How To Build Up Recurring Income Streams Through Affiliate Marketing.

By Nicole Dean
https://nicoleonthenet.com/

My coaching clients know that I am wicked dedicated to helping them develop recurring income that they can count on from month to month so there is NO feast and famine (only feast!).

There are several ways they can accomplish this (which I’ll get into a bit) but my #1 and #2 “let’s do this” goals for them are to:

1. Earn enough to pay for their coaching. Because why not, right? I don’t want them in a financial pinch while we’re making progress.

2. Earn enough additional recurring income to pay for their business and base personal expenses each month. (Mortgage, car payment, utilities, etc.) I find it’s much easier to be creative when I’m not worried about if I can pay my bills to survive. (You think?!)

After that, it’s just fun to grow for the extra play money for travel, investing, etc. (I put several thousand each month into my SEP automatically – mostly from recurring income. I use this service to make it easy.)

So, HOW do you earn recurring income?

There are a bunch of ways but I’m going to focus on one today (one of my favorites). If you guys like this, I may get into a few more.

Promote Awesome (Recurring) Stuff as an Affiliate.

One of my favorite ways to grow recurring income streams is to find a awesome product or software that’s a recurring program – and see if it has a great recurring affiliate program.

In fact, I’m still getting monthly payments from two launches that I promoted back in 2005. Yes, you read that right. 13 years later, and money is still coming in. (To be 100% honest, it’s not as much as when I first promoted, but it is still coming in.)

No matter what niche you are in, there are membership site owners who need members.

If they’re smart (and a lot of them aren’t.. but I’ll save that rant for another day), they’ll offer a generous affiliate program that is recurring as long as the person who you referred remains a paying member.

They key notes to take from that part above is that:

The product or software should be something REALLY good.
It should be related to what your audience wants to hear about from you. (For instance, if I found a great program for a “Toupee of the Month” club, I would not promote it to my lists. You guys signed up to hear about leveraging your business and life – not for toupee resources.)
The owners / people in charge should offer an affiliate program that pays you recurring for people who you send their way.
The people who sign up through your link should be happy and want to stay!

Example 1: Software for Business

We all need and love software. Why do you think I keep telling you about my “Tools I Use to Run My Business” page? Because so many of the things I use and recommend are services that also happen to have recurring affiliate programs.

For instance, these all are recurring:

ConvertKit – I recently left the service I used since 2005 to manage all my newsletters, ecourses, and ezines. (If you get any emails from me, they now come through this safe list managing service.) They are marketing-friendly, easy to use, and I’m getting a lot of flexibility that I’ve always wanted.
Thrive Leads – I used to get really frustrated if I wanted to put an optin for in the middle of a blog post. Or I’d see all these other site with cool drop downs with freebies to get people to optin. Thrive Leads is how a lot of them are doing it. PLUS split testing is built in. (I use this WITH ConvertKit, rather than using the forms ConvertKit provides.) We just moved Beachpreneurs.com to Thrive Leads.
LeadPages – I love Leadpages. Honestly, though, for the cost and flexibility, look at Thrive instead. You get a lot more for less cost, with tons of added flexibility.
I recommend them because I use them myself.

Example 2: Cindy Bidar, Training Membership Site

My coaching client, Cindy Bidar, has been having GREAT success selling her marketing checklists and social media checklists.

People kinda love them. She had her highest month ever in August, but had a desire for a more steady income stream.

So, we brainstormed and decided to enhance her checklists concept into a monthly program.

She came up with something really special.

It comes with:

  • Training – a video training session covering a topic about marketing your business
  • Checklists – step-by-step checklists to make sure you don’t miss a step or get overwhelmed.
  • Templates – emails, pages, scripts, that you might need to do the monthly task.
  • A FB group where Cindy is personally actively answering questions.

You can check it out here.

You can BET I started promoting it the day it was ready.

Why? Because first of all, it’s Cindy, so it’ll be FREAKING awesome. I love her. I trust her. I value her knowledge. So, of course, I want to bring her in front of my audience.

Remember Rule #1? The product must be QUALITY before you promote it. 🙂

But also, because of what I just told you about. RECURRING INCOME for me!

Think about it. It’s $27/month, so that’s $13.50/month PER PERSON who signs up coming to me.

While $13.50/month may not sound like a lot, if I send her 100 members, that’s $1350/month of PURE profit for me.

Again, that may not sound like a ton of money in the scope of things, but that’s an extra $16,200 a year.

Just by telling my audience about something freaking awesome!

If you reach people who are interested in business, I highly suggest you sign up for Cindy’s affiliate program and start promoting her checklists which lead to the recurring program. 🙂

You may be shaking your head wondering why I would be telling you to sign up for an affiliate program that I’m promoting? Why would I want more affiliates (competition) selling the same thing I am?

I’ll tell you about that another day. It’s another form of passive and recurring income that brings in moola every day for me. Go sign up and we can both promote and profit.

Example #3: Coach Glue – Done-for-You Content

Of course, I would be totally silly if I didn’t tell you that my site, CoachGlue.com has several awesome recurring programs AND we have, if I can be totally honest, one of the best affiliate programs around.

If you have an established business with an audience, and a list, check it out here.

We have tons of free promo content that you can use to promote and you’ll get updates from me about all new programs. We love paying our affiliates. 🙂

Having an income base that I can count on has saved my sanity in so many ways.

When I’ve been sick and can’t work, I can stay in bed.

When I’ve struggled with depression, I could focus on self care.

While I’ve dealt with hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes, (yes, all three) – I can deal with the problem at hand.

And I KNOW that I have money coming in. Can I just check out, go to Italy for 5 years and never open my computer again? No. My income would drop.

But… it would take a while. 🙂

How to Monitor Multiple Social Media Metrics

 

  • August 8, 2016

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social media toolsDo you manage multiple social media profiles for your business?

Looking for an easier way to keep an eye on key social media metrics?

Setting up a customized dashboard lets you monitor and report on the performance of your social media platforms in one convenient place.

In this article, you’ll discover how to set up a dashboard to track key social media metrics for your business.

social media metric dashboard tools and set up

Discover how to use a dashboard to monitor multiple social media metrics.

#1: Choose a Dashboard Tool

There are a number of dashboard tools available. To select the right one for your business, you’ll want to consider cost, make sure the tool integrates with the platforms you use, and explore the interface for ease of use.

Here are four for you to consider:

Dasheroo

Dasheroo lets you create customized dashboards to view everything from Facebook and Twitter to Google Analytics and your email marketing metrics, all in one place. It integrates with more than 27 applications like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, PayPal, SurveyMonkey, Google Analytics, and more.

dasheroo

Dasheroo connects you to your data, whether you’re a solopreneur or a large team.

If you’re on a large marketing team, your group can access the same dashboards and add comments and notes on different metrics you’re viewing. It’s a great way to improve team collaboration.

dasheroo

Collaborate with team members using comments on the data.

With Dasheroo’s free plan, you can monitor up to 12 metrics (also known as insights). One of the cool things about Dasheroo is the ability to monitor individual insights. You can also use any of the tool’s popular templates or data mashups to compare channels.

If you want more dashboards and insights, upgrade to a paid plan starting at $19 per month.

Cyfe

Cyfe goes beyond social media to connect all of your marketing channels in one robust platform. Cyfe lets you use pre-built widgets for advertising, blogging, email, social media, SEO, and more. It natively integrates with 68 applications.

cyfe

Cyfe connects with dozens of applications to give you a well-rounded view of your data.

Cyfe’s free plan includes up to five widgets. It’s perfect for individuals or small businesses that need to track only basic analytics. There’s also a premium version that gives you access to unlimited widgets starting at $19 per month.

Klipfolio

With Klipfolio you get real-time access to your business metrics and analytics and can connect to all of the services you use every day. Starting at $24 per month for up to five users, it’s a great option for small- to medium-sized businesses.

klipfolio

Klipfolio allows you to access more advanced data sources.

Raven Tools

A great option for small- to medium-sized businesses, Raven Tools lets teams collaborate seamlessly on SEO, social, PPC, and content marketing campaigns all in one place. Reporting is easy and automated. With prices starting at $99 per month, it’s an affordable and effective option for campaign managing and reporting.

raven tools

Raven Tools offers more than a dashboard; you’ll get SEO scores, problem areas, and more.

#2: Tie in Facebook Metrics

With Facebook, monitor your page impressions, fan count, new fans, and overall clicks, shares, likes, and comments. Also look at your average daily engagement rate and your most engaging posts.

Add these Facebook insights to your dashboard: overview, engagement rate, and highest engagement. Here’s an example of what your Facebook dashboard might look like:

facebook dashboard

Focus your Facebook dashboard on engagement to find out what content is working.

#3: Include Twitter Metrics

If you’re using Twitter, be sure to monitor your total number of followers, following, and tweets. Also track your average daily retweets, replies, mentions, and likes, and your most engaging tweets.

Add these Twitter insights to your dashboard: overview, engagement, and highest engagement. Here’s an example of what your Twitter dashboard might look like:

twitter dashboard

Look at the engagement level for your Twitter content using this type of dashboard.

#4: Set Up Pinterest Metrics

For Pinterest performance, you’ll want to monitor engagement rate by board, best-performing pins, and overall engagement rate. Also track total repins, likes, and comments, and the total number of followers, boards, pins, repins, likes, and comments.

Add these Pinterest insights to your dashboard: overview, engagement, engagement rate, best-performing pins, and engagement rate by board. Here’s an example of what your Pinterest dashboard might look like:

pinterest dashboard

Focus your Pinterest dashboard on the performance of your pins and boards.

#5: Connect Instagram Metrics

For Instagram performance, monitor your total number of followers, following, and posts. Also track your total number of likes and comments, most engaging grams, and (potentially) your most engaging hashtags.

Add these Instagram insights to your dashboard: overview, engagement, highest engagement, and hashtag leaderboard. Here’s an example of what your Instagram dashboard might look like:

instagram dashboard

Monitor the engagement of your Instagram content and your top hashtags.

#6: Incorporate LinkedIn Metrics

For LinkedIn performance, keep these metrics on your radar: your overall engagement rate, most engaging posts, and total likes, comments, shares, and clicks.

Add these LinkedIn insights to your dashboard: total followers, engagement, engagement rate, and updates with the highest engagement. Here’s an example of what your LinkedIn dashboard might look like:

linkedin dashboard

Keep tabs on the performance of your LinkedIn content with this dashboard.

#7: Integrate Google Analytics

With Google Analytics, keep an eye on your total sessions, top pages by sessions, top sources by medium, and top referrers. If you’re more advanced and have set up goals within Google Analytics, track goal performance as well.

Add these Google Analytics insights to your dashboard: total sessions, top sources by medium, top pages, all traffic, goals comparison, and goal performance. Here’s an example of what your Google Analytics dashboard might look like:

google analytics dashboard

Monitor the performance of all of your content by seeing how it’s impacting traffic to your website or blog.

#8: Integrate Email Marketing Metrics

If you’re measuring your email marketing performance, keep an eye on your email open and click rates, as well as the health of your email list(s).

Add these email marketing insights to your dashboard: engagement (last 30 emails), engagement by list, list health, and health by list. Here’s an example of what your email marketing dashboard might look like:

email dashboard

Get a quick look at your email performance to see what content is engaging your subscribers.

Conclusion

Dashboards come in many shapes and sizes, which makes them perfect for marketers under time pressure who need to manage multiple accounts. Plus, dashboards are a great way to keep a finger on the pulse of your marketing channels.

Whether you’re working alone or as part of a larger marketing team, dashboards help you get more done and improve your marketing efforts. It’s all about finding the right tool for the job.

5 Surefire Ways to Increase Customer Engagement on Your Company Facebook Page

Facebook engagement

 

With approximately 900 million unique visitors every month, Facebook is the undisputed king of social media sites. (For comparison, Twitter only gets about 310 million visitors every month.)

So of course you’ve heard that Facebook is vital to your marketing and business success. After all, anyone can create a Facebook page for their business, and dream about engaging millions of fans on their new page.

But, not everyone can engage their customers and establish real relationships with their audience. Creating a Facebook page that inspires and engages readers can seem daunting, even impossible.

So how do you actually establish relationships and actively interact with your audience – and your customers – on Facebook? Here are five tips you can use to strengthen and build customer engagement on your Facebook page.

Tip#1: Don’t Blatantly Advertise – Offer Great Content Instead

Social media marketing is unique in that it allows real discussions to develop between you and your customers. However, there are businesses who treat their Facebook pages like print ads in the local phone book.

Let’s get something straight: Social media is no place for advertisements, at least not in the traditional sense. No one is going to be interested if your status update says “Buy (your service or product) here.” In fact, many potential customers will lose interest in your company the moment they think that you’re trying to sell them something.

Instead, build your Facebook engagement by focusing on providing valuable, useful, or entertaining content in the form of images, memes, how-to’s, links to blog posts, interactives, infographics, etc. This is actually not that difficult to do. Simply ask yourself what the your audience wants, and then try to fill that need.

Take the home automation company Vivint, for example. Their Facebook page is filled with links to articles such as “5 Steps to Protect your Identity,” and “Community Service: 4 Ways to Give Back.”

Facebook engagementThis kind of content addresses customer needs and interests, and thus is valuable and appreciated.

Should you also try to sneak in some mention of your product or service while you do so? Sure. It’s your company’s Facebook page. But avoid posting content that only talks about your product or services. And only do it if your product or service is actually related to whatever you’re sharing.

Bottom line: If you can provide great content, then your customers will be interested enough to seek you out; you won’t have to go looking for them.

Tip#2: Post Engaging Content Consistently

Creating an engagement on your Facebook page isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon. Actually, that metaphor falls short because even marathons eventually end. When it comes to customer engagement over social media, there is no finish line. At no point can you sit back and say, “Done!”

Every amazing piece of content that you post is only a precursor to the next amazing piece of content, which is (hopefully) already in the works.

Facebook posts are temporary things, and within a few days (or even hours), they will have gotten buried under newer posts. They’ll no longer appear on the newsfeed, so you need to post frequently, and you need to be timely and relevant with those posts.

Facebook engagementOld Spice somehow manages to deliver fun and interesting images and other content almost every day, and the fact that they have over 2.5 million likes shows just how successful their consistent posting is. They’ve established themselves as kings of quirky humor advertising, and posting funny content consistently is one way they have stayed actively engaged with their customers.

Tip#3: Create Shareable Content

The end goal of your Facebook engagement campaign isn’t for you to reach your customer with your unique content; the goal is for your customers to reach each other with your unique content by sharing and reposting it. When this begins to happen exponentially – which is to say that every new person who sees your content shares it several more times – then your post has gone “viral.”

A piece of viral content is the holy grail of content marketing: it provides maximum exposure at a minimum of effort.

If you really want your readers to share your article or post, make sharing effortless for them. Include social sharing buttons along with your content, and customize your sharing buttons for your audience. This way, your customer’s ability to share your content will only be a click away.

Facebook engagement

Tip#4: Respond to Customer Comments, Both Positive and Negative

Many people – both companies and entrepreneurs – tend to dread public customer interaction. They’re afraid that if they allow viewers to comment directly on posts, then those viewers will address potential problems or create negative publicity. And guess what? They’re absolutely right; that does happen.

However, customer interaction isn’t a bad thing. When customers come to you with their problems, it puts you in a unique position to solve those problems and to retain the offended customer.

At the same time, responding to comments and creating a conversation is a great way to establish a strong customer relationship, and will also lead to valuable product feedback. Make sure to always keep your interactions respectful and appropriate. More than one business has seen its reputation crumble after engaging in an online flame war with an angry customer.

Just look at Amy’s Baking Company. After a May 2013 episode of Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares cast the restaurant in a negative light, their Facebook page was attacked with criticism. The owners responded by going completely insane and attacking their attackers, comment for agonizing comment. The end result is that even a year later, their Facebook page is literally filled with negative comments by viewers.

Tip#5: Host Awesome Contests and Giveaways

As ironic as it is, people are generally willing to put in a surprising amount of effort in order to get free stuff. Use this knowledge to your advantage, and offer contests and sweepstakes through your Facebook page.

The simplest way to go about doing this is to offer a prize, and have the entry requirement be nothing more than a like and a share. However, it never hurts to get your audience a bit more involved. Consider posting an image and holding a caption contest, or asking for the best personal experiences from customers who’ve used your product or service.

Facebook engagementEggo waffles saw amazing success with a contest that it hosted in which viewers could submit their own waffle recipes for a chance to win $5,000. When customers see that you’re willing to pay them back for their interaction, then they’ll be more eager to check your page regularly for updates.

Ready, Set, Engage!

When it comes down to it, having a Facebook page is not enough to reach your customers. You can build a Facebook audience that interacts with your brand, but you’ve got to go one step further than just existing on Facebook.

Give your audience a reason to engage with you and your brand by creating shareable content with your customers in mind, responding to your customers’ questions, concerns, or reviews, and hosting giveaways to engage your customers.

How have you increased customer engagement over Facebook? Share your success stories in the comments below!

About Alex Moscow

Alex is the owner of 9mm Public Relations, a boutique consultancy that helps the owners of B2B businesses to build profile, pipeline and profits. By helping his clients to demonstrate the value of their skills, knowledge and expertise, he’s helped build pipeline worth hundreds of thousands of pounds. Alex has published 3 eBooks aimed at helping business owners to generate media coverage for free, develop killer case studies that attract more leads and create persuasive presentations that pull prospects to their business.

Link Development & Content Marketing: Why, When and How?

Lead Development and Content Marketing
   March 15, 2016 Link Building

It’s a well known fact that acquiring high quality, relevant links to your website is an important part of an SEO strategy. But, what about your content marketing strategy? Does building links belong there as well? The answer is, yes! Content and links can’t function without one another. Links are the way people share and find content; together they make up the entire internet.

Despite its importance, link development is often a forgotten component of a content marketing strategy. Having a plan to acquire high quality, relevant links to your content has never been more important than now. According to Content Marketing Institute’s annual research, 50% of B2C marketers say they will increase their content marketing budget in 2016, compared to 51% of B2B marketers who said the same. Meaning, there will be even more high quality content created in the year to come.

So, how can you set your content apart?

One way to boost your content’s authority is through link-building. Link building, put simply, is the process of acquiring links from external websites to your site. Links are votes of popularity from one site to another; they’re indicators to search engines that someone has found something of value on your site. Something valuable enough to link to it.

Why acquire links?

If you’re still unsure whether developing a plan for link acquisition is right for your content marketing strategy, take a look at the possible benefits that links can have:

Links can increase organic traffic and referral conversions.

By creating more ways for visitors to access your content, you increase your odds of potential leads finding you. By tracking referral data in Google Analytics, you can cross reference the links that you’ve built with sources of referral traffic to identify which links are driving the most traffic and conversions for your business.

The graph below shows the impact that one link can have on your traffic and conversions. In this example, we built a link for a client on a reputable news source within an article that was extremely relevant to our client’s site. This one link was able to drive 128 new visitors, and 10 conversions over the course of a few months time.

 

Google Referral Traffic

Manual outreach can help to gain insight and feedback.

Through manual link outreach, you are often starting conversations with others in your industry. It’s amazing what people will tell you about your content if you ask, sometimes even when you don’t. If you can identify common objections to your link outreach, you can also identify possible issues with your content.

It’s amazing what people will tell you about your content if you ask.
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Sometimes a small improvement can create superior content. For example, if one of the common objections to your outreach is that your content is “too promotional or branded,” it might be as simple as changing your call to action, or toning down mentions of your brand within the content. Try to track feedback you receive during link outreach as it can be of value to the the continuous improvement of your content.  This can be done simply by keeping a spreadsheet of suggestions and feedback you receive during outreach, or making a separate folder in your inbox for responses that could be helpful.

Links can boost your content’s rankings

It’s a common goal in both SEO and content marketing to have content rank highly in the SERPs for intended keywords or search queries. In a recent study by Backlinko, 1 million search results were analyzed to measure correlating factors for first page rankings. Their findings supported that the number of linking domains to a page positively correlated with its rankings, meaning that increasing the number of authoritative referring domains to your site can positively impact your rankings.

Ranking and Referring Domain Comparison

Source: Backlinko

The key word here is authoritative. Google’s Penguin algorithm update worked to discount spammy, unnatural links, making it harder for black hat SEO’s to abuse link-building through unnatural tactics. This is a great thing for those of us acquiring links the right way, however, it makes having a strategy for link development even more important.

Won’t content just earn links?

Link earning is a very similar term to link-building, however, link earning differs in its assumption that if your content deserves links, it will earn links naturally. Yes, high quality content on it’s own will gain some backlink momentum, but there is still a need to promote and distribute content, especially if your site is newer.

You can’t assume that just because people are sharing or engaging with your content that it will also get links. BuzzSumo and Moz paired up to analyze the links of 750,000 well-shared posts. They found that 50% of those well-shared posts had zero external backlinks. This implies that it’s much easier to obtain social shares than it is to obtain backlinks, and that just because you promote socially doesn’t mean backlinks will come from that effort. The image below is a great representation of this, while some content falls in that “sweet spot” for both links and shares, most has no correlation.

Links and Shares Comparison

Source: Moz

That’s where manual link outreach becomes hugely important. After you’ve created content worthy of linking to, then make link acquisition a part of your promotional strategy.

When to think about links

Unlike the “chicken or the egg” conundrum, there is a clear answer to what comes first between links and content. Content comes first, always. A primary part of content marketing’s definition is based on providing useful information to your visitors, so hopefully you’ve already got content on your mind. If you haven’t built a foundation of content yet, then now might not be the best time to start building links.

Before jumping in to create a link development strategy, ask yourself the following question: is my content worthy of links?

Ask yourself the following question: is my content worthy of links?
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It’s tough to be unbiased about this—it’s very easy, and common, to think that your content is “link-worthy” when it may not be. Not all content will perform well for links, and that’s okay! Not all content should perform well for links. But what content is more likely to? Let’s take a look.

Content that is likely to be linked to is:

  • In-depth. Creating long form content that is well researched, in depth, and covers a specific topic is best for gaining both links and rankings. In the previously mentioned study done by Moz and BuzzSumo, their findings supported that content receives more shares and links if it is 1000+ words. Searchmetrics’ research on ranking factors found that the average word count for pages ranking in the top 10 was 1285. There is no magic number, but the data leans towards long form content being beneficial for both links, shares and rankings.
  • Useful. If visitors can take something away from your website and put it to use, then they are far more likely to share and link to that content. Great examples of this type of content are checklists, white papers, free guides, infographics, templates and other practical content forms. And again, the more in-depth the better.
  • Not self serving. People rarely want to share a sales pitch. Develop content that serves others, not yourself. It’s extremely hard to pitch your services page, or other promotional pages to a webmaster in an effort to build links. You’ll face a lot of objections that way. That’s not to say that having detailed content answering questions about your specific services or products isn’t essential. It is. But, the content that performs best for link development is usually not at the decision stage of the buyer’s journey, where your product or service information tends to live.

People linking to your site have found your content to be comprehensive, valuable and non promotional.

How to create a link development strategy

As with any other component of content marketing, link development requires a plan of action. It takes a finely tuned process for link development to be most successful. Here are six key questions to consider when creating a link development process.

Who will build the links?

You’ll want to figure out who will be building links for your site; is it you, a teammate, or an external expert?. If you’re looking to designate this to one of your current team members or add someone to your team, then we find that people who have some sales experience tend to have the best match of skill set. Primarily, because this work requires prospecting, pitching and organizational skills that usually go hand in hand with that type of work.

What linkable assets does your site have?

It’s best to go into link development with a clear plan for what content you hope to leverage in your outreach. Choose which pieces of content you would really like to focus your efforts on. We’ll call these your “linkable assets.” Remember these are often not your products or services pages unless you are looking to find unlinked brand mentions of your business.

What goals do you hope to achieve with link development?

There are tons of great reasons to build links, but try to define a primary goal of your efforts. Maybe that goal is simply to increase the number of high quality referring domains to your site, or to increase your brand awareness. Knowing what you want to accomplish will help you determine what types of opportunities you should pursue.

Define a primary goal of your efforts: why are you acquiring links?
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What is your link quality criteria?

Set a baseline for quality of the sites you will be reaching out to. You don’t want your site to be linked from “bad neighborhoods,” or in other words, spammy or low quality sites. Three simple steps to QC an opportunity before reaching out are:

  1. Do a site search for spammy keywords such as “payday loans” “porn” “pills” or “online casino.” If there is spam present on the site, then avoid it. You don’t want your site associated with that.
  2. Download the Moz Bar and check the site’s metrics. The higher the domain authority of the linking site, the better. Also if the specific page you are hoping to have link to you holds authority, that’s another great indicator of quality.
  3. Do a relevance check. Is the domain relevant to your industry… what about the page?  Relevancy matters in the eyes of search engines, and users.  If the link wouldn’t make sense for the audience of the page, then it probably doesn’t belong there.

At Vertical Measures, we qualify links by looking at all of the above to ensure they are quality. We also have a checklist that we use to determine how likely a link from a specific site might be. While no (natural) link is 100% guaranteed, if a site meets at least 2 of the following criteria, it may be more likely to link to your site.

  • Outbound Links: External links are listed on the page.
  • Similar Links: There are related websites linked on the page (EDU, commercial sites, etc).
  • Brand Mention: Your brand is mentioned on the page.
  • General Website Relevancy: The theme of the website is related to the content being pitched.
  • Competitors: There are direct competitors of yours listed on the page, and no affiliation between them and the site.
  • Locality: The page is local to your business, and it makes sense for a link to be present.

Link Development Checklist

How will you track outreach and follow up?

It can be hard to track what sites you’ve reached out to, and whether they’ve responded. It’s best to keep a log of of this information. Below is a simple example of how you can set up an outreach tracking sheet. Log important info like site metrics, date you reached out, the contact you emailed and any notes. This makes things easier to follow up and also to measure results of your efforts. Also, color coding can help you differentiate sites that have put up your links, declined your request, or have not yet responded. Here’s a screenshot of a link acquisition tracking sheet we’ve used for Vertical Measures. Want to use this template for your own acquistion tracking? Get it here.

Link Prospecting Worksheet

How will you measure your results?

Based on your defined goals, develop a plan for measuring the results of your work. Ideally you should be monitoring Google Analytics data for traffic, tracking changes in your site’s authority, and monitoring for keyword rankings. Other measurement efforts will all depend on what you were hoping to accomplish from the beginning.

Know that link development isn’t a short term plan; it’s an ongoing, long-term process and it takes time to figure out what works and to see results. As more and more marketers turn their eyes to content marketing, links will continue to be a factor in how search engines analyze content’s popularity. So, leave a seat at the table for links in your content marketing strategy; they’re not going anywhere.

Know that link development isn’t a short term plan; it’s an ongoing, long-term process.

How to Change WordPress URL Without Moving or Reinstalling

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Courtesy of the folks at TechBasedTraining

Imagine you installed WordPress on a folder named ‘blog’ and you like it so much you want to use it as your main website. Meaning, you want anyone going to yoursite.com to land on the WordPress site. It is actually super easy to do and you don’t have to re-install or manually move the whole installation. This checklist walks you through the steps you need to take.

1. Prepare The Index File

  • Download or copy the original index.php from WordPress onto your computer. If you want you can temporarily re-name it to wpindex.php.
  • Open the file and edit the line that says require(‘…’), make sure this points to the right place. In this
    example, WordPress is installed in /public_html/blog so you’ll want to make it require (‘blog/wp-
    blog-header.php’).
  • If you installed WordPress in a folder with another name you will need to adjust the path accordingly.
  • Save this file.
  • Upload it to your /public_html/ or /www/ folder.

2. Log In To WordPress Admin

  • Navigate to Settings >> General .
  • One of the options there are WordPress Address and Blog Address.
  • Change the Blog Address from http://www.yoursite.com/blog to http://www.yoursite.com .
  • Do not change the WordPress Address.
  • Save.

3. Rename The Index

  • Log in to your site via FTP or your web hosts’ file manager.
  • Rename your existing index.html/index.php etc – whatever your home page is to another name – this will take your home page down.
  • Rename wpindex.php (the file we edited and uploaded earlier) to index.php .

4. Visit Your Website In A Browser

  • Refresh so you will see the changes. If you don’t see it on the first refresh, try a couple of refreshes or clear your browser cache then visit your site again.
  • Your home page should now be the WordPress home page.

Tip #1:

You can use this same method to work in private mode. For example, if you have a live site and do not want to interfere with it, you can install it into a special folder and switch using the above steps when you’re ready.

Tip #2:

You can also do this in reverse. For example, install WordPress in /public_html/ or /www/ folder then make it appear in /blog/ or /whateverfoldername/. Just follow the same steps.

Want More?

If you found this checklist helpful, there’s a lot more where it came from at TechBasedTraining. They also provide technical training with special focus on Internet Marketing related tasks. Perfect for Virtual Assistants who want to upgrade their skills and Internet Marketers who would rather save time by letting the experts train their team.
Oh and feel free to pass it on to those you feel will benefit from it. Go ahead, you have our permission.

 

Why Choosing a Blog Niche Might Not Be a Good Idea

Why Choosing a Blog Niche Might Not Be a Good Idea

By Guest Author

jetty

There are a few pieces of advice that tend to come as standard when you look for help with blogging. “Write compelling content”, “network in your niche”, and “stay consistent” are probably the most common words of wisdom you’ll receive. “Pick the right niche” ranks right up there with them as well.

Choosing the right niche, in the case of blogging, usually just means that you should pick a topic you’re passionate about, which also happens to have a large audience. It’s advice I’ve given myself throughout the years and I still see it on many blogs today.

Yet, I just don’t think it’s relevant anymore.

After more than 15 coaching calls in the last month, I had the realisation that this advice just isn’t helping people, especially with 10 of those calls involving my client stressing out about which industry they should be blogging in.

“Should I define myself as a blog on Lifestyle design or Personal Development?” and “Will people know what I mean by Creative Marketing?” were just some of the related queries that I received.

I instantly replied with “Don’t worry about it” which not only helped bring these people some relief, but also touched upon something that I think everyone should think about. In my opinion, choosing your blog niche – in most cases – just doesn’t really matter anymore.

Defining yourself is a waste of time

I used to run a blog which covered my journey of going from college dropout and leaving England at 18 to working for a big marketing agency in Cape Town where I didn’t know one single person. It was a site that not only grew to thousands of subscribers very quickly, but a site where I worked very hard to define what it was about.

I wanted everyone to know that my blog covered the topic of personal development. Yet, the only place I actually mentioned personal development was in the title tag (to increase search engine rankings for that phrase). The sites’ name, PluginID, didn’t really give much away, and neither did the “Plug into your identity” tagline.

Looking back, my focus on just writing about “personal development” actually hindered me in a number of ways.

The first way being that defining myself was a total waste of time, and probably is for you too. There are simply far more important important aspects to blogging which should be occupying your attention. The most important thing you can do is get the essentials out of the way and then just start writing.

A blog is nothing without its content.

Whether you define yourself as a personal finance blog or a financial advice blog doesn’t really matter. It only matters if you would change your content based on that definition. Nobody is going to look at your blog and think it’s about health if all you write about is money.

Your content is going to show what your site is about; you don’t have to stress about defining it.

Thankfully, there is…

A much better alternative

I can’t write an article which takes out one of the most recommended fundamentals of blogging and not replace it with what I believe is a far superior alternative. Instead of stressing about which direction you’re going to take your blog and the angle of your content, just simply ask yourself “in which way do I want to help my audience?”

That’s it.

Do you want to entertain people?
Do you want to give them the latest news?
Do you want to help them make more money?
Do you want them to become better copywriters?
I can’t answer this question for you, but it should be pretty easy for you. After all, your blog wouldn’t be much without an audience. What do you want to provide for them?

With this one question, you can accomplish a number of things a lot easier.

Content

No longer do you have to worry about whether a certain article fits under the category of ‘personal development’ or whether you’re writing something that your audience doesn’t care about. You simply focus on whether the information you’re providing helps you help your audience.

My aim with ViperChill is to give people the best advice I can about internet marketing and building remarkable websites. I don’t stress if a topic choice is going to be relevant to my readers because I’m always publishing content with that aim so the majority of the time, it just naturally will be.

This question gives you more content ideas, helps you decide if an idea is right for your audience and allows you to twist content ideas from other industries and make them more relevant to your readers.

Audience

Another reason people worry about which blog niche they choose is because they want to make sure they’re attracting – and keeping – the right website visitors. The great thing about this question is that it allows you to build an audience that is laser-targeted.

And as most of you know, a laser targeted audience is exactly what you want if you ever come to monetise your website. Although there are other factors besides what you write about that attract a readership – such as your content length and post frequency – it’s still the biggest factor in growing a blog which can make you money.

Value

The only reason people ever read a blog is because of the value that it provides. That value can be in one of hundreds of forms, but it always exists. For instance, the value I receive from Daily Blog Tips is information which helps me become a better writer, which in-turn helps me to grow my business.

Another blog I love, TechCrunch, provides me not only with boredom relief when I’m not sure what to work on next but also information on the newest social media sites I may be able to utilise. Knowing how you can help people through your site is the exact value that you’re providing to them.

As long as you continue to put out content that is inline with your aim, then you’re constantly giving your audience what they want. That’s true providing true value.

If you’re still not convinced, answer me this: Is it easier for you to tell me how you want to help people, or easier to tell me which category your blog fits under?

About the Author: Glen Allsopp is the owner of ViperChill.com. If you liked this post, you may also enjoy his guide to WordPress SEO.

5 Ways to Eliminate About Page Anxiety

This is a guest contribution from Natalie Gowen.

Today I’m talking About Pages. Or, rather, I’m talking about About Pages. Either way – please don’t go screaming from the room.

Yes, your About Page is one of the most important pages on your site. Yes, it can make a deep emotional connection with your readers. Yes, your About Page can grow your readership and increase your business with tremendous effectiveness.

And yes! About Pages are the hardest pages to write. If you suffer from About Page Anxiety, you are not alone.

Getting clients to hand over About Page content for their website is the most dangerous part of my job. It’s like taking candy from a baby – where the baby is a starving lion and the candy is a fresh gazelle.

It doesn’t have to be that way. You can stand up to About Page Anxiety. You can write a compelling story about your site. You can tell writer’s block to go bother someone else. You can be the proud owner of an About Page that sells you and your blog and convinces people to keep reading.

All it takes is 5 simple elements:

1. Tell your readers why they should care.

When a new visitor comes to your About Page they want to know one thing – what’s in it for them? Answer that question and you also give your readers a reason to dive deeper into your site or add you to their bookmarks.

Your benefits can be real or intangible, either way – be clear about what your blog offers. For example:

You’re a humor writer and a mom – readers care because a good laugh brightens their day, and hey, at least they’re not cleaning poo-based finger paint off the walls.

You’re a business coach – they care because their dreams are like a frozen computer and you can teach them how to reboot.

You’re a fitness blogger – they care because you provide daily motivation to move a little bit more than they did yesterday.

Starting off your About Page by focusing on your reader is the best way to spark a connection.

2. Give them reason to believe you.

Giving people a reason to care about your blog and sharing the benefits you offer can lead you to make some pretty big claims. Using the examples from above:

The humorous mom can make her readers problems fade into the background with a few minutes of laughter.

The business coach gives hope that a side gig can become a full-time job.

The fitness blogger sells a vision of his reader’s future self, the one that can jump off the couch and keep up with the kids.

To help your readers believe you, they need to trust you.  Do you have a degree? Are you featured on top blogs in your niche? Do you have clients that adore you? Is the proof in the (social media) pudding?

Your About Page is the best to explain enough about yourself that readers know you’re not just blowing smoke.

3. Get personal

Your readers will come back for the benefits you provide, but they will connect deeper if they can tell you are a real person, with real struggles and real victories.

Getting personal doesn’t have to mean divulging every last detail about your life. If you want to retain some privacy, let your personality show by sharing:

  • Your values
  • Your interests and hobbies
  • Your goals, hopes and dreams for the future

Most of all – make sure you include a good, clear picture of yourself. It’s always easier to like someone if you can see their eyes.

4. Be available

Don’t play hard to get.  After all, blogging is about connection – so be reachable. If someone really resonates with your purpose and wants to reach out, let them. You can make it easy:

  • Using your website’s email forms
  • Sharing your email address as an embedded link
  • Adding links to social media and connecting off the blog

5. Extend an Invitation

Readers on your About Page have knocked on your door. Are you going to let them in?

Like vampires, first-time visitors to your blog need a specific invitation to go deeper into your website or come closer to becoming your client. Otherwise, they’ll close the browser and will soon forget all about you.

The best invitations are extended as a Call to Action. CTAs are traffic building, business-growing workhorses. The key to an effective CTA is to:

  • Be direct
  • Be relevant
  • Be simple

If you’ve covered the first four About Page elements, you’ll be surprised what readers will do.  They’ll follow you on social media, join your email list, read more posts or even buy your products. You just have to ask.

The Long & Short of About Pages

When you break it down, your About Page should be pretty simple. Whether you write in first or third person, it doesn’t really matter. If it’s long or short, that doesn’t matter, either.

At the end of the day, if you’ve covered the 5 main elements let your About Page be uniquely yours and kick About Page Anxiety out the door.

Natalie Gowen is a brand and marketing strategist for creative and passionate entrepreneurs. As part of her mission to eradicate boring About Pages, she’s the author of the e-course and workbook,About Page Mashup