Archive for the ‘Business Blogging’ Category

104 Fascinating Social Media and Marketing Statistics for 2014 (and 2015)

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Looking at marketing surveys and studies from the past year, a few trends are clear, among them that buyers are firmly (and increasingly) in control of the purchase cycle. They prefer searching to being found, and will often be close to their final decision point before talking to a salesperson.

Marketing Trends 2014 - 2015In response, marketers are producing an increasing amount and variety of content to support all stages of the decision process. They’re distributing and promoting this content through all channels in the web presence optimization (WPO) model, to maximize their opportunities to be “found” online when buyers are looking.

And although digital is taking an increasing share of marketing budgets, the move to online is paradoxically making some old-school tactics even more valuable.

What do buyers say is the most important signal of vendor credibility? What type of content is most effective? What do marketers rate as the single most valuable SEO tactic? What are the top barriers to adopting social business practices?

Find the answers to these questions and many others in more than 100 social and online marketing stats from 20+ different sources.

9 General Marketing Stats

1. People want to be in control of the content they receive:

  • • 86% of people skip TV commercials.
  • • 44% of direct mail is never opened.
  • • 91% of people have unsubscribed from company emails they previously opted into.

(NewsCred)

2. 72% of marketers think branded content is more effective than advertising in a magazine; 69% say it is superior to direct mail and PR. (NewsCred)

3. Nearly half (46%) of people say a website’s design is their number one criterion for determining the credibility of a company. (NewsCred)

4. 71% of companies planned to increase their digital marketing budgets this year, by an average of 27%. (Econsultancy)

5. 67 percent of marketers say increasing sales directly attributable to digital marketing campaigns is a top priority this year. (Forbes)

6. Internet advertising will make up 25% of the entire ad market in 2015. (Social Fresh)

7. Despite all the hype about online, 67% of B2B content marketers consider event marketing to be their most effective strategy. (Social Fresh)

8. Videos on landing pages increase conversions by 86%. (Social Fresh)

9. As one would suspect, Facebook is the most popular method for sharing interesting content. Surprisingly though, the fifth-most popular sharing method is offline (print) shares. (Heidi Cohen)

5 Online Demographics Stats

10. The Google+ platform has 67 percent male users. (Rocket Post)

11. There are 76 million millennials (born between 1981 and 2000) in the U.S. — 27% of the total population. (leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal)

12. 63% of millennials have at least a bachelors degree. (leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal)

13. 63% of millennials say they stay updated on brands through social networks; 51% say social opinions influence their purchase decisions; and 46% “count on social media” when buying online.  (leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal)

14. 89% of 18-29 year-olds are active on social media, as are 43% of adults 65 and older. (Jeff Bullas)

13 Content Marketing Stats

15. B2B content matters. 57% of a typical purchase decision is made before a customer even talks to a supplier. (Corporate Executive Board)

16. By 2020, customers will manage 85 percent of their relationship with an enterprise without interacting with a human. (Target Marketing)

17. Not all content has to be original. 48% of marketers curate noteworthy content from third-party sources weekly (this post is an example). (Design & Promote)

18. 62% of companies outsource their content marketing. (Iconsive)

19. $118 billion was spend on content marketing last year. (NewsCred)

20. 70% of consumers say they prefer getting to know a company via articles rather than ads. (NewsCred)

21. 90% of organizations market with content. 86% of B2C marketers and 91% of B2B marketers use content marketing. (NewsCred)

22. Or maybe 93% of B2B marketers use content marketing. (Iconsive)

23. And yet…54% of brands don’t have an onsite, dedicated content director. (NewsCred)

24. There are 27 million pieces of content shared each day. (NewsCred)

25. Companies will spend $135 billion on digital marketing collateral this year. (Social Fresh)

26. Customer testimonials have the highest effectiveness rating for content marketing at 89%. (Social Fresh)

27. 17% of marketers plan to increase efforts on SlideShare this year. (Forbes)

7 Blogging Stats

28. 34% of Fortune 500 companies now maintain active blogs – the largest share since 2008. (Forbes)

29. Each month, 329 million people read blogs. (NewsCred)

30. 37% of marketers say blogs are the most valuable content type for marketing. (NewsCred)

31. Companies that publish new blog posts 15+ times per month (3-4 posts per week) generate five times more traffic than companies that don’t blog at all. (NewsCred)

32. 17% of marketers plan to increase blogging efforts this year. (Forbes)

33. Blogging increases web traffic by 55% for brands. (Rocket Post)

34. B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads than those without blogs. (Social Fresh)

7 Visual and Video Marketing Stats

35. Pinterest grabs 41% of the ecommerce traffic compared to Facebook’s 37%. Food is the top category of content on Pinterest with 57% of its user base sharing food-related content. (Rocket Post)

36. 16% of marketers plan to increase efforts on Pinterest this year. (Forbes)

37. The use of video content for marketing increased 73% this year; use of infographics grew 51%. (Digital Marketing Philippines)

38. Articles with images get 94% more views than those without. (NewsCred)

39. Posts with videos attract three times as many inbound links as plain text posts. (NewsCred)

40. 62% of marketers use video in their content marketing. (NewsCred)

41. Two-thirds of firms plan to increase spending on video marketing in the coming year. (Heidi Cohen)

5 SEO Stats

42. 81% of B2B purchase cycles start with web search, and 90% of buyers say when they are ready to buy, “they’ll find you.” (Earnest Agency)

43. More than half (53%) of marketers rank content creation as the single most effective SEO tactic. (NewsCred)

44. 57% of B2B marketers say SEO has the biggest impact on lead generation. (NewsCred)

45. Organic search leads have a 14.6% close rate, compared to 1.7% for outbound marketing leads. (NewsCred)

46. 33% of clicks from organic search results go to the top listing on Google. (Social Fresh)

15 Social Media Marketing Stats

47. 85% of B2B buyers believe companies should present information via social networks. (Iconsive)

48. And yet – only 20% of CMOs leverage social networks to engage with customers. (Marketing Land)

49. Marketers will spend $8.3 billion on social media advertising in 2015. (NewsCred)

50. “Interesting content” is one of the top three reasons people follow brands on social media. (NewsCred)

51. 87% of B2B marketers use social media to distribute content. (NewsCred)

52. 17% of marketers plan to increase podcasting efforts this year. (Forbes)

53. As consumer use of social media for brand comments and complaints continues to increase, brands are having a hard time keeping up. Only about 20% of consumer comments generate brand responses, and the average response time is over 11 hours. (eMarketer)

54. Nearly three-quarters of US marketers believe customer response management on digital channels is important (so…25% think it’s okay to ignore consumers?); however, just one-third say their company does a good job at this. (eMarketer)

55. Social media marketing budgets are projected to double over the next five years (Social Fresh)

56. 66% of marketers claim that social indirectly impacts their business performance but only 9%t claim that it can be directly linked to revenue. (Forbes)

57. Over 70% of US online adults use some form of social media networking. (Heidi Cohen)

58. 72% of all internet users are now active on social media. (Jeff Bullas)

59. The top two barriers impeding adoption of social business within organizations are lack of overall strategy and competing priorities. Just 11% of marketers cite legal or regulatory concerns. (i-SCOOP)

60. 78% of companies now say they have dedicated social media teams, up from 67% in 2012. (i-SCOOP)

61. By department, companies most often have dedicated social media staff (not surprisingly) in marketing (73%), communications/PR (66%) and customer support (40%). At the other end of the scale are legal (9%) and market research (8%). (i-SCOOP)

7 Facebook Marketing stats

62. Facebook accounts for 15.8% of total time spent on the Internet. (Rocket Post)

63. 71% of online adults use Facebook. 63% of Facebook users visit daily and 40% visit multiple times per day. (Heidi Cohen)

64. More than a third (36%) of online adults use only one social networking site. Of these, 83% use Facebook. 8% use LinkedIn. (Heidi Cohen)

65. One million web pages are accessed using the “Login with Facebook” feature. (Jeff Bullas)

66. Nearly a quarter (232%) of Facebook users login at least five times per day. (Jeff Bullas)

67. 47% of Americans say Facebook is their #1 influencer of purchases. (Jeff Bullas)

68. 70% of marketers used Facebook to gain new customers. (Jeff Bullas)

3 LinkedIn Marketing Stats

69. LinkedIn is the top social network for B2B marketing (not a shock). 83% of marketers say they prefer to use LinkedIn for distributing B2B content, and more than half of vendors say they have generated sales through LinkedIn. (Real Business Rescue)

70. The average time spent on LinkedIn per month is 17 minutes. (Rocket Post)

71. 91 of the Fortune 100 companies use LinkedIn for candidate searches. (Rocket Post)

7 Twitter Marketing Stats

72. The average time per month spent by users on Twitter is 170 minutes. (Rocket Post)

73. Only about half of the people who log in to Twitter once a month are actually taking the time to tweet. The rest are lurkers. (Rocket Post)

74. Ironically, the most-followed brand on Twitter is…Facebook, with more than 13 million followers. Google is #3. (AllTwitter)

75. eBay is the most engaging brand on Twitter. Starbucks is the fourth-most-engaging, and also has the fourth highest number of followers of any major brand. (AllTwitter)

76. Not a shock: retailers and restaurants are the most engaging industries on Twtitter. Surprising: apparel brands are the least engaging. (AllTwitter)

77. Twitter now has over 550 million registered users, and 215 million active monthly users. (Jeff Bullas)

78. 34% of marketers use Twitter to successfully generate leads. (Jeff Bullas)

3 Google+ Stats

79. 18% of marketers plan to increase efforts on Google+ this year. (Forbes)

80. There are now over 1 billion Google+ accounts, and that figure is growing 33% per year. (Jeff Bullas)

81. Google+ has 359 million monthly active users.  (Jeff Bullas)

13 Email Marketing Stats

82. There are nine times as many marketing emails sent each year as direct mail pieces delivered by the U.S. Postal Service. (Mark the Marketer)

83. Email marketing delivers the highest ROI (about $44 per dollar spent, on average) of any digital marketing tactic. SEO is #2. Banner ads have the lowest ROI. (Mark the Marketer)

84. 66% of consumers have made a purchase online as a result of an e-mail marketing message. (Mark the Marketer)

85. Email subject lines matter. Really. 64% of people say they open an e-mail because of the subject line. (Mark the Marketer)

86. Personalized subject lines are 22.2% more likely to be opened. For B2C emails, the words “Alert,” “New,” “News,” “Bulletin,” “Sale,” “Video,” “Daily,” or “Weekly” (though not “Monthly”) all increase open and click-through rates. (Mark the Marketer)

87. For B2B companies, subject lines that contained “money,” “revenue,” and “profit” performed the best. (Mark the Marketer)

88. Timing is important too. 76% of e-mail opens occur in the first two days after an e-mail is sent. E-mail open rates are noticeably lower on weekends than on weekdays. (Mark the Marketer)

89. Only 8% of companies and agencies have an e-mail marketing team.  E-mail marketing responsibilities usually fall on one person as a part of her wider range of marketing responsibilities. (Mark the Marketer)

90. 72% of B2B buyers are most likely to share useful content via e-mail. (Mark the Marketer)

91. Still, the average click-through rate for B2B marketing e-mails is just 1.7%. (Mark the Marketer)

92. Emails with social sharing buttons increase click-through rates by 158%. (Social Fresh)

93. 64 percent of marketers say increasing email click-throughs and open rates is among their top priorities this year. (Forbes)

94. 67 percent of marketers say that email is ke3y for attracting and engaging prospects, and the best path to increase marketing ROI. (Forbes)

10 Mobile Marketing Stats

95. 94% of CMOs plan to use mobile applications within the next 3-5 years. (Marketing Land)

96. 75% of smartphone owners watch videos on their phones; 26% at least once per day. (NewsCred)

97. Over half of all mobile searches lead to a purchase. (Rocket Post)

98. 78% of Facebook users are mobile-only. (Rocket Post)

99. E-mail is the most popular activity on smartphones among users ages 18-44. (Mark the Marketer)

100. 64% of decision-makers read their e-mail via mobile devices. (Mark the Marketer)

101. Almost half–48%–of all emails are opened on mobile devices. Yet 39% of marketers say they have no strategy for mobile email, and only 11% of e-mails are optimized for mobile.  (Mark the Marketer)

102. Mobile is the channel of choice for keep relationships with existing customers alive because it cuts through the clutter of email and social. (Forbes)

103. 71% of users access social media from a mobile device. (Jeff Bullas)

104. 50% of millennials use their smartphones to research products or services while shopping, and 41% have made purchases using their phones. (leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal)

 

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How to Promote Blog Posts: 200+ Ideas from Eight Experts

Monday, February 17th, 2014

Company blogs have become virtually essential, and very powerful, component of digital marketing. In addition to their SEO benefits and role in maximizing web presence for brands, blogs produce sales and leads. According to recent research, more than half (52%) of consumers say blogs have impacted their purchase decisions; and 57% of marketers say they’ve acquired new customers with their blogs.

But creating and maintaining a successful blog takes more than just producing helpful and original content; as social media expert Heidi Cohen recently wrote, “The most epic content will FAIL without content distribution. If no one sees your content, what good is it?”

So, once you’ve created great content, how do you get it “out there”? Which content promotion tools are most useful? Which blog post promotion tactics are most effective? Is it still worthwhile to get listed in blog directories, and if so, which ones?

Find the answers to these questions and more here among hundreds of recommendations about tools, tactics and techniques to promote blog posts.

25 Easy Ways to Promote Your Blog by Kim Garst

Kim GarstKim Garst shares a list she’s compiled of “strategies that will help you promote your blog and drive traffic to your website,” such as promoting posts to your email list, commenting on other blogs, participating in industry forums, creating a Slideshare based on a post, and buying “cheap banner ads on niche sites.”

50 Experts Reveal How to Promote Your Blog with Just 3 Tools by clambr
***** 5 STARS

Richard MarriottRichard Marriott curates answers from 50 (actually 53) experts on which tools they would use to promote their blog content if they could only use three. Among the tools mentioned are Buffer, Triberr, Wistia, Facebook, and several others; but according to this group of experts, the three most helpful tools are…(read the post).

120 Marketing Tactics for Blogs [Infographic] by Customer Think
***** 5 STARS

Pam DyerPam Dyer outlines five steps for creating a successful blog—from understanding your goals to using marketing tactics to create visibility—then showcases an infographic illustrating 120 blog marketing tactics, from social networks to eBooks to PR to video, contests, “egobait” and forum posting.

How I promote my new blog posts by The Social Media Hat

Mike AltonMike Alton updates a detailed post about post promotion, helpfully advising readers not only how to promote their blog posts but also which tactics to avoid or drop, as they are no longer effective; for example, regarding social sharing sites, “The New MySpace no longer allows link sharing. And I have dropped Bebo and Diigo and Viadeo.”

25 Smart Ways to Promote Your Latest Blog Post by Rebekah Radice
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Rebekah RadicePinterest diva Rebekah Radice here outlines more than two dozen tactics for promoting posts, from social networks to blogger communities like Triberr, Social Buzz Club and Viral Content Buzz, to manual and automated social bookmarking sites.

25 Tactics to Promote Your Blog via Facebook and Twitter by Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen serves up more than two dozen tips for promoting your blog through social media, among them: writing “regular features responding to your audience’s needs and interests;” including sidebar links that make it easy for readers to follow you on Facebook and Twitter (and other social networks, as applicable): and thanking people for sharing your posts.

50 Ways to Promote and Market your Blog Posts by jeffbullas.com
***** 5 STARS

Samuel PusteaGuest author Samuel Pustea suggests more than four dozen ways to promote blog posts, from the big social networks to newer tools like Pinterest, Triberr, Pligg and Scoop.it to RSS directory posting, infographics and guest blogging.

Active RSS and Blog Directories List by Buzzkeep

Arvid LindeAs Arvid Linde notes here, there were once hundreds of blog directories across the web—but most existed solely for “spam purposes.” This post provides a short list of 43 still-active, reasonably high-quality directories that can actually drive traffic, even if the links no longer have much SEO benefit.

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28 (of the) Best Business Blogging Guides and Tips of 2013

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Maintaining a company blog has numerous benefits for businesses of almost all shapes and sizes: blogging is an SEO best practice; it drives more website visitors lead conversions; it draws new visitors, expanding the reach of the company website; and it’s core element of a content marketing and online presence optimization strategy.

Best Business Blogging Guides of 2013So it’s not surprising that 76% of b2b companies and 72% of b2c enterprises now have corporate blogs.

Still—not every company that blogs realizes the medium’s full potential. And blogs require significant effort and resources, so even companies that have effective blogs want to assure they are maximizing results.

How can you attract more sales prospects to your blog? Get visitors to engage with your content? Become recognized as an industry thought leader? Optimize your blog for search? What common mistakes should you avoid? Which tools and plugins should you be using?

Find the answers to those questions and many others here in more than two dozen of the best business blogging guides of the past year.

Best Business Blogging Guides and Tips

7 Steps To Make Your Blog A Marketing Machine by Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenTo make your blog a marketing machine rather than a me-me-me (or me-too) blog, Heidi Cohen advises focusing on your audience’s hot buttons, outlining a series of ongoing columns, branding your blog, and incorporating clear calls to action, among other tactics.

9 Ways To Get More Prospects To Discover Your B2B Blog by Business2Community

Douglas BurdettDouglas Burdett recommends “nine tactics (that) will get your blog discovered by more readers,” from looking for and capitalizing on trends in your blog analytics and publishing original data to being controversial by “taking a stand and backing it up with data.”

An Almost Effortless Way to “Get Your Name Out There” by The Un-Self-Help Blog

Stephan WiednerStephan Wiedner shares six reasons to write guest posts for other blogs, among them: “It builds relationships. If you write for someone else’s blog and their readers like what you share, they will be grateful, potentially ask you to write again, and who knows, maybe scratch your back in other ways some time in the future.” And despite some recent, widely misinterpreted comments by Google’s Matt Cutts, guest blogging is not dead.

30+ powerful adjectives and verbs for eye-catching headlines by Econsultancy

Chris LakeQuoting advertising legend David Ogilvy that “On average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar,” Chris Lake offers guidance on choosing compelling blog post topics then grabbing attention by using key adjectives and verbs in the headline. Based on research over millions of page impressions, these adjectives include “best,” “brilliant,” “kickass,” “mindblowing” and “ultimate” among others.

5 Ways to Create a Deliciously Irresistible Blog Post Title by SteamFeed

Rebekah RadiceRebekah Radice explains why post titles are so important, the four objectives a post title should achieve, and a handful of tips to help craft compelling titles, such as keeping them concise: “It has been found that titles with eight words or less perform best.”

6 Ways To Go From Anonymous Hermit To Thought Leader by Fast Company

Wendy MarxContending that “Becoming a thought leader in your industry doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily the smartest kid on the block. It does mean that you’re the most receptive and understanding of your customers’ needs,” the brilliant Wendy Marx offers half a dozen tips for making the transition, including writing for trade publications and speaking at industry events.

How to Optimize Your Blog Content for Social Media by Maximize Social Business

Kristi HinesKristi Hines shares a handful of helpful tips for optimizing blog posts for social sharing, from adding social sharing buttons (a task done easily with tools like AddThis or ShareThis]) to including a social call to action (“let readers know that you want them to share your posts by adding a call to action at the end such as ‘If you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends'”).

33 Experts Share Their Secrets For Improving Reader Engagement by Blogging Wizard

Adam ConnellAdam Connell compiles advice from nearly three dozen seasoned bloggers on increasing reader engagement, including tips from Seth Godin (“The only thing I do to increase reader engagement is to write things worth sharing”), frequent Webbiquity best-of contributor Neil Patel, Dino Dogan, Anita Campbell, Ted Rubin, Lisa Buben, Joel Comm and more.

7 company blogs that build community by Ragan.com

Emma SiemaskoEmma Siemasko looks at “seven company blogs that do it right, along with some practical tips for getting the same success with your blog,” among them 37Signals: “Signal vs. Noise, 37 Signals’ blog, does a lot more than promote the company…The blog provides thoughtful, inquisitive, and truth-seeking articles about working from home, whether an iPhone camera is enough of a camera, and more.”

How to Generate More Leads With Your Blog: 5 Tips by Social Media Examiner

Kristi Hines (again) supplies a handful of helpful tips for generating leads via a blog, like placing opt-in forms around your blog content with “calls to action such as free trials, free consultations or a simple mailing list opt-in form.”

How to Contribute to a Blog and be Seen by Geekless Tech

Steve HughesNoting that contributing to other blogs “helps with reach, and exposes you to an audience you just don’t have with your own blog,” Steven Hughes shares a handful of tips for constructively contributing such as following directions: “Some sites will spell out exactly what they’re looking for and what you need to do to be considered,” and creating solid, original content.

20 ideas for content that people love to share on social media by Firebrand Ideas Ignition

Jeff BullasJeff Bullas provides 20 tips to help bloggers create a steady stream of fresh content, including creating lists, republishing infographics, curating content (kind of like this post), reporting news, analyzing research results, and reviewing tools or applications.

How to Make Your WordPress Blog to Stand Out by Themefuse

Karol KrolKarol Król presents five ideas to make your blog stand out from the crowd, from picking a new publication schedule (“you won’t know which posting frequency is the best for your blog until you try at least a couple of them”) to launching a contest (“Create a genuine task, or ask a genuine question…Then gather the entries and pick the winner”).

Best Tips for Beginning Bloggers

7 Content Writing Secrets Every Blogger Should Know by Basic Blog Tips

Glen AndrewsGlen Andrews details basic but helpful strategies for writing compelling blog posts, from crafting an attention-grabbing headline and opening through “giving it a rest”–“Before you publish that post – give it a rest. Why? Because, no matter how good we think our post is today, tomorrow never lies…Our posts will be more powerful and professional if we ‘let it rest’ and review it tomorrow with fresh eyes.”

5 Steps To A Successful Blog – A First-Time Blogger’s Business Plan by Viral Mom

Bernard ZarifovicBernard Zarifovic diagrams a first-time blogger’s business plan, starting with selecting a topic or niche and writing the first set of posts and progressing through social sharing, social engagement, and guest blogging.

7 reasons why a blog is vital to your social media strategy by Memeburn

Megan BersteinWhile most of the points here will be familiar to experienced bloggers, Megan Bernstein offers some interesting insights for corporate blog strategy, such as understanding the competitive landscape: “Your competitors in the online space are not always the same as those in ‘real life’.”

Top 10 Strategies to Successful B2B Blogging by TopTenWholesale.com

Naomi Ruth GanhinhinNaomi Ruth Ganhinhin offers 10 tips for blogging success, from setting clear objectives (“A clear set of objectives makes it easier to organize the type of content you publish. It also dictates the tone you are going to use and determine the right people to write your blog posts”) to including calls to action.

Best Guides to Blogging Mistakes and Pitfalls to Avoid

Are You Making These 20 Mistakes on Your Blog? by jeffbullas.com

Jeff Bullas (again) steps through 20 “common  mistakes that a lot of ‘newbie’ and other bloggers slip into,” such as not providing additional reading sources with each post, writing posts that are too long or too short (he recommends aiming for 500-800 words), and not using post categories to help readers find posts of interest.

Still Using Google Images for Your Blog Posts? Stop It! by She Owns It

Shelley WebbWriting that she has “seen too many people served with unexpected ‘bills’ and/or lawsuits for using images that held copyrights,” guest author Shelley Webb explains what types of actions and sources can get bloggers into trouble, and lists alternative / free image sources like Stock.XCHNG.

Blogging: 34 Things You’re Doing Wrong by Social Media Today

Yvonne LyonsYvonne Lyons reveals “34 things that could be keeping your posts from getting traction and making the jump from good to remarkable,” such as errors / lack of editing, choosing a topic that’s been “done to death,” and having no links within the post to your own site—and how to fix each problem.

Why Your Company Blog is Striking Out by Marketo Blog

K'Lee BanksGuest blogger K’Lee Banks offers advice on what to do “if you are spending time writing posts, but no one is listening,” for example: use interesting images (not just stock photos), always include social sharing buttons; and “Invite other professionals in your industry to guest post and connect with their readers.”

Best Blog SEO Guides and Tips

How To Move Your Blog Post Up In Search Results by V3 Integrated Marketing

Ian ClearyGuest author Ian Cleary outlines a half-dozen tactics to improve a blog’s search rankings, including the strategic use of internal and external links: “You don’t want to include a ton of internal links, as that looks spammy. Instead, make sure you’re directing your readers to the resources that they need (internal or external).”

How to Optimize Your Business Blog [Checklist] by Unbounce
***** 5 STARS

Lindsey KirchoffIn this highly bookmark-worthy post, Lindsey Kirchoff lays out a simple four-quadrant checklist for optimizing all aspects of a business blog: structure (e.g., navigation, search, categories); SEO (attributes like keyword use, internal links and Google authorship); CTAs; and social elements.

15 SEO Experts Give Their Best Tips For Blogging by Heidi Cohen

Heidi Cohen (again) shares blog SEO trips from experts like Kipp Bodnar and Jeffery L. Cohen (“The single biggest factor in SEO success for bloggers comes down to consistent publishing. Those who publish regularly receive more search traffic”), Eric Enge, Ron Jones, Rebecca Lieb and Charlie White.

Best Business Blogging Tools, WordPress Tips and Plugins

4 Useful Creative Commons Browser Plugins by Internet Marketing Ninjas

Ann SmartyOnline tools maven Ann Smarty reviews four browser plugins to help find free (creative commons) images for use in blog posts, including CC Search, a search plugin that provides “quick access to about 10 Creative Commons search engines (including flickr, spinxpress, wikimedia, fotopedia, etc). It’s a good search plugin when you need more options that just Flickr.”

How to Make WordPress Sites Load 72.7% Faster by CopyBlogger

Jerod MorrisIn an attempt to “cut the crap and turn down the hype” regarding how to create a faster WordPress site, Jerod Morris recommends staring by examining and optimizing the “core” of every WordPress site, which includes “hosting, theme, and plugins,” then offers a series of speed optimization tips. Not all are simple, but most bloggers should at least be able to find some helpful site speed-related takeaways here.

7 Emerging and Free WordPress Plugins of Fall 2013 by SteamFeed

Jesse AaronJesse Aaron reviews seven newer WordPress plugins, including WooSidebars (for creating custom sidebars by page), All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets (self-explanatory) and his favorite: the WordPress Calls to Action Plugin, which makes it “insanely easy” to do things like “create an effective call to action button, direct the call to action to a landing page, and direct the landing page to a conversion form.”

Easily Move Your WordPress Website to a New Host by Masterful Marketing

Debra MurphyThis is an instance where “easily” may be in the eyes of the reader, but nonetheless Debra Murphy does an exemplary job here of detailing the non-trivial process of moving an existing blog to a new web host as simple and understandable as possible.

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Guest Blogging is NOT Dead (And Matt Cutts Didn’t Say It Is)

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

The digital marketing blogs and media have lit up in the last couple of days with reports that “guest blogging is dead,” based on this post from Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Webspam team.

The post was widely misinterpreted to mean “stop doing guest blogging,” as even Matt acknowledged in a later addition to his original post:

Say no to spammy guest blogging outreach“I’m not trying to throw the baby out with the bath water. There are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging (exposure, branding, increased reach, community, etc.). Those reasons existed way before Google and they’ll continue into the future. And there are absolutely some fantastic, high-quality guest bloggers out there. ..I just want to highlight that a bunch of low-quality or spam sites have latched on to ‘guest blogging’ as their link-building strategy, and we see a lot more spammy attempts to do guest blogging. Because of that, I’d recommend skepticism (or at least caution) when someone reaches out and offers you a guest blog article.”

The point is pretty clear. Guest posting done with the interest of the community and readers in mind still have value. But attempts at getting guest posts published in a manipulative manner, purely or primarily for the SEO benefit of the backlinks, are no longer going to be effective (and by implication, may even lead to penalties or ranking degradation).

And the gray area isn’t even that large; it’s generally fairly easy to separate legitimate guest post requests from the spammy ones.

Sender: legitimate guest post requests will generally come from people you know, or have heard of, or who at least seem to have a reputable online presence and can tell you exactly why they want to write for your blog (beyond just “Hey, I love your blog!”).

Relevance: a legitimate request will generally focus on one specific post, suitable for your audience and relevant to your typical topics and style. For example, this post on fascinating social media facts and statistics was a great fit for Jeff Bullas’ blog, because it meshes well both topically and stylistically with the kinds of posts Jeff often writes. But this style would not have worked as well on a site like Social Media Examiner.

Spammy guest posters, on the other hand, are often miraculously able to write a post on any topic from household cleaning tips to space travel—or a custom topic if you prefer! Ugh.

Compensation: Matt calls this out specifically in his post, noting that “email offering money to get links that pass PageRank (are) a clear violation of Google’s quality guidelines.” A legitimate guest blogger offers a post that has value to your blog in and of itself, and so would not propose monetary compensation.

Backlinks: virtually all guest posts include backlinks. Nothing wrong with that alone. The difference here between a legitimate and a spammy request is 1) the purpose of the links: do they appear to be there to guide the reader to additional, relevant information—or are they trying to sell something, or link to a page with little or no relevance to the post? (or worse, to something sketchy like an online pharmacy site); and 2) the author’s approach to the links. If he or she is comfortable with you changing, deleting, or no-following the links, then the guest post is clearly not just a spammy attempt at link building.

Comfort level: this is a bit amorphous, and will vary among individuals, but essentially: based on what you know about the person proposing the guest post, would you be open to connecting with him or her on various social media platforms? Possibly even to—under the right circumstances—write your own guest post for that person’s blog?

For example, there’s been some cross-posting over the years between Webbiquity and the Blue Focus Marketing blog. The cross-posting is decidedly non-spammy because both blogs focus on b2b marketing and branding; Cheryl and Mark Burgess are excellent writers and authors; and they are awesome people. It would make sense even in the absence of any SEO benefit (though there likely is, still, some).

Motivation: as Matt notes in the addition to his original post quoted above, “There are still many good reasons to do guest blogging.” It increases brand awareness, provides the opportunity to connect with a new audience, and helps increase overall web presence for a brand or product.

And Matt’s post doesn’t specifically say that no type of guest blogging still provides some SEO benefit—only that guest-blogging is no longer effective as a large scale link-building strategy, and that he would “recommend skepticism (or at least caution) when someone reaches out and offers you a guest blog article.”

While Google can’t look into a blogger’s heart to determine true motivation, it can and presumably will continue to look at characteristics like a site’s overall link profile (do guest post links make up an inordinate share of all backlinks?) and the quality of linking sites in determining rankings.

This latest development will also likely increase the importance of Google Authorship as a way to separate legitimate guest authors from spammers.

In short, guest blogging is not dead. Far from it. The only thing that has died is the practice of generating large numbers of backlinks through spammy email outreach for guest posts. And good riddance.

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15 Expert Guides to WordPress: Tips, Techniques, Plugins and More

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

Powered by legions of fans and armies of developers, WordPress has evolved from a humble blogging platform to a flexible, robust and ubiquitous CMS.

Expert WordPress Tips and TechniquesWordPress now powers one out of every six sites on the web, and half of all sites built on a content management system (CMS)—more than 60 million websites, including 45 of the Technorati Top 100 sites. (See below for sources.)

Nevertheless, it’s not perfect. So if WordPress is your platform of choice,  how can you overcome or work around its shortcomings and quirks? Optimize the speed of your site? Extend it, socialize it,  keep it secure, back it up, SEO it, and measure your results?

Find the answers to those questions and more here in 15 expert guides to WordPress tips, tricks and plugins.

WordPress Tips, Tactics and Facts

The Top 10 Most Infuriating Things about WordPress and How to Fix Them by jeffbullas.com
***** 5 STARS

A guest author on Jeff’s blog, the enigmatic “Jamil,” provides a remarkably helpful and even entertaining look at 10 top shortcomings of WordPress and how to avoid, overcome, or work around them. Even if some of the “fixes” aren’t particularly helpful (the recommended solution to plugin incompatibility is prayer, and the answer to the notoriously unhelpful default WordPress search functionality is “Get literally any other search bar”), you’ll lean a few new things here and enjoy doing it.

WordPress is the Emerging Monopoly in CMS #infographic by WordPress Hosting SEO

Berrie PelserJust how popular is WordPress? According to Berrie Pelser, “Over 60 million people have chosen WordPress to power (their websites)…By March 2012, with about 72.4 million users for the content management system, the WordPress grew as the largest of its type on the planet. It provided hosting to more than 50% of the CMS users and more than 45% of the top 100 sites as rated by Technorati.” You’ll find those and many more such stats in this fascinating infographic.

How to Create Different Widgets on Different Pages Using a Plugin by SteamFeed

Rachael ButtsRachael Butts supplies a tutorial on how to use the Display Widgets plugin to “display different widgets on different pages, thus allowing you to have custom sidebars on your WordPress site.” She also offers tips for using the plugin, such as to customize the sidebar menu based on the page your visitor is viewing.

Custom Post Types – WordPress Evolves Closer to a Content Management System by Masterful Marketing

Debra MurphyThe engaging Debra Murphy explains what WordPress custom post types are and writes that “Theme developers can now use custom post types to create an array of content that can be edited through the visual editor and used anywhere on the site,” such as image galleries or product catalogs.

My Favorite Things to use with WordPress by SteamFeed

Rachael Butts (again) reviews eight of her favorite “things” to enhance WordPress, including the Woo Themes framework, Simpicity theme, Gravity Forms plugin for creating and managing forms,  and MailChimp for email marketing.

How to Speed Up a WordPress Site

5 ways to speed up WordPress by Rainbow Fire

A handful of excellent tips for reducing your blog’s load time (and related user frustration), among them installing a caching plugin like W3 Total Cache (“using a caching plugin can prove a vital way to speed up WordPress by ensuring that only the first visitor to your page needs to go through the entire process. The plugin will save the data from this first visitor, and serve it directly to any subsequent visitors thus reducing the strain on your database and the user’s browser”).

4 Things to Speed Up Your WordPress Site by SteamFeed

Rachael Butts (once more) offers four quick tips for increasing WordPress speed, such as using a content delivery network (“CDN’s load your website from a local server, say one in England, so your website for this user would be very fast because it is not pulling from a server in the States”). If your visit volume justifies this, starter plans are surprisingly affordable.

Top WordPress Plugins and Reviews

7 Must Have Plugins For Starting A Blog by Geekless Tech

Garen ArnoldGaren Arnold recommends plugins to cover basic functions from commenting and social sharing to SEO and, for security, Backup Buddy: “Backup Buddy is a fantastic plugin which will allow you to backup your mSQL databases automatically…There are a lot of similar plugins that do the same; this one is paid but well worth the money.”

37 Top WordPress Security and SEO Social Media Plug-ins 2013 by WordPress Hosting SEO

Berrie Pelser (again) lists more than three dozen top security and SEO plugins for WordPress along with brief descriptions of each, including Digg Digg (“Add a floating bar with share buttons to your blog. Just like Mashable!”) and Simple Login Lockdown (“A simple way to prevent brute force login attemps on your WordPress installation”).

10 Time Saving WordPress Plugins by Brad S. Knutson

Brad KnutsonBrad Knutson serves up thoughtful reviews of “WordPress plugins that webmasters, developers and bloggers use to save time every day,” from the comment spam-squashing Akismet to Social by MailChimp, which very helpfully publishes “comments, retweets and replies as WordPress comments. When you share your post across multiple social media platforms, the conversation is often carried on in many different places. This plugin aggregates your conversations and keeps them in one place.”

30 Most Popular WordPress Plugins – infographic by WordPress Hosting SEO

Berrie Pelser (yet again) highlights a list of popular WordPress plugins, this time in infographic form. Among the recommendations here are the self-explanatory WP-DB-Backup and WP-Polls, as well as WPTouch, which “automatically transforms your WordPress website for mobile devices, complete with ajax loading articles and smooth effects.”

Starting a WordPress Blog? Make Sure Your Have these Plugins Installed by Techetron

Mushfiqur RahmanMushfiqur Rahman reviews his top 10 must-have plugins for a new blog. Beyond a few obvious choices (Akismnet, SEO Yoast, Google SML Sitemaps), he also includes Broken Link Checker for automatically finding broken links, WP Mobile Detector for automatically detecing device type and serving up the proper display of your blog, and Quick Page/Post Redirect Plugin.

The 17 Best WordPress Plugins for Social Media, SEO, and Better Visitor Engagement in 2013 by Maximize Social Business

Neal SchafferNoting that “WordPress powers one of every 6 websites on the Internet, nearly 60 million in all, with 100,000 more popping up each day,” Neal Schaffer explains the importance of minimizing page load time and some tactics for increasing your site’s speed, then reviews his favorite social media and SEO plugins including JetPack Publicize, Scribe SEO and Social Author Bio, which provides “fully integrated Google Plus Authorship.”

15 Social Media WordPress Plugins for 2012 by iMediaConnection

Noemi MadridNoemi Madrid reviews more than a dozen plugins for integrating your content with and sharing it on social platforms, including plugins specifically developed for interaction with Facebook, Google+, Flickr, Pinterest, Storify, YouTube, and even MySpace.

The Complete Set of Social Media Plugins for WordPress by Web Teacher

Tom ChuWhile this isn’t a “complete set,” guest author Tom Chu does serve up helpful reviews of half a dozen social media plugins ranging from Sociable and ShareThis for general social sharing to “deep integration” plugins like Social Metrics, which “displays your site’s social media performance statistics and gives them back to you in an intuitive way to help you to understand what you’re doing right and where you can improve.”

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