Categories
Blogging

5 Guest Blogging Tips

I guess someone must have released a product on guest blogging recently because my inbox is full of requests.

Sadly, all the requests from prospective guest bloggers are about to be moved to the trash bin because they failed the basic criteria.

Guest Blogging Tips

There is a right way and a wrong way to go about requests for guest blog posts.  Here’s some tips for guest bloggers …

Tip 1  –  Find blogs that are relevant to your niche

First of all, you need to find blogs in your niche that are relevant to your topic and the message you want to convey.   Contacting blogs that are not relevant to your niche is both a waste of your time and the blog owners.     Really,  it’s just spray and pray, hoping that out of the mass of requests you send that you can get a reply.   A much better way to get the result that you want is to do the right research in the first place.  This way you are only contacting blog owners that are relevant to your message and ideally with a target audience that could cross over to your site.

guest blogging tips
PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay

Start by creating a list of about 200 blogs that fit this criteria.    Set up a spreadsheet that sets out the relevant details such as the blog owner’s name (usually right there on the About page), Facebook/twitter and other social media, contact email, blog url and a sentence about the type of blog posts they are accepting and if they have any criteria for blog post submission

Sort your list.   Ideally the top 10 blogs that you would love to have your post  published on should be 1-10 on your sheet, then the next ideal group of 10 and so on.

In the perfect world, you would spend some time getting to know the top 10 on your list you prepared via social media.   This means really engaging with the blog owners by making useful and insightful comments on their posts and Facebook updates and replying and retweeting when appropriate on twitter.

Focus on the top 10 on your list and put in the hard yards via their blog and social media to build a long term relationship.  Guest blogging is a bit like dating.  If you ask for too much too soon you run the risk of the other party dumping you 🙂

Tip 2 – Plan your ideal result 

Are you writing a post because you want to a) increase your authority status in a niche? get more traffic? get some links? make some sales? If you don’t have a goal for your blog post you won’t be able to measure it, track it and know if you have succeeded.   Knowing your ideal result will also assist you when you are researching blogs to submit your guest post to.   Some blogs may be on your dream list because they are authorities in the niche.     This doesn’t mean though that their visitors are used to buying things.   Find blogs that resonate with your message and are more likely to give you the end result that you are looking for.     This will help save a lot of tears in the long run ….

Tip 3 –  Creating compelling content

A lot of time and thought needs to go into the content that you will submit.   Not only do you need to consider what the blog owner would think of the content and how it fits with their view of their blog but also it is the bait for the visitor. Put yourself in the blog owner’s position.

Is your content unique, relevant to the blog, well written, useful and informative?

Would you be proud to put that content on one of your own sites?

What would  your grandma think of it?

Is it shareable?  Would visitors find the article useful enough to share on social media?

Is a blog owner likely to find it useful enough to notify their list and promote it themselves?

A blog owner is generally looking to give their visitors new insights and information that will be helpful for that market. they do not want their readers to be confused, offended or feel that they have gone to the wrong site completely.  As a guest blogger you need to create content that not only satisfies the blog owner and their target audience but will also bring you the result that you are aiming for.

Tip 4 – Contacting the blog owner – the right way 

Once you have created a compelling  piece of content it’s time to bite the bullet and  submit that article.   First of all do a quick check:

  • Have you got a copy of the article in .txt and .docx format to submit?
  • have you sourced and paid for images to incorporate with your article?
  • do you have a video on You Tube or other video site to link to in your blog, if relevant?
  • have you included a bio about yourself with a compelling call to action to click through to your blog?
  • has your blog or main website been updated and refreshed if necessary?
  • have you included links to your social media profiles where visitors can also interact with you?
  • do you have any links to other blogs where your articles have been featured?

Your email to the blog owner should:

  • address them by name,
  • remind them of some engagement that you have had with them directly (either social media or via their blog comments)
  • mention that you are aware of who their target audience is and with that in mind you have crafted a draft article for consideration
  • enclose your article that is free of spelling and grammatical errors and fact checked

The advantage of doing this is that you are not wasting time toing and froing with the blog owner.

If you have examples of your work elsewhere on the internet, like your own website or other guest blog posts that you have done you should provide the links to that content so the blog owner can view it.

All in all you should make it as easy as possible for the blog owner to say yes to your guest blog post.

Now sit back and wait ….

Sometimes, you may find that you don’t hear from the blog owner for a week or 10 days. If that’s the case then you can just send a polite follow up (ensure that you have checked the email address).

Often blog owners will reply and while they may like some parts of your article they may require some of it to be re-written. Don’t take it to heart. Often it means that you didn’t research or know enough about the topic to begin with 🙂 Even, if that is not the case it is still an opportunity for more interaction with the blog owner and to build a relationship.

You might also get a downright rejection. Before you start licking your wounds, analyse what you could do better next time and what changes you need to make when you move to the next blog owner on your list.

How blog owners can help guest bloggers get published

Time is short but there should always be a few minutes in the day where you can give a prospective guest blogger some feedback on their article. It’s pretty easy to be mean to a prospect but a lot more helpful to give constructive feedback. If you advise some points that could be improved in the article before it could be considered for publication on your blog then it is usually a win/win for both parties.

One of the things that a blog owner can do to cut down on time is have easy to find information on their blog dealing with guest blog post submissions.   This should tell the prospect about what the submission guidelines are, article length, image, link and video use within the content and what topics are acceptable.   Guidelines should also be given about when a prospective blogger should receive a response to their submission.

Tip 5 – Planning your engagement 

After your blog post has been accepted the blog owner will usually let you know the date of publication.

Make sure that you schedule this date on your calendar and drop by the blog and check out the article as soon as possible. If the blog is set up to subscribe to comments you should subscribe. You should then pop back several times a day and reply to any comments that have been made that are directed to your article. You can also take the opportunity to thank the blog owner for allowing you to contribute and share your knowledge. After the initial publication things will generally die down but you should make it a habit to check your emails for any comment notifications and reply. This ensures that you keep engaged with the new audience that you are building.

The reason that I wrote this post was as I said in the beginning there seems to be a spate of guest post emails at the moment. Sadly, none of the guest bloggers who have contacted me did  their research so they immediately failed because their proposed blog topics are totally unrelated to the site.    Taking a few minutes to do their research could have had a different result.

Categories
Weekly Round Up

WordPress Weekly Round Up – 11 August 2013

First of all big apologies! If you were waiting for last weeks Weekly Round Up it was cancelled. In fact, I had to cancel the whole week 🙁 I spent the week in bed nursing the flu and watching a lot of videos of Numbers and Supernatural between naps. The good news is that my math/s has improved but I’m now scared of things that go bump in the night 🙂

Free WordPress Plugins

Genesis 2.0 HTML5 – Genesis 2.0 was released this week which brought with it integration in the platform for HTML5 and Schema support. If you use Genesis out of the box upgrading is a breeze. However, if you use one of the many child themes you will find that most are in progress of being updated but only one, at the time of writing, has been updated. That’s where this little plugin can come in handy – giving you the features of Genesis 2.0 without the wait

http://wordpress.org/plugins/genesis2-html5/

Croice – want to have your own radio or webinar channel and make it easy for visitors to share your content? Then check out this cute little plugin new to the repository

http://wordpress.org/plugins/croice/

Jabze Chat – This plugin really could be quite useful to internet marketers. Say you have a membership site with registered users and you want your users to engage with each other as well as you. This simple chat button will allow registered users to chat with each other on every page of the WordPress site. Think of it like a skype group specific to a page

http://wordpress.org/plugins/jabze-chat/

DataListIt – I must have over the years put a ton of time and energy into creating excel spreadsheets for use on a website and then had to convert the information to a table becuase it wouldn’t display. Well now I’m just busting to find some sort of excel table I would like to incorporate on a blog post just so I can use this new plugin

Datalist it

The https://datalistit.com/ service is free and it also has a nifty online excel file merge and filtering service.

Gweb Pro Store Locator – If you are in the offline arena and manage brick and mortar stores that have multiple locations then this is a useful plugin to add to your arsenal

Gwebpro Store Locator

Want your slider images to pop a bit more? Then WP Roundabout is a plugin that will bring oomph to those images

wp-roundabout

 

http://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-roundabout-pro/

Edu Hack – If you want to deliver courses in modules or a course grid style then this little plugin allows you to create unlimited courses and display them nicely

EduHack

edu-hack

Before & After Plugin – interesting little plugin that requires a visitor to complete an action before viewing the content. Useful for sites that requires terms to be agreed to before adult only content (for example) is displayed

Before And After: Lead Capture Plugin For WordPress

PromoCode plus – Don’t be frightened away by the multiple colors and fonts on the offer page for this plugin! This little plugin is useful to set up affiliate pages, special offers and promotions.

read more here

 

OpenIcons / Pixabay

Awards

Award for funniest plugin has to go to the “D” plugin

http://wordpress.org/plugins/dashboard/

Runner Up Prize to Buzzword Generator

http://wordpress.org/plugins/buzzword-generator-shortcode/

Premium WordPress Plugins

Cart Delight – this WordPress plugin is aimed at service providers. If you sell for example SEO then you can use the cart button to process the order, accept multiple payments (including recurring) and track the order.

What I do like about is the fact that there is a customer panel so customers can see their order and account. Cuts down on customer service and mistakes.

check it out here

Cons – there is a demo site that you can access to use the plugin. However, I would have preferred a video was made available outlining its features.

Licensing – currently the plugin is on special. You can buy a licence for a single site, up to 5 domains or a developer licence.

Prosociate Amazon Store Builder – this new plugin makes it easy for you to build an Amazon store out in conjunction with the Woo Commerce theme. One of the features is that visitors add things to their “cart” on an affiliate site but then checkout through Amazon. Theoretically this means that your visitors aren’t clicking your affiliate link and then leaving to shop at Amazon but loading up their cart at your store.   Consequently, it feels more like an “in store” experience and theoretically visitors would browse and shop more at your store.

Read more here:

There are a number of videos to watch to see how the plugin works.

Elite QR Code Generator – this is a plugin that you upload to your site to allow visitors to create QR codes.

Why?

So you look like you are supplying free tools to visitors and became an authority in this area.

Read more here

Apex SEO – This plugin is marketed to those that are scaredy cat that the Google keyword tool that we’ve all grown to know and love is being replaced with Keyword Planner. To do your keyword research in future you will need an Adwords account – not a big deal unless you use an alternative tool.

Apex SEO lets you do your keyword research in the WordPress dashboard and not only retrieves your seed keyword but also related keywords (broad and exact match) and analyses the data collected for competitors.

What I do particularly like about is that it shows regional interest and trends in the one handy dandy screen.

If you are in the offline arena you can upload your logo and generate a report to give to clients as well.

You can also add your keywords and set it to research while you toddle off and have a coffee

Cons: what I don’t like is that offer is not forum style. That means there are no user reviews and I really like seeing how people interact with new plugins.

What I don’t understand after skimming the sales page is the licensing. You can purchase a single licence (for use on 3 of your domains) unlimited (for use on all your domains). What I don’t “get” is why I would need more than one licence? Can the tool only collect kewywords for that particular website? If you know the answer I’d appreciate it if you let me know in the comments below

http://apexseoplugin.com/

Categories
Themes

Genesis 2.0 Release

It seems that my favorite themes like Optimize Press and Genesis are being updated at the same time. Theme developers are certainly keeping us on our toes and giving us a lot of eye candy to look at!

This week Genesis 2.0 was released. If you are already using Genesis you can upgrade the framework through your WordPress dashboard or you can download the files and ftp them up if you prefer.

I’ve updated my framework to Genesis 2.0 on a couple of sites that are not using a child theme without any problems at all.  As always, I would suggest that you take a back up just in case you have a hosting or plugin conflict.   If you are using Genesis with a child theme I’d suggest that  you upload Genesis 2.0 together with your child theme and export of your posts to a test site to see all is working well.

What’s new in Genesis 2.0?

Genesis 2.0 is an improved framework for this popular WordPress theme. It has integrated new web standards into it to keep up with the change in technology and user needs.   Let’s have a look at the major changes in the framework.

genesis 2 wordpress theme

HTML5

Genesis now incorporates HTML5 standards.

What is HTML5?

HTML5 is the new version of HTML if you like. It is just a change in web design standards. Some important features that you should note about using HTML5 is that it is responsive ,that means the code responds to the user’s device to display information. In short, Genesis 2.0 is mobile friendly and will display well across platforms and devices.

Another aspect of HTML5 is that unlike HTML there are now attributes that you can incorporate into the theme design for display of commonly used elements like video and audio. This means that it makes it easier to integrate these items in your theme without having to use separate code or plugins.

You can read more about html 5 in full techie speak here 

By incorporating the html5 features in their themes Genesis users are assured that moving forward their theme will be easier to use and will require less plugins for common uses.

Schema.org

For the last few years a lot of plugins have been released to display rich snippets. The microdata from Schema.org is read by the major search engines and Google has said that

“rich snippets can make your site appear more prominently in the search results so you may see an increase in search traffic”

This is good news for SEO types and for Genesis users as the up to date framework supports the use of this microdata quickly and easily.

Secure

geralt / Pixabay

I so wish that more theme developers would take the care that the team at studio press does when they release a new theme. Brian and the team regularly hire experts at WordPress security, to inspect the code and review it for security flaws.Mark Jasquith had that task for the Genesis 2.0 release and said this “..from a security standpoint, Genesis 2.0 is at the top of its class”.

Miscellaneous

There are some other miscellaneous changes in Genesis 2.0 that users will enjoy and notice in the difference in load time on their site. The but the main changes encompass the use of HTML5 and Schema.

Themes

To celebrate the release a new theme has been released called Sixteeen Nine as well as an upgrade for the existing eleven40 theme.   Other upgrades to their existing themes are being rolled out over time.

Regrets

One of my regrets was that I didn’t update my blog using the Genesis framework when I did a refresh of the look this year. I think it’s time for a change now 🙂

Categories
Weekly Round Up

WordPress Weekly Round Up – 28 July 2013

A selection of the latest premium plugins available for internet marketers this week.

Double your profits WordPress Plugin – Jimmy Mancini is tempting us with a plugin that is said to double or even triple your profits. The premise for the plugin is based on a system called ART. This stands for attract and retain technology.

The plugin supposes that a visitor comes to your site clicks a link or banner to an external offer and remains on the third party site. His plugin basically returns the visitor back to you.

read more here

Review Site Builder – a wordpress plugin that creates product review video websites The plugin allows you to quickly put together an amazon review site in an attractive layout. However, I would highly recommend that you add your own voice and unique content to what the plugin displays rather than risk the wrath of Gogole’s animals.

Read more here 

WP Banner plugin – a copywriter is seriously needed for this sales page …. What I believe that the seller has for sale is a plugin where you can sell different banner sizes to those that wish to advertise on your site. The plugin is less than $3 at the moment

Skype Tracker – allows you to form skype groups and invite people either via skype or from your blog. Has the potential to annoy a lot of people but also can be useful when used by responsible grown ups.

Read more here

EZ Branding Generator – if you are an offline web design consultant you’ll like this plugin. You can cusotmize the login screen to suit your client by adding their logo or even a full background, add a custom dashboard (including videos, advertisements, images…almost anything) and you can also add a custom footer.   This is a great way to have your company branding and information in front of your client at all times (while restricting what they can play with on the site)

[youtube]http://youtu.be/L7Q1zD4TGl4[/youtube]

Read more here

Just a reminder that Studio Press is having a huge sale where you can get their entire package of themes (and those they make in the futuer) for less than $350 (saving over $850). It ends soon …no false scarcity here http://my.studiopress.com/pro-plus/

Categories
WordPress News

Optimize Press 2.0 – Let the buzz begin

The new version of Optimize Press (completely re-built) is due for release soon on 31 July 2013.

What’s different about Optimize Press 2.0?

The main difference between this theme and the previous versions as well as competitor’s themes is ease of use and a bucket load of features.

The team at Optimize Press identified that lack of techie skills and graphics were delaying people from creating their sales funnels and membership sites quickly. They addressed this problem by re-building Optimize Press to a user friendly, point and click, drag and drop interface that takes minutes to customize (without any techie coding know how).  One of the great things about the new Optimize Press 2.0 platform is that you can choose to integrate this functionality by either WordPress theme or  WordPress plugin.

Optimize Press 2.0 has a number of pre built features in it, but one of the main selling points for me is the use of elements.

What are elements?

optimize-press-elements

Elements are preconfigured, drag and drop features that are commonly used on websites.

For example, say you want to add a little feature box at a point in your page. You don’t need to look around for a shortcode or a plugin to do that you simply drag and drop that element where you want it on the page.

The element library that is included in Optimize Press 2.0 is extensive so no doubt there are short cuts that would suit everyone.

Point & Click New Templates

As you would expect for this theme there is also an amazing array of new templates that you can use out of the box. No fiddling with code or graphics just click the one that you want to use.

This provides the best of both worlds for WordPress users – you can choose how little or how much work you want to do customizing your new site.   This is just a small selection of the default templates available for Optimize Press 2.0 users.

optimize-press-templates

Mobile Friendly

One of the most common requests that users of  Optimize Press had was to make it responsive.   When the new platform was built the team concentrated on ensuring that the new Optimize Press would size to fit on mobile phones and tablets.  As more and more consumers and internet surfers are using their mobile devices having mobile friendly sales pages, launch pages and membership sites responsiveness is more important than ever before.   You can also customize what content, if you wish, to show mobile visitors.

Live Preview

Don’t you just hate making customizations and opening another tab to see what it looks like?   Well with the  handy in built live preview feature you can kiss opening up separate tabs goodbye!  T ability to use the live editor which displays what your customized content looks like is a real time saver!

Memberships made easy

One of  the most common requests that I  have had personally over the years was to show people how I customized Optimize Press for use on membership sites.    I think I can trash my screenshots on this now 🙂

The new version of  this theme and plugin has really taken memberships to a new level.   There is  shopping cart integration with some of the most popular platforms like infusionsoft, paypal, paypal payments pro, clickbank and authorize. net. They are also working on more integrations with other platforms like office auto pilot shopping cart/membership system.

The members area has a number of features but it also allows for membership levels.   You can easily set up areas for example, silver, bronze and gold.     This is an absolutely boon for those that don’t want to use fancy pants plugins for memberships (and save the time and expense of figuring them out) or who want to keep their existing shopping cart and integrate it with the design elements and ease of use of Optimize Press 2.0.

Brandability

Now you can offer your visitors a seamless website experience – using  Optimize Press your sales funnel, webinar registration and your blog all look the same ensuring visitors are not confused when roaming your site.  You can create a blog that compliments your brand with a ton of options using the in built layout manager.

So much more

There are so many other features that this theme and plugin include that one post won’t cover it.     One of  the things that I think will be extremely popular with internet marketers is ….webinars.   More on that later though!

Watch the video demonstrating some of  the features of  Optimize Press 2.0

P.S.   I know a lot of  people purchased Optimize Press when it was first launched a couple of years ago now.   Optimize Press 2.0 is not an upgrade but a completely new platform.    In plain speak, this simply means that you will have to pay for the new product.   However, existing users will be offered a discounted price when it is launch so keep an eye out on your inbox.

Categories
Weekly Round Up

WordPress Weekly Round Up – 15 July 2013

It’s way past this WordPress worker’s bed time! So it’s a very quick round up tonight for you guys – I need my beauty sleep! Rest assured though, the plugin developers have not been sleeping and have got a great range of plugins to tempt you with.

Free WordPress Plugins

Terms Per Product – For those selling digital products online using Pippin’s Easy Digital Downloads Plugin a new add on could help you out.

Easy Digital Downloads – Terms Per Product

Meetup Winner – if you are an offliner running or attending meet ups this little plugin could increase your engagement

Meetup Winner!

Lawyer Plugin – how could I not like this one 🙂 This plugin adds resources that are updated and relevant to the law firm’s area of practice. I assume that this plugin is only for US users though …
Something for offliners working in the lawyer niche to add and test on client sites perhaps

http://wordpress.org/plugins/lawyer-resources/

High Light Cam – Video hosting plugin – this is a new company that while it is in its start up stage will host your videos (up to 30 minutes) long for you. Currently, there is no limit to the number of videos or domain you can use with the plugin. Simple sign up, install the plugin and upload those videos.

You can get all the juicy details here

If you don’t have an S3 account to host videos and you make videos longer than you You Tube length then this may be a good option for you to explore.

Premium WordPress Plugins

geralt / Pixabay

Ultimate Video Curator – this is an entire video curation package – theme, plugin plus some bonuses. The premise is that the plugin finds relevant videos for you to download and curate on your site. The idea is that all this lovely content will then have hordes of traffic flooding your site. You can read more here 

Viral Pay Bot – Another plugin that locks content on your site until a payment is made. The plugin allows certain parts of your content to be redacted until the payment is made. Users that don’t want to hand over their wallet can pay with a tweet, like or Google Plus.

You can get all the dirt here

In other news …

This month we have two premium themes getting upgraded and re-launched. The first is Optimize Press 2.0 due for release later on in the month. The second is the much awaited Thesis 2.1 which is due for release on 16 July.

Categories
How To

How on earth do you create a WordPress plugin?

Have you ever wanted to create a WordPress plugin?

Creating WordPress plugins is hot and has been for years now. The trend in plugin creation also shows no signs of waning.

Why are plugins so hot?

Because usually, if they are made well and designed with thought and a dash of love they solve a problem. They make life easier for us mere mortals that couldn’t live without the code geeks add ons.

Creating free plugins gives you credibility and enhances your reputation in the WordPress community. Add to that a dash of link love as well.

Creating premium plugins gives you the same as the free plugins but also offsets the expense of creation, development and support.

So how on earth do you create a plugin?

That was the question the team at Foo Plugins asked themselves this week when they wanted to teach a member of staff, Matt,  how to make a plugin.   You can follow along on both the Foo Plugins website and see how they teach Matt.   Then you can switch over to Matt’s blog and see how he is going with the process.     They’ve given this plugin creation project the cute name of  Foo Camp 

PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay

It’s free to follow along with this project and I’m sure you will learn something just by watching over the shoulders of  team Foo and Matt.   It will be interesting to see what Matt comes up and what struggles he encounters along the way.

I’m ready to grab my popcorn and notebook and join in!