Hi, everyone! This is our June blogging questions and answers. For those of you who are new to the Blogging Q&A, this is our time to talk blogging. You bring your blogging questions and I answer them as best I can.
I have been blogging for 10 years and I have done a little bit of everything. A few of my specialties when it comes to blogging include content marketing, writing content, as well as coming to social media.
Probably my biggest specialty is making money with your blog. I’m a big fan of sponsored posts. I’ve also dabbled in advertising, as well as affiliate marketing, and then of course, creating my own product.
With all that being said, I’m going to start with the blogging questions that people sent us for this month.
“I now have two blogs. One is made in WordPress and the other with Squarespace. What ways do you find are easy to update and adjust your sites for SEO?”
I think it’s interesting that you’re using two different content management systems for your blogs. As far as how do I adjust my site for SEO, I’ll disclose that my blog is a WordPress blog.
Both of mine are. I know I’ve worked on a Wix site before, I dabbled in Squarespace a little bit, but WordPress is definitely where most websites I see are operating on as far as a content management system.
Adjusting it for SEO. That is a loaded question because I feel like there’s so much you can do with SEO. I actually have a really good video about this.
It was a review for the SEMrush tool, which is an amazing tool. I highly recommend it. It helped me go from getting 30% of my traffic organically to getting 60% of my traffic organically.
And there’s nothing more beautiful than free traffic.
I think the most important thing you can do is keyword research. Making sure you’re doing the steps to pick keywords that you’re going to target in your article that you can actually rank for. Even if you find a keyword, if no one is searching for that keyword, then it’s probably not worth your while.
I typically use a tool called Keywords Everywhere. It’s not free but it’s super cheap. What it does is it tells you what the competition level is for a keyword. It also tells you how many people are searching for it.
Typically, I don’t go for a keyword that has a competition level over 0.20. If it’s higher than that, I’m probably not going to qualify.
I typically go for search volume that has more than 70 searches a month. If it’s less than that, it’s probably not worth all your time and effort to write that blog post.
There’s a lot of things you can do to boost your SEO. I know a lot of people say backlinks are also really important, working with other bloggers and doing collaborations, that can be helpful with building your traffic and getting your SEO score up, but I think what I mentioned here is a good place to start, honestly.
“I find myself running out of time or spending way too much time on both sites. Three to four hours combined. Is there any way, method, guide, or shortcut for this?”
I probably spend between 10 and 20 hours a week on my blog stuff. I don’t imagine having two blogs to be easy.
Try to find a process that is as efficient as possible when it comes to creating your content. I don’t know if they are related at all, to your blogs, but what you could do is figure out how can you get more content out of one piece of content.
I also use tools that help automate my processes. For example, SocialBee. What I love about this is it allows me to plug in content and reuse it. I just have to make sure I create all that content upfront for it so that it can continue to run.
So yeah, having some processes and finding ways to automate things is definitely the way to go especially if you’re running multiple blogs.
I don’t know if you’re bringing in any income with your blogs currently. But if you are, I think it’s a good idea to invest in a virtual assistant to help you with some of those tasks that may be a little more time-consuming.
I think seeing if you can get help is also a good way. But if not, find tools to automate some things.
Something I learned the hard way with my blog is, if I’m really struggling with something, I am more than likely doing it wrong. Think about the tasks that are taking you the most time, and then start doing some research on tools that can possibly replace what you’re doing.
I think a tool is a lot more affordable than hiring help in some cases. But maybe we’re looking at getting some help, too.
“How do you find your VA?”
In case you want to go that route, it can be very affordable. I use a tool called Upwork. You can create an account on there and look at all the different freelancers that are there.
You can find people from all over the world, which is really cool, and start searching for different tasks. Anything that you do on your blog, I guarantee you, there’s someone who can do it. It may be more affordable than you think.
I think the lowest price I pay per hour for someone is $3 an hour. When you’re getting started, it would be good just to help with smaller tasks.
I don’t know if you are working on creating a new freebie, for example. You want it to look really professional. That could be a place that you can go to get some help.
Fiverr is good as well. That’s another great place. I find though on Upwork, I lean more towards that just because it’s a little bit easier to classify people.
Fiverr kind of like just listed all out. Like, here’s everything in that category. Whereas on Upwork, I can categorize by how much money they’ve made before if they’ve had experience. Everyone gets a rating afterwards, which is really good.
“What do you think about PLRs?”
For those who don’t know what a PLR is, it stands for private label rights.
Pretty much it’s these products where someone made a product and they say, “Hey, I’ll give you the license to sell this product under your name if you pay me this flat fee.” And they’re typically cheap, like 20 bucks or 50 bucks or something like that.
I bought a PLR product. This was my first year of blogging. I didn’t know what the heck I was doing.
I read about PLRs in a book I read called Laptop Millionaire. It was for some fitness product or something I tried to sell under my name. It was a total disaster.
Why? Not only that I did not even read this product myself to see what was in there, but it just didn’t fit my audience.
It had a lot of content and different things like that but it was a different voice than mine. It was very difficult to sell it. I didn’t sell one.
So, it just turned out to be a little bit of a waste. That was one of the lessons I learned.
If you want to have a product, make one. It’s so much better to make one.
What I found interesting is when I actually created my own product, what people liked the most about it wasn’t exactly my content, it was my delivery of the content. They liked how I said things.
They like that I was so direct and thought the content was valuable too. You can probably find a lot of this content in other courses or doing some research with blogging, but my delivery. I feel like with a PLR, you lose that.
You lose your delivery, your voice, and your tone by buying someone else’s product and selling it as your own.
People can see through if you are outsourcing a product where people are signing up to hear your voice and listen to you. They may not know it’s a PLR or whatever. It doesn’t connect with them the same way. That is my little feedback on that.
“What are the first steps to creating a product?”
For anyone who watched my video this last week, how to make money with an email list, on our YouTube channel, Blogging Money Life, I definitely gave some opinions about creating a product.
Here’s the thing. Owning a product and selling it is the ultimate goal. It’s a way to make sure that you’re bringing in income on a regular basis. You don’t have to pay anyone else for that.
You don’t have to worry about getting a small portion of it. You’re getting 100% of those sales. It is what we all want.
The problem with creating a product is making sure you’re creating the right product. The reason for that is because it’s time-consuming. My course, Blogging Money Formula, took me several months to make.
And yeah, I had to do an extensive amount of research before I developed it to make sure that this was what my audience actually wanted. So, as far as the question, what are the first steps of creating a product, I would say, doing research. Talk to your audience, and figuring out what it is that they want that you can create for them.
Think about it. Some ways that you can get that information. Look at questions that you’re getting on your social media platforms.
Are you realizing that you’re getting the same questions regularly from people? That can definitely be something to possibly think about. Do you have an email list that you can send a survey to?
That’s another opportunity for you to get some answers on what type of questions people have. You could do a poll on your social media platforms like Facebook. That’s a great place to do a poll, if you have a big enough audience and get an idea of what they are really looking for.
So those are just a few ways I think you can kind of get started with creating a product. I think the biggest tip I can give if you’re going to create a product is don’t create anything until people actually buy it. So, what you want to do is do a beta launch.
I think that is probably the best way to go about creating a product. The first is doing research to make sure that you have that product ready to go, you know what product people want.
And then the second part is doing a beta launch. Only focusing on people who actually purchase it.
If you have enough people, then go with that product. If you don’t, refund them and go back to the drawing board. Then, just kind of go from there. That is my thoughts on getting started with a new product.
“Are there any tips for growing your Instagram for your blog?”
As I mentioned, Instagram is my favorite social media platform. And there are a number of things that you can do to grow your Instagram account.
I think the first thing that is really important when it comes to growing Instagram is making sure you’re posting daily. You don’t have to post three or four times a day.
I mean, if you want to go faster, that’s a good idea, definitely post multiple times a day. But I think you can get away with posting just once a day, but stay consistent.
I think the biggest takeaway when I learned this tip is that you can actually lose followers on the days that you’re not posting.
So, instead of going backward, if you want to grow, it’s a good idea to make sure that you’re focusing more on posting daily. Posting daily is something cool that will help grow your Instagram account.
One thing I like to do is follow my competitor’s followers. What I’ll do is I’ll find someone who has a niche very similar to mine. I would go to their Instagram account.
And then, what I would do is click on their followers. And then, I just start following them. I guarantee you.
Every session you do this where you’re following other people, they’re going to be some people who follow you back. So, that’s another thing that I like to do.
Another thing I do is come up with a good layout for your Instagram channel. You can do checkers or diagonals or rows, or do columns where it looks similar. If you don’t know what the heck I’m even talking about, just Google Instagram layouts and just be prepared to be wild.
Because I find that most Instagram accounts I see don’t have a layout. They have typically a theme. They use similar branding colors or things like that.
But it’s a good way to make your account stand out and get more people to your profile. So, having the layout is good.
Another thing that you can do is experiment with different content types. You don’t want to just post one image post all the time. Instagram likes variety.
You want to make sure that you’re doing multiple image posts and mixing that up with some videos on your grid. Definitely make sure you’re doing Instagram stories, IgTV.
There are always new things on Instagram as far as what you can post. Take advantage of all those things. Instagram pays attention. The more you vary things up, the more they are going to pay attention to you and make sure that you’re getting more traction to your account.
There are so many other ways that you can bring in more traffic with Instagram, but I think those are some good ones to get started. If you just follow those four tips, I guarantee you’re going to start seeing more growth on your Instagram account in no time.
“Is there a certain guide or infographics understanding Google Analytics that you like?”
I can’t say that there is. I know Google Analytics is pretty intimidating overall but once you find the different data points that make the most sense to you, like things that you want to measure, then it’s fairly easy to find them.
Some things that I look at when it comes to Google Analytics, I always pay attention to how many sessions and pageviews I have. Another thing that I like to pay attention to on Google Analytics is how many people are clicking through on my various affiliates on Google Analytics.
So, that’s something that’s interesting, looking at your demographics. That’s something too that is very interesting to see is where people are coming from to get to your website.
I think Google has a lot of free training that they do when it comes to just understanding Google Analytics. You can even get certified for free.
I don’t think it costs anything. Honestly, it’s really complicated for me too. I can get by but that’s as far as I can go.
If you’re not on this, I think this is something I like a lot better than Google Analytics. Don’t get me wrong. You need that, but Google Search Console is amazing.
You just link it to your Google Analytics account and it helps you with your SEO because it shows you which of your blog posts are getting the most organic traffic. And then, it also shows you what keywords people are searching for to get to your blog posts.
So, you may find out here are all the keywords that people are going to get to your blog. You may want to optimize some of those articles to get more organic traffic. So, try Google Search Console and just start clicking around in there.
It’s not as detailed as Google Analytics so I don’t think it’s as overwhelming. It still uses a lot of data that’s coming from Google Analytics and just giving you a different view of something so that may be helpful.
“Mediavine or Ezoic? Which one do you prefer?”
Mediavine and Ezoic are both advertising platforms for bloggers. Ezoic is cool because I know they have some criteria that you need to have to join their platform but it is what I signed up for because I didn’t qualify for Mediavine at the time.
Mediavine is amazing! Like, it is hands down so much better than Ezoic. If you had to choose, go to Mediavine.
One of the main reasons for that is Mediavine is managed. I know Ezoic is supposed to be managed too but it’s not to the same level as Mediavine is.
Ezoic is great if you don’t have enough traffic to get Mediavine. It’s a good way to bring some income to your blog through advertising. I think everyone at Ezoic is super nice.
If you ever had trouble like, “Hey, I don’t understand how to add this code to my website.” or “I am not getting as much income as I wanted to make with Ezoic. Can you help me figure out some ways to optimize my ads?” They’ll help you out all day. They’re really good about those things.
Now compare that to Mediavine, they have a whole platform of data that they give you. They’ll show you, “This is how much money you made today. Here are the blog posts that have a higher RPM or rate per million.
Or pretty much these are articles that get more money for you depending on how much traffic you send them.” They’ll give you that data. They’ll show you where around the world people are coming from and bring in most of your income for you. And all you do is put one code on your website.
You put it in your header and they do everything else. They say where all the ads go on your website.
And if there are some ads that you don’t want to show, they have all those criteria too to say, “Okay. I don’t want any video ads. I don’t want ads at the top of this thing or under here.”
Or if you have a blog post where you work with a sponsor and they say, “We don’t want advertising on this article.” They give you codes so you can take that off of those specific articles.
It is a night and day difference. I turned Mediavine on and I just walked away. That’s the difference.
I eventually moved away from Ezoic because I was trying to improve my organic traffic at the time. And one of the biggest culprits for my site being slow was the Ezoic plug in, unfortunately.
I really wanted to make it work because I was making money with Ezoic. I worked on turning on the optimization little plugin or whatever. They have a lot of different, like apps they do with an Ezoic, and it still didn’t improve my website speed as much as just taking the plugin off of my site.
So, that’s what ended up happening. I had to go without any advertising income for a while because I needed to get my site speed so I could get more traffic. It was worth it because it eventually led me to a point where I could qualify for Mediavine.
“I have applied for a lot of applications for bloggers with companies. I have not received one opportunity. Are these real or just surveys?”
Yes! They are real! A few companies I love as far as influencer networks are Massive Sway. They’re really good.
Social Fabric is another great one. The Clever Network, they also have a lot of good opportunities.
I have a newsletter called Blogging Money Update and I send out 10 opportunities per email. We send those three times a week. And pretty much what my team is doing is we’re going through all these influencer networks, finding the best ones, ones that pay the best that are the most legitimate, and we send them out to you guys so you don’t have to go and scour all of those networks on your own.
Intellifluence is another good one. Popular Pays is another one. Activate, that’s definitely one of my favorite ones.
“How do I manage social media for my blog? I find it takes up so much time but doesn’t drive most traffic apart from Pinterest?”
At the end of the day, you don’t want to be wasting your time on social media platforms that are not doing anything for you. I’m in the same boat.
Pinterest is my number one as far as like social media goes. My second would be Instagram. It’s where I get more traffic from and then Facebook and Twitter and all those that kind of fall after that.
That’s not to say that social media doesn’t have its place. It’s important. A lot of times, it’s hard to track how much traffic you’re actually getting from social because it’s not always linear.
Someone doesn’t just go from Facebook and go to your website, right? I can’t remember the last time I went to Facebook to find someone’s website. I go to Google to find their website. You could be getting more traffic from social than you may think.
My honest advice when it comes to managing social media is to prioritize. Focus on one at a time. Choose the one that you’re most interested in.
Spend all your time there and work on trying to optimize it as much as possible to get the traffic that you want to get. And once you master that, then you move on to the next social media channel. That’s pretty much how I’m doing it.
As far as managing it for your blog, I personally use Social Bee. I like it because it allows you to reuse content so you don’t have to keep making the same Facebook posts over and over again to share older content.
It’s being shared over and over again for you automatically. And then, for Pinterest I use Tailwind.
“Do these influencer networks accept newer blogs with less than a thousand views?”
Yes! Yes, they do. One of the stories I love to tell is when I first did my first sponsored posts opportunity, I wasn’t doing that great. I had a free WordPress theme that I had just got out the gate because I didn’t know WordPress was a thing.
At the most, I was getting 2000 views a month. In my first opportunity, they paid me 50 bucks to write a blog post. I think it’s only 500 words or something like that. But I don’t think there’s a direct correlation between your traffic or how many social media followers or things like that and if you can qualify for a sponsored post opportunity.
What people are actually looking for is how consistent are you on your blog? Are you a hobby blogger or are you taking this seriously? Are you publishing content at least once a week? Do you have work with me page on your website somewhere so people know what your stats are for your blog?
Who your target audience is? What’s another thing that people are looking for? Oh, do you have an email list? You definitely want to have an email list and you’re sending emails to your readers at least once a week.
That’s something else that you want to make sure you’re being mindful of. It’s not necessarily a question of, well, what’s the number of followers I need to get before I can do sponsored posts, it’s, do I have the blogging basics down before I can start working towards working with brands?
“Do you recommend getting all the social media accounts when you first start even if you are focusing on them all? Do you advertise all the accounts even if you aren’t using them all?”
There are a couple blogging questions here and I want to address both. The first is do you recommend getting all your social media accounts when you first start even if you’re not focusing on them all?
Yes, absolutely. And the reason why you want to do this is that there are some people out there who signed up on Twitter and Instagram but didn’t do it on Facebook. Some people are like, “I’m going to get @JasmineWatts on Facebook and when she goes to get it, later on, I’m going to sell it to her.”
Something that should have been free is now something you got to pay for. I’m not saying that this is the case for everything but it has happened to me. And I will say it is not fun.
So yeah, definitely sign up for all those accounts just so that you’re not missing out on someone possibly buying it and then trying to sell it to you later on.
And then, the other question is, do you advertise on all accounts even if you aren’t using them all? That one’s a little more complicated. I say if you can find a way to kind of automate sharing on all your social media platforms, then I would do that to start off with.
But if you can post on all of them, that’s fine too. Just know that there’s another platform that you’re probably not getting any traction on. But I mean, to be honest, if you haven’t optimized that platform, if you haven’t built a relationship with people on that platform, you’re probably not going to get traffic anyway.
So, I don’t think it’ll hurt if you share on platforms that you’re not really using.
You guys have a lot of good questions for this month’s Q&A. I’m really feeling it. I hope that this was helpful.