Offering lead magnets has had a game-changing effect on my business. The 5 reasons why offering freebies can make an incredible difference to your business.Read More
I get this question all the time: “How do I get people to read my blog?”
Whether you’ve just started a blog or you’ve been blogging for a while, you can’t just expect people to find you without any effort on your part!
Once you’ve got (at least) a handful of value-packed posts, driving traffic to a new blog, or boosting traffic to an existing one, involves three main activities: community building, SEO, and promotion.Read More
Beautiful images with quotes are everywhere these days. Think Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, Blog Photos, etc.You get the picture. It can take a long time to create your own, and let's face it, not everyone is gifted in graphic design. It's also a great idea to make a graphic of your blog post title. Every social channel allows a featured image and it's proven to grab readers attention.
Why use quote images:
- Image posts increase interaction on Facebook by 39%
- Engagement is 200% higher for Twitter posts with images/ image links
- Pinterest has a 50% higher click-through-rate than other social platforms
[All stats from QuickSprout]
Where to find quotes:
6 Quote Image Creation Tools
A free tool with almost 50 options. The images are watermarked, but they're super easy to create and download.
Pinstamatic will help you liven up your blog and Pinterest account. Add captions to photos, create simple quotes and more. It's doesn't have a lot of customizable options but is simple, quick and has a very attractive website!
A free tool with 28 options. They're fairly limited and not too fancy, but it's easy to use and easy to save (just right click).
PicMonkey is what I use for most of my images. It's free, easy to use + extremely customizable. They have some backgrounds to choose from or you can upload your own.
Free and easy to use. It provides small groups of stylized quotes for you to choose from. They are all fairly similar to the photo above.
Click through quotes on homepage to find inspiration and create your own with their free tool. Customize the background color, choose from a few fancy fonts + choose from a few random icons. This site looked promising at first, but I wasn't impressed in the end.
This tool has specific editors for Facebook and Google+ cover photos, wallpapers and more. You can also choose a quote from the homepage to help you get started
Designed for Pinterest. Free and easy to use. You can upload backgrounds or choose from a few plain options. Font options are limited and the image size is very small. The above image is one I created at full size.
LivLuvCreate is a social community of image quotes, but also offers a free editor. To use the editor, you have to create an account, but you can easily sign in with Facebook. The editor offers tons of options, from collage layouts to pre-made beautiful background images and Instagram-like filters.
Chisel offers images to choose from, similar to LivLuvCreate. Choose an image, add your quote and save. The downside is that you have to create an account first.
Which tool is your favorite?
This post was originally a guest post for my friend Lindsay over at The Lean Green Bean Blog. She's a Registered Dietitian with amazing recipes, weekly ideas for Sunday Food Prep and great health tips, so make sure to check out her blog! With that said, let's dig in!
What is Search Engine Optimization? This means optimizing your posts for search engines like Google and Bing so they can better understand what the post is about and what questions it will answer for readers. A nicely optimized post will rank better and reach a wider audience. “Organic search traffic” means visitors who find your blog through typing a query into a search engine.
When you’re thinking of optimizing your posts, you should be thinking of how to help your target audience, not just how to rank better or reach more people in general. Start thinking like your audience. What do they want to know? What questions are they asking?
How to optimize your posts:
First, let me stress that shareable, engaging content is more important than keywords. However, following a few easy steps can help increase your organic traffic and reach more relevant readers.
1. Keywords: Choose a keyword phrase or two that best represents your post idea. Ex: “How to cook spaghetti squash”
a. Use Google Keyword Plannerand Google Trends to find the most popular (most searched) way to phrase your keywords. Compare multiple phrases to see which has the highest traffic (low-medium competition is best). There are tons of keyword tools out there, but these are quick, easy and free, so start here. For the example above, other search phrases might include “best way to cook spaghetti squash” and “how to bake spaghetti squash”
2. Title: Your post title is possibly the most important aspect of your blog post. This will entice people to click, shows up in social media sharing, is usually your H1 tag for SEO, etc. Titles with the most clicks often include: “How-to”, “Mistakes,” “Secrets,” Questions (people are typing full questions into Google more often now) and lists. Examples include: “3 Ways to Cook Spaghetti Squash,” “The secret to cooking perfect spaghetti squash,” or “4 mistakes people make while cooking spaghetti squash.” Keep your title under 60 characters and be sure to include your keyword phrase. This will most likely be used for your title tag.
3. Title Tags: Google will show about 60 characters. Include keyword phrase(s), but don’t overdo it.
4. URL: Include your keyword phrase(s) — you can shorten it to use just the main keywords, use dashes rather than underscores, and use all lower case letters.
5. H1 tags & Header tags: The H1 tag is usually your post title. Make it engaging and include your keyword phrase(s). Secondary headers are a great way to break up the content. They also cue readers (and search engines) in on what your post is about if they quickly scan it. Use closely related keywords in the header tags.
6. Meta-description: Google shows about 160 characters. The meta-description is not used for ranking in search engines, but what you put here will encourage people to click on your link. Use an alluring snippet from your post, a call to action, or write a short introduction to the post, such as, what problem will reading your post solve for readers? Google won’t always use what you enter. Sometimes it will pull text related to the search query, but it can still be a good idea as a backup.
7. Content: I mentioned having engaging content. Make sure you also use your keyword phrases within your blog post. You only need to use a few related phrases once or twice. Focus on your writing and don’t keyword stuff*.
Bonus Tip: Use phrases to link to other posts you’ve written, too. This will keep the reader engaged in your blog longer and will signal to search engines that your blog is cohesive and organized. Make sure to have the link open in a new window.
8. SEO Plugins: If using WordPress, grab a free SEO plugin. Yoast All-In-One is highly recommended.
When searching for “how to cook spaghetti squash,” this is what the post looks like in Google. Lindsay appears on the first page for this search.
In no time you’ll get the hang of optimizing your posts and be able to draw more organic traffic to your blog!
*A note on keyword stuffing: Keyword stuffing is when you use your keyword phrase as much as you can. Not a good idea! Google has evolved and it’s now recommended to use similar phrases so Google can get an idea of what your post is about.
Want to expedite your blog rankings and traffic? Join my brand new, FREE 6-day Challenge…
I’m hosting my very first online challenge and I’d love for you to join us.
I don't really need to explain why stealing photos is bad, right?Thankfully, there are plenty of resources to get free photos.
Free Photos for Blogs:
- Where to Find Free Images for Your Blog --A helpful list of 16 free photo sources and the requirements to use the photos.
- Free stock images from Hubspot + other marketing goodies
Favorite Sources for Blog Images:
Death to Stock Photo While free photos are great, it takes time to sift through and find the high-quality photo that's just right for each post. I'm super-strapped for time these days, so I got a $10/month membership to dttsp. The photos won't be right for everyone, but they match the feeling and needs of my blog pretty well for now. They offer a free monthly option too, so I highly recommend checking them out.
Your Own Photography: Even if your blog is just for fun, taking your own pictures is a great option. You'll be in control of the content and may be able to add a personal element to your blog. While a lot of bloggers eventually opt for a DSLR camera, chances are you have a pretty good camera on your smart phone and there are plenty of easy photo editing options available online.
Afraid someone might be using your original photos? Do a Google Reverse Image Search. I also use this to check the original source of photos I find and want to use.
Do you take all of your own photos or find them online?
Have you ever wondered when the best time is to write a blog post? When are you at your creative peak? While it may differ from person-to-person, I've come across the advice many times to write first thing in the morning, and it works best for me. Write in the morning before you do anything else and before the day can get to you. It's a similar notion to "exercise in the morning before your body realizes what's going on." This may not be an easy habit to start, though. Most people aren't getting the quality of sleep they should, so waking up with enough time to coherently write a few thoughts probably seems like a joke.
However, you'll be surprised what comes out. I've done it two ways: gotten coffee and gone to the computer -or- used an app on my phone without even leaving bed. Be careful, though. Don't be tempted to check Facebook or check email. I have a bad habit of leaving my work email open on my laptop, inviting me to tackle the never-ending barrage of new mail. Learning to control the urge will take time but feel refreshing in the end.
What if you take an hour...or 15 minutes even... to clear your mind and sort through a few ideas? Get your worries and stresses out first. Clear them away so you can think bigger. Have a section of your notebook/word document/online journal for personal thoughts and for the thoughts you want to share with the world (i.e. your blog post drafts).
Steps for writing in the morning: 1. Commit to a specific amount of time each morning 2. Choose how you'll write (computer, phone app, journal) 3. Choose your location (free from distractions) 4. Set an alarm for your time limit and don't stray from writing
Try it for one week and see what kind of results you get. I was very surprised! Blogging will be much easier when you have a collection of drafts and ideas ready to go.
If your experiment fails: The true best time to write is ANY time, as long as you're writing daily. Schedule it in.
Bonus Tip: Use a small notebook or phone app to collect thoughts as the day goes. Inspiration will strike at any time, so be ready to collect your thoughts, conversations and questions to use later!