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Running a blog often sounds very appealing. You’ll have a place to share your thoughts, build a community, and also generate some much-needed cash. Sounds great, doesn’t it?
Well, the reality is it’s not as easy to achieve this as a lot of people make out. I hear the same old things time after time: “Just create awesome content” or “Build a social media following so that you can drive traffic back to your blog.”
It sounds obvious, doesn’t it? That’s because it is obvious.
Who in their right mind would start a blog with the intention of producing crap content and completely neglecting social media? Morons, that’s who.
The reality is you could be producing the most awesome content in the world, but if nobody gets their eyeballs on it then it all goes to waste.
Within this post, I’m going to show you some ways that you can generate traffic to your blog without breaking the bank. I’m going to mention some paid tools, but nothing that will cost you a fortune!
To kick things off, let’s look at driving traffic through from the search engines, and in particular finding some low-hanging fruit.Long Tail Keyword Research
One of the first personal blogs that I set up was my travel blog. This became my testing ground for new link building methods and I was really keen on making a big impact within the search engines (all within a tiny budget – i.e. under $50 a month).
During the early stages of my campaign, I made some rookie mistakes on the keywords that I was going after and it really set me back. I decided that I wanted to rank for search terms like travel blog and cash in on huge amounts of traffic to the homepage. I spent massive amounts of time and resources in doing so, and I actually managed to reach the bottom half of page 1 for around 2 weeks. This then died down because I was going up against some of the big boys in the industry that were literally spending over 100x more than me.
It wasn’t the best use of my time, and to be honest, the reward wasn’t great. Most users that came through from this kind of search term bounced from the site and didn’t look at my articles, which is what I really wanted.
It was time for a change.
I shifted my focus away from short-tail, highly competitive keywords and moved to finding some low-hanging fruit in the form of longer, more specific search queries. The result? Just check out this snapshot of my Google Analytics from last year (it’s search traffic only):
This made me stand up and take notice. I’d increased traffic from search by over 450% – not bad. What’s more, the visitors were staying on the site because the content was directly relevant to the query they were searching for.
Now, you’re probably thinking, “That’s great, Matt, but I’m not an SEO expert and don’t really know where to start with keyword research.”
Don’t worry, I’m hearing ya!
This is where I’ll suggest a tool. The tool in question is Keyword Eye and it costs £9.99 per month (~$16) for the Pro package, but there’s also a free version.
The reason why I’m suggesting this tool is because it uses data from SEMrush, an awesome tool that costs a significantly larger amount (the top package is $149.50 per month).The Process
In a nutshell, the tool allows you to plug-in a general topic and it will gather a number of informational queries related to it. In the example above, I’ve searched for blogging. This has returned a long list of questions that people regularly search for related to blogging, along with the search volume and competition scores. This is perfect for finding some opportunities.
There’s a post on the Keyword Eye blog that goes into a little more detail about this feature – you give it a read here.
My approach, on a basic level, is to pull off a list of broad topics that are related to your niche and then plug them into the Question Finder. From here you can start creating content focused around them to drive through organic search traffic over time.
This is exactly what I did with my travel blog and the results were a dramatic and sustained growth in traffic. Here’s a small snapshot of my Webmaster Tools from the past couple of weeks:
As you can see, the vast majority of these search terms that are bringing through traffic to the blog are very specific, long-tail queries.
Extra Reading: I recorded a full review and tutorial of Keyword Eye last year that goes into some of the other features of the tool. One thing to note is that there’s been a TON of new features added, but this should give you an insight into what else it can do.Social Media Scheduling
I can’t stress the importance of growing a social media following enough. For bloggers, it’s a hugely powerful resource to have when you’re looking to build traffic to your content.
Having said that, it’s not always easy when you’ve got a minimal budget at your disposal. This is where you have to make the most out of what you’ve got by being smart with your social sharing.
I’m not going to go into the details of choosing the right social channel to pursue because there are tons of articles out there that you can read which directly focus on this (if you’re interested, check out this, this or this).
Instead, I’m going to show you how you can take the pain out of engaging with your social media following, whilst also getting maximum exposure. This is where I call in some help from Buffer.
If you haven’t heard of Buffer before then you need to go and try it out. There’s a free version (which will be more than enough for a blogger) and a paid version ($10 a month).
In short, Buffer allows you to schedule in your social media posts across a range of different platforms so that they go out at the peak times of activity for your followers (here’s more details).
The above image is from Rand Fishkin’s recent Whiteboard Friday on Moz. In the bottom-right corner of the image, Rand has drawn up the optimal posting schedule for your blog content across Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Tumblr.
For those struggling to read it, I’ve mocked up this image:
Using this as a guideline, I ensure that whenever I publish any new blog post it gets scheduled through Buffer across each of my social networks. I can then measure the impact of each post and refine it to squeeze the most value out of every piece of content.
Taking automation a step further, I’m able to schedule in some related content to post out to my social media followers by linking Buffer up to Feedly (my RSS reader).
I’ve done this with the help of IFTTT, a free tool that synchronizes a whole host of different tools together. Again, I’m not going to go into the full details of IFTTT because that’s a whole post in itself. Instead, go over and check out Matthew Woodward’s full tutorial.
All you need is the recipe that I created, which is here. Using this recipe, IFTTT will add any articles that you Save for Later on Feedly directly to your Buffer queue. This saves me so much time when I’m on the move.Smart Facebook Advertising
I know I mentioned we’d be sticking to a budget and I meant it. I’m not talking about spending a fortune here; I’m talking about spending small amounts that deliver big results.
Does that sound better?
I thought so.
Just to set the scene a little, I’m going to introduce you to my latest personal project – my pescetarian food blog. The truth behind this project is simple… I love food. Also, along with my lovely partner Laura, I don’t eat meat (I know, how hipster of me… sigh).
We decided that we wanted to create a blog for other dinner-party nightmares like us and start sharing some of our own recipes; hence the creation of our blog.
The blog is coming into its third month of being live and so far our Facebook page (at the time of writing) has 2,364 likes. Not bad for under three months.
What’s more, the engagement on each of our posts is awesome. Just look at the most recent post I published yesterday:
On top of the post engagement, Facebook has been a huge traffic generator for us, sending over 1,000 unique visitors to the blog within the first two months, and this seems to be growing rapidly day-by-day.
In the past 30 days we’ve hit just under 5,000 unique visitors and this has largely been fueled by our social campaigns (spending under £80 per month in total).So here’s how…
Here’s a snap shot from my campaign that is focused solely around getting website visitors to like the Pescetarian Kitchen Facebook page:Other Paid Advertising Platforms
To do this, I’ve been practicing a technique that I learned from Ross Hudgens of Siege Media. In this post, Ross suggests spending no more than $15-20 dollars to measure the feedback that users within StumbleUpon are giving. If the ratio of visits to Thumbs Up (a StumbleUpon metric) is low then it’s no longer worth pursuing the ad campaign.
It’s worth taking a full look through the post Ross wrote because it offers some seriously valuable insight.
One thing I also love about this is that any visits through to your blog will be added into your custom audience profile on Facebook (granted you’ve set up the tracking code) and you can start marketing to them there as well.Reddit Advertising
Like StumbleUpon, Reddit offers an incredibly cost-effective way to drive through traffic to your content. I’ve run campaigns from as little as $20 through Reddit and still had good success.
The key here is targeting.
One great campaign that I read about a few years ago was with Duck Duck Go (here’s the link). They managed to bring in 20,700 visits from just $650 – crazy! The platform has moved on a lot since then, but there’s still huge potential to bring in cheap traffic.Niche-Relevant Communities
A quick tip that I’ve found with Reddit is to look for subreddits that have minimal activity within them but an ok level of subscribers (you usually find this with really specific topics).
I found this within the pescetarian subreddit. As a result of a lack of content being submitted, the posts that receive a few upvotes will stay in the hot list for a long time. In the screenshot below you’ll see three links through to my food blog that have been there for over two months!
This has generated just under 950 unique visitors in the past two months. Oh, and did I mention that Reddit links are dofollow? So that means I’m getting a ton of link authority passed through to my blog that will have a direct effect on my search rankings.
As well as Reddit, there are a number of sharing sites that you can upload your content to in order to bring in traffic for free. Here are a few of them categorised by niche:Competitions
Running giveaways on your blog is a great way to drive traffic through to both your website and your social media accounts. I wrote an enormous guide on running online competitions on my own blog a few months ago that you may find useful for this (it’s around 6,000 words long, so you’ve been warned!).
The main challenge with running a competition is actually sourcing a prize. This could cost a significant amount to buy in, which if you’re like me, you don’t fancy doing.
Luckily for you, there’s another way…
If there’s one thing that PR companies love, it’s supplying bloggers with free products from their clients.
Now if only there was a way to get in touch with a load of PR companies to see if they want to give you some products for your giveaway… oh wait, of course there is! They come in the form of journalist enquiry services.
My weapon of choice is ResponseSource (completely free to send requests through), but there are tons out there, for example Gorkana and HARO.
Simply put in a request and you should have a load of responses from companies within an hour or so – win!Building Your Email List
If there’s one thing that I can’t stress enough, it’s the importance of building your list of email subscribers. These people are the most valuable assets that you have within your blog.
They’ve signaled that they like your content so much that they want you to inform them whenever any new content is published. These are up there with your most engaged visitors.
Within my digital marketing blog (I know, I have too many blogs), my biggest traffic source comes from my newsletter subscribers. Every time I press publish, I can almost guarantee around 400 unique visits from that alone. More importantly, these are the people who will share and engage with my content to help it reach a wider audience.
At the beginning, building your list of email subscribers is slow. This takes time to develop, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that you don’t want to look back at traffic spikes from a few months ago and wish that you’d set up newsletter capture forms – that’s a real killer.
So, with that in mind, here are a few easy ways (without having to do any coding on your website) that you can capture email data:
Create a free account on an email marketing platform. I use MailChimp.
Add a tool like ManyContacts to your blog to enable newsletter subscriptions forms to appear across your blog with clear calls to action.
Set up Twitter lead generation forms to get people to sign up for your newsletter directly within Twitter. Read this amazing guide from Dana Tan on how to do this for free.
Use Rafflecopter within your blog competitions to link directly to MailChimp and add any new entrants to your mailing list.
These are just a few ideas, but I’d encourage you to experiment with this. Just remember to stay in regular contact with your subscribers and always split test your campaigns to ensure that you’re getting the best possible results moving forward.TL;DR
Focus on more specific, long-tail search queries to target within your search campaign.
Schedule your content sharing across social media to ensure you’re getting the optimal reach.
Participate in niche communities and Reddit subreddits to cash in on some quality blog traffic.
Run online competitions to increase your blog’s exposure, build its social following, and increase your mailing list.
Ensure your blog has a good level of call-to-action around email capture.
Don’t think that you need to spend a fortune to get results. Sometimes, less is more!
The author has no affiliation with any of the resources listed.
You're reading Blogging 101: Traffic Generation For Blogs On A Budget
When hiring a new employee, you should consider the overall cost to your business. But how can you budget for hourly employees, who may work more or less as circumstance demands? By understanding your business’s needs and a few payroll accounting principles, you can determine the average cost of an hourly employee to your business, helping you develop a more strategic hiring plan.What is an hourly employee?
An hourly employee is paid a predetermined rate for the number of hours they work. The pay can be issued weekly, biweekly, semimonthly or monthly. If an hourly employee works over 40 hours per week, they are entitled to overtime pay.
Since the amount of time an hourly employee works may vary from week to week, their pay may fluctuate. This is why budgeting for an hourly employee can be difficult, especially as your business grows.
Manually running payroll can quickly become too much to manage when you’re budgeting for hourly workers. If you are looking to automate your payroll, read our reviews of the best payroll software providers.How does hourly pay work?
State and federal law requires employers to pay hourly employees a minimum wage. While wage requirements vary from state to state, employers must pay either the state or federal minimum wage, whichever is higher.
Washington, D.C., has the highest hourly minimum wage at $15.20. The top-paying minimum wage states include California ($14), Washington ($13.69) and Massachusetts ($13.69).Do hourly employees get benefits?
Benefits are expected for full-time hourly employees. These benefits may include paid vacation and sick time, healthcare coverage options, life insurance, and retirement savings plans. It is not uncommon for hourly employees’ benefits to be less comprehensive than those for salaried employees.
When benefits are available to hourly employees, companies frequently require the employee to complete a certain number of days before receiving benefits. The trial period gives the company time to train the employee and ensure they understand the job. The chance to earn benefits serves as an incentive for new employees to perform well, while the company can feel confident the employee is a worthwhile investment and a good fit.Should you hire hourly employees vs. salaried employees?
While hourly workers are paid for time logged, salary workers receive a set compensation package that is not affected by hours. You will need to weigh the pros and cons of hourly vs. salary employees to see which type of employee is best for your company.Hourly employees
Hourly employees are closely monitored for the hours they work each week. If an hourly worker stays at or below 40 hours every week, you will not have to give them any additional pay. However, if you are frequently shorthanded or have a boom in business, paying hourly employees overtime (time and a half or double time) can add up quickly.
These top time and attendance software solutions can help you track your employees’ hours and prevent accidental overtime.
Hourly employees are also helpful when you run a retail or service business that has set hours. Flexible schedules with set days or hours for each employee help prevent overtime.
If your business is typically busy during holiday seasons, hiring hourly workers makes sense as long as your increased profits can offset additional labor costs. Hourly workers are more likely to work during holidays when an incentivized paycheck is available.Salaried employees
On the other hand, salaried workers work for a flat rate each week, no matter how many hours are necessary. If you regularly need extra responsibility or extra hours from your employees, paying a salary could save you money.
Salary employees are also helpful if your business does not have set hours and you need employees on call 24/7. Salaried workers don’t need to track their working hours, so if any issues arise, they can fill the gaps without depleting your financial resources.Overtime pay
Once an hourly employee passes 40 hours in one week, they are entitled to overtime pay. Every hour worked after that is considered overtime, meaning employers must pay more per hour by law.
Overtime pay is generally 1.5 times the employee’s regular pay. For example, if an employee who makes $12 an hour works 45 hours in one week, they would receive $12 an hour for the first 40 hours and $18 an hour for the remaining five.
The workweek can start on any day of the week as long as it is consistently calculated on the same day. The Fair Labor Standards Act defines the workweek as a “fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours – seven consecutive 24-hour periods.”
The exception to this rule is hospitals and residential care facilities. These facilities are allowed to calculate hours based on 14 consecutive days rather than the standard seven-day period. For example, a nurse might work 35 hours one week and 45 hours the next, for a total of 80 hours. The nurse would not be paid overtime for working additional hours in the second week, since the total number of hours averages out to no more than 40 hours per week.
Did You Know?
California is the only state to require double-time pay. Californian nonexempt employees receive time and a half after working eight hours in the same day and double time after 12 hours.Exempt employees
The majority of hourly workers fall into the nonexempt category, qualifying for overtime pay. Exempt employees do not receive overtime pay. In this case, the employees are highly compensated for their work, and overtime hours are accepted. Exempt employees include truck drivers, taxi drivers and salespeople.Exceptions to the rule
In some cases, an employer provides additional financial compensation for exempt employees. The law limits compensation options, but it may include a flat amount, percentage bonus, or extra paid or unpaid time off.
Companies can determine their standard for the number of work hours completed each week. For example, a sales-based company may require 50 hours per week, while a department store may only give an employee 35 hours per week.
In the ever-growing digital landscape, referral traffic acts as a gateway that connects users to your website, helping you expand your online presence and drive growth.
Referral traffic is not new to Google Analytics 4 (GA4), but it’s not a bad idea to learn about some things again. Often commonly used terms like ‘referral traffic’ are easily overlooked and misunderstood, which can result in bucketing other traffic types under referrals.
Let’s dive in!What is Referral Traffic?
When it comes to where people land on your website, there are several sources of traffic, one of them being referrals.
If you’re a new business, chances are you won’t see a lot of referrals because you haven’t established enough rapport to be mentioned by other websites, and/or your SEO efforts are very basic.
Established websites and people who are subject-matter experts receive a significant amount of referral traffic as third-party sites mention them in their content like blogs, video descriptions, etc.
If you see your domains or any other site that shouldn’t be part of your referral traffic, then you can fix that by excluding them from referrals. More on this in the third topic of this post.
However, that doesn’t mean that they are less important for other industries, especially when they are being grouped incorrectly and pollute your data.Where to Find GA4 Referral Traffic?
You can find the GA4 referral traffic by navigating to Reports → Acquisition → User / Traffic Acquisition Reports.
Traffic acquisition will give you details of overall sessions by all users, whereas the user acquisition report will provide information on the first users only.
By default, you will only see the top 5 traffic channels in the graphs on the top.
So, if you don’t see referrals here, don’t worry. Once you scroll down to the table, you should be able to see the ‘Referral’ channel.
Now, this is good enough for you to know your stats for referral traffic. But what if you want to know what websites are the users coming from?
You will next see several options to choose from, but we are more interested in the source/medium dimension to find out as much as we can.
We can see the source/medium of all the default channel groups we saw before, which includes the website (source) / referral (medium).
This might look a little cluttered, so we can use the table filter technique mentioned above to see only the entries with ‘referral’ in them.
Understandably, Google’s merchandise store has a lot of referral traffic coming from its sources.
Generally, your sources shouldn’t be grouped under ‘Referrals.’ But in this case, we are not sure what sort of marketing activities Google is doing that’s sending traffic through some of the internal sources.
Now you know the overall stats of your referral traffic as well as the websites that are sending traffic to your website, which is pretty awesome! But what more can you do with this data at this point? Two things come to mind to get more context:
What pages are receiving the referral traffic?
How do I find out the URLs of the pages they are coming from?
Let’s start with the first one as it’s easier to achieve. In the same traffic acquisition report, we can add a secondary dimension of pages to find out where people are landing after coming from those referrals.
Next, you will see a list of dimensions that you can add, but we only want the page ones. There are currently only two in the traffic acquisition report, Landing page + query string and Page path and screen class unless you’ve added custom ones.
Let’s add the Landing page + query string dimension for the referrals in the source/medium dimension.
The (not set) values warrant a deeper look into what’s causing it. But apart from that, we can see that people are landing on the homepage.
We can even filter by only one referral source. For instance, let’s see where most people from the 10th source chúng tôi are landing.
So, we know where people are coming to. But what about the full URL from where they landed on these pages?
This could be easier if you track referrer URLs with a page_referrer event like Google’s Merchandise store. If that’s not the case, then there’s a workaround that can work with GA4 for now.
For instance, we want to find out the full referrer URL for the chúng tôi website. Let’s see in four steps.
Take the landing page + query string from the page where visitors are landing. For this example, we want to find out the “/Google+Redesign/Emoji+Kitchen+Sticker+Sheet”.
Next, we will simply copy and paste the above-highlighted text on Google search and filter only for the chúng tôi site.
Once you see the results, it can take a few tries until we find the page that has what we need. For us, it was the second result. But, what is it that we need? We want to find out if the page in search results has the outbound link to the page we saw in GA4 (first step) which will confirm this is the full URL of the referrer website.
On the page, there are two ways to find out the outbound links to the page you’re looking for:
If you see some hyperlink(s), then hover over them and see what’s the URL:
Yes, this is not an ideal method. However, the alternative would be to track your page referrer URLs or wait to see if Google adds that dimension to GA4 (like we had it in UA).
What if we see domains in GA4 that don’t belong to referral traffic?Excluding Unwanted Referrals
Universal Analytics had a feature called “Referral exclusions,” where you could exclude the domains you don’t want to see as referrals.
Lucky for us, this feature is also available in GA4 as ‘Unwanted referrals.’ We must make use of it where appropriate because it can eventually affect the traffic you see under the ‘Referral’ channel.
So this was not a difficult task to do, but now the settings are tucked away. There’s no guarantee they will stay there, as Google has been making changes to UI in the last 2 years. But the good thing is that the feature is readily available for us to use.
As of now, there’s no known limit to how many domains you can enter here and you have five match-type conditions to choose from:
referral domain contains
referral domain begins with
referral domain ends with
referral domain exactly matches
referral domain matches RegExCommon Unwanted Referrals
But before we move on, let’s talk about some common traffic types that should be included in unwanted referrals.
Self-referrals: Thankfully, Google detects your domain (and any sub-domains) so ideally this isn’t a problem. Some experts say it’s not a bad idea to add your domain anyway. If you have other websites that are configured for cross-domain tracking, then they will also be automatically excluded from referrals.
Apart from these, any other partner websites where cross-domain tracking isn’t configured but you don’t want it to show as a referral can be added to the list as well.
So now that all the data you see are actual referrals what are you supposed to do with it?What Should You Do with Referral Traffic Data?
A lot of referral traffic you receive is free and can be quite helpful if you can turn that data into something you can act upon. Here’s how you can do that.Contact Referrers
What could be the best ice-breaker than someone linking to your website without you reaching out to them? The fact is that they are linking to your website/content.
If you contact those website owners thanking them for linking to your website, they will be more than happy to provide more info and this could be a great opportunity for you to ask why did they even consider linking to your site/content.
This type of conversation can help you in two ways:
You can discuss link-building strategies, something your SEO team will appreciate.Content Performance
If people are linking to your content, there’s a good reason for that. In most normal cases, it’s because they like what you’ve created. It provides value to them and/or their audience.
But this can help you to achieve a few things as well:
Nurture and maintain a relationship with website owners to use for your content strategy, when the need arises.
Apart from these, if you’re already guest-posting on someone’s website, you can easily see how much traffic you’re getting from their website and how many of those are converting. This allows you to measure your content’s performance in a different context.Measure Backlinks’ Performance
This is a bit more SEO-centric, but will be helpful nevertheless. If you or your team are putting in a lot of effort to create quality backlinks, it is important to use the referral traffic data and measure their performance.
Remember, good backlinks can also improve your rankings in SERP, which will bring in more organic traffic, creating a win-win situation.
You can even ask them nicely what are the exact pages that are linking to your website if finding the full-page URLs is a bit of a difficult process for you.
So get out there and do more with your referral traffic, but first dig into your GA4 data.Summary
We touched on the workaround on how to find full-page URLs in GA4, which can take some time, but currently, that’s our only option. We can also track the referrers as a separate event, like Google’s merchandise store.
Not only did we learn how important it is to exclude unwanted referrals, but we also looked at some common case referrals that should be excluded.
Remember, the unwanted referrals list can affect the data you see under the referral channel, so you must understand whether it is correct to add a certain domain or not.
If you’re still getting to grips with GA4 events, Sofiia’s Google Analytics 4 Event Tracking Checklist will come in handy!
When it comes to large-scale expenditures like mobile app development, money is typically one of the most crucial determining factors in whether or not a project gets the “green light.” Nevertheless, mobile app development, like many large-scale expenditures, is extremely customized, so there is no one-size-fits-all pricing. It all relies on the features and functions you want your app to provide. A budget is frequently necessary when organizations are recruiting suppliers for an app development project in order to get realistic vendor quotes. The cost of mobile app development is influenced by two major variables, much like any other business: material expenses (function and features) and labor costs. At this point, the cost of labor is determined by your chosen development company’s claims of competent developers and designers, as well as the quantity of experts required to accomplish your project on schedule. The more features you desire, the more skill and resources you’ll require. So, how do you go about making that budget? Moreover, how can you ensure that your consumers have a great mobile experience if you have a restricted budget? This article will go over what elements are important to consider when creating a budget, where you may save money, and how to do it efficiently so that you don’t compromise your success. Before you build a budget for your possible app, you’ll need to settle on its feature set, project timeframes, and the services you’ll need. Setting specific goals is the best approach to go about it.Here’s a list of questions to ask yourself to help you set goals:
Who do you want to reach out to? Who are you expecting to utilize your app?
Who are your main rivals?
What are the benefits of having your consumers download and utilize your app? What is your mobile app’s unique selling proposition?
With your mobile app, what problem are you attempting to solve?
What specific functions should your mobile app have?
What are your goals for the short term (roughly a week) and the long term (3-6 months)?You should learn the following things from that checklist:
A target audience, as well as your competitors, were polled.
A list of your app’s must-have features and functions
A well-thought-out monetization plan
What’s the difference between design and discovery?Set aside extra funds to cover unanticipated expenses.
Generally, developer hours are more expensive than designer and QA hours. It’s crucial to know how many hours will go into each stage of development before you create a budget. To obtain a precise picture of your budget, set aside a budget for development, deployment, publishing, integration, testing, and quality control. It’s usually a good idea to leave a little room for error when working with numbers.Selection Of Features And Functions
Each new function or feature you introduce to your app will have an impact on the final price. Sticking to your budget will be easier if you keep the number of features to a minimum while yet providing excellent functionality to your consumers. It’s critical to prioritize each feature depending on customer requirements. A video platform, for example, requires an app like Netflix to have a live-streaming function. Although it is a costly feature to provide, it is critical to the consumers’ functioning. Gateway connections take a lot of coding and money, but if you’re building e-commerce software, you can’t afford to skip this step.Pick A Platform
With iOS and Android accounting for 97 percent of the worldwide mobile market, developing and releasing apps for both platforms is the best strategy. However, you may not be able to build for two OSs at the same time due to restrictions such as time, budget, and resources. Instead, you could want to explore releasing on one platform first, then adding a second platform later. Companies in this position should collect target audience research data to understand which platform the majority of their consumers utilize when determining a budget for their mobile app development project. You can simply pick which platform to pursue first once you have this information. React.js has also gained popularity among software developers, resulting in an increase in its global community. It is now the second most popular web framework, according to a recent Stack Overflow Developer Survey.
Is blogging still relevant? The numbers certainly say so.
There are 70 million new posts each month, and 42% of the web is built on WordPress alone. As a result, blogging is still a prominent part of an online marketing strategy.
In fact, in a recent survey, out of all the content marketing modes out there, such as videos, infographics, ebooks, and online events, 90% of businesses used blogs to help market their brands within the last 12 months.
But, how are they accomplishing this with the overload of content on the internet?
Well, they can achieve this with the right strategy and by focusing on the priorities surrounding blogging, such as SEO, and taking time to understand their customers, which we’ll discuss in a bit.
But if you’re getting into SEO or have been a content marketer, you may wonder if it’s still worth building out blog strategies or spending time outsourcing blogs. Well, it is.
Even though social media has become an essential part of content strategy, that doesn’t mean blogs have been left in the dust.
But making influential blogs that meet your company’s objectives is another topic.
So, while they are important, it’s crucial you take time to create an effective strategy that engages and grows your audience and entices people back to your brand’s website.Why Is Blogging Still Relevant?
Now, let’s learn why blogging is essential for brands and the strategies top brands use to ensure their blogs are influential in the ever-evolving age of online marketing.1. Blogging Builds Loyalty And Trust
As mentioned, blogs help build loyalty and trust. But how?
Blogs are a great way to slowly nurture your audience and prove your expertise when it comes to your industry and product line.
An essential part of improving content is the E-A-T concept, which stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.
While it’s not a ranking factor, Google shares that E-A-T is essential to its algorithm and how it analyzes and recognizes content.
This means your content needs accurate, informative, and helpful information throughout the content and site.2. Blogging Increases Visibility
The next part of building great content is making sure it is search engine optimized. Blogs that answer the questions consumers are asking about in your industry are helpful for SEO.
Additionally, incorporating keywords throughout your captivating and unique headings and subheadings, as well as your well-researched unique content, is a sure-fire way to help increase visibility.
Internal linking is another way to increase visibility. Link building throughout other pages, blogs, and product pages on your site can help build brand visibility, awareness, and authority.
It’s also important to look at the length of the blogs that are comparable to the topic you are discussing to ensure you’re fully covering the topic and meeting the length that will help you rank on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Images are another great way to enhance your content and visibility, which we’ll talk more about later. Now, let’s get into brand awareness.3. Blogging Creates Brand Awareness
New and original content can make your brand more prominent amongst the rest of your competitors.
When they are searching for answers to their questions or want to learn something more, your brand is at the top of SERPs, giving them the information they need.
The more you invest in blog strategy, the more potential you have to grow brand awareness not only for SERPs but through shares across social media.
If consumers like your content, they will likely want more.
This way, it’s less intrusive than having them like an ad that prompts them to sign up for an email listing to get a coupon.
If they choose to read through your content on your site, they already like your content and want to learn more. There’s more of a relationship with your brand through the unique, helpful content.
You can then incorporate the subscription opt-in pop-up at the end of the blog or when they scroll, so they can quickly enter their information and keep reading.5. Blogging Drives Engagement
One of the goals for most content marketers is to continue building relationships with new and existing customers.
Blogs provide more shareable content than just your products or service posts for consumers to share with others across social media.
It’s a great way to educate customers, provide tips or how-tos, and create more connections with your brand.
Over time, slowly reminding consumers of your brand through your content can help convert readers to long-term customers.
In addition, blogs can add interesting points to the customer journey and offer different opportunities to share your content.
Finally, it engages consumers with topics they are already interested in or want to learn about, creating more excitement for engagement.6. Blogging Allows You To Understand Customer’s Needs
Generally, consumers don’t have ample amount of time to read blogs, so it’s important to find what will resonate with them to keep them on the page.
Trying to put yourself in the customer’s shoes and answer their queries is what blogs are made for and can benefit both you and the customer.
This way, you have taken the time to further research and understand your target market, and they get the information they need.
Blogs also offer an inviting space to leave reviews and feedback. You can find great areas for improvement and new ideas for blog engagement.
For example, maybe someone left a question, and that question creates a great topic for another blog post.
It is excellent for future inspiration, connecting with customers, and understanding their needs.What Is The Future Of Blogging?
Blogging has undergone quite a transformation over the years in the strategies to optimize it and the best practices to engage with readers.
Google Trends shows that content marketing and blogging merge at some point, although the focus is now shifting to content as a whole.
Simply inputting keywords and what you think Google wants to hear isn’t enough.
All content needs to be expertly crafted and well thought out.
So now, let’s dive into how you can reinvigorate your blog content to ensure it’s hitting the mark.How Can You Adapt To The Changing Times?
When it comes to blogs, the baseline to focus on is quality over quantity.
Don’t produce blogs just to produce them because you think it might help with your brand’s visibility.
Search engines have evolved just like blogs have and are better at evaluating content.
Also, people don’t have time to read long, never-ending content either, where it’s difficult to find the key points.
Content needs descriptive and engaging headings and subheadings, as well as clear, concise content with effective keywords.
It’s valuable to fully discuss a topic so someone can understand it but also get to the point – no additional fluff.
Additionally, it’s crucial to create a long-term content strategy to make sure you’re not just meeting general business objectives but truly reaching and understanding your target market.Multi-Channel Storytelling Is The Way To Go
Content is still king, but the channel is now queen. Multi-channel storytelling is about how you spread content across different platforms. There are numerous social media sites and business listings where you can tailor and share your content.
See where your target market engages.
Maybe it’s Facebook or Instagram, and you can create copy that promotes the blog and brings them back to your site.
You can also check out business listings or directories where you can share content, such as your Google Business Profile, where you can share Google Posts.Visual Content Attracts More Readers
Entwining pictures, infographics, short videos, and other visual content can help break up your topics.
It can also help you better highlight topics, describe difficult concepts, and keep readers engaged.Be Visible In Search
To create visibility, it’s crucial to produce unique content and focus on keeping the readers engaged.
In addition, it’s vital to keep the customer in mind when creating content, so the content doesn’t fall on SERPs or get lost among other similar content.
Researching what your competitors are doing and what’s ranking well on SERPs is a start to growing your brand’s visibility.
Then finding a unique angle or building on what they are talking about while still answering what consumers are searching for, is the perfect balance for creating engaging ranking blog content.Are Blogs Still Relevant In 2023?
Yes, but as with SEO, it is evolving. At the center of an effective blog strategy is SEO best practices.
It’s important to evaluate your strategy as SEO develops to make sure your content and overall website have the expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness that search engines require.
Even with all the changes in online marketing strategy, blogs remain a pillar.
Featured Image: ESB Professional/Shutterstock
Why BANT Fails for Modern Enterprise Technology Demand Generation Michael Box
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BANT—popularized by IBM—has been in use for decades. It was established when budget, authority, need and timing were easier to determine—a time before buyers had the luxury of tools like Google and online research and relied on your call to get to know your business.3 primary reasons BANT no longer serves the needs of enterprise technology marketers #1 – The single enterprise IT decision-maker is a unicorn
BANT seeks to establish whether a lead—a single individual— has authority. Enterprise IT buying is a team sport and authority and influence are distributed across several roles in a buying committee that consists of 7 or more buyers on average.#2 – BANT is blind to buying behavior
BANT relies on static questions and point-in-time interactions to establish buying intent. However, by the time you get the “buyer” on the phone, it may already be too late. That is because buying teams will demonstrate purchase intent behavior in multiple environments throughout the buying cycle before they ever end up with you. Topics and content your prospects are accessing in third-party environments are far more indicative of interest in solutions like yours. More precisely, accessing this type of data will allow you to understand what they are interested in and when they are interested—without having to ask.#3 – It’s four “yeses” or broke
BANT essentially amounts to four yeses in a call. Those four yeses could mean they are ready to buy or it could mean they just wanted to get you off the phone. In contrast, if they say “no” to any of the requirements, it doesn’t mean they won’t be ready to talk in the near future or that another member of the buying team may be a more appropriate contact.
To illustrate where this breaks down, Budget and Timing won’t be there unless there’s a Need. Need cannot always be established right away—especially if your technology is a new concept or paradigm, in which case your sales teams must educate prospective buyers. Authority no longer resides in a single individual. Timing is not set in stone.
Attempting to “qualify” buyers through this flawed process essentially amounts to cutting off your best salespeople at the knees. By depending on third-party BANT qualification, sales are not able to get in early and shape the deals as they’re happening.
For a more detailed analysis of the weakness of BANT—and an alternative—download the new white paper Is BANT Killing Your Business?Learn more: 4 additional resources on the shortcomings of BANT
1) BANT Isn’t Enough Anymore: A New Framework for Qualifying Prospects—Pete Caputa—HubSpot
This article examines why this strategy no longer works like it used to.
2) BANT and Beyond: Advanced Sales Qualification for SDRs & AEs—Jacco Van der Kooij—Sales Hacker
Jacco addresses the challenges of BANT for SaaS sales and proposes a modernized version.
3) Why It’s Time For B.A.N.T. To Go—Jim Keenan—Forbes
According to Jim Keenan, the biggest problem with BANT is that it’s extremely seller-focused, not prospect-focused.
4) Why BANT No Longer Applies for B2B Lead Qualification—Carlos Hidalgo—ANNUITAS
According to one study, only 29% of B2B buyers said they “always” supply accurate information on custom questions—in other words, buyers lie. Another failure point for BANT.
BANT, demand generation, lead generation, lead qualification
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