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How to increase conversion rate on your blog

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest post is from Giles Thomas   – Enjoy! 

featured-imageDo you often ask yourself:

How do I get more people to sign up to my blog?

Why is no one joining our email list?

Generating leads from your blog is no easy task.

It can be difficult to keep writing content when your conversion rate is low, 1% or even less.

Through testing and trial and error we came up with a technique that not only makes your visitors happy but also increases your conversions rates.

Convert more visitors to email subscribers using the Content Cliffhanger Technique

I struggled with conversion rate just like you, I had a pretty ok conversion rate of 3% until I discovered a fairly unknown marketing technique.

The Content Cliffhanger Technique

In three easy steps I went from 3% to a site-wide conversion rate of 22.46%!

First I’ll explain the psychology behind the technique then I’ll show you how.

Information Loops

Just like in a tv series or film, when it comes to blog conversions cliffhangers work like a charm!

This is due to something called the ‘Zeigarnik effect’.

It is when a piece of information starts but does not finish, our brains then keeps hold of the information, pushing it into our mind time and time again until the information is complete.

It seems to be human nature to finish what we start and if it’s not finished, we can’t forget it.

Bluma Zeigarnik a Russian scientist learned the phenomenon when her tutor Kurt Lewis noticed something very interesting about waiters and waitresses.

After observing them when waiting tables, they realised the waiters had much better recollection of unpaid orders than paid ones.

To the point that, when the table left the restaurant and closed the cheque the staff member would forget their order all together.

The information loop stayed open in the persons mind until the table was complete, because the narrative of that table was not complete.

Get more emails with Zeigarnik’s Findings

We can leverage this technique in our blogs to help us collect emails.

Start a narrative or information loop in the blog post and ask for an email opt-in from the visitor to complete the loop. The ending to the narrative.

The way you do this is simple:

1. Write about niche topics

For example ‘The 6 Most Effective Endurance Exercises’.

In the post start an information loop, the beginning of your narrative, the set up for your cliffhanger.

In this example they talk about 3 of the 6 best ways their readers can improve their abs.

6-best-workouts

They then offer a bonus content area to email subscribers with videos showing in detail how to do all 6 exercises.

Your bonus content could be a PDF, video or even a swipe file.

2. With the Content Cliffhanger plugin give away free bonus content

Create a download for the post that shows the reader in video form all 6 exercises in detail.

This means the reader can close the information loop by downloading the free content.

I created a free wordpress plugin to enable you to easily offer free downloads.

content-cliffhanger

 

3. Record the difference in your email opt-in rate before.

I cannot promise you exact opt in rates, nothing in conversions is a hard and fast rule. There are no one size fits all fixes. But I can say from my experience I have yet to see this make an improvement to a blogs conversion rate.

The difference with this plugin and most others is that you can customize the form and its contents for every post or page. So you can have free downloads that are always aligned with your pages content.

That is the secret behind the technique, when the users search intent is aligned with the opt-in offer, you see much higher conversion rates. Because the giveaway is aligned with what they originally searched for on google.

Start an idea in your blog post but finish it in the download, like a cliffhanger in a good tv series.

People then want to close the information gap or loop, increasing the likelihood of conversion.

This works much better than generic opt-ins like, ‘Join our newsletter’.

You can have increase your blogs conversion rate too…

…but first you must take action on what you learned in this post.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. What techniques are you using to get more conversions? What do you offer your customers when asking them to opt-in?

Talk to you soon below!

giles-thomasDownload the free 65 page Guide to List Building, download the guide here. Giles Thomas writes about Content Marketing and Conversion Rate Optimization at Acquireconvert.com. He is also the founder of  the holistic design agency Whole Design Studios.

 

12 Simple Ways to Improve your Small Business Blog

 It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest post is from Steff Green – Enjoy!

angry man with computer

photo credit: Anton

As a business owner, you’re always keen to try new things. So when you heard that blogging was a great way to improve website traffic and brand awareness, you thought you’d give it a go.

Sadly your business blog hasn’t produced the results you wanted. Hardly anyone is visiting, no one is commenting, and you are losing the motivation to keep up with your regular posts. So what do you do if your blog is tired, stagnant, or you feel as if the content isn’t reaching the right audience?

Before you give up on your blog, here are 12 tips to kickstart your stagnant business blog and ensure all your hard work pays off:

  1. Have you gotten started on your blog? If you’ve been thinking about blogging for your business more than you’ve actually been blogging about your business, it’s time to get started. I love the free get started blogging guide at First Site Guide for simple, image-based direction for getting your blog up-and-running.
  2. Are you using social media to help grow your audience and promote your blog content? Perhaps it’s time you started. Don’t head straight for Facebook, though – think about where your audience is most likely to hang out and what they might be interested in. Pinterest and Instagram are growing social sites that love visual content and how-to tutorials.
  3. If you’re writing product tutorials (or any kind of tutorial), include images, videos, diagrams and other visual content. Not only is your piece more likely to be useful if it contains visual guides, but the images themselves will be shared on social media, expanding your reach.
  4. Ditch the “blog” moniker. Many people don’t actually read “blogs” and will assume your blog content is all company and product updates, even if you’re writing fun and useful articles. Call your blog tab “Articles” or “How-to guides” instead.
  5. With every Google update, guest blogging is becoming an obsolete form of generating backlinks. However, guest blogging is still a powerful way to grow your audience, as long as you aim for quality over quantity. Write a post on a lifestyle blog related to your industry; for example, if you’re a tourism company, create some content for a travel blog.
  6. Do you have an old blog post that still pulls in decent traffic? Update the post with new information and better images, tighten up the prose, and republish it with a strong call-to-action.
  7. Use an editorial calendar to plan your posts weeks and months in advance. This editorial calendar should be part of your company’s marketing calendar because you’ll need to plan content around your various campaigns.
  8. Create a top-ten list associated with your industry or product. For example, if you make and sell scented candles, compile a list of the top ten scents for getting rid of a bad mood.
  9. You don’t have to “create” all your content yourself – compile posts of “curated” images, quotes and videos related to a single subject. As long as you attribute all the creators, you can republish their content and create a picture resource for your readers. For example, if you’re an interior designer, you could compile a post of 25 beautiful rustic kitchen designs to help your clients dream up ideas for their kitchen.
  10. Create a playlist in Spotify for an occasion associated with your business. For example, if you’re a wedding planner, you could create a romantic wedding playlist. Publish this list on your blog and share it on other music websites.
  11. Create a list of popular books in your industry. Choose books by popular industry leaders, and focus on interesting titles that cover a range of abilities. For example, if you were a fashion designer, you might include books on sewing techniques, on the fashion industry, and biographies of famous designers. You could even use Amazon affiliate links to make a bit of extra money when someone clicks through to buy a book.
  12. Have fun! Blogging for your business is a lot better than researching keywords for search, or sending out hundreds of press releases in the hope of getting coverage. Embrace it!

Do you have a business blog that just isn’t working? How are you going to turn things around?

author pictureSteff is the author, blogger and heavy metal maiden behind steffmetal.com, a blog about loud music, alternative subcultures and her adventures living off-grid in rural New Zealand. Steff writes dark fantasy fiction for adults; her latest book, The Sunken, a dark steampunk fantasy set in Georgian London, is now available on Amazon. Sign up for her author newsletter and receive a FREE short story.

 

30 Tips for Great Digital Marketing

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest post is from Tara Banda – Enjoy!

Tips-great-digital-marketing-ducttapemarketingA man walks into a bar/restaurant/hotel/car repair shop. Chances are, he found it online. That’s because today’s consumers, 80% according to Google, rely more on the Web to find and choose local businesses.

So how do you make sure that these consumers find and choose your local business? By using a mix of these four strategies for great digital marketing: search advertising, webSite, search engine optimization, and social media. Here are 30 tips to get you going.

 

Search Advertising Tips

1. Identify and follow the rules of Bing, Yahoo!, and Google search ads before running your campaign as all have slightly different formats.

2. Optimize the URL displayed in your search ad so that it’s relevant to the product or service you are promoting.

3. Include target keywords in your headlines and copy that either match or closely match the keywords you bid on in order to boost the chance that your ad appears for those terms.

4. Write strong calls to action for your search ads that directly state what you want consumers to do. For example “Contact for a Free Estimate” or “Get a 50% Coupon.”

5. When using a click-to-call extension, consider using a tracking number so that you can identify and measure which ads perform the best.

6. Don’t spend precious text ad character count on your business name. It should already be in your optimized URL.

7. Do capitalize the first letter of major words in your ad. Don’t (read “NEVER”) go crazy with all caps.

8. Should you use correct punctuation in text ads? Yes! It just makes good sense.

9. Using trademarks in text ad copy is a no-no unless, of course, you own them. You can, however, bid on terms relevant to your business.

10. DUUA (don’t use unknown abbreviations). While it could pique the interest of a few searchers, why take that chance?

Website Tips

11. If you haven’t updated your website since 2010, do it now. A clean, modern design is key in digital marketing, plus it ensures that you meet today’s best practices and Web standards.

12. Make your website mobile-friendly! The 2014 Local Search Study results indicate that nearly 80% of local mobile searches end in a purchase. This is a big audience you shouldn’t ignore.

13. Accurately complete your site’s metadata (title tags, descriptions, alt text, etc.). Not doing so can negatively impact your visibility on SERPs.

14. A business blog is a winning addition to your website. It can help boost your site’s SEO, set you apart from the competition, and demonstrate your knowledge and expertise. It’s a win-win situation.

15. In order to get found by local consumers, you need to optimize your site with local information like your address and geo-targeted keywords.

Search Engine Optimization

16. Having a business blog is useless if you don’t regularly create and promote original and sharable content to help prove relevance and therefore rank in search engines.

17. Enable share buttons on your blog so that readers can easily post your content to their social media pages and drive visitors back to your website.

18. Optimize your Google+ Local page to help your business name, phone number, location, and even opening hours show up in Google Maps and Google’s local search results.

19. Much like Google+ Local, Yelp is platform to complete and post information about your business. More importantly, it helps feed Apple Maps with local business results.

20. Include geo-specific keywords, such as your city, neighborhood, and zip codes, in your website, blog, and even social media copy to appear in search results for these terms.

19. Don’t only promote blog posts once. Repurpose them as engaging images, quotes, or questions in order to generate additional views, shares, and subject relativity.

21. Getting backlinks from influencers and other industry-related websites that have already established credibility are great for building your own authority and driving more visits back to your site.

23. Enable Google Authorship to help build your personal brand. By establishing yourself as a subject matter expert, you can share your own content, generate more shares, and drive more website visits.

22. Since positive reviews rank in search engine results, generate positive reviews with high rankings to help persuade consumers to choose your business.

26. Once you receive positive reviews, promote them on your website and social media sites so that consumers who search for you business on social sites or local directories see the great things others say about your business.

25. Images can help sell your business, and they also rank in search engines. Don’t name your images “photo.jpg,” and instead name them more descriptively, add alt text, or captions on your website to help images show up in search results.

Social Media

27. Think, review, and review again before you make a social media post or comment. The ability to easily take screenshots makes it difficult to take back a social media mistake.

28. Since your employees also represent your brand, both in person and online, implement a social media policy that at the least permits them from sharing internal information.

29. Before you jump on a trending hashtag, make sure you know the origin of it. Not doing so can potentially cause social media regrets.

30. Like it or not, you “share” your brand on social media. And since consumers can start good and bad conversations about you, make sure to set up alerts that notify you of new mentions, comments, or messages.

Tara Banda Duct Tape MarketingTara Banda is a brand-builder, copywriter, and social media marketer in Dallas, TX. She has worked with businesses of all sizes — from Fortune 500 companies to local non-profits to startups — to define their voice, promote their brand online through digital marketing, and build lasting relationships with fans and advocates.  Tara is a currently a Content Marketing Manager at ReachLocal. In her spare time, she is obsessed with learning recipes for international cuisines. You can learn more about her on LinkedIn or Twitter.

 

How to Make Content the Voice of Strategy

I talk about marketing strategy a lot. It is for me the most important element when it comes to building a long-term, sustainable marketing system.

content strategy

photo credit: Giandomenico Ricci via photopin cc

Your strategy informs every marketing decision. It must be considered when you decide what products you will offer, how you will serve your customers, what your packaging looks like, what your followup entails and how you generate leads.

Today, the common thread in almost every element of delivering on strategy is content. Content is how you move people from know to like to trust. Content is how you give your marketing strategy a voice and, because of that, you must take a strategic and systematic approach to how your content is developed.

I know I’ve said this before and I know I’ll say it again: Waking up every morning and deciding what you are going to write on your blog does not scale.

Below is a refresher of my approach to developing and implementing a content plan with your overall business objectives and strategy in mind. I’ve updated the calendar element with my plan for 2014.

A Total Content SystemTM approach allows you to plan, delegate, curate, create, collaborate, repurpose and generally get far more out of every piece of content you produce. Once your system is in place it will build momentum with each passing month and begin to multiply in value to your organization.

The Total Content System goes like this:

  • Create a list of monthly Foundational Content Themes
  • Develop your Content Delivery Platform
  • Integrate your content with Core Business Objectives

Foundational Content Themes

Either through your own knowledge or by using a keyword tool like MOZ or Wordtracker, develop a list of core content topics and assign one to each month for the next 12 months.

Each theme should be a substantial topic related to your business or industry and represent an important keyword search term. It might be helpful to think about it like a book. Each month might represent a chapter in what will ultimately make up an important body of work by the end of this year.

You can also designate terms that you know you would like to rank higher for, but currently have little or no content that leads people online or off to you.

I’ll use my organization as an example to help illustrate this point. My business and model may be significantly different than yours, but examples always seem to help fill in the blanks for people.

My editorial themes for 2014:

  • January – Planning and organizational development
  • February – Offline marketing
  • March – Content marketing
  • April – Inbound selling
  • May – Outbound marketing
  • June – Marketing automation
  • July – Marketing strategy
  • August – Mobile marketing
  • September – Networking/Referrals
  • October – Community practices
  • November – Social media
  • December – Personal growth

These are all topics that I believe my community is interested in learning more about and that I personally have an interest in developing more content around. (I’m working on a sales book and will be heavy into daily writing on that project in March – all content has a purpose!)

Develop your Content Delivery Platform

Now that I have my list of foundational themes I can organize my Content Delivery Platform components accordingly. Again, this is my model, but many of these elements work for any kind of business and should be considered in your business.

  • Newsletter – I put out a weekly email newsletter. I will add themed content to each issue either through some of my own writing or by finding other people’s content related to the theme and highlighting it.
  • Blog posts – I write a daily blog post and may schedule a post related to the theme on a weekly basis. This still gives me lots of room on topics but helps me focus both from a content and SEO standpoint.
  • Guest posts – We currently run one guest post a week and use our monthly theme to suggest topics to potential guests. (If you would like to submit a guest post see the themes above for guidance and submit your idea here.)
  • Podcast guests – I produce a weekly audio podcast and the monthly theme really gives me guidance in lining up topic experts well in advance.
  • PR Pitches – We use our themes to promote stories and pitches to the media.
  • Sponsored pitches – We receive invitations to write sponsored content and conduct sponsored webinars and use our theme to guide these pitches. We also reach out to organizations that might have a special interest in a particular month’s theme with sponsor opportunities.
  • Webinars – Since we are creating all this rich, topic specific content we host monthly online seminars to deliver the content in a new form.
  • eBook – People really seem to love eBooks and they are an essential element in our list building efforts. Most themes lend themselves nicely to an eBook compilation.
  • Curate a Scoop.it topic – As we are doing the research and preparing all of the ideas for our own content, we bookmark tons of other people’s content, books, experts, tools and the like related to our theme and save the entire collection as a curated topic on Scoop.it. This allows us to attract even more readers and creates a nice library to draw from.
  • Create a content package – The final step is to take all of this content from each month and create a membership or community offering that would allow people interested in the monthly topic to access the entire package in one tidy resource. One of the things I’ve discovered over the years is that while so much content is free and available, people will pay for content that is packaged and delivered in the way they want it. Figure that piece out and you’ll really make your content efforts pay directly.

Integrate your content with Core Business Objectives

Okay, so now you’ve got your themes plotted out and you’ve got a plan for creating, filtering and aggregating all manner and form of content into your delivery system. It’s time map your content plan to your core business objectives.

This step allows you to better understand how to get return on your content investment and how much you should actually invest in creating a certain form or package of content.

For example, if one of your stated annual objectives is to dramatically increase the sale of information products, you would produce content with product creation in mind. Or, if one of your stated objectives for the year is to significantly increase your subscriber list, you would focus on producing, delivering and sharing content that attracts email capture, links and strategic partnering.

One of the most important aspects of a Total Content System plan is that it changes the lens you use to view all the information that comes at you all day long. When you know what your theme is this month and next month all of a sudden books, tools, articles and conversations take on new meaning and seem to somehow organize themselves for the benefit of your ongoing, long-term approach.

3 Tips for Creating a Strong Connection between Audience and Content

It is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is Steve Giangola – Enjoy!

Great content isn’t only well written but also makes a vital connection with current or potential clients. Consider the below three ways to boost the link between your company’s self presentation and your target audience.

1. Don’t be afraid to be informal

Although professionalism is always key, quality content doesn’t have to feel clinical. Make a joke, relate to readers’ experiences, and be casual as well as friendly while remembering you are representing a business that thrives on the respect and trust of a loyal base.

This means explicit references to the debaucherous antics of your past weekend are probably not okay, but comments about people enjoying themselves outside the confines of their respective industries are permissible.

Nobody wants to read content that feels like it was generated by a robot, so don’t be afraid to inject personality while adhering to the goals and image of a specific brand.

2. Create a sense of community

Clients enjoy original content because they find it useful, informative, and entertaining. They should also feel that it is being written by people that understand them. Of course there are many facets to any individual, but, as English poet John Donne succinctly put it, “no man [or woman] is an island.” Look for the common bonds between a business and its clients that go beyond services rendered. Here the type of valuable relationships that benefit both parties are formed.

Ideally, through social media and comment sections, a similar relationship will be forged between your clients, which will, in turn, help build a community. When clients begin to rely on your content and know their experiences are shared, they start vocalizing their ideas and interacting with others. Once this process is initiated, it is not only the content but also a positive and active community that will keep clients engaged.

3. Connect to other businesses

It’s a big world, and each business has a significant internet presence. This can be used to the advantage of content marketing strategies. Forging links with similarly minded associations, while avoiding advertising direct competitors, is integral to growing an audience.

Businesses can establish mutually beneficial relationships by sharing published content that gains exposure on two platforms and thus expands an audience’s awareness of business generated content. Even if it means temporarily sending traffic outward, cross pollination between blogs and social media accounts is highly beneficial. A network of great content will always be valuable to both businesses and clients.

For further tips, check out How to Convey Your Passion in Prose and 8 Tools for Finding the Content People Really Want at the Prose Media blog.

Steve GiangolaSteve Giangola is a staff member at Prose Media, a writing service that creates high quality content for brands. Solutions include blog posts, social media updates, website copy, newsletters, white papers, and emails.

How Great Business Writing Gets Done Quickly

Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is Steve Aedy – Enjoy!

5780578430_fb473e636bGreat writers know a thing or two about how great writing is done. After all, that’s their job. For you, the business owner or marketer who needs to do some writing, it’s helpful to know what counts for your particular needs.

I Think, Therefore I Have a Headache

Blogging for business is not like writing a great novel. It’s about getting to the point in as few words as possible. That means thinking, which is painful and annoying, but you have to do it.

“I have only made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter.” (Letter 16, 1657) – Blaise Pascal, The Provincial Letters

KISS: Keep It Short & Simple

Blog posts are “quick reads” and are often skimmed for key points by people who are very busy. Respect that fact. Format your work with headings and bullet points. Keep your word count at or below 500 words. This is truly a case of “less is more”.

“Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time is wasted.” – Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Ham and Eggs Beats Eggs Benedict

Great authors know that simple is better, fewer words beat lengthy prose and it’s more important to not be misunderstood than to try and make yourself understood with a lengthy explanation.

“To write well, express yourself like the common people, but think like a wise man.” – Aristotle

“Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.” –  George Orwell

“The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.” – Thomas Jefferson

Ready, Fire, Aim

A business blog post has a specific target to hit. That target doesn’t always have to be a sales pitch or an attempt at customer retention. Sometimes, that post is just a statement of how your business does business or some other non-sales theme. The point is, write your blog post freely, then edit it to conform to your main point, which you discovered while writing it.

“I write to find out what I’m talking about.” – Edward Albee

“How do I know what I think until I see what I say?” – E.M. Forster

Procrastinate Later…

This brings you to the most important point: write. Procrastination never helps, when it comes to writing. Despite the fact that what you start out with is less than perfect, write. Put down everything you can, then go back and cut out the fluff.

“Don’t get it right – get it WRITTEN!” – Lee Child

The Benefits of “Quick and Dirty”

Avoid the trap of “perfection”. Yes, you do want what you write to be good, but the beguiling temptation to craft exceptional prose is a time waster. This is NOT a novel, nor an excerpt thereof. Make it good and stop.

“Don’t try to be different. Just be good. To be good is different enough.” – Arthur Freed

Summing Up

The Marine Corps of the United States has a proven method of getting a point across to recruits:

  1. I’m gonna tell ya what I’m gonna tell ya.
  2. I’m gonna tell ya.
  3. I’m gonna tell ya what I told ya.

Use this formula when crafting a blog post. After all, I told ya I was gonna tell ya what counts, right?

aedyAbout the Author:

The article was written by Steve Aedy, who is a staff writer for Fresh Essays – a company that provides online paper writing service and editing help. He likes to write on social media, small business and education related topics. Follow him on Google+.

3 Tips for Starting a Small Business Blog

Thursday is guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest is from Collis Ta’eed – Enjoy!

Image credit: Shane Pope

In the age of social media, blogging is even more important as a small business marketing weapon and if anything, it has been enhanced by social media. A blog can establish you as an expert, open you up to organic search traffic, help you grow an audience, and be a part of a coherent marketing plan for your business, but getting started can be tricky. What do you write about? How frequently should you write? What if nothing happens?

The truth is that starting a blog for your small business is like anything else.  It takes time, effort, practice and a bit of patience. It also can be very achievable for any business looking to create a web presence if done correctly.  Here are three tips to help you get started:

1. Make it genuinely useful

Ironically the best way to make your blog a marketing weapon is to first forget about everything else and make the blog genuinely awesome in its own right. If you can build a blog with posts that are just plain interesting, relevant, educational, insightful, inspiring, or useful, then you are off to a great start. It’s only after you have established the blog as a valuable tool that you can truly consider its marketing impact.

To create a useful blog, you have to put yourself in your reader’s shoes. Since this is a small business blog, the reader could potentially be interested in your business. Ask yourself what those readers would find useful and valuable? Let’s look at some examples.

Consider a small niche electrical store selling energy efficient products. For a business like that, I would expect a blog that offers tips on saving money off energy bills, choosing a great energy provider and how-to articles about repairing broken electrical products.

What type of blog does a hairdressing salon building up a local presence create? This blog might have posts about hair care, tips for creating different hair-do’s out of a single haircut and fashionable celebrity hairstyles.

You’re probably seeing a trend here, but let’s look at one more example. What about a copywriter looking to do corporate work? A blog for a copywriter might have posts about top faux-pas that you can accidentally create, how to map out all the copy needs a small business might have and how copy can affect a business promotion’s success.

The underlying principle is to think about valuable information that you can offer readers related to your business. Creating content like this is also one of the best ways to get ranked for search results, especially when combined with good on page SEO.

2. Target Social Media

As a new small business blog with good content, your biggest challenge is building an audience. Having a steady baseline audience is important because it allows you to gain momentum around social sharing, comments and interaction, and links. These things all feed off each other and you can gradually build from there.

But how do you get the initial audience? There are lots of different ways depending on the business, but for a purely online solution assuming no prior audience base, you can’t beat social media. The beauty of social media is it allows you to tap into existing audience groups, but it’s not necessarily easy, and there are a few things you will need.

After establishing great content, the next thing you need to do is target the right social media sites and this depends entirely on the business/content niche you are in. Let’s look back at our previous examples.

For our energy saving blog, I would look at Reddit as a good place to target. There are channels on Reddit with strong environmentally conscious audiences, perfect for tips on energy. There are also DIY type channels which might be good for how-to topics, especially if they are a bit geeky/tech.

For our hair dressing blog, I would suggest Pinterest, and would aim to get some very image heavy posts prepared. Pinterest has the right audience mix for fashion and hair, and it’s a great place to share imagery, tips, and links.

For the copywriter blog I’d look at LinkedIn. Social sharing on LinkedIn has been growing and there are more and more features to help you build followers. For a blog aimed at business needs, LinkedIn is the perfect place to create an audience.

Of course sharing content on social media is almost an endeavor in itself. The keys are to identify the right social media site, spend time actively using the site apart from trying to spread your own blog content, build up personal networks, and then slowly and occasionally introduce your own content.

3. Keep At It

The best advice I ever got in blogging was to think of it as a marathon, not a sprint. Like most everything in life, you will get better and more effective with time and effort. When I first started out blogging, I began where everyone does – with no audience, no network, no experience, and writing skills that were in need of practice.

I spent hours every day on my blog for months, and during that time I would network with other bloggers, read about blogging, engage with social media sites in every niche I could find, experiment with different post types and techniques, and do everything I could think of to find readers.

In time I went from dozens of page views a day to hundreds, and eventually much, much bigger. Today my business runs a blog with millions of readers, but I still think the biggest accomplishment I ever had in blogging was getting from zero readers to the first hundred regular visitors.

If you put in the time, effort, energy and determination, your blog will eventually blossom and you will reap the rewards!

As cofounder and CEO, Collis Ta’eed leads Envato, one of the world’s most thriving digital marketplaces and creative educational blog networks. Envato is recognized for the educational Tuts+ and Tuts+ Premium networks as well the ThemeForest Marketplace, but oversees more than 30 sub-brands, where close to 2 million people buy and sell digital assets from site themes to stock media, or hone their creative skills.

The Impact of Better Design

I’ve been investing in better design lately and it’s making me money.

But, what is better design?

Better design

photo credit: jm3

For some that term might simply mean better visual appeal, more pleasing to the eye or stylish.

To me it means better communication.

The primary thing I have to offer is information and better design allows me to communicate that information more effectively and more profitably.

I’m not suggesting that aesthetics of better design aren’t important, but of equal importance to me is hierarchy of information, white space and information way finding that is delivered with the right fonts, spacing and appropriate use of size and color.

Good design costs money, but so does poor design, clutter and confusing information.

As you may have noted if you’re reading this on my site, ducttapemarketing.com has undergone a total redesign and now runs on a custom theme on the Genesis framework. The design was completed by Rafal Tomal and Josh Byers of Studio Press, part of the Copyblogger Media.

The redesign was badly needed as my site had sort of become like some of the Christmas trees I remember as child where my brothers and sisters would just keep putting more and more stuff on the tree because, well, we could.

The overarching goal of the redesign was to more effectively communicate and more effectively deliver information. Comments from readers suggest we made huge strides in that aim.

Statistics also reveal site traffic is up 22% over the previous six month trend, page views are up 104%, time on site and bounce rate have both made significant improvements and sales of our core product, with any change in promotion, are up 219% over a six month trend.

Invest in better communication through better design – it always pays when you get it right.