sign up for Medium, WordPress.com, or whatever free platform best fits your needs.

Step #2: Follow Jon’s New Method for Starting a Blog

If you haven’t read How to Start a Blog in 2018, do so immediately.

(Well, not immediately. Finish reading this post; leave us a comment; and share it with all your friends, loved ones, and acquaintances. Then, by all means, immediately after saying hi on Twitter, go and read Jon’s excellent tutorial.)

In the post, Jon shows you how to conduct a miniature outreach campaign where you email 10-20 influential bloggers and ask them to share your blog posts.

Once you’ve hit a 20% success rate, you’re ready to make the transition.

Step #3: Switch to Self-Hosted WordPress

Jon’s post also offers guidance for making the switch. When you’re ready to choose a web host, be sure to read WordPress Hosting: A Brutally Honest Guide That’ll Save You Money.

It’ll help you pick the best host for your needs and budget.

What’s the Best Free Blogging Platform for You?


That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it?

You now know why testing your ideas on a free blogging platform when you’re just starting is a good idea. You now know the pros and cons of Medium, WordPress.com, LinkedIn, Instagram, and guest blogging. And, you now know how to get started with each of them.

So which one is it going to be?

If you want my honest opinion, the answer is simple…

The best free blogging platform is whichever one will get you to stop dipping your toes into the water and start diving in head first.

The next blogging masterpiece isn’t going to write itself.

Are you ready?

Then let’s do this thing.

About the Author: Kevin J. 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.

The post The 5 Best Free Blogging Platforms in 2019 (100% Unbiased) appeared first on Smart Blogger.

Source: https://smartblogger.com/blogging-platforms/

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Instant Social Profits 2.0 Review + Bonus – Build Profitable FB Groups

Instant Social Profits (Ewwwwww!!!) What a terrible name, and in fact the sales page isn’t much better… lot’s of hype, income proof screenshots and overall IM BS! BUT! Stick around as once you go past all of that it DOES get better! What Is Instant Social Profits? So let’s dive straight in, you may already […]
from First Stop IM – Lewis Turner – Journey To Millions http://firststopim.com/review-discount-bonus/instant-social-profits-2-0-review-bonus-build-profitable-fb-groups/

Source: https://firststopim.tumblr.com/post/179633074888

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How to Grow a Blog to 20 Million Readers – with Maat van Uitert

Ever wish you could grow your blog to millions of readers?

Do you wonder if it’s even possible?

In this interview, Maat van Uitert shares how she was able to do it.

Listen to the Interview

Maat van Uitert – Her Blogging Story

Maat started her blog back in 2015. Her family had moved to a farm in Southeast Missouri and there weren’t any jobs available.

When she moved, she didn’t know anyone and was looking for something to do.

When she stumbled onto blogging, she thought it would be a fun hobby.

She could use her blog to share what was going on in their lives.

And what was going on in their lives? Chickens.

First Blog Topics

Maat’s First Blog Topics were Focused on Chickens

Chickens were a big part of their lives and were family pets. Talking about Backyard chickens was a natural way to talk about what they were into.

That was the start of her blog, Pampered Chicken Mama.

In the beginning, she didn’t look at it as a business. She didn’t even know it was possible to make money with a blog.

But then she started learning more about blogging. She learned that it was a good income source.

So she went all in and grew it into a huge platform with 20 million readers.

Today, there’s a team behind the blog and it’s a solid business that provides for her family.

Her Content Creation Evolution

When she first started her blog, her content was about farming in general.

But the problem was that nobody cared. It became necessary to refine the topic a bit.

So she started digging into her area of expertise to help her refine. Her area of expertise was

Refine topic

Maat had to refine her topic.

animals, and more specifically, chickens.

So she started creating content about caring for chickens as food producers.

Then she came to a big revelation – people who kept chickens for food aren’t buyers.

But people spend money on their pets. After realizing that, she made the smart decision to focus on people who kept chickens as pets.

She structured her content in that way because she needed to make money to take care of her family.

Growing an audience

Grow an Audience

How to Grow an Audience

When Maat started taking her blog seriously, she started focusing on growth.

She knew she needed an audience, and did what it took to grow hers.

For her blog, it was all about 3 different strategies:

  1. Networking with other bloggers
  2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  3. Learning about Social Media Marketing

How to Network with Other Bloggers

When Maat started her blog, she joined Facebook groups to connect with other bloggers. Especially bloggers in her niche (Homestead).

She would then reach out to these bloggers to network with them.

Those relationships eventually evolved into a support group of bloggers.

This also led to some guest posting opportunities. However, those guest posts didn’t result in a lot of traffic for her.

Search Engine Optimization

SEO

SEO played a big role in increasing her blog audience.

When it comes to SEO, you have to understand keyword research and where your competition is.

Here’s a secret – there are websites that spend a lot of money on SEO research. You can look at what those websites are doing and figure out how to rank based on that.

If you combine that with doing some of your own keyword research, you have a recipe for success.

Two tools to help you are the Google Keyword Planner and SEMRush.

Using those tools, you can find good keywords and analyze your competition.

Once you understand those things, you can develop an editorial calendar targeting the right keywords.

Keywords Google

Optimize your posts for your chosen keywords

Here’s how you can optimize your posts for your chosen keywords:

  • Include your keywords in your title
  • Include your keywords in the URL
  • Include your keywords in your image file names
  • Include your keywords in your image alt tags
  • Include your keywords in the description
  • Include your keywords multiple time in the article
  • Include your keywords in at least one h2 tag

Social Media Marketing

Pinterest Marketing Strategy

She went all in to refine her Pinterest strategy.

Maat noticed that she was getting most of her Social Media traffic from Pinterest.

To double down on what was working, she decided to go all in on Pinterest.

To refine her Pinterest strategy, she constantly analyzed what was working for her.

If a certain kind of content was getting more pins and repins, she would create more of that content.

Her focus was on doing more of what was working.

Why? Because that was driving page views and resulting in more money.

Her recommendation is for you to do the same – focus on what works.

Bringing in the human element

One day, Maat was giving a talk about caring for chickens in Tennessee.

During the talk, people kept asking her how to do things. Her response was sharing things they could do.

shared personal life

She shared more about her personal life.

But they wanted to know how SHE did things. This was her first hint that her audience wanted to know more about her and her family.

A year ago, she started talking about her children having special needs.

When she opened up about that, she started getting personal messages from people all over the world.

They were sharing with her about how they kept chickens because of their special needs children.

That’s when she realized the importance of sharing about her life.

It helps to create community.

Today, she includes a personal story in every email she sends out.

She also includes family stuff in the editorial calendar.

How to get millions of page views

millions of page views.

There’s no magic bullet to get millions of page views.

When asked about how to go from where you are to having a blog with millions of views, here are her tips:

  • Understand that there’s no magic bullet.
  • Listen to people who are smarter than you. It’s important to listen to people who have been there, done that.
  • Invest in your education. She estimates that she has spent $50K in her blogging/business education.

Maat’s Passion for Parents of Special Needs Children

Parents of special needs children need to know that blogging is a viable way to support your family.

When you build an online business, you’re able to take care of your family better. There’s a lot of flexibility if you build your business in a smart way.

The key is to build in a way that you can remove yourself from the business.

Here are Maat’s tips for removing yourself from your business:

  • Develop Standard Operating Procedures for how you handle things in your business.
  • Hire smart people and project managers. They know how to do their jobs and are invested in the business.
  • Treat freelancers very well and pay them very well.
  • Build a team of people who are invested in the outcome of the business.

If you are a parent of special needs children and want to know more about building a business, visit TeamMaat.com

 

The post How to Grow a Blog to 20 Million Readers – with Maat van Uitert appeared first on Become A Blogger by Leslie Samuel.

Source: https://www.becomeablogger.com/26367/grow-a-blog-20-million-readers/

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What to Blog About: The Data-Driven Guide to Choosing Blog Topics

Let’s begin with a simple fact:

Anyone can start a blog, but not anyone can start a blog other people want to read.

In the throes of self-pity, you might be tempted to believe it’s because of the fickleness of human nature, a lack of influential connections, or perhaps the realization of how difficult building an engaged audience actually is.

And you would be partially correct. All those factors do play a part.

But what if I told you the primary cause of failure for bloggers is actually their choice of what to blog about? Not their connections, not their persistence, not their understanding of how blogging actually works, but the accidental, unfortunate decision to write about the wrong blog topics.

You might be skeptical, and rightfully so. The good news is, I’m about to prove that assertion to you right now. Even better, I’ll show you how to uncover exactly what to blog about, increasing your chances of success 100X.

Blog Topic Insights from Studying 13,360 Bloggers

Blog Topic Insights

Over the years, my team and I have mentored 13,360 bloggers in every imaginable niche, language, and style. Everyone from meteoric success stories like Laurel Bern to thousands of students who have struggled to break through the noise.

And we’ve noticed some patterns. Some very interesting patterns.

Data from students shows us that some blog topics get traffic quite easily while others are nearly impossible. For instance, you can blog about square-shaped tomatoes with as much vigor and persistence as you like, and you’re never going to take off, because… nobody cares.

In fact, the range of blog topics where you can expect to both get substantial traffic and monetize is relatively narrow. Some blog topics that seem plausible from the outset, such as freelancing, actually don’t have a prayer of success.

In other words, your choice of what to blog about is critical. If you make the wrong decision, you can execute every traffic and monetization technique flawlessly, and none of it will work, because having the right blog topic is critical.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to finding your blog topic:

Step 1: Choose a Popular Niche

Niche to Interests

Before you write a single post, it’s worth asking yourself a simple question:

Is anyone in your niche getting significant traffic?

If not, what makes you think you can be the first?

For some reason, people are happy to invest hundreds or even thousands of hours into publishing content without stopping to consider if anyone else has ever been successful. Worse, they believe that competition is bad. They take pride in being the first person to write about a topic and believe that’s an opportunity.

It makes me want to cry. Not only is that perspective flat-out wrong, it’s tragic because it leads you to invest time into projects that never had a prayer of success.

So, how can you tell if a niche is popular or not?

The easiest way is to reference a research library like the one we have in Freedom Machine. It does all the heavy lifting for you by giving you a list of successful blogs, their most popular posts, and examples of how they monetize.

Research Library

But let’s say you don’t have that. What can you do?

There’s no exact science to it, but here’s the process I recommend:

Find a List of Popular Blogs in the Niche


This is trickier than it sounds.

Let’s say you’re blogging about how to trade stocks. Does that put you in the “stock trading” niche, the “investing” niche, or something else?

My advice: go to the broadest category that makes sense. In the case of trading stocks, that would actually be the “personal finance” niche, assuming you’re targeting people who want to trade stocks for themselves (more discussion about this later).

From there, just run a simple Google query like “best personal finance blogs”, and chances are, you’ll find several lists to browse through:

Best Personal Finance Blogs Google Query

From there, you just need to dig a little deeper and find out how popular those blogs really are.

Plug the Blogs into Ahrefs to Uncover Their Traffic


One of my favorite things about Ahrefs is it gives you both social and search data. Let’s go through an example, and you’ll see what I mean.

In their Site Explorer, you can type in any URL to pull a report on the site:

Ahrefs Site Explorer

You’ll get back a report with an enormous amount of data. Going back to our trading stocks example, let’s say I found out that Mr. Money Mustache is one of the most popular personal finance sites, so I plug it into Ahrefs. Here’s what comes back:

Mr. Money Mustache - Ahrefs Data

And that’s just a sample. In the left sidebar, there are lots of additional reports where you can go even deeper.

If you want to look at social traffic, for example, you can click the “Top Content” link, and here’s what you get back:

Mr. Money Mustache – Ahrefs Social Traffic

There’s all the content on the site, sorted by total shares. As you can see, the top 10 posts all crossed 2,000 shares, so it looks like Mr. Money Mustache is doing well from a social traffic perspective.

Personally, I like to see at least five sites within the same niche with at least five posts above 1,000 shares. That’s usually enough to start guessing what readers in the space want to read more about. More on this later.

A Word of Warning about Popularity


Stop for a moment and think about another question:

What’s your end goal for building a blog?

I’m guessing it’s not just to get a bunch of traffic and feel good about yourself. You want to turn that traffic into money somehow, right?

Well, some niches are dramatically easier to monetize than others. You can get a lot of traffic writing about the daily activities of celebrities, for example, but that doesn’t mean you’ll make money blogging about it.

Some niches can only be monetized through advertising. A good example is the news. Every time you read an article on a news site, they get paid a few cents for an “impression.” That’s how they survive.

Monetization Through Advertising

If you do the math though, it takes a lot of traffic to start earning enough from advertising to quit your job or do anything meaningful. Like… hundreds of thousands of visitors per month.

For that reason, when my team evaluates popular niches, we also look at how the blogs are monetizing. Ideally, we want to see people selling some type of products and services because those genuinely have the highest ROI on blogs. If all we find are popular sites stuffed with ads, it’s a bad sign.

The bottom line?

Popularity is good, but it’s not enough. When you’re doing research, also pay attention to how blogs in the space are monetizing.

Step 2: Choose a Single Tribe That’s Hungry for Content

When you’re researching a niche, you’ll notice blogs seem to focus on different types of readers.

In the personal finance niche, for example, blogs like Get Rich Slowly and The Simple Dollar focus on fundamentals like secure investments, living frugally, and so on. At the same time, there are other blogs like I Will Teach You to Be Rich and Mr. Money Mustache that focus much more on how to increase your income and improve your lifestyle.

If you feel like those sites are fundamentally different, you’re right. While they both occupy the personal finance niche, they serve different “tribes.”

Here’s what I mean by tribe:

A tribe is a group of people who congregate online around common interests.

In the personal finance space, the two biggest groups are “save and invest” people and “increase your income” people. Neither tribe is right, but they don’t really mix well with one another. You won’t find a blog focusing equally on both tribes.

So, how does this help you?

It allows you to narrow in on your target audience. Here’s what to do:

Name the Tribe for Each Popular Blog in Your Niche


Earlier, we talked about identifying at least five blogs with more than 1,000 shares on at least a few posts. Now let’s go back and figure out which tribe they are talking to.

For instance, here are the popular posts on Mr. Money Mustache:

Popular Blogs in Personal Finance Niche

Do you see the pattern?

Mr. Money Mustache is clearly positioning himself for getting rich and against extreme frugality in some of his most popular posts. In other words, he’s speaking primarily to the “increase your income” people.

So, go through your list of five blogs. Based on their most popular posts, who are they resonating with? If it’s not immediately clear, here’s how to figure it out:

  1. Skim through their popular posts for patterns.
  2. Read at least a few of them to get a better idea of their philosophy.
  3. Based on what you’ve learned, assign the tribe a name.

When you’re finished, you should have a pretty good idea about who’s interested in reading what. From there, you’re ready to…

Choose the Tribe That’s the Best Fit for You


Not all decisions can be made with spreadsheets and numbers. To succeed at blogging, you also need to consider what you enjoy talking about. The sweet spot is the overlap between your interests and everyone else’s:

Zone of Magic

For instance, let’s say all of the blogs you studied were suddenly interested in having you take over as Editor-In-Chief. Ask yourself…

  1. Based on your own approach and philosophy, which tribe would be most excited to have you as their leader?
  2. Which tribe do you feel like you could help grow and achieve their objectives?

In other words, you’re looking for an existing blog and tribe to serve as a model for what you want to build. It’s already built a following, so it’s clearly viable, and you feel like you could also contribute in a meaningful way.

That’s what I call the Zone of Magic. Ideally, it’s where you spend all your time.

What to Do It If You Don’t like Your Options


Before we move on, there’s one important question we need to address:

What if you’re not a good match for any of the existing tribes in your niche?

Approximately 60% of the students who go through our flagship course, Freedom Machine, find themselves in this exact situation. They have zero interest in writing about any of the topics they find on other popular sites in their niche. Even worse, they feel like those bloggers and their tribes just “don’t get it.”

If you find yourself in that situation, here’s a little tough love for you:

If there’s not an existing tribe who’s clearly interested in the same things you are, and you start a blog anyway, you’re essentially telling people they are wrong and need to change the way they think. In general, people don’t respond well to this. Not only will they refuse to share your posts or buy your products, but they might send you some hate mail as well.

The better, safer, and ultimately much more rewarding approach?

Go back to the drawing board and find a tribe whose interests align with yours. Instead of fighting them, just figure out where they want to go and show them how to get there.

Here’s how…

Step 3: Write About Their Proven Interests

Which would you rather write about: topics you think your readers might like, or ones you know will get traffic, because you have proof of those topics being popular in the past?

Obviously, it’s better to have the proof, right? You might as well invest your time where you have the best chances of success.

In this section, I’ll show you how to uncover those proven interests, as well as put your own spin on them. Let’s jump in.

Drill Deeper into the Site Stats


Earlier, we used Ahrefs to examine the most shared posts on Mr. Money Mustache. Let’s go back to that:

Drill Deeper into Site Stats

In general, the highest-quality shares are the ones from Facebook, so I tend to sort posts that way instead of by overall shares. Save these for later by running a custom export of the first 20 rows and saving it to your computer.

Highest Quality Shares

The next step is to dig into the keywords driving the most search engine traffic. You can find those by clicking on “Organic keywords” in the left sidebar.

Dig into the Keywords

The default sorting by traffic is fine, but if you’re a beginning blogger, I would recommend eliminating all keywords with a keyword difficulty (KD) over 40. Again, do a custom export of the first 20 rows and save it to your computer.

Eliminate Difficult Keywords

You should go through the same process for all the most popular sites serving your tribe. By the time you’re finished, you’ll have a list of dozens or maybe hundreds of posts proven to be popular with your audience.

Choose Posts Where You Can Add Value


So… now you have a big list of popular posts on other sites serving your tribe. That’s obviously useful information, but here’s the big question:

How do you use that information without sounding like a copycat?

You didn’t get into this to regurgitate the ideas of other writers. You want to publish content that’s uniquely you.

Here’s how:

Copy the topic, not the advice.

For instance, one of Mr. Money Mustache’s most popular posts is Getting Rich: From Zero to Hero in One Blog Post. The topic is getting rich, and the advice is to live simply and frugally on half of what you make.

If I were to write a post on the same topic, I would talk about getting a remote job where you can live in a cheaper country like Mexico but continue making US dollars. In other words, I would give completely different advice on the same topic, and I would interweave my own story of moving to Mexico into it.

I’d also choose a different headline like, “How I Became a Millionaire from My Wheelchair.” Again, it’s the same topic, but an entirely unique headline. No one would accuse me of being a copycat.

You can follow the same approach with the most popular topics in your space. Scan through the list of posts you exported from Ahrefs and choose the ones where you can write about the same topic but give your own unique advice.

Write a Better Version of That Post


Okay, you’re almost ready to write your post. Finally!

Before you start scribbling down your thoughts, consider two final questions:

  1. What made the post you studied on the topic popular?
  2. What can you do to create an even better post?

It’s like the old saying, “Stand on the shoulders of giants.” When you find a popular posts model, you always want to know why it worked, and you want a good idea of how to improve upon it.

At some point, I’ll write a post detailing exactly how to do that, but here’s the short version. There are five ways to improve upon any post, and they all begin with the letter ‘D’:

  • Detail: make your post more detailed (or comprehensive).
  • Design: include an infographic or organize your points in a more useful way.
  • Data: include unique stats or examples to back up your points.
  • Drama: amp up the emotion by infusing your post with personality and stories.
  • Distinctions: give advice based on your unique perspective as an expert.

For instance, the Getting Rich post on Mr. Money Mustache is pretty short and lacks a lot of detail, so if I wanted to compete, I would probably write a much more comprehensive manual for getting rich, clocking in at 3000+ words. I might also add in my personal story, giving it extra drama.

Regardless of which method you choose, here’s the bottom line:

Your goal is to write the best post ever published on a proven, familiar topic.

Is it easy?

Hell no. Usually, it’s a lot of work.

But this is how you win.

  • You stop writing about whatever you want and limit yourself to proven topics.
  • You study the competition.
  • You create content so much better than theirs, that it makes them want to call their mommy.

‘nough said.

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 What to Blog About: The Data-Driven Guide to Choosing Blog Topics appeared first on Smart Blogger.

Source: https://smartblogger.com/what-to-blog-about/