How to choose great blog topics that increase readership

Deciding on the type of content you’re going to post can be crucial to the success of your blog. Often this can become a choice between posting evergreen content or a post about a hot, currently trending topic.

Evergreen Posts

Evergreen content is material that will usually be good for many months or even years, while hot topics rapidly become ‘out of date’ after a short period of time.

If you are just starting a blog you want to build a good foundation of material for your visitors to read. Usually, evergreen material is best for this. If you are starting with only a limited number of readers you want posts that don’t become outdated and remain of interest to the readers you gain as your blog grows.

While evergreen topics remain relevant longer than hot topics it is likely you will eventually have to update them. New developments or changes in fashion or best practice will make this necessary.

However having plenty of evergreen content on your site can pay off even years after the post was published. You can link to it repeatedly over time from social media accounts and refer to it in later material. Writing regular evergreen topics is a great way to showcase your personality and tell ongoing stories that are of interest to your audience.

Topical Posts

Topical posts may only remain so for a day or two, or perhaps as long as a week or month. However they can show your readers you are on top of the latest developments in your niche, which can increase your authority in their eyes.

They can also spread your content. Your readers are much more likely to share a well-timed hot topic post simply because it is relevant, will reflect well on them for passing on useful information, and can be shared immediately with friends and colleagues across social media. Hot topics can also be a great way to get discussions going.

A post about a trending topic can also take advantage of the fact that people will be searching for this information when the post is published. They are also a good option for when you can’t think of anything to write or don’t have the time to produce a post that goes in depth on a topic. Just search the latest news in your niche for inspiration for hot topic content.

The Right Mix

Ideally you want to have a blog consisting mostly of evergreen topics, interspersed with some hot topics.

The right mix of both evergreen and hot topics depends entirely on your niche. Some niches remain static throughout most of the year, while others change daily. The mix could range between 80% evergreen for a fairly unchanging niche to 90% hot topics for a blog aimed at keeping its readers informed on a niche that changes daily. As a blog owner you just have to try different percentages to see what works best for your niche.

Having a variety of content will make your blog more interesting, current and relevant to your target audience. Include evergreen material to give your visitors plenty of interesting posts to read, and topical content to show your readers you are aware of and have an opinion about the latest developments in your niche.

Nine Ways To Monetise Your Blog

Dollar signThe weblog has come a long way since its first appearance in the late 1990s. Today there are many ways in which a blog can be used to generate a substantial amount of money. Here are nine of them:

1. Affiliate marketing

Many online business owners pay a commission to people who promote their products and services. Once you are confident you know your audience and understand their needs you can identify the products and services that would benefit them. Look for ones that will pay you a percentage of the sale in return for promoting them. The best will offer a reward worth your effort and provide you with promotional tools like images, blog post templates, and a review copy. Place the affiliate code on your blog, promote the product or service, and if it’s a good fit for your audience you will start getting commissions.

2. Sponsored reviews

Once you start getting traffic to your blog and growing your audience business owners in your niche may want you to review their products and/or services. The business owner may be willing to pay for the review or allow you to try what he offers for free. You should be given full access to the subject of your review and perhaps some behind-the-scenes information too. Be clear with your audience that you are giving a paid for review and give your honest opinion. If you’ve chosen the subject of your review correctly you will encourage sales. With this success behind you you can approach other business owners and suggest you do a sponsored review for them too.

3. Sponsored posts

An alternative or addition to sponsored reviews is publishing sponsored posts. For example, the post could be about something the seller has achieved or an event about to take place. As with reviews always be clear when you are being paid to produce a post and make sure that whatever you are promoting to your audience is useful to them.

4. Sell your own products and/or services

If you have a product or offer a service yourself you can market it via your blog. It may be related to the niche your blog is based on or, if you have a successful blog, you can offer a resource or service that will help other bloggers. If you have a number of products and/or services you can use your blog as a hub. Set up a product or services page, place images and short descriptions of what you offer and include links to your sales pages.

5. Pay per click advertising

Google advertising was one of the most successful ways to monetise a blog. Sign up to Google AdSense, install some code and the software will deliver ads based on the content you publish. Each sale will earn you a commission and if your blog is tightly focused within a niche and you have good SEO the ads displayed will be sufficiently targeted to interest your audience.

6. Direct display ads

An alternative to using third-party advertising services is to sell ads directly yourself. Once you can show that your blog receives a good amount of traffic and that your visitors are responsive you can approach businesses in your niche with an offer to advertise on your blog. If you have a WordPress blog there are plug-ins that set up an advertising platform.

7. Business resource directory

If you have a blog that offers help and support to small businesses or solopreneurs you can set up a business directory on your blog and offer to include them for a fee. You can also approach businesses that offer products and services that would help your readers and offer them a listing in the directory as well. As in the last category, if you have a WordPress blog there are plug-ins for installing business directories.

8. Have a pay per view section

If you can offer information or advice that people would be willing to pay for you can set up a pay-per-view section of your blog. This will include premium content that can only be accessed for a fee. Within this section you could also offer regular webinars and/or one-to-one coaching sessions, etc. Again if you have a WordPress blog there are plug-ins for setting up pay-per-view content.

9. Ask for donations

You may have seen creators of apps, WordPress plug-ins and other software include a donate button on their site. PayPal has a code you can add to your blog that sets up a donation button and links it to your account. You can suggest a donation amount or leave it to your visitors to donate what they feel is fair.

If you want to monetise your blog it’s best to use a range of methods. You may find that some work better for your niche than others, so don’t have all your income generating eggs in one basket. Whichever methods you choose, their success will rely on your ability to identify with your audience and offer solutions they are willing to pay for.

The Advantages of Creating Authority Content

If you’ve been writing a blog for any length of time it’s likely you would have reached a point where you seemed to have exhausted all your ideas for blog topics. One of the ways you can approach this problem is to brainstorm a list of topics you want to feature on your blog. Another approach is to consider the different types of blog post you can write.

Before considering the best types of blog posts, let’s take a look at the worst. These are posts that are written purely with the objective of getting ranked in the search engines for a keyword or keyword phrase. The motive behind this is to get traffic to the blog rather than help the readers. This type of post is often easy to spot. It can be fairly short and will likely feature the same keyword or keyword phrase repeatedly. It’s unlikely to be particularly helpful or entertaining, and the worst examples will be barely readable.

One of the better types of post to write is an authority post. This positions the author as an expert by giving valuable information the reader can act on or refer to. They are usually longer than 500 words, well researched and will naturally cover a variety of keywords. It may also contain links to other relevant posts or resources.

The best way to write an authority post is to identify the issues and problems your readers face and write a post by focusing on solutions. Make sure the content is helpful and valuable first. Then consider the keywords you can slip into the post, particularly entering the relevant keyword phrase into the title, meta tags, and page URL.

There are other types of posts you will often find on blogs. The filler post is written to fill a gap. Its contents may not particularly stand out, but its subject is evergreen and can be slotted into gaps that arise due to unforeseen circumstances. The pillar post will help to form a foundation that the blog can stand on and will feature one of the basic reasons the blog was set up in the first place. The puller post contains information so useful and valuable that your usual audience will recommend it to others and so draw in new visitors.

Ideally topics and types of post should be decided long before a post is published. With the new year only a matter of weeks away a brainstorming session for next year’s posts should be something on your to do list.

How to Get Your Readers On Elastic

There are a number of factors you can use to measure the success of a blog. One is the number of people that regularly return to the blog. As if they were on a piece of elastic.

Unless you are well known and have a good reputation in your industry or niche you’ll have to give some thought to why readers would return to your blog. There are several ways you can encourage this.

Post good content

Content that is of good quality and relevant to your audience will encourage your readers to come back for more. If you can provide useful information and practical help for your readers they will value your posts. Blogging a series of related posts will also have people coming back for more. Posts that are controversial in some way can also keep people interested, especially if they spark off some lively debate.

You can also encourage readers to return with a variety of blog posts. Variety means if your last post did not interest a particular reader they are still likely to return to see if the next one does. If a reader notices that of the past few blog posts only two were actually useful, they will be less likely to return.

Post often

Blog at least once a month. Many blog visitors decide whether to subscribe or not based on the frequency of the blog posts. There is no use subscribing to a blog if the last post was nine months ago. Post good content often and your readers will expect to read new and interesting posts from you soon. This will build anticipation and increase the chances your readers will become subscribers and recommend your blog to others.

Posting more often means you will have more blog entries. An abundance of good material will make it more likely that other site owners will find your posts in search engines and link to some of your posts or promote them via social media sites.

Encourage comments

Post about topics that are likely to start a debate or ones that your readers can contribute to. Ask them for feedback, help and their opinions. Make it easy to post their comments, don’t take ages to approve and publish their input and reply to as many comments as you can. If your readers feel they can be a part of the debate they will be more likely to return to your blog.

Make returning easy

Make it easy to subscribe by setting up an RSS feed. If you are operating in a niche that would not be aware of how to use an RSS feed put up a post that explains how your visitors can become subscribers. You can also set up an opt-in form to encourage your readers to subscribe so they can access a resource they will find useful. It would also enable you to inform them when your newest blog post has been published.

A blog needs traffic like any other website. If you can get a proportion of your visitors to regularly return to read your posts you will be building a fan base that will make your blogging more rewarding.

My Weekly Tasks – Anticipating Change As My Business Grows

To do list
Image by Courtney Dirks at Flickr

I have a number of activities that I routinely do on a weekly schedule. However as I work on my membership site I’m trying to plan ahead so I can slot in the extra tasks I will need to complete when the site is live.

So here’s a list of the things I do on a weekly basis and those I expect I will be doing once I have released my front end and membership products. I may have overlooked some things, but hopefully you’ll find this of some help and relevance to your own business.

Current Weekly Activities

1. Write a new blog post.

Ideally I should be adding new content every week. Then I want to encourage visitors by announcing each new blog post on Facebook and Twitter.

2. Visit other important blogs, forums and Facebook groups and leave comments if possible.

Although it’s time-consuming and only works if I’m actively engaged, commenting is one of the best ways I’ve found to get some traffic to this site. I can also discover what people in my niche are talking about, their problems and where they need help. This can give me an opportunity to help and could be useful information for future products.

3. Find potential affiliates to help promote my products

I am currently populating a spreadsheet of potential affiliates and JV partners who I can approach once I release my products.

Of the above tasks I only anticipate possibly spending less time on the second. Hopefully affiliates and JV partners will increase traffic to my sites and I will not have to spend as much time on blog and forum commenting. However as they can be such good sources of information I will not stop that activity completely.

Future Additional Weekly Activities

1. Reuse blog post content to promote my blog.

This will depend on the amount of traffic I get from other sources, but one task for the future is to turn some of my blog posts into articles and then post them in ezine directories.

2. Create content to send to my list

With the release of my front end product and membership site I should start growing a list. That means I’ll need content for email sequences and broadcasts. I’ll also have to start reviewing products and tools to see if they will be of benefit to my list and worth my recommendation.

3. Create content for the membership site

Although the site will launch with one month’s content already prepared I will need to add to that content as time passes. This will need time to research and create. Although this may not need attending to every week it is definitely something I will have to make time for.

The above seems to be the least required. In addition to these recurring activities I will also be creating more products and attending to all the other tasks required to run an online business.