Tag: Expert

Expert Local SEO Predictions for 2021


Now that 2020 is well and truly behind us, we can begin looking forward to bigger, better things. That’s right folks, the time is once again upon us to bring out our BrightLocal crystal ball and enlist some of the local search community’s most well-loved experts to help us with some local SEO predictions for the coming year. 

But, before we get started thinking about what’s to come for 2021, how did our experts fare with what they predicted in 2020?

Reflecting on 2020’s Local SEO Predictions

A lot happened in 2020, but how many of our experts’ local SEO predictions came true? 

Unfortunately, a lot of our pros had hoped 2020 would see a reduction in spam, but with the introduction of new Covid-19 support, resources, and features, plus limited Google My Business support, it seems Google had other things besides spam-fighting to keep them busy…

Ben Fisher

My prediction for 2020 was right — Google figured it out and eliminated spam! Just kidding — I really said that “I think spam will increase,” and it did. The legal space, garage door, and insurance space, to name a few, are still littered with spam.

Ben Fisher (VP of Marketing, Steady Demand)

Tim Capper

I predicted that spam would get worse for 2020 and, boy, was I right.

 

Tim Capper (Local SEO Consultant, Online Ownership

We may not have seen the back of spam, but some of our experts did successfully predict some pretty major GMB news.

Andrew Optimisey

Dan Foland

Last year my prediction was that Google was going to put more effort into monetizing GMB and local search. My prediction came true with the rollout of Local Service Ads (LSAs) for professional service industries. Google had been testing LSAs prior to the rollout for quite some time and decided to finally roll it out nationally.

Dan Foland (SEO Director, Postali)

Google My Business

Towards the end of the year, Whitespark’s Local Search Ranking Factors survey showed just how important having an active and optimized GMB profile really is. With GMB being voted the number one local search ranking factor, it’s no surprise that it was top of the list when it came to our experts’ local search predictions…

Amy Toman

The prominence of GMB listings increased in 2020, primarily during the lockdowns. Businesses used GMB to get the word out as much as possible, especially when people couldn’t get to their physical locations. They remembered how to log in, and found out how to correct misinformation. With this stark reminder, I’m hoping businesses continue their interactions with their listings to keep control of their information.

Amy Toman (SEO Analyst, Digital Law Marketing)

Claire Carlile

Backed up by what many local search experts confirmed in the 2020 Local SEO Ranking Factors survey, thorough optimization of your GMB profile will continue to be key for local pack rankings in 2021. 

I’ll be continuing to take advantage of the full gamut of features in GMB, including posts and products, and making sure that the business profile of my SMB clients look totally kick-ass and that they encourage engagement and actions. Active engagement on the business’s part will be key — monitoring user-generated content like Q&A, images, and reviews needs to be a timetabled activity. Small businesses will become more aware of how their brand displays in the SERP and how third party and UGC play a role in that. Under-utilized features like messaging, and little known features like the ‘new follower offer’, will start to gain momentum as Google pushes more interactive and social features into Google Maps.

A vibrant and fully optimized GMB profile will become table stakes in 2021 as more businesses start to explore features that were lesser-known to them — so the importance of testing and measuring what works and doesn’t work for your business in terms of GMB content will be more important than ever.

Claire Carlile (Digital Marketing Consultant, Claire Carlile Marketing)

Ben Fisher

GMB will remain at the top of the list of things you need for local search, as nearly all local intent searches return GMB profiles.

I believe there are also some major changes coming to how service-area businesses are handled from a discoverability standpoint, and the guidelines will be made more clear.

I think we will see a rise in suspensions as GMB continues to narrow its guidelines and increases the crackdown on “bad actors.”

Ben Fisher (VP of Marketing, Steady Demand)

Krystal Taing

For 2020, I predicted a rise in the importance of user-generated content and engagement. We did see elements of this such as the impact of reviews on local ranking. As we look to 2021, I see the trends of local search leaning towards information and convenience. Consumers want to know everything about a product or service prior to visiting a store or making a phone call. Search engines will continue to build tools to support this and brands and search marketers are going to enable this.

The shift we saw in consumer behavior in 2020 with features like live inventory, multiple ordering and delivery methods, and virtual services, will mature into 2021. These won’t be a competitive play, but a consumer expectation.

For Google My Business specifically, I imagine they will continue to explore ways to bridge the gap with e-commerce as well as bring more tools to support virtual services. 

Krystal Taing  (Solutions & Strategic Partnerships, Uberall)

Blake Denman

With posts starting to show in the ‘Explore’ tab, we should see more emphasis on full-funnel content marketing in posts.

Getting in front of potential customers towards the top of the funnel will help get them familiar with a brand and, thanks to personalization, help bottom of the funnel queries rank higher when it matters.

Google will monetize Google My Business more. The slow rollout of the Google Guaranteed Program will accelerate and let businesses get their own Google Guaranteed badge without participating in LSAs.

Blake Denman (Founder, RicketyRoo)

I think Google will continue to make changes to the Google My Business guidelines in order to accommodate different business models —Telehealth is a great example. Currently, the guidelines say you need to make in-person contact with customers to qualify for a listing. Google has opened this rule up during the pandemic to accommodate this new health model.

So the question is whether or not this will continue into the future once the pandemic is over. I think it will. I also think we will see more e-commerce style local business models being accommodated in the GMB model.

Colan Nielsen (VP of Local Search, Sterling Sky)

Jason Brown

I see a dramatic shift coming in Google ranks in GMB. There will no longer be an emphasis on the GMB title. Google will de-emphasize it in an effort to curtail the lead generation spam and keyword stuffing. Google will instead use other, more important signals, such as the age of the GMB listing, the website, and other best practices. Google posts will continue to be a non-ranking factor just like geo-tagging photos.

Jason Brown (Founder, Review Fraud)

Monetized Google My Business

Last year, one of our pros (hats off, Andrew!) correctly predicted that we might begin to see the long-standing GMB pay-to-play rumors come to fruition. As GMB’s $50/month upgraded listings test took the local SEO community by storm, is this something we can expect to see more from in the new year?

The Google badge for Google My Business pages is starting to appear in certain categories and I predict as businesses start to pay the monthly fee additional categories will open up. As hopeful as we were last year with spam decreasing, I hope with the monthly fee that this will help dilute the Google My Business guideline violators and allow the rule-following businesses to take the lead. 

Crystal Horton (Digital Account Manager, Accelerate Marketing)

Niki Mosier

My thoughts for 2021 are that we will definitely see Google continue to roll out features for GMB. This year we saw Google pivot pretty quickly with Covid-19 related features like the Covid post type and expanded attributes for delivery and pickup. We also saw the small rollout of the $50 Google Guarantee program which I wouldn’t be surprised to see expanded in the coming months. Overall, as proximity search gets even more narrow, focusing on sending all the right signals with location-specific content will be as important as ever.

Niki Mosier (Head of SEO, Two Octobers)

Andy Simpson

Now Local Search Ads (LSAs) have finally rolled out, 2021 will see Google My Business promote the upgraded business profile. For $50/month GMB will add the Google guaranteed badge (green icon) to your listing and back services your business provides with the Google Guarantee. How this will affect GMB rankings, upgraded vs standard, we shall have to wait and see but one thing it might do is help reduce the amount of GMB spam — upgraded listings could force spam to the bottom and out of the 3-pack.

Andy Simpson (Senior SEO Specialist, Digital Law Marketing)

Dan Foland

In 2021, I predict that Google is going to continue monetizing GMB and local search. For example, in 2019 Google sent out a survey to GMB users asking if (and how much) users would pay for certain “premium” features. Google is currently testing a paid model offering a Google Guaranteed badge on business profiles, among other features. I expect that Google will roll this out or something similar in 2021 while they continue monetizing local search.

Dan Foland (SEO Director, Postali)

Local Services Ads

2020 brought with a lot of changes to Google My Business, but even more prominent were Local Services Ads, which took the spotlight. There were plenty of changes to the popular paid option, but what more can we expect from it in the coming year?

I would predict that next year Google will make an aggressive push to get Local Service Ads expanded to many other verticals.  I expect it to hit the insurance industry, automotive industry, and the healthcare industry next. I think these ads can potentially lower the volume of clicks that we see for the local pack as they continue to look and operate a lot like organic listings. 

Joy Hawkins (Owner, Sterling Sky)

Ben Fisher

Google will continue to invest in Local Services Ads and continue to expand the program. I predict that the quality of LSA leads will also go down as more merchants get involved and spam the program. 

Ben Fisher (VP of Marketing, Steady Demand)

carrie hill

Right now we’re seeing reviews on Local Services Ads come through separately from reviews on a business’s GMB listing. They eventually seem to merge and most (if not all) reviews are shown on the LSA page, but the LSA reviews don’t always come through to the GMB listing reviews.

My prediction is Google is going to figure out how to merge these into one system, but label the reviews that come in as part of the Local Services Ads as “verified” in some way — because the lead came through the LSAs and is “Screened” or “Verified”.  The current system is a bit messy, doesn’t always connect, and freaks clients out when their LSA profiles show zero reviews for their business, while their GMB listing shows X number of reviews for that business.  When will it happen? I have no idea, but I think something significant will happen with this system sometime in 2021!

Carrie Hill (Local Search Analyst & Community Manager, Sterling Sky)

Greg-Gifford

I think Google will continue to try to monetize local, especially with the shift in consumer behavior due to the pandemic. I think there will be an expansion of LSAs (or some similar form of ad), and expansion of a “Google trusted” type of program, and potentially a paid inclusion of products in GMB (we’re already seeing extensive tests of this in automotive). GMB will always be free, but the really cool stuff that helps you stand out will likely be more of a pay-for-play situation.

Greg Gifford (VP of Search, SearchLab)

Zero-click Search

What felt like a big phenomenon last year doesn’t seem to be quite so high on our experts’ radars this year. That said, with the introduction of GMB’s direct edit, can we expect more emphasis to be placed on in-SERP actions than ever before?

Ben Fisher

Zero Click search will be the focus of 2021. Additionally, to keep you on search even longer, I think the direct edit experience’s ongoing improvement will continue.

Ben Fisher (VP of Marketing, Steady Demand)

Maps Spam

What would a local SEO piece be without at least some talk of spam? Well, we’ve got plenty for you here. Will it improve or could it possibly get worse? Our pros chime in to talk all things #StopCrapontheMap.

Gyi Tsakalakis

Like many of us predicted last year, in 2021 I predict that spam will continue to be a massive problem in local search, particularly with respect to Google My Business. In fact, as I sit here today on December 7, 2020, all three local pack listings for “car accident lawyer,” contain keyword-stuffed business names.

Furthermore, contrary to statements from Google’s PR team, at least two of the traditional localized organic listings contain rich review snippets generated from structured data from self-serving reviews on the firms’ pages. I predict that if you continue to blindly follow the advice of Google’s PR team you will remain at a competitive disadvantage in local search.

Gyi Tsakalakis (Founder, AttorneySync)

Tim Capper

Lead gen spam is out of control even reaching the UK and AUS with reporting and takedown being exceptionally poor. I will throw the spam team a crumb and say that Covid played a small part in the slow response to the increase in spam. API loopholes are still being exploited and no ‘bad’ address databases outside of the US on the cards.

With the benefit of some Product Expert insight, I am more optimistic for 2021 with GMB tackling spam, especially SAB spam. Unfortunately don’t get your hopes up outside of the US just yet. LSA has launched in the UK but we still have not seen any live listings. Regardless, get your applicable clients signed up now ready for rollout.

Tim Capper (Local SEO Consultant, Online Ownership) 

I predict that Google will make a significant change in its effort to combat maps spam. This year we saw an increase in suspensions of both legit and spam GMBs. I think we will continue to see Google turn this dial up from time to time in order to continue the fight. But I also think Google will do something new to combat the problem. Dial down the ranking weight attributed to the business name? Perhaps. A guy can dream, right?

Colan Nielsen (VP of Local Search, Sterling Sky)

Andrew Cock-Starkey Optimsey

I’m not sure if it’s just the year we’ve had in 2020 addling my brain or just making me outrageously optimistic but… I think a reckoning is coming. A reckoning for Google Maps spammers.

We’ve all seen #StopCrapOnTheMap and equal parts hilarious and horrifying examples that make it onto maps. This is not a good look for Google, especially when some of those locations are ‘drug rehab’ centers and the like… when in fact they’re not and are (at best) lead gen fronts.

Some of the examples are outrageous and egregious and there’s a growing swell of people getting upset by it, not least the ‘free labor’ Google gets to fight their spam problem in the shape of local SEO folks and their Product Experts.

Google has the capability and the technology to make big strides in improving this and at a stroke could help struggling small business owners, score political points (which given the number of court and anti-trust cases coming their way would help!), and appease local SEOs and Product Experts. Win-win, right?

Or maybe optimism has gotten the better of Optimisey this year…

Andrew Cock-Starkey (Founder, Optimisey)

Dan Foland

In 2021, GMB spam is going to continue to be a problem. My hope is that Google pays more attention and dedicates more resources to cleaning up spam in GMB, but I’m not sure that it’s a top priority for them.

Dan Foland (SEO Director, Postali)

Online Reviews

As the second most important local search ranking factor, it’s no surprise that reviews should remain front of mind throughout 2021. Our experts discuss how reviews might gain even more prominence in the coming year.

Amanda Jordan

I predict for 2021, reputation management will continue to be a huge factor for local performance. In addition to reviews continuing to be a ranking factor, I wouldn’t be surprised if Google made review responses a much bigger deal. This may include the number of review responses becoming a rank factor in itself or more review management options within the GMB platform. I also expect to see more attributes to be added for medical and retail business categories.

Amanda Jordan (Director of Local Search, Locomotive Agency)

Shane Barker

Reviews will become a critical local search ranking parameter. So, it’s a good time to optimize your GMB listing, perhaps by adding a messaging feature to it. You can also focus on other tier 1 directories and niche-specific directories. If you really want to step up your review game, you can create standardized review responding templates or use review management tools. It is also wise to read between-the-lines of reviews to gain deeper customer insights.

Shane Barker (Cofounder, Attrock)

Links and Link Building

Link building has stood the test of time when it comes to helping businesses rank in search results, but how can building relevant links help local businesses in 2021?

Blake Denman

Links will still be important but agencies and SMBs are going to shift more and more towards pure local links rather than relying on third-party metrics to determine the value of a link. Entity building, entity leeching, entity optimization, entity sculpting, whatever you want to call it will start becoming more popular at the local level.

Blake Denman (Founder, RicketyRoo)

Conclusion

When it comes to local, things can change pretty quickly. What do you think of our experts’ local SEO and Google predictions? Can we expect to see paid-for GMB profiles come to life? Will review responses gain even more importance as a ranking factor? And the big question: will Google finally put a stop to crap on the map?! (No shade Google, we know you’re working on it!)

Whether you agree or not, we want to hear your own search predictions for the coming year! Share your 2021 local SEO prediction with us in the comments below.

Stephanie Newton

Stephanie is responsible for managing BrightLocal’s community outreach and engagement, as well as producing and managing content to help inform and educate the local SEO community.



Optimize Your YouTube Channel Like a Pro with Our Expert Tips


Written by Emily Hill and Kevin Williams

This article is part of HostGator’s Web Pros Series. In this series, we feature articles from our team of experts here at HostGator. Our Product Managers, Linux Administrators, Marketers, and Tech Support engineers share their best tips for getting the most out of your website.

So, you’ve set up a YouTube channel for your business and now you need to build your audience. And not just any audience – an audience that will grow into a community that has a strong relationship with your brand. 

How do you do that? Optimize your channel. As HostGator’s YouTube web pros, we know that YouTube can be a beast to work with at first, because there are so many things to learn. But that learning curve can help you grow your audience and your customer base. 

Also, YouTube can be super powerful for SEO because Google owns it—something to think about if you’re trying to boost your visibility in Google search results. Your content doesn’t need to be overly produced to get results, but it does need to get found. If you create useful content and optimize it, you can start showing up in YouTube and Google search results, attracting viewers and growing your brand.

Ready? Let’s get started.

Plan your YouTube content schedule for consistency and focus

Before you start posting videos, there are a few things to do first. Taking these steps now can help you start off strong and avoid having to redo your strategy in a few weeks or months.

1. Decide how often you’re going to post 

If you look at the most successful YouTubers, what you’ll notice is that they keep to a schedule and their fans know when videos are coming out. Consistently delivering new content is the key to setting and meeting YouTube audience expectations, so you need a schedule

That doesn’t mean you have to produce a new video every day or every week. Once a month can be plenty, especially if you run a small business and don’t have time to devote to constant video shoots. Once you decide on a schedule, include it in your banner or a card (which we’ll explain in a bit), so viewers know to expect new videos, say, every Wednesday at 1 p.m. or on the first Monday of every month. 

Whatever schedule you set, stick to it so that viewers know you’re reliable—and so they’ll build the habit of watching your content when it drops.

2. Focus on your niche and audience

Remember that you’re creating content for your target audience persona – a very specific type of person with distinct habits, needs and preferences. When you focus on niche content for your audience, you can see your views increase. But if you start adding in content that’s not relevant to your audience, you may lose viewers. 

For example, if you run a niche comic book brand for dudes who love to argue, and you start posting reviews of shows from the CW, those guys are going to unsubscribe. They don’t want to follow that content. So, keep your content focused on your audience’s interests. If you add another audience persona later, you can branch out carefully and slowly. But for starters, stay tightly focused on your core persona.

3. Evergreen videos versus trending and timely videos

Timeless (aka “evergreen”) content like our how-to videos with Josh can be great for earning views. But it’s usually not the heaviest draw for subscribers. 

hostgator how to videos on youtube

To get people to subscribe, you may want to create some lighter or timely content, too. That way your YouTube channel can attract people who are looking for information on a specific issue and people who subscribe because they want to see more from your brand.

hostgator youtube video series on top website tips

4. Plan your first half dozen videos before you launch

Map out the content for your first few videos so you don’t get stuck and fall behind on your schedule right after you start. Having a plan will give you more confidence to keep going—and it will keep you focused on the topics your audience cares about.

Know the key things you’ll want to optimize with every video

Don’t ignore any little part of YouTube when you’re uploading new videos or optimizing your existing content. Here are some of the most important elements to include and refine.

1. Keywords

Already have keywords that work? Great! If you don’t—or if you want to find more—Google and YouTube’s autofill function can help you see what people are searching for in your niche.

For example, a physical therapist making a video series on back pain could check the autofill results on “back pain” to find new topics to tackle. 

You can also look at channels like yours to see what your competition is doing and what they haven’t covered yet. Our physical therapist might find that their closest competitors are doing a lot of videos lately on “back pain when you work from home,” because it’s a trending topic. They might also discover that no one’s done a lot on “sports massage for back pain when you work from home,” so that’s a niche they can work on that ties their area of expertise to a popular topic. 

Finally, check out resources like Ahrefs’ YouTube Keyword Tool, which will generate a list of the 100 most frequent phrases and questions YouTube users search for that include your keywords.

2. Title

Keywords belong in your video titles, too. The more specific your titles are, the more helpful they are to viewers. In our physical therapy example, they might want to use search autosuggestions like “back pain stretches” and “back pain treatment” in the titles of their videos.

3. Description

Give viewers a specific reason to click on your YouTube video. Be sure to use your keywords! Our philosophy is to use as many keywords in the description as possible—without making the copy feel like it was written by a robot. 

4. Thumbnail

Many people only look at the thumbnail images when they’re searching. Your thumbnail image needs to pop to get noticed, and if your image doesn’t explain at a glance what your video is about,  it should include text so people know what they’re looking at. 

hostgator youtube thumbnail images include video title

One of our favorite YouTube hacks is to create a branded slide you can use for all your thumbnails, like HostGator does with our “Hosted” with Scott web series pictured above. Spend some time creating a beautiful thumbnail upfront, and then you can quickly change out part of the image and text for each video. It’s a win–win-win:

  • Viewers know right away that it’s your content and can see what each video is about. 
  • You don’t have to spend time and money creating unique thumbnails for each video launch. 
  • You avoid getting burned out on thumbnail slide creation.

Pro tip: Remember that when thumbnails are viewed in playlists, the right side is covered up. Because of that, we always put our text on the left:

youtube video playlist thumbnails cover up right side of thumbnail

This kind of visual consistency is important for building your brand and establishing trust in your audience. If someone watches your first video and likes it, they’re likely to seek out your content again the next time they’re looking for something. If your content is easy to spot, they’re probably going to click your videos instead of going to an unfamiliar channel. When more viewers start looking for and choosing your videos, you’re growing your brand!

5. Tags

Use your keywords as tags so more people will find your videos in search results. 

How many? We’re advocates of smushing as many tags in as you can fit for each video — up to 500 characters total. If you don’t have enough keywords to hit the character limit, consider using a tool like vidIQ. You can do keyword research, score your keywords and use vidIQ’s Tag Autocomplete function to get keyword suggestions as you add your tags.

6. Timestamps

If you’re posting longer videos, like webinars or live event recaps, viewers may be more likely to watch if you include timestamps for the most relevant parts in the description. 

For example, our 2020 tutorial on How to Build a WordPress Website is awesome. It’s also 24 minutes long. To keep busy viewers from bouncing, we’ve included timestamps for each section, so they can go right to the part of the video that tells them exactly what they want to know.

hostgator youtube video with timestamps in description

7. Subtitles

Subtitles or closed captions are important for accessibility and convenience. They can also help with SEO. You can upload your own .SRT file for closed captioning, or you can let YouTube automatically generate subtitles (which you can edit) by selecting those options in YouTube Studio. 

8. Info and end cards

If one of your popular videos gets out of date, should you take it down? Not necessarily. For SEO, it can be smarter to leave it up and add an info card directing viewers to a newer, updated version of the video. 

That’s because it can take a few weeks or months for your new video to start ranking well in YouTube search results. If you pull down your old video, you’ll lose your presence in search results for that topic, at least for a while.

To give your viewers the latest info without losing SEO juice, add an info or end card to the out-of-date video directing people to your new video. We used this approach to point viewers to our recent video “How to Create & Login to Free HostGator Email” from an older video that needed an update.

This graph is the conversion rate of the card on the old video. It doesn’t tell us exactly how many people were redirected, but it does show an ever-increasing percentage of click-through-rate until the new video replaced it in YouTube’s rankings. 

youtube analytics with increasing click through rate

Meanwhile, the new video’s average views per day increased from around 23 to 55, an increase of about 130%. It’s pretty evident that our redirection using the card was successful, based on the way views increased on the new video and all but stopped on the old one. 

youtube analytics show increasing views on video

Promote future engagement with every video

Encourage viewers to stick around after your video ends. When you’re building a brand, try as hard as possible to keep people in your YouTube network by directing them to another relevant video. Don’t send them off your channel unless you’re sending them to download an e-book or make a purchase. Here’s how you can get viewers to stay for more.

1. Add end cards and info cards

Use a branded end card on each video to show them where they can go next. For example, viewers who just finished this video on speeding up their website can check out 5 ways to customize their WordPress theme. You can also use info cards during the video to direct viewers to related videos.

hostgator branded youtube end card

2. Create playlists 

Group your videos together by general topic to create playlists that viewers can watch in sequence. You can also put together playlists that tell a story. For example, if you sell a software solution, you might have a series of videos that follow users through setting things up, customizing the software and using it to do cool things—the story of what they can do with your technology.

Remember that you can have the same video in multiple playlists. If it fits in multiple categories, include it!

3. Invite viewers to subscribe

Superstar how-to YouTuber Dave Hax has more than 5 million subscribers—and he invites people to subscribe at the start and end of his videos. You should, too. Think of your request as a video call-to-action.

youtube video with subscribe button

4. Create your community

The Community tab on your YouTube page is the place where you can post questions, answer questions, share memes and, yep, promote your videos. It’s like a mini blog within your video channel, and it’s a great place to engage with your viewers and get them to check out more of your content. 

hostgator youtube community page

The Community section is especially helpful if you only post one or two times a month, because you can drop in short pieces of content to keep your subscribers engaged between videos.

Check your results and keep experimenting

Don’t be afraid to go back and analyze your YouTube video data to see what’s working and what needs to be changed. That doesn’t mean you should constantly change up your posting schedule, branded thumbnails or end cards—you want those to stay as consistent as possible. 

But you can study your data and sometimes something will pop out. For example, maybe if you post a little earlier or later you can get more traffic. Or maybe you can move the call to action to the start of your video instead of having that at the end, where a lot of people aren’t seeing it. Maybe you can ask viewers to subscribe earlier. Try those changes, see what the results are and stick with the changes that work.

A lot of working on YouTube is problem-solving. So, you might notice that viewers are dropping off a video after 20 seconds and you’re not sure why. When you re-watch it you see that there’s an audio problem at 20 seconds, so you need to fix that. Whatever’s affecting your video performance, try to figure it out and improve it.

On the YouTube Studio app, you can see your top playlists to get a sense of which groupings are most popular with your viewers. You can also see statistics for retention, which is how long someone is watching your video. A good goal is 50%, although a lot of serious YouTubers set a retention goal of 70 to 75%. Retention increases over time, so you may want to wait until your videos are a few months old before you start reviewing their retention statistics.

Drive traffic to your YouTube channel

Link to your videos anywhere and everywhere you can—on your other social media platforms, in your blog posts, in online articles. Those external links can boost the SEO for your videos and help you do better in search results. You can also engage with your audience in those other channels to find out what kinds of videos they’d like to see—and then deliver!

Keep learning about YouTube

The great part about learning about YouTube is that every single tool you need to succeed on YouTube other than the content itself is there for you, in how-to videos and in online courses. YouTube’s Creator Academy has loads of courses to help you build your channel

Keep learning, keep improving your videos, and keep focusing on your audience to build a YouTube channel that gets found, earns viewers and supports your business. 

Oh, and make sure to subscribe to HostGator’s YouTube channel here!

5 Expert Tips on How to Increase Site Traffic in 2020


It’s no secret that Google loves updating its SEO algorithm. In fact, over the course of a year, they may make upwards of 500+ changes!

SEO is the process of optimizing your content, so it shows up more often in search results. With so many changes to navigate, it’s easy to miss something. And soon enough, you could find your first page search rankings now on the second or third pages.

If your site content isn’t ranking in the search engines for your preferred keywords and phrases, all is not lost. There are still plenty of ways to improve your rankings while also getting quality traffic from other locations as well.

But if you get it right, you can reap the benefits of increased traffic, which leads to more conversions, improves lead generation, and boosts sales.

To help with this process, here are five practical content creation and marketing tips that worth exploring. Be sure to read along and follow these tips to increase back traffic to your website.

1. Blog Regularly and On Schedule

In recent years, blogging and content marketing have been very big components of the digital marketing landscape.

Now it seems like most businesses and websites have their own blog, and with good reason – blogging brings more traffic to your website, helps you establish better and stronger relations with the audience, and will help you to establish yourself as a lead thought in the niche.

However, it to comes to blogging and business, there is a certain art to it. For example, what are ecommerce sites and ‘boring’ niche markets supposed to blog about?

More often than not, the best way to get around this is to create content that is relevant to the business or service offered, but still providing value to your audience.

A perfect example of this can be seen on WithClutch, as they are a refinance and personal finance business, but also have blog topics ranging from “When is the best time to buy a car?” or “Whats the cheapest state to buy a car in?” and other related topics.

The key takeaway here is that they are able to create content through their blog that are covering topics that their audiences and potential customers are likely already searching for. This is a win-win situation for both the blog and the end user.

As with all blogging efforts, will take time, but it’s really worth it when you have a clear plan and a content calendar in place. You can also convert the blog content into an infographic, slide deck or e-book. And definitely make sure you are taking advantage of social media and everything it has to offer.

The better the content, the more it is enjoyed and discussed by the public, which means more readers and loyal fans who visit your blog on a daily basis.

2. Focus on SEO and Long Tail Keywords

Like it or not, search traffic is still one of the most effective ways to get high quality traffic and leads back to your site. The only problem is it’s super competitive and saturated.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process by which a website is visible in the search results, and can improve their rankings by making improvements to their site, content and social channels.

This can be done by optimizing keywords and site layout, reducing loading time and making the website easy for mobile users to search the site. It’s also important to make sure you are using SERP tracking tools to see what keyword and ranking movements your optimization efforts are having.

The early ranking algorithms of the search engine relied heavily on the content of the keyword for ranking purposes. This meant, however, that website designers could hack the system and use keyword stuffing to increase rank.

Now it’s a much more complicated process and not one that is easy to game. Page ranking algorithms are much more advanced and rely on several factors, like inbound or backlink quality and relevance.

3. Create Comprehensive, Authoritative, Evergreen Content

If you are going to spend your time writing content, it’s important that you make sure it’s worth your audiences time and provides real value. It’s also a good idea to focus on ‘evergreen’ topics so you content doesn’t go stale after just a few months.

Some of the best forms of evergreen content come in the form of resource guides, how to’s, and user tutorials. You must then create content that targets the customers rather than robots—using quick, short, but true phrases.

Depending on the niche market you are currently focused on, this might be easier or harder to accomplish. MeetEdgar has a nice resource guide that highlights a few different examples of evergreen content across a wide range of niche markets. Be sure to check it out to get some new content ideas for your site or blog.

No matter what type of content you are creating or who it’s for, there are several great ways to show search engines that your site really provides content of value — and that through detailed, authoritative, evergreen content.

Here are some of the working methods to best accomplish this.

  • Long-form content stick. Longer content tends to exceed shorter content (at least 2,000 words).
  • Use LSI keywords. There are keywords or phrases that are closely related to the content of your post.
  • You will have to do research to write quality content so that you can have information that is very valuable.
  • Be easy to learn. Be quick to read. Html uses whitespace, headings, short paragraphs and related photos to facilitate the page’s consumer consumption and time rise.
  • Have links and deals of high relevance on the page. Provide meaningful internal connections to address the query of a reader. This will also reduce error rates significantly to bring people onto the website.
  • Include photos, illustrations, video and text. This catches the interest of readers and makes them more interested in the content.

Before writing your next article, be sure to run through the list above to make sure your content hits all of these fine points.

4.  Comment and Contribute on other Relevant Blogs

Despite what many people thing, commenting on and contributing to other websites and blogs is still very effective today. Yes, you might not get a dofollow link back from these efforts, but they can help with getting your name out there and boosting new clicks and visits over to your site.

Comment threads are very close to forum marketing, in the sense that you can take time to show that, rather than searching for traffic, you are trying to contribute when commenting on a post. In a perfect future, you can frequently try to comment on your own blogs.

And the act of guest blogging or contribution with original content to other sites is also nothing new, however, it is still a huge opportunity for your site and brand. More often than not, the only cost associated with guest blogging is your time and outreach effort, and as you continue to gain new placements on smaller sites, this will help with your ability to contribute to much larger ones down the road.

Both of these methods are perfect for backlinks and creating influencers in your niche, but in this situation, you are still a daily reader and blogger so you won’t sound as though you were a spammer by linking to one of your pages.

5. Find Your Audience on Social Media

Social media can be a perfect way to build your following and consequently boost your website traffic. You cannot, however, only post links to news items or blog posts and hope people can fly.

Instead, you need a plan to identify the best brand platforms and then find out how your specific target customers use those platforms.

And when it comes times to read new audiences, don’t over your options with influencer marketing. And depending on your niche market, the reach and power of influencer marketing can result in higher

With more than 3 billion users spread across the most active social platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, it’s now easier than ever before to reach new audiences and redirecting them back to your site.

With influencer marketing in play, it’s also a cost-effective solution for testing out. While celebrities and big players are generating thousands of dollars for individual posts, smaller micro and niche-influencers often cost a fraction of that, but also offer much tigher audience targeting.

Bonus Tip: Promoting Webpages on YouTube

This last bonus tip is one that we could write a whole resource guide on, but we will just quickly recap here and let you explore it in more detail on your own.

In short, YouTube is the largest video search engine in the world. It’s free to use and they even host your video content for free. Throw in that billions of video impressions are taking place daily, and when utilizing this platform correctly, it could be a huge source of traffic for your site.

When creating videos, don’t forget that most readers have a short focus and attention span, so the video must be short, snappy and also includes a call to action telling the viewer to click on the links in the description area.

YouTube allows for users to add backlinks to their video content descriptions, which also means more clicks and traffic back to your site. To learn more about how to rank videos on YouTube, check out this YouTube SEO resource guide.

Quick Tips on How to Increase Real Traffic to Your Site

There you have it. Five simple and effective expert tips to help increase traffic to your site through the use of improved search rankings, more social activity and creating better content for your audience.

Be sure to start implementing these methods, while also keeping an eye on your traffic levels to see which methods work best.



Are you a Tech Expert? Get paid for your advice! (Work From Home) : workathome


Why become an Expert with 6YA?

6ya is a startup based in San Mateo California that’s defining a new way to get Tech Support from the touch of your phone. We instantly connect our users with professional repairmen over voice & video on topics from smartphones to home appliances and cars. We’re transforming the customer support industry and becoming an alternative to calling tech support or scheduling on-site repair. A few exciting parts to becoming an expert on the 6YA platform:

  • Start earning quickly

  • Take calls on your schedule from wherever you are (as long as it’s a quiet space)

  • Help real people get the help they need

  • Earn money for every call you take

Things you’ll need to succeed:

  • Professional experience as a technician or with tech repair is needed

  • Solid customer service experience is a must!

  • Great communication skills as well as being polite, courteous, and patient

  • A friendly and positive attitude

How to get started:

  • Go to https://www.6ya.com/experts

  • Fill out the form with – Name & Mobile Phone, Email & Zip code

  • Choose your categories of expertise (you will be asked about these in the interview so make sure to put things you have professional experience in).

  • Make sure to upload a photo of your face so customers can know who they’re speaking with and some sort of payment information so that we can pay you.

  • Call us at (877) 897 – 8666 Ext. 6 for a quick & informal phone conversation about your professional background.

  • Get out there and start earning!

Click here to apply today

If you have any questions about the position call us at (877) 897 – 8666 Ext. 6 and ask for Sam. You must apply through the website to be considered for a position.

How to make money on YouTube — The expert guide


The value of video

Can people really make money on YouTube? This is a question many of us have thought to ourselves — after all, we’ve heard the success stories of how much money some of the top influencers make through advertising and sponsorships.

The reality is, yes, you can make money on YouTube — and if you are creative and strategic enough, you can earn good money doing it.

How to make money on YouTube

In this guide, we’ll cover the steps that you need to take to start making money on YouTube.

The basics

  1. Create a channel and build your audience.
  2. Join the YouTube Partner Program.
  3. Create, create, create.
  4. Start testing different ways to earn money.
  5. Keep going (but stay healthy).

How to find your niche

  1. Know yourself.
  2. Keep an eye on emerging trends.
  3. Think about who you’re trying to reach.
  4. Just start creating.

Creating video content people will love

Times are a-changing

Today, nearly three-quarters of young people aspire to make a living by becoming an online video producer. In a survey of 1,000 children, 34% chose this profession over becoming an athlete, doctor, teacher, or lawyer. In fact, being an internet video star is a more sought-after profession than becoming an astronaut.

If you were to ask kids what they wanted to be when they grew up two decades ago, the answers would be wildly different.

Back then, that type of career simply didn’t exist. If you wanted to work with video, you got a job as a news anchor or you worked on the set of films.

That all changed exactly 15 years ago to the day, on February 14, 2005, when three early PayPal employees founded a company that would change the world forever.

It started with one simple video of a guy at the zoo.

The company was bred with a desire from the founding friends to find, store, and share videos more easily between friends.

They called it YouTube.

 

What started small grew quickly, and today, over 2 billion people visit the site each month and watch over a billion hours of video every day.

YouTube — like Facebook, Wikipedia, Google, Pinterest, and other popular social media and reference sites — has become a ubiquitous part of our daily lives.

Mobile Phone Showing Multiple Social Media Icons

After 15 years, a lot of us are so used to having instant access to videos on YouTube that we almost take it for granted. What’s even crazier to think about is that a growing number of us have literally never lived without it (I’m looking at you, Gen Z).

It’s hard to remember what the world was like when we didn’t have access to limitless information at our fingertips at all times.

It’s hard to remember what people did when they couldn’t learn the answer to a question in seconds just by typing a few words into a browser or speaking a few words into a microphone.

It’s hard to remember what you used to have to do when you wanted to record videos, store them, watch them, and share them with friends.

It’s hard to remember a time when the only celebrities we knew and followed came from Hollywood movies, sporting events, and concerts at big sold-out arenas.

YouTube changed everything.

 

It’s YouTube that helped turn an unknown kid who sang and played guitar in his basement into a Grammy award-winning artist.

It’s YouTube that transformed countless aspiring fitness enthusiasts into sponsored bodybuilders, foodies into professional chefs, and side hustlers into successful six-figure entrepreneurs.

It’s YouTube that has given people and organizations the platform and tools they need to share stories, mobilize communities, and make a real impact on the world.

And it’s YouTube that is going to help you follow your dreams, achieve your goals, and take your business and life to the next level.

This guide will give you the resources, best practices, and actionable advice needed to understand how to make money on YouTube. And in addition to the guide, we’ve put together this video with some of the best answers from actual YouTube creators that are making real money on YouTube.

Related: How to use YouTube for successful digital marketing

Why the world loves video

Three Men Watching Projected Video
Photo by Aneta Pawlik via Unsplash

How many hours of streaming video do you watch in a week? If you’re like me, it’s probably more than you’d like to admit.

Why do we do it? Why do we pay for multiple streaming TV subscriptions, watch videos from our friends on Snapchat and Byte, and find ourselves going down deeper and deeper into YouTube rabbit holes?

Video content is compelling. It’s captivating. It’s memorable. It’s impactful.

 

If we all agree that a picture tells a thousand words, think about what that means for videos.

Videos can give us a lot of information in a pretty short amount of time. Videos can teach us, make us laugh, make us cry, make us think.

Videos are easy to produce, easy to watch, and easy to share. This perfect trifecta has a real influence on our daily behavior as consumers.

According to HubSpot, “78% of people watch online videos every week, and 55% view online videos every day.”

And this demand for videos is only growing, according to Cisco, which reports that, “by 2022, online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic — 15 times higher than it was in 2017.”

The prevalence, convenience, and efficiency of online video also has an influence on the marketing strategies we invest in as entrepreneurs and business owners.

HubSpot reports that “81% of businesses use video as a marketing tool — up from 63% over the last year.”

Invisia reports that “A website is 53 times more likely to reach the front page of Google if it includes video.”

Tubular Insights reports that “64% of consumers will make a purchase after watching branded videos on social platforms.”

It’s safe to say that video is not going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, it’s only going to become a bigger part of our world and our daily lives as consumers, marketers, and entrepreneurs.

So the question is, can you make a living just by creating videos for people?

YouTube breeds millionaires

Woman Seated Counting Money

The answer to that question, as you might have guessed, is a resounding “YES!”

You can make money from videos. How do people do it?

YouTube.

By leveraging the tools and reach that YouTube provides, you have the potential to make a lot of money off of videos.

But, that being said, it’s important to recognize and remember that simply participating in YouTube does not guarantee your success. Some people make a little money; others make a staggering amount each month.

The difference usually comes down to things like time, effort, audience, creativity, and strategy.

If it were easy, everyone would be doing it and we’d all be rich. But it’s not easy. It takes a lot of work.

Here are a few people who made it happen and became millionaires — YouTube legends — in the process.

Ryan Kaji — YouTube’s Top Earner in 2019

At only eight years old, Kaji is one of the most successful YouTube celebrities of all time. In 2019, he earned a whopping $26 million by posting videos to his channel, Ryan’s World. Ryan’s audience of 23.7 million subscribers tunes in regularly to see him unbox and play with toys, perform kid-friendly experiments and explore the world.

Dude Perfect — YouTube’s Runner-Up for Top Earner in 2019

Dude Perfect is a channel that features five friends in their thirties who perform stunts, play sports, and battle each other in a variety of unique challenges. The channel has 48.8 million subscribers and over 9 billion views across over 200 original videos. According to a CNN report, Dude Perfect earned $20 million from YouTube in 2019.

Good Mythical Morning with Rhett and Link

The duo behind the channel known as Good Mythical Morning comes in at number four on the CNN list of top YouTube earners for 2019, pulling in an impressive $17.5 million dollars. They create videos that allow them to, in their own words, “eat truly unbelievable things, explore surprising new products and trends, compete in original games with celebrity guests, implement serious experiments in hilarious ways, and more.” Good Mythical Morning has 16 million subscribers and over 6 billion views across over 2,000 videos.

It’s almost unbelievable when you stop and think about how successful each of these channels has become. But if you think it happened overnight for any of these YouTube personalities, you’d be wrong.

Getting to this place took a lot of time, energy, and planning. It wasn’t fast or easy. Consider the following: the Dude Perfect channel was created in 2009, the Good Mythical Morning channel in 2008, and the Ryan’s World channel in 2015.

Remember this: each of them was once in the same place you are now — wondering what kind of videos to start creating and sharing, feeling doubt and fear and wondering whether it’s even worth it, and eager to figure out how people actually make money on YouTube.

How to make money on YouTube — The basics

YouTube Logo On Mobile Device

So here’s the big question: how the heck DO you actually make money on YouTube?!

It might seem like a mystery, especially if you’re thinking in terms of millions of dollars, but there’s actually a fairly clear playbook that you can follow to start earning from your videos and viewers. You won’t make a million bucks in your first year, but you’ll likely make something.

Remember, everyone has to start somewhere, and if you can prove that you’re able to make even $1 dollar from the time and energy you put in, there’s likely an opportunity to make more.

Ready to jump in? Here are 5 steps to follow that will put you in a better position to make money on YouTube.

Step 1: Create a channel and build your audience

Before you even think about making money on YouTube, you need to spend time thinking about what kind of videos you want to create and share with people. Knowing the blueprint for earning money is one thing, but creating videos that people actually want to consume is an entirely different challenge.

Not sure what kind of channel or videos to create? Here are a few questions you can ask to help you decide:

  • Question 1: What do you enjoy talking about or experiencing? What makes you happy?
  • Question 2: What are you good at?
  • Question 3: What do you want to get better at? What do you want to learn?
  • Question 4: What would you be happy doing or talking about on video for ten years?

Once you have some answers to your questions, your next job is to find out if any of the topics, categories, or niches are underserved on YouTube.

In other words, where are the gaps that you could be filling with your own original video content? We’ll learn more about finding your niche a little later in this article.

When you think you have a good idea, create your YouTube channel.

From there, the best thing you can do is start planning and creating videos that will connect with people and help you build your audience.

YouTube actually has a great guide that offers a handful of tips and videos on how to get viewers once you start creating videos. They recommend focusing on five areas: Targeting, Discoverability, Accessibility, Collaboration and Shareability. You can learn more about each of these areas and hear from experts by visiting this section of the YouTube Creator Academy.

Related: How to get YouTube subscribers for your new channel

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Step 2: Join the YouTube Partner Program

To monetize your channel and start earning money from your videos, you’ll need to apply to join the YouTube Partner Program, or YPP for short. Joining the YPP will give you access to a handful of features that you can use to start monetizing your video content, including ads.

According to YouTube, in order to be eligible to apply to join the YPP, you must have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 valid public watch hours on your channel.

This is why joining the YouTube Partner Program shows up as step 2 on this list — it can’t happen right away. In order to be considered, you have to first spend time creating and publishing content AND building your following (see step 1).

To apply, you’ll also need to set up an Adsense account. You can learn more about Adsense here.

When you meet the minimum requirements of 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 public watch hours, spend some time reviewing the application checklist that YouTube provides to potential partners. It will help you understand how your channel and content will be evaluated and what to expect when you apply.

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Step 3: Create, create, create

Whether you’re in the YouTube Partner Program or not, you should always be focused on creating original content for your audience to watch and engage with. The whole point of YouTube isn’t to make money — it’s to provide value to a community of people. Money is just the byproduct of good video content that people like watching.

Brian Dean takes this approach with Backlinko, a channel that over 280K people subscribe to for actionable SEO and marketing tips. Says Brian:

“The main goal is really just to get our content in front of people. So it’s partly to get a new audience, but also to send really compelling content to our existing audience. And that’s just how cool YouTube is that you can actually do both with a single video and a single channel.”

“And in fact, in our videos, we don’t even really have a call to action to sign up for an e-book. A lot of people do this thing called a bridge where at the end of a video it’s like, hey, if you like this, come to our site, you can get an e-book or for a webinar or whatever. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But I just like to focus on the content.”

Brian is one of those people that pumps out A TON of great content all the time.

If you want to get to his level of consistency and quality, the easiest way is by creating and following an editorial calendar each week.

I like to use Asana when I build editorial calendars, but there are a lot of tools out there to choose from. Pick the one that you think will work best for you over time.

The purpose of an editorial calendar is to force you to plan ahead. Engaging content on YouTube is creative, but it’s also strategic. This doesn’t need to be anything crazy, but you do have to have a clear strategy and a consistent schedule that you can commit to if you ever want to start earning money.

There are always exceptions to that rule — but it can make it much easier if you aren’t trying to come up with content on the fly.

Related: Editorial calendar: The content, keyword and SEO connection

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Step 4: Start testing different ways to earn money

There are a number of different ways to earn money on YouTube.

If you get accepted into the YouTube Partner Program, you may get access to the following monetization features:

Ad revenue

When you turn on video monetization, you’re allowing ads to show up on or near your videos. There are a variety of different types of ads that could appear with your video, including display ads, overlay ads, skippable video ads, non-skippable video ads, bumper ads, and sponsored cards. Your videos must meet YouTube’s advertiser-friendly content guidelines to be eligible for ads.

Channel memberships

Channel memberships allow you to give members-only perks to viewers who subscribe to your channel for a monthly recurring payment. You can go here to learn more about how channel memberships work.

Merchandise

Some partners will get access to a feature called “the merch shelf,” which allows you to showcase your channel merchandise right on YouTube. The merch shelf will also allow you to link directly to a store where viewers can purchase merchandise from you through a supported merch partner.

You can go here to learn more about how to sell merchandise on your channel.

Super Chat and Super Stickers

These features give your viewers the opportunity to engage and interact with you more prominently during a live chat. Viewers can purchase a Super Chat to highlight their message within the chat, or they can purchase a Super Sticker to pop a static or animated image into the live chat feed.

Live streams can be surprisingly profitable if you put the time and effort into them. That’s what Nick Nimmin, a YouTube educator with over 500K subscribers has learned over the years. His channel is an incredible resource for anyone that’s serious about digging into YouTube and looking for tips, tricks, app, etc. Nick states:

“When it comes to profitable content, almost every video my channel makes some kind of money. However, the things that generate the most money on my YouTube channel are my live streams.”

“And the reason for that is because we have people’s attention from anywhere from three to six hours, almost every single week. And during that time we have a bunch of different questions that we’re answering about YouTube and over and over and over again.”

Nick explained that because they spend so much time interacting with viewers and proving that they are experts, it builds trust and creates additional revenue-generating opportunities for their business outside of YouTube.

YouTube Premium revenue

YouTube Premium revenue gives you a portion of the fee a premium subscriber pays if they watch your content.

What if you can’t join the YouTube Partner Program?

If you don’t have the ability to join the YouTube Partner Program yet, you can earn money through the following routes:

Crowdfunding

You can use sites like Patreon to give subscribers and fans additional perks and exclusive content in exchange for funding your channel or efforts. You can learn more about crowdfunding from YouTube experts on this YouTube Creator Academy page.

Creating influencer content for brands

You can get hired by companies and brands as an influencer and create original content for them. This is usually easier once you have a loyal following and a clear niche or community you’re serving with your videos.

It’s a tip that Shayla Christine, from the YouTube channel Living On A One Way, recommends. She says:

“To monetize in the beginning, you want to work on brand partnerships more than you want to try and get money from your views.”

Shayla explained that if you’re really committed to a particular niche or community (like travel), you’re probably already talking about certain products and brands anyway — so you might as well reach out to them and find out if they’d be interested in partnering with you.

Bradley Hoos also gave me some great advice when it comes to finding the right partners to work with when you’re looking to make some money as a creator. Bradley is the Chief Growth Officer of The Outloud Group, a leading agency in the influencer marketing industry.

“YouTube creators should start to explore partnership agencies or managers once they start consistently getting 30K views on YouTube,” said Bradley. “At this stage, when dollar amounts are still relatively low, creators still have time to do their research and test out partners without meaningful downside financial risk.”

“I always encourage creators to ask other creators for their take on who is trustworthy and adds value,” he added. “As an influencer agency that represents talent, the greatest compliment we receive is when creators recommend us to other creators — and we do our best to ensure that we live up to the high standards creators have shared.”

Licensing original content

You can use services like Jukin Media to allow companies and media organizations to license your videos.

Promoting your products or services

You can use your videos to educate viewers about the products you sell on your ecommerce store or the services your business provides. It might seem like an indirect way to make money, but a lot of YouTube influencers find success with this strategy.

They record a great video that features their business or promotes their products and then they add a link right in the description of the video that sends viewers right to a product page or sign up screen.

Jim Fricker II and May Larios, hosts of Spanish and Go, a wildly popular and creative YouTube channel with over 80K subscribers, agree. Here’s what they had to say when I spoke with them:

 “Our biggest tip for someone trying to make money on YouTube is to diversify your income sources. If you get enough views, you can make decent money simply from monetizing your videos through Google Adsense, but the real money is in finding and creating resources to help your audience in other ways.”

“You can partner with a company and make sponsored videos, develop your own online courses, use affiliate marketing, design and offer merchandise for sale, and even create in-person events like we do with our Spanish immersion retreats in Mexico,” they added.

 

But as you go about creating content, just make sure you stay on top of the ever-changing guidelines from YouTube. That’s the warning I got when I asked Kevin Kohler, the creator of TheBackyardScientist with nearly 5 million subscribers, about any trouble he’s run into with generating an income from YouTube. “The biggest issue that I’ve had is trying to monetize content on YouTube, is the changing content guidelines. YouTube is always changing its advertiser friendly guidelines. So it’s best to stay on top of that and know what kind of content you can and can’t make. And if a video does get demonetized or deemed unsuitable for all advertisers, not only do you lose out on ad revenue, but also potential viewers, because the algorithm is less likely to recommend a video that’s been deemed unsuitable for advertisers.”

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Step 5: Keep going (but stay healthy)

The final step in the journey to making money on YouTube is to just keep going. It’s a long game, after all. It’s going to feel pointless at the beginning when you’re still building your audience, developing your style, and figuring out how to make videos efficiently, but keep at it and don’t give up.

That being said, don’t keep going if it’s risking or negatively impacting your physical or mental wellness. Taking care of yourself should always be your first priority — not making videos. If you need to take a break from your work, by all means, take one.

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The importance of discovering your niche

The most successful people on YouTube aren’t the ones who create content for everyone — instead, they create content for a very specific kind of person. They identify a niche, or small subset of the population, that acts as the center of their universe when it comes to developing ideas and producing new content.

Think of a niche like a community of friends that shares the same one hobby, skill, or passion — like nerding out on mathematics.

Finding and deciding what your niche is will help you build community with your content, and when you build community, your videos and your channel are both more popular.

The result of that? More potential earnings from ads, viewers, and loyal fans.

Here are two examples of people who have carved out a very specific niche on YouTube:

First We Feast

First We Feast is the channel that created the Hot Ones video series. In this series, host Sean Evans interviews guests — popular actors, musicians, and famous figures about their lives and work. You might be thinking, “that seems pretty broad…not much of a niche.”

That’s where the hot wings come in.

On this show, Evans not only interviews famous people — he asks them to join him in eating a progressively hotter wing for each question he asks them. The result, as you know if you’ve seen his videos before, is pretty entertaining.

This year, Evans will premiere his 11th season of Hot Ones. His First We Feast channel has over 8 million subscribers and his video content has been seen over a billion times since he launched the channel in 2014.

Simone Giertz

Simone Giertz makes bad robots. She creates funny videos on YouTube that show her building robots and mechanical creations that don’t always hit the mark.

One of her most famous examples is an alarm clock that literally slaps you in the face when it goes off in the morning.

 

Despite the deadpan brand of humor she infuses into her content, Giertz has used YouTube to successfully position herself as a bright scientist/engineer and an incredibly creative and inspiring artist.

It’s another example of someone taking a broad topic or interest (robotics and engineering) and zeroing in on a specific niche (making bad, barely-functioning robots that delight and entertain viewers).

She calls herself the Queen of Shitty Robots, and now everyone else does too. Her channel has over 2 million subscribers and her videos have over 100 million views.

Today, her fame and dedication has allowed her to move beyond just building bad robots. Most notably, she recently produced a video that documented the process she went through to turn her Tesla into a pickup truck (she called it Truckla).

She’s also created videos on meditation, art, and the extremely personal and scary experience of finding out she had a brain tumor (and getting surgery and radiation to remove it).

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How to find your niche

You might already know exactly what kind of videos you want to create and what kind of person you want your videos to connect and resonate with. If you aren’t quite there yet, here are a few steps you can follow to find your niche:

Step 1: Know yourself

As marketers and entrepreneurs, it can be tempting to focus only on the data and the trends, but I’m going to urge you to think a little selfishly when trying to land on your niche.

You should ask yourself what kind of videos you want to create, how you can help people, and what kind of legacy you want to leave. What are you passionate about? What do you love talking and learning about? What do you like to spend your time doing?

These are all questions that can direct you toward the right niche and community on YouTube.

 

Remember: the majority of top earners on YouTube have been doing this for a long time — some even a decade or more.

Adam Likenauger, the genius behind ILoveBasketballTV, a channel that over 1.92M people subscribe to, echoed this thought when I asked him for his advice.

“YouTube is hard,” he said. “It’s difficult. If it was so easy. We’d all be walking around with these massive gold play buttons for having a million subscribers. There is a reason so few people accomplished that level of success. And to me, it has more to do with the long struggle and road ahead.”

“Staying consistent and staying passionate vs. anything else when it comes to YouTube. If you want to succeed with YouTube, I’ll tell you honestly. Start with the passion.”

YouTube is a long game, and your niche should be something that you’re confident can grow and evolve with you over time.

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If you’ve taken time to complete step 1, you can and should try to identify and keep an eye on emerging trends that could influence the niche you operate within.

You can follow trends by seeing what’s being viewed and shared most on YouTube, spending time digging into Google Trends, or just by subscribing to and following channels that inspire or interest you.

The YouTube Creator Academy also has a great resource on how to find your niche. You can go here to read the articles and watch the videos.

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Step 3: Think about who you’re trying to reach

When you’re working on landing on the right niche, it’s also worth thinking about your future viewers — the people you want to see, share and engage with your videos. You should ask yourself: what does this group of people care about? What are their interests? What content could help or entertain them? What channels and websites do they visit and subscribe to now? How old are they? Where do they live? What do they do for work? Do they have families? Are they single?

Answering these questions will help you start to build viewer profiles that you can use when creating video content that actually connects with and entertains people.

It’s not easy — if it was, everyone would be doing it. When I talked to Rob Terkla about this, he agreed. Rob runs LunkersTV, a YouTube channel that has over 1.5M subscribers. Here’s what Rob had to say:

“It’s extremely hard,” said Rob. “Probably one of the hardest, hardest things to do to make money on YouTube is to gain an audience and capture their interest for at least seven to eight minutes. That’s the only way you’re going to make money.”

Rob has spent a lot of time trying to create videos that pique the interests of his viewers. He must be doing something right because collectively, his videos have over 232,000,000 views!

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Step 4: Just start creating

At some point, you have to stop analyzing and planning and start doing. The sooner you can get started, the faster you will evolve and improve.

You can have a general idea about the niche or community you’re trying to serve with your video content, but eventually, those ideas need to be tested.

When I asked Jim Meskimen, a famous impressionist and actor with over 30K subscribers and 12M+ video views, for his take, he gave this advice:

“Be productive. In other words, don’t expect to make just one video or 12 videos or even 100 videos. You’ve got to really knuckle down and be productive. It’s gonna take more than you think.”

Don’t wait too long to start creating and sharing videos with your audience. They are your best source for understanding whether you’re on the right track in terms of the focus of your videos and the overall theme of your channel.

 

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Creating video content people will love

Camera Recording A Subject In The Distance

When you’ve created your channel and landed on your niche, your main job going forward is to create video content that people love. You want to produce videos that drive people to subscribe to your channel, engage with your videos, share it with friends, and return to see your new content each time you hit publish.

Here are a handful of tips on how to create video content that people will love to watch and share:

Be obsessive about quality

To make a compelling video, you have to be obsessive about audio and visual quality. Competition for attention on YouTube is fierce — you only win by creating a presentation that draws people within the first few seconds and keeps them watching until the end.

To ensure that you’re able to produce high-quality content that meets the ever-increasing expectations of viewers, invest in professional recording equipment and software, or hire someone that can help you produce your videos.

You don’t need to spend a fortune — but it’s typically important that your videos are better than what your mom posts to Facebook. Equipment does make a difference, but understanding how to use even the most basic equipment is what really counts.

Learning about the rule of thirds, transitions, and other technical things that make a shot either look good or look odd will be 10x more effective than simply buying the most expensive camera around.

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Be consistent

The biggest mistake most people make when getting started on YouTube is that they ignore the importance of consistency. They publish one great video, drive a ton of engagement and land a bunch of subscribers, then go dark in publishing and lose all the momentum they built with the first video.

To build a loyal following on YouTube, you have to commit to a consistent publishing schedule. You have to keep giving fans and subscribers (and the algorithm) more of what they want. That’s again where the editorial calendar comes into play.

Producing more videos will not only help you build your audience, but it will also help you create better videos over time.

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Watch your metrics

Don’t just create videos you think will do well—look into your analytics on past videos to understand what topics and ideas really resonated with people.

You can access a lot of data from your YouTube videos, but here is a list of the most important metrics to keep track of, according to HubSpot:

  • Watch time
  • Average percentage viewed
  • Average view duration
  • Audience retention
  • Re-watches
  • Engagement (likes, dislikes, comments)
  • Impressions click-through rate
  • Card click-through rate
  • Playlist engagement
  • Unique viewers
  • Views per unique viewers
  • Who’s watching your videos (demographics)
  • Subscriber growth
  • Traffic sources
  • Keywords

To learn more about each of these metrics, explore the guide from HubSpot.

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Ask for feedback and ideas

Get feedback from your subscribers whenever you share a new video on your channel. You can do this by verbally making the ask at the end of your video (“leave a comment below and let me know what you think!”) or by including a graphic with a call-to-action (“send me an email about what else you’d like to see on this channel!).

Asking for regular feedback shows your subscribers that you’re not just broadcasting content for them to consume, but that you are willing to engage with them and listen to their ideas, which can help you build loyalty and keep viewers coming back for more each month.

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Be different and test bold ideas

More than 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. To cut through the noise, you have to be willing to go out of your way to make videos that surprise and delight people.

That means thinking more creatively and taking more risks.

It means seeing what everyone else is doing with video and intentionally choosing to do something wildly different.

It means not being afraid to produce and publish something that falls completely flat with your subscribers.

“It’s difficult to get traction for certain videos,” says Nathan Chan, who manages the Foundr Magazine YouTube channel. “You just don’t know what will work. So it’s important for us as we cover many topics, with many sales funnels, and many courses to ensure that we do a series of videos i.e. 8-10 on a certain topic with the hope that one will take off!”

Going viral typically doesn’t happen when you do what everyone else does.

It happens when you create something truly unique that stirs emotion in people and compels them to share with others.

 

Creating original content also makes it a lot easier to earn money on YouTube. That’s one of the many lessons musician and songwriter Molly Kate Kestner shared with me.

“YouTube rewards consistent uploads,” said Molly. “And if your content is original, then you can actually monetize off of it. That’s probably one of the biggest challenges that I’ve ever faced with monetization is I realized, oh, if I’m uploading covers of songs, I can’t actually make money from this because it’s not original. So it’s been beautiful because it’s inspired me to upload more and more original music and content.”

By taking action on this lesson, Molly was able to publish a video of an original song that earned over 1.5 million views in less than 2 weeks (it currently sits at 16+ million), a performance on Good Morning America, and a recording contract.

Need some inspiration? Here are the top 100 YouTube videos of all time.

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A crash course in recording equipment

Tabletop Filled With Recording Equipment

If you want to create great YouTube videos that have the potential to make you money, you need to invest in the right recording equipment.

While this section could easily have an entire post written around it, here’s a quick list of budget-friendly starter equipment you should have at your disposal.

But remember, you don’t NEED the gear. The content itself, the emotions you invoke, the personality — that’s what people are subscribing to, not your “L-series lens.”

Canon EOS Rebel T7i DSLR Camera Deluxe Video Creator Kit

This video creator kit from Canon will provide you with all the starter tools you need to start shooting high-quality video and audio. It includes a camera, three lenses, a shotgun microphone, a tripod, chargers, batteries, memory cards, and a backpack case. This will be your most expensive investment as far as equipment goes, but you can buy it online for around $800-900 dollars.

Photo Video Studio 10Ft Adjustable Background Stand

This backdrop kit will help you create a professional background for your videos. It includes an adjustable crossbar, light stands, spring clamps, sandbags, and a bag to store and carry everything. You can buy it online for around $40.

LED Video Light Kit with 2M Light Stand

This lighting kit will make it easy to create the right ambiance for your videos. It includes stands, filters, lights, and batteries. You can buy it online for about $80-90 dollars.

If you’re not quite ready to make an investment into any professional-grade equipment, don’t let it prevent you from getting started. iPhones and Android phones have great cameras and lots of apps you can use to create great low-budget videos for your YouTube channel.

If you decide to go this route to start, spend time reviewing these helpful tips on how to record a professional-grade video using your iPhone from Wistia.

Wrapping up

Making money on YouTube is hard, but it is possible. There are countless examples of people who were just like you that were able to put in enough time, energy, creativity, and consistency to make it happen.

They had different journeys and challenges along the way, but they all began with the same first step: they started creating videos and never looked back.

Kallen, the YouTube creator behind Slapped Ham, a YouTube channel with over a million subscribers, echoed this call to action when I asked him for his thoughts.

He said, “my best piece of advice for people looking to make money on YouTube is to just start! So many people get frozen by the creative process and think what they have to put out, it has to be perfect. It absolutely doesn’t have to be. So jump in, get involved, have fun and find your voice first.”

So there you have it! If you want to earn money on YouTube one day, make your commitment to get started this year — don’t wait for the perfect ideas or the ideal time. Start now.

This article was co-authored with the content marketing genius, Rob Wormley.

20 Expert Blogging Tips for 2020


There are a lot of A-list bloggers out there. We interviewed a handful of them to gather 20 tips that will help take your blog content to the next level this year.

Just open your Instagram app, and it’s obvious: there are a lot of bloggers out there. Influencers sharing content on a myriad of topics — from paleo diets to patio furniture — seem to occupy every inch of internet real estate, peddling travel tips and gardening how-tos. With glossy photos and witty copy, it seems they’ve got it figured out. They’re real bloggers, right? 

Is there even room for aspiring bloggers like you and me?

Short answer? Yes! 

Nearly 409 million people view more than 20 billion pages each month, according to WordPress. That’s a lot of opportunities. If you’re looking to enter the blogosphere (or increase the success of your already-established blog), you might think you need a lot of luck to make it happen. But there’s no need to buy lotto tickets or wish on shooting stars. You just need some expert advice. 

Luckily, we’ve got that in spades. 

We’ve done the legwork for you, talking with the web’s blogging elite and garnering their best tips. Consider these 20 tips an all-inclusive handbook to blogging success, chock-full of guidance from a handful of virtual mentors. These expert bloggers will instruct you on the keys to blogging success: how to get the ball rolling, create quality content, and stay dedicated, even in an evolving blogging environment.

Are you ready to be a more professional blogger in 2020? Read on!

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1. It’s About Time

Before you even think of pursuing a blog — with the intent to make money blogging or simply as a hobby — you have to be real with yourself. Know your capabilities, as far as time and availability go.

“Successful blogging requires time, dedication, and some strategic planning,” says Brittany Watson Jepsen of powerhouse DIY craft blog, The House That Lars Built. “I wouldn’t plan on doing it if you don’t have sufficient time to devote to it.”

The House That Lars Built home page.

According to a survey of more than a thousand bloggers, a typical blog post takes nearly four hours to create. The same study reveals that a large number of bloggers write outside of regular “work hours,” including on weekends and at night. Translation: bloggers are always on; blogging is their lifestyle, and it requires quality time to produce success.

And writing blog posts is just the beginning; in addition to creating content, bloggers must optimize for search engines, make time for social media, market their content, network, and engage with readers.

For design guru Emily Henderson, running a blog isn’t a back-burner endeavor, either. 

“I had to make it a major priority or else it won’t get done,” the full-time blogger says. “Now I have a staff that helps keep it running on a daily basis, and we fill it with original content every single day.” 

Not being fully committed is what separates amateur bloggers from the pros.

“I think the main mistake I see in new bloggers is not being totally committed to what they’re doing,” says Jill Nystul, creator of phenom blog One Good Thing by Jillee. “You can’t do anything halfway in the blogging industry and expect to be successful. I see a lot of people start blogs, post a few things over a couple of months, and then wonder why they aren’t getting any traffic. Commit to a topic and a posting schedule and show your readers that you are dedicated to providing great content consistently.”

2. Invest in Good Gear

When you decide to start a blog, use whatever tools you have to get the ball rolling. But when you are financially able, your blog will benefit from getting your hands on some professional equipment.

“The look of my blog definitely got a lot better when I invested in a real camera rather than using my phone which I totally did in the early days of my blog,” Nystul says. “And you don’t have to spend a fortune. We still use a Canon Rebel, and it works great.”

A few other popular blogging tools: WordPress software, the Adobe Suite, a web hosting package, email marketing software, and useful plugins. The more professional and put together your blog, the more trust you’ll earn from readers.

3. Your Mission (Should You Choose to Write It)

You’ve got a burning passion for blogging, yes? Well, first, take a breath. 

It’s crucial that you figure out a few things first, like what your blog is all about and what you want to do with it. Having a kick-butt blog is a good goal, but let’s dig deeper. 

Ever heard of a mission statement? It’s commonly used by businesses to identify values, goals, and purpose — typically in a few easy-to-remember sentences. And it’s critical to the success of your blog.

“I wish I would have found my mission sooner,” Jepsen says. “But I started it in a time when bloggers weren’t making money, and I didn’t know that was a trajectory I could take, so I didn’t write it accordingly. If you’re looking to make money, you will write differently than someone who does it just for fun. Create a focused mission statement in order to know what your content should be and who your audience is.” 

Let’s look at a few examples of mission statements.

  • Amazon: “Our vision is to be earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
  • IKEA: “Our vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people. Our business idea supports this vision by offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.”
  • Nike: “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world.”

Can you see how these concise statements guide how each business operates, shepherding big decisions to even the tiniest ones? It works the same way with your blog.

Take creating content, for example. 

“Before we write a single post, we ask ourselves, ‘Does this help our readers make or save money?’” says Kathleen Garvin, editor and marketing strategist for finance blog The Penny Hoarder. “That’s key for us. We’re content creators, but we only want to publish a story if we think it’s truly helpful or interesting for our readers.”

The Penny Hoarder website.

A well-crafted mission statement will, ideally, inspire and steer — but not confine — your choices and provide a roadmap for content, structure, and voice. A few minutes of work for a valuable return.

Great! Now. Where to start? Begin by pondering the following questions:

  • Why did you start blogging?
  • Who is your target audience or blogging niche?
  • What questions do you want to answer?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • In what way is your voice unique?

Next, try to organize these answers into a few short statements that summarize your goals. Try the Twitter approach — spelling out your purpose and goals in 280 characters or less. You could even try this fill-in-the-blank formula:

My mission is to _______ for _______ through _______.

Things to keep in mind: keep it short and sweet, grammar-and-spell-checked, specific but jargon-free, realistic, and focused. Then put it where you can see it — preferably in BIG, bold letters. Refer to it often and adjust as needed.

4. Just Get Started

Achieving top-tier blogging status can seem like a long shot. But every successful blogger started somewhere.

“Produce, produce, produce,” Henderson says. “Leave your perfectionism at the door and just put your work out there. Get feedback, adjust, move on. Without creating and putting your product or service out there, no one will find you and hire you. Just start.”

Emily Henderson’s blog.

Begin with exercises to simply get you writing every day. This will help you form the habit that will make blogging easier.

For content ideas, try a brainstorming worksheet to collect your thoughts (you can do this on a device, too). 

“Write as often as you possibly can,” says Erin Loechner, design and lifestyle blogger at Design for Mankind. “This does not mean publish as often as you possibly can. Get in the habit, work on your craft. Discover your voice. It takes great practice and great patience. Do it anyway. Sit down in your chair and type it out. Edit later. Publish later. For now, just write.”

Design for Mankind home page.

5. You Get What You Go After

If you’ve been around the block, you know that blogging involves two very crucial Cs: content and consistency. These skills may be the most vital keys to success. We already discussed the importance of creating. Now, let’s talk consistency. 

It’s proven that marketers who prioritize blogging efforts are 13x more likely to see positive ROI. That’s a big deal. Consistency is an essential part of those efforts.

“A common mistake early bloggers make is not posting on a consistent schedule,” Garvin says. “Yes, it can be tough, especially in the beginning when you might not have much of a readership, but it’s important for SEO and to build a community. Producing quality content and consistently has been essential to our growth. Like they say, if content is king, consistency is queen!”

Brittany Watson Jepsen found consistency key to achieving success when she created her blog.

“I think one of the best things you can do as a blogger is to keep your content constant and consistent,” Jepsen says. “Even when I started out nine years ago, I worked on my blog every single day. That consistency kept people coming back because they didn’t have to wonder if there was content. There was! The next best thing to focus on the main message I was trying to convey. It took me a while to figure out the main thing I wanted to focus on, but once I did,  that’s when the traffic started to roll in. Once I focused on crafts and DIY making, I became known for that, and people started to see me as a trusted voice.”

If you want to be the authority, the go-to on a particular topic, your readership needs to trust that your blog will have content they need. Your quality content, consistently posted, will draw a following. The two Cs really are inseparably connected. 

“There are a lot of more detailed keys to blogging success like photography, SEO, social media tips and tricks, etc., but the number one thing I always tell bloggers is that content is king,” Nystul says. “That can mean different things depending on the topic of your blog, but readers will always respond to quality content. My team uses CoSchedule for our editorial calendar, and we love it. It helps keep us super organized and on the same page even when we all work remotely. A couple of other things we love are Slack for messaging and Wunderlist for making to-do lists.” 

There a host of useful tools available online for planning posts and establishing a schedule. 

“An important key is to have a plan for what you are wanting to post rather than sitting down and writing every time,” says Syed Balkhi, founder of tech-help site WPBeginner. “Tools like Asana or the WordPress plugin Edit Flow are great for planning out blog posts in advance.”

The WPBeginner home page.

To nail down a consistent blogging schedule, try an online calendar or one of a variety of template worksheets available. 

6. Be Your Own Reader

When you want to have a successful blog, you really should put yourself in a new pair of shoes — the shoes of your reader, that is. While you are blogging to share a passion, you’ve got to stay focused on your blog visitors and how your content can appeal to their needs and questions.

The team at The Penny Hoarder made their content more functional to readers by breaking down complex and jargon-heavy financial information into useful, readable packages.

“When people think of personal finance, they usually expect the content to be dry or boring,” Garvin says. “So we do our best to make it accessible and fun. We write in a friendly, conversational manner, and try to showcase that tone across all media. With that said, we take our readers’ trust seriously.”

The team at Emily Henderson takes a similar approach when considering their blog’s usability for readers.

“With every post, we want to be our own reader and ask ourselves, ‘Would I find this interesting, helpful, informative, and beautiful?’” Henderson says. “If not, then we come up with different content that we feel will better suit the audience.”

Sure, while you’re slaving away at your keyboard, it’s easy to forget that someone is on the other side. But keeping your reader in mind will help you to create attractive, useful content that draws a crowd.

7. Think (Twice) Before You Hit Publish

As tempting as it may be, resist the urge to hastily click “Submit” the instant you finish a blog post. 

“Once the blog posts are planned out,” Balkhi of WP Beginner says, “a common mistake is not going back through to take a look at some of the finer points of the blog post to ensure it reads well for your visitors as well as search engines.”

Prep your post for publishing by working through a checklist (or a WP plugin) to help you optimize the content — a tool like Naytev works well — and make it appealing to search engines (48% of consumers start mobile research with a search engine) and readers.

Take time to make sure you’re citing sources correctly and that you haven’t overlooked glaring grammar mistakes (don’t make the off-putting their/they’re/there error). This extra time is a worthwhile investment.

8. Talk About Yourself

It may seem like a silly thing, but talking about yourself on your blog is important. And by this, I mean, don’t neglect your blog’s “About Me” page. 

This page is crucial for helping readers to get to know you, your purpose, and what they can expect to find on your site.

“This is one of the most highly trafficked pages on any blog because it tells people who you are, gives your background, and explains why someone should follow you,” writes Matthew Karsten, travel blogger at The Expert Vagabond. “Keep it fun and personable. Let your readers know who you are!” 

Instead of listing random facts about yourself, have a purposeful statement that answers the following questions.

Who Is Your Audience?

Let’s look at Karsten’s blog, Expert Vagabond. On his “About Me” page, he writes:

“It’s a place for people like you who are looking for daily inspiration and motivation to live a life full of adventure.”

The Expert Vagabond ‘About Me’ page.

For whom? Check. Karsten clearly identifies the intended audience of his blog.

What Value Are You Offering to Readers?

Look at The Penny Hoarder’s manifesto:

“[The Penny Hoarder’s] purpose is to help people take control of their personal finances and make smart money decisions by sharing actionable articles and resources on how to earn, save, and manage money.” 

Bam. Garvin and her team have readily identified what they’re offering to those who visit the site.

What Credibility Does Your Blog Have?

You could share sites your blog has been featured on, like done on WPBeginner’s About Me page or reader testimonials. Share why your content can be trusted.

Why Are You Passionate About What You Do?

While it’s better not to be haphazard about the info you share, you should let readers connect with you by offering a snapshot of yourself and specifically, how your blog grew out of your passion. After all, your readers’ connection to you is what will likely draw them back for more.

Take Jepsen’s”About Me” page, for example. A little of her bio:

“Brittany Watson Jepsen here. I grew up teething on the seaweed of Southern California though I preferred reading and creating in the great indoors. My mom’s favorite quote was ‘a creative mess is better than tidy idleness,’ and so my childhood was spent creating artwork, music, and yes, lots of messes.”

See? Well-written, purposeful statements connect Jepsen to her readers and them to the purpose of the blog.

What Is Your Call to Action?

Don’t let your readers browse your “About Me” page and click away with an “Oh, that’s nice.” Encourage them to visit other pages of your blog by providing links to more content, whether that be additional blog posts or social media handles. After all, more clicks equal more traffic.

And if it wasn’t already obvious, make sure your “About Me” page is accessible and easy to navigate.

9. Give Your Blog a Facelift

Ever happened upon a website that seems like it never left the dial-up, over-animated era of the early internet? Well, we have.

Shudder.

Even if your site isn’t outfitted with rainbow colors and crowded layouts, its design could be unintentionally frustrating readers. A smart design sets your reader up for a pleasant experience that will entice them to visit again. Never neglect a user-friendly design.

“A good site design is like settling in to write at a clean, beautiful-to-you desk,” Loechner says. “It is surprisingly important for you and for those who might be visiting such a desk. Pay attention to it; design needn’t be complicated.”

Be flexible and willing to alter your blog design based on what works best for your readers.

Keep learning and always be willing to adapt,” Garvin says. “For instance, we recently got rid of display ads on our site because it negatively affected our user experience. It can be scary to remove a revenue source and pivot, but it’s necessary for continued growth. Don’t be afraid of change, but do find out what works best for you and your readers.”

Have a friend or outsider look at your blog and consider a few questions:

  • Is it dated, confusing, or “broken” or attractive, functional, and engaging?
  • Is there clutter?
  • Does the site load quickly?
  • Would a first-time visitor immediately know what it is about and how to navigate it?

Utilize themes on WordPress for tried-and-true designs, consult experts, or outsource to a designer (we can help with that!) to ensure your design is aesthetically pleasing. Trust us — no one wants spinning graphics or animated mouse icons. No one.

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10. Think Mobile

It’s a pretty startling statistic: 80% of internet users own a smartphone. 

Chances are good that readers are accessing your blog on a mobile device, likely while they’re commuting to work, sitting in a waiting room, or logging miles on the treadmill. So along with establishing a beautiful design, you’ve also got to optimize for mobile users.

“Blogs are widely read on the go, so consider a simple and minimal design that looks just as great on your phone as it does in the cubicle,” Loechner says.

Often, this means choosing a responsive template, but you can also utilize plugins to optimize a WordPress theme. You should consider the following as well:

  • If using a pop-up opt-in form or ad, are mobile users able to navigate around it? 
  • Are outbound links mobile friendly? 
  • Do your social media buttons work properly?
  • If using video, does the player work? Some mobile devices don’t allow Flash.
  • Is your comment platform still mobile friendly?
  • Are slideshows functional?
  • Can users read infographics?

And really, the only sure way you have to analyze your site for effectiveness across devices is to test it. Use this handy Google tool.

11. You’ve Got Mail

You’re probably used to sending most of your inbox to the trash bin, so you might not think that email plays a significant role in blogging success. Think again.

“One mistake we’ve talked about is neglecting our email list,” says Garvin. “In the beginning of The Penny Hoarder, Kyle used to write a regular, personal email to readers; it was one of his best traffic sources, and he had an open rate of over 50%! However, as the site started taking off and he was pulled in different directions as CEO, we dropped the personalization in favor of a simpler format. We turned things around this year: We’ve started offering a ‘weekender’ roundup email, a daily newsletter, and several other targeted ones. So start an email list early, and keep working to improve it for your readers.”

Think about this: A survey reported that most of us spend more than five hours checking our email each day. FIVE! Why not capitalize on the habit? It’s easy to monitor your success with email marketing, and it can help you establish a lasting relationship with readers.

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12. Accept the Daily Grind

You’ve heard that the biggest part of success comes from showing up, right? Ask anyone at the top of their field — Michael Jordan, Martha Stewart, or Yo-Yo Ma — and we’re pretty sure they’d be the first to say that their success amounts to hours, days, and years of putting in hard work.

Well, that’s true in blogging too. 

“Determination is an essential quality to have as a blogger,” Balkhi says. “There are no overnight successes with blogs, but when you write about what you are passionate about, they can be great successes.” 

Remember Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours principle? Just like playing the piano, painting, or running sprints, honing your blogging skills requires lots of work. 

“Our keys to blogging success are practice, practice, practice,” say Ryan and Sam Looney of travel blog Our Travel Passport. “Seriously, it’s just about putting in the time to learn your skill and becoming an expert at what you do. We think it’s important to remember that the industry is always changing and content is king. Be original and adaptable and authentic. Don’t use bots. Focus on what makes you unique and tell your story in a way that people can relate to what you have to say.”

Try a goal chart to keep you motivated when the going gets rough (blogger’s block is real). And of course, keep your mission statement close by. Sometimes all it takes is to remember why you started in the first place.

“I think the main quality that is essential for bloggers is passion,” Nystul says. “Blogging is not an easy business, and when the going gets tough, passion is the thing that keeps you motivated and working hard.”

13. Have a Strategy

Say you’ve got great content and a snazzy site. How do you get people to see it? If you have social media platforms, then you have multiple channels to market your content.

 “Our social media, video, and PR teams work to amplify our content, engage our readers, and raise our profile,” Garvin says. “All of these things contribute significantly when growing our community.”

The Penny Hoarder team is right. According to consumers, the three characteristics of an effective social media strategy are: 

  1. The brand shares new content.
  2. The brand’s content is relevant.
  3. The brand engages with followers.

That said, social media is the most effective digital marketing tactic for customer retention after email; it’s essential to choose the right social platforms to get your content in front of readers.

The Expert Vagabond Instagram page.

If you intend to manage your social media marketing on your own, then utilize tools like HootSuite or NUVI to manage and monitor on one dashboard. And there’s no shame in admitting that assembling a social team or hiring an agency to help distribute the content online could be best for your blog. You can only bootstrap so much, right?

14. Engage With Others

In the blogging game, it’s not you against the world. In other words, it’s not you against every other food/travel/tech blog in your field. Running a successful blog can be a collaborative, community effort that’s personally validating (as opposed to competitive). Go, team!

Good engagement starts with your content. (Need a refresher? See tips No. 4 and 5.)

The Looneys recommend staying engaged by posting regularly. “Whether that means posting blog posts once a week or on Instagram every day, it’s important to keep your community involved in what’s going on and what you have to share.”

15. Go Easy with Analytics

Numbers say a lot. For instance, a game score tells us who’s on the winning side — and who’s not. The nutritional information in a meal tells us whether or not we can justify dessert. 

Numbers are important. But they aren’t everything. 

We know it’s tempting, but clicking the refresh button every 10 seconds on your website’s analytics page fuels an unhealthy obsession that won’t help your success as a blogger (or your blood pressure). Instead, focus on your content, prepare for fluctuations in the stats, and breathe.

“Forget stats,” Loechner says. “People are not numbers. Readers are not stats. They are humans in all of their lovely complexities. Do not fret yourself over bounce rates and conversion metrics. There are plenty of other things to fret over, after all.”

Keep an eye on a few metrics for goal purposes, but don’t obsess — numbers change.

16. Understand Revenue Sources

The ideal for most people is that their blog becomes a valid source of income. Now, this won’t happen right away, so don’t panic (see No. 11). But you should understand the different ways that you can make money online, so you can decide how — and if — you want to incorporate those methods into your blog.

Consider using affiliate programs to earn a kickback for the products you promote on your site or running display ads with Google’s AdSense. These revenue streams increase as traffic increases. So if you want to make money by blogging, your first priority should be getting eyes on your content. 

“The more traffic your blog receives, the more money you can make with it,” Karsten says. “But it takes time to build an audience and grow traffic. Don’t focus on making money right away. Focus on building your audience.”

17. Combat Internet Trolls

It seems like anyone who dares to send their work out into the web is, sadly, bound to face the ceaseless negativity of cyberbullies.

You don’t have to grin and bear it, though. Be intentional about combating the mean-spiritedness you might encounter (no boxing gloves required).

“For better or worse, I can be really emotionally affected by how people perceive or respond to my blog,” says Lindsay Ostrom, creator of viral food blog Pinch of Yum. “I wish I had that toughness factor, but what I have is more like Sensitivity with a capital S. So I set rules for myself when it comes to reading and processing my social media content and blog comments. Bottom line: be selective about what voices you let speak into your life.”

Whether you decide to refrain from reading blog comments before noon or you post a motivational message above your computer as a reminder of your potential, know that it’s your blog. Take control and set your own rules.

18. Don’t Be a Copycat

Imitation may be the highest form of flattery, but in the blogosphere, it’s just plain ol’ copying. And it’s not going to do anything for your online rep — readers can see right through it. With the inundation of blogs and content creators out there, it can be H-A-R-D to produce content that’s new, fresh, and original. But for a quality blog, a loyal following, and a distinguished brand, it’s more than essential to think outside the box.

“It’s important to remember that you need to create your own original content,” the Looneys say. “A lot of people go to the same places and pose in the exact same way as big travel bloggers. That’s not creative or original. That’s copying someone else’s work, which doesn’t tell anything about you or your story.”

Build a blog that allows people to get to know you — and what you’re passionate about, not just posting a CTRL + C reproduction of similar work produced in your field or industry. Be aware of the exhausted been-there-done-that content. Followers will reward the extra effort you take to put your own touch on what you produce.

19. Find A Cheerleader

With all the hard work, long days, and (probably) blood, sweat, and tears that go into creating a successful blog, you really need someone in your corner — an encouraging mentor who will wave that foam finger when the going gets rough.

“Having a single person — literally just one, although more friends equal more party — to talk with when things are spinning into that downward spiral is so important to your ability to bounce back,” Ostrom says. “I guess that’s just true in life, right? And it’s especially true for me in blogging. Find someone who really understands and can relate in some tiny way or another why it’s frustrating when people scrape your content, or what it feels like to deal with that rude comment, or how challenging Facebook’s news feed changes have been lately. It is one thing to talk about this stuff, but it’s another thing to talk about it with someone who really understands blogging.”

Who is this person for you? A spouse, a friend, a coworker? Finding that supportive someone will help you to overcome the difficult days and celebrate your blogging successes. 

20. Lower Your Expectations

Yeah, we know how that sounds. But let us explain.  When getting started, “It’s important to not go into it with high expectations of becoming the next big blogger,” says mega fashion blogger Julia Engel of Gal Meets Glam. “That pressure alone could ruin the whole experience for you. Starting a blog should be fun, and you should do it because you’re passionate about a topic(s)!”

Blog because you love it. Of course, we know you have the potential to make it to the big leagues of blogging, but that name-in-lights mentality shouldn’t be the end-all, be-all of your efforts. Early on, establish your “why” and remain rooted in it. Not only will it help sustain your motivation through the hard moments, but it will keep your passion ignited. Once you’re sure of your “why,” GET GOING. “Ask yourself, why am I creating this?” Engels says. “If you can answer that question, then just start! I live by this quote: ‘Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.’” 

Be a Content Marketing Master

We know you’re champing at the bit to get your own blog up and running. We get it. To help you get started, we’ve put together a series of guides on different blogging niches: 

Now that you’re equipped with the best tools, resources, and you-can-do-it! encouragement from the web’s best bloggers, you need a hosting partner. Let our Managed WordPress Hosting plans start your brand-spankin’-new blog off on the right foot with the high-tech tools, stellar support, and abundant resources offered by DreamHost. 2020 is your year!

7 Expert Suggestions for Remote Job Seekers


Networking Tips for remote job seekers! Here are 7 expert insights to online networking if you want to find (and land) a work from home job.

Networking is all about making connections and nurturing connections. But what networking tips apply to remote jobs?

I do a lot of IRL career coaching (on top of my virtual career coaching services). Which means I attend a ton of in-person networking events, mixers, and similar meetups. 

Why? Because networking is valuable. Period. 

Networking online is especially effective for job seekers. According to career site, The Muse, as much as 80% of jobs are filled via networking! 

Needless to say, if you’re not pounding the virtual pavement and making professional connections — you’re missing out. Big time

Now, we know networking is important in person and leads to job offers. 

But, how exactly do you network when you’re looking to work remotely?

Good question. 

Here are seven networking tips to live by for remote job seekers.

1. Professionally Polish Your Profiles 

As a remote job seeker, all of your networking will be done remotely. So, when you reach out to a new person to make a connection, you can bet your biscuits that person is going to check out your digital footprint.

They will scope you out on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or wherever it is you reached out to them. 

To make a great first impression, keep your social media profiles up to date and cohesive. 

Don’t call yourself Susan in one profile and Sue in another. And, be sure to use the same profile picture across the board. 

Plus, remember to actually be social on social media. It doesn’t look great if you reach out to connect with someone on LinkedIn but your profile shows little activity to no activity. Said potential connection is going to think your request is one of self promotion only and not a genuine attempt to expand your network (and they’re absolutely right).

When your profiles are in tiptop shape, people are more likely to accept your connection and even recommend other professionals to e-meet you.

2. Be Unique (But Not Weird) 

Uniqueness matters. The average professional receives a whopping 121 emails per day. If you don’t stick out (in a good way) you’re likely to never, ever get a response. 

An easy way to give someone a reason to respond to you is by being unique. But, don’t confuse uniqueness with weirdness. 

For example, I once had a fellow career coach cold email me. His expertise was tech professions (a super remote-friendly career field).

He wanted to connect with me since I am well versed in the world of remote work. Typically, I’d be all for it! But this particular gentleman (who worked in an office) opened his connection request with, “What’s the point of getting dressed every day just to work from home? Wouldn’t you rather sit in your underwear?” 

Weird, right? 

It was completely off putting and just too strange to reply to. His email was promptly placed in the trash folder. 

Now, he could have been memorable (without being weird) by asking me about morning routines for remote workers and why they matter.

This would have been an interesting question and something I would have definitely answered. But, he took it a step too far and went down the weird path of no return.

3. Patience Is Key

Remember how I said the average professional receives something like 121 emails in a day? That means your non-urgent connection request may go unanswered. And that’s okay. 

The worst thing you can do is pester the person you want to connect with. Instead, be patient.

99% of professionals will absolutely want to network with you too. But, many people are just swamped with emails and sometimes responses can take a day or two or ten. 

It’s perfectly fine to follow up, but do so after it’s been 5 days without a response. Any sooner and you come off as a bother. 

4. Check In With Your Network (Don’t Go Cold On Them) 

Don’t just add people to your network (i.e. follow them on Twitter, connect with them on LinkedIn or become ‘friends’ on Facebook) and then let that connection go cold. 

Networking is all about nurturing. Networking is not a numbers game. 

So, once you have a valuable contact in your network, check in with them periodically. This is one of the simplest networking tips that is often overlooked.

A check in can be something as quick as ‘liking’ a post or commenting on something they’ve shared. A short message to say “happy birthday” or “how’s your day” can go a long way in maintaining this virtual friendship. 

You want them to remember who you are. You should feel familiar to them. That way if you ever need a favor (like an introduction or recommendation) you’re more likely to get help. 

5. Get Social But Not Too Social

Oh social media! It’s both a blessing and a curse. There are endless possibilities to connect with people all over the world but it can also be a total time suck. 

Fortunately, you can absolutely find a happy medium that allows you to grow your network without being tethered to your online profiles. 

Networking Tips For Twitter

Hop on Twitter and like, tweet and retweet once daily. Obviously, it’s best if you keep your tweets and retweets related to your profession. This will help you more easily gain followers. Plus, you end up in the feeds of people within your industry who you want to be part of your network (and you of theirs). 

On Twitter, hashtags are a great way to get found. Popular and relevant hashtags make it easy to get noticed as an aspiring remote worker.

Networking Tips for Facebook & LinkedIn

Facebook and LinkedIn are both great because they have groups! Groups serve as a virtual gathering place for people who have something in common like a hobby, life circumstance, location, and — yes — profession! 

When you join a profession-specific group, there are tons of people you can easily connect with. 

But don’t just join a group and start self promoting.

Instead, sit back on the sidelines for a bit and regularly check in to see what active members of the group post and share.

Once you get a feel for the activity, you can jump in. But it’s best to do so slowly and not cannonball style.

It’s a good idea to comment on other people’s posts before you post yourself. That way you ease your way into the group dynamic without coming across as pushy. 

Authentic Networking Tips for Remote Job Seekers

Pro Tip: Do NOT rely solely on free social media automation tools like Buffer. I love Buffer. I really do. Not only is it an amazing free automation tool for social media, Buffer is an awesome remote-friendly company with unbelievable benefits.

Now, that doesn’t mean you can use Buffer on occasion. You can definitely take some of your social posts off of your plate by scheduling them ahead of time. But, be sure to check in on those posts after they go live and respond to any comments.

When you’re just posting on a routine automated schedule with little other activity, you come across as robotic (because you are). And, one of the best networking tips I can give you is to be authentic and human.

6. Let Others Toot Their Own Horns

As a remote job seeker, your end goal with networking is to find (and land) a telecommute position. 

Once you start working toward your work from home goals you are inevitably going to come across professionals that currently work remotely in a position you’re after. And that’s amazing! These are the perfect people to ask for an informational interview

Most professionals love to talk about themselves, and they’ll be happy to spare some time to answer all of your questions you have about their work. 

Somebody who is already doing what you want to be doing is the perfect person to pick their brain. Not only will you gain valuable career-related information, you also make a valuable connection.

This person is likely to know of remote positions within their own company that is currently hiring AND will be more likely to recommend you if you make a great impression. 

Plus, it’s just nice to have someone to talk to that’s been in your shoes. There’s nothing more valuable than having 10-15 minutes of someone’s time to help you move toward the right remote job for you and not settle for something that’s not right for you.

7. Connect With Like-Minded Out Of The Cubicle Thinkers 

Remote workers are a unique breed of people. Take it from someone who’s been doing it for 10 years 🙋🏼‍♀️.

If you’ve never worked remotely before, it’s a good idea to get a feel for how exactly telecommuters put in a full day of work while still being connected with coworkers around the world.

One way remote workers maintain contact with others is through Slack. If you’ve never heard of it before, Slack is like a virtual workspace. It’s a place to share and collaborate. And it’s not all work related! There are Slack Channels that aim to entertain with a steady stream of gifs and memes.

You can discover remote-friendly communities at Slack or simply join a few channels that interest you. Inevitably, as a remote job seeker, you’ll come across a company that will ask you if you have any experience with Slack. And you can confidently answer, “You betcha!”

Online Networking Tips To Live By

Remember, don’t spam your fellow professionals. Not only is it ineffective, it just makes you look bad. Always make sure you are adding value to conversations, chats, and threads. 

Don’t forget: Never, ever post anything online in forums or on social media that you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see. `

While your aim is to network with potential connections, you have to be mindful that recruiters and hiring managers are checking in on you to. So, perhaps my most valuable of all networking tips is this: Give companies a reason to hire you by being amazing online.

You’ve got this!

Happily,

Ashlee Anderson, CPCC

Did you know I’m now offering one-on-one coaching sessions for remote workers? I’ve got two amazing packages available that can supercharge your job search and makes it much easier to find the remote work of your dreams!

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