So you’re looking around your new WordPress blog and see an option for “widgets.” But what the heck are these widget things and how do they benefit me when it comes to my WordPress blog?
To give the full on textbook definition of a widget:
A WordPress Widget is a small block that performs a specific function. You can add these widgets in sidebars also known as widget-ready areas on your web page. WordPress widgets were originally created to provide a simple and easy-to-use way of giving design and structure control of the WordPress theme to the user.
Basically, it’s there area on your WordPress sidebar that shows information such as:
• Recent Posts
• Recent Comments
• a Calendar
• and there are many more that you can use if it’s your preference. The one’s listed above are just the most popular ones that you see on the majority of WordPress blogs.
Widgets allow you to customize your blog from other ones and can make it stand out. It gives you the creativity to change things up and makes it easier for your visitors to access your content.
There are no right or wrong widgets for your blog, and the way you set them up all falls within your individual taste.
If you’re a blogger or website designer, you may know this familiar dilemma all-to-well: WordPress versus Weebly – which is better?
As someone that has used both for both site design and blogging, I have gained some insights that I thought could be quite helpful here on my own blog. So let’s jump right in.
These are the top things I believe separate the two.
*Note: This is just a short, easy-to-digest overview of the differences between Weebly and WordPress. If you want a longer, heartier overview, feel free to do a Google search and you’ll land on some of the best posts on the web. 🙂
If cost is a consideration for you when building a new website or blog, WordPress may be your better option if you use a free theme. At that point all you are paying for is the hosting which can only cost a couple of bucks a month.
Weebly on the other hand, does offer a free website builder, however, you have to pay to upgrade if you want to remove their banner from the footer, AND just to connect your domain name. If you don’t pay to upgrade then you are stuck with a subdomain.
Not to mention, you have to renew your Weebly subscription at least every 6 months (depending on the upgrade package you choose) so that’s another cost to keep up with.
Ease of Use
I’ve built many websites and blogs using both WordPress and Weebly, and have found both incredibly easy to use.
Many WordPress themes are becoming easier and easier to use, somewhat like Weebly’s drag-n-drop builder, making it much easier to use for people that are total beginners or not tech-savvy at all.
Many people like to have support for themselves if something goes wrong, especially if they have just signed up for a product or service that can confuse them during use.
If you use WordPress, your best bet for support is on the central hub which is WordPress.com, and you can have people answer your questions over time.
In using Weebly, you can call their support line or chat online with a team member and likely get your problem solved right away.
My Quick Conclusion
In my humble opinion, whether on uses WordPress or Weebly should depend on their individual tastes, and what they will be using their website for.
There’s obviously a huge difference between a website and a simple blog, so taking these into consideration can really seal the deal when it comes to the look of the site.
If you are the host of a WordPress blog, you may be wondering if widgets are something that could be of a benefit to you. In short, it depends on what you are attempting to do with your blog, but there won’t be much of a difference if you use them and if you don’t.
Widgets can make a blog more aesthetically pleasing or look junky if you go overboard. But for the most part, they are just another way to make your blog more like your own, and make your content more easily accessible to your viewers.
If you have played around with the widgets feature of your WordPress blog, you are probably already aware of which ones are available for your use. Some people are aware of this feature but have no idea what any of it means, however.
As you can see, there are a number of different widgets that can be added to different areas of your blog, but in most cases the sidebar.
These can give you extra areas to list the pages, posts, archives, and categories on your blog so that people can access your old work, seeing as there can only be 5-10 or so posts that stay on the home pages at all times.
Depending on the type of WordPress theme you are using, you may or may not have more widgets available for use.
So, Do I Need These Widgets for My Blog?
Need, no. But if you want them, grab them.
The only thing I have against widgets is that they can also index in the search engines with the rest of your content, and this can be classified as duplicate content which isn’t good if you are looking to rank in Google.
It’s not something that will completely ruin you, it just looks a little sloppy. There are, however, plugins that you can use to prevent this from happening, which I will get to in a later post.
For the longest time, I was someone that loved to blog but hated promoting my content. To be honest, I really don’t know why that was.
The reason I bring this up is to emphasize that without promotion, my content never got anywhere. The few visitors I had to my blog came only when I did promote a single posts, but the traffic was never enough to draw in consistent visitors.
Without promoting your blog posts, they will more than likely end up as mine did which is stuck in the limbo of the internet. In this blog post, I want to share some of the ways to promote each of your blog posts to you can attract more customers to your blog and grow your email list.
How to Promote a Blog Post
There are two overall ways to promote your content that fall under the umbrella of free and paid. In this post I am only going to focus on the free methods, so here goes. Here are my top 3 ways to promote blog posts that in my opinion, bring in the best return on time invested.
Search engine optimization (SEO), is a long term play on getting visitors to your content but can be more than worth it. When you have content ranked all over the search engines it can work for you all day, every day for years to come.
Not matter what niche you are in, there are forums all over the web where people that share the same interests as you hang out.
Get active in one or two of these forums and contribute as much value as possible. Often times people go to these forums in search of information or to ask questions and if you have already created a blog post or other piece of content that can help, you can post your link for hundred of people to potentially see.
The more active you are in these forums, the more credible you will appear to people and the more trust and like you can build with them. This is a great way to grow your list which can bring tons of visitors to your content in itself.
3.) Emailing Your List
I have yet to speak on building an email list but will touch on it for a bit here. When you have constructed a list of people that already like and trust you, you can send out your content to them. This is great for proving your value and growing a relationship with readers.
If you don’t have a list, promoting your content on social media, forums, and other sites where your target viewers hang out is a great way in itself to get people to join.
As you can see, they have a win-win effect on one another.
If you have ever done a Google search then you may be wondering how the results that are served up to you got there. It’s certainly not by accident by directly done through the process of search engine optimization.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of optimizing a web page or website for search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. This optimizing process includes a list of factors that are known as on and off page optimization.
The purpose of SEO and optimizing a site is mostly to earn placement in the top of a search result when someone is actively searching for a phrase or keyword. This can be anything that people use to look up a product or service, or any other similar information. As you may see, having your website positioned on the first page of a search engine can highly increase the amount of people that see it and also sales. Local businesses, national businesses, affiliates, and e-commerce stores are some examples of people that take advantage of search engine optimization.
Websites that don’t put SEO into practice have little to no chance of being returned to users in the search results since it’s difficult for them to understand what the site is about. It’s one thing to have a website and it could be the most beautiful one in the world, but if no one can ever find it then it may not be a success. This is the main reason why people utilize search engine optimization.
SEO is an Ever-changing Process
As each year goes by, search engines like Google tend to change their algorithms for ranking, which can make things easier or even more difficult.
The basics of SEO have always been the same and probably will remain the same for a while so once you learn the foundation, you should understand the process.
What’s the Difference Between On and Off-Page SEO?
SEO seems to be the focus on my new blog here lately, so I will keep it going by breaking down what the difference between on and off page optimization is.
But just to recap, on and off page SEO are implemented in order to show search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing what a website is about so that it can know where to place it in the search results. The goal of these search engines is to bring the most high quality, authoritative content on the web. When website is optimized to meet these factors, it has a much greater chance of being positioned on the first page, which is where over 90% of search visitors choose a site from to alleviate their search needs.
So what the is difference between the two and why do they matter when it comes to website optimization?
On page optimization is the process of tailoring your actual website to meet the necessary factors that help Google know what the site is about. This involves:
• Creating long and strong content on multiple pages on the site that includes keywords that a target audience would be searching for. For example, carpet cleaning nashville, carpet cleaning service nashville, nashville stain removal services, towing nashville, limo service nashville, nashville tile and grout cleaning, etc. I’m pretty sure that you get the picture. 🙂
• Including the main keyword in paragraph titles and description
• Images and videos that relate to the subject
You will see a variation of these factors but these days less equals more. Over optimization can cause red flags so following only the factors I have mentioned above can take your site pretty far. Never underestimate the power of on page SEO.
Off page optimization is where it can get more tricky and is a little more out of your control.
This process involves link building, rather listing your website’s link on another website. This link will count as a “vote” in the eyes of the search engines and give your website more authority. If a website has no links then it may appear as less credible since it doesn’t have any credible sources referring to it. Off page factors include:
• Creating social media profiles to publish on and promote your website and content.
• Building backlinks from other sites that are on a related subject to yours
Overall, off-page SEO is about acquiring links for your website so that it can gain more trust and credibility.
And really, it just gets more complicated from here. The process of back linking may sound simple but there are different types of links and factors to be considered when doing so. This is something that I plan on covering in much greater detail in a later post but for now, I just wanted to give an overall description of what on and off page SEO are about.
I may have already talked about how to promote blog posts on EZPZ Biz , but today I want to talk about where. They may sound the same, but really are quite different.
Where you promote your blog content will vary by your niche but for the most part, the places stay the same.
So where are the best places to push your new posts around?
1.) Social Media
Of course, you probably already guessed that one!
The search engines look at social signals when deciding which content to rank because let’s face it, even most grannies are on social media these days. As sad as it may be, having a social media account in a way makes you a somebody, so it’s just as important for your blog to as well.
On top of that, many audiences hang out on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram, so why not push your content in front of their faces.
Forums are great places to promote your blog content because they usually house a ton of questions and concerns on the topics you are probably already blogging about. While I mention that, I should also note that these questions and concerns make great topics for future content and when you see people ask them in the future, you can drop a link to your content to leave a more valuable response.
You never want to put all your eggs in one basket, but this promotion strategy alone can bring in tons of targeted traffic to your blog posts.
3.) YouTube Videos
I read just yesterday that YouTube owns 60% of the online video market, plus it’s common knowledge that most people would rather watch videos to learn these days than read. Because of this, you have an even better chance of getting people to consume your content.
All you have to do is find a way to turn your blog post into a video and add the link to the actual post in the description. Videos are highly authoritative to can rank for some easy keywords, and is another great way to bring in targeted traffic for your blog.
The video that ties into your blog post can be anything from you talking in person or on a screen recording that discuss the topic more in-depth, or whatever, just as long as it sparks interest and provides value.
Anybody that is a blogger knows that creating content for their blog can take time and creativity.
You spend time learning about and experiencing something, then you decide how you want to write about it, and then pour your heart and soul into the piece. This may not always take hours, but the good ones usually seem to.
Wouldn’t it be nice though if there was something you could do to put your blog posts to their maximum use? To use them in more ways than one? Well guess what?
There is! Here’s how:
Repurposing Old Blog Posts for New Content
Why limit our blog posts to just the blog we are writing them for?
Instead, why not take the little nuggets of these posts and repurpose them into different formats of content that can be shared on other platforms, which will in return, give the original content more views, and even likes and shares.
This could mean converting your old blog posts into:
• YouTube videos
• Images, Infographics
• Content for social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat – you get the picture
• Even content for a whole other blog
The possibilities are only growing, but the content formats I just listed are proven to be highly effective for getting more likes, shares and even followers to the original blog post.
Repurposing old content may take a little extra time, but the effort can go a long way over time and is one of the most simple ways to grow your blog for cheap.
I’m not talking about a grocery list or even a honey-do one for that matter. What I am referring to is a list of online consumers that you can always market to and build a customer base from.
Building a list of people is a great way to have ongoing visitors to your website. A list is typically made up of people that you have compelled to know, like, and trust you, which can be done by providing amazing value. There are plenty of ways to build a list using paid and free marketing methods, some that take longer than others.
When you have a list, selling can become almost effortless as you have your very own list of people to offer to that already know and trust you. Whether you’re selling a product, service, or just yourself, a list can be a great tool for promotion. Instead of having to spend more time and/or money on finding new visitors and buyers, you can easily send out an email to your list and have visitors to a page within minutes.
My Top 3 Ways I Grow My List
Like I said, there are many of ways to build a list. Some cost more than others and some take more time to see results, but the most important thing is that you are actually building a list. I personally like free, so those are the types of marketing that I’m going to discuss.
Blogging can take a little more time because you have to find a niche and create valuable, unique content for your targeted visitors. When creating content that solves the needs and problems of your visitors, it becomes easier to provide them with value, which will in turn make them trust you. At this point are most likely to join your list but it’s important to note that it can take 7-14 exposures to an audience for them to join your list.
People want to follow people that teach them things that are helpful and relevant, so never stop learning so that you can be a beneficial instructor.
These days, people would much rather watch a video to learn something than they would read a blog post.
YouTube and Vimeo are free, frequently visited websites where you can post videos that also teach and provide massive value for your visitors. Taking the route of pairing a blog post with a video can be twice as effective since you can add a link to one inside of the other.
Video can be one of the quickest, cheapest, and most effective ways of building a list so naturally, it’s highly recommended. And if you are doing SEO, videos rank faster than blog posts so can be just another great form of promotion.
People search and ask questions every day in many of the popular forums out there, so if you can be there to answer them then your value amongst the community will grow. People will trust you enough to listen to your advice and even trail back to your blog posts or videos to get more. It’s all about being active and building up a solid reputation that can work for you for the next few years to come.
Blogging can be used for an array of purposes, but what I have mostly seen is to make money online or expand outreach on a company or brand.
To these people blogging can sometimes seem like a chore or a challenge while those that do it because they want to are usually in it for the passion. Either way, if you don’t have something different, unique, and important, then most people probably aren’t going to listen very much to you. See, the internet is a heavily crowded place, and a large chunk of that space is filled with bloggers. If you can’t find a way to rise above the crowd with your own unique spin then what makes you different enough for people to want to continue to pay attention to.
Find Your Voice
If there’s one important thing I learned about blogging it’s that you can’t care about what people think, and certainly not be afraid to blog with your real voice. Back in the old days when I started my very first blog, it pretty much bombed because I wasn’t really being me. I was blogging in this scared, weak little voice that just blended in with everyone else. It wasn’t until l broke out of that and into my own self that I was able to find success with blogging.
Other than that, here’s what else you need to know about the basics of blogging.
Know Your Topic
The more you do, the better quality of content you can create. This leads to more eyeballs on your content and more frequent visitors. But before you can even know your topic…
Know Your Purpose for Blogging. Like I said above, there are many reasons for blogging. What’s yours? Are you promoting a product or service for a company you work for or are an affiliate for? Or will this simply be a side project kind of like this blog is for me?
Either way you need clarity so you can figure out exactly who your audience is and construct your content specifically for them. This in itself will lead to more customers and conversions because at this point you are providing your target market with exactly what they need. In many cases they will even feel like the content was created just for them. And that my friends, is when you know you have done a good job with your subject.
Any successful person in any industry will tell you that to get to the level they are at, they had to do certain things on a consistent basis and over a prolonged period of time. Well, blogging works the same way and if you want to make it big, you need to write continuously until you start to see results. Then scale it up and create even more results. It has also been proven that people return to profiles and blogs online that keep updated with fresh content every day, every week, or even just once a month.
There’s been a common question lingering around the SEO community for the past couple of years. If you’re been around the block a time or two, you probably know exactly which question I’m talking about.
Is SEO dead?
Ah, the infamous phrase that seem to be freaking a lot of people out. But why?
In short, SEO is always evolving and therefore, things are going to change. New algorithms arise, and some methods just don’t work like they used to, if at all.
Just a few short years ago, you could spam a website with tons of links and the throw a bunch of keywords all over the place. Basically, you could be lazy and sloppy with your SEO work to get top rankings. Then Google came along and slapped penalties on websites with this kind of work, making it more difficult to rank without having a more natural appearance, i.e: natural links, natural content and natural traffic and social signals.
Which is exactly why – in my humble opinion – people are running around the web screaming that SEO is dead as if the sky were falling.
Google’s sole purpose is to provide the best, most optimal user experience possible and in our age of ever-expanding information, content is the best indicator that your website is just that. This means if you want to offer a solid user experience, you need to start focusing more on content and less on link building.
Don’t get me wrong, link building still works well – as long as the links look natural and aren’t coming from spammy sites. But the reality is, content is only going to become increasingly important in the future, and Google will always reward websites that have quality content over those that do not.
So yes, to many people, SEO may seem dead since it’s adopting a greater importance of content over just link building.
You can still rank websites with good ole’ SEO, but content will always play a significant part whether we like it or not. In the end, it will separate those that are good at search engine optimization from those that are not.