Archive for the 'Blogging Tips'
With Google’s Panda and Penguin updates it has become increasingly important to build links in quality content on quality sites. This article will walk you through a step-by-step process on how to do exactly that using SponsoredReviews.com.
As an example for this article, we are going to demonstrate how a travel website owner can build 10 quality blog posts to their site.
What is needed:
- 10 quality articles related to travel
- A SponsoredReviews account utilizing the multiple content repost function
- 30 minutes of time
Step 1 – Write, or have written, 10 articles about travel related topics
If you have an in-house writer this shouldn’t be a problem. If you don’t we suggest using a content marketplace such a textbroker.com or writeraccess.com to buy quality articles for $10-$20 each, or less if you are willing to forego some quality.
We recommend that your writers create articles related to your target keywords, but not over-optimized. In other words, the articles should not be “fluff” and keyword stuffed, instead articles that have real value.
For example, if one of the keywords you are trying to rank for is “Cheap Caribbean Cruises,” you can ask your writers to come up with articles such as “5 tips for traveling the Caribbean” or “Aruba, the least know Caribbean island”.
Step 2 – Create a Content Repost opportunity in SponsoredReviews.com
As an Advertiser you have several Post Type options, one of them is Content Repost. When you create an opportunity with Content Repost as your Post Type, you can upload an unlimited number of articles to assign to bloggers for “re”posting on their blogs. You can also assign which anchor text and URLs you want the bloggers to use. This is the best way to control the quality of the content being posted.
Step 3 – Upload Content and Required Links into the Opportunity
- In Step 3 (Links & Content) while creating an opportunity, you will be asked to add the LinkSets and Content. A LinkSet is a set of up to 3 URLs and anchor text to be used in your post. The content is whatever content you would like to repost (from step 1).
- You can define as many LinkSets and upload as many unique pieces of content you desire. Each piece of content can be syndicated to as many blogs as you wish using the “# of posts” field. We recommend syndicating your content to as few places as possible. Duplicating content on numerous sites is not optimal and looks unnatural.
- For URLs and link text we recommend using different variations in each piece of content so your link building efforts look natural and do not raise flags with the search engines. In addition to using the keywords you are trying to rank for we recommend using long tail keywords, branded and generic link text. For more information about proper anchor text optimization, check out this post.
Step 4 – Find Quality Blogs to Post your Content
Once you have created your Opportunity there are two different ways to find bloggers willing to post your content. You can look for blogs in the “Find Bloggers” section of our website and/or you can publish your Opportunity to our marketplace to receive bids. In this article we are going to focus on finding and approaching bloggers directly, as this is the best way to track down the highest quality blogs.
SponsoredReviews provides over a dozen different filters. Here are a few we suggest using to find the highest quality sites:
- Category/Keyword Search: For this specific job you can start by selecting blogs that fall under the category of “Travel”. You can also use the Keyword Search Field, which will look for whatever keyword you search in the title, description and URL of the blog. We especially like using the “Title + URL Only” option to find blogs whose site URL is joestravelblog.com etc.
- PageRank – Most people are familiar with PageRank. It is Google’s rating of a sites link popularity ranging from 1 to 10, 10 being the best.
- Backlinks – The more backlinks a site has the better. Backlink data is pulled from MajesticSEO.
- WhoreScore: WhoreScore is a rating of 1-10 with 10 being the highest score. WhoreScore analyzes the outbound linking practices of each site in SponsoredReviews. Sites that link out to a lot of other sites using commercial keyword anchor text get a high score. This is important because sites that link to any and everyone willing to pay them money tend to be the lowest quality and most likely to be de-indexed in Google. We suggest focusing on sites with a WhoreScore of 7 or less. The lower the number the better.
- Alexa Ranking – Use this to find sites that have better traffic. The lower the number the better.
- Blogger IP Location - This will allow you to select bloggers located in a certain country (based on the IP address of their computer). We suggest focusing on bloggers located in English speaking countries since they tend to have the highest quality blogs. Bloggers located in Indonesia, India etc. can be a source of cheap links, but the content quality on those sites tend to be low.
- Blog Network Exclusions – You can filter out blogs on free hosting accounts such as joesblog.wordpress.com. These sites tend to be lower quality since the hosting is free. Higher quality bloggers typically have a unique domain name.
These are only a few key filters to help you find higher quality sites. We suggest you experiment and change the filters to see what sites meet your specific requirements.
Alternatively, we suggest contacting our sister company TextLinkBrokers.com who can perform this entire process for you.
Apart from being descriptive, images will make your posts live and more appealing to readers. This will improve your traffic and the user experience. Advertisers might also get encouraged to order a sponsored review on your blog if they know that you will include pictures and examples from the product.
So far so good. Extracting images from the web and adding them smoothly to posts without making your site look like MySpace is not a simple task, however. Below you will find tips and resources for this purpose.
Good Ol’ Printscreen
This is the most basic method. It will not produce outstanding results, but it might be helpful if you are using the Internet from another terminal or if somehow you are not able to access other tools.
Most personal computers come with a â€œPrtScâ€ key on the upper right part of the keyboard. Whenever you press that key your computer will save a digital copy of your screen on the cache.
The next step is to open an image editing software (Paint will suffice) and paste the copy of the screen. Just edit the image properly, save it as a new file and you are done.
Notice that you can also â€œprintâ€ only the active window on your screen by holding Alt while you use the â€œPrtScâ€ key.
The Paid Software
Snagit is the standard when it comes to screen capturing software. It allows you to take screenshots of specific regions and scrolling web pages. It also includes several advanced features like video capture, special effects and image editing.
You can try the software for 30 days, and if you like it you will need to spend $39 for a single user license. Is it worth it, you might ask? Yes if you have a professional website or if you are planning to make money via your blog. If you blog for hobby probably you can get away with free tools.
The Free Alternative
I can’t blame you if you don’t want to spend 40 bucks for an image capturing software. While a free alternative will not provide all the features you would find inside Snagit, it will probably get the job done anyway.
Screen Hunter 5 is a screen capturing software that comes in three versions: Pro, Plus and Free. The first one costs $29, the second $19 and the third one, as you probably guessed, costs nothing.
Notice that the free version is not a trial one like Snagit. You can use unlimitedly both for personal and business uses. The only drawback is that it does not come with advanced features.
The software allows you to capture rectangular areas, active windows or full screens. It also comes with extra tools like color picker and delayed captures.
Trademark & Copyright Issues
Suppose you are writing a post about a certain company. Can you use that company’s logo in your article? Most of the times, yes.
Trademarks protect companies from people or organizations that use their logo in order to deceive customers. For example, an SEO consultant can not use Google’s logo on it is webpage because it would lead visitors to think that somehow he is involved with Google.
If you are writing a post about Google, however, you have the right to use its logo for the purpose of criticism, comment or news reporting. This is called “nominative fair use.”
The same does not apply to images within the website of companies, though. These are protected by copyright, and you can only use them under explicit permission from the author or owner.
The law is not clear about screenshots. Some people argue that you should be able to take screenshots or software and websites without infringing copyright, as long as it is for the purpose of criticism, comment or news reporting. The argument states that such usage would fall under the “fair use” principle.
When in doubt, seek legal advice from an attorney.
Finding Images on the Internet
Some times you will need to find images for your posts through out the Internet. Fortunately there are several websites that stock royalty free and images and photographies. Below you will find links to some useful ones.
Positioning the Images
Now you have the tools and the resources for getting images. What about placing them efficiently on your posts? There are basically two methods for positioning images within blog posts: using CSS and using HMTL attributes.
CSS formatting offers more flexibility, and it is the preferred method. In order to align an image via CSS you will need to create a special class on your CSS file. WordPress users usually have this file names stylesheet.css. Once you located the file just add something like this:
border:1px solid #999999;
This code will create the class for all your images that are supposed to be aligned on the right. As you can see we have added both padding and a solid border (you can customize this elements as needed). Whenever you want to align an image using that format you just need to call the class within the img tag, which will look like this:
<img class="alignright" src="http://www.domain.com/testimage.gif" />
The second option involves HTML attributes, but it should be considered only if you are not able to use CSS because the align=”right” and align=”left” attributes will be deprecated from XHTML markup.
In order to use these attributes, just add them inside the img tag:
<img align="right" src="http://www.domain.com/testimage.gif" />
Finally, remember that images above the fold will give more visibility to your posts. A catchy image might convince an otherwise reluctant reader to investigate the rest of your content.
There is nothing worse than an otherwise witty blog post marked by several spelling errors (especially if you are getting paid to write it…). Sure, people will still be able to understand the overall meaning of your words, but your credibility might get damaged along the way.
Luckily, technology comes at our aid. Below you will find a list of resources and tools that can be used to spell check your articles, emails, websites and more.
- Firefox 2.0: Ever posted a comment on a blog only to find out that you had written â€œembarasmentâ€ instead of â€œembarrassment?â€ The latest release of the Mozilla house comes with an in-built spell checker that works inside web forms; very useful for active Internet users.
- Firefox 1.5: If you have a fetish with Firefox 1.5 and are reluctant to upgrade it to the newest version, no worries! There is an extension called SpellBound that will add the spell checking functionality to your browser.
- Internet Explorer: There is no reason to use Internet Explorer. Firefox is faster, more flexible and more reliable. But this is not the central topic of this article, so if you (still) are an Internet Explorer user, you can use an extension called IESpell.
- SpellChecker.net: The site is not so fast, but it gets the job done when it comes to spell checking. The service also includes a â€œGrammar Checker,â€ but I am not sure how reliable it is considering that it did not correct sentences like â€œHe are my friendâ€ and â€œI go there last year.â€
- Orangoo: The site is pretty fast and the corrections are done in the same window (as opposed to being displayed in pop-ups like with SpellChecker.net). Another advantage is that it supports 28 different languages.
Website Spell Checkers
- Spell checking your website could be a good idea. If you don’t have time or patience to carry it out on your own, you can use an online service.TextTrust.com is a company that will spell check your website for you. It offers a free trial version where results are emailed to you within one business day. Additional services are charged.
Open Source Software
- OpenOffice.org: Microsoft Word comes with a nice spell checker, but this certainly doesn’t justify the hundred bucks that you’ll need to spend for it. OpenOffice.org is one of the best alternatives around. While the spreadsheet utility might not be as good as Excel, the word processor offers virtually all the features you’ll ever need.
- AbiWord: If you want to use only a word processor and not the complete Office suite you can try AbiWord. It is a light software, and apart from the spell checker it also comes with a grammar checker.
- LanguageTool: This is an open source grammar checker. Basically it will catch grammar errors that would pass the spell checker, like repeating two words or using â€œaâ€ before a word starting with a vowel sound. The interesting thing is that you can add custom â€œrulesâ€ for special mistakes that you are looking for.
- As-U-Type: This spell checker apparently works at Operational System level, meaning that once you install it you will be able to use it inside all applications. Apart from functioning as a real time spell checker, the software will also learn your typing habits and automatically correct common mistakes. There is a free trial version which works for 30 days, and the full software costs $39.
Bottom line: Do not forget that running that spell checker is not enough, you will still need to proofread your work!
Our generation is starting to experience something for the very first time in history: information overload. The daily avalanche of e-mails, advertisings, blogs and the like are shortening people’s attention span. (By the way, sorry if I gave you false illusions, by now you probably realized that the title of the article refers to something else…).
How does this phenomenon affect your blog? Simply put, if you are lucky you will have people giving you 30 seconds of their time. Then question then becomes, â€œIf you only have 30 seconds, would you rather show the reader some â€œreal stuffâ€ or lose yourself between ramblings and fluff talk?â€ I bet you said the former, and for that purpose below you will find 4 practical tips.
1. Write a short and effective introduction
Get to the point, quickly. There is nothing worse than an endless, boring introduction. The purpose of the intro is to capture the attention of the reader and to summarize your main argument throughout the article. Make sure your intros work in favor and not against yourself.
2. Remove words where pictures will suffice
Do you think you could remove a whole paragraph and replace it with an equally expressing picture? Go for it! Ever heard the saying â€œA picture is worth 1000 words?â€ Well, it is true.
3. Choose simple words
While writing the article, pay attention on the words you choose. If something big and fancy comes on the way, stop! Ask yourself, â€œis there any simpler word that would deliver the same meaning?â€
4. Re-read the article removing unnecessary words and sentences
Once you have a first draft, go through the article again removing all the unnecessary words and sentences. Do not worry about butchering your article, the more concise it gets, the better.
I just had to link to this great little article from Scott over at Web-professor.net.
I’ve always been a fan of Scott’s writings. This little article has all the makings of a great post.
1. It is short and to the point.
2. It has a great short intro that makes you want to read it: “Six Things that can make me Totally Think you Really Really are an Idiot!”
3. It has a bit of controversy to it, as we have all probably made some of the mistakes he is talking about.
4. It is fun.
5. It is in an easy to read list format (cause we all love a great list).
Article: Really Really Bad Writing by Web-Professor
The vast majority of people start blogging out of curiosity. The idea of sharing their thoughts with others is appealing.
A small percentage of those people grow out of the curiosity stage, and decide to “Take it to the next level”.
Whether it be for money or just a bit of fame, it’s important to have a plan!
Here are a couple of suggestions for doing just that.
1. Define the Vision and the Mission
Despite the MBA fluff that you might hear out there, having a clear Vision and a Mission Statement is essential for any project or venture, blogs included. Don’t worry, you will not need to hire a consulting firm here. Just think about what you are trying to accomplish with your blog. The Vision is what you are aiming for (e.g., â€œMy blog will be the most popular one on its nicheâ€ or â€œMy blog will have the most active community around this topicâ€). You must believe in your Vision, otherwise it is just a dream.
The Mission Statement is how you will arrive there. Suppose your Vision is to have the most popular â€œMake Money Onlineâ€ blog on the Internet. The Mission Statement for such a blog could be: â€œWe provide reliable and practical tips that will help our readers make money online.â€
Remember: â€œWhen a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind.â€œ
2. Set Goals
After defining the purpose of the blog you will need to lay down goals. Goals are extremely important to set priorities. They also enable you to monitor the performance and review the strategy along the way, if necessary.
First of all you will need long term, medium term and short term goals. Start with the yearly goal. Where do you want your blog to be one year from now? Then break it down: if you are to achieve that yearly goal, where will you need to be 3 months from now? This process will make it clear what you need to do on a daily basis in order to achieve your long term objectives.
Remember that goals must be both measurable and realistic. As a blogger you can use several parameters to set goals, including traffic, RSS subscribers, Technorati Rank, Google Pagerank and so on.
3. Check the Writing
Like it or not, people will judge your blog by the quality of your writing. Sure, design, promotion and other factors need to be taken into consideration, but writing quality arguably comes before them.
It is quite difficult to become a Shakespearesque writer overnight. But maybe that is not even necessary. If you are already confident on your writing skills, just hone them. Work some more on the articles to make sure they are polished and engaging.
If you are not quite confident on your writing skills, however, you will need to follow a different route. First of all, you can hire a professional writer to help you out. He can both write some of the content himself and edit yours.
If hiring someone is not an option, grab some grammar books and browse around the Internet for writing advice. At the very minimum you want to make sure that your articles do not contain grammatical or spelling mistakes.
4. Draw a Monetization Plan
You might not have the need to monetize your blog. Freelance professionals and consultants, for instance, can use a blog mainly as a marketing vehicle for their business. Most bloggers, however, will be interested in the money part. The possibility of generating a solid monthly income, in fact, is what motivates most people to take their blog to the next level in the first place.
Before cluttering your blog with multiple Adsense units and annoying Kontera text links, however, you should draw a basic plan for the monetization part.
In this plan you will need to evaluate when you will insert the ads, where you will display them, what the ads themselves will be, and how the whole monetization scheme will affect your readers.
Bear in mind that the user experience should not be compromised. Give the priority to your readers and not to some quick-money fix. The cents you will make are not worth losing a loyal visitor.
As the Italians say, â€œanche l’occhio vuole la sua parteâ€ (the eye wants his part too). You might have great content and outstanding writing skills, but if it is all wrapped with a messy design you will lose readers over the long run.
First of all the content must be readable. That means selecting good fonts, the proper line spacing and harmonic colors. Secondly, the overall template of the blog must be well structured. At this point you already know what you are aiming for with the blog, how you will monetize it and so on, so make sure that the design supports those objectives.
The bottom line is: if you are trying to build a professional, money-making blog you will probably need to hire a professional designer. And don’t point me to Steve Pavlina, he is the exception not the rule!
6. Develop a Promotion Strategy
There is a reason why companies and businesses all over the world spend billions in advertising. Now, while promoting your blog might be a little cheaper, you will still need to do it strategically.
What audience are you looking for? Where could you find them around the Internet? How could you attract them to your blog? Those are just some of the questions that you will need to ask yourself.
There are plenty of ways to promote a blog. Just think about social bookmarking sites, online forums, banners, text links, Google AdWords and so on. The key here is to experiment, analyze results, refine the strategy and repeat.
Alright, looks like you have everything carefully planned. You know what kind of blog you are aiming for, you have some goals in place, you know how to monetize and promote it, and you also know what design you need. Now what?
Now comes the hardest part, actually. Most projects do not fail due to a lack of vision or planning, they fail because there is no proper implementation of what was planned. In two words, get busy!
Are you looking to increase the traffic to your blog? Building links from directories will increase your link popularity, direct traffic, and search engine rankings.
There are several lists of “Blog Directories” around the Internet, but most of them feature only a hand full of directories, and they lack a ranking factor to make it easier for the reader to scan through the list.
Below you will find a very extensive list of Blog Directories, ordered according to their Alexa rank. We have also inserted the Pagerank of each directory on the list to make it more detailed. Enjoy!
Daniel is the owner of DailyBlogTips.com and a Guest Blogger on SponsoredReviews
You might promote your blog all over the blogosphere. You might have a large online network of friends. You might even hire a professional SEO company to optimize it. But if you are not writing quality posts, all the other activities will yield poor results. It is about putting first things first.
What should I do to ensure that I am writing quality posts, you might ask. There is no definite answer for that question, given the variety of styles and topics. But there are some basic guidelines that can be considered universal. Below you will find 5 of them: Read the rest of this entry »
The most frequent question we get from bloggers is why advertisers are not accepting their bids. The second most frequent question we get is; what can I do to improve my chances?
The focus of this article is going to be two-fold. Help explain why advertisers do not accept every bid, and give practical advice on how to improve your chances.
Read the rest of this entry »
So you want to be a pro blogger? That is fine. But do you have what it takes? More specifically do you have the knowledge that it takes? If you don’t, no problems. Below you will find 8 blogs that will give you just that. These guys have been playing online for quite some time, and they are eager to share their expertise. Enjoy!
Read the rest of this entry »