Are you ready to Build Your Brand with a Blog?

Hey guys, it’s summer break but you can sign up now for my Building Your Own Blog Workshops at DelTech in Stanton and Dover which will begin in September.  However, if you can’t wait for the classes to begin, this checklist will give you a head start until workshops resume in the fall.

1. CHOOSE A BLOGGING PLATFORM

There are several options available, but WordPress and Blogger are great places to start for beginner bloggers.

2. NAME YOUR BLOG

Choose a name that reflects the essence of you or your blog. Take your time time to  think this step through. After all, your blog is your brand and you want to have a name that is reflective of it.

3. RESERVE/PURCHASE YOUR DOMAIN NAME

There are many reasons why you need your own domain name. So head over to GoDaddy.com or WordPress.com which are just two of the many sites that will walk you through the process.

 

4. DETERMINE YOUR BLOG DESIGN

This is key since your blog design can either attract people or turn them away. Think of it like browsing for a magazine or book, most people are drawn more towards those with eye appealing designs, which holds true for blogs.

Blogger & WordPress both offer free themes that you can build upon, and there are lots of free site design options that you can find via Google.

If you want a customized look for your blog to help it stand out, hiring a blog designer is always an option. Make sure you agree on what’s included in your design package upfront, and what type of design support will be available to you once your blog is up and running.

Check sites such as Fiverr to save on the cost, but make sure you read the reviews of the web designers.

 

 

5. WRITE, RINSE, REPEAT!

Once you get readers to your site, you want to engage them & bring them back day after day. The best ways to do this?

  • Have a great ABOUT page.   This is the page that explains why you started blogging, introduce yourself, your family or anyone/anything else that you’ll be blogging about.
  • Make sure your CONTACT page is up-to-date. Include your email address, as well as any other social media accounts that you’d like to connect with people on: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.
  • Content is King but let your Customers Wear the Crown. Readers won’t want to hang around on your blog if there isn’t much to read, so have several posts in draft and ready for when your site goes live and make it compelling enough that they want to share with their circle.
  • Set a blogging schedule to ensure that you’re keeping fresh posts coming. Whether you blog once a week or once a day, you should set that expectation for your readers from the beginning.
  • Don’t forget the pictures! Too much text doesn’t get read, always use images, as we humans have the attention span that less than a Goldfish and you want to capture them in the first 7 seconds.

 

 

If you are ready to start a blog, send an email to info@ablakeenterprises.com to take advantage of the $150 Summer Special or head over to my website to learn more.

10 Basic Blogging Tips

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First Impression is the Last Impression

If your blog doesn’t have decent layout and your readers are finding it hard to read your actual content, you need to fix it . It’s your blog design which is first viewed by your blog readers and if they don’t like it, they will simply close it and move on.

2. Content Quality

You content’s quality matters a great deal. If it’s really good, it will motivate your blog readers to visit your blog again and again to read your latest blogging tips and keep up with your posts. Relevant and interesting images and videos makes your posts more interesting.

No one wants to read a long wordy blog post without a single image. Also, proofread for grammatical and sentence related errors and create an eye catching title for all your blog posts.

 

FYI – Blog posts with eye catching headlines get better CTR (Click through Rate) in search engine results and other places of listings.

3. Write Guest Posts for Other Blogs

This is one that I personally need to do as I accept many guest posts, however, have never written one for any other blogger.

Write guest posts for other blogs in your targeted niche is one of the best things you could do to become a successful blogger. Make a list of most popular blogs in your niche and approach them with high quality guest posts.

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4. Reply to Comments

You should reply to comments coming on your blog posts. If you are not replying comments, don’t expect lots of comments on your blog posts from genuine blog readers. Check your guest posts on regular basis and reply to incoming comments. Before commenting you should set an avatar with your picture on Gravatar.com.

 

5. Learn the Basics of SEO

You should start learning the basics of SEO. It will be your SEO skills that will take you from being an average blogger to a successful blogger. Use targeted keywords in your blog post URL, Title, meta tags, as an alternative text with images, heading tags and few times in your actual blog content. You should interlink your blog posts where they make sense.

Link to trusted websites to give additional information about a topic to your blog readers.

6. Link Building Activities

Guest blogging on other blogs will help you get some high quality backlinks for your blog from popular blogs in your niche. You cannot get much traffic to your blog without link building activities if you are blogging about a competitive niche.

7. Have a Strong Presence on Social Media Networks

You need to make sure your blog has a strong presence on Social Media networks like Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.  However, you don’t need to be on all platforms, choose 2 and master them!

8. Improve Speed of Your Blog

You need to look at all possible ways to improve the speed of your blog. If you are adding images, you should optimize their sizes before uploading on your blog. You should enter cleaned HTML into your blog posts.

 

9. Improve Engagement on Your Blog

You should write engaging content on your blog. You should give a personal touch to your blog posts. You should ask questions; take advice and feedback from your blog readers. CommentLuv plugin to encourage visitors to leave comments and interact with one another.

 

10. Monetize Your Blog

If one of your primary goals behind blogging is earning cash, you should start monetizing your blog once you start seeing some traffic on it. No doubt there are hundreds or even thousands of websites claiming to help you make money from your blog, but don’t believe all of them, ask other bloggers who are more than willing to share their success stories.

Do you have any other tips to share?

Basic Blog Designs

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Basic Blog Designs

 

Regardless of whether you have chosen to have your blog hosted or are self-hosting; are using a free or premium template, there are several elements to all blog layouts.

 

Home or Landing Page:

This is the page everyone sees when they first come to your blog or website. Keep it clean and uncluttered so that your targeted audience can navigate quickly without being overwhelmed with a lot of links or options.

Profile or About You Page:

This page should include a clear or professional head shot, also a statement or the purpose of your blog. You can actually create two “About” pages, one can be about you the author, and the other can be about the blog.

 

Posts:

All blogs have posts, these are the the entries you write and publish, with the most recent post being displayed first. At the bottom there are clickable links for “older posts” or “previous posts” so that readers can navigate through your blog.

Comments:

Comments are what makes your blog interactive, they are what helps you understand your audience’s reaction to what you have written. It shows that you value your readers and their opinion. You can turn off the ability for people to leave comments, however, if you do, you may turn off readers.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t initially get a lot of comments, stay committed and over time you will.

 

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Categories:

Categories or labels are great ways in which to identify your posts and it also helps readers find others in the same category, i.e. family, recipes, health and wellness.

 

Sidebar:

Most blogs have more than one column, and the most included information on a blog’s sidebars are your picture, contact info, social media icons, subscription info, categories or labels, links to your archives, links to recent comment or popular posts as well as ads.

Try not to clutter up your sidebar, less is more, unless you have started monetizing your blog.

 

Archives:

This helps readers find older posts and are divided by year or month.  Archives are useful for search engine optimization (SEO) because every post you ever wrote will be available for years.

 

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Header:

Your blog’s header is similar to a newspaper’s masthead. It covers the top of your blog and usually includes your blog’s name, slogan and logo or an image. You can create your own header or hire a designer but it’s what distinguishes your blog from the millions of others.  

Your blog’s header appears on every page so it becomes very recognizable and just a unique as you are.

 

Footer:

The footer spans along the bottom of your blog and may contain the following information: Copywrite or Disclosure Statements; Terms and Conditions or Privacy Statements; your email address; contact information; links to other resources; feeds from other blogs you may be following.  

Not everyone will scroll down to the bottom of your blog so keep critical info in the sidebar or in the header especially your “follow me” social media icons.  

Check my Youtube channel for more information on this topic or check out my website to sign up for a FREE 30-minute blogging consultation. 

 

Let’s Chat: What are your “must haves” when designing your blog?

 

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Pen Pals to Private Messaging

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Pen Pals to Private Messaging

 

When I attended William B. Ward Elementary School in New Rochelle, NY in the 60’s, I remember we had a teacher that gave us an unusual class assignment.  We had to chose a Pen Pal from another country and write to him or her once a month. I am not sure how we chose the country or the person, but I do remember being excited because I loved to write.

My Pen Pal, was a young girl in Japan, I forget her name, but I will never forget how anxious I was to get her letters because they always included an origami creation.  Something that she made just for me, it could be a flower, or a bird or some other exotic design and I kept them all in a shoe box under my bed.

 

 

Unfortunately, other than making paper airplanes or a “Fortune Teller Game” I was never able to create anything as fancy as she, however, I enjoyed writing multiple page letters which makes perfect sense now as to why I am a blogger – I LOVED TO WRITE!

 

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Having a Pen Pal in the 60’s has now evolved into a new meaning in 2018, most teens are connecting via Private Messaging, sending a text or Snapchat.  However, writing and communicating with someone one-on-one can still be fun and even lead to something greater, like writing a book or an eBook like my friend Lisa Bryant did.

 

If you didn’t have an opportunity to listen to the Podcast interview, please click this link afterward to listen to our conversation about “Journaling for Juniors.”

 

 

 

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Since Lisa’s book launch, she has been traveling throughout the state speaking and signing copies of her book “You Are Enough: Keeping it 100 With Yourself.”

 

 

Writing, journaling or blogging is not only good for the mind, it is also good for the body and soul.  We live in a world that is in constant change, with thoughts, ideas, news, and nonsense filling our heads on a daily basis.  We all need a way in which to release some of the pressures that may be building in our brains and writing is one of the best ways to do so. 

Not having time, shouldn’t be an excuse and you may be amazed at all that you have in your head, so take some time to make the time to write.  Although you may not write longhand with paper and a pen, start typing your thoughts on a keyboard or dictating them onto your Smartphone and you may find the more you write the better you feel.

If you are interested in learning more about blogging, please head over to my website to schedule a consultation or complete the contact form so we can get you started “Building Your Blog”

 

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Do you find writing helps you release stress?

Build A Better Business with a Blog

 

Build A Better Business with a Blog

 

 

Blogging for business is not a new concept and for many small businesses it can be an extremely effective tool to build onto their current social media footprint, establish and/or broaden their brand, or position themselves in their area of expertise.

A strong social network can become an asset for any business.  Social media offers every business the opportunity to strengthen relationships with their target audience, creating loyal customers and even brand advocates. Exploiting this potential is no easy feat, but can be done if the medium is used well.

 

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Unfortunately, many companies are still not getting the best out of their social media accounts. Yet social media is big business: 74% of all internet users use social networking sites, and for younger adults it’s even more.

However, marketing on FREE social media platforms is not always FREE nor do you own them.  Anytime the creators/designers of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others decide to make changes to the algorithms, privacy settings, advertisement guidelines or timeline promotion there is little to nothing you can do about it.  

However, a blog, one that you have created on WordPress.org, for example, is owned by you and you have total control as to what you want to promote and when you want to promote it.  The ultimate benefit of blogging is the opportunity to communicate expertise and establish the business as a reliable resource.

Thanks to my astute fellow blogger, Rena, she reminded me that businesses should ALWAYS use WordPress.org because WordPress.com is owned by WordPress but .org is the self-owned version.

 

Content is King ~ Platform is Queen.”

 

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Creating a platform is about building a social media presence, a stage that can be seen above the crowd. Content is the message, but a platform provides visibility, amplification and engagement with the targeted audience.

Social media is a great tool for driving traffic to a website, but a blog will do more to build a platform. While there is much debate about the return on investment (ROI) for time spent on social media, the results of blogging are easier to evaluate with Google Analytics.

Google Analytics charts your unique visitors, comments, interactions, time spent on the site and other social media metrics which help business owners learn more about their customer interests and problems that may need to be solved.

Any owner of a small business could benefit from creating a blog as part of their website or as a stand alone platform.  When first starting it is important to make friends or engage  with bloggers in the same niche and in high places as it helps in selling and promoting their products.

There is proof that not only can your blog help promote your business, it can even become an additional source of  revenue.  

Blogs are one of the top online services to influence a purchase. When making overall purchase decisions, consumers rank blogs third behind retail and brand sites.

 

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According to the CORPORATE-EYE.COM “The power of blogs in influencing consumer purchase decisions is stronger than you might realize. According to data from a research study conducted by Research Now, nearly nine in 10 consumers (84%) make purchases after reading about a product or service on a blog. Among consumers between the ages of 18-34, blogs ranked as the most important source of information to make buying decisions.

Among consumers between the ages of 35-54, blogs ranked as the second most important source behind friends, family, and colleagues. Even older consumers (55 and older) value blogs when making purchase decisions ranking them third in terms of importance behind friends, family, and colleagues and editorial articles”

As an award-winning blogger/content creator of two blogs, DelBlogger and DeDivahDeals, as well as an instructor of social media and blogging, I have conducted workshops and trained over 500 participants.  In working with these small business owners and entrepreneurs I have helped many of them not only create a blog but have taught them how to use their blog as a source of an additional stream of income.

ABlake Enterprises offers a Blogging to Build A Better Business Workshop which is designed for business owners and entrepreneurs who want to create a blog to complement their current website or as a way to increase and expand their brand on social media. 

Please head over to the website to learn more or complete the form below for additional information.

 

A Blog is a better business card that will broaden the brand and expand their exposure online.

 

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