50 Killer Tools You Need for Your Business Blogging

50 Killer Blogging Tools You Need for Your Business Blog

Want to blog for your business? Or maybe you’d like to build an entire business around blogging? You’re going to need some help.

Even if you have the greatest tech know-how and a natural talent for writing, you can’t hope to build a successful blog without utilizing some blogging tools. Luckily, there are tons for you to choose from. Here are 50 killer tools you can use to build a better blog today.

Killer Business Blogging Tools

WordPress

The number one blogging platform out there, you can set up a basic blog site using WordPress.com or create a more professional looking site using self-hosted WordPress at WordPress.org.

GoDaddy

Again, GoDaddy is one of the most popular destinations online for people who want to buy domains for blogs or other websites. The company also offers other services like hosting and email.

Bluehost

But GoDaddy isn’t the only web host in town. Others like Bluehost, which is especially popular among WordPress users, offer quality hosting service as well.

Laughing Squid

Laughing Squid is another hosting provider that’s popular with WordPress bloggers. It also has some options for more speciality sites.

Google Keyword Planner

If you want to blog, then you need to have specific topics and keywords in mind. The Google Keyword Planner is an online tool that helps you research and refine the best keywords for your focus and audience.

Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools is a portal you can use to find assistance and support for a number of different website related areas, including SEO, site testing and online courses.

Bing Webmaster Tools

Bing also offers a similar portal for people who want to ensure their sites run properly and rank highly in Bing searches.

Google Analytics

If you want to create a successful blog, then you need to keep track of what works and what doesn’t. Google Analytics gives you access to data about site traffic, popular content and more.

Jetpack

Jetpack is a popular plugin series for WordPress sites. Features include analytics, security and more.

Yoast SEO

Yoast is another popular plugin that focuses specifically on SEO. You can use it to update keywords, analyze your content and more.

BuzzSumo

In order to research your content ideas and monitor your content, BuzzSumo offers an online platform that lets you find trending topics and more related to your blog.

Photoshop

Most blog posts should include some type of photos or visuals. And if you want those images to look as professional as possible, you might find it useful to invest in some kind of photo editing program like Photoshop.

Canva

But you don’t necessarily need to make a huge investment in order to share great visuals on your blog. Canva is a free online photo editing and graphic design tool you can use right in your web browser.

GIMP

GIMP is another free image manipulation tool that you can download and use to edit photos and create works of art.

Flickr

Whether you want to share photos or find some Creative Commons images to include in your blog posts, Flickr can be a great resource for any visually oriented bloggers.

Shutterstock

You can also find stock photos to include with your posts using sites like Shutterstock if you don’t want to create your own images.

Death to the Stock Photo

For more stylish photos and videos straight to your inbox, you could also consider a resource like Death to the Stock Photo.

Piktochart

Infographics can also be powerful visuals to include with blog posts. And Piktochart gives you an easy way to create your own.

YouTube

Or you could create more in-depth visuals like videos to include with your posts. And YouTube is the top resource for hosting and sharing those videos.

MailChimp

To grow a successful business around your blog, it’s also a good idea to maintain some kind of email list. MailChimp is a tool with both free and paid options for managing those lists.

LeadPages

You can also use LeadPages as a way to gather leads online and to set up landing pages for promotions related to your blog or business.



Sprout Social

If you’re going to have a successful blog, chances are you’re going to use social media to promote it. Sprout Social is an online tool you can use to create marketing campaigns across various social channels.

Buffer

You can also use Buffer to schedule social content across different platforms as well as find inspiration for new content to share.

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is another option for social media scheduling and management.

Quora

When you’re looking for inspiration for new blog posts, it can help to consider what questions people might have about your particular niche. Quora is a question and answer website that can give you lots of insights about the questions that people might need answered.

Quick Sprout

Looking at your blog analytics is essential to growing your traffic — but it can also be confusing. Quick Sprout is a tool you can connect to your Google Analytics and then use it to get actionable insights and tips for improving your website and blog.

Google Trends

Trending topics, or topics that are especially popular online, can also make for great blog content. And Google Trends is a great resource for finding topics that people are currently searching for.

Twitter Trending Topics

You can also turn to Twitter and look at the platform’s Trending Topics as a source of inspiration for new blog posts.

LinkedIn Pulse

For more professionally focused blogs, you can also turn to LinkedIn Pulse for a way to discover content and influencers that can help you determine new subjects to explore in posts.

Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator

Just don’t know what to blog about this week? Hubspot offers a Blog Topic Generator that you can use by filling in a few quick fields and then receive a custom post suggestion.

Evernote

Blogging requires you to constantly think of new ideas and even refine posts on the go. And Evernote can be a great tool for keeping all of your thoughts and notes on upcoming posts organized.

Trello

Trello is another great productivity tool that you can use to organize your thoughts or even work with a team around your blog.

Google Calendar

For organizing your post schedule and other tasks, Google Calendar is a free online tool that can help you stay on track.

Editorial Calendar

You can also use a WordPress plugin like Editorial Calendar to manage your upcoming post schedule right from your blog dashboard.

Dropbox

Need to share or store large files for your blog? Dropbox is the go-to online service for this function.

Click to Tweet

When you’re trying to promote your blog online, it can help if you get your readers to do some promotion for you as well. Click to Tweet is an online tool that you can use to create snippets of your blog posts that are easily tweetable.

Post Planner

Post Planner is another socially focused app. You can use it to manage and discover content on Facebook and more.

Grammarly

The last thing you want to find on your blog after publishing a post is a myriad of grammar errors. Grammarly offers a browser extension and online tool that you can use to check for grammar and spelling errors before posting.

Hemingway

Hemingway is a more sophisticated online editor that you can use to identify areas where you can improve your writing style.

PayPal

If you plan on accepting any payments on your blog or website, PayPal is an easy way for you to get those payments.

Dribbble

Your blog design is an important part of the overall reader experience. If you want to find a professional designer or some design inspiration, take a look at Dribbble.

Behance

Behance is another online portfolio site where you can find designers and other creative professionals.

Upwork

If you want to outsource any of your content or other aspects of building your blog, Upwork offers a marketplace for professional freelancers.

Gmail

It’s also essential that you have a simple way to reach out to blog sources and collaborators, and for people to reach out to you as well. Gmail offers free email service as well as reasonably priced custom domain addresses.

Skype

Skype is another great way to stay in touch with people. You can use it to video chat with your team or even call people for blog interviews.

Disqus

If you want a more sophisticated or customized commenting system than what automatically comes with your blog, consider using a comment plugin like Disqus.

Feedly

To run a successful blog, it’s a good idea to stay in tune with what others in your niche are covering. Feedlyis an online reader that makes it easy for you to follow lots of different blogs.

Bloglovin

Bloglovin is another online reader that you can use to follow blogs and promote your own.

Desk

If you get distracted easily while writing blog post, consider Desk. It’s an app for WordPress and MacOS that eliminates outside distractions on your screen while you write.

CoSchedule Headline Analyzer

Headlines are hugely important to successful blog content. And the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer can give you an idea of how strong your headlines really are.

[“Source-smallbiztrends”]

What You Need to Know About Comodo’s DCV Changes

What You Need to Know About Comodo’s DCV Changes

Changes To Comodo’s Domain Validation Procedures Coming Next Week

Comodo will be improving their domain validation methods to meet new industry standards. This will result in small changes to how you validate your Comodo certificates, and will actually be a big improvement for those using file authentication.

Conceptually, these methods continue to work the same way. The implementations have just been tweaked slightly to comply with new industry standards and the end result is that the processes have actually gotten easier. Three cheers for security and simplicity!

The average user will not notice an impact to how you request and validate certificates besides a small tweak to the file path for file validation. But businesses that resell certificates or enterprises that automate deployment will want to consult the specific changes to make sure they are ready.

These changes take effect shortly – less than one week from today. Here is a quick summary of what’s changing so you can be prepared.

Validation Changes

Note that this only applies to Comodo. Symantec and Certum made similar changes earlier this year.

There are changes with two of the validation methods: File-based validation and CNAME (aka DNS) validation.

File Validation:

Things are getting much simpler. Before, there were different procedures depending on the type of certificate or the hostnames you wanted to protect.

Now there is just one rule. Place the file at the following path:

<domain.com>/.well-known/pki-validation/<MD5>.txt

Each certificate request will still receive a unique .txt file with a random-looking name (it’s really an MD5 hash of your request). Inside, the file will now contain a unique SHA-256 hash and comodoca.com in a separate line underneath.

CNAME Validation:

As before, you can create a specified CNAME record to validate ownership of your domain. This value will still be provided to you, and you will create it in your DNS manager the same way.

The specifics of the record will change, and this really only affects those that like to familiarize themselves with every detail. There will now be an underscore (“_”) before MD5 hash values and SHA256 hashes that are split into 32-character strings will now be used.

Here is an example of a new record:

_c7fbc2039e400c8ef74129ec7db1842c.<domain.com> CNAME c9c863405fe7675a3988b97664ea6baf.442019e4e52fa335f406f7c5f26cf14f.comodoca.com.

When Do I Need To Make These Changes

These changes will take effect next Thursday, July 20, 2017.

For “retail customers,” who purchase directly from Comodo or from a reseller like us, you will automatically start receiving the updated files and instructions. Because these files and CNAME values are prepared by Comodo, you may not even notice a difference.

Resellers, enterprise customers, and other high-volume certificate users will need to spend more time preparing.

If you use a plugin or API to purchase your Comodo certificates, check with your provider what (if any) update needs to be made so you can be compatible with the changes.

Our resellers and enterprise users can update anytime between now and the 20th, which is the deadline for the switch. New versions of the plugins and updated API calls and documentation are available here.

[“Source-thesslstore”]

6 Bitcoin Apps You Need to Know About

top bitcoin appstop bitcoin apps

If you are a bitcoin enthusiast, there are a few bitcoin apps you need to know about, as they might come in handy. Whether you want to earn a few free satoshis playing games in your free time, or whether you want to constantly keep track of bitcoin’s price, there is an app out there that will take care of your needs. Here are a few examples:

6. CRYPTONATOR

This free app allows you to check conversion rates for over 500 different cryptocurrencies, in over 40 different exchanges. Essentially, Cryptonator makes it easy for users to find out how much cryptocurrencies people own are worth.

It also includes a portfolio tool that allows users to see how their selected coins perform over a specific period of time, as well a “winners & losers” section that shows which coins are doing good, and which aren’t.

5. BITCOIN TICKER WIDGET

Bitcoin Ticker Widget is exactly what it sounds like it is: a widget that gives you bitcoin’s price directly on your home screen. Widgets with the price of other cryptocurrencies can also be set up, showing conversion rates for a few different fiat currencies. The prices shown in the widgets are taken from some of the world’s top cryptocurrency exchanges, such as BTCC and Bitstamp.

4. BLOCKCHAIN GAME

If you want to introduce someone to bitcoin, you need to show them this game. Not only will it give you context to explain what blockchain technology is, but it will also help the other person earn a few satoshis and start playing around with bitcoin before they get serious about it. The game itself is pretty entertaining, and killing free time while earning bitcoin makes it a lot more enjoyable.

3. BITCOIN MAP

Bitcoin Map is a free app you can install on your smartphone that shows you where you can spend your bitcoins. This way you will be able to know whether the local burger joint accepts bitcoin or not. Even if you know every brick-and-mortar store accepting bitcoins in your area, the app may still come in handy when you decide to go for a road trip. There are other Bitcoin map apps out there, but most of them only give you the location of bitcoin ATMs, not actual brick-and-mortar stores accepting the cryptocurrency.

2. BLOCKFOLIO

Blockfolio is a free financial app aimed at cryptocurrency enthusiasts. Not only does it show price information for bitcoin and over 800 altcoins, it can be set to send the user a notification whenever a specific currency reaches a price threshold. Moreover, as if that insane number of altcoins wasn’t enough, it also features over 30 different fiat currencies so it can reach a global audience.

1. ZTRADER

zTrader is the trading client app every cryptocurrency trader needs. It features information from most major exchanges and can show in-depth analysis on different currencies, giving the user a great market overview. The app is pretty complex and gives users tons of information that can, at first, be overwhelming. It will, however, make traders’ lives easier.

The app features secure, encrypted storage of API keys, and even though it’s free to download, there is also a pro version.

[Source:-ME]

SEO How-to, Part 1: Why Do You Need It?

Editor’s note: This post begins a weekly primer in SEO, with the goal of touching on all of the foundational aspects. At the end, you’ll be able to practice SEO more confidently and converse with others regarding important SEO challenges and opportunities.

Search engine optimization is part science and part art. But the foundational principles of SEO are straightforward. Still, before I can address how to practice SEO, I should explain what it is and why it’s important.

Google alone controls access to trillions of annual requests for information. Google, Yahoo, and Bing remain three of the U.S.’s top four trafficked websites, according to comScore, the research firm. Presence in search results is critical to generating brand awareness and preference. With an estimated $80 billion spent online in the 2016 holiday season alone, and the increasingly “micro-moment,” quick-search mentality of mobile consumers, SEO is more important than ever to driving shoppers to your site and away from the competition.

SEO is simply the practice of optimizing your search-engine presence to produce traffic and to your site. It is also called organic search or natural search. SEO should thread through every aspect of an organization — from product planning, traditional marketing, and customer support to the more obvious areas of digital planning, strategy, content, user experience, design, development, and deployment.

Search engines do not charge advertising fees for natural search results.

Visually, natural search results are always toward the top of the page at the left side. Depending on the search engine and the query, there will probably be ads above the natural listings, as shown below.

Google’s U.S. search results page for the query “canoe paddles.”

Google’s U.S. search results page for the query “canoe paddles.”

With all of the other boxes and components on the search results page, it is increasingly difficult to claim a visible spot in the first view. Google frequently places a Product Listing Ads box and up to four other ads above the first natural search listing, resulting in only one or two visible natural search listings when the page loads.

Regardless, natural search remains one of the top-performing digital marketing channels for most ecommerce businesses. Some studies put the average traffic driven by natural search at around 50 percent of the total, and average revenue driven at about 40 percent. But in my experience, it varies widely based on the size of the business, and the maturity and spend of their marketing mix.

The more balanced the marketing spend is for the various channels — such as social, email, video, display ads — the lower natural search performance will be as a percentage of the whole, especially as the other channels mature and perform.

I’ve seen businesses that drove 75 percent of their traffic and sales via natural search. This level of dependence on SEO is dangerous because a single algorithm update or SEO-impacting technical glitch could decimate your revenue stream. However, even a business with a mature marketing mix and a site truly search-engine optimized should drive 15 to 25 percent of its traffic and revenue via natural search.

Fortunately, SEO is also one of the least expensive marketing channels in terms of direct and recurring spend. Advertising stops sending referrals when you turn it off. But SEO involves enhancements, which should also be transparent to or beneficial to your shoppers, that improve the site’s ability to drive shoppers from natural search from that time forward. Consequently, while not free as many claim, SEO’s cost is rooted in the time it takes to plan and execute the improvements to your site.

Seemingly every couple of months someone will claim that SEO is dead. That’s certainly true with individual tactics that seek to gain a faster advantage in search results — essentially sneaky tricks or cheating. For example, the very old practice of hiding white text on a page with a white background has long been stamped out. Likewise posting volumes of low-value “articles” or “press releases” filled with over-optimized links to your site in repositories for other sites to use as free content no longer has any SEO value.

However, ethical SEO isn’t about tricks, short-term gains, and taking risks. Ethical SEO is what marketing has become: creating compelling content that shoppers value so much that they share and link to it. When combined with the technical and architectural components of designing and developing a site that is optimal for natural search, ethical SEO is an ever-changing discipline that will only die when consumers stop searching.

[Source:-Practical Ecommerce]

8 SEO Trends You Need to Pay Attention to in 2017

8 SEO Trends You Need to Pay Attention to in 2017

A new year means new SEO speculation and trends. While there are some components of search engine optimization that have worked for several years and will continue to work, there will always be new trends that you need to shift your focus to.

One of the most frequent questions I’m asked via direct message on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram is, “What’s new in terms of SEO?” It’s a constantly changing landscape that never sits idle long. Here are eight trends to be aware of as we start 2017.

1. HTTPS is no longer just an option.

HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) keeps data exchanged between your user’s computer and your website secure. Consumers are much more internet savvy than they were a few years ago, and now expect nothing less than a secure experience when visiting a website. The cost to switch to HTTPS is minimal and aside from the security benefits, Google has confirmed it’s a ranking signal. This guide explains the process very well.

Related: 4 Dumb SEO Tactics That Will Get Your Site Penalized

2. Long-form content will continue to perform well in the search results.

Long-form content, which I consider to be more than 2,000 words, has been shown to perform better in the search results. It’s something that many marketers adopted a couple years ago and it’s still the “sweet-spot” for those looking to rank organically and provide the value needed to convert website visitors into leads, sales and revenue.

3. Social media will be an even larger referral traffic goldmine.

Think about how much activity and engagement occurs on social media daily. Products and services are being discovered on social media, consumers are turning to social media when they need customer support and brands are active on multiple platforms daily — it’s a major source of quality referral traffic.

4. Home-based voice search will increase.

Google Home and Echo by Amazon allow consumers to search for anything they want without lifting a finger — literally. You can get the answers to almost anything, and these services will continue to evolve and add new features. You can already request an Uber and order pizza from Domino’s. I have a feeling we are going to see this technology grow rapidly this year, giving local businesses a new way to be found.

Related: SEO Growth Hacking Techniques to Scale Your Business

5. Google will show more love to Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).

It’s no secret that Google is a fan of AMP. Webpages load instantly, therefore providing a much better user experience. Here’s an explanation directly from the AMP open source website: “AMP is a way to build web pages for static content that render fast. AMP in action consists of three different parts: AMP HTML is HTML with some restrictions for reliable performance and some extensions for building rich content beyond basic HTML. The AMP JS library ensures the fast rendering of AMP HTML pages. The Google AMP Cache can be used to serve cached AMP HTML pages.”

6. UX (user experience) will continue to provide trickle down benefits.

There are several benefits of providing a pleasant user experience that have a direct impact on your SEO. Visitors stay on your website longer and engage with more of your content, which reduces your bounce rate. This also increases the average time on site and odds of a conversion occurring, or at the very least a social share or follow.

7. Mobile-first strategies have become a necessity.

With so much traffic coming from mobile devices, it really causes you to think about the mobile user first when designing page layouts and offers. The good thing is that there is no question — mobile traffic percentages continue to grow. There will always be businesses that just don’t see a large percentage of mobile traffic. Take this chemical storage building web page for example — the majority of their traffic is going to come from a desktop user in an office setting. They have a mobile friendly contact option, which is good, but a full-on redesign isn’t as crucial as it would be for a consumer e-commerce website.

Related: These 9 SEO Tips Are All You’ll Ever Need to Rank in Google

8. Links will continue to be a by-product of excellent content.

Links aren’t going anywhere — they are still a key ranking signal. Rather than stress about how to secure them, create content that is so good that people share it and link to it without you having to ask. Infographics and detailed case studies and reports will tend to perform better than standard blog posts. There are infographics my agency did years ago for brands that continue to acquire them links every week naturally.

[Source:-Entrepreneur]

5 Reasons You Need a Blog for Your Small Business

u’re a small business with a company website. Maybe you have a few pages about your company, describing products or services. That’s enough, right?

Not necessarily.

Along with your site, you need a business blog page. And you need to fill that blog with high-quality content that relates to your industry.

Why? Great questions. I’ve got five reasons for you.

1. To make the search engine gods happy.

If one of your top goals isn’t to climb to that number one spot in Google search rankings, well…it’s time to make a new goal. Case in point: the top 4 spots in a Google search get 83% of the clicks. That’s right. So if you’re down on page 3 or 4, no one will ever see you.

So how do you climb the rankings? I could write an entire book on it, but one way is to make sure you’re getting plenty of content out there for Google to index. Your blog is the perfect vehicle for that. And as your site gets crawled and new content is found, you increase the chances of rising in the search engines.

2. To provide fresh content for your users.

Google isn’t the only one who loves fresh content. People who come to your site do as well. That can include customers, potential customers, and people in your industry.

Why do you want to keep plenty of content out there for people to enjoy? Simple. The more they like your content, the more they come back. The more they come back, the more likely they are to buy.

3. To have something to share on social media.

Social media is something many small businesses really have no clue how to run. What’s the purpose of social media? It’s to engage your customers. It’s to connect with influencers. It’s to get your brand name out there.

Yeah, all of that.

But if you aren’t producing content, what are you sharing that lets people get to know you? The more content you produce on your blog, the more you can share with your social followings. Need help promoting your content on social media? Check out this guide.

4. To give something for others to share on social media.

Of course, sharing your content on social media is only half the story. The other half is that you want others to share it too. After all, if you’re producing quality blog content, odds are your followers will start sharing it with their friends, and their friends with their friends, and their friends with their friends…

You get the picture. The word spreads. Or more importantly your word spreads.

5. To show off your expertise.

Think of it this way… who would you buy from–the company with a 4-page website with a bit of info about themselves or their product, or the company with 50 published articles detailing the ins and outs of the industry, products, etc.?

Yes, the latter.

See, the more you write knowledgeably and share on your topic, the more you’ll be seen as the expert in your field. This will build trust with your customers, and could even land you some great press as a source for news articles or even contributor roles.

So it’s clear you need a blog for your business. So that begs the question, how do you get started blogging? There are a ton of blogging tutorials online to help you do it. Here’s a great one to check out. It’s quick and simple–just make sure you follow the directions. Happy (business) blogging!

[Source:-Busoiness Zone]

Do You Need to Blog Everyday to Get Noticed? Not Even Close

So you think you should be blogging about your business. But you aren’t sure how much time and effort you should put into it. As you start digging, you come across overwhelming lists of

image: http://cdn.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/30535630_m.jpg.jpg

Blog Cadence stats like “45 Reasons to Blog” and “16 Enigmatic Business Blogging and Other Marketing Stats.” How do you sift through the noise and figure out what makes sense for your business?

Relax. I’m here to help.

Blogging is a great marketing tool. It’s free (well, it only costs you time), it drives traffic to your website, it generates leads, it helps grow your email list, and it helps you gain recognition as an industry leader. But as with any marketing tool, making the most of it requires effort beyond simply posting to your website.

How often should you be blogging?

The simple answer to the question is REGULARLY. But regularly can mean daily, weekly, every other week, or monthly. I don’t recommend blogging less than once a month, at least if you are interested in using your blog as a serious marketing tool.

It may be surprising, but the cadence of your blogging makes a difference. Consistent blogging is important because when you start blogging and providing high quality content, you will develop a following. People will start to look for your blog posts and they will expect to see new content at regular intervals. So give the people what they want.

Search engines also like to see consistent activity on a blog. When you are scheduling your blog posts, keep this in mind. Choose a schedule you know you can stick to, even if it means posting less often than you would like. You can always amp up during your busiest season too.

Recommended for YouWebcast, November 8th: How to Hack Sales and Personal Branding

At Spring Insight, we have been blogging once a week for years. But we have recently decided to back it down to twice a month. Our thinking is that by pulling back, we will be able to maximize our marketing efforts by redirecting time to developing comprehensive strategy encompassing not only the blog, but also our social media presence.

Also, this strategy will work better for our team allowing us to allocate more time toward attracting new clients and to other components of business development.

This is an important lesson: you need to have a blogging strategy that works for you. If you try to set up a calendar based on stats that say you should be blogging twice a week, but you prefer walking over hot coals to writing 250 words, that schedule probably won’t work for you.

Another important consideration relating to blog cadence is your capacity for coming up with interesting topics. If you can easily rattle off 50 ideas, then you are free to post more frequently, but if you struggle to come up with 10 ideas to write about, then it makes sense to blog less frequently.

Also, take some pressure off of yourself by remembering that not every blog post has to be an epic tome. We have a client who has seen a lot of success creating one regular-length blog (i.e., 750-1,000 words) and four shorter, weekly tip blogs all on the same theme. Whatever works for you, just make it a goal to be consistent.

Quality matters more than quantity

All of that being said, do whatever you have to do to focus on creating quality articles that you can imagine your audience reading. Neither the number of words in each post nor the number of posts per month matters as much as offering high quality posts.

To get the biggest bang for your blogging buck, the content should be informative, original, and engaging. Instead of saying the same thing that everyone else in your industry says, take a unique angle or point of view on whatever topic you choose.

For example, if you are a professional home organizer, your audience won’t get much from rereading the same three organizing tips that they have seen on Pinterest 5,000 times (I mean, how many ways can you talk about putting small items in clear plastic boxes with labels?). However, if you talk about how having an organized home can help you feel less guilty about taking downtime, you will teach your audience something useful.

And bonus, if you follow up your educational post with a great call-to-action, you help your audience see the value you provide.

Finally, if you really want to be strategic and guarantee that you develop consistently great blog posts, consider outsourcing to a marketing team that is set up to do this for you. It’s especially important for small business owners to be honest with themselves about what is truly the best use of their time.

There are only so many hours in your day. Hiring a marketing team you trust to take care of blogging, email marketing, and social media could be the best money you’ve spent all year. Might I recommend a Spring Insight? Contact us today and let’s talk about keeping your blog schedule on track.

How do you keep yourself on track with blogging?

[Source:-B2c]

What is SEO and Why Does Your Company Need It? A Beginner’s Guide

So what is SEO, exactly? Search engine optimization, which Search Engine Land defines as “the process of getting traffic from free, organic, editorial, or natural search results on search engines,” is the foundation of digital marketing. These efforts lead to your website being found online and users clicking through to learn more, which can ultimately result in conversions and/or purchases. Without an effective SEO strategy, it’s practically impossible to have a successful web presence.

In the digital-first world we live in, SEO has become a more competitive landscape, with industry players large and small fighting for that top spot in search results. But how do you get there?

Even if your marketing team and budget are nowhere near as large as the Nike’s and GM’s of the world, your company still needs a search engine strategy. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to rank first for terms like “shoe retailer” or “car company” – but how we search is trending away from simpler terms anyway.

More people are conducting searches on mobile devices, and these queries tend to be in the form of longer, more specific phrases or questions. So, while someone might not search for “car company,” they very well could be searching for “GM dealers near Buffalo, NY.” And it’s these kinds of phrases that any company in the industry could potentially rank for.

But keywords are just the beginning of developing a strategy that will get your website found. From the factors that go into your search engine rankings to the impact SEO has on your online presence, consider this your guide to everything you need to know about SEO!

What is SEO? The Fundamentals

Keywords

Where SEO got its start and where most marketers focus their attention is keywords – the terms and phrases that are directly related to a product or service a company offers. Keywords reflect search queries that you want your website to rank for, and can be either short-tail or long-tail. Short-tail keywords are very concise, often more general terms, whereas long-tail keywords are typically phrases, questions, or sentences.

To increase the likelihood of ranking for a particular search query, a relevant keyword should be incorporated within the page’s content and headings as well as in your social media posts. This indicates to Google that your content pertains to the search being conducted and should appear in results returned to the user.

But be careful. It’s easy to think that by simply plugging a keyword into a web page as many times as possible will increase your chances of ranking. That tactic did work in SEO’s early days, but it certainly doesn’t anymore. You should find ways to incorporate the keyword naturally into the content a few times, but don’t ruin the reading experience by saying the same word over and over again.

Backlinks

Along with keywords, backlinks have been a fundamental component of SEO from the beginning. There are two types of backlinks: external and internal. External links are hyperlinks to your website from another website. For example, within this post I hyperlinked to several resources that I collected my research from. By doing so, this indicates to Google that the resources I used are ones I trust, which makes them more inclined to feature them in search results.

Internal links are hyperlinks within your own website, connecting one page to another. Ecommerce sites often do this through “You might also be interested in” sections on a product page, encouraging shoppers to check out similar products they offer.

image: http://cdn2.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/iPhone-7.jpg.jpg

iPhone 7 Amazon

There are several ways to acquire backlinks, but most often it happens naturally when someone wants to incorporate information from your website into their piece of content and includes a hyperlink as a reference. So for the most part, your backlink profile grows without much effort by you; you just have to monitor these links and remove any spam – and, of course, create content worth linking to in the first place.

To go one step further, you can also reach out to companies in your industry and ask them if a specific piece of your content might be interesting to their own readership. Ensure that the content you’re offering is directly related to their company’s offerings. This strategy could help you earn some quality backlinks.

Above all, never acquire backlinks by purchasing them. Like keyword stuffing, it’s a dated, spammy SEO tactic that today’s search engines won’t reward websites for. The user is the priority, so no matter how many links are pointing to your website, if they’re not quality links, Google won’t give them any consideration.

Content

Website content quality has become one of the most important SEO factors in recent years, as tactics like keyword stuffing and buying backlinks have gone by the wayside. Content that educates, engages, and empowers users is heavily favored in search results because it has the greatest likelihood of meeting the searcher’s needs.

You can develop quality web pages by utilizing a variety of content types, including text, images, and videos as well as making the message and goal of each page’s content unique. By teaching the visitor something they didn’t already know and avoiding pushy sales tactics, you’ll encourage them to dig deeper into your website and learn more. It’s all about adding value, so write content for your users, not search engines. Google can figure out what content is high-quality and what isn’t, so keep your focus on the potential customers reading it.

URL Structure

Search engines also determine if your page is relevant by looking at the keywords included in the page’s URL. Make sure you include the target keyword and try to keep the URL length to less than 90 characters so it fully displays in the search result.

Once you know the keyword you want to include in the URL, it’s time to lay out the URL structure. It should show the hierarchy of the information on the web page, first including a high-level product or service category and then the specific item on that page. For example, Mainstreethost’s SEO Services page has a URL of www.mainstreethost.com/services/search-engine-optimization. This indicates that you’re being directed to the Services section of our website, specifically the SEO Services page.

Incorporating an important keyword and organized structure to each URL sends a clear signal to both search engines and users that the page directly relates to a particular search query.

Title Tags/Alt Text

Search engines handle millions of queries every day, so they have to be able to quickly scan a web page and determine its relevancy. Title tags and alt text are two places that search engines look to decide if a page should be ranked. Title tags describe what the page is about and are located at the top of your internet browser and as the page title in a search result. Like the URL, the title tag should include the most important keyword for that page. It should also be around 50-60 characters to ensure the entire title is visible on both desktop and mobile devices.

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Mainstreethost

Alt text is inserted into your website’s HTML and is used to describe the images included on a web page. Search engines can’t read images, so you have to explain what is in the picture in order for it to be indexed. Be as descriptive as possible to maximize the likelihood of your page being featured in search results as well as the image appearing for relevant image searches.

Meta Description

Included below the title tag and URL in a search result is the meta description, a 160-character snippet that summarizes what the web page is about. Again, you should try to include the most important keyword in this section to show the page’s relevancy to a search query. This description plays a major role in convincing users to click through to your site, so take your time when writing meta descriptions.

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On-Page SEO

Source: Moz

Page Load Time

When a searcher clicks the link to your website, they want to arrive at your page quickly. With so many businesses to choose from in search results, no one is going to waste their time waiting around for a page to load. They can easily choose another link from the results.

Page load time is the amount of time it takes for a web page to fully display, so if your pages are bogged down with lots of images and videos, this time is likely to be much higher. But that doesn’t mean you can’t include a variety of content types on your website. Use an image compression tool to make the file sizes of your page’s images smaller, which will ultimately decrease load time. You can also optimize your website’s code by removing unnecessary characters that often get added in, like extra spaces or commas. Any additional information that an internet browser has to load will slow your site down, which could ultimately lead to a higher bounce rate and lower conversion rate.

User Experience

The most recent addition to the growing list of SEO factors is user experience, which refers to the positive or negative experience a visitor has interacting with your website. Having an organized layout, easy navigation, clear calls-to-action, and a mobile-friendly site create a better user experience and encourage people to stay and explore.

With an increase in searches and website visits coming from mobile devices, a mobile-friendly site is no longer an option; it’s a necessity. If users have to pinch the screen to zoom in and out in order to read your content, they’ll likely give up before completing a conversion and maybe even seek out a competitor’s help.

Aside from the mere functionality of your website, user experience is highly dependent on how your company’s personality comes across. Content that is personable and focused on meeting a consumer’s need will create a more positive experience and indicate that you’re a trustworthy and approachable company to work with.

How Google’s Algorithms Play a Role

The topics discussed above are among over 200 factors that Google takes into consideration when determining where sites rank in search results. There are hundreds of minor algorithm updates every year that go relatively unnoticed, but there are usually several major updates that make headlines. These are the updates that can significantly impact rankings and, ultimately, web traffic and conversions.

The most talked-about Google algorithms by far are Panda and Penguin. Panda focuses on content quality, preventing pages with thin or poor-quality content from ranking well. Penguin’s intent is to analyze the number and quality of backlinks a website has, determining if the links were earned in a respectable manner from trustworthy sources. These two algorithms play some of the largest roles in SEO, so it’s important to take them seriously.

While some Google algorithms occur in real-time and don’t typically lead to major changes in rankings, some are only updated every few months or once a year. So if you receive a Google penalty due to an algorithm update, it could take several months before your rankings and traffic improve. But as long as you steer clear from “black-hat” SEO practices like keyword stuffing, buying backlinks, and writing spammy content, you generally can avoid being penalized.

SEO, Traffic, and Conversions

Now that we’ve discussed what is SEO and the impact Google’s algorithms can have on rankings, we should dig deeper into the impact this can have on your web traffic and conversion rate.

It’s important to note that your rankings are going to shift a little every day, as Google is always working to better understand its users and provide them with the most relevant content. However, if you see a major drop, it could be due to a Google penalty, algorithm update, or the presence of newer and better content on the web.

In the earlier days of SEO, keywords and backlinks were the only factors that marketers had to focus on. They could stuff keywords as many times as possible within the site’s content and most likely get the page to rank on the first page of search results.

But now, Google’s focus is the user’s needs. If you’re stuck in old school SEO tactics, you’re not going to get traffic or conversions – which could lead to your competitors capturing a larger share of the market.

Maximize your site’s traffic and conversion rate by optimizing for the consumer, not Google. Taking the time to optimize your content to make things easy to find and understand will benefit your customers, making them more likely to purchase from you. Use your keywords strategically, only accept links from reputable sources, and put yourself in your user’s shoes to create a positive user experience. Your efforts won’t go unnoticed – by your customers or by Google.

Where to Go From Here

In order to maximize your website’s visibility in search engines and improve both traffic and conversions, a well-thought-out SEO strategy is a must. First, take a look at your current site and consider the users you’re targeting with your content. Does each web page have a specific purpose or goal and is the information valuable to a potential customer? Are the most important keywords incorporated naturally throughout the content – not stuffed in as many places as possible?

Once you’re confident in the quality of the content on your website, you should then focus on ways to promote it. Social media in particular is critical because your target audience is likely on at least one social network and there are SEO benefits associated with a social presence. If search engines see that you’re regularly updating your profiles and sharing helpful information via social channels, they’ll take that into consideration when it comes to your rankings.

The most important takeaways are to always adhere to SEO best practices and to put yourself in the position of the audience you’re marketing to. If you’re bored or turned off by the content or structure of your website, there’s a good chance visitors will be too.

SEO isn’t just a formula you can follow to immediately improve your search engine rankings; it takes regular upkeep to develop and maintain a prominent web presence. But by keeping the most important ranking factors at the forefront of your strategy and never losing sight of your customers’ needs, you can establish yourself as a company worthy of a first-page presence.
[Source:-B2c]

What you need to reach the big leagues of local SEO

Ffooter / Shutterstock.com

It’s that time of year again. The air becomes crisp, the crack of the bat fills the stadium, the crowd roars — Chicago Cubs fans like me get that old, familiar feeling of foreboding. Major League Baseball’s playoffs are upon us, and in the spirit of the postseason, it’s time we explore how the great American pastime applies to building a successful career in local SEO.

The right stuff

If you aspire to local SEO success, you’ve got to have the right stuff. The competition in the industry is fierce, and it’s not easy to stand out among your peers. If you’re looking to wow the scouts, or if you’re considering lacing up your cleats for the first time and joining the local SEO game, these are the qualities and skills that talented young SEOs must have:

  • Adaptability. The local SEO landscape is constantly changing. SEOs need to be comfortable with the fact that each day they log on in the morning, it’s a whole new ballgame. What was relevant yesterday might no longer be relevant today. Google alone updates its algorithms over a thousand times a year. If you’re looking for consistency and predictability in a career, local SEO is not it. However, if you thrive on the challenge and excitement of never knowing what Google will throw at you next, you might just have what it takes.
  • Hunger for continual improvement. You’ve got to have that hunger, that desire to constantly learn and improve your SEO skills. Good is never good enough — not if you want to rise to the top. There’s always a way to improve SEO performance. Find it!
  • Become a stats fanatic. Search algorithms are so complex and have so many variables that once you’ve learned the SEO basics, any additional performance gains come through constant experimentation and complex data interpretation. A successful SEO relishes A/B testing and digital sleuthing. Embrace the stats. SEO is a lot like the movie, “Moneyball” — though it’s more Jonah Hill than Brad Pitt.
  • Talk the talk. Communication is an absolutely critical skill to local SEOs. Maintaining quality relationships with both clients and the other departments within your organization requires effective oral and written communication skills.
  • A knack for behavioral science and psychology. At all times, a local SEO must have three groups in mind: 1) the end user who actually uses the search results, 2) the brand you represent and 3) the search engines. Local SEOs who can intuit the needs of these three groups are setting themselves up for a long career of SEO success.
  • Specialize. Whether you focus on enterprise brands or SMBs, it’s important that you play to your own strengths. Just as in baseball, there are different positions and skillsets; find your own niche, and play to your strengths.

Learn from the best

If you’re looking to get a leg up on the competition, it’s important to learn from the best, from those who lead and define the industry. In local SEO, you’ll find that there are a few who stand taller than the rest of the field. If you’re not already following local search experts like David Mihm, Mike Blumenthal, Mary Bowling, Linda Buquet, Darren Shaw, Mike Ramsey, and the other local search columnists at Search Engine Land, now’s the time to start.

But it’s not just the league leaders you should be paying attention to. If you’re just starting out, look to the veterans on your own team. The quickest way to develop your skills is to work alongside someone who can show you the ropes. Likewise, look to the communities and forums for help and insight, especially after any major algorithm updates. The collective knowledge of local SEOs is a powerful tool. Use it.

Striking out

Local SEO often feels like you’re up to bat with Google on the mound, and the search engine giant is staring you down, and you’re left trying to guess the next pitch. You might be expecting a fastball, but inevitably Google will throw you a curve and change up the algorithm on you. The result: a swing and a miss.

Here’s an important lesson for all local SEOs (and for all SEOs, for that matter): failure is an unavoidable aspect of the SEO game. The search algorithms are so complex and change so often that after you’ve mastered the basics, it’s mostly trial and error to achieve significant gains after that.

If something you tried didn’t work, dust yourself off, study the data and try something different. Remember, it’s a long season. Tomorrow is another day. Learn from your last at bat and try something different the next time. Striking out every now and then is inevitable. Failing to learn from that experience is unacceptable. Just don’t fail too often or you’ll be out of the job and out of the league. No pressure.

Be a utility player

Though it’s important to specialize in your given field, that doesn’t mean you should be a one-trick pony. When it comes to local SEO, the hat you wear today might not be the hat you wear tomorrow. Things change so rapidly in this business that you should expect your role within the team to constantly evolve.

For example, cleaning up geocodes and manually placing pins is a time consuming process. But that doesn’t mean tomorrow Google won’t come out with an update to the Google My Business API that will allow us to automatically update geocodes. If that day comes, acknowledge the change, adapt, improve, and look for the next area to put your effort into.

In local SEO, it’s important to constantly look to the future and anticipate it. The Penguin update was predicted long before it actually arrived. All signs point to AMP being the future of mobile. The signs are there for those willing to look. Begin laying the groundwork for looming industry changes now and you won’t get caught flatfooted when they do come to pass.

Play the local SEO game the right way

“Say it ain’t so, Joe,” but integrity is an important aspect of both baseball and local SEO. Sure, you have your cheaters in both domains, but eventually they get caught and punished. Google is constantly getting better at catching spam links and bogus local listings. You might be able to stay ahead of the search engines for a while, but eventually you’ll get caught, and you’ll have to pay the consequences. Play the local SEO game the right way, and you’ll be much more likely to have success in the long run.

And that brings me to the most important lesson about local SEO. There are no shortcuts. No easy ways to the top. To gain expertise in local SEO, you’ll have to earn it, you’ll have to grind it out. But hey, that’s part of the fun.

[Source:-Search Engine Land]

5 methods search engine optimization and PR need to be running collectively

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With a newly integrated and and continuously evolving virtual panorama, advertising and conversation channels are operating collectively more carefully than ever before. Granted, you’ll see variations in how properly this is truly done primarily based in your commercial enterprise structure and the channels themselves, but the reality is: Channels can’t exist in silos.

An easy collaboration exists among PR and search engine optimization, now that suitable content and outreach is an integral a part of search engine optimization achievement — and those two matters are some thing PR is aware of all too nicely. So how can those distinctive teams assist each other attain the identical business intention?

training
permit’s begin with the most obvious: training.

It’s smooth to get wrapped up for your area of expertise bubble, so when you begin running with folks on other teams with different specialties, it’s just as easy to forget about that they don’t recognize what you recognize.

PR specialists aren’t taught about the impact that on line earned media can have on search engine optimization and key-word ratings, so before you dive in along with your handful of requests, educate them at the hows and the whys. try this in shorter sessions over a few weeks, rather than one long consultation, and most importantly, teach them on what they’ll be able to get out of the relationship.

This shouldn’t just be one-sided, although. much like PR isn’t taught seo, seo isn’t taught PR, so reach out on your counterparts to higher understand their jobs and their roles. as an example, media outreach is simply one portion of the process of an search engine optimization and content material marketer, but it’s an understanding your PR opposite numbers recognize and recognize nicely.

Optimizing links in earned insurance
next up: hyperlinks. Your seo crew should be assisting your PR group optimize the hyperlinks in all in their earned media insurance — such things as organization press releases or non-paid stories. search engine optimization can help pick out hyperlinks that have key phrases that need a rating improve, and they can also make sure PR is pulling the proper URL to hyperlink to.

as an example, at REI, if someone wished a hyperlink to “backpacking tents,” they could pull the URL generated from an internal search question (i.e. https://www.rei.com/search.html?q=backpacking+tents&ir=q%3Abackpacking+tents&web page=1) in place of the touchdown page within the primary navigation (https://www.rei.com/c/backpacking-tents). The inner seek page isn’t listed, so that hyperlink won’t provide any lift for that key-word. The same goes for any crew that’s producing content material in order to consist of hyperlinks.

however it’s now not simply getting hyperlinks within PR coverage that’s important. search engine optimization have to additionally seek advice from PR to make sure any hyperlinks from paid sponsorships are nofollowed to keep away from any seek engine penalty.

coping with media outreach
Influencer outreach is a important issue in any advertising strategy, and depending on the dimensions of your business enterprise, there’s possibly multiple team coping with said outreach.

That makes things a touch trickier because you don’t need multiple human beings from the same enterprise accomplishing out to an influencer. It reasons confusion with the blogger/author/media supervisor/difficulty remember expert if they’re getting exclusive requests from extraordinary human beings within the identical organization.

To assist dispose of a number of that crossover, set guidelines for the distinctive types of outreach that one-of-a-kind teams will personal. as an instance, your PR crew have to own the relationship with mass media outlets, at the same time as your content material advertising crew owns the relationships with bloggers and problem be counted specialists.

proportion those lists and send capability contacts to different groups earlier than you are making touch to make sure a courting doesn’t already exist. this will additionally help keep away from any wasted time on pitching a source that isn’t responsive if the opposite group has already attempted. GroupHigh is a great tool that assist you to control this outreach.

Aligning messages and memories
With multiple teams coping with outreach, you’re certain to have a couple of stories coming out around the equal time. Have your seo and PR groups (and every other groups who’re accountable for growing content material) align at the broader messaging and timing to make certain your logo is setting out the identical topic of content and no longer blending messages or selling two various things at the equal time.

This doesn’t want to be right down to the precise topic; it’s more of a excessive-level guiding precept. maintain a content calendar that aligns with commercial enterprise precedence and seasonality.

Sharing & amplifying content material
developing content is difficult work (not to mention costly paintings), and it’s some thing both content marketing and PR do extraordinarily well for 2 extremely different audiences. Make your content material word harder by sharing what’s already been created that other teams can pull from and repurpose.

for instance, your content advertising crew created an infographic for a third-celebration influencer who agreed it could be republished so long as there’s a link again to the unique source. Your PR crew can take that equal infographic and pitch it out to their media resources, growing extra links for the quest team and an smooth content placement for the PR team.

those blended efforts additionally allow both groups to persuade extra KPIs so we can better record how their activities are impacting multiple segments of the enterprise. PR is probably keen to feature tangible KPIs to their campaigns, and search engine optimization has just expanded its group and effect while not having to combat for extra sources, which we all understand is a regular warfare. PR can use key-word rank modifications on pages they helped relaxed hyperlinks to, and search engine optimization can show what number of more links or stocks a bit of content were given with PR’s amplification efforts.

it all comes down to communication while working with different groups which have special KPIs from yours. Meet weekly or biweekly with your counterparts to make sure each crew is updated on what the alternative is working directly to dispose of duplication of labor and collaboration on similar efforts.