I have a list of just four names for you. Four top bloggers that I think you should be following.
“Hang on”, you may be thinking, “what about the top 50?” But I’m not here to blitz you with content. I want you to be thinking more about quality than quantity. There is far too much information out there – take it from me. You have little to gain by hoovering up Joe Bloggs’ opinion on SEO tactics.
I know your time is just as valuable as mine, and as such, I want you to spend it reading only the best advice, from the best people.
The four bloggers below all have varying perspectives on blogging and life in general, but all share a common history in the sense that they got to where they are the hard way (i.e. the only true way). Moreover, they all have very distinctive and unique personalities, which to me is vital. No one should be reading bland old information from bland old writers.
So, without further ado…
The Big Four
Who else but Pat from Smart Passive Income? If you are at all familiar with my blog then you will know that I am a big fan of Pat’s. He was the guy that got me fully into internet marketing a few short months ago. I had flirted with the idea of making money online for many years, but it was his blog, and specifically his niche site duel, that galvanised me into action.
Pat is one of the nicest guys you will ever likely get to know (virtually). You simply cannot fake the honesty and commitment he has to helping others. He truly is one of the good guys, and still manages to keep in touch with his readers despite receiving an enormous amount of correspondence.
Glen Allsopp is living the dream. Going back a few years he was working in a clothes store. Now he has a six figure income and is one of the most highly-respected internet marketers out there. And he is the first one to admit that he did this through sheer hard work, patience and determination.
In fact, I think that he underplays it at times. From what I have read, he started out with a very clear goal in mind (to make a living from internet marketing), and simply did not stop trying until he got there, regardless of the failures and setbacks that confronted him. Glen’s story is one we can all learn a lot from.
Head over to Glen’s blog, ViperChill, and check out his posts. He does not produce content that often, but when he does, it is of the best possible quality. When Glen has something to say, we should all be wise to sit up and take note.
I am a big fan of Derek’s. He is exactly the kind of no-bullshit, cut to the chase guy that I love to learn from. Just check out his video critiques of Pat Flynn’s and Corbett Barr’s blogs to get an idea of his approach. At no point was he patronising or condescending, but he stated exactly what Patt and Corbett needed to do to improve their blogs, without needing to sugar coat it.
Derek has a great blog over at Social Triggers, in which he explores the psychological side of internet marketing. As you may tell from visiting his blog, I have taken a lot of inspiration from his teachings in the design of my own.
Marcus may not be as well known as the three previous bloggers, but he rightfully takes his place on this list. I have only been reading his blog for a couple of months or so, but that has been time enough.
Marcus comes across as one of the most down-to-earth, charismatic and well-meaning guys you could hope to meet. When you combine that with someone who clearly knows what he is talking about, you have a great mix.
What is truly unique about Marcus is his business, which is offline. Yes – he doesn’t make money by talking about making money! He in fact part-owns a fibreglass pool installation company (apologies Marcus if I haven’t described that correctly!) and uses inbound marketing to generate more leads than he will ever need to achieve his goals.
His blog, The Sales Lion, provides an enormous amount of value – you could easily spend a day reading through his archives.
That’s All You Need!
I honestly believe that you could stick to the teachings on the above four blogs (and mine of course!) and become truly successful online. I know that the bulk of my learning has come from those four bloggers.
Now it’s time to thrown it open to you – who do you think should have made it onto the list that didn’t?
There is a key understanding that is required in order to achieve success, and that is to believe that you can.
That may sound like an obvious statement, but I find so often that people do not truly feel they are capable of hitting their targets.
You might see another achieve success and feel that you are not able to do the same. Well, the simple fact is, you can achieve success. However, in order to do so, you first need to know that you can.
If you truly understand that success is obtainable, it will become so. It is a self-fulfilling prophesy.
So many people give up because they feel that they will never achieve what they want. There is no reason to think that way. Do you really think that all the successful people out there are either luckier, or more intelligent than you? Rubbish. They just stuck at it and had the right attitude.
Those who succeed often do because they simply know that it is possible, whilst those who do not, lack that important realisation.
I want you to consider the following: if you truly feel that you are capable of success, then there will only ever be one reason that you give up on your goals, and that is because the work necessary is not worth the reward. Otherwise, you simply recognise that you have to go through a process.
So, if you ever feel like you have had enough of internet marketing and want to give up, ask yourself why. Do you simply not want to do the work, or have you lost confidence in your ability to succeed?
If the former, then you can make a relatively objective decision as to whether or not you want to continue.
If the latter, you need to address your mindset, because anyone can succeed. Someone has been in your situation before, or one very similar, and has got to where they want to be. If you apply yourself in the right fashion and understand the process, you will succeed.
Photo courtesy of Alter1fo
If you are an active blogger then you have doubtless come across the problem of finding topics to write about.
This is more of an issue to some than others – for instance, the likes of Derek Halpern and Glen Allsopp publish only when they are inspired by a topic that strikes them as particularly relevant to their audience. This is a particularly powerful method for a couple of reasons: it promotes scarcity, and it allows the writer to put great time and effort into their posts.
On the flipside, you have the likes of Pat Flynn and Marcus Sheridan – those who post multiple times a week. They have tasked themselves with crafting a regular and consistent production line of quality content.
I am not here to pick a side and tell you which method I think is surperior. The four names mentioned above are all people I respect greatly, and they are amongst the very few bloggers whose every article I read without fail.
I personally produce three articles a week and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. So what I am here to do is reveal what I do to keep the topics I write about fresh and engaging.
Communicate With Your Audience
Although this blog is still very much in its infancy, I have already drawn inspiration from my audience in writing about topics that I know will interest you. How do I know this? Because you have told me what you want! In fact, this article was inspired by an email I received from a reader, wanting to know how I was able to continue producing three new articles every week without fail.
So, communicate with your audience and find out what they are interested in. This can be deliberate or inadvertent – you can poll your readers, or you can simply have an ongoing dialogue with them. It will soon become clear what they want from you.
Investigate Your Competition
First up, a caveat – I am absolutely not saying that you should plagiarise your competition’s content. Nor am I suggesting that you should essentially write your own article on exactly the same topic. But there is value in taking a look at what your competition is writing about in order to seek inspiration.
It is important to note that your competition writing about a topic does not necessarily make it compelling to your audience. But it should be a good marker, especially if you are investigating reputable sources.
There are multiple sources you can tap into to see what might be popular in your particular niche.
- Search for trending terms amongst your Twitter followers
- Search for your keyword in Google and check out the related searches at the bottom
- Check out questions in your niche being asked on sites such as Yahoo! Answers
What sources can you think of?
Write About What Interests YOU
Ultimately, your blog should be a reflection of your unique style. As such, there should be a healthy dose of content that interests you. This may be directly related to your niche, or it may not. The point is, your audience are there to read your content, and as such should have an attachment to your voice.
It is open-ended as to how far you should take this, but I would refer you again to Pat Flynn and Marcus Sheridan as great exponents of off-topic articles. If you are at all familiar with Pat then you will have read his regular updates on fitness programs he has tried. And Marcus often updates his readers on his personal life and wonderful family.
Don’t Be Afraid To Be Yourself!
Finally, try not to get too caught up in producing articles based upon laser-targeted topic research. There should be a natural flow to what your produce. And ultimately, you will need to rely upon your natural subjective feel as to what to produce – that talent will develop in time. Everyone writes dud articles – it is not the end of the world – just push onto the next one!
How about you? What sources of inspiration do you draw from when it comes to writing content for your blog?
Photo courtesy of IAB UK
If you read my last niche site update then you will know that I was beginning to get frustrated by my apparent lack of progress in climbing the Google rankings. In fact, I seemed to be going backwards!
Fortunately, I am now in a position to inform you of some progress. Modest progress, but progress nonetheless!
My Niche Site’s Key Statistics
- Site online: 71 days
- Total Visits in last 14 days: 130 (19 per day)
- Google ranking for my primary key phrase: #9
- Gross income generated: £6.98 ($11.47)
As you can see, I am now ranking #9 in Google for my main keyword, “modeling for kids”. In fact, I briefly flirted with 8th position. With a continuation of my backlinking strategy I expect to see the rise continue.
The eagle-eyed amongst you may spot that my average visits per day has increased by 6 since update #2. I have been at #9 in Google for just a few days, but the increase in traffic is notable. As would be expected, the specific keyword “modeling for kids” is now getting a fair bit of action (with 18 searches in the last seven days).
What is really interesting though is the fact that I am getting lots of long tail keyword searches bringing traffic to my site. This is something you should absolutely expect from an “authority” site, but it bears considering in detail.
The Power Of The Long Tail
I read a great article this week over at Niche Pursuits – How To Calculate Projected Traffic And Earnings For A Niche Website. Although I have been aware of the power of long tail keywords for some time, Spencer takes it one step further and argues that you should consider the potential revenue from them, along with your main keyword. His logic is absolutely sound, and here are some figures to back it up.
Last 30 Days
- Total searches: 208
- Total long tail keyword searches: 154
- Percentage of keywords that are long tail: 74%
Last 14 Days
- Total searches: 113
- Total long tail keyword searches: 77
- Percentage of keywords that are long tail: 68%
Last 7 Days
- Total searches: 75
- Total long tail keyword searches: 52
- Percentage of keywords that are long tail: 69%
From the above, you can see that despite my increased ranking for my main keyword and increase in traffic overall, the percentage of long tail keyword traffic to short tail keyword traffic has remained fairly stable. This has been achieved without any purposeful effort to target specific long tail keywords.
The realisation that long tail keyword traffic can contribute enormously will likely give you a completely different perspective on your estimation of traffic figures. For instance, the exact keyword “modeling for kids” gets 2,400 searches per month. So the #1 website in Google should attract around 1,000 visitors. Theoretically, with a long tail to short tail percentage ratio of around 70%, I can expect my actual traffic per month to be in the region of 3,330. These estimates are based upon exact searches only and as such are extremely conservative.
My calculations are clearly rough and are yet to be proven by actual results, but it will be interesting to come back to them when the site is ranking #1 for “modeling for kids”.
With traffic picking up, I decided to re-implement Adsense a few days ago. I will leave the ad placement as they are now until I am getting considerable traffic, at which point I will start testing different placements to see what gets the best conversion rate. I have made a few pounds in the last week or so, but nothing to write home about!
Onwards And Upwards!
For now, I am perfectly happy to continue what I am doing in terms of content creation and backlinking. As long as I am seeing positive results I will continue along this path. I hope to come back to you shortly with news of further progress!
Read The Whole Series
When it comes to writing, you are likely to be hit with a different opinion for every article you read. Your content should be short and to the point. Or it should be long and cover all bases. The mass of conflicting advice on the internet is a headache in the making for any aspiring content writer.
I am here to add my two penneth, but hopefully it will create no headaches. I am not here to tell you that your articles should be x or y. I am here just to deliver a very simple message.
That’s all. Just write. Don’t worry about what you are writing, or how you are writing it. Don’t worry if your spelling is poor. Don’t fret if your grammar leaves little to be desired.
Once you have finished writing, you can then go back and check. You can read over your words and decide whether or not they are worth the virtual paper they were written on.
The key to writing is so bloody simple, and yet so many people out there want to overcomplicate it. They often forget one simple fact – content cannot be good or bad until it is in existence, and even then, the judgement of it is wholly subjective.
Don’t worry about how you should deliver your message; just write what comes naturally and judge it by your own standards. If you do this, your writing will be distinctive and unique. It may not be a work of art, but improvement will only come through more writing.
Quality Follows Quantity
As far as I am considered, quantity and quality are not enemies. They are simply two steps in a process. As I have already stated above, you should be writing as it comes naturally, without fear for the quality of what you are creating.
When you have exhausted your immediate mental capacity for content creation, you can then consider the quality of your writing. If you have just created a work of art, congratulations. If however there is nothing worth saving in what you have written, then push it aside and move on.
In writing bad content, you will understand how not to in the future.
Write Me A Song
Song writing is a great analogy for content creation. You should write as many songs as possible. Don’t worry about whether they are good or bad, just get them out of your head and onto paper (or recorded). Come back to tweak them later, or dump them if they are poor. But when it comes to your album, only the cream of the crop should make it.
Content creation follows a similar line. Your published content is your music album. Only the cream of the crop makes it. No one needs to know about the rest, but that is not to say that it hasn’t helped you – all of that bad content took you towards creating the good.
Photo courtesy of Julia Manzerova